Janet Devlin was voted out of The X Factor on Sunday night, losing in a sing-off with serial bottom two-er Misha Bryan. The four semi-finalists are therefore Bryan, Amelia Lily, Marcus Collins and Little Mix.
Janet was the clear choice of RadioTimes.com readers to go: in our mesmerically important and exciting eviction poll, she scored a whopping 60% of the votes. Misha Bryan was the least favourite of 19% of our users, with only 8% desperately hoping never to see or hear from Amelia Lily again, and the other two acts further behind.
In the Saturday performance show, Janet made certain of her place in the bottom two with a brace of stinkers. The worse of the two calamities was her first song, which was part of the Guilty Pleasures theme: Mmmbop, the super-fun 1997 novelty megahit by toothy Tulsa siblings Hanson. Janet’s interpretation of the song – standing stock still in a simple black dress, seemingly determined not to have any fun at all – was already curious, but then she forgot the words to both verses.
Janet – who blamed her poor performance on nausea – improved slightly for her second song, but not by much. Her choice in the Heroes round was Under The Bridge, the classic drugs anthem by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Janet’s version was notable for the heavy use of her trademark Celtic yelp. The judges’ reaction was tepid.
Misha Bryan delivered well-received performances of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Killing Me Softly, but her two previous appearances in the bottom two tell us that Britain essentially dislikes her, no matter how good she is.
The biggest drama of Saturday night came not from the contestants, but the judges. Following Amelia’s remorseless bludgeoning of T’Pau’s 1987 number one China In Your Hand, Gary Barlow said: “I remember the original of this song, and it’s really nice to hear it sung in tune if I’m honest!”
T’Pau vocalist Carol Decker quickly responded, via Twitter: “Gary Barlow you tw*t! I had to suffer a Take That concert for the sake of my kids this summer. What’s your f***ing problem? I actually have perfect pitch… China In Your Hand at No1 for 5 weeks this time 24 years ago – out of tune for the whole time apparently.”
Barlow said sorry the following day. “Sincere apologies for my comment,” he cyber-crawled. “There was no need. And sorry you had to sit through TT show. The things we do for our kids!”
Decker then also disappointingly backed off: “Thank you, was puzzled/hurt u said that on national tv. Progress was very good, kids had a great time.”
Back to Sunday night and, in the sing-off, Janet eschewed the obvious choice of Zombie by the Cranberries, instead singing Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol’s hit about having a lie down. Misha Bryan delivered a clearly superior reading of Out Here On My Own from the film musical Fame.
The judges were almost unanimous. After Louis Walsh – by far Janet’s best hope of a saving vote – opted to eject her, Tulisa inevitably followed suit. Kelly Rowland refused to choose between her two acts, apparently not understanding host Dermot O’Leary when he pointed out that this would condemn Janet to reality-show death. However, Gary Barlow confirmed he would have administered the fatal blow if necessary. Misha thus cheated eviction for the third time.
In the aftermath of the vote, Kelly composed herself and offered a sober assessment of Janet’s cultural legacy: “I think Janet Devlin’s audition goes down in history as one of the most life-stopping.”