October 25, 2011 07:30 PM by Candace Young
Tonight on The X Factor, the live performances begin in Los Angeles. Last week, each of the judges chose four finalists from their houses. What was supposed to be the Top 16, became the Top 17 when Simon did a surprise last minute turnabout and traveled to Florida to personally invite eliminated contestant, Melanie Amaro, back to the show. Keep reading for all of the highlights as these 17 talented hopefuls take to the stage live…
Five contestants must go home in this round of The X Factor. The judges – Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid, and Nicole Scherzinger, take their seats beside the stage. Simon comments that he’s feeling regret that tonight he will have to let two contestants go from his group, while the other judges each will let one contestant go. This is due to the fact that he brought Melanie back last week.
The boys will perform first, after which L.A. Reid will have to decide which three to put through to the next round.
First up is Brian Bradley, aka, Astro. He performs an old school rap tune, Jump, and takes command right away. He is confident, sounds great, and moves around to use all the space on the stage. Nicole tells him she was jumping out of her skin. Paula says this is what he’ll be doing the rest of his life. Simon says he just came out live and killed everybody. He tells L.A. that if this guy doesn’t make it to the final he’s literally insane. L.A. Reid says it was amazing.
Chris Rene, is set to go next. Chris takes a softer approach. He begins perched on a stool and croons into the microphone – it seems pitchy. The pace picks up and he begins to move around and seems to find his voice more confidently as the crowd responds. Nicole tells him it was a good performance, but she may not have picked that song for him. Paula comments on his genuine truthfulness – he delivers every single time. Simon doesn’t think he’s the best singer, but feels he’s one of the best recording artists. He loves that he’s 100% authentic. L.A. says he’s impressed and he did a great job.
Phillip Lomax is ready to perform live. He comes out in a suit, but sings the very upbeat, I’m A Believer, from the movie Shrek. He delivers a very confident and energetic performance – definitely proves his point that he can be more than a jazz singer. Nicole says it was a lot of fun. Paula says he did mighty fine – he connected with the audience. Simon says he stood out from day one, but tonight it was like a racing driver put into a tractor. Simon tells L.A. he 100% failed with the song for this contestant. L.A. tells Phillip he stepped outside of his comfort zone and owned it.
Marcus Canty is the last hopeful for the boys. Marcus wows the crowd with his version of Do You Really Want To Hurt Me by Culture Club. He dances, moves about the stage, and puts his energy behind it. Nicole says he makes it look too easy – he was born to be on stage. Paula says he seems like a veteran – she loved it. Simon feels he gave it everything and says it was a brilliant choice of song. L.A. tells Marcus he stepped up to the plate again – he’s proud.
L.A. Reid is now put on the spot to let one of the boys go. All four performers are brought back out. The first boy through is Astro, the second boy through is Marcus Canty, the third boy through is Chris Rene. Phillip Lomax has hit the end of the road.
The Stereo Hogzz are up first. They kick off with an old school Motown sound and feel and then launch into a more energetic, modern rap-style version of the same tune, Try a Little Tenderness. L.A. Reid tells them they did a great job – they’ve come a long way. Nicole says it was foolproof and solid. Simon manages to tell Paula that she did a really good job. He says he loves this band. Paula is so proud.
The Brewer Boys are ready to perform next with their definitive sound. The guys begin seated on a stack of amps and strumming their acoustics. As their back up dancers appear, the pace picks up a bit on Faith. The crowd seems to like it. L.A. Reid thinks it was a little outside of Paula’s comfort zone, but she disagrees. Nicole says if she was a teenager they’d be all over her wall. Simon didn’t like the throwaway choreography and says it didn’t shine. Paula wanted them to connect with the audience and says they nailed it.
InTENsity is next in the group category. They were soloists who were put into a group after auditioning for The X Factor. The young performers do their rendition of the theme from the movie Footloose. It’s high-energy and their look is great. L.A. thought it was totally entertaining. Nicole says they’re all little stars. Simon calls it a music miracle – they’re the new young Glee. Paula says they rose to the occasion – she’s very proud.
Lakoda Rayne, who were also put together by The X Factor, are the last group to perform. They do a country version of Come On Eileen, and have the crowd clapping along to the catchy song – their voices sound strong and they are beautiful girls. L.A. Reid says he’d sign them right now. Nicole says they make girl groups look good. Simon says this is better than he could have thought – he agrees with L.A. Simon tells the crying Paula she’s done a wonderful job with these girls.
Paula is now in the spotlight. She must let one of the groups go and put three through to the next round. The groups return to the stage.The first group that’s through is Stereo Hogzz. The second group through is Lakoda Rayne. The third group through to the next round is InTENsity. The Brewer Boys are going home.
The Over 30s
Dexter Haygood is up first in this category. Dexter leaps onto the stage and delivers a dirty, gritty metal-esque version of I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry. It’s an energetic and interesting performance. He ends with a scream. L.A. Reid thinks Dexter found himself, but doesn’t know what Nicole was thinking about with the song. Paula also comments on the song choice. Simon calls the combination of Nicole, Dexter, and Katy Perry like the weirdest milkshake in the world. Nicole tells him she’s so proud – he was a rock star out there.
LeRoy Bell, who is age 60, is ready to perform live. He seems professional from the very first note as he sings Nobody Knows. L.A. would have given him a different song, and can’t understand why he hasn’t become a big star before now. Paula says his voice is pure magic. Simon agrees he has one of the best voices in the connection, but he feels he lacks confidence – he wishes he was mentoring him. Nicole says Simon wouldn’t have put in the time with LeRoy that she did – she’s very proud of him.
Stacy Francis, whom Nicole calls powerful beyond belief, is up next. Stacy’s presence and voice command the stage immediately. She performs One More Try, and it’s intense. L.A. says she got it right – he’s really proud of her. Paula tells Stacy she came out looking like a star and told a beautiful story – well done. Simon doesn’t like what she’s wearing and didn’t like the song – she’s not that kind of singer. He knows how brilliant she is, but this needs a massive shift in direction. Nicole disagrees completely – she soared tonight.
Josh Krajcik is the last in this category. Josh’s voice rings out as he sings Forever Young. It’s a very raw performance, and a little haunting. L.A. loves his voice. Paula says his is her favorite voice in the past decade. Simon fears him because he is the real deal – probably the best performance they’ve had. Nicole calls it a soul-stirring performance.
Nicole is now on the hot seat – she must put three of her acts through and let one go. The performers are brought back. The first act through is Stacy Francis. The second act through is Josh Krajcik. The third act moving forward is LeRoy Bell. Dexter Haygood has reached the end of the road.
Simone Battle is first up for the girls category. Simone struts out onto the stage and delivers a mix of pop and rap in the song Just Be Good To Me. It’s colorful, but not strong. L.A. Reid says he doesn’t get it, and questions Simon putting through this contestant. Nicole calls it predictable, but says Simone looked beautiful. Paula agrees that Simone was beautiful, but thinks she was overshadowed by her dancers. Simon argues that L.A. is out of touch, and says none of them have liked Simone from the beginning.
Rachel Crow, who is just 13 years-old, will perform live now. Rachel does a pop version of Baby Love by Diana Ross, that’s full of attitude and energy. It’s fun! L.A. Reid thinks she could have a career that includes acting as well as singing. Nicole thought Rachel did an amazing job, but didn’t like the song choice. Paula agrees that Simon should have given her a song to show off her range more. Simon laughs off their concerns – he needed to show that she’s a retro artist and a pop artist – she’s original.
Drew Ryniewicz, who will now be known simply as Drew, is up next. She sings the theme song from Flashdance – What A Feeling – in her very unique voice and the audience eats it up. It’s a slowed down version of the tune and is very stirring and effective. L.A. Reid says ‘wow girl’ – he tells her she has an amazing voice and is the whole package. He’s forced to compliment Simon. Nicole follows suit – she tells Simon it was so good, and tells Drew she’d go to her concert. Paula talks about how she connects with the audience. Simon says he wanted to be back on American TV to find someone like her.
Tiah Tolliver is the next up for the girls. Surrounded by fog and dancers in cloth bags, Tiah delivers a dark, moody rendition of Sweet Dreams. L.A. Reid says it was a great production and congratulates her on the performance. Nicole quips if that was a sweet dream she’d hate to see a scary one. She tells her she was fierce. Paula says it was an interesting performance but she needs to work on her pitch. Simon tells Paula and Nicole they’re like two spiteful little cats – they’ve never liked her and never will. Simon thought Tiah did great.
Melanie Amaro is the last of the girls to perform live – she must prove Simon was right to bring her back. Melanie stands at the mic in a sparkly blazer and lets her beautiful and powerful voice shine through as she belts out I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston. She truly does the song justice – it’s a fantastic performance! L.A. Reid says they saved the best for last – she was unbelievable. Nicole says she connects with her every time – she’s so grateful that she’s on this show. Paula tells her she is so special. Simon tells Melanie she’s great, but he now has to make the hardest decision he’s ever had to make.
Simon is under pressure to let two girls go, as he can only send three acts through to the next round. The girls are all brought back to the stage. The first girl through is Drew. The second through is Rachel Crow. The third, and final, girl through is Melanie Amaro. Tiah Tolliver and Simone Battle are headed home.
The X Factor Top Twelve are: Astro (Brian Bradley), Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, Stereo Hogzz, Lakoda Rayne, InTENsity, Stacy Francis, Josh Krajcik, LeRoy Bell, Drew, Rachel Crow, and Melanie Amaro.
Next Wednesday they’ll perform live and America will get their say as voting begins.
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