X Factor
Top 12 Perform

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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The Dirty Dozen (a.k.a. Josh and 11 Other Acts)

But not to worry: Paula has them singing "Kids in America," so she's on top of it. She puts Ellona out in front again at the beginning. And again with the onstage animations, with big cartoon stars flying out at your face like the title sequence of Wonder Woman is exploding. The performance ends in usual Mousketeer configuration, with red Mylar confetti all over the stage. L.A. and Nicole basically make a lot of plays on the word "fun," and Simon even apologizes to Paula because he thought that was terrific. He appreciates the group rebellion that's sort of going on, and says he likes them more than he should. Of course he does, he helped invent them.

One Girl left: it's Drew, who, like Rachel, also gets to have her mom on hand. Being under 16 has its advantages. Simon promises a "different side" to Drew, so I guess no slow, creepy, minor-key pop song again, right?

Well, okay, wrong, because we start by looking down on her as she lies onstage on a bed of flower petals while singing a slow, creepy, minor-key version of "Just a Dream." But eventually she stands up and the drum track kicks in and she actually starts moving around the stage a little bit. And without even getting lost. L.A tells her she has "the spirit of a superstar," complimenting her tone and smile and everything but, he takes care to point out, her mentor. Nicole gives Simon props for the song choice, and declares Drew "relevant." Paula says she lives for Drew's last note, which she means as a compliment in the sense that she loves the way she ends her songs, not that she stopped. Simon's even more complimentary, saying that Drew is his mentor now. Steve comes up to share her disbelief at the comments, and to remind us not to vote yet. Don't worry, Steve, I wasn't going to.

The last Boy of the night is Marcus Canty, who L.A. already thinks is a star, with a voice like Bobby Brown's. In fact, L.A is giving Marcus a song he wrote for Bobby Brown. Marcus admits that the singing and dancing at the same time is challenging, what with the difficulty of not running out of breath. And in his pre-performance interview, Simon makes an excellent point: "Why do we need another Bobby Brown? Isn't one enough?" Maybe even a surplus.

Marcus is singing "Every Little Step," dancing with girls in letter jackets. From what we're seeing, it looks like he's backing off a little on the dancing compared to what we saw of his rehearsals in the intro reel. Just as well, probably. The song ends with a shower of sparks and even more dancers. Afterward, Nicole says she felt like she was watching a concert instead of a competition. Short concert, dude. She also compliments L.A. on the song. "I do remember those days," Paula lies, and calls Marcus the total package. Simon banters with L.A. some more before complimenting Marcus on coming alive. L.A. echoes that. I'm just distracted by the suit lapels on Marcus's letter jacket. Dressy, yet casual, yet kind of ridiculous. Before going to break, Steve has to reel a runaway Marcus back in. I don't blame Marcus; those long voting instructions are a lot to stand still through. I didn't stand through that much talking at my wedding.

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