The X Factor already has its top 40.
Ten acts for each of the four categories – boys, girls, over 25s and groups – were chosen on Thursday’s show and will be advancing to a brand new elimination round called the “Four-Chair Challenge,” (not to be confused with The Voice).
So who made the cut? Keep reading to find out …
The Girls: Khaya Cohen, whose rendition “I Put a Spell on You” wowed the judges, was the first female to make the cut. Rylie Brown, who charmed the judges with her version of Zedd’s “Clarity” and Simone Torres, whose memorable version of “Mustang Sally,” was called “the best audition” by Simon Cowell, also advanced to the next round, as did standouts Bree Randall, Jamie Pineda, Danie Geimer, Primrose Martin, Ellona Santiago and Rion Paige – an inspiring 13-year-old contestant who was born with a rare disorder called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita.
Last but not least, Ashly Williams – who dedicated a moving rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” to her murdered mother last week – will advance to the next round. “I represent every girl who has ever been told no,” she said through tears.
The Boys: The first guy to make it through was Carlito Olivero, a barista from Chicago who impressed the judges with his version of Rihanna‘s “Stay,” Joining Carlito were charming 19-year-old waiter Al Calderon (whose days singing “Happy birthday” at the restaurant are probably numbered) and fellow male standouts Chase Goehring, Timmy Thames, Isaiah Austin, Josh Levi, Isaac Tauaefa, and Tim Olstad.
Not surprisingly, Carlos Guevara – the 16-year-old with Tourette syndrome who wowed the judges with his version of “Gravity” by John Mayer – also made it through. And 14-year-old standout Stone Martin nabbed the final spot on the boys’ team.
The Groups: Roxxy Montana, the girl group made up of three sisters from Detroit that Simon called “potentially the best group we’ve ever had,” made it through to the next round, and so did the groups “Glamour,” and “Girls United” – both of whom impressed the judges on Thursday’s show with their performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Jessie J’s “Price Tag,” respectively. Also making it through were the groups “Good News,” “Yellow House Canyon,” “Wild Thingz” and the boyfriend-girlfriend duo “Alex and Sierra.” Later in the show, the judges revealed that a handful of contestants who had been eliminated, would be paired together in three new groups, including a male country trio, a female trio and a teen boy trio.
The Over 25s: And last but not least, several contestants advanced in the over 25 category. They include: 36-year-old Jeff Brinkman, a married dad and doggy-daycare owner; Rachel Potter, a 29-year-old bartender from Nashville and fellow contestants Lillie McCloud, Kristine Mirelle, James Kenney, Allison Davis, Lorie Moore and Jeff Gutt.
Rounding out the top 10 were two standouts from Thursday’s show: Denny Smith (a.k.a. “Santa Claus”) who impressed the judges with his passionate performance of “Stormy Monday Blues,” and Victoria Carriger, a single mother of eight who wowed the judges with her touching performance of “Because of You,” which Simon called “extraordinary.”
But contestants weren’t the only ones who found out their fate Thursday night – the judges also learned which groups they’d be mentoring for the remainder of the season. Demi Lovato will mentor the girls, Kelly Rowland will mentor the over 25s and Paulina Rubio will work with the boys. And despite wanting to work with the boys, Simon seemed happy when he learned he would be mentoring the groups, even declaring in typical Simon fashion: “I’m going to win it this year.”