There are seven acts left competing for the final five slots on Season 1 of The X Factor this week, which means either Simon Cowell or L.A. Reid — or possibly both — will face the cruel ouster of one of their mentored contestants.
Check out my rankings for the remaining singers, then hit our poll to vote for your favorite!
7) Astro (Last Week No. 8 ) | Fanbase must have been activated by his brush with elimination in Top 10 week, but his “apology” for almost refusing to give a “save yourself” performance was missing two crucial words: “”I’m sorry.” No doubt his renditions of “Jump Jump” and “Lose Yourself” were radio-ready, but his utter lack of humor and humility make him a longshot to score a Top 5 slot with the voting public.
6) Rachel Crow (Last Week No. 6) | Proved her vocal might with a blistering Top 11 rendition of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind,” but subsequent takes on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Believe” bordered on shrill. Even worse, consistent overpraising by the judges means she’s not learning from her mistakes.
5) Marcus Canty (Last Week No. 5) | “A Song for Mama” was not only his worst vocal to date, it was the worst vocal of any contestant in Top 9 week — complete with cracked falsetto, pitch problems, and ridiculous histrionics. And the public didn’t buy the dudges’ (typo, but I kinda like that word for them) uniform drooling, either, sending likeable Marcus to the Bottom 3. Needs to deliver the pure jauntiness of his R&B flavored rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” while proving he’s in the same vocal league as Melanie, Drew, and Josh. L.A. has his work cut out for him.
4) Chris Rene (Last Week No. 4) | Entered Top 9 week with solid momentum of “Gangster’s Paradise” and a Bob Marley mashup, but turned in a Jeckyll & Hyde performance during Top 9 week with a Let It Be” that exposed a limited vocal and a “Young Homie” that showcased an exciting young talent with serious songwriting skill. Choice of material going forward will make all the difference.
3) Drew Ryniewicz (Last Week No. 1) | Okay, so aside from her gentle cover of Nelly’s “Just a Dream,” Drew hasn’t really mixed it up from her Enya-on-quaaludes tempo. But that’s not to say that her lilting renditions of “What a Feeling” and “With or Without You” weren’t as haunting and pitch-perfect as any performance on any reality talent competition this year. The question now is whether Mentor Simon will carefully select an upbeat track to showcase this youngster’s copious gifts or if L.A. Reid will taste more blood in the water when Michael Jackson week is over.
2) Melanie Amaro (Last Week No. 2) | Her Top 9 cover of R. Kelly’s “World’s Greatest” wasn’t her greatest achievement, and while the sudden appearance of a Carribean accent and stream-of-emotion babble were a little cray-cray, they certainly weren’t boring, either. In fact, a little unpredictability might have been exactly what the competition’s most vocally proficient contestant needed. Now if only her mentor would let her cover an uptempo pop track. This week’s suggestions? Amerie’s “Gotta Work” or Roisin Murphy’s “You Know Me Better.” Or, um, if she has to follow the theme, how about “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” or “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”?
1) Josh Krajcik (Last Week No. 3) | The only contestant who truly and aggressively rocked during Rock Week came back for the Top 7 episode with a stunning, piano-driven cover of Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.” Could still use a little more help in the styling department — c’mon Nicole, make yourself useful! — but he’s got the kind of talent that transcends shallow concerns.
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Slezak on Twitter: @MichaelSlezakTV