Simon Cowell vs. Demi Lovato: Who's Wiser on The X Factor?

10/11/2012 at 11:05 AM EDT

The X Factor: Demi Lovato, Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid
Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell
Dave Kotinsky/Getty

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

For the 60 acts who were quickly sifted, sorted and settled until there were but 24 left, Simon Cowell summed up the night within the first five minutes of Wednesday's The X Factor episode: "It's the moment of truth."

And many truths were spoken indeed: After those remaining transitioned from boot camp into the judges' houses, Cowell, 53, and fellow judge Demi Lovato, 20, assigned to the groups and young adults categories, respectively, proved honesty is always the best policy. (Judges L.A. Reid and Britney Spears will mentor the 25-and-older and teen groups, respectively.)

Cowell's lesson of the night? People have to like you. A lot.

To Texas darlings Sister C, he warned, "There's probably a reason why you haven't been picked up by a label yet, and I think it comes down to personality." The former American Idol judge, joined in his Miami Beach, Fla., home by guest Marc Anthony, continued: "It's yours to win or lose right now."

Lovato carried a similar tune: If you want people to like you, watch the 'tude.

The freshly minted judge, seated next to guest mentor Nick Jonas in her L.A. home, told a teary-eyed (albeit paint art-adorned and skin-flaunting) CeCe Frey that she can win over more fans by toning it down.

"All of this emotion right now is what's opening you up," she said. "If you can put emotion into your performance and people can see how vulnerable you can get – that is what will set you apart."

The words of wisdom from veteran Cowell and newcomer Lovato were as abundant as the talent, so tell us:

And for a complete list of the remaining 24 talents, click here.

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