X Factor
Season 3 – Top 12 Perform

Episode Report Card
admin: C- | 4 USERS: B
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Motown, Mo' Problems

An old Wurlitzer jukebox drops a needle, and suddenly we're watching the Girls of the Top 12 sing the first verse of "A-B-C, 1-2-3" on a stage that's dressed up like a '50s malt shop. Each singer gets a line to solo on, with their names and voting numbers already on the screen next to them. Wasting no time here, I see. Then the Boys sing a bit of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," in the same style, though someone forgot to put up poor Tim Olstad's name and number. Dude can't catch a break. The Over 25s sing "I'll Be There," and the Groups sing "Dancin' in the Streets" before everyone turns to the tiny screen of a black & white TV where Mario introduces the show like he's the Main Brain Vince Fontaine or something. And this is all because it's Motown Night and dammit, this show is going to work the shit out of that.

That opening number must have been prerecorded, because Mario steps out onto a totally transformed stage moments later, dressed like young Dick Clark. He remarks on Kelly's new short haircut while asking her thoughts about Motown. Guess what? She's for it. Mario tells us that this is the first time all season we get to vote, and tells us that after last week's winnowing down to the top twelve, the judges decided to bring someone back. And it's once and future Boy Josh Levi, in yet another demonstration of what a flake Paulina is and as yet another subtle fuck-you to Tim Olstad. Paulina introduces Josh, but before he gets to sing, we flash back to last week when Paulina gave the last slot in her top three to Tim instead of Josh, complete with Josh's shocked reaction. And them Mario shows up at dinner with Josh and his mom -- and the cameras, of course -- to tell him he's back in it. We don't see Mario picking up the check, though. The intro reel continues with Josh's reunion with Paulina, and he says he has "only one shot at a second chance." Um…

Josh sings "Who's Loving You" by the Jackson 5, sticking with simple staging under yellow spotlights and no choreography, which seems understandably risk-averse. It keeps the focus on his singing, which is quite a bit stronger than last week's. Voting info starts filling up the screen already as Demi says that Paulina was smart to bring him back, Kelly likes the notes he chose, and Simon says he went from zero to hero, which nobody ever gets tired of hearing. Paulina tells him he's the youngest one in the competition, and she got lots of opportunities at his age. And look at her now. As for Josh, he looks a lot happier than he did last week. Mario tells us that each singer gets to keep the same voting number all season, so we might as well just plug them into our phones. Yeah, that's going to happen.

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