The X Factor Top 4 Performance Night: Follow Along With Our Jaunty Live Blog!

We’ve reached that wonderful point in the X Factor season where each and every one of us can agree on what needs to happen next: Cheryl Cole should take the next cross-Atlantic flight from the UK and replace Nicole Shiftingblankets.

As for which three of the four remaining contestants — Melanie Amaro, Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, and Josh Krajcik — should make next week’s finals, well, let’s not make any hasty judgments. Instead, let’s all kick back with a nice glass* of veen and discuss how the performances play out. (*By “glass,” I mean “bottle,” obvs.)

As the show rolls on, I’ll update you on who’s performed what and offer my opinions of said performances in 10 words or something close to it. So keep refreshing the page for all the good, the bad, and the promise of a new and ridiculous Paula Abdul superlative. (And please check back at TVLine on Thursday mid-morning for my full episode recap!)

Ready, set, discuss!

Marcus Canty: Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You”
Like being on a cruise ship and hoping you’ll hit an iceberg. (Sorry America, he can sing, but not that.)

Chris Rene: Sugar Ray’s “Fly”
Not nearly as good (or technically proficient) as Marcus — did he just run a half-marathon? — and yet I enjoyed it a heckuva lot more. Someone please explain.

Melanie Amaro: Mariah Carey’s “Hero”
A victory for minor chords: Actually made me not hate that slice of treacle. Also: Shaddup, L.A.!

Josh Krajcik: The Beatles’ “Come Together”
Rock-solid rock. If he goes home, it’s only because his mentor is so intolerable. (That said, I liked Crystal Bowersox and Kris Allen’s versions just a bit better.)

Marcus Canty: Wham’s “Careless Whisper”
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy that, but I can’t say I’d ever pay money to download it, either. KnowwhatI’msayin?

Chris Rene: Alicia Keys’ “No One”
The guy has soul, simply put, and that performance showcased it beautifully. That said, let’s all give an Aretha Franklin side-eye to L.A.’s “stardom was never about singing” nonsense.

Melanie Amaro: “Feeling Good”
To quote Simon, “Please pick up the phone and put this girl in the final, purely based on talent.” Click, dialtone, goodbye.

Josh Krajcik: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
That was the sound of the door closing on Marcus Canty, which I think explains L.A.’s critique. (But can we call a moratoriun on “Hallelujah” on television till 2013?)

Gah! Nicole is threatening to sing tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s not “Right There.”

What did you think of tonight’s X Factor? Is there any way Marcus isn’t getting sent to the guillotine Thursday night? Hit the comments with your opinions, and check back at TVLine mid-Thursday morning for my full episode recap. And until then, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!