It’s hard enough for The X Factor judges to say goodbye to one of their contestants during an elimination show, but on Thursday night Demi Lovato was devastated when her two remaining team members – Ellona Santiago and Rion Paige – were eliminated.
“I’m actually pretty speechless and disappointed,” said an upset Lovato after learning that Santiago, 17, would be the first contestant going home. “She could’ve won this competition.”
Lovato wasn’t the only one who was shaken by Santiago’s elimination. Fellow judge Kelly Rowland looked surprised, with her eyes and mouth opening wide and her hand placed on her heart as she stared at Santiago in disbelief.
Host Mario Lopez‘s voice also softened as he said it was “a real shock here on the stage and in the audience.”
Santiago seemed stunned as well, but she acknowledged that she “didn t give the strongest performance last night” and “hoped I could have another chance again.”
But that was just the beginning of Lovato’s bad night on The X Factor. After three acts were revealed to be safe and through to the next round – Simon Cowell‘s groups, Restless Road and Alex and Sierra, and Over 25s contestant Jeff Gutt – Lovato also learned that her last remaining contestant, 13-year-old Rion Paige, would be singing for survival against Carlito Olivero from Paulina Rubio‘s team.
Paige took on Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” while Olivero took on Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna,” and while both performances left a lot to be desired, Paige was eliminated after Rubio, Rowland and Cowell voted to send her home (only her mentor, Lovato, voted to keep her in the competition).
Thursday’s results mean that Lovato is out of contestants and that Olivero will be advancing to the semifinals, which air next Thursday at 8 p.m. on Fox.