Nicole introduces the next from her category, Leroy Bell. If someone would have told him at 60 years old he’d be walking the red carpet, he would have said, “You’re kidding, right?” It’s what you dream about as a kid. His hometown of Seattle is supporting him, including his 13-year-old son. Simon thinks he needs a “wow” performance or could be in trouble. Leroy promises tonight he’s going to be in his own element and just be himself. He sings I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For from Runaway Bride, and what really resonates here are the lyrics. It makes my heart skip a little beat for him. At 60, he hasn’t found it yet, but maybe he’s about to.
L.A. is really happy, because Leroy finally got it right. He was getting bored with the song choices from the past few weeks that were questionable. Paula has been waiting for this performance. She tells Nicole it’s a job well done. It’s a great song for him and he’s so in his element. She knows America has found what they’re looking for.
Simon is used to working with older people, and doesn’t believe there should be a cap on ages. Leroy is 60. yet and came out and sounded like a 20 year old, competed with teenagers, looked dignified, and was in control and classy …. It was his best performance by a clear mile. Nicole thanks Simon and notes that aside from his age, Leroy is just great. She felt like they were at Leroy’s rock concert, and he took everyone to church at the same time.
Paula’s first group is up, Lakoda Rayne. Cari finds it surreal to be just a normal schoolgirl a few weeks ago, with school and basketball. Her town is also supporting her. Paula has picked a country pop song for them, but that’s what L.A. doesn’t like about them. He wanted them to pick a side last week. Tonight they sing I Wanna Love Somebody Like You gtom How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Thankfully, they aren’t dressed like seasons tonight, and on top of it, they sound better than they did last week.
L.A. explains to Lakoda Rayne that they did pick a side finally, and he feels they went the right way. He cracks that they have become his favorite girl group in the competition. Paula misses the joke and tells him there’s only one. Nicole grew up in Kentucky and asks if they knows how popular she’d be if she took them home with her. Their presence together is so natural, and they have such chemistry. She loved that she got to hear them each sing individually this week.
Simon explains last week they were like the musical version of the Stepford Wives, but now that they got rid of the silly outfits and silly seasons idea, they’re like the group he always hoped they’d become. He agrees with Nicole, but slams Paula again, bjoking she’ll do the followup to the movie, “How to Lose a Guy in One Day.” She comes back and says it hasn’t worked, as she’s been with him for ten years. She’s so proud of these girls. Each week they’re clearing their path to an imminent Pepsi spotlight.
L.A. introduces his next act, Astro. When he met Adam Sandler this week, the actor only wanted to talk about Astro and the ladies. He then mentioned his wife’s reaction to Astro, and she liked him … a little too much. This was a taste of the life Astro wants, and if he was still in Brooklyn, he would be watching it all on TV. He’s writing through a lot of his life, from his lyrics to love songs to girls. L.A. knows he’s capable of writing ten songs a week. He takes a song from 8 Mile and makes it his own, and really this was the only movie for him to represent tonight. For the first time, he doesn’t seem like a kid rapper, but just …. an awesome rapper. Whether or not he wins, he’ll have a helluva career in front of him.
Nicole is just in awe of Astro and says it was so heavy. This is what separates the good from the great and the amateurs from the real contenders. Watching how he works and looking at how powerful his lyrics are, he’s a champion tonight. Paula thinks the level of focus he has is what creates superstars. He has an ability to transcend his voice to a myriad of genres. It puts him in a league all of his own.
Simon calls it so irritating. L.A. is like the cat who got the cream, as he cleared an Eminem song. Simon has done his day job for a long, long time, and what he likes about Astro is that every star has to have a work ethic. Astro has that and is extremely creative and a great role model. They called the show X-Factor as they’re looking for something special, and he has it. L.A. couldn’t be more proud. He has the audacity to take an Eminem song, one of the greatest ever, and rewrite his lyrics, and do a good job with it.
Simon’s next act, Melanie Amaro, is up. She was studying nursing before she left her hometown that is now supporting her, wearing t-shirts and having viewing parties. Simon is trying to push her out of her comfort zone each week. She’s sick this week, so is saving her voice, not even talking, other than to the camera. She sings Man in the Mirror from This Is It. Could there be better timing? Her voice seems to be holding up which is good. She takes the Michael Jackson vocal and puts her own spin on it, and does a great job, as Simon sits very smugly.
L.A. calls Melanie a great singer, although he didn’t find it very inventive. It was strong, but predictably strong. She’s a great singer, but he doesn’t see the range of choice. Nicole disagrees, calling it a brilliant song choice. She loves the song and thinks the whole world needs the song. Melanie’s voice is a vessel of the life and love that the song was created from. She believes she made Michael proud tonight.
Paula tells Melanie that music heals the world, and her voice truly does that. She’s a remarkable singer. The best thing is her and she could sing the phone book, so Simon can give her anything he wants. Simon uses a British expression, saying Melanie was “bloody fantastic.” Regarding what L.A. said, it’s called a tribute. He thinks this is Melanie’s best performance so far. She hit the note at the end, and to L.A., he explains it’s called range.