From now on, whenever a reality show features a contrivance that clearly hoses one contestant and gives a big boost to others, I'm going to refer to it Rimesing, in honor of "The X Factor" taking co-favorite Carly Rose Sonenclar and forcing her to perform with the desiccated remains of LeAnn Rimes on Wednesday's finale. LeAnn Rimes was so disconnected from reality and so musically dreadful that she dragged an amazingly young singer down with her and made Tate Stevens the prohibitive favorite going into Thursday's finale. And Fifth Harmony now seems like the plausible spoiler. And poor Carly Rose Sonenclar will always wonder if she could have won if she hadn't been Rimesed.
Or maybe I'm about to be surprised?
Click through for two full hours of live-blogging before we get to results...
8:01 p.m. ET. Khloe and Mario Lopez are on the red carpet. L.A. Reid calls this a nervous night as Khloe attempts to prove that she can walk and interview at the same time.
8:02 p.m. Mario gets to interview Demi Lovato, who executes a flawless crotch-guard in order to exit her car in her shiny, short skirt. Kudos, Demi.
8:02 p.m. Simon arrives in a Rolls. "I love your chest hair," Khloe says, possibly putting her Pulitzer in jeopardy.
8:03 p.m. This red carpet nonsense is horribly choreographed, as Mario and Khloe seem confused on who was supposed to interview Britney Spears. Poor Khloe misses out on Britney, but she gets some unintelligible words from Pitbull.
8:04 p.m. Look. It's One Direction. Again. The members of One Direction pretend to be excited that they're back on "X Factor: USA" for the second time this spring.
8:08 p.m. Serious question: If Pitbull and One Direction are tonight's only guest performers, how on Earth are we going to fill two hours?
8:08 p.m. It's The Final Countdown! Demi looks great. Britney looks nearly as good. L.A. Reid looks like he's out the door and Simon looks like a man who's going to have to overhaul his show for the third time.
8:10 p.m. Yes. We know the narrative. Family Man. School Girl. Best Friends.
8:10 p.m. Technical gaffe as the Top 3 hit the stage. Or... something. Actually they don't. "They are a little nervous to come out here," Mario Lopez jokes.
8:11 p.m. "The X Factor" can't successfully film contestants who are standing still on stage. Who thought it was a good idea to have the Top 3 enter the stage lip-synching to "All You Need Is Love" as they walk the red carpet? Along the way, they're greeted by other members of the Top 13, as most of them stop bothering to even pretend to lip-synch. This comically amateur-hour chaos. Forget new judges and new hosts, "X Factor" desperately needs a new producer.
8:14 p.m. "There is absolutely nothing more the acts can do," Mario says sadly. Or maybe I'm the one who's sad.
8:14 p.m. Ah. We're going to get holiday songs performed by the Top 3.
8:19 p.m. A montage tribute to L.A. Reid making hand gestures and playing musical instruments with his fingers.
8:20 p.m. Tate Stevens, joined by four sexy presents, sings "Please Come Home For Christmas." The sexy presents serve no purpose at all. They aren't dancing and you might say they lack presence. Get it? Sigh. This is going to be a long, long show. The two-hour "American Idol" shows feature like 30 guest performances and Pitbull wouldn't even count. "I think that you've done an amazing job," L.A. Reid says, raving about Tate's consistency. We get a celebration of Tate's fans in Belton, Missouri. They love him at the bonfire and the high school and the local diner. It ends with Tate's wife crying and thanking Tate for putting his dreams on hold for them. I expect Tate to curl up in a ball crying, especially when his mom calls him "Tater" and cries a little herself. "Just remember. We're always there for you," Tate's daughter sniffles.
8:26 p.m. "How'd that make you feel?" Khloe asks Tate, begging him to cry. He's close. Push harder, Khloe!
8:31 p.m. There were over 33 million votes last night. And in order to fill time, we're going to send one act home. Not literally. But we're going to tell one act that they're wasting the rest of their evening. Just like me.
8:32 p.m. Montage comparing Simon to The Grinch. "Now Simon, do you think of these analogies before you come in? Because you're really good at them," Khloe gushes.
8:33 p.m. Fifth Harmony is on a Christmas carousel singing poorly into phallic candy cane microphones. Is every single third tier carol called "Please Come Home For Christmas"? Or is that just the theme of every third tier modern carol? Poor Dinah Jane with her red Christmas pimp hat. The gals come down to serenade Simon and somebody is REALLY flat. I only know one of their names, so I can't put the blame on anybody, but it's whoever is singing low.
8:37 p.m. Awww. Dinah's family loves her. Oh right! Normani! She had the shomance with Arin. I knew her name for a week. And then there's somebody named Camila! Her family loves her, too. Awww. Ally's parents and best friends love her. And her grandma loves her and tells her that her grandpa is watching her. Awww. OK. That made me sniffly. And yes, there's a girl named Lauren, too. Lauren's mom is a babe. I mean that in a respectful way.
8:39 p.m. How do we think the members of Fifth Harmony really feel about each other? Awww. That made Britney cry.
8:43 p.m. Montage of funny Britney Spears faces! This is certainly my favorite montage of the night so far, because Funny-Face Britney is Awesome Britney.
8:45 p.m. Finally a song from somebody who can sing. It's Carly Rose singing a song I'm going to assume is called "Please Come Home For Christmas." Nope. It's actually "All I Want For Christmas Is You." She's got a slew of dancing Little Drummer-Men breaking it down behind her. Or are they Dancing Toy Soldiers? Or do I care? They've begun to take a dunking tank approach with Carly Rose, throwing everything they have at her and seeing how well she can keep her composure amidst the ridiculousness.
8:49 p.m. Britney never ceases to be amazed with Carly Rose. Simon remains amazed that Carly Rose is 13. And now, Carly Rose's family and friends back in Westchester love her. Awww. There's Bubie Sonenclar with a menorah behind her. I wonder if she might prefer a good Hanukkah song or two.
8:53 p.m. Khloe's attempting to interview squealing people who can't hear her. This is unpleasant.
8:53 p.m. "It is nearly impossible to call the results," Mario lies.
8:58 p.m. Wow! Khloe changed costumes! Before, she was in green. Now? A leather cat-suit. She's basically baiting Simon to say inappropriate things at this point.
8:58 p.m. Even though nobody knows where to go, the judges and their acts return to the stage. Once again, that means that Demi is nowhere to be seen. Is she alone on the judging panel? Show me Demi!
8:59 p.m. The finishing in third place is... FIFTH HARMONY. Wow. Even being Rimesed couldn't knock Carly Rose out of the Top 2. "You were like little Rockies up here the whole season," Mario says. "You guys have best friends for life, huh Camila?" Khloe says. Camila can't here here. Because nobody listens to Khloe. "I have a feeling that we're going to be hearing and seeing a lot more of these girls in the future," Simon says.
9:01 p.m. Tribute to Fifth Harmony!
9:08 p.m. We're past half-way, folks!
9:08 p.m. Backstage, Carly Rose says it's crazy that she's in the Top 2. Awww. Carly Rose's mother thinks Tate is amazing. Tate thanks the country fans out there. This means the world to him. Will Tate get one of his kids to say that Carly Rose is awesome? No, but Tate calls her "super-talented." "I'm nervous," Khloe says, because she's the most important person here to tonight. Tater's mom is also proud of Carly Rose. "Everyone is jealous of you, because you have a phenomenal husband," Khloe tells Tate's wife. It's OK, Khloe! Your husband is averaging 3.2 points-per-game this season. That's... not zero.
9:12 p.m. Montage of... stressful times for contestants?
9:16 p.m. L.A. Reid's highlight of the season was when Tate Stevens walked on stage. Britney Spears' highlight has been "everything. Demi Lovato's highlight was "every night." Simon liked working with the Groups.
9:17 p.m. Khloe is backstage with a bunch of the losers. Vino Alan is beyond excited for Tate. Diamond White is so happy for Carly. The men of Emblem 3 are stoked and they want to go to Whistler with everybody.
9:23 p.m. The "X Factor" winner will receive a whole new life!
9:23 p.m. Pitbull and strippers in trenchcoats.
9:26 p.m. Pitbull would prefer that we not stop the party.
9:30 p.m. It's astounding how little is happening in this finale.
9:31 p.m. Montage of Demi Lovato's sassiness. Perfect time for Simon to take a bathroom break.
9:32 p.m. One Direction is back with a video game-themed performance of "Kiss You." Big lips. It's like they're trying to be a pre-pubescent, musically challenged version of The Rolling Stones. Except that they're not.
9:36 p.m. Tate and Carly Rose are going to duet in a few minutes. Don't wanna miss that!
9:41 p.m. Carly Rose kicks things off on "The Climb," as if to remind us that "The X Factor" wasn't even able to book Miley Cyrus for its finale. She hands things off to the inferior Tate Stevens. This is not a good side-by-side comparison for Tate. He should have forced Carly Rose to sing a country song that was ill-suited for her voice. Except that he couldn't have, because like Annie Oakley might say, anything Tate can sing, Carly Rose can sing better.
9:46 p.m. "Never give up on your dreams. Anything can happen," L.A. Reid says of the lesson Tate Stevens teaches us all. And for the 15th time tonight, Britney Spears is proud of Carly Rose. There's literally no other question that the hosts can think to ask Britney, so they just ask her about her level of pride, as if it can be regulated like blood sugar.
9:48 p.m. Simon's looking forward to another season of auditions. He's also losing a button on his shirt with each programming block.
9:52 p.m. Like the Mayans said... The end is near.
9:53 p.m. Now 35 million votes were cast last night. Pretty sure it was 33 just an hour ago.
9:53 p.m. Yes, it appears that Simon and Demi remain on the judging platform as Britney and Carly and L.A. Reid and Tate walk back on-stage for the seventh or eighth time tonight. No show on TV makes its acts go on and off stage as frequently as "X Factor." Respect.
9:54 p.m. Oh. Khloe changed costumes again.
9:54 p.m. The winner is... TATE STEVENS. It's OK, Carly Rose. This wasn't your fault. You were Rimesed. Carly Rose is utterly gracious and goes and hugs both Tate and L.A. Reid.
9:54 p.m. Tate thanks the man upstairs. That would be FOX Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly. Tate calls this the best day of his life. What? Really? Better than your wedding day? Better than the days your children were born? L.A. Reid congratulates Tate.
9:57 p.m. Mario just said that Tate is going to get to live a life he never dreamed of and that his dream has become a reality. Mario Lopez, ladies and gentlemen.
9:58 p.m. Tate is just fine. He didn't deserve to win, but I can't be offended by his win. It was inevitable.
9:59 p.m. "We are going to be back next year," Mario says presumptuously.
That's it for "X Factor." Have a happy holidays, y'all. I hope that none of you get Rimesed.
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