After a series that has been full of controversy – from the use of auto-tune in the auditions, to Gamu-gate, from Katie Waissel winning seemingly endless sing-offs, to the controversial exit of Mary Byrne in the semi-finals – you can be sure that the final of X Factor will be as full of as many shocks.
It is one of the most open finals of recent years, with all four acts standing a good chance of winning -Cher Lloyd and Rebecca Ferguson mentored by Cheryl Cole; Matt Cardle, mentored by Dannii Minogue; and One Direction, mentored by Simon Cowell. Whoever wins, they will hope to be more of a Leona Lewis or an Alexandra Burke than a Steve Brookstein or a Leon Jackson.
Possibly the most controversial finalist is Cher. She got through to the final after a sing-off with Mary Byrne in the semi-finals, a sing-off that many claim was not scheduled and was brought in to ensure that Cher got through to the final. It is obvious that Cher is very popular amongst the judges, especially Simon and Cheryl, with Cheryl noting on numerous occasions how much she loves Cher and how Cher reminds her of herself.
However, Cher has arguably not lived up to the height of her Turn My Swag On audition and has been in the bottom two twice. Yet, if the contestants sing their audition songs this weekend, as the finalists did last year, Cher could remind the public why she was the early favourite after her audition. A rumoured duet with Cheryl could also sway the public, although this duet is surely doubtful as it is unlikely Cheryl would so openly show favouritism to Cher considering she has two mentees in the final.
It is also likely that Cher will get a record deal, regardless of winning or not, as she has had worldwide attention from artists such as Jay-Z. Importantly, no-one who has been in a sing-off has won X Factor in any of the series, and Cher, is therefore, probably, the outsider of the competition.
Rebecca has arguably the best voice of the finalists, and Louis Walsh stated in the semi-finals that she is his favourite X Factor contestant ever. However, she has come in for criticism that she is too stationary on stage, making her a boring performer to watch. She has also been criticised for being too similar to Leona Lewis, X Factor 2006 winner, due to this lack of movement, and as, like Leona, she is not particularly confident, she has clearly recently become more sure of herself.
Whether Rebecca could win or not would probably depend on her duet – Alexandra Burke’s duet with Beyoncé was a key factor in winning X Factor 2008, and she will hope to topple the bookies’ favourite, Matt.
The only boy left in the competition is Matt, and he is the favourite to win, despite a shaky performance last week. He has produced near perfect vocals from week to week, and it is obvious why he is so popular. If the rumoured duet with Christina Aguilera is true, he arguably has it in the bag. However, favourites have lost in the final before- Rhydian lost to Leon back in 2007, and Matt will have to fight complacency, and try and stop a lot of bad press over the last few days from swaying the public not to vote for him. If he does win, he will hope to be the first truly successful X Factor male winner.
The last finalist is One Direction, the boy band formed by the judges from soloists Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson, who failed to get past boot camp. The boys have been labelled ‘five Justin Biebers’ and arguably have the teenage girl vote, a vote which makes up a large amount of the voting public.
One Direction have probably been on the biggest journey in the competition, and remarkably, despite being put together only a few months ago, look like five best friends. Despite not being the best singers individually, they harmonise really well as a group. They have been labelled the best group ever on the X Factor by the judges, although JLS will surely have something to say about that. Whether or not they do win, they will sure hope to emulate JLS and have a successful post-X Factor career.