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Michael Jackson tribute night on The X Factor brought out the best of all seven remaining contestants, so Thursday night's double elimination was the most emotional results show of the season so far.
The bottom three were Astro, Marcus Canty and Drew, who began crying after her name was called. First to go was Astro, the 15-year-old hip-hop wunderkind who was scolded for his unsportsman-like behavior a couple of weeks ago. The Brooklyn-born teen must know he's going places even without winning the competition, because he kept a stoic face and thanked his fans, "Team Astro," and said what he'd miss most was proximity to his "girl," who "lives in Cali."
Watch Astro's "Black and White" performance
After Astro was eliminated, Marcus and Drew had to perform their sing-off. Drew's mentor Simon Cowell announced, "This is a sing-off and whoever does the best at this point deserves to go through."
Drew, 14, sang an emotional rendition of Roxette's "Listen to Your Heart," and Marcus sang his heart out in a soulful version of Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)."
Marcus clearly thought he was headed home, because he prefaced his performance with a farewell of sorts: "I just want to give you my heart and my soul," the 20-year-old said by way of introduction. "I just want to sing this to y'all."
When the judges had to cast their final votes, Reid, who said he was "torn," nonetheless settled on Drew rather quickly. Cowell, as expected, picked Marcus to go and pleaded with his fellow judges: "I'm begging these two to give her another shot," he said, blaming himself for the unpopular decision to have Drew perform a slow, stripped down "Billie Jean" sitting in a chair the previous night.
Scherzinger, who praised Drew's vocals, nonetheless voted her off, so it all came down to Paula Abdul.
"I love and respect both of you and I think you are multi-talented and deserve recording contracts," she said shakily. "But this is a save-me song, and it has to move, move, move me. I'm sorry, I'm sending you home, Drew."
Cowell then went on stage to comfort the inconsolable Drew, who sobbed openly. The usually outspoken judge wouldn't even respond to host Steve Jones' request for a comment. "I have nothing to say," he said.
After the highlights of Drew's time on the show, however, Cowell told the judges he thought they'd made a mistake.
"Do you know what? I don't think she deserved to go home. I think she's a little star, and I think that America knows that she is going to be a star. And thank you to everyone who bothered to vote, we appreciate it."
With five contestants left, next week's episode shifts the power of elimination completely to the fans. Judges no longer have the power to save or boot off a contestant. Viewers also have the opportunity to vote for one of the two songs each of the top five will perform next week.