There are not enough words in the English language to describe how much we love X Factor 2013 contestant Rion Paige, who covered Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" for her first audition — and immediately made us lose our minds with joy (and call her a winner). So, just who is the pint-sized curly-haired girl?
The 13-year-old hails from Jacksonville, Florida, and has an ever-present smile on her face. And while a lot of people notice her malformed hands first, and her mom mentioned how worried she was about her sweet daughter, Rion isn’t afraid to talk about her difference.
"I have arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC)," Rion explained openly. "It's basically a whole bunch of words to describe something really simple. My hands are curved differently because of my joints, so I have to learn to do things differently. And I'm almost permanently blind in my right eye."
Rion hasn't let that stop her, though. She got four immediate yeses from the judges, with Simon Cowell telling her that he'd love to work with her and that her powerful voice reminded him of Carrie, whom he helped discover on American Idol.
On October 3, Rion beat out several contenders in the Girls Category to make it to the Top 16 where she kept her spot by performing mentor Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper." She kept the power going during the Top 13 performances with Diana Ross's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and again less than 24 hours with Lady Gaga's "Born This Way."
Was it all enough to keep Rion in the running? Yes! She returned as a member of the Top 12 and performed Pat Benatar's "We Belong." Rion, we totally think you belong on X Factor!
Thankfully, America agreed and Rion made it to the Top 10. For UK Invasion night she sang Elton John's "Your Song" to rave reviews from the judges...and to America! Rion made it to the Top 8 and Big Band night. Her performance of "Swinging'" was tons of fun and even got Simon to share a rare compliment. He called the cutie a real "cupcake." She seems as sweet as one, too!
For her Top 6 numbers, Rion returned to a favorite performer, Carrie Underwood, with her rendition of "See You Again" followed by an unplugged version of "Glass" by Thompson Square. But sadly, Rion's two performances didn't qualify her for the Top 4. After battling it out with Carlito Olivero, Rion was sent home on December 5. Man, we're going to miss that little cupcake.
Watch Rion Paige's audition — Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away"
Four Chair Challenge: Rion Paige Sings Rascal Flatts's "I Won't Let Go"
Top 16: Rion Paige Sings Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper"
Top 13: Rion Paige Sings Diana Ross's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
Save Me Song: Rion Paige Sings Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"
Top 12: Rion Paige Sings Pat Benatar's "We Belong"
Top 10: Rion Paige Sings Elton John's "Your Song"
Top 8: Rion Paige Sings "Swingin'"
Top 6 Diva Song: Rion Paige Sings Carrie Underwood's "See You Again"
Top 6 Unplugged Song: Rion Paige Sings Thompson Square's "Glass"