Back to the balcony with Steve after the ads, and he throws it down to L.A., who introduces Astro with a song from, surprise, 8 Mile. He banters with Adam Sandler on the red carpet, wearing his big, puffy headphones he always has with him, and talks about always writing back home in Brooklyn. He appears onstage, shrouded in a cap, hoodie, and shadows as he kicks into his own version of Eminem's "Lose Yourself." As the song progresses, it looks like at least one of the backup singers is taking that advice to heart. L.A. reinvents the phrase "active listening" as Astro proves his words are so new there's a reference to Joe Frazier (and although he didn't quite have time to get a Heavy D rhyme in there, he throws one in at the end). That was actually really great, and I don't even get rap. Nicole and Paula blather about how awesome he is, and Simon prefaces his comments with, "this is so irritating." Simon compliments Astro's work ethic and tells him he has the X factor. L.A. is proud of Astro's audacity at rewriting Eminem's lyrics. "Well, that went rather well," Steve says when he joins Astro onstage. Astro gives a shout-out to his "Astro-nauts," and Steve sends us to break.
After the ads, there's a projection on the stage of tweets broken down by judge, with L.A. the most popular of the four. "Can someone get a Band-Aid for Simon's ego?" Steve cracks. After pushing the Twitter thing a bit, Steve adds, "Here's the third-most popular judge, Simon Cowell." Simon jokes about wanting a recount, and says Melanie will be singing a song from This Is It. So pretty much any Michael Jackson song, then? In rehearsal (I love how the default setting on the projector screens is a white grid pattern, like the show takes place on the Enterprise's holodeck), Melanie says that she's having throat issues. Well, that sucks. She's singing "Man in the Mirror," with a veritable Pandora's box of words flashing on the screen behind her. But then the words and the song get happy at the same time. As for her voice, she doesn't sound sick at all, even throwing in a nice big (but not overblown) finish at the end. L.A. tells Melanie she's a great singer, but dings Simon on it not being very inventive, arguing that Melanie always does the same kind of song. Nicole waits for the boos to die down before saying she loves the song. Paula says Melanie can sing the phone book if she wants. Well, her voice probably isn't up for that kind of endurance this week, so probably not. Simon Britishes that she was "bloody fantastic." He tells L.A. it was a tribute, and tells Melanie it was her best performance yet, showing all the range she needed to with the big note at the end. "You happy?" Steve asks her before rattling off the voting instructions. She claims to be, apparently saving her voice.