There was chaos as the final line-up of The X Factor was decided in Louis and Sharon's six-chair challenge on Sunday night
The X Factor judge Louis Walsh caused chaos at the show’s Six Chair Challenge as he dropped a girl band at the last minute after already sending them home once.
The second night of the most brutal stage of the competition saw three girl groups, 4 of Diamonds, Girl Next Door and Skarl3t vie for hotly-contested seats and a chance to compete at judges’ houses as Louis agonised over who to send home.
The ruthless challenge means those who are given a seat must wait anxiously as they face being replaced by another singer if the judge thinks the latter is more deserving of it.
Both Louis and fellow judge Sharon Osbourne narrowed down the acts in their categories – the groups and the over 25s respectively – to six during the episode, after Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger put their contestants through the process on Saturday.
Walsh initially refused to give Girl Next Door a chair in the challenge and sent them home, but after deafening boos from the crowd and loud chants of 'Bring them back', Louis summoned them back to take the seat he had already given to boy band No Getaway.
Just minutes later the girls were ousted again when urban trio Skarl3t performed an impressive rendition of Jessie J’s Bang Bang.
After lining up Girl Next Door, Skarl3t and another girl group, 4 of Diamonds, to whom he had already awarded a seat, Louis once again sent Girl Next Door hone.
Those were not the only comings and goings in the tumultuous show – novelty duo Ottavio and Bradley were awarded a seat after performing Kelis’s hit Milkshake, but were sent packing to make room for boy band Yes Lad.
After lobbying from Sharon and Nicole, who told him his category needed 'spice', Louis called the boys back to reclaim their seat from the crushed members of Yes Lad.
Louis struggled so much with his decision that Sharon lost patience, telling him: “Do it. Louis, come on.”
After Louis settled on his line-up, made up of boy band 5am, Skarl3t, 4 of Diamonds, twin brothers The Brooks, Ottavio and Bradley and couple Tom and Laura, Simon told host Dermot O’Leary: “It was chaos, I thought it was bad two years ago, but this was worse.”
However, he confessed to being impressed by his chosen acts, saying: “This category, I wasn’t sure about it. But now this could be the best category.”
Sharon also struggled with her decisions when assembling the over-25s who will go through to judges’ houses.
Sharon disappointed Italian campaign co-ordinator Marianna Zappi, 34, who was only in her seat for a matter of minutes after displacing James Craise, 29, only to lose her seat to Ivy Grace Paredes, 33, who followed her on stage.
Ivy Grace was later ruled out of The X Factor when issues over obtaining a US visa meant she couldn't make it Sharon's house stage. She has been replaced on the show by rapper Honey G.
Russian model Irina Dedyuk, 28, delighted Simon when her performance of Jessie J’s Mama Knows Best involved her whipping off the bottom half of her dress to reveal a much skimpier number.
Her moves earned her a seat, but her joy was short lived and Dedyuk quickly had to surrender her chair to Janet Grogan, 28, for her version of Ariana Grande’s One Last Time.
Janet joins Honey G, American singer Christopher Peyton, 46, Relley C, 26, James Wilson, 34, and Samantha Atkinson, 32, in Osbourne’s category.
The wildcards were later chosen on The Xtra Factor. There are:
Samantha Lavery – chosen by Louis for Simon Samantha, 16, sailed through the first rounds of the competition with Nicole calling her, ‘an English raw diamond in the rough’. Having originally secured a seat at the Six Chair Challenge it was the wrong song choice that led Samantha to lose her chair to Gifty Louise.
Samantha said: “I had no idea about the wildcard and couldn’t believe it when I got the call from Louis. I still can’t believe it’s real."
Ryan Lawrie – chosen by Simon for Nicole Having originally auditioned as a solo act and then made it to Six Chair Challenge in a newly put together boyband, it was Simon who first realised they’d missed a trick with 20 year old singer, Ryan, telling him, “We made a big mistake in not putting you through Ryan as a solo artist”.
Saara Aalto – chosen by Nicole for Sharon Finnish singer Saara Aalto, 29, was an easy choice for Nicole having supported her from her first audition when Nicole told her, “That was so good you make me want to twerk right now. My ass wants to clap for you. That’s how good it was”. That support continued through Six Chair Challenge when Saara failed to secure a seat and Nicole told Sharon, “She was one of the best ones”.
Yes Lad – chosen by Sharon for Louis Yes Lad said: “We thought that was it and we were out. It’s so surreal to now be going to Louis’ house. We feel we’re the underdog and have something to prove to Louis. We have Sharon on our side and she said that she believed in us so hopefully Louis will listen to her.”
The X Factor continues on ITV on Saturday at 8pm.
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.