Legendary footballer, actor and celebrity hard man Vinnie Jones is set to appear in the X Factor: Celebrity live shows, it has been revealed.
Jones was originally supposed to appear in the audition episodes of the series alongside other contestants including The Chase’s Jenny Ryan, Martin Bashir and the cast of Love Island.
However, the tragic death of his wife Tanya meant Jones was unable to take part, inspiring Simon Cowell to offer him a place in the live shows anyway.
“When we heard the news, we were all thinking about you, it was tragic, I just wanted to check you were ok,” Cowell said in a phone conversation with Jones that was televised on last night’s episode.
“Obviously, you missed the auditions, was it something you’d have been up for doing?”
Replying that he and his family were “getting through it,” Jones added: “Well Tan’s pushed me really Simon, we knew it was all going on, and I put it to the family and Tan was very excited about it.”
At this point, Cowell offered to let Jones bypass the audition stage, meaning he could just appear in the live shows some months down the line instead.
“We’d love you to be on the live shows this year, we’d welcome you and give you all the help you need,” he said. “If you’re up for it, you have an invitation.”
“I’d be honoured,” Jones replied. “She wanted me to do it, so that’d be awesome mate.”
ITV have now confirmed that Jones will appear alongside the successful auditionees in the first X Factor: Celebrity live show, which airs on Saturday 26th October.
Other celebrities in the live shows will include Ricki Lake, Kevin McHale, Olivia Olson and Megan McKenna, though despite her smash-hit audition The Chase’s Jenny Ryan was left behind.
The X Factor: Celebrity continues on Saturdays