Jake, who is in Mel B's final six Boys on the show, was left devastated when his brother Oliver passed away following a battle with the illness in 2012.
As a result, the singer is taking the ITV show in his stride and had no fears about performing in front of Mel and her fellow judges - Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
While at Judges' Houses in Cancun with his fellow contestants, Jake - who made it to the same stage in 2012 - said: "I'm not going to lie, the last two years have been the hardest of my life, ever.
"I thought this should be a breeze compared to what I've gone through. I thought, screw it, I'll go for it again. And it's turned out alright because I'm sat here in Cancun."
Jake, 26, was sent home by Nicole Scherzinger in 2012 - and he has vowed that this is his last shot at the show.
The singer adds: "I've spoken to my mum about it and I can't do it again. I've done it twice.
"I was doing gigs all the time after the last show and I was loving it but then a new crop of X Factor people come through and suddenly you're one of the old guys. And then you don't get your gigs and you only do one a month.
"I'm still living at home and my mum's having to pay for everything and it's embarrassing for me. I want to make my mum proud so, if I don't get through, then I'd have to get a job and move out."
Jake faces tough competition in the Boys' category - Andrea Faustini, Jordan Morris, Paul Akister, Danny Dearden and Jack Walton - but he believes he has what it takes.
"I'm not Andrea with this huge voice, I'm not Paul with his soul voice. I'm just Jake and I like to sing," he explained. "If I make the live shows, I want to show that I can dance and I can play my guitar. I feel like this year is as good as any. It's hard to tell. Anyone could win it."