Half of the 32 X Factor” semifinalists performed on Thursday’s (October 13) episode, which was delayed by a day due to Fox’s coverage of Major League Baseball. The contestants ventured off to their mentors’ luxurious homes and strutted their stuff in front of them, each vying for one of 16 spots in the finals. In three out of four cases, the judges were joined by a super-special celebrity guest: In Santa Barbara, California, Paula Abdul was accompanied by Pharrell Williams; Enrique Iglesias was coupled with Nicole Scherzinger in Malibu, California; and Rihanna was by L.A. Reid’s side at his cozy estate in the Hamptons, New York. Meanwhile, over in France, Simon Cowell was stood up by Mariah Carey, whose plane was grounded by Hurricane Irene.

In the groups category, Salt Lake City, Utah, trio The Anser impressed Paula and Pharrell with their version of Pink’s Perfect,” though Pharrell seemed perplexed by a group member’s decision to leave his striking red-framed glasses off during the performance. Virginia Beach quartet 4Shore were praised for their sound take on Brownstone’s “If You Love Me,” though Pharrell suggested the group needs to “dirty up their style a little bit.” And both the judges and the members of Lakoda Rayne seemed to agree something was “off” during their performance of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way,” not surprising, considering the group was Frankenstein’d together by the judges and had never previously performed together as a unit.

According to TMZ, while taping one of the show’s segments, the N*E*R*D frontman spoke about the experience, telling the X producers that the show is, “like a trifecta.” “It’s like you’re getting rock, you’re getting alternative mentality, you’re getting hip-hop influence, you’re getting the visuals,” he said. Skateboard P then went on to mention, “Just being one thing is boring, right? You know, a girl with three tits…that’s where it’s at!”

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Lakoda Rayne – Born This Way
Lakoda Rayne performs “Born This Way” for Pharrell Williams and Paula Abdul at her house.

4Shore – If You Love Me
4Shore performs “If You Love Me” for Pharrell Williams and Paula Abdul at her house.

The Brewer Boys – Only Girl In The World
The Brewer Boys performs “Only Girl in the World” for Pharrell Williams and Paula Abdul at her house.

The Anser – Perfect
The Anser performs “Perfect” for Pharrell Williams and Paula Abdul at her house.