From left: The X Factor judges L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell
10/19/2011 at 09:00 AM EDT
Ah, the sweet 17!
On Tuesday, The X Factor
's judges – Simon Cowell
, Paula Abdul
, Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid – announced which four of the eight contestants they invited to their homes
would move on to the live shows as part of their team. And it was nothing less than an emotional night.
Here are the results: Simon: The Girls
Simone Battle, 22, was the first girl to make the cut. "I am blown away by how much talent there is in the girls' category," she said.
Drew Ryniewicz, 14, may have had the best notes from Cowell, who told her, "You weren't the best teenager, you were the best contestant of the whole day – absolutely sensational." Her reaction: "Oh Lordy."
Tiah Tolliver, 20, knew she had a fan in Simon, who fought for her when Nicole questioned her talent
Rachel Crow, 13, heard Simon say, "I loved your first audition. What I wasn't expecting was how good the others were going to be," before being picked to be on his team.
Melanie Amaro, 19, the audition sensation
, was heartbroken when Simon told her she would not be moving on. But then the judge admitted he made a mistake and headed to her family's home in Florida. "I wanted to personally apologize to you and your family for the mistake that I made," he said. "We're going to ask you to come back to the competition. We want you back for the live shows."
Paula: The Groups
The Brewer Boys: "A lot of people that connect with your sound. A lot of people don't," Paula told the brothers. "You deserve to be part of the live show."
InTENsity: "Ten personalities, ten different talents, how do you make it work?" Paula asked, before sending them through.
Lakoda Rayne started out as solo artists but were made a group during the competition. "It has been an incredible experience," Hayley Orrantia, 17, says. "They've taken four strong solo artists and made this super group."
The Stereo Hogzz: "I believe you guys are potential superstars," Paula told them. "We're going to work hard and we're going to kill it."
Nicole: The Over 30s
LeRoy Bell, 60, said, "Most people my age are retiring or thinking of retiring. I'm not even close to that." And Nicole agreed: "You are so going through," she said.
Stacy Francis, 42, made a splash
on the premiere episode of The X Factor
, when Simon told her she had one of the best auditions of all time. "It's so hard to believe," the Brooklyn mom said.
Dexter Haygood, 49, is a soul singer trying to get back on his feet. "My heart says one thing and my head says another," Nicole teased him. "I have a really big, big heart." He promptly jumped in her pool.
Josh Krajcik, 30, is a burrito maker, who said, "This is the beginning of a dream come true." L.A.: The Boys
Brian "Astro" Bradley, 15, is the Brooklyn hip-hop sensation. "You're a champion," L.A. told him. "You're on my team."
Phillip Lomax, 22, is an old-school crooner, who heard L.A. question whether he could do something other than impersonate Frank Sinatra. "I believe in you," the judge said. "All the advice I just gave you, take it to the competition."
Chris Rene, 28, is recently out of rehab. "The way I prepare is to stay in the moment, relax and practice as much as I can," he says. "Staying in the here-and-now is what is best for me."
Marcus Canty, 20, says, "I think this experience has nurtured me and made me realize that life is too short and to live through the moment."
Did your favorite make the cut? Who will you be rooting for? Sound off in the comments – but first vote in our poll: