So, Michael Jackson is the theme night for “The X Factor” and his family members are there. I’m sorry, but I find this a little gross. Michael has been gone over two years and I’ve never been comfortable with treating him with the saint-like revere that he has gotten since he died. On top of that, his family has seemed to kind of be taking advantage of the publicity of his death. And finally, the Conrad Murray sentencing was just handed down. Coincidence?
Seriously, this smacks of all sorts of things I don’t like. So, I’m just putting that out there. But I think I can be objective about the contestants because A) not their fault or choice and B) MJ did put forth some really great music.
1. Josh Krajcik, “Dirty Diana”
Good choice for Krajcik, as far as the MJ catalog goes, though this is definitely not my favorite Josh performances. It’s hard to hear him on the verses, he’s dropping the low notes, which (as I talk about far too often with these shows) is what they do so he can hit the high stuff on the chorus. I’m also not wild about his Jheri-curl-meets-Weird-Al hair. But the guitar solo totally saves the performance. I feel comfortable (at this point) in saying Josh is very safe.
Paula says he raised the bar and encourages people to vote. Simon says the spectacle was great. However, he says Josh was over-produced and got lost. Yeah, I can kinda see that. But I think he did his best with Michael Jackson week.
2. Astro, “Black and White”
I was very curious about what Astro does for MJ week, but I realize I should’ve known he’d do “Black and White.” It’s really one of the only songs that lends itself to rapping. It’s pretty good, though sometimes hard to understand what he’s saying. I find the backup dancers in their weird Russian-Scottish-Middle-Eastern garb to be distracting and not helpful to the performance. It was solid. Not my favorite, but good. I’m still not sure Astro’s here after tomorrow night, though.
The camera needs to stop cutting to MJ’s kids. Seriously, leave them alone. Simon disagrees with me, saying it was one of Astro’s best.
3. Drew Ryniewicz, “Billie Jean”
Awesome arrangement. I know peple are getting sick of Drew’s lane of slow, haunting ballads, but I say – if that’s what you do best, do it. And this is wonderful. Drew seems so much older than she is during this performance. You know what else I like? She’s not changing the gender pronouns to make the song silly. She’s just singing it the way it’s written. I also love the way she’s changing up the melody line slightly. This is gorgeous.
L.A. says he’s in a “naughty, naughty mood,” which – dude, keep that to yourself. But then he says she made it her own and he liked it. I totally agree. Nicole criticizes the staging, but she does it in a way that, like, makes her, like, sound, like, a total Valley Girl, like, ya know? Paula then criticizes the lack of spectacle and then the judging devolves into a ridiculous fight. What else is new?
4. Rachel Crow, “Can You Feel It”
The spectacle on this one is definitely through the roof, but I”m not feeling it. This is Rachel Crow playing Michael Jackson dress up and singing karaoke. It doesn’t feel authentic and it’s not really letting her show off her vocal talents. She’s just kind of bopping around in her high-tops and I’m not feeling it at all. The ending is her one bright shining moment, but it’s fleeting and I’m pretty “meh” about the whole thing.
L.A. says he didn’t believe that she was having a great time, which I agree with. Nicole also says she doesn’t know if Rachel felt it. Steve is interrupting like his usual annoying self.
5. Marcus Canty, “P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)”
Great song choice for Marcus. He sounds like a current artist who could release this song. The stage going crazy and the backup dancers are a little seizure-inducing, but the vocals are solid. He gets a little out of breath after coming down on stage and turning a back-flip, but it’s not as horrendous as Simon is about to make it sound like. I do think the back-flip should’ve been more organic. It was kind of awkwardly shoe-horned in. But this was a really fun performance.
Nicole says he’s the whole package, which it’s hard to disagree with. He sings, he’s a great dancer and he’s super cute. Paula praises him for leaving it all out there.
6. Chris Rene, “I’ll Be There”
The backstory of his Grandpa having written “Rockin’ Robin” is pretty cool. Anyway. This is a perfect song to put an R&B spin on, so I don’t find it a risky song choice at all. I do, however, feel like we’ve gotten to the point where Chris Rene’s talents can’t really hold up against the other singers. He’s good, but we’re about to cut the Top 7 to the Top 5 and I’m not sure he makes it. This is also kind of a boring song and the performance isn’t overly exciting. Iit’s fine, but I won’t be shocked if he goes home.
7. Melanie Amaro, “Earth Song”
This week Melanie is really rocking her Beyonce look, which I think totally works for her. Vocally, this is really strong. Soaring and serious and full of feeling. The ending is incredible. Can this girl do any wrong? Can she have a bad week? I’m not sure she can. She’s just the kind of powerful singer that translates well on a show like this, plus she’s got the chops to back it up.
L.A. says he forgot he was at a competition and that he felt like he was at a Melanie concert. Nicole says one of the best performances on the entire show. She then really ruins her critique by shouting, “If that performance doesn’t save a small country somewhere, I don’t know what will.” Way to make yourself look ignorant, sheltered and ridiculous, Nicole. W.T.F., Nicole?
What do you think, “X Factor” fans? I think Astro and Chris Rene are in trouble.