Throughout the course of "The X Factor," Tate Stevens and Carly Rose
Sonenclar were neck and neck for the coveted top spot in the rankings.
Tate was consistently perched atop the scoreboard for a bit, but then the
teenager from Westchester, N.Y. took the lead. When the country singer regained
number one positioning, it was the first time "I thought I had a shot at winning
this," he says. "Up until then it was anyone's game."
It all came down to Wednesday night's votes to determine who would be awarded
"The X Factor" title on Thursday's finale on FOX. The three final acts, Tate,
Carly, and girl group Fifth Harmony each performed three songs apiece, one of
them being in duet with a well-known recording artist.
Tate's collaboration with Little Big Town went without a hitch and he
selected the group because he "thought it was a good fit." Carly's performance
with LeAnn Rimes Cibrian appeared to be a bit of a struggle and some chatter
around the web has raised speculation that the Grammy winner may have cost the
youngster the title. Tate responds to ETonline, "I had no idea what happened
with their duet. I believe [Carly] has her fan base. I don't think it would have
swayed anyone. If you're a fan of someone, I don't think you're going to change
because of one [performance]."
Of the controversy, LeAnn tweeted on Thursday, "In my 18 years of performing,
I have never been anything but professional onstage. It is a shame that gossip
and lies are overshadowing the performance of Carly, a very talented young girl.
And while I have not given any media outlet a quote, if you want one, here it
is, 'It was an amazing opportunity to share this experience with Carly and I
know I'll be watching for her to win tonight.'"
Carly chose to forgo interviews with the press backstage after placing
second, as did her mentor Britney Spears. But, Britney posted the following
message on Facebook to comment on the results: "You are a winner in my eyes
tonight Carly Rose Sonenclar & I know you're going to have a very long
career... Thank u Britney Army for standing behind me & supporting my
superstar throughout this competition. Xo"
And, Carly took to Twitter to offer her congratulations and gratitude,
posting, "You are amazing @Tatestevensctry! You deserve this! Congrats
#Tatenation! I am the luckiest girl in the world to have the most amazing
family, friends, and fans! Thank you so much #carlysangels! I love you
@britneyspears! Thank you for everything!!!"
After resting at home in Belton, Mo., for the holidays, Tate will relocate to
Nashville on Jan. 2 to record his debut album. He plans to be very hands-on,
hoping to "write half the record, at least co-write half the record." At the age
of 37, Tate is dreaming big for his bright future. "I would love to be a member
of the Grand Old Opry," he proclaims.
Pocketing a $5 million jackpot recording contract, life will certainly never
be the same for Tate and his beloved family. "I'm sure I'll make some dumb
purchase in the near future. I keep scaring my wife about buying a Harley," he
Appreciative of the wisdom his mentor L.A Reid shared with him and the
opportunities the show has procured for him, "I would love to carry the torch
and take The X Factor brand and do well with it," says Tate. "That's my
Related stories on ETonline.com: Must (Re)Watch Moment of the