TWO IRISH contestants were thrown a last-minute lifeline by X Factor judges to pass through to the next round along with Dubliner Mary Byrne.
Rebecca Creighton (21) from Tallaght and Niall Horan (16) from Mullingar were given a second chance in last night's show.
The pair were initially devastated when their names were not read off a list of female and male contestants.
Backstage Niall, dubbed Ireland's answer to teen sensation Justin Bieber, burst into tears, convinced that he would be going home after failing to get through the single session.
But in a dramatic turn of events, he was called back onstage with Rebecca and another seven hopefuls.
Pussycat Dolls singer and stand-in judge Nicole Scherzinger explained that there was another opportunity for the contestants to prove themselves.
"We thought of each of you as individuals and we thought you were too talented to let go of," she said. "We thought it would be a great idea to have two separate groups."
They explained that a boyband and a girlband would have to compete at the judges' houses.
But Simon Cowell warned that the singers would have to prove their worth.
"This is a lifeline. You've got to work 10, 12, 14 hours a day, every single day, and take this opportunity," he said. "You've got a real shot here, guys."
Now the singers join Ballyfermot's Mary Byrne (51) to travel to the judges' homes.
Earlier in the boot camp stage, Mary struggled with complicated dance moves due to excruciating pain from arthritis.
But the judges gave her the nod after her powerful voice bowled them over.
When Cowell found out that he had the groups category he said: "I can't believe it. Two words -- stitch up."
The groups, mentored by Simon Cowell, will travel to his home in Los Angeles, while Mary will face Louis Walsh in Adare Manor. And while Dannii Minogue was delighted to have the boys and Cheryl Cole the girls, Louis said that he was reluctant at first to take the over-28 category
"I really didn't want to take that category and nearly walked out but then I came around to the idea and I'm pretty hopeful now," he said.