STAGE TUBE: The Final Four Perform on THE X FACTOR
It was make it or break it time at last night's semi-finals as Melanie Amaro, Marcus Canty, Josh Krajcik, and Chris Rene sang two songs each to secure a place in next week's season finale. The judges even made a few predictions of who would make it onto next week.
In round one, Melanie, Marcus, Josh, and Chris sang their Pepsi Challenge song that had been chosen by fan's votes.
Marcus Canty - the "three times save me song champion" as his mentor L.A. Reid introduced him performed a romantic rendition of "I'll Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men complete with handing a single white rose to a lucky lady in the audience. "Marcus, you are bringing sexy back," said Nicole. "You are the entertainer of this group," declared Paula Abdul. Simon's only issue was that the rose and "zombie dancers" didn't fit. "It was very distracting, very corny," said Simon, who then told L.A. that he didn't change the song enough.
Chris Rene threw some of his own lyrics into Sugar Ray's "Fly" amidst a gold DJ deck. "You just make us feel good, whether we're off stage or onstage," said Nicole amidst chants of "Chris Rene! Chris Rene!" from the lively audience. She added that he looked like a million bucks to which Paula replied, "You don't look like a million bucks. You look like 5 million bucks after taxes!" Simon loved the song choice, but didn't think it was his best vocal. His advice for his next song was to "come out next time with a lot more conviction, a lot more focus... that was a 7 out of 10." L.A. thought he had a sparkle of a star right now" and suggested he just "keep doing what you're doing."
Melanie Amaro did more than justice to one of her own personal hero's hits, "Hero" by Mariah Carey. The crowd - which was especially wild and vocal, started chanting "Melanie! Melanie!" before L.A. could say the song was predictable. "I didn't feel your usual passion," he explained. Nicole disagreed with L.A. "You are inspiring to all of us and you are liberating to all of us," she said. Paula was moved as well: "Your voice is impeccable and it inspires me." Paula then criticizEd Simon for changing the chords thus making the song more somber instead of uplifting. Simon said of his last remaining girl: "That is what you call putting your stamp on a song, being original. You will be remembered for that version.
Josh Krajcik got all rock star when he did a gloriously gritty version of "Come Together" by the Beatles that made L.A. Reid think he might just be the one to beat. "You are one of the best in the competition and I've I always picked you as a guy who would win. The last couple of weeks if felt that it went down a little bit, but his time you made a return," he said. PaUla Loved it: "You attack our souls. You get into us...You are brilliant." Simon agreed with L.A. on the comeback and added, "I think it would be a massive shame if you don't make the final next week." Nicole focused on Josh's performance, saying, "You're just living and breathing that fire and I was just in awe!" And, about the "insane" look in Josh's eyes that Simon commented on last week? "That was the look of steel, honey," she told Simon.
Round two was a song the finalists' chose that they hoped would get them to the finals.
Marcus Canty's "song for the finals" was "Careless Whisper" by Wham!, which he turned into a dance hit with quite the production of backup dancers, confetti, and a slick white suit. "To me, you're already a champion and a winner," said Nicole, who gave props to choreographer Brian Friedman. Paula said, "It worked, the whole thing!" Simon, however, called it "horrific." The song was absolutely wrong. The grotesque performance, which was like being in a Vegas show in 1983 with the confetti... This was a joke," he said."Seriously L.A., that was as bad as I've ever seen." L.A. was taken aback. "Wow, I don't know what to make of that comment" before telling Marcus, "In some ways I can think of you as an underdog, but tonight you look more like a champion."
After an emotional package about losing his father that brought tears to his eyes, Chris Rene played the piano for the first time to Alicia Keys' "No One." Nicole kept it real by saying that while he doesn't have the best voice in this competition, it doesn't matter. "Your spirit transcends across the universe because you believe, I believe," she said, adding that the performance was very vulnerable. "Chris, plain and simple, I love you. I love everything about you. I embrace you," said Paula, who then predicted Chris would be in the finale. Simon dug it too: "You just delivered big time." He added that his late dad would be proud, which made Chris well up, and called him the dark horse of the competition. L.A. said, "You have love-ability!"
Melanie Amaro sung her soul out on the powerful "Feeling Good" by Michael Buble. "You're the greatest female that's ever graced this stage. You have everything it takes," gushed L.A. "You should be feeling so good right now. That right there was the Melanie Amaro anthem, the freedom anthem," beamed Nicole. Paula gushed as well: "You're letting go and we love it. I feel you." Simon was beyond proud, adding, "This is why we brought the show to America because I always dreamed we would find someone like you...This was, Mel, your greatest performance of the show so far."
Josh Krajcik closed the show with a moving rendition of Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah" as he took a seat behind a grand piano to show off his fingerwork on the ivories. L.A. shocked everyone with this judgment: "That lacked excitement for me." Paula seemed to be close to tears. "L.A., how could you even say that? This guy is the performer that opens up his heart and gives every ounce of himself to the public," she said, adding that if this performance was on the finale he "would be the one to beat." Nicole was proud of her lone Over 30, saying, "That was like a beautiful prayer and you are like a gift to all of us." "I'm gonna have to agree with Paula," said Simon. "I think that song has put you into the finale next week Congratulations."
Up on tomorrow's show, America decides who moves onto the finale next week, as there are no more songs for survival.
Tune in tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 15 at 8/7C on FOX to find out who you voted into the finale next week, and check out our results show performances by Nicole Scherzinger and Florence + the Machine.
To watch the four remaining finalists perform the Pepsi Challenge songs voted on by fans, click below!