It was a very emotional night last night on the set of The X Factor NZ, as Tom Batchelor was sent home after going head to head with Benny Tipene.
I don't think anyone was expecting either of these two to be facing elimination so early.
Judge Mel Blatt said she had pictured Tipene in the grand final, and Batchelor has been a fan favourite over the past couple of weeks.
Both Tipene and Batchelor went for acoustic guitar numbers to sing for their survival.
But their mentor Ruby Frost refused to vote off one of her acts.
"I'm really sorry. I love them both so much I just can't vote," Frost told host Dominic Bowden.
So the first judge to vote was Blatt, who wanted to send Tipene home.
"I'm worried your heart might not be in it as much as it was in the beginning," she told him.
But Bedingfield and Stan Walker both voted for Batchelor – Walker saying he did so "with more regret than I've ever had on this show".
- VIDEO: Watch the elimination
News that Frost had lost one of her acts put her in unfamiliar territory.
"I’m going to miss Tom so much," she said. "He has music in his veins, and one of the best voices in the competition. I just can’t believe how volatile the voting can be – you never know what to expect!"
Someone else who is likely to miss Batchelor is fellow contestant Jackie Thomas. In an interview with 3 News last week, Anna Wilson revealed Batchelor and Thomas were very close, calling them "the lovebirds".
A very emotional Thomas was unable to hold back the tears after the news that Batchelor was going home.
Although Batchelor may be close to Thomas, it was Tipene he was sharing the love with on screen – the bottom two sharing this moment of passion:
Batchelor showed nothing but love and support for Tipene, who was given the green light to continue. His genuine love for the other contestants was obvious.
"I got to go out on a high, playing a Zeppelin song. I’m a happy man," Batchelor said after his elimination.
The remaining contestants will once again since for their survival at 7pm on Sunday at the next live performance show.
Tom Batchelor will be talking to 3 News later today.
source: newshub archive