x factor top 4 'X Factor': Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik firmly in the finalsBefore “The X Factor” starts, Steve of course has to check in with Nicole, who is still getting booed by the audience. Heh. She’s also wearing some kind of Lisa Frank-inspired lace top and spouting off things like “God is good.”

That won’t make anyone like you more after you couldn’t sack up and send Marcus home last week, Nicole.

Anyway. The first song is the Pepsi Challenge viewers’ choice song. Clearly the viewers are stuck in 1997.

1. Marcus Canty, “I’ll Make Love to You”

Kinda racy for a FOX singing competition show. Also, not as good done as one part instead of four. And he’s wandering around with a single white rose as one girl writhes aroudn on stage in the background. Seriously, this all smacks of a bad early 90s music video. And the ending is really weird. Vocally, it was fine, but I was way too distracted by all the strange trimmings.

Simon agrees – vocally it was fine, but the staging was distracting and boring. Yes. And the audience boos him because they’re all morons.

2. Chris Rene, “Fly”

Um, WTF? Double-u tee eff? This is hideous. This is karaoke at its WORST. The vocals are thin and terrible, the rapping can’t even save it. This “Pepsi Challenge” nonsense was the worst idea. Why is there a writhing threesome happening on the edge of the stage? What is even happening right now? People actually VOTED for this? Good lord. At the end, people are chanting his name like the frigging Beatles just performed. Ooof. No.

Simon praises the song choice (what?) but does say the vocal wasn’t the best. Um, duh. I think Simon is only being complimentary because he’s afraid of being lynched by the mob being him.

3. Melanie Amaro, “Hero”

Well, it was only a matter of time until she did this song, wasn’t it? I mean, of course this is gorgeous. There are even some goosebump-y moments – the bridge is particularly wonderful. But this song kinda makes me want to barf and Melanie seems to be phoning it in. Sorry, but that is how it comes across to me.  L.A. calls the song choice “predictable,” but yeah, it was. He also says he didn’t feel her passion, her love for the song. Totally. That’s exactly what happened.

4. Josh Krajcik, “Come Together”

Remember when Carly Smithson did this on “Idol”? Good stuff. Anyway, this is really fun. I love this song and Josh has a great vibe for it. He really builds the verses, which are very repetitive and could get boring, but he does a lot with them. He seems a little lost on stage, taking a lot of two-steps-to-nowhere. But I liked the vocal a lot.

5. Marcus Canty, “Careless Whisper”

OK. I’m of two minds on this one. The slow opening, with the percussion and the sexy couples dancing on stage? Love it. Really fun, really effective. But when the beat drops and suddenly the touring company of “A Chorus Line” is on stage and there is confetti shooting around like he just won the whole thing? Not a fan. His white suit started out looking very stark and polished, but went to looking very cruise ship and terrible. I certainly don’t think Marcus has done enough to stay, but we’ll see.

Simon calls it “horrific.” Wrong song, grotesque performance, Vegas show in 1983. Yeah, I’m with Simon, though I think he could’ve given props to the opening, which was not as bad as the ending.

6. Chris Rene, “No One”

This is 100x better than the first performance. He’s grooving at the piano, his vocals sound better and it’s just more intimate. Then he gets up and the song picks up tempo, ’cause God forbid anybody do a slower song if they aren’t a ballad singer. But I don’t hate the fast part. Still way better than the first song he did, by a mile.

At this point, barring a complete meltdown by Melanie or Josh, I think the two of them plus Chris Rene should be a lock for the finals.

7. Melanie Amaro, “Feelin’ Good”

Simon talks in the video package like this song is such an old-school risk, but seriously – how many times have we heard this song on “Idol” since its 2000s renaissance brought about by the likes of Muse and Michael Buble? Let’s not act like this is some huge risk. It’s not.

But I digress. Vocally, this is stunning. It builds, it pulls back, it builds, it pulls back, her lilting high voice comes in, then Melanie just wails. It’s so good that I am shocked they didn’t end the show with this.

8. Josh Krajcik, “Hallelujah”

Ahh, it’s this song. It’s the song that is guaranteed to bring the house down on “Idol” and advance you to the next week. I’m sorry, I’m so cynical. But this is CJ’s special agent song from “West Wing” and that’s it.

However, Krajcik does pretty much kill it. I wish the audience would shut the frak up so we could just enjoy this quietness of this song. He gets to the “it’s a cold and it’s a broken ‘hallelujah'” and I actually tear up. See! I’m a sucker just like everybody else and I even know it’s coming!

L.A. says it lacked excitement for him, but Paula makes up for it because she’s like openly weeping. Simon then backs her up, so we know who’s right.

So Melanie and Josh obviously will advance (I guess – I mean, I thought obviously last week it was Marcus going home over Rachel in the public vote, so who the heck knows). But out of the other two, I think Chris Rene definitely has the edge. But I guess we’ll see. What say you, “X Factor” fans?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."