Last week, we said goodbye to Rachel Crow, who was devastated, because she’s a little girl, and it was super-depressing. Tonight, though, it’s the semi-finals, and Steve is so excited when he opens the show that his voice actually cracks, haha! Also, for the record, Paula is looking smokin’ hot in a sparkly one-shouldered red dress.
First up are the Pepsi Challenge songs, chosen for the contestants by the viewers. This should be fun. Or boring. It’s too soon to tell, really.
Marcus Canty, “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men
Marcus is looking handsome as per ushe in a suit, but what’s up with this song? Were the voters trolling choir boy Marcus by giving him a song that’s so blatantly sexual? He sounds okay, if a little nasal, but the performance itself, which includes handing a white rose to a random(?) woman in the audience, is hella awkward. “I can always count on you giving 150 percent, you are the entertainer of this group,” Paula says. “Your mentor is responsible for the staging — with the rose, the zombie dancers, it didn’t fit... for me it was very distracting,” Simon adds.
Chris Rene, “Fly” by Sugar Ray
This song is so sunshine-y, isn’t it? Chris is much, much less awkward right now than Marcus was, but he’s not as good on this as he was on his original song last week. He comes alive when he launches into a verse he wrote, and overall the performance feels good, even if it didn’t sound that great. “You just make us feel good, whether you’re offstage or onstage... you look like a million bucks,” Nicole says. “You don’t look like a million bucks, you look like 5 million bucks after taxes!” Paula adds. Simon is less enthused, calling the performance “a seven out of ten.”
Melanie Amaro, “Hero” by Mariah Carey
America! Did we really pick this song for Melanie? Like, on purpose? YAWN. She’s doing a stripped-down, sort of melancholy piano version. It’s very pretty in the way that things Melanie sings are always very pretty. “I think it’s perfect that you’re singing this song — you’ve grown into the woman that you are, you have your own power, your own strength up there,” Nicole says. “Your voice is impeccable,” Paula adds. Simon smirks and comments on how Melanie’s performance wasn’t karaoke like Marcus’s was, because he and L.A. are bratty little boys who like to poke at each other.
Josh Krajcik, “Come Together” by The Beatles
Well, Josh definitely wins for getting the best song this round. His performance is nothing particularly ground-breaking, but it’s solid and he sounds as growly-good as ever. He seems slightly awkward without a guitar or at least a mic stand, but he works it out. “I rather enjoyed that... it’s the best I’ve seen you in a few weeks,” LA says. “When you sing you have the ability to — not just affect souls but you attack our souls... I would pay anything to see you perform live on stage,” Paula tells him. “I think it would be a massive shame if you don’t make the final next week,” Simon says.
Marcus Canty, “Careless Whisper” by Wham
Okay, whatever, we love this song, shut up. The beginning is sort of good, but Marcus gets really nasally, really quick, and about halfway through all hell breaks loose. The whole thing turns into some kind of massive disco party; there are dancers and lights and a ton of confetti, but this is actually a really regretful song, and Marcus is still emoting that in the middle of the festivities. It’s weird. “That is an unexpected song, but I loved that you did your thing on it,” Nicole says. “That was horrific... the song was absolutely wrong, the grotesque performance was like being in a Vegas show in 1983... this was a joke, and you deserve better than that,” Simon says, which, while we might not have put it quite that bluntly: word.
Chris Rene, “No One” by Alicia Keys
Chris, whose pre-song clip includes him talking about losing his dad a few years ago, is looking downright preppy in a cardigan over a collared shirt and tie. He starts the song on piano, then gets up when the tempo picks up. The thing with Chris is that he feels authentic, but then he kind of loses some of it by being part of this whole spectacle. (So does Josh.) Nothing against him, or against the show, it’s just an odd match. Anyway! His performance is much, much better than his first song tonight. “You don’t have the best voice in this competition... that’s not what this competition is about — it’s your spirit, your spirit transcends across the universe,” Nicole tells him. “I said on the earlier song that you’ve gotta come out and deliver, and you just delivered, big time,” Simon says.
Melanie Amaro, “Feeling Good”
It must be noted that Melanie is looking fab, with her hair in a long braid and ginormous earrings. Sometimes we’re more interested in talking about how she looks than how she sounds, because she always sounds the same: incredible. This is no exception. It’s a little sassier than we usually get from Melanie, and we’re into it. We hope next week she sings, like, some classic rock. Wouldn’t that be rad? Sigh. We should be her mentors. “You’re the only female left because you’re the greatest female that has ever graced this stage,” L.A. says, which basically means she’s the best of the women this season, we guess? Which, duh. “You’re letting go and we love it — I feel you and it feels good,” Paula adds.
Josh Krajcik, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
This song is one that’s been covered approximately nine billion times (we’re partial to versions by k.d. lang and Jeff Buckley), because it’s an amazing, amazing piece of music. Josh’s challenge is going to be to make this version feel like his own. Can he pull it off? Well... yes, yes he can. Josh’s piano version is both intimate and intense, and his voice works really well with this song. Gorgeous! “That lacked excitement for me,” LA says. What?! “How could you even say that? I’ve never seen a contestant quite like you, Josh,” says an extremely weepy Paula. “I’m gonna have to agree with Paula... you did what we knew you should do... I think that song has put you into the final next week,” Simon says. “That was like a beautiful prayer, and you’re like a gift to all of us,” Nicole tells him.
Tomorrow night, somebody gets cut (boo), Nicole performs (yay?) and Florence + the Machine also performs (yay!). We’re guessing Marcus will go. Of course, we’ve been saying that for weeks, but even a broken clock is right twice a day so we’re sticking with it. What do you think?
Want more X Factor goodness? Like us on Facebook!