One of the final four went home: Josh Krajcik, Melanie Amaro, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene. (Frank Micelotta/Fox)

One more X-testant must be culled from the crowd of four over the course of a whole hour -- this time without the time-killing benefit of a save-me sing-off and judges’ voting. How will they manage it?

For starters, they have the four semi-X’s take the stage for a medley of “No Diggety” and “Shout,” and make us long for the return of Astro.

Next, Florence + The Machine give a “worldwide TV premiere” to the song “Spectrum.” In case you missed it: Florence + Red Hair + Lots of Breath Control + Some Heavy Footed Moves From the X Dancers.

To fill up more time, we see some taped bits re-introducing America to the semi-X’s.

Marcus Canty is the one who “doesn’t sulk or complain,” says Simon Cowell, and is “the whole package” says Nicole Scherzinger.

Chris Rene is “the most original artist in the competition” who proves “if you just believe anything is possible,” says Nicole.

Josh Krajcik has a “voice somewhere between pop and rock with a touch of blues,” LA Reid says, and may be “the one to beat” says Simon.

Melanie Amaro has “a voice like drinking warm honey” says LA. And the segment concludes with Simon saying about himself, “I was thinking the other day what it would have been like if I hadn’t brought her (Melanie) back.” What it would have been like, Simon, is you without any mentees in the competition. Like Paula Abdul.

“The time has come,” show host Too Tall Steve Jones announces when the time has finally come to announce some results; 30 million of you voted, Steve says. Which is surprising because only about 10 million people watched the performance show this week. Maybe he meant to say that 30 million votes were cast.

Anyway, in no particular order, the first singer making it to finals next week is, tick tock tick tock tick tock…Chris Rene.

We’re going to push ahead the hands of time here to reveal that Melanie Amaro also advances. That leaves Josh and Marcus.

But first, Nicole Scherzinger is going to show us how it’s done, with the premiere of her song “Pretty.” How it’s done is with a lot of close-ups and eye contact with the camera, and a bare minimum of movement and -- Hey! No dancers? Nicole burdens her mentees with armys of X-dancers but, when it’s her turn, it’s all about her?

Nicole’s got her whole super-sincere thing in overdrive with this song about a girl who wants to be taken seriously for more than her looks, we think. “I don’t want to be pretty no more,” she sings.

But she’s not giving up those close-ups.

Too Tall throws it to the Simon to critique Nicole’s performance. Simon notes he’s sitting in Nicole’s seat at the judges’ table, adding, “so I’m going to critique you like Nicole,” he says.

This is not going to end well.

“I believe in you. You believe in me. You transcend the universe. God is smiling on you. Life is a waterfall and you are the ultimate rainbow,” says Simon.

Nicole does not look amused, and for the first time this season we actually feel a pang of sympathy for Nicole. Chick just performed, for crying out loud, demonstrating an actual talent of sorts, which is more than we can say for Simon. It also reminds us that while a lot of fun used to poked at Simon on “American Idol,” he’s never set up for ribbing on this, his show.

Anybody still left wondering whether Nicole is maybe going to be whacked after this season? Oh, online auditions for next season are now open, BTW.

That unpleasantness over, it’s time to whack Marcus – oh, sorry, Marcus or Josh.

Poor Marcus -- always one lap behind the leaders, who have better voices and/or more sharply defined personalities. Marcus was mainly likeable, gave solid B performances, and had a perfect attendance record.

And the one who is going home is, tick tock tick tock …Marcus.

TooTall puts on his sad face for the sendoff interview. “Why you looking sad, Steve?” Marcus surprises him.

“Because I don’t want to see you go,” says Too Tall, who we admit we’re liking more and more every week.

“It’s all good,” Marcus smiles. “You’ll see me later.”


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