It’s the X Factor final this week and your last chance to make some cash in the X Factor betting. We take a good look at the three finalists and rate their chances of becoming the X Factor winner.
This seems to be a year when we can expect the unexpected. The long term favourite with the bookies, the 16-year-old Ella Henderson, failed to make the semi finals. Judge and mentor for the girls, Tulisa, was devastated when the entertaining but relatively untalented Rylan Clarke proved more popular than Ella with the public.
Finalist Christopher Maloney is the 4/1 (biggest with SkyBet, Ladbrokes) outsider in the X Factor betting. He was not even selected by the ‘over 28s’ mentor, Gary Barlow to go through to the live shows after judges’ houses.
Gary’s preferred candidates got the boot pretty rapidly. Relatively mature women are almost guaranteed to be the first to go. Christopher was the ‘wildcard’ voted in by the public and they have supported him ever since.
The viewers probably fell for him or felt sorry for him when he was so nervous that he was visibly shaking in his X Factor audition. He looked like a nervous breakdown on legs. He had been encouraged to audition by his ‘nan’.
They seem to have forgiven the 34-year-old from Liverpool for omitting to mention that he had sung professionally before – on a cruise ship.
Mentor for the groups, Louis Walsh, even made a point of mentioning Christopher’s cruise ship experience on a number of live shows, just in case viewers had missed the media coverage on the subject. If he was hoping to discredit him he failed miserably. Walsh’s last surviving group, the boy band Union J were voted off last Sunday. There was no sing off and no opportunity for the judges to save anyone. Union J simply did not attract the same level of support as Maloney. Bad luck Louis.
Christopher has attracted criticism from the judges since his first performance on the live shows. He has a big voice and can deliver the power notes but is not exactly contemporary. Cheesy is the word most used about him by the judges. He has also received death threats via social media.
X Factor boss, Simon Cowell has made it clear, without mentioning any names of course, that he wants one of the other finalists to win. Whatever the judges and Cowell think, the public definitely like Christopher and must enjoy his booming ballads enough to pick up the phone and vote for him.
There have been rumours that he has topped the public vote, week after week. He has never found himself in the bottom two in need of support from the judges. That is just as well as they would have loved to drop him. Even his own mentor, Gary Barlow, has made comments suggesting that another act should win!
James Arthur is the joint-favourite to win X Factor at best odds of 11/8 (Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Stan James). The 24 year-old singer songwriter from North Yorkshire is one of two ‘boys’ to reach the final.
New mentor to the boys, Nicole Scherzinger, the former Pussycat Doll, has made a very successful start. She not only goes into the final double handed but helped Rylan Clark, the hilarious but vocally challenged Essex boy, survive long beyond his expected shelf life.
James has no shortage of talent. He has been described as a ready-made recording artist and gets the vote of almost every established guest act that appears on the show.
Before his X Factor experience, James could be found playing very small gigs and half empty pubs close to his home. He is seriously short sighted and has benefited from the X Factor make over. No more thick spectacles, it is 24 hour contact lenses now. He dropped his long term girlfriend before the show.
James has performed consistently since the start of the live shows. Last Saturday, his rendition of The Power of Love was described as the performance of the series. He has also successfully adapted the work of contemporary artists such as Adele.
Whilst he is not a great dancer, James Arthur is the only finalist who can move around on stage without looking awkward. Rylan’s survival suggests that ‘performance’ counts for a lot as well as vocal talent.
James has the largest following on Twitter of the three finalists with over 700,000 followers (that is even more than betting.me has on Twitter!). They did not prevent him ending up in the bottom two a couple of weeks ago though, against Ella. The judges chose to save him rather than Ella after the sing off.
Jahmene Douglas is the other joint-favourite at biggest odds of 11/8 (SkyBet). He took the top spot in the X Factor betting as soon as Ella got the boot but is now being challenged for favouritism by James.
The former discount supermarket worker is just 21-years-old but could pass for much younger. Poor Jahmene has not exactly ‘lived’ in the conventional sense for a boy of his age.
He grew up witnessing scenes of horrific domestic violence. His father was finally put behind bars but the horrors of the Douglas household resulted in the subsequent suicide of his brother. Jahmene is very close to and supportive of his long-suffering mother and definitely deserves the sympathy vote.
He has spectacular vocal talent and wowed the judges from day one. He collapsed into a heap under the pressures of boot camp and required medical attention. He could only manage a lacklustre performance but was voted through to judges’ houses on the strength of his initial audition. The rest is history (in the vacuous and transient TV sense).
In the first live show, Jahmene appeared to have ‘grown some balls,’ as advised by Nicole when she put him through. He has not faltered since.
Little Jahmene is a soul singer who can sing like nobody else but he is terminally uncool and still looks a bit uncomfortable on stage. He seems to style himself on Dermot O’Leary and even has an O’Leary inspired haircut. No wonder Dermot pats him on the head so much.
So who can actually win? All three have serious claims. Christopher and Jahmene have consistently attracted sufficient public support to avoid encountering the sing off. Logic suggests that it should be between them.
But where will the people who have previously voted for ‘performers’ like Rylan and Union J go? I think that they are most likely to vote for James Arthur. Lazy people who watch rather than vote until it gets serious are probably going to pick up the phone for him too.
He is the most contemporary and easily the most dynamic performer of the three. He upped his game for the semi final and should deliver on the night of the final.
- James Arthur has to be this preview’s X Factor winner and a solid betting tip at 11/8 with Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor or Stan James.