X Factor judge Rita Ora admits it was “tough to let Monica go”

The Body on Me singer says the competition might not have been the “right route” for Monica

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X Factor judge Rita Ora has confessed that it was “really tough” to cut Monica Michael from her Girls category after last night’s Judges’ Houses.

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“It was tough to let go of Monica,” Rita told RadioTimes.com backstage after last night’s show. “It was tough to say goodbye to that original, amazing moment,” she added, referring to the self-penned track Monica dedicated to her brother who drowned last year.

“It was amazing to see that moment,” Rita continued.

But Rita, who opted to take forward Lauren Murray, Kiera Weathers and Louisa Johnson, said the competition might not have been the “right route” for Monica, who returned to the competition after getting cut at last year’s Six Chairs

“Her songwriting is so powerful. She can go away and make her own record in her own time and present it in her own light. For me, that was a really tough decision, but I knew I had to make it.”

There’s been a lot of talk of Rita’s category being the strongest of the bunch and the Body On Me singer says she definitely had the toughest job of the lot when it came to cutting down her six contestants to three.

“I think everybody felt that watching the show and seeing how they performed at Judges’ Houses.

“It was a really tough decision – and I thought the Six Chair Challenge was tough!” she added with a laugh. “I was really proud of my decision and I stuck by my gut and my instinct was right. I was just thinking, in the long run of live shows, who can handle it? Who can deliver?

“Lauren’s voice just completely blew me away. Louisa had it literally on one hundred on Respect, which is one of the hardest songs to sing. Kiera completely stuck by her gut in the song and has a great tone. I think that’s what we need in the competition.”

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The X Factor continues Saturday and Sunday on ITV