Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX via Getty Images
It was another emotional elimination night on this week's The X Factor, as the Top 5 contestants, Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, Rachel Crow and Marcus Canty inched closer to the $5 million recording contract the champion wins.
The night after singing a dance track and a single of their choice, host Steve Jones sent three hopefuls to safety: Krajcik, Rene and Amaro, all of whom will return for the semi-finals next week. That left 13-year-old Crow and Canty, who has managed to survive the bottom two a few times already, to perform their "save-me song."
Canty, by now accustomed to the sing-off, belted out "I'm Going Down" by Mary J. Blige, who was the night's guest performer. Rachel performed "I'd Rather Go Blind" by soul legend Etta James.
"There's nothing more these two can do," Jones said, "It's up to the judges."
So who did Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger send home? Since the two mentors unsurprisingly sided with their own contestants (Cowell voted to keep Rachel and Reid to save Marcus), that left the two female judges to decide.
Abdul spoke first: "The one who really blew me away was Rachel Crow," she said, opting to send Marcus home.
Scherzinger, however, could not make the final decision to boot Marcus off the competition and voted to send Rachel home, just to tie the score: "I can't make this decision because ... I know how it feels and I love and adore both of you," she said. "I have to go to deadlock."
"That means the judges lose their power and we look back at how you at home voted," Steve said. "The act that got the lowest amount of votes will be leaving the competition."
Based solely on how America voted, Rachel was sent home, meaning Marcus would go on to the semifinals week. Like Drew last week, the young singer sobbed as her fate was announced.
Her crying was so intense that Rachel's mother had to join Cowell on stage to comfort her. As Crow continued to wail, Scherzinger broke down in her seat.
Eventually, as her highlights reel played, Crow composed herself enough to address her fans. "I love you so much, everybody, for voting for me and thank you for giving me this because without you I am nothing," she said. "I hope this is not my ending. I know it's not and I will go so far. I promise you!"
In the end, Jones asked Scherzinger if she had anything to say since she could have changed the night's outcome, but she was booed so loudly from the audience that she just walked away in tears. Let's hope she doesn't receive death threats like she did after last week's sendoff. It is just a TV show, people!
Did Scherzinger make the right decision? Should Rachel have gone home?