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The X Factor Elimination: Who's Breaking Down Under the Pressure? (Hint: It's a Judge!)

While we imagine that the X Factor contestants like finding out who's safe from elimination all at once, rather than having to wait through commercial breaks while a few at a time take a seat, it's got to be agony for the judges to watch the acts get ticked off one by one.

Especially when you're the judge who doesn't have a safe act in the bunch.

So, who was smirking and who was trying to keep a stiff upper lip for the two who had to sing for their lives in the waning minutes of Tuesday's elimination show?

READ: Last night's X Factor: Just how much did the judges annoy each other?

It just hasn't been Paula's season.

Both Lakoda Rayne and the Stereo Hoggz (also in the bottom two last week) had one more shot at glory tonight and, in the end, the judges sent the Stereo Hoggz home.

But it wasn't easy.

READ: Live at X Factor: Which Glee Stars Were in the House? And Who Got Their Feelings Hurt by Paula Abdul?

After both L.A. Reid and Nicole "all about girl power" Scherzinger chose to keep Lakoda Rayne in the game, Paula flat-out refused to vote for either one. "I can't do this," she choked, dabbing at her eyes and pushing back from the table—and mucking up host Steve Jones' militant schedule-keeping.

Eventually, after being told she had to vote, or else Stereo Hoggz would go home regardless, she picked Lakoda Rayne to go home, just so that she wouldn't be the deciding "no" vote.

If Simon had agreed with her, then the group with the lowest number of votes would have been eliminated. But he didn't, and appeared to have no problem (at least not a Paula-size problem, anyway) sending the Stereo Hoggz packing.

The Stereo Hogzz, X Factor Top 17 The Brewer Boys

READ: So this is what The X Factor audience is thinking...

So, Lakoda Rain, Stacy Francis, LeRoy Bell, Josh Krajcik (Nicole was first to learn that all of her artists were safe), Astro, Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, Rachel Crow, Drew and Melanie Amaro (L.A. actually apologized for being unfairly harsh on her last night) will all be back next week.

That leaves Paula with only one horse (and very few marbles) left in the competition, while none of the other judges' acts have been in danger at all.

But now that there's only one group remaining, one of the solo artists will inevitably have to taste the bitterness of the bottom two. Sure, we're projecting a bit, but it's really never too early to start thinking ahead when it comes to wiping the smirk off of Simon's face.

Do you think the judges got it right? Is Paula going to be able to handle herself when the going gets really tough? Will Lakoda Rayne be long gone before America starts sending the individual singers home? Sound off in the comments!

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(Originally published Nov. 10, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. PT)

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