7.55 Hello! Good evening!
JB: Hi Jack! Are you ready TO FACE potentially the most depressing night of the year?
7:55 Can you ever really be ready for something as momentous as this? I don't think so but by heck I'm going to give this a go. If it all goes quiet for a bit at any point, it's because I've fainted or had to run urgently to my pants drawer.
7:56 Predictions, then. Infuriatingly, Christopher is still an unknown. Obviously he's got a massive fanbase, and they're still at large in society in enough numbers to have got him here. And possibly people are starting to vote for him as some sort of taste-based dirty protest because they despise the whole show. But is that enough? I wouldn't be surprised to see him get to the last two, then lose as the vote becomes entirely pro-Chris v anti-Chris. So who'll win? Jahmene was the favourite, now it's James. I tipped James several weeks back so I'm sticking with him. Yourselves?
Jude: I want James to win- but then I don't because it's the kiss of death in success terms.
JB: I vote once each year, on the final. This year I plan to vote for Maloney, purely out of punishment to Cowell for allowing such a terrible series
8:02 We're on! We've had the montage, we've had the titles. Here's Dermot. The now-traditional video intro sees him blatantly advertise a train company and sup a pint in t'Rovers. But the dance and the spin are horribly conservative and disappointing. Possibly those 10,000 screaming loons in the audience at Manchester Central got to him. Here are the judging personalities!
8:05 Nicole wins the style war with Tulisa there I think, which takes their running score to Nicole 22-0 Tulisa.
Mu: Feeling sad and tearful this blog is my life!
8:07 If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog...
8:07 Recognition of how important Rylan Clark was to this series as he kicks off a finalists group perf with Gangnam Style. Then Union J and District3 come on, riding scooters and chewing rusks. Then Spraggan! Poole! Masson! Sones, who seems to have joined Union J now! He and Jaymi's hairpiece are the fifth and sixth members of the group. Ella Henderson shows everyone up as usual, Jade is inaudible, then the final three come on. Based on the volume of the Manchester screams, I still fancy James to nick it this weekend. Dermot tries to have a nice chat with Arthur, Douglas and Maloney but the booing for Maloney forces him to cut it short... Manchester away could be a tricky fixture for Chris.
Tom: This final is going to be a fitting end to this year's X Factor. Disappointing and flat.
Matthew: Yep, Ella should have won
Katie: I have to say, and genuinely without any sarcasm, that the real winner of this show is Rylan. I think he'll still be going strong when these three (what's their names?) have faded into Xfactor oblivion.
8:16 We're back, and first up it's JAHMENE DOUGLAS! Nicole refers to him as "a whole lamb shank". Jahmene returns to Swindon - he's kept THAT quiet - and the Asda where he used to organise discounts and have a moustache when it wasn't even November. Nicole meets Jahmene's ex/future colleagues, narrowly managing not to boke furiously all over Carmel's meat counter. That's what the glass is for, to be fair. No danger.
8:20 Nicole, who has looked hot in everything this year including a pilgrim bonnet on Thanksgiving, is finally stymied by a visit to Jahmene's church, where she joins the gospel choir and dons a purple smock the size of Hemel Hempstead. Anyway, Jahmene is ORN and he's doing Move on Up by Curtis Mayfield! Bit racy by his standards but he's largely managing to remain absolutely stationary as usual.
Pete: Jahmene, brought to you by asda and god
Dana: Nicole looks better in a choir robe than any of those tiny dresses. She should note that.
8:23 Hm, that was a bit tentative for me. Not sure about the whooping on "move on UP", either. If there's no big high note in the song, just don't do one! Louis says Jahmene reminds him of a little Luther Vandross, because that's a comedy catchphrase now so it isn't a bit racist any more. Gary agrees with me, as he so often does, and says that the song was wrong. Nicole says Jahmene is "my little Jahmazol". Take two every four hours. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Ruth: Jahmene is just too squeaky
jane: i'd like to see tulisa in a polo neck once in a while. COVER IT UP WOMAN.
Matthew: So Nicole gets to go to two places this week? So lucky! I assume Louis and Tulisa are just staying at the pub...
8:27 Caroline Flack is in the audience with Pasta Tim from Asda. Sorry - PASTOR Tim from the church. My mistake. He shares a lamb shank gag with the Flaxsta, saying Jahmazol is now "the full lamb". Biblically problematic.
8:28 Gary says "He's now known as The Maloney." He may have misheard that but it's definitely CHRISTOPHER MALONEY! He's gone back to... where IS he from? Nope. It's gone. Sorry.
8:29 Christopher's nan gives Gary a massive buffet, the people of Liverpool explain that Chris is for old people and music fans who don't want "banging" and would rather have a sing-song, and now here's Chris in the flesh doing What a Feeling by Irene Cara. Decent effort from the big wet ball of cheese there.
Dana: Gary was just pleased to get a proper Northern meal. Bless.
Pete: Give him his due, he knows where his strength lies
8:36 Louis says Chris is the people's champion, Tulisa says she's always hated him but respects people's choice, while Gary reminds everyone that he didn't even have Christopher in his final three for the lives. The overriding message there: IT'S YOUR FAULT, BRITAIN.
8:38 Caroline Flack in the crowd with Val, Christopher's neighbour, who says he's "another Tom Jones". As a consummate pro, Dermot O'Leary really should be able to avoid his facial expression clearly saying "Good grief, what a loon" but unfortunately the pressure tells. Ad break!
8:43 We're back and it's time for the BFG of love, JAMES ARTHUR! Having visited Swindon, Nicole Scherzinger now has the opportunity to experience Middlesbrough. There are rumours that Nicole is thinking of declining to appear on The X Factor next year.
8:45 Nicole visits James's old bedsit and looks suitably shocked, although I've lived in worse places. James screams a song angrily at a capacity crowd in Middlesbrough and now here he is to do Feeling Good. Convoluted entrance, walking through the backstage areas like Fry and Laurie.
Katie: What's with the thing this year of keeping your coat on?!
Liz: Well it a bit nippy, Kate. You not been outside?
Pete: Dull as ditchwater..best so far by a mile
8:50 That was exactly like all James's performances - building up to a massive high-pitched shout - but surely he's blown the other two right off the stage there.
8:51 Bit of a problem with the new desk-mounted mics for the judges. They're not working well with Tulisa and Louis' habit of pounding on the desk, which is a handy way for them to keep track of their own sentences. In the crowd with Caroline, someone's spelt out Vote James on a pizza with what looks like green PlayDoh, and Flack asks the local mayor two yes/no questions. She answers yes to them both. Ad break.
Pete: Jack are you blogging tomorrow for the results?
8:56 Yes. Here tomorrow.
Michaela: The Flack segments make me want to die.
Jude: James looks suitably miserable with all the heaps of praise
Dana: I vote we give it to him right now and let Gary and Rylan spar on their own for the rest of the weekend.
Matthew: Tulisa's not doing a duet this year. That was close.
Pete: Jahmene to go tonight by all accounts..well twitter anyway
9:00 Yes, I don't think that's too unlikely Pete, see my theory earlier. Christopher's massive regional vote could easily take him into second, after which I think everyone else will be scared he'll win, all Jahmene's supporters will vote for James instead, and James will win. Just checked and James is odds-on favourite now.
9:02 Kelly Clarkson sings in front of a deeply moving monochrome montage of all the really good bits in this year's X Factor. Insert your own joke about them having to rewind this and play it again to make it last for as long as the song.
Liz: Kelly Clarkson is a stunning singer but this performance is very meh. Maybe she doesn't want to show up the contestants too much
9:03 Yes Liz, this is positively cursory isn't it? Incredibly muted. Take the money and... not even break into a run. No chat with Dermot. Kelly had that written into the contract.
Katie: That was very....... average. It kinda faded into a meh.
9:05 JAHMENE DOUGLAS is back, singing Nicole's praises. "She'll text me when I least expect it," he says affectionately. Oh Jahm. She has people for that.
9:06 Jahmene and Nicole team up to perform the Sexual Chocolate classic, The Greatest Love of All. Hilarity as Nic's mic fails and they have to share, shouting the big notes right into each other's mouths. Some extra sympathy votes for that perhaps.
Liz: he's not that bad....no need to take his mic away!
9:10 Nicole says the reason she is here (on The X Factor, not Earth) is to sing with Jahmene. Jahmazol says she is "a blessing". I dunno if Britain goes for this sort of spiritual hooey.
9:12 Now it's CHRISTOPHER MALONEY and Gary Barlow! Rule the World by Take That. Gary on piano, Chris standing up quite a long way away.
Katie: GARY TO WIN!!
Ruth: Definitely think Jahmene in trouble now!
9:15 Gary, in Manchester, manfully tries to suggest that "the North West" will all vote for Christopher, who is from Liverpool. Ha. Ad break.
Katie: Oh help. I kind of enjoyed that.
Dana: I am a huge Take That fan. It was Christopher's best performance but I now have to go scrub my ears with bleach and listen to the Olympics performance on repeat for an hour.
9:20 Time for JAMES ARTHUR and Nicole Scherzinger! They're on stools for To Make You Feel You Love. A tender, restrained performance. Emphasis on gentle emotion and beautiful harmony. Nicole is in ruched black PVC.
Mu: Nicole is namazing!
Dana: Let us all give thanks that Nicole and not Tulisa got two acts into the finals.
9:24 James is running away with it. In fact, he's run away with it, disappeared over the horizon, and put it on eBay. That was the clincher.
Corinne: THAT WAS SO GOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!
Ruth: James is the best, but this is x factor so Chris may win!!
Katie: James has won. Christopher is second. Jahmene goes home tonight.
Bernadette: What a shame no one got to duet with Louis.
Dana: I will be shocked if it's not James and Christopher in the finals
9:29 Rita Ora break.
Jude: Does anyone else remember Kia Ora? A sort of squash drink ? I wonder if they're related.
9:32 Jude, I am slightly ashamed to say I have referred to her as "orangey pop star Rita Ora" in the Christmas Radio Times. It sells about two million copies. I wonder how many people will read that and know what the hell I'm talking about.
Pete: Jude, it's just for me and my dog
9:34 Derms links up with the final three backstage. Jahmene again says it's "a blessing" to be on the show but he looks beaten. Ad break.
Michaela: HOW are they going to drag this out for 25 more minutes!?
9:36 Michaela: Louis counts the votes himself, by hand. He insists on this. He just likes making himself useful.
Liz: 3 more ad breaks will account for 15 mins of it
Corinne: So... Who actually voted?? I did, i voted for James (Its the first time i've voted in years)
9:42 I am unable to vote, Corinne. Section 4(1)(a) of the Liveblogging And Punditry Act 2004.
Michaela: Wait. We can vote? They could make that clearer.
Ruth: Too busy drinking and following this blog to vote.
9:45 Kylie does her new postmodern violin version of Can't Get You Out Of My Head. There's a big X on the stage because she had a record called that once. That's the power she has.
9:46 In the post-song interview, Dermot towers over Kylie by a clear two inches.
James: Kylie forgot to include a restraining order against Derm, unlike Rihanna and Kelly...
9:47 Very humble of Dermot, I thought, to introduce Kylie by saying she is one of the very few global superstars who can go by just their first name, without mentioning that he too is in this category. Name another famous Dermot, go on. There was that Australian actor. But he's not on Dermot's level.
Dana: Sadly, they don't allow us nasty Americans to vote. They would make a lot of money if they did.
9:49 Dana are you IN AMERICA? How are you watching The X Factor UK live? That must be a hell of a system of mirrors.
Dana: I have a TARDIS. ;)
Liz: Dermot O'Mer...er, that newsreader bloke
9:52 We're back for the interim result! Nicole's back in the frock she started in. Cutbacks, even at ITV. Triple-dip-recession TV. DERMOT (O'Leary) has the piece of paper, and in no particular order...
9:53 JAHMENE IS THROUGH! We are all so, so wrong.
9:54 Second person through is... JAMES! Maloney MaGONEy!
Mu: I have stopped breathing
jane: I COULD SWEAR RIGHT NOW I'M SO HAPPY.
9:55 No boos now from the crowd for Christopher. There's a huge cheer at the news that he will not be singing again on national television. Lovely moment.
9:57 Nicole Scherzinger, the winning mentor and the real winner of this series, rushes the stage as Jahmene rather impressively picks James up and spins round with him on his shoulders. Tomorrow it's James v Jahmene, with One Direction (again), Rihanna (again), Emeli Sande (again)... and US!
Katie: Right guys, same time, same place tomorrow. Lets see this to the end.... Together.
Mu: Thanks jack best night of the ......night
Pete: Well this season has survived on shock results. perhaps Jamehne will win after all?
Dana: Now now Jack. I'll bet Christopher and Susan Boyle will have an ITV Christmas special next year.
Jude: Thanks Jack- it's been great!
Ruth: See you all tomorrow x
10:03 Signing off now - see you tomorrow evening and thanks, as ever, for all your comments. As always there were too many to post all of them but I think we got the idea, as Harry Hill used to say. Now let's at least try to sleep after all that incredible excitement. Ciao!
jane: i love you jack. i love you jude, matthew, dana, pete. i love you mu, ruth, katie. i love you all!... oh, i'm just so overcome with a feeling of love and hapiness. hallelujah in the highest.
Matthew: You make this show a million percent more watchable, Jack!
Katie: Jane. Backatcha!
Jude: Yes Jane- we all love you too ! See you tomorrow everyone!