Tonight, we'll watch as the final three performers on The X Factor USA
-- Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene -- perform three songs each as their last bid for America's votes. And those all-important votes will determine who wins a $5 million recording contract in tomorrow's two-hour season finale.
Let's take stock of how these three very strong, but very different, vocalists stack up:
MELANIE AMARO Age:
Tortola, British Virgin IslandsCurrently Resides:
Coral Springs, FL/Sunrise, FLThree Reasons She'll Win:1. Her Voice.
After singing hits by Whitney, Mariah and Michael all season, there's no doubt that Melanie has the kind of voice that can hold its own with those great untouchable vocalists.2. Her Mentor
. Simon will do and say anything to be the first winning mentor on his own show. And, as a country, we're pretty prone to listening to his stern British commands. Commands like, "Vote for Melanie!"3. Her Fans.
With the youngest, sassiest and -- see #1 again -- most vocally talented contestant on their side, Melanie's fans are uncompromising, loyal and rabid. In their screams, their boos and
Three Reasons She Won't:
1. Her (Apparent) Lack of Versatility.
I actually think that Melanie has the talent and personality to kill an uptempo number. But unless she pulls one out on tonight's final performance episode, we won't know for sure.2. Her Slightly Less Compelling Backstory.
Josh has his burrito-making, pavement-hitting past and his daughter. Chris has his trash-collecting, drug-recovery, and his son. Melanie has her accent, which we didn't know about until half way through the show, and the fact that Simon came back for her after he'd already eliminated her, which we're all pretty sure was contrived, right? 3. Her Polish.
This is a bit of a cheat, because it could also work in Melanie's favor. When it comes to performing, polish is a great thing. But on performing reality shows, we're suckers for fixer-uppers, because they're more relatable. Melanie is a professional diva in training, from the notes she hits to the perfectly tailored gowns she wears. But I have a feeling that any undecided voters will choose an underdog over the top dog -- and Melanie's the top dog coming into tonight's episode.JOSH KRAJCIKAge:
Columbus, OHThree Reasons He'll Win:
1. His Voice.
Melanie's powerful voice could shatter glass, but Josh's is powerful too, and rich. It's like a warm glass of bourbon for your soul.2. His Attitude.
Off stage, Josh is the everyman: Nonchalant, relaxed, welcoming. He's humble when he needs to be humble, and confident when he needs to be confident -- onstage.3. His Artistry.
He can sing. He can croon. He can rock. He can play guitar. He can play the piano. He can write songs. He can cover pretty much anyone else's songs. I've never had one, but I bet even a Josh burrito is a special work of art. Three Reasons He Won't:1. His Mentor.
Nicole Scherzinger is the worst. Not to say that anyone would deprive Josh of their votes just so they don't have to see Nicole win along with him. (Though I clearly understand the sentiment.) I just hope she doesn't advise him into any terrible song or staging choices tonight, as she's done before.2. His Shyness.
It disappears when he hits the stage, and offstage it's part of his charm, but part of me worries that Josh might be a little too sweet and normal for the machine into which he'd be sucked if he wins that $5 million contract and other winner's trappings. Is he commercial enough for that Pepsi Super Bowl commercial? And if he's not, will the X Factor
powers-that-be do whatever they can to keep from crowning him?3. His Position.
If The X Factor
were a political election, Melanie and Chris would be the nominees from the two big parties -- The Voice Party and The Heart Party. Josh would be the moderate. He's got a mix of both extremes, which makes him the most logical, well-rounded choice. But voters are rarely logical.CHRIS RENE
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz, CAThree Reasons He'll Win:1. His Story.
Chris overcame a drug addiction that almost killed him. Still just months into recovery, Chris is inspirational in the truest sense: His whole attitude, style and message is about overcoming struggles and embracing the positive in your life. 2. His Originality.
Chris's singing/rapping style is fresh in and of itself, and he's also performed two entirely original songs on the show. Neither Melanie nor Josh did that, and both performances have received rave reviews for Chris. He is his own artist, and the people have already confirmed that they're buying (or would buy) what he's selling.3. His Brand.
Take #1 and #2, put them together, and you've got the makings of a fully-fledged, fully-marketable artist. Unlike Melanie and Josh, Chris already has his brand and his legion of fans, called the "Love Life Army," locked and loaded. Over 90,000 fans on Facebook, to be exact -- at least 30,000 more than either of his competitors.Three Reasons He Won't:1. His Voice.
Strictly speaking, Chris's voice is the weakest left in the competition. 2. His Inconsistency.
Chris has had many bright moments, but he's also stumbled, unable to as easily adapt to certain cover songs as Melanie and Josh. Clearly, that hasn't been a huge detriment to him yet, but since that's the main demonstration that we have to judge these three on every week, it's got to count for something.3. His (and This) Competition.
Josh and Melanie are formidable opponents, and Chris isn't the traditional choice. By their very nature, nationally-polled talent competition shows tend to weed out the artists who don't most widely appeal to the masses. WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD/WILL WIN THE X FACTOR?
(Images courtesy of FOX)