With 60 acts remaining and room for only 24 to advance to the judges' homes, Thursday night's "X Factor" was cutthroat to say the least. And if things were not competitive enough as is, the show added a new element to this year's boot camp: duels. Each contestant was put head-to-head with a partner, together singing one song. And even though no one was eliminated on Thursday (we'll find out next week who makes it to the top 24), Simon made it clear that this round was crucial.
"The point of this challenge is very simple, which is just be better than your opponent," Simon Cowell explained. "One could make it. Both could make it. Neither could make it,"
Think of it as "The Presidential Debates: The Musical."
Disappointingly kicking off the evening were Jennel Garcia and Tara Simon. While the judges were impressed by their Wednesday night performances, they were far from enthused by their delivery of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" on Thursday. "I don't know why you chose that song, either of you," Cowell said. "You didn't represent yourself."
Ten to One
Last season we were introduced to Arin Ray as a member of the group InTENsity. Fast-forward to Season 2 and Ray is back as a solo artist and winning over some of the judges — "My heart just melted," Demi Lovato said of his performance with Normani Hamilton — and contestants alike. When asked about the chemistry Hamilton and Ray had onstage when performing One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful," he replied, "I want to get that $5 million and then get a girlfriend."
Aside from fumbling slightly on the lyrics, there is no denying Dinah Jane Hansen did her thing when performing a striped down version of Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" but based off the look on the panels' faces it was Diamond White who really sparkled during the showcase. L.A. Reid went as far as saying White's finale was "genius" after the 13-year-old knelt down on both knees belting her last note.
"C" Is For ...
During their original audition in Austin, Texas, we learned the "C" in Sister C stands for the first letter in all three of the siblings' first names. While their performance with Lauren Jauregui Thursday night had male judges L.A. Reid and Cowell on board, Spears and Lovato found the (good-looking) trio "annoying" and "really not likable."
Although boot camp is notorious for cracking the contestants, it was not just the "X Factor" hopefuls who struggled during this part of the auditions. Even Britney Spears shed a tear after a series of singers forgot lyrics. While one of the most memorable breakdowns of the evening came from Latasha Lee Robinson, who drew a blank during her rendition of Sugarland's "Stay," it was not the 27-year-old from Texas who broke Brit Brit. Instead, it was Jordan Shane's reaction to forgetting her words that caused Spears to spring a leak.
Diva Battle (Continued)
It's not just the "American Idol" divas duking it out onset. A showdown between "X Factor" contestants Paige Thomas and Cece Frey began during Wednesday night's episode when both performed Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" back to back. The showdown continued into Thursday, when the two shared the stage singing OneRepublic's "Secrets." While all four judges seemed excited by the pair, Thomas's emotional explanation for wanting the title — "I don't fit in anywhere else except for under the spotlight" — just might have earned her some extra points from the panel.
Who was your favorite performer during Thursday night's "X Factor"? Let us know in the comments below!