Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Drew Ryniewicz Performs During Rock Week on The X Factor USA, November 16, 2011

It’s Rock Night on The X Factor! There are ten contestants left, only one of whom is a rock singer, so this should totally end well! Or, y’know, not. Let’s see how it all goes down, shall we?

LeRoy Bell: “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger
We love LeRoy. We love his voice, we love that he looks like 30 years younger than he actually is, we love that he seems to be a really nice guy. We don’t love this performance, sadly. It’s not bad, it’s beautiful... but it’s boring. Sigh. “We’re now looking for a star, the ability to sell records, sell tickets, own the stage... you’re not working it like a rockstar,” L.A. says. “Nice song, good voice, in terms of originality... zero. Right now, you can’t win this competition,” Simon adds.

Rachel Crow: “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones
Simon really wants Rachel to “perform the song and let loose.” Ooh, her jacket has some wacky red-fringed sleeves, that’s fun! She sounds terrific, but the song is all honestly sorts of wrong for her, because she’s a 13-year-old girl whose dreams are coming true and she has no idea what it’s like to not be able to get satisfaction, so there’s really no bite to it. The judges love it anyway. “For me this is my favorite performance of yours... you made it look so easy,” Nicole says. “I actually can see you winning the show... I like winners,” Simon says.

Chris Rene: “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley
Chris is looking better every week, it must be said. This arrangement is cool, and he’s working it. Simon looks like he doesn’t get it at all, but the crowd is totally into it. Chris throws off his jacket midway through to reveal his “Occupy All Streets” shirt. Topical! “That was very original, and I rocked with it, but it’s not my favorite performance by you... I loved it but I was a little confused,” Nicole says. “It would’ve been great if the theme this week had been reggae music... that is reggae music, the theme this week is rock music,” Simon adds. Oh, that’s why he looked confused. Well, fair enough.

Stacy Francis: “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Meatloaf
Ugh, Stacy’s back in severe histrionics mode this week. Meatloaf songs are inherently overdramatic and Stacy cranks it up to one million in her little crystal-covered dress and black leather half-gloves, one of which she rips off during the performance. That must be the “rock” aspect of this song. “This was my least favorite song you’ve ever performed,” Paula says, and if Paula doesn’t like it, you know it’s bad. “Your hair looks better this week... I thought the song was a horrible choice... you are going backwards right now,” Simon says. “There’s a genre of rock music called glam rock, and baby you’re a glam rock diva tonight,” Nicole argues, which is a nice sentiment but a huge lie.

Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Chris Rene Performs During Rock Week on The X Factor USA, November 16, 2011

Melanie Amaro: “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.
Melanie can sing her face off, and that’s what she’s doing, but if Simon’s going to complain about people not really doing rock... well, he should’ve had her do a different song. The good news is, along with sounding gorgeous Melanie looks fabulous. The bad news is, this is just Whitney-Houston-sings-R.E.M., honestly. “You know you’re my girl, right? That was so not rock,” L.A. says, agreeing with us. “That reminded me of Adele, Alicia Keys... I’m very, very proud of you,” says Simon. (As L.A. points out, though, neither Adele nor Alicia are rock, so whatever, SiCo.)

Josh Krajcik: “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters
Thank Grilled Cheesus, FINALLY someone is actually rocking up there! We might not have chosen this particular track by the Foos, but it’s a terrific rock song from one of the best rock bands out there, and Josh is absolutely doing it justice. Finally a little badassery on Rock Night! Josh earns himself a standing ovation from all four judges. “You have the authenticity, you have the stage presence, you picked the right song, and you’re the only person who’s really rocked this house tonight,” L.A. gushes. “You’re the ultimate rockstar -- that’s how it’s done, America,” Nicole agrees.

Astro: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
Okay, so technically Astro’s doing Diddy’s (or whatever his name was at the time) “I’ll Be Missing You.” But once again he’s written his own verses, so it’s all sort of confusing. It’s also completely awesome. This is the second week in a row that Astro has come out and absolutely killed his performance. This is once again not really rock, but as Astro explained, it’s a “love letter” to hip-hop, and while he may be cheating the theme, he’s pulling it off. “The question is, is if you’re ready at this age for a 5 million dollar recording contract... and I definitely believe you are,” Nicole says. “This is two weeks in a row now... what’s amazing is, you’ve got maturity and intelligence than some of the older contestants in this show. You know who you wanna be, you don’t compromise, and I’m with Nicole -- I think you’ve got a shot at winning this, young man,” adds Simon.

Lakoda Rayne: “Use Your Love”/”Go Your Own Way” by The Outfield/Fleetwood Mac
What a weird whiplash-y thing it is to go from Astro to Lakoda Rayne. Their performance is cute and fluffy and there are big lips and flashing hearts up on the screen behind them, and it’s just really hard to take any of it too seriously. They don’t sound as good as they have previously, either. It seems like they’d make a killing at tween girls’ birthday parties, but a 5 million dollar recording contract? Amateur hour. “This is the first time I’ve seen you have fun? Was it amazing, was it great? I’m just not sure,” L.A. says. “I thought tonight overall was a complete mess if you want my honest opinion,” says Simon.

Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Rachel Crow Performs During Rock Week on The X Factor, November 16, 2011

Drew: “With or Without You” by U2
Well, L.A. just made fun of her in her pre-song package about always doing the same thing and sure enough, she totally is. So, if you like what Drew does, it’s wonderful. If you don’t like what Drew does, it’s probably excruciating. We like what Drew does, generally, so we’re happy, although we did find ourselves waiting for some kind of big moment that never materialized. Oh well! Not our favorite Drew performance, but solid and pretty, as usual. “You know how much I adore you, I love that song... I was waiting for more. I understand if we were doing acoustic or something. I’m a little frustrated, actually,” Nicole says. “You’re in a good place, because you have a huge fanbase... Take advantage of it,” adds Paula, encouraging Drew to branch out with her performances.

Marcus Canty: “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin
So it turns out that Marcus is a “good boy” and is concerned about doing anything too scandalous on stage. He then proceeds to slide on his back between the legs of, like, 10 dancers in the first 30 seconds of his performance. Awesome. This song choice is... kind of good? Kind of weird? Marcus is definitely committing to it, though, which makes it work even though it maybe shouldn’t. “You took on the Queen of roots rock and you lit that stage on fire... like literally,” exclaims Nicole. “You said you were gonna be a good boy and then I saw you looking up 10 girls’ skirts,” jokes Simon. “I don’t think the song suited you,” he adds.

And that’s our Top 10, readers! Our guess is that tomorrow night, Stacy or LeRoy (or both) will be the first solo performer to hit the bottom two. What do you think?

 

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