The time has come everyone- the best of the best are suiting up and getting ready to face-off! It's the Judges' Homes round which means that we are just one step away from the highly anticipated live shows! After surviving Boot Camp, the remaining 32 contestants were separated into groups and assigned one of the four judges as a mentor. The stakes are raised as the competition is now not only between the contestants, but also between the judges to prove that they have the performer with "The X Factor!" Over the course of three episodes, contestants will get the opportunity to visit their assigned judge's home and the 32 will be cut into the 16 who will move on to the live finals.
The contestants had no idea who their category's mentor would be until they reached their destinations. The girls were sent to France to visit Simon, the groups went to Santa Barbara to meet with Paula, the over 30s arrived in Malibu to visit Nicole, and the boys left for The Hamptons to see L.A. The contestants, of course, cheered at the sight of their assigned judge. They then learned that each group would be cut in half.
The mentor of each group would decide which four contestants would remain. But there was a twist- each mentor chose a celebrity guest member who would help them cut the group in half. Nicole's guest was Enrique Iglesias, Paula's was Pharrell, Simon's was Mariah Carey who couldn't make it because of the hurricane causing him to decide to mentor his category on his own (I'm sure he wasn't too unhappy judging the contestants all by himself!), and L.A.'s guest was Rihanna. The judges and guests gave their groups pep talks then sent them on their way to prepare for the performance that would determine if they have what it takes to compete in the finals.
First up to perform in the boys category was Brian "Astro" Bradley. He put his all into this performance and seemed to redeem himself after last week. He won over Rihanna who exclaimed, "He's so cute!"
The first to perform in the girls category was Simone Battle. She sounded very good until her voice cracked. But surprisingly, Simon said, "I thought the crack added to the emotion."
Dexter Haygood was first up in the over 30s group. He gave an interesting performance of "Crazy in Love." He definitely had fun with the song dancing all over the place and even putting his foot up on Nicole's coffee table. His rendition was might I say, ‘crazy.' Enrique called Dexter "entertaining." I doubt that this is the kind of entertaining that they are looking for in a winner. Aware that his performance wasnt his best, Dexter broke into tears.
Next up for the boys was Skyelor Anderson who sang "Nobody Knows it But Me." Again Rihanna was impressed. She said, "The dimensions of his voice are incredible."
The next performers in the groups category were Lakoda Rayne, a group made up of four girls who were originally solo performers that were almost eliminated. They sang a country rendition of "Born This Way." They all agreed, "something was off," but hope the judges will give them the benefit of the doubt given their circumstances. I feel bad for these girls since they were forced together, but wonder if they are better off on their own; we'll just have to wait and see.
Stacy Francis was next for the over 30s. She sang "Purple Rain" and gave an extremely powerful performance. The girl can really belt! She even brought Nicole to tears. Although Nicole was impressed by Stacy's performance, she wonders if she will be able to overcome her confidence issues.
The Brewer Boys sang an average version of "Only Girl in The World." Phillip Lomax sang, "Please Don't Stop the Music" and had the added pressure of having to perform in front of Rihanna. She said, "he was very charming" and they both were "not sure if it works." Last up for the over 30s was James Kenny who sang "Russian Roulette" (sensing a pattern here?). His performance had a fun, rock feel to it.