Turkey, stuffing and a double elimination: Happy Thanksgiving, "X Factor" style. The Fox singing competition's version of giving thanks involved sending two contestants home, and on Thursday's (November 28) episode, Lillie McCloud and Josh Levi were both handed their walking papers.
Perhaps it was meant to make the contestants feel thankful they'd made it this far in the competition, or maybe it was a way to make the advancing Top 6 contestants feel thankful for their fans. Either way, right around the time people at home were finishing off their pumpkin and pecan pies, "The X Factor" said goodbye to a pair of contestants.
McCloud left first. The 54-year-old was sent home in the show's opening moments, after her version of "Summertime" on Wednesday's Big Band Night hit a bum note with Simon Cowell. He called it "too contained" and "too thought out," causing McCloud to snap back at him, "you're confusing me."
But the message from voters was loud and clear, and she took her elimination in stride. "I'm really happy," she said. "I didn't want to leave, there's so much more I wanted to show. This has been like a major ride for me, I've learned a lot of things. And I'm good, I'm good. God knows what he's doing."
Levi's exit came after he fell in the bottom two, along with Rion Paige. The competition's two youngest contestants were forced to sing for their lives, and the writing was on the wall for Levi when his mentor, Paulina Rubio, mistakenly introduced him in his final performance as rival contestant Carlito Olivero. (Oops.)
Paige sang an average version of Pink's "Perfect" and plead she was in the competition "to tell everybody how great the Lord is, and how I love to sing." Levi -- who was already eliminated once in the competition, and was invited back by the judges to be a part of the Top 13 -- pulled through with a strong version of Bruno Mars' somber ballad "When I Was Your Man," which note-for-note outmuscled Paige's performance.
But the call was up to the judges, and Rubio and Demi Lovato kept their allegiances, voting to keep their respective contestants. Kelly Rowland voted to send Paige home, leaving the final vote up to Cowell, who sent the vote to a deadlock by voting to keep Paige. That left the contestants' fates in the hands of viewers, and with Levi coming up on the short end of the viewer vote, he was sent packing.
"I've had an amazing opportunity on this stage," Levi told host Mario Lopez after he was given the news. "I trust God, and everything happens for a reason."
Thursday's episode included Lovato performing her new single "Neon Lights," and also saw a performance by this week's "X Factor" mentor, Michael Buble. Buble did a reworked version of his own "It's a Beautiful Day" that even he seemed unsure of, and which might have gotten him kicked off if he was a contestant on the show.
Next week, the Top 6 will sing two songs apiece -- one a selection from their favorite diva, one a stripped-down version of a song of their choice -- and contestants will find out if viewers will be thankful for them for another week.