As has become a habit of the past few years, this year has seen several Eurovision & Junior Eurovision alumni take to the X Factor UK stage in the hope of becoming an internationally recognised pop star. In previous years we've seen Slavko Kalezić (Montenegro 2017) make it to Judges Houses and more spectacularly Finland's 2018 representative Saara Aalto make it all the way to the final 2 back in 2016! This year we had four Eurovision alumni competing at the Six Chair Challenge stage - Brendan Murray (Ireland 2017), Cezar (Romania 2013), Gaia Cauchi (Malta JESC 2013) and Athena Manoukian (Greek JESC NF 2008). All four had their auditions shown and progressed through bootcamp however how did they fare when things started to get serious at six chair challenge?
Six Chair Challenge see's the remaining contestants, approximately 16 per category, compete for one of six chairs. The high pressure round see's the judges pick and choose between the contestants, giving people seats after their performance only to have them heartbreakingly swapped out later on in the show when 'somebody better' comes along. This weekend we saw the girls, the overs and half of the boys category fight to determine their fate.
Brendan Murray: Last nights show ended with Ireland's 2017 representative, Brendan Murray. Previously mentored by Louis Walsh, who of course has been a regular judge on the show until this year, Brendan failed to qualify for the final last year with his ballad 'Dying To Try'. It seems that his fortune has changed as Brendan was awarded the 'Golden Buzzer' by mentor Louis Tomlinson, of One Direction fame. The new twist see's each judge able to press the golden buzzer once for their category to award the best performer with a guaranteed slot at Judges Houses. Prior to his performance, Brendan said he would do anything to get his chair and he really blew the judges away with his version of 'Everybody Hurts' by R.E.M - with Simon Cowell saying he was in a different league to all of the others and the best voice he's heard so far this year. It's safe to say Brendan impressed - and he secured his slot at Judges Houses. Viewers were left on a cliffhanger as to who's seat he will be snatching but we can sleep easy at night knowing we'll be seeing him at Louis's judges house in the next few weeks. Watch his performance below...
Cezar: After representing Romania back in 2013 with operatic pop song 'It's My Life' - where he finished 13th in the final with 65 points - Cezar has also been the host of Romanian National Selection, 'Selecția Națională'. His rendition of Il Divo's 'Somewhere' earned him a standing ovation from all four judges as well as the audience and I don't think anybody was surprised when he won himself a seat. However unfortunately for Cezar, he was the victim of mentor Ayda's swap - being swapped out for belter Janice Robinson. Despite boo's from the crowd, Ayda stood by her decision which means Cezar's time on the X Factor has ended.
Gaia Cauchi: Gaia won Junior Eurovision 2013 with her song 'The Start' and now aged 15 has decided to take on the X Factor challenge. In her audition she took on the huge power ballad 'Only Love Can Hurt Like This' by Paloma Faith and impressed the judges to get through to the next round. Fans may have been upset to see that Gaia was not shown at all over the weekend - despite the final 6 girls in her category being chosen. However it doesn't seem to all be over for Gaia - who has now teased that there will be a big surprise coming up next weekend when coincidentially it will be the groups turn to win their seats. UPDATE: Gaia has now confirmed that she will be featured next weekend in a five-piece girl group called Sweet Sense - featuring 4 other girls that failed to get through solo. We can't wait to see how they do next week in Robbie's Group Category.
Athena Manoukian: The other alumni to never make it to the Eurovision (or Junior) stage. Athena's audition of 'Crazy In Love' by Beyonce - featuring a number of backing dancers - impressed three of the judges with Simon Cowell in particular really loving the audition. Despite being seen making it through to the Six Chair Challenge during the decisions at the end of last weeks show - Athena was never shown as part of the girls category. At six chairs she performed Whitney Houston classic 'I Have Nothing' but unfortunately didn't impress Simon in the same way - as he stopped her mid-performance and decided that she had not done enough to get a chair, sending her home and ending her X Factor journey. If her audition was anything to go by though we would absolutely LOVE to see Athena give Eurovision another go - representing Greece next year in Tel Aviv.
Are you excited to see what Brendan Murray will do in the rest of the competition? Will he make the live shows!? Are you gutted to see that Cezar and Athena did not advance? Let us know in the comments below or by connecting with us on social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube.