Credit: Nino Munoz/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Top 5 Girls Contestant Rachel Crow on The X Factor

UPDATE! She was eliminated! We're as shocked as you are!

On our list of could-be-winners was America’s sweetheart, Rachel Crow. Rachel had the distinction of being the very first performer of the series, and her audition, a lively performance of Duffy’s hit “Mercy,” made her an instant fan favorite. Then, Rachel’s turned in a string of excellent performances; most notably, her boot camp outing on “If I Were a Boy” was simply stunning.

Rachel’s clearly talented, but she has something else just as important — or maybe more-so — going for her: She’s just plain likable. She’s bubbly and bright and comes across as sweet but not saccharine. She handles criticism well, and has a good rapport with the judges and, by extension, the audience at home.

Also, as the youngest contestant, Rachel is likely to appeal to the tweens (we thought she might split votes with fellow young teen Drew, and possibly Astro, but now they're both gone). While Drew was more of a folk kind of gal and Astro was a rapper, Rachel seems most likely to appeal to the Disney, That’s So Raven! demographic. Young voters have been shown to have quite a bit of power when it comes to TV talent shows... did you think the youth vote would push Rachel to the top? We did!


 

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Credit: YouTube Photo: Rachel Crow Sings Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" on The X Factor, October 6, 2011 [VIDEO]