'X Factor' Top 5: Melanie Amaro, Chris Rene own the night

melanie-chris-x-factor.jpgSo, is Simon Cowell going to be a total pill tonight on "The X Factor" after the judges sent his Drew packing last week? We shall see.

Everybody gets two songs this week, y'all. Strap in. The first songs are dance music hits, so ... yikes.

1. Melanie Amaro, "Someone Like You"


So - is this actual dance songs week? Or just any song put to a dance beat? Because this is Adele, right?! And this is not a dance song. Hmmm. Anyway, Melanie sounds really good and looks fabulous. It's a weird song, it's hard to reconcile that song with the dance beat. The low stuff gets a little lost, but really it's a pretty great performance.

However, I think it's a giant cheat to just put a dance beat to any song. Unless the show is going to start doing that every week. "Hey, it's Polka Week on 'The X Factor," and then everybody pulls a Weird Al and suddenly we're hearing, like, "Alone" by Heart, polka style. "I hear the ticking of the clock, I'm lying here the room's pitch dark." You can't hear me, but I'm singing polka style.

Or they do jazz week and somebody sings, like, "Natural Woman," but they do it all jazzy and syncopated. "You .... make me feel, darlin'. Ya make me feel. Youuuuuu make me feel, yeah, like a natural wo-man *snap*."

Now that would be fun. But this week, just putting any song to a dance beat? Total cheat. Anyway.


2. Marcus Canty, "Ain't Nobody"

At least Chaka Khan is dance music. Marcus looks great, very well dressed and doing some great dance moves. Vocally, I'm kinda bored on the verse. The chorus is better, especially since it took me a minute to recognize the song, but he seems to be a little carried by the backup singers, plus the dancing and the neon is terrifying. Not my favorite. The judges are very complimentary, though.


3. Rachel Crow, "Nothing on You"


First off, she's so effing cute I want to put her in my pocket and carry her around. Vocally, this is really fun. It's so interesting coming from a female voice. I didn't think I would like it, but I really do. Some of the low stuff isn't perfectly on pitch, but mostly this is really enjoyable. I agree with Nicole that Rachel would make an amazing action figure.


4. Josh Krajcik, "We Found Love"

Rihanna, huh? Hmm. And then he starts. Wow. This is not good. It's not like he's just floundering, but this is really not his lane. Which of course it's not. Josh would never release dance songs. But the stupid show is making him sing one. *sigh* Anyway, the ladies like it, but Simon and L.A. are with me - not a good fit. However, I'm at a loss for any song he would've done really well within this genre.


5. Chris Rene, "Live Your Life"

This is ... I'm so distracted by the moving walkway in the middle of the stage. Haha, but it was good. The rapping was better than the vocals. Chris Rene is not the strongest vocalist on the show, never has been. But that was pretty good and he's very fun to watch. Nicole says it sounds like his own song, which is true. Simon points out he's not the best singer, but he's a good overall artist. Simon also giggles at the "moving travelator." Yes.

Who won Dance Song round? Melanie was tops, I think. But everybody was pretty solid, except for Josh. However, this isn't his genre and I thought "X Factor" would have been above these silly themes, but guess not. Hope he comes on strong in round 2, which is songs contestants are choosing. Apparently, they were a snafu on the viewers' choice stuff, so the contestants are now doing their "save me" songs. They had a day to practice. Um, yikes.


1. Melanie Amaro, "When You Believe"

Oh. My. God. This is so good. She looks like a goddess and sounds incredible. And what a song to tackle - it's not just Whitney OR Mariah, it's both. When she gets to the big choir joining her, I don't like it as much. Melanie's beautiful voice is getting drowned out. I don't like that choice, I wish she could have just had the orchestra backing her.

Melanie then gives a speech about believing in herself and saying thank you and blahblahblah. Seriously, stop. This is not your own personal sermon time. L.A. calls it "safe but amazing." Well, it's not "safe" for just anybody, so props for degree of difficulty.


2. Marcus Canty, "A Song For You"

This blows his first performance out of the water. I knew he had more in him. That low note on "rhymes" made me feel kinda funny ( /Garth'd). I don't really have any more to say, I barely typed a thing while he sang. Everybody is complimentary except Simon, who calls it boring. I disagree. I think if Marcus is boring, then sometimes so is Melanie. Vocally, it was gorgeous.


3. Rachel Crow, "Music & Me"

I love this. Rachel is fun when she dances around awkwardly, but I prefer my Rachel standing still and just wowing us with her vocals. This is nice. She's not quite Melanie-level of vocal perfection on soaring ballads, but she's darn close. And the key change is goosebump-inducing.

When she starts talking after her performance, I agree with Paula that she's "magical." She's like a magical little elf, for real.


4. Josh Krajcik, "Something"

Oooh, great choice. This is awesome. This is the Josh we all know and love. His rasp is working, he's got some big notes to showcase his range and he's throwing in small trembles and runs to show off. Great job, though he is making some really strange faces. Vinegar strokes, anyone? L.A. says thank God he has a second song tonight. Yes, for sure. I don't get karaoke from that at all. Simon calls him out on his "insane" faces, which is totally legit.


5. Chris Rene, "Where Do We Go From Here"


Chris totally wins the night. He is so much stronger on his own songs than he is on covers, which should make sense, but it's still remarkable. The bare stage, the guitar, the low-key feel and him just looking cute and sounding great? Girls are losing their minds all over the country.

Simon pulls his patented fake-out move and calls it a stroke of genius.

So who is going home? I think Melanie and Chris are the only ones 100% safe. They both turned in two very, very good performances. Chris's first one wasn't as good as Melanie's first one, but his second one more than made up the deficit.

I honestly don't know out of Josh, Rachel or Marcus, but if I had to guess, it'd be Marcus just because he's been in the bottom recently.

Photo/Video credit: FOX