Tonight's X Factor results were certainly an anticlimactic lead in to the finals week, but I guess it had to happen at some point. If Marcus Canty had survived one more week on this godforsaken show, The X Factor would have perhaps eked out one more elimination shocker, but lost all claim to credibility. As it turned out, Nicole's failure to judge last week bought Mr. Canty one more mostly forgettable week, so I sure hope that it was worth it. Can you imagine how much more suspenseful this week would have been if Rachel Crow had made it through instead of Marcus? By which I mean, a little bit suspenseful as opposed to all but scripted? At the very least, all that breathless “no one is safe” business still would have held as true as it has so far in this competition. But let's be honest: Everyone was safe tonight except for Marcus Canty.
But that's not the reason we were really tuning in tonight, was it, my little X Facteurs? And no, I'm not talking about that caterwauling redheaded hippie Florence, either. Boy that gal can holler, but it's not as fun when it's not the song on the Eat Pray Love ads. No, we showed up tonight to support our dear Nicole Scherzinger in her big debut on the X Factor stage. Nicole had a lot to prove tonight, and a lot of people were going to be scrutinizing her performance, so how amazing was it that the song she sang, “Pretty,” was precisely the worst possible song to sing if you want to bring people over to your side, as a pop star and as a human being? Seriously, check it out:
You just tell me I'm pretty
As if that's all that I am
It's like you never even knew me
Or tried to get to know me
I can't believe how you made me feel pretty
I mean, that is some Grade A whacked-out delusional bullshit. And to reiterate a point from my earlier tirade, most 15-year-old girls aren't going to get behind those lyrics. The last line of the chorus and the song is “Don't wanna be pretty no more.” Can you imagine Taylor Swift writing a song about how much it sucks to be beautiful? The tweens would run her out of town. It didn't help that Nicole delivered the whole song in a snarly stank face, wagging her finger at the camera and working very hard to look angry about that dude having the audacity to call her pretty. Chalk up another tone-deaf non-charter for the Scherz. After the performance Steve brought her out for a “critique” with the judges, which led to what will probably end up being my favorite Simon moment this season, his amazing, spot-on Nicole impression: "I believe in you; you believe in me. You transcend the universe, God is smiling on you, life is a waterfall, and you are the ultimate rainbow.” Bravo, Mr. Cowell. You truly are an international treasure.
Because there was no sing-off or judges' save tonight, the whole elimination routine had to be stretched out to an absurd degree, with lots of “Here we go”s and “This is it”s from Steve as he bought time. When Marcus was finally axed, he was all smiles, just as unsurprised as the rest of America was. “This is not the last you'll see of Marcus Canty,” he assured us. Jesus, do these kids watch any other reality shows at all? Don't they know that's what everyone says, and then the next thing you know, we're reading about how they're homeless in Us Weekly? Anyway, good luck to Marcus, for what its worth. He's a good kid with a great attitude and a dime a dozen schtick, so luck is exactly what he needs.
Anyway. I don't know if I care who wins this thing anymore, guys. X Factor had its few golden weeks, and its share of surprising performances and results, but in retrospect, the powers that be may have been burning the drama candle from both ends. Now we're left in the dark, with nothing but scorched little waxy nub named Nicole Scherzinger to entertain us, and that's a sad predicament indeed.
- The technical difficulties with Steve and L.A.'s backstage interview (and Paula cluelessly bopping across the frame and showering everyone with kisses) were delightfully prolonged and awkward. Live TV, folks! Nothin' like it.
- I was being flippant up there mostly because I didn't think much of the performance itself, but the staging for the Florence and the Machine number was actually quite cool, all shimmering gold mirrors and stained glass. I just can't remember the song for the life of me.
- Steve informs us that there will be “audition booths” for season two of X Factor in Times Square. I don't even want to guess what those booths end up being used for at 4 a.m. on St. Patty's Day morning.
- I could seriously go three or four more lifetimes without ever seeing Nicole Scherzinger's Grateful Bow again. Just, ugh. Please. Go away.