Inside The X Factor final and after show party – what we learned

From Simon Cowell's off-screen antics to who the former contestants want to win, we got the scoop from inside The X Factor final

Say what you will about The X Factor, they sure know how to put on a knock-out show for the final. It was like an all-you-can-eat buffet of former X Factor talent as everyone from Little Mix to Fleur East to Leona Lewis returned. And as for the duet lucky dip, well, there aren’t many nights you’ll hop from a Rod Stewart classic to a 90s revival with Craig David, are there? 

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Slap bang in the middle of the whole thing, here’s what we learned live from inside Wembley and the after show party, too…

The Wembley crowd spoke with its feet

If you heard a lot of rumbling and thought your neighbours were wheeling their rubbish bins out a bit late, think again. That was the excited feet of many an X Factor fan. From drowning out Simon Cowell’s critique to vocalising support for Reggie N Bollie, there was a whole lot of stamping around Wembley.

Simon Cowell joined in with the crowd

The boss loves interacting with fans of his shows and from waving to those yelling his name to leading a chorus of happy birthday for a woman in the audience he was very much getting into the party spirit of the evening. Well, he didn’t have an act to worry about, did he…

The acts wait on stage a long time before they need to perform

As if singing at Wembley in the final of the X Factor wasn’t daunting enough, the acts are put in position pretty early on as those look-how-lovely-I-am-and-how-much-I-want-this-please-vote-for-me-now videos play. While Ché Chesterman waited to perform his opening number, mentor Nick Grimshaw hopped on stage to give him a hug. Louisa Johnson seemed to use the time to take in the fact that she was about to belt out a big hit at Wembley Arena and Reggie N Bollie were hidden by huge initials most of the time, but I bargain they were ‘mashing it up’ back there.

Olly and Caroline were like Where’s Wally?

The duo popped up all over the shop as they introduced the various artists. From the stands to the floor to the judges’ desk… here’s hoping they were wearing their pedometers as they got a whole lot of steps in. Olly, it has to be said, looked like he just wanted to leap up and sing with everyone, bopping along while he waited to do his presenting bit. Once an X Factor finalist always an X Factor finalist.

Talking of X Factor finalists, what about those duets

Fleur East and Little Mix need to team up every week. Their mash-up of Sax and Black Magic was so sassy you could almost feel the pride radiating from Mr Cowell. And last year’s champ Ben Haenow looked so chuffed to be on stage with 2006 winner Leona Lewis it was like he was competing for the title again. This is what that X Factor musical should have been like! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY84bToKPFU

Rod, Rita and Craig David hit the right notes

Well, well, well Craig David and his duet with Reggie N Bollie on Re-Rewind couldn’t have gone down any better in Wembley. I don’t think there was a single bum in a single seat. It was a blast of the 90s clearly a whole lot of people wanted.

As for Rod’s duet with Ché, well, I have to say I was completely distracted by a fabulous woman in the crowd who looked as if, given half a chance, she would have stormed the stage. 

Rita and Louisa? Well, it was a master class in big vocals, wasn’t it? Although I’d have liked to have heard a different song given Sam Bailey and Nicole Scherzinger did the same track during the 2013 final. But that’s just me being picky, right?

Cowell hopped on stage a lot

Clearly enjoying the fruits of his reality show labours, Cowell was often nipping onto the stage to mingle with the guest acts. There were a lot of thumbs up signs, kissing – which he did (rather amusingly) in a mafia movie hand-on-face double kiss kind of way – and group pictures.

There was zero sense of panic when the wrong footage went out

From where we were sitting it seemed like the judges barely even noticed when the replay of the night’s performances had the wrong video with the wrong music. The stage was being changed, people were having their make-up retouched, the warm up act was milling about… hence the ‘what’s going on?’ from Cowell when Caz and Olly had to switch to the next video. Not a criticism, just a genuine lack of info. 

Cowell is Team Louisa

Mr Cowell has cut loose and got into the Reggie N Bollie spirit throughout the series, but I think he’ll be a bit miffed if Louisa doesn’t win. He had his arm up punching the air every time she hit a big note, turning around to the audience with a face that smugly triumphantly said ‘See?! This is why we do this show!’

Not all were happy with the result

Reggie N Bollie fever has certainly taken hold, but there was a roar of booing when Ché was voted out last night. It might not have been heard at home, but in the crowd it was hard to hear anything else that was said on stage after his exit. 

Ché himself was in good spirits following the result

Ché hopped over to the after party for a brief appearance and was quite happy to pose for smiley snaps with fans.

One former contestant was having a ball at the after party…

Oh yes indeedy, Seann Miley Moore took to the stage at the after party and belted out a whole host of tracks including Queen’s The Show Must Go On and Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money. In amongst the crowd, fellow former contestant Anton Stephans hilariously pulled out a wad of cash and fanned himself as Seann performed the latter. 

…talking of Anton, he’s backing Reggie N Bollie

After asking him which finalist he was putting that lump of cash on he said it was all about Reggie N Bollie.

“They bring joy,” he enthused. “They make you forget your visa bill, your mortgage bill… they make you want to get up and dance.”

“Louisa will be a global superstar,” he added, “But right now I want to say thank you to Reggie N Bollie and show them that we love them.”

Meanwhile, 2013 finalist Luke Friend is backing Louisa

Luke said he agrees with the suggestion that Louisa is the “best since Leona”. He admitted there could be a “surprise win” from Reggie N Bollie as they’re “popular”, but he’s backing Louisa to go all the way. And if you’re reading this Miss Johnson, he wouldn’t mind a date…

As for what he’s up to himself, Luke says he’s been working with some “big names” on new material, adding that it’s been tough to keep them a secret as he’s so excited about it. Adele, I queried? “Maybe…” he teased, before revealing he’s been working with Danny O’Donoghue from the Script. He’s promised new music next year and says to expect a more “funky, souly” vibe.

Bupsi just wanted to dance

Cowell’s Overs category singer Bupsi wouldn’t be drawn on which act she wanted to win, choosing instead to bop around the dance floor. She is coming back to the show for tonight’s group performance and, although she quipped she’s only “got one line”, she promised she’ll “put a bit of nasty in it” and will show off some of those hip-wiggling moves again. “People miss my energy,” she said.

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The X Factor concludes tonight from 8:00pm on ITV