Drew, Josh Krajcik Steal Show as “X Factor” Reveals Top 12

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As if critics needed another reason to call it a shame that the “The X Factor” audience is half the size of the “American Idol” audience–Tuesday’s performance show made even the best “Idol” episodes look like amateur hour.

Undoubtedly, the aggressive use of choreography, mash-ups and lights, combined with a very glossy direction and production style, takes away the “human” element that drives “American Idol.” But if one watches these shows for interesting, show-stopping performances, he needs to be watching “The X Factor.”

Almost every performance could be considered great by music competition standards, but true shining moments came from “girls” contestant Drew and “over 30s” contestant Josh Krajcik. These raw segments of emotional and vocal brilliance would stand up well to some of the best “American Idol” “moments”–and they came on the very first performance show.

Drew’s slow, folksy take on “Flashdance…What a Feeling” was simply dazzling, delivering everything “Idol” contestants like Brooke White and Didi Benami tried to do but never could. Like those contestants, Drew will be vulnerable to criticism with this sort of style–if everything doesn’t go right, cries of “pitchy” and “boring” will very likely come forth. But for this one night, Drew was a star and surprisingly became Simon’s first choice for the top 12.

Krajcik, meanwhile, went the Bo Bice “In a Dream” route with a brilliant a capella version of “Forever Young.” Time simply stood still when he performed, and he was far and away the only of the over 30s to be portrayed like a real force (rather than someone to whom viewers should be sympathetic since he’s old).

Other great performances came from Marcus Canty (a contemporary take on “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”), The Stereo Hoggz (a stunningly-relevant take on “Try a Little Tenderness”) and Melanie Amaro (“I Have Nothing”), but the reality is that nearly all the contestants showed something.

True, there were some baffling issues of popular contestants getting more love than they deserved from at least some of the judges (namely Rachel Crow and Stacy Francis), but there was just too much to like here to really complain.

And, so, the top 12 is as follows:

Boys–
Astro
Marcus Canty
Chris Rene
(Eliminated – Phillip Lomax)

Groups–
Stereo Hoggz
Lakoda Rayne
inTENsity
(Eliminated – The Brewer Boys)

Over 30s–
Stacy Francis
Josh Krajcik
LeRoy Bell
(Eliminated – Dexter Haygood)

Girls–
Drew
Rachel Crow
Melanie Amaro
(Eliminated – Simone Battle, Tiah Tolliver)