From his first audition where he forgot the words to Olly Murs’ Dance with Me Tonight to that Bohemian Rhapsody performance last week, ‘overs’ act Stevi Ritchie has been a ‘marmite’ character.
Love him, hate him, he’s the only wildcard still left in the competition and part of Team Simon Cowell, which is yet to lose any of its acts.
“I love Stevi… I find him fascinating because he’s just so funny,” last year’s winner Sam Bailey tells RadioTimes.com, “But if I was on that show and he got through and I didn’t, I would be deeply upset,” she admits.
“Because if you’re a singer and you’ve been a singer for so many years and you go on a programme like that and somebody that’s not really taken seriously like Stevi…”
The reigning champ, who has just released her autobiography and will tour her Power of Love album next year, says the loss of Mel B’s act Paul Akister has made a difference to how people view the show.
“You’ve got some people that will be p***** off that Stevi Ritchie’s still in the competition yet Paul Akister, who’s got probably the best technical ability out of everybody, is off the show.
“Loads of people will be saying, and I’ve seen it on Twitter today, ‘Oh, I’m not watching anymore, it’s a complete shambles.’”
Bailey knows Stevi doesn’t take himself too seriously. But says, “I don’t think Stevi Ritchie is a singer. He’s more of an entertainer that makes people laugh.”
Mentor Simon Cowell certainly seems to have taken a shine to Stevi, calling him his “hero” and taking him out for a man-date at the Harvester.
“He didn’t pick him, did he?” says Bailey, referring to fellow judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini having nominated Stevi to be a wildcard. “I suppose he’s got to lap it up a bit and camp it up a bit for the entertainment value. I don’t think they’re going to be majorly friends [post-show].”
For Sam Bailey’s thoughts on all the remaining acts, check out her half-term report here.
See The X Factor Saturday at 8:15pm and Sunday at 8:00pm on ITV