Nice girls and hard workers apparently finish last on "The X Factor." That's one lesson from Thursday night's double elimination show, which saw the rap group Lyric 145 and rocker girl-next-door Jennel Garcia sent home (in Garcia's case, well before her time) – and CeCe Frey stick around to sing another week.
The other lesson was Simon Cowell is a complete jerk. Really, even nastier than you might previously have imagined.
Cowell, perhaps bitter that his rap group had been unceremoniously eliminated early in the show without even a shot at a save, pulled an extremely mean move on fellow judge Demi Lovato, who had two out of three of her singers – Garcia and Paige Thomas -- in the post-Lyric 145 bottom two.
"I just really feel bad for Demi," he said, unable (or not trying) to suppress a sneering smile.
After Garcia turned in an uncharacteristically shaky take on Hoobastank's "The Reason" and Thomas tackled Coldplay's "Paradise" in a play for the save, L.A. Reid said he was shocked to see both singers in the bottom two but, fulfilling his judging duties, opted to send Garcia home. Britney Spears said it was a "tough decision" because they were both "amazing," but also fingered Garcia for the exit.
It was Cowell's turn. By choosing Garcia – which he later characterized as an easy call -- he would have ended the matter right there, sparing Lovato the "Sophie's choice" of having to sacrifice one of her mentees to save the other. So did what he do? He broke the rules that, as the show's executive producer, he had presumably created himself, and refused to answer, forcing Lovato into an awkward position, just for the cruel joy of watching her squirm. "No, I'm not going to. I'm going to let Demi pick," he said.
Co-host Mario Lopez did his best to make Cowell answer, but the nasty man was resolute and Lopez had no choice but to relent. "You're the boss, we'll go to Demi," he said.
Lovato tried to punt back to Cowell, but that was a no-go – showing clearly who held all the power -- and ultimately, Lovato had no choice – with her singers anxiously waiting to hear their fates – but to make a choice: Thomas. That sent the decision back to Cowell. (No dummy, that Demi – though she later told reporters that she'd selected Thomas to go home because she genuinely considers Garcia to be more talented.)
Cowell picked Garcia, which he essentially called a no-brainer. So why didn't he do that in the first place, saving Lovato the misery?
He told reporters afterward that he'd wanted to see which singer's career Lovato was "going to destroy."
"It was just fun to see her squirming," Cowell said. "She thought she was going to get out of it, and I said, 'You're not.'"
What a bully.
Cowell would do well to take in the advice of Taylor Swift, whose performance Thursday was like a splash of sunshine warming a small patch of an otherwise cold, dark, empty-souled show, offered to the "X Factor" contestants: "No matter how tired you are, no matter what kind of bad day you're having, be nice to people."
Are you listening, Simon?
Anyway, here are the rankings for those who remain:
1. Tate Stevens 2. Carly Rose Sonenclar 3. Vino Alan 4. Emblem3 5. CeCe Frey 6. Fifth Harmony 7. Diamond White 8. Beatrice Miller 9. Arin Ray 10. Paige Thomas