Jade Ellis has become the fourth act to exit The X Factor 2012, after losing out in the first vote of the series to be determined by the judges rather than through deadlock.

The 25-year-old, who had been one of the bookies’ favourites to leave on Sunday night, had managed to avoid the bottom two over the past three weeks, but ultimately came a cropper when she found herself in the sing-off opposite Union J.

After both had performed their survival songs – Union J singing the Pink hit Perfect, and Jade opting for Dido’s White Flag – the judges ultimately voted in favour of Union J, the first time this series that the result has not reverted back to the public vote.

Only Tulisa chose to send Union J home in favour of her act Jade, saying, “That’s my girl up there and she sang her heart out tonight,” but after both Louis and Nicole had voted to save Union J, the casting vote was left to Gary Barlow.

“You’re a phenomenal singer, you’re incredible,” he told Jade. “But sometimes I worry I want this for you more than you do.”

Afterwards Jade described her experience in the competition as “amazing” and added, “I’d like to thank all the guys for their critique and my life starts here.”

Tulisa, meanwhile, admitted that she may have been off the mark with her song choice for Jade, who sang the Sugababes’ Freak Like Me on Saturday night’s Halloween themed show.

“Maybe I chose the wrong song and I accept that,” she said. “I could have pulled some more ballads out of the bag..I apologise if it is my fault.”

Jade’s departure follows that of Carolynne Poole, Melanie Masson and MK1 who left the contest in previous weeks – and she is the first of Tulisa’s acts to leave the competition.

Tulisa, Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh all now have two acts remaining in the show, while Nicole Scherzinger is the only remaining judge who has yet to lose an act.

Eight other acts made it straight through to next weekend, including favourites Jahmene Douglas, Ella Henderson and James Arthur, as well as District 3 – despite the fact that the boyband trio had been tipped as possible candidates for the bottom two.

The other acts to make it straight through on the strength of the public vote were Christopher Maloney, Kye Sones and Rylan Clark – while Lucy Spraggan, who missed this weekend’s show on account of having flu, was also given a direct pass to next weekend.

Sunday night’s show also featured performances from indie-rockers Fun as well as Robbie Williams.