Girl group Kandy Rain have become the first act to get the boot from the live finals of The X Factor 2009.

The four-piece – who had been the bookies’ favourites to leave – were eliminated after finding themselves in the bottom two alongside teenager Rachel Adedeji.

Both acts performed again for the judges, with both Cheryl and Dannii choosing to save Rachel.

However Simon – whose vote counted as double in the absence of Louis Walsh – sprung a surprise on the acts.

“I’m going to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m surprised we ended up where we ended up, not with the girls but with Rachel. That said I don’t think we’ve given the girls a fair whack, so I’m going to send Rachel home.”

His casting vote pushed the result into deadlock and back to being decided by public vote – with Kandy Rain revealed as the act who had received the fewest votes from viewers.

Afterwards the girls said, “We couldn’t have done any better. We just enjoyed every bit of it.”

Eleven acts now remain in the competition, including controversial twins John and Edward who were voted through to next week by the public – much to Simon’s amazement.

Favourites Lucie Jones and Danyl Johnson also made it through.

The show – the first of the live X Factor Sunday night results shows – also featured performances from last year’s winner Alexandra Burke as well as Robbie Williams.

However Louis Walsh was not there to see his act leave the competition, as he pulled out of Sunday’s show following the sudden death of Boyzone member Stephen Gately on Saturday.

In Louis’ absence Simon Cowell spoke of Gately’s tragic death.

“We got the news late last night,” he said, “and on behalf of us, the show, this is really really tragic news.

“I want to send out my condolences to the family, our thoughts are with Louis, that’s obviously why he’s not here tonight. They were incredibly close, he did a lot for Stephen.”

“But as they say, the show goes on.”