Austin Drage was voted off The X Factor last night, with judges plumping for the raw talent of Rachel over his Essex charm.

In a cruel twist of fate it comes as he faces being number one this week alongside the show's other finalists as their Help for Heroes charity single enters the charts.

Austin had not done enough to ensure he escaped the public vote, despite being tipped as a potential winner of the competition.

He chose the Shirelles' Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? as his survival song and was in tears by the end of his emotional performance.

But the judges, choosing between him and Rachel, focused their attentions on the latter.

Cheryl Cole said: "Rachel, you haven't had a moment to shine yet - I'm going to send home Austin".

And Louis Walsh, deciding the judges' verdict for the second week running, agreed.

He said he would give a "second chance" to the person he viewed as having the greatest "raw talent" and "a lot more to give" – Rachel.

Although disappointed Austin responded positively to the news, telling host Dermot: "People haven't seen the best of me yet."

"You've got to look at the bigger picture," he added on The Xtra Factor. "I can be negative, but what's the point?"

Eight acts remain in the competition, which sees Mariah Carey as the guest performer next week.

02/11/2008 09:28:35