November 02, 2011 06:57 PM by Candace Young
Last week the talented hopefuls on The X Factor were trimmed to just 12 finalists. Tonight, viewers finally get in on the action as voting begins online, by phone, and on Twitter starting after the show. Tomorrow night, one act will go home. Host Steve Jones introduces judges L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. One of the groups will be singing first to kick off the night. Keep reading for all of the highlights…
Stereo Hogzz are prepared to come hard or go home tonight on The X Factor. Bathed in red light they take the stage on top of a riser. Dressed in red military jackets and vests they do their version of Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson. The overall production is great – very polished show. L.A. Reid tells them it was great – he thinks they have what it takes to be stars. Nicole says The Stereo Hogzz have landed! Simon laughs about how smug and happy Paula is on his right. He feels they’re one of best bands he’s seen in these competitions – he doesn’t think any other band is as good right now. Paula, their mentor, is so proud! She’s crazy for them.
Chris Rene is up next. L.A. Reid, his mentor, is hoping he’ll recapture some of his swagger this week. Chris appears onstage with a cleaned-up new look. His voice sounds really good and when he launches into the rap portion of the tune the audience responds loudly. Nicole says she has mad love for him – he sounds amazing. Paula is so proud of him – she says he found his groove and owned it. Simon says once his confidence kicked in it was a big improvement on last week – good job. L.A. Reid thinks they found Chris’s sound and says he’s hot!
LeRoy Bell, the oldest contestant, follows Chris. Nicole, as his mentor, chose a song to bring out LeRoy’s emotions this week. LeRoy appears onstage accompanied by a pianist and performs a heartfelt version of I’m Already There by Lonestar. He sounds very good – very reminiscent of Michael Bolton. L.A. Reid doesn’t love the sound choice, but loved his voice. Paula says he wraps his life experiences around every song – she loves him. Simon thinks he’s a really good singer with a confidence issue, and agrees with L.A. that Nicole didn’t give him the right song. Nicole says sometimes less is more.
Simon Cowell announces that The X Factor is coming back next year. He thanks the other three judges and the fans, saying it’s thanks to them that they got the pick-up.
Rachel Crow is ready to perform. Simon chose the song Walkin’ On Sunshine for her this week. In a hot pink blazer and black satin tights she belts out her unique version of the tune with her raunchy voice and 13 year-old attitude. L.A. says she can do whatever she wants to do. Nicole thinks she is like sunshine and says she reminds her of Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5. Paula is also impressed. Simon defends changing some of the lyric as ‘being inventive’ and tells them Rachel will be around for a long, long time.
Lakoda Rayne will be representing the seasons in their performance this week. L.A. hears about this and thinks it will be corny. They take the stage in different color gowns and sing Landslide while wind machines blow on them. They sound beautiful, but don’t always seem comfortable. L.A. says they blended tonight. Nicole says they put him in a trance. Simon thinks it was a massive improvement vocally from last week, but hates their ‘prom’ dresses and the theme, calling Paula’s choices literally insane.
Josh Krajcik is up next. Nicole has chosen a fragile song from a female artist – Simon and L.A. aren’t enthused. Josh takes the stage in a black leather jacket and black pants, stands in the center of the stage and sings Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. His voice is amazing as per usual. L.A. says it was very, very good. Paula says he can sing anything – he just nails everything. Simon takes back everything he said – it was incredible. Nicole, who is crying, feels like a proud mom. She says he brought the lyrics to life and she felt his voice in her veins.
Melanie Amaro is set to perform a song this week that has taken her out of her comfort zone. With a blue light and a full moon behind her, Melanie belts out the opening lines of Desperado by The Eagles. Partway through, she kicks it up a notch and her vocals are extremely impressive. The crowd goes wild. L.A. says it was a nice song choice. Nicole thinks there’s no limit to what her and her voice can do. Paula says her voice is special like fine china. Simon giggles that he didn’t know how good she really is – she is the one to beat!
Astro, the young rapper who will only do his own lyrics, is up. The name ASTRO is lit up on the stage and he captures the crowd immediately with his energetic rap set to Ludacris’s Hey Ho. Nicole tells him he knows how to get the party started right – he’s so talented. Paula says she knows Jay-Z has his eye on him. Simon says he’s a real little star with confidence and swagger. L.A. tells Astor he’s proud – he gets better and better.
InTENsity, the group put together by the judges, are next to perform. A few of the group members aren’t thrilled with Paula’s vision of them as a cute Disney-esqe pop group. They hit the stage energetically and do a medley consisting of Kids In America and Shake That. It really works in a Glee-like way. L.A. Reid calls it fun, fun, fun. Nicole says funtastic! Simon tells Paula it was terrific – he really likes them. Paula thanks them for working so hard.
Drew is up next on The X Factor. She’s hoping her performance tonight will be different than what she’s done before. She begins seated on the stage in a little baby pink dress and sings Nelly’s Just a Dream. Her unique twist on it goes over big with the crowd. L.A. thinks she has the spirit of a superstar. Nicole loves the song choice and applauds Simon for choosing it. She says it was a beautiful job. Paula lives for the last note she sings – she loves what she does. Simon tells Drew he’s seeing a star emerge, adding that she is his mentor now – it’s coming from her.
Marcus Canty will be doing a Bobby Brown tune this week. Dressed in a letter jacket, Marcus performs Every Little Step and impresses as much with his dance moves as with his vocals. Nicole says she felt like she was watching a concert, not a competition. Paula tells Marcus he’s a total performer – a total package. Simon tells Marcus he has come alive and it was a brilliant song choice. L.A. tells Marcus to keep doing what he’s doing – America loves him.
Stacy Francis is last to perform tonight. Last week, Simon thought it was all wrong since he believes Stacy is a church singer. This week, Stacy seems to take the advice as surrounded by candles as she does an absolutely incredible job singing Up To The Mountains. L.A. tells her she stirred their souls. Paula calls it a shining moment – the way she interprets songs is magical. Simon smirks that he doesn’t want to take any credit for this, but he’s going to. Stacy walks over and kisses him. He says it was real and fantastic – one of the best performances of the night. Nicole says they did take Simon’s advice, but this is about Stacy. Nicole says she was honest, poised, and beautiful tonight.
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