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'X Factor' Judges Houses - Live Blog

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Camels and Rylan Clark in Dubai. Louis Walsh reunited with Sharon Osbourne. Cheryl Cole. Lucy Spraggan singing 'I Will Always Love You'. Tonight's X Factor Judges' Houses looks likely to be a classic.

The Top 25 acts have been flown to Dubai, St Lucia, Vegas and, erm, Northamptonshire, to give one final performance that they hope will see them through to the live shows.

The X Factor 2012 - Judges houses: Ella

© ITV / Thames/Syco

The X Factor 2012 - Judges houses: Rylan

© ITV / Thames/Syco



Who will make the Top 12? Who will end up with nothing but a big Dermot O'Leary hug and a load of tears? Join us on Digital Spy from 8pm when The X Factor kicks off on ITV1.


21:51That's it for tonight, folks. All we have to look forward to tomorrow is a procession of BIG CRY FACES. It looks like Chris Maloney and Rylan will be doing battle for the most ridiculous blubbering. We'll be back here tomorrow from 7.30pm to find out the final 12. We wouldn't miss it for the world!


21:47Chris would have been great in the first three series of X Factor. But he doesn't cut the mustard for us in series nine.


21:46Chris can hold a tune, but isn't it all a bit Butlins? He's more BGT than X Factor, isn't he? Can you really imagine him making pop records?


21:44The last act is Chris Maloney. A man who can barely hold himself together at the best of times is now being thrust into the pressure of Judges' Houses. Expect tears, shaky hands and wide-eyed mad looks.


21:43Ooh, Kye is doing some Maroon 5. But he misses a big note. Ouch. And we thought he was a banker for the Top 12. It's touch and go now.


21:41There's only a pair of Boys to go and this long old slog will be over. First up is chimney sweep Kye Sones. Can he become the biggest chimney sweep popstar since Dick Van Dyke? Or is he about to be sent packing?


21:35Melanie Masson is next in line. She's very emotional in her VT, bursting into tears. We get the "this is my last chance" line. She's lovely though and she can't half sing, so we'll let her off.


21:33Cheryl Cole liked Brad's huskiness. But she suspects people won't connect with him. Connect with him? We don't even know who he is?!


21:32Next up is Brad. Brad... Brad... Brad... Nope. Us neither.


21:32Nicola Marie and Carolynne Poole are the first Overs to face Gazza B. Carolynne is impressive. Nicola Marie is unsurprisingly a bit shakier. The Take That star wasn't her biggest fan at the auditions. We wouldn't blame her if she's already got her bags packed.


21:29It's like a bargain basement Downton Abbey with Cheryl and the Overs. "Why aye Carson, bring on the next act."


21:27Cheryl and Gary are playing Lord and Lady of the Manor with the Overs.


21:27Sadly, we've had to leave to the sunshine of St Lucia and we're back in the UK for the Overs.


21:26Sorry, we got a bit distracted in that ad break. We spent it looking up cheap flights to St Lucia. Blimey, it looks stunning. Not even Spraggan's 'I Will Always Love You' could mucky it.


21:21At the moment, Ella has to be the runaway favourite to win this series, right? She's light years ahead of the pack right now.


21:20Ella Henderson is the last act to perform. The 16-year-old has lungs the size of a double decker bus. And wow, what an audition. Tinie Tempah even has a little sway and shows glimmers of enthusiasm. She's that good.


21:18Tulisa sticks up for Lucy and says that she has a "niche". Her only "niche" with that performance was people who love bloody awful music. Sick, sadistic, bad music lovers. It was terrible.


21:16The Spraggan is up next. Lucy divides opinion with her 'quirky' style. She's tackling Whitney's 'I Will Always Love You' in St Lucia. Yup. You heard us. 'I Will Always Love You'. The power ballad to end all power ballads.


21:13Jade Collins is a dark horse for the Top 3 and she gives a solid audition. Is that enough to raise her profile and sneak into the live shows? We're doubtful.


21:13Leanne is another struggler. And judging from her lack of airtime, she'll be a surprise entrant in the Top 3.


21:12How much Essex can X Factor handle this year? Is there room for Rylan and Amy? The latter's audition was a bit wobbly. Things don't look too hot for her.


21:09That was probably the best audition of the night so far. Emotional, original and powerful. A cracking reworking of 'Stand By Me'. A big thumbs up from me.


21:09Jade is the first girl up to perform. Sob story. Tick. Determination. Tick. Strong Judges' Houses audition? We're about to find out...


21:07Time for Tulisa and the Girls. The ladies are topping up their tans and sweating it out in St Lucia. Even if they don't get through, they've had a cracking holiday.


21:03Nicole and Ne-Yo are picking their three boys, however, we can't help but get distracted by Nicole's fruit bowls. Seriously, they are massive. Seriously. We're not being rude. This time. Honest.


20:59Jahmene Douglas is the last lad up. He's still a quivering, wobbly, nervous wreck. His version of 'Titanium' is a bit all over the shop as well. He sounds like he's shouting the songs a lot of the time as well. Should he be held back for a year?


20:56However, with that rendition of Rihanna's 'We Found Love', the Essex chappy might have nabbed a spot in the Live Shows. It wasn't awful and he appears to have charmed Nicole.


20:55Rylan is dressed in a ludicrous robe/headpiece costume. "When in Dubai...", he giggles. I think the phrase ends "...dress like a silly bugger."


20:53There are still a pair of boys to go. One of them is Rylan Clark. Everyone loves Ryland. Well, not everyone. Hardly anyone.


20:51Will Scherzinger let Jake off that wobbly performance? If he gets through, he'll have a definite fanbase and will go far based on likeability, dashing looks and his abs. But does that justify giving him a spot over a better singer?


20:48Damn! Jake's vocal is pretty poor. He covers 'Back For Good', it starts strong, but there were so many faults in that performance we're not sure he will make the final cut. A real shame, because we've met him and he's a delight.


20:47The rather dashing Jake Quickenden is up next. He's doing all this to give his brother, who is terminally ill, and mum "something to live for". Oh crikey, this is turning into a blubber-fest. Fingers crossed for a good audition.


20:45It doesn't look so good for Nathan. Nicole likes his "tone", but that's about it. And Ne-Yo appears to think he's a bit cocky and that's covering up his vocals. Bad news for Nathan fans.


20:43First up it's Deidre Barlow. Oh, don't be silly. Of course it's not. It's James Arthur and his funny specs and husky tones. A solid performance from the young man. He's moved Ne-Yo, who felt the singer's "pain". A big tick for Mr Arthur.


20:40But that's it for the Shazza/Louis show. Time for the Boys to impress Nicole of Scherzingershire and her pal Ne-Yo in the heat of Dubai.


20:37Sharon and Louis have a cheeky spat about which three groups should go through to the Live Shows. Shazza throws a piece of paper with the name of one band into the pool. Louis just keeps giggling at her and seems determined to ignore her. I imagine the evening ended at 4am with the pair of them naked and sozzled in that pool. "And another thing about Simon Cowell..."


20:33The last group to perform are GMD3. They are adorable lads, good singers, but a little bit wet. Thankfully Sharon Osbourne has picked up on their awful name. Hopefully it will get changed to something dynamic like previous X Factor groups Girlband, Bad Lashes or Hope. *snigger*


20:30Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne are stunned and shocked by Duke and their beatboxing. "They are very edgy," says Louis. A man who spent his life managing tame boybands considers them edgy. In reality, they are a standard beatboxing, vocal combo.


20:28Triple J, who were previously axed, are now back. They are now called Union J (don't ask). They cover 'Call Me Maybe'. They look like a slightly more generic One Direction, but that might not be the worst thing in the world.


20:26MK1 are up next. They are usually cocky, confident and super cool. But today they have to perform while sat on stools because of a football injury. The Westlife look doesn't really work for the hip-hop pair. Sharon and Louis are wooed by their performance though. They have a big tick in their box.


20:23Talking of no identity, here are Mitsotu. A group whose audition only featured on Xtra Factor. They are a curious trio and the fact the producers aren't giving them air time doesn't bode well.


20:22Times Red are first up. They mash up some songs. It doesn't really work. I reckon it's safe to say they won't go through after that performance. No identity.


20:21The Groups are the first to perform on a Vegas rooftop for Sharon and Louis. It's hard to focus on the music when there are such stunning views on show. We mean the Botox faces of the judges, rather than the scenery.


20:20Dubai. Vegas. St Lucia. I bet Dermot O'Leary hates the Judges' Houses bit of X Factor. It's a tough gig, but someone has to do it.


20:18Anyone else missing Sinitta? Her palm leaves would have fitted in with Louis Walsh's stretch limo!


20:15"I think it's going to be amazing," coos Cheryl. She's as bland as ever with her commentary. Are we the only ones who wish it was Dannii helping Gary?


20:13The last category is the Overs. They've been put up in a fancy pants home in Northamptonshire with Gary Barlow. And who is it in the helicopter... heeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeee's Cheeeeeeeeeeryl.


20:11Nicole Scherzinger is sizzling in Dubai with the Boys. We're not entirely sure that she knows the name of any of the lads in her category, but the fellas don't seem to care. Jake in particular needs to keep his focus on his singing and not her cleavage. A tough job for any young man.


20:10Louis Walsh has pulled up in Vegas to meet the Groups in Vegas. It's ludicrous. Although his new haircut does fit in a city that's famous for fake gigantic structures. Sharon Osbourne is the big surprise waiting in Louis Walsh's limo. Louis and Sharon - the terrible twosome reunited.


20:07Tinie Tempah has arrived in St Lucia as well. Currently he's not showing many signs of charisma. But it's early days.


20:05The Girls have been flown over to St Lucia. And they've just found out that Tulisa is their mentor. *scream*


20:04Dermot O'Leary glosses over the switches in the Groups category and the new-look Triple J. Now known as Union J. If you're confused, don't worry, so are we. It doesn't help that all the groups this year sound like brands of washing machines. GMD3. MK1. Hotspot Bosh 465. We may have made that last one up.


20:02"The anticipation is we're going somewhere." There are some smart cookies in the Girls category this year.


20:00Hello and good evening! It's time for the always understated Judges' Houses stage of X Factor. Brace yourselves, Peter Dickson is going to blow.

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