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X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos broke down in tears after choosing not to put one hopeful through to the final 12.

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She and fellow panellists Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger had to make tough decisions about who to put into the 12 singers who go forward to the live stages of the programme.

Among the acts to head through with a chance of winning were popular performers such as Melanie Masson, Lucy Spraggan and bookies’ favourite Ella Henderson.

But N-Dubz singer Contostavlos was left with tears in her eyes as she let Amy Mottram go last night, saying she was not sure she had made the right decision.

Mottram, from Romford, has been given a lifeline however, as one of the four acts who will battle it out to be the “wildcard” in the first live heat on October 6, with viewers voting which should be saved.

The four judges spent days with their acts at the judges’ houses stage of the contest to whittle them down.

Each judge had to choose three acts from an initial six, making choices based on their acts’ performances, and their prospects of a music career.

The over-28s group, mentored by Barlow, is Masson, who is from Glasgow buts lives in north London; Kye Sones from Pinner, London; and Carolynne Poole from Huddersfield.

The boys, mentored by Scherzinger, are Rylan Clark from Essex; James Arthur from Middlesbrough; and Jahmene Douglas from Swindon.

The girls, mentored by Constavalos, are Jade Ellis from Charlton, southeast London; Henderson from Grimsby; and Spraggan, who is from Buxton but lives in Sheffield.

The groups, mentored by Walsh, are GMD3, made up of teenagers Greg, Dan and Mickey who are originally from Essex, Cleethorpes and Porthcawl, but now live in Windsor; MK1, made up of Charlotte Rundle and Simeon Dixonm who are both from London; and Union J, made up of Jamie Hamblett, George Shelley, Josh Cuthbert, Jaymi Hensley, who are from Newmarket, Bristol, Ascot and Luton.

For the first time this year acts are allowed to perform their own music.

According to bookmakers Henderson is 11/8 favourite to win.

Take That singer Barlow said: “This year we really have got the cream of the crop with our finalists and it was tough for all of us to choose our three acts. The standard of talent has gone up this year and I think it’s the best ever line-up of finalists.

“The live shows will feel very different this year too as contestants can sing their own songs and play guitar - I can’t wait for Saturday.”

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