Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell said he found the Six Chair Challenge 'traumatic' ITV

Simon Cowell appeared to have momentarily lost the plot, as he struggled to select his six finalists during The X Factor's Six Chair Challenge. The music mogul had to whittle down his group to six in the brutal knockout stage and the judge dubbed Mr Nasty, showed no mercy.

While he described the experience as 'traumatic' it was nothing short of torture for the contestants, who were put through the mill as their dreams were snatched from their hands in what turned out to be the most brutal sadistic game of musical chairs.

Session singer Vicky Ann Nash from Birmingham suffered the worst of Simon's confusion as she was seated, unseated and seated again only to be finally removed from the competition after her gruelling ordeal.

Kent teacher Tonatha Raihan also suffered the same fate losing her seat to singer Bupsi from Leeds whose energetic performance of Respect by Aretha Franklin had the judges won over.

27-year-old musician Max Stone won the first seat with his rendition of Bob Marley's Turn Your Lights Down Low and almost as quickly lost it. However, Simon had a change of heart and at the eleventh hour called him back admitting it was a mistake to lose him.

"Max, I want to apologise. I don't think I was fair to you. I think you have got a voice and I have learned to listen to the audience," he told the singer songwriter.

Crowd favourite Anton Stephens provided a bit of light relief midst all the tension when he offered a response to Simon's complaints that the 44-year-old from London pulled "weird faces" when he performed.

Stephens replied: "But if you're a bit poor like me, and your friends are poor, and you can't afford Botox, your face kind of moves."

He needn't have worried after delivering a powerhouse performance of Luther Vandross hit A House Is Not A Home an securing a seat.

With the dreaded Six-Chair Challenge now over, the competition is beginning, as the contestants brace themselves for next week's judge's houses.

Mason Noise will return to the competition in place of Tom Bleasby who sensationally quit the show. The 21-year-old singer with an inflated ego was kicked off after a showdown with Simon Cowell in which he complained about his lack of airtime. He will rejoin Nick Grimshaw's Boys category.

The identity of the guest mentors has also been revealed with Meghan Trainor, singer Jess Glynne, producer Mark Ronson and One Direction's Louis Tomlinson joining the four judges to decide who will go on to be in the final lineup.

For the first time in The X Factor history, the final 12 will be announced live.

The X Factor airs on Saturday October 24 at 8pm.