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The X Factor

The X Factor Top Three: Recap and Review of the Performances

This is it, kids! After months of listening to the contestants sing and the judges ramble on about nothing, we’re down to the Final Three, and tomorrow night, someone will be 5 million bucks richer. Merry freakin’ Christmas to them, eh?

There are friends and hometown fans having viewing parties at Josh’s old high school, a nightclub where Chris used to perform, and Melanie’s church. We’re not going to recap them because it’s all pretty much filler, let’s be real, so just know that there is some serious enthusiasm happening and that clearly they’ve all been coached to act like this is the most exciting thing ever to happen to any of them in their entire lives.

Okay, music!

Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX    

Josh Krajcik, “Uninvited” by Alanis Morrisette

Ooh, this is a good song for Josh. Alanis is so awesome, man. Jagged Little Pill is an amazing album and it totally holds up, FYI. OMG, it’s Alanis! Alanis is singing with Josh! They’re killing it! Exclamation points! Ahem. Josh seems a tiny bit hesitant at first, but he relaxes into the performance and it’s just so good — they sound terrific together. “That was surreal... you seemed right at home. This is gonna be a long night, ‘cause we just started at the top,” L.A. says. “Not only did you hold your own, you kept your identity,” Paula says. “I thought that you were a little bit intimidated at the beginning, but as the song got into gear I heard the old Josh again... eight out of ten,” Simon says.

Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX    

Chris Rene, “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne

Really? They went with Avril for Chris? What an incredibly odd choice. Were no actual hip-hop artists available/willing, or what? Chris sounds... well, not bad, but not great. If Avril Lavigne is outsinging you, that’s probably not a good sign. Heh. Chris throws in a little rap that works better for him, and they seem to be having a lot of fun, at least, so overall it might not sound fantastic but it feels pretty nice. “It was a little shaky in the takeoff, but you came out on top, and I couldn’t help it — by the end, your energy and the light around you, is so flippin’ infectious,” Nicole says. “That could be a record, well done,” Simon says. “You look really at home with Avril, you guys look like you’re cut from the same cloth,” L.A. says. Really? Chris Rene and Avril Lavigne? Umm. Okay.

Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX    

Melanie Amaro, “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly

Oh no, R. Kelly is totally going to come out on stage, you guys. This is bad, because he makes us think of his creepy (alleged! ahem) predilection for young girls, but it’s also great because it makes us think of Aziz Ansari’s hilarious (and NSFW) comedy bit about him. Uh, anyway. Melanie sounds great, if not as amazing as we’ve heard her, and then R. Kelly comes out and is wildly over-the-top and then it rains confetti and inspiration. It’s very cool, if you’re into that kind of thing. “That is one of the most important songs written in the last 50 years... I feel like you got a little bit overshadowed on that song,” L.A. says. “The conviction that you have, Melanie... has made us believe in you, because you believe,” Paula says. “To me, that was an incredible duet... I’m feeling very good for Melanie Amaro right now,” Simon says.

SIDEBAR: Does anyone else super love the girl who sings “Billionaire” in the Chevy ads? Good news! We stalk — errr, researched her for you. Here’s her website.

After the commercials, we get a guest performance by the cast of the new Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show. It looks like a bunch of dancing Terminators, mostly. Oh, here’s the Top Three, joining in on “They Don’t Care About Us.” We do care, though.

Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX    

Time for Round 2! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Josh Krajcik, “At Last” by Etta James

Aw, Josh is doing his audition song! His audition was so good. This is also good, duh. He’s playing guitar, dressed all in black, with a very simple lighting setup, keeping things focused on the music. Smart choice, and he sounds phenomenal. Well-played, Burrito Man. “You look so at home up there — the first time I ever saw you I envisioned you just like that, you’re such a rock star, man,” L.A. says. “Whether it’s fully-loaded or stripped-down and unplugged, it’s undeniable, you own that stage,” Paula says. “I watch you up there in awe; I’m honored to be a part of this journey with you,” Nicole says.

Chris Rene, “Young Homie” by Chris Rene

So is everyone going to do their audition songs? It probably makes even more sense for Chris than for Josh, because Chris always shines the most with his original music. He has a bunch of dancers behind him which is actually kind of weird — not necessarily in a bad way, but it emphasizes just how far this slick popstar-in-training (Chris has never looked better, by the way) has come from the scrappy, newly sober trash collector who auditioned for the show back in the summer. Performance-wise, Chris is killing it. This was a good move for him. “You make everyone fall in love with you,” Paula positively squeals. “That’s your five million dollar song,” Simon says.

Melanie Amaro, “Listen” by Beyonce

Okay, apparently everyone IS doing their audition songs. Melanie is all done up in a formal gown with a white blazer on top — does she not like showing too much skin? Hm. Anyway, she’s blowing the roof off the place, obviously. “That is the Melanie that I love right there — that wasn’t a 5 million dollar performance, that was a 50 million dollar performance,” L.A. says. “You empowered me, and that’s what music is all about, honey,” Nicole says. “Melanie, I am so so proud of what you just did there... I think you, based on that performance, for me, should be the winner of The X Factor,” Simon tells her.

And with that, it’s in our hands. We’re afraid to make a prediction, because the Top Three are all so completely different that it’s hard to really compare them. So we’ll stick with a safe bet — tomorrow night, someone will win 5 million dollars, and — sob! — it will not be us.

What do you think? Who’s your pick to win the whole shebang?!

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