Annie Barrett
December 15, 2011 AT 08:46 AM EST

The audience is just openly booing Nicole Scherzinger now. It could be that all the X Factor automatons miss Rachel Crow, but I’m guessing it’s because they just don’t like Nicole and now that she’s stilettoed a young girl’s heart, it’s apparently legit to openly flame her. Whatever. You show up for national television in a knee-length Hypercolor lace dress, you roll with the punches.

Last night was the season 1 semifinals, or the “Sammy-finals” according to Steve Jones, who keeps adorably trying to make up for his accent by over-enunciating phrases like “Okey-doke!” when discussing Twittah. Is anyone honestly still annoyed by Stevecrest? How and why? Stop being ridiculous. He’s so tall.

This week we finally got treated to the refreshing and caloric Pepsi Challenge. It’s no longer just a silly cola taste-testing opportunity administered to random people on the street — that’s dangerous! Instead, it’s a privilege reserved for the Top 4 contestants of a reality competition — in this case, high school graduate Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro, and Josh Krajcik. Let’s get to ’em!

But first…looks like someone’s gearing up for my American Idol recaps!

Esteemed Colleague Email Interlude:

No need to learn anyone’s name in the meantime.

Three-time Save Me Song champion (“A triumph!” —Entertainment Weekly) Marcus Canty started the show off a bit uncomfortably by dangling a white rose over a pit of very special ladies. After initially shushing the audience, he was able to go through with his purple-denim-tuxedo rendition of Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You” as scheduled. It was a typical Marcus performance: Some notes worked, some notes didn’t, and the most consistent element of the production was something in the background — in this case, the reliable writhing-in-place of So You Think You Can Dance alum Allison Holker. She is everywhere! I love her, but Simon pooh-poohed the “zombie dancers.” Nicole (“BOOOOOO”) babbled something about how Marcus was bringing sexy back, and Paula delivered one of her signature unintentional dismissals: “You didn’t let anyone down.”

NEXT: All around the world, statues crumble for Chris Rene

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