'The X Factor' results: The final five are revealed
The single-named competitors have been sent home: Drew and Astro were voted off "The X Factor" Thursday night in a double-elimination results show that I, personally, sort of wished had been a triple elimination show – with host Steve Jones being sent home as well.
Here's hoping Jones ticked off Simon Cowell enough for that to happen. Jones certainly seemed to risk just that in the final moments of the show, after the judges had given Drew – and not Marcus Canty – the heave-ho.
After Astro had been sent home with the least amount of votes and Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro, Rachel Crow and Josh Krajcik had been ushered through to the next round, it came down to Canby and Drew in the "save-me song" round.
Drew was in and out of tears, trembling, looking very much like the 14-year-old girl she is. But she emerged for her song looking relatively composed, and sang "Listen To Your Heart" with trademark passion and artful vocal maneuvers. Miraculously, Drew not only sang well, she also pulled out her moves: a slow, deliberate walk around the bottom lip of the stage. (Hey, it was something.)
But then it was Canty's turn to sing, and he literally sang for his life. Throwing everything into "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)," including his upper notes, which cracked with raw emotion. It wasn't the most polished performance. But you knew he meant it.
Then, presumably for the sake of suspense, Jones went to Cowell for his decision. You knew he was going to vote to save Drew and send Canty home, but what was unexpected was that he took full responsibility for the fact that Drew was even in danger of elimination. He had played it all wrong, making bad decisions on Drew's behalf. He had chosen too slow a song. He had not listened to the other judges.
Cowell failed to mention that he had also confined Drew to a chair. On Michael Jackson night. Despite her objections. Oh well, you can't have everything. But as he asked the two female judges – whom he so often mistreats and whose advice he had repeatedly failed to take – to save Drew, it became unclear if he was actually contrite or just currying favor.
If it was the latter, it didn't work. Both Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul voted to send home Drew and save Canty. Simon, furious, stood up and walked away from the judging table.
Drew, meanwhile, dissolved into Canty's arms, but Jones separated them and insisted Drew give him a comment. She managed to pull it together to thank her fans and promise to show them something that's "a lot more upbeat" and "a lot more different." Poor thing. Cowell had really sunk her.
Jones then shoved the microphone in Cowell's face. "Simon, what do you want to say?" he demanded.
Cowell said he didn't want to say anything. But Jones persisted: "Simon, just one word."
Cowell looked ready to rip off Jones' mic arm with his bare meaty hands, so Jones cut to Drew's farewell montage, after which Cowell managed to begrudgingly mutter something favorable about Drew.
Did Cowell want to say something to the other judges? Jones wanted to know. No, in fact, Cowell did not. He wanted to comfort Drew as she sobbed. Deeply.
The show should have ended there, but uh-oh, Jones obviously had rushed the judges' decision along a little too quickly, and there were a few seconds to fill. Unable to fill the time himself, what did he do?
He again thrust the mic Drew's way – despite the fact that she was a complete mess – and demanded that she share "one final word."
Oh … good … lord! Everyone in the room where I was watching stood up and jeered Jones.
Drew, meanwhile, said what she'd apparently been waiting weeks to say: "Jesus loves all of you guys, and I haven't gotten to say that, and that's what I'm in this competition for, and now I'm finally saying it."
You've gotta feel for Drew. She started out so strong and clearly has a marketable, highly listenable, very likable voice. But she had Cowell working both for and against her. We may yet learn that Drew is capable of moving comfortably on a stage and singing songs that don't all start to sound the same after a while, but we didn't learn it in the weeks she and Cowell had our attention on this show. At the end of the day, it feels like an unfortunate missed opportunity. Cowell really blew it -- not just by mis-mentoring Drew's performances, but by arrogantly alienating the other judges (and the voters) as well.
And Astro? Well, he signed off with dignity, even youthful sweetness, thanking his fans and expressing love to someone named Molly and not looking the least bit surprised or disappointed by his fate. And he certainly didn't seem angry: "It's cool, baby," he reassured the booing crowd.
He'll be OK. Reid expressed confidence in Astro's future, called him "a star" and "one of the most fascinating guys" he'd ever met. He'll make sure he has a career.
And so the final five are …
Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro, Rachel Crow, Josh Krajcik and Marcus Canty.
What do you think of the results? Were you sad to see Astro and Drew go?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: The top seven contestants perform on THE X FACTOR on FOX. Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX.