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The X Factor tried to shake things up this week by sending TWO contestants home – but the only real surprise was that the show featured Howie Mandel in the audience. Isn’t he a NBC guy?

Indeed, the two performances given the boot were the most obvious selections of the remaining nine, one a group, the other an over-30 hopeful. So long, Lakoda Rayne and LeRoy Bell. You had a decent run.

Rayne was sent packing early on in the broadcast – which also featured performances by Kelly Clarkson and Bruno Mars – as that group received the lowest number of votes following last night’s performance show. Paula Abdul now has no more proteges remaining.

Bell, meanwhile, was in the bottom two alongside Marcus Canty. The judges tried to instill some tension in the second elimination, deadlocking their votes and leaving the singers’ fate up to the audience. Steve Jones promptly read Bell’s name off a card and the elder crooner took his ousting like a man.

You tell us: Did the right contestants get sent home?