Marcus Canty has been the “X Factor” contestant who just won’t quit. He won three consecutive survival sing-offs with nary a complaint, always doing just enough to move on as early favorites, like Drew and Rachel Crow, fell by the wayside.
But reality singing shows are fairly consistent. At this stage of the competition, there’s usually one singer who doesn’t quite belong, who’s a little less ready than the rest. And for the most part, this is where the clock strikes midnight for Cinderella.
In that regard, “X Factor” was conventional on Thursday. Canty finally ran out of chances, getting sent home while Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro and Josh Krajcik advanced to next week’s finals.
Rene and Amaro got their good news first, with the latter decision causing Simon Cowell to look as genuinely happy as he’s ever been on American television. He either really believes in Amaro or really, really wants to win. Or most likely both.
That left Krajcik in limbo, which might have just been the show’s way of torturing him. He looked petrified all night, stiff as a board during the group sing. Everyone else looked comfortable and confident, while he wore a facial expression that made the audience look for a barf bag in case it was about to be needed.
But ultimately, he was safe, just as everyone expected. And perhaps to make up for the lack of surprise in the results, Thursday offered comedy from the judges. For example, Paula got in everyone’s shot backstage while Steve Jones was trying to ask L.A. Reid a question, and Steve had to yell at her to move. Poor Paula. How else was she supposed to get camera time, with all of her groups out of the competition?
And fellow judge Nicole Scherzinger got to sing, which allowed Simon to offer feedback.
“I’m sitting in Nicole’s chair, so I’m going to critique you like Nicole,” he said. “I believe in you. You believe in me. You transcend the Universe. God is smiling on you. Life is a waterfall and you are the ultimate rainbow.”
“That’s beautiful. I couldn’t have said it better,” Nicole responded. Simon’s going to be tough to beat for the Best Parody honors at the Emmys.
Though I will say this -- when you watch Nicole sing, you’d never expect that she’s the kind of judge who would give herself an anxiety attack when forced to make a decision on which contestant she likes better. She’s nothing but attitude and brashness when facing the audience. Perhaps, if she’s back next season, they should move the judges' podium so it, too, has a view of the crowd.
It was a good night for her all around. Her mentee, Krajcik, survived. The audience didn’t boo her. And she got the spotlight one more time before next week’s finale, when the final three singers will get their chance to claim the $5 million prize.
Who do you think has a real shot at winning 'X Factor' now? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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