By Kyle Anderson
Updated December 16, 2011 at 05:19 PM EST
Ray Mickshaw/Fox

On the one hand, it must be sort of a drag being Nicole Scherzinger — her post-Pussycat Dolls career has been a series of false starts, stalled singles, and bumped release dates.

(Consider this: Can you hum the melodies to “Baby Love,” “Poison,” “Don’t Hold Your Breath,” “Right There,” or “Try With Me,” all of which have been released as radio songs and turned into videos in the lead-up to Scherzinger’s still AWOL debut in the United States?)

Then again, Scherzinger keeps getting opportunities to redeem herself — not a luxury every would-be pop star gets. Which brings us to Thursday night’s episode of The X Factor, and her performance of a new song, “Pretty.”

The Internet reaction has been pretty positive so far, so does this mean that the tide will finally turn for her as a solo star? Judge for yourself after the jump.

Here’s the good news: That’s probably the best melody that Scherzinger has had in her arsenal since “Buttons,” and though her delivery lacked the sort of confidence and authority she really needs to get across that lyric, it’s entirely possible that the recorded version of the song will hold up under less immediate scrutiny. And it didn’t end in tears.

The bad news is that, as with many of Scherzinger’s tunes, we can’t help but wish that somebody else was singing. She has a reasonable amount of charisma, but wouldn’t this song sound much better and more powerful coming out of Pink?

Heck, even Christina Aguilera managed to get across that sentiment better with “Beautiful.” So while this is probably her best opportunity to get back to the top of the pop charts (especially with the millions of people watching The X Factor), it still doesn’t feel like the instant smash she really needs to get over the hump. But hey, things could be worse: She could have actually been held at gunpoint in Mexico.

What do you think of “Pretty”? Make yourself heard in the comments below.