'The X Factor' sends home Ellona Santiago and Rion Paige from Demi Lovato's team, determines Top 4 acts
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/06/2013
The X Factor eliminated two acts and determined the third season's Top 4 finalists during Thursday night's Fox broadcast of the reality singing competition.
Ellona Santiago and Rion Paige were ousted from the competition after The X Factor host Mario Lopez revealed they had received the fewest home viewer votes cast immediately following Wednesday night's Top 6 performance show, which had featured the contestants performing two songs -- a diva's hit and an unplugged version of a song.
"A lot is going through my mind. I mean, I don't know, I guess I didn't give the strongest performance last night and I just hope that I can have another chance again," Ellona said after she was eliminated.
Ellona, a 17-year-old from San Lorenzo, CA, was automatically eliminated without any discussion or voting from The X Factor judges after she finished as the last-place act based on America's vote. She also did not have to "sing for survival." Ellona was a member of mentor Demi Lovato's "Girls" category.
"That's ridiculous!" Demi yelled once the results were revealed. "I'm actually pretty speechless and disappointed because I feel like a lot of really amazing people have been sent home that didn't deserve to go home so soon, and Ellona's definitely one of them. She could've won this competition."
Rion Paige, a 13-year-old from Jacksonville, FL, was sent home by judges Demi, Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio, and Simon Cowell via a 3-1 vote instead of fellow contestant Carlito Olivero, a 24-year-old from Chicago, IL, after both artists were revealed to be the two next lowest vote-getters.
"I know that being 13-years-old and going through this is really rough because you have to balance school and everything, but I have gone up here each and every week and just told everybody how much I love the Lord, and I think that's just important in itself," Rion said following her ouster.
Rion was a member of Demi's category, while Carlito is in Paulina's "Boys" category. Both singers had been in the bottom two before.
As the two remaining bottom-three acts, Rion and Carlito were required to "sing for survival" in the "final showdown" in the hopes The X Factor mentors would vote to keep them on the show. Rion performed "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert for her "survival" song, and Carlito took the stage with "You Make Me Wanna" by Usher.
After the two singers performed, they told the judges why they felt they deserved to remain in the competition.
"This week I really fought hard because I was in the bottom two last week and that's a lot to put yourself through... I had to learn a song really fast and three ontop of that and I really just gave it my all. I came out here and gave you guys my heart and I love music, and I'm just here to share my music and share God! Thank you," Rion explained.
"You know I've been the underdog in this whole competition, and I think I've showed the most growth out of everybody. I work so hard and this is all that I have, and no matter what, I'm going to continue doing this for the rest of my life. I can promise you that no matter what, if I'm in the bottom two every week, you're going to see me fight harder every single time. I promise you I won't let you down," Carlito pleaded.
The judges then offered the two artists feedback and cast their votes for whom they believed should be eliminated from the competition.
In the event of a 2-2 tie, it would be a deadlock and the act who had received the lower amount of home viewer votes would automatically be ousted.
"It's really difficult because I love you Rion so much and you are so special and you're so talented. And Carlito, I told you last night I want to see you in the finals. I think you both deserve a place in the finals, and it's so difficult watching the two of you in the bottom two. The act that I'm sending home, I got to stick with my girl, it's Carlito," Demi announced.
"I don't think two artists who are so different should be fighting for this position. Rion is amazing, has an amazing voice, has been showing us how inspiring her life and her music is. I know Carlito. I've been inspired by Carlito, but the fact of coming from nothing, from a family that just has love and talent -- so even thought I'm the mentor of Carlito, this is really hard," Paulina explained.
"It's a very hard position but I need to stick [with] my team, and I need to be with my boy. So I'm sorry. This is just hard. I want Carlito to stay... Yes, I'm going to send home Rion just because I need to stick with my team."
Kelly then voiced her thoughts as an impartial judge.
"Rion, I think that something I love about you the most is that you are so young! And you have all of this heart, and you come out here and deliver each week. I admire that and love that about you. Carlito, I give you hell every week, and you are so dedicated, so focused, you work hard, and I believe every time you perform, you're like, 'I got to get better the next time!' I love that about you," Kelly began.
"If I'm basing it on this performance that I've seen, I have to be honest with both of you, it wasn't your best performance while being here at The X Factor. But the act I'm going to send home is Rion."
Simon could then tie up the votes or advance Carlito through to the next round.
"Okay, oh I hate doing this. I like both of you. I genuinely do. I agree it wasn't the best performances, but who should be able to perform under this kind of pressure? Both of you I've got to know as people, and I really, really like you both. From the minute I first saw you Rion, you're an inspiration and you've been a pleasure to work with," Simon explained.
"Carlito, you've admitted publicly -- which is awkward -- you've come from a tough upbringing and this is your one opportunity. For one act... maybe this is the last chance for them, so I'm going to send Rion home I'm afraid, sweetheart."