Simon Cowell used to be the draw of "The X Factor," but someone has usurped his position as the main reason to watch. Not Simon's nemesis, L.A. Reid; not the big name, Britney Spears; and definitely not Khloe Kardashian and her nipples. Rather, the real star of the Fox reality hit is Demi Lovato.
The singer (and, like Britney, former Disney minion) is probably the least known of the four, but Demi showed her strengths during the audition weeks, mentoring her team and, now, the live shows. Britney has been the one getting all the headlines (for mostly fictional tales, I like to hope) and her comments to all the singers haven't been the most helpful (unless you count being called "amazing" constructive criticism), but Demi has been the true support. And she's fun to watch. It could've been easy for Lovato to land in the shadows of Spears, Reid and Cowell, but she's proved she's a superstar in her own right.
At the ripe young age of 20, Lovato brings a lot to the judges' table. She has displayed maturity, oozed confidence and a willingness to voice her opinions with sass and conviction -- but, at the same time, manages to be both bubbly and sweet.
Remember the show's first season with Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger? We were used to the Simon/Paula dynamic, but Simon and Nicole? Shudder. There was something so awkward -- and awful -- about the way they fought. I'm sure it was meant to be entertaining, but it was the complete opposite. Their bickering became personal, uncomfortable, completely cringeworthy. Unlike "X Factor'"s first-season females, Demi and Britney don't argue with Simon and L.A. (OK, OK, mostly Simon) simply for the sake of arguing and it's been a refreshing change. Don't get me wrong; there's some ribbing, particularly between Cowell and Lovato (I loved when he teased her about talking to one of the guys from One Direction), but the two definitely share a more respectful relationship (more than Nicole or even Paula), like a saucy girl and her annoying uncle.
Granted, Britney has been a bit of a robot, but I'm hopeful she's still working out the kinks. Like the contestants who had to sing for their lives, Brit's transition from last Wednesday's performance show to the following night's elimination show was astounding. It was Demi who was irksome, I have to admit. Wait, let me back up a sec. Wednesday, Demi was great. The songs and sets she chose for Paige Thomas and Jennel Garcia were fabulous, as were their makeovers. She didn't do much for Willie Jones (probably why he was eliminated) and I still can't stand CeCe Frey, so I was totally hoping that the song choice (meh), the makeup (yikes) and all that blond (WTF?!) would backfire and she was going home. But still, she stood by her team, and the comments she gave to the other contestants were consistent with what we've seen so far.
Thursday night, on the other hand, Lovato was a different person. She was more business-like and detached, and even her positive comments were tinged with a bit of bitch. Her disagreements with Cowell weren't any fun and if she and Simon were elbowing each other that night, it was off-camera.
Up until then, there are only two things Lovato has done wrong ... at least, in my opinion. The first -- choosing Willie Jones over Jillian Jensen, the emotional, husky-voiced singer who shared her bullying story with us. Not to knock Willie, who's unique in his own right; Jillian was just filled with so much passion. The second mistake was her stone-cold comments about one of Reid's team members, David Correy, which I think heavily contributed to his departure over Jason Brock (though perhaps that was a savvy move on her part, getting rid of some stiff competition). I could also be a tad biased since David was my favorite from L.A.'s team.
But even with 50 shades of bitch, Lovato has proven she's not just there as window dressing; she's a force to be reckoned with. I just hope from now on, we see the Demi we've grown to love, not one we love to hate. That's CeCe's job.