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X Factor Recap: L.A. Reid Departs and Shocking Emblem 3 Elimination

Yesterday was a busy day on Fox’s The X Factor, as judge L.A. Reid announced his departure at the end of this season, on the night of the Top 3 results show.

“I have decided that I will not return to The X Factor next year,” Reid, Chairman and CEO of Epic Records. Reid says it’s time for him to return to the record label, which boasts Jennifer Lopez, Andre 3000 and Ciara on its roster. “I have a company to run that I’ve kind of neglected, ” admitted Reid to Access Hollywood.

The record executive maintains he has had a good run on the show, and that there is no ill will between him and producer Simon Cowell. “I love Simon. We have a great relationship,” says Reid. “We have fun together, we talk, we laugh, we do bad things, we’re friends….but now I’ve got to go back to work.”

Reid only took the Epic job last year, after spending many years as the CEO and Chairman of Def Jam Records, where he helped launch the careers of Justin Bieber and Rihanna, among others.

Reid announced his departure just hours before this week’s results show, where 4 contestants were narrowed down to 3 in the semifinals. The evening was more interesting for the enraged reactions of judges/mentors Cowell, Reid and Spears, who all have acts in the top 4.

Thankfully, Demi Lovato was not present because all her acts have been eliminated. Dubbed “Cruella Lovato” by Cowell on Wednesday’s performance show, Lovato and her caterpillar eyebrows have become grating, offering no substantive feedback and spatting whiny insults to Cowell about his age, who frequently responds like a hibernating bear that has just been prodded mid-slumber.

With Season 3 negotiations vast approaching, Lovato could stand to remember Cowell is not only her fellow judge, but the producer and her boss.

Cowell displayed mixed emotions last night, as one of his remaining groups, Fifth Harmony, made it into the Top 3, while his other act, consistently popular boy group Emblem 3, was eliminated.

Emblem 3’s elimination came as a huge surprise, as many had seen them as the second coming of One Direction, another act Cowell discovered–a truth he constantly reiterates.

Even Cowell called Fifth Harmony’s victory over Emblem 3 a “miracle.”  Fifth Harmony has been a consistent underdog all season, with Reid once rechristening them “Fifth unison”  for their flat vocals.

Judge Britney Spears certainly did not seem pleased with Fifth Harmony’s move to the finals. Using possibly the most emotion she has displayed all season, Spears gave a disgusted and incredulous face when host Mario Lopez announced the girl group was safe.

When co-host Khloe Kardashian prodded Spears about her reaction, the pop star admitted in the understatement of the season, “I was a little disappointed.” Loquacious, she is not.

Maybe Spears had a soft spot for Emblem 3, with their boyish charm and golden locks recalling her own ex-flame and former boybander, Justin Timberlake.

Spears did have one reason to celebrate. Her final contestant, big-voiced Carly Rose Sonenclar, made it to the finals, as did middle America’s favorite cowboy (and Reid’s remaining contestant), Tate Stevens.

Next week, Stevens, Sonenclar and Fifth Harmony will compete for the $5 million recording contract. Here’s hoping Spears’s brutally honest facial expressions stick around. The Xanax cloud appears to be lifting, and it’s getting interesting.

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