‘X Factor’ Loved One Direction, But Sent Others Packing [Recap]

Who was sent home on Thursday night's episode?

On a night that saw One Direction return to an “X Factor” stage, two singers — Khaya Cohen and Tim Olstad — were eliminated from the Fox singing competition Thursday.

But hey, look on the bright side. Not even 1D won their “X Factor” season in the U.K.

The fivesome hit the stage on Thursday to perform their new single, “Story of My Life,” amid plentiful screams from the audience. The pre-taped performance saw the boys exchange a few pleasantries with “X Factor” host Mario Lopez, but no interaction between the guys and the judges or the contestants. The heavily hyped performance came just a few days before Monday’s release of the band’s third album, Midnight Memories.

On to the business: Cohen’s elimination came early in the show. The 16-year-old New Yorker wound up in the bottom two last week, which both Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato called a “joke” on Wednesday’s show. But viewers had a hard time taking to the singer, despite what Kelly Rowland described as the “incredible power and strength” in her vocals. Her version of “Let It Be” on Wednesday’s episode received good marks from the judges, and Lovato said her voice was “insane.” But when she was dealt the news Thursday, she didn’t seem too surprised, and took it like any 16-year-old might. “I feel OK. I mean it kinda sucks, but I’m just gonna keep going for what I was going for by doing this competition,” she said. “It was a fun experience, so thank you.”

At the end of the show, ballad singer Olstad wound up in the bottom two along with Carlito Olivero, the smooth singer with the slick dance moves. The night prior, Olstad was praised for his newfound sexy charm in his version of Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word,” even though Cowell compared his tepid personality to that of a hamster. (The remark was a step up from a few weeks ago, when Cowell said he was like a singing funeral director.) Olivero, meanwhile, sang the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” backed up by four video likenesses of himself, and was praised for his hard work and star quality.

Going into their final performances, Olivero big-upped his “almighty God” and proclaimed, “I’m going hard tonight.” That he did, and his version of Labrinth’s “Beneath Your Beautiful” came off better than Olstad’s sappy take on Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” When it came down to a vote, Rowland, Lovato and Paulina Rubio all voted Olstad out, and that was enough to send him packing. Cowell didn’t even have to cast a vote.

The 24-year-old Minnesotan had thanked the judges for helping bring him out of his shell, but it wasn’t enough to keep him around. Next week, the eight contestants move on to Big Band Week, and viewers will be stuck wondering what maudlin ballad Olstad would have chosen.