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‘X Factor’ Top 9 Results: Two Contestants Become a Little Less Thankful

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

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Lakoda Rayne go home

Well, the Knights, Ogle, Orrantia, Fletcher, and Bell­­­­­­ families better pull up some more chairs to their Thanksgiving dinner tables and stick a few extra turkeys in the ovens this week. In a dramatic double elimination on "The X Factor" this Thanksgiving eve, both Lakoda Rayne and LeRoy Bell went home--and, adding insult to injury, they received the bad news of their eliminations while dressed like circus clowns, after performing a cringeworthy, carnival-themed group number that surely no viewer was thankful for.

Please note that Astro was NOT in the bottom two, as widely predicted after he alienated much of America with his onstage tantrum last week. (Astro may rap that "15 is the new 25," but last week, he acted like a 5-year-old.) I had assumed that Astro had not been sufficiently contrite this week to get back in voters' good graces, since he delivered a half-hearted "apology" that he probably only gave because his mentor L.A. Reid forced him to (I do not recall the actual words "I am sorry" ever leaving his pouting lips), and he rapped a feisty Jay-Z song, "Show Me What You Got," on a night when kinder, gentler contestants dedicated sweet "songs of thanks" ballads to their loved ones. But apparently, I was wrong. Astro was indeed safe.

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Lakoda Rayne & Paula Abdul

As for Lakoda Rayne--who received the fewest votes of the week, and therefore went home automatically without even a chance to sing for the judges--it's understandable why they were eliminated. Groups have never fared well in the international "X Factor" franchise in general (only one group, on "The X Factor Spain," has ever won), and groups mentor Paula Abdul, despite all her enthusiasm and effort, wasn't able to break that curse. The first two cast-offs of the season were Paula's InTENsity and Stereo Hogzz, and it was really only a matter of time before poor Lakoda Rayne followed suit. And this week, performing a karaoke cover of Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" that really brought nothing new to the already overexposed song, the manufactured country-pop girl group ultimately sealed their, and Paula's, fate. Now, barring any record-deal offers for the foursome, the Lakodas can go back to being the solo singers they wanted to be when they individually auditioned in the first place. And Paula can go back to doting on her lapdogs and crafting QVC jewelry, because she's going to have a lot more time on her acrylic-manicured hands now that she has no contestants left to mentor. (Side note: Jeers to unfeeling host Steve Jones for telling Lakoda Rayne "the dream is over," and cheers to the group for putting him in his place and shutting him up, for a change. Either someone give Steve some sensitivity training, stat, or just ship him on the Mayflower back to England.)

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LeRoy Bell

I'd long predicted that 60-year-old LeRoy, the oldest contestant on the show, would be eliminated. Though he actually possesses one of the best singing voices among the contestants, his mellow performances always came across as too tame and sluggish, and the ballads his mentor Nicole Scherzinger kept picking for him didn't help matters. But LeRoy continued to court the older-demo vote (I suspect the over-40s ladies, who tend to vote for these sorts of shows in droves, crushed on him hard), and he escaped the bottom two week after week. Ironically, this Tuesday he delivered his best performance yet, digging deep down into his soul to sing Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" for his dear departed mother, showing some real emotion and fire, and finally earning a positive critique from Simon. Well, at least LeRoy went out on a high note. I am sure his mother is proud of him.

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Marcus Canty

But LeRoy was not alone on the chopping block, as he faced off with at-risk contestant Marcus Canty in a battle to stay in the game. Honestly, I thought LeRoy did better this week than Marcus not only on Tuesday, but in Wednesday's sing-off. LeRoy's sing-for-his-life cover of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" was way better than Marcus's cover of Christina Aguilera's "You Lost Me," and the titles of the songs alone seemed prophetic. But instead, the judges let LeRoy down, and didn't lose Marcus. I'd say that it was no real surprise that the judges chose to keep a cute, marketable 20-year-old who can kind of dance like Usher over the staid 60-year-old who repeatedly messed up during the group numbers. But, as it turned out, the judges deadlocked, and so the show just eliminated the next lowest vote-getter...and that was LeRoy. How fitting that during Thanksgiving week, the eliminations were entirely decided by America.

Marcus was clearly relieved, but it must've been tough for this mama's boy to almost go home during the week that he dedicated a song to his own beloved mother, in an emotional performance that likely meant more to him than any other this season. Marcus's mother was the one who inspired him to audition for "The X Factor" in the first place, when she gave him a post-high-school, two-year deadline to pursue his showbiz dreams before getting a "real job." But I think, ironically, it was Mama Canty's very presence in the audience this week that was Marcus's undoing. Crooning Boyz II Men's "Mama" to his mother got him all verklempt, and he let his emotions get the better of him, resulting in his first and only terrible performance of the season. Marcus just seems to have more confidence when he's "looking up 12 girls' skirts" (Simon's words) in a sexy uptempo number than when he's serenading his mommy, so hopefully he'll do better next week.

And finally, back to the subject of Astro...I'd like to think he is thankful, and that he learned his lesson. But come on, we all know he didn't. Astro's bad behavior was rewarded last week when Simon saved him over Stacy Francis, and he wasn't even up for elimination this week. So this Astronomical Kid with the astronomical ego is, like it or not, well on his way to becoming the next Kanye.

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