X Factor rejects: Losers to go to public vote in a bid to replace Frankie Cocozza on the show
THE four acts who were axed by their own mentors have been given a lifeline to return to the X Factor in the wake of Frankie Cocozza being dropped over cocaine claims.
James Michael, Amelia Lily, 2 Shoes and Jonjo Kerr each have a chance to rejoin the contest alongside the remaining six finalists on Saturday.
Wayward Cocozza was kicked out of the show on Tuesday after apparently boasting about drugs, which programme bosses said broke the rules.
The 18-year-old wannabe returned to his Brighton home yesterday after admitting his life had gone "out of control" during the series.
Programme-makers were locked in discussions yesterday to work out how to go forward with the series with one less contestant.
Without a replacement, it would have drawn to a conclusion early - throwing plans to battle for the Christmas number one into chaos - or would have meant one weekend without a public vote, which could have deterred viewers.
The four X Factor contestants who who were dropped in the first live show will now vie to re-enter the competition. They each exited without facing a public vote after their own mentors were forced to choose who they should sacrifice in a surprise twist.
Viewers will now be given their say, with details of the vote due to be announced today.
An X Factor spokeswoman said: "The four acts have never been in a public vote so, with Frankie leaving the competition, this is an opportunity for the public to decide who comes back to the show."
Party boy Cocozza was booted out of the ITV1 show yesterday "after breaking competition rules", according to show chiefs.
He had been seen on a series of boozy nights out and had boasted of his sexual conquests, with the names of several lovers tattooed on his buttocks.
On Sunday's results show it emerged he had only slept for half an hour on Saturday night.
Many viewers were astonished that the singer remained in the competition following a below-par performance at the weekend.
On leaving, Cocozza apologised to his mentor, Gary Barlow, as well as fans.
He added: "My life during the show has gone out of control and my behaviour off stage has overstepped the rules of the competition.
"I no longer deserve my place in the show, so I am therefore leaving. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me."
Cocozza's departure is the latest drama to engulf the show this year as it struggles to match the viewing figures of previous years.
His behaviour has led to two investigations by Ofcom into possible breaches of its programme code.
It is looking into whether he fell foul of rules about swearing after he was seen to shout "f****** have it - get in there", when he learned he was through to the next round during a results programme on October 23.
The regulator is also looking into whether footage of him during a night out with friends breached the code's rules on glamorising alcohol use.
The successful act who returns to the show on Saturday night will perform either a song by Queen or Lady Gaga, but will have had a shorter time to rehearse than the other acts taking part.
Speaking to ITV's Daybreak, Marvin Humes from boyband JLS said of Cocozza: "It's obviously disappointing, you know. He's let himself down. It's a massive opportunity.
"He obviously had a fanbase - he was voted in every single week and it's just a shame.
"Hopefully he'll learn from it - he's still a young guy. But you know, the show will go on and hopefully bounce back this weekend."