Matt Cardle’s dulcet tones then soothed the audience with his tender rendition of Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Soulful Matt Cardle

The song was favourite song of his mother’s best friend Sharon, who was killed when he was 11, leaving behind four sons.

Matt’s mentor Danni Minogue and judge Cheryl Cole were left teary-eyed after the performance

The number suited Matt’s for propensity for high-pitched songs, and as the final note shivered from his throat, the crowd went wild with appreciation.

Arguably the best performance of the night, it warranted a standing ovation from all four judges.

You have stolen the show! Louis yelled.

That absolutely blew me away, admitted Cheryl, it was spine-tingling.

Simon hailed it the Matt and Rebecca Show, before announcing his performance as completely and utterly stunning.

Perched on top of a white podium the Liverpool lass looked as classy as ever as she tunefully belted out the American anthem, Make You Feel My Love.

Rebecca Ferguson

As each week passes Rebecca’s confidence seems to grow, as she appears more and more like a bona fide popstar.

Louis hailed Rebecca as a future recording artist, You stand out! he shrieked, I think you’re special.

Dannii praised her for an amazing performance, before Simon declared it absolutely fantastic!

Everybody’s favourite former check-out girl was up next to deliver her rendition of Faith Hill’s There You’ll Be.

Mary Byrne

With a voice capable of giving an entire room goose-bumps, Mary delivered an unusually subdued performance last tonight that had the judges hoping she’d be firing on all cylinders again next week.

Dannii told her she didn’t seem like she was inside the song.

You seem very emotional tonight, Mary, said a concerned Cheryl.

Simon thought she sang pretty well, and Louis finished off proceedings by hailing Mary as the People’s Champion.

It was then time for Treyc to get all sentimental on us with the blubber-inducing-ballad Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.

Treyc Cohen

Stood on top of her Perspex runway, Treyc sung the Aerosmith smash with as much passion and enthusiasm as she could possibly muster.

Louis praised Treyc for always trying her best, and Dannii was pleased to see a spark back in her eye.

I can’t fault that vocal, began Simon, But if you have a lion, you want it to bite you not lick you and that’s what you’re missing.

You are a fantastic vocalist! said Cheryl.

Since her first audition Katie has drawn comparisons with Gwen Steffani, and tonight was time to push it to the next level, as the 24-year-old Hertfordshire girl imitated the great No Doubt singer herself.

Katie Waissel

Singing Don’t Speak, one of the band’s most popular hits, Katie teetered around the stage, huskily purring the words into her microphone.

Louis thought the performance was brilliant, whilst Dannii didn’t connect.

Simon though the song kind of fell apart in the middle, but commended Katie for her battling spirit.

Next up was a performance that fused the old with the new, as Paije brought together 60s band The Monkeys with noughties hipsters Outkast.

Paije Richardson

Singing a medley of I’m A Believer and Hey Ya, the London lad grooved around the stage, with that trademark smile plastered all over his face.

Louis thought Paije was getting better all the time, and Cheryl labelled it her favourite Paije song of the series.

Simon loved the whole Austin Powers thing, and Dannii rounded things up by congratulating her boy on a job well done.

After a rap-free performance last week, Cher went back to her roots last tonight as she wowed the crowd with Empire State Of Mind, the smash hit by hip-hop legend Jay-Z and R n B queen Alicia Keys.

Cher Lloyd

Cher was in her element, accompanied on stage by a pack of BMX riding bad boys, American Anthems night had kicked-off in style.

Louis loved it and predicted Cher could make the final, but Simon was less optimistic.

After last week I’m a little bit disappointed, you’ve got to keep it original, I think your mentor got lazy tonight.

Last but by no means least was a Brian Friedman mega-production, that saw the One Direction boys bop and shimmy their way across a packed stage.

One Direction

Blaring out Kids In America as they zig-zagged past the red-hot cheerleaders, Simon’s lads looked like they were having the time of their lives.

Both Louis and applauded the boys for closing the show in a brilliant way.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, declared Cheryl.

That was without question, your best performance by a mile, said an incredibly proud Simon.
Photos by ©ITV