The X Factor 2012 rumour mill: Is Gary Barlow set to duet with Christopher Maloney?

Have Chris's cheesy ballads scared off the contents of Simon Cowell's A-list contacts book ahead of this year's final?

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The X Factor 2012 rumour mill: Is Gary Barlow set to duet with Christopher Maloney?
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THE RUMOUR: Following his remarkable run of form in this year's X Factor, king of the cheesy ballads Christopher Maloney is looking like a dead cert for this year's final in Manchester on Saturday 8 December. But instead of being paired with a big name from Simon Cowell's little black book, it looks like poor old Maloney's been snubbed, and is left to duet with mentor Gary Barlow. Not that a sing-song with Take That's frontman should be under-estimated, but despite previous star billing going to the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé and Robbie Williams, it seems Chris isn't considered "cool" enough to attract a star who doesn't have a vested interest in him. 

QUOTE FROM A "SOURCE" WHO PROBABLY DOESN'T EXIST: "Bosses are working on the likelihood that [Christopher] will be in the final - and this has caused a real headache for them. In the past, the acts who have reached the final have had some sort of star quality or credibility which has attracted big-name talent wanting to perform with them. But unfortunately that is just not the case with Christopher. He has a good voice - but it is fair to say he his probably the uncoolest singer to have ever got this far. So producers have lined up Gary to sing with him instead." (An "insider" quoted in The Sun)

RADIOTIMES.COM TRUTH RATING: 2/5. There's no doubt Chris is the surprise package in this year's semi-finals - his slushy song choices and corny vocals haven't exactly been music to the ears of the X Factor producers. But we find it hard to believe they've failed to pin down a credible guest star to join him on stage. While it's unlikely Maloney will be teaming up with the likes of Jay Z or Lady Gaga anytime soon, surely show bosses can wangle a collaboration with boyband alumni Ronan Keating? Or how about a spot of sweet music with Michael Bublé? Any more suggestions for Chris's potential dueting partner? Post them in the comments box below...