7:17 Wotcha! Welcome to the last and final night of 2011 X Factor wrongness. I'm Jack Seale, and I'm going to watch The X Factor Final - The Results while typing words into a box. Why not make space on your screen for those words, and add some of your own into that other, smaller box? Yay? YAY.
7:19 We are, of course, down to the last two acts: tiny hairdressing Scouser of soul Marcus Collins; and Jesy, Perrie, Stevie and Jeremy, otherwise known as Little Mix. Who will win? Who do you want to win? My head says Little Mix, as do my appendix, spleen and gall bladder, whereas my heart, pancreas and the backs of my knees are firmly behind Marcus.
7:31 IT'S TIME! FOR BOTH OF THESE ACTS' CAREERS! TO PEAK!
7:33 Dermot is simple class itself for the grand finale: tux, no silly dancing, perfectly judged spin. He runs down the frantic amount of filler we've got tonight, including two supermarket-CD-shoppers' faves: Westlife and Coldplay.
7:36 Comment From PeteJ 2 HOURS?! How can it be on for 2 HOURS?!?!?! It's like the Never Ending Soddin' Story... But anyway, Go Craig!!!! (Eh, what do you mean he's not in it anymore?!)
7:36 Comment From Jodie My big toe says Little Mix but my little toe is leaning towards Marcus
7:39 The judges are in situ, so we're ready for Little Mix feat. Marcus Collins. Oh my god, stage invasion! Oh no wait, that's Nu Vibe! It's all the finalists! And Goldie Cheung! Kitty Brucknell stands on the judges' desk to do Edge of Glory - they're doing lines of different songs apparently at random. Like Jive Bunny but less credible.
7:39 Comment From Jodie in five seconds Misha B did better than Little Mix have done all series
7:42 A lengthy recap of last night's perfs, plus backstage footage of everyone saying everything was the most amazing moment of their lives. The acts are almost as enthusiastic. And that's the first ad break! Phew.
7:45 Comment From Mic What's the number to vote for the Yeo Valley lads?
7:45 Comment From Kathryn Tulisa looks like a tube of purple toothpaste
7:46 Comment From @mkmswain Every time I hear Sophie sing, I think 'Oh, that's a pleasant sound - who's that? Oh, it's Sophie.' As soon as you look away from her, you forget her. She's a Doctor Who monster in disguise
7:48 Comment From Jodie So what does your 18 month old make of it all? Is he going with Marcus or Little Mix?
7:50 Jodie: I don't know but I do know the little blighter isn't asleep yet, hence the rather higgledy-piggledy start to this blog. He's on the way though, I just whacked him with a mallet smeared in Calpol. Anyway, it's MARCUS COLLINS on stage, back into his liquorice allsort black and pink get-up for his choice of his best song of the series, Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson. The gospel choir is out! Remember, if you dislike gospel choirs, you are a bad person.
7:51 Comment From Beth Song of the series? I remember the days when finalists had to actually, you know, learn a new song...
7:51 Comment From Jules Disappointment was his closest friend - now its Gary Barlow - now he knows what disappointment is
7:51 Comment From Rebs That Marcus is so thoughtful, he reminded everyone of the upcoming key-change
7:51 Comment From Pierre Etchebaster Marcus has been a consummate professional throughout - but who will buy or illegally download his records? I think Simon Cowell will want the guaranteed tabloid attention that Little Mix will provide.
7:54 The usual X Factor final comments - only Marcus's death could engender bigger tributes. By the way I think Rebs was referring there to Marcus's new adlib "Take it down!" Plenty of time later for some classic "here we go!"s and "Wembley come on!"s. In the crowd, Cougar Flack interviews Mrs Marcus, who is hoarse with devotion. Dermot busts a little further out of his tuxedo with the emotion of it all.
7:54 Comment From Katie Right, I'm here..... what have I missed....?!
7:56 Evening Katie! You've not missed much: just the surprise opening rounds, where a BIG TWIST meant Marcus taking on Little Mix at giant chess. Confusion among the Little Mix girls about the correct way to defend Marcus's tricky King's Gambit opening led to a quick victory for the Liverpool lad, who has now been awarded an extra 500,000 votes. After the break: tug of war.
7:56 Not really. You haven't missed anything.
7:58 We're just enjoying another ad break, after which it's LITTLE MIX with their song of the series! Ooh, what could that be? Could it be... er... that one they did, you know, that time where they all stood in a line? Or that other one, where they were on chairs for a bit?
8:01 Here they are again, then: Jesy, Perrie, Mikey, Stevie and Wellard, aka LITTLE MIX! They are, of course, doing Don't Let Go by En Vogue, a song so mightily good it should either be banned or come with a heavy forfeit such as making the group in question wear stupid outfits. Ah hang on, they've done the latter.
8:01 Comment From Jodie Why are Little Mix standing on a giant electric bar heater?
8:05 Little Mix at the top of a flight of illuminated metal steps, a big-budget variation on the usual plinth or no plinth. At least three out of four of them remembered the key change there. Louis, whose enormous open-necked shirt makes him look like he's got some sort of all-in-one jacketshirt on - I'd like one of those myself - says Instant Muffin Mix will be the biggest girlband in the UK this time next year. Kelly is all tears, Gary is right behind the girls and Tulisa, popping and spoffing due to some incredibly poor mic technique, says all your votes form Little Mix in the earlier rounds "COUNT FOR NOTHING!", which seems like an unwisely aggressive marketing strategy.
8:06 Comment From katg2680 Jodie, they misread the instructions, should have been giant oven for our Little Muffins
8:07 In the crowd, Olly Murs beatboxes so that some of Little Muffins' little friends can do a rap about them. The dread prospect of a Little Mix equivalent of S Club Juniors looms.
8:09 Comment From @mkmswain Where's the mayor? HOW CAN WE UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS WITHOUT A MAYOR? (And Marmite faces)
8:13 Back from the ads and surely it's time for a celebrity guest? No! It's MARCUS COLLINS again, with his choice of Christmas song, Wham!'s Last Christmas. Oh and that's LIQUID Collins adlibbing, turning George's whispered "Happy Christmas" into a massive Wembley shout-out. That's the Marcus Collins Ad Lib of the Series, no doubt about it.
8:14 Some good high notes in that for Our Marcus, although I did wonder if the emotional desolation of the lyric rather got lost among the flaming torches and Marcus's jolly three-piece checked suit.
8:16 "What a great early Christmas gift!" shouts Kelly, before once again telling Marcus she loves him. On American Idol the judges slurp Pepsi - here, if Kelly and Tulisa are anything to go by, it's egg nog.
8:17 Aha! Here's the first mayor of the night, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. He may not have swept to victory on a wave of thrilling oratory and raw charisma, put it that way. Olly Murs talks to a woman billed as Marcus's best friend who seems never to have met him. How long's he been singing, Olly asks? Sorry, she has no idea whatever.
8:18 Now straight into MUFFIN MIX - this is relentless! - who are doing... oh God they're doing Silent Night! You have to be able to sing to do this! Wait there while I get a cushion, just in case I need to clamp it over my ears...
8:21 Little Mix respond to Marcus's gospel choir from earlier with some extras pretending to be carol singers. In the festive face, Collins! And that was a reasonable stab at a stripped-down slowie, with Perrie (is it Perrie? It might have been Dave, I'm not sure) doing a lot of Mariah Carey tinselly high bits. Kelly says "MERRY FRICKIN CHRISTMAS!" while Gary describes Little Mix as "simple, beautiful, emotional". Lovely.
8:22 Comment From Claire Those leggings! MY EYES!
8:22 Comment From Mic Allowing someone other than the blonde one to sing. Risky move, flapjacks.
8:23 Comment From Trudy Louis catching up with his Christmas card writing there...
8:24 We are bulldozing through the X Factor final traditions here. After the mayor for Marcus, Little Mix get the novelty pizza treatment, although the person who baked it seems to have cheated by making a pizza, then sticking a drawing of the group over the top.
8:24 Comment From Kathryn At least one member of LM is contractually obliged to wear leggings of horror for each song
8:25 Dermot asks for the judges' highlights of the series. "Being a mentor," says Kelly. Thanks for that.
8:25 Comment From Talia Kelly is checking into her flight under the desk
8:26 NOW it's a celebrity guest. Four bland men who have inexplicably sold millions of records: it's COLDPL- sorry. It's WESTLIFE!
8:26 Comment From katg2680 This is so tense, cant sit still, who's gonna win? Jason, Harry or Chelsee? Ooops, sorry, wrong blog
8:28 Lovely leather jackets from Westlife there. I thought Burtons had gone out of business, but obviously not.
8:29 Westlife are backed by an emotive black and white montage of moments from the series. It's hard to suppress a tear. All those Saturday nights, utterly squandered.
8:32 Time for an ad break, after which we'll hear the finalists' singles, one of which will be erased for ever when the voting result comes in.
8:38 Ah, and we're back to both acts singing the same song, after a change of format last year where Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson had their own. First though, it's Marcus's best bits. Backed by Rule the World by Take That, which is one up for Marcus because if Little Mix are backed by N-Dubz they'll haemorrhage votes. Anyway, MARCUS COLLINS is on for the last time and the rumours are true: the winner's single is Cannonball by Damien Rice, the song that arguably kicked off that whole milksop acoustic-indie sensitive ballid genre and should thus be banned for ever.
8:40 This suits Marcus much more than Dr Oetker Instant Muffin Mix, surely? He's doing a bang-up job of it too, backed with that gospel choir again. A late turnaround isn't out of the question after that.
8:41 TEARS IN BARLOW'S EYES! The cameraman breaks with the normal protocol and slowly zooms in, like they do on stills of serial killers in documentaries.
8:42 Olly Murs and Cougar Flack are in the crowd with more of Marcus's mates, including a lovely lady who couldn't decide which look to go for with her make-up tonight, so she just put all of it on.
8:44 Some messages of support for Marcus: Robbie Williams, Mrs Marcus, some bloke, Nan and Grandad, Mrs Marcus again. Is that it? No celebs apart from Robbie? Not even, I dunno, Reggie Yates? Biggins? Someone must have been available. Come on.
8:44 Comment From Kathryn Has Robbie Williams known Marcus all his life? Bit weird
8:45 Comment From @mkmswain Robbie Williams alert. Gary clutches his stress ball
8:45 Comment From Pete Scuse me? Am I the only one thinking why have they turned his auto-tuning off tonight?
8:46 Now it's LITTLE MIX and their best bits. Remember that epochal moment when Perrie, Jesy, Funty and Clive first got together? We didn't realise it at the time but the world really did change then. It didn't really get better or worse, it just changed slightly. There's a parallel universe somewhere in which Little Mix don't exist. It's very nearly the same.
8:48 Handheld Magimix take their turn with Cannonball. Jesy has ditched the sparkly gold leggings she had on for the last number and replaced them with some more sober sparkly brown leggings.
8:52 Very much an old-style talent show cheesefest, that, but Tulisa still has tears running down her face and onto her neck. Don't smudge that tattoo! "Look at how dynamic you are collectively," says Kelly, suddenly re-introducing this series' pleasing veiled-insult theme. Tulisa has a message for each of the girls, which is an opportunity to show off knowing all their names. I know them all too! Left to right: Jesy, Perrie, Terry, Brian. Easy.
8:52 Comment From Dave Gee Could be wrong....but i don't think Cowells going to have a number one this Christmas...either way
8:53 Little Mix out-celeb Marcus with Holly Willoughby AND Jessie J, along with the mums and nans. Tears everywhere. Why do people cry when they see their own mothers on tape? Are they estranged?
8:53 Comment From Pete Which one's Easy?
8:55 Don't, by the way, think I missed the Little Mix fan who had VOTE LITTLE MIX either written or tattooed down the back of her thigh, necessitating us almost seeing a montage of her best bits as she flashed it to the camera. I was just lost for words.
8:55 Comment From Kathryn Anyone would think LM had put an end to war or something, instead of being slightly above average singers in terrible clothes singing an ill-matched cover version. Or is it just me?
8:57 Back to the ads, but not before the Alan Partridge-devised Christmas charity show Text Santa gets a big trail. It's 80% over before technical problems are sorted out and we see the hosts, Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley. Instead we get Dermot pressing his ear and doing an "oh dear" mouth stretch. This is much better.
8:57 Comment From PeteJ Is it still the X Factor 2011 Final?! Or have we stretched to the 2012 one now, it's just been soooooooooooooooooooooooo looooooooonnnnnnnnnggggggggggg.....
8:58 I hear you PeteJ but there is actually only half an hour left! I know! It's ruddy well flown by. You'll be sorry when it's over, won't you? Won't you? Hello?
9:03 We're back and Dermot is among the crowd, where one man is filming him on his phone. I think there may be cameras in operation already, pal. Another bloke does the most half-hearted wave-behind-the-presenter ever, then turns to whoever was goading him on as if to say: "There, happy now? I could be at home. I wish I was at home. Actually, I'm going. I'm going home to pack my stuff. Goodbye for ever." That's what I picked up, anyway. This is followed by a recap of tonight's perfs. Narrow victory for Marcus, I think, but I also think Mixed Grill have had it in the bag for about a month now.
9:04 Here we go! Look out! It's COLDPLAY! This is going to be like L7 on The Word, crossed with the Stones at Altamont and Alice Cooper at Belmarsh. Totally wild and untamed rock and roll. Grrrrrrrr.
9:05 My mistake, it's a man in a t-shirt singing in a high voice. I might make a cup of tea.
9:05 Comment From Beth I'm seriously considering voting for Coldplay.
9:06 Comment From James This is real music you idiot.
9:06 Comment From Dave Gee Probably more talent in four minutes of Coldplay than how many hours of this years show
9:07 This would sound brilliant on an advert for mobile phones. Or possibly nuclear power.
9:07 Comment From Rebs Coldplay, as ever, upstaged by the lighting designer
9:08 Coldplay have stopped doing their first song and begun another one.
9:09 This one would work on an advert for lower-fat, oil-based butter substitute. It's light. Hopeful. Spreadable.
9:10 Comment From Pierre Etchebaster Of all the bands who were formed at UCL, had a couple of catchy tunes about 10 years ago and have churned out mediocre chaff ever since, this lot are my favourites.
9:12 I'm joking of course, this song is called Paradise and wasn't written for an advert. It was written in anticipation of a nightmare dystopian future where everyone has had their faces melted off like in the video to If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, and we all live in a compound like that terrible film with Ewen McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. This song will be played on a loop to keep up morale. Those whose mental health cannot withstand it will be scooped up and turned into food.
9:13 Dermot excitedly interviews some musicians he actually likes. Chris Martin, who in October dismissed the possibility of ever playing on The X Factor, says he loves the show, enormously unconvincingly.
9:13 Voting HAS NOW CLOSED. I suspect if you're reading this you might not be considering voting, but there we are. I aim to inform.
9:14 Comment From James Stop insulting them. They are a brilliant band.
9:14 Comment From Dave Gee Thomas cook in need of a good advert track at the moment! Paradise...selling the dream?
9:14 Comment From PeteJ What antiperspirant does Chris Martin use? Cos that was NOT a good advert for it....
9:16 Comment From @mkmswain No Chris Martin hug, Derm? *sweat fail*
9:20 Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back from the ads, in which we had a break from The X Factor by watching the M&S ad with people from The X Factor. Almost time for the result: a quick cut to the crowd, where Cougar Flack is subsumed by chanting Marcus fans in ironic tuxes, while Olly Murs gets it all wrong by doing the chant himself and not letting the Muffinettes get a word in.
9:21 MARCUS COLLINS and LITTLE MIX are back on the stage. Dermot opens the big metaphorical envelope...
9:22 And the winner is... LITTLE MIX! No surprises, then. Never in the bottom two and bookies' favourites for weeks.
9:25 Dermot plays a blinder by dodging Tulisa's torrent of tears to get an instant reaction from Binky and Martin from Little Mix. They are, I think, pleased. Marcus is magnanimous in defeat, having probably got wind of the hopelessness of his cause some weeks ago. Little Mix are presented with their debut CD and must now sing it again. It's Little Mix's debut single! It's Cannonball, by Little Mix! Little Mix are probably going to be number one in the charts. Is this right? Is it? IS IT RIGHT?
9:29 LITTLE MIX - that's Perrie, Jesy, Boaky and Horace - are The X Factor 2011 champions! Congratulations to them. By ten past ten I will have completely forgotten they exist.
9:29 Comment From Pete Would they have won if they were still called Rhythmix? I guess we will never know.
9:32 Thanks so much for your company and your excellent comments over the past weeks, people. Without them I would be talking into the void in a possibly sectionable manner, so it's much appreciated. Maybe I'll see you all back here next year. Goodbye, and Merry Christmas! x
9:38 Comment From Kathryn Thanks Jack. Thank god it's over!