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The “X Factor” semi finals brought out the A-game in the top four contenders Wednesday night. Each act performed three songs: a duet, a song selected by their mentor and one chosen by viewers.
Fox News Latino caught up with semi-finalist Carlito Olivero just hours before the live show to talk about how he prepared for the show and how the ride has been this season.
“It’s hard to believe … that the show is almost over,” Olivero said. “I remember first auditioning for the show, sending my video back in June. It’s crazy how long we’ve been doing the show.”
The singer – who is half Puerto Rican and half Mexican – has had a slightly bumpy ride through the live performances of the hit Fox competition, but got past two bottom-three eliminations unscathed to make it into the final stretch.
“I’m very excited,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster. It’s crazy. You have to be think-skinned.”
The Chicago-native, who was chosen into the boy’s category with judge and mentor Paulina Rubio, said the last six months have been all about the show, and cannot believe the crop of singers he has heard go through.
“It’s definitely a life-changing experience,” Olivero said. “There were a lot of talented singers, who I think we will see in the charts, who didn’t even make it to the Top 24, the Top 12, much less the Top 4.”
To stand out among the pack, Olivero has focused on giving the judges and the viewers a Latino singer unlike they have seen before.
“There has not been a Latino singer on the show,” he said. “At first I was choosing (non-Latino) songs, but I felt that the judges were expecting me to – they wanted to see that Latino performer.”
Olivero shined with his renditions of “Maria Maria” by Santana, “Rhythm is Going To Get You” by Gloria Estefan, “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez and a mash-up of “La Copa de Vida/Maria Maria” by Ricky Martin and Santana.
“I wanted to make my mark,” he said. “It makes me unique because you haven’t seen a Latino on the show.”
Along the way, Olivero has received great advice from the judges – Rubio, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Simon Cowell – though he said the best, hands down came from the youngest and the oldest on the panel.
“Demi and Simon give the best advice,” he said adding that he always took it with a grain of salt. “Demi… she gets straight to the point (and) there is always positivity even when it’s not the best thing.”
He continued: “Simon is a great businessman… I think he is starting to see who I am and wants to move me forward.”
As for his competition in the Top 4, Olivero had nothing, but good things to say.
“Restless Road is a country boy band that we have not seen since Rascal Flatts; Alex and Sierra, they are amazing, a couple singing,” he said. “And Jeff (Gutt) is a rock star who has been doing this for a long time.”
On Wednesday night, Olivero took the stage with his version of Justin Bieber’s "Boyfriend," which was chosen by the audience.
“It was America’s choice. I left it up to them,” he told Fox News Latino with a laugh.
His performance impressed the judges that also perfectly suited his swooning fans. His mentor Rubio, selected Marc Anthony’s “I Need To Know” as his last attempt to snag a seat for the finals and while the judges were pleased with his spicy Spanglish delivery, Cowell said he didn’t know if it was enough to get him to the finals.
The music mogul did say that it was the ex-Menudo singer’s best night of the season.
For the duet, Olivero was paired up with Alex and Sierra with “Falling Slowly” from the movie “Once.”
After Wednesday’s night’s strong showing by all contestants, it’s anyone’s guess on who will make, but regardless, Olivero said it’s been an amazing ride and wants people to vote.
“We need a Latino to win this!” he said.
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