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Tate Stevens Performs With Little Big Town During ‘X Factor’ Season 2 Finals

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After making his way through the rest of this season’s ‘X Factor‘ competition, Tate Stevens entered tonight’s (Dec. 19) finals episode on the cusp of the championship and a $5 million recording contract. Is he ready to go all the way?

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 Tate Stevens:

First Song: ‘Anything Goes’ – As it should have been, Stevens’ second ‘X Factor’ performance of the Randy Houser hit was smooth and confident — and just as safe and comfortable as anything else Tate’s done when left to his own devices, which has been arguably his greatest strength as well as his most notable weakness throughout the competition. “When you do right down the middle country, you are right on,” noted Britney Spears, while Stevens’ mentor, L.A. Reid, enthused, “You haven’t changed. You were lovable the day we met you, and you were lovable tonight.”

Following the performance, Stevens was treated to some video from the folks back in his hometown, leading to one of the episode’s sweetest moments — Stevens’ boss being asked whether he expects Tate back at work once the competition ends, which has been a source of uncertainty for the singer and his wife. “Hell no!” he responded at full volume. “We expect him to win the whole thing!”

Duet: ‘Pontoon’ – Stevens joined Little Big Town for a collaboration on their hit, and he clearly relished the chance to dig into this uptempo number with its stuttering beat and seesawing lead guitar line. He looked like he was having a lot of fun on the stage with the band — it was kind of a crowded arrangement, with not a lot of room for him in the mix, but it was still fun to watch; Stevens was relaxed and in command.

Final Song: ‘Tomorrow’ – For his last number, Stevens chose another midtempo country ballad, underlining how well he understands who he is as a performer. He’s made some of the smartest choices in this contest by sticking to less demanding songs in favor of material that highlights his strengths instead of testing his vocal limits, and it’s gotten him this far — if not further. “I’m crying because I just realized this is like the last time I’m going to see you performing on this stage, and I’m going to miss it,” admitted Demi Lovato, with Simon Cowell adding, “In a year’s time, I think we’re going to be hearing about your record sales…you’ve had a really, really, really good night.”

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