Three into two would not go for X Factor judge Gary Barlow after he put through duo Rough Copy and then reunited them with former bandmate Kazeem to make them back into a trio for the live finals.
Two of the Croydon group, Joey and Sterling, were left a duo after visa issues stopped founder member Kazeem travelling to New York for the Judges’ Houses stage.
Joey said performing without Kazeem was “crazy weird”, adding: “We’ll always be a three. It’s just that there’s two left here to carry the weight. He’s relying on us to bring back the good news.”
They impressed Barlow, who put them through, but said that without their friend it was like “a body with a piece missing” and got him back involved.
They were joined in the final by Miss Dynamix and Kingsland Road, while Hannah Barrett, Tamera Foster and Abi Alton went through from the girls.
Here are the 12 acts battling it out to win this year’s show:
Location – Guisborough, North Yorkshire
The teenage supermarket worker has a link with last year’s winner, having grown up near James Arthur and performed with him at local gigs.
She plays the guitar and piano and writes her own songs and wowed the judges with a self-penned tune inspired by her break-up with her boyfriend – even making Nicole Scherzinger cry.
The pair are now back together and Abi said: “The song I performed on the show that made Nicole cry was about when I was going through a break-up. In between the first audition in the room and the arena, that situation happened and that song was really raw. We’d been together just over a year. Everyone goes through heartbreak at some point in their life and that’s why I decided to sing that song because ultimately I want to relate to people.”
Location – Gravesend, Kent
The student, who lives at home with her mother, auditioned as part of a duo called Silver Rock but they split up on the judges’ advice.
She almost blew her big chance when she forgot the lyrics to the song she was singing at the arena audition but was given a second chance and won the judges and the audience over.
She said: “I feel so blessed to have gotten through to the live shows: it’s such a crazy feeling I’m so lucky. How many people my age get this kind of opportunity? I’m going to love every second of it! I think the thing I’m most excited about is being in front of an audience. Ever since Bootcamp I’ve realised what a buzz it gives you and I can’t wait to feel that way again.”
Location – South London
The A-level student was introduced to music by her father, who died when she was nine but left her with a love of classic soul and jazz singers including Ella Fitzgerald and Anita Baker.
She fell out with her mother before her audition and currently lives in accommodation for homeless youngsters and also works part-time in a baker’s.
She said: “My mum is really old-fashioned and comes from a very strict Caribbean background; she’s not the type to say ’I’m proud of you’ or anything like that. The X Factor has brought me and my mum closer together again. Our relationship will take a long time to get to the point where we’re inseparable, but we’re working on it.”
Age 24, 25 and 27 respectively
Location – Croydon
The trio, who were put together by Kazeem, have been together for five years and share a house.
They pulled out of Judges’ Houses last year after visa issues stopped Kazeem travelling and that threatened to derail them again this year but Gary Barlow put the trio back together after a strong performance by the other two.
Sterling said: “We can’t even explain the feeling of having Gary as our judge. We used to watch Take That when we were younger.”
Age 20, 19, 22, 25 and 19 respectively
Location – East London
The boys all share a cramped house with three in one room and the other two in another but still insist they are “living the dream”.
Jay, who had to sleep on the floor of the house, said: “The five of us lived between two rooms at home, it wasn’t ideal but we’re like brothers so it didn’t really faze us. We loved it because we just got up and rehearsed every day.”
Josh said: “We just want to get out there now and give the performance of our lives. All we’ve wanted to do from the start of the competition is do performances that people will remember.”
Age 21, 16 and 22 respectively
Location – from London, Romford in Essex and Manchester
The three members of the group all auditioned separately, but Gary Barlow put them together at the end of bootcamp.
They all moved in together and reckon being a band is “really easy and fun”, but admitted it was emotional when they found out they had made it through.
Jeanette said: “We have cried a lot. They did a compilation of us crying and it was pretty long. We need therapy.”
Location: Farringdon, Devon
Single mother Shelley lives with her seven-year-old daughter Madeline and is a white van driver,delivering car parts, as well as pursuing her love of music by performing at weddings and birthdays.
After splitting from her fiance last year, she has revamped her image by losing weight, ditching her glasses and changing her hair. She previously made it to bootcamp in 2008 and 2012 but progressed no further.
She said: “I’m overwhelmed to be in the live shows and feel unbelievably proud that Mrs O sees something and believes in me. I was so shocked when she chose me. Apart from having Madeline, it was the best day of my life so far. Having watched myself back on TV, I have noticed all of the bad habits and silly faces that I sometimes pull. Now, I am going to rein all of that in and really focus on my performances.”
Prison officer Sam – who is married with two young children, Tommy and Brooke - often finds herself singing while she walks the corridors of her workplace.
She worked on cruise ships in the past but in recent years she has devoted herself to family and job, and now wants to pursue her dream.
She said: “I feel so lucky to be chosen for the live shows as there is so much talent this year. I didn’t think I would make it this far at all. I am excited about the impact of my new style on the audience; I can’t wait to show them more of my voice and what I can do. I’m not just a ballad singer; I’m somebody that can sing any style – even opera.”
Location: South Norwood, London
University student Lorna, who studies business finance, believes she has star quality and hopes to sell millions of records. She has adopted an alter-ego when performing on stage in the past, called Luscious, to help bolster her confidence, but is now just being herself.
She previously had success in a talent contest while living in Jamaica for two years where took an £8,000 in a “Tasty Talent” competition.
She said: “I’m most ecstatic about the fact I’m not going to be the one sitting at home wishing it was me. I get to live up that moment in week one. belting out a huge popular ’80s song, and pouring out my heart while getting some real pop dance moves on. I always knew it was what I wanted to do. I’ve left quite a few jobs as when an opportunity for singing comes up, I’m gone like a shot.”
:: Luke Friend
Student Luke loves giggings and he aspires to headline Glastonbury and perform at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
His dreadlocked hair has remained unwashed for nine months, and to maintain his look he showers with a cap on – only wetting it in the sea – and the wildman look has led to him being nicknamed Mowgli, after the Jungle Book character.
He said: “The whole X Factor experience has been wonderful and now I’m through to the live shows it is a wonderful feeling. The most exciting part of my first week’s performance is totally changing an ’80s classic and making it completely my style.”
Nicholas gigs in venues around the area and he lives with his father as his roadie, ploughing the money he makes into new equipment.
The student was desperate to audition and did so as soon as he was old enough to try out for The X Factor, and he is full of excitement for the live shows, as well as his other passion football.
“To be in the live shows is overwhelming and amazing as I never thought I’d be here and I am so thankful to be in this position. I can’t wait to perform in front of the nation and show everyone my talent. My family are 100% supportive and behind me and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be in this position today because they have sacrificed everything for my dreams.”
Works part-time as a bar man where he lives, but his main focus has always been on music. He attended Theatre School when he was younger and performed in bands before opting to go solo.
The acrobatic singer is already pals with District 3 and Union J after supporting the former X Factor contestants at Scottish gigs.
“I used to spend a lot of my time busking around the country and getting as much exposure as possible. When I took my first job in a bar, I told them that my music will always come first and if a gig comes up the jobs got to go and luckily, they were cool with that. I cannot wait to hear the ’Sam Callahan’ voiceover and the audience when I walk out on to that stage for the first live show. That would really psych me up.”