With Thanksgiving just around the corner, last night’s (November 22) X Factor USA performance night theme seemed rather appropriate. The top nine contestants all chose songs to dedicate to the ones in their lives who inspired them the most.
Some would choose parents to serenade while others would choose friends. Either way you slice it, it was a night full of giving thanks to special people.
With the sweet theme in place, some pretty sweet performances would come out of the deal. Here’s a look at how it all turned out:
Rachel Crow: Rachel wants to thank her parents for adopting her and making her dreams come true. She dedicates her performance of Yolanda Adams’ “I Believe” to them and it’s enough to make you want to weep. She sounds powerful and sure of herself and she looks absolutely adorable in the process. The judges eat up the performance with Simon gushing the most over his little star.
Marcus Canty: Marcus’ sister says he’s a momma’s boy so it’s no wonder his performance is dedicated to his mom. He picks the perfect song to sing for her: Boyz II Men’s “A Song For Mama.” The vocal started out just awesome but somewhere around the middle, things fell apart as emotion washed over Canty. His mother didn’t mind. She stood at the front of the stage rocking back and forth as she fought back tears. “Honey, you know you’re making all the other sons look bad tonight,” Nicole joked. “I think you put yourself back in the competition tonight,” Simon added.
Melanie Amaro: A few things stood out while watching Melanie with the biggest being her accent! Mel was born in Florida but was sent to live with her grandparents in the British Virgin Islands growing up and naturally has a Caribbean accent. She’s been seriously pulling it back in her interview packages but she now feels comfortable enough to just be herself. This new comfort level showed in her stellar performance of R Kelly’s “World’s Greatest” which she dedicated to God. “I can not tell you how good it feels to be here tonight on this stage,” an emotional Melanie said after her performance. The judges absolutely adored her performance but they loved the fact that she was able to let go and finally be herself more. “You are so courageous. Can I just give you a hug?,” Nicole asked through tears.
Chris Rene: Chris has made no secret about his struggle with addiction and his road to redemption through rehab. He’s thanking his rehab counselor with a mash-up performance of The Beatle’s “Let It Be.” But wait…the second part of this song sounds familiar. That’s because it’s Rene’s original tune “Young Homie!” Chris is truly in his element when performing songs like YH. “It’s so nice to hear you get back to where we fell in love with you in the first place,” Paula said. “I believe in you,” L.A. told his guy.
Lakoda Rayne: Most of the ladies of LR are dedicating their performance to either parents or grandparents (with the exception of Paige who chose her boyfriend). This fact makes their song choice of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” a little weird. Weird lyrics and song choice aside, they sounded pretty good. “I was completely prepared to not like it but again, you disarmed me,” L.A. said. “This is by far your best performance to date,” Simon said to cheers. Paula’s last group may have a fighting chance.
Leroy Bell: Leroy’s performance is for his mother who sadly passed away almost two years ago. He performs a moving rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” complete with backing choir but this wasn’t enough to stop L.A. from criticizing the performance. “It was heartfelt for sure but not your very best,” he said as boos erupted. Luckily, he was the only judge to come down on Bell. “I thought it was a fantastic tribute to your mom, I thought it was a great version and I think you really, really made your mark this week,” Simon said.
Astro: The Astronomical Kid wants to thank his supporters for sticking by him after the “thingy” last week–you know, that time he acted like a total brat during the bottom two final showdown. “No tantrums this week,” he said as he started his rap over the Jay-Z “Show Me What You Got” beat. “Spazzed out but I’m back again. Got my head in the right place and I’m back to win,” he rapped. His song was laced with apologies for his bad behavior and love for the fans who stood by him during it. All seemed forgiven between Astro and the judges who scolded him the week before with Simon saying, “The music business needs unpredictability.”
Drew: Drew’s best buddy Shelby has been there for her through “loser status” so she wants to thank her with a performance of Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper.” As good as Drew typically is, this song didn’t really come together. L.A. slams the song choice as “songs for people who are 40” even though the original version was done by a 19 year old. Simon, who is clearly fed up with L.A. at this point, goes on the defense. “I am sick to death of your pointless, stupid criticisms,” he said. Cat fight!
Josh Krajcik: Josh is quickly becoming the one to watch. Week after week, he gets better and this week was no exception. He performs “Wild Horses” on the piano and delivers one of the standout performances of the night. Every note was flawless. Without a flaw. A flaw was missing! The judges gag with excitement over the performance. Simon even apologized to Nicole for being so tough on her and says she did a great job tonight. Nicole has a front-runner on her hands!
Predictions: With a scary double elimination looming, things can get sticky. Chris Rene and Lakoda Rayne just may be on their ways out.