About LauraBelle

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

X-Factor, Dec. 14 – It’s All About Being Original

Much of the enjoyment has been taken out of watching The X-Factor. It’s not so much the people that have left, but the way in which they have left. This show is so much more emotionally charged than American Idol, and I’m not sure why, but I know having pre-pubescent kids as contestants definitely factors in there. I don’t ever want to see a girl hurt like that again. We won’t have to worry about that anymore, as there are no more young people left, but I wonder if that will somewhat kill the drama completely.

Simon Cowell chimes in on the situation with Rachel Crow. Steve Jones asks if he’s seen her and how she’s doing. He hasn’t seen her, but refers to her as a “fighter” and “survivor,” and thinks she’ll be fine, especially since she’s not at the mercy of “these two” any more, meaning Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul. Nicole is asked about her week and is booed, saying she can handle the boos a lot better, as they have made her a lot stronger. She has nothing but love for Rachel, and she has nothing but love and light tonight.

One of the two songs the contestants will be singing tonight has been chosen by the fans as part of the Pepsi Challenge. They were supposed to sing them last week, but some snafu happened, and they pushed it off until this week. Had they sung the songs last week, would that have saved Rachel? Additionally, the judges have no say in who goes home this week. It’s all up to the viewers.

Up first tonight is Marcus Canty with his Pepsi Challenge song. He says the song is for that special lady and launches into I’ll Make Love to You, and it’s definitely a great song choice for him. He has a white rose with him and bends down and gives it to a young woman in the front row as other women in red lingerie dance behind him.

Nicole tells Marcus he is bringing sexy back. Even though she knows he’s making all the girls excited, he’s still doing it in such a classy way and looks like such a gentleman. Paula can always count on him giving 150%. He’s the entertainer of the group and didn’t let anyone down giving a solid performance.

Simon notes Marcus didn’t choose the song himself and sang it well. And just in saying that, he gets booed. Marucs’ mentor is responsible for the staging, and with the rose and zombie dancers, it didn’t fit, and was too many weird things at once. It was distracting and very corny. He doesn’t think L.A. Reid changed the song enough. L.A. believes it takes great taste to know great taste. He couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s a three-time Save Me Song champion, and he’s still here giving his all. L.A. stands by Marcus.

Up next is L.A.’s other guy, Chris Rene. His Pepsi Challenge song is I Just Wanna Fly, and the performance is a little weak until he starts rapping. And I’m finally with Simon on this dancers-on-the-stage thing. There are a bunch of dancers sitting and standing around not dancing, but just waiving their arms around, and it’s really distracting. I can’t even imagine how Simon feels about it. Despite this, Chris finally finds his place with the vocal close to the end.

What Nicole loves about Chris is that he just makes us feel good, whether he’s offstage or onstage. And as she says this, the crowd starts chanting, “Chris Rene. Chris Rene.” She feels he’s obviously the viewer’s pick and that he looks like a million bucks. Paula doesn’t think he looks like a million bucks, but more like five million bucks. Plain and simple, he has the gift to communicate, and his heart resonates his gift to the world.

Simon loved the choice of song. It was not the best vocal he’s heard from Chris, but was a good performance. His advice for him is to come out with his second song with more conviction and more focus, as he has one more shot to nail this. L.A. says Chris has the sparkle of a star and looks like a major star. He needs to just keep doing what he’s doing.

Melanie Amaro is up next, with Simon adding that they put a little twist on this song chosen for her by the viewers. She sings Hero, and it’s a a great vocal, but perhaps too polished, and we’re just all waiting for the twist. It never seemed to come. Then again, I’m not a fan of Mariah Carey’s, and not a fan of this song, so I may not be catching it, if it’s a subtle change.

L.A. tells Melanie it was really good. He can’t criticize the song choice and call it predictable, since America chose it. What did concern him was that he didn’t feel her usual passion and love for the song when she started, but she did end up taking it there. Nicole loves that America chose the song for her and loves the message of the song. It’s perfect and fitting for her to sing it. They all knew she had that voice and talent, but she’s grown into the woman that she is and has her own power and strength. She’s liberating and inspiring to all of them.

Paula calls Melanie’s voice impeccable and adds that it inspires her. She wanted to surprise her, so invited the guy who wrote the song to sit in the audience. Her only critique is in the arrangement, as changing the chords from major to minor took the uplifting tone to a sad and somber one, yet she made it work. Simon tells Paula and L.A. that what it wasn’t was karaoke. It was unlike the first song they heard tonight. It’s what they call putting a stamp on a song and making it original. He thinks she’ll be remembered for that version of it and calls it “bloody fan-tas-tic.”

Josh Krajcik is the last to sing a Pepsi Challenge song. The song America has chosen for him is Come Together. His raspy voice is perfect for this. This song I’m much more familiar with. I think even Simon and L.A. have to like everything about this. There doesn’t seem to be anything not to like.

In fact, L.A. rather enjoyed it. He calls it the best he has heard Josh in a few weeks. As far as he’s concerned, he’s one of the best in the competition, and he’s always picked him as a guy who could win. The last few weeks he felt it went down a little bit, but he made a return this week. Paula tells Josh he has the ability to attack our souls when he sings and gets into us with every nuance of his vocal. The industry isn’t just about selling records, but about wanting to pay for tickets to see someone live onstage, and she would pay to see him.

Simon has to hand it to Josh. He totally agrees with L.A. He has come back, and he’s come back strong this week. It’s what they liked about him. This is an honest performance. the good news is he hasn’t got Cruella Deville putting weird dancers around him anymore. It’s just him and a song. He thinks it would be a massive shame if he doesn’t make the final. “Cruella” wants him to know she’s the one who took the dancers off. She tells Josh what she loves about him is that he never rehearsed. No matter how many times she works with him, something else comes over him. He’s living and breathing that fire. She realized that look in his eyes that Simon recognizes is the look of steel. Simon is confused; so am I.

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