MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Mamaroneck teenager Carly Rose Sonenclar astounded judges once again on TV's "X Factor" Wednesday night, with one judge going so far as to question if the 13-year-old was even human.
"You're an alien or something," judge Demi Lovato said to Sonenclar. "You're just amazing." Fellow judge Simon Cowell rolled with punches, telling Sonenclar that she was the best-sounding alien he'd ever heard.
Sonenclar emerged a top contender after her performance of "The Wizard of Oz" classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" moved the audience – and judges Lovato, Cowell, L.A. Reid and Britney Spears – to a standing ovation.
"You are an absolute force of nature," Reid told Sonenclar. "I don't know where it comes from." Spears echoed the other judges, saying: "I will never get over the fact that you're 13. It's unreal, you're unreal."
Contestants were asked to dedicate a song to someone they were grateful for. Sonenclar chose her brother, Russell, who was described as her rock, especially in one trying time in particular.
"My mom and I were in the room together and her speech started to slur and she kind of fell down to the floor," Sonenclar said. Her mother, Terri Edelman, had suffered a stroke when Sonenclar was 10 years old. Sonenclar immediately called for help and found comfort talking to her brother on the phone while waiting alone in a hotel room. "My brother told me everything happens for a reason," she said.
The show was filled with emotional stories and dedications but Sonenclar's performance was a clear favorite among the judges.
Cowell said that though he'd listened to many takes on the "Wizard of Oz" classic, Sonenclar's performance was one of the best renditions he'd ever heard.
He also told Sonenclar she has a chance to nab the top spot Thursday night. Cowell stepped back after telling Missouri native Vino Alan that he'd likely be number one in viewer votes earlier in the show. "I think I've changed my mind," Cowell said. "I think you've just blown this competition wide open."