Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: The X Factor USA Top 5 are Marcus Canty, Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, Rachel Crow, and Melanie Amaro

So last week, we lost Astro, which wasn’t particularly surprising, and Drew, which kind of was. Simon is pissed about Drew and plans on taking it out on the other judges. “If they want a war, they’re gonna get a war,” he says. Now we’re down to five, and they’ll be singing two songs apiece tonight. Their first set of songs are all “Dance Music Hits,” so this should be ridiculous. Yay!

Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX Photo: Melanie Amaro Performs Adele on The X Factor on December 7, 2011

Melanie Amaro, “Someone Like You” by Adele
Okay, this is so not a dance music song. It’s basically a remix, but the only thing that really makes it dance music is the beat behind it. Melanie may as well be singing the original. Which, she’s awesome, duh, but still: Not a dance song! “The only thing that bothered me about it was it was really good,” L.A. says. “You look and sounded like the rockstar diva that you are tonight,” Nicole says. “What I love about that was, it wasn’t karaoke... you know what, you would have a hit record with that version,” Simon adds.

It’s so odd how Steve says things like “It’s the first of the boys — here’s L.A. Reid,” like L.A. is about to come out and sing us a song. And then L.A. has to introduce the actual boy who will be singing. Even though Steve’s, like, entire job is to announce what’s happening next. This show is weird, y’all.

ANYWAY.

Marcus Canty, “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan
Marcus is dressed like a pimp from the future in a fedora and a sleek metallic suit. Which is not necessarily an insult, he’s totally pulling it off. His vocals are pretty decent, and he’s putting a lot of energy into the performance. We approve. “You took us to church and the dance club at the same time... you have earned your spot to be here today,” Nicole says. “I shouldn’t be very happy with you, should I?... I have to say that was a very, very good performance,” Simon says.

Rachel Crow, “Nothin’ On You” by Bruno Mars
This is actually a pretty fun song choice, although Rachel is a little out of her element with it. Vocally she’s okay, plus she’s Rachel Crow so she’s super charming, and she’s got on some leopard-print leggings and whatever, we just like her, okay? When she finishes, L.A. makes a weird heteronormative crack about her singing about girls, and Rachel immediately replies “I was singing to Paula and Nicole,” because she’s awesome. “You’re just beautifully fearless... your vocal depth transcends generations,” Paula says.


Josh Krajcik, Rihanna “We Found Love”
This song is so awesome. Why are they making Josh Krajcik sing it, though? If Melanie could cheat the theme with Adele, they should’ve let Josh do a Kings of Leon remix, or whatever. It’s fine, he sounds good, but it’s just not his style so it comes off a little odd. “In the recording world I could never see you really doing that song... you were great as a singer, I just don’t buy that song for you,” L.A. says, and even though it’s the same thing we said it sounds like an insult coming from him. “I think you nailed it — I never in a million years would’ve thought that,” Paula disagrees.

Chris Rene, “Live Your Life” by T.I.
As per ushe, Chris has written his own verses, including a line that goes “Chris Rene for the win,” in case you were wondering who he was supporting in this competition. Kidding aside, the performance is really enjoyable; he’s probably the performer best suited for this theme. “You go ahead and live your life, we’re livin’ it right there with you... you wrote the verses, it sounds like you wrote the hook as well,” Nicole says. “I saw the look on your face when you got through last week... I think the public supporting a kind of artist like this is really important... I think you are doing brilliant,” Simon tells him.
And now for a shocking twist! The Pepsi Challenge songs (chosen by the audience) were supposed to be this week, but now they’re going to be next week due to a communication error, whatever that means. As a result, everyone has a surprise last minute song change, ack. The good news is that they get to pick whatever they want, so let’s see how that goes.

Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX Photo: Rachel Crow Performs Michael Jackson on The X Factor on December 7, 2011

And now for a shocking twist! The Pepsi Challenge songs (chosen by the audience) were supposed to be this week, but now they’re going to be next week due to a communication error, whatever that means. As a result, everyone has a surprise last minute song change, ack. The good news is that they get to pick whatever they want, so let’s see how that goes.

Melanie Amaro, “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston
The problem with being able to choose any song they want means that the contestants will all probably pick exactly what you’d think they would. So, of course Melanie is singing this song. It’s outstanding in the precise way Melanie is always outstanding. She’s looking extremely hot, by the way. The stylists are doing excellent things with her. “Of course that was great, you’re always great... you really thought of that last night and it was that good today?” L.A. says. “You gave me goosebumps all over... I felt like you were speaking the song to each and every one of us,” Nicole says.

Marcus Canty, “A Song For You”
Another song choice that we saw coming a mile off, but Marcus is killing it. This is a lot better than his first performance, probably because he’s much more focused on the vocals this go-round. “Thank you for reminding us all why we fell in love with you from the start... you remind me of a young Al Green and that means your talent is timeless,” Nicole says. “Your eyes do not lie, Marcus, and you are a storyteller,” Paula says. “I thought it was good, I’m not jumping out of my chair to be honest with you... it was a bit boring,” Simon says.

Rachel Crow, “Music and Me” by Michael Jackson
We’re not really familiar with this song, but she sounds kind of pitchy? She’s Rachel, so she’s not actively bad, of course, but it doesn’t seem like her best performance. Also, what’s with the MJ obsession lately on FOX shows? Michael Jackson last week on the Factor, a Jackson medley this week on Glee, and it was just announced that Glee is doing an entire MJ tribute episode in the spring. So much Michael! Uh. Anyway! Rachel’s okay. “I love that you picked that song for yourself... your vision for you is so inspiring,” L.A. says. “You’re like an old soul in a 13-year-old,” Nicole says. “You’re every girl’s best friend and every parent’s daydream,” Paula tells her.

Josh Krajcik, “Something” by The Beatles
Another unsurprising choice, but he sounds fantastic. It’s a nice, gravelly, soulful version — he’s making it his own, and he’s obviously much more in his element with this than with the Rihanna song. We’re into it, and so are the judges. “Adjectives don’t describe your brilliance, they just don’t measure up,” Paula gushes. “Compared to the first song this was a massive improvement, you looked actually insane halfway through... here’s my advice, do not allow any more of this crazy choreography around you. You are a singer-songwriter — Adele doesn’t need any props and neither do you,” Simon says. “That’s a little something that I like to call Krajcik magic!” Nicole says.

Chris Rene, “Where Do We Go From Here” by... Chris Rene
Chris is taking advantage of the opportunity to pick any song to perform an original tune. He’s seated on a stool with an acoustic guitar, and busts out his song, a laid-back little tune that has the crowd clapping along from the beginning. There’s no rapping, surprisingly enough, but it doesn’t need it. It’s a very appealing performance. “Where do we go from here? You know what? The sky’s the limit with you baby, congratulations, that was amazing,” Nicole says. “At this stage of the show you’ve got 5 million dollars at stake, you’re one step away from the semifinal and you decide to sing your own song — it’s either stupidity or a stroke of genius. I’ve gotta be honest with you Chris... that was a stroke of genius,” Simon tells him.

And that’s our show! Tomorrow night, we lose one more singer. If we had to guess... Marcus, maybe? What do you think?

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