'The X Factor' USA Results Live Recap: And Then There Were Three
'The X Factor' USA Results Live Recap: And Then There Were Three
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
It's time for another X Factor dream to be crushed ... then pulverized, and then ground into a fine, luminous powder and sprinkled over the Road to Victory, the easier for the three remaining performers to see their way as they march to next week's finale.

Whoa, what? Sorry, I got a little dark there for a minute. It's just that, given how wretched and uncomfortable last week's elimination was, and that tonight the obnoxious and smug Nicole Scherzinger is going to force her obnoxiousness and smugness down our throats with a performance of her song "Pretty" (which, until I hear otherwise, I'm going to assume is about Nicole feeling sorry for herself because she's too beautiful to be taken seriously), I'm feeling a bit bleak.

You know who else is probably feeling bleak right now? Marcus Canty. Even his "Vegas show in 1983" version of "Careless Whisper" didn't seem to improve his chances of getting through tonight. (Oh, Simon meant that as an insult? Sounded like a compliment to me. I mean, ALL THAT CONFETTI. It was a bit "horrific," but delightfully so.)

But, as last night's "Pepsi Challenge" songs demonstrated, there's just no telling what those wacky X Factor voters will come up with. So, while we wait for the results with baited breath and barf bags at the ready (still talking about Scherzinger, folks), tell me: Who should be the one to get the boot?

Also while we wait: Did you hear that Stevie Wonder and Justin Bieber will appear in next week's finale? Apparently they pre-taped a medley of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "The Christmas Song" yesterday, and Drew Ryniewicz may or may not have gotten to join her dream boy for a line of the song. (Which begs the question: Now that Drew's dream has come true even though she didn't win, does that mean the X Factor is going to build Rachel Crow her own bathroom?)

On another note, Simon appeared as one of Barbara Walter's "Most Fascinating People" of the year on her special last night, and talked about how he and Paula used to really hate each other, and then they almost got it on, but that he was too scared of the "aftermath" to get in bed with her. A regular Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, those two. (Except if Elizabeth had no shame and took crazy pills, and Mr. Darcy wore v-necks and drank too many smoothies.)

Steve Jones introduces the judges to their normal "This is the Most Important and Dramatic Event That Has Ever or Will Ever Happen" music (kind of like if the Lord of the Rings and Requiem for A Dream soundtracks had a sad, drug-addicted hobbit-baby).

Then the Final Four give their final performance as the Final Four, and it's a mash-up of "No Diggity" by Blackstreet and "Shout" by Tears for Fears. I want to find the evil genius who came up with this mix and kiss them on the forehead. Not the mouth, but the forehead. Bless them. This is ridiculous.

This season isn't even over yet, and Steve Jones is already pimping auditions for the next one. I mean, we all know the X Factor life cycle is going to happen again (and again... and again...) but does Steve have to flaunt their expiration date right in front of the finalists?

Recap of Last Night
We get to see clips of the finalists' families at home watching last night's show, which is fun and creepy and unnecessary all at once. (Adding to the creepy:  Each stream appears to come from a secret nanny-cam.) Marcus's first song was corny, and had unpleasant "zombie dancers" according to Simon. According to Marcus's family, it was the best thing that ever happened. Chris did well, even though he was handed the petrified turd of a song that is "Fly" by Sugar Ray. Melanie's mom (or aunt?) said "Don't even GO there!" when L.A. accused her of lacking passion on "Hero." Marcus's family got up and danced to "Careless Whisper," and were FURIOUS when Simon called it "horrific." Josh's family in Ohio actually got out their cell phones (in a very bright room) and waved them like so many lighters during his performance of "Hallelujah."

The Judges Share Their Feelings
Simon says he's nervous, given "what happened last week." It's like everyone is afraid to mention Rachel directly, lest the audience start flipping chairs and screaming "OCCUPY X FACTOR." As the only "impartial" judge left, Paula says she's actually very partial, especially to Josh and Chris's final performances last night. Oh yeah, and Melanie's "note" was life-changing, too. Nicole, in a White Swan disguise (YOU CAN'T FOOL US!), also champions Josh and Chris. L.A. says he's nervous because he has two guys left, and only three people can get into the finals. "I don't know what that means," says L.A., who knows exactly what that means. Only Marcus got left out in the cold with not a single direct mention, not even by his own mentor. THAT'S what it means.

Then, L.A. Reid tries three times to ignore a stupid question from Steve Jones about whether he feels "smug" that he'll have a mentee in the finals no matter what. "Can you hear me? I SAID I BET YOU FEEL SMUG," Steve screams into his mic. What a nice way of asking how proud L.A. is of his boys -- which is how L.A. attempts to spin the question, anyway.

Florence + the Machine Perform
There's stained glass (not real; from a projector), and tumbling ballet dancers and Florence bathing in an orange ray of light while she does that staccato thing with her voice that she loves to do. Normal Florence + the Machine stuff. They're everywhere. I'm a little bored. BRING ON THE SCHERZINGER. BRING ON MY ZINGERS.

Let's Compare and Contrast the Top 4 Again, Because Why Not
The show still has half an hour to kill, so now it's time to critique the finalists for the zillionth time. Marcus is a resilient entertainer. Chris is a unique artist. Josh is versatile and emotional. Melanie has a "limitless" voice, and she makes it look easy.

Finally, it's time for some...


The first act who is through to the finals is:


The second act who is through to the finals is:


Which means that Josh Krajcik and Marcus Canty are left to await their fates. Which means Marcus Canty is toast. Right? Aw, poor Marcus. I wish they'd put him out of his misery. Oh, and speaking of misery... hope you have your blood-red imPRESS press-on manicures on, because it's time for Nicole to perform.

Nicole Scherzinger Performs "Pretty"

So I was wrong, I guess the song is about how her boyfriend used to call her "pretty" the adjective, but now she feels "pretty" the adverb. Like, "pretty" upset. "Pretty" messed up. "Pretty" dumb. And that's a "pretty" intense/insane super-serious singing face she's got.

Steve Jones can barely contain his laughter has he says, "Bravo." He goes to Simon, who is sitting in Nicole's chair and gives her a "Nicole"-style critique, which includes lines like "God is smiling on you" and "Life is a waterfall and you are the ultimate rainbow." He's just relishing his disdain for her. Do you think the sick enjoyment that Simon gets out of mocking Nicole will be enough to keep her around for next season?


There's one spot left, and I think we all know who's most likely to get it. No Save Me Songs and no judges' votes this time around. Just America's votes, and America has voted to keep:


Which means MARCUS CANTY has been eliminated. Aw. Everything is as it probably should be, and yet I still feel sad. Marcus got put through the wringer these past weeks, but at least he was prepared for this. He leaves with a smile and says, "This is not the last time you will see Marcus Canty." Steve tries to squeeze some negativity out of Marcus, but he says "I gave it my all. I love America." Then he tells his family not to cry. Try as you might, you can't bring this boy, down, Steve.

So, what do you make of your final three, America? Melanie, Josh and Chris -- or, as I think of them in my weird head, The Voice, The Beast and The Heart. Each has their strengths, but only one can win. WHO DO YOU WANT TO SEE IN A PEPSI SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL?

(Image courtesy of FOX)

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