Nicole Scherzinger coined the term "Krajcik Magic" on Wednesday's (December 7) "X Factor," but it was Chris Rene who worked his mojo the hardest, arguably winning the night with his show-closing original, "Where Do We Go From Here."
Rene's performance finished out a night that saw the top five contestants performing two songs apiece: one dance hit and one song of each contestant's choosing.
The episode's drama (because what would "The X Factor" be without a little drama?) came from an "error in communication" that saw the contestants having to switch up their final songs with only 24 hours' notice. How would they perform under the pressure? Would they remember their lyrics? And what kind of crazy hyperbole would Paula Abdul heap upon the contestants?
Turns out they all handled the twist pretty well, with Rene stealing the evening with his original song. Cross-legged and strumming an acoustic guitar, Rene seemed perfectly at ease with "Where Do We Go From Here," which brought to mind his initial audition when he performed another original, "Young Homie." "Where Do We Go From Here" had a laid-back, easygoing vibe and wouldn't have felt out of place being released on Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records. Simon Cowell remarked that at this point in the competition, performing an original is either "stupidity or a stroke of genius." He ended up calling it the latter, with Rene reacting by jumping up and down in place.
Up until Rene's finale it appeared to be Josh Krajcik's night, even though it started out shaky with a so-so orchestral take on Rihanna's "We Found Love." But he came around on his second song, punching up the Beatles' "Sometimes" and having Scherzinger call him "the male Adele in the industry right now" before coining the term "Krajcik Magic." Abdul literally couldn't find the words to sing his praises, telling the burrito maker, "Adjectives just don't describe your brilliance anymore, they just don't measure up." (Note: Will someone please lend Paula a thesaurus?)
Speaking of Adele, Melanie Amaro opened the show with a clubby take on the Brit soul singer's "Someone Like You" and later took on Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey's "When You Believe." Those are three gigantic singers to tackle over the course of a season let alone a single night, but Amaro acquitted herself nicely, with Cowell calling her "outstanding" and urging viewers to pick up their phones to vote so he doesn't end up with another situation like he had with Drew last week.
Bubbly 13-year-old Rachel Crow chose B.o.B and Bruno Mars' "Nothin' on You" for her opener and returned to last week's Michael Jackson theme for "Music & Me" for her second performance of the evening. To say Abdul was ecstatic about the two songs would be an understatement. "Your vocal depth transcends all generations" she told Crow after the former, while explaining to her, "You are a wonderful role model. You are every girl's best friend and every parent's daydream. You are fantastic and magical," after the second. Did we mention Abdul also called her "beautifully fearless"?
Marcus Canty, who has landed in the bottom two the last two weeks in a row, took on Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" and Leon Russell's "A Song for You." The first song played more to his strengths, while the second honed in on his vocals, which often suffer in comparison to his abilities as an all-around entertainer. Cowell blew off the second song as "a bit boring," but Canty's mentor, L.A. Reid, compared his ability to get up after getting knocked down to no less than Muhammad Ali. "I've got your back," Reid told him. But do voters?
One artist is scheduled to be sent home on Thursday's episode of "The X Factor."
What did you think of Wednesday's show? Let us know in the comments!