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Amelia Lily auditioned for The 2011 X Factor (UK) in Liverpool in front of judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos, Louis Walsh and Kelly Rowland in early 2011. She sang Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart" and get greta comments from all four judges. Gary Barlow said "Oh my goodness, 16-years-old - that was incredible. That absolutely lifted the top off this arena, well done. Amazing vocals. Amelia I am blown away". She got through to the X-Factor boot camp and then through to the judges' houses where she sang E.T. by Katy Perry in front of Kelly Rowland and guest judge Jennifer Hudson. Amelia then made it to the live shows in Kelly's girls category, along with Misha B, Janet Devlin and Sophie Habibis. She performed "Billie Jean" and was the first of the girls' category to be eliminated from the live shows on October 9 by an unpopular decision of her mentor Kelly Rowland, as there was no public vote in the first live show.
After her surprise elimination, Amelia continued to pursue her dream and performed at clubs. Prior to the sixth live show of The X Factor, it was announced that Frankie Cocozza had been disqualified and that the public would be given the chance to reinstate a contestant eliminated on the first live show. Amelia Lily was then voted back into the competition after winning 48.8% of the vote, beating 2 Shoes, James Michael and Jonjo Kerr. Her comeback performance of 'The Show Must Go On' received critical acclaim from all four judges X Factor judges.

In week 7 TV SHow, Amelia was in the final showdown with Craig Colton, and was then saved by having more votes than Colton as the judges vote were deadlocked. The following week, Lily received critical acclaim from the judges for her two performances: 'China In Your Hand' and 'Since U Been Gone', especially the former with Barlow commenting that it was "really nice to hear [the song] sung in tune."

On 4th December 2011, Amelia won a place in the final along with Little Mix and Marcus Collins. Throughout the series of the competition, she topped the public vote twice and was in the bottom two once, before reaching the finals were she finished in third place.

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