The X Factor Top 7 Performance Night: Follow Along With Our Pithy Live Blog!

Who’s gonna be startin’ somethin’ and who’ll be simply bad? That’s the question we’ll ponder as The X Factor‘s Top 7 acts hit the stage and tackle the never-been-done-by-a-reality-singing-competition Michael Jackson songbook this week. [UPDATE: Full episode recap is live; read it here.]

So before things kick off, let’s all say a collective novena that no one will choose to cover “The Girl Is Mine” (too doggone awful), “Billie Jean” (property of David Cook), or “Ben” (reminds us oldsters of terrifying swarms of rats). If that’s sounds good to you, then please consider this live blog post as your pithy, mildly inebriated viewing companion.

The X Factor Recap: No One Wants to Be Defeated

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 “Heal the World.” (Prove me wrong, mentors!)

Ready, set, discuss!

Josh Krajcik: “Dirty Diana”
Sound mix is to Josh as anaconda is to gerbil.

Astro: Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” (with original lyrics)
Heavy on rhymes, light on hook. Not his finest hour.

Drew Ryniewicz: “Billie Jean”
Defies naysayers with heart, pitch perfection. Equals David Cook? (Blasphemy!)

Rachel Crow: “Can You Feel It”
Alas, no matter how many times she asked, I couldn’t.

Marcus Canty: “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”
Fun to watch, but note how L.A. didn’t defend vocals?

Chris Rene: “I’ll Be There”
Boneheaded song choice for his voice. Even “Rockin’ Robin” would’ve been better.

Melanie Amaro: ‘Earth Song”
Ugh. Quoting Steve Jones: “That was epic.” (Haley was better though.)

Your turn: Who’d you love? Who’s headed home? (I’m guessing Rachel Crow and either Astro or Chris Rene.)

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:

    Guess the pressure’s on. MJ’s Mom, kids and bros in attendance.

    • Jake says:

      notice all the Sony headsets making their product placement appearances after the Astro Dr Dre Beats debacle. also how does Astro afford Beats when he comes from the tough streets.

      I think Simon is trying to sandbag Rachel this week…and somehting in her face told me that she knows it…talk about an obscure choice from the Jackson canon…notice how he pimped Astro extra hard, went for the mat for Drew and gave a half-assed “don’t listen to them” to Rachel

      • Charlotte says:

        I totally agree that Simon is trying to sandbag Rachel. The other judges know Rachel’s potential especially Paula. Rachel should not trust Simon because he wants either Melanie or Drew to win.

    • Medic says:

      Sorry Stevebot the most divisive competitor is Asstro. No one is even close. Anyone else notice in a song about racial harmony he had difficulty saying the word white? The kid has issues and needs to work them out on his own. Asstro must go.
      Seriously there were only two good vocals tonight (Melanie & Drew) and one passable (Josh). I have no clue what the others were thinking.

  2. scorpo says:

    I wonder if Jacob Lusk will be watching or if he is going to be looking at himself in the mirror.

  3. Gorm says:

    I’m glad that little Blanket Jackson wont have to see Stacey Frances butcher a song. The boy/broadloom has been through too much in his life to have to go through that.

    Lets go Steve Jones! Lets demand that every second count tonight… THANKSGIVING!

  4. rritter72 says:

    I just wish they would teach the contestants some history before they talk about the stars..Michael did not invent the moonwalk. Dick Van Dyke was doing it in the 50s, Bill Baily in 1935 and Cab Calloway as early as 1932.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Josh was ok but I have never heard that song before. At least I did not recognize. Agree a bit with Simon that they tend to overproduce Josh but he did well and can play the guitar.

  6. Shindig says:

    +1 Josh

    Now, let’s hear the rehash karaoke with most of the remaining contestants!

  7. Carolyn says:

    Guess we figured out the motivation for the theme. New album and show out. His estate doesn’t already make enough money?

    • Billy says:

      Yep, dig deep enough – in this case about ankle deep – and you’ll find the payoff. And really, do we have to be reminded (again and again) who MJ was? Talk about over-hyped. He was an entertainer without equal but really now…a musician? Wow, just wow.

  8. lisa says:

    wonder if astro will leave the lyrics alone n maybe sing! not!

  9. KSM says:

    Can we please get rid of Nicole for next year? I like Josh, but I feel like I can never hear him over all of the theatrics!

  10. Opinionmine says:

    I wonder how much Simon paid the Jacksons to be there?

    I am not watching the show but it seems like from the comments I have read elsewhere that they just threw Josh under the bus. Just like the British version, they want the over 30’s out of there ASAP. And the final contestants, of course, have to be those of L.A. and Simon so they can have a showdown. (Simon and L.A., not the contestants, who cares about them? LOL)

  11. lisa says:

    i agree!! astro sucked! u should not rewrite the lyrics then call it a mj song!

    • Tess says:

      I wonder why it’s okay for Astro to rap over another song (and thus not bear any real resemblance to the original song he was supposed to be performing) but none of the other contestants have had the opportunity to sing anything original – well, besides Chris Rene throwing in some of his “Young Homie” into his awful rendition of “Let It Be” last week. Fair is fair, let’s let Josh and Drew (and whoever else writes their own stuff) do something original too. Hardly fair for them to keep doing covers while he gets to do his own thing each week.

      • Erin says:

        Maybe Astro’s mentor is more open to him taking liberties with the song? Unless you have insider knowledge of the production of the show, it’s kind of difficult to say that Josh or Drew has even asked to add in an original.

  12. Carolyn says:

    I have no problems with the idea of a rapper on one of these shows but why do the rules that apply to all the other contestants not apply to Astro and to some extent to Chris (who I like). Astro in essence gets to write an original song each week. He uses the cover song as a template but it makes him look more talented to some extent. LA criticizes other singers for being repetitive though this is clearly true of Astro. Rachel and other singers are criticized for changing lyrics. Chris is expected to sing and rap no matter what his strength is. If he can write a song why can’t the nonrapping contestants if they want to.

    • rritter72 says:

      My problem is that it is a singing show. Astro is talented but he is not a singer. Chris at least will sing unlike Astro.

      • Carolyn says:

        This. And even though Chris isn’t the strongest vocalist he has a charisma and personality I like.

      • yeah says:

        thing is why did they defend marcus’ vocals last week when he hit piercing notes off key, those are the sort that are really awful when off key

        whatever his vocals this week, they were lots better than last week

      • Erin says:

        It’s not a singing show. It’s a musical performance show. Rap is a form of musical performance. Notice they call the contestants “acts” and not “singers & bands.”

    • Carolyn says:

      Addendum – Other contestants are criticized for doing unrecognizable songs but since Astro doesn’t sing rarely recognize the songs unless they were originally rap songs or backup singers sing the chorus like tonight. I’m still irritated that he got away with singing a song with a sample for a Police song on Rock week but whether songs were Rock was argued over the rest of the night.

  13. scorpo says:

    What is with Paula’s ridiculatta about Astro being not only our future but our past and present? Wash some more cat tranquilizers down with that Pepsi glass full of vodka there Paula.

    • Billy says:

      Remember now that she’s without her mentoring duties she is an “impartial” judge, LOL.
      If Astro is our future then life on planet Earth is gonna’ be mighty bleak, humorless, and hopeless.

  14. Gorm says:

    Did Billie Jean die? Why am I hearing her funeral dirge?

  15. Krista says:

    Admit it peeps. Astro was amazing. All downhill from here

  16. Yo says:

    Okay, Drew, this is just sensational! Spectacular! Wowsville! (Wowsville???)

  17. yeah says:

    I still like Drew the best. Eventually she will need to do some uptempo or what not. You couldn’t have album after album with every single song like that as nice as any single one would be.

    • yeah says:

      but that was really nice tonight

    • yeah says:

      They do have a point that stuck in a chair is kinda funny for MJ night but not more so than when only one of them all did rock for rock week, which was actually a lot more crazy.

      • Volcfom says:

        Exactly! Uptempo might be necessary for a competition, but not for an album.

      • yeah says:

        yeah but Adele does go to power on plenty of her songs and uses dynamic changes

        Set Fire To The Rain is somewhat uptempo

        granted Drew has started to mix in some power at times now

    • Ben says:

      To contradict everyone else, I think Drew’s performance was possibly the single most pretentious performance on any of these talent contests ever.

      A female cannot pull off Billie Jean. What, is she going to go get a paternity test? It made absolutely no sense to me. If the kid is not her son, I think she might know about it…

      Plus, she just did the same thing again. David Cook? Adele? Neither. Someone who is really beginning to overstay her welcome. Oh, I long for the days of Haley Reinhart, someone who had the musical understanding and professionalism to make the right musical decisions to match her talent.

      • joy says:

        I’m a Haley fan with very little love for Drew, but I have to point out that if you’ve got a problem with mismatches between the lyrics and the singer’s gender, Haley’s “House of the Rising Sun” was no more credible than Drew’s “Billie Jean.” Personally, I couldn’t care less whether the singer’s gender matches the character’s, so I’m fine with both selections on that count — I have plenty of other reasons for finding Drew uninteresting. :-)

      • Ridiculous says:

        your comment is completley ridiculous, I hate it when people change the lyrics of the song to fit gender and mess with the dynamics of the song! A great song is a great song, and drew did it justice!

        • Larry Page says:

          The problem with Drew doing Billie Jean is there is no way in hell that she can fully connect with the lyrics. “that kid is not my son” No s**t! Nonetheless, she is incredibly talented and will be successful. I don’t think that song or performance was suited for her.

        • Ben says:

          Changing the gender wouldn’t work either, since I’m pretty sure she would know if the kid was her son… it was just the wrong song straight up. A great song is a great song, but the lyrics are part of what makes it great – sorry but it was a terrible choice.

  18. Margo says:

    Josh’s rendition was alright, he however missed the concept of the song about a groupie that just wouldn’t let him go. Certainly wasn’t enough emotion to his performance, not enough acting.

    Astro was good, I thought his lyrics were perfect for the meaning of Black & White.

    Drew’s rendition of Billie Jean…her best performance no doubt…but I agree with Nicole completely…she showed passion and range (finally!) but she should have gotten off the chair! WWMJD…What would MJ do?! Not sit in that damn chair! Please Drew…just do something more uptempo…God!

  19. Shindig says:

    I totally agree with Nicole and Paula. Simon, stop drinking kool-aid, man. You so silly.

    I was realllly hoping Drew would do an uptempo, but that was great. Her best, imo. I just wish that could have replaced maybe 2 of her funeral dirges and be followed by “fun” stuff.

  20. Carolyn says:

    Drew is a sensational singer. That version of Billy Jean was beautiful and haunting. But I don’t know what Simon was thinking. One because of the afforementioned David Cook. But mostly because the incongruity of the words was a bit disconcerting. And like Paula I would really like to see her do some mid to uptempo stuff. All that said it was a stunning vocal.

    • Beth says:

      Drew did a great job; she was as good as Cookie. Otoh, Oh Nicole, why did you pick strippers to accompany Josh? He shoulda rocked the guitar the whole time and they both shoulda made sure of the sound mix. I hope this fail didn’t put Josh out of the running. Nicole needs to go.

    • GingerSnap says:

      Be careful what you wish for. They kept harping at Pia T to go uptempo, and the week she did that, she was gone. Scotty McCreary stuck to what he does best and won the damn thing. While her style bores the heck out me, this is Drew’s groove. She needs to stick with it.

      • Billy says:

        Agree. I thought Scotty won AI because of his comedic/likability factor, not because of his singing. Remember his rendition of Young Girl? That alone would have diqualified him if advancement depended on vocal talent.
        This to the power of 10 if you factor in his competition (does the name Haley ring any bells).

  21. Shindig says:

    Drew Ryniewicz: Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”
    MICHAEL! -whacks with newspaper-

  22. C says:

    Drew sang Demi Lovato again?!?! And on Michael Jackson Night?!?! Crazy! ;) Might want to check on that edit

  23. Carolyn says:

    Michael? Cut and Paste fail?

  24. Sam says:

    Holy crap, is it me or does Rachel’s mom look like Wendy Pepper?

  25. ana_muti says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m not feeling Rachel. As a matter of fact, I felt muting the TV a lot more.

  26. yeah says:

    I didn’t think Rachel was so hot this time. It seemed like it should be good for her, but I don’t know something wasn’t there at all.

  27. Harrison says:

    Drew was AH-MAH-ZING. Also, she sang “Billie Jean,” not “Skyscraper.” :)

  28. Margo says:

    I suppose Rachel sang the song but she clearly wasn’t comfortable on the stage….she didn’t seem her usual upbeat self. Not the right song choice, not her night.

  29. thhplostER says:

    When Drew started singing Billie Jean, I immediately thought of David Cook!!! …so totally NOT original.

    • Carolyn says:

      Yes but she did do some interesting and different things. It was also Simon’s fault who was there when Cookie did the song. Of all the songs to “strip down” why not something that hasn’t been stripped down before. Also if you look at David Cook as an example there are ways to do an original interpretation of a song without stripping it down. IE: DC’s Hello.

    • Volcfom says:

      Nor was David Cook’s version. He sang the Chris Cornell cover.

    • susela says:

      And yet Simon approvingly told her she had made the song “her own”—the *very same thing* he told David Cook on American Idol when David copied someone else’s version of “Billie Jean.”

  30. Phoebi says:

    “Defies naysayers with heart, pitch perfection. Equals David Cook? (Blasphemy!)”

    Alright Slezak, what the hell am I supposed to gather from these obscure half-sentences?

    • ana_muti says:

      Oh I wanted Marcus to do so well, but I’m actually kind of cringing. He’s slightly off-key and the whole thing is kind of cheezy. Sorry guy, I really hoped for you.

      I think that LeRoy should have stayed in last week.

      This is almost painful.

    • ana_muti says:

      Sorry, somehow hit “reply” instead of a stand alone post.

  31. cheryl says:

    LA just said that Drew made Billie Jean “her own”, no, she did the exact version that David Cook did on Idol. Sounded good, but not original, loved how he looked so pleased – like he just heard this version for the first time

  32. Carolyn says:

    High School Graduate Marcus Canty? What kind of intro is that? That’s worse that Seacrest introducing people as high school students. At least that’s an active description. Why don’t you just introduce him as unemployed?

    • Tess says:

      First thing I thought after Steve called him that was how every week of Idol season 9 Ryan would always say “high school student Aaron Kelly”…Really wish X Factor wouldn’t go the Idol route of boiling down contestants to a quick phrase.

  33. VozikJenn says:

    Anyone else wish Leroy was singing this week? I had to change the channel away from Rachel. Can I feel it? Why yes, I can feel a huge headache coming on.

    • Billy says:

      Me too. He sounded good, if a bit boring, every week.
      Marcus avoids the “boring” label by trying SO hard. But, he still sounds and looks ridiculously lame every week.
      And Rachel? Broadway here she comes!

  34. Shindig says:

    Rachel, Rachel…that wasn’t very good, and I think she knew it. Even Simon didn’t try saying everyone else was incompetent. It should have went well, but something was going wrong.

  35. Irishize says:

    MICHAEL!! Wake up!! hahaaaa having a flashback??
    Anyway, I thought Drew’s vocal was awesome tonight! I think Simon was thinking back to Adam’s Mad World performance, but I do agree maybe she could have shed the chair at some point.
    Josh was mostly drowned out as usual, Astro rapped as usual (can he even sing at all?)
    Rachel is a real talent but that song didn’t do her voice justice, it almost seemed like the wrong key for her. Just not her best, and a bad song choice, Simon!
    Ok, on with the show…..

    • (!) says:

      This is only the second time Josh’s sound mix was way too loud, but.. te be honest, that’s what it’s like at a lot of rock concerts; which is fine, a band at a rock concert isn’t there to flaunt the vocalist

  36. asdasd says:

    Why does LA say Marcus’ name like, “MARcuss CAN-Tea!” It’s pretty annoying

    • Carolyn says:

      Yeah. And he also insists on calling his hometown Bowie, MD with along O. It’s actually pronounced buoys like the flotation device. I worked there. Do they not have people to catch these things.

      • Gorm says:

        To be fair to LA Reid (and i cant belive I just said that) The world at large dosent care about some small town’s bastardized or over-evolved prounuciation. Nobody cares if they drop vowels, if its not an important place, it gets pronunced the way its properly spelled.

        • Carolyn says:

          It’s actually not that small a town. It even has it’s own college. It’s one of the most affluent predominantly African American towns in the US in THE most affluent predominantly African American counties in the country and is outside Washington DC. And I do think that it would bother people in Maryland and DC and it is ignorant to say that you shouldn’t attempt to say something correctly. So only the state of Oregon and the city New Orleans get to voice their pronunciation preferences. You probably butcher those too.

      • Billy says:

        On that subject, did anyone else notice Paula kept saying “ho-‘mage” instead of hom’age? It’s not french Paula, it’s latin.

  37. yeah says:

    marcus a lot better than last week, seems on tune

    but certainly no way in heck MJ, not close (not that one would reasonably have expected close)

  38. Margo says:

    Marcus Canty = PYT (Phresh. Young. Thing) ahaha I thought he was the best of the night so far, he had fun. Vocals werent the best but he went out there to perform

  39. MaineGirl says:

    Finally someone does MJ justice–Marcus better not be in the bottom this week! Usually love Josh, but Simon’s critique was right on the money.

  40. MaineGirl says:

    My bad, should have said that Astro was really good. Hip hop is just not my thing. It doesn’t take away from the fact that he was up tempo and original.

  41. Irishize says:

    To everyone who is slamming Drew for a “not original” performance, errrr, the David Cook (who I love) version was not an original either. Chris Cornell among others gave it the same treatment.

    • Carolyn says:

      And David Cook gave him credit at the time. It shows incredible Musical knowledge and awareness to sing an unknown interpretation.

    • Shindig says:

      Thank you, someone remembers Chris Cornell!

    • Volcfom says:

      THANK YOU! I’m glad I’m not the only one who knows Chris’s version.

    • Karen says:

      IMO, theversion that Drew did was much closer to David Cook’s version than Chris Cornells. And it was Simon that suggested it.

      The other problem is that the song is not believable or appropiate at all coming from a 14 yr old girl. David Cook’s performance really brought forth the emotion and meaning of the song, even more so to me than the original, because it was stripped down.

      • bluesman3535 says:

        Totally agree. Lyrics not right for Drew. Cookie sang much better too. Drew showed some range, but DC built to a powerful end.

        • Terry says:

          Thank you! I was beginning to think I was the only one totally creeped out by her singing ‘Billie Jean is not my lover, she’s just a girl….’

  42. John W Brown says:

    Enough already. The judge bickering is turning me off. Thank god for DVR. I can skip through the Simmon BS.

  43. MaineGirl says:

    Was just going to say “great job, Chris” but he hit a bum note… Not bad. original

  44. Carolyn says:

    Finding out that Chris Rene’s grandfather wrote Rockin Robbin is actually one of the most interesting bits of backstory ever.

    • kt says:

      That is. Chris should sing it sometime, and then he can try and top Megan Joy’s epic “CAW CAW” moment from Idol! hahaha

  45. Jon says:

    Tonight Marcus convinced me he is the only one that can possibly break up the Josh-Drew-Melanie final 3.

  46. yeah says:

    chris – cool backstory

    vocals were mixed, some parts were nice and cool some parts a bit rough and out of tune

  47. PaulaShutUp says:

    Oh god, Paula, shut up. “You manifest in the heart department…” What?!!!

    Is that where her brain is?

    Please stop – voting for Chris. He is awful.

  48. Rose says:

    Blanket, name change in his future?

  49. Cristal says:

    Yes. When I think of the moonwalk, I immediately think *Cab Calloway*.

  50. Victoria E says:

    Given the choice, I would definitly take Chris over Marcus. Or Rachel for that matter.