This season of The X Factor is ending at the best possible time: tonight. XF fatigue is high here at recap central, and let's face it--the competition has been whittled down to the three best contestants who showed up to audition: Josh Krajcik, Melanie Amaro and Chris Rene. And yes, I think Chris Rene is more talented than some of the previously eliminated contestants with stronger voices. Bring on the haters.
Last night's final performance episode was marked by a flurry of weird costumes, superstar/contestant duets and a repeat performance of each contestant's audition song. Sure, the episode was marked by a lot of gushing by the judges (where was all this love for non-team contestants all season?), but the truth is, all three singers made a strong final impression that should serve them well going into the finals elimination vote.
Team Nicole: Josh Krajcik
The opening lines of "Uninvited" by Alanis Morissette weren't the best for Josh, but he pulled the vocal performance under control just in time for Alanis herself to emerge from backstage. The two power ballad-ed me back to the angst of my college days, almost to the point of Facebook-stalking ex-boyfriends. Almost.
Josh performed his audition song, "At Last," accompanying himself on his guitar. How this kid manages to bypass the wedding/karaoke vibe of the song is beyond me, but he kills it.
Team L.A.: Chris Rene
Rene performed "Complicated" with Avril Lavigne. I don't have a lot to say about it -- I don't like the song or Lavigne, and Rene's vocals were...not great. I get that Chris isn't the best singer, but I still like him; this isn't The Voice, it's The X Factor, and I think Chris has that, for whatever it's worth.
Chris's original "Young Homie" was his second song, and it benefited from the addition of a fun stage production. It's a good song and I'd like to hear more of his original stuff in the future. I wish he'd shared more of it during the season.
Team Simon: Melanie Amaro
Melanie has a beautiful voice. I'm not her target audience, so I can't say I'm "rooting" for her. There is actually something about her personality that I don't like very much. Maybe it's her sudden shift from being relatively quiet to gushing on and on after each performance. I'm happy she had a breakthrough and accepted herself; I'm not happy I have to relive it each week. Her first song was a performance with, hilariously enough, R. Kelly. "I Believe I Can Fly" is a great song, perfect for Melanie, and they really killed it with their duet but -- R. Kelly? With the Christian gospel diva?
Melanie's version of Beyoncé's "Listen" was incredible, and will probably guarantee Amaro the overall win in the competition. My guess is that tonight we'll be hearing her name announced as the winner, but Krajcik certainly has a shot. Rene is good, but not good enough to bounce these two out of the top tier. What do you think -- any predictions?
You can watch tonight's X Factor finale on Fox at 7 p.m. CT. Check out video excerpts from last night's episode online.