X Factor semi-finalist Nicholas McDonald suffered an unfortunate case of nerves in Saturday night’s semi-final when he broke down in tears on stage.

The 17-year-old – the youngest remaining contestant in the competition – had been singing Beyonce’s Halo in the first half of the show as he was overcome by emotion and his normally strong voice faltered.

And the slip did not go unnoticed by the judges – with Gary Barlow in particular admitting he was disappointed in his performance.

“That wasn’t like you,” the Take That singer told him. “There was lots of pitching, there were one or two cracks.”

He added: “I am looking forward to the next song. Pick your confidence up off the floor and move forward.”

Meanwhile a sympathetic Sharon Osbourne asked: “Nicholas McDonald, tell the mother of everything. Why are you crying?”

She also told him “It was a very emotional performance but your tears made your voice crack little one.”

Nicholas regained his composure in the second half of the show – featuring songs by Elton John – as he performed Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Sharon described his second song as ‘really confident’ while Gary told him: “This is the kind of song we need you to sing if you want to be in that final.”

Saturday night’s show also saw Luke Friend and Rough Copy battling it out for a place in the final, along with favourite Sam Bailey, who once again stole the show with her versions of If I Were A Boy and Candle In The Wind.

 

Nicole Scherzinger called her efforts ‘exceptional, while Louis Walsh added: “You tick every box…you could win it for Mrs O.”

 

The results – and this year’s finalists – will be revealed on Sunday night’s X Factor, which kicks off on ITV at 8pm.