The X Factor live show was overshadowed by stage invaders intruding on rapper Honey G’s screen time, with a prankster group called Trollstation taking credit for the stunt.
The controversial rapper, who is the bookies’ favourite to be voted off the show this week, had just finished a performance of MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This when a man rushed the stage and tried to touch her.
During judge Louis Walsh’s comments on her efforts, the man, dressed in a baseball cap, ran up behind her, grabbed her shoulders and tried to take her microphone.
But it was later revealed there had been five people involved in the incident.
An X Factor spokesman said: “There was a stage invasion by four men, with one further person in support. All five had been in the audience. They were spoken to by police and security and have now been removed from the studio.”
Trollstation tweeted their involvement, posting a video of the stage rush captioned: “X Factor invasion.”
Earlier in the day they had tweeted a hint about what was to come.
Fans of the group congratulated them on the incident.
On their YouTube channel, Trollstation describe themselves as: “The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticise people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
“Trollstation is a YouTube channel specialising in bizarre and often surreal pranks performed on unwitting members of the public.
“Our content is intentionally provocative & controversial with the aim to get reactions from the general public in the name of comedic satire. Trollstation is a collective of social misfits playing mad mind games on the public.”
Founding member Daniel Jarvis, from Gravesend, Kent, was jailed in May for a July 2015 stunt gone wrong in which he and Endrit Ferizolli, 20, Ebenezer Menzah, 29, and Helder Gomes, 23, carried out a fake heist at the National Portrait Gallery and then moved on to Tate Britain to stage a fake robbery and kidnapping, causing chaos in the process.
According to Kent Online, District Judge Mike Snow said while passing sentence: “I was told that the defendants believed what they were doing was funny. Their sense of humour is warped.”
Jarvis and Gomes have previous convictions for a pitch invasion at a Tottenham Hotspur v Partizan Belgrade match in 2014, and Gomes had another previous conviction for carrying out a fake break-up with a stranger in a coffee shop in which he threw a box containing underwear and a sex toy on the floor in front of her.
Head judge Simon Cowell said after the stunt: “I thought that was part of the act for a moment. That’s what you create, people go crazy for you.”
Presenter Dermot O’Leary said: “Obviously we had a stage invasion, three punks thought they could come on and take on Honey G, but could they?”
She replied: “I don’t think so.”
This week each act had two chances to perform, and Honey G returned to sing a blend of Push It by Salt-N-Pepa and Black Beatles by US hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd, known as the track usually playing on mannequin challenge videos where large groups of people freeze into poses.
As Honey G moved into the Black Beatles section, the entire studio audience, including the judging panel, froze into place for an X Factor mannequin challenge.
Judge Nicole Scherzinger said: “I love this show – we just did the mannequin challenge to Black Beatles live on a Saturday night. You know what missy? You pulled it off, whatever just happened.”
Simon said: “Now we’re part of the act and I love it.
“Tonight you’ve brought on stage invaders, you’ve made us turn into mannequins. You’re clever. Whether you love it or you hate it, people are going to talk about you.”
Earlier in the episode, viewers saw the rapper visit her mother, who rehearsed with her by playing the piano as Honey G sang U Can’t Touch This.
The show also suffered a mishap in its opening segment when a dancer fell over within moments of going live.
Louis had taken to the stage to do a jig alongside an Irish dance troupe for the night’s “Louis Loves” theme in which he picked each act’s first song, but a performer next to him fell over during the routine.