Those of you who declined to rush away from your Thanksgiving tables to watch "The X Factor" elimination show on Thursday night, during which the top 10 shrank to the top 8, have one more thing to be thankful for. It was not terribly pleasant to watch two young people -- Arin Ray, 17, and Beatrice Miller, 13 -- have their dreams crushed.
Ray got the bad news first, just after the show had tried to prove it had a heart by tricking out a middle school music room with fancy, sponsor-provided equipment and inviting the school's choir to perform. Did Britney Spears, Ray's mentor, have anything to say to her departing mentee? Khloe Kardashian Odom wanted to know.
Spears looked mortified to have been asked, but, holding her body stiffly away from the just-eliminated contestant, as if he might infect her with his loser cooties, obliged with a few platitudes: "You know, I think you should just take this as a learning experience, and I think this isn't the last people will hear from you."
Odom was satisfied. "Beautiful," she said.
Then, after a confusing performance by "X Factor U.K."-launched singer Cher Lloyd, Miller and CeCe Frey discovered that they'd received the next two lowest numbers of votes and would have to compete for the remaining spot in the top 8. Miller was already in tears. Frey, an old hand at the bottom-two, save-me-song routine, looked resigned.
Frey sang first, turning in a performance of Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" that was better than her last few outings onstage.
Miller followed with a raspy, tear-strewn rendition of Dido's "White Flag."
It was up to the judges to make the call. Demi Lovato, Frey's mentor, voted to send Miller home. And Spears, Miller's mentor, opted to send Frey home. No surprises there.
L.A. Reid said it wasn't easy, that he wouldn't have imagined that either singer would be in danger of leaving at that point in the competition, and allowed that each had had good nights and bad night. But the singer he was sending home was Miller. "I'm sorry," he said, as Miller unsuccessfully battled tears.
Simon Cowell's vote would decide whether Miller went home or the vote would go to deadlock. "You know what, Beatrice, I liked you from the beginning, but I think this is all getting too much for you," he said. Though Cowell noted that Frey was a repeat visitor to the bottom two, that wasn't enough to sway him. After telling Miller he didn't think it was "the right time" for her, he cast the vote that sent her home.
Miller was sobbing.
"Are you OK?" Odom asked.
Miller's answer: "No."
After more bland reassurance from Spears, who seemed a little less horrified to be standing next to Miller than she had been standing next to Ray, Odom reluctantly asked the weeping 13-year-old if she had anything to say.
"I just want to tell my sisters that I love them, and I'm sorry," Miller said.
Awww. The poor thing! "You have nothing to be sorry about," she was reassured. But no amount of cursory back-pats and "sweeties" (that patronizing term of endearment really needs to be banned from "The X Factor") from well-paid strangers would make her feel better. That girl needed her moms -- stat.
Here are the rankings for the top 8:
1. Carly Rose Sonenclar 2. Tate Stevens 3. Vino Alan 4. Emblem 3 5. Diamond White 6. Paige Thomas 7. Fifth Harmony 8. CeCe Frey
What did you think of the show? Were the right two sent home?