CeCe Frey lives to sing another day!
Despite Simon Cowell's prediction that the embattled X Factor contestant would need a packed suitcase come Thursday night, it was her young-adult teammate Paige Davis--along with the soulful Vino Alan--who got the bad news during tonight's double-elimination show. To say that both singers were surprised would be an understatement. "I was shocked," Paige told us backstage shortly afterwards, "but what can you do?" The fact that an emotional CeCe sought her out after the show didn't seem to be of much comfort. "She was crying," Paige revealed, "which I just thought was weird."
"At this point in the competition, because everyone's so good, you can never really expect anything," continued the single mom, who was often compared to Rihanna. "I don't wanna say I'm OK because obviously, I wanted to win. But at the same time, I'm somewhat relaxed. I absolutely did my best last night. I absolutely know my performance was no eighth place."
Likewise, Vino was certain last night's performance of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" was, if not his best, still worthy of keeping him in the competition—especially since he'd routinely finished in the Top 3 vote-getters every single week. "I had a sixth sense I'd sing [for my life] today because of the song choice yesterday," he said, "but man, because of the feedback I've been getting, I didn't expect to go home."
After the judges voted 3-1 to let him go—only mentor L.A. Reid opted for Diamond White—the axed singer said he confronted Simon off-camera to find out exactly why he received the Brit judge's vote. "I asked him if I said something that upset him because that's instantly what went through my brain," Vino admitted. "I must've said something for that to happen, right? But he said no and that it's not over for me."
Naturally, Vino intends to prove him right. The tatted-up single dad is eager to get to work on his own music and show fans what he's really capable of. "I haven't even shown y'all what I got range-wise," he insisted. "I play a bunch of instruments. I write. I'm ready to go to work. I'm not gonna be the guy [relaxing] with an umbrella in my drink!"
Not that his life is all work and no play these days. "I've fallen in love," said Vino, referring to his new girlfriend Lindsey, a Hollywood chef. "It's been a couple months, but it's just one of those things where you just know." Pause. "I hope I didn't just jinx it!"
In recent weeks, it wasn't exactly a secret that the headstrong Paige and mentor Demi Lovato often butted heads over the artistic direction the contestant should go in, and Paige seemed relieved that her Top-8 exit meant an end to those battles. "Now I can really just be myself," she said. "There were a few things that [were] kind of a struggle. I was trying to tell my mentor that I really didn't see it this way, so now I can just go ten-fold on who I really see myself as an artist. This has opened so many doors for me, and I'm so excited. I got the exposure that I wanted, and I walked out of this competition being myself, so I can honestly say that I'm going home happy."
Especially because she'll soon be reunited with her adorable three-year-old daughter, who was often seen supporting Mom on the show. "She called me the other day," Paige said, "and was like, 'You need to get home!'"
Looks like she got her wish.
Tell us: Did the right peeps go home tonight? Who in the Top 6 are you rooting for?