X Factor contestant Bella Penfold has opened up about her sexuality.
19-year-old Bella from Essex is one of the four girls chosen by Simon Cowell for the live shows in his category.
At judges' houses on Sunday, she performed Macklemore's Same Love describing it as an "important song" to her.
Now Bella has revealed how she had been told by 'friends' that being honest about her sexuality could cost her votes.
In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Bella said she wanted to be "fearless" with her song choice.
“I’m brave enough that I’ve come to terms with who I am," the teenager explained. "I didn’t want to go through a competition being dishonest and I’ve had friends tell me, ‘You might not want to say you’re with girls because you might lose the vote of boys’.
“I thought, ‘That’s a homo-phobic statement in myself. You’re telling me to hide who I am to gain more votes’.”
After the show on Sunday, Bella shared a picture of her 'Same Love' tattoo on Instagram alongside the caption: "IM THROUGH TO THE LIVE FINALS!!! You keep me warm, all your comments and kind words. I am a lover of love whatever that means to you. I do this for everyone that’s had to struggle🌈❤️ "
Meanwhile, discussing being mentored by Simon Cowell, Bella said from judges' houses: "He’s got such a big name for himself, you can go to any country and say his name and people know who he is. For him to be my judge is very good.
"I’m not intimidated by him, I just want him to give me a kick up the backside because I need it. At the end of the day it’s his show and he wouldn’t have me on it if he didn’t think he could make something of me. I don’t want to let him down."
Looking ahead to the live shows, Bella added "The live shows is when you start having a full production behind you and you really get to show who you want to be as an artist. It’s more what we would be doing in the real world, for me this is my career, it’s my dream, it’s me reaching another milestone."
The X Factor 2018 continues Saturday and Sunday night on ITV.