"The point of this challenge is very simple, which is just be better than your opponent. One could make it. Both could make it. Neither could make it," explained Simon.
So who out-sung whom? Who won each vocal duel? Who were the last men and women (and some kids!) left standing? And more apropos for this episode - who choked, who forget their lyrics, and who bawled big time?
Here are the most memorable match-ups from tonight's Boot Camp bonanza...
Tara Simon vs. Jennel Garcia: Tara took charge and chose "Landslide," which didn't exactly serve Jennel so well. They tried to show their softer sides, but Simon wasn't feeling it. "Uh, I don't know why you chose that song, either of you...Just don't get it." Did you guys get it? The judges placed the blame on Tara.
"I'm gonna guess, Tara, you chose the song and you know what? I felt really bad for you Jennel," said Simon. "She just totally clipped her wings," he added. "Jennel, she was just like this washed up afraid little person compared to where we first saw her."
Carly Rose Sonenclar vs. Beatrice Miller: The two 13-year-olds drew an immediate "awww" from Britney Spears as they stepped out onto the stage for Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks." Beatrice sounded a bit sultry for her age, while Carly Rose brought some true grit to the song. Well done by both girls.
Vino Alan vs. David Correy: Loved how the producers matched up roommates. Simon did say, "It should bring out their competitive spirit," and it certainly did. "Vino is my brother, but today I need to crush the competition," said David. It was tattoos vs. tattoos, mano-a-mano, tough dude vs. tough dude, but they both seemed a bit softer doing Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?"
It seemed to go well until Vino took a hissy fit after the show, punching a wall, and saying, "That's serious. I just [messed] up serious." Uh, did he? The judges seemed to like both of them. However, Britney admitted, "He scares me a little bit."
Diamond White vs. Dinah Jane Hansen: Taking on Kelly Clarkson's chick anthem, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," Diamond proved to have a stronger hold on the lyrics as Dinah forgot a few. Did anyone notice? Did it matter? Britney loved them both.
Sister C vs. Lauren Jauregui: Their duel on "These Arms of Mine" prompted Britney to say, "I think Sister C's annoying." "Really not likeable," added Demi. Guess we know who they're not picking!
Brandon Hassan vs. Reed Deming: Are we getting sick of One Republic's "Secrets" yet? Nah! These two soon-to-be teen and tween heartthrobs nailed it. L.A. Reid was super impressed by their passion, seriousness, and competitiveness. Good going, guys!
Ally Brooke vs. Julia Bullock: After performing "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," Simon said, "different league, right?" Was he talking about Ally, Julia, or both? "Somebody won and somebody lost in that battle," added L.A. Which one do you think it was?
Jeffrey Adam Gutt vs. Matthew Allivato: They tackled The Band Perry's "If I Die Young," but who survived the duel? Hard to tell. Demi said of one of them, "He had the fire behind his eyes," while Simon said, "I think he's had his time." L.A. seemed to agree. What do you think they meant, and who we they talking about?
Tate Stevens vs. Willie Jones: The two country guys with the deep voices naturally went head-to-head and unlike a few before them, a clear winner was found. Willie forgot the lyrics to "Nobody Knows" early on and never quite recovered. Tate took over and nailed it. Afterwards, the judges suspected a little manipulation in the song choice when they found out it was a ditty Tate knew well, but that Willie never heard. "I think Tate knew what he was doing," said Britney. "Tate hustled him," said L.A. "I think there's an agenda," said Demi. "Yeah, the agenda's to win," responded L.A. (touch?!) Poor Willie broke down. "I just bombed...," he cried.
Arin Ray vs. Normani Hamilton: Hmmm. A backstage romance brewing here? Arin did say, "I wouldn't have wanted to perform with anyone else." Awww. They had great chemistry and seemed to be real good pals and delivered on One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" amazingly. The judges dug it, but Simon might have a not-so-secret plan for him. He said, "I like him, but I can also see him in a band as well." Uh, hello?! He was in the band InTENsity last season and he came back to be a SOLO artist. Don't stick him in a band again, Simon!
Jillian Jensen vs. Latasha Lee Robinson: Arguably, the oddest pairing of the night. The girl with a lot of heart, soul, and a tearful backstory about being bullied versus the out-going, bold, attention-grabbing singer with the flower in her hair. It was a weird pair but it resulted in one of the tenderest moments on the show. When the brash Latasha forgot her lyrics on Sugarland's "Stay," sweetie Jillian mouth the lyrics to her. Unfortunately for Latasha, it didn't help. Latasha cried and yelled afterwards saying, "I worked my ass off!" followed by "That little 19 year old just stood there and outshined ME." Oh, gurl, puleeeze! Remember the lyrics next time!
Speaking of forgetting lyrics...that happened a LOT on this episode. In the Freddie Combs vs. Jessie Bryant showdown, the wheelchair-bound heavyweight kicked off the forget-fest, followed by Jessie, who also forgot the words. Afterwards, Jessie cried, "All my eggs was right there!" Nick Youngerman also messed up on the words. "I can't remember the freakin' words. I'm chocking." Little Jordan Shane totally spaced on the lyrics as well. "That's so painful to watch," said Demi. But it was Britney who had the hardest time watching. "I don't like that she's crying. It makes me want to cry that she's crying. I don't want to cry," said Brit, to which L.A. replied, "You already are."
Okay, onto what most would deem the biggest showdown of the night: roommates Paige Thomas vs. CeCe Frey. They already had a sing-off of sorts on Wednesday's episode when they both chose Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" to sing. Now, they were matched up for real on One Republic's "Secrets," which was a song CeCe wanted, but Paige didn't.
Before the driven pair hit the stage, L.A. said, "Uh oh, it's show time." And, uh oh, he was right. Paige forgot the lyrics a bit, but it seemed the judges forgave that. When asked why they want it so badly, a tearful Paige said, "I don't fit in anywhere else except for under the spotlight." CeCe topped that with this: "I want to succeed as bad as I want to breathe. I want this like the very oxygen that is in my lungs. I don't know if you believe in me yet, but I will make a believer out of you. And I will not leave this competition until each and every one of you believes that I am your winner." File that under: INTENSE!
Simon said he liked them both. CeCe thought she nailed it. "She messed up. I didn't. That's great," she said.
It. Is. On!
One last thing! The Pepsi with THE X FACTOR was announced tonight! The winning flavor was Demi's pick: Dragon.
Up next on THE X FACTOR: Boot Camp finishes up and Judges' Homes begins on WEDNESDAY at 8/7c on FOX. The Judges' Homes phase continues on THURSDAY at 8/7c on FOX. And, yes, that was Justin Bieber, will.i.am, Nick Jonas, and Marc Anthony you saw in the teaser as guest mentors! Can it get any better?!