The Top 12 finalists were whittled down to the Top 10 on The X Factor Thursday, with one of Simon Cowell's groups getting eliminated immediately during the broadcast, and two other contestants having to sing for survival. The evening also featured a performance by Taylor Swift. So, who got the boot?
The first act to go was hip-hop trio Lyric 145, which was somewhat unexpected considering they had never been one of the main "bottom-dwellers" of the show. (Hi, CeCe Frey!)
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After Swift performed her new single, "State of Grace," hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian revealed which acts were deemed safe based on audience votes, and thus automatically moved into the next week of the competition. Those included Vino Alan and Tate Stevens, the final two contestants from L.A. Reid's Over 25s; Cowell's other two groups, Emblem 3 and Fifth Harmony; and all four of Britney Spears' Teens — Diamond White, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Arin Ray and Beatrice Miller. Of Demi Lovato's Young Adults, however, only CeCe Frey was saved — surprising, since she was in the bottom two the previous week and had to sing off against Jason Brock, who was eventually eliminated.
That left Jennel Garcia and Paige Thomas to go head-to-head to stay in the competition. Garcia performed Hoobastank's "Reason," while Thomas opted for Coldplay's "Paradise," and the decision of which one to keep was left up to the judges. Both Reid and Spears voted to send Garcia home, and after a few minutes of awkward back-and-forth between Lovato and Cowell (both judges wanted the other to go first), with Lopez failing to control the situation with authority, Lovato voted to send Thomas home. But Garcia's reprieve was short-lived, as Cowell put the nail in the coffin with his vote to eliminate her, something he called a "relatively easy decision." It wasn't easy, however, for Lovato, who looked like she wanted nothing more than to dig a hole and crawl into it rather than vote to end the run of one of her protégés.
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After a tearful Garcia left the stage, Kardashian and Lopez introduced the rankings of the remaining 10 finalists. In order, from top to bottom, they are:
1. Tate Stevens
2. Carly Rose Sonenclar
3. Vino Alan
4. Emblem 3
5. CeCe Frey
6. Fifth Harmony
7. Diamond White
8. Beatrice Miller
9. Arin Ray
10. Paige Thomas
An important note — according to Lopez, less than 0.3 percent of the votes separate the top two, Stevens and Sonenclar.
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What do you think of the rankings? And were you surprised that Lyric 145 and Jennel Garcia were eliminated? Sound off below!