December 08, 2011 6:00am PT by Jethro Nededog
'X Factor' Burning Questions: What's the Deal With Josh's Sign Language? Did Marcus Get Death Threats Too?
Fox’s The X Factor has had a fairly smooth first season production-wise, but there are moments when one realizes that it’s still figuring out the kinks. This week, for example, found the show making a huge deal out of its Pepsi Challenge songs, which were to be chosen by fan votes. At the last minute, something went wrong and the “miscommunication” forced the singers to adapt their “save me” songs to a full-on production number.
“When they told us, my biggest challenge was not crying,” Rachel Crow tells reporters after Wednesday’s episode. “That day, I was so happy with both my songs and I was like, ‘Oh no, what’s going to happen now?’ So when they did that, I was a little bit scared. But, I’m OK. I’m good with it now. I just went up there and gave it my all.”
There were other big and small controversies this week, plus some burning questions after the performances. Here’s this week’s round of burning questions answered.
Were any of the reported death threats and hate messages over Drew Ryniewicz’s elimination directed toward Marcus Canty? The show had to deal with some major fallout from passionate Drew fans after her elimination. Apparently, Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul received death threats via Twitter and Facebook. But as the performer who beat out Drew, Marcus confirms he got his fair share of hate thrown his way, as well. “They were saying some crazy stuff to me, too, man,” Marcus tells reporters. “It’s like relax, this is a friendly competition. No reason to bomb people’s houses and try to kill them. This is a competition.” Above all, Marcus says he was more worried about Paula and Nicole. “They’re so nice… It makes me feel so bad to see other people so hateful and rude to them.”
Who was Chris Rene’s original song, “Where Do We Go From Here?” written for? Chris performed a song he had written with his brother, Gabriel Rene, two years ago on Wednesday’s show. This reporter wondered if it was about a guy trying to make his relationship work, but Chris set me straight. “It’s about the world. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s about every human being on this planet.” Ah, yes, of course. Chris says I’m not the first person to think it was written for a specific love interest, but he’s OK with different interpretations of the tune. “That song is whatever you feel in your heart,” he says.
When did 13-year-old Rachel do stand-up comedy? As if Rachel wasn’t already a trailblazer as the youngest contestant on The X Factor, Simon Cowell revealed on Wednesday’s show that she has also performed stand-up comedy. “I did it at the L.A. Improv where Adam Sandler and Chris Rock perform and I did it when I was 10,” she says. “I was part of the first group of kids to go to [The Improv at] Harrah’s in Las Vegas.” No wonder Hollywood is knocking at her door, huh? Rachel says she would still like to do more stand-up comedy, but singing is her No. 1 passion right now.
Is Melanie Amaro really dating Stereo Hogzz member, Trace Kennedy? Reports surfaced this week that Melanie is dating the eliminated X Factor contestant. She denied the reports on Wednesday night to reporters, saying, "The only romance I'm having right now is with my microphone." That caused some giggling among the reporters present. We should all just grow up, right?
Why does Josh Krajcik use sign language when his voting details are being announced? It might seem a bit strange that Josh uses sign language on a singing show, but he has a couple good reasons for doing so. He says that he learned to sign mostly the alphabet from a former coworker who was deaf. “He was a funny guy and I wanted to crack jokes with him,” Josh says. “So, I learned it. If there are any hearing impaired people watching the show, I just want to kind of say hello to them in that way while at the same time also saying, ‘Hey, man, let’s vote Josh.’ ” He also has another personal reason for adopting the sign language for that portion of the show. “One of the things I don’t want to do ever is the number thing that they do. My brother told me not to do it, so I told him I wont. So, it’s something to do in that moment and it’s saying hello to the hearing impaired.”
The X Factor results show airs at 8 p.m. on Thursday on Fox.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro