InTENsity performs in front of the judges. (Ray Mickshaw/Fox)

It’s the first-ever results night on “X-Factor,” and we’re eager to see how they’re going to handle the downsizing chore that’s the inevitable result of X-testant over-hiring and how Too-Tall Steve Jones, the looming X-Host, handles his master of ceremony chores. Steve comes out from the blazing lights of the Mother Ship set and gives us all the show salute, crossing his arms across his chest, like King Tut.

Steve sets up the Mother Ship disgorgement of the judges: LA Reid and Nicole Scherzinger looking like Mr. and Ms One Percent in elegant dark power clothes; Paula wearing a surplus costume from “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” and Simon in his open-necked white shirt/suit jacket look, which he tops off with a sharp little salute.

It’s time for the reading of the rules: America has voted and the 10 acts with the most votes will go through. The two acts with the fewest votes will have to sing it out tonight and the judges get to decide which of the two acts survives. We notice there’s no mention of how many votes were cast. And this judges’ over-ride of the popular vote to determine which actual act gets cut -- it sounds kinda un-American. What country still has some kind of king or something over and above the electorate? Oh, right, the country of the X-Factor.

Too-Tall Steve brings out the final 12 in a swarm. They perform as a group David Guetta’s “Without You” and its lively, and the flashing lights behind them are really lively and guaranteed to clear the epileptics from the audience in the theater, and at home. The surviving members of the audience in the theater sure are enjoying things, shouting in a din even when the performance is over so T-T Steve has to shout over them. We understand him to say that next up is a recap of last night’s performances.

Last nights performance replay follows, inter-cut with the judges’ comments, which we can sum up as follows:

Everybody was great. Unless they had a bad song choice by a mentor. But they were still great. Unless they had a bad costume selected by a mentor. But they were still great.

Steve mentions that, waiting for the eventual winner of this competition: a $5 million recording contract, AND they’ll be starring in a Pepsi commercial – for free, it has been reported. So, let’s see, take the $5 million contract and subtract, I don’t know, maybe $1 million for the value of the endorsement ,and the contract is now worth $4 million.

“That is HUGE! Take a look,” Steve says.

We see the X-testants in video clips say how much they would be honored and thrilled to shoot the Pepsi commercial.

“It would be like living out a dream,” say the Stereo Hogzz.

“So many of the greats that I’ve known, you know, have done it, you know – Britney Spears!” gushes Marcus Canty. “This is once in a lifetime! You never get this chance to have a Pepsi commercial! Pepsi only chooses certain people to do it, and the winner of this competition gets to do it. That’s crazy!”

“To be in a Peiso commercial – that would be da bomb!” enthuses Chris Rene.

In all, over the course of several minutes, the name “Pepsi” is spoken about a dozen times -- intercut with clips from real Pepsi commercials. In other words, the X-testants just appeared in a Pepsi commercial -- for free. Their recording contract is now worth $3 million.

Next up, some entertainment from Richard Andrew, AKA Outasight, who himself is now playing in a Pepsi commercial—his “Tonight’s the Night” plays behind the clips of Britney, Michael Jackson and Ray Charles in the compilation Pepsi commercial that’s been running on “X-Factor.” He come outs and sings “Tonight’s the Night.”

“OK, it’s time to get serious,” Too-Tall Steve says and puts on a funeral-director face. X-testants speak in video clips about how much they don’t want to go home. “We’re living our dream,” Stereo Hogzz says, which is also what they said about the Pepsi commercial option.

Little Rachel Crow, the Shirley Templish one, says “to go home now would break my heart” and she pouts.

“It would be devastating to go back to Brooklyn,” says Astro, the 14-year-old rapper. There goes his hometown parade!

Back to live, everybody, mentors and contestants get up on stage. Steve looks even more sepulchral – his face says, “Are you a member of the immediate family?”

In no particular order, he’s going to reveal the top 10 acts. The bottom two will have to sing again for survival.

Marcus Canty and Drew Ryniewicz (or as Simon calls her “She-Only-Has-One-Name-Now-Drew”) are through.

Steve unapologetically announces that there will be a commercial break – after which, Leroy Jones, Astro, girl group Lakoda Rayne go through, as do Rachel Crow and Chris Rene.

“Well done, LA Reid, all three of your boys are through,” Steve pauses to say.

From the Over-30s Josh Kracik goes through, along with Simon’s Save Melanie Amaro.

All of Simon’s three acts are safe.

Finally, Sobbin’ Stacy Francis gets the last pass.

That leaves two groups -- the Stereo Hogzz and InTENsity, the pickup band/school field trip of seemingly countless young persons, to sing for their survival, a blow to Paula who looks grim.

“Paula, it’s the nightmare situation”, Steve says, like he’s giving her the bad news that the body was accidentally left on the slab at the morgue or something.

“How do you feel?” he adds.

Paula admits that it’s hard for audiences to identify with groups, but she’s confident that both the groups will “wow everybody.”

And after another break, the Stereo Hoggz perform the BeeGee’s “Emotion,” which is, as they say on the show, a bad song choice that makes them seem way too retro. It fizzles. We are however, liking the whole long cargo pants plus sports coat look on the lead singer who we think has a definite career as an LL Bean catalogue model.

Then InTENsity performs Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” and it’s a forgettable mess, with the heaviest lifting done by one signer, the girl Simon memorably addressed last week as “you in the red jacket.”

Now by the rules, the judges must choose one group to send home, Steve tells us, and heaves a great sigh.

Simon chooses the Hoggz to go home – the same group of which he’d said one night earlier, “I don’t think there’s a band in the world now that’s as good as you.”

Paula, too has to choose – this show is ruthless! – and she casts out InTENsity, after saying that “I need you to know you are all winners.” Nicole is seen literally praying for guidance and starts in with a speech about how proud she is of everybody. “I need a name, Nicole” Steve’s voice booms from off-camera, dropping the whole undertaker act. She names InTENsity.

Now, it’s down to LA Reid. He too starts to blah, blah, blah, but Steve cuts him off with “I need to rush you.” And LA seals their fate: It’s back to doing homework, chores and learner’s permits for InTENsity.


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