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X Factor girls open up about having Simon Cowell as a mentor: 'He's just a teddy bear':

Emmy Griffiths

The three girls who made the live shows on The X FactorSamantha Lavery, Emily Middlemas and Gifty Louise, have praised their mentor Simon Cowell, calling his famous 'Mr Nasty' character "a persona".

Samantha, who was controversially asked to remove her make-up by the music mogul during her time at the judge's house, told reporters including HELLO! Online: "[Simon] gives us confidence. You see him on screen and everyone just has this image of him being really scary and not approachable but…he wants us to know that he's there.

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"Any of us can go up to him and say, 'Look, I'm not sure about this' and it makes us more confident…he's helping us grow and he knows where he wants us to go. He has that vision which makes us feel really good about ourselves…it gives us a bit of strength."

Gifty Louise also couldn't speak more highly of the 57-year-old. 

"I don't think the whole Mr Nasty thing is him I think it's just a persona," she revealed. "He's such a nice guy he's just a teddy bear…he makes you feel really comfortable. He's so down to earth, he's rich but he doesn’t flaunt it, he's so humble about it.

"He's always telling us like, 'Look I believe in you girls that's why I picked you.' It's amazing."

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Samantha opened up about having Simon as a mentor

Last night's episode of X Factor saw the three contestants perform in the live shows for the first time for 'Express Yourself' week. The three girls gave strong performances which showed off their personality, with Samantha performing James Arthur's Impossible, Gifty performing Fifth Harmony's That's My Girl while Emily stole the show with a performance of Closer by The Chainsmokers. 

It was revealed that Emily's song was changed at the last minute. Although she was originally performing Toxic by Britney Spears, she revealed that she was given a more contemporary song, adding pressure to her performance. 

"My song has been changed last minute, it just changed yesterday so I'm going to just try and learn it tonight," she revealed. "I just got the track today, so I'm feeling really nervous about that but you know what, people have to deal with this." 

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