Well, you have to hand it to "X Factor": It knows how to ratchet up tension.
After last week's ouster of Drew Ryniewicz — which so outraged some fans that judges received death threats — Thursday night's elimination episode ended with 13-year-old crack baby-turned-diva-in-training Rachel Crow being sent home. (The crack baby claim comes from her adopted mom. Yes, "X Factor" is an apparently real competition and not a bleak parody of one.)
The saga: Crow and fellow contestant Marcus Canty were in the bottom two. Judge Nicole Scherzinger's vote could have been a deciding one, but she was paralyzed by the prospect of, you know, judging.
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Crow bravely told her not to cry, and that she would be fine either way. Scherzinger, knowing that a vote for Crow would throw the voting into deadlock, voted for Crow.
Who was then instantly ejected, as the recipient of the least viewer votes, and who cried and cried.
Crow's mom and judge Simon Cowell, Crow's mentor, rushed to the stage to console the teen, as Crow continued to sob.
"We're going to be hearing a lot more from Rachel Crow, I give you my word on that," Cowell said.
And then Jones turned his microphone to Scherzinger, "Nicole, is there anything you want to say?"
Before she could respond, the audience broke out into a chorus of boos, and she turned her back to the crowd.
Meanwhile, in a post-episode interview with US Weekly, Cowell suggested Crow's ouster was the result of a miscalculation by Scherzinger.
"I think, ironically, what she was trying to do was let Marcus go with some dignity, because she was attached to both of them," the "American Idol" alum said. "But there's no question about it, if she thought Rachel would have been out, she would have gone the other way."
Check out a video clip of Crow's elimination below, which leaves Chris Rene, Marcus Canty, Melanie Amaro and Josh Krajcik as the "X Factor" final four: