I've crowned Melanie Amaro as my "Probably Not Going To Be Eliminated" recap picture of the night. I feel somewhat confident in that. But after last week's shocking Drew/Astro eliminations? Anything truly can happen...
Click through for the results...
8:01 p.m. ET We're kicking things off tonight with a performance from "Hunger Games" co-star Lenny Kravitz. In true Oldies Rocker fashion, Lenny begins with something new. Nobody particular cares. Then he launches into "Are You Gonna Go My Way" and the crowd goes crazy.
8:04 p.m. "No man should look that good in that much leather," gushes a typically giddy Steve Jones, before launching into the clips from last night's show, an evening so special that nobody told him to shut up.
8:08 p.m. That thing where Burrito Josh's eyes roll back into his head? That's what Nicole Scherzinger thinks is the true "x factor." This explains so much.
8:09 p.m. I take it back. That actually explains nothing.
8:09 p.m. L.A. Reid's personal highlight from last night was Chris Rene. Steve Jones agrees. Nicole agrees, but she also liked Burrito Josh. Paula thinks they were all on "personal terms" last night or something. Even Simon's happy about Chris Rene. He brings America together, that Chris Rene does.
8:14 p.m. Let's pay tribute to the "X Factor" stylists. Hi Brian Friedman! Hi June Ambrose! Hi Kristopher Buckle! Hi Ken Paves! I have to say, the styling job they're doing on Melanie Amaro and Chris Rene specifically is fantastic. Nobody mentions Pepsi for three whole minutes.
8:16 p.m. "Lot of pressure. They do a wonderful job. Fair play," Steve Jones gushes. And then it's "Carmina Burana" time.
8:18 p.m. Three acts are going straight into the Final Four. In no particular order... Our first semifinalist is... Burrito Josh. The second act in the semifinals is... Chris Rene, who does several spins, several fistbumps and makes his hands into hearts directed at the audience. Awwww. He lurvs us.
8:23 p.m. Wait. No Group Sing this week? Excellent! Did Pepsi screw that up, too?
8:23 p.m. "I'm really scared, but I love you all," Rachel Crow tells Steve backstage. She cries and tells us she loves us again. "God has been good to me, so Imma just step up," Marcus Canty vows. "I'm really nervous right now. I don't know what to feel, but I'm kinda confident that my fans love me and will keep me around," Melanie says. Then Steve Jones tells them to try to relax.
8:25 p.m. Performance time. It's Mary J. Blige. She's clad all in white like she's an "American Idol" finalist. And floating above her head is a projected diamond, like if she jumps up and grabs it, she'll get to level-up.
8:29 p.m. Steve Jones urges us to run, not walk, to get Mary J. Blige's new album. I will neither run, nor walk.
8:33 p.m. I hope that corny white dude butchering "Change Is Gonna Come" isn't the best "Idol" has to offer this season.
8:33 p.m. "I feel amazing, dude. I'm so happy to be here," Chris Rene tells Steve Jones. "I always believe in myself, Steve," Burrito Josh insists. He's ready to go.
8:34 p.m. So who's the last act sent directly to the semifinals? Or let's recap last night's comments. Again. It turns out that Steve Jones reading commentary from Paula and Nicole doesn't make it sound any saner.
8:35 p.m. The third person in the semifinals is... Melanie Amaro. OK. That was a no-brainer. And now we send Marcus home IMMEDIATELY, right? Why are we going to make Rachel Crow cry? "Bottom two again? Gosh..." says Marcus. But after a third trip to the Bottom Two, there's no legitimate reason to keep giving him extra chances, is there?
8:42 p.m. Nicole wants to see them sing their hearts out. Paula wants them to sing from their hearts. I'll spend the next 10 minutes doing a semantic breakdown of the key differences between their words of wisdom. But first...
8:42 p.m. It's Marcus Canty Time! He's paying homage to Mary J. Blige by singing "I'm Going Down." Didn't he do this already? Because of last night's Pepsi screw-up we're getting recycled SOS songs? Laaaaaaaame. Marcus is emotion, which means he's utterly mangling every high note. That wasn't pleasant. What's next?
8:45 p.m. Simon introduces Rachel Crow, who theoretically could have a previous unheard SOS song saved up? She launches into "I'd Rather Go Blind," Yes, this is another redux, but it's a far, far better encore than the one Marcus just treated us to. This should be the easiest decision of the entire season. Even Paula Abdul shouldn't need to hem and haw. Rachel killed that. In a good way. I understand that killing is often presented negatively in our society.
8:52 p.m. Time for the judges to pretend this is hard. Will L.A. Reid sacrifice all dignity to protect Marcus? L.A. says that he didn't expect Rachel to pull her performance out, which is odd because the first time she sang the song was pretty darned good. L.A. Reid votes to send Rachel home. It's ridiculous. Simon doesn't waste any time at all and votes to send Marcus home. Paula says that Rachel really blew her away and she votes to send Marcus home.
8:54 p.m. It's up to Nicole, making the most of her no-run mascara. "Please don't cry," Rachel says. "I can't make this decision," Nicole blathers and says she wants this to go to deadlock. Steve Jones tries to get Nicole to commit to saying this means she's voting to send Rachel home. She blathers and, indeed, sends the decision to America.
8:55 p.m. Wow.
8:55 p.m. It's up to America. And the act going home is... Rachel Crow. Wow. Rachel collapse on the stage crying. Wow. I don't know what Simon's going to do to Nicole, but somebody's not gonna get invited back.
8:56 p.m. Well. That's your fault, Nicole. Why are you consoling Nicole, Paula?
8:57 p.m. Sigh. Rachel is an emotional wreck. She's wailing and telling her mom that she promised something. Another week, another genuinely excruciating "X Factor" results show.
8:58 p.m. Time for Steve Jones to rub salt in Rachel's wounds. In this case, he's a bit more graceful, asking her what she liked most about this. Rachel tells America that she loves us, even if we didn't vote for her.
8:59 p.m. Simon reassures Rachel that we're going to be hearing a lot more about her.
8:59 p.m. Steve Jones asks Nicole if there's anything she wants to say and the crowd BOOS LUSTILY! Nicole says nothing. Rachel is back to crying as Steve wraps up the show.
So... um... That was another episode of "The X Factor"...
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