"I think she thought it was a decent way to let Marcus go," Simon admitted. "She wanted to let him go with some dignity. She was attached to them both. But if [Nicole] thought Rachel was going to be in the bottom, she would have gone the other way."
You see, Nicole, your job as an X Factor judge is to make tough calls and to ALWAYS vote for who YOU think has the x-factor and will go on to be a huge star. It's not to break down, get all teary, and be worried about "Marcus' dignity." Even notoriously soft-hearted Paula Abdul stepped up to the plate, admitting this was a terribly hard call, but that she would give her vote to Rachel.
The truth is that you're there as the professional. The X Factor isn't just a popularity contest -- it's about finding the talent that will produce hit records. I think Marcus is terrific and should have a good career ahead of him, but Rachel is something far more special. She is a genuine star. And as a judge, you needed to vote for her stardom and not second guess how viewers voted one night. You abdicated your job and responsibility.
The fact is that Rachel's performance Dec. 7 was not her best. Simon should take responsibility for that. The song choice was weak. However, her "save me" performance of "I'd Rather Go Blind," first sung by the legendary Etta James, was stunning.
Rachel has never sung more powerfully and emotionally than when she sang out her rendition of the Etta James classic. Her vocal range was awesome and fully mature, despite just having recently turned 14.
While Marcus also pulled out a tremendous performance, it didn't have the magic or promise of Rachel's.
So, Nicole, it was your cowardice that skewed the show -- and you knew you blew it when host Steve Jones announced the results.
"I watched her face at the same time I saw Rachel," Simon told us. "She was completely devastated. I would never fire her for that."
Poor Rachel, who literally collapsed to her knees after Steve read the news, showed far more courage and dignity than Nicole.
"[Nicole] is the nicest, most beautiful person inside and out!" Rachel graciously told reporters after regaining her composure. "She was so sad. I mean, all those people who were making threats like, "Go die!" It's nobody's fault except America's fault. It's just what God had in store for me, and I will be OK."
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