Pint-size rapper Brian “Astro” Bradley, recovering addict Chris Rene and the formerly homeless Dexter Haygood are among the finalists on “The X Factor,” it was revealed on Tuesday’s (October 18) episode of the Fox singing competition.
During the two-hour episode, the competition’s 32 remaining contestants were trimmed to 16. Those singers will face off in the live episodes, which begin next week, and ultimately try to claim the show’s $5 million recording contract.
And in a last-minute twist — because of course there’s going to be a twist — one extra contestant was allowed through to the finals.
Here are the 17 “X Factor” finalists:
» Brian “Astro” Bradley, 14, Brooklyn: Mentor L.A. Reid questioned whether the ultra-confident rapper — whom Rihanna dubbed “a mini J. Cole” — can “maintain the right kind of attitude,” but told him, “You’re a champion, you’re on my team.” Bradley responded by calling Reid (who is nearly four times his elder) “brother” and “my man.”
» Phillip Lomax, 22, Seattle: When Reid told the Sinatra-style crooner, “I believe in you,” Lomax responded, “I’m gonna make you proud.”
» Chris Rene, 28, Santa Cruz, California: Reid told the garbage collector and recovering addict, “You’re on my team,” though he did express concern about Rene’s continued sobriety.
» Marcus Canty, 20, Bowie, Maryland: Reid lectured Canty (who sang K-Ci and JoJo’s “All My Life” directly to Rihanna during the final audition round) about consistency before letting him through.
» Simone Battle, 22, Los Angeles: The singer with dreams of being a “diamond-selling” pop star but who is also prone to forgetting lyrics was given a warning by judge Simon Cowell, who told her it would be “catastrophic” if she forgets her lyrics during a live show.
» Drew Ryniewicz, 14, Chino Valley, Arizona: The Justin Bieber-obsessed singer, who impressed the judges early on with a slowed-down, moody take on Bieber’s “Baby,” was told by Cowell about her final audition, “You weren’t the best teenager… you were the best contestant the whole day.”
» Tiah Tolliver, 20, Bremerton, Washington: Tolliver, who split the judges early on, was asked by Cowell why he seems to be the only one in her corner. But Cowell also happens to be the most powerful judge on the panel, so he told her, “I’m a believer. You’re in my four.”
» Rachel Crow, 13, Boulder, Colorado: “How can I say no to you?” Cowell asked the adorable Crow, who memorably told the judges during her initial audition that she needs a bigger home so she can have her own bathroom.
» Melanie Amaro, 19, Sunrise, Florida: After initially dismissing the singer, Cowell — who was knocked out by her version of Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” in the judge’s home round — traveled to her home in Florida to ask her back in the competition. She gladly accepted his invite.
» Josh Krajcik, 30, Columbus, Ohio: Despite the burrito maker’s “guy next door” appeal, mentor Nicole Scherzinger said, “I don’t know if the guy next door is a superstar.” But she allowed him through, and Krajcik called the moment “the beginning of a dream come true.”
» LeRoy Bell, 60, Seattle: The competition’s oldest singer was told “you are so going through” by Scherzinger.
» Dexter Haygood, 49, Memphis: Haygood was very up and down in the audition rounds, and was knocked for his imitations of James Brown and Mick Jagger. “My heart says one thing and my head says another thing,” Scherzinger told him. “But I have a big, big heart, and I’ve decided to go with my heart. I am taking you through to the live shows.” Haygood replied, “I’m actually the happiest man in the world right now,” before diving into Scherzinger’s pool in celebration.
» Stacy Francis, 42, Los Angeles: Francis told the judges early on, “I don’t want to die with this music in me,” and she won’t. Scherzinger told her, “I know you’re a fighter, and I’m a fighter too. We’re gonna make a good team.”
» The Brewer Boys, 12 and 17, Temecula, California: The Bieber-hair-sporting brother duo was told, “You deserve to be a part of the live shows” by their mentor, Paula Abdul. “I can’t even explain it,” said the younger Brewer Boy.
» InTENsity, 12-17: The group, comprised of 10 rejects from the solo rounds, coasted through with a thumbs-up from Abdul.
» Lakoda Rayne, 17-22: The group, which was also assembled from singers who were dismissed from the solo rounds, struggled in its audition in front of Abdul and Pharrell Williams, but was given a pass through to the live shows.
» The Stereo Hoggz, 24-25, Houston: Pharrell said they mix Motown and Ginuwine. “I’ve gotta go with my gut,” Abdul told them, “and I believe you guys are potential superstars. We’re gonna work hard and we’re gonna kill it on that stage. We’re gonna kill it!” In celebration, the five Hoggz took a page out of Haygood’s playbook and dove into Abdul’s pool.
Among the favorites who didn’t make the cut into the live episodes were rugby player Caitlin Koch, the confidence-challenged Jazzlyn Little and 42-year-old wedding singer Tiger Budbill.
What do you think of the 17 “X Factor” finalists? Did the right ones make the cut? Let us know in the comments!