Three Central Florida acts have made it to the next round of “The X Factor.” They will be among the top 12 acts competing  for viewer votes when the Fox singing contest resumes Nov. 6.
Mentor Kelly Rowland promoted Lillie McCloud, 54, of Orlando and Rachel Potter, 29, a University of Central Florida grad. Mentor Simon Cowell gave his blessing to Alex & Sierra, a duo from UCF. The singers are Alex Kinsey, 22, of New Smyrna Beach and Sierra Deaton, 22, of Winter Springs.

McCloud strutted through a big, brassy rendition of “When a Man Loves a Woman.” “You are one heckuva singer. Incredible,” Cowell said. But he advised her to lose the theatrics, which he found dated. Rowland dismissed Cowell’s criticism and called McCloud “the best vocalist” in the contest.

“You are the hottest grandmother I’ve ever seen,” host Mario Lopez told McCloud.

Potter unleashed her powerful voice on “I Hope You Dance.” The song was “absolutely perfect” for her, Cowell said, adding that she was better than “red-hot favorite” McCloud. Potter was a powerhouse and a delight who had worked hard, Rowland said.
Alex & Sierra put a folky spin on the oft-played “Blurred Lines.” Rowland wanted it to be sexier, but Cowell dismissed that comment as rubbish.

“You have an amazing sexual chemistry,” Cowell told the couple, who are dating. “I thought it was a great performance.”