James Arthur nearly quit 'The X Factor' after suffering panic attacks.

The 24-year-old hopeful feared he was going to have a "nervous breakdown" after the pressures of performing on live TV became too much for him earlier in the series when he collapsed after one show when he was struggling to breathe, having spasms and lost the feeling in his arms.

He told the Daily Star Sunday newspaper: "I'd been thinking that I would have to leave the competition because of my panic attacks.

"When I had one a few weeks ago I was worried I would have a nervous breakdown. It was horrible.

"Hopefully it won't happen again because I doubt I'll ever work as hard again as I have on 'X Factor'. The show can be very full-on."

James showed no signs of fatigue on last night's (02.12.12) show as he impressed the judges with his rendition of 'The Power of Love' - his first ballad of the series - which saw him receive a standing ovation and Gary Barlow described it as "the performance of the series".

The Take That singer said: "I know all over the country people will have stopped what they were doing to watch that performance."

Jahmene Douglas also received superlatives aplenty for his rendition of Whitney Houston's 'I Look To You', which left his mentor Nicole Scherzinger in tears after he dedicated the performance to his late brother, Daniel, who committed suicide.

Christopher Maloney - who has been branded "cheesy" throughout the competition - dedicated his version of Josh Groban's 'You Raise Me Up' to his grandmother and received praise from all four panellists.

But normal service was resumed when he performed his second effort, Michael Buble's 'I Just Haven't Met You Yet', and Nicole crticised the song choice.

Union J performed Labrinth's 'Beneath Your Beautiful' and 'Already There' by Lonestar, but Gary admitted he "worries" the boy band will not get enough votes to progress into next weekend's final.

Meanwhile, the 'X Factor' contestants have been hit with a sex ban after four semi-finalists tried to take women back to their hotel.

A show source told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "There's been talk of sex bans in previous series, but this time they are deadly serious."