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Last four X Factor finalists take on Christmas classics in festive semi-finals

The last four acts standing vied for a place in the final three in a festive-themed X Factor semi-final.

Each of the wannabe winners performed two songs - one, a Christmas tune, and another of their own choice.

The semi-finals were Christmas-themed Credit: X Factor

Matt Terry kicked off the show with a rendition of traditional hymn Silent Night.

His performance was described as "beautiful" by judge Sharon Osbourne, though Simon Cowell called it "nice" but "predictable", adding: "It was a little bit like having a sandwich without the butter."

He then went on to sing Say You Love Me by Jessie Ware.

Boyband 5 After Midnight hit the stage next, taking on East 17's Stay Another Day - which was Christmas number one in 1994 - even taking inspiration the 90s band's all-white outfits.

The performance won them high praise from the judging panel.

"That was absolutely fantastic - I loved it. That's what we've been waiting for," Simon Cowell told them.

They chose Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) as their second song.

Emily Middlemas performed John Lennon classic War is Over.

Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger both criticised her performance, with Louis accusing her of doing the "same thing every week" and Nicole labelling it "lacklustre".

Her mentor, Simon Cowell, called them both "muppets" for their comments, and told her it was "beautiful" and "sincere".

She followed it by Tears for Fears' 1982 song Mad World - which was a Christmas number one itself when it was covered by Gary Jules in 2001.

Saara Aalto sang a medley, starting with Bing Crosby classic White Christmas before launching into Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You, earning her a standing ovation from the four judges.

Nicole said it had been a "little bit corny", but said she "loved the corn" - and Simon said she had "one of the best personalities" the show had ever had.

Louis said she was "world class", before telling the audience to "vote for Sara" in Finnish - while Sharon said it had been "fabulous".

Carey's Christmas hit has climbed into the UK Top 40 every December since 2007 - though has never made it into the top spot, peaking at number two when it was released in 1994, losing out to East 17's Stay Another Day.

Her second song was a powerful version of Sia's Chandelier.

Controversial rapper Honey G was voted out last week, losing the sing-off with 5 After Midnight.

Real name Anna Georgette Gilford, Honey G's 'rescue' song was Tupac Shakur's California Love - including her signature "When I say Honey, you say G" chant.

But it failed to win the singer, who has faced criticism over her seriousness as a musical act, a spot in the semis and she was booted out.

The three successful finalists will be revealed in Sunday night's show.