Little Mix have ‘come from nowhere’, but are now deserved favourites to win The X Factor, one of their mothers says.

Jade Thirlwall’s proud mother Norma will be watching when the 18-year-old student performs in front of a live audience of 10,000 plus millions more viewing it at home.

Jade, Perrie Edwards, also 18, Jesy Nelson, 20, from Romford, Essex, and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 19, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, have become the first girl band to make it to the ITV1 show’s final.

Mrs Thirlwall said: “It is absolutely unbelievable that they have come from nowhere and end up favourites to win.

“There is no one in the world more proud than me. Strangers come up to me in the street and ask me to wish Jade well and tell her they support the group. It’s surreal.”

Perrie Edwards is also from South Shields, but the girls had never met before they were put together as part of the band.

Her former headteacher at St Peter and Paul Primary School, Ken Devlin, said: “Perrie was just great all round at school. She was a nice kid and really polite.

“We are all rooting for Little Mix and I think the girls are good role models. It hasn’t come across that this has been easy for them – they have shown perseverance to get through.”

Jesy’s former head at Abbs Cross Academy – a specialist arts school where fellow X Factor star Stacey Solomon was a pupil – is ‘thrilled to bits’ for her. Jesy left to attend the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School.

Sylvia Young said: “Jesy was a lovely girl, a nice student with talent and we wish her well. She showed real promise.”