The only result more shocking than who survived The X Factor's brutal double eliminations tonight—we're looking at you, CeCe Frey—was who didn't. We caught up with Jennel Garcia and hip-hop trio Lyric 145 backstage shortly after the acts were sent packing.
Jennel was particularly raw with emotion. After dissolving into tears onstage, the spunky rocker arrived at the press tent with mascara still smudged under one eye. "I'm really surprised," she said. "I guess I had a little more faith in myself. But everything happens for a reason, and I have to keep telling myself that."
Darn straight, girl!
Her mentor, Demi Lovato, was put in a tough spot during the show, having to make what cohost Mario Lopez told reporters was a "Sophie's choice" in sending home either Garcia or her teammate Paige Thomas.
But Demi didn't find her choice to be that difficult. "I picked Paige [to go home] because I genuinely think that Jennel is just more talented," she said. "I think Paige has more star quality, which is gonna help her, but Jennel definitely didn't deserve to go home."
Simon Cowell, Demi's frequent on-air sparring partner, disagreed.
He explained backstage why he refused to cast his elimination vote before she did. "I knew I was gonna keep Paige, which meant that [Demi] wouldn't have had to make the decision," said the groups' mentor, who voted the same way Britney Spears and L.A. Reid did. "I thought, bearing in mind they're both your artists, I want to see which one you're going to destroy career[wise]."
"It was just fun to see her squirming," Simon continued, describing the uncomfortable on-air moment tonight. "She thought she was going to get out of it, and I said, ‘You're not.'"
The members of Lyric 145 seemed at peace with their early exit. "I'm not bummed out at all," said Lyric Da Queen, "[though] I do wish we could've showed the world what we really could do. But now the door's open for us to show the world, so I'm excited about that."
The trio did admit they had had the opportunity to sing for their lives, as Jennel and Paige did. "I can honestly say, if we would've been able to do a ‘save me' song, we would've got saved!" Lyric said with a laugh. "But it just gives people more to look forward to with us."
Indeed, while the group was put together by Simon during the audition process, Lyric 145 vowed to stay together and pursue a music career in L.A. "We literally feel like this is divinity," said da always positive Da Queen. "An experience like this, you have to take out what you can take out from it, and I believe that [our being brought together] is way bigger than any prize we could've ever won. We're really gonna do something amazing in the industry."
Garcia, too, plans to rock the charts—just as soon as she gets rid of the makeover she received for the show. "The first thing I'm doing tomorrow is dyeing my hair black and taking off the heels!" she told reporters. "And after that, I'm getting right back into making my own music because one thing I really hated is that we were singing somebody else's music.
"It's gonna be rock and roll and it's gonna be badass, as tough as a guy," said Jennel of her planned musical direction. "It's not gonna be girly. I feel like a lot of what I've been doing [on X Factor] is girly with the makeup and the hair and that wasn't necessarily me. My goal coming in was [to] put rock music back on the radio, and that's exactly what I'm gonna fight for until I croak."
Tell us: Did the right acts go home Thursday night?