The X Factor (US) “Top 5 Perform” Review

“If they want a war, they’re going to get a war.”

So sayeth Simon Cowell. And everyone else seemed to agree. The words “battle” and “fight” were thrown around tonight more times than at a mixed martial arts bout. It’s war! WAR!!

Seriously, guys, a little less grim. The X Factor is a freaking singing contest. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The only thing that should be called “war” is, well, war.

Host Steve Jones continues to try to develop that Ryan Seacrest snarkbanter relationship with Simon, but you can tell Cowell’s just not having it. It’s apparent to me Jones just bores him silly; Simon would probably rather save his more cutting quips for the people who really irk him—i.e. the other three judges.

So it’s “Dance week.” I assumed that if it was anything like “Rock week,” it would be a bunch of dance songs—done slowly. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and most of the dance songs were actually dance-y. Then the “twist” reveal: the “Pepsi Challenge” songs were pushed back a week, so the contestants had to perform their “save me” songs.

Such drama!

(Not really.)

Here’s how I rated ’em:

1. Melanie Amaro: Melanie opened the show with Adele’s “Someone Like You,” which is of course a slow, heart-rending ballad, and I said, “Guess it’s not dance week!” Thankfully a dance beat eventually kicked in, and it was all good from there. Not bad, though really I can’t say the dance-y backbeat was anything I haven’t heard tossed behind a Celine Dion dance mix before. Melanie handled the vocals well. Her second song “Miracles,” was of course right in her wheel well. She’s basically the impossible love child of Celine and Whitney. If anyone expected anything less than a flawless performance… Come on. She’s probably got this competition in the bag. (Unless she, as Simon put it, “ends up in the piranha pool.”)

2. Marcus Canty: This had to be his night, right? Who else would thrive during Dance week? I wasn’t expecting to ever hear Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” on anything other than on some 80’s revival radio show, so I loved the song choice. Pretty damned good. Will it save him? I’m just not sure the Drew fans have forgiven him (not that her ouster was in any way his fault) as of yet, so I’m still assuming he’s going to be in the bottom. His second song was technically his third “save me” song, and I freaking loved it. Ironic that he may be ousted during his best week. There’s just not that many people left—and I don’t think he’s built the fan base he needs. Too bad.

3. Rachel Crow: She came back strong from last week’s bland performance; Simon made sure we knew she chose the song and then assured that there was “no chair.” Liked her first performance, was a little bored during the second one. And someone needs to tell her to stop doing her “go-to” look; that fake cutesy kiddie grin is really starting to grate. But yeah—she’s still packing loads of talent.

4. Josh Krakcik: Josh sang… I have no idea what that was. “We Found Love”…? I’ve never heard it before (I initially assumed it was a Coldplay song but it was apparently Rihanna). It wasn’t bad. But when compared to some of the other performances, it didn’t exactly knock my socks off. The vocals on the second song were good—again—but I was underwhelmed by the song itself. (Everyone and their mother knows that Beatles song. The backing track was virtually identical to the original.) The more I watch this show the more I’m convinced Nicole Scherzinger is a complete idiot. We’ll see if he makes it through. She’s not making it any easier.

5. Chris Rene: Who would have thought Chris Rene would have come out with one of his worst performances ever? Yeah, L.A., I heard you the first time when you said he wrote his own lyrics to “My Life,” but that’s not a good quality if the performance sucks. Pretty bad. I’m not sure what the judges heard, but I hated it—and I like this dude. I didn’t find it anywhere near deserving of the praise the judges gave it. I much preferred his second song—a truly original song—and it showed that he’s a pretty good acoustic performer. But it didn’t move me. Wasn’t precisely “Li’l Homie.” Still, I have to assume he’s safe. But I wasn’t sold today. Very underwhelmed.

So what do you think? Who’s going home tomorrow on The X Factor? My prediction: Rachel Crow and Marcus Canty in the bottom two… with Canty finally getting the boot. Again—too bad. Too little, too late.

If you think I’m too little, too late, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker!