Teenage singer Tiah Tolliver split the judging panel straight down the middle, with Cowell -- "I'm saying 'yes' a hundred percent" -- and L.A. Reid voting to put her through to the next round, and the female judges voting to send her home.
When Nicole Scherzinger said "I'll have to pass," the crowd started booing, and an irritated Cowell exclaimed "Oh, for god's sake!"
Paula Abdul's decision to say no was greeted with Cowell hurling a piece of paper to the floor and turning away in disgust.
In Abdul's opinion, Tiah just didn't have the singing chops to go through to the next round. When she pointed out that Tiah's lack of control made her incapable of holding a key, Cowell said Abdul must be deaf if she couldn't hear the potential.
In an attempt to sway the judges, Tiah then belted out an a capella rendition of 'It Don't Mean a Thing (If You Ain't Got the Swing),' which largely left the female judges cold, but had Cowell begging them to send her through.
Scherzinger seemed really uncomfortable voting against the crowd so had a last-ditch change of heart, voting in favor of Tiah. But she did have one caveat: "I see the steel in your eyes, but I need you to work on your vocals."
Check out AOL TV's take on the 'Top Five Memorable Performances' last night.
'The X Factor' airs Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8PM ET on Fox.