'The X Factor USA' Top 7: Which Two Acts Will Be Told to 'Beat It'?
'The X Factor USA' Top 7: Which Two Acts Will Be Told to 'Beat It'?
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Please pardon the terrible (borderline-inappropriate?) pun in the headline. But it's Michael Jackson Week! I doubt you'd be able to let the opportunity slip away, either.

Last night, the X Factor Top 7 paid homage to the King of Pop with a collection of performances that, if we're looking for an overall theme, could probably best be described as "departures." Some embraced the challenge and took risks with their personal styles, while others made changes to Michael's originals to better fit their sound.

And while we're clearly down to the cream of the X Factor crop -- there isn't a performer left who hasn't been told, in one way or another, that they could win this thing -- some risks paid off better than others.

Two performers will be sent home tonight. Who's it gonna be? Here are my predictions:

Most Likely to Go Home

Chris Rene
Only L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell still have all three of their acts left in the competition. But two of L.A.'s boys -- Marcus and Astro -- have landed in the Bottom Two. Something tells me that after those two scares, their fans will rally behind Marcus and Astro, and this week it may be Chris Rene who finds himself at the bottom rung of L.A.'s ladder. And after his delightful but vocally strained performance of "I'll Be There," the judges will opt to vote through the more consistent act, the one who's shown the most range and proven that he/she is comfortable with performing covers -- and, as lovely and artistic and inspiring as he is, that's not Chris Rene.

(This is all assuming that Chris ends up in the bottom two, not as the act who gets the "lowest votes" boot straight away, which is just too tragic to think about. And after last night's strange collection of performances, I honestly have no idea who will end up in that position, so I'm not even going to bother.)

Then again, Chris also seems to have a fiercely loyal legion of fans out there. So if I'm wrong about him going home, I predict another -- or both? -- of L.A.'s boys will get the boot. (They've got supporters, but neither is as universally adored as any of Simon's girls.) But if I'm right ... well, brace yourselves for a hurricane of Nicole and Paula tears.

Should Be Worried

Marcus Canty and Astro
See above.

As Steve diplomatically put it, she's "divisive." Sometimes, that's a great thing for a performer, because it keeps people talking. But will it keep them voting? Drew definitely has her supporters, but I have to wonder what the people who love Drew even like about The X Factor. The X Factor producers are not interested in subtlety. They want the "whole package." If it were up to them, every performance would include a laser light show, a gospel choir, at least ten backup dancers and a mandatory confetti rainstorm. And it's not hard to see why they like things, big, Big, BIG: The winner of this season is going to star in a Super Bowl Pepsi commercial, for Pete's sake. Drew has made it very clear that she's a vocalist, not a vaudeville act. That will likely serve her well as an artist. But I'm not so sure it will serve her well as a potential winner of this (and I mean it in both senses of the word here) show.

(Image courtesy of FOX)