Kimberley Southwick has become the first act to be eliminated from this year’s The X Factor live finals.

The 19-year-old – who started off the show with her version of It’s Raining Men – had to sing for survival after she and Alisha Bennett – also one of Sharon’s acts – received the least votes from the public.

Same Difference – who had been the favourites for the chop – avoided the bottom two and will return on next week’s show.

As with previous series of The X Factor, the final decision on who leaves the competition is down to the judges – however, if each act receives two votes each then the one with the least number of votes from the public is eliminated.

However Sharon refused to send one of her acts home and stormed off the judging panel, leaving the others to decide.

“I don’t think I’d be allowed to say what I think because I’d be banned from national television forever,” Sharon told Dermot after the bottom two acts had been revealed.

She then told Dermot she was “going home” before heading for the exit and later threatening to leave the show altogether.

Ultimately Simon and Louis both voted to send Kimberley home while Dannii opted for Alisha.

Afterwards, Kimberley – who wept when her fate was announced – said the highlight of her X Factor experience had been meeting Ozzy Osbourne. “He really is mad,” she said.

Eleven acts now remain to battle in out in next week’s show, which will feature songs from movies.