"The X Factor" USA 2013 saw its field of hopefuls trimmed to just four at the close of the Dec. 5 top six results show on FOX as two talented vocalists were sent packing for good.
Simon Cowell opened the show by paying tribute to Nelson Mandela before host Mario Lopez introduced a recap of the Dec. 4 action, which saw snippets of the acts' offerings plus their thoughts on how they performed.
Afterward, the top six joined Lopez on stage, and he praised three of them --Alex & Sierra, Jeff Gutt, and Restless Road-- for their success on the iTunes charts. He then invited viewers to visit the show's official website to help choose one song for each of the finalists to sing during the Dec. 11 show.
After a package featuring the contestants' thoughts on taking part in the competition aired, the top six and their mentors again joined Lopez on stage for the first half of the dreaded double elimination. After a dramatic pause, Demi Lovato's protege Ellona Santiago was dismissed from the competition after receiving the fewest votes for her Dec. 4 iterations of "Applause" and "If I Were a Boy." Santiago looked stunned as she addressed the audience, musing that perhaps her performances hadn't been as good as they should've been. Lovato said she was "speechless and disappointed" and opined that her student "could've won the competition" had America voted her through.
Shortly thereafter, the boy band Emblem3, who got their start on "The X Factor" 2012, hit the stage with their single "Just for One Day." After the live performance, they guys revealed that they'd be headlining their very first tour beginning in early 2014.
More results followed as the finalists again joined their mentors on stage. In no particular order, three acts, Restless Road, iTunes chart toppers Alex & Sierra, and Jeff Gutt, advanced to the top five, leaving Lovato's other remaining act, teen Rion Paige, and Paulina Rubio's final boy, Carlito Olivero, to battle for the one remaining spot in the semifinals. When asked to share their thoughts, both shared their love for one another, and vowed to do their very best during the sing-off.
As Paige and Olivero prepared back stage, "The X Factor" UK alums Little Mix took their turn to perform live, singing "Move."
With both guest performances in the books, up first to do battle before mentors Rubio, Lovato, Cowell and Kelly Rowland was Paige, who turned in a vaguely pitchy but poignant spin on the Miranda Lambert hit "The House that Built Me." Olivero followed with an equally pitchy but crowd-pleasing version of Usher's "You Make Me Wanna."
After both begged the judges for the one remaining berth in the semifinals, the four panelists made their final decisions. Lovato and Rubio both predictably backed their own acts. After congratulating both contestants for their "focus and hard work," Rowland voted to send Paige packing. Cowell hedged, calling Paige "an inspiration and a pleasure to work with" and praising Olivero for his honesty, but ultimately sent Paige home, sealing her elimination and booting Lovato from the competition.
Paige took the news well, and said that she'd accomplished her goal of "going out every week and telling people how much I love the Lord."
"The X Factor" USA 2013 resumes Dec. 11 with the season five semifinals.