Drew Ryniewicz's X Factor journey has officially ended.
The bubbly blonde 14-year-old found herself in the bottom two during Thursday's double elimination episode, getting the boot along with teen rapper Brian "Astro" Bradley.
In what was arguably the show's most shocking elimination to date, Simon Cowell, Ryniewicz's mentor, blamed himself for her exit, and argued that his song choice for her — Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" — did her in.
"I shouldn't have chosen that song," Cowell reasoned of the King of Pop's hit, which he stripped down for the teen singer, who performed ballad-style sitting on a chair without any fanfare or dancers. "It was too slow. I should have listened to the others."
Cowell voted to keep Ryniewicz, but fellow judges Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid axed her in favor of Marcus Canty.
"I've not seen this side of Simon before!" Abdul reasoned to Us Weekly backstage after the eliminations. "If anyone ever thought it was BS how much we get involved, it's not. It got to Simon that at times all three of us [judges] were saying, 'You need to show diversity with Drew.' Drew has a beautiful voice and a recognizable quality but in these competitions, playing it safe doesn't always pay off."
Despite Thursday's outcome, Abdul applauds Cowell for owning up to his mistake.
"Simon displayed the ability to be humbled, which is a very difficult thing for him. I respect him even more after tonight," she told Us. "But it's hard. And being humbled and taking the blame isn't something we've seen from Simon."
Though he still has two contestants — Rachel Crow and Melanie Amaro — to mentor in the competition, Cowell says he'll continue to think about what could have been with Ryniewicz.
"Every time I've done one of these shows, something like this has happened," he said Thursday. "I remember for example it happened with Jennifer Hudson [on American Idol]. At the time it was the song and this time a similar thing has happened. I think we got it wrong on the night and that was the problem. If you could rewind the tape, you'd do it differently. I certainly wouldn't use the chair [as a prop during Drew's performance again]. That chair is going to be chopped to pieces! And I'll do the chopping myself!"
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