'X Factor' Live Voting Begins After Final 12 Perform
'X Factor' Live Voting Begins After Final 12 Perform

Simon introduced his next contestant with a few subtle digs at Paula and Nicole: "No silly seasons, no silly outfits, it's Melanie (Amaro)." Although Simon chose to eliminate Melanie at the end of Judges' Houses, he realized his mistake, asked her to re-join the competition, and she has been "X Factor's" shining star ever since. Her performance of? "X Factor's" song catalog is starting to feel thin, as "Jar of Hearts" has also been performed already this season.

Mini-rapper Astro -- also known as Brian Bradley or The Astronomical Kid -- was next to perform, rapping (as always) an original. Paula said she knows Jay-Z's got his eye on Astro and L.A. said he knows Brooklyn loves the young performer. Either the hip-hop community has been chatting about Astro or the judges are just trying to get his hopes up.

Video: Astro's original rap verses

Teen group InTENsity are trying to avoid being typecast as Disney or "Glee" performers -- but where else is a 10-member group of teenagers expected to fit into the music industry? The group sang a mashup of Kim Wilde's "Kids In America" and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" Simon told the group, "I shouldn't like you, but I actually do really like you."

Video: InTENsity, "Kids In America" & "Party Rock Anthem"

14-year-old Drew (whose last name was dropped three episodes ago) sang Nelly's "Just a Dream." She began the performance awkwardly lying on a bed of rose petals in the center of the stage, but luckily it was all uphill from there. Drew sings and performs well beyond her years, and it takes her over-excited smile to remind everyone that, while she may look and sound older, she's only just a teenager. Simon said that she was mentoring him more than he was mentoring her, and "I'm seeing a star emerge in front of me right now."

Video: Drew, "Just a Dream"

Marcus Canty sang a mashup of B.o.B.'s "Nothing on You" and Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step" (a song written by his mentor, L.A. Reid). Though past footage showed Marcus struggling to sing and dance at the same time, he pulled it off and Paula said that he was "the whole package." The judges had nothing but compliments for the singer, and L.A. told him to "just keep doing what you're doing. America loves you, I'm sure of it."

Video: Marcus Canty, "Every Little Step"

Closing the show was 42-year-old single mom Stacy Francis, singing Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)." During the previous round, Simon called Francis a "church singer" and said she shouldn't be singing pop songs. Nicole decided to give him what he asked for, and if he went right, he planned to take all the credit. And that's exactly what happened. "It was real, it was fantastic, one of the best performances of the night," said Simon, after arrogantly handing out "I told you so" remarks to the rest of the panel.

Video: Stacy Francis, "Up to the Mountain"

Judging opened for two hours after the episode ended last night, and tonight we find out who America voted for and who they chose to send home. Viewers can vote each week by calling a number, going online or tweeting their choice, following the style laid out on the "X Factor" website. Verizon customers can also vote via text or by the Xtra Factor touchscreen app.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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