LOLA Saunders is back at home after leaving the X Factor at the weekend.
The 20-year-old, from East Boldon, has returned to her family after exiting the ITV talent show on Sunday night.
Lola, who was working at Whitburn fishmongers Latimer’s while training in childcare, left the show after competing in a sing-off with eight-piece boyband Stereo Kicks.
She said: “It is gutting, it really is, but the way I look at is now is that I was upset to be out in week four but there were 16 of us and everyone was just so good this year and it was really tough but I’m so glad to be back home.
“It’s like you’re out this bubble now so it’s quite weird but I’m excited to be back home.”
Despite being sent home from the judges’ house stage by mentor Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Lola was sent a lifeline after Louis Walsh selected her as a wildcard act.
Lola, who lives with her parents Wes and Tina and brother Harris, 16, said: “It was so strange. My gran and grandad live in Cleadon so it was so strange for Louis to come into such a small area. It’s just so weird to know that he came and chose me to be the wildcard.
“I’m sort of glad I got sent home from judges’ houses. Obviously it was gutting but to be brought back as a wildcard, I’ve sort of had that sense of rejection anyway, so now going out again, it hasn’t been as bad.”
She added: “It was just something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve watched over the years with Joe McElderry, I’ve watched Little Mix. I actually bumped into Jade and Perrie when we were at the studios and they said they were backing me and they gave me loads of advice.
“Joe got in touch as well and gave me loads of advice so that was just so lovely knowing that I had that backing there as well.
“I’ve always said I wanted to get on the X Factor live shows so to actually achieve that, now when I think back I realise how fortunate I’ve been and I know the support round here has just been amazing.
“My dad has informed me of everything that’s been going on and it’s just been so brilliant, it’s really overwhelming but now it’s just coming out of it and trying to get out there and sing and get myself out there as much as I can and obviously support the other X Factor contestants who are on the show now because we did get on really well.”
Lola is now planning on pursuing a career in the music business.
She said: “For me that was a platform. Even though I loved the show, that was for me to get out there and singing, that was the challenge for me, if I could do it or not, and I could, so now I want to go out there and sing as much as I can.
“Any opportunities that come up, I’ll be grasping them by both hands and just perform – I want to sing all the time.”