Wannabe pop star Sam Black has been given another shot at X Factor success after being brought back to the competition following the departure of Anthony Russell.
Russell, 27, withdrew from the ITV show for “personal reasons”, leaving a space open for a singer in the Boys category.
Black will rejoin the competition at the upcoming Judges’ Houses stage.
Judge Louis Walsh, who is mentoring the Boys this year, said: “Anthony has been fantastic across the series, a great singer and performer who we are really sad to see go.
“I had to think for a long time who could take the place. Sam had a great reaction from the British public when his audition aired.
“So I re-watched it and realised we missed a trick not putting him through at Boot Camp. He has that retro 60s style viewers will love. He’s really likeable and talented and I can’t wait to hear more.”
Black said: “Obviously, I feel terrible for Anthony because he is not only an amazing singer but also a lovely guy. He has even messaged me good luck.
“I really appreciate the second chance I’ve been given and I feel so lucky to get this opportunity. My family and I are over the moon.”
Russell, from Liverpool, had impressed the judges with his soulful performances but last month it was revealed he had dropped out of the competition.
An X Factor spokesman said at the time: “Earlier this month, due to personal reasons, Anthony withdrew from the show. We are sad to see him go and wish his all the best for the future.”
A source said: “The public support really did help him to believe in himself. So everyone hopes he will come back next year healthier.”
Viewers will see Black re-join the show and fight for a place at the live shows at Judges’ Houses on October 21 and 22.