On Wednesday’s episode of The X Factor, judges Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio all agreed that contestant Lillie McCloud‘s crowd-pleasing performance of “Summertime” was the best she’d ever done and gave the 54-year-old singer a standing ovation.
But the lone holdout – Simon Cowell – remained seated. “For me, it was just all a little bit too contained too thought out,” he complained. “It wasn’t raw enough for me.”
It seemed that viewers agreed with Cowell, as McCloud received the lowest number of votes and was the first act to leave the competition during Thursday’s double elimination. And while host Mario Lopez noted there was “shock here in the audience,” McCloud took the news well, expressing gratitude for the opportunity.
“I’m really happy. This has been a major ride for me. And I’m good … God knows what he’s doing,” the grandmother of seven said.
Following McCloud’s surprising elimination, five acts advanced in the competition: Carlito Olivero, boyfriend-girlfriend duo Alex & Sierra, the all-boys group Restless Road, rocker Jeff Gutt and Ellona Santiago, whose performance of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best” was dubbed a “game changer” by Cowell on Wednesday night.
That left just two contestants vying for one final spot: Josh Levi and Rion Paige.
Lovato, Paige’s mentor, introduced the 13-year-old, who tackled Pink‘s “Perfect” (with mixed results), and afterward, Rubio introduced Levi – well, sort of.
Although the 15-year-old is just one of two remaining contestants on Rubio’s boys team, she somehow confused one contestant with the other and introduced Levi as “the suave, the lover, the rico the Carlito Olivero!
Then, following Josh’s performance of Bruno Mars’s “When I Was Your Man,” Lopez explained that she’d made an innocent mistake.
Following the bizarre moment, the judges were asked whom they wanted to send home. Lovato and Cowell voted to send Levi home, while Rowland and Rubio voted to send Paige home, resulting in a deadlock.
That’s when Lopez announced that the singer who got the lowest number of viewer votes would be leaving the competition. It turned out to be Levi, capping a night of unpredictable eliminations.