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The third and final season of The X Factor airing on Fox on September 11, 2013 and ended on December 19, 2013. Paulina Rubio mentored the boys, Demi Lovato mentored the girls, Kelly Rowland mentored the over 25s and Simon Cowell mentored the groups. The winner Alex & Sierra, securing a $1 million recording contract with Sony Music and Simon Cowell's record label Syco Records.
The "Boys" category was mentored by Paulina Rubio. The contestants are:
Carlos Guevara (born May 20, 1997) is a contestant from Lexington, South Carolina. He suffers from Tourette syndrome and his condition got so severe, the class vice-president and the football player Guevara had to withdraw from his high school. However, his syndrome does not hinder him while singing.
Guevara auditioned with John Mayer's "Gravity". He advanced into the Top 12 after singing "Don't You Worry Child" by Swedish House Mafia in the first live show. In the beginning of week 3, Guevara was eliminated having had the lowest number of votes from the previous week, finishing in 13th place.
Josh Levi (born October 7, 1998) is a performer from Houston, Texas. Levi recently moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue his dreams of becoming a famous and successful performer. He and his family moved to Los Angeles just three months before he tried out for the show so he pursed a music career. He is currently a high school student.
He auditioned with Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It". His performance wowed Demi Lovato, who is a friend of Selena Gomez's, Kelly Rowland, and Simon Cowell (Paulina Rubio was absent) He earned three yeses and made it top 40 where he got Paulina Rubio as his mentor.
He was eliminated during the first live show after singing Rihanna's "Only Girl (in the World)", but was brought back to the Top 13 as a wildcard. On November 28, 2013 (Thanksgiving), however, Levi was once again eliminated from the competition, finishing 7th place. Levi is also an actor who played Darius Merriweather in Friday Night Lights.
Carlos Emmanuel "Carlito" Olivero (born in Chicago, Illinois, July 16, 1989) is a singer and actor of mixed Puerto Rican and Mexican origin. He auditioned with "Stay" by Rihanna. Olivero was chosen as one of Rubio's top 4 boys after singing Selena's "Dreaming of You" in the Four Chair Challenge. He made it into the Top 12 after singing "Maria Maria" by Santana in the first live show. Following the eliminations of Josh Levi, Tim Olstad and Carlos Guevera, Olivero became the only remaining act left in the "Boys" category. Carlito was eliminated in the finals, finishing in third place.
Tim Olstad is a 24-year-old singer from Winona, Minnesota who auditioned with Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years". His parents were both music teachers. He was initially cut by mentor Paulina Rubio during the four chair challenge, but was brought back after the crowd booed Rubio mercilessly. He advanced into the Top 12 after singing Bon Jovi's "Always" during the first live show. On November 21, 2013, Olstad was eliminated from the competition, finishing in 9th place.
The "Girls" category was mentored by Demi Lovato. The contestants were:
Khaya Cohen (born June 22, 1997) is a singer from New York City. She auditioned with Jennifer Hudson's "Love You I Do" but the judges didn't like it. The judges then let Cohen have another chance singing Nina Simone's version of "I Put a Spell on You" She advanced into the Top 12 after singing "Mercy" by Duffy in the first live show.
After performing Madonna's "Borderline" on 80's night, Cohen found herself in the bottom three, facing off in the final showdown against Rachel Potter. Cohen survived after receiving only Kelly Rowland's vote to eliminate her. The following week, Cohen was eliminated in tenth place.
After the show, she has been recording an album. She is working on putting out her debut single, "Sky Might Fall" under Stone Recording.
Danielle "Danie" Geimer is a 15-year-old contestant from Northridge, California, who sang "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals for her audition, wowing the judges. New judge Kelly Rowland was particularly impressed at Danie’s singing prowess, declaring “Miss thing, you are IT!”. She cites Elton John as an influence.
Rion Paige Thompson (born May 3, 2000) is a singer from Jacksonville, Florida auditioned with "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood. Paige suffers from a congenital condition called Arthrogryposis mutiplex congenita (AMC), which has caused permanent damage to her arms, causing her hands to be fixed in a bent position. She is also blind in her right eye from glaucoma. Paige made the top 12 after singing by her mentor's song "Skyscraper" in the first live show. Paige made it to the top five, where she was in the bottom three, against Carlito Olivero. Paige was eliminated in fifth place.
Ellona Rano Santiago (born August 1, 1996) is a Filipino-born American singer from San Lorenzo, California who previously auditioned for the inaugural season one of The X Factor. She auditioned as a solo artist but failed to advanced on her own. In bootcamp, she was reaccepted as part of a group that formed in ten contestants put together for the purpose of competing in the Groups Category and thus being given a second chance know as InTENsity. They were eliminated by the judges' votes and finished in 12th place.
Santiago re-auditioned in season three of the program. Kelly Rowland described her audition as "unexpected" as she was very shy and modest at first but had put in so much fierceness and passion into her song, "Wings" by Little Mix. Judge and mentor Simon Cowell said to Ellona that "She was the contestant he wanted to work with the most." Simon did not initially recognize her until she told him that she was from InTENsity and that he referred to her as "the girl in the red jacket".
The "Over 25s" was mentored by Kelly Rowland. The contestants are:
Jeffrey Adam "Jeff" Gutt is a 37-year-old vocalist, musician, songwriter, and performer from St. Clair County, Michigan. Having failed to get past bootcamp in season 2, Gutt returned for another shot. This season, he auditioned with Radiohead's "Creep". He advanced into the Top 12 after singing Pink's "Try" during the first live show. Following the eliminations of Lillie McCloud, Rachel Potter and James Kenney, Gutt became the only remaining act in the "Over 25s" category. Jeff was eliminated in the finals, finishing as runner up (second place).
James Kenney is a 35-year-old singer frmom Portland, Oregon. He first took part in the show in season 1. He is married and has two daughters. Kenney reached the top 16 this season, where he sang "Red" from Australian singer, Daniel Merriweather and was eliminated by his mentor Kelly Rowland.
Lillie Arlene Nicole Jade McCloud (born December 7, 1958) is a soul singer living in Orlando, Florida. She blew the judges away with her audition of "Alabaster Box" by CeCe Winans. On November 28, 2013 (Thanksgiving), she was eliminated, finishing 8th place.
Rachel Lindsey Potter is a 29-year-old bartender, country music recording artist and Broadway performer from Nashville, Tennessee. She auditioned by singing Queen's "Somebody to Love", which earned her a standing ovation from Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. She advanced to the Top 4 of the Over 25's category after singing "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé in the Four-Chair Challenge. Potter made the Top 12 after performing Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" during the first live show.
On November 14, 2013, Potter was eliminated and finished in 11th place, after her performance of Heart's "Alone". She lost the sing off to Khaya Cohen after singing "From This Moment On" by Shania Twain.
The "Groups" category was mentored by Simon Cowell. The contestants are:
Alex & Sierra, or "A&S", are a duo consisting of Alex Kinsey (22, from New Smyrna Beach) and Sierra Deaton (23, from Orlando), two Florida natives who date and sing together as a group. They auditioned with their rendition of Britney Spears's "Toxic" and were met with rave reviews. The two made it past the Four Chair Challenge after singing "You're the One That I Want" and continued on to the Top 12 after singing "Blurred Lines" in the first live show. In the second live show, Alex & Sierra performed "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Give Me Love" on the second performance of the week. In Week 3, Alex & Sierra performed their rendition of "Addicted to Love", which received criticisms from judges Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato, and Simon Cowell. Their mentor, Simon Cowell, told them that their performance had gotten off melody at points, especially on Sierra's part. In Week 4, Alex & Sierra performed a slow rendition of "Best Song Ever" by One Direction. They received positive reviews from the judges, and were considered among the best performances of the night.
In Week 5, they did a jazz version of "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift, with the arrangement done by Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton. Kelly Rowland said she did not care for the arrangement, but loved their vocals. Demi Lovato agreed, saying she did not like the arrangement at first, but came around because of the duo's confidence and talent when singing the song. Overall, the reviews were very positive from the rest of the judges. In Week 6, they performed Destiny's Child's "Say My Name", receiving rave reviews from the judges. Simon Cowell congratulated the group on their impeccable performance, and ended his critique by saying that they were winners. Later in the show they performed "Say Something", which was also met with rave reviews from the judges, proven by not only their comments, but also by the unanimous standing ovation. Simon's comment was that it was the best performance of the entire season. The song reached number one on the iTunes Singles Charts by midday on Thursday, December 5, and retained the spot for approximately 24 hours. On the December 11 show, Alex & Sierra performed Gravity by Sara Barielles. That song also rose to number one on the iTunes chart less than 24 hours after that performance. That was one of six songs by the couple to be in the top 100, a reality show record.
They were announced as the winning act in the final on December 19, 2013, the first group to win the series with Jeff Gutt in second place and Carlito Olivero in third.
Restless Road is a country trio consisting of Andrew Peter Scholz  (aged 19, born 12 August 1994, from Summerville, South Carolina), Colton Lane Pack  (aged 19, born 3 December 1994, from Danese, West Virginia) and Zachary Ryan Beeken  (aged 18, born 12 July 1995, from Indiana, Pennsylvania), who all auditioned as soloists but were put together as a group at the end of top 40 selection. They sang "Somebody Like You" by Keith Urban at the four chair challenge  and received standing ovations from all four judges.
At the first live show, they sang "Roar"  by Katy Perry and were Simon Cowell's first choice to be put through into the top 12. They sang "Easy"  (Lionel Richie song) at the 2nd live show (Motown week) and Don't You Wanna Stay  by Jason Aldean the following night, after technical issues of the show's voting lines. For week 3's 80's Night, they sang "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins. For week 4's British Invasion, they sang Fix You by Coldplay and received negative feedback from both Demi Lovato and Kelly Rowland. However, most of their performances were praised and were well received by the public alike. They finished in 4th place.
In February 2014, Colton decided to leave the band to pursue a solo career. In May 2014, Restless Road announced through their Facebook page they were recruiting a new member.
RoXxy Montana is a trio consisting of three sisters from Wayne, Michigan: 22 year old Tenija, 21 year old Tiara, and 20 year old Temperance. The group was eliminated during the first live show on 29 October 2013, after singing Lorde's number one hit "Royals". On May 9, 2014, it was announced that the group had a recording contract with Swift Endeavor.
Sweet Suspense is a three piece girl group consisting of Celine Polenghi (aged 16, born June 28, 1997, from Miami, Florida), Millie Thrasher (aged 14, born July 8, 1999, from Birmingham, Alabama) and Summer Reign (Summer Cummings) (aged 18, born April 16, 1996, from Apple Valley, California). Each auditioned as a solo contestant but failed to progress in the Girls category, but the judges called them back to form a group to compete in the Groups category and in the Four-Chair challenge stage.
In the four-chair challenge, they sang "Wishing On a Star" receiving positive reviews from the judges; Kelly felt that the group had something "special" there and they are "hungry enough", Paulina said they were superstars already, Cowell calls it "incredible" how well they blend together and Demi was proud of them for how far they have come, especially considering they were only put together a month ago. Cowell selected Sweet Suspense to advance to the live shows. Sweet Suspense performed "I Love It" during the first live show on October 29, 2013, they received positive reviews; Demi said they are stars and their mentor Cowell called the performance "magic". Cowell selected them as one of the three groups to enter the top 12.
For Motown night, they sang "You Keep Me Hanging On", receiving positive reviews from the judges. Much to Cowell's shock, as well as the crowd's, Sweet Suspense was eliminated after receiving the lowest public vote on November 14, 2013, finishing in 12th place.
They later signed to Jason Derulo's record label, Future History Records, being the first artist to sign. It was announced at the TCA's red carpet when Sweet Suspense and Jason Derulo were interviewed.