Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has admitted having sleepless nights trying to choose her final three acts for The X Factor.
The Geordie star, who was left in tears after the crowd booed her when she chose six acts at boot camp, said the whole process had been "emotional" but said narrowing those six down to three at the judges houses was "the worst".
The former Girls Aloud singer said: "It's one on one, it's personal, it's like looking them in their eye and they are looking at you just saying 'What is the answer?'. And you'll try to explain. I'd been up all night the night before".
Saying she was "more excited about this year than ever before", as she prepared to return to the live shows on ITV, she said of her final six acts: " I could have made an argument for all six. Emily [Middlemas] was too young. She still had her GCSEs and this show brings a lot of pressure, so I was looking at people I knew would take direction and I could bring the best out of. But I really wanted to bring all of them."
Cheryl said that although viewers will be voting for their favourite acts each week, she personally did not plan to treat the show as a contest.
She said: "As much as it's definitely a competition, it's a competitive show in terms of people voting for their individual favourites, I think it's important to remember that people aren't voting them off, people are voting for who they want, it's just that week, for whatever reason, they don't connect. We're using this as a showcase to show their individual abilities and not thinking of it as a competition."
Her acts - Chloe Jasmine, Lauren Platt and Stephanie Nala - will perform live this weekend with four wildcards expected to be brought back to the show after being kicked out initially - one in each category.
Chloe said the contestants' house - where all the acts stay together - was "like a sanctuary" from the pressures of the show.
The model from west London said: "Outside there's crazy people with cameras and they want their pictures but you know what, it's been so much fun running to these appointments and these interviews and really putting yourself in the shoes of a real-life performer."