The X Factor Recap: No One Wants to Be Defeated

“Paula Abdul is no longer a mentor,” a practically giddy Steve Jones informed us at the top of this week’s X Factor Top 7 performance show. But Strong Chin With Devastating Cheekbones (clad in double-breasted gray pinstripes!?!?) didn’t realize that his nemesis at the judges’ table wasn’t destroyed by last week’s ouster of Lakoda Rayne, but rather freed up to launch a sold-out tour of Cirque du Abdul: ¡Gobbledygook!

Indeed, Michael Jackson Week found Paula trotting out some of her loopiest critiques of the season, telling wee rapper Astro that he didn’t just represent our future, but also our past and our present. (Someone needs to stop combining NyQuil with school-night viewings of A Diva’s Christmas Carol!) “You manifest abundance in the heart department,” Paula squeaked to Chris Rene, as she secretly envisioned hanging his vascular organ from her rear-view mirror, right next to David Archuleta’s head. And then there was Paula’s admonisment of Drew Ryniewicz for not bringing enough shiny objects to the stage to hold her attention for 120 seconds.

Of course, if you weren’t satisfied with the feedback from Paula, L.A., Simon, and that chick who tries too hard, this week’s X Factor also offered the opinions of Michael Jackson’s children — Prince, Paris, and Blanket, who, during the course of the telecast, respectively chewed gum, struck a tone of polite enthusiasm, and attempted to crawl under his chair and turn to dust.

“Your presence is going to make an amazing evening that much more incredible!” Steve read off his aggressively enthusiastic cue cards, but you know dude really wanted to ask, “Where’s Bubbles?” (He’s mentoring InTENsity now, silly!)

Anyhow, let’s move on to this week’s performances…

Josh Krajcik: “Dirty Diana”
Like I said during my X Factor live-blog: The sound mix was to Josh on this performance as an anaconda is to a gerbil. And that’s unfortunate, considering Josh took some interesting liberties with the tempo and tweaked the melody of the verse to better suit his gruff vocals — or at least that’s what I gleaned in the moments the guy wasn’t being swallowed whole by an aggressive wall of guitar and drums. But I can’t only blame the producers for a performance that never truly ignited. Surrounded by writhing women in red bathing suits and white dress shirts, and standing in what looked like a giant batting cage, Josh looked a little lost and bewildered right from the beginning of the performance, and appeared almost relieved when he was finished — not the kind of confidence or swagger you want in a $5 million act. If this affable dude wants to make it all the way to the finale, he’s going to have to stand up and make mentor realize his end goal isn’t sharing a target audience with the Pussycat Dolls.

Astro: Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” (with original lyrics)
You can’t really fault Astro when it comes to consistency: Every week, he spits his rhymes with a speed and clarity on par with the best emcees in the business, and unlike his X Factor competitors, he can’t rely on a half-dozen backup singers to spackle over the holes in his delivery. This week’s rendition of “Black or White,” however, may have been his least satisfying performance to date, mainly because the fastness and furiousness of his self-penned rhymes left little room for the hook of Michael Jackson’s original track. In fact, there were moments during the verses where it seemed like Astro was freestyling without any connection to the jangly guitars that propel the entire composition. That said, I’ve got to tip my hat to the fact that Astro never once got upstaged by the army of Cossack-esque backup dancers and also dropped fun phrases including “Crayola box” into a call for racial unity — “World is changin’ on an everyday basis/ So let’s not judge based on the color of our faces” — that fit very nicely into Fox’s family programming bloc. To quote the artist himself: “Dope!

Drew Ryniewicz: “Billie Jean”
There’s something perversely enjoyable about watching L.A., Paula, and Nicole stamp their feet every week and demand an uptempo track from Drew, and then seeing Simon respond by having his 14-year-old protege sit stock still in a chair at center stage, bathed in a single spotlight, and offering up a sombre, slowed-down cover of one of MJ’s funkiest midtempo ditties. I know, I know, Paula probably had a point that there should be an interesting visual element if you’re paying tribute to the King of Pop, and Nicole probably isn’t wrong that Simon is playing it safe with Drew by never forcing her to go uptempo, but does any of that matter? Against all logic, this teenage girl embodied a man denying paternity of a temptress’s child, and with music-box delicacy, staked her ownership claim over a fantastic global hit (one which was covered with equal originality and pitch perfection by David Cook back in Season 7 of Idol). Drew felt every single word she sang, from her lustrous hair down to her awkwardly positioned feet. I could bang L.A.’s drum that everything Drew does sounds the same, but why make noise and drown out the beautiful music?

Rachel Crow: “Can You Feel It”
It’s a little bit telling that in her own words, Rachel “had to come to L.A. to be a star,” and I think in some way, her choice of “star” over “singer” tells us where her heart — and her destiny — lie. At this point in her life, Rachel would make a better Nickelodeon headliner than pop singer (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and her listless showing on “Can You Feel It” really drove home that point. From the perfunctory “Michael, we love you!” at the start of the performance to her “first day of middle school, can’t find my locker” facial expression, to the fact that Rachel was just slightly under the melody throughout, nothing really worked. And while the judges tiptoed around the problems with the performance, the message seemed pretty clear: “Pumpkin…you’re probably going home this week.” But don’t cry for Rachel; she’ll probably be earning three times your salary by the time she turns 15.

Marcus Canty: “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”
Hey, look, Marcus borrowed a white sleeveless military vest from the lead singer of Stereo Hogzz! In all seriousness, though, there wasn’t a performance all night that came close to Marcus’ in capturing the Big, Shiny Entertainment Vibe that Michael Jackson championed. I loved  the call and response intro on the “na na nas,” the “hey look what I can do, ma!” backflip, and the joy emanating off Marcus from start to finish. I just wish, as Simon noted, that the vocals (which L.A. didn’t bother defending, either) had been a wee bit stronger. Oh, and maybe that the red, animated ladyfigures — which reminded me of trucker flaps designed by Lady Gaga –had been stricken from the backdrop.

Chris Rene: “I’ll Be There”
I’m with Paula on the fact that I can’t wait for Chris to release an album so I can be among the first to buy it. But that doesn’t mean his cover of “I’ll Be There” should make the cut when he heads into the studio. I mean, seriously, what was L.A. thinking with this song choice? Why not a modified version of “State of Shock” or “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” or even “You Rock My World”? “I’ll Be There” is the kind of track Mariah Carey is supposed to cover, not someone with a small, craggy, but very interesting voice like Chris’s. In fact, the conspiracy theorist in me wondered if this wrong-minded selection was L.A.’s way of backing Astro and Marcus as his primary horses in the Season 1 race, and sending Chris out to pasture for a premature retirement. Which isn’t to say “I’ll Be There” was a disaster; it was just kind of pedestrian. And pedestrian is exactly the kind of performance that doesn’t activate speed-dialers on a week where two of the seven remaining acts on the chopping block.

Melanie Amaro: ‘Earth Song”
I know Simon would rather spend a season sitting between Kara Dio Guardi and Ellen Degeneres than admit he still carefully watches American Idol, but I can’t help but think his introduction of “Earth Song” as “one of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits” was a winking indictment of Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson acting as if the monster ballad was an obscure b-side when Haley Reinhart covered it during Idol‘s tenth season. (Good to know Simon is #TeamHaley, too!) But sorry, I know, we’re talking about Melanie, and Melanie’s rendition was, as Steve Jones noted, “epic” in its own right. I’ve played Melanie and Haley’s versions back-to-back and back again, and it’s interesting to me that Melanie’s rendition has a soaring quality — almost as if she’s witnessing the planet’s destruction from above, her voice gaining strength, her riffs on the melody becoming more daring, the more passionately she pleads for humanity to take action. (Ugh, sorry, I think Nicole Cirqueduwhatzit is rubbing off on me.) Haley’s rendition is more grounded, angrier even, as if she’s knee-deep in the pollution and war and poverty, and trying to wake up her brothers and sisters with the furious shake of her voice. But one thing the covers have in common is an uncommon beauty, the sense that an undeniable pop-Gospel hook is being deftly handled by a vocalist who’s not even breaking a sweat as she’s lifting up her audience and lifting the melody to the rafters. Sure, Nicole was trying too hard with her critique — “if that doesn’t save a small country somewhere, I don’t know what will” — but I can forgive a little hyperbole from a reality show judge when even I’m throwing a Gospel hand and swaying from my living-room couch.

Either way, you can be sure that on a night where the eliminations will be hard to predict, it won’t be Melanie getting the boot. My best guesses for who will go home: Rachel and Astro. And as for who should go home: Rachel and Chris.

Your turn: Who’d you love? Who do you think is headed home? And why don’t you also answer the question Steve Jones foisted on an unsuspecting Paris Jackson: “ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE SPECTACLE THAT IS THE X FACTOR?” Answer him now, people, Steve is trying to keep the show to a pithy 90-minute schedule, thank you very much.

Slezak on Twitter: @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments (116)

  • Ok, why are the producers drowning Josh out? It’s happened what, three times now? I’m beginning to grow a conspiracy theory here:
    Josh is a singer and musician who has the chops to carry off a $5.m contract. He’s interesting, diverse, and likable. I think he’s the best of the bunch.
    So why don’t the producers want him to shine?
    Oh, and I don’t give a rats patootie if he’s not gorgeous or could blend in at Fashion Week. Although I think he’s fascinating in a 2 Musketeers way. When he sings, he shines.

    Comment by ana_muti – December 1, 2011 09:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Or even in a 3 Musketeers kind of way.

      Comment by ana_muti – December 1, 2011 09:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Perhaps they, like me, fear that a useless mentor like Nicole Scherzinger will get the first X-Factor winner when it “should” be Simon since it’s his show.

      Comment by Ryan – December 1, 2011 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • That would basically prove that the mentor doesn’t matter. I really don’t think the mentor matters.

        Comment by Taryn – December 1, 2011 11:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I have to agree with someone who mentioned this before. This show isn’t at all about the contestants, it’s only and all about the judges. They seem to be shooting for an L.A. Reid vs. Simon showdown and the only way to accomplish that is to get rid of Josh.

      Comment by marie – December 1, 2011 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • i cannot agree with you more

        Comment by ben – December 1, 2011 04:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I couldn’t agree more. I ‘ve loved his voice & his low-key personality since this ex- burrito man first opened his mouth. No one was expecting the magic that came out.i literally cried when I first heard him sing. This guy is the real deal. Even if he doesn’t win XFactor he has a whole new life ahead of him.

      Comment by roxannamills – December 1, 2011 10:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks for the recap, Slezak, punny as always. I can’t help but think that Simon is throwing Rachel under the bus with the song choices. You’ve been hard on the kid from the start, but you must admit she’s not getting any close to the Simon love Melanie and Drew are getting. And to answer your question, I think (unfortunately) Josh might be in danger. Ps. you’ve got a type on “Drew does soundS the same”

    Comment by Thebas – December 1, 2011 09:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Josh’s performance defnitiely wasn’t up to the level we’re used to from him, IMO. Although I don’t think he’s going to be the bottom vote-getter, and if he’s in the sing-off, they’ll save him over anybody but Melanie or Drew. So I don’t see him going anywhere this week.

      Rachel, Astro, Chris, and Marcus will be the ones who should be a bit worried about tonight.

      Comment by kt – December 1, 2011 09:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • you’re right. the one time rachel chose her song was when she sang ‘id rather go blind’ and she rocked it. it’s clear where simon’s loyalties lie and its definitely not with rachel

      Comment by ben – December 1, 2011 04:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I sincerely hope that Astro goes home tonight.

    Comment by David – December 1, 2011 09:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. He should have gone home the week he had his tantrum.

      Comment by cathy – December 1, 2011 09:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • He should have been kicked off stage after his idiotic audition.

        Comment by lethargic – December 1, 2011 11:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • your prayers have been answered

      Comment by jasmine – December 1, 2011 07:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Imagine how remarkable it would have been if Simon had chosen a different MJ song for Drew? Surely there is one that is lyrically appropriate – that could be slowed down and invested with emotion. That could have been a moment – an original moment – that could leave everyone amazed. Instead there are comparisons – was she as good as or better than David Cook? The focus turns away from Drew.

    I think we are seeing that the man behind the curtain really is totally lacking in imagination.

    Comment by jan – December 1, 2011 09:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Respectfully disagree,

      I think it was really a sink or swim moment for Drew. David Cook was really one of the first people in music show history to mess with arrangements and make songs his own (or find obscure covers of said songs and bring them to light). To put Drew up in that stratosphere proves to people she is elite and one of the stronger contestants ever.

      Comment by Bill – December 1, 2011 09:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I love David Cook too!!! He always brings me my Burger hot of the grill.

        Comment by Astronut – December 1, 2011 10:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • David Cook was great, but the originality belongs to Chris Cornell (surely nothing obscure about him) and the Drew version was just odd in every sense, the chair, her feet and the lyrics which totally didn’t fit her at all. I think Simon also remembered Adam Lambert’s amazing take on “Mad World” (the chair?)except Adam knew how to build the song by rising during the last chorus. I sincerely hope Josh stands up for himself and demands that they stop drowning him out; Nicole should let him go and do his own thing – his instincts are sure better than hers! X factor is a dismal failure as a spectacle (unless you like a train wreck!) the production numbers are incredibly cheesy and real talent gets buried under the judges constant stealing of the spotlight.

        Comment by M-E – December 1, 2011 02:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • How quickly we forget Blake Lewis and his song arrangements the season prior to Cooks.

        Comment by laartwork – December 2, 2011 06:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Other song choices, some rather obscure, have been repeats from the UK version of X-Factor (e.g. inTENsity’s “Clapping Song,” Simone Battle’s “Just Be Good To Me” [both of these were sung by Cher Lloyd], inTENsity’s “My Life Would Suck Without You”]) – not that these are particularly bad choices, but it seems that the producers are just re-using known successes from their wheelhouse (I say “producers” because my guess is that the judges aren’t personally scouring iTunes for the perfect songs).

      Comment by Ryan – December 1, 2011 10:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Lyrically appropriate, exactly. How Michael can say she felt every single word is beyond me, unless she actually has been accused of fathering a son to a girl somewhere… completely inappropriate song choice which distracted from the actual performance.

      Comment by Ben – December 1, 2011 10:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agreed! Plus, still so ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        Comment by Terry – December 1, 2011 02:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Sure it makes no sense taken literally (but you can still connect to the concept behind the lyrics), but I think that SHE did connect with them. I felt it.

        Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 04:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Michael,

    Great comparison between the two Earth Song performances. Agree completely.

    Love this show so much, I think people are going to appreciate it more when Idol returns in the winter.


    Comment by Bill – December 1, 2011 09:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • High point of the night was when JonesBot read LOL as Lots of Laughs.

    Comment by C – December 1, 2011 09:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Next you’ll be telling me that WTF doesn’t mean “Why the Face?”

      Comment by Noelbelle – December 1, 2011 01:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “you can’t really fault Astro when it comes to consistency”
    AMEN…Every thing he does sounds the same.
    Can’t wait for country week.

    Comment by boss – December 1, 2011 09:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • To be fair, how do you make rap songs NOT sound the same, other than choosing songs by different artists, which Astro has done?

      Comment by Ryan – December 1, 2011 10:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Problem is still all rap sounds the same when astro does them.

        Comment by ezeddy2 – December 1, 2011 11:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I could say that for many rappers (not hip hop artists). Have you heard Rick Ross? I always thought of Astro as a rapper – not necessarily a crossover hip hop artist. I could see him do something like “Hustle Hard” by Ace Hood – it’s got no melody at all but it’s still a hit for rap.

          Comment by em – December 1, 2011 12:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The top two was Melanie and Drew. Bottom two is Rachel and Astro.
    I coulnd’t understand one word Josh was singing. This is one case, less would of been more. I didn’t mind Marcus or Chris. Simon needs to get rid of these themes, Like I said before just like Idol only
    poorly produced. I actually feel sorry for Steve, he tries but he just looks so uncomfortably up there. I have to mute the judges because I cannot stand the bickering amongs them. The next few weeks should be the contesants sing what they want, I bet the show will improve at least 50%.

    Comment by Mary – December 1, 2011 09:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • love the recap (as always) and agree completely with ana_muti, I just want to hear Josh’s beautiful, pitch perfect vocals. With the right song, his voice is soaringly beautiful. I can do without the super over produced production with the distraction of a bunch of writhing almost naked ladies waving some garment around (and ’round and ’round)…Josh looked like he was in a dunking booth at the fair. Just STOP!!! I just want to hear him sing.

    Comment by cheryl – December 1, 2011 09:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Josh- but background overpowers him every time except when he accompanied himself. This is the first time ever I liked Drew – everything else has been blah. It was a daring and well excecuted take on a song that it almost blasphemy to cover. While Chris’s voice is not strong, at least for once he tried to s-i-n-g. Can’t say the same for Astro, who is talented but I wouldn’t want to hear him sing the National Anthem at any venue ahd a whole concert would make me scream. Melanie — what pipes! — appears to have loosened up which benefits her performances – more please. Rachel, again is very talented with the production, looks & execution, but still has her little girl voice which detracts from her delivery. Marcus still can’t stay on key and is weak vocally – enjoyed the showmanship though.

    Comment by socalgal – December 1, 2011 09:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Steve Jones is doing a decent job as host, he just needs to drop the silly one-liners and get more comfortable, he could be worse, he could be like the Voice´s host, just saying.

    Comment by rod – December 1, 2011 09:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Steve Jones awkward movements and out-of-place one-liners are the only thing entertaining about the spectacle that is X-Factor…it’s like the Gong Show of olden days….he’s perfect. Monty Python look out.

      Comment by as – December 1, 2011 12:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • IMO, it’s gonna come down to Melanie and Drew with Melanie winning. Or Drew. No, MelaDrew. Somebody.

    Comment by J. May – December 1, 2011 09:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Had a very clear vision last night it would come down to Drew vs Melanie in the finale. We shall see what unfolds in the spectacle that is the x-factor.

    Comment by elz – December 1, 2011 09:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nah, they need a Simon vs LA finale. It’ll be Melanie vs Astro, heaven help us all.

      Comment by susela – December 1, 2011 12:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have to say, i’m not getting all the love of Drew. Like LA Reid, she sounds the same to me every week. I wish she’d show so some of diversity she showed during the auditions. I call Melanie for the win. She seems to be the only one out of this bunch worth the $5mil contract. I expect to see Rachel on Disney or Nick and I will be a fan.

    Comment by tina – December 1, 2011 10:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Earth Song was a big hit in Europe, but it wasn’t even released as a single in the U.S., which likely explains both Simon’s and J-Lo/Randy’s reactions to the song choice.

    Comment by Tim – December 1, 2011 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • LOL at your description of the Jackson kids – they looked borderline bored last night! Being a huge MJ fan, I was really disappointed in the show! We have never even heard of Rachel’s song! Josh is my favorite, but last night Melanie was the only one who shined!
    Astro needs to go!

    Comment by zenstella – December 1, 2011 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I guess you’re only a fan of MJ as a solo act because the song Rachel sang was from The Jackson Triumph album…. I still remember the video lol

      Comment by jazzyt2u – December 1, 2011 01:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If you have seen MJ’s movie “This Is It” you would have heard the Earth Song and it was beautiful. However here in US it was not released as a single but since I’ve seen the movie lots and lots of times it was very familiar to me.

      Comment by Lana – December 1, 2011 06:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • To me the only artist left worthy of a 5 million deal is Astro. He’s commercial. He’ll sell hit singles like hot cakes. The rest of them are cover artists in a singing competition. At this point I don’t see a real star. I would not pay a dime to see Josh sing. He’s pedestrian at best. Drew has potential but her demo is too sleepy to warrant a 5 million deal. Melanie is a great voice without a star personality. Rachel is a star, but Slezak is right that her proper venue is TV. Chris Rene is a mess. The overpraise he’s getting for staying clean is almost as offensive as them putting the homeless dude on the show over more qualified singers. He’s a backstory without real singing talent. As for Marcus, he’s a cruise ship performer. Maybe Vegas. He has talent, but it has a low ceiling. Astro is the one who will sell singles on iTunes that will make that investment pay off. Hip Hop sells. Astro is better than many of the established artists out there right now. All the other artists on X Factor are reality show personalities who will be gone and forgotten once they’re off the show.

    Comment by Joe – December 1, 2011 10:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Rap/hip-hop accounts for about 5% of all music sales.

      Comment by Tim – December 1, 2011 11:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Umm…what’s your source. Would love to check your reference on that one.

        Comment by lonevoice – December 1, 2011 01:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Since 2011 isn’t over yet here are the results from 2010 -
          443.4 million album sales:
          Rock – 103,709
          R&B – 57,871
          Alternative – 53,727
          Country – 43,718
          Metal – 32,554
          Rap – 27,328
          Christian/Gospel – 24,226
          etc…. BUT Rap was the only genre to increase from 2009….

          Comment by jazzyt2u – December 1, 2011 02:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Thanks but what about Pop? I’d assume that was the largest portion…And “all music sales” must include digital singles as well (Rock in general sells albums much better than other genres). By those stats, we would assume that rap artists are as just as commercially viable as metal and gospel – which I’m pretty sure is not the case for music industry heads.

            Comment by em – December 1, 2011 03:13 PM PDT  
  • Come on everyone! Melanie is the best hands down. She is the next Beyonce. She is amazing always. Never misses a beat. Drew is horrible. I can’t stand her face or her voice. Its screeching and boring. I always wait to see what people like but I can’t see it. She will never ever win. If she does I will never watch this show again. She is awful!

    Comment by diana – December 1, 2011 11:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why do they have to do “Michael Jackson night”? Hasn’t this been done enough already on Idol? It is as if no one can come up with an original idea for a theme anymore, and the list of song choices are songs we have heard someone do on a reality show BEFORE. What makes a moment for a performer and a show exciting is new songs, not just new people singing songs we heard on other seasons by other performers on different shows. I mean come on already!

    Comment by barbara – December 1, 2011 11:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I guess I must be getting a little bit tired of Drew’s style. I enjoyed it at first, but now I know exactly what’s coming before she sings. Drew’s performance was very nice, but I prefer both David Cook’s version and The Civil Wars’ version The video with The Civil Wars also highlights the biggest problem I have with many of the performances on the X Factor. Other than Drew’s and some of Josh’s, they are all way too overproduced for me. I may be weird, but I actually want to hear the singer’s voice. I don’t need the dancers, flashing lights, overpowering backup singers etc. The other major problem with the show’s format is that the judges aren’t objective because of the mentoring. Paula was actually correct when she said she was the one unbiased judge. I doubt I’ll watch season 2 of X Factor. I just haven’t been that into it.

    Comment by Taryn – December 1, 2011 11:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best performance of the night had to be Blanket’s bored to tears, when can we leave reaction to everything. Priceless!

    Comment by Deb – December 1, 2011 11:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I know right? And they kept cutting to them, which just made me crack up laughing every time. Definitely the best part of last nights show!

      Comment by Terry – December 1, 2011 02:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just have to say that everything from the “I know Simon…” to the “…my living-room couch,” had me throwing up a Gospel hand to cover my mouth as I LOLed! Great paragraph that was too, too funny and so so true. :)

    Comment by Telly – December 1, 2011 11:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Melainie was the Best of the night.I think they overproduce too much. Music is loud & too many dancers. Most of the performances I could not hear the words they were singing. They really need to dial it back. Marcus, Chris, & Josh were a prime example.

    Comment by fela – December 1, 2011 11:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Don’t like that they’re having 2 double elims in a row- why go from 9 to 5 in 2 weeks? Its almost like Simon admitting the show sucks and the viewers are tired of it. Live shows are the best part of t hese competitions even if we have to suffer thru the robotic Stevecrest (please bring Dermot from the UK and trade them Nicole…and bring in the promised Mariah…wasnt she gonna be part of the show? Besides her finale duet with Melanie???)……ANyway prob finals will be Melanie, Drew, Josh ….Astro will be a star no matter what…Rachel does need to go to Disney or Nick…Chris and Marcus need to go home as well.

    Comment by hem – December 1, 2011 11:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Michael Slezak,
    What has happened to you? Is Simon Cowell paying you off for your enthusiastic coverage of X-Factor? David Cook gave America an acoustic Billie Jean. That means there was nothing original about Simon having Drew do it again other than having her sit in a chair. I guess next week she’ll cover Hallelujah.

    Comment by as – December 1, 2011 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This! Not to mention that Cook’s version was a cover of someone else’s version to begin with. Yet Simon told both Cook AND Drew that they had “made it your own.” Pfft.(However, I thought Drew handled the third-generation cover beautifully.)

      Comment by susela – December 1, 2011 12:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • But, the chair is not her son.

      Comment by pop culture bystander – December 2, 2011 12:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh, please, it’s Marcus who needs to go home. The boy just can’t sing in tune. Hi mama’s right: he needs to get himself to college.

    Comment by susela – December 1, 2011 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. Based on tonight’s performance Marcus should have went home. He cracked under pressure, Drew did not. He was very pitchy and out of tune. If the judges are truly honest with themselves, they knew Drew had the best performance tonight compared to Marcus. Drew’s age should not have been a factor. Rachel’s isn’t, so I don’t know why age was mentioned. The judges should have looked only at the performance on tonight, not in the past. They were wrong and they should not sleep well tonight based on their decision to send Drew home.

      Comment by Ms. Warren – December 1, 2011 06:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought Chris Rene was fantastic last night. Genuine, heartfelt – one of his absolute best performances.

    Astro will go. I think the other should be Drew but it will probably be Rachel or Marcus.

    Comment by Ben – December 1, 2011 12:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh good, now I can erase it from my DVR. Slezak just saved me an hour!

    Comment by Paloma Pigeon – December 1, 2011 12:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I do hope Astro and Rachel go, Rachel doesn’t seem to be growing like the other contestants and Astro is just an annoying teenager!!

    May I just say that some of your comments Michael had me in stitches. I look forward every week to your review of the show, it cracks me up every week!

    Comment by Louise – December 1, 2011 12:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Drew was mentored to copy David Cook’s stripped down soulful version of Billie Jean and Adam Lambert’s sitting down performance of Mad World. Those two idol performances outdo anything that has been done so far on this show and Simon knows that! Sad he has to revert back to idol to get some inspiration.

    Comment by gigi – December 1, 2011 12:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I loved Drews vocals, but if Simon really wanted to channel Mad World he should have had her stand up at the appropriate dramatic moment or something. She did look kinda uncomfortable up there with her knees knocking like a catholic school girl.

      Comment by Irishize – December 1, 2011 01:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I burst out laughing when Paula said, “You manifest abundance in the heart department.” That’s on top of Steve’s comments and the faces of MJ’s kids. With ABC on reruns, it was the best hour of comedy last night!

    Comment by em – December 1, 2011 12:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 1. Melanie – awesome vocals; just wish she would have done something that wasn’t done on AI
    2. Josh – vocally not his best but better than the other performers
    3. Drew – didn’t want to put her this high cause no one can beat David cooks version but vocally it was right on….
    4. Chris – a mess…..
    5. Marcus – agreed with Simon that vocals were shaky
    6. Rachel – why that song…I agree with others…Simon is throwing her under the bus…
    7. Astro – still cant get over his attitude…could still be a huge start…

    Bottom 3: Marcus, Rachel & Astro….I think Astro goes home…

    Comment by XFactorlooney – December 1, 2011 12:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ok riddle me this michael: why are the judges forced to mentor singers that were assigned to them? shouldn’t they get to chose their own acts, and preferably very very early in the competition, when all the contestants are more or less diamonds in the rough? that way the judges would have not only have to prove that they could develop acts, but they would also have to prove that they could spot real talent before anyone else caught on.

    Comment by stella – December 1, 2011 12:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t understand why people keep harping about Drew not changing it up and then we have Astro, who hasn’t done a d@#$ thing but rap every single week, not one song can be differentiated from another. If I asked you what he sang in the previous weeks, I bet no one could remember without looking it up. I just have a real problem with the fact that he obviously cannot sing, doesn’t have to remember lyrics,just make them up as he goes along, has an attitude that makes me want to spank his punk butt, and yet he gets all these accolades. I know he looks cute up there, such a little kid, awwww how sweet 8^b
    but his talent is very limited and he has a lot of growing up to do.
    I think Drew has a unique voice and I enjoy her performances. Melanie was her best last night, she has had some sort of epiphany or something, but please Mel, the attitude! There’s a fine line between arrogance Astro) and confidence.
    Rachel got screwed with that song choice, it didn’t suit her at all and she seemed to be flat.
    Josh gets screwed every week with the drowning background crap.
    Who should go? For me, Astro and Chris, but I know that’s not what it will be. Just tune in later and let them tell us who they…oh, I mean WE…put through. :::wink,wink:::

    Comment by Irishize – December 1, 2011 01:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Drew put me to sleep. There is nothing remarkable whatsoever about her voice and the way too many and obvious register breaks in it.

    On the other hand, Melanie Amaro was just phenomenal. Great vocal technique, beautiful tone and she actually hits the money notes unlike the awful Stacy Francis. Melanie’s final note was a nicely sung F5# and it capped off the best performance of the evening. This competition is hers to lose but I am hopeful she’ll take the win by keeping on giving one knockout performance after another.

    Comment by AndyLuvr – December 1, 2011 01:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why is everybody so convinced Rachel will get her own show on Disney or Nickelodeon? People said the same thing about Diana Degarmo, Jasmine Trias, Lisa Tucker, Katie Stevens, Thia Megia, and Tim Urban…still waiting for their big Disney debuts! Its likely not happening…

    Comment by Caysie – December 1, 2011 01:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Not sure about the rest but Lisa Tucker has been acting since her exit from Idol. Vampire Diaries was the latest, she did three episodes.

      Comment by jazzyt2u – December 1, 2011 02:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • David Archuleta and Jordin Sparks did do the Disney thing (at least, I know David did some guest star appearances and I still see Jordin doing some Disney interviews). I agree that Rachel probably won’t get her own show, but I think she could do something similar and promote herself using Disney and Nickelodeon. BTW, Diana is doing musicals – she’s probably too old now. And Jasmine, Katie and Thia were pretty much robots imo – they would never get their own show anyway.

      Comment by em – December 1, 2011 02:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My local Fox station cut to commercials part way into Astro’s video package and by the time they came back there was only about 30 seconds of his performance.

    Comment by lms – December 1, 2011 02:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hey Michael, our TVs must be tuned differently. Where yours heard Rachel as “slightly under the melody” mine sounded way sharp the entire song…go figure.

    Comment by Bad Breaker – December 1, 2011 02:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You say the same thing every time: Drew is the best and Rachel sucks. Why don’t you just copy and paste that so you don’t have two write their paragraphs?

    Comment by Dan – December 1, 2011 03:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “I know Simon would rather spend a season sitting between Kara Dio Guardi and Ellen Degeneres than admit he still carefully watches American Idol, but I can’t help but think his introduction of “Earth Song” as “one of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits” was a winking indictment of Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson acting as if the monster ballad was an obscure b-side when Haley Reinhart covered it during Idol‘s tenth season. ”

    Hah, yeah part of me really wondered if he might not be taking a little jab. He just seemed so extra forceful and staring into the camera right as he went on about how it was one of his absolutely greatest, biggest hits ever and one that only a few select even dare to attempt.

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 04:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My comment will be to just +1 the blog wrap up.

    Not much I see to disagree with there and not much more I see that there is to add other than I didn’t mind the red, animated ladyfigures since they were HOT, red, animated lady figures and that Chris did seem to have a few uncomfortable off key bits along with the good.

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 04:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • With Drew, I don’t think you were supposed to take the lyrics literally. The feeling I got off the song was that someone was spreading rumors that they slept together, and she’s upset and denying what she believes to be false. I think she can sing uptempo music, and I think Simon is purposely making us scream for her to do something faster, so just when we think that she’s stuck in her niche of slow, funeral songs, that he’ll have her do something uptempo and shock the hell out of us.
    I do think the show needs updating. The mentors have too much control over the productions. They need to make the mentors give the contestants suggestions, but have the contestants have the final say in everything. If this was true, I think we’d be seeing a lot better performances out of Josh and Drew, maybe even Melaine.
    Astro just really bugs me now. Am I the only one who noticed he had trouble saying white in a song about acceptance? His attitude is awful, and I keep comparing him to the orignal artist of whatever he is singing and he falls short.

    Comment by TvFan – December 1, 2011 04:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was a little odd, I thought they were muting him at times or something. All of a sudden a word would just go missing. Now that I think about it maybe it was like when he came to “white” he suddenly mumbled at a near zero volume level. I’d have to go back and check though to see if it really was always just that word.
    Something odd was going on.

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 04:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • as great as Melanie sounded last night she just sounded the most boring at tonight’s results intro though out of all 7, nothing wrong with the vocal but not a hint of edge or anything

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 05:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Melanie was in danger of getting lost in the daft over-production, neither did she seem connected to the message of the song.

      Comment by ejones – December 1, 2011 06:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow, one of josh or drew will be bottom three?!?

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 05:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • holy…. Drew bottom three.
    good grief.

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 05:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • pretty sure they save Drew over Marcus but who the heck knows with these shows and the judges are also in competition here.

    wow might be down to only a single girl in top six, no surprise though I guess, unless they save her

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 05:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Wow Rachel over Drew is nuts. Must be tons of the older set voting for cute little kid or something.

      And oops forgot about Rachel so there are at least two girls top six.

      Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 05:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • These judges are so biased- Drew is worlds better than Marcus simply because she can stay on pitch. I fully expect LA to back his own act, and I think Nicole will be bitter and vote out Drew just to spite Simon. Nicole is always looking for some way to criticize Drew, so this is her change for revenge. Paula could go either way, but if she wants to keep the performer who dances, Drew could be done. And Simon’s vote to keep Drew is a given. I think Drew would win the deadlock, if it comes to that. So I think it will all come down to Paula.

        Comment by Ryan – December 1, 2011 05:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • *chance for revenge

          Comment by Ryan – December 1, 2011 05:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Nicole’s criticisms weren’t crazy, they were just to do something fun! I can’t believe she went home, though. Wow. Should have been a deadlock.

          Comment by Shindig – December 1, 2011 06:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I didn’t say they were crazy, but she was for sure more harsh on Drew all this time when others like Melanie, Astro, and her own act Leroy did the same thing every week.

            Comment by Ryan – December 1, 2011 06:12 PM PDT  
  • My faith is restored! Well, at least I wiped a little tarnish off. The right one went home, at least for me, and I am amazed, thought for sure he’d be in to the end if just for the drama.
    Now, who will be next?????

    Comment by Irishize – December 1, 2011 05:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Now that Josh is safe, I’d rather have seen Drew through rather than Rachel. Rachel (through no fault of her own) annoys that pants off me, and Chris, as much as I like his personality, can’t carry a tune.

    Is VFTW making that big a difference?

    Comment by ana_muti – December 1, 2011 05:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • after that off key warbling at the end they better not save marcus, ouch, ouch

    but have a weird feeling they might

    Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 05:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He was off-key, breaking down a bit on stage, but so was Drew. Marcus emoted more than Drew, and I believe he was more personable. I honestly think Drew’s being mis-handled.

      I wouldn’t think I’d have said this but I thought Marcus did a better job tonight.

      Comment by ana_muti – December 1, 2011 05:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • oh come on, marcus was out and out painful and it’s not just because he was breaking down, he has done those painful, truly painfully off key notes like that almost every week (yesterday he did avoid the really painfully off key notes). WHatever Drew had tonight with pitch it wasn’t painfully off and it’s not like she has had a serious regular problem.

        Comment by yeah – December 1, 2011 06:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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