'The X Factor' recap: Canty Be Done Already

x-factor-premiere-fox.jpgSteve welcomes us to the show from his balcony and tells us that tonight the final five will become the final four, but first! Lenny Kravitz takes the stage and performs his newest retro rock song, which sounds more early-'80s than his old '60s-sounding stuff that he released in the '90s. Every artist has to change with the times, after all. Oh! But then he also sings a truncated version of "Are You Gonna Go My Way," which takes me back all over again. Steve comes back and compliments him on how good he looks in that much leather before bringing up last night's show. He says the judges were well behaved, going by Steve's own index of how many times he was told to shut up (zero last night, at least by the judges). And then we get the usual recap of last night's show, with a few unnecessary backstage moments added in. After that, Steve quizzes the judges on their personal highlights, which they all seem to agree was Chris's second song. Steve says he agrees -- twice! So it must have been awesome. Steve promises an upcoming performance from Mary J. Blige. "Popular!" he remarks, and it's ad time.

Steve introduces a package about all the backstage activity, with all the wardrobe, hair and makeup people who had to put everyone through quick changes during last night's show. I would have rather heard more of Lenny Kravitz's second song.

"Fair play!" Steve chirps when he comes back, and calls the final five out into the stage with their judges: Nicole and Josh Krajcik; L.A., Marcus Canty and Chris Rene; and Simon, Melanie Amaro and Rachel Crow. Steve utters the magical incantation "In no particular order," which is the signal that he's about to start naming the people who are automatically in next week. After a long pause, the first one named is Josh. Simon and L.A. look almost as happy as Nicole. The second act is Chris Rene, who is a lot less surprised this week than he was last week. Simon looks a little less pleased, now that it's a lock that at least one of his girls will be in the bottom two with Marcus. What? Did I jump to a conclusion there?

After more ads, Steve has Melanie, Rachel and Marcus backstage for a remote interview, which he starts out by lying that he can't believe one of them will be leaving tonight. Rachel, who I'm sure is the safest of the three, cops to being scared, "but I love you all." Steve makes her talk some more before asking for a reaction from Marcus, who claims he'll love it either way. Melanie also admits to being nervous but "kinda confident," and happy she's gotten this far. "Try and relax," Steve signs off. Sure, no problem.