‘X Factor’ Loses Stacy, Not Bad Sport Astro

With a confounding decision to save a mouthy kid who almost didn’t do his “sing for your life” performance – and abandoned the soul-shouting middle aged woman who had been the symbol of the show since its first episode, “The X Factor” Thursday proved to be X-ed out of any future viewing plans.

With the two lowest vote-getters of the Top 10, Astro and Stacy Francis were called upon to perform one more time so judges could make their final choice between them.

Francis sang “Amazing Grace” and Astro first didn’t want to perform, had to be talked into it, and then did a half-hearted, largely unintelligible rap to “Never Can Say Goodbye” that amounted to voluntary elimination.

Then he argued with judges who called him disrespectful and they still allowed him to stay – never mind that his own style was not so new or interesting that it surpassed the work of, say, Kris Kross, to mention one artist he covered one week.

That judges Wednesday called him capable of being an international artist proved how removed from modern popular music they actually are. (Whether Francis would become a big star either is unknown, but she at least has proven herself a talent – half the kids on a city bus can rap as well as Astro).

Francis indicated she was performing under a handicap – with Nicole Scherzinger as mentor, choosing one crazy song choice after another. Wednesday she made her sing a gloppy Meat Loaf ballad for rock night, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”

(Earlier, another person under Scherzinger, James Brown impersonator Dexter Haygood, reportedly said he’d rather go back to homelessness than continue to sing her choices).

Judges have coddled Astro (real name Brian Bradley) all along, allowing him rap and maybe never sing in a competition ostensibly but apparently never explicitly dedicated to singing.

He embarrassed himself by saying “no no no, hold up” instead of going into his “sing for your life number” saying he didn’t feel as if he had to perform again. The 15 year old kid was a true loose cannon on a live show.

But then again what kind of role models have the judges been? Just last week Paula Abdul refused to do the one thing she had been hired to do at quite a pretty penny: decide between the bottom two (they were both, to her own embarrassment, acts she had mentored).

Still, judges praised him for his mercurial immaturity and pouting – only Scherzinger chose to pick Francis to stay, and as her mentor she sort of had to.

It was another misguided moment on an already weird “rock week,” which proved once and for all how dead rock is. Few of the songs chosen required guitars, most were big gloppy ballads and some songs were not rock at all – the other rapper did an appalling rap version of Bob Marley’s reggae staple “No Woman No Cry.”

Say what you will about Simon Cowell, but at least he knew what rock was and chose Rolling Stones, U2 and R.E.M. for his team to sing.

Astro, for his part, had covered Puff Daddy, which isn’t rock either, though his “I’m Missing You” is rock inasmuch as it is based on the Police’s “Every Step You Take.”
Can’t wait to hear what Astro will do for country week. If he choose to perform at all.

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