L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell on “The X Factor.” (Ray Mickshaw/Fox)

“Over 16 million of you voted!” “X Factor” host Steve Jones says at the top of Thursday’s results show. That would be several million more people than actually watched the performance show. We’re betting 16 million votes were cast.

Without LeRoy Bell to forget it’s his turn to sing, or forget to put the microphone up to his mouth, we have no way to know if this week’s results show X-testant group sing is lip sync-ed. We miss LeRoy.

Steve and the judges agree that Michael Jackson Night on “X Factor” was a thing to behold.

On the other hand, Steve also thinks last week’s Pepsi plug, in which viewers voted to have the X-testants all sing on a Ferris wheel while dressed as circus performers, was “phenomenal.”

Two X-testants are going home tonight. The one with the fewest viewer votes is out; and Nos. 2 and 3 will have to sing for survival after which the judges will do the deciding.

In no particular order: those same viewers who thought the circus-sing was a great gas, also want to see more of Chris Rene next week.

And Melanie Amaro.

And Rachel Crow.

That leaves Marcus Canty, Astro, Drew and Josh Krajcik in the lurch.

Astro insists he’s on top of the world, when asked by Steve. Drew, however, admits she’s scared. Marcus thinks it’s pretty intense, and Josh confesses he’s nervous.

Before we find out who survives and who does not, let’s here from rapper Tinie Tempah.

He’s just gone platinum!

He’s the UK’s biggest selling rap artist!

He has a double platinum single!

He’s got four million record sales!

All this the producers feel compelled to broadcast across the screen – apparently convinced we have no idea who he is.

“Oh, love, love, love Tinie Tempah!” Steve emotes after Tinie’s totally generic performance.

Josh is safe.

And the X-testant with this week’s fewest votes is: Astro. Boos from audience members, who must be sorry now they didn’t vote! Drew is weeping; hugs all around for the little guy from contestants and judges, prompting Steve to command, “Get the hugs out of the way!” so he can do the post-game interview.

Astro is taking it all in stride: “The only reason I’m mad is I don’t get to see my girl that live in Cali!” he shouts. He gives final thanks to “Team Astro and the Astro-nauts” then it’s goodbye Astro -- we’ll probably see you again when you’re taller, and shaving, and your voice has changed, and it just won’t be the same.

So Drew and Marcus must sing to survive. Bet Simon is now regretting he called judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger “Squiddly” and “Diddly” after their critiques of his mentee Drew on Wednesday night in which they questioned her excruciatingly slow performance of “Billie Jean” while glued to a hard chair.

Before they go backstage, the two death-match X-testants get to say last words.

“I’m nervous and I just hope everybody can see my true talent and that shows in my save me song,” Drew says tremulously. Marcus, who’s obviously been paying close attention to the judges’ perennial comments on him, that he gives his heart and soul in every performance, promises, “I’m just giving you my soul tonight.”

Steve throws it to Paula the Impartial (she has no mentees left in this competition) for the sendoff comment from the judges’ table. She orders them to “hijack this and kill it!”

Up first: Drew. The song: Roxette’s “Listen to Your Heart.” The tempo: Drew-time, slow as ever though this time, she’s up and moving around the stage then around the judges table, dispelling at least the suspicion that Simon has had her sit still and sing slowly because she’s easily winded. It’s a little wobbly -- but then so is her emotional state. She ends the performance sobbing and disappears into a bear hug from Steve.

Now it’s down to Marcus, but first he has a few words -- again. “I’m here, I’m humble, I’m just trying to give you my heart and soul,” he says, in case the judges have short-term memory loss. His number is “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)”, from Gladys Knight and the Pips. He squeals all of the high notes, but it’s well- covered with some emotional chest thumping, pleading hand gestures, pained faces. How would we describe it – oh yes, he’s giving it his heart and soul.

Comments time from the judges’ table. “Your saving song was done quite well,” LA Reid tells Drew, which is intended to make us believe he’s not just going to vote to send Drew home and hang on to Marcus because Marcus is one of LA’s mentees – but because Marcus is a solid B student with a great attendance record.

Never kid a kidder, LA.

It’s Simon’s turn to vote, and he looks stricken – no doubt remembering that “Squiddly and Diddly” gag.

“The reason Drew is in this position tonight is my fault. …I should have listened to what everybody else was saying…I shouldn’t have chosen that song, it was too slow.” Simon wants to send Marcus home -- not out of any personal interest in his mentee but because “I genuinely believe the one America wants to stay is Drew”.

Nicole, aka Squiddly, pretends she is voting based on how, “Marcus, I feel your heart and your soul is on the floor for everybody.” She votes to cut Drew.

Paula the Impartial, aka Diddly, gets the final vote. Both contestants deserve a record contract, she says, but “a save me song has to move, move, move me…I’m sorry, I’m sending you home, Drew.”

Steve asks Drew for her thoughts. “I have a lot more to show you guys,” she says. Steve turns to Simon, on stage by Drew’s side, but he refuses to say anything – too busy contemplating ways to rub out Squiddly and Diddly. A few minutes later, however, Simon does volunteer, “I don’t think she deserves to go home…She’s a little star and America knows it.”

And then, a last-minute new direction for Drew: “Jesus loves all you guys! That’s what I truly got into this competition for -- and now I’m saying it.” Not sure America caught that over the noise but, anyway, doesn’t matter now.

Next week: Lenny Kravitz and Mary J. Blige, Steve informs viewers, before summing up: “It’s been an absolutely shocking night!”


‘X Factor’: Top 7 tackle Michael Jackson tunes while his kids watch

‘X Factor’: Double X-testant elimination after night of thanks

‘X Factor’: Top 9 give thanks, Simon snipes, Astro eats humble pie