X Factor USA 1.18 – Top 9 Results

Did you see that coming? I did not see that coming. Aren’t you glad you didn’t bet the rent money now? 

We start off the show letting somebody else sing for a change, namely Kelly Clarkson singing her new single, “Stronger”. It’s impossible not to judge the stars who show up on these shows as if they were contestants, and Kelly gets high marks in my book, although I dare say Melanie and Rachel could easily hold their own against her. I saw a quote from Simon once, saying that he hadn’t heard from Kelly in years and it was like they didn’t even know each other (yes, I’m paraphrasing the hell out of that). I wonder how awkward these kinds of events are for the two of them, and if Simon is spending Thanksgiving with Kelly and her family. Deep fried turkey for everyone!

They show a recap of last night’s show with glimpses of what happened after the performances back stage. Mostly it was the usual cheering and hugs, but it was interesting to see LeRoy Bell crying with his brother and displaying all the emotion that seemed absent when he sang. Maybe when you’re a 60 year old dude, you don’t want to sob in front of the cameras. I don’t know.  They also showed Chris Rene and Tim the sponsor posturing and shouting, “Recovery ROCKS!” I lol’d. Unless you’re a contestant on X-Factor, I have a feeling recovery is like getting whacked by a rock until you bleed.

Before we get to the results, we finally get to see the Pepsi ensemble performance they’ve been droning about for weeks, as chosen by some coked-up (see what I did there?) internet surfer. They went with a giant rotating turntable…with a circus theme…with hip hop dance moves…singing Pink songs. Bwahaha! But the laugh’s on me, because I totally enjoyed it! Hey, if I didn’t like the taste of cheese I sure wouldn’t be watching this show. Josh in a bowler cap, Marcus in a bright pink suit, and Lakoda Rayne whipping their hair back and forth. What’s not to love? Smartly, the producers get LeRoy to sing almost immediately, vastly reducing the odds he’ll forget when to start.

Time for the act with the lowest number of votes to get booted. Steve calls up Lakoda Rayne and Drew, the better to drum up some fake drama. Although the results seem obvious, Drew still looks terrified in her little wee clown hat of doom. But no, no shock elimination here – Lakoda Rayne is gone, and they’re nothing if not philosophical. I wish them well, and hope they can figure out which one of them can’t hold a tune. That means Drew is through. Hey, that rhymed! Maybe I can write some rap for Astro before he gets turfed. That’s right…Astro turfed. I went there, and I’m proud of it.

We pause for a performance by Bruno Mars. Judging him as an X Factor contestant, he kicks butt. The boy can sing, and he also uses the holodeck to its full potential.

On with the show. It’s time for Steve to name who all is going through. It’s very exciting, if you go by that one girl shrieking her lungs out in the audience. First up – Chris Rene. Next through – Rachel Crow (who promptly screams right into Simon’s clip-on mike). After her – Josh Krajcik and Melanie Amaro.

That leaves Marcus, Astro, and LeRoy. Huh! A bit of a nail biter, that. Is Astro finally going to get the spanking he so richly deserves? No it does not. Astro is through, thus sparing us the pain of watching him sing resentfully/grovelly for his life for a second time. But that means Marcus and LeRoy are the bottom two (after Lakoda Rayne)! How does it feel, Marcus? “I’m feeling kinda funny. I’ve never been down here before.” Ha!

Marcus sings for his life first. He’s singing “You Lost Me” by Xtina, and he does fairly well, and tons better than last night. Sure he’s talented, but not as talented as the judges keep telling him he is.

Next up, LeRoy. Go figure – the week I thought he was gone for sure he sailed through, and the week I thought he did much better, here he is on the edge of elimination.  Just to make it more unsettling, LeRoy sings “Don’t Let Me Down” like a seasoned pro, at long last full of the emotion I’ve been hoping for for so long. But is it too little too late? It’s up the judges now.

I don’t know why LA bothers to even pretend that he’d consider sending Marcus home since he’s his mentor, but he acts as torn as Solomon before he finally chooses LeRoy to hit the pavement. Nicole is much more honest, telling Marcus how much she loves him before sending him on his way. Marcus smiles sadly, already accepting the worst.

I love how the judges completely ignore Steve’s commands to give their decision faster, faster. Paula has something to say, and she’s going to say all of it, dammit. As she’s told countless contestants before, she assures them that both of them are going to go on to have major record deals, which so far has not come to pass – even for some of the winners of American Idol! But for the moment, she makes them feel special, and loved. And then she boots Marcus. Aw, poor Marcus.

Shock of shocks, Simon releases control of the results to the American public. Not always wise, but wholly democratic. He eliminates LeRoy, tying the vote and defaulting to who actually got the lowest number of votes. And that is…LeRoy Bell. Not entirely a surprise (although I believe he’s actually a much stronger singer than Marcus, just too close to collecting social security to gel with the young’uns), but I’m glad he goes out after giving what I think is his best performance of all.