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Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has revealed it has been “the toughest year” as the X Factor judges prepare to whittle down the acts for the next stage in this year’s competition.

London youth worker Monica Michael, Essex student Louisa Johnson, shy Basildon singer-songwriter Che Chesterman and Filipino girl group 4th Power are among those fighting for a place in the Six Chair Challenge in tonight’s second round of Boot Camp.

Monica Michael



Monica Michael (ITV Pictures)

Monica is hoping for another chance after she was knocked out during the Six Chair Challenge in 2014, losing out on a place in the judges’ houses round. Judges Cheryl and Simon Cowell have both admitted they made a mistake, with the Girls Aloud star saying: “You were the biggest regret of my category last year.”

The 25-year-old’s performance of Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine split the judges, with Cheryl saying: “She shouldn’t have sung that.”

Simon disagreed, saying: “It’s a good song for her” and adding: “She’s not perfect. There’s always this crack in her voice.”

The pair also clashed over Sheffield estate agent Holly Johnson, following her performance of Sam Smith’s hit Like I Can.

Holly Johnson X Factor



Holly Johnson (ITV Pictures)

“I don’t think she has any personality,” Simon said, to which Cheryl retorted: “I think she’s just shy.”

Cheryl and Rita Ora also found themselves on opposing sides with boyband The First Kings’ version of Just Be Good To Me, originally sung by The SOS Band.

“We went back to the Nineties. It was old moves they were doing,” Cheryl said, as Rita hit back: “I was kind of listening to their voices. That was good.”

Davide Papasdero



Davide Papasidero (ITV Pictures)

More tears – of sadness and laughter – were shed in this week’s episode, as Australian hopeful Seann Miley Moore and Anton Stephans took to the stage with their renditions of the Ray Charles track A Song For You, while Italian singing teacher Davide Papasidero left the judges open-mouthed as he tried to take off his clothes during his performance of David Guetta’s Titanium.

Other acts hoping to impress the judges and get through to the next stage include St Helens barmaid Kiera Weathers, hunky Birmingham waiter Mason Noise, Olly Murs tribute act Jamie Benkert and girl group Alien.

The X Factor: Boot Camp part two is on ITV tonight (September 27), 7.00pm.