There was no shortage of praise doled out by the judges on Wednesday's (November 2) episode of "The X Factor," with two performers hailed as budding superstars, one compared to a young Michael Jackson and a group praised as one of the world's best bands. And those acts weren't even considered the evening's front-runners!
Here's a recap of Wednesday's performances, and the compliments that followed:
Following her rendition of the Eagles' "Desperado," Melanie Amaro was dubbed "the one to beat" in the competition by Cowell. Meanwhile, Rachel Crow's take on "Walking on Sunshine" caused Scherzinger to compare the 13-year-old to Jackson 5-era Michael Jackson, and Drew — formerly known as Drew Ryniewicz — wowed the judges with her unorthodox take on Nelly's "Just a Dream," which prompted both L.A. Reid and Cowell to say the 14-year-old has the makings of a superstar.
Chris Rene was surrounded by flames during his performance of the Carpenters' "Superstar," which Cowell said made it look like he was performing in hell. "That's called fire, baby, 'cause he's hot!" gushed mentor L.A. Reid. Elsewhere, pintsize rapper Astro's blend of "Hip-Hop Hooray" and "Get Ur Freak On" — with original verses by the young MC — had Cowell praising his star quality and Scherzinger saying she wanted to take him to the club, while Marcus Canty's mash-up of B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" and Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step" had Paula Abdul calling him "a total performer."
The 10-member InTENsity took pieces of Kim Wilde's "Kids in America" and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and blended them into one "fun, fun, fun" performance, according to Reid, who echoed the other judges' sentiments about the group. Lakoda Rayne's vocals — especially their harmonies — were celebrated following their performance of "Landslide," though Cowell attacked their choice of wardrobe, saying their gowns made them look like they were attending the prom. And the Stereo Hogzz kicked off the evening with a steroid-enhanced version of Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" that had Abdul calling them "fantastic" and had Cowell complimenting them by saying, "I don't think there's a band in the world right now who are as good as you."
Burrito maker Josh Krajcik took on Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts," and Cowell said the stark ballad came off as a song that Krajcik wrote himself. Mentor Scherzinger put it another way: "I feel like a proud mom, but we're, like, the same age, so that doesn't work." Stacy Francis, after attempting a pop song last week, took 'em to church with "Up to the Mountain," which was called "magical" and "a shining moment" by Abdul and called one of the evening's best by Cowell, who let her kiss him onstage. And 60-year-old LeRoy Bell got decent marks for singing Lonestar's "I'm Already There," though Reid criticized the song choice and Cowell said he felt Bell had a confidence problem. On this night, that was about as harsh as the criticism would get.
One finalist will be sent home on Thursday's one-hour live episode of "The X Factor."
It was also announced on Wednesday's show that "The X Factor" will return next year for a second season.
What did you think of the top 12 on "X Factor"? Let us know in the comments!