There was a massive bloodletting on The X Factor tonight, with each judge having to shrink his or her team by one—and in Simon Cowell's case, two—acts before the viewers get to start voting for their faves next week.
While the rest of the panel was there for input ("On this guy, you 100 percent failed," Simon told L.A. Reid at one point), it was up to each judge alone to make the tough decision.
And you can image how hard that was for Paula Abdul! But first up, L.A. had to cut one of his guys...
And it was immediately apparent that Phillip Lomax was not fine, as L.A. claimed when Simon bashed his song choice for the 22-year-old—the Monkees' "I'm a Believer," done the Smashmouth way.
"Pay that no mind, you're fine," L.A. assured him, a few minutes before sending him home. C'est la vie!
If L.A. had a tough decision, then Paula Abdul was in visible agony when it was time to get rid of a group, all of which brought something special to the stage tonight.
Sadly, it was the positively adorable Brewer Boys who got the short end of the stick and were passed over after perhaps being a little too Mumford & Sons for Simon and L.A.'s taste. Not that InTENsity wasn't exciting up there, but we could picture buying a record made by adorable musician brothers more than one from a makeshift Glee sound-alike group.
Nicole Scherzinger had to say a swift goodbye (probably because Paula took up all of her farewell time) to Dexter Haygood, despite his quirky Lenny Kravitz-meets-Prince take on two pop princess hits, "Womanizer" and "I Kissed a Girl."
But keeping Dexter would have meant losing Stacy Francis, Josh Krajcik or LeRoy Bell (Can we see a birth certificate here?! This guy's 60?!), and America wouldn't be having any of that.
After Nicole's sacrifice (at least Paula has someone to cry with now), it was time for Simon to pull out the double-edged sword and cut two promising young ladies from the competition.
And since Simon is always right and always picks the perfect songs, choreography and clothing...how would he ever be able to make a decision?!
Luckily, the girls helped him out a bit. Simone Battle made for a painless (for us and L.A. Reid, anyway) first cut, and, with Tiah Tolliver's ouster, we're not sure who we're going to miss more: Annie Lennox or Marilyn Manson.
To quote a certain American Idol host: "Here they are, America, your top 12!"
Astro, Chris Rene and Marcus Canty are representin' for L.A. The Stereo Hoggz, InTensity and Lakoda Rayne are holding down the fort for Paula. Stacy, Josh and LeRoy will most likely make Nicole incredibly proud next week. Lastly, but certainly not least, Drew Ryniewicz, Melanie Amaro and little Rachel Crow are hanging tough in Simon's corner.
Simon tried his best to hold the suspense, calling his last pick a "surprise" after putting through Drew (amazing tonight) and Rachel (the spunky survivor of a weird androgynous Justin Bieber experiment gone wrong). But picking Melanie was no surprise.
It would have been sheer lunacy if he had gone with any other trio.
Do you agree with this group? Who will you miss? And do you think any of the judges are still speaking to each other? Sound off in the comments section!