December 22, 2011 at 05:04 AM EST

The X Factor

TV Show
Current Status
Reality TV

In so many ways, the first season of The X Factor can be summed up by Wednesday night’s very sudden and somewhat painful Top 3 rendition of Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us.” Were Chris, Josh, and Melanie referring to their X Factor mentors, the X Factor choreographers, the sound mixers, or the robots whose light-up chests kept alternating between question marks (as in What the f— is happening?) and dollar signs (as in $$$$$$$$$5 MILLION$$$$$$$$$)? This show is always so challenging. It’s why I watch!

Last night’s performance finale featured random celebrity duets (so that we could hear the Top 3 drowned out by actual famous people) and a reprise of the finalists’ audition songs (so that we could hear the Top 3 sing something we already knew they could sing). It was thrilling. My favorite parts of the show were Steve Jones’ awkward interviews with crazy people who could barely hear him in the contestants’ hometowns and the dark chocolate cinnamon roll atop Nicole Scherzinger’s head. Now and forever, I will always think of its potential secrets.

Let’s get to the songs! First up we had Josh Krajcik attempting Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” in a creepy black-and-white enchanted forest that, in a very good way, resembled an Edward Gorey illustration come to life. Wouldn’t you know it — that’s where Alanis herself has been living this whole time! Alanis (you may know her as God) emerged from the woods with her shiny hair and huge voice just to sing with our former burrito slinger. Was it just me or did Josh sound like he was auditioning for the opera here? I appreciated his ability to harmonize; it just seemed like he was concentrating so hard on getting it right that he ended up holding back.

Next up was Chris Rene, joined onstage by…Avril Lavigne. With the black and green strobe lights and two wildly different performers — she yelling, he whispering — this performance was almost as “Complicated” as Denise Richards. I was especially confused when Chris yelled “THE MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR….AVRIL LAVIGNE!” And here I’d thought we’d all been waiting to hear the best solo performances our Top 3 acts could offer. I’m seriously such a moron. I look like a fool to me-ee-eeeee. Anyway, Avril completely drowned Chris out and how could she not? He’s got a weak voice.

No mattah! “It isn’t about note-for-note being perfect,” said Paula. “The light around you was so flippin’ infectious,” said The Girl With a Draggin’ Hairdo. “That could be a record,” offered Simon. “That could be a number one hit,” L.A. corrected him. Four yeses!

NEXT: Melanie believes she can soar; The X Factor is actually Space Jam

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