Pass the Vino! Surprising eliminations on ‘X Factor’ leave Simon Cowell in disbelief

Pass the Vino! Surprising eliminations on ‘X Factor’ leave Simon Cowell in disbelief
Vino Alan (second from left) is eliminated from 'The X Factor' Nov. 29. Also pictured: L-R: Khloe Kardashian Odom, L.A. Reid and Mario Lopez. CR: Ray Mickshaw / FOX.
by: Vince Mirenzi

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It’s not unusual for a Simon Cowell-produced show to offer a new twist, but on Thursday night’s “X Factor,” even the British mogul was left puzzled.

A night after telling contestant CeCe Frey to “pack a suitcase,” it was two of the show’s stronger talents – Paige Thomas and Vino Alan – that were headed for the baggage claim instead.

With her Rihanna-esque sound and style, Paige appeared to be heading in the right direction following her performance Wednesday night. Prior to hitting the stage, it was revealed that Paige and mentor Demi Lovato saw the young singer going in opposite ways, with the 22-year-old hoping to deliver less vulnerable ballads and more upbeat, choreographed spectacles.

Following her performance, it appeared Paige’s risk had paid off, with all four judges giving her high marks for her rendition of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

“That was by far your best performance yet... You found your voice, you found your movement. You seemed at home. You seemed to be having fun,” said L.A. Reid.

But Paige’s performance and the judges’ remarks did not translate into votes, as she was sent home after placing last in voting.

“I’m excited because now I get to go home and really put in some work and show everyone that I’ve got bigger things to do . . . I’m excited for what I have in the future,” said the Phoenix, Arizona native graciously.

After last season’s runner-up, Josh Krajcik, performed his latest single, “One Thing She’ll Never Know,” hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian delivered positive news to five acts as Fifth Harmony, CeCe Frey, Emblem3, Tate Stevens and Carly Rose Sonenclar were all sent to safety, leaving 13-year-old Diamond White and 40-year-old Vino Alan to sing for survival.

Diamond, singing Beyoncé’s “I Was Here,” and Vino, belting Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble,” delivered strong performances when it mattered most.

“I really, really do like both of these singers . . . And both I’ve got to tell you really sounded well in that sing-off,” said Simon, before announcing his difficult decision.

Prior to taking the stage Wednesday, it was revealed that Vino’s mentor, L.A. Reid, had changed his song at the last minute. After performing the Hall & Oates classic, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” Simon was left feeling “uncomfortable.”

On Thursday night, after Britney, Demi and Simon all voted for his dismissal, L.A.’s song choice proved costly as Vino was sent home, with the Epic Records boss accepting responsibility for the outcome. After finishing third in voting for three consecutive weeks, the tattooed soul singer from St. Louis, Missouri exited the competition in seventh-place.

Following Thursday night’s eliminations, the acts finished as follows in voting:

1) Carly Rose Sonenclar
2) Tate Stevens
3) Emblem3
4) Fifth Harmony
5) CeCe Frey
6) Diamond White

What makes these results all-the-more crazy is knowing that the difference between first and third-place is less than one per cent, with only 1/10 of one per cent separating Carly Rose and Tate Stevens at the top.

With fewer acts, tighter competition and a $5 million prize on the line, things will only become more heated next week when the Top-6 take the stage. Will CeCe Frey continue her surprising ascent up the leaderboard? Will Carly Rose Sonenclar and Tate Stevens continue to set the standard? Will Simon Cowell forget his V-neck at home again? We’ll find out next Wednesday when “X Factor” returns at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.

Full episodes are also available online at