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Westlife perform an emotional swansong as they take to the stage at The X Factor final

By Holly Thomas

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Final appearance: Westlife took to the X Factor stage tonight for the last time after announcing their split

Louis Walsh may not have had an act in the X Factor final tonight, but one past choice of his was represented on stage tonight.

Iconic Irish 'boy' band Westlife, formerly managed by the judge, performed at the Wembley arena for the show's final, singing What About Now to the 10,000 strong crowd.

The five took their traditional positions standing simply in a row behind their mikes for the emotional last performance.

Went for it: The five gave their swansong their all, working the crowd for their emotional last performance

Shane Filan tweeted from backstage beforehand: 'Great atmosphere down at the xfactor ! Coldplay next door to us! Defo watching their rehearsal . Class'

Things were clearly getting emotional however, as Kian Egan tweeted: 'On the way to x factor rehearsal now. This will be our last tv performance as Westlife :(. A great one to finish on. Love u all x #sad'

It was clearly a close-run thing for Nicky Byrne, as less than three hours before the show he posted: 'On plane heading down runway !! Up up & away ........

No goodbye dance? The five took up their classic stage positions standing in a row, behind their microphones

They had announced the news of on their official Twitter feed, writing: 'We are excited to announce that Westlife will be performing on @TheXFactor final this Sunday 11th December on ITV1!'

Though this is a particularly special occasion, this isn't the first time they have performed on the X Factor.

They sung their comeback single Safe on the show last year as part of the 'battle of the boy bands', which also featured Take That and JLS.

Westlife confirmed their split after topping the charts for 14 years in October.

Singing his heart out: Shane Filan gave it his all as he belted What About Now

They said: 'After 14 years, 26 top ten hits including 14 number one singles, 11 top 5 albums, 7 of which hit the top spot and have collectively sold over 44 million copies around the world, 10 sell-out tours and countless memories that we will forever cherish, we today announce our plan to go our separate ways after a greatest hits collection this Christmas and a farewell tour next year.

'The decision is entirely amicable and after spending all of our adult life together so far, we want to have a well-earned break and look at new ventures.'

The quartet added that they believe their greatest hits album, due for release this Christmas, is the perfect way to say goodbye to their fans.

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