The top 12 contestants of The X Factor 2017 have been revealed after Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh chose which Groups and Boys they wanted to take to the live shows.
Last night's episode saw Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger whittle down their categories, and tonight it was Simon and Louis's turns to make their tough decisions.
For the contestants, one intimate performance stood between them and a place in the line-up for this year's live finals.
It was a shock to the system for Sam Black, who only got to take part after successful contestant Anthony Russell quit the show, forcing Louis to draft in a replacement.
However, as it turns out, a 'no' didn't necessarily mean the end of the line. At the end of tonight's instalment, bosses confirmed a Wildcard twist, giving viewers the chance to bring back four axed hopefuls.
As usual, the Judges' Houses stage was filmed in stunning locations across the world, with each mentor joined by a special guest judge.
Groups - Simon Cowell
Simon's right-hand woman was none other than former X Factor judge Cheryl, who met the Groups in the south of France.
"I'm not here to judge you, I'm just here to tell Simon what's cool or not these days," she joked.
The Cutkelvins (Yes) - Realising that it could be their last performance in the contest, the Cutkelvins took a risk by changing their song last-minute, to a mash-up of Camila Cabello's 'Havana' and J Balvin's 'Mi Gente'. To quote Dermot O'Leary, it went "according to plan", with Simon responding: "That was really good. Is it perfect? No. Is it the right direction? A million percent." He later told the Scottish family trio they "could become really relevant", so it was a "no-brainer" for him to put them through to the live shows.
Lemonade (No) - Five-piece girl group Lemonade - one of whom already had a taste of Judges' Houses in a previous series - feel they have a more "soulful approach" than rival New Girl Band. In the hope of demonstrating that, they performed Hannah Grace's stripped-back cover of Fatboy Slim's 'Praise You'. Simon reckoned it would be "boring" to begin with, but said: "It was like 'boom' when you kicked in." Cheryl added: "The harmony arrangement was beautiful."
Although Simon said they'd proved they're "serious as a vocal group", the tough competition meant they wouldn't be moving forward. "I think any other year you'd have sailed through," he mused.
New Girl Band (No) - The New Girl Band only formed at the Six Chair Challenge, from five rejected solo Girls and Ash Holme, a former member of group NQ. However, their X Factor journey could be over before they've even picked a proper name. They performed 'Misbehaving' by Labrinth "because that's the type of music we wanna be making", but Simon's first reaction was: "I'm not gonna lie, there's a lot of work to do." He later told the six-piece they'd be going home because "there are a lot of issues here".
Jack & Joel (No) - There was another mash-up from quirky university pals Jack and Joel, who claimed they need to be "fun, exciting, engaging" because they're "not cool" enough. Simon though their beatbox medley of P!nk's 'Get The Party Started' and Missy Elliott's 'Get Ur Freak On' was "very infectious", but pondered whether they could be a "recording act" rather than just an "entertainment act". "They don't pop like the rest," Cheryl commented. Concluding that he liked "their personality more than their performance", Simon opted not to keep them.
Rak-Su (Yes) - Watford boyband Rak-Su have made waves by performing original material in every round so far, revealing that strangers have been singing their audition track 'I'm Feelin' You' back to them in public. Eager to keep up their momentum, the wrote a whopping NINE new songs in preparation for Judges' Houses - but settled on one, 'Palm Tree'.
"I think you've got a global appeal," Cheryl reacted. "When you rap, you're so London, Americans will love that." Simon added: "You've got the ability, amazingly, to write hit records." It was another "no-brainer" for the music mogul, with Rak-su booking their ticket to the live shows.
Sean & Conor Price (Yes) - After mixed reactions in the last couple of rounds, Irish brothers Sean and Conor knew they needed to "bring it back to the level" of their well-received room audition. Their acoustic version of P!nk's recent hit 'What About Us' did the trick, with Simon saying: "That the best I think you've sang, you looked happy and relaxed." Cheryl observed: "You're so natural and confident." It was the teenagers' "charming naivety" that convinced Simon to keep them on his team. "How could I say no to them?" he grinned.
Therefore, Simon's top three groups are The Cutkelvins, Rak-Su and Sean & Conor Price.
Boys - Louis Walsh
The last category up was the Boys, who were whisked to Istanbul. Louis was joined by BRIT Award winner Mika, who was previously a judge on the Italian version of The X Factor.
Aidan Martin (No) - Aidan was determined to make it to the live shows, saying: "I feel like now I'm finally on the right path in my life and in my music." Louis said he "sang from the heart" during his rendition of Ariana Grande's 'One Last Time'. Mika claimed he was so good that he "forgot about the view, forgot about the water, forgot about the sun" in their glorious Turkish setting. However, Louis worried that "he's almost too desperate sometimes" and could be a "risk" for the live shows. He decided not to take that risk and bid farewell to Aidan.
Sam Black (Yes) - Sam was extremely lucky to be at Judges' Houses, having previously been eliminated at Bootcamp. Louis gave him a second chance, inviting him back to replace Anthony Russell, who left the show for "personal reasons". Although the judges have previously questioned his musical direction, Sam stuck to his signature 60s vibe, singing Otis Redding's 'Hard To Handle'.
While Mika felt "there's a lot more voice in there", he noted: "You can see just by the way he's moving his head that he's got no technique. It's down to song choice, and believing in himself more." Ignorning the warning signs, Louis decided to hold on to Sam, suggesting he "totally believes in" the plasterer.
Leon Mallett (No) - Leon had to fly out to Judges' Houses without his brother Alex after they were split up for the Six Challenge, and Alex failed to get a seat. "I need to show I can do it on my own, he said. "If there's a time to shine it really is now." The 22-year-old put his own spin on Gabrielle's 'Dreams', including some rapped lyrics. "The tone's really nice, but it never reaches its peak, I feel like it's climbing to the summit," reviewed Mika. "It would worry me a bit." Leon may not be reaching that summit any time soon, as Louis decided to send him home.
Jack Mason (No) - Istanbul was a world away from Jack's usual scene, busking on the streets of Aldershot. "Singing has been my strong point all my life, and I don't want the competition to end," he proclaimed. Mika was impressed with his cover of Emeli Sandé's 'Clown', saying it was the "right performance, right song, right moment". Louis called him a "character", but wasn't sure if he has "star quality". The Irish music manager eventually parted ways with Jack, saying he's always given "good" but not "brilliant" vocals.
Spencer Sutherland (Yes) - Admitting that he has trouble "opening up", Spencer felt he needed to prove to Louis 'who he is' at Judges' Houses. To that extent, he decided to perform a self-written song for the first time, calling it the "most vulnerable thing" he's ever done. Mika praised 'Wasted Time' as "a good song", but the 'Grace Kelly' singer also suggested that Spencer had "a little bit of a stage school thing about him". Nonetheless, Spencer's vulnerability paid off, as Louis rewarded him with a live show spot.
Lloyd Macey (Yes) - Lloyd's nan famously sat with the judges at his room audition, and he hoped she'd prove a good omen for him again in Istanbul, taking a heart-shaped stone she'd given him as a child. The Welshman performed 'How Far I'll Go' from the Disney film Moana. "He's got a great smile, he's very loveable, but does he have enough grit? Is it all just a bit clean?" asked Mika. Lloyd's lucky stone worked for him, and he soon phoned his nan to deliver the news that he'd made the live shows.
Therefore, Louis's top three boys are Lloyd Macey, Sam Black and Spencer Sutherland.
Simon and Louis's acts are now headed to the live shows with Overs Kevin Davy White, Matt Linnen and Tracy Leanne Jefford and Girls Holly Tandy, Grace Davies and Rai-Elle Williams.
However, while the judges have made their picks, the line-up is not complete yet - as there will be not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Wildcards.
All of the acts cut at Judges' Houses are now facing a public vote, and the one that gets the most support in each category will return to the competition.
The vote closes tomorrow, and details on how to get involved are on the ITV website.
The X Factor 2017 goes live this Saturday at 8.20pm on ITV.