Annie Barrett
December 08, 2011 AT 10:19 AM EST

The X Factor

TV Show
Current Status
Reality TV

Weird night! The Top 5 were informed 24 hours before Wednesday’s performance show that they’d have to sing their Save Me songs instead of the songs they’d been preparing all week for the Pepsi Challenge. “Okay! Go easy!” cried Steve Jones after announcing this dramatic twist. It’s fun to think about the vast difference between the live X Factor audience, directed to react with COMPLETE OUTRAGE, and us viewers at home, who were just like, “Whatever.” Either way, any bumbling Steve Jones moment is a big plus.

But as if that weren’t enough insanity, the first round’s theme was “dance music hits,” which was short for “Let’s find a way to keep Marcus Canty alive.” Now I love myself some heavily processed dance music, but I would never expect it to be featured on a singing competition. There goes The X Factor, defying all expectations as usual! It’s a spectacle competition, really. They have set fire to a NEW GENRE along with whatever judges-table debris (L.A. Reid’s soul, Nicole’s week 7 weave) was used as kindling for last night’s Smoke Monster haze.

Let’s get this dance party started. Everybody dance, now.

Melanie Amaro‘s thumpin’ dance version of Adele’s “Someone Like You” (help, I’m dying inside) featured the American Horror Story crossover none of us ever expected: Dozens of black-suited Rubber Men dancing robotically around her as she angrily belted out sad and pensive lyrics for…oh, I don’t know, maybe 45 seconds? That thing was short.

I guess she sang this well; it was just kind of bizarre. My favorite part — other than Melanie’s intriguing medieval torture/spider ring — was that during this performance, Simon was nodding his head ever so slightly to the beat. It’s about the closest he’ll come all season to a seated dance move. “You would have a hit record with that version,” Simon assured Melanie. (Okay Simon. Upbeat remixes of “Someone Like You” already exist — in fact I’ve been listening to them to stay awake for the last two hours and consequently will never fall asleep again — but whatever.)

“Two-time champion” (?!) Marcus Canty accomplished what Nicole Scherzinger thinks we’ve all been waiting for: He “took us to church and the dance club at the same time” with his dance hit: Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody.” I don’t think any X Factor performance has been as blisteringly ’80s as this one, and that’s saying a lot. (Then again, the dancers with plain black leotards and structured neon jackets ended up reminding me of Lady Gaga, so maybe the ’80s are RIGHT NOW.) Vocally Marcus was on par with the rest of his work — he sounded okay, but it was more about the visual spectacle.

L.A. Reid Seated Dance Move of the Night

“Hey! This is one of the songs I know.

NEXT: Simon and Nicole would rather be playing with dolls

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