The X Factor: Emotional Night Leaves Judges and Contestants in Tears
12/05/2013 AT 08:50 AM EST
For the first time this season, contestants performed two songs, one from a diva and one "unplugged," which is when the raw emotions began to surface.
The waterworks started after Simon Cowell's group Restless Road performed "Wake Me Up!" by Avicii. The trio began crying when Kelly Rowland told them "each one of you left your hearts" on the stage.
"You need to cry," Paulina Rubio said to the boy band, "because this is real and this is happening."
Rowland and Demi Lovato wiped each other's tears following Rion Paige's "vulnerable" performance of "Glass" by Thompson Square.
"Sweet girl," a crying Lovato said to the 13-year-old. "I guess why I'm so emotional is because every word of that song is what you're about … [You remind us we] don't have to perfect."
And when the boyfriend-girlfriend duo Alex & Sierra sang "Say Something," all of the judges, including Cowell, became downright verklempt.
"You never took your eyes off of each other," Lovato told the pair, who played guitar and piano during their unplugged performance. "It brought tears to my eyes."
"This wasn't just the best performance of the night," Cowell said, "it's my favorite performance of the season … beautiful, sincere, fantastic."
So who will make The X Factor's Final Four? The elimination show airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on Fox.