Drew Makes ‘Billie Jean’ Her Own on ‘X Factor’
Drew performed a stripped down, slowed down rendition of 'Billie Jean.' "This week I picked one of the most iconic Michael Jackson songs," mentor Simon Cowell said of his song choice. "I stripped away all the crazy props. It's emotion -- at the end, that's what I want to see."
Cowell was right about the props. Following performances with dancers and light shows (we're looking at you, Astro and Josh Krajcik!), Drew emerged sitting on chair, lit by a single spotlight. Backed only by a piano, Drew performed 'Billie Jean' as a power ballad. While no one disputes her raw talent, this may not have been the best choice for her. Parts of the song were too low for her range, but Drew belted towards the middle of the song, earning back the audience before returning to her soft signature croon to conclude.
L.A. Reid was on team Simon this week. "I'm in a really naughty, naughty mood, but I have to tell you that you took 'Billie Jean,' you made it your own," Reid said, "and it pains me to say it -- but I liked it!"
The girls weren't as enthusiastic. "I like you," Over 30s judge Nicole Scherzinger began. "But the whole chair thing -- not coming up from the chair, I don't get that. You sounded beautiful and it's exactly what I expected, but Simon, I think you're playing it safe with Drew," Scherzinger declared. Looking back at the stage at a nervous Drew, Scherzinger continued, "I wanted you to get up from the damn chair!"
Erstwhile group mentor Paula Abdul was with Scherzinger. "This was your best vocal performance without question," Abdul said earnestly. "However, Simon, on a week about Michael Jackson, you chose to have nothing visual," she complained before turning back to Drew. "Do you ever want to do something uptempo?" Drew nodded nervously, but Abdul encouraged her. "I want you to do an Avril Lavigne, a Kelly Clarkson -- do it!"
Cowell, got a bit catty with his responses to the panel. "Too much dancing is why Paula's acts are out of the competition right now. You and Nicole are talking absolute nonsense," he snapped before addressing Drew. "We wanted to pay tribute to Michael by doing it simply and singing the song beautifully, and that's what you did."
When introducing her at the beginning of her segment, Cowell simply said, "Representing Arizona, no gimmicks, it's just her -- Drew!" While his description was perfectly accurate, the rest of the panel thinks the simplicity surrounding Drew is doing the teen chanteuse little justice. At the conclusion of her performance, Steve Jones described Drew as the "most divisive" 'X Factor' contestant, and that role was solidified tonight.
Watch Drew Perform 'Billie Jean' on 'X Factor'