December 14, 2011 07:31 PM by Candace Young
Following last week’s shocking and emotional elimination of Rachel Crow, The X Factor is back tonight for the live semi-final performances of the remaining four contestants. Host Steve Jones reminds us that one of the two songs performed tonight will be the Pepsi Challenge songs chosen by America’s votes. L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell take their seats, but this week the elimination will be decided by viewers votes alone. Keep reading for tonight’s highlights…
Pepsi Challenge Songs
Marcus Canty hits The X Factor stage first tonight. He croons the Pepsi Challenge song chosen by his fans, I’ll Make Love To You, dressed in a suite and holding a white rose. The song is well-suited to Marcus, but he has a couple of pitchy moments. Nicole says he’s bringing sexy back – good job. Paula calls it a solid performance. Simon says he sang the song well, but he didn’t like the distracting and corny things happening on the stage. L.A. couldn’t be more proud and calls him the ‘three-time save me song champion’.
Chris Rene is up next. His Pepsi Challenge tune is I Just Wanna Fly by Sugar Ray. Although it doesn’t seem like his style, he makes the best of it and gets the crowd rocking. He looks great in a black leather jacket. Nicole says he makes them feel good. The crowd chants his name. Paula tells him he looks like five million bucks – he has a gift. Simon loved the song, but says it wasn’t his best vocal so far. L.A. says he has the sparkle of a star right now.
Melanie Amaro takes the stage to sing Hero by Mariah Carey. Looking very diva-esque, she starts out mellow, but then belts it out more to the delight of the audience. L.A. says it was really, really good, but it was predictable. He notes he didn’t feel her usual passion at the beginning. Nicole loves that she sang this song – she’s inspiring. Paula tells Melanie her voice is impeccable, but she didn’t care for the arrangement. Simon says it wasn’t karaoke like the first song they heard tonight. He thought is was bloody fantastic!
Josh Krajcik is the fourth to perform. His Pepsi Challenge song as chosen by his fans is Come Together. His arrangement is closer to that of Aerosmith than The Beatles. His delivers a strong performance with gritty vocals. L.A. enjoyed it, and thinks it’s the best he’s seen him in the past few weeks. Paula says he attacks our souls when he sings. Simon agrees that he’s come back strong this week. Nicole tells Josh she was just in awe. She informs Simon that Josh has the look of steel in his eyes. Simon guffaws, “What the hell are you talking about?”
Marcus Canty takes the stage for his second song of the night, Never Gonna Dance Again by George Michael. Marcus gives 110%, but with the white suit and finger-snapping tempo there comes a cheese factor that cannot be ignored. Nicole calls it an unexpected song, but says he’s a winner. Paula likes the way she made the song up-tempo. Simon says it was horrific – the song was absolutely wrong and the performance was a joke – he deserved better than that. L.A. disagrees – he looked like a champion.
Chris Rene comes to the stage for the second time tonight. He will be accompanying himself on piano for the first time. He tearfully recalls his late dad, and says he wants to make him proud. Chris sings No One by Alicia Keyes, starting at the piano and then taking the microphone with him as he brings the tempo up and moves around the stage. Nicole says his spirit transcends across the universe – it’s because he believes, that they believe. Paula loves everything about him. Simon says he delivered big time, and tells him his dad would be incredibly proud. Chris cries. L.A. tells Chris he has ‘lovability’.
Melanie Amaro, still tickled over a tweet from Mariah Carey, will be singing an old-school classic. Simon thinks the way he’s twisted it around is really great, or he’s done something very stupid. Melanie sings a groovy, sexy version of Feeling Good. She sounds terrific, and is only missing swagger in her performance. She finishes on an amazing note and wows the crowd. L.A. says she’s the greatest female who has ever graced that stage – she killed it! Nicole calls it the Melanie anthem. Paula loves that she’s letting go. Simon says this is why they brought the show to America – he dreamed they’d find someone like her.
Josh Krajcik doesn’t want to go back to working in a restaurant, and is determined to get to the semi-finals. He plays the piano and sings Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. It’s beautiful. L.A. says it lacked excitement. Paula wonders how L.A. could say that – Josh opens himself up – she thinks he’s the one to beat. Simon agrees with Paula – he sang with great emotion and sincerity. Nicole thanks them for recognizing that Josh’s performance was breathtaking.
Nicole Scherzinger and Florence and the Machine will perform tomorrow night on the elimination show!
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