Simon Cowell chooses his final 4 groups to advance to the live shows. (Ray Mickshaw/Fox)

Spoiler alert: This blog post ends in morass of uncertainty, suspicion, near-criminal incompetence and, ultimately, ambiguity.

In case you’re wondering where “The X Factor” sits in the pecking order of the TV universe, the show opens about 40 minutes after the appointed time, due to the rain delayed Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.

For this episode of “X” we’re back on the sets -- excuse please, the “homes” -- of the judges, to find out which contestants will make the cut, and head to the live performance shows.

That includes:

-Judge Britney “Can She Send Any Contestant Home Without Breaking Down Into a Blubbering Mess” Spears, making the cuts for her Teen Team

-Judge LA “I’m Looking for the Whole Package and I’ve Never Seen It Yet In Anybody Over 25” Reid, who has been assigned to Team Over 25

-Judge Demi “She Brings The Young Adult Audience” Lovato, overseeing the Young Adults Team

-Judge Simon “Why Do The Nincompoops Keep Rescheduling My Show?” Cowell, who is judging The Groups, aka The Expendables.

We start the action with Team Teen Chez BritBrit in Malibu, CA. We see the kids receiving encouragement from their moms, and generally acting like good kids.

Except for our favorite Eve Harrington-in-training, Beatrice Miller, 13.

“You can’t compare yourself to anyone,” Beatrice’s mom says, encouragingly.

“Mom, one of us is a winner here. One,” Beatrice responds dismissively.

Brit summons each little contender to a picturesque spot, conveniently located at the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea, in case the producers should get lucky and any of the rejects want to fling themselves off the edge and into Howie Mandell’s roof below.

Brit sends through the live shows:

-Very cute and big-voiced Diamond White

-Broadway veteran Carly Rose Sonnenclar who says she desperately needs to survive to the live shows because, otherwise, she has to return to eighth grade. Quite a little actress, that Carly Rose. She’s even convinced Britney she’s just a cute little kid with a big dream; Brit frets “I don’t know if you’re going to be able to handle” the pressure of performing on a competition TV series.

-Arin Ray, at 17, the Over 13 of the group, and returning contestant from last year, whom Brit has previously dubbed eye candy, also sails through, though he’s not that good.

Forgettable rapper kid James Tanner is Brit’s first turn-down. “You’re going home sweetie,” Brit says calmly.

Here’s a surprise. After he goes, we see Brit’s sad rejection face. It looks exactly like we’d imagined Brit’s strange-smell face would look. It’s a major disappointment to us -- and surely to show creator Cowell, who must have sworn great oaths of “bloody” and “blast,” and all those funny harmless things Brits say under duress.

So that leaves Bea and Reed Deming, aptly dubbed by Guest Judge as a little “emperor” for his beyond-his-years self-possession.

Reed is out because he needs more technical development, especially in “using your breath correctly and using your stomach correctly,” Brit says serenely. “Life has crazy ways of working,” 13-year-old Reed says to the camera.

Beatrice, who has a very commercial voice, is through to what, we’re glad to say, she calls “The Yes Room.”

On to LA Reid, seated on a patio, somewhere high in the Hills of Beverly.

First up, David Correy, a heavily tatted, mildy engaging performer who keeps insisting he’s only in it to get in touch with his birth mother. So mom, if you’re watching, please don’t come forward till later in the season.

The next one is easy. Daryl Black, a good singer, but in the end nothing special, will go home. “I want the fire, I want the stardom,” LA explains.

Talk about a lot at stake! Jason Brock just lost his job as a tech support guy -- today, judgment day. “Can you become a massive star? Do you really fit?” LA says to the jolly, rotund Jason. LA decides Jason does fit after all. Good for LA, for taking a baby step out of his comfort zone.

Tate Stevens, who never takes off his cowboy hat, lets us know how much he does not want to go back to raking asphalt at his day job. LA’s score: Loveability level high, confidence level low, but still good enough to go through.

Now it’s down to two high-personality characters of the season. Tara Simon is high talent factor, low likeability. Vino Alan is high talent factor, high scariness factor. People “expect me to be a [mixed martial arts] fighter -- or inmate,” he correctly observes.

“I actually lost sleep over you,” LA says to Tara. But likeability trumps talent, and she’s out. Vino goes through. LA just lost the next Carrie Underwood, Tara affirms to the camera. Did anyone, besides Tara, actually think on getting into the team of LA Reid – the guy who doesn’t think anyone over the age of 25 is in any way commercial in the music industry – an over 25-year-old WOMAN had a dog’s chance?

Next, Demi Lovato and the Under 25 Adults. Demi sends thorugh Jennel Garcia though Jennel’s never topped her initial audition performance.

Willie Jones, who all the judges have affirmed is a big surprise because, they noted, he’s young and black but performs old-school country music.

“I feel an inner battle in your head,” Demi tells him, between R&B and Country, because apparently nature abhors crossover artists. Anyway, she sends him, and his contradictions, through.

We go to commercial break wondering, who will fill out Demi’s team of four: arch-rival Whitney Houston performers CeCe Frey and Paige White? Weepy Jillian Jensen? Or forgettable Nick Youngerman?

Back from commercial and …. Hello, it’s an episode of “The Mindy Project.”

Yes, somewhere in the underground Fox command center, buried deep in the rock of Manhattan beneath Rupert Murdoch’s coop building, next to the vault where he keeps the tons of bullion, Shepard Smith’s contract, and the Australian passport (just in case)…someone has tripped and hit the “Mindy” button with their elbow. Which means show creator Simon Cowell, having saved the best – himself – for last, did not get a single minute of screen time on tonight’s abbreviated “X.”

Not to worry. Fox sent us an email, assuring us those West Coasters won’t get to see even one single minute of tonight’s “X” – they’re stuck watching a repeat of last Wednesday’s episode!

And Fox says they’ll take tonight’s episode, from the top, and broadcast it again in its entirety, next Tuesday, Oct. 23, 8-10 p.m. ET.