'The X Factor' USA finale part one - Live blog
Published Dec 22 2011, 00:45 GMT | By Jennifer Still
Well, it's time! The X Factor
USA has narrowed down thousands of hopefuls to only three finalists - Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene. After fighting their way to the finale, they will get their last chance to take to the stage tonight to win your votes and a $5 million recording contract. They will also duet with some big name stars
in the hopes of impressing viewers.
While judges Simon Cowell
, Nicole Scherzinger, LA Reid and Paula Abdul have had their say throughout the season, now it's up to America to decide who will take home the grand prize. Will your favourite stay on top, or will someone else shine instead? Stay with Digital Spy
live from 8/7c to find out!> Melanie Amaro 'X Factor' USA win predicted by Digital Spy readers21:28
Voting lines are now open! It's up to America to decide who will be crowned the winner tomorrow night. Who will it be? Join us again at 8/7c on Thursday night to find out! 21:20
Melanie Amaro's final chance to impress comes in the form of Beyoncé's 'Listen'. I am of the general impression that no one should touch Queen Bey's material, but it's better than another Mariah Carey jam, I suppose. Great voice, but I'd love to hear her sing something that isn't about achieving dreams, climbing mountains, overcoming odds, etc. Sure, we all have struggles, but you can overdo it. Case in point, here.
LA says that it showed the Melanie that he loved, calling it a "$50 million performance". Agree to disagree there, LA. Nicole admits that she is the first person she connected with, revealing that she felt empowered by Melanie, and "that's what music is all about".
Paula tells her to "take it all in", describing it as "stellar" and "gorgeous". Simon is also proud, claiming that he brought the show to America in order to prove his point that some of the greatest singers in the world are from America. He also promises that she'll never get teased again. Can we ever have a singing competition without a sob story? Doesn't seem so. 21:08
Now it's Chris Rene's second turn, and he must have heard my late night prayers because guess what he's singing? 'Young Homie'! It's a dream come true! I can't wait until this song is on the radio every day so I can say I loved it first. It's not like it's a particularly profound track or anything, but it is absolutely addicting and a total earworm. "Ayyyyyyy, young homie, whatcha trippin' on?" Good question!
Nicole says that we all have a purpose in life and that Chris served his with that song, thanking him for "that gift". Paula calls him "magic", saying that he's the consummate singer, songwriter and performer as he makes everyone fall in love with him.
Simon calls it his "$5 million song", remembering when they saw him during the first stages of the competition
and praising him for being a man of his word as well as a brilliant performer. Simon urges America to vote for him. LA applauds him for pouring himself into the song and also expresses his hope that people vote for him. 20:55
It's time for Josh's second song. Before he starts, though, we learn that he works at Chipotle. I knew he made burritos, but Chipotle is a game changer. They have brown rice now! Anyway... Josh is singing Etta James's 'At Last'. I guess it's unique in that male singers don't usually sing this, but come on, it's the final! I'm a little disappointed. Mind you, he sings the hell out of it.
LA is proud of how "at home" Josh seems on stage and calls him "such a rock star", admitting that he made it his own, which is what the competition is all about. Paula adds that he is one of the most "authentic, real, kind-hearted" people she's ever met, saying that he owns the stage no matter what kind of performance he's giving.
Simon appreciates that he took a "massive risk" with the performance and applauds him for making it all about the things they liked about him from the beginning, admitting that it will be a very close call. Nicole loves that he's delivered every week and is honoured to be a part of his musical journey. "Music loves you," she adds. She urges the audience to vote for him as he deserves to win.20:47
It's time for a Cirque du Soleil performance of a selection from Michael Jackson's Immortal
World Tour. I have a pretty deep-rooted fear of robots and am pretty sure they're going to take over the world one day, so I'm not really into this, I have to admit. Isn't Cirque du Soleil supposed to do lots of tumbles and acrobatic stunts? Something's not right. Ah, and here come the finalists with a little remix of 'They Don't Really Care About Us'. I don't really care about this performance, how about that? Okay, that was bad - but they set me up for it!20:35
Hop back in your time machine, but don't bother coming back to the present. Set your dials to 1996, where you'll find Melanie Amaro duetting with R Kelly on 'I Believe I Can Fly'. Do you realise this was the theme song to Space Jam
? The song is set in a register that's a bit too low for Melanie. It doesn't sound that great, but out comes Mr Throat Surgery
himself. How many more "uplifting" performances by Melanie Amaro can you hack? Cos I reached my limit during week 6 or so.
LA calls 'I Believe I Can Fly' one of the most important songs written in the last 50 years. Uh, okay. He brings up the fact that she got overshadowed by R Kelly as it wasn't in her key and she didn't give the full-on performances she usually does. Nicole agrees that she did the best that she could in the key it was written in and thinks that she "soared" on it. Nice one, Nicole.
Paula thinks it was a "privilege" for Melanie to sing such an important song, though she admits that she wishes she could have seen a bit more emotion from Melanie. Simon, of course, disagrees with the lot, saying that Melanie was "showing respect" to R Kelly and that it was an incredible duet. Hmm. I'm unimpressed - Melanie has come off a bit diva-ish in recent weeks since her accent epiphany
. You haven't won yet, love.20:22
It's Chris Rene up next and don't bother coming back from 2003, 'cos he's singing with everyone's favourite 'Sk8r' girl, Avril Lavigne. Chris's voice is absolutely terrible and the song doesn't suit him at all. It's almost embarrassing, especially for a final. I have no idea what they were thinking with this pairing. They're singing 'Complicated'. Remember when this song was relevant? I almost wish they were singing 'Sk8r Boi'. Chris adds in one of his raps and yet again, this is super uncomfortable.
Nicole says it was "a little shaky in the take-off" - that's the understatement of the year. However, the "light" around him is "so flipping infectious" that she couldn't help but enjoy it. Paula doesn't think it matters if he wasn't note perfect but praises him for being "current" and 'relevant". She also thinks 'Complicated' is the "antithesis" of what he's based on. Good lord.
Simon feels that he had "total joy and confidence" on stage, especially when they began rapping, and thinks it could be an actual record. LA thinks he looked at home and like he and Avril were "cut from the same cloth". What? Are we all watching different things? He agrees with Simon that the song could be a #1 hit. 20:10
The first up is Josh and they've got him singing Alanis Morissette's 'Uninvited' - makes sense, since he'll apparently be singing with her later. Oh wait, here she comes. The judges give her a standing ovation and I'm instantly transported back to 2003. This is just so, so awkward. Josh is giving her the weirdest look, she's grinning, I'm fighting not to avert my gaze... It's Josh, though, so I can't slag him off too badly. For the record, my favourite Alanis song is definitely 'Unsent'. Look it up.
LA says it was 'surreal" and thinks it was a natural pairing. Apparently, his favourite album ever made is Jagged Little Pill
. Well, okay. Paula couldn't think of a better way to open the competition and also praises "remarkable" Alanis. "Not only did you hold your own, you kept your dignity and integrity and that's worth $5 million," she adds.
Simon says that Alanis was amazing. However, he felt that Josh seemed intimidated in the beginning, but redeemed himself later. He urges Josh to try better in his next song. Nicole praises him for giving to the audience as well as to his duet partner and thanks Alanis for gracing the stage.20:05
We've got live feeds set up at Josh's old high school, Chris's old club where he sang and Melanie's church (natch). Each place is filled to the brim with supporters for each of the contestants. Nicole wishes them all "good energy", while LA and Paula are really proud of the three. Simon says it'll be the "closest" final, which I agree. Any one of them could take it - which is not to say all of them deserve it, mind.20:03
The judges are out and I quite like Nicole's dress... and her hair. LA Reid does his weird Little Lord Fauntleroy bow/arm gesture and Simon and Paula are also there. Ha! The finalists are also brought out. They've got Melanie dressed like Elvira and Chris is in pleather. Josh manages to seem normal. 20:00
And we're off! Oddly, I don't feel quite as emotionally involved as I did during the X Factor
UK final (after all, Little Mix are amazing
). Still, I'm rooting for Josh. How about you lot? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!