Ella Henderson has made a shock early exit from The X Factor after a sing-off which saw her lose out to another competition favourite James Arthur.

The 16-year-old from Grimsby – who had previously been the hot favourite to win the competition – made her departure after the judges were unable to choose between her and James, once again sending the vote to deadlock.

And after Ella was revealed to have polled the lowest number of public votes, her mentor Tulisa took to the stage, calling the result ‘ridiculous’.

“I don’t know, people did not vote,” she said, “They thought she was safe because there’s nothing wrong about her performances each week, that performance was one of the best things she’s ever done.”

The judges also voiced their regret when it came to choosing between a pair who found themselves in the bottom two over the likes of Rylan Clark and Christopher Maloney – both of whom made it straight through to the top five on the public vote.

“Can I just say this is exactly what i was talking about when people are voting for the wrong people, these two people should be finalists, this is ridiculous, I should not have had to make this decision,” Tulisa said before giving her backing to Ella.

“Finally it’s serious people at home we are voting for the best singers,” Gary Barlow added, “that’s what it is it is a singing competition. I always knew it was going to come round to this.”

Barlow eventually voted to save James, as did his mentor Nicole Scherzinger, while Louis Walsh and Tulisa’s votes for Ella sent the vote to deadlock.

Afterwards, the clearly shocked teenager said, “Performing on this stage has given me so much confidence, and I’ll take that with me as a person and a performer.”

The result means that Tulisa – who was 2011’s winning mentor with Little Mix – has this year become the first mentor to lose all her acts.

Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh still have one act each – Christopher Maloney and Union J respectively – while Nicole Scherzinger still has yet to lose an act after James survived, and Rylan Clark and Jahmene Douglas were both voted through.