Early X Factor favourite Derry Mensah, who flirted shamelessly with judge Kelly Rowland in the first round of auditions, has revealed his former life of crime, which resulted in a prison stretch.

Mensah was arrested after robbing a teenager of his mobile phone and Rolex watch near Clapham Junction Station, in London.

The victim claimed a firearm was used but the talented singer insisted he wasn't armed and said that despite police searching his house, no weapon was found.

Mensah ended up serving half of his 18-month jail sentence.

"Prison was actually the making of me. I met people on the verge of going down for murder and things like that,' he told the Sun.

"They heard me sing and talk about things I've done musically – and told me to make sure I pursue that as a career rather than come back to prison.

"Hearing that from people who are going to be there for the rest of their lives made me think I need to fix up. Because if I don't I'll probably end up just like them."

Mensah nailed his audition with a rendition of ushers Can You Help Me? and was rewared with a kiss on the cheek from the foxy Rowland.

Others to impress the judges were 19-year-old Misha Bryan, who was unofficially voted ‘the best of the night’ after her performance of Aretha Franklin classic Respect.

She also won praise from a number of high-profile figures, including Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand and ITV presenter Phillip Schofield, who wrote on Twitter: ‘The best audition I have EVER seen!’

And 22-year-old biscuit factory worker Craig Colton from Kirkby. He stunned his proud parents in the audience, and blew the judges away with a stunning rendition of Adele’s Hiding My Heart.

A peak audience of 10.2 million viewers recently tuned into the popular singing show.