The X Factor Recap: Did the Right Acts Go Home?

tate stevens x factorTension hung in the air, thicker and more pronounced than Demi Lovato’s ’80s-era eyebrows, on tonight’s X Factor Top 12 results show. Even Khloe Kardashian could feel it: “Live on stage we’ve got a sensational performance from the incredible Taylor Swift!” she declared, eyes burning with ennui (or was she merely distracted by a shiny object dangling in the distance?).

Whatever the case, the telecast took a hideous turn within its first 20 minutes. No, I’m not talking about this exchange in which the Kardashian woman and cohost Mario “yes my soul is in the Lost & Found” Lopez were allowed to abandon the teleprompter following Ms. Swift’s rendition of “State of Grace.”

Khloe: “Great job! Hey! Now you have been a young star. You started really young. We have a lot of young contestants on the show. What advice would you give them?”
Taylor: “I think the advice I would give people is to just, no matter how tired you are or no matter what kind of bad day you’re having, be nice to people. You know?”
Khloe: “Be nice! The Golden Rule! Abolutely!”
Mario: “Great advice! That’s great advice just in life, too! You’re exactly right! By the way, Taylor’s new album Red is out in stores now! And aftet the break we’re gonna find out which acts have made it through to the Top 10 and which two will have to sing for survivor [sic]! And later on we’re gonna reveal the rankings of the Top 10, so please do not move!”

Right before that meeting of the minds, Mr. Lopez revealed — without the slightest bit of fanfare — news that totally broke my reality-competition-lovin’ heart: Highly entertaining, high-energy rap act Lyric145 (and its sure-to-be-a-superstar frontwoman Lyric Da Queen) was the week’s lowest vote-getter, and thus was being shown the exit without even a last-chance sing-off. WHY?! THE?! FACE?!

Of course, this being a double-elimination week, there was more blood to be spilled. Here’s how the rest of the hour played out.

Arin Ray
Vino Alan
Carly Rose Sonenclar
Diamond White
Tate Stevens
Beatrice Miller
CeCe Frey
Fifth Harmony

Last chance sing-off
Jennel Garcia: A servicable albeit slightly tearful take on Hoobastank’s “The Reason.”
Paige Thomas: A butterfly-delicate, mostly on pitch cover of Coldplay’s “Paradise,” marked by hypnotically tossed-off phrasing.

Uh-oh. Despite the fact that Jennel had outperformed Paige every week on the show this season, she got outsung when it counted most. How would the judges vote?

L.A.: Eliminate Jennel
Britney: Eliminate Jennel
Simon: Refused to vote before Demi, invoking his role as Mario’s boss to get his way
Demi: Eliminate Paige
Simon: In “an easy decision,” Eliminate Jennel

Wait! If Simon had planned to send the Massachussets rocker to the guillotine anyway, why not just get it over with, instead of forcing Demi to publicly come out against one of the two acts she’s got left in the Top 10? That’s not keeping it real or entertaining, it’s just keeping it obnoxious.

Yep, just like that, two of the acts this season with a real-world shot at being chart-topping successes are out of the competition. Who exactly voted for Paige, CeCe, Diamond, and Arin? (Sorry, Arin, but “Crazy for You” was a crazy mess.)

And finally, our hosts brought the Top 10 back to the stage to reveal the order of this week’s votes:

10. Paige Thomas
9. Arin Ray
8. Beatrice Miller (who reacted to the news with a not-ready-for-primetime combo of bitterness and resignation)
7. Diamond White
6. Fifth Harmony
5. CeCe Frey
[Oh em gee! Just over three percent of the vote separates the top four!]
4. Emblem3
3. Vino Alan
2. Carly Rose Sonenclar
1. Tate Stevens

Wait, they forgot to mention where Lyric145 is ranked? Oh…

And with that, let me turn things over to you:

Did the right acts get sent home this week? If not, who dodged the proverbial bullet? What did you make of the voting order? And who’s more painful: Khloe or Mario? Hit the comments with your thoughts!