Most X Factor semi-finals are decided by the public vote alone, with both Danyl Johnson and Diana Vickers losing out when they polled bottom in recent years. But this weekend the judges decided to bring in a sing-off at the last minute.
17-year-old Cher Lloyd looked tearful as Dermot announced she was in the bottom two, and could not control her sobs as she sang a rendition of Britney Spears’ Everytime.
Former Tesco worker Mary, 50, performed an impressive version of James Brown’s This is a Man’s World, which she had sung previously on the show. But it was not enough to save her, with Dannii, Cheryl and Simon all opting to send Cher through to the final.
Although Dannii and Cher have clashed several times on the live shows, with Dannii stating after Saturday night’s performance that she was not keen on her song choice, she praised her sing-off performance. Describing it as “a mix of vulnerable and confident,” she stated that the Malvern schoolgirl had “touched her heart.”
Simon appeared torn during the voting process, saying to Mary: “I have supported you from the beginning and tonight you proved what a good singer you are.”
But he drew the line at sending her through to the final, declaring to Cher: “I actually liked that song you just sang. It was like hearing you sing for the first time. The act I’m sending through to the final is Cher.”
Cher Lloyd, Matt Cardle, Rebecca Ferguson and One Direction will all perform in next week’s final, with the winner receiving a £1 million recording contract and a stab at the Christmas number one.
But even if they miss out on the top spot the contestants won’t be walking away empty-handed. The Daily Mail has estimated that each could rake in up to £1 million through touring, merchandise and sponsorship deals.