After taking first place in the last two editions of 'X Factor,' Carly Rose Sonenclar entered tonight's (Dec. 5) episode with a large target on her back -- but if she felt it, she didn't give any sign during either of her two performances.

After winning unanimous praise from the judges' table for her first number, a cover of Justin Bieber's 'As Long As You Love Me' that was chosen by her mentor Britney Spears, Sonenclar returned to perform the song the fans wanted to hear: Beyonce's 'If I Were a Boy.'

It's a tough number to sing -- one that demands total control of the vocalist's lower register as well as an ability to soar into the skyscraping bombast of the chorus -- but Sonenclar pulled it off with her customary aplomb, overcoming early rowdiness from the audience (whose cheers nearly drowned her out during the opening verse) and displaying outstanding stage presence.

"As a judge and as a mentor, every time you step on this stage, I get really nervous," admitted L.A. Reid. "As a fan, I get excited, because you never let me down. You're so good." Demi Lovato offered the slightest bit of criticism, allowing, "That's a phenomenal vocal. I do want to hear something uptempo -- I feel like it's getting too predictable -- but your vocals are amazing."

"Don't listen to a single word this one has said," Simon Cowell said, motioning at Lovato. "Trust me, you are doing just fine. You have had a phenomenal night tonight."

Spears weighed in with the final word, telling her young protege, "I think you're the definition of the X Factor -- it was stunning." Thus far, the voters have seemed to agree, and if her performances in this competition are any indication, we'll need to hurry up and start inventing new superlatives in order to describe her career.

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