The X Factor Top 12 Review: Desperate For Desperado

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Well, the heck if that wasn't a dramatic improvement over last week's live show. I guess all it took was getting rid of some early jitters to allow more than one of these finalists to shine vocally.

Other than the continuing annoyance of L.A. Reid desperately shoving his faux rivalry with Simon in our faces, The X Factor Top 12 was very enjoyable. Now let's get to the performances...

The Stereo Hogzz "Rhythm Nation" - Unfortunately, my positive comments don't start with this group.  In fact the groups were pretty poor once again in general, but the Hogzz might have been the least successful of the three.  There was just way too much focus on the choreography, and very little on the actual singing.  And were those storm troopers on the stage with them?
My Score: 3/10

Chris Rene "Superstar" - Here is where the improvements began, because Chris Rene had them in spades.  The artist I fell in love with during auditions was back as he combined smooth singing vocals with an original rap verse that was absolutely fantastic.  When he came back with the chorus to end the thing, I thought the audience was going to fall out of their seats.
My Score: 8/10

Leroy Bell "I'm Already There" - He was soft and sweet yet again, but this time with a lot more emotion.  Nicole was right when she said that "sometimes less is more" but in this case less didn't necessarily shoot Leroy to the front of the pack.  A good performance, but nothing anyone should be raving over.
My Score: 5/10

Rachel Crow "Walkin' On Sunshine" - Okay, Simon and I are going to start fighting over his Rachel decisions pretty soon.  She is adorable and has the powerful voice to make her a front runner, but he keeps giving her these upbeat teeny bopper songs that aren't giving her a real platform to showcase her talent.   This was nice, but like last week, I've seen much better from her.
My Score: 6/10

Lakoda Rayne "Landslide" - Like L.A. pointed out, and Steve Jones continued to notice in almost a creepy fashion later on, these girls looked beautiful up on stage.  The performance was also good, if unspectacular.  They still sounded like there were 15 girls on stage, and the song is hard to mess up, but overall a good performance.
My Score: 6/10

Josh Krajcik "Jar of Hearts" - I agree with Burrito Josh when he said "It doesn't matter who the song's by, because it's gonna be by me."  He killed this song originally done by a female.  It had power, soul, and he made it his own.  Most importantly, it had a melody this time!
My Score: 8/10

Melanie Amaro "Desparado" - Ding, ding, ding! Best of the night alert.  Dear Burrito Josh, this is how you sing a capella and still keep the song recognizable.  Melanie was fantastic throughout this performance, especially when she tossed in a bit of a growl in there for good measure.
My Score: 9/10

Melanie Amaro Top 12

Astro "Hip Hop Hooray" - Again, he proved to be a good and downright quick rapper tonight, but his lack of command and charisma are what is holding him back.  Don't mistake arrogance for swagger judges.  They are not one and the same.  When he blurted out "Let's have some fun" it felt so forced.  He is still young, and as he grows up, I absolutely think he can improve on that facet.  For now, it's just not all there.
My Score: 5/10

inTENsity "Kids In America/Party Rock Anthem" - Some of the individuals are good here...the first lead girl and the quasi rapper near the end, but that's all this is, a bunch of solo artists thrown together.  There's not a lot of group dynamic with this Franken-group.  There was still more to enjoy than what The Stereo Hogzz put forth though.
My Score: 4/10

Drew "Just A Dream" - Not quite as great as last week's showstopper, but the slowing down of this Nelly song combined with her unbelievable tone, made this performance one of the best of the night.  I am no doubt a huge Drew fan at this point.
My Score: 8/10

Marcus Canty "Every Little Step You Take" - L.A. wants him to be the next Bobby Brown, so he gave him a Bobby Brown song to perform, and it worked.  Marcus just feels like a star when he's out on stage, and with the great vocal work he showed in this performance, it puts him in contention.  He was confident. He was charismatic.  It was a good performance.
My Score: 7/10

Stacy Francis "Up to the Mountain" - Simon was right.  This is exactly the type of song she should be singing.  Stacy improved immensely over last week.  She is a gospel singer and it definitely worked for her with this strong, soulful performance.
My Score: 8/10

So Melanie earned my pick for Best of the Night, but if I were to vote, my calls would be going for Drew and Chris Rene.  Those are my two favorites at this point in the competition.  If one of the groups don't get sent home tomorrow night, I would be very surprised.

Who is your favorite of the night?  And who do you think will get sent home tomorrow?  Weigh in below.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Chris Rene! All the way! He's got real talent, he doesn't even realize just how good he is! He's original, creative, up to date, and radiates with believable energy! I hope that he is the X Factor in the end. There are many talented competitors, but I truely believe he has it all that is needed to be a superstar! A very memorible personality! I'm 53 years old, and have always loved music, I definately will continue to listen to him, and hope the very best for his career!


Melonie was best 11/2/11 but overall i like Josh best an hope he wins contest


I agree with your review and am glad to read your commentary each week. I am a CHRIS RENE' fan all the way! I am a person who does NOT watch reality or talent type t.v., but I caught Chris' first audition, and well, there's just so much about him that I respect and support, that I am a full #LOVE LIFESTREETARMY groupie. I appreciate that you and I see eye to eye on Chris and I am ecstatic to read your review this week. CHRIS RENE' is a SUPERSTAR!


Laroy Bell should go. He’s too stiff. It’s easy to see why he’s been relegated to songwriting and composing throughout his life. He lacks charisma and the confidence that Simon always nags him about. He doesn’t have “it� (which is what the should should have been called; It Factor). Young looks but just a stiff. Being 60 is no excuse when Tina Turner and Madonna still have the moves. I agree about Stereo Hoggz. The front man is good but the backups are lacking. My favorite is Burrito Boy but I’d like to hear him on a Bruce Springsteen song like Glory Days or Dancing in the Dark. Boring song choices: Stacy Francis (Diana Ross Clone), Burrito Boy, Melanie, and Laroy. Rachel Crow’s chances are getting killed by Simon on these silly songs. The Flintstone Kids can continue their careers on Glee and the Disney Channel. Astro shouldn’t have made it this far judging on talent. I don’t know what they see. ABC lyrics. Nice kid but there were more talented people that got axed for a gimmick. Rene is ok. He’s not great at either singing or rapping. I think the girls find the Bad Boy thing appealing about him. Drew just has something about her. Like Carly Simon gave birth to a button-cute daughter with better vocals. Canty? He has “it� too but it’s nothing I haven’t already seen from better. But I like him. Interesting that Simon doesn’t want Melanie to be a 1-Trick pony yet he gives her another ballad to work with. ZZZZzzzzzzzz


Chris Rene would be the one to beat here if he starts doing his own thing. He seems uncomfortable with the past few performances, even though, he was still exciting to his fans last night.
Josh and Melanie have the most powerful voices and Rachel is right up there. Drew is the most unique and so adorable. So, there would be the perfect top five. With Chris ultimately taking the prize :)
LeRoy Bell is so darn likable and a good singer. Would love to see him go far, just not sure if there is a market for him. Marcus has great potential.
Astro needs to come back in a few years when he has gained experience and power and basically just grow up a little. Truly feel that all of the groups are lacking star potential. Not sure how they made it this far. Stacy Francis, her days in the limelight are over. She sounds good but No one likes to be deceived and that is basically what she has done to America. Hoping she is the one to go home tonight.


Drew doesnt suck, but im not drinking the kool-aid like most people. The fact of the matter is, she hasnt sung away from ballads because simon must know she doesn't sound good if it isnt a slow song. Melanie will be the winner of this competition and if she isnt then the public would be just as stupid as simon when he kicked her off temporarily.


I am voting for Chris Rene and Melanie. I don't share the hype about Drew. Interesting voice but not interested in listening to a CD of it. And I agree with the authors comments about Simon. I tune in to see Chris mainly and Melanie.


Melanie reminds me of Pia (from American Idol) but for the wrong reason. She has a power house voice, but I never feel moved by her performance. She gets me before or after she sings, when she gets emotional. But that's me. SteroHoggzz are so exciting. Never a group got me this much excited since BSB. The fan-girl in me is definately going craaaazaaay. Drew is just perfect. Chris Rene is still my favorite guy. Astro is mad talented, but that ego is just so not attractive. This boy needs a lesson in humility.


This show is an absolute joke. First of all, what is Simon's deal? First 10 years on American Idol, people enjoyed him because he ragged on people and told the straight up truth (eventhough he was wrong often) But, now on this show, he loves every contestant and believes they are superstars. Is he faking it, thinking he can trick America into liking these contestants? "Well Simon hates everyone, so if he enjoys these acts, than they must be great." I for one do not buy it. I can watch for myself and realize all 12 of these acts range from mediocre to down right awful. Simon is definitely over-compensating for the extreme lack of talent. Melanie is the best of the bunch, but is she a star? Not a chance. Drew is becoming a favorite, especially of Simon's, but in reality, she is just a poor man's Didi Benami, who couldn't even crack the top 7 in American Idol. Marcus Canty did well this week for the first 10 seconds of his performance, but then it suddenly turned into a dancing act as he didn't sing a lyric for 2 minutes. Astro sounds like a high school basketball player rapping on the bus ride home from a game. And the groups may be the worst part of all. Did Intensity really just do that on national television. How did they agree to sing the "kids of America" song? That song should not be sung by anyone over the age of 8. And lastly, the problem with this show is how arrogant and smug these judges are. If I have to see Simon's smug smile every time one of his girls is performing, I am going to throw up. Newsflash judges, you did a terrible job picking the top 17. If you want to watch a good reality singing competition, tune into the Singoff.


I absolutely agree with your review this evening on every aspect. I think one of the groups are going home. That being Intensity. I really like them but they feel disconnected to me. As for my best pick, it was Melanie with Drew with Drew being very close to Mel.

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