Without preamble, we find out that Paige Thomas is the first to get the boot. We give her credit for a masterful Rick Rolling last night, a performance we thought may have saved her. Nevertheless, her departure isn't terribly surprising since she's been in the middle of the pack this whole season and is an inconsistent singer. She takes the elimination with grace, saying, "I'm excited for what I have in the future."
Performance break! Last year's runner-up Josh Krajcik is back to go all scratchy-voiced on us. The lights are red, and we're suddenly craving rotisserie chicken.
Back to the business of eliminations. We learn of all the safe acts, which shockingly includes Demi Lovato's remaining contestant, the much-maligned CeCe Frey. You can tell she was ready to sing for her life because she busted out the leopard-print face paint again. But, it's not to be. Instead, the two who will perform "save me" songs are Diamond White, whose cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" last night was a departure from her usual ballads, and Vino Alan, who somewhat prophetically sang "You Lost That Lovin' Feeling."
Ah, but first, we are treated to Keys repeatedly informing us that "the girl is on fire" to promote her new album, Girl on Fire. Never to miss out on literal imagery, The X Factor stage displays images of licking flames. Less literal are the backup dancers wearing sweatsuits and performing martial arts to the beat of taiko drums.
Diamond is up first with Beyonce's "I Was Here," which she performs incredibly well, but we can't help hating the lyrics as a swan song. Let's do something more upbeat and less tempting of fate, OK? Last week, Beatrice Miller warbling "I will go down with the ship" for her cover of Dido's "White Flag" was too heartbreaking, especially when she was eliminated. Vino pulls out the big guns with "Trouble," which is definitely in his wheelhouse and makes up for last night's weakness.
The judges have their say, and predictably Spears and L.A. Reid want to keep their contestants, so their votes cancel each other out. Both Lovato and Simon Cowell vote to send Vino home, so that's it. The tattooed singer is upset and feels he didn't get to really show what he could do, but he says to "Stay inspired."
And now, to see how the remaining acts did in the Rankings of Shame:
Are you surprised by the results? Did Paige and Vino deserve to go home? Are Tate and Carly destined to duke it out for the top spot every week?
The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.