As "X Factor" eliminations rolled around again last night (Oct. 18), only 17 of the 32 contestants left the judges' homes as competitors in the live round. Nearly every contestant was in tears, whether celebrating or mourning shattered dreams, yet one contestant convinced Simon to -- gasp -- change his stubborn mind.
The first pair facing Simon was Tora Wolloshin and Simone Battle. Tora's performances have only gone downhill since her first audition, while Simone has been steadily maturing. Although Tora had the pop star charisma and personality, plus one of the best auditions, Simon saw more potential in Simone and eliminated accordingly.
Drew Ryniewicz, a 14-year-old Justin Bieber superfan, was the next to face Simon, who told her that he "saw an improvement" and she "could not have done more." Although he continued, "I'm not going to lie. You weren't the best teenager."
As the young star looked down and began to accept her fate, Simon finished: "You weren't the best teenager, you were the best contestant of the whole day." After squeals of disbelief, followed by Simon's reassurances of "Yes, I'm legit. I'm for real," Drew rushed offstage to celebrate.
Video: Drew Ryniewicz' "Judges' Houses" Audition
Nicole told burrito-making Ohio boy Josh Krajcik that he was the unassuming guy next door, but then he came in "with this great big voice and so much soul." She sent him on to the live round and sent home former child star Christa Collins and rocker James Kenney, who she believed was meant to be a frontman, not a soloist.
During his "Judges' Houses" audition, Dexter Haygood bombed. He was assigned Beyonce's "Crazy In Love," and it was so far out of his comfort zone that he awkwardly forgot many of the words. "As we speak, I am homeless," Dexter told the cameras before facing Nicole. "I don't have no money, I don't have nothing but a car and a jacket. I don't think no one in this competition… they may want it as much as I want it, but they don't need it as much as I need it." But Nicole saw his spark and his potential, recalling his first audition, and she chose to take him forward to the next round.
Video: Dexter Haygood's First "X Factor" Audition
Paula's first decision of the day was between three groups: 2 Squar'd, the Brewer Boys and Illusion/Confusion. Only the Brewer Boys were chosen for the live round and boy band 4Shore were also sent home, despite being "technically the most beautiful-sounding."
L.A. Reid chose teen rapper Brian Bradley, whose name is apparently now Astro, to move forward. As L.A. pointed out during the last episode, this will be America's first chance to judge a rapper in a singing competition of this magnitude. Phillip Lomax was also put through to the live round, although L.A. warned him that he can't "give Sinatra every night."