It’s Movie Night on “The X Factor.”
And no, that doesn’t mean that the winner gets a free screening of “Jack & Jill.”
Click through for a full recap of Wednesday’s Top 11 performances…
8:02 p.m. ET Farewell, Distracting Unseen Announcer Man. Bring on Steve Jones.
8:03 p.m. “It’s very exciting,” promises Mr. Jones. Then he teases us that we, at home, are in control. As we learned last week, that’s only partially true.
8:03 p.m. Oooh. “Star Wars” fanfare to introduce the judges. The funny thing is that they totally could have still used that so-so cover of “Live and Let Die.”
8:04 p.m. Oh God. OH GOD! THEY WENT TO SEE “JACK & JILL” EARLIER THIS WEEK. OH GOD.
8:05 p.m. Rachel Crow is very happy to see Katie Holmes. LeRoy Bell is very happy to see Al Pacino. That’s how you know LeRoy is old. Adam Sandler is Drew’s favorite actor and Mr. Sandler proves he watched “X Factor” by telling “Lakoda Rayne” that he loved their “Landslide” performance.
8:06 p.m. “‘Jack and Jill’ was a good movie,” says a very tempered Marcus Canty. But Drew calls it the funniest movie she’s EVER seen.
8:07 p.m. Our first performance is from the Over-30s and it’s…
Stacy Francis: Nicole Scherzinger says that Stacy is stepping out of her element with a huge diva song, but L.A. Reid doesn’t think the song, which he co-wrote, is a good idea. It’s “The Queen of the Night” and Stacy looks fantastic in red. And at least for the start of the song, it seems like a pretty good mix. Then Stacy starts moving. And with the movement, suddenly she no longer has the lungs for this song. She recovers fairly well once she lets the background dancers do most of the movement on the same jungle gym InTENsity used previously. Overall, Stacy sounds OK, but there are notes in the middle that she’s missing 100 percent because she’s not in the right shape for a performance like this. Standing still, her vocals would have been perfect. Naturally, L.A. Reid says that Stacy did much better than he would have predicted. Reid isn’t sure why Stacy didn’t just do “I Will Always Love You.” Paula Abdul never liked the song (“That’s going a little far,” L.A. Reid says), but she says that Stacy “delivered in a big way.” Simon says Stacy “looked cute,” but he’d have her wearing the costume somewhere else. I’m not sure where. “I liked you last week as a singer,” Simon says, also criticizing the dancing. “I think that you look gorgeous,” Nicole says constructively and then says that Stacy was “empowering to all women” and “a queen from within,” whatever those things mean in context.
8:14 p.m. Oh Steve. “Merry-land.” That must mean our next performer is…
Marcus Canty: L.A. Reid says this is all about stripping Marcus down, showcasing him as a singer. And what better way to do that than with a song from “Carwash”? He arrives on-stage submerged in fog. It’s a very shiny jacket he’s wearing and the light is blasting down on him. He’s practically radiating. And as for his version of “I’m Goin’ Down”? It’s much better vocally than he was last week when he got caught up in the dancing and fun of covering Bobby Brown. I’m not *totally* feeling the performance emotionally — I think the production silliness is distracting me — but it’s still very solid. He’s hitting all the notes and hitting them well. Nicole has only two words “Ma Gic,” Nicole gushes, calling him “a beautiful dream,” praising him for tasting every word. Paula says that everything about Marcus “resonates star.” Simon thinks it was 1000 percent better from last week, though he didn’t like the jacket. L.A. Reid says that he has a crystal ball and he sees Marcus in it.
Drew: Why can I not remember any of the songs from “You, Me and Dupree”? Why can I not remember “You, Me and Dupree” as a movie? Was “Fix You” in this movie? Apparently. Simon has costumed Drew like a Disney princess by way of “The Black Swan.” And then he pointed a fan in her face, as if she were a hottie entering the Buy More. I really don’t see why Simon thought this was epic, visually. But guess what? Drew is spectacular. You know how I wasn’t sure if I felt what Marcus was singing? I feel every word that Drew sings. Every time. Every word. L.A. Reid makes a fairly valid point, though, that this was a lot like Drew’s last two performances. Then L.A. Reid have a debate about the quality of “You, Me and Dupree,” which L.A. Reid has never heard of. “You simply brilliant beyond your years,” Nicole says. Paula says that Drew gives an honest performance every week, but but Paula hated the outfit. “Let me point this out. Drew designed that dress…” Simon says. YOWZA!!!!! That was the best moment in the history of TV. Simon and L.A. Reid get into a fight and Steve Jones has to shut them up.
8:33 p.m. Seriously. I’m still laughing at Paula the Nurturer. If you’re a lawyer, they tell you never to go into open court and ask a question you don’t know the answer to. If you’re a judge on a talent show with young kids and one of those young kids comes out on-stage wearing a goofy dress that looks like a kid might have designed it, TRY NOT TO MOCK THE DRESS DIRECTLY.
8:36 p.m. On to another Over-30… It’s…
LeRoy Bell: “Runaway Bride”? We’re not mining the cinematic classics tonight. Yes. “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is a song from “Runaway Bride.” SURE. It’s like Bono and U2 haven’t done songs that were actually done *for* movies. This is a bit karaoke from LeRoy. It’s good, high-calibre karaoke. But it’s too straight-forward and a little too flat (not vocally, but emotionally). “You finally got it right,” L.A. Reid says. Paula praises Nicole for giving LeRoy the right song, also. Simon calls him “dignified” and “classy” and “in control.” I agree with all of those things and yet I don’t entirely mean them as compliments. “I felt like we were at LeRoy’s rock concert and you took us to church at the same time,” Nicole says meaninglessly.
8:46 p.m. Lots of tweets. We get it, Steve Jones. Bring on…
Lakoda Rayne: Yes. We’re changing the name of this episode to Songs from Crappy Movies. “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” now? The ladies of Lakoda Rayne have dropped the seasonal motif for “Somebody Like You.” Instead, they’re going with variations on a virginal white ensemble spiced up by accents of tan leather. The song hasn’t been arranged properly. At least half of it is too low for any of them to sing. And the harmonies aren’t nearly as good as last week’s “Landslide” cover. But as a group, they look much more natural, which is a good thing. I still like Dani. She’s my favorite Rayne. L.A. Reid tells them that they’ve become his favorite girl group in the competition. The girls take that as a compliment, before Simon explains that they’re the only girl group. Nicole loves them and felt like they each shined individually. “You are the group I always hoped and prayed you’d become,” Simon says. Paula has a few words of praise and has to get silenced by Steve Jones, who hasn’t figured out the “polite cutoff” yet.”
Astro: Finally a decent movie. We’ve got Astro writing new lyrics to “Lose Yourself.” I’m not sure how I feel about this. I mean, this is no longer a Song From a Movie. This is Astro writing his own song and sampling Eminem. On one hand, this is *vastly* more impressive what Astro’s doing. He’s spitting mad rhymes with speed and precision. And this is by far the best Astro’s flow has sounded this season. This is the first time he hasn’t sounded like a Kriss Kross wannabe. He sounds like an actual MC and he works the stage like a pro. And he made a rhyme involving his pancreas. AND HE ENDED WITH A TRIBUTE TO HEAVY D AND JOE FRAZIER. Awwww yeah. Astro, I’m now a fan forever. “I’m just in awe of you right now,” Nicole says. Paula says that Astro’s in a league all his own. Simon’s astounded that L.A. Reid cleared an Eminem song. “I think you actually are a great role model right now,” Simon raves, telling Astro that he has the X Factor. L.A. Reid could not be more proud. But again… Astro’s not playing by the same rules the other kids are. Is that fair?
9:08 p.m. I’m not *actually* gonna download that Astro performance on iTunes, but I could see why people would. That was definitely a highlight… But speaking of highlights, it’s time for…
Melanie Amaro: And now a song from the Michael Jackson documentary “This Is It”? Stop cheating. Plus, Melanie’s sick. Uh-oh. More underdog drama. Melanie’s singing “Man in the Mirror.” And she doesn’t sound sick at all. Remember, America: If Jacob Lusk taught us anything, it’s that if you don’t vote for Melanie Amaro RIGHT NOW, it’s because you can’t look at yourself in the mirror. Oh, Jacob Lusk. It’s not just that Melanie has an amazing voice for this song. It’s that she looks more confident than she did last week and more confident than the week before that. She’s getting this and putting it all together. She’s awesome and she’s getting better. L.A. Reid didn’t think it was inventive, calling it “predictably strong.” Nicole disagrees and calls it “a brilliant song choice.” Paula says that Melanie could sing the phone book. Simon calls Melanie “bloody fantastic,” calling it her best performance so far.
9:15 p.m. Oh Steve. “Hoo-ston.” Tee-hee.
The Stereo Hogzz: Oh come on. “Get Smart”? I’m actually surprised they didn’t give Stereo Hogzz the pimp slot tonight, because this really feels like a group the show needs to keep around, at least for a while. I like the brassy Broadway-style look to the stage show here. It’s kinda “Chicago”-y in a good way. But why do the Stereo Hoggz need three other male background vocalists? Doesn’t the group already come with four background vocalists. This is easily the night’s most entertaining performance. If I was in a theater and that happened, I would be thoroughly happy. The choreography is super and the the Lead Hog sounds super. L.A. Reid isn’t familiar with “Ain’t No Other Man.” That’s weird. “Bananas,” is Nicole’s substantive critique. Simon’s problem is that they’re not performing the record they would make. “I could not disagree with you more,” Paula says. “Trey.” I really need to learn Trey’s name. He’s the lead Hog.
9:30 p.m. It’s time for…
Burrito Josh: And now a song from Beatles cover musical “Across the Universe.” How many songs have we gotten tonight that were actually written FOR movies? And why the *bleep* is Nicole calling the song Burrito Josh is singing “a Joe Cocker song.” Yes, he’s singing the Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” And of course he is. I’d have been surprised if he’d sung the original. Burrito Josh is also getting the wind machine treatment. He’s at his most Dan Fogler-esque, performance-wise. We’ve had Joe Cocker wannabes on “American Idol” over the years and Burrito Josh puts them all to shame. He’s a hoot. A talented, talented hoot. “Really strong,” L.A. Reid says. Paula says that Burrito Josh’s voice is “like chicken soup for the soul.” Simon wants to see just Burrito Josh on the stage with a song. Isn’t that what he’s done the past two weeks? Nicole says Burrito Josh is ready for and worthy of a $5 million record contract.
9:40 p.m. “You have the power, not the judges,” Steve Jones kinda lies. Up next, with a song from “Dangerous Minds”…
Chris Rene: Awww. Chris Rene’s mom is so proud. Oooh. Intriguing. Chris is doing “Gangsta’s Paradise,” but he’s actually doing his own rapped verses. That’s good. It seems only fair after Astro’s performance. But then rather than singing the Coolio version of the chorus, he’s doing the Stevie Wonder chorus, which actually means that he’s not singing ANY part of a song from a movie. Astro at least kept the chorus to “Lose Yourself.” Chris is really good on the rapped verses. The writing is sharp and his flow is strong. He’s not as good on the Stevie choruses. But it’s definitely his best performance since his original audition. By miles. Nicole’s very happy. “It’s glorious seeing you in your element,” Paula says. Simon welcomes Chris back and praises L.A. Reid. “It’s like a long way home, but we’re there now,” L.A. Reid says.
9:50 p.m. We’re nearly done? Time for our last performance…
Rachel Crow: “Cadillac Records” is another jukebox movie. This was an entire night of blatant cheats. I appreciate Simon’s very correct assertion that he hasn’t done well with Rachel thus far. Will tonight be better? Indeed, it is. “I Would Rather Go Blind” showcases an older version of Rachel’s persona, but it doesn’t make her TOO old, perhaps because of her amusingly goofy outfit. After two weeks of surrounding her with dancers and distractions, tonight we get to hear Rachel SING. And guess what? She’s got exactly the huge voice that we knew she had from back in the auditions. She’s got soul and she sells it. Kids, I believe we have a new favorite to win this thing. “Wow,” L.A. Reid says. Nicole starts to praise Simon’s song choice, but Rachel interrupts and says this was her pick. Awesome. Paula calls her amazing and resists the temptation to mock Rachel’s dress. Simon compares Rachel to “a mini little Beyonce.”
Tonight’s Best: Rachel, Melanie, Burrito Josh and Astro were probably my favorites, though I quite liked Drew and a couple other performances.
In Danger: I thought LeRoy was doomed last week, but I’m fearing he may be in trouble again this week. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see Stacy or Marcus in a bottom group. I think Lakoda Rayne gave the night’s worst performance, but I assure you they’re gonna be safe.
Who’d you like? Who’d you hate?