L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell on “The X Factor.” (Ray Mickshaw/Fox)

Double elimination on “X Factor” this week. But first, “American Idol” first-year winner Kelly Clarkson, is brought out for another “how not to style your hair” demonstration, while performing “Stronger” in some shiny dress designed by Spanx.

“Bravo Kelly Clarkson!” show host Steve Jones effuses. “What a set of pipes! Extraordinary!”

This is followed by a recap of previous night’s super-glutinous Night of Thanks.

“That was last night – and what a night it was!” gushes Steve.

Bruno Mars sells a few tune downloads in front of a giant throbbing heart light.

Tonight’s group sing will be brought to you by Pepsi, that kid from “Glee,” and all those viewers who voted their minds on the tune, the set, the costumes, etc.

So if you’re wondering who to blame for the circus theme, the turntable set, or Melanie Amaro’s Village People cop costume – blame America.

“Nicely done, America!” Steve raves after the nightmare has ended.

Steve summons the last remaining Insta-Group, Lakoda Rayne, to the center of the stage, and Drew of no last name. One of them is safe and the other is out, Steve says. If the suspense is killing you, you have not been paying attention all season.

Lakoda Rayne is out. Paula Adbul’s mentoring is at an end. Lakoda members vow to be performing in concerts everywhere before you know it. So long!

Steve begins the In No Particular Order reading of X-testants who have made it to next week’s competition. Finally, it’s down to LeRoy Bell and Marcus Canty – the two who clocked the lowest viewer votes – except, of course, ahead of The Late Lakoda Rayne.

Its chill vs. overkill.

Mr. Scenery Chewer vs. Mr. Minimalist.

This is like, big – a Clash of Civilizations, like – oh, never mind. Two scared guys are gonna sing.

Fear improves Marcus! He seems pinned to one spot, in front

of his mike, which is a good thing. He gives a straight ahead performance of Christina Aguilera’s “You Lost Me.” No scenery is chewed.

Next, LeRoy sings The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down,” and really sounds like a man singing for mercy.

And so it all comes down these two performances. No matter what else has come before, these two will be strictly on the merits of how they performed tonight. Yeah, right. We’d give the edge to LeRoy -- but let’s see what a panel of “impartial” judges has to say.

First to judge, LA Reid, Marcus’s mentor. LA says he likes LeRoy’s “sizzle factor” but “I have to plead to the other judges that Marcus Canty has delivered time and time again. He’s an amazing singer.” And, between the two, Marcus is the one “who could be a massive star.” He votes to send LeRoy home. We imagine LA practiced that speech in his head during LeRoy’s performance.

Nicole Scherzinger, LeRoy’s mentor, is next to judge. “No doubt in my mind that Marcus is a star..but LeRoy, not only have you proved to us it’s never too late to go after your dream...you have blossomed into the rock star that I know you to be,” She tells her 60-year-old protégé. She votes to send Marcus home. We imagine Nicole practiced that speech in her head during LeRoy’s performance.

Paula: “Marcus, you know you’re one of my favorites” but “you didn’t deliver as much” on the song as LeRoy did. “LeRoy, you did sing for your life.” She votes to send Marcus home. Speaking of blossoming before our eyes! Paula Abdul, the bubble headed judge on “American Idol” has blossomed into a woman of clear thinking and decisive action!

So, it’s left to Simon Cowell to make it three to one against Marcus, or tie it and leave it to America, with the lowest public vote getter going home.

Simon says he like them both, that Marcus is “nudging ahead of LeRoy” in the competition but “LeRoy, you did sing better tonight.” He says he’s going to toss to the numbers, by sending home Leroy.

Steve Jones is up to the moment. Somebody hands him something small and rectangular --we’re guessing some sort of Verizon product -- and he studies it like a poker player,

The X-testant with the lowest number of votes, he intones, “and who America is sending home, is LeRoy Bell.”

The average age of X-testants just dropped about 35 years.


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