‘The X Factor’ Recap: Top 7 Contestants Perform

the x factorS1E17: Last week, The X Factor suffered through its first double elimination round where America had to say goodbye to not one, but two acts. So Lakoda Rayne and Leroy Bell were sent packing, leaving us with only seven remaining acts. Yep, it’s getting down to the final few, so this week the performers were really feeling the pressure (like they weren’t always before). So in keeping with the tone of the past few weeks, the show offered up another theme on tonight’s episode, making it Michael Jackson Week in honor of the legendary King of Pop. Now here’s an idea I can totally get onboard with.

So this meant that each contestant had to perform one of MJ’s iconic songs – and just to put a little bit of extra pressure on the contestants (because why not?), they had to sing the songs in front of the Jackson family. But there’s really no reason to be nervous, right?

Up first was Josh Krajcik, who was very nervous to perform an MJ song since it’s not really his kind of song, but it didn’t really show in his performance. This is the first time Josh had to step out of his comfort zone and it worked rather well. His rendition of Dirty Diana was still impressive because he’s a great singer, but I agree with Simon that the special effects drew focus from him. The backup dancers and the excessive lighting seemed to drown him out a bit, but that fault lies with his mentor Nicole, not himself. But either way, Josh is a pro and I feel confident he’ll escape elimination yet again this week.

Astro was the second contestant to grace the stage where he performed a rap version of the song Black or White. I have to be honest though, this is the one time where I really wasn’t feeling Astro’s rapping techniques. Maybe it’s because I’m an avid MJ fan, but he went so far from the song’s original lyrics that I was left unimpressed. The song sends a great message and is so powerful, but I felt like the message was lost in his performance. But maybe I’m still just sore from his childish antics from a few weeks back, who knows? Of course, the judges loved it though and Paula said something about him being the past, present, and future (whatever that means). And Reid said he hoped the Jackson family was as proud of him as he was.

Up next was Drew who sang a unique version of the infamous song, Billie Jean. I know that L.A. always complains that Drew does the same thing each week by slowly songs down that are normally fast and he wants to see something different from her. I get that, but her version of this song deserves no criticism this week. Granted, nothing can compare to the original version, but this comes in a strong second place. Simon didn’t have her use any gimmicks with the stage, making it all about her. I see why he did it, but I agree with Paula and Nicole in that she should’ve had more movement given that it’s a Michael Jackson tribute and his aesthetics were always spectacular. And then Simon had the greatest comeback of the night when he said that her acts’ overdone dancing is the reason her groups are no longer in the competition. Burn.

Then came Rachel Crow who sang MJ’s song, Can You Feel It and like always, she blew me away. Obviously it’s been established by now that this girl is going big places in her life, but she still continues to prove herself time and time again. Her vocals are so incredibly strong every single time and she puts so much life into whatever she sings. Plus, she’s just so adorable I can’t stand it. But Nicole, L.A. and Paula were not feeling the love tonight because they didn’t think she brought as much life into the performance as she usually is. Not really sure what they’re talking about because I do not agree with this assessment. That girl could light up any room at any time. The performance was fantastic and I truly hope she makes it through to next week. And kudos to Rachel representing the MJ love by wearing his signature one-handed glove!

Marcus Canty was next and decided to sing Pretty Young Thing, which turned out to be quite the grand spectacle. The pressure was especially on for him tonight since he had to sing for survival last week and was determined to prove to both America and the judges that he still belongs in this competition. And I agree! His performance was energized, memorable, and pretty much everything that goes into any MJ song. I loved it, the crowd loved it, and the judges loved it. Let’s make sure he doesn’t get voted off this week people!

Then came Chris Rene who sang the classic MJ song, I’ll Be There and it was alright, but not really that memorable in my opinion. To be honest, I’m kinda done with the whole Chris Rene thing and the constant reminder that he used to do drugs. I mean, we get it, it’s great, let’s move on. And don’t get me wrong, the guy is really talented, but I don’t think he’s vocally strong enough to win. However, Nicole loved it and Paula said he “manifests in the heart department” which is supposed to be a good thing I guess. But I agree with Simon…he’s going to need a lot of votes to make it through this week, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Last to perform was Melanie Amaro who performed a beautiful rendition of the song, Earth Song. She really seems to have come out of her shell lately and gave an absolutely moving performance…probably the best of the night actually. It’s a very deep song, which she pulled off beautifully due to her amazing vocal range and everyone loved it. The judges loaded her with praise saying that it was the best performance of the season. Now, more than ever, it’s clear that she’s going to be the one to beat. The other competitors better watch out!