After singing a dance track and a song of their choice, the top five contestants still competing for The X Factor‘s $5 million recording contract – Melanie Amaro, Josh Kracjik, Chris Rene, Rachel Crow and Marcus Canty – faced elimination on Thursday’s highly emotional results show.
Keep reading to find out who made the semi-finals and who is now out of the running after the show’s most shocking elimination yet:
Three acts were sent directly to next week’s semi-finals. Host Steve Jones announced their names in no particular order: Josh Kracjik, Chris Rene and Melanie Amaro were deemed safe and will return to compete again.
Marcus sang an impeccable version of “I’m Going Down” by Mary J. Blige, who performed earlier in the night. And Rachel sang a stunningly soulful version of “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James.
“There’s nothing more these two can do,” Steven Jones said, “It’s up to the judges.”
So what did they decide? L.A. sided with his charge, Marcus, and Simon went with his protégé, Rachel. Paula’s take: “The one who really blew me away was Rachel Crow,” she said, voting to send Marcus home.
That left Nicole. “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.”
So, based purely on votes, Rachel was sent home. The 13-year-old collapsed into tears, bawling loudly as Simon rushed up to the stage to comfort her. Her mother followed as Nicole broke down in her seat. Steve looked at a loss as Rachel wailed on the stage. Her mother could be heard soothing her over the sobs, telling her, “It’s okay, it’s okay.”
“You promise me?” Rachel said, gasping for breath. “You promise me?”
After her highlights reel played, Rachel, who impressed the judges and the audience with her incredible vocals and unbelievable maturity throughout the season, had partially composed herself.
“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!”
Then Simon spoke: “She went out on the highest she could have gone out,” he said. “We’re going to be hearing a lot more from Rachel Crow, I can give you my word on that.”
When Steve asked Nicole – who could have changed the outcome of the night – if she had anything to say, the crowd booed her loudly, and she turned her back and walked away without speaking.