'The X Factor': With Melanie Amaro, Simon Fixed Just One of Many Bad Judging Choices
'The X Factor': With Melanie Amaro, Simon Fixed Just One of Many Bad Judging Choices
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Though it felt about as staged (at least on Simon Cowell's end) as when those Bachelor finalists show up at the final rose ceremony asking for a second chance, at least one of last night's shockingly wrong X Factor eliminations has been righted.

Realizing that he'd made a mistake that he couldn't shake (and realizing it in front of the camera, how convenient!) after sending Melanie Amaro away from his French estate in tears, Simon Cowell flew to her home and asked her to come back to The X Factor, making her the seventeenth act to make the cut for next week's live shows.

It was a small bit of vindication after a two-hour marathon of shock and "aww." And anger. Across all four categories, the X Factor judges proved, once and for all, that this is NOT a straightforward singing competition, by keeping acts with unrealized (and in some cases, unconfirmed) potential rather than proven talent.

In Simon's girls category, he opted to keep fame-obsessed, lyrics-forgetting Simone Battle and off-key Tiah Tolliver over THREE more genuine, and more genuinely talented performers: Tora Woloshin, Caitlin Koch and Jazzlyn Little. All three of those girls had personality, and were easy on the eyes and the ears. Why it was only Melanie haunting his dreams, I'll never know. But at least Rachel Crow and Drew Ryniewicz made the cut. I just never thought the two youngest girls would be the two most consistent singers of Simon's final four.

Over with the boys, LA Reid was smitten with Brian 'Astro' Bradley even despite his bratty attitude, and let solid country singers Brennin Hunt and Tim Cifers go. At least he kept Marcus Canty, Chris Rene and Phillip Lomax, who all showed more talent, and more humility, than the 15-year-old rapper who thinks he runs the world. (I have to admit, I'm still excited to see a rapper on the live shows, at least for variety's sake.)

When she wasn't exhibiting the kind of dramatic pathos usually reserved for Shakespearean death scenes, Nicole Scherzinger made one massive mistake in the form of Dexter Haygood, who has been a mess, albeit a sympathetic mess, from day one. I'd like to think that the producers forced her into that one for erratic Dexter's entertainment value -- although that's not at all comforting. It's actually horrifying. And there's really no excuse, because that call forced her to get rid of the gloriously gifted Elaine Gibbs.

The groups category has largely felt like a lost cause, although glimmers of hope emerged with The Stereo Hogzz, The Anser and 4Shore ... until those latter two were let go, so that the judges' Franken-groups, Lakoda Rayne and InTENsity, could go through instead. Despite their awful name, Lakoda Rayne shows promise, but haven't been together long enough for that to be more than an unfounded hope. And InTENsity ... well, trying to get ten kids who just met each other to sound like real, recording-contract-worthy music, not a manic high school musical, sounds like Mission: Impossible meets Adventures in Babysitting to me.

Next Tuesday, The X Factor's top 17 acts will perform in a special two-and-a-half-hour live show. After all the acts have taken the stage, the four judges will eliminate one, leaving the true Top 16, who will compete for America's votes the following week.

You made enough mistakes when you tried to make your Top 16 the first time, judges. This second time, Melanie Amaro BETTER be one of them.

(Image courtesy of FOX)