The X Factor (US) “Top 4 Perform” Review

So this is “final four” week on The X Factor, and as the numbers whittle down, the less interested I find myself in watching this show. It feels like all the really magnetic acts have fallen by the wayside. Sure we’re left with some remarkable talent, but I’m not on the edge of my seat, wondering “What the hell is Astro gonna do tonight?”

That said, there were some excellent performances tonight.

Here’s how I rated ’em:

1. Josh Krakcik: He started with another Beatles tune, and this one done much better than the last. “Come Together,” sung with Krakcik’s gravelly voice, was something striking and new. Even L.A. effused praise, which I didn’t expect (dude seems even more intent on winning than Simon), and it felt like this was a finally a choice Nicole Scherzinger made that wasn’t totally idio—-oh wait. This was a viewer’s choice song. Duh. (We can blame Nicole, who continues to grate on me with her rampant brainlessness, for the inappropriate pyrotechnics.) It makes sense that Josh’s next song, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” would be a complete miss. Well, except it wasn’t. Dull? Not even a little. Josh’s earthy voice made it soar. As usual, he’s winning despite Scherzinger.

2. Melanie Amaro: Here’s where I’m not completely thrilled. Melanie, for all her vocal talent, is becoming as one-note a performer as Drew Riniewicz ever was. Sure, “Hero” by Mariah Carrey isn’t the easiest song to sing, but it’s exactly what we expect to hear (even if its in a minor key instead of a major—tiny quibble). Just stuff Melanie into a sequin-studded dress and watch as she stands there and sings like a pro. Yawn. They switched it up (a little) with her second song. The Broadway staple “Feeling Good” wasn’t one of those songs I’d initially expect from her, though the delivery was still a little dull. I perked a little at that last note (wow) but… I kind of feel like she would be better suited for a Broadway stage than making pop records. Don’t get me wrong, she can still win the competition easily, but that doesn’t always translate into record sales. (Paging Ruben Studdard! Paging Ruben Studdard!)

3. Chris Rene: The viewer request song for Chris was “Fly,” by Sugar Ray, and I wasn’t blown away by the rendition. Yet another song his voice isn’t suitable for; I’m starting to feel like he’s really only suitable for his own songs. I did think his 1950’s college-student-hair-and-sweater version of Alicia Keys’ “No One” was pretty damned good—and even Cowell agreed. But it was a little odd to hear L.A. Reid admit that Chris didn’t have “the best voice.” Even though I don’t think it will hurt him this week, I wonder if the statement will stick in the minds of viewers and influence future votes. And no, L.A., I don’t think his “lovability” will factor in. (Seriously. Lovability?)

4. Marcus Canty: Marcus’s viewer request song was “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men, which is pretty funny, given how hard he’s trying to cultivate that church-goin’ mama’s boy image. The three-piece suit was nice, but the whole handing-out-a-rose-to-random-person-in-the-audience thing came off as cheesy. And the “zombie dancers” in negligees basically sucked. His second song, an up-tempo “Careless Whisper” by Wham, was a bit of a surprise, but I was a little impressed that it was at least different… which doesn’t excuse the fact that he still has the worst singing voice in the competition. The crowd seemed to be into it. Simon wasn’t, obviously, and it feels like he’s simply fed up with seeing Marcus in the competition. I can’t say I blame him.

Time for Marcus to bid farewell. Like for reals this time.

So what do you think? Is it finally time for Canty to go home tomorrow on The X Factor?

I sort of think he has to. But I said that last week.

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