It never fails. Every week we gather together on Thursday and I say that we're on the verge of saying farewell to Marcus Canty and every week something gets in the way and Marcus Canty survives.

But tonight, we're TOTALLY on the verge of saying farewell to Marcus Canty, aren't we?

Let's find out...

8:03 p.m. Only three acts are advancing to next week's finale. But first, we'll have performances by Florence and/or The Machine, plus Nicole Scherzinger, who must already be planning her post-judging career.

8:04 p.m. Nicole is very much The White Swan tonight. Sad. Because we needed a Black Swan.

8:04 p.m. Without a Final Showdown, how are we going to fill this hour? Ugh. 30 million votes last night. I appreciate Steve Jones not lying by telling us that 30 million people voted.

8:05 p.m. Group Lip Synch! On the "X Factor" stage, it's New Jack Swing/Depeche Mode mash-up. It's bizarre, though it's also bringing out peppier versions of both Melanie Amaro and Burrito Josh. On my other screen, I have the Chris Paul Press Conference! That's what I call a mash-up.

8:07 p.m. Shout!

8:08 p.m. "Oh, wonderfully, wonderful talented people," gushes Steve Jones, who would kiss up to a Stop sign if it did a reasonable job of halting traffic.

8:09 p.m. Oooh. It's time to audition for next season. During this commercial break, I'll be recording my video. And learning how the Clippers plan on playing four point guards at once this season.

8:13 p.m. Last night was really memorable. But if you've forgotten... Recap time. Hold me closer, zombie dancers.

8:15 p.m. This prolonged recap is turning all of my major chords to minor. If you know what I mean.

8:16 p.m. Why doesn't Marcus go home? He loves his mom so much! Quality time, yo!

8:18 p.m. "It was good," Simon says of last night's show. That's a big drop from Steve Jones' claim that it was "remarkable." Paula impartially praises Josh and Chris Rene. Nicole, who isn't impartial, also raves about Josh and Chris. For the first time, L.A. Reid is "a little bit nervous." 

8:24 p.m. "The crucial results are coming up," Steve teases. But first, we must torture the Top 4. Steve asks L.A. Reid four times about whether or not he's smug. After the fourth time, L.A. Reid says that he's "a little bit nervous." TIME LOOP!

8:26 p.m. It's time for Florence & The Machine. I'm only waiting around to see what superlative Steve Jones uses when the performance is over.

8:30 p.m. "Wow. Remarkable voice," Steve Jones gushes. That was nearly understated.

8:34 p.m. I don't know what Steve means when he says that we're going to see how the contestants measure up against each other. Marcus tries hard. Chris has grown a lot. Burrito Josh has a mainstream voice. Melanie can sing. "The four semifinalists, they're all completely different," L.A. Reid says helpfully. "We all could win," Burrito Josh observed.

8:37 p.m. "The time has come. 30 million of you voted," Steve Jones lies, before introducing the night's "Carmina Burana" entrances.

8:38 p.m. The first act in the Finals is... Chris Rene. That's not surprising.

8:39 p.m. The second act in the Finals is... Melanie Amaro. That's also not hugely surprising.

8:44 p.m. Marcus Canty and Burrito Josh are waiting still. "I've got a lot of hope," insists Burrito Josh. "I just want America to give me a chance," Marcus says. Marcus does not understand the purpose of this competition.

8:45 p.m. NICOLE TIME! Why is Nicole so overdressed? Why isn't she dancing? Why is she covered in fog? And how will Steve Jones be able to come up with enough superlatives when she's finished?

8:48 p.m. I will never hear this song ever again.

8:49 p.m. "Bravo. That was amazing," Steve says. Simon does a very fine job of lampooning Nicole's judging style.

8:54 p.m. Results. Bring them on. Now. Please.

8:54 p.m. Melanie thanks her supporters. Chris thanks his supporters. 

8:55 p.m. "These are not necessarily the Bottom Two," Steve carefully emphasizes.

8:56 p.m. The third act going into the finals is... Burrito Josh.

8:57 p.m. That means that Marcus Canty is finally going home. "Why you lookin' sad, Steve?"  Marcus asks. Marcus is convinced that this is not the last we've seen of him. Marcus' is all smiles. After the past few weeks of disastrous elimination reactions, it's great to see Marcus' composure. L.A. Reid vows his support.

8:59 p.m. "It ain't over yet," Marcus swears. "You'd better not stop singing," Steve implores. 

 

So we're OK with those results, right? Not really all that much to discuss. Nobody cried. Nobody collapsed in pain and misery.