It’s Simon Cowell’s show, and now one of his girls can cry if she wants to.
The arrogant judge, who plays up his role as the cruel taskmaster on-air, but is reportedly a pussy cat off it, finally got his comeuppance tonight from the fellow panelists he derides as Squiddly and Diddly.
Yes, it was results night on ‘The X Factor,’ and two crowd favorites departed, leaving the final five to battle for the $5 million prize…and don’t forget the starring role in a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial.
After last night’s Michael Jackson-themed show, several of the contestants were left in precarious positions, with only Melanie Amaro and Chris Rene impressing with their performances of “Earth Song,” and “I’ll Be There,” respectively, so it was no surprise when Steve “The Executioner” Jones gave them the first nods from the voting public to move on to the next round.
“It was magic last night,” gushed Simon, while Paula insisted, “We did Michael proud,” and L.A. agreed, “Wonderful.”
L.A. was seen backstage praising Rene, “You’re the most original artist in the competition. That will pay off when you start to make records.”
Cherubic Rachel Crow was next to get sent to the next round, leaving the bottom four of Josh Krajcik, Drew, Marcus Canty, a bottom two finisher last week and Astro, who was forced into performing a “Save Me” song several weeks ago, prompting his now-infamous pouting episode.
British rapper Tinie Tempah was brought in to relieve the mounting tension with “Pass Out,” as Astro, Canty, Drew and Krajcik sweated it out backstage.
“I’m staying strong because my mom told me to,” grinned Canty, who has been through this routine before.
Fourteen-year-old Drew seemed to be letting the pressure get to her, as she seemed about to break into tears. Even the usually nonplussed Krajcik had a worried look on his face.
The 30-year-old burrito-ista needn’t have worried, as he was the next to get saved, and now it was down to Astro, Canty and Drew.
The lowest vote total of the evening went to tyro hip-hop student Astro, which wasn’t exactly unexpected (I had him at the bottom of my Power Rankings), as most of the American public doesn’t believe that rapping is singing. Still, look for big things from the kid, with L.A. Reid one of his biggest fans, and it doesn’t hurt to have that legendary label exec in his corner.
“His career promises to be amazing,” said the veteran music man. “You are a star.”
That left Drew and Canty to sing it out for the judges’ approval, and you could already see what was going to happen, with Simon supporting his teenage charge and L.A. backing his soul man.
“I’m nervous,” admitted the 14-year-old from Arizona. “I’ve just got to hope everyone can see my true talent.”
“I’m going to give my heart, soul and everything I’ve got,” promised Canty.
Drew was up first, leaning into Roxette’s “Listen to Your Heart,” with its telling phrase, “before you tell me goodbye,” and it was one of her better performances, even though she didn’t stray far from the powerful ballad voice which got her this far.
Marcus Canty leaned into Gladys Knight and the Pips’ similarly appropriate “Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)” for all he was worth, showing off the soulful vocals that have carried him so far.
Then it was time to go to the judges.
L.A. praised both, admitting, “I’m very, very torn,” but it was no surprise when he sent Drew, for whom he had proven a nemesis, home.
Cowell apologized to Drew for sticking her in a chair with a slow ballad the night before. “The reason she is in this position is my fault. I shouldn’t have chosen that song, but I think you deserve another chance.”
And with that, it was down to Nicole and Paula, dubbed Squiddly and Diddly by Cowell, whose antagonism was about to cost him dearly.
“Marcus, I felt like your heart and soul is on the floor. You go to a vulnerable place,” said the ex-Pussycat Doll before giving Drew the bad news.
“I love and respect both of you,” insisted the diplomatic Abdul. “You both deserve recording contracts. It has to move, move, move me.” With that, she gave Drew the boot, earning a relieved Marcus Canty another week.
The youngster then started to bawl uncontrollably before leaving us with this message: “Jesus loves all of you. That’s what I was in the competition for and that was what I wanted to tell you.”
Lucky she didn’t tell us that earlier, or she might not have made it this far, or gone to the finals for that matter, judging the audience make-up.
So, we’re left with the final five: Melanie, Chris, Rachel, Josh and Marcus. It’s increasingly looking like Amaro’s to lose at this point, but the beauty is in the performances. At this point, anybody can win or lose it, depending on the moment.
What does everyone else think? Did Drew deserve to go? Will Simon’s arrogance keep hurting him with his fellow judges? Can Krajcik pull off a major upset? Who is really worth the $5 million prize? You tell us.
POWER RANKINGS: THE FAB FIVE
1. MELANIE AMARO: It’s hers to lose, but what kind of tricks are left up her sleeve?
2. CHRIS RENE: L.A. Reid called him the most original singer in the competition. Can he keep his cool long enough to win the whole enchilada? Should be interesting to see.
3. RACHEL CROW: This dynamic youngster certainly has the chops to go all the way, but she’s going to have to pull out all the stops to beat Amaro.
4. JOSH KRAJCIK: If the anti-Cowell bias continues, this heartland rocker could just be this competition’s version of Taylor Hicks. Could he be the rock tenor version of Andrea Bocelli?
5. MARCUS CANTY: He leaves it all on the floor, but he’s already ducked two bullets. Can he avoid a third strike?