If you were feeling that Michael Jackson hadn’t been in the news enough recently never fear – The X Factor is here – to put the King Of Pop firmly back in the headlines.

Yep, how wonderful – to commemorate the sentencing of Dr Conrad Murray – the Fox talent series dragged out several of the Jackson family to witness the wholesale massacre of Michael’s back catalogue. We had the leeches (aka Marlon, Jackie and the other one), who continue to live off Michael’s legacy, mom Katherine who host Steve Jones desperately wanted to speak (he succeeded later in a horribly ‘awkward’ interview) and Michael’s kids – including the permanently unhappy looking Blanket.

Mind you, who can blame Blanket given the wholesale mess the contestants made of his father’s songs. Talk about Blood On The Dancefloor. Here’s my take…

JOSH KRAJCIK: Man, it’s like Simon Cowell put a mob hit on Nicole Scherzinger’s last man standing this week! How else to explain the train wreck that was Josh’s take on Dirty Diana, a train wreck performance in a dangerous double elimination week. Josh’s usual confidence was gone as he mumbled through the verses while pretending to be the rock star he clearly isn’t. And for someone with obvious hygiene issues maybe a song called Dirty Diana isn’t such a smart choice!

ASTRO: Is this little turd still in the competition? Unfortunately yes – and he’s still accompanied by those revolting parents. You know the two – the mom and stepdad who excuse every arrogant action of the little punk! This week Astro took on Black And White with his usual rewritten rap lyrics. The result was business as usual – confident and impressive. But did Black And White really need rewriting?

DREW: It comes to something when Nicole and Paula are the voice of reason but the girls totally nailed it when its came to Drew’s sleepy take on Billie Jean. By sticking Drew in a spot-lit chair and keeping her there for the ENTIRE performance, Simon really was playing it safe. But I actually think the reverse is true. I’m a Drew fan but at this stage I’m just totally bored of her – she sings the same type of songs in the same style every week.

RACHEL CROW: Oh boy – looks like another of Simon’s contestants is also in trouble. Rachel’s performance of Can You Feel It was a total mess – she was dwarfed by the production, the vocals were all over the place and there was just so much going on Rachel looked totally uncomfortable. Simon’s made this mistake before – when will he realize that with Rachel less is more? Or is there a bigger game at work here (see below)

MARCUS CANTY: Here’s another contestant who’s definitely in trouble – and I suspect the first one to be eliminated tonight. Marcus performed PYT, one of Jackson’s slightest songs, and there was nothing pretty about those vocals. Marcus just seems so desperate to be Usher but all those sexy dancers can’t disguise the fact that he’s just not quite there. I don’t think anyone will be doing back flips for this performance!

CHRIS RENE: Oh boy – this really was a rough night wasn’t it. Next up, Chris Rene, who took on I’ll Be There and displayed some seriously shaky vocals at the top, while the audience were clearly waiting for the inevitable rap to kick in! And it looked like Paula took her crazy pills again, telling Chris, ‘you manifest with abundance in the heart department.’ WTF?

MELANIE AMARO: One more to go and surprise, surprise – look who scored the pimp slot this week. The judges loved Melanie’s version of Earth Song but personally I thought it was more good than great (and Amaro totally cheated on that final note). But at this stage it’s clear Simon is playing the long game – priming Melanie to be the first X Factor USA winner and sacrificing Drew and Rachel along the way. Why else would he give Drew ANOTHER ballad and have Rachel performing an over-produced, uptempo song when by now we know that’s not her strength. Watch how the next few weeks play out and I think you’ll see what I mean…

So that’s my take – but what did you think? Do you agree with my thoughts… if not, why not! Start commenting everyone…