Lovato kicked it off by slamming Emblem3’s “unplugged” performance of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” as “a downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers five years ago.” Oh, snap!
“That was incredibly dumb what you just said actually,” Cowell responded. But backstage after the show, the guys of Emblem3 had a different take on Lovato’s harsh words.
“You know what it is,” Drew Chadwick explains. “She’s got one of those old school schoolgirl crushes, where the only way she knows how to flirt is by being mean.”
“Like Helga from ‘Hey Arnold!,’” Keaton Stromberg chimes in. “She has a shrine in her closet.”
“You should see Demi’s closet!” jokes Chadwick.
The guys admit the judges’ bickering can be a distraction, but they’re also able to tune it out.
“When that happens it’s more like they’re going at it, and it’s not even about us,” Stromberg says.
“The main reason we’re in this competition is to give us the opportunity to play music that we like every day for the rest of our life,” Chadwick notes. “That’s why we’re here.”
Frey laughs off the idea that her mentor — Lovato — is razzing Emblem3 because she’s secretly obsessed with them.
“That’s an interesting theory,” Frey says. “I would like to consider myself kind of close with Demi. We’ve had discussions about Emblem3 before. She’s not crushing on any of them, no need to worry.”
However, Frey has reason to believe it’s Cowell who can’t admit his true feelings.
“I learned this the other day,” she says. “In the U.K., if you like somebody you’re very sarcastic and kind of mean to them. That’s their humor. So I’m banking on that. Maybe he’s just giving me a hard time because… Simon just doesn’t want to admit it but he loves me. He would miss me if I was gone!”
Frey admits she still holds out hope for a positive critique from Cowell, and felt like she might get it after her own “unplugged” take on Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.”
“I’m getting used to the beatdown from Simon,” Frey sighs. “Every time, even though I expect it, you get done and you’re like ‘Damn, I nailed it!’ I got done with ‘Edge of Glory’ and that was a tough one. There were some big notes in there and I worked really hard on it. I’m like ‘Yeah, I slayed it!’ And then he says ‘Oh I thought it was a bit too cabaret and I just didn’t really like it.’ I’m just like, ‘Jesus, Simon, c’mon, cut me a break!'”
After surviving Cowell’s prediction she’d be booted from the show last week, Frey says she’s not giving up and she’s not apologizing for lacking a conventionally powerhouse voice.
“I’m not gonna apologize for not being a technically trained singer,” Frey says. “I’m not gonna apologize because I have a different singing style than everyone else in this competition. I’m not gonna apologize for any of that or get down on myself for it. I know I’m a good singer. I know that I can sing. Some people don’t appreciate that my voice is different. I think it’s unique. I have kind of a raspy voice, I have that scratchy thing going on and I do my best to make it work for me.”