LeRoy Bell is next, and we learn a little about his family: two daughters in their thirties, six granddaughters, and a thirteen-year-old son. He shares a supportive e-mail he got from his granddaughter, and talks about how much he misses his son, who he apparently still plays basketball with even at 60 years of age. And yes, he still looks younger than I do. I just fear that at the end of his last episode of this show, LeRoy will abruptly age three decades before our very eyes like something out of an old Sam Raimi movie.
Nicole says she's picked a song to show more of LeRoy's emotion. Which, as it turns out, is a maudlin country song called "Already There" about -- get this -- a father missing his kids. Which he does great on, obviously, but if Nicole was expecting the song to make him come over all weepy onstage, she's disappointed. He's as calm and controlled as always, like the best soul singer ever produced by the planet Vulcan. Anyway, L.A. says he did well, even though he didn't like the song. Paula, who's seen him at rehearsal a lot, gives him credit for working hard and also for connecting with America. Simon says LeRoy's a great singer with a confidence issue, and agrees with L.A. with regard to the song choice, in addition to his criticism of having the piano player up onstage with him being dated. Well, now that he mentions it. Over the boos, Nicole argues that "less is more," and says LeRoy made everyone proud. Steve comes out and tweaks Simon a bit over his reading of LeRoy's confidence level, which LeRoy himself says is fine. These voting instructions are just sliding right past my head. Is that supposed to happen?
Coming back from the break, Simon gets to break the news that The X Factor will be back next year. Oh, hot damn. He offers a begrudging thanks to the fellow judges, and rather more sincere thanks the contestants, the sponsors, and the fans. "And if I may, yes!" Steve dorks. He does have a pretty good thing going here. Steve briefly directs our attention to the #Xfactor tweet board, currently at over 2.7 million and rising, before throwing it back to Simon to introduce Rachel Crow. Her intro-reel reintroduces us to her mother Barbara, who never seems far away, and shows Simon coaching her on her tone.
Then she's onstage, once again sitting on a riser to sing "Walking on Sunshine" with the words changed for some mysterious, off-putting reason. Also off-putting are the high-contrast graphics flashing on the backdrop, not to mention the '80s sock-hop dancers on the stage. And I don't think they have the backing track quite sorted out, either. But other than that, it was good. L.A. compliments Rachel for being charismatic and lovable, Nicole calls her "America's sunshine" and compares her voice to that of a Jackson 5-era Michael Jackson. She didn't like the lyric changes any more than I did, though. Paula agrees that Rachel's great, and wants to see her do something that shows more of the range she displayed at Boot Camp with "If I Were a Boy." Simon calls the lyric change "inventive" (no), tells Nicole that "grown-ups are talking" when Nicole tries to respond (rude), and assures Paula that Rachel will be around for a long time. He's probably not wrong about that last part.