Former X Factor semi-finalist John Wilding made a triumphant comeback to the show on Saturday as the auditions reached their final week.

The 18-year-old reached the judges houses’ stage of the competition in 2010 but narrowly missed out on a place in the final after being sent home by mentor Dannii Minogue.

But having given himself an image makeover, he returned for another try in 2011 – and stunned the judges at the London auditions with his rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s Love You I Do.

“I have got to tell you that was absolutely sensational,” Gary Barlow told him. “Thank God you came back. Congratulations.”

Tulisa added, “John I love people like you, I love people that get knocked back and they don’t take it as a negative. You have come on that stage today, after a whole year, and blown us away.”

John’s audition – which easily won him a place in bootcamp – was one of a number which impressed the judges on Saturday night’s show.

Others to make an impact included mother-of-four Michelle Barrett, who reduced Tulisa to tears with her performance of Whitney Houston’s All The Man That I Need.

The clearly emotional singer told the 31-year-old that her voice had reminded her of her own mother’s.

“She had such a beautiful voice,” Tulisa said of her mum, “and she didn’t do anything with it and this is a mummy and daughter thing going on.

“It’s just like standing in the kitchen and listening to her sing, she had the most amazing voice.”

Teacher John Adams also wowed the panel as auditions moved on to Cardiff.

“I’m ready to hear a whole album of your voice, it’s just beautiful!” Kelly enthused, while Louis Walsh added, “If we get no-one else in Wales but you it’s been worth coming.”

Girl singers Melanie McCabe and Sophie Habibis also fared well, as did Essex duo 2 Shoes – who the judges admitted had taken them by surprise.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Louis said after they had performed. “I loved your fun and I loved the chemistry between the two of you and you bring a new energy to the show.”

“You’ve clearly rehearsed and what we got was actually a great audition,” Gary added.

But as usual not everybody was popular with the judges, including Natasha Paton Ali from Swansea – who left them almost speechless with her off-key singing, not to mention a wardrobe malfunction which almost saw her fall out of her dress.

“There was a lot happening on stage, we couldn’t pay attention to the vocals so much,” Kelly said, but Gary summed up the performance succinctly.

“My only advice,” he said, “is next time you book singing lessons make sure there’s a refund policy.”

The final auditions show of the series will be screened on Sunday night.