The X Factor Leaderboard: Who's Your Favorite From the Top 10 Acts?

It’s Paula Abdul’s worst nightmare. No, CBS isn’t forcing the “Vibeology” singer to quit The X Factor in order to produce a second season of Live to Dance (bet you already forgot about that one, didn’t you?), but rather, two of the three acts in her “Groups” category got eliminated during the first two results-show telecasts of her new Fox series. Will Paula’s mentoring role rush (rush) into oblivion with the ousting of Lakoda Rayne this coming Thursday, or will one of her fellow panelists feel the sting of America’s voting rebuke? Only time will tell. But until then, check out my rankings for the Top 10 acts, then hit our poll to vote for your favorite!

10) Stacy Francis (Last Week No. 6) | Top 12 week found Weepy McSobbington (pictured, bottom left) clobbering “Up to the Mountain” with the Truncheon of Wretched Excess, a misstep that was followed by her mentor’s ridiculous choice of “Queen of the Night” last week. No doubt Stacy has a big, enviable talent, but she’s running out of time to show America she knows what to do with it.

The X Factor Top 11 Performance Night Recap: Movie Violations

9) Lakoda Rayne (Last Week No. 8 ) | They’re blond and attractive and moderately talented, but the army of backup singers supporting their not-always-winning harmonies does more harm than good. Paula needs to put the kibosh on the aggressive backing tracks that hindered “Landslide” and “Somebody Like You,” strip down the arrangement to a handful of instruments, and let us see if her last remaining act is worth keeping till after Thanksgiving.

8 ) Leroy Bell (Last Week No. 9) | His take on “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was solid, but World’s Sexiest Grandpa has yet to do anything completely spectacular. Seems destined to finish in the lower half of the Top 12 finalists — unless he brings The Wow Factor to the X Factor proceedings.

7) Marcus Canty (Last Week No. 3) | He brought passion and solid pitch to “I’m Going Down,” but it fell a little short of Jazzlyn Little’s superior audition-round cover. Plus, you know you’ve got a possible charisma crisis when the buzziest part of your performance comes from getting your shiny silver jacket stuck on your arm. Which isn’t to say he couldn’t turn his fortunes around with a single knockout performance.

6) Chris Rene (Last Week No. 11) | Got back into the groove — in a major way — with a passionate cover of “Gangster’s Paradise” that wove in his own original lyrics and bits of Stevie Wonder’s original (“Pastime Paradise“). Chris (pictured, top right) clearly excels when he’s able to bring his own creativity to his performances, but what if L.A. saddles him with another “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” or “Superstar” that exposes his vocal limitations?

‘The X Factor’ Top 12: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Suggested Song Choices

5) Josh Krajcik (Last Week No. 5) | Early front-runner has displayed definite rock-soul potential, but his Top 12 take on Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts” was borderline disastrous. Recovered with a strongly sung version of “With a Little Help From My Friends,” but still, it felt a little too much like a Joe Cocker imitation. Needs better song selection — and a little help in the styling department — if he wants to wear the Season 1 crown, but is Nicole the mentor to get him there?

4) Rachel Crow (Last Week No. 7) | Adorable moppet or overrehearsed doll-person? That question became irrelevant for some after a blistering Top 11 rendition of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Simon admitted he’d blundered with his initial song choices for Rachel (pictured, bottom right), but she still has something to prove to vault past the other two ladies in her “Girls Under 30” category.

3) Astro (Last Week No. 4) | Whether you love him or love to hate him, you can’t say the kid doesn’t possess a tremendous gift or that his flow is faster than Kim Kardashian’s publicist dialing the paparazzi. “Lose Yourself” was particularly ferocious, and it seems like Astro will have himself a solid career regardless of whether his hip-hop tendencies will inspire voters to carry him all the way to the finale.

2) Drew Ryniewicz (Last Week No. 2) | Proved with Nelly’s “Just a Dream” that she won’t be undone by an R&B tempo — and followed up with a lilting take on Coldplay’s “Fix You” that didn’t contain a single bum note (except maybe that wacky dress of hers). L.A. complained all of her performances have been too similar, but the alternate (and correct) theory is that Drew (pictured, top left) possesses such undeniable talent that she manages to make even the most disparate ditties sound like her own compositions.

1) Melanie Amaro (Last Week No. 1) | “Man in the Mirror” was a slightly hackneyed choice from Simon — or maybe the painful memories of Jacob Lusk’s American Idol rendition are still too fresh for me to truly enjoy it — but Melanie’s vocal was still flawless. Would benefit hugely from a hip, uptempo number in the coming weeks, but regardless of what she’s covering, it’s hard not to believe that America has found a modern-day answer to the Whitney/Celine/Mariah big-diva template.

Who’s your X Factor fave? Take our poll below!

Slezak on Twitter: @MichaelSlezakTV

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. SharonS says:

    I can’t believe that America thinks Drew is more talented than Stacy or Josh. I guess we have the teens controlling another singing reality show. I don’t plan to watch any longer after last weeks fail when The Stero Hogzz were voted off in instead of those 4 girls. Don’t we have enough pretty girls in the pop or country field? If Drew, Chris or Astro wins this thing I will never watch this show again. Paula got screwed by Simon. He gave her groups knowing that groups wouldn’t do well in this competition. He took the category he thought would win and gave the other category that could win to LA Reid. Male dominance once again.

    • Carol says:

      Drew is the only one in the bunch who will have a big career. Astro may have a short one, but not top 40 radio.

    • Dan says:

      Maybe not Josh, but stacy is horrible! she is so painfully off key every performance!

    • Marianne says:

      Drew is still my favorite – and I’m far, far, far from being a teen. I’m ALMOST as old as Leroy Bell – and I like him too!

      • Tim says:

        Me too. What Drew has transcends age groups and genres.

      • Ken says:

        Same here. I’m 52 and a music theory professor, and Drew is my favorite. She’s enormously talented, just not in a way that my faculty colleagues in the voice studios might appreciate. I agree that she occasionally hits a note that doesn’t work (e.g. “stone” in “What a Feeling”); those few notes won’t make the final edit in the studio, and they’ll never matter in a live concert. My second fave is fellow grandpa Leroy.

      • Ken says:

        And by the way, if I were only going for pretty, I’d have voted Lakoda Rayne and InTENsity. I haven’t cast a single vote for either.

    • Michael says:

      I can’t believe that anyone other than a deaf person could find Stacy talented. She’s a hack who oversings everything. CAN’T STAND HER.

      • Pedro says:

        Michael, you’re totally right. Stacy is all about screeching notes and oversinging she cant control her voice but look at jacob and james on idol they did the same thing and people loved them for some odd reason.

      • sugardaisy says:

        I agree!! And I thought she looked horrible in that short red dress!

    • nhf7170 says:

      I think giving the groups to Paula for the 1st season was kind of obvious, since she is a choreographer. Where Simon screwed her was leaving her with a group that doesn’t lend itself to being choreographed. That’s probably why she sent the Brewer Boys home.

    • well says:

      @Sharon S – sure let’s make sure to vote off pretty girls first, who make you insecure, and then remaining girls as on all the rest of the shows

      Lakoda Rayne certainly are really, REALLY hot but they really are pretty solid singers and it’s not easy to bam work in a group, they’ve only had some weeks at it. When they took a country bent I have to say it was some of the only country-ish stuff I’ve ever even liked.

      And no there are not a lot like them out there already. Basically none at this point, so what are you talking about? You had your boy bands the entire 90s.

      Drew has a pretty magical, ethereal voice. I do agree that I kinda had hoped she just open it up and slam it a bit with the U2 and then it would’ve been just utterly spectacular and the 100% slow, soft, ethereal take 100% through on 100% of songs, as amazing as it sounds, I think will eventually run flat. I think she has it in her to expand though.

      I never really thought that the Stereo Hogzz were really the all that group that some thought, although they weren’t bad.

      I thought Chris wasn’t his best overall this week but he does have a bit more punch to his rap vocals than Astro although Astro certainly has quite the writing skills and it;s not easy to just slam out so many lyrics, often many utterly new each week, like that, he has shown some bothersome signs of being a bit too full of himself from the start though (refusing to do dance practice, etc. can’t ever recall any other contestant on one of these shows ever refusing stuff like that), sometimes his voice doesn’t have the punch and emotion of someone like Eminem though, although maybe with age he’d develop it.

      Josh has been doing quite well IMO. And he was the only one he even really tried ot stick to the theme last night. Although the sticking to theme thing is a tricky issue.

      At times Stacy has been brilliant and she does have some mad pipes but she’s not quite trained enough to always know when to not overdo certain things and she really did hit some painfully out of tune notes this week, notes that just are not good at all when out of tune and has had a lot of trouble all along with one note, which really stands out, and she so often hits it majorly flat. It was a shame but she did have a lot of painfully flat notes this week mixed in. They didn’t help her any by making her voting clip picking one of her most struggled parts of the song.

      I do feel for Paula, she’s in many ways been the most sensible of them all overall, surprising enough and has certainly put her heart and soul and effort into it like no other it seems. I don’t think it’s been her but the category having a harder time to get the connection to get mega votes but hopefully her remaing group, my favorite of all of hers.

      It is a bit funny you bash the show for male dominance and which judges got which categories when you then slam down Lakoda Rayne and Drew in semi-catty sounding ways.

      Melanie did pretty well but she may have had a bit of a point with it not making her cry as in Melanie didn’t maybe quite ever get to the anguished emotion and power of it and nice as it sounded.

      I missed Leroy’s this week, started late. What little I heard sounded a bit bland. His U2 last week was pretty cool though.

  2. kendallcub says:

    I think Melanie Amaro needs to sing something like Rhianna’s “Only girl in the world”, or maybe Beyonce’s ‘Run the World’ or ‘Crazy in Love’? Its definitely the week for her to not play it safe. If shes not careful she could end up in the ‘great, but forgot to vote for them’ category (ie Carly Smithson).

    • Tess says:

      A better choice may be something from Mary J Blige, maybe “Family Affair” or “Real Love”. That’s if she were allowed to do r&b…if I’m not mistaken, the word is this week they are doing rock. If Simon had been smart he could’ve saved “Desperado” for this week since the Eagles would qualify as rock. I’m not quite sure what route he’s going to go with her for the rock theme…I just pray none of the mentors dig up “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” for any of the contestants for this week, Lord knows if it were Idol we’d have to hear it.

      Bet anything that for rock week Astro will be doing “Walk This Way” though…

      • jessica b. says:

        If the theme is really Rock this week I would appreciate if they could do more comtemporary songs, because it’s always the same, ALWAYS, on rock week. I’d love to watch someone singing, maybe, Like a Stone by Audioslave, or Closer To The Edge by 30 Seconds to Mars, or even Shinedown’s Second Chance. Get away from the Beatles for a change. it’s so predictible! (don’t get me wrong, I do love The Beatles). Maybe my choices aren1t the best, but at least something different this time!

  3. Kristin says:

    Honestly, I think Astro is the only contestant that does not need to win this competition. I already feel like he will get signed after the show and have a mentor (maybe someone like Jay-Z or Eminem).

    Astro has become my favorite, and that kid has a big future in Hip Hop.

    • Joe says:

      Thank You! Usually, this board is so positively slanted to young female vocalists it’s difficult to read. Astro is the one star on the show. I would bet anything that you’ll see Eminem or Jay Z or Diddy rapping with him in the final show. He’s the real deal and he’s the most fun to watch. Hip Hop is an American art form. It’s about time a mainstream talent show recognized that. As for the girls under 30, I think I’m liking Rachel more than the other 2. Melanie feels familiar. Drew is starting to feel one note. I’m actually excited to see what Rachel is going to do each week. I already know what Drew’s take will sound like. Same for Melanie. That being said, Drew is very good. The best four contestants are Astro, Drew, Rachel and Melanie. Josh really isn’t anything special. He’s a step above a bar rock & blues singer. The rest are meh. I know Astro won’t win, but he’s the star that’s coming out of this show. Whoever wins will be the trivia question to who beat Astro ten years from now. I think he’s for real. I almost think he’s a ringer LA Reid set up to break on the show he’s that good.

      • Lana says:

        @Joe– I can’t believe I’m agreeing with you on Astro. I will say I do not like Rap and only tolerate hip hop but when he gets on stage he is not boring, though I do have trouble understanding him because he is so fast and I am so old. Anyways I do find myself being more entertained by him than anyone else. I also loved Rachel and hope she continues to pick her songs if that is what she comes up with. While I am a big fan of Drew, Rachel kicked everyone’s butt with her singing this week. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with this week and also what Astro has in mind for us.

      • sugardaisy says:

        Well…that is YOUR opinion. I actually find Astro quite annoying and not particularly entertaining. He certainly has talent but he will never win this competition.

      • riley says:

        Can’t stand Asstro’s uppity attitude. Boy needs to go back to the ghetto!

        • karenb says:

          Sorry, I’m just not seeing the “uppity” thing. He does seem to be confident. Maybe it’s just me.

          • Billy says:

            Maybe you missed the first few episodes. He has toned down his attitude ALOT since then. No more back-talk, no more B.S. statements like professing a love for music. He has demonstrated no actual musical talent, but he sure can talktalktalktalktalk. The day Astro announces his desire to go to the International Warsaw Chopin competition is the day I will believe he has actual love for music.

  4. TheFinalMan says:

    I’m always amazed that Drew is able to sing with the grace and composure that she does. She’s just a little girl and sounds amazing. I know her style doesn’t seem (or isn’t) that flexible so far, but I am satisfied with all the music she’s been putting out. #TeamDrew all the way!

  5. Um-Hello says:

    Anyone else out there get annoyed with LA last week over his comments regarding most of the singers EXCEPT his own? He kept saying that Drew, Melanie, and Rachel all played it safe and were boring, predictable. He complained about them giving the same kind of performance week after week. Am I the only one who thinks he’s a total tool and he got it wrong? Isn’t Astro the one who gives the same performance week after week? I’m telling you- I better see Astro squardance, sing, and do the macarena tonight otherwise, he’s just plain boring and predictable too.

    • IrishSharon says:

      Agree with everything you say. Can’t stand L.A or Astro.

    • Ralph says:

      UM-Hello, I absolutely agree with your post. LA had me yelling at the TV.

    • dan says:

      LA is following the script of X Factor UK, where the judges try to undercut the other acts to get theirs to win. On the UK version, they called Misha B a bully, and even though she’s a great singer, she’s been winding up in the bottom. Heck, even I can’t stand her since they said that. But I wanted to smack L.A., he’s just jealous that his only hope is annoying Astro, who will never win.

    • sugardaisy says:

      Totally Agreed! When Astro comes on, that’s when I leave to go to the bathroom or get food!

      • Billy says:

        Word on the street is Astro has been a student of ballet for a couple of years now. I would like to see him incorporate ballet into his performance because I’m getting bored with the “yo,jump,uh-huh gobbledygook schtick.

  6. IrishSharon says:

    The only CD I would probably buy right now would be Lakoda Rayne if they put out a country CD. Also like Josh, Melanie & Drew but not sure I like their style of music enough to support them with a CD buy.

  7. Ben says:

    I’m getting bored with Drew. She is falling down the leaderboard for me.

  8. Donna says:

    I agree about Melanie, she is a special one. I’d love to see her sing Since U Been Gone or another range-y Kelly Clarkson or other female pop song, to show she can be current. I saw the suggestion for a Rihanna song, but those aren’t that hard to sing.

  9. Aprilcot26 says:

    I love Melanie, but if she doesn’t pick up the pace soon, I’m afraid she’ll be Pia Toscano-ed. She’s easily the best singer in the competition, but I was borderline bored last week.

  10. opus says:

    I truly don’t understand why so many of you love Drew. Unless I am tone deaf (and I’m not) she was off key several times throughout her song last week. I’m not sure yet who will end up with my final vote, but it won’t be Drew. (This past week I voted for Melanie, Rachel, and Josh.)

    • Tim says:

      Who cares? A lot of great artists don’t sing every note perfect every time. It’s about connecting to the song, and she does it beautifully.

      • Scott says:

        I agree with Tim. Drew reminds me of a young Sarah McLachlan as she has a unique style. If you’ve heard Sarah live, you’ll hear some shaky notes but who cares. Tim is right about connecting to the song.

  11. JJ says:

    I can’t believe people try to say that Stacy can sing? Compare her overwrought wailing and off key screeching to Melanie’s pitch PERFECT wide ranges of beautiful keys. Stacy is a train wreck.

    While Astro will certainly get signed will sell. The tweens buy Bieber and the young adults buy Eminem. Astro is neither. Kris Kross was a novelty act that came and went and Astro already annoys people and is too much of a niche market to be a true hit maker. Talented, yes. The next Jay Z? No.

    Drew is cute and likable but there’s no craft or artistic nuances other than some minor yodeling. She’s likable but is she the next Kelly Clarkson? I don’t see it.

    Lakoda Rayne will probably not go far in the competition, maybe seventh but they will have a career. Gorgeous, they can sing, likable, unique to the market. They’ll crossover from country to pop. Big potential there.

    Simon needs to really focus on Melanie having wider appeal. He saw how Leona Lewis didnt’ have a strong sophmore album here in the US. The ballads only go so far. Let Melanie sing Gaga’s Bad Romance or Pinks Who Knew…something non-pageanty.

  12. Michael says:

    Stacy is literally a train wreck. Such a shame because she is so talented. Haha what an interesting person.

  13. Sam says:

    Everyone with a brain knows that Drew will finish in the Top 3. She’s Taylor Swift with a better voice and more emotional connection (not that I’m knocking Ms. Swift, who may or may not have two songs on my Top 25 Most Played list).

  14. karenb says:

    Love Drew. Entertained by Astro. Not drinking the Melanie koolade. She’s got a great voice but she’s starting to bore me. Like LeRoy, but he does need to knock it outta the park and soon. Don’t think LR will go too far. I see them imploding soon-there’s no connection between them, so it’s hard to believe they’re a “group.” Still missing the Brewer Boys. Lol. I thought they had talent and potential.

  15. ana_muti says:

    The only people I’ve voted for so far have been Josh, LeRoy, and Melanie.

    I think that Josh is immensely talented, but X Factor isn’t where he’s going to shine. Trying shoe-horn all that soul and blues into the tiny, locked and limited box of EF is doing nothing to help him and everything that’s harmful.

    My hope is that he just ignores whatever advice that Nichole and the producers are giving him, and lets his freak flag fly.

    And by the way? I’m sick of people ragging on him about his looks. If he tried to look prettified, he’d just going to catch flack for trying to be someone he’s not.

    Josh: be who you are, forget about people who want you to change into a vision of sartorial splendor. It’s your voice I’ll be buying on a CD, and when I’m driving down the highway, I’m not going to care if you’re wearing spangles or jeans. I’m buying your MUSIC, not your sense of style.

    I doubt Josh will win against Drew or Melanie, but that’s ok with me. At least he’d lose to talented singers, unlike when Idol’s Bowersox lost against whats-his-name.

    Pitting Josh against Drew or Melanie is like arguing whether BBQ is better than lasagna or pizza.

    • Shindig says:

      I completely agree with you. I especially get annoyed when people rag on about his hair being “dirty.” As someone who has to work really hard with oily hair/skin myself, seeing how disgusted people come off about it is upsetting. Let him be who he is. You aren’t staring at him when you listen to a CD. I really wish he was singing in the 90s though, that would have been the best time imo. But he’s one of the few singers in the competition that I feel any emotion at all from — that’s the biggest problem I have with almost all of the people on this show. They sing like empty pop stars to me.

  16. Adele says:

    I can’t believe everybody thinks Drew is that great. She sounds the same every week, breaking her voice and took it too far with coldplay song which actually made me cringe. I think Josh is the best singer, he truly connects with his songs. I agree with Nicole, i feel his voice in my soul. Love that.

  17. Mo says:

    Melanie Amaro has the best voice. Also like Drew and Rachel. Wouldn’t mind it if Leroy Bell won either.

  18. Shindig says:

    I love you Slezak, but I’m sorry.. I’m SO sick of Mariah/Celine/Whitney rehashes. Unless she sings something that doesn’t sound like something on Lite FM in the doctor’s office, I’m not going to be interested much at all. Not to say she doesn’t haven an excellent voice — she has some of the best vocals there. It’s just incredibly.. dull to me. In the music world you can make beautiful music without giving a diva performance — I really want to hear something different, soon.

    With that said though, I have to admit my favorites are Josh and Drew. Maybe I’m just too horribly slanted to rock and folk music :b

  19. Mindy says:

    I absolutely LOVE Drew! Yes, Melanie is probably the best singer of the competition with vocals, but the x-factor is more than a great voice. People vote for what makes them move, and Drew hits me everytime. NEVER in any other comeptition or anything for that matter, have I gotten chills on top of chills. Everytime I hear Drew sing, I get those. She moves me to the very soul, so pure, and unique. Reminds me of Enya and Cranberries! Ethereal, always make me think of a fantasy. She just sings simply beautiful! Plus she has such a quirky positivity about her and is a great role model.
    I would buy any CD Drew put out, in stores! Not on Itunes lol
    She is by far my favorite of the competition and any other competition and possibly even singer ever.
    GO DREW!!!!!!!!!

  20. happyness says:

    i love the show. watching it from Nigeria African. keep up the good work. cheers