X Factor
Live Results

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Steve enters through the Jumbotron doors, which are now projecting the word RESULTS in giant letters. He has to yell, over the din of the crowd and the opera-howlers that someone forgot to turn off, that it's the live results show, which will feature performances by Florence + The Machine and Nicole Scherzinger. And someone's going home tonight, but I suspect it won't be Nicole, alas.

Steve brings out the judges and tells us there's no final showdown, no judges' decisions, just the results of the votes. And this plus two songs is going to kill an entire hour? Steve informs us that there were 30 million votes last night, which I admit is a lot, especially given that none of them were mine, and then yields the stage to the final four. They perform the updated version of Tears for Fears' "Shout," much to Josh's apparent embarrassment. Perhaps making them repeatedly sing the line "these are the things I can do without" is a way of preparing whoever's done tonight.

The judges all give them a standing ovation, like it matters. Steve reminds us that that one of the four will win a five million dollar contract, and I could be next, what with the auditions for the second season coming up next year. You know, actually? I'm good.

After the ads, we get the usual recap of last night's performances and comments, as well as interjections from each singer's (and Chris's) supporters back home, coming to us via forty-dollar webcams. Given how predictable the reactions back home are, they may have overspent.

Coming back, Steve asks the judges for their reactions to last night. Simon tries to say over the crowd noise that he's happy after watching it back, but admits he's nervous considering what happened last week. Paula says she was most impressed with Josh and Chris last night, although with a lot more Paula-ese. Nicole agrees with Paula, in similar language, but says she's proud of everyone. L.A. admits to some nerves for the first time, with two of his Boys in the semifinals and only three spots in the finals. Not that he claims to know what that means. I know what it means: Marcus has been circling the drain for almost a month now, and his orbit is finally decaying.

Steve tries to do a remote interview with the semi-finalists and the judges, who are all backstage. The problem is that Paula keeps wandering off and blocking the camera to kiss everyone. "Paula, get out of my shot!" Steve mock-snaps at her, and tries to direct a question to L.A. about how smug he must be feeling as the only judge with two singers left, but he has to repeat it twice because L.A. isn't paying attention either. It loses what little spontaneity it had on the third go. And since L.A. and Paula burned up all the time for that segment, we have to go straight to Florence + The Machine. Steve says it's the premiere of a new song called "Spectrum," which starts out so low and quiet it doesn't seem to have a melody at all. Eventually it picks up, and the dancers do this Martha Graham thing, and as well as Florence sings it, it's just not that great a song. Steve plugs her new album, but unless the other songs on it are better I have a feeling the dog days may not be all that's over for Florence + The Machine.

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