‘Twas ‘American Anthems’ Week on X Factor last Saturday, a celebration of true, good ol’ American talent. YEE-HAW!

As the judges strode into the studio to the sound of Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born In The USA,” US flags waved on the screens while overenthusiastic cheerleaders pranced around like loons onstage. As a real, live American watching, I can confirm that this is literally what life is like in America all of the time.

And starting off the show–oh, wait–Oh my G–WHAT LUCK!

FIRST UP WAS THE ALMIGHTY CHER LLOYD, SINGER OF ALL THINGS AMAZING, ICONIC AND INSPIRATIONAL.

Performing both parts of the Alicia Keys/Jay-Z collabo “Empire State of Mind,” Mizz Chezza-lite owned the overly cluttered stage with an über-confident, on-point performance that suited both her swagga and her sweet, sweet croonage abilities. (WATCH)

Dannii said it was hard to top last week’s impossibly orgasmic performance of “Stay,” but that she really liked it. Simon said he was a little disappointed, and when he ran out of words, he turned to his right, bitch-slapped Cheryl Cole and accused her of being lazy.

NO! She cried out in agony, holding her newly bruised cheek. No–it’s simply not true! This was the purrfect baylance for the Lloyd!!!

“I appreciate that,” the Almighty Lloyd announced in response. And so it was said.

Oh, dear sweet Mary Byrnes. We all know by now that Lady Mary, Mother of Tesco is a disco-ready powerhouse diva simply begging to cut her own Confessions On A Dance Floor.

But tonight, it all came undone. Louis provided the Irish songstress with a song that was completely out of her comfort zone–Faith Hill‘s “There You’ll Be,” and the results were catastrophic. (WATCH)

How terrible it was: Overly dramatic, heavy-handed. Nothing about it worked and everything was so earth-shatteringly upsetting. While the judges were quick to point out what a “REAL WOMAN” and “EVERY DAY WOMAN” she was, nothing could mask the fact that this ish was simply no good.

Byrnes revealed that she was “nayrvus,” that her head wasn’t in the game, and that she was missing her daughter. But that’s okay–she’s still in the game this week!

WE LOVE YOU, MARY. DO NOT GIVE UP JUST BECAUSE YOUR MENTOR IS AWFUL.

Katie Weasel took obnoxious to new levels with her ‘performance’ of No Doubt‘s “Don’t Speak.” In doing so, the Diana Vickers‘ understudy-to-be simultaneously butchered a classic while continuing to prove why Gwen Stefani is so much better and amazing in the first place. (WATCH)

In what was undoubtedly the most embarrassing moment in X Factor history, Weasel whined her way in front of a giant projection of herself crying Cheryl-sized, mascara-stained alligator tears in slow motion. Oh wait, who’s her mentor again? I’M SIMPLY SHOCKED. The sheer inspiration! THE SHEER TALENT.

It was terrible and everything sucked. I hate you, Weasel face.

The intense and moody Aiden Grimshaw remained intense and moody with his killer performance of Prince‘s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” complete with hellfire and chains. I love me some brooding Aiden. Mmm mmm… (WATCH)

Paije Richardson remained boring and cheesy (WATCH), so I went to the bathroom, while…

Wagner came on and I decided I’d rather carve binary code into my arms with a butter knife than watch him perform (WATCH), until…

Tween dream sensations One Direction performed a song they’d never sung before by an artist they’d never heard before (Kim Wilde‘s “Kids In America”). (WATCH)

Louis actually proved relevant for a moment in pointing out that the song isn’t even an “American” song as Wilde’s from London, but Dannii was quick to counter with an indisputable truth: “It’s got the word America in it.”

DEBATE OVER.

And then good music began to happen again as the glittering goddess Rebecca Ferguson took to the stage looking f-l-a-w-l-e-s-s in a golden sequined dress to perform the oft-covered Bob Dylan track, “To Make You Feel My Love.” (WATCH)

TIGHT. CHIC. CLASSY. Seriously, this bitch slays me every week with that smokey, gorgeous voice!

The judges said some stuff about being the perfect ambassador for Britain (what is this, UN Factor?), but most importantly, it was kind of the greatest thing ever.

Then came (the recently departed) Treyc Cohen with her weak, karaoke rendition of the beaten-to-death Aerosmith staple, “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.”

Even though it was pretty good, it was hella boring–and Simon totally pointed it out with one of his classic metaphors that make no fucking sense: “If you have a lion, you want it to bite you, not lick you.” Smile and nod, smile and nod.

Then Cheryl and Simon had love-hate sex right on the X Factor judging table.

Above all, in what was clearly the performance of the night, Matt Cardle performed “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” a song that reduces me to a puddle of gentle whimpers and gay tears at the mere mention of its title. (WATCH)

But really…he nailed it. So. Fucking. Hard. Chills all over the place.

The tender falsetto! The belting! Oh, and the crooning. Everything was just so controlled and perfect. Swoon city over here.

AND SO THAT WAS THE SHOW AND NOW YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

My picks:
Girls: Cher, with Rebecca just an ever-so-slight hair behind
Boys: Matt, with Aiden just an ever-so-slight, brooding hair behind
Groups: I’d rather not.
Over 28’s: Mary.