X Factor
Season Finale Part 1

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!

Now to Melanie's church for a live remote from Melanie's overexcited bishop and friend, followed by the usual voting instructions. Let's pause for a moment to think about Drew watching at home and thinking about not getting to duet with Justin Bieber. Okay, now let's stop thinking about that.

Before moving on to tonight's second round, Steve yields the stage to squad of rhythmically marching Cylons doing a number from the new Cirque du Soleil/Michael Jackson show. At some point the final three come out and sing along with the recording of some relatively obscure MJ song, which they clearly can't hear because they're out of sync. [Note: It's "They Don't Care About Us". -- RS.] Then they come downstage and join the marching while they continue singing. After that's over, you can see it in all six of their eyes: When I'm worth five million bucks, I'm never doing anything that mortifying again.

Time for the second round. There's an intro reel for Josh about his humble musical beginnings, his supportive mom, his triumph at his first audition and the ones that followed, going all the way up to this point. Josh tells us this opportunity will never happen again, so this is it.

For his last song, he's standing Elvis-like at the top of a lit-up staircase, accompanied only by himself on an acoustic guitar as he sings the song that first got him noticed, "At Last." It's pretty bold to do something this stripped down for a last-chance performance, but he gives it his all and then some. He comes down the stairs for the judges' comments.

L.A. says he's a rock star, Paula says he owns the stage, Simon agrees with me that it was a risk that paid off, and Nicole yammers about him being himself. "Music loves you, Josh," she says, and begs us to vote for him. Now back to Wooster, Ohio for some comments from the mayor and Josh's friend, who may or may not have screamed an s-bomb on live TV while balancing a toddler on one arm. That should help with the voting.

Steve shares some Tweets with us that are the reason lots of people dismiss Twitter in the first place, and L.A. introduces Chris. In his intro reel, he says he's two people away from wining and he can't believe he's here. The narrative arc is all about Chris's addiction, recovery, "Young Homie," and how Chris's continued sobriety is all because of L.A. Reid.

Chris goes the Josh route, singing his original song "Young Homie" that was the first thing he did for the judges, only with updated lyrics and added dancers and backup singers. It's pretty damn joyful and epic, actually.

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X Factor




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