'The X Factor': Thankful, inspirational night rules
Guess we should let them sing. So here we go. The theme is giving thanks and whatnot, so they are dedicating their songs to someone they want to thank. Get those tissues handy (or rotten tomatoes, whatever floats your boat).
I want to be snarky, but I'm already crying at Rachel's video package. Geez.
1. Rachel Crow, "I Believe," Yolanda Adams
I'm not sure what is happening with her outfit, but she sounds awesome. Is that a bed sheet tied around her waist over top of her maitre d' uniform? No clue. This song is perfect for her. It stays in her big take-us-to-church lane and doesn't revert back to the teenybopper crap that plagued her for the first two live weeks. With the choir and the confetti, this looks like Rachel's coronation performance after winning "The X Factor." Ha. The judges love it. Nicole is rocking the "Little House on the Prairie" chic tonight.
2. Marcus Canty, "A Song for Mama," Boyz II Men
It starts out too low, Marcus sounds really breathy and unsupported. I'm sure it's in order to let him wail later on in the song, but it bugs me when singers do that. Don't sacrifice the low stuff just to hit the high stuff later. And then that is exactly what happens, though it's totally saved by his cracking voice. Obviously, he is overcome by emotion and is struggling with the singing. Aw, geez. Tears again. It's so hard to sing when you're on the verge of tears, your throat gets so tight. That performance got really nice after the shaky beginning.
Simon tries to make his comments, while Paula and the moronic audience won't let him get a word in edgewise. And then the boos turn to cheers as the audience catches up. L.A. Reid takes some time to name-drop. Why doesn't he just whip it out some night and we can measure and be all impressed and then stop with the name-dropping.
3. Melanie Amaro, "The World's Greatest," R. Kelly
Oh, dear. This is the dedicated-to-God song? R.Kelly? The guy who pees on girls? I just ... I can't. I can't get past that. Also, God and the whole Jesus thing is about humility and being humble and this song isn't that at all, even if it is supposed to be dedicated to God. This is just .... weird and confusing. I'm sorry, y'all. I can't stop laughing at this. As far as Melanie goes - she looks amazing and sounds fabulous, but did we think it would be any different? No, she's fantastic. I just think the song choice is weird.
After the song, it turns into a weird testimonial hugs from Nicole moment thing, I don't even know. I'm sorry, I can't stop giggling at the R. Kelly song choice.
4. Chris Rene, "Let It Be," The Beatles/ "Young Homey"
This is a very fitting song for someone who is a recovering drug addict, as the whole 12-step process involves giving yourself over to a higher power and admitting you are powerless. I also dig the hip-hop/reggae vibe he has going on while still showing off his vocals. And I love it when he goes into "Young Homey." He's not the strongest vocalist, but there is just something about Chris.
5. Lakoda Rayne, "You Belong With Me," Taylor Swift
Weird song choice. Plus, the verse is way too low for whoever starts out, you can barely hear her. Then when they sing in unison, the harmonies and balance are kind of a mess. The ending gets better, but I still think Paula's about to be out of a job.
L.A. gives another ridiculously backhanded compliment, though at least he doesn't act like Taylor Swift is his bestie, so I guess that's something. Nicole is also complimentary and then Simon calls it their best performance to date. Hmm. He does qualify that by saying the vocals weren't perfect. Yeah. I have a feeling this performance is one of those where it's so much better live than it is on TV. Because without the excitement of being there, it just seemed messy and kinda bad. Paula is doing her best Tammy Faye Baker impression.
6. LeRoy Bell, "Angel," Sarah McLachlan
Oh, this song. The one that makes me give all my money to the ASPCA (you think I'm kidding. I am not). Vocally, some of this is a little muffled, but it gets better as LeRoy finds his footing. He gets stronger. Maybe it was the emotion? The bridge/ending are really nice, I love how he changes up the arrangement. The choir just standing in that big doorway behind him is a little creepy. But other than that, I liked it.
Paula says she finally feels his passion and his connection. I do not disagree.
7. Astro, an original song
I'll just say this in regards to last week. I think we can all cut Astro some slack. Yes, that was a terrible stunt to pull. However. He is 14 years old and he is in the highest-pressure situation of his entire life. I knew some very mature 14 year-olds when I was that age but I also knew some real brats. He's a kid and he reacted without thinking and because his feelings and his pride were hurt. He lashed out. I think he probably learned his lesson and we can all cut him a break.
I'm fairly sure this is completely an Astro original number. He attacks bloggers, I heard that lyric. Heh. But basically, it's just a love letter to his Astro-nauts. There is the tried-and-true lyricist trick of listing geographic locations. I'm also not sure I'd brag about "places I can't pronounce like 'Nova Scotia.'" Anyway. This was really not my favorite Astro song. It's kinda terrible. But on the other hand, it's a way to do eat some humble pie and thank his fans and all that. Maybe enough to save him? But with two going home, I'm not so sure. He does give a nice apology after he's done performing. Good for him.
8. Drew Ryniewicz, "Skyscraper," Demi Lovato
Great song for her. It really current-s her up, plus she sounds fantastic. The beginning is all quiet and Drew-like, then as it builds, she really gets to let it rip and we haven't really heard her do that much so far. She also looks really young and hip, much more normal than her past outfits (not that I didn't love those).
What was up with the woman in white in the video behind her? Was that Demi? Was that Drew? The BFF? Who was that?
L.A. Reid starts talking and we find out that when he's not name-dropping, he is apparently a giant dumb [expletive]. He wonders, "You're doing songs for people that are 40. Why you doing songs that are so old?" Uh, Demi Lovato is 19! Drew sticks up for herself, but not in the right way. The point isn't that you have a Shelby in your life, the point is that L.A. is ignorant.
Paula points this out. I love Paula being the voice of reason. I hope Lakoda Rayne goes home and Paula just spends each week getting drunk and preaching the truth.
Simon then gets super awesome when he says, "I am sick to death of your pointless, stupid criticism of this girl ... Shut up for a second, L.A. This is unfounded, it is inaccurate, you are talking complete and utter rubbish."
L.A. then says, "I think it's in poor taste." Um, what is in poor taste? You talking about something you know nothing about? Seriously, he it's like he doesn't get it yet. It's like it hasn't sunk in that what he said was complete nonsense because the song is by a NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL.
*beats head on desk*
9. Josh Krajcik, "Wild Horses," the Rolling Stones
Awesome song. Awesome. This is three killer weeks in a row for Josh. He's so tender and rock-y at the same time and ... is this the first time we've seen him on the piano? That's super hot. This is my favorite Josh performance so far. Fabulous. I want to download this.
So, who is going home? I'm sorry, but I think Lakoda Rayne and Astro are dunzo. They needed one of the acts "ahead" of them to stumble and nobody did.