The X Factor's Stevi Ritchie has said he feels really guilty for still being in the competition. Speaking after Paul Akister's shock exit from the show on Sunday, Stevi admitted he felt "really, really deflated".
"I'm happy and I'm really thankful the public have got me through, I really am," he said during an appearance on spin-off show The Xtra Factor. "I can't thank them enough.
Paul Akister's exit on Sunday shocked the judges and the audience
"But downstairs, I was just crying. Jay has been with me since Boot Camp and gave an emotional performance, and Paul was one of the best singers in the competition.
"Part of me just feels a little bit guilty," he added. "I just feel really guilty and deflated and for me, getting emotional… I just feel like that now. Words can't describe it."
Sunday night's show saw Paul and Jay go head-to-head after receiving the lowest number of public votes.
Contestant Stevi Ritchie has said he feels 'really guilty' following Paul's elimination
Their sing-off left the judges divided; Mel B and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini voted to save Paul, while Simon Cowell backed his act Jay. The decision was then left to Louis Walsh, who took it to deadlock – and Paul, who had received the least public votes, was sent home.
Nevertheless, Stevi is confident Paul has a great future ahead of him. "He'll get a record deal. He will. He's too much of a waste (otherwise)," he said.