Time for some filler, with a clip/interview segment about the judges' opinions of each of the final four. Marcus is the guy who keeps coming back without whining, and is the entertainer. Chris is the most original contestant with the most heart, and somehow they don't bring up his recovery. Josh has the voice and the emotion (and the crazy eyes) and Melanie has the amazing technical voice and provides Simon his constant justification for telling us how awesome he is for fixing his early mistake with her. As for the final four, they all agree that it's anyone's game.
Finally, we're back onstage and Steve claims it's time to find out who went through to the finals. He brings them out once again: Nicole and Josh; L.A., Marcus and Chris; and Simon and Melanie. Steve recites the magic words "no particular order," and takes his sweet time before saying Chris Rene is in the finals. Chris is pretty happy about that, and so are Marcus and L.A. The second safe one is Melanie. She and Simon hug happily, and we leave Josh and Marcus waiting to see which of them is leaving. Will Marcus go down, or will he toss another popular corpse on his growing pile of them?
When we come back it seems like that suspenseful "heartbeat" music has been going on the whole break, which must make everyone in the auditorium nervous. Josh and Marcus have been banished backstage for another remote interview with Steve. Josh says he has a lot of hope and is hopeful he can get to work preparing for the finals. Actually, he can do that either way, it's just question of what that preparation will entail. If he goes home tonight, there probably won't be as many people helping him. Marcus says he just wants America to give him a chance. A bit late for that.
Right now, it's time for Nicole Scherzinger to sing her new song "Pretty." What I love about the intro reel for Nicole is that in place of all the awesome facts and impressive numbers that are on the intro reels for all the other guest performers, Nicole's are...completely absent. Just a bunch of clips from her videos and her name on the screen. How humble of her. Nicole keeps the performance simple, at least for Nicole, standing center stage and doing an angry song about not wanting to be pretty no more. Which does explain the faces she's making while she sings.
Standing O from only three of the judges this time, but then one of them's already standing. Steve comes out and asks her what it's like to perform on the X Factor stage. She says she's been waiting a while, but it feels amazing. Steve then makes Nicole stand there while he solicits comments from the judges, as though she's a contestant. Simon does a pretty decent Nicole impression in his own voice: "I believe in you, you believe in me, you transcend the universe, God is smiling on you, life is a waterfall and you are the ultimate rainbow." That's actually probably the nicest thing he was ever going to say to her. After milking some cheers form the audience on her behalf, Steve lets Nicole off the hook and goes to break, with poor Marcus and Josh still waiting backstage. Oh well, I guess it's not like they have anyplace to be.