X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has spoken out in favour of the new line-up of The Risk – which has seen Nu Vibe’s Ashford Campbell replace Ashley J Baptiste after he left.

Speaking on The Xtra Factor on Saturday night after the quartet had performed with Ashford for the first time in the live shows, the singer said the newcomer gave the group a lot of extra qualities – and even hinted that the line-up was now better.

“There’s a different dynamic now that he brings to the group and do you know what? He is a strong vocalist, he has the popstar quality, he’s got the energy and he wants to be here, which is what’s most important. It’s a new form of The Risk,” Tulisa explained.

She went on to say, “I’m going to say they’re better now, because they get better every week.”

The quartet won praise from the judges for their rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which kicked off Saturday night’s Halloween themed show – despite having only had a short time to rehearse with Ashford after Ashley announced his departure on Thursday night.

Meanwhile reports suggest that Ashley may have quit the band due to his strong Christian faith.

According to the Sunday Mirror the Cambridge graduate had felt uneasy tackling the Halloween theme due to its pagan roots – while a show source said that the 22-year-old had struggled to fit in because of his religious beliefs.

“He’s on a different wavelength to the rest,” the insider said. “He doesn’t want to upset his bandmates but knows this is for the best.”

Ashley later tweeted, “I love The Risk but am not in the right place to commit. I love the boys and all you amazing people.”