Rita Ora and the girls to kick off X Factor Six Chair Challenge

New judge is the first on the panel to choose which acts are heading to Judges' Houses

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Gird your loins, the X Factor’s Six Chair Challenge returns tonight, with new judge Rita Ora’s Girls category kicking things off. 

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In a new twist, a public Twitter vote decided which judge would mentor which category. Grimshaw put up a fight – the Girls were a popular category – but Rita won out, with the former getting the Boys, Cheryl the Groups and Mr Cowell the Overs. 

This is the third time X Factor has included the Six Chairs stage, which was quickly dubbed ‘brutal’ by the singers, judges and viewers alike. It’s a manic game of musical chairs at heart. Each singer left in the category must perform again and if their mentor likes them, they’re given a seat. This seat is a ticket to the next round, Judges’ Houses. However, once in a seat all is not done and dusted. Singers can be swapped in and out until there’s no one left to perform. 

The crowd become the fifth judge and are encouraged to yell out whether a singer should be given a seat, or indeed swapped in. If they didn’t have a headache when they entered Wembley, they no doubt had one when they left. 

In Rita’s case, she’s got sixteen singers which must become six. Among her category there are a few singers who’ve quickly become a big focus of the show: Monica Michael, Louisa Johnson and Charli Beard. It’s certainly going to be a tough battle, with a sneak peek of the episode showing Rita rather simply telling the girls that their audition is make or break. You’re in or you’re out.

The lucky six will join Rita in LA for the final audition round, where she’s being helped out by chart star Meghan Trainor. Rita will then cut her group down again – we’re expecting three to be taken through to the studio shows – in a new live reveal at Wembley. Then it’s over to the live shows and we can all start thinking about what we’re going to have for Christmas dinner. 

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The X Factor Six Chair Challenge starts tonight at 7:00pm on ITV