The X Factor Top 9 Results Recap: Did the Right Two Acts Go Home?

Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like winning a reality singing competition and becoming a global music superstar (please pardon the Kelly Clarkson paraphrase). Others wind up respectively landing in eight and ninth place, which doesn’t quite have the same confetti-from-the-rafters, loved-ones-crying-tears-of-joy, celebratory ring to it.

Alas, though, that’s the “reality” part of being on a reality show, and this week’s installment of The X Factor was all about the cruel business of sending two acts back home – on the worst travel day of the year (¡!), while outfitted in bizarre circus garb (the result of some weird Pepsi “power to the people” group performance that I’m not really sure is worth discussing).

In case you missed Tuesday night’s performance show, the rules for Top 9 week went like this: The act with the lowest number of viewer votes would face immediate elimination; the second- and third-lowest vote-getters would be forced into a sing-off in front of Self-Serving, Weepy, Lala, and Haughty.

Twenty minutes into the episode, Welsh Teleprompter-Reading Machine Steve Jones called Lakoda Rayne and Drew to center stage, and ominously declared, “I know this comes as a surprise.” Um, not really, dude. I mean, let’s have a show of hands: Did anyone out there actually think Drew Ryniewicz was the lowest vote-getter — even after L.A. Reid’s ludicrous critique that she only sings old-lady songs, despite “Skyscraer” being a recent hit for 19-year-old Demi Lovato? (Turn on a radio, sir!)

And so, with little fanfare, and with barely a mention that mentor Paula Abdul hasn’t got a single horse left in the race, Lakoda Rayne was eliminated — and the curse of the Brewer Boys was completed — but not before the gals declared that they’d eventually be going on tour worldwide. You’ve been warned! (I kid, I kid!)

And then there were seven, with two of em destined for a “save yourself” performance.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, the square jaw and carefully flipped hair reminded us, the acts who received enough votes to go straight through to next week’s Top 7 performance telecast were:

* Chris Rene
* Rachel Crow
* Josh Krajcik
* Melanie Amaro (“Well done, Simon!” said Steve Jones, who forgot that Melanie dedicated her Tuesday-night performance to GOD, for cryin’ out loud.)
* Astro (So “people” “accepted” that “apology” that didn’t include the words “I’m sorry”? Hard to say.)

And with that, we came to the “save yourself!” performances. Here’s my breakdown — in ten words or less — on LeRoy Bell vs. Marcus Canty (who suffered from overpraise for a truly horrific rendition of Boyz II Men’s “A Song For Mama” on Tuesday).

Marcus Canty: Christina Aguilera’s “You Lost Me”
Mighty voice trumps histrionic ballad. No way they cut him.

LeRoy Bell: The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down”
Solid as usual, but we don’t need another Michael Bolton.

Judges Votes on Who Should Go Home
(Shouldn’t they make Paula go first next week?)
L.A.: LeRoy
Nicole: Marcus
Paula: Marcus
Simon: LeRoy

After Simon’s tying vote, the word “DEADLOCK” magically appeared against an ominous red backdrop. And Steve Jones explained the decision would come down to America’s vote, with the second-lowest vote-getter (after Dakota Roadhouse…see, the name is already escaping me!) also getting sent to the guillotine.

Eliminated: LeRoy Bell

“He’s amazing,” Nicole said of her second ousted artist (on the heels of Stacy Francis last week). “He represents so much.”

Next week: ANOTHER DOUBLE-ELIMINATION! “At this stage, being brilliant isn’t enough,” said Steve. “You’ve gotta be amazing.” Wait, amazing is definitively better than brilliant? Alrighty then.

A few other notes:

* Kelly Clarkson looked and sounded amazing, and I can’t help but think X Factor suits positioned her right at the top of the show to punish folks who tuned in late assuming the opening half-hour would be nothing but product placement, judges intros, and a performance-night recap.

* Whoever writes Steve Jones’ script needs to stop putting lies in his mouth. I mean, I know the show made a big deal of this Pepsi-sponsored shindig where viewers got to choose a song (Pink medley), set (giant record player), dance style (hip-hop), and theme (circus), but his respective pre- and post-performance commnents — “What have you come up with America? I’m intrigued!” and “Nicely done, America! Nicely done!” felt about as authentic as a “have a nice day” down at the DMV.

* Also, to continue a tradition I started two weeks back, let’s change the last half of Steve Jones’ sentence about said group number: “If you want to download that performance…I bet you also enjoy shaking your wallet out of a moving vehicle!”

* Not to pile on Steve, but he’s got to come up with a better question than “How are you feeling?” for acts that land in the “save yourself” sing-off round. That said, I appreciated the honesty coming from Marcus (“I’m feeing kinda funny: I’ve never been down here before”) and LeRoy (“Uh, scared. Yeah.”)

* Is there a serial killer prowling through the X Factor results-show audience every week? How else to explain all those blood-curdling screams percolating through the duration of the episode?

* Loved Paula pre-empting our host’s standard “Hurry up and tell me who you’re eliminating” by starting her deliberation process with, “It’s not that quick, Steve.”

What did you think of this week’s results? Did the right people go home? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!