S1E20: Okay guys, I think I’m finally starting to understand what it means to have The X Factor. From the show’s inception, I’ve had a hard time grasping what criteria the judges are using to determine whether or not a contestant has that X-tra special quality – but I think I’ve finally figured it out. Obviously, at this point it’s not just about the singing, although each contestant stands out vocally in their own unique way. And it’s not just based on appearance (by now we’re all familiar with Josh Krajcik’s greasy hair) or even how much you want to win (because everyone wants to win SO BADLY). No, a candidate who possesses the “X” factor is determined by how they handle rejection. Think about it – soon after Astro pulled his whole “I’m too good to sing for America” act when he was placed in the bottom two, he was kicked off the show. Drew, while an amazing singer, practically had a nervous breakdown before even getting a chance to perform her “Save Me” song and the judges ended up voting her off. And does anyone remember Jazzlyn Little? Well I do because she was my favorite contestant from day one, but she got kicked out at the judges’ homes because she would get so nervous before going out to perform. In this business, you need to have thick skin – all four of these judges know that, and that’s one of the main attributes I believe they’re looking for in a winner.
So, now with that revelation discovered, I can at least try to wrap my head around this week's elimination round. Seriously, I'll try my best, but it's difficult. It came down between Marcus Canty and – wait for it – the adorable Rachel Crow. NO!!!! The 13-year-old ball of sunshine fought the best she could to hold back tears, but you could tell she was completely heartbroken by this. She ended up pulling it together long enough to give a beautiful performance, but you could definitely see she was on the cusp of completely unraveling. She even told Marcus, her competitor, that she loved him: heart breaking. And poor Marcus found himself part of the bottom two for the third week in a row. At this point, this guy’s got to be tired of the repetition, but he handled the situation with dignity and also pulled off an impressive number. But the judges had no choice but to vote against these superstars, but when the final decision came down to Nicole (after L.A. voted to send Rachel home, while Paula and Simon voted to eliminate Marcus), she opted to vote against Rachel in order to put them into DEADLOCK, so America would have to make the decision for her (why is she getting paid to do this again?). So you think the results are going to be obvious, but based on America's votes, the person sent home was...Rachel Crow.
She immediately dropped to the floor and started sobbing. It was awful. Seriously, it felt like watching a puppy get run over and the entire auditorium erupted in sadness. Part of me wishes Marcus had purposely messed up his performance just so this sweet little girl could continue to fulfill her dream, but what's done is done. But we can all take comfort in knowing that no one feels more miserable right now than Nicole, for letting this happen. So that means Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, and Marcus Canty are off to the semi-finals this week.
Tune in for the semi-finals performances next Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Fox.