Another "X Factor" elimination shocker...
"X Factor" viewers had already suffered through the shocking eliminations of the undeniably talented James Kenney, Rachel Potter, Khaya Cohen, Lillie McCloud, and Josh Levi. And then, on this Thursday's "X Factor" results show, teenage powerhouse Ellona Santiago went home in sixth place.
Yep, you read that right. That was not a typo. You have not been punk'd. Ellona, whose apparently non-prophetic "Applause" performance this Wednesday had been an artpop tour de force, and whose phenomenal "Mamma Knows Best" performance last week had had Simon Cowell predicting that she could win the entire competition, went home automatically, having racked up the overall fewest votes this week.
The girl had never even been in the bottom three before. She'd never been forced to sing for her life. And actually, if she had sung for her life this week, there's little doubt that she would have prevailed in the sing-off. But she didn't even get that chance.
Ellona, no stranger to "X Factor" heartbreak from her short-lived stint in Season 1's InTENsity, couldn't hide her disappointment, but the judges seemed almost as rattled as she was. Kelly Rowland gasped and clutched her imaginary pearls, looking like she was about to have a heart attack onstage. Then Demi Lovato, Ellona's coach, shouted, "That's ridiculous!"
There may have been some on-air cursing, too — it sounded like part of Demi's outburst triggered Fox's five-second delay — but she definitely let the profanity fly on her Twitter page, letting her fans know just how she felt about this result.
But before that, as Demi cradled the weepy Ellona to her bosom, she told host Mario Lopez, "I'm speechless and disappointed, because a lot of amazing people have gone home that didn't deserve to go home so soon." And Demi was right. Just scroll up and re-read the names in the second paragraph of this article for proof of that.
The tough times weren't over for Demi (who'd already had a pretty lousy Wednesday), when she found out that her other remaining contestant, Rion Paige, was in the bottom for the second week in a row. Rion would have to compete in another sing-off, this time against sing-off veteran Carlito Olivero, for a coveted spot in the top four.
Rion went first, and this is when her maudlin shtick started to wear thin. Doing Miranda Lambert's five-hanky country weeper "The House That Built Me," she forced the emotion way too much, and it came across as cloying and even a little Debbie Downer-ish. Carlito's cover of Usher's slow-jam "U Make Me Wanna" was much more fun — the guy is a born entertainer, and he certainly gave it his all, even sprinting into the audience to serenade the laydeez. But "U Make Me Wanna" is a really tricky song to sing live, and Carlito wasn't quite up to the task.
It was difficult to accept that one of these two contestants would advance to the top four…while Ellona was already gone. The judges should've just sent home both Carlito and Rion, and brought Ellona back.
But of course, that didn't happen. Demi sent home Carlito. Paulina Rubio sent home Rion. And then impartial judge Kelly, who noted that neither contestant had done all that well tonight, voted to eliminate Rion. That put Simon back in the same bad-guy position he was in last week, when he let the vote go to deadlock (and inadvertently sent Josh Levi packing) rather than be the one to crush young Rion's dreams.
Would Simon cop out again? Actually, this time, I wouldn't have minded; I didn't have a strong feeling one way or the other about this sing-off. But Simon eventually manned up and sent Rion home, maintaining his bizarre allegiance to Carlito.
So it was all over for Team Demi: In the course of one hour, Demi lost her whole team. But has the show lost its way, as she implied in her impassioned speech to Mario? Well, here's the Season 3 final four: Alex & Sierra, Jeff Gutt, Restless Road, and Carlito Olivero. In my not-so-humble opinion, two of those contestants deserve to be there, and two of them do not.
I'll let you mull that over between now and next Wednesday's semifinals. See you then.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Simon Cowell
- Demi Lovato