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

X-Factor, Nov. 22 – Giving Thanks …

Nicole is proud of Astro. wants him moving forward because she believes in him, and he is a champion. He should never expect and always remain grateful. This week is for him, giving thanks and always being grateful. Paula asks if she can be an Astro-Naut, and also has to tell him he is on his way to becoming prolific. He was seemingly in trouble, but she never felt he was irreverent. She does know how important and devoted he is to his music. Anyone who is hating on him must be perfect, but she’s never met anyone who is, including the guy sitting next to her.

The guy sitting next to Paula, Simon, also wants to be an Astro-Naut, and wants to be the first to send Paula up to space. She’ll go, as long as she can see Astro. Simon admires Astro, because he thinks he finds it hard to express himself. He knew he did wrong. The music business, though, needs unpredictability. He likes people who are passionate, and he does think it wasn’t the perfect song this week, but in terms of showcasing his talent, he can’t fault that. L.A. thinks Astro did the necessary thing and humble himself and apologize and be a gentleman. As long as he keeps a good head on his shoulders and does his very best, he’ll be fine.

Drew is dedicating her song tonight to her best friend in the whole world, Shelby. They have been friends since second grade. She used to always get angry when someone would say something against her, and her friend would just tell her to forget about it. They laugh it all off, and it’s okay. Shelby always tells her she’s beautiful the way she is, and she wouldn’t ever want her to change. Simon thinks we all need friends like that. She is singing Skyscraper tonight, as it’s “their” song. Well, she had promised upbeat for this week, but obviously it’s not a week for that. The outcome is that it once again sounds the same as all the others, until the end when she can finally insert a little bit upbeat.

L.A. has to direct his comments to Drew’s mentor, Simon. She’s great, but at 15, she’s doing songs for people who are 40. She’s so young and just doesn’t do age-appropriate music. She explains the song means a lot to her no matter how old she is. It goes out to every girl who felt the way she did Everyone needs a best friend like Shelby, and every girl or guy doesn’t know that. It goes out to everyone who has felt worthless or like they weren’t good enough. Nicole calls her beautiful and is happy she dedicated the song to a special friend. She hopes everyone has a Shelby in their life. She feels she rocked out more too.

Paula agrees that everyone needs a friend. It’s a young artist who sings the song, Demi Lovato. She loved when the tempo picked up and felt she really got into it. Simon is proud of her. He directs the next comment to L.A., and tells him he is sick to death of his “pointless stupid criticism.” It’s unfounded, inaccurate, and a young girl’s song. He talking complete and utter rubbish. He knows the girl deserves a shot on the show, and he’s trying to make people feel she doesn’t belong on the show, but she does. L.A. thinks the point is Simon can dish it out and not take it. Steve and Paula have to break up this verbal clash.

Up last is Josh Krajcik who is dedicating his song to his 13-year-old daughter. He was 17 when he had her. Josh lost his first love and fell into a dark place, forgetting all about his music. His mom felt hopeless to not be able to help him. He saw his daughter playing piano, and saw a part of him inside her, and knew he had to make a change to show her that to have a dream and strive for it is worth it. He’s been playing this song her whole life, as it shows how hard it is to be away and not see her. He sings Wild Horses, and for the first time accompanies himself on the piano. It is so hauntingly beautiful and gives me chills. Yes, this dream is worth it.

After a judges’ standing ovation, L.A. tells Josh he has the right amount of everything, passion, authenticity, is clearly lovable, and chose the right song. He has everything it takes to win this competition. Paula tells Josh it’s such a pleasure and honor knowing him. All she ever asks and wants is for them to be bigger than the songs they sing. And he is larger than life. He was brilliant.

Simon knows this is what it’s all about. It was a great song, great voice, and he meant every word he sang. He’s given Nicole a bit of a hard time over the weeks, but she’s done an outstanding job tonight. Nicole, through tears, says she is grateful for Simon. She is so … without words apparently looking at Josh. Beyond this competition, she strongly believes Josh’s music can change the world. She appreciates him so much for the musician that he is.

Josh thanks the audience and the people back home that support him, because like his daughter, they inspire him to be there. He does a little sign language as Steve talks, and I think he was spelling out his name. It was hard to tell, as he went so quickly.

At the end of the night, the acts are all out onstage, standing with the people who have inspired them. What do I give thanks for? I give thanks to music. It has always been such a special part of my life, and that is thanks to my mom who showed me how wonderful music could be, whether you’re listening, singing, dancing, or playing. It’s with that in mind, that I watch and love every minute of The X-Factor.

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