The X Factor Top 9 Performance Night: Follow Along With Our Pithy Live Blog!

There’s no denying the awesomeness of Thanksgiving — in fact, I just had a brief food fantasy about the whoosh of a can-opener breaking into a tangy container of processed cranberry sauce — but I’m a little more dubious about “Giving Thanks” as a theme night on The X Factor. I’ll say this: If it involves any of the Top 9 acts covering “I Believe I Can Fly,” “The Greatest Love of All,” or “Jesus Take the Wheel,” I’m going to start drinking this Sauvignon Blanc straight from the bottle.

If that’s anywhere close to how you’re approaching this week’s performance-night telecast, then please consider this live blog post as your pithy, mildly inebriated viewing companion.

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

As the episode rolls on, I’ll update you on who’s performed what and offer my opinions of said performances in 10 words or less. So keep refreshing the page for all the good, the bad, and the inevitable cover of Mariah Carey’s “Hero.” (Prove me wrong, mentors!)

Rachel Crow: Yolanda Adams’ “Believe”
90% of notes hit but no Gospel hand from me.

Marcus Canty: Boyz II Men’s “A Song for Mama”
Lying judges! A vocal only a mother could love!

Melanie Amaro: R. Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest”
Full ’90s diva styling/vocal powah in effect. Testify, mon!

Chris Rene: The Beatles’ “Let It Be”/original track “Young Homie”
Truthful Simon: He murdered The Beatles, killed with “Young Homie.”

Lakoda Rayne: Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”
Give thanks to Paula for not choosing a sappy ballad!

LeRoy Bell: Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”
Heartfelt, yeah, but his phrasing seemed slightly wonky to me.

Astro: Jay-Z’s “Show Me What You Got” (with original lyrics)
Crazy talented, but someone should mentor him on how to smile.

Drew Ryniewicz: Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”
Voice like caramel bread pudding + Paula schooling L.A. = Vote!

Josh Krajcik: Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”
Wow that was gorgeous. Pimp slot, earned!

Your turn: Who’d you love? Who’s headed home?

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. karenb says:

    10 bucks says Astro gets the pimp spot.

    • Tim says:

      That would be too obvious. He’ll probably go near the end though.

    • yeah says:

      Drew, Melanie, Lakoda, Josh

      • Michael Schaeffer says:

        I agree with Yeah’s picks.

        • yeah says:

          well that sucked

          first to go Lakoda

          Wow, I really thought they’d at least make sing-off after being at least three from bottom last week and the astro blow up and some others having much worse pitch problems, Lakoda had a few, but not as nastily as a few others. I think the judges would’ve saved them too for sure unless they went against Josh, Drew or Melanie and I didn’t expect them to be against those three.

          One interesting thing is they actually seem to always get a lot less votes when they do a country song, which seems the opposite of Idol where country crowd votes like mad for any hint of country.

          I guess they survived longer than most of the hot girls do on these shows, not that that says much hah, since they tend to have zero life expectancy on these shows regardless of any other factor. Haley made it farther, but she was soooo far and away better than anyone else on the show.

          Wow looks like astro voters went mad with the dialing in afraid he was doomed. Simon looked almost a little annoyed when astro was announced going through or maybe just bemused by how he turned so far away from certain doom?

          Marcus did have some rough notes there so not at all shocked he is bottom three.

          This show definitely votes differently than Idol in some ways, not that that is necessarily a bad thing.

          Anyway the rest are ok, a few pretty good, but nobody other than Drew, providing she doesn’t ultimately become boring, is really all that special necessarily so I think I may tune out for a weeks and see if she is still in, got other stuff to catch up on.

          • Shindig says:

            I agree with you, except I think Josh is a little more unique compared to Drew on the reality performance show stage. Drew reminds me a lot of Didi Benami, The Cranberries, Jewel, etc. It’s just an area of music not covered by most of the crapola big stations. I do like her as well (being a fan of The Cranberries and Jewel, who has a bit more twang admittedly) but she already has gotten boring. Her rock performance night.. it needed a tempo change desperately. Last night, that came too late, but was an improvement. As long as simon doesn’t dump Katy Perry crap or what have you on her, cool beans

  2. BevQB says:

    I gotta admit, now that Rachel’s song choices are showing off her voice, I’m more and more impressed with her.

  3. Alex says:

    Is the sound completely different in the live show audience? Rachel’s song actually hurt my ears. So many off notes.

  4. Shindig says:

    Well, at first I was going to say, “What were the judges smoking about Rachel’s performance?” And then I realized the fact that they just showed a clip telling the world about how the 13 year old was a crackbaby and she’s singing a song for her family and that deal, so that probably would have been a bad move :b

  5. peanut says:

    where are Michael’s comments…25 minutes in and nothing has happened?

  6. Christina says:

    is Marcus’ mom waving her hand because she’s emotional or because she’s trying to wave the fog away?

  7. darcy's evil twin says:

    Where is everyone tonight? Hopefully you didn’t forget X-Factor moved to Tuesday.

    • darclyte says:

      I stopped watching after the Judges’ Houses part, but I’ve read some recaps here and there. If this is a double elimination week, then I see Lakoda going as it might take some of the embarrassment off of Paula for having her category completely toasted this early. As I’ve said from the start, it should be Josh and Melanie in the Final 2 with Josh winning. Anyone other than Josh winning would be a huge let down for this series which, at least for me, already has been a huge let down (which is why I stopped watching it.)

      Suggested improvements for next season: Get rid of the crappy auditions. Leave that to Idol. The Voice skipped over those completely and basically started at The Judges’ House stage (in terms of number of people and quality of talent.) X Factor should slit the difference and start at the “bootcamp” round. Replace Steve Jones with Carson Kressley. Replace Nicole with Shania Twain. Eliminate the Group category and split the Over 30 into Over 30 Females and Over 30 Males.

  8. Aym says:

    Oh the tears… I’m such a sap

  9. darcy's evil twin says:

    Oh, there you all are. Yes, it would have been tacky to criticize Rachel’s performance.
    I’ve been watching “The Sing-Off”. I can not believe that program isn’t more popular. Some of those performances are SO darned good!

  10. Chop says:

    Slezak–you’re not already drinking from the bottle, are you? These performances have to get better, right?

  11. Shindig says:

    I just… I do not understand the judges. At all. Is the audio on my tv bonking out? Because both performances sounded like a boring, off mess :/ particularly Marcus.

    • yeah says:

      yeah Marcus had an extreme amount of notes off key and in painful harsh ways that you couldn’t quickly forget as with some of the others

      sadly when he hit the power piece emotion note the tuning was just pure murder, too bad

    • jennrae says:

      Marcus hurt my ears, too, but then the judges gushed! Color me confused because it sounded completely out of tune to me.

    • Jez says:

      I like Marcus but his performance this week was hella bunk

  12. Dan says:

    You’re the one lying, Rachel was awesome. Didn’t like marcus though

  13. karenb says:

    I highly recommend Villa Maria, Slezak!

  14. darcy's evil twin says:

    And there you go – it’s Melanie that’s the “church singer”.

  15. Jessica says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Melanie is a bit cray cray and that the performance wasn’t that good?

    • Shindig says:

      I was happy to see personality, LOL. I’m going to get a lot of flack for saying that, though. Too much choir, but it was nice that it was more “awake” than her past performances

    • ana_muti says:

      You’re not alone.

    • yeah says:

      I think she is pretty good but I sometimes I wonder if Jazzlyn Little wasn’t even better and might not have been more interesting in the end. Rachel is amazing for a 13 year old but still I don’t know woulda rather had Jazzlyn there instead.

      • judges houses says:

        Agreed. Jazzlyn was and still is my favorite. In fact, many of the judges houses cuts were actually the best & most interesting singers of the competition – james, elaine, caitlyn, jazzlyn, the former child star (i forget her name) – with very current voices and possible stars (maybe not rihanna/gaga level stars but with very promising careers nonetheless). Melanie needs to sing some Jazzlyn-esque songs and she’ll have this in the bag.

        • Shindig says:

          I reaaally wish Chrysta was picked over Dexter (the former child star) — I honestly can’t see why he was picked. He was a sweet guy, his old band was popular in Kentucky, but.. I kissed a girl and I liked it? really? As much of a death sentence as Phlomax’s song. But yea, I agree, the judges’ houses were better. Likely that they got prettied up in the studio or something, though.

  16. Chop says:

    Melanie was solid, but what’s with all these histrionics? Also, I know he’s trying to keep things going, but take it down a notch, Jones!

  17. Shindig says:

    Whelp, I’m not one for religious-y/church-y songs, BUT, this is the first time I actually really dug Melanie. And the way she just started being so emotional was really nice. Never knew she had an accent to be honest, it was nice to hear that too. I agree with Paula, the choir was a little too much.

  18. darcy's evil twin says:

    Woo-HOO, Melanie took it to church and back!
    Astro will not have time to sing now.

  19. ana_muti says:

    I love Chris, but he took the easy way out this week.

  20. ana_muti says:

    It’s hard to feel simpatico with the girl group.

  21. darcy's evil twin says:

    okay, I was thinking Lakoda Rayne picked a silly song – they needed to pick a “group” song that enabled them to do some tight harmonies and sound like a group. they sounded like four girls singing and I don’t get all the love from the judges.

    • Shindig says:

      But you can’t deny that they at least had decent vocals — they do still need better development, as they feel like a hollow Dixie Chicks rip-off, but yea.. they sounded better than usual!

  22. Dan says:

    I despise Taylor Swift, they couldn’t at least change the song up a little?

  23. Shindig says:

    Gotta be honest, that’s the best Lakoda Rayne has done yet, imo. There’s just one person who throws it off, but I can’t tell who :/

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I think they take turns throwing it off and *&*&&%$?+!! where is the remote??????? I would rather be thrown off a cliff than listen to that awful Sarah McLachlan song. Thank goodness it’s over!!!!!! WTH is wrong with Leroy singing that terrible song????

    • Msdst02 says:

      I thought the same thing. I think it’s the one with the lower voice.

  24. BevQB says:

    Song ruined by that choir yet again.

  25. karenb says:

    Boo Hoo, LeRoy!! That was awesome! Ignore LA!

  26. ana_muti says:

    LeRoy, for me, has been the best of the night so far.

  27. Elena says:

    Does LA just dislike Leroy or something? That was Leroy’s best performance so far.

    • ana_muti says:

      Totally agree.

    • Billy says:

      I don’t think LA dislikes LeRoy. I think he is jealous of him. The man can sing, he is in good shape for being 60, and he seems to be a real class act.
      LA, on the other hand, has foisted questionably talented acts/singers on a very gullible, musically uneducated American public. He has made a fortune, yet seems to have very little knowledge of his supposed field of expertise – music. (Who is R.E.M?) He will never be in the same league as someone like Leonard Bernstein or Max Roach.

      • Shindig says:

        “R.E.M. is not rock” -> LA was in space during the 80s/90s
        “Let’s see Drew do hip-hop” LA does not know who Nelly is
        “Song for 40 year olds” LA stopped watching Disney after Justin Bieber
        So, besides Rhianna and Justin Bieber, what does LA know about music anymore..?

  28. Yo says:

    Well, Michael, I’ll just bet you are more than mildly inebriated tonight! Much of this show is just godawful – and I do believe Melanie pimped the saviour!

  29. Derek says:

    You are so right on about Marcus. I can’t believe LA claimed he was on the same vocal level as Babyface, much less Boyz II Men, with a straight face. Liar, liar pants on fire!

  30. VozikJenn says:

    We get it man, you just don’t like Leroy!

  31. Shindig says:

    Simon, there’s a difference between unpredictability and volatility :o

  32. Christina says:

    Did he really say ” hard to pronounce places like Nova Scotia.” Um I’m from there it’s not really hard to pronounce.

  33. darcy's evil twin says:

    I’m going to insist that Mr. Slezak share his wine with me.

  34. Yuck says:

    Paula, I’m not a “hater” and I’m certainly not “perfect” but I want whatever is in your cup tonight, because Astro just makes me gag. There’s only room for one Kanye and no L.A he did not humble himself, I didn’t hear the words “I’m Sorry” not once and you and the producers talking him into an apology to win over some voters didn’t win me over. Hopefully, America is smart and I can see Astro in the bottom 3 and hopefully going home but I think Lakoda Rayne sealed that tonight.

    • Jaded says:

      Seriously! And his ridiculous mother making excuses for him doesn’t help–the apple definitely didn’t fall to far from the tree.

    • Selena says:

      Yeah. Agree. After seeing his mom I was enraged. I teach middle school in an urbam setting. And the students thay have a lack of respect are the same ones who have parents who make exuces for them. Astro is the same. And dont give me this hard upbringing. Look marcus….. Hard upbring but has a solid mother who taught him.right

      • Kim R says:

        I thought the same thing when I saw his mom make excuses for him. He is too old to not realize he is being disrespectful. He just looks angry and entitled in his own mind. He needs to go home, grow up and then show what he has to offer. I did not get the impression the audience really forgave & forgot.

  35. ana_muti says:

    This whole wine thing is growing on me too.

  36. ana_muti says:

    Drew is a cute kid, but I’m just not into her voice. I’d like to hear her change things up a little.

  37. BevQB says:

    F*@k Off, L.A. You back YOUR ungrateful brat, then get nasty on Drew for no reason.

  38. darcy's evil twin says:

    What is the song Drew sang? It was boring as heck.

  39. ana_muti says:

    Did I just see Simon almost duke it out with LA?

  40. Dan says:

    Yikes. Drew was not good! But she has balls standing up to LA. how the hell did he assume a song that came out this year was an “old song”?

    • Billy says:

      Each week LA’s ignorance of music becomes more and more obvious. He’s about a good a judge as Randy Jackson is on AI.

      • Jimi says:

        Sadly Randy Jackson is a FAR better judge than LA. I hope they don’t bring him back

        • Didi says:

          LA is really disappointing as judge. Before the show started they pimped him as “Simon 2.0”, but he isn’t even a Beta0.5
          Does he know anything about the music world outside his label’s doors?

          • Shindig says:

            At LEAST Randy has been friends/played bass with everyone in the industry since the phonograph! (I agree with you by the way)

  41. Shindig says:

    Dude. I HATE when judges on these competitions knock song choices during INSPIRATION week. /Especially/ when the judge shows just how little they know about music. 40 year old’s song? LOL. Isn’t Demi Lebotomy from Disney channel or Nickelodeon? Oh man. Priceless

    • yeah says:

      yeah gotta agree with that, how do you tell someone that? and since when is a Demi song a song for the old set??? what?
      He was almost pulling a Randy there….

    • Sybil says:

      The highlight of the show for me: when Steve Jones rolled his eyes, shook his head and said, “Thanksgiving!” in an effort to end the Simon/LA pissing contest after Drew’s performance.
      It was the first sign of actual human emotion I’ve seen from Steve-bot all season.

  42. Yo says:

    The show is the almost melodic version of Jerry Springer.

  43. rritter72 says:

    I am sorry, but LA’s hate of Drew is getting stupid at this point. The girl can sing period. She is 15 years old singing the song by a young artist. He needs to spend more time with Astro and teach him to sing…newsflash LA…this is a SINGING competition.

    • Billy says:

      Sad to say, but it’s an all too common reaction for men, when feeling threatened, to act arrogant instead of humble and contrite. Drew vs. Astro: who without suffering a reduction in grey matter volume would choose LA’s pet?

  44. ana_muti says:

    I won’t be voting for Drew, but she was miles better than Astro–at least Drew can sing.

  45. BevQB says:

    PLEASE let Josh pick his own song, Nicole.

  46. Alex says:

    This has to be the least live “live blog” ever. More like the 20 minute delay blog. Perhaps a new headline for those unaware?

  47. darcy's evil twin says:

    Husband just said Josh sounds like Michael McDonald.

  48. BevQB says:

    WOW! Josh FTW. Very Seageresque (is SO a word, sez I)

  49. darcy's evil twin says:

    Okay, Josh was good, even though the first few bars were way below his range, but holy cow, is this “self indulgent night”, or what?

    • Shindig says:

      Inspirations night is basically self indulgent song night :b I can’t really think of many songs that /weren’t/

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Okay, point well taken, but WTH is “inspirational” about “Wild Horses” or that “Angel” song? Am I missing something?

        • Shindig says:

          well, from what i got of Josh’s snippet thingum, he would sing that to his daughter often as she was growing up — so I guess that’s why it’s special to him; then we have Leroy’s song.. well, I’m guessing either his mother liked it, or Nicole thought angel + passed away mother = match — I know you don’t like Angel, LOL. But I can dig it, I thought he did great, as well as Josh. I mean… I don’t even remember what Rachel, Marcus, Astro were like tonight for the most part. To be fair I took a bathroom break during Astro. Simon hasn’t pulled his self indulgent comment yet so hey ;)