The show must go on: Diana returns to perform on The X Factor despite still feeling unwell 

Diana Vickers on The X Factor

Down but not out: Diana Vickers returned to The X Factor stage but admitted she didn't feel well

Diana Vickers made a tentative return to The X Factor stage tonight after being given the all-clear to perform by doctors.

The 17-year-old missed last week's show after being struck down by laryngitis.

Yesterday she was told she was well enough to take part in the 'Best of British' themed show, without long term damage to her vocal cords.

But after she performed Coldplay's Yellow, judges Simon Cowell and her mentor, Cheryl Cole, said it was evident she had not fully recovered from illness.

Simon said: "I really missed you last week. You are the most relevant artist in this competition.

"But the problem is I don't think you're well enough still. Your vocal was off in parts."

Hinting that she could be in the sing off, he added: "For the first time ever, I'm nervous for you."

Cheryl Cole agreed that Diana was "not 100 percent".

She added: "You were determined to get up here. You felt out of loop and your confidence was battered after missing last week's show.

"I just hope the public remember everything you've done up to now and keep you in the competition."

Diana held her head in her hands after singing and confessed to host Dermot O'Leary that she didn't feel in full health.

She said: "I know I didn't perform to my best. I was terrified. I was nervous after coming back and knew I wasn't well enough."

Diana's fears of being voted off were alleviated an hour later when the public voted her through.

She burst into tears and hugged Cheryl after she was announced as the first finalist through to next week's show.

Cheryl cole

Cheryl Cole urged the public to vote to keep Diana in the competition after Simon Cowell commented her performance was below par

Producers made the unprecedented decision to allow Diana to sit out the Mariah Carey themed night last week after specialists warned she could do permanent damage to her voice.

She cut a miserable figure yesterday as she left the finalists' house to discover from doctors whether she would be able to perform on tonight's show.

The usually high-spirited teen showed the strain as she emerged from the contestants' North London home, unable to muster a smile as she made her way to a waiting cab.

Diana Vickers

Soldiering on: Diana admitted her performance was not her best but was supported by the public who voted her into next week's show

Diana, a favourite to win the show, was determined to get back on stage after saying she "hated" having to watch the other finalists perform without her week.

The show's creative director Brian Friedman said: 'I was with Diana in rehersals on Thursday.

'Her throat still hurts, she couldn't talk at full volume, she was having trouble swallowing - but she wants to perform.

'Diana wants to go on stage no matter what this week'.

Enlarge   Diana Vickers

Strained: Diana looked tired and worried on her way to meet doctors yesterday but was given the all-clear to sing

Some fans were left reeling after discovering footage of Diana yelling and screaming on Bonfire Night, three days before she was deemed ill to sing.

She had complained of feeling ill all week, but made the strange decision to brave the cold weather on Wednesday for the celebration.

Laura White, who is also mentored by Cheryl Cole, was then voted off in a shock elimination.

Diana defended the move, saying in a statement: 'I felt under the weather all last week but didn’t want to miss out on the fireworks display.

'On Thursday I saw the doctor and was given antibiotics and the following day was diagnosed with Laryngitis by a Harley Street specialist.

'Up until Saturday afternoon, I was still hoping and praying that I would be well enough to perform but the producers spoke to the doctor who made it clear that I could risk long-term damage to my voice.

'I was absolutely devastated to be told I couldn’t perform on Saturday night and disappointed not to be able to meet Mariah Carey.

'Fingers crossed I will be able to take part in this Saturday’s show.'

Diana Vickers

Recovering: Diana was desperate to perform again on tonight's show

Meanwhile things are looking up for ousted contestant Laura White who returned to Greater Manchester  to a hero's welcome.

The 21-year-old singer from Atherton was mobbed by hundreds of fans when she gave a concert at the Carphone Warehouse store in nearby Bolton on Friday.

More than 43,000 people have signed a petition protesting about her eviction from the show last week.

But it seems like she's getting her own back on the judges as she has revealed that
material she recorded before appearing on the show has become an online sensation.


The ex factor: Ousted contestant Laura got a hero's welcome in Bolton yesterday


Popular: The 21-year-old gave a free public concert at Carphone Warehouse

Two of her self-composed tracks, Sunshine and For The Love Of It All have hit the number one and two spots on download site Memusic. 

Laura said: 'Of course I was distraught to be voted off the show - but I guess I've got a number one now anyway.

'I recorded an album of my own music before I went on the show and put it on a site for unsigned artists - and two of my tracks are in the top spots now. It would be fun to release that album, in February maybe, when I am away from the X Factor contract. I've already been working on a second album as well, because my music has changed quite a lot.

'Now I just want to get signed up to a record deal. Lots of offers have come in, but they are all a bit hush-hush.'

Her exit last week has provoked one of the biggest public reactions of any reality TV show, with thousands complaining - including Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, who raised the issue in Parliament.

But Laura said she is determined to look on the bright side.

'My life has completely changed through X Factor, it's given me opportunities I never had before,' she said.