There are eight female contestants among the finalists vying for The X Factor‘s $5 million dollar prize – but after a night of movie-themed performances, two pulled ahead as frontrunners.
Simon Cowell‘s protégés, Rachel Crow and Melanie Amaro, wowed the judges with the night’s most memorable songs from soundtracks, overshadowing their competitor in the girls category, Drew, Nicole Scherzinger’s charge Stacy Francis, and Paula Abdul‘s all-girl quartet Lakoda Rayne.
Rachel Crow, 13, closed out the show with a fiery version of “I’d Rather Go Blind” from 2008’s Cadillac Records.
“You remind me of a Little Beyoncé!” Simon told her. “You’re back in the game!”
Earlier in the night, 19-year-old Melanie Amaro, who battled a sore throat before Wednesday’s live taping, brought her own fireworks with an uplifting version of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” which Cowell called the best performance of the entire competition so far.