There were a couple of surprises on Thursday evening's results show of "X Factor." Actually, there were five. But one of the biggest surprises wasn't who got eliminated but who didn't.
Results shows at this stage of the game -- just a couple shows into the live rounds -- in competition reality shows that depend upon popular voting can produce some real shocking outcomes. We've seen it time and again on "American Idol," which is why one can never be certain how well a finalist is doing from one show to the next.
Still, it was somewhat surprising when "X Factor" hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez called out as safe and headed into the Top 10 the name of Arin Ray, the 16-year-old R&B singer that had gotten some tough criticism the night before during the Top 12 performance show. But even more shocking was the three syllables "CeCe Frey," what were voice moments later. Given her hideous caterwauling the night before, there didn't seem to be any way she could survive the cut. That she and Arin Ray had finished at twelfth and eleventh in the voting the week before, it had looked as if they would be saying their good-byes. And yet, they did not. Go figure.
Somewhat of a surprise was the quick dismissal of one of the contenders. The show had barely begun and the highlights from the previous night's performances shown when it was announced that one act was leaving the show immediately. They paused for a Pepsi commercial before the reveal, though. Going home with the least number of votes? Rappers Lyric 145.
Given their performance of the Katy Perry/Queen mash-up the night before, it wasn't that big of a surprise. Their LMFAO-esque performance from last week probably didn't help. And Judge Britney Spears criticized the Groups mentor Simon Cowell for not letting them perform a rap song. Lyric Da Queen (the "Lyric" in Lyric 145) didn't waste time throwing Simon under the bus, either, when they were told the voting results. She said they'd practiced a song, one complete with some of their own lyrics, but they had been vetoed at the last minute.
Mario and Khloe named off all of the saved acts until they got to three -- Fifth Harmony, Paige Thomas, and Jennel Garcia. Then there was a break to let Taylor Swift sing "State of Grace," the fourth promotional single released from her Billboard 200 No. 1 album Red.
Back from the break, it was announced that Fifth Harmony was safe and Jennel Garcia and Paige Thomas, both members of Judge Demi Lovato's Young Adults, would be facing each other in the showdown. It was a bit surprising to see the two young women there, something pointed out by the judges later when they voted for elimination. Paige had received rave reviews from the judges for her tribute to Donna Summer on the performance show. Jennel's "Proud Mary" also got kudos from the judges. And yet, here they were in the sing-off...
Jennel performed first and nailed Hoobastank's "The Reason." But Paige followed with an even more impressive "Paradise" (Coldplay).
Judge L. A. Reid started the voting and chose Jennel as the act that should go home. Britney Spears agreed. Then Simon refused to vote, passing the decision to Demi. Demi refused and passed it back to Simon. Simon again refused and Demi chose Paige, leaving Simon the option to tie up the vote or decide. He said that based on the performance in the showdown, he had to send Jennel home.
Jennel had finished seventh in last week's voting. Even a bad lip reader could see her telling Khloe that she was shocked...
After the break, the hosts listed the finalists in the order in which they received votes. Paige Thomas, of course, was tenth.
9. Arin Ray
8. Beatrice Miller
7. Diamond White
6. Fifth Harmony
5. CeCe Frey
3. Vino Alan
2. Carly Rose Sonenclar
1. Tate Stevens
Tate Stevens had again won the popular vote, but it was close. Mario revealed that less than a third of one percent separated the top two and less than three percent separated the top four finalists.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there were five surprises/shockers on the Top 12 results show. The fifth? CeCe Frey's move from dead last to No. 5 on the list. Considering how bad her performance was the night before, it was not only a shocker she wasn't eliminated but to get enough votes to finish in the top half of all the contestants may have been the most shocking revelation of the evening...
Take Home Message: As with any competition, no matter how much the odds may seem to be stacked against you, there is never any reason to admit defeat until you have been eliminated from the competition. Perseverance and dedication, hard work and confidence can go a long way in securing victory. You could see defeat creeping into Arin Ray and CeCe Frey's eyes as they stood on stage awaiting the bad news that they were going to have to face each other in the sing-off (13-year-old Beatrice Miller also looked a little troubled). But in the end, they received enough votes to make the Top 10. Sometimes it just pays to believe in yourself.
"X Factor" returns next week for the Top 10 performance round. The show airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television.
(photo credit: Shanarae, Creative Commons)