Youngsters stole the night when "The X Factor" went to Hollywood on Wednesday (November 9), with the top 11 contestants singing songs from the movies. Well, maybe Songs That Were at One Time Used in Movies would be more appropriate, since few people associate Coldplay's "Fix You" with the Owen Wilson starrer "You, Me and Dupree" or U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" with the Julia Roberts/ Richard Gere flick "Runaway Bride."
Regardless, Astro, the 15-year-old rapper with enough confidence to fuel a rocket ship to the moon, soared with his rendition of Eminem's "Lose Yourself," which kept the Oscar-winning song's structure but saw all new verses — including a shout-out to boxing legend Joe Frazier, who died this week — from the pint-size spitter. "You are a champion tonight," Nicole Scherzinger told him, while Simon Cowell seemed equally impressed with Astro's performance and the show's ability to clear the use of the notoriously protective Eminem's song.
Elsewhere, 13-year-old Rachel Crow was compared by Cowell to a "mini-little Beyoncé" after her stirring, show-closing take on Bey's "I'd Rather Go Blind" from "Cadillac Records." All four judges were wowed, with L.A. Reid telling her, "Up until now, I wasn't sure if you were a true contender ... but tonight, you proved that you have your eye on the target."
Here's how the rest of the contestants fared on Wednesday's show:
Marcus Canty was nearly engulfed by smoke onstage while singing "I'm Going Down" (from "Car Wash"), but three of the four judges agreed he was a "star," with Cowell offering praise but saying next time, he should ditch the corny sequined jacket he wore during the performance. And Chris Rene took the Astro route and went full-on hip-hop with his performance, rechristening Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" as "Pastime Paradise," which earned high marks from the judges and was called "amazing" by Abdul, while Cowell offered a congratulatory "Welcome back, Chris Rene."
Drew took on Coldplay's "Fix You," and after Abdul criticized her dress, she was forced to take her foot out of her mouth when Cowell told her the 14-year-old designed it herself. Reid complimented Drew's performance but said it was too similar to her offerings from past weeks. Melanie Amaro took on Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and was dubbed "bloody fantastic" by Cowell, though Reid said it was "strong, but predictable," saying she didn't take enough risks with the song.
The Over 30's
Stacy Francis split the judges with her version of Whitney Houston's "Queen of the Night," which "delivered in a big way" according to Abdul but left Reid puzzled ("Why did you do the third most popular song from the album?" he asked, criticizing a song he helped pen for the "Bodyguard" soundtrack). LeRoy Bell's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was dubbed "dignified" by Cowell, and both Reid and Abdul said it was the performance they've been waiting for from the 60-year-old. Burrito maker Josh Krajcik put some extra chipotle sauce on his version of Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends." While Cowell dogged the production ("You were like Dracula and the brides up there," he said of Krajcik and his backup dancers), Scherzinger stood and applauded during the performance and said he's deserving of the $5 million prize.
Abdul's students suffered a blow last week but looked to battle their way back on Wednesday. Lakoda Rayne were praised for their unity on their version of Keith Urban's "Someone Like You" — from "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," apparently — and Cowell said they've become "the group I always hoped and prayed you'd become." Meanwhile the Stereo Hogzz, who narrowly escaped elimination last week, did a gender flip on Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man" (used in "Get Smart") which Scherzinger labeled "bananas" but Cowell criticized for not being the kind of song they'd make in the studio.
One finalist is scheduled to be eliminated during Thursday's live "X Factor" results episode, which is also slated to feature performances from Willow Smith and Jessie J.
What did you think of Wednesday's "X Factor"? Let us know in the comments!