The judges have whittled down the field to the Top 12, and starting next Wednesday, America will finally be able to vote on who should stay and who should go on The X Factor. And now, to keep up with the changing times — and encourage more votes — it’s even easier to vote for your X Factor favorite. The show will be the first to open up official vote-casting via Twitter and Facebook. The more standard voting methods via toll-free calling, text message, online and in ‘The Xtra Factor’ mobile application on Verizon Android phones are also available. (As L.A. Reid might say, the only voting method missing is the kitchen sink.)

Once voting opens on November 2, Twitter users can vote by sending a direct message (DMs) to @TheXFactorUSA with the name of the act they’d like to vote for. Publicly displayed tweets don’t count, and 50 votes per Twitter account are allowed. Check here for the full details on how to vote via Twitter.

Now, what else is new in the world of The X Factor since the judges picked the Top 12? Let’s see:

Simon Vs. Nicole, Continued
I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only person annoyed by all the judge bickering during last night’s episode. You guys seem to agree that all the insults are obnoxious and distracting! Unfortunately, Simon doesn’t share our sentiment. (Of course he doesn’t.) When asked after the show about all the hate flowing between him and Nicole, Simon told Zap2It, “I wasn’t even listening. All I could see was this really angry face,” he says. “I thought it was funny.” Nicole clearly wasn’t as amused. Apparently during a commercial break, she “got out of her chair and directly into Cowell’s face. At one point even slapping the desk.”

Dexter Haygood is Relieved, Phillip Lomax Looks on the Bright Side
MTV spoke with the Over 30s and Boys eliminees after last night’s tough judge decisions, and both men had relatively positive outlooks, considering. “Let me tell you something: Being in a competition is a lot of stress,” Dexter Haygood said. “I’m not happy to be off, but it’s a good feeling knowing that the competition [has ended]. If you don’t win the Super Bowl, you’re glad the damn season is over.” Sounds like the rocker could use a little rest.

Simon may have thought his version of “I’m a Believer” was too throwaway, but Phillip Lomax owned the choice, telling MTV, “I thought it was a good song. Definitely out of my comfort zone, but I decided to go with what my mentor told me to do and I had faith. I still have faith. I’m still a believer,” he chuckled before censoring himself. “Sorry, that’s way too corny.” As for his elimination, Phillip’s trying to focus on how far he’s come, not when he got let go: “I’m obviously disappointed, but I have to look at this in a positive light and realize that I’ve accomplished what not many people have.”

What About the Ratings?
Last night’s first live show posted better numbers than the pre-taped auditions episodes, bringing in a total of 11.4 million viewers. It’s not the 20 million that Simon initially promised, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Simone Battle’s Music Video: “He Likes Boys”
Who’d want to go out with grace when you can go out with a bit of shameless self-promotion? After her non-shocking elimination at the end of the episode, instead of thanking the judges for the opportunity, Simon’s image-obsessed contestant Simone Battle thanked them for “the platform” and announced that she’d be releasing her first music video within hours. Because no one has more faith that Simone battle is born to be a pop star than … Simone Battle. And here she is, singing about her gay crush who loves Lady Gaga and vintage shopping. In the sarcastic words of Nicole Scherzinger, “Well that wasn’t predictable at all…” But at least there’s a Clueless homage in there:

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.