Cheryl Cole returned to The X Factor as Gary Barlow's special guest last night (September 29). She tried her best to help the Take That star decide which acts to take to the live shows, but admitted the pressure to make the right choice was too much for her to handle.
Cheryl famously left the show after the 2010 series to be a judge on X Factor USA last year. She had explicitly ruled out a return to the UK show, but cameod this year when her good pal Gary called in a favour.
While the Girls, Boys and Groups were flown to St Lucia, Dubai and Las Vegas, Gary invited the Over 28s to Boughton House in Northamptonshire. Gary decided to remain in the UK so he could be close to his family after the tragic death of his baby daughter Poppy in August.
The six Overs finalists Kye Sones, Melanie Masson, Nicola Marie, Brad Shackleton, Carolynne Poole and Christopher Maloney were ecstatic when Gary arrived in the estate's huge grounds by helicopter (casual), but were positively speechless when Cheryl stepped out after him.
The Girls Aloud singer, who found fame through TV singing contest 'Popstars: The Rivals', told them:
"I've been there and I have been here so I know how you are all feeling, I am just excited to see what you have got.
"I think it's going to be amazing and I wish you the best of luck from the bottom of my heart."
As she and Gary lounged in the grounds of the country estate, she said:
"This is very English... all we need is some scones."
Cheryl sympathised with contestant Carolynne, who was kicked off the show last year by Louis Walsh before she could sing at the live shows. Comforting a 'gutted' Carolynne, Cheryl asked who had been her previous mentor. When Carolynne told her it was Louis, the singer cattily replied:
"I'd have been gutted, too". Ouch!
After watching all the acts perform, Cheryl agonised with Gary over who to choose. She said:
'I'm so glad I have a car coming soon. How are you going to make your decision?"
The pressure's definitely on... we can't wait for tonight's show!
We bet she was glad to escape back to her rumoured new man Trey Holloway...