updated 11/15/2013 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/15/2013 AT 4:00 PM ET
“We’ve grown so close to a lot of people in the competition and I didn’t want to cry or have them be sad on stage,” eliminated Sweet Suspense member Millie Thrasher, 14, told PEOPLE with tears rolling down her face after Thursday’s elimination show. “We would have loved to have gone further but I’m proud of us for how far we went.”
But Thrasher and her bandmates Celine Polenghi, 16, and Summer Reign, 17, were not alone in their sorrow Thursday night. Before the episode ended, country singer Rachel Potter, 29, was also sent packing after the mentors chose to send her home over the jazzy Khaya Cohen, 16.
“They had to make a very tough decision between Khaya and I,” Potter told reporters. “At the end of the day [mentor Simon Cowell] said that he had to go with who he thinks has the most potential, and KHaya’s half my age. I see the business in that. I’m not stupid.”
But fans can look forward to seeing Sweet Suspense and Potter at the Dec. 19 finale alongside Carlos Guevara, 16, who was sent home Wednesday despite being a fan and mentor favorite for his strength while battling Tourette syndrome.
“Since my first audition I have been able to have the chance to get on new medicine and to basically be cured. I’m not ticking,” Guevara says in an exclusive PEOPLE video, holding back tears. “I might be going home, but I am going home as a winner.”