15. Stacy Francis - “Natural Woman”
This had to be the most overrated performance of the season. Stacy is talented, but as she showed once the live shows started, this is the best she had in her.
Final Position: 10th
14. Phillip Lomax - “Please Don’t Stop The Music”
And here we have an underrated performance. The crooner thing can only work for a little bit in competitions like this (it quickly wears out its welcome) but Phillip’s Frank Sinatra-style performance of Rihanna’s song in front of Rihanna was a bold and well-executed performance.
Final Position: Kicked Off At The Top 17 Stage
13. LeRoy Bell - “Angel”
LeRoy Bell (of the disco-tastic Bell & James) has an amazing voice, but too often found himself giving boring Michael Bolton-style performances. This one flirts with that line, but ends up being the 60-year old Bell’s highlight.
Final Position: 8th
12. Marcus Canty - “All My Life”
Oh Marcus Canty. You seem liks such a nice guy. You look just like the savior of my beloved Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving. I should love you, but you overstayed your welcome in a huge way. It’s a bad sign when you finish in the Top 4 and your only unquestionably good performance came before the live shows. That said, you sang a pretty solid version of “All My Life.” I’ll give you that.
Final Position: 4th
11. Melanie Amaro - “The World’s Greatest”
This is the first of two performances on this list from your eventual “X Factor” champion Melanie Amaro. Her choice of “World’s Greatest” was strange considering she said she was singing the song to thank God, while the lyrics are in the first-person claiming global superiority, but it was also well sung. Also this is the performance that Melanie freaked out after and began talking in her natural Rihanna-esque accent, rather than her put-on American one. I can’t believe that was a major plot point for this season, but there you go.
Final Position: 1st
10. The Stereo Hogzz - “Try A Little Tenderness”
Ah the Stereo Hogzz. The one group that gave us a glimmer of hope that the group section of this show wasn’t going to be a waste. Turns out it was just a glimmer. This performance of “Try A Little Tenderness” (with a dash of “Otis” thrown in) was so fantastic that it caused LA Reid to ridiculously call them “The Greatest Band On The Planet.” LA, you might have called that putt a little early.
Final Position: 11th
9. Astro - “I’ll Be Missing You”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m very much on Team Astro despite his attitude (which probably did him in earlier than he deserved). This kid wrote an original song each and every week. That’s insane, and carries a much higher degree of difficulty than the typical karaoke-style performing that most singing shows devolve into. This take on “I’ll be Missing You” personifies hip-hop as 40-something woman, and it’s awesome. I know how crazy that sounds, but it just is.
Final Position: 7th
8. Drew Ryniewicz - “Baby”
I refuse to just call her “Drew” no matter how hard Simon tried to make us forget that she had a weird last name. 14-year-old’s don’t get to go by one name. They just don’t. That said, Drew was one of the show’s best performers, and along with Astro, one of only two contestants that seemed like they might actually be worth a $5 million record deal. Her original take on Justin Bieber’s “Baby” shows just how good she is.
Final Position: 6th
7. Rachel Crow - “I’d Rather Go Blind”
When Rachel Crow talks it’s impossible not to imagine her starring on a very successful Disney Channel sitcom. She’s spunky, hilarious, and very sweet. Yet her best performance by a long shot was one that eschewed all of the trappings of her age (13). Her mature performance of “I’d Rather Go Blind” was fantastic.
Final Position: 5th
6. Josh Krajcik - “Hallelujah”
This song has been so run into the ground over the past ten years that I’m shocked Josh was able to bring a new take to it. Though his performance at times threatened at times to become Jeff Buckley’s iconic, definitive, untouchable version fo the song, it never did, and Josh brought a raw energy to it. I was surprised and impressed. Still am.
Final Position: 2nd
5. Chris Rene - “Young Homie”
I know I knocked Marcus earlier saying that it was a bad sign when your best performance came before the live shows, but Chris Rene almost won the whole thing entirely because of his first performance (and I would have accepted it wholly). Now the difference is, Chris wrote the song he performed and would perform it in competition three separate times over the course of this season (including that first audition). But it’s a great song. I dare you not to get it stuck in your head.
Final Position: 3rd
4. Josh Krajcik - “Wild Horses”
Watching the finale last night, I couldn’t help but feel like Josh never really had a shot to win the whole thing. He just feels to much like failed American Idol champions to imagine him being a successful solo recording artist rather than the front man for some band. But that’s not to say he wasn’t great. This performance of “Wild Horses” dedicated to his teenage daughter was about as powerful as a reality singing competition can get. And I don’t mean to damn with faint praise. I love reality singing competitions and often get emotional during them. Don’t judge me.
Final position: 2nd
3. Melanie Amaro - “Listen”
Melanie Amaro totally deserved to win this show. She’s amazingly talented, and I will not take it away from her. But is there any way she’s going to be a huge mainstream star? She just feels too Broadway for that. I have a feeling she’ll end up with a smaller version of Jordin Sparks’ mainstream career and a very successful stage career. Hell her signature song is from the movie version of “Dreamgirls.”
Final position: 1st
2. Drew Ryniewicz - “It Must Have Been Love”
I came very close to making this my number one, but just couldn’t do it. Drew Ryniewicz should have won this season in a walk, but Simon never let her get out of super sappy ballad territory. And the worst part of that was that it made you forget how good Drew could be with those ballads, because everyone got so sick of her doing the same thing over and over. I would bet on her or the guy who had our number one performance having the biggest post-X Factor careers.
Final Position: 6th
1. Astro - “Lose Yourself”
I know people don’t like him, but Astro showed with this performance that he could very well be a star in the Hip-Hop world. The only question is whether or not he’ll be able to do things this good without LA Reid guiding him (that is unless Reid signed him anyway).
Final Position: 7th
If you think I missed a performance or you just want to yell at me, you can find me on Twitter @JPMoore.