Anthony Russell’s emotional audition for The X Factor 2018 DID get a yes from Louis Tomlinson after he was prompted by Simon Cowell, it has emerged.
Previous reports suggested that Louis refused to deliver a verdict on Anthony as they had become close friends.
But tonight’s episode of the ITV show revealed that the Liverpool labourer’s try-out did in fact get four yesses.
Anthony began by explaining how he had met Louis after pulling out of the last series due to “personal reasons”.
“I started going down a rocky road, making bad choices,” he recalled. “I got an inbox on Twitter off of Louis. He said, ‘I wanna help you’, so I just jumped at it.
“I went away to rehab for four months. It was a blessing, that place, to me. I wouldn’t be in a good place if it weren’t for Louis.”
Having been tipped as a potential winner of the competition last year, Anthony decided to give it another shot.
“As soon as my head started clearing I thought, ‘I’m getting right back on that X Factor’,” he said. “I’m not on this earth to throw the towel in.”
Taking to the stage at the SSE Arena in Wembley, he told the judges: “I’m doing good, I’m clean, fresh out the toaster!”
“Me and you, me and you,” smirked Robbie Williams.
Anthony performed a stripped-back piano version of Avicii’s biggest hit ‘Wake Me Up’ because “the lyrics mean so much to me”.
The audition visibly moved Louis, who went on stage to hug him amid a standing ovation from the thousands-strong audience.
“You’ve got The X Factor, and I’ll tell you why. Those battle scars give you something that not everybody has. Your story is unique,” said Robbie.
The pop superstar’s wife Ayda Williams continued: “What I know from my experience with Rob is how much courage and ferocity it takes to get out of a dark place.
“You just completely surrendered to that moment and it was phenomenal.”
Simon described Anthony’s voice as “sensational”, while a teary-eyed Louis struggled to find words.
“Bloody hell lad, I’ve got to pull myself together after that,” he mused. “It was a big moment for both of us and you absolutely delivered.”
The time came for the judges to vote, and Robbie and Ayda both gave immediate yesses.
Louis did initially decine to take part, saying: “I don’t think I should vote, because maybe we have to close a [relationship].”
However, show creator Simon insisted “there are no rules whether you should or shouldn’t vote on someone”.
The music mogul gave Anthony the third yes he needed to progress, but then told Louis: “I think you need to give him what you want to say.”
The One Direction member eventually made it a full house by saying: “Absolutely, yes.”
After sharing another hug with Louis backstage, Anthony reacted: “I don’t know what to say, man… it’s emotional.”
The X Factor continues next Saturday at 8.30pm and Sunday at 8.00pm on ITV.