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‘The X Factor’ top 9 performance show: giving thanks

Is Lakoda Rayne in trouble? CREDIT: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX

Is Lakoda Rayne in trouble? CREDIT: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX

Who were your favorite three tonight? (pick up to three)

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Two hours and only nine songs so we have extended intros explaining who each contestant is thankful for.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t as schmaltzy and eye-rolling as it could have been. Acts generally avoided cliched songs, sometimes picking relatively unknown ones that mean a lot to them. The theme gave the acts  a chance to truly emote and connect. Most did so.

This was in fact the best night to date now that more chafe is gone (not missing Stacy Francis!). Even Lakoda Rayne was tolerable.

So it’s double elimination time tomorrow, with the lowest vote getter gone and the second and third lowest having to sing for their lives.  Who do I think will be the bottom three? Lakoda Rayne, Astro and Leroy Hill. Who will go home? Astro and Lakoda Rayne.

My favorite of the night was Melanie. She was better connected with the lyrics this time around and looked amazing, too. Here’s my rankings:

1. Melanie 2. Josh 3. Chris 4. Rachel 5. Astro 6. Drew 7. Leroy 8. Lakoda Rayne 9. Marcus

Robo-host introduces us to the thematic: songs to thank people for. Back story alert! (Robo-host seems to love the word “fabulous” no matter what happens. “Are you happy?” was the wittiest question he could come up with Chris Rene.)

Which three do you think will be in the bottom three? (Pick up to three)

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Performances in order:

Rachel Crow (Simon’s team, “I Believe” Yolanda Adams, dedicated to her adoptive parents) – I am not familiar with this song. But it fits her well, with a gospel/R&B feel. She sings it with youthful exuberance. That outfit, the split pants/dress set? Hideous. “You made a believer out of me,” Nicole said.  Grade: A-minus

Marcus Canty (L.A.’s team, “A Song For Mama” by Boyz II Men, dedicated to his single mom) – A mama’s boy! Her mom appears to be on the verge of fainting as he pours on the vibrato. Vocally, it’s a bit messy, with off-pitch notes and too much melisma. Not really my taste but it was heartfelt. “You’ve had a yo yo ride,” Simon said. “For the first time, I actually felt a connection with you.”  Grade: B

Melanie Amaro (Simon’s team, “The World’s Greatest,” R. Kelly, dedicated to God) – Taking an R. Kelly song about how great HE is and making it a dedication to Him. Well, that’s pretty gutsy. Still, Melanie sang the song with true passion and grace and looks amazing, best she has to date. As L.A. said, it’s hard to criticize that performance. Then Nicole ruins it by going all pathos on us and hugging her. Grade: A

Chris Rene (L.A.’s team, “Let it Be” by the Beatles/”Young Homie” by Chris, dedicated to Tim Fry, the counselor who saved his life at rehab addicted to crystal meth) – He almost died in a car accident and that was the wake-up call to get him clean and sober seven months ago. A slightly hip-hop version of a classic Beatles song? He actually gives the song respect and doesn’t mess with it. His little rap break is actually sweet. This was his most effective performance to date. No frontin’! Grade: A-minus

Lakoda Rayne (Paula’s team, “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift, dedicated to the various important people in their lives) – The opening line by blond gal #1 is horrid. Blond girl #2 is only slightly better. The brunette sounds much better and is getting the weight of the solo. Oh, and there’s that other blond. I’m so confused. The harmonies? They’re no Dixie Chicks.  And why the heck do they need backup singers??? They do end relatively strong. And gosh, they are pretty. Right? Grade: B

Leroy Bell (Nicole’s team, “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, dedicated to his late mom Janet) -  He opts for the ballad now better known as that song you hear on sick dog/cat commercials late at night.  As usual, he sings it competently.  I liked it, didn’t bowl me over.   The gospel choir is more a distraction in this case. “It was heartfelt for sure but not your very best,” L.A. said. Grade: B-plus

Astro (L.A.’s team, an original rap song, dedicated to his fans) – His parents tried to justify his immature behavior last week and showed him positive comments. Whatever.  He’s seeing his “astro-nauts” and shouts out all the places where his fans are. “I do this for y’all!” he raps.  It’s entertaining, whether you like him or not. He then apologizes again. “I’ll never let you down again,” he said. Simon said: “I admire you. I do… I think you find it hard to express yourself. You knew you did wrong. The music business needs unpredictability.” Grade: B-plus

Drew (Simon’s team, “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato, dedicated to her best friend Shelby) – Showing how I don’t pay attention to music geared to tweens, I have never heard this song. She is a bit uneven. Some strong moments, one really bad note. Not her best but probably enough to keep her around. Grade: B

Josh Krajcik (Nicole’s team, “Wild Horses” Rolling Stones, dedicated to his 13-year-old daughter Rowan) – He has an impressively expressive voice. This song works for him though I think the arrangement is a wee bit too slow and spare. But the simplicity is unusual for this show though the lighting as usual is needlessly portentous. “You have everything it takes to win this competition,” L.A. said. “You are larger than life,” Paula said. Grade: A-minus

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

205 comments Add your comment

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:00 pm

I’m here but I’m not sure why.

Seth T.

November 22nd, 2011
8:07 pm

Simon wants you to invite him over for Turkey dinner.

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:07 pm

They’ve put Rachel in plaid AGAIN. WHY?

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:08 pm

We’re having Thanksgiving tomorrow….hubby has to work on Thursday. So I think I’ll skip inviting Simon this year.

DanJ

November 22nd, 2011
8:09 pm

So two acts go home? Hummmmm!

DanJ

November 22nd, 2011
8:11 pm

I do at least like the themes his week!

Pitcy

November 22nd, 2011
8:15 pm

For the first time, I am here….

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:15 pm

Rachel did a good job with the song. I just wish we could forego the production number and hear the girl sing without all the background stuff.

Pitcy

November 22nd, 2011
8:16 pm

My girl did good, esp. the last part of the song.

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:16 pm

Pitchy, where did your ‘h’ go?

Seth T.

November 22nd, 2011
8:17 pm

Rachael’s story is truly touching to me. Her adoptive parents are very special people.

Wish they would quit with the light-show on stage, but really enjoyed her performance.

DanJ

November 22nd, 2011
8:17 pm

I’m not sure where they film the show but either the music is TOO loud or the acoustics in the theater are just plain bad! Rachel was just so-so IMO!

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:17 pm

The audience is out of control.

Lil Red

November 22nd, 2011
8:19 pm

I didn’t recognize the song. Did she sing it well?

Pitchy

November 22nd, 2011
8:20 pm

Ummmm, I don’t know. Good catch Deirdre. It is me, the one who kept getting lost on the playground.

Good evening, everyone.

DanJ

November 22nd, 2011
8:20 pm

I would love to hear Melanie sing Bridge Over Troubled Water!

Rodney Ho

November 22nd, 2011
8:20 pm

We could be watching the GOP debate on CNN instead and learning something! :)

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:20 pm

I didn’t know the song either, Lil, but she sounded good.

Rodney Ho

November 22nd, 2011
8:21 pm

I’m using a slow back-up computer tonight. My work computer got attacked (again) by a virus. Will have to go into the office tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. to get it fixed…. ugh…

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:22 pm

With Newt the frontrunner at the moment, it would be interesting to see how he responds to the target on his back. Hubby is watching so he’ll keep me informed.

Rodney Ho

November 22nd, 2011
8:22 pm

I’m following the Twitter feeds…

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:23 pm

I hope LA didn’t over-produce Marcus again.

Lil Red

November 22nd, 2011
8:25 pm

Awwww. These are so sweet.

Pitchy

November 22nd, 2011
8:27 pm

Very touching song given the story behind his mother’s STRENGTH. I’m definitely feeling the song for her. A lasting tribute, once she gets the DVD!

Pitchy

November 22nd, 2011
8:27 pm

{{clap, clap, CLAPPING}}

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:28 pm

I like the non-frenetic Marcus a lot better than the 3 ring circus he has been presenting to us. I don’t think his voice is very strong, he was a little pitchy in places but it was a very sweet moment.

Seth T.

November 22nd, 2011
8:28 pm

Marcus is a good young man, but not a great singer.

DanJ

November 22nd, 2011
8:28 pm

I love the song but Marcus voice seems weak this week and he may be in trouble!

I hope Leroy sings Lean On Me!

Rodney Ho

November 22nd, 2011
8:28 pm

Seth T.: Touche!

Lil Red

November 22nd, 2011
8:30 pm

Simon felt a connection. His hard heart felt something. He cut off the negative thought though.

Rodney Ho

November 22nd, 2011
8:33 pm

@Lil Red: Correct. Simon was about to tell Marcus about his pitchy off-notes but L.A. kind of just took over.

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:34 pm

So tonight is a “make everybody cry” night? Whoever makes us cry the most wins?

Pitchy

November 22nd, 2011
8:37 pm

@DanJ (my future hubby..lol), Lean on Me is a weak/safe song for LeRoy. His vocals can go beyond Lean On Me (IMO).

Pitchy

November 22nd, 2011
8:39 pm

This is beyond a singing competition. Too much lighting, too much background singing, and not enough of the artist singing.

Lil Red

November 22nd, 2011
8:39 pm

I like Melanie’s song. What is it called?

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:40 pm

I think this song showed us who Melanie is and she did a great job with it….not exactly the same as what she’s been singing previously.

DanJ

November 22nd, 2011
8:41 pm

Hi Pitchy, but it’s make us cry night! Melanie was good but I still think a religious version of Bridge Over Troubled Water would have been a better choice.

Seth T.

November 22nd, 2011
8:44 pm

Plenty of drama here – No doubt that Melanie is the best “pure vocal talent’ so far tonight.

DanJ

November 22nd, 2011
8:44 pm

Chris should do He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother! Just saying….

Seth T.

November 22nd, 2011
8:46 pm

Dough no what the name of that song was – anybody catch that song name??

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:46 pm

He Ain’t Heavy? But Chris is the one who had to be carried.

Rodney Ho

November 22nd, 2011
8:48 pm

The song was R. Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest” reconfigured to be a dedication to God (as opposed to R. Kelly)

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:50 pm

The World’s Greatest by R. Kelly. He wrote it about himself and Melanie turned it into something beautiful instead of egotistical.

Pitchy

November 22nd, 2011
8:52 pm

Great choice of song for him, Let It Be.

Lil Red

November 22nd, 2011
8:52 pm

Not Chris’ best but the sentiment is good. I’m so glad he is still clean.

Rodney Ho

November 22nd, 2011
8:53 pm

Gotta give Chris props. That combo of his own song with the Beatles actually worked!

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:53 pm

Aside from making a mess of Let It Be, Chris sounds like he’s out of breath. I liked the end better than the begininning.

Pitchy

November 22nd, 2011
8:54 pm

((CLAPPING…}}

Seth T.

November 22nd, 2011
8:54 pm

Thanks for the info -
Chris Rene – hope he never gets back on”Meth Highway” and does well.

Still can’t give the singing much of a score though :/

Deirdre

November 22nd, 2011
8:55 pm

Can’t believe I’m agreeing with Simon.