The X Factor Episodes

2011, TV Show

The X Factor Episode: "Top 5 Perform"

Season 1, Episode 21
Episode Synopsis: The final five acts hit the stage and perform two songs each.
Original Air Date: Dec 7, 2011

An Ambiguous "Error" Hits The X Factor Season 1, Episode 21

We're down to the final five, and tonight the contestants will be singing two songs each, and the first has to be a dance number.  Host Steve Jones foreshadows a twist later in the episode. The Jackson kids were here last week, which means that it has to be Madonna's daughter Lourdes this week, right? Get excited!

To start off the evening, Melanie takes on a dance remix of Adele's "Someone Like You," which makes me wonder... is this the first time we're hearing her do Adele? Because it kind of seems like a no-brainer artist for her. Melanie's voice is flawless per usual, but the back-up dancers robots and pyrotechnics proved to be a bit distracting. "You looked and sounded like the rock star diva that you are tonight," says Nicole.

Next up, Marcus Canty does Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody (Love Me Better)," and for the second time this evening, the judges are spot-on with the song choice. While we all know he doesn't have the strongest voice in the competition, Marcus is really coming into his own when it comes to performance-quality. He's arguably the most exciting one to watch on stage in the competition. "I have to say that was a very, very good performance. You came back strong," says Simon.

Rachel Crowe sings B.O.B.'s "Nothin' on You," and while I think Simon had the right idea with choosing something youthful, it wasn't the best we've seen from her. Paula says, "You are just beautifully fearless. Your vocal depth transcends all generations. You nailed it, and I'm so proud of you."

Next we have Josh Krajcik. It will be interesting to see how he handles this genre, since there's no question he's couldn't be further from a dance music performer. In an unusual and unexpected move, he sings Rihanna! And (in my opinion) it's awesome! I didn't think Nicole had it in her. The song, "We Found Love," is not only current and relevant, but it gave Josh an opportunity to showcase his voice in a different way than we've ever seen. Apparently, I watched a different performance than the judges. "I could never really see you doing this song. So I didn't buy it," says LA. You were great as a singer, but I didn't buy that song." Simon agrees, and slams Nicole's song choice.

Rounding out the top five, Chris Rene takes on another Rihanna hit (this one, her collaboration with T.I. "Live Your Life") but it was shaky and unimpressive. He does the half-singing/half-rapping thing he always does, while gliding across the stage in what appeared to be a mini-treadmill. The only word I can think of to describe the performance is "un-special." But the judges didn't seem to mind it. They're playing nice today for the most part. "I'm not gonna say you're the best singer because you're not," says Simon. "But as an overall potential recording artist... I think you are doing brilliant."

We're at the halfway point when Steve reveals the twist! "There was an error in communication with the song selections here on the show, so we've had to move the Pepsi Challenge songs to next week." (The singers were supposed to be performing songs selected by the viewers tonight). The audience lets out a unanimous gasp. Then they boo. The horror!  Instead, the contestants will sing a song that they've chosen — but they've only had one night to prepare because everyone just found out last night. Which is to say that someone in production realllllly screwed up, and now they've been fired. Steve warns that since they haven't had much time to prepare, the pressure right now is incredible. (And by that he means, "They're going to be tragic, so bear with us.")

After that fantastic build-up, I can't wait for the next five performances! What about you?

We're starting out with Melanie again, and luckily she chose a song ("When You Believe") that suits her quite well. She really can do no wrong when it comes to a Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston number. Melanie looks stunning, the background shenanigans are minimal, and overall it was a top-notch performance for her. "You really thought of that last night and it was that good?" says LA. "That was unbelievable."

Marcus sings "A Song for You," which is definitely a departure for him. It's a soulful performance — not at all what we would expect from the guy who has become notorious for gyrating back-up dancers and doing flips on stage. It wasn't the best vocally, but it was far better than I thought he was capable of. "Thank you for reminding us all why we fell in love with you from the start," says Nicole. "You remind me of a young Al Green. That was beautiful."

Rachel's choice, "Music and Me," by Michael Jackson, couldn't have been more off-target for her. It felt old, boring, and quite frankly, it put me to sleep. There's really not much else to say about it. "I love that you picked that song for yourself," says LA. "Your vision for you is so inspiring." Which basically means he didn't have the heart to tell her how terrible it was.

Josh Krajcik, on the other hand, does an awesome rendition of "Something" by The Beatles. Clearly as an older contestant, he has a better understanding of himself as an artist. It still wasn't my favorite performance of his, but it was an undeniably good song choice. "Compared to the first song I think this was a massive improvement," Simon tells him. "I think when you watch it back you looked actually insane halfway through it. Like your eyes were rolling." Co-sign.

The last performer of the evening is Chris Rene, who has opted to sing an original song tonight. Can you say RISKY? It's probably just the guitar, but does he look hot tonight or what? Much to my surprise, I really like the performance. No, actually — I love it. The song has a catchy Jason Mraz-like quality to it, and it reminds us that there's more to him than the half-rapper/half-singer dude. "The world works in mysterious ways, Chris. Had that glitch not happened, you wouldn't have been singing this song," says Paula. "This is what I've been waiting for. God bless you." Simon calls the song a stroke of genius. This performance might have just single-handedly saved him from elimination tomorrow.

What a confusing night this was! What did you think? Was Chris's original song the standout of the evening? Who is going home tomorrow? Weigh in below!

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We're down to the final five, and tonight the contestants will be singing two songs each, and the first has to be a dance number.  Host Steve Jones foreshadows a twist later in the episode. The Jackson kids were here last week, which means that it has to be Madonna's daughter Lourdes this week, right? Get excited!

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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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