The X Factor Episodes

2011, TV Show

The X Factor Episode: "Top 7 Perform"

Season 1, Episode 19
Episode Synopsis: The remaining seven acts perform.
Original Air Date: Nov 30, 2011

The X Factor Takes on The King of Pop Season 1, Episode 19

It's Michael Jackson night on The X Factor! Will Drew be forced to sing something non-folksy? Will Astro drop a hot King of Pop rap? We're about to find out! Keep in mind that the pressure is on tonight, as tomorrow we'll endure another double elimination. "This is going to be a night to remem-bah," says the Brit host. But isn't it always, Steve?

 

The evening begins and just when we're expecting the requisite group number Marlon, Tito, and Jackie Jackson bust out onto the stage. Oh my word! But wait — there's more! Michael's kids, Prince, Paris, and Blanket are here too, in addition to mama Katherine Jackson (who happens to be a big X Factor fan, duh).

 

We start out with Josh Krajcik, which is kind of upsetting because it's usually nice to save the best for last. Anyway, he used to listen to Michael on his record player, and he's really nervous because this genre is putting him out of his comfort zone. [Josh Hygiene Update: Stylists have since introduced gel to Josh's mop, producing a crunchy, permed look]. He sings "Dirty Diana" (the 'dirty' irony is not lost on us), and his back-up dancers are all wearing surgical masks, which is either a tribute to, or mockery of, the late singer. Could go either way. This isn't his best performance to date, but considering it's not his typical jam, it ain't half bad! "Some of the best performances come from discomfort. And you learned how to be comfortable in the uncomfortable," says Paula. "It was a show-stopping performance.

 

Up next is Astro (who was born 10 years after "Bad" was released, FYI), performing a contemporary-rap version of "Black or White." He has a cute prepster look going on, and once again, the back-up dancers are all sporting a mask-variation. The performance is pretty typical for Astro — upbeat, and fun, with sophisticated lyrics — but nothing phenomenal. We catch a glimpse of Paris Jackson staring longingly at Astro on stage. Imagine the procreation possibilities for these two? Ok, you're right, that's gross. She's 13. "That was bad!" says Nicole. "That was bad as in, 'B-double-A-D,'" she clarifies for the young child. Huh? "I don't know if this was my favorite performance by you, but I will say I love the lyrics."

Drew is our third performer of the evening, and like Josh, we anticipate she'll be thrust out of her comfort zone by this genre. Simon promises a "stripped-down" performance, and he delivers. No dancers, no flashing lights — just Drew, in a chair. And it's kind of refreshing. She sings "Billie Jean" like "Billie Jean" has likely never been sung before. It's 100% authentically Drew, but somehow maintains the classic Michael Jackson vibe. "You took "Billie Jean," you made it your own, and it pains me to say this...but I liked it," says LA, notorious for being Drew's biggest hater. Big win for the blondie this week.

 

Small-town girl Rachel Crow takes on "Can You Feel It," rocking an afro-homage to the superstar. "I love you, Michael!" she proclaims. The stage is inundated with shiny things like glitter and disco balls and sequins, but something about the performance just doesn't seem believable. It's missing a crucial element for someone as young as Rachel: FUN! "I didn't feel the connection between you and the world that was created around you on stage," says Nicole. "Normally you shine all the way to the sun and back and tonight I don't know if I felt that you felt it." Unfortunately after this performance, I fear for Rachel's fate tomorrow.

Marcus Canty takes the stage next, and if he doesn't kill a Michael Jackson number, no one will. While Canty may not be the strongest vocally, he is arguably this season's greatest all-around "performer." He sings "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," surrounded by several pretty young things in pleather pants. There's no doubt Canty gave this performance his all (the man did a backflip for God's sake!), but his voice sounded a little shaky. It's hard to say whether he should have cut back on the dancing to focus on the singing, or if the combination of the two is what will separate him from the pack. "The vocals weren't very good. That was a problem," says Simon. "When you do a routine which involves doing a back-flip, you're going to run out of breath.  Therefore when I hear this back at home I don't think the vocals are going to be good enough."

 

Trash collectin' Chris Rene has a particularly interesting connection to tonight's theme — his grandfather, a songwriter, penned the Jackson 5 hit "Rockin' Robin"! His gramps even started the first black R&B record label on the West Coast. How is this just coming out now? Dude's got music in his DNA! Rene performs "I'll Be There," and despite how much I wanted to like it (especially in light of his fascinating story), he just didn't do it for me. He missed two crucial high notes, the rap was tired, and his jacket looked like varsity cheerleaders got drunk and took a bedazzler to it. Even the Jackson kids looked like they were sleeping. "You look the best you've ever looked. You manifest with abundance in the heart department," says Paula, who took that line from a bumper sticker on my grandpa's Lincoln in Boca. "You're connecting with the whole public... I can't wait for you to have an album out. So I can buy it."

 

Simon tells us that Melanie Amaro will be performing one of Michael's biggest hits — one that normally no one would touch. Melanie is rocking a new gothic-meets-rocker-chic-look tonight and I'm digging it. She sings "Earth Song," an unconventional choice, but a perfect one for Melanie's powerful pipes. And in my opinion, she nails it. It was emotional, it was raw, and it gave me the chills. The audience — who gave her a standing ovation — seemed to agree. "For one second, I forgot that we were in a competition, and I felt that we were at a Melanie Amaro concert. You were amazing, and maybe the best of the night," says LA.

 

And that's all folks! Who made MJ proud tonight? Check back tomorrow for our recap, where we'll inevitably say goodbye to Rachel Crowe and Chris Rene. Do you disagree? Let us know in the comments!

 

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It's Michael Jackson night on The X Factor! Will Drew be forced to sing something non-folksy? Will Astro drop a hot King of Pop rap? We're about to find out! Keep in mind that the pressure is on tonight, as tomorrow we'll endure another double elimination. "This is going to be a night to remem-bah," says the Brit host. But isn't it always, Steve?

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Premiered: September 21, 2011, on FOX
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Premise: Solo artists and music groups compete for a $5 million recording contract. Based on the hit British competition series.

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