Andrea Faustini was voted off Saturday night’s X Factor leaving Fleur East and Ben Haenow to compete on Sunday night for the champion’s crown.
After an eventful first leg of the 2014 showdown – which saw Ella Henderson, rapper Labrinth, Ed Sheeran and a three-man Take That make up the big name acts performing with the finalists – it now comes down to the two singers backed by Simon Cowell.
Haenow has inched ahead of Fleur as the performer most likely to be releasing the winner’s single according to at least one bookmaker after Paddy Power put his odds for a triumph at 8/13. However the betting is likely to remain tight over the next few hours.
He impressed the judges and viewers on Saturday with his duet of Thinking Out Loud with Ed Sheeran and his solo performance of Demons by Imagine Dragons.
Louis Walsh said: “A van driver from Croydon to live in Wembley, this is incredible. I loved the song. You deserved to be on the stage.”
Fleur duetted with Labrinth on his hit Beneath Your Beautiful and gave an energetic performance of Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us.
Faustini – who sang Feeling Good by Nina Simone and performed with X Factor alumni Ella Henderson on her song Ghost – headed home after receiving the lowest public vote on a night in which he was without his mentor Mel B.
Saturday night’s show saw Tulisa Contostavlos stand in for the former Spice Girl who was ill, with host Dermot O’Leary wishing Mel a “speedy recovery”.
Faustini said after learning of his elimination: “It’s just incredible because I’ve come so far. This has been the most crazy and beautiful experience of my life. It’s so unexpected and I’m so happy anyway.”
The show kicked off with the finalists delivering a performance of Take That’s hit Rule the World with three members of the band – Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald.
The evening also allowed for the now traditional celebration of show’s great eccentrics.
Stevi Ritchie and Chloe-Jasmine Whichello sang (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life before they were joined by Chico, Wagner, Diva Fever and Katie Waissel in a bold black get-up.
At least X Factor viewers can console themselves with the promise of Olly Murs and One Direction who are included on Sunday’s bill.
The second leg of The X Factor final kicks off on Sunday on ITV1 at 8pm