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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

X-Factor, Nov. 16 – Searching for a Definition of Rock

Nicole’s next act, Stacy Francis, is up. She sees Nicole as more than a mentor; she sees her as a very good friend. She thinks they have a loving deep relationship, and that Nicole understands what she’s going through. Nicole adores Stacy as a person and sees her as a fighter. Last week, Simon had an awful image of the two of them playing Whitney Houston, and Nicole lending Stacy one of her dresses. L.A. just hopes she doesn’t do one of his songs again. Stacy isn’t a stereotypical rock singer, but is very soulful, and she thinks they feed off each other. Tonight she sings It’s All Coming Back to Me Now , and sounds good, but she takes it far away from anything Meat Loaf or the rock genre.

L.A. promises to not be mean to Stacy and says she really sang the song well, and he leaves it at that. Paula is really honest and tells her it’s her least favorite song she ever performed. She asks if Nicole picked it, and Nicole explains Stacy picked it herself, because she challenged herself and sang something different last week. Paula found the pitch under. 

Simon starts with the good news, and tells Stacy her hair looks better this week. The not-so-good news is that the song was a horrible choice. As soon as he saw the feathered microphone, he knew what was coming. He wanted rock, and that was a pebble. It was the sort of thing he’d expect someone to sing at the Hilton Hotel. Nicole mentions there’s a genre of rock music called glam rock, and she was a glam diva tonight. She understands what the others were saying, but through it all, she continues to rise, and she said she wanted to be real and authentic, and “that’s rock enough.” Stacy looks absolutely crushed.

Melanie Amaro is up next representing Simon’s Girls Under 30. Melanie thinks she has a very good relationship with Simon and knows he believes in her. He likes working with her simply for her great voice, and because his connection became very personal to him once he invited her back into the competition by visiting her at home with her family. She originally lived with her grandparents, then moved in with her parents when she was in high school. She’d like to witnthis thing to help them out financially. She admits the genre isn’t something she grew up listening to. He stripped away everything, to make this all about her voice. L.A. continues to be rude, talking about a lack of edginess with her. Tonight, she sings Everybody Hurts, and I have to give kudos to Simon for this. It’s Melanie Amaro at her best.

L.A. tries to slam Simon for attacking his reggae pick, saying, “I get it. I was confused. That was rock, right?” L.A. tells Melanie she knows he loves her, she’s his girl, but that was so not rock. Nicole thinks Melanie sounded beautiful, but what she is confused about is that it’s one of her favorite songs, and every time she hears it, she cries. This time she didn’t, and she doesn’t know why. Good point. There was a lack of emotional connection tot his song she wasn’t familiar with. Nicole would have liked to have had it be a bit more raw.

Paula tells Melanie she took us to church. L.A. wants to beat his point home and asks, “Rock ‘n roll church?” Paula tells Melanie her voice is unparalleled, but she wants to see her let loose and let go. For Simon the performance reminded him of Adele and Alicia Keys, L.A. interrupts him, and I know where it’s going. He asks is they are rock artists now. Simon retorts, saying it was a rock song. He instructs L.A. to call up R.E.M. and tell them they are not a rock band. Simon continues with Melanie, telling her he is proud of her, and also points to the cheering crowd, saying they’re obviously going to support her.

Josh Krajcik, Nicole’s last contestant, is up next, and she tells America we’re not ready for this. She finds him super cool and one of the bros. He appreciates her as a mentor and thinks he has great ideas and really gets him. His dream of being a rock star started when he was 12, but following this dream has been hard. He felt defeated making burritos instead of pursuing his music. He knew what he was capable of, and thought if he had a chance, people would believe in him. Being rock week, Nicole calls it his cup of tea and right down his alley. Simon thinks if she chooses the song it will be Meat Loaf, but if Josh chooses, it’ll be something good. Josh sings The Pretender. L.A. and Simon, this is rock, and it’s good rock. Nicole rocks it out from the judges’ table. 

After a judges’ standing ovation, L.A. proclaims Josh has the authenticity, stage presence, and picked the right song. He’s the only person who really rocked this house tonight. Paula tells Josh everything has worked for him tonight. Not only is it her favorite performance from him, it’s her favorite of the evening. Simon tells him to never ever listen to a single person again on this show, because again, it was “bloody fantastic.” 

Nicole was taken back like when she was in a rock band way back and got to tour with Foo Fighters. She gives thanks for getting the song cleared and states that Josh is the ultimate rock star. “That’s how it’s done, America.” Steve has to add something as well, telling Josh, “You rock.”

L.A.’s second act is up, Astro, who he calls the most popular contestant on X-Factor. Last week was amazing for him as he didn’t want to mess up an Eminem song, but he had fun. His mom is back in New York working a lot, and he misses her and her cooking. The next time he sees her, he figures he’ll have $5 million. He’s with his “StepPop,” who is another great parent and a role model. L.A. is going to take a familiar song that is both rock and hip hop, and Astro calls it a love song. Nicole would like to see something more rockier from Astro. He sings Every Step You Take, and I have to say it’s a brilliant song choice.  Is this going to be another Simon/L.A. fight because he’s rapping his way through it?

Nicole thinks it was a smart song choice, but the question is … L.A. has to interrupt here, asking why she even has a question about Astro. Her question is if he’s ready at this age for a $5 million recording contract, but she definitely believes he is. Paula asks Astro if he can just suck for once, as she doesn’t think he can. He is phenomenal, amazing, and ready right now to be in the studio selling billions of record albums.

Simon points to Astro that  he took on Eminem last week, and Puff Daddy this week, and what’s amazing is that he has more maturity and intelligence than some of the older contestants. He knows who he wants to be and doesn’t compromise. He’s with Nicole, that he thinks he has a shot of winning it. L.A. thought Astro knocked it out of the park and also thinks he has everything it takes to win, and also be a major international star.

Astro gives it up to Stereo Hoggz and “a lot of girls” who are in the building. He also mentions it’s a special night for him and his little sister and wishes her a happy birthday. Aww. That there alone is going to get him a lot of votes. He’s not just a huge talent, but a real sweet kid as well.

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