"The X Factor" delivered its most emotional and dramatic elimination yet on Thursday night when it sent one of its most high-profile contenders home.
(SPOILER – this story contains the results of Thursday's "The X Factor.")
U.S. & World
In a dramatic turn of events, 13-year-old Rachel Crow was sent home over Marcus Canty, but it was how the teen's elimination came about that created some tense television.
The elimination round began with Marcus once again singing "I'm Going Down." His performance, however, was overshadowed by the young performer, who had Paula Abdul on her feet, screaming "Yes!" as Rachel sang the Etta James standard, "I'd Rather Go Blind."
The crowd in the audience was won over to Rachel's side, as was her mentor, Simon Cowell and Paula, who both voted to eliminate Marcus.
L.A. Reid, however, stuck by his contestant, and voted to eliminate Rachel.
Not wanting to be the deciding vote to send a contender home, judge Nicole Scherzinger began stuttering and tearing up when "X Factor" host Steve Jones asked for her decision.
"Please don't cry," Rachel told Nicole from the stage, grabbing Steve's mic. "It's OK, I'm good with anything."
Unable to be the deciding vote, Nicole then voted for Rachel to go home, tying things up two votes each.
"I'm gonna — I don't wanna… send you home Rachel, I just don't wanna, so I'm — the act that I'm gonna have to send home is Rachel," Nicole said, immediately eliciting boos from the crowd.
Steve then revealed Rachel had the lowest number of viewer votes following her performance on Wednesday night, resulting in her elimination.
Immediately, Rachel's eyes widened, she nodded, and a second later, the teen dropped to her knees on stage and began sobbing hysterically.
Simon quickly rushed up to the stage and embraced Rachel, as he tried to offer comforting words as the teen continued sobbing. Rachel's mother hit the stage too, telling her daughter it was "OK."
Finally, Rachel was able to compose herself, and she thanked her fans.
"I love you so much everybody for voting for me," she said. "Thank you for giving me this, because without you I am nothing and I hope this not my ending… I will go so far, I promise you."
Simon too promised great things from Rachel in the future.
"[I want to] thank everyone who's voted for this young girl," Simon said. "We're gonna be hearing a lot more about Rachel Crow, I give you my word on that."
When asked by Steve if she wanted to make any comments, Nicole turned away after being booed by the crowd.
"The X Factor" returns on Wednesday on FOX.
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