The X Factor Deadlock: Should The Show Change Its Elimination Process?

Last night’s X Factor results episode ended with devastation as one young aspiring singer’s dreams were dashed. The twist was that it wasn’t the judges who sent her home, but America’s vote, which made the final call. One judge seems to be taking the blame for this, but is that fair?

Unlike with American Idol, which has America deciding which contestant goes home each week, as the lowest vote-getter is eliminated (excluding a one-time-only Judges Save used during the earlier rounds of the finals), The X Factor leaves it to the judges to decide between the Bottom 2 each week. This means that, even if a certain contestant gets the lowest votes from the viewers, they might still make it through to the next round if the judges vote for the other person to go home. This may have happened numerous times. We don’t know because we aren’t told which of the Bottom 2 received the lowest votes, unless there’s a deadlock.

With four judges, making the call, there’s always the chance of a tie among the judges. It happened during the Top 9 eliminations, which resulted in America’s vote sending LeRoy Bell home. And it happened last night when it came down to Marcus Canty and Rachel Crow. Simon and Paula voted for Canty to be eliminated, and L.A. Reid voted for Crow to go. Nicole, who voted last, refused to make a choice and forced it to a deadlock by voting to eliminate Rachel.

As it turned out, Rachel received the lowest number of votes by America and was eliminated, which left Marcus Canty to continue in the competition.

?So, who’s to blame for Crow’s elimination?

On one hand, Crow, by far, outperformed Marcus Canty last night. I don’t say this lightly either, as I’d consider myself more a fan of Canty’s than I am of Crow’s. Crow is very talented, but I think she needs more time. That said, her “Save Me” performance was noticeably better and, given how obvious that was, it’s hard to defend Nicole’s choice to force it to deadlock. Canty’s been in the Bottom 2 more than once already. Cutting him loose last night wouldn’t have been a huge shock or a major disappointment. This was Crow’s first week in the Bottom 2 and it could be argued that this was just a bad week for her, vote-wise. It happens.

On the other hand, can we really complain about Rachel’s elimination if the reason she went was because she received the lowest number of votes? The people have spoken. Did Nicole shirk her responsibility to make a choice by voting to eliminate Rachel? Kind of, but in the end, she did make a choice. She voted to eliminate Rachel and let America make the final decision. Consider America as the tie-breaker, and the only thing Nicole did was vote to eliminate the same contestant the viewers did.

If Nicole made one mistake, it was being wishy-washy about it. She might not be bearing as much of the brunt of the results (which included being boo’ed by the audience at the end of the show) if she casted her vote, either in defense of Canty or because she believes Crow’s time in this competition was through. Refusing to choose made it look worse for her. But in the end, we broke the tie, for better or worse.

That brings us to the big question. Should anything change as far as how the eliminations work? Do you prefer that the judges make the final decision, with America breaking the tie? Or do you think the show should do it like Idol and simply let America decide each week?

This poll is no longer available.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.