Okay so who watched the X Factor elimination last night? Dramatic stuff, right?

In case you missed it, the shock result saw 13-year-old former favorite Rachel Crow sent packing after Nicole Scherzinger refused to vote, pushing the result to deadlock with the viewer vote going Marcus’s way.

But it’s what happened next that provided the X Factor USA’s most stunning moment to date. I’ve seen a lot of contestant eliminations over the years – but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a singer react quite like that!

In case you missed it – Rachel had a complete meltdown upon hearing of the result. She literally collapsed to the stage, bawling her eyes out, while Simon and her mom came onstage to comfort her. Meanwhile Nicole also collapsed into tears – and was later booed by the crowd. All great drama for the show. But I can’t have been the only person left wondering – was Rachel too young to be put in this position in the first place?

Of course Rachel’s elimination came hot on the heels of fellow female contestant Drew – who’s only one year older herself – and also had a mini-meltdown upon hearing of her own rejection. And earlier in the season we all remember how kid rapper Astro (15) reacted when he ended up in the bottom two. Astro displayed a seriously bad attitude and in the process turned the entire X Factor audience against him (myself included). He never really recovered from that moment.

So you do have to ask – is the X Factor age barrier set too low?

Personally I think it is. Look I have no problem with contestants being eliminated from a reality show – it’s a competition after all and everyone going in knows the rules of the game. I know that some of the contestants I’ve eliminated from my own shows have reacted badly, especially when there’s a big prize at stake. And as a producer you do feel bad for people – particularly if they’re sent home in the very early stages of a competition.

But there’s a difference between an adult (or an older teen) being eliminated from a show and a girl barely out of her tween years like Rachel. Crow’s reaction on last night’s X Factor was exactly how you would expect a child of her age to react – emotional, devastated, angry. Sure she will probably bounce back over the next couple of days with the flurry of press and publicity that will be thrown her way, but what about further down the line. What if all the attention doesn’t amount to anything and Rachel doesn’t secure a record deal or a Disney Channel TV series as most of us assume she will. Will Crow feel as though she ‘peaked’ at the age of 13? Remember this is a girl who’s already had a rocky start in life, a reported ‘crack baby’ who was adopted by her family at a young age. Does Rachel’s onstage bravado mask insecurities and wounds that the X Factor audience doesn’t get to see.

Look I think Rachel is a VERY talented young girl who totally deserved her place on The X Factor. But she would have been just as talented at the age of 16 – which is where I think The X Factor age bar should be set. I just don’t think kids should be exposed to such public rejection at such a young age – even if it makes ‘great’ TV.

But what do you think? Are some of The X Factor contestant too young? Or is it up to the parents to make the decision on behalf of their kids? Comment away…