Annie Barrett
November 03, 2011 AT 09:19 AM EDT

Welcome back to The X Factor — the only show on the air providing guidance on “how to use Twittah” on its own website. This week’s second live performance show was the first chance for the Top 12 “acts” to sing for YOUR VOTES. Now give Steve Jones a hug, silly. He’s desperate!

Paula Abdul was by far the MVP of the episode, rehearsing the choreography along with her groups like a sweaty teen while Simon Cowell sat in his natural habitat — in front of an enormous vanity mirror — and made surly remarks about each contestant in the other judges’ cat-uh-gries. How does Paula do it? Perhaps her superhuman stamina can be traced to the toxic pink waste in her Pepsi cup.

Totally not staged.

“Hold your receipts! Here come the Stereo Hogzz!” I know Paula meant to say hold your seats, but that’s how it sounded. And what self-respecting X Factor audience member could remain confined to a chair during the fiery thunderstorm of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” presented by a lead singer, his four backup dancers, 20 backup dancers surrounding them, and a devoted community of like-minded robot-soliders moving in sync on the screen behind all of them? No one! You gotta join up! This was pretty entertaining and inspired me to waste tons of time watching Janet’s original video. I appreciated the Hogzz’ shiny gold knee pads, and was that one guy wearing a fanny pack? I was so busy settling into X Factor Migraine Mode and marveling at the circus that I could barely concentrate on the vocals.

No mattah! Simon says: “I don’t think there’s a band in the world right now that’s as good as you.”


NEXT: Chris Rene, a heavenly superstar angel in a fiery pit of hell

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