December 09, 2011 11:03am PT by Shirley Halperin
'X Factor's' Rachel Crow on Her Elimination, Breakdown: 'It Definitely Hurt Bad'
It’s a moment that will be forever ingrained in X Factor history: when thw weight of rejection sent Rachel Crow, the 13-year-old fearless frontrunner who was a key member of head judge Simon Cowell’s team, down to her knees.
Tied in a deadlock, no judge had the deciding vote, although Nicole Scherzinger got the bulk of the blame, with calls for her dismissal reaching a new level of fury and frustration.
But Rachel Crow sees things differently. “I really honestly am a bit relieved that I'm out,” she told reporters following Thursday’s show. “It's definitely a lot of pressure. I'm very sad, I'm not feeling great but I'll be fine. I'm Rachel still.”
She describes the emotional moment onstage as “tears of horrible sadness and tears of tremendous joy -- I was just mixed up,” says Rachel. “It wasn’t a look of surprise because I was kind of preparing myself a little bit. It was a look of, ‘I'm really scared of what's gonna happen.’ That’s why I kind of fell. Sorry about that. It was like, ‘I can't believe this is happening but I'm so glad I got that experience.’”
While she was singing for her life, Melanie Amaro was spotted backstage staring anxiously at a TV monitor. She too had a mini-breakdown upon hearing the news. The two, along with the recently eliminated Drew, have become close friends.
As for those pointing a finger at Nicole Scherzinger? Rachel has a message: “I want to say to all those people: stop, please. She's the nicest, sweetest, most beautiful person inside and out. I saw her crying, she was so sad and all those people last week that were saying go die, that's a really mean thing to say. It's nobody's fault. It's not even America's fault. It’s just what God had in store for me and I'll be OK.”
Indeed, the two made their peace in Nicole’s dressing room minutes after the credits rolled. “She said I'm so sorry, I was not expecting that,’” Rachel recounted. “I said, ‘It's cool. It's not your fault.’”
“She's the sunshine of our show, so it's hard to see her cry,” Nicole later told reporters, while judge Simon Cowell compared Rachel to Jennifer Hudson and said she the potential to be a triple threat. “She’s a 360 artist,” he said. “I'm actually convinced that she'll end up on Nickelodeon or Disney. She's got that tenacity, she’s got that appeal. I think she's going to be absolutely fine.”
Rachel says she’s humbled by such compliments. “Being compared to Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, Mary J [Blige]… I'm speechless.”
Rachel also gave props to Marcus Canty, who beat her for the final spot in the top 4. “There is a spark about him, he definitely has that something,” she said. “He was trying to console me, and I was, like, ‘Celebrate!’ The final four right now -- I can't even tell you who will win. They are amazing people.”
While the elimination was undoubtedly an emotional rollercoaster for the Colorado native, Rachel defends the age minimum. “Sometimes kids take it better than adults,” she said with a laugh. “I know from experience, [during boot camp] some of the adults were so upset and the kids that didn't make it were like, ‘It's OK.’ I was consoling the adults, which is a little awkward.”
Rachel's own mother was one of those on Thursday night. “My mom was very sad -- she just kept saying, ‘It will be OK.’ It definitely hurt bad.”