X Factor hopefuls have been left reeling after a shock cull saw almost three dozen of them axed.
Contestants who had made it through the auditions were told they were "going home" when judges arrived at bootcamp yesterday morning.
Show bosses had invited 190 wannabes to Selsdon Park Hotel near Croydon, south London, for the next stage of the competition. They had been partying together at a drinks reception following their arrival at the weekend.
But when the panel turned up for the "bootcamp" section of the series, they broke the news that there would be savage cuts -- resulting in 35 contestants being slashed from the show.
The singers had assumed judges were there to welcome them and set their first task. However, they were then split into four groups on the hotel lawn and told that not everyone was up to scratch.
Judge Kelly Rowland told them: "While you were partying last night, we were looking at your audition tapes."
And colleague Gary Barlow added: "We don't believe everyone standing in front of us has the potential to make it all the way in this competition. Some of you are going home now."
Rowland explained: "We only want to work with the people who can go all the way." Barlow apologised to those sent home, but told those remaining that he was "really looking forward" to working with them.