Scotsman Rikki Loney became the second act to be voted off the X Factor as Cheryl Cole gave an “incredible” performance of her new single.
The 21-year-old from Dennistoun said he had “enjoyed the whole experience” of being on the programme.
Rachel Adedeji managed to survive after finding herself in the bottom two for the second week in a row.
Loney's mentor Cole said she was “gutted” and could not believe that twins John and Edward Grimes remained in the series.
Cole (26) performed her new single, Fight For This Love, on last night's live show.
She had previously come under fire for planning to pre-record her performance, but backtracked and eventually sang over some pre-recorded vocals.
The singer wore a military-style outfit with a red hat and jacket, and black trousers slashed down the sides.
After her performance, host Dermot O'Leary invited Simon Cowell to give his comments.
He said: “It's really going to pain me to have to say this but that was incredible.
“That was an incredible routine, great performance and unfortunately you're going to be number one next week.”
But viewers posting comments on the X Factor website were less charitable, complaining that she appeared to be miming in parts.
Outlawstar said: “What a joke! Contestants in a singing contest miming in the opening song and then Simon saying how brilliant Cheryl's performance was and she was also blatantly miming.”
Chelleyb said: “She should have sung live on the live show. It destroys her credibility completely and the credibility of the show. The fact that the contestants also mimed (or part-mimed) the first song doesn't help. What gives her the right to criticise others if she can't do it herself?”
Cole said she felt “fantastic” and thanked viewers, and fellow judges Cowell and Dannii Minogue for welcoming her on to the show.
Of her performance, she said: “I feel fantastic, I've really enjoyed myself. It's been a bit of a blur, it took me right back to when I started on Popstars The Rivals.”
Soul diva Whitney Houston, who has battled drug addiction, made her first UK TV appearance in 12 years.
She sang her single Million Dollar Bill, again over some pre-recorded vocals, and suffered a wardrobe malfunction when a strap at the back of her long silver dress snapped open.
The singer joked: “I sang myself out of my clothes.”
Fans commented on the website that she seemed nervous.
Bookmaker William Hill said Loney's exit cost them £60,000. Spokesman Rupert Adams said: “We were convinced that John and Edward (Grimes) would get the boot so were happy to take a lot of money for Rikki and that decision has cost us big time.”
Joint favourites to win are Danyl Johnson and Joseph McElderry at 3/1.