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Thursday night’s results show brought another double elimination on The X Factor and cut the top six contestants down to the final four.
Simon Cowell dedicated the show to the late Nelson Mandela, who died earlier in the day and set a somber tone for a night that would crush two hopefuls’ dreams.
Ellona Santiago was the first girl to get the boot despite her strong showing on Wednesday night. Her take on Lady Gaga‘s “Applause” and Beyonce‘s “If I Were a Boy” failed to earn her enough votes from home viewers to stick around another week.
The teenager was shocked when she heard she was heading home and her body language showed her disappointment. The whole crowd seemed surprised, but at this stage in the game, is anything really a shocker?
Before it was time to make the night’s tough calls, season 2 finalists Emblem 3 took the stage to perform “Just For One Day” and reminded the crowd that they’re still on a music-making mission.
Jeff Gutt, Restless Road and Alex & Sierra were sent to the safe zone leaving 13-year-old Rion Paige and Carlito Olivero to sing their “save me” songs yet again.
There were no real surprises there, considering Alex & Sierra’s standout performance of “Say Something” was Wednesday’s show stopper for sure.
Gutt had one of his best nights as well and the country trio has remained a fan favorite throughout the season.
While Paige was a frontrunner from the start, she was a bit off this week and failed to give her usual gusto. Olivero maintained his safe (but nothing special) rep, but rose to the occasion when it was time for him to sing for his spot.
After U.K. winners Little Mix delivered an action-packed performance of “Move,” it was time for the bottom two contenders to take one more stab at a shot in the final four.
Paige take on Miranda Lambert‘s “The House That Built Me” wasn’t as moving as her other attempts. Olivero opted for sex appeal over sympathy with his choice of Usher‘s “U Make Me Wanna.”
When it came time for the judges to render their verdicts, Demi Lovato decided to “stick with her girl” and send Olivero packing. Paulina Rubio remained faithful to her team’s last man standing and Kelly Rowland reluctantly picked Paige to get the axe.
Once again, the choice came down to Cowell who settled on Olivero for the win.
After the show, Cowell explained his motivation for saving the former Menudo member had more to do with his background than his actual performance.
“I didn’t think she could win. She’s 13 or 14 years old and she’s got a long way ahead of her and she’ll be remembered,” he said of Paige.
“I thought that with Carlito, if you look at his background, how hard he tries the underdog, I just kind of felt that maybe he deserves that extra shot.”
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