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

X-Factor, Dec. 7 – “Where Do We Go From Here?”

L.A. points out that Josh knows he always sings great, but in a recording world, he could never see him doing that song. He loves the song, but just didn’t believe it or buy it, even though he was great as a singer. Paula couldn’t disagree more, because the kind of artist Josh is, he could take any song and make it believable as a dance hit. He changed it, and the production on it was really brilliant. She never would have thought that in a million years.

Simon agrees with L.A. He thinks Josh has a very good voice, but the song was completely inappropriate. What made it worse was that he was surrounded by a ridiculous dance routine that had nothing to do with the song, was distracting, and for the second time, is very lucky he has a second song. For the second week in a row, Nicole has it absolutely wrong. He feels if she would spend as much time in America as England, she might do a good job. Are we judging the mentors or the performers?

Nicole is so happy right now, as unlike the other artists, Josh showed how versatile, relevant, and current he is as an artist. He just killed it and made the song his own. For his part, Josh calls the song dark and uplifting at the same time, and he’s happy with it.

LA.’s act, Chris Rene, is up with the last dance hit. He sings Livin’ My Life, for yet another Rihanna song, and it’s the most perfect song for him to perform. L.A. did good with this one. Additionally, sometimes Chris shows a weakness when he has to sing rather than rap, but this is probably his best singing vocal yet.

Nicole tells L.A. she doesn’t have anything but love for him, and she’s going to teach him something about love. Chris needs to go ahead and live his life, as we’re living it right there with him. She loves his spirit and energy, and loves that while he wrote the verses, it sounds like he wrote the hook as well, as it sounds like his own song. Paula finds it nice to see him out there doing his sing, and it’s one of the most fun performances she’s seen. He had the crowd going, and she loved it and loves him.

Simon saw the look on Chris’ face when he got through last week, and it was obvious he didn’t think he was going through. Simon feels the public supporting an artist like this is really important. He’s not going to say he’s the best singer, because he’s not, but as an overall potential recording artist, with charisma and with presence, he thinks he’s doing brilliantly. It didn’t help, though, that the stage was set in motion, as he nearly fell off the stage. All L.A. knows is that they are entering the semi-finals, and Chris keeps improving each week. He keeps making songs his own, writes his own lyrics, and all he needs is votes.

While the second performances were supposed to be songs that the viewers chose in the Pepsi Challenge, there was an error in communication with the song selections. Those songs are being pushed to next week, and instead, the acts will all be singing their own choice of song. But they didn’t get this news until last night. They’ll all be singing their safety song.

Melanie is up again, and notes that normally they have six to eight days to prepare a song, so she’s kind of nervous to do this. Simon sees this challenge as one that happens in real life, and feels it’s a good one to survive. She chose this song because it describes her dream. She sings When You Believe, and it’s absolutely perfect for her. Her dress and the glittery atmosphere around her makes her look like she’s performing an American Idol coronation song.

Before hearing from the judges, Melanie says she believes in herself, and when she originally went home after Simon sent her there, she believed in herself, and when she did, look who came walking through her door. L.A. has to ask if she really just started it last night, and it was that good. It was amazing, but safe. She gave Nicole goosebumps, and what was so special, is that she didn’t just sing the song. It was like she was speaking the song to everyone. She is in awe of Melanie.

When Paula closed her eyes, she could hear Whitney and Mariah. It was a performance that worked, because where less is more, it totally worked and was beautiful. Simon is incredulous that L.A. thinks singing a Whitney/Mariah song with twenty-four hours is safe. He wants him to give the girl some credit, as she sang it incredibly. A very good friend of his, Clive Davis, the guy who originally singed Whitney, is in the audience tonight. Simon asks people to pick up the phones, as if “this girl ends up in the piranha pool, she’s out.”

Marcus mentions having to sing for survival two times in a row and says he gave his heart out there. L.A. understood Nicole and Paula choosing Marcus, as he was better than Drew that day. Paula told him after that when he sings from heart it grabs them, and that’s what made it impossible to send him home. However, he’s now done two survival songs and needed to pick another one to sing tonight. Apparently he took Paula’s advice, as he sings A Song for You. This is his best performance to date. Remember, this is a guy I was thinking shouldn’t have even made the final 12, and I just never got him. But this … is really good.

Nicole thanks Marcus for reminding everyone why they fell in love with him from the start. It was so honest and had so much grace. He reminds her of a young Al Green, proving his talent is timeless. Paula tells Marcus it was one of his best performances she’s witnessed. His eyes do not lie. He is a storyteller, and that goes beyond any superior voice.

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