X Factor: Andrea Faustini – from audition to the 2014 live finals

The pug-loving Italian singer wowed from performance one and is now in the running to win this eleventh series of the show

Andrea Faustini actually turned down the chance to continue on the Italian X Factor series so he could audition in front of judges Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and, most importantly, Mel B. He loves the Spice Girls and turned up with a Scary Spice doll, which he says he’s kept as it’s his lucky charm.

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He also loves pugs. His jumper from his first audition spells that out quite literally. And he said if he could he’d have two as pets – one called Simon and the other Cowell.

But that’s rather by the by. It’s lucky he did make his way to the UK show for auditions, as he’s now one of three acts in the mix to be crowned this year’s winner…

In his very first audition, Andrea sang the Jackson 5’s Who’s Lovin’ You, forcing the judges to sit up and take notice. “My favourite of the auditions so far,” Mel told him, much to his delight.

Next up was the arena where Andrea performed Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness. I was lucky enough to be in the crowd for this performance and let me tell you, he all but blew the roof off the place.

By the time it came to Boot Camp and that dreaded Six Chair Challenge, Andrea had Cheryl and Mel in floods of tears as he belted out Whitney Houston’s I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.

Once those flood gates opened, there was no stopping and Mel was sobbing again with guest judge and fellow former Spice Girl Emma Bunton as he nailed his performance of Jennifer Hudson’s And I Am Telling You.

Of course, Andrea then bagged a spot at live shows and while he’s done everything from painting himself gold to singing Beyoncé, this rendition of Michael Jackson’s Earth Song from week one remains his stand out performance for me.

With a sing-off or two under his belt, Andrea finally secured that spot in the final with this festive performance of Mariah Carey’s O Holy Night a knock-out vocal:

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Can Andrea make it all the way to the end and take the 2014 title? Tune in to ITV on Saturday at 8:30pm and Sunday at 8:00pm to find out.