X Factor
Top 9, Live Results

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Coming back from the break, Steve is in the audience schmoozing with Howie Mandel, who desperately plugs the show he's on right after this. Steve reminds us that there are still seven nervous acts waiting to learn their fate. But first, he Julie Chens, here's Bruno Mars. Nice of Bruno not to hold a grudge against the show after it broadcast Xander Alexander calling him chubby. His song is an emotional power ballad that's more or less a duet with the projections and light show that ends in a rain of blood. Heartfelt! After he's done, Steve again reminds us of the rules and brings out the remaining acts: Nicole with Josh and LeRoy; L.A. with Marcus, Chris, and Astro; and Simon with Rachel and Melanie (Drew already having been sent through to next week and Paula down at the judges' table alone now that all of her acts have gone). Steve wastes little time telling us who the next acts to go through are. Or rather, telling us that he's going to tell us who's the next to go through. Amid plenty of lengthy pauses, he announces Chris Rene, Rachel Crow and Josh Krajcik before going to ads.

Coming back, Steve tells us that Marcus, Astro, Melanie, and LeRoy are still waiting. And they'll wait a while longer, because Steve's got a nice long pause to perform before saying that the fifth act through to next week is Melanie, so that makes it a sweep for Simon this week. Marcus, Astro, and LeRoy are now vying to stay out of the bottom two. Steve reads a refresher of what the judges said to each of them, and finally, in no particular order, says that the last performer going straight through to next week is...Astro. He's pretty happy about it, obvs, and goes scampering off the stage. That leaves Marcus and LeRoy in the bottom two, with L.A. and Nicole at their respective sides. Marcus says he's feeling "kinda funny," but they'll see what happens. LeRoy simply says he's scared. Well, one of them's going home after this and it probably isn't Marcus.

After the ads, L.A. introduces Marcus Canty, who comes out carrying his own microphone stand and sings a song about how the love is gone. He sounds good, but the comes off a little whiny for someone who's in the bottom three. But then LeRoy comes out and sings "Don't Let Me Down." He also sounds really good, throwing a key change and everything, but is there some kind of unwritten rule that the "save me" performances have to be songs that come off desperate and needy? If nothing else, Nicole's sure putting on a convincing show of enjoying the performance. Once he's done, Steve directs LeRoy and Marcus to their marks flanking him at center stage and warns us that someone's dream is about to end. Doesn't it always?

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