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Should ‘X Factor’ Raise the Age of Entrants After Rachel Crow’s Devastating Reaction to Elimination?

Rachel Crow
David Livingston, Getty Images

Last night’s elimination episode of ‘X Factor‘ — where adorable and insanely talented cutie Rachel Crow was shockingly sent home because the judges went to deadlock — got PopCrush thinking if one of the things that sets ‘X’ apart from its competition ‘American Idol‘ is turning out to be a bad thing.

One of the key differences that makes ‘X Factor’ stand out from ‘Idol’ is that the contestants are broken down into categories and groups can perform. The judges also mentor contestants and decide who stays and who goes after the audience votes, where on ‘Idol,’ the judges choose which singular performers move on to the live shows and then the rest is up to America. ‘Idol’ contestants must be 15 years of age, while ‘X Factor’ goes as low as 12.

When Crow, 13, heard her name announced as the person going home, since she nabbed the lowest amount of votes, she began to sob. Uncontrollably. You could hear her aching cries over the din of noise of a live TV show and the resounding boos of the audience. Her adoptive mother came on stage to comfort her, and you could hear Crow sobbing, “Mommy,” as her mom struggled to calm her down. She also said something to the effect of “I’m nothing without you guys.” We shouldn’t have seen such a private exchange as this poor girl processed her raw emotions in front of several million people.

It was uncomfortable and devastating. PopCrush wanted to give Rachel a huge hug, tell her we love her and can’t wait to buy her album when it comes out. Because it will come out. However, we can’t deny that the poor girl was devastated by her ouster and that it had to have some sort of psychological effect. Remember, Crow was adopted and being voted off the show could drudge up some of the same feelings of abandonment she may have from her biological parents giving her up.

It makes us wonder if the heat of this type of public and mainstream competition is too much for young teens to handle. This is way different than local competitions or talent shows. This is prime time TV. Don’t get us wrong. Crow was amazing, full of personality and confidence, not to mention in possession of a voice that kills. How many 12-year-olds do you know who can sing Etta James believably without missing a note?

Crow may have told Nicole Scherzinger: “It’s okay, don’t cry. I’m fine with whatever” right before the final vote, but her reaction when she was eliminated was the exact opposite. She was not okay. She was not fine. She was heartbroken. She was also likely trying to be a professional, which is quite mature for a 13-year-old, but it’s also something you pick up and learn in life through experience dealing with the world, and it felt like Crow was coached to put on a brave face at first. Whether that is the work of producers, parents, or her watching other competition shows, it still felt like Crow was put through the emotional and psychological ringer.

It makes us wonder if the eligible age of entry should be upgraded to 15 or 16 to give younger performers a little more time to harvest their talent and experience? Could a sudden burst of fame be dangerous for such young talents?

Nevertheless, we’re happy Crow was on the show. She entertained us every week. She just broke our hearts when we watched her nurse her own. It’s not easy to deal with that in life. It’s harder in front of the whole world.

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