By Shaunna Murphy
Updated December 09, 2011 at 10:36 PM EST
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If my throbbing head and bleary eyes prove anything, it’s that one cannot exist in close proximity to Rachel Crow’s tears without experiencing a major X Factor hangover. Other symptoms include emotional emptiness, lack of faith in humanity, and an irrational hatred of Nicole Scherzinger. Seriously, someone needs to place a call to Steve Jones to make sure that he’s okay. Steve Jones cannot compute so much genuine human emotion — even ridiculously theatrical Nicole Scherzinger-style emotion.

Things were actually pretty tame at the Xanadome during the first 50-odd minutes of last night’s taping. Before Rachel collapsed onto the floor in a pile of broken dreams, the biggest thing that happened was the collective seizure the crowd experienced during the first 30 seconds of Lenny Kravitz’ performance. But the end of last night’s elimination episode brought enough drama to make up for an otherwise lackluster evening, and, as always, there was plenty that you simply couldn’t see on TV.

The bodyguard(s): Scherzinger and her partner-in-indecision Paula Abdul received death threats when they voted off Drew Ryniewicz last week, leading to a noticeable increase in security. Both women have typically interacted loosely with the crowd during tapings, but last night they were frequently surrounded by beefy looking bodyguards. Neither could resist running to the stage like a teenaged groupie after Kravitz’ sexy performance, hoping for a hug from the clearly out of place actual real musician. The spectacle of two grown women fawning over a confused Lenny Kravitz with several concerned bodyguards in tow will be imprinted in my brain forever, or at least until next week.

Some good old fashioned foreshadowing: Approximately 15 minutes before Scherzinger’s public demise, Abdul provided a hint of terrible things to come. While the other judges stood backstage with their acts, Abdul asked the audience who they thought should go home. Everyone pretty much shouted “Marcus,” but Abdul wasn’t so sure. “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS,” she exclaimed. “I don’t want anyone to go home.”

Marcus stands alone: After Crow and Marcus Canty finished their save me songs, the crowd pretty much went bananas. Poor Marcus stood alone as everyone shouted “Rachel,” his face betraying a mix of “whaaat?” and “please God, let this be over soon.” To make matters worse, Scherzinger, Abdul, and Simon Cowell were all comforting the bawling Crow approximately five feet away from him. L.A. Reid finally left his chair to give his act a nice pat-on-the-back mere seconds before the commercial break was over, but I think the severe emotional damage had already been done.

The trial of Nicole Scherzinger: X Factor eliminations are usually pretty intense, yet nothing thus far has matched the intense hatred directed at Scherzinger last night. When Crow hit the floor, the shocked, hysterical judge was comforted by Abdul before disappearing altogether to escape the mass hysteria. Some booed, some cursed, but the sentiment was all the same — there was a thirst for Scherzinger’s blood, and the crowd would not rest until this insatiable thirst had been quenched. Thank God for beefy bodyguards! I’d love to post some of the comments I overheard while leaving the cursed Xanadome, but this is a family-friendly blog.

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The X Factor

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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