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 (163)

  • Looka Josh tryin to get my vote-singing songs that my fave idols sang-Kris and Jason!

    Comment by karenb – December 14, 2011 06:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow, really liked the song choice, but so many singers have done a better version of that song. kinda disappointing

    Comment by Jules – December 14, 2011 06:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Beg to differ – haven’t heard it better than Josh did it tonight (and I loved it when Jason Castro did his version). But Josh blew me away with his take on it.

      Comment by Jurybox – December 14, 2011 08:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Josh sang that song well, but I really didn’t need to hear it again.

    Comment by SybilT – December 14, 2011 06:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thoroughly enjoyed Josh’s performance, I wouldn’t think he could be as soft and subtle as he was. Like what is L.A talking about?! No excitement! Not everything has to be high octane…jeebus…there needs to be some range and I feel like Josh showed that tonight.

    Either Marcus or Chris will be going home.

    Comment by Margo – December 14, 2011 06:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • LA just wants one of his boys to win, and Josh is IN THE WAY.

      Comment by Jurybox – December 14, 2011 08:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Noticed you don’t have the artist for “Feeling Good”…that’s Nina Simone

    Comment by Alex – December 14, 2011 06:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And Michael Buble.

      Comment by Carolyn – December 14, 2011 06:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Bite your tongue.

        Comment by Sam – December 14, 2011 07:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The song makes me think of Jennifer Hudson’s Weight Watchers ads, which reminds me that Simon dismissed her on Idol, which makes me think about all the great things she has accomplished since Idol, which makes me proud of her like I’m her aunt or something, which reminds me of the tragedy her family went through, which brings us back around to Simon choosing this song for a very talented young woman he’s grooming for stardom. I’m overthinking.

      Comment by Pop Culture Bystander – December 14, 2011 10:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Technically it’s Cy Grant (from some musical he was in). Nina Simone covered it, along with about a zillion other people — which is why it would be pointless for Michael to name any one artist.

      Comment by kbn – December 14, 2011 11:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m a Marcus fan but since I know he won’t win I’m going for Josh. He was amazing tonight! Chris Rene was horrible and I just don’t understand the big deal? his vocals are very weak and him going ‘uh’ every second ruins the song. Melanie may have a voice but she’s very boring to me. Josh FTW since Marcus is clearly going this week….

    Comment by Marcus Fan – December 14, 2011 06:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Melanie – should win after tonite. Josh- second first song wasn’t that good, second good but sorry Jason and JT takes the top prize for the song. Chris – second song
    Saved him, but sorry he should’t win. Marcus I think your nine lives are up.

    Comment by Mary – December 14, 2011 06:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hopefully after Nicole’s performance tomorrow they take away her key card and escort her off the premises.

    Comment by Tim – December 14, 2011 06:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Melanie is the only one deserving of having $5million invested in her IMO. Everyone else is a risk.

    (Hope we get to hear Adam Lambert’s new single at the finale.)

    Comment by adele – December 14, 2011 06:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Marcus nailed it tonite.he will be in the more bottom two for him.simon is wants him out but it will not gonna work.he tried last week and it didn’t work.

    Comment by divine – December 14, 2011 07:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tonight’s performance rankings:

    1. Josh: Dare I say he outdid the Beatles?
    2. Melanie: I wish the fans hadn’t chosen Hero but she is still amazing.
    3. Marcus: Too reminiscent of DRU Hill’s lead singer but he has an amazing voice.
    4. Chris Rene: Blah

    Comment by TheDags – December 14, 2011 07:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s my order too.

      Comment by matt – December 15, 2011 12:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • OMG! I didn’t think I could hear anything new in Hallelujah, and with great respect for Idols’ past versions. As good as they were, Josh’s version was absolutely sublime. Sublime. He used his voice like a fine, nuanced instrument and I hung on every word and phrase wondering where he would take it. Mesmerizing and deeply touching. And too short. For me:
    1. Josh
    2. Chris (I just love his light and will love to be a part of his journey)
    3. Melanie (Beautiful, but I just don’t connect with her – I think this is something she will develop in time and I will also enjoy watching her grow)
    4. Marcus

    Comment by JoJo – December 14, 2011 07:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh dear. Forgive. I sounded like one of the…judges just there. It’s harder to be cool in these kinds of comments than i thought…yikes! Hats off, Michael.

      Comment by JoJo – December 14, 2011 07:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You’re right your comments are really xfactorjudgey-sounding lol

        Comment by matt – December 15, 2011 12:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • OH Wow, I agree with your ranking & your comments completely.
      1. Josh
      2. Chris
      3. Melanie (beautiful voice nothing that makes me want to listen to more)
      4. Marcus (bye-bye)

      Comment by Madelyn – December 15, 2011 10:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show was so predictable. The second I heard that marcus was up 1rst I knew he was getting the Casey James/Syesha treatment. Total sabotage. Simon wants 3 contestants in the finale that never made bottom 3 to spur interest. When Josh started hallelluyaing I was like lee dewyze 2.0 trying to create a ”moment”

    Comment by aj rabin – December 14, 2011 07:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Dewyze was half off key and needed a choir to make him sound somewhat presentable. Josh’s performance was nuanced (his treatment of the word love was heavenly), naked and honest. Dewyze and Josh in the same sentence?! Child, please.

      Comment by Medic – December 14, 2011 10:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 1. Melanie – by a million miles
    2. Josh
    3. Chris – he’s either very good or very bad. He was a bit of both tonight
    4. Marcus, but I think he’s way more consistent than Chris and it wouldn’t bother me if he makes the finale

    Comment by Not Quite – December 14, 2011 07:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “People keep on talkin’.

    They can say what they like.

    I don’t care, because everything’s gonna’ be alright.”

    Great message from Chris tonight.

    By this point in the game, all regular viewers are pretty much locked into their favorites. The Idol-ites will go for the big voice every time (no matter that it’s the SAME songs belted out while standing stock still in front of the mic on EVERY song), and the rockers will always go for their Josh’s (“Hallelujah” and “Come Together” again??? Really???).

    There’s only one person left on that stage I’d even consider buying music from: Chris Rene for the Win! I’m actually starting to believe it can happen.

    Comment by PatD – December 14, 2011 07:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • See, I would never buy anything he’s done. It’s not my style, and his vocals are so often weak and off key.
      But I’d buy Melanie in a heartbeat if they paired her with an original song that she could make her own. Girlfriend showed she can sing an old standard in an entirely new way and deliver a flawless performance. The purity of her voice brings tears to my eyes every time I hear her sing. She has an amazing voice – a 1000 times better than Pia Toscano who everyone thought was a diva. Melanie is the real deal.
      I like Josh, could see myself buying something original, but HALLELUJAH has been so overdone on these shows. It’s a song that’s meant to tug at your heart, and I can’t fault Josh’s delivery, but I just didn’t feel it. It’s time to retire that thing.
      My 50 online votes went for Melanie Amarro, and I’m gonna start carrying around a sign that says VOTE FOR MELANIE. It’s way overdue for a girl to win these things!

      Comment by GingerSnap – December 14, 2011 08:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree with you on all points, especially Melanie. That girl has mega-star potential.

        Comment by Kris Fan – December 15, 2011 06:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • PLEASE let Josh win this season. Melanie is a technically proficient singer, but she has no imagination. She sings ballads the exact same way they were originally sung, even copying the runs that the original artist did exactly. Josh and Chris at least have a unique quality. To me, Melanie is just a slightly better version of every wedding singer out there. I wish the final four was Josh, Chris, Drew, and Astro.

    Comment by Erin – December 14, 2011 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s a good poll question, Erin. I hope Slezak considers it, who would your top 3 or 4 have been, out of the final 12? Mine would have been LeRoy, Rachel, Marcus and Josh.

      Comment by matt – December 15, 2011 12:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Melanie and Josh should be lock jobs for the finals. Add Chris, although some strange things have happened involving Marcus.
    In the finals I wonder if Josh will sing “You Are So Beautiful” by
    Joe Cocker? He’s able to add his touch to most of his music and when he’s in his zone, it’s just amazing! But, we understand it’s now down to the voting and who knows? But, Josh, without question, has the most talent. Win or lose he will be a big star. They already love him in Europe. And, if he does win, I can see him slinging burrito’s on the Pepsi commercial! And, don’t let Nicole influence your vote or, non vote. If you like Josh, vote for him. Forget about Nicole, it’s not about her. Last thing: Having judges double as mentors has been an absolute disaster! Definitely have to change the format for next year.

    Comment by bobby de – December 14, 2011 09:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Well, I think Simon has positioned Melanie very well, with song choices that are delivered “with a twist” so she doesn’t come across as kareoke and yet we hear just how awesome her voice is. On her own, she wouldn’t have had the vision or wisdom to do some of these things, and she’d be headed home.
      LA has done very well with his boys, by adding a lot of bells and whistles to their acts. Both Chris and Marcus are pretty ordinary singers, but with the theatrics on stage, they come across much better than they are.
      Josh hasn’t been so fortunate with his mentor, because she hasn’t given him the best advice on song choices or delivery. He’s made it this far because he is so soulful, has a great voice and he has just enough experience to tweak things to fit his style.
      Since Paula’s acts made such an early exit, you can’t say much other than she’s been a nice balance between the other 3. Only one who doesn’t have an agenda and just tells you what she thinks.

      Comment by GingerSnap – December 14, 2011 09:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I am still waiting for a single one of Simon’s “twists”. He promises, but fails to deliver. He has done a HORRIBLE job positioning all three of his girls; Melanie sounds karaoke virtually every single week!!

        Simon is a television producer; the list of recording artists he has “produced” made me laugh. NO WAY he is of the same caliber as LA, who has produced hitmaker after hitmaker!!!

        Comment by ETG – December 15, 2011 09:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • If this were Idol, Melanie wouldn’t have changed a thing. “Hero” would have sounded like a Mariah knockoff, & where would Feeling Good have come?

          Comment by GingerSnap – December 15, 2011 10:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Can we have Josh sing American Woman, playing guitar and wearing dreads?

      Comment by Medic – December 14, 2011 10:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • None of them have the “X” factor imo. None of them are worthy of a 5 million dollar contract. Having said that, Melanie vs. Chris, or talent vs. popularity. Who really cares at this point, right?

    Comment by gigi – December 14, 2011 09:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Melanie did pretty good tonight, I still can’t decide if she should face Josh or Chris in the finale, and for the first time my not liking Josh’s performance has nothing to do with Nicole, there was something about “Come together” that didn’t work for me, yet Simon suspiciously (ok it’s obvious he wants a Josh-Melanie finale, I don’t blame him, it’s for the better) loved that song, it just rattles me how Kris Allen’s version, which was amazing, was criticized by Simon, yet this was perfect, I won’t let that one go. And by the way if the Concord still existed Cheryl would be here in a couple of hours, just in time to make all the booing and the Nicole-singing go away forever.

    Comment by raftrap – December 14, 2011 09:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As soon as Melanie sang those first three words, I know Slezak was going to be sooooo disappointed haha.

    Comment by Ken – December 14, 2011 09:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Just listened back to Melanie’s second song. Can you say pitchy?

      Comment by Medic – December 14, 2011 11:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Don’t forget Carly Smithson’s amazing “Come Together” before Kris and Crystal ever tackled it.

    Comment by brandy – December 14, 2011 11:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved Josh tonight, both songs, only loved the last song Melanie did however it made me think about Adam doing it and he out does everyone on this song!(he outdoes everyone on any song) Loved Chris tonight, more on the second song and I think he deserves a trip to the finals. I’m sorry Marcus but I have been underwhelmed by your singing, however you handle the stage better than anyone else so Kudos for that but you do not deserve to go to the finals.

    Comment by Lana – December 15, 2011 12:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i have a weird feeling melanie’s going to be in the bottom. “feeling good” is cursed. everyone who’s done it on idol has either been in the bottom or booted. even adam lambert. leslie hunt from idol 6 said it best: “america hates jazz”.

    Comment by leo – December 15, 2011 12:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Katie Stevens did it in the semifinals and got through even though the judges slammed it.

      Comment by zizi – December 15, 2011 12:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t believe Marcus’s Careless Whisper was my favorite performance tonight LMFAO!! Loved that Nicole got re-booed again this week lol

    Comment by matt – December 15, 2011 12:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ugh. My DVR did NOT record “X Factor!” Fail!

    What’s with the hate on Nicole Scherzinger singing? She’s actually a very good singer but she’s saddled with The Pussycat Dolls baggage. Recently she sang for the Royal Variety show in the UK and sang the title song from “The Phantom of the Opera.” A few years back she covered the role originated by Idina Menzel in “Rent” at The Hollywood Bowl. She’s the real deal singing-wise.

    Comment by AndyLuvr – December 15, 2011 01:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Would you stop with all that Cheryl Cole thing? We all saw her in two cities. And I think we know why they fired her. They didn’t want her. But Simon insisted. He said she will be good. And then after they began auditions producers saw that she is simply second version of Paula. What Paula does? She likes everyone. She is not giving any harsh critique. And Cheryl would do the same. She would praise everyone just like those judges on AI.

    And that would be boring. Because the best thing about X Factor in every country is the fact that every judge in mentor and he/she keeps fighting for his contestant and we have those epic fights between judges. You may hate Nicole but you can’t deny that it’s fun to watch those fights between her and Simon. And I don’t think that he will fire her. Because every week every site wrights about X Factor. And that is a free PR.

    Comment by Shy – December 15, 2011 04:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s funny that you mention the two audition cities cause she was just fine not giving a free pass to the old couple, she politely declined, I don’t want to turn this into a Cheryl Appreciation thread, but I really have to congratulate Mike Slezak for making the point clear that Cheryl Cole should have never been taken away from the panel. I personally don’t hate Nicole, but she’s not fun to watch in any way, she’s very awkward, comes off as a little fake, her “fights” with Simon are one-sided and kinda annoying, her constant need for approval is… let’s just say it’s very hard to watch, I wish her the best, and in the end this will give her career a chance. And if you’re worried about PR, there’s no better press than comeback press. So here’s hoping for the Cheryl Cole comeback (and Melanie Amaro win).

      Comment by raftrap – December 15, 2011 08:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yo slezak, you forgot to mention Carly smithson’s version of Come together.

    Comment by JVC – December 15, 2011 05:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • LOving JOsh. Melanie kicked butt on “Feeling GOod”. I never thought anyone could equal Lambert, but she did it. And that Chris looks like a young Mickey Rourke, which is a very sexy thing indeed. Marcus? Seeyalatah!

    Comment by Jen White – December 15, 2011 05:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I totally love Nicole. You’re SOOOOOO off base there, Slezak.

    Comment by Kiki – December 15, 2011 06:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i can see Chris and Josh going some place in todays music world Melanie has an amazing voice Ijust don’t see where she is going with it as for Marcus he should have been gone weeks ago never should have saved him for so long.

    Comment by tk – December 15, 2011 07:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wonder if Simon’s “horrendous” comment about Marcus’ performance made his fans vote like crazy?

    Comment by karenb – December 15, 2011 07:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My mom thinks Chris Renee would cover Smokey Robinson nicely (another singer songwriter without much range) but undeniably one of the greatest who ever did it! I tend to agree with her.. I can see him doing Ooh Ooh Baby Bay or You Really Got a Hold on Me. What do you guys think?

    Comment by Kay_Vee – December 15, 2011 08:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m not exactly a music historian, but to say Smokey Robinson is another singer without much range is just ridiculous

      Comment by matt – December 15, 2011 08:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just sad that the judges are more concerned over their own egos to push real talent. This is where the mentoring stuff gets in the way of good sense.

    Comment by Jennifer – December 15, 2011 08:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was a little bummed to have missed out on watching this last night. After reading this though, I’m not sure I even want to go through the trouble of scrolling all the way down to “x” in my dvr’s library. “Hero”? “Feeling Good”? “Hallelujah”? Boys II Men? The only things that looks remotely interesting here are Chris Rene’s songs, but I don’t like him. I’m sure I can find better ways to spend an hour and a half. And I can’t believe Simon let Melanie sing “Feeling Good” given its poor track record on his other show.

    Comment by E – December 15, 2011 10:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • But Melanie nailed it! And they did enough with the lighting & makeup to make her look like a star. Before you erase that tape check her out. You’d be underwhelmed by everything else.

      Comment by GingerSnap – December 15, 2011 10:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Marcus’s version of Careless Whisper is worth watching too, as far as not being more of the same old same old

      Comment by matt – December 15, 2011 08:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve finally figured out what bothers me most about this X Factor show. It’s the MC. No charm. No personality. He’s a carnie with a british accent. Tres annoying. I also am really tired of the spinny, flashy, mirrory, lights and bells and whistles, and fireworks, and dancers and poseurs and backup singers. I wish all of these shows would get back to what it was that made the popular– a young talented unknown up on the stage alone, singing his/her heart out to make a dream come true. It’s such a simple formula. It doesn’t need so much garnish. Seems like every season each one of these shows is trying to give me a seizure faster than the last.

    Chris is entertaining, seems like a swell guy, and has a great backstory. Sure wish he could sing. Marcus…yawn.

    Show was disappointing. I would have expected the show to be more innovative and fresh, and the personalities (judges and MC) to be more charismatic. LA is interesting. Simon is always good TV. Paula’s Paula. But Scott and Nicole…No one is home there.

    OK: So last night. I am REALLY tired of Hallelujah, but I’ll hand it to Josh, I enjoyed the heck out of his bluesy gritty version. Come Together: Meh. He sang it fine. It wasn’t exactly a revelation.

    Come to think of it, I’m really tired of hearing all these retreaded songs over and over. Hero? Really audience? This is your idea of what you want Melanie to sing? Gag. Feelin’ Good was an interesting choice for Melanie. It didn’t really work, but she’s a great vocalist.

    Comment by syb – December 15, 2011 02:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yikes, I meant Steve not Scott. LOL. He’s so memorable, I can’t remember his name.

      Comment by syb – December 15, 2011 02:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Smokeys voice was beautiful sweet and melodic but very small. Take a listen and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Again, he’s one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time but it was his tone and writing abilities that made him awesome!

    Comment by Kay_Vee – December 17, 2011 04:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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