Are we ready for another "X Factor" double-elimination?
I'm not sure if I am. Yes, I know exactly which two performers I'd eliminate this week -- Chris and Marcus, I'm looking mournfully at you -- but I don't expect that they're the two singers America is likely to eliminate, resulting in almost inevitable disappointment.
Using this picture of Marcus is a spoiler risk. I understand that. His chances of departing are fairly high. But it's such a colorful and lively picture that I had to use it.
Click through for my live-blog of tonight's elimination proceedings, including a performance by British rapper Tinie Tempah, who I couldn't pick out of a lineup.
8:03 p.m. Steve Jones begins the telecast by saying that "16 million of you voted" last night. I've seen the ratings for last night's telecast. I think he means to say that there were 16 million votes cast. Otherwise, the math just doesn't line up.
8:02 p.m. It's our second time through "Man in the Mirror" this season. And it's a clear reminder that whether or not we're lip-synching or singing live, Chris Rene can't actually sing. I'm also not sure if Astro bridging his rap verse over the end of Melanie's solo was rude or planned. Let's go with "planned." Astro doesn't need anymore accusations of rudeness.
8:08 p.m. BLANKET! Yes, it was canned Blanket, from last night's telecast. But... BLANKET!
8:08 p.m. "That's the show I signed up for," Steve Jones says after watching the clips from the telecast. All four judges agree that last night was a wonderful night.
8:11 p.m. I question the potential artistic merits of "New Year's Eve."
8:11 p.m. I question the potential culinary merits of Olive Garden.
8:13 p.m. Last week, America and Pepsi helped ruin the results show. We'll do it again next week! YAY! Oh and our singers will perform two songs apiece next week. I guess that'll help fill the 90 minutes.
8:14 p.m. Once again, we welcome our remaining Finalists, accompanied by "Carmina Burana." For the first time, Paula Abdul is left sitting alone at the judges' table. #SadPaula
8:15 p.m. Four acts will get sent through to next week. The act with the fewest votes will go straight home. The judges will have to pick between the other two. Same as last week.
8:15 p.m. The first act voted through... In no particular order... Is... Chris Rene. You have no taste America. Oh well. Our second act sent through is... Melanie Amaro. That's a bit more like it. The third act through is... Rachel Crow. She wasn't very good last night, but I'm not surprised. L.A. Reid looks a bit shocked.
8:21 p.m. "Welcome back to 'The X Factor,'" Steve tells us. But Steve, you told us not to leave. If I never left, you totally don't need to welcome me back.
8:22 p.m. "Man, I'm feeling great," Astro tells Steve Jones. Drew isn't feeling great. "I believe that my fans voted for me," she says, vowing to keep going. "It's pretty intense back here," Marcus admits. Burrito Josh is wearing his "worried" face.
8:23 p.m. Let's welcome Tinie Tempah. I prefer his more talented counterpart Largie Steak. This is an admittedly small sample size, but I sense that Tinie Tempah is intended to make us wonder why Dizzee Rascal was unable to break out Stateside.
8:27 p.m. "Oh love, love, love Tinie Tempah," Steve Jones gushes, admitting that he already owns the diminutive meat substitute's album.
8:30 p.m. FOX announced a premiere date for "American Idol." You'd think those new "American Idol" promos could include a concrete date instead of just "January."
8:31 p.m. The fourth act going straight through to next week is... Burrito Josh. Go Burrito Josh!
8:32 p.m. That leaves a smiling Marcus, a medicated Astro and a miserable Drew. The first contestant eliminated tonight, the act receiving the fewest votes after last night is... [Drew starts crying before a name is read.] ASTRO. The crowd isn't overwhelmingly pleased. Astro says he's only sad because he won't get to see his girl who lives in Cali. Really? "This is one of the most fascinating guys I've ever met," L.A. Reid says.
8:35 p.m. Astro thanks his Astronauts and tells either "Molly" or "Miley" that he loves her and will see her soon.
8:35 p.m. That leaves Drew and Marcus waiting it out for that last elimination slot. "I'm nervous and I just hope everybody can see my true talent," Drew says. "I'm just giving you my soul tonight," Marcus says.
8:37 p.m. This is an interesting situation: On one hand, Marcus was in the Bottom Two last week. His support is thin and if he isn't eliminated tonight, after a theme night he should have rocked, he's a lock to be eliminated next week. On the other hand, the decision will primarily be in the hands of the judges and not only are Nicole and Paula tepid on Drew, plus everybody involved is smart enough to know that there are perception issues to be aware of and jettisoning three African-American male contestants in two weeks might not look so terrific. I can't imagine Drew surviving this episode, no matter how well she performs. The judges aren't going to stand for Simon heading into the Top 5 with all three of his Girls.
8:42 p.m. Completely Impartial Judge Paula Abdul wants Drew and Marcus to "hijack this and kill it." That's some heated rhetoric there, Paula.
8:42 p.m. So, singing for her life, will Drew mix things up and go up-tempo, proving to Nicole and Paula that she's got more colors than she's displayed so far? Nope! She launches into a Drewish version of "Listen to Your Heart." The audience cheers through the entire performance, which isn't entirely appropriate given Drew's style. The climax of the song asks Drew to be louder and more confident than maybe she's been before. She pulled it off excellently, before receding into a shaking, emotional mess as soon as she's done.
8:46 p.m. Before he begins, Marcus thanks everybody and expresses his humility. Marcus is singing "Neither One of Us" Marcus starts strong, but as he hits the chorus, he's too emotional and his voice is cracking on every single high note. The judges don't care about things like "singing," though, so I'm betting they'll praise Marcus' vulnerability.
8:52 p.m. OK, "X Factor." Let's light this candle and send Drew home.
8:53 p.m. L.A. Reid gets to vote first. Guess who he's going to support? He insists he's torn, but then votes to send home Drew. Simon Cowell's up next. Simon takes full responsibility for Drew being in the Bottom Two tonight. "I've done it wrong. I shouldn't have chosen that song. It's too slow. I should have listened to the others," Simon says, expertly pandering to Nicole and Paula and voting to send Marcus home. Nicole babbles frantically for a whole before Steve pushes the issue. She votes to send Drew home. It's all up to Paula. She either sends Drew packing or lets America decide. Fortunately, Paula loves and respects both of them. Paula wanted to be moved by the safety song, so she votes to send Drew home.
8:57 p.m. Drew vows to show people more. Simon doesn't want to talk. You can tell Simon wants to tear Paula and Nicole's heads off. Drew's fellow girls run over to hug their bawling comrade. Steve knows he's pretty much lost control.
8:58 p.m. "I don't think she deserved to go home. I think she's a little star," Simon says, as Drew continues to cry.
8:59 p.m. Steve shoves the microphone into Drew's tear-filled face and asks for her final words. "Jesus loves all of you guys," Drew cries. Well... Ummm... There you go. Why must every "X Factor" elimination show be such a miserable mess?
So? Did the right two people go home? Did you find that entire thing really awkward and unpleasant to watch? I sure did!
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