Even though Michael Jackson suffered severe burns from filming a Pepsi commercial, the pop singer continued to work with the soda company for many years. Considering a Pepsi ad is part of the grand prize, it’s only fitting songs for this week’s performances are from Michael’s extensive music catalogue. Covering such iconic songs could either yield fruitful rewards or sink your ship. How would the Final 7 fare?

For every David Cook “Billie Jean” moment, there are numerous trainwrecks. With another double elimination this week, pressure is at an all-time high. The only way to secure safety is to become one of the Top 4 vote-getters. A very tall order considering the singers left. You definitely don’t want to be in the bottom three to sing for your life and be at the whim of the judges.

If that wasn’t enough pressure, most of the Jackson clan was in attendance to watch the performances. Randy, Tito, Randy and matriarch Katherine Jackson along with Michael’s three kids sat back and hoped no one butchered their beloved Michael’s legacy.

Speaking of the Jackson family, I wanted to quickly write about this picture above before we check out this week’s performances. We all know that Paula Abdul was Janet Jackson’s choreographer for her earlier videos. But I’m sure a few of you didn’t know Paula had another connection to the Jackson family. Had things gone differently, Paula would be posing with her mother-in-law Katherine Jackson above. Back in the day, Paula hooked up with Jackie Jackson. Click here to get a quick rundown on how Paula was the other woman in Jackie’s marriage. But enough of old school gossip. Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s videos.

This Week’s Performances

Josh Krajcik

Song: Dirty Diana

Best possible choice for Josh from Michael Jackson’s songbook. Loved Josh last week, but this week I found myself bored. I was more interested watching the backup dancers. I guess Simon’s critique about the distracting production was true. He should be safe from all the goodwill he’s built up from last week and before.

Astro

Song: Black or White

You know what? It was pretty good. I can definitely see this being a hit after some post-studio producing. That said, I’m kinda over him and if the competition is going to lose a rapper, I’d rather ditch Astro and keep Chris Rene.

Drew

Song: Billie Jean

I’m going to sound like LA here, but it was strikingly similar to all her performances on the show thus far. With that in mind, I agree with Paula’s assessment that this was her best vocal performance. Drew definitely stretched herself vocally and it paid off. I loved it and would definitely buy it. I really hope she pull’s an amazing uptempo performance out of her ass in the coming weeks. She’s gotta mix it up and surprise us soon or she’ll fall to the wayside.

Rachel Crow

Song: Can You Feel It

It started out strong and thought Rachel was going to hit a home run, but unfortunately fell flat. Thought the song choice was good, but you can tell Rachel wasn’t really feeling it. Sadly, her apathy, might put her in jeopardy and land in the bottom for the first time.

Marcus Canty

Song: P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

Was it me or did the beginning sound an awful like Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again”? Personally, it was a genius idea to sample the beat to give a modern take on this track. If you read my post ranking all of Michael Jackson’s songs, you know that PYT is my all-time favorite. That said, obviously I’m biased to Marcus’ performance.

Chris Rene

Song: I’ll Be There

In a previous performance of Chris’, I commented it reminded me of a Lauryn Hill/Fugee track. This time around, it definitely went that route. Simon also agreed his rendition went via the “Killing Me Softly” route. He’s not the best vocalist, but I would definitely buy a produced version of this track. Hands down a solid showing and hope he’s safe for another round.

Melanie Amaro

Song: Earth Song

I’m glad Simon and Melanie addressed her Virgin Island accent breakout. Personally, I love the Caribbean-sounding Melanie better. It gives her an edge and more personality. Melanie killed it and was in a league of her own. How gorgeous did she look tonight? The styling team is topping themselves with Melanie’s look each week.

Rankings

In a week where no one really sucked, ranking the lower rung of the group proved quite difficult. At this point, it’s just a matter of musical tastes. You might be surprised that both Marcus and Chris are higher than others on my list. In the end, I see myself buying a finished product of their performance last night more than the others.

7. Astro
6. Josh Krajcik
5. Rachel Crow
4. Marcus Canty
3. Chris Rene
2. Drew
1. Melanie Amaro

Prediction

Since all did decently well, at this point the results will come down to fan bases. The remaining competitors will have to rely on their ardent fans to pull them through. I don’t think most of them did anything to pick up wayward votes. With Lakoda Rayne and LeRoy Bell gone, it’ll be interesting to see where their fans cast their votes. I’m going out on a limb and predict three males will be in the bottom three. Astro, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene will have to sing for their lives.

Who do you think will go? How would you rate this week’s performances? Post your rankings below.

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