We caught up with Louis Walsh's boys Sam Black, Spencer Sutherland and Lloyd Macey to get the low down ahead of the X Factor live shows...

The plasterer from the Isle of Man, Sam Black, sailed through to The X Factor bootcamp with his rendition of Dion’s hit Runaround Sue but failed to win over the judges once more. But before he was sent packing, he pulled out all the stops to ask his girlfriend, Emma Smith, to join him on stage so he could pop the question in front of 5,000 people at London’s Wembley SSE Arena.

She said ‘yes’ but it’s been a bumpy ride, as not only did Sam Black, 27, put the ring on the wrong finger, but – weeks after he thought his singing dreams were over – Louis Walsh invited him to the judges’ houses in Istanbul with BRIT award-winner Mika. And now Sam’s through to the live shows, we gave him his first grilling…

How does it feel to be back?

Weird. I burst out crying when Louis told me Anthony Russell had dropped out of the competition and they wanted me to take his place. I was shocked, I missed the whole of six-chair and it hasn’t really sunk in.

Is there more pressure to prove you deserve it?

The pressure is always there.

You proposed to Emma but put the ring on the wrong hand…

I’m not the smartest – it was quite funny though.

What made you say ‘yes’ to judges’ houses?

It’s such an opportunity I couldn’t really turn it down. It’s the dream.

Is the wedding on hold?

We are going to save up. I want to have a nice wedding but I’ll have to ask Louis to be my best man now. All the judges are welcome to come – Simon’s son Eric can be pageboy.

The show can strain relationships…

We are very settled – if this had happened when I was 18 then it would have been a lot harder but we are settled now.

How will you cope with the female attention?

We are very open and Emma has got all the passwords to my social media. I get her to comment back.

What does one-year-old Mason think of his daddy singing?

I’m sure he’ll be proud. He likes watching Topsy and Tim so I played that song to him on the guitar.

Tell us, what’s Louis like as a mentor?

He’s just really normal… he’s helping me out loads and rings me most days to go over song choices.

Did you get any advice from Mika?

He said, ‘You need to stop beating yourself up before you sing.’ He told me to ‘channel the nerves’.

Who would you duet with?

Ed Sheeran, James Arthur or Paolo Nutini.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you while performing?

At the end of a performance, I did this spin and as soon as I did it I thought, ‘Why?!’ But it went down pretty well.

 

Spencer: ‘I’ve always fancied Nicole’

Ohio hunk Spencer Sutherland serenaded judge Nicole Scherzinger at his first audition with Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, before sailing through bootcamp, six-chair challenge and judges’ houses. Having performed with Ariana Grande, he claims he doesn’t have any ‘real celebrity pals’ – despite currently dating actress and girlfriend-of-two-years Madison Iseman. But what if Nicole gets flirty at live shows? Spencer, 25, spilled, ‘It’s OK [for her to flirt] I’ve always fancied her.’

Tell us about your special judges’ houses song…

It’s an original song I wrote about my dad who has cancer. It’s called Waste of Time because every second I’m not with him feels like a waste.

How is your dad doing?

The doctor says everything’s looking amazingly positive, so he’s coming over for the first live show.

Any tattoos?

No. At judges’ houses, Sam Black and I said, ‘If we make it, we need to get ‘X’ tattoos,’ so we have to do that.

 

Lloyd Macey: ‘I’ve lost a stone and a half’

The Valley’s finest Lloyd Macey sang Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down at his first audition when his number one fan/super-sweet gran Christine brought judge Simon Cowell his favourite fish finger sandwiches. After a nail-biting six-chair challenge, which ended in a three-way sing-off, Lloyd, 23, got through to the live shows…

How does it feel?

Fantastic, the best bit was phoning my gran, She’s so proud.

Will Simon have to step up security?

I’m a bit worried, but my gran said all she will do is get the fish finger sandwiches out.

What are you like to live with?

I don’t really cook. I’m on a 5:2 diet [two days 600 calories and five days 1,500] because I want to look good for the live shows. I was 16st, but I’ve lost a stone-and-a-half since my first audition by having blueberry shakes, meals every three hours and going to the gym.