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Gospel Soundcheck

If last week was a tough week for X Factor Nicole Scherzinger after she voted to send home Drew, this week might be downright dangerous. After host Steve Jones announced that Chris Rene, Josh Krajcik and Melanie Amaro were straight through to the semi-finals, Marcus Canty and Rachel Crow were left to sing for their spot in the competition.

Oh yeah, there were guest appearances from Lenny Kravitz and Mary J. Blige tonight, too. But back to the good stuff.

This was a tough week all around, because all of the contestants were great. I think Marcus should have gone home a couple of weeks ago; I think he’s a super guy but I’m not a fan of the corny stage productions. But for the third week, he was in the bottom two. Rachel probably wasn’t at her best last night, but someone had to be in the bottom two. And Melanie, Josh and Chris were superb.

Marcus seemed comfortable in the bottom two again; Rachel was nervous but trying to be positive.

Marcus sang first, and it was great. He’s always at his best in the “save me” song. Then Rachel went … and holy smokes, was she fantastic. I mean, fantastic fantastic fantastic. But it was up to the judges to decide which contestant was going home. (I’ll post video when it’s available tomorrow)

LA, who is Marcus’ mentor, said it was a tough decision and Rachel completely surprised him because he expected her to “be slaughtered by this guy.” But he said he was a “man of principle” and had to stick with his contestant. He sent Rachel home, which was to be expected.

Simon kept it short and sent Marcus home.

Paula said she had to be honest about what she felt in her heart and sent Marcus home, telling him she loves him.

So it was down to Nicole. She teared up, she said she couldn’t make a decision. Host Steve Jones said that if she sent Rachel home they’d go to deadlock and the contestant with the lowest audience votes would go home. If she sent Marcus home, he went home. Nicole, who we’ve now learned has no backbone, waffled and sniffled and wiped her eyes. And then Rachel took the mic and told her, “Please don’t cry. I’m good with anything.” Nicole still refused to decide and said she wanted to go to deadlock and only reluctantly said she was sending Rachel home after Jones prodded her to voice a decision.

So we go to deadlock, and the contestant with the lowest votes was … Rachel??

Not only was I totally shocked, Rachel was, too. She looked stunned and then her legs gave out. She fell to the floor and burst out crying.

I think Steve Jones has one of the toughest jobs in the world in these last moments of the results show. He has to get reactions from contestants who are blubbering like babies (How do you feel while you’re bawling?). He has to get the judges to speak (Any comment on your blubbering contestant?). And he either has to do it under a time pressure or has to fill time. Wrangling cats in a race with the clock.

Jones asked Rachel about her time on the show. She was crying but trying to be upbeat, thanking everyone and saying she hoped this was not the last people will hear of her. She thanked her family for their sacrifices.

Jones asked Simon for a comment, and he said Rachel went out at her highest, and they we’ll be hearing more from her.

Jones asked Nicole for a comment. The audience BOOS; she walked away from Jones, clearly in shock. What happened tonight, Nicole, is your fault. You refused to have a backbone and make a decision. Because while we all love Marcus, he’s been in the bottom two for the last three weeks, and the judges have saved him. And this week, while he was good, if we based it only on the “save me” song, Rachel left him in her dust.

What do you think?  Was Nicole right to let the decision go to deadlock? Was this Rachel’s week to go home? How long can the judges save Marcus? And did LA sabatoge Rachel last night by making reference to Hollywood being interested in her, and perhaps discouraging people from voting for her because there may be other opportunities out there?

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