By 3 News online staff
The X Factor NZ fan favourite Fletcher Mills will get another shot at stardom after being chosen by the public to return as wildcard.
Mills beat fellow hopefuls Aotea Beazley, Grace Ikenasio and the group TYP.
"Leaving the competition and then given the opportunity to come back has me realise what a big deal this," says Mills.
"I am going to take it and run with it and see how far I can go. A massive thank you to all my supporter s– I’ll do my best for you!”
The announcement was leaked this afternoon by X Factor celebrity judge Mel Blatt, who tweeted:
"Gutted TYP didn't get through but well done Fletcher !!! XX"
The message was deleted within minutes of being posted and the show's producers decided to bring the announcement forward.
"He’s not in my category and I didn’t want Ruby to have an advantage by announcing Fletcher at the start of Sunday’s show. Bugger The X Factor rules, I’ve got a big mouth, deal with it," says Blatt.
The reveal was made official at an X Factor party at Auckland's SkyCity this evening, where the show's Top 12 were scheduled to appear.
Ruby Frost's decision to remove Fletcher from the competition had been criticised by her fellow judges, with Daniel Bedingfield telling the New Zealand Herald:
"The man's a god. He's fully fledged. I yelled at the TV.
"Putting Fletcher out and Tom in was far below Ruby, in my opinion."
Fletcher will return as the 13th contestant when the live shows screen this Sunday night.