The production team tried to get Ella back into the country, but with hard border closures between Australia and New Zealand, it was impossible.
She held out hope right up until she got the devastating call from a producer.
"They said 'We're so sorry, there's nothing we can do," she recalls. "I was sitting in the car eating chicken nuggets, but I just started crying."
Outside of the show Ella has an impressive resume starring as the lead in annual concert Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, perform her own Diva Tribute shows on cruise ships and has even recently recorded her own debut single, Work That.
Refusing to give up on her dream, Ella is returning to the show and admitted to TV WEEK it’s even more nerve-racking this time around.
"There was definitely more fear of, 'What if I don't turn a chair?' and 'Oh my God – I'm going to be a failure,'" she said.
"Last year, I was seeing how I went as the girl from New Zealand, but this year, I'm the girl with unfinished business who's going to fight for what she wants.”