LUCKY Ashford Campbell is still in with a shout of X Factor glory after he was given a third shot at fame.
The Huddersfield singer thought his dream of being a pop star was over after his band Nu Vibe was kicked out of the ITV show two weeks ago.
But on Friday evening he made a dramatic return to the ITV show after The Risk singer Ashley Baptiste walked out on his bandmates.
Unable to perform as a threesome, the boy band called up 19-year-old Ashford and asked if he would join them for Saturday evening’s live performance.
Groups judge Tulisa backed the move and it also had to be cleared with fellow judges Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Kelly Rowland.
The reprieve was the Lowerhouses teenager’s third stint on the show this series.
At the start of the current series he was initially rejected as a solo artist but was then one of several contestants brought back by judges and put into groups.
Ashford’s mum, Bernadette Baptiste, said it had been a tough decision for him to go back.
She said the call from The Risk had come on Friday afternoon and Ashford had been given very little time to make the possibly life-changing decision.
“He was in shock,’’ she said. “It wasn’t an easy decision because he had to think about Nu Vibe.
“All the X Factor performers do some live gigs after the show finishes and he was worried about them.
“He had to make a very quick decision, but he took it and he went down on Friday evening.”
Ashford had less than 24 hours with his new bandmates before they performed the Michael Jackson hit Thriller in front of the massive O2 crowd.
The newly-formed quartet only had a few hours to rehearse their song and dance together before performing live in front of the nation.
But the group’s rendition was given the thumbs up by all the judges.
Alexandra Burke, who was sitting in for Kelly Rowland who is unwell, described it as “magical”.
Louis Walsh said The Risk had “better vocal harmonies with Ashford” on board. He added: “I see something special here.”
Gary Barlow compared the gamble to bring back Ashford with when Robbie Williams left Take That.
He said to the band: “I’ve always really liked you – now (Ashford is in) I really, really like you.
“I’ve been right where you are. In 1995 right before a big tour one of our band members left. You either lie down and lose or get up fighting like you have tonight.”
Tulisa said: “You’ve made your decision, you’ve brought Ashford back and you’ve completely smashed it.”
Ashford said: “It’s been crazy from being sat at home to getting the phone call. It’s been life-changing.”