After Demi Lovato’s team didn’t fare so well in last week’s rankings, the judge decided to tone down her team a bit for the X Factor 2012 Top 12 week. And while I think that was a very, very smart move, it may have been too late for at least one of her acts.

Overall, the entire show was better. There was more of a focus on singing and a little less production, which has been my biggest criticism so far. Like always, I’ll review each act and assign the letter grade I think each one deserves.

Jennel Garcia, “Proud Mary.” This performance was much better than last week. Her look was toned down and she focused more on her vocals, all while keeping it upbeat and fun. She stayed true to who she really is as an artist. I’m glad Demi realized what she had to do. B+

Tate Stevens, “From This Moment.” This was kind of a surprising song choice! But it is diva week, so it makes sense for him to choose a country diva. I thought it was a great performance. I think it’s safe to say he won’t be straying too far from that #1 spot he landed in last week. Not with a popular song like that. Not, to mention a good vocal. Hat’s off, Tate. A+

Diamond White, “Halo.” Another good vocal performance this week. This can’t be an easy song to sing either. It’s written in all these weird notes that Beyonce even sounds kind of weird singing. So Diamond did a great job with it. And the staging wasn’t overdone, so that’s always a plus for me. B+

Beatrice Miller, “Time After Time.” It was a sweet and soft performance but it didn’t really go anywhere. I don’t know, maybe that was enough to earn her some votes. But after her placement last week, she’s going to need a lot of them. Was this song good enough for that? I don’t know. B

Lyric145, “ET/We Will Rock You.” What a weird mash-up. Simon loves his mash-ups, even when they’re ridiculous like this one. The performance was a little shouty and weird, and kind of an assault on my ears. I mean I think it worked in the way it was supposed to, so I guess I’m just not a fan. They do have a nice energy. C+

Arin Ray, “Crazy For You.” He put his own spin on this Madonna classic and I give him and Britney credit for that. Arin has been struggling and I think he finally got back to a spot where he should be at this point in the game. His vocals aren’t the absolute best, but this was way better this week. B-

Paige Thomas, “Last Dance. Soft and gentle start. Nice. A little soul. Nice. Dance breakdown. Eh. Here we go again. Overproduction. Bah. Just sing! Just once, please just let her sing. C+

5th Harmony, “Hero.” Wow. That was way better than it should be. No one ever does Mariah Carey justice and they did. I’m impressed by this assembled girl group. A

Carly Rose Sonencalr, “My Heart Will Go On”. Wow, someone just performed this on The Voice the night before. Interesting timing. I do think Carly’s version was better. Her vocals were spot-on. How old is she again? Incredible for such a young girl. Probably the best performance of the night, despite such a cheesy song. A+

Vino Alan, “Let’s Stay Together.” The vocal was perfect, but the song choice and performance overall was a bit boring. I’m not going to contradict myself and say it needed something, but it needed something. B+

Emblem3, “No One.” A fun reggae-ish version of the Alicia Keys song was what they needed. I thought it was unique and made them stand out. It was probably one of this group’s best as far as vocals and their voices blending. Liked it a lot. A

CeCe Frey, “All By Myself. “Her look improved drastically. I liked that everything was toned down and all, but I don’t see her climbing out of that bottom spot. Her voice was cracky and eh. She tried too hard. Not into it. C-

What did you think of the performances? Who were your favorites?

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