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!

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. Gorm says:

    Ah another week of the ol’ dog and pony show. Marcus is the worst winker i’ve ever seen.

    • Gorm says:

      And Slezak, I love you, but Chris Renee is HORRRIBLE and I honestly, without the slightest bit of malice, think that you only like him because you want to have sex with him.

      Its not a bad thing, but just come out and admit it that he tweaks a bit of that rough-type vibe we all were clued in on from that Colton Ford/Dixon debacle.

      Chris Renee isnt as good as you’ve always wistfully reported.

      • natalie says:

        Shut up….. chris rene is gonna win….wait to see his acceptance the glory in final

        • Medic says:

          Holy vocal powerhouse Batman! Josh’s vocal performance this week was far and away the best of the year. Power and grace rolled into a heavenly burrito. I’d pay (well get my casino host to pay) for backstage passes to hear this talent. How this man was undiscovered until 30 is beyond me.

          • Medic says:

            PS An evil side of me wants Marcus to win so that Nicole Spinelesser gets whacked by her record company for costing them $5 million on dreck.

          • karenb says:

            Wow. He’s only 30??!! He looks wayyyy older. And not in a good way.

        • JLS says:

          I’m not sure that Chris will win, but of the four finalists, he has the most “X Factor”; I thought that is what the show was supposed to be about in the first place. Melanie has the best singing voice, but absolutely NO “X Factor”.

      • Billy says:

        I take issue with your assertion that Chris Renee is HORRRIBLE.
        He is a great comedic performer that makes me laugh every time he’s on stage. If he wins, we will all know that having the *X-Factor* is not about singing ability, musical talent, charisma, etc. it’s all about comedy.

      • matt says:

        I think you’re right Gorm. I too , would want to have sex with Chris, but I sure wouldn’t want to hear him sing lol. Based on singing alone Chris should go home tonight, but he won’t.

    • Sandra says:

      I agree with you!! Go Melanie, go!!!

    • Alex says:

      Marcus is right down there with Chris, who should have been sent packing long ago. For the life of me I can’t figure out how Marcus managed to take out 3 more talented people… unless they used him as a patsy, (along with fixed votes), to thin the finals of 3 wonderful performers before putting him home too. Let’s face it, if they’d tried that with Chris in the “giant killer” role nobody would have bought it. :-) Too bad. I was sort of hoping the final 3 would be Melanie, Josh and Rachel. What a contest THAT would have been.

  2. ana_muti says:

    The first half of the song was good, the second half was sour.

  3. Sybil says:

    Marcus is not a five million dollar act. Period.

  4. rose says:

    Buh bye sweet marcus, karoke time????

  5. ana_muti says:

    Oh I’m not loving Chris on this first song. He sounds out of breath. And I love this song too.

    • Kris Fan says:

      Dunno if I like him or not. Can’t hear him over the roar of the backup singers, and can’t see him through the laser show.

  6. Shindig says:

    did they reaaaaally give him Boyz II Men…

  7. rose says:

    chris a pale imitation of mark wahlberg doing karaoke is it me that can’t see the light of these last two performers? seriously five million dollars worth??????

  8. Amy says:

    Chris, oh Chris. That sounded horrible. Why are Nicole and Paula dancing? Just more proof they are the most tone desf judges in America. Yes, Chris has charisma, but he will get slaughtered in the finale by Josh, Melanie or both.

  9. rose says:

    chris a pale imitation of mark wahlberg is it me that can’t see the light of these last two performers? seriously five million dollars worth??????

  10. Margo says:

    Chris was a hot mess, he totally got sunk by his own music. This guy isnt 5 million bucks to me….sorry judges!

  11. Sybil says:

    Chris is not a five million dollar act.

    And Nicole isn’t a decent judge even if she’s working for free.

    As for LA, I cannot believe I am going to say this, but I miss Randy.

  12. ana_muti says:

    @Michael: It’s that Chris is, at heart, a happy person. I think he’s showing his life experience where Marcus hasn’t had the same yet. I think Marcus can become a good singer, just he needs some more years on him.

    What you’re feeling just might be Chris’ comfort in knowing that whatever he is or has done, there’s been forgiveness by the people he cares for. His “vibes” are that of a person who wants to give back.

    I think he’ll become an excellent song writer.

    • JoJo says:

      Love your comment Ana Muti (and your name) – I also think Chris can grow in his vocal performances, particularly when he is surrounded by a team that is consistent and not about this freaking competition/judging fiasco. There is a place for the subtle vocalist, which is where I believe his range is best.

      • Bad Breaker says:

        Agree, which is why his soft version of his original song last week was so impressive. His rather thin voice gets overwhelmed with all the heavy production. My only wish is that he would cut down a little on the “uh” when he sings. It reminds me of Michael Jackson’s squeak…a little bit goes a long way.

  13. ana_muti says:

    Melanie has such a gorgeous voice.

  14. Gina says:

    Still waiting for the “twist,” Simon.

  15. KSM says:

    Hero? Come on, America, you are better than that.

  16. Sybil says:

    I’m not sure Melanie is a five million dollar act, but at least I’m not sure that she isn’t.

    LA is a tool.

  17. ana_muti says:

    I think aliens have taken over my TV, as I sure didn’t hear what LA heard.

  18. Shindig says:

    So, Melanie’s performance was amazing, I loved it, but..
    PLEASE. Please, just one week don’t sing an inspirational song/ballad?! Please? :(

    Excited to hear Josh next! Really though, those two blow the first two out of the water.

    • Shindig says:

      Ok, Simon, it was good, but original? Wat?

      • AG says:

        YESSSSSSS to this!
        she is so boring…and the fact that he called so many other people “soundalike” and “karaoke” tonight and every other week and then tells us melanie is “putting a twist” on hero when it was completely karaoke!? bull crap. this show is making me hate simon

        • JLS says:

          I am SO glad that someone else noticed Simon’s double standard. Virtually every Melanie performance has been 100% karaoke; her second performance last night was the first all season where she actually broke out of the cruise ship mode….

  19. Margo says:

    Great vocals but I guess we can’t fault Melanie too much because America chose the song. But I don’t know if this premium vocal chops but no vocal personality/stage presence can get her through to the finals?

  20. ana_muti says:

    I hope Josh’s song takes him back to his soul roots.

  21. Ash says:

    Melanie looks FANTASTIC. You can’t blame the slow ballad, that’s what America wanted. Paula was actually right, but the arrangment Simon did highlighted Melanies voice so. Good Job.

    • Tess says:

      America didn’t have much choice – weren’t all three choices for Melanie ballads?

      I liked the minor key change, it made the song a little different and less karaoke so I wasn’t rolling my eyes at having to hear another rendition of it. I thought that it added the proper amount of moodiness like the darkness that you’d need that hero to pull you out of sort of thing. That said, with the combo of the key changes in the verse and the wide shot view of Melanie I couldn’t help but think Simon’s finally managed to make her into his American Leona Lewis. Any chance Melanie gets to do “Bleeding Love” for the final?

  22. Kris Fan says:

    I gotta agree with Pauler. The changes made the song gloomy. A real downer. No build. Just different to be different. What a waste of an awesome song and an awesome voice.

  23. Marty says:

    Convinced now more than ever that it’s the other judges vs. Simon.

    Sure you can criticize Melanie’s vocals that’s fine.. but why not do it for the first two acts that performed?

    I’ll never understand the judges thinking.

  24. lisa says:

    i am not buying that america choose a slow song for melanie!! that’s all she does! n simon where was the twist? good but boring!!!

  25. ana_muti says:

    I hope whatever happens Melanie gets a REAL mentor who also is a musician. She’s got what it takes–she also is really young and just needs more experience to develop. And someone who isn’t going to drop her as soon as the camera’s stop filming.

  26. Erin says:

    Josh & Come Together = America’s best song choice by far!

  27. Ash says:

    Josh is great. So, I hate that Nicole is his “mentor”. I really don’t want one of her contestants to win the first season of XFactor. Damn.

  28. Jules says:

    People, Melanie did a dance number last week… Marcus and Chris were awful and off key… Josh has the scratchy voice, but not much variety either…. Melanie has a gift, and it’s called the xfactor!! Give her the prize she deserves…. and PLEASE judges, stop the nonsense!

    • Phoebi says:

      I would call her version of Someone Like You a lot of things, but a dance track is not one of them.

    • matt says:

      I actually thought Josh’s Rihanna cover was the best dance tune last week. Now that Rachel is gone, I’m solidly behind Josh. I do not care if his mentor is a total whackjob, I want him to win

    • JLS says:

      Jules, your statement that Melanie has the “X Factor” is a joke. Granted, she does have a really nice voice, but that’s ALL she has. With a “mentor” other than Simon, she might’ve developed into more, but where she is now, she is not particularly entertaining. If I want to hear Mariah, Whitney or Celine, I listen to one of their songs; I don’t NEED Melanie and she brings nothing new to the mix.

  29. Gina says:

    I don’t believe for a minute that Nicole wears drugstore press-on nails.

  30. Sybil says:

    Josh did a good job with that, but it wasn’t as awesome as Carly Smithson’s version in Season 7.

    The intra-judge sniping is so tiresome. I think that’s the biggest turn-off of this show.

  31. ana_muti says:

    I figured Josh would be given a Beatles song, and he nailed it! He’s such a versatile singer, I love nearly everything he’s ever done. I could have gone with a little less control–I love it when Josh loses control–but guy did good!

  32. Shindig says:

    If Chris or Marcus go into the finals, I swear..
    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    • Tess says:

      Get ready to curse then because one of them will be there – it’s a final three for X Factor, not a final two. All the more reason to vote for Josh and Melanie tonight to make sure it IS only one of LA’s boys that is there in the finale next week and we don’t get another shocking boot and lose Melanie or Josh. I’m particularly worried about Josh because he was given the kiss of death being told he should sail into the finals and he’d be the one to beat if this was the finals and such. The judges (especially Simon)were way to high on the praise for him today when they normally are not as much with Josh so I do wonder if it’s an attempt to lull his fans into a false sense of hope that he’s safe…stranger things have happened…

      • Shindig says:

        True, I made an oopsie with the term finals — but you know what I mean! I’m worried for Josh too, but honestly, if he gets booted and Marcus stays I’ll be floored

  33. ana_muti says:

    OMG no, Marcus, just no. Sorry dude, just no.

  34. Mary says:

    The first two songs were bad. Marcus had a slight edge but not much. Melanie was
    Fantastic, but I wished America chose a different song. I like Josh but I wasn’t
    Impressed. As Kara said not the best song.

  35. Jennifer says:

    Marcus is flat…why doesn’t anyone say so?

  36. Sybil says:

    Marcus’ second song: okay, I’ll talk, just tell me what you want.

  37. Sybil says:

    Simon was harsh, and absolutely correct, except he forgot to mention that Marcus was flat.

  38. Shindig says:

    who the hell thought that production was a good idea –as hypocritical as Simon can be, he was completely right. How can LA talk about Josh being over produced :b
    I commend the clean up crew between performances

  39. BonesFringeFan says:

    Chris Rene FTW, Yeah 5 million! :)

  40. ana_muti says:

    AHa, this second is more in Chris’ wheelhouse. It feels a lot more natural to his voice.

  41. Shindig says:

    I really want to knock that vocal coach’s hat off. I don’t know why he always irritates me. And guys, come on, a 5 million dollar contract doesn’t mean you get 5 million dollars..or financial security

  42. ana_muti says:

    Oh Mel, where’ve you been hiding that?? I’m a believer. I’m going to be SO torn between her and Josh.

  43. Kris Fan says:




  44. Gailer says:

    I can’t wait for Idol

  45. Gina says:

    Nicole’s dress is making me nostalgic for those fuzzy velvet coloring posters I used to buy in elementary school.

  46. Margo says:

    Unpredictable song, she stepped away from the microphone, she was emotionally invested in the performance…..certainly Melanie’s BEST performance!

  47. Sandy says:

    Oh, snap. Melanie. You won. Plain and simple. She nipped it in the bud. Melanie won. Didn’t expect that. Melanie won. Done.

  48. Jules says:

    I’ve never anticipated a singer’s performance more than I do with Melanie and she just slayed the competition… WHAT A PERFORMANCE… you who say she is boring…. TAKE THAT!!! Give her the money! She will be a winner no matter how this “competition” ends.

  49. Sybil says:

    Simon is apparently not aware of the Feeling Good Curse. Melanie did a great job, but so did Adam Lambert…..

    • matt says:

      I know I couldn’t believe he wasn’t aware of the Feeling Good Curse? Maybe Melanie will break the streak of everyone who sings that song getting eliminated the next night. Or maybe Simon is aware and he secretly thinks Chris and Josh are more marketable? I don’t trust any of these judges.

  50. Gaier says:

    OMG Jason Casto
    This song will always remind me of Jason, How bout you, Michael?

    • Kris Fan says:

      Not Michael,,,,but Jason Castro kinda owns this song in my opinion.

      • Kris Fan says:

        I just watched Jason Castro’s Hallelujah on YouTube. Ahhhhh. Lovely.

        Poll: Who thinks that Pauler was D R U N K at the judge’s table the night of Jason’s performance?

      • Bad Breaker says:

        while I liked Castro’s version, I think the definitive version belongs to KD Lang from the Vancouver Olympics. Check it out. It’s amazing !