The X Factor Leaderboard: Who's Your Favorite From the Top 9 Acts? Vote Now!

And then there were nine. Yes, folks, with Stacy Francis’ ouster during last week’s ridiculously dramatic results show, we’re down to the single digits in acts competing for The X Factor Season 1 crown.

Check out my rankings for the remaining contestants, then hit our poll to vote for your favorite!

9) Leroy Bell (Last Week No. 8 ) | His take on “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was solid, but World’s Sexiest Grandpa practically put us to sleep with, um, uh…anyone else remember what dude sang last week?

8 ) Astro (Last Week No. 3) | Just when the kid started to win us over with his inventive, impossible-to-criticize takes on “Lose Yourself” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” he winds up in the Bottom 2 and responds by acting like a petulant child in need of SuperNanny. He might score himself a record deal in the long run, but in a voting landscape where likability counts, it’s hard to imagine him winning the whole enchilada.

7) Lakoda Rayne (Last Week No. 9) | They’re blond and attractive and moderately talented, but their mashup of The Outfield’s “Your Love”/Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” was hindered by 57 layers of costumery, lighting, instrumentation, dancers, and backing vocalists. Mentor Paula needs to remember that old perfume-ad adage: If you want to get someone’s attention, whisper.

6) Rachel Crow (Last Week No. 4) | Proved her vocal might with a blistering Top 11 rendition of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind,” but she’s just 1-for-4 in terms of generating major post-performance buzz during the live rounds. Worse still, her middling Top 10 cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was overpraised by the judges, meaning she may not learn from her mistakes.

5) Marcus Canty (Last Week No. 7) | It’s not easy to deliver a credible R&B flavored rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” while sliding through the open legs of a cadre of hoochie-devil backup dancers, but this cool cat pretty much pulled it off. Still, his prior take on “I’m Going Down,” while solid, still fell short of Jazzlyn Little’s superior audition-round cover — and that chica didn’t even make the Top 16.

4) Chris Rene (Last Week No. 6) | Got back into the groove — in a major way — with a passionate Top 11 cover of “Gangster’s Paradise,” and his Top 10 Bob Marley mashup kept the momentum going — even if it didn’t fit Simon Cowell’s definition of rock. Song selection will be crucial, though, to avoid spotlighting this charismatic underdog’s vocal shortcomings.

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

3) Josh Krajcik (Last Week No. 5) | The only contestant who truly and aggressively rocked during Rock Week — even if the sound mix buried his vocal under layers of guitar and drums. We’d still like to see a little more soul from the strongest male soloist in the competition, as frankly, his renditions of “Jar of Hearts” and “With a Little Help From My Friends” didn’t live up to his glorious audition-round cover of “At Last.”

2) Melanie Amaro (Last Week No. 1) | Her cover of “Everybody Hurts,” which Simon stripped down to just piano and vocals, was a stunning achievement — but it left her slightly open to the nagging criticism that she can’t do anything current or uptempo. All of that may not matter to Melanie’s core fan base — nor should it, really — but then again, you know the charming college student would be amazing on an uptempo house track, too. Why not let her unleash her inner dance diva on “Pride (A Deeper Love)” or “Some Lovin“?

1) Drew Ryniewicz (Last Week No. 2) | Shut up, L.A. Reid! Drew already covered hip-hop with her twist on Nelly’s “Just a Dream.” And while, yes, there’s always a predictable lilt in the kid’s voice, and while she’s racked up a slower overall tempo than the latest Enya record, her pitch perfection and emotional connection to the lyrics make us agree with her mentor Simon Cowell that she’ll be with us till the very end.  And anyone who doubts that probably hasn’t downloaded her haunting cover of U2’s “With or Without You” and played it 49 times on repeat. (Oh, yeah, I give myself away. And I give, and I give, and I give myself away…)

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!

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  1. Stacie says:

    With 2 people going home this week it could get interesting. I don’t get the format though. Will it be just the Bottom 2 go home? Or will they have a Bottom 3 this week and they choose the 2 who go home? I never watched the UK version of the show, so not sure. If 2 people go home I’d like 1 to be Leroy and other Astro. I think Astro is kinda talented but he is obviously not ready for this yet. Leroy has a nice voice but isn’t really matching up with the show or connecting with the audience. If Leroy doesn’t go then Lakoda Rayne can go. That would suck for Paula but we know they aren’t winning so it’s just a matter of time anyways. There’s a good amount of talent left, Drew, Melanie, Josh, Chris(at times), Rachel(at times), so I’m glad they are getting rid of 2 people this week.

    • sofia says:

      hey stacey, i agree with you! my bet for is for leroy, astro and lakoda ryane in the bottom three, i have a hard time imagining who else would be in the bottom three!
      The way the elimination works on the UK show is that there is the bottom three, and the person who has the lowest votes out of the three is automatically eliminated and then the remaining two will sing the save me song and it will be the same as the other nights!!
      go team drew!!!

    • Tess says:

      If they do it like they did in the UK (which also had a double elimination during top 9 week this year), then they will reveal the bottom 3 then the lowest vote getter will be automatically eliminated (wihtout benefit of a sing for salvation moment). Then the remaining 2 acts from the bottom 3 will sing like the normal format and one of those two acts will be saved and the other will be sent home. So this week, if a fan favorite winds up the lowest vote getter because people assume they will be safe so they don’t bother to vote or they vote to save someone else they also like that may not be so safe, well, that act could wind up going home (happened in the UK much to everyone’s shock). Also could wind up with an act that in a normal one elimination week would be safely out of the bottom 2 could wind up going home for being in the bottom 3. So votes are extra important this week.

  2. Dan says:

    Are you kidding me? Rachel overpraised? The girl is damn amazing… She has the best stage presence and vocals. Drew has been so boring lately.

    • Micah says:

      The performance WAS overpraised. The vocals weren’t that great. I understand that people like Rachel, but I still contend that if she were 18, she’d be considered just another mediocre singer. Much like she probably will be in a few years.

      (Not hating on her, just speaking my view. I’m happy for her success, thus far. She’s a talented *performer*, just not a great singer.)

      • Dan says:

        Micah, I completely disagree. There’s a reason she made it past tiah and simone, she is a PHENOMENAL vocalist. And she puts genuine soul into her voice too. Much more powerful than Drew. More more personality than melanie.

        • Shindig says:

          I have to agree with Micah. She had one performance that really stuck out to me, and nothing else. Last week’s was a mess, and so was tonight’s.

    • BJ says:

      Rachael is good, but she belongs on broadway…just too “over-the-top” for me…

  3. Bolder says:

    If they are following the UK format then they will have a bottom 3. The lowest vote getter will get sent packing automatically. The next two lowest vote getters will have a sing off like normal with the Judge’s votes determining who goes home. It c

  4. Jonna says:

    I think Leroy is a lock to go home this week, and the other will probably be Lakoda Rayne, Astro, Chris Rene or Marcus Canty. Lakoda Rayne and Astro have tasted the bottom two already, but I think the other two guys, especially Marcus, may not be as popular as they are talented. Frankly, I’d just boot Leroy, Astro, Chris, and Rachel in one foul swoop, as the four have been inconsistent (Astro in terms of attitude, the others in terms of performance). Really, as soon as Lakoda Rayne goes, I’m probably done watching because they’re the only ones who really keep it interesting. It’s been a done deal for Drew, Melanie, and Josh from the start, and they’re all great singers, but they don’t make for engaging TV. Maybe I’ll buy the CDs, but what a snoozefest the weeks leading up to that would be.

    • BJ says:

      I know that LeRoy is at the bottom – I am sad by this as I’m rooting for him – I guess I understand tho…but I WILL be very upset if he’s in the bottom 2 with Astro, & Leroy goes home!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Josh & Melanie are good too and yes, I do like Drew!!

      • Tess says:

        It would not surprise me in the least if an act that is expected to go home like Leroy Bell or Lakoda Rayne doesn’t wind up being perfectly safe while a front runner like Drew, Melanie, or Josh wind up in the bottom 3 – not only do they need to come out and do well but viewers need to be motivated to vote extra hard and unless the front runners blow everyone away or bomb, they may not get enough people thinking they might be in trouble so they need to vote for them. Let’s face it, everyone thinks those three are running away with it for the most part so people could think because there’s a double elimination they may want to show a little more support for say LeRoy or Rachel or Chris and next thing you know a front runner’s in trouble. Might not be a big deal so long as they aren’t the lowest vote getter since they can get saved in the sing off (hopefully for them against a lesser competitor) but if they are at the bottom then there’s no saving them.

  5. Liz says:

    Melanie is still my #1 – I can see her being a superstar. Her voice and general demeanor reminds me do much of Beyonce.

    I like Drew but I do agree that everything is starting to sound the same to me. Even the staging Is the same. Go back and watch. Each performance features her in the middle of a dark stage with just a spotlight and some fog. She usually starts sitting down and slowly rises up, showing off some ridiculous outfit and a lack of shoes. I mean her voice is gorgeous, but it’s starting to be too static for me.

  6. Jason says:

    I wish I lived in England the UK X Factor has so much more talent with Janet Devlin, Amelia Lily, Little Mix, MArcus Canty, And Mischa B all a solid top 5. Anyone of which would be a credible recording artist and frontrunner in the awful embarrasing US version of talent. Please lighten up on immigration laws. I want to move to the UK.

    • Ryan says:

      Marcus Canty? Really? That would be the U.S. version.
      Maybe when you move to the UK you can learn to do the appropriate research before making assertions.

    • b-line says:

      I agree with you, that UK Top 5 is far more talented than US and I too mixes sometimes Marcus Collins and Canty, but Marcus of UK is better than US one,
      Janet Devlin is more authentic than Drew
      Misha B is a big star, she sings she raps she has the best stage presence since adam lambert
      little mix is the best girl band i ve seen in these competitions, and in music business since 90’s. they sings, harmonizes and raps.
      amelia lilly is a very decent singer, she can be a uk popstar easily.

      so yes UK version is better, but we must admit that UK was always pioneer for cool music in the world, it always comes out some great talent from this country

  7. blingedup.susan says:

    Two people are going home this week? Really? How did I miss that announcement?? Why?

  8. scorpo says:

    ha, the people that vote are just following WHATEVER Michael says. If he ranked Leroy Bell #1 next week, then everyone would vote for him lol

  9. BEV says:

    THERE IS A DARK HORSE IN THIS COMPETITION !!! Keep watching he gets better and better every week !If the international votes go through for him , he is going to SOAR !

  10. Eddieson Golilao says:

    GO Chris Rene :)

  11. Jane says:

    People are undrestimating Chris Rene’s popularity and think he’s going home? He’s the most popular among all the contestants worldwide. He’s kicking a$$ everywhere. He may not be the best vocalist , which the judges have all admitted but that’s far from what XFACTOR is about. Everyone is judging him on his vocals but I doubt the judges and his huge fanbase are. He’s the one I could take a bet on becoming a superstar among all of them. There’s something about him that I can’t put a finger on. He really connected big time with viewers on his audition and they seem to stuck with him and don’t care about how he does on the karaoke performances on the show. They love his genuineness, personality and his own music. At the end of the day that’s what matters like Simon said , and not the voice though I personally think he has a beautiful voice.

  12. socalgal says:

    Since the show is about the ‘X’ factor and not just great voices and singing, Melanie & Leroy willnot win. Lakoda & Marcus should have been gone ages ago as they can’t stay on key. Drew is totally boring. Josh has the pipes and just needs to loosen up a bit on showmanship. Rachel & Astro have ‘it’ and I think they’re great but Rachel still needs to grow into her voice a little and Astro is already the diva which turns me against him. Still–those two young’uns have ‘it.’

  13. socalgal says:

    Forgot Chris–he’s OK, but I’m older and just not that into his genre.

  14. JVC says:

    With 2 people going home, I do hope one of them is Astro mainly because the longer he’s there, the more boring the themes will most likely be. Last week was supposed to be songs by madonna and lady gaga which would’ve been awesome, but Simon changed it to make it far for Astro. If anything they should be challenging him, let’s see take on a country song and make it hip hop, though I doubt that will happen. And also his so called “tantrum” he threw last week did him no favors for people who were on the fence about him and i think everyone has made up their minds at this point. As for the second act, it should be between Leroy Bell and Lakoda Rayne though i kinda keep Leroy cause i like him more than lakoda rayne, but i won’t be torn up if he gets eliminated.

  15. JVC says:

    By the way does anyone know what the theme will be tonight?

  16. ana_muti says:

    I think Michael is underestimating Josh’s appeal. Yes, Josh had a couple of slower weeks, but even so he was still more interesting than most of the others. Additionally, I detect a little gamesmanship in his strategy.

    Perhaps he simply didn’t want to get burned out? The point is, that anyone who can bring to the stage what he did in his audition, bootcamp and judges’ round’s, can blow weaker voices out of the water without half trying.

    I wouldn’t be discounting Josh, and his voting fan base so easily.

  17. Iman says:

    I think Leroy and Chris reene and josh are sooo talented.drew offlate she’s soo boring.melanie,marcus canty,josh,chris they will win this season.go team Chris!!!!

  18. sofi says:

    I was just watching some auditions on youtube and i find it quite interesting that most of the finalists were shown on the first audition episode, marcus, josh, stacey, drew, melanie, rachel and chris, and i found it quite funny that they all made it to the live shows

  19. lml says:

    Watching that video of Jazzyln Little reminds me of why I am still pissed off at this show. For Simon to pick those other two over her was ridiculous. The show is just not impressing me right now. I want to like it but the productions are over the top. I love Drew but same old style, love Josh but Nicole is going to kill him with song choices, and do love Melanie. Astro should not even be here. SINGING competition!

    • yeah says:

      yeah I was kinda disgusted he let her go, I was sure she was a lock and then he picks that one who was so bad that even he had to boot her first himself, awful

      jazzlyn little was awesome, I seriously couldn’t believe what he did
      he made some the most insane picks of them all IMO

  20. Toyboogie says:

    U guys are crazy hatin on astro like that. U guys must not have an appreciation for rap because He is crazy talented! And yes, he did act inappropriately last week but he’s a freaking child, like 12! He writes his own stuff every time!, he has to put more work in than anyone else, there’s no way he shoulda been in the bottom two. He handled the pressure wronge but he’s a freaking kid, give him a break! Ur right that Leroy is boring and drew has a great voice but I need something different from her. All of her songs are painfully slow. The first few were amazing but now I want somethin different. Rachel, josh and melani are amazing, my faves, along with astro, so far!

    • yeah says:

      Drew did pick up the power and tempo a bit this week though.

      Drew, Melanie, Josh, Lakoda for top four
      jazzmyn little shoulda be in it to win it though

  21. Laura says:

    You’re AWESOME Dakota Rayne and Rachel !!!

  22. allison says:

    drew should have not left i loved drew, she is graet.I cant believe SHE went home :(