"X Factor" Recap: Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell Throw Down

Top 12 becomes 13 and the judges face off amid strong performances; Simon's girl group gets a new name.

By Natalie Finn
|  Thursday, Nov 8, 2012  |  Updated 10:18 AM CDT
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Recording artist and "X Factor" judge Demi Lovato

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This is starting to become a pattern for "The X Factor"--a talented act gets eliminated, the judges think better of it, and the hopeful gets to come back.

Diamond White is back in the game after Simon Cowell explained that they had "reconsidered" and realized she really deserved to be there. (So...Britney Spears' opinion means squat?)

Anyway, the 13-year-old's return to the competition means the night kicked off with a top 13 instead of 12--starting with the kid who Britney picked over Diamond last week, Arin Ray.

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Happily, the 17-year-old didn't let the night's big twist rattle his nerves, and he came out firing on movie night with Estelle's "American Boy" (you know, which was on the soundtrack to Obsessed, with Beyonce?).

Paige Thomas was theatrically lowered onto the stage on wires, wind blowing her skirt every which way (including up!). Despite totally flashing the crowd, she handled the mini-wardrobe malfunction like a pro and didn't miss a note of "Take My Breath Away."

But Simon would have preferred that Paige's mentor, Demi Lovato, shake up the arrangement a bit--and that was only the first time the two judges butted heads tonight, Demi seemingly having replaced L.A. Reid as the resident thorn in Simon's side.

Their next big disagreement came over Vino Alan, Simon taking offense when Demi rightfully praised the heavily tattooed soul singer's rendition of "When a Man Loves a Woman" (exponentially better than last week) but persisted in telling him she doesn't think he looks like a pop star.

"Demi, that's kind of a stupid thing you just said," Simon fired back, "because I had an artist called Susan Boyle who's 47 years old, who went on to become the biggest-selling artist in the world." (Vino probably doesn't envision himself being the next Susan Boyle, but it's the thought that counts.)

Simon also tweaked Demi by once again criticizing Jennel Garcia's look, a week after cracking that Demi was trying to turn Jennel into a clone of herself.

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"I really like you but you've got to listen to me here, this is important," Simon told her after she handily channeled Joan Jett in both shaggy hairstyle and vocal power on "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." "I don't like what Demi has done to the way you look. You are unrecognizable from the person who we first saw. She was fun and charming, this is a bit of a parody."

"I bet you all of them would buy a ticket to her concert!" insisted Demi, referring to the cheering audience.

The 20-year-old did throw Simon a back-handed compliment later in the night. "Who knew that in that rusty old brain there was some fresh, cool, hip thoughts?" she playfully said after Lyric 145 managed to nail "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." (That's not a typo, it's what they sang-and-rapped! Eat your heart out, chimney sweeps!)

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Meanwhile, movie night is never complete without a song from The Bodyguard, and Diamond filled the bill, belting out "I Have Nothing" with the poise and pipes of someone twice her age.

"I feel like you definitely channeled Whitney and she would be proud of that performance," offered an unabashed Britney.

CeCe Frey was rocking a Pink-like platinum pouf, but her vocal on "Eye of the Tiger" was wobbly and Simon thought the song choice "horrible" and warned the leopard-spotted singer that she was "being taken in a direction you don't want to be going." (Translation: Demi is taking you in a direction you don't want to be going.)

Miss "The Voice" tonight? Read our recap!

Tate Stevens ably handled "Wanted (Dead or Alive)" like the country crooner he is and Simon questioned Demi about whether she thought he, at 37, could sell records. "Yes, he looks like a pop star," she agreed. (Demi does need to get over the mental block she's hitting with Vino Alan, truly.)

On with the show: Beatrice Miller may have won a new legion of fans with her strong take on the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris." Emblem3 sounded exactly like One Direction doing a Katy Perry "My Girl"-"California Gurls" medley (which Demi warned Simon might not be the best direction for them). Carly Rose Sonenclar redeemed herself with "It Will Rain," a show-stopping ballad that Britney rightly said should have closed the show.

Instead, Jason Brock continued to play the lounge lizard with a performance of "I Believe I Can Fly" that Demi called "very predictable and cabaret." And then the newly named Fifth Harmony (formerly 1432) took it all home with "A Thousand Years."

OMG moments from "The X Factor"

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