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

X-Factor, Nov. 23 – Don’t Let Me Down

It just seems so weird and random to suddenly be cutting the finalists down by two tonight. If there were twelve, and they were making it an even ten, that would be one thing, but from nine to seven? It just seems odd. There must be something happening on Fox in a couple weeks that they need to get this thing finished up quickly. And no matter how you look at it, it’s going to be a tough night. It was a night for being inspirational and giving thanks. How do you cut not one, but two people who were pouring their hearts out in their performances?

Instead of starting off with a group performance, we go to the big names right away. Kelly Clarkson takes the stage with a song, Stronger, from her new album. Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul should be proud sitting at the judges’ table, as they helped create her whole career. Will they do the same for the winner of this inaugural season of The X-Factor?

The final nine follow Kelly’s performance with one of their own. They sing a medley of songs that makes me wonder what’s going on as most of them seem to be singing offkey. It’s just odd. It wasn’t just one person, but everyone. Perhaps the sound system there is malfunctioning and no one can hear or something.

Steve Jones announces how the results will work tonight. The act with the lowest amount of votes will go home automatically. Then the next two acts that received the lowest amount of votes will sing for their survival, and the judges will decide which of those two will go home. It’s going to be a very tough decision no matter which two acts are standing there.

No one knows how the names will be announced. Steve asks for Lakoda Rayne and Drew to join him, and one of Lakoda Rayne starts screaming in excitement, then realizes she doesn’t know what’s about to happen. One is safe, and the other is the lowest number of votes. Paula and Simon come and join their acts onstage. Simon looks a little worried. The act going home immediately is Lakoda Rayne. Drew is happy, but tells the other four girls in the group she loves them. Paula is very upset, yet the group promises that this isn’t the end for them.

There are seven remaining acts waiting to find out if they are going home, but they have to wait even longer. Bruno Mars sings his new release, It Will Rain first. I’ve said this before. It doesn’t matter if it’s American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, or The X-Factor. At a certain point, we just want the results, and even though these performances are really good, no one wants to sit through them. We just want our results.

The remaining seven finalists take the stage to find out which five are safe, and which two will sing for their survival. Paula Abdul looks very lonely at the judges table on her own, with the other judges standing onstage next to their acts. The acts called safe are Chris Rene, Rachel Crow, Josh Krajcik, Melanie Amaro, and Astro. This leaves Marcus Canty and Leroy Bell as the two to sing for their survival.

Marcus sings for his survival first. He sings You Lost Me, and starts more quiet and close to the mic, so that it’s hard hard to understand him, and by the end he is absolutely pounding this song, trying to force it out, with the hopes that he’ll stay. Remember this is a guy who gave thanks to his mom last night.

Leroy is up next, singing Don’t Let Me Down. Unlike others in his position, he’s not singing with any desperation. It’s the same performance he always gives. It should be noted that this guy, too, sang for his mom last night.

It goes out to the judges to decide who will stay and who will leave. L.A. calls it a really funny thing, noting that everyone has their own particular taste. He happens to love both of the two guys. If he judges it based on consistency, it goes to Marcus, but if he goes by sizzle, it’s Leroy. He has to plead to the other judges that Marcus has delivered time and time and time again. He’s an amazing singer, and in terms of who can be an amazing star, they’re talking Marcus. It pains him, as he “digs this cat,” but he votes to send Leroy home.

Nicole has no doubt in her mind that Marcus is a star. She feels it. But, Leory has proven that it’s never too late to go after your dream, and it’s never too late to change. He has blossomed into the artist and rock star she knows him to be. She believes in him so strongly and knows he’s isnging for his life. She votes to send home Marcus.

Paula tells Marcus he knows he is one of her favorites and has the ability to be a massive star. He didn’t deliver on the safety song the way Leroy did. Leroy, on the other hand, did sing for his life. She thinks both will have major record deals and go on to sell a lot of albums. She votes to send Marcus home based on the safety song.

Simon likes them both. He thinks in the competition Marcus is nudging ahead of Leroy, but Leroy did sing better tonight. He’s going to let the public decide tonight and sends home Leroy, so that the person with the lowest amount of votes goes home. I think he made a fair choice.

The act going home is Leroy Bell. He tells Steve he’s feeling okay about it. It was a great ride, wonderful journey, and he learned a lot. Nicole steals the microphone and says that he’s amazing and wants everyone to give it up for him.

Ironically, Leroy sang Don’t Let Me Down for his survival, and the judges seemed to agree it was the better performance of the two tonight. I hope Paula is right and that he will go on to get a record deal. He was one of my favorites in the competition. I could listen to that voice all night. I will miss that voice next week.

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