There were some big surprises in The The X Factor 2011 on Sunday night as the judges sent home one act from each of their categories – most notably the shock departure of Amelia Lily from Kelly Rowland’s category.

The 16-year-old from Middlesborough had been tipped as a possible winner of the show – but was sent packing by an emotional Kelly Rowland in favour of Sophie Habibis as she made the agonising decision of who to save and who to sent home.

And she broke down as her mentor told her, “Amelia has an amazing voice. All four of my girls are amazing, and you are going to see this girl everywhere, she’s bold, she’s young and the sky is the limit for her.”

The teenager was just one of four acts to depart the competition as part of the much-vaunted ‘big twist’ that followed Saturday’s first live show.

All of the judges chose three acts they wanted to take to the next stage of the competition and one that they wanted to send home, leaving 12 to battle it out for the series title.

Louis went for a more predictable option, choosing to save Sami Brookes, Kitty Brucknell and Johnny Robinson, and sending Jonjo Kerr home.

The soldier had been criticised on Saturday for his performance of The Kinks’ You Really Got Me, with Gary Barlow saying, “I think you’ve made Louis’ decision really easy.”

“I agonised over the decision,” Louis admitted, having saved Johnny Robinson over Jonjo, “I loved working with the two guys but at the end of the day I have to keep the person the public are going to like most.”

Gary, meanwhile, sent home James Michael in favour of Marcus Collins, Craig Colton and Frankie Cocozza.

“There’s only four people left,” he said afterwards, “we’re at such a high level and someone had to go home tonight.”

And Tulisa opted to send home 2 Shoes from the groups – leaving Nu Vibe, Rhythmix and The Risk, and meaning that the only group in the final who were not formed at boot camp are now gone from the competition.

The N-Dubz singer admitted it had been a “hard decision” and wept on stage as she said goodbye to Essex girls Charley and Lucy.

“I can’t even find a reason why,” she said. “I had to pick one act and I’m so sorry.”

The 12 remaining acts will now go on to face the first public vote of the series on next weekend’s shows.