Samantha Jade. Picture: Tarsha Hosking

The tables were turned on The X Factor last night when the judges reversed their roles to choose songs for rival contestants - and it was Perth pop starlet Samantha Jade who came out shining.

Judge Natalie Bassingthwaighte has long criticised the pint-sized singer's song choices as selected by mentor Guy Sebastian but she was given the chance to put forward what she thought Jade should be performing.

And Jade stepped up to the challenge with a pop rendition of Kelly Clarkson's hit Stronger, drawing universal praise from the judges.

"I actually didn't want that to stop, I really think you're getting better and better every week," Mel B said, adding that Jade could make the grand final if fans actually voted for her after being in the bottom two again last week.

Compliments were also dished out freely to the other remaining contestants.

Darwin teen Shiane Hawke opened the show with Christina Perri's A Thousand Years, which may have been handed to her by Sebastian but won the approval of Hawke's mentor Bassingthwaighte.

Boy band the Collective worked to shrug off the daggy label they had earned from the judges in recent weeks with a fresh take on Beauty and a Beat by Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj.

Bassingthwaighte said the performance made her scared for her own charges' place in the show. "It is so hot in here and I think you just made it an extra bit hotter," she said.

Crooner Jason Owen was thrown a curveball when rival mentor Ronan Keating picked his own song, If Tomorrow Never Comes, to sing - which Keating in turn covered from Garth Brooks' original. However, the song choice worked in Owen's favour, with Sebastian commenting the rendition really tapped into his emotions.

"If you did a full album of that, I swear to you it would sell like hot cakes," he said.

Bella Ferraro rounded out the show with a cover of the Cranberries' Dreams, which was chosen by Mel B.

"I said it in the show earlier, I wish you were doing this kind of stuff from the beginning. That was perfect for you. It was completely unique to you. Absolutely marvellous," the former Spice Girl said.

At 7.30pm today on Seven/GWN7, along with announcing the final four, Johnny Ruffo performs his new single Take It Home and provocative Ke$ha sings Die Young.

The West Australian

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