'The X Factor' results: Four semifinalists, and a very sad goodbye
Don't blame Nicole Scherzinger for the fact that Rachel Crow was sent home on "The X Factor" on Thursday night, just shy of next week's semifinals. (I know, shocker.) All Scherzinger did was say what she needed to say to send the decision to "deadlock," so the audience vote would determine whether Crow or Marcus Canty, this week's bottom two, would be eliminated. And even then, after host Steve Jones insisted, Scherzinger said it so reluctantly that she put "the act that I have to send home is Rachel" in air quotes.
A brief aside here: The fact that judges have to say that they're sending someone home, even when that's precisely what they're trying to avoid saying by sending the decision to the voters and their intention is clear, is a ridiculous rule. If no one else on the show objects to it, Jones at least should, because pressing the issue makes him look like a bully. And he has said the last thing he wants is to be seen as is rude.
Anyway, so no, at the end of the day, Scherzinger, for all her weeping when the audience vote was revealed, didn't really cast the vote that sent Crow home. Not any more than L.A. Reid did. And certainly no more than the "X Factor" viewers, who voted for all of the other top-five contestants in greater numbers than they did for Crow. (You could probably blame those of us who didn't vote at all, too, if you were really in a blaming mood.) Ultimately, Crow was sent home fair and square. Reid and Simon Cowell voted for their mentees, as is expected of a mentor/judge. Then Paula Abdul and Scherzinger split the deciding votes in two to render the judges' opinions moot, throwing the call to the crowd. No judge grudge match. No protecting a favorite. Nothing amiss.
Of course, that doesn't make the results any less sad. It's very, very sad, sadder even than when it happened to Drew last week, because there really was something very sweet and winning about Rachel Crow. It wasn't only her curlicue hair, round button of a face and bouncy energy onstage that found its way into our hearts. It wasn't even her truly moving backstory -– a neglected, abused crack baby, she was adopted by a loving, if not terribly wealthy family, which staked whatever it had on helping her pursue her dreams of a singing career. All those things played a role, of course. But what made Crow so special was the way she hit those low notes, and the look on her face as she did. Despite all the cuteness and the smiling declaration that she was just there to inspire kids (Do you think that's what did her in? Did voters think Crow was getting, as one ShowTracker commenter put it, "a big head"?), it was how dead serious Crow was about singing and music that was most captivating. I'm betting she'll get that second bathroom for the family home yet.
Of course, it also was clear that Crow didn't expect the deadlock decision to play out the way it did. You could see her breathe a sigh of relief when the judges' portion was over. That made it all the more heartbreaking when she collapsed onto the stage after Jones revealed that it was she the voters had sent home. (Oof!)
But let's take comfort in celebrating the worthy survivors who have made it to next week's semifinals: Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro and Teflon man Marcus Canty.
What did you think of the results? And to quote a song that's been stuck in my head all day, where do we go from here?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Mary J. Blige performs on "The X-Factor."