updated 10/10/2012 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/11/2012 AT 11:05 AM ET
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.”