CONGRATULATIONS to @CherylOfficial's final Groups... @4thImpactMusic @AlienUncovered @ReggieNBollie #JudgesHouses pic.twitter.com/zXzM40YDdz

— The X Factor (@TheXFactor) October 24, 2015

It felt more like an episode of The Apprentice than The X Factor as the groups faced a suited Cheryl as she made her final selection. In a twist to the usual format for judge's houses, the panel made their choices in front of a live audience, as one-by-one the contestants begged and pleaded to stay in the competition.

Wielding the power to change the fates of the aspiring singers, Cheryl clearly meant business and dressed for the occasion in a slick trouser suit. For the last hurdle at judges houses, the mentor for the groups Cheryl took her would-be proteges to Rome, where she was joined by pop star Jess Glynne to help her make her all-important decisions.

"The thing is they all have different qualities which are great," said an impressed Glynne.

Sister act 4th Impact set the standard with their performance of Rihanna's 2010 hit Love The Way You Lie. Cheryl said after their performance: "I was choked, I have goosebumps, I feel weird... Of course instinctively I'll be impressed with their vocals but week three, week four I'm not sure."

.@JessGlynne has LANDED and is ready to hold @CherylOfficial's hand... The Groups have struck gold. ✨ #JudgesHouses pic.twitter.com/kpkZSKLYM3

— The X Factor (@TheXFactor) October 24, 2015

The girls, who are hotly tipped to win the competition, were the first to be put through to the live shows. The second group to win a place was Alien Uncovered. Cheryl was torn over her final choice and while both Nick and Rita backed BEKLN Mile for the final spot, Cheryl surprised everyone by picking Reggie N'Bollie.

Explaining her choice she said: "Obviously we have two very different girl groups which I love and I needed people I knew would deliver who would give us excitement and fun and I could only do so much with a choir."

Acknowledging the achievement of all the contestants she said: "I think everyone stood on that stage, should be incredibly proud of yourself. Out of thousands of people you're here tonight... Everyone in my category I'm incredibly proud of.'

"All of my groups brought it, which didn't make my life any easier. It's the strongest [groups] ever... [Tonight is] a bit bittersweet."

Welcome back @Louis_Tomlinson - we've missed you! Ready to help @SimonCowell pick his Overs? ⭐️ #JudgesHouses pic.twitter.com/jQ0SzNpOoi

— The X Factor (@TheXFactor) October 24, 2015

Simon Cowell was up next to make the agonising decision of who would go through from the Overs category. With One Direction's Louis Tomlinson joining him the pair deliberated as each of their contestants gave their all.

Jennifer Phillips tore the house down with her version of One Direction's Drag Me Down. After hearing her spiralling vocals Louis Tomlinson said: "I'll be intimidated when I have to sing that again."

Despite her obvious talent when it came to Cowell's final decision, she inexplicably missed out on a place in the lives. The music mogul put Bupsi through first and saved a seat for Anton Stephans, and as he was given mere seconds to make his final decision, he revealed he changed his mind at the eleventh hour, deciding on Max Stone.

Explaining his decision he said," I just went with my gut and the audience reaction. It was between Jennifer and Max."

The X Factor continues on Sunday 25 October as Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora decide who goes through to the lives from the Boys and Girls categories.

WELL DONE to @SimonCowell's final three Overs... @bupsibrown @AntonStephans @maxstonemusic #JudgesHouses pic.twitter.com/xEMMqLE1s6

— The X Factor (@TheXFactor) October 24, 2015