'The X Factor' results: Lucky seven remain as two head home
By the end of "The X Factor's" Thanksgiving week results show Wednesday night, seven acts were feeling very thankful indeed, and two acts – manufactured girl group Lakoda Rayne and hipster-oldster Leroy Bell -- were heading home for the holiday.
Lakoda Rayne got the bad news first. After Kelly Clarkson performed her song "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)," prompting host Steve Jones to compliment her "pipes," and the circus-attire-sporting top nine clambered up on a rotating turntable to belt out "Raise Your Glass" and "So What" in a fun, frisky production number orchestrated via an Internet poll, Jones put on his somber visage and summoned Lakoda Rayne and Drew to the stage.
"I know this comes as a surprise," Jones said, meaninglessly. Based on the results of the "X Factor" votes, one of the two acts would move on to next week's show; the other – the week's lowest vote-getter -- would be sent directly home. Would it be Lakoda Rayne, the highly attractive group of women that had climbed doggedly toward mediocrity? Or would we have another results-show shocker, with the talented young Drew prematurely dispatched back to her small town?
Tick-tock, tick-tock … Jones waited out the clock and then delivered the highly predictable news: Bye-bye, Lakoda Rayne!
Jones then took advantage of opportunities to praise fellow Fox host Howie Mandel's pithy show-pitching skills ("Amazing!" Jones exclaimed) and Bruno Mars' singing ("Fantastic!" he gushed) before it was again time for him drop the goofy grin and deliver more results. With Lakoda Rayne, the least popular act, gone and Drew through, he would read off the fates of the five more acts to make it through to next week, leaving the second and third least popular vocalists to sing for survival.
"In no particular order," Jones let us know that Chris Rene, Rachel Crow, Josh Krajcik and Melanie Amaro had made it through to safety. That left Bell and nice guy Marcus Canty, as well as combative hip-hop kid Astro.
Astro, whose obvious talent had prompted the judges to save him from the bottom two last week, despite his poor behavior, had the look of a goner. But no, Jones yanked him back from the brink: Astro's fans had triumphed over his foes, and he'd live to rap another week. Canty and Bell would sing for the save.
Pressed by Jones, Canty admitted it felt "funny" to be in jeopardy. Bell allowed that he was "scared." But then both sang with passion and feeling. Bell's rendition of The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" was particularly stirring. For what may have been the first time, his vocal tone and fab look was matched by an ease and emotional accessibility onstage. It was arguably his best performance of the season.
L.A. Reid went with his boy Canty, opting to send Bell home. Nicole Scherzinger threw her chips in to save her mentee Bell and to banish Canty. Paula Abdul complimented both singers, and then voted to keep Bell and ditch Canty, based solely on their "save-me" songs.
So the final decision came down to Simon Cowell, who split the vote evenly, sending the results into "Deadlock," whereby the act that had fared worse in the popular vote would be sent home.
Jones delivered the verdict swiftly: warm-voiced 60-year-old Bell was toast. Young crooner Canty would move on to next week. Bell took the news in stride, as he seems to take everything, and said he was actually OK with the decision. He had given it his all, he said, and had a great ride: a stylish dude until the end.
What did you think of the results? Were you sad to see Lakoda Rayne and Leroy Bell go? Are you outraged that Astro has survived?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: The Top 9 contestants perform on THE X FACTOR airing on Wednesday, Nov. 23, on FOX. Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX.