chris rene x factor top 9 fox 'X Factor': Astro's amends, Simon Cowell's replacement and Aaron PaulThe theme this week on “The X Factor” is “things we’re thankful for.” Well, we’re thankful for all the fun stuff behind-the-scenes intrigue at the singing competition. 

Here the best of what occurred when the cameras stopped rolling:

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s a sign
– So many people bring placards to “The X Factor.” Usually they just say who they’re rooting for. But the big surprise on Tuesday (Nov. 22) was one that said “Simon’s a Hottie.”

Now kiss and make up – After last week when Bill “The Warm Up Guy” said that Paula Abdul looked “ridiculous,” he chose his words better. This week he says to Abdul, “You look amazing.” Probably a good idea to make nice with those who can have you fired.

Siskel and EbertSimon Cowell was very impressed with Melanie Amaro’s performance of the R. Kelly tune “The World’s Greatest.” After she finished he gave her two emphatic thumbs up before turning to the crowd and doing the same.

Hey, that’s me on TV – While most people were mentally preparing for their performance during video tributes, Chris Rene was busy watching his. As he explains later, it helped motivate him for his performance.

Time to paint my face
– Simon congratulated a sobbing Paula after Lakoda Rayne’s performance of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me.” She then needed the full three minute break to have her face completely remade and clean up the lines of mascara that had run down her cheeks.

Breaking Good – Word is that “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul was in the audience taking in the tunes with a +1.

Best birthday gift ever – Some lucky 12-year-old got a happy birthday hug from the lovely Nicole Scherzinger. When asked if he wanted to say anything to Nicole, he says, “Marry Me”…just kidding. He bashfully said “no.”

#OccupySimon’sChair – During one of the breaks, they let a girl who was no more than 10 sit in Simon’s seat. When Paula returned, she was surprised to see the new occupant. Abdul says to the girl, “Please stay here.” Looks like there’s some discord at the judging table.

Why can’t we be friends? – After last week’s episode, Astro appeared to win the crowd back with a strong performance of Jay-Z’s “Show me what you got” followed by an apology. By the end the crowd was chanting “Astro! Astro!”

Posted by:David Eckstein