Sam Bailey, Nicholas McDonald and Luke Friend will compete in the X Factor final next weekend after Rough Copy became the latest act to be voted off the show.

The trio – who were Gary Barlow’s last remaining act in the competition – lost out in an emotional sing-off against Luke, after the public vote had seen both Sam and Nicholas proceed directly to the final.

And once again the outcome was decided by the public after the judges, unable to choose between the two acts, sent the vote to deadlock.

While Gary Barlow unsurprisingly stuck by his own act, he admitted: “This is harder than usual because both these acts are completely different. You’ve both done well to get this far.”

Louis also stuck by his act, while Nicole opted to save Rough Copy, telling Luke: “You’re such a diamond in the rough in this competition, there’s no doubt in my mind you’re going to have a great career after this.”

Both Rough Copy and Luke broke down in tears after the result was announced, with band member Joey saying: “Just being here was a highlight. I thank Gary for everything he has done for us, I thank the whole X Factor team for everything. I thank all our friends and family for always being here the whole time.”

He added: “If you believe in God make some noise!”

Meanwhile fellow band member Kaz added: “Thank you so much for believing in us, for us to be even given a chance on a platform like this, such a big commercial platform and to be loved every week and to get this far, a week before the finals.

“We were begging to get to judges houses last year and we made the semi final.”

Next weekend’s final will once again kick off on Saturday night as Sam, Nicholas and Luke perform two songs each in a bid to make it to the second stage on Sunday night – when the winner of The X Factor 2013 will officially be named.