X Factor reaches top 6 with surprising elimination

What the heck happened last night on The X Factor.

Mahalia Simpson, 22, and Michaela Baranov, 24, faced off against each other in the most emotional showdown yet. “They’ve become roomies and mates,” Dannii said.

But Michaela was no match for her category team mate. Her performance of ABBA’s The Winner Takes It All didn’t hit the high notes Mahalia achieved with her moody rendition of India Arie’s Ready for Love.

Guy Sebastian, Chris Isaak and James Blunt voted unanimously to keep Mahalia in the competition. She’s now survived two gruelling eliminations and remains Dannii’s last shining hope.

Dannii had high praise for her parting contestant. “She’s a pocket rocket that triumphs over everything that is thrown at her. She’s been an absolute joy to work with and embodies the spirit of the show.”

It’s been an emotional journey for Michaela, who lost her father Paul to cancer only a week before her audition.

“It’s been a dream come true,” she said of her experience. “I want to keep going and doing this forever. This has brought me a step closer to achieving my ultimate dream.”

Only six acts remain. Dannii and Guy only have one act remaining while Chris and James still have two artists vying for this year’s crown.

Next week the sparks will fly with the Judges’ Challenge. Song choice has created heated debate this year and next week the judges put their money where their mouth is and choose songs for each other’s contestants.