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Carly Rose Sonenclar Sings With LeAnn Rimes During the ‘X Factor’ Season 2 Finals

It’s been a long road to get here, but tonight’s (Dec. 19) ‘X Factor‘ found 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar in the finals. Did she make a persuasive case for that $5 million contract? Let’s take a look.

The contestants all performed three numbers tonight — first revisiting a “song of the season,” then singing a duet with a surprise guest, and finally closing out the night with one last shot at the title. Here’s how it broke down for Carly Rose Sonenclar:

First Song: ‘Feeling Good’ – Sonenclar took the stage looking very grown up in a leather-bedecked ensemble that reflected her ease with the Nina Simone classic — although it’s anyone’s guess as to how she came by that comfort, because someone her age has no business rocking such an idiosyncratic performer’s signature number. But teenager or not, her control remains flawless, and her command of the stage is only getting stronger. Judge L.A. Reid agreed, telling her, “You have to top everything you’ve done…and you did.” Laughed Simon Cowell, “You’re here to try and win this tonight, aren’t you, Carly? You sang it better tonight than you did the first time.”

As if raves from the judges and cheers from the crowd weren’t enough, after the performance, she was treated to video footage from a hometown Carly rally, where the mayor declared December 19, 2012 Carly Rose Sonenclar Day.

Duet: ‘How Do I Live’ – for her second number, a duet with LeAnn Rimes, Sonenclar didn’t fare quite as well. It wasn’t entirely her fault, as Rimes’ strangulated over-singing would have been too much for a more seasoned performer; in fact, Sonenclar showed greater control and sensitivity than the song’s original performer. It was just an awkward pairing, but the cumulative effect was a performance that sounded like it hadn’t been rehearsed at all.

Final Song: ‘Hallelujah’ – Somehow, we were expecting Sonenclar’s mentor, Britney Spears, to come up with a closing song that hadn’t already been covered a million times. Spears has already proved that Carly can sing demanding songs, so why not let her try something unexpected for her last hurrah? All in all, hearing Sonenclar take on this oft-recorded Leonard Cohen classic proved disappointingly predictable, even if she did tackle it with her customary flair. Reid seemed to agree, shrugging, “Was it a $5 million winning performance? It’s not up to me, it’s up to America.” Demi Lovato was fully on board, however, saying “Carly, throughout this competition, your vocals have just impressed me so much…you sing like a ridiculously talented angel.”

As for Sonenclar’s mentor? She remained convinced of her youthful protege’s odds at the title, telling Cowell, “You should get out your checkbook, Simon.”

Watch Carly Rose Soneclar Perform With LeAnn Rimes on ‘X Factor’

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