Music mogul Simon Cowell struggled to select his six finalists during The X Factor's controversial Six Chair Challenge.
The head judge described whittling down his Overs category as "torture" as he repeatedly changed his mind about the fates of several contestants.
Session singer Vicky Ann Nash from Birmingham was seated, unseated, seated once more and ultimately unseated as the gruelling X Factor process unfolded.
In this part of boot camp, each judge chooses six acts to take through to Judges' Houses by granting one a seat on stage if they are considered good enough.
When all six chairs are taken, if a better choice comes along, a seated contestant can be swapped out of their chair - and possibly out of the ITV singing series.
Cowell also reversed his stance on Kent teacher Tonatha Raihan. The 28-year-old was unseated, seated and finally unseated as she made way for singer Bupsi from Leeds.
Bupsi's rendition of Respect by Aretha Franklin was not the best vocally, but the 37-year-old did enough to go through to Judges' Houses at Raihan's expense.
Joining Bupsi in the next stage is Max Stone, a 27-year-old musician who was the first of the Overs to be seated thanks to his version of Bob Marley's Turn Your Lights Down Low.
However, the Londoner lost his seat and endured a long wait before he won it back when Cowell had a change of heart at the very end of the episode.
"Max, I want to apologise. I don't think I was fair to you. I think you have got a voice and I have learned to listen to the audience," he told the relieved singer songwriter.
The X Factor supremo, who has previously lashed out against being "stuck" with the Overs, had harsh words for finalist Anton Stephens.
Cowell complained that the 44-year-old from London, who sang Luther Vandross hit A House Is Not A Home, pulled "weird faces" when he performed.
Stephens replied: "But if you're a bit poor like me, and your friends are poor, and you can't afford Botox, your face kind of moves."
The quip left Cowell in fits of laughter, alongside fellow judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Nick Grimshaw, and Rita Ora.
Backing singer Stephens will have to compete against Ebru, Jennifer Phillips and Kerrie-Ann Phillips (no relation) at Judges' Houses for a place in the live shows.
The trio of female singers enjoyed as smooth a passage to the competition's next stage as it is possible to get in the dreaded Six Chair Challenge.
Compared to Cowell and his Overs, judge Fernandez-Versini's only real dilemma centred around two gospel groups in her category. As if that was not enough, it was also sibling versus sibling.
Silvertone's Rachel McIntosh was up against her brother Nathan, a member of Bekln.
On the night, the girl group were judged to have out-sung the boy band with their soulful rendition of Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come. However, both groups are through to Judges' Houses.
The former Girls Aloud singer's final six also includes Menn On Point, Alien, The First Kings and Filipino sibling sensations 4th Power.
Next weekend's Judges' Houses sees the return of Mason Noise following contestant Tom Bleasby's decision to quit.
The 21-year-old hopeful was originally booted out of the competition for rowing with Cowell over the length of his Six Chair Challenge audition. He will rejoin Grimshaw's boys.
Judges' Houses also includes appearances from guest mentors All About That Bass star Meghan Trainor, singer Jess Glynne, producer Mark Ronson and One Direction's Louis Tomlinson.
Aired over two nights, this stage of the competition will make X Factor history as it will be the first time the final 12 are announced live.
The X Factor airs on Saturday October 24 at 8pm