X Factor: Little Mix Beats Marcus Collins In Emotional Finale - Show Review
Marcus Collins' fate was sealed as soon as he hit the second chorus of Wham!'s last Christmas.
The popular Liverpudlian just couldn't pull out the star factor to compete with an eighties icon, never mind a bunch of irrepressible girls who had each other for company and giggles throughout their triumphant run on the X Factor, right through to their rightful victory last night.
Obviously, not one of the quartet had the vocal chops of a powerful Misha B, or even a quivering Janet Devlin, but the sum proved more than the sum of the parts, with the girls displaying more copious quantities of X Factor than Marcus over an interminably long trial by numbers.
Marcus Collins kicked off the show with Higher And Higher, by Jackie Wilson - not bad but nothing special.
Then, it was Little Mix's turn with Don't Let Go by En Vogue - starting the show well, and taking a key change easily in their stride. It was immediately 1-0 in the girls' favour.
Christmas songs came next - not a strong point for either act, but again to the detriment of Marcus who gave a lacklustre rendition of Wham!'s Last Christmas.
Little Mix opted for a carol instead, Silent Night, more remarkable for their stylistic choices - variations on white and sparkling leggings - than the song.
Finally, it was the turn of both acts to offer their version of the winner's single, unsurprisingly Cannonball by Damien Rice. After Marcus sang, judges Kelly and Tulisa both used the word "beautiful" when giving their verdict, it was clear it was all over for Marcus.
If that didn't finish him off, the messages of luuurve from his Liverpool family finally got him welling up - especially as his family included... Robbie Williams, who told an emotional Marcus, "I've always loved you". Sort of.
Never mind all that, how was the atmosphere shaping up at the judges' desk, now the disparate four don't have to pretend any longer?
Well, they appeared to have patched up their differences in time for the credits to roll on the show.
Of the four, only Louis Walsh has stayed regularly out of trouble and discord with the others. Staying discreet until the end, he said his highlight of the series had been working with his acts Johnny Robinson and Kitty Brucknell - and sitting alongside the other judges, of course.
Louis didn't have any act to worry about tonight - instead, he celebrated reaching the end of the series in one piece by rocking along to Coldplay, and his own proteges Westlife, and his new multi-thousand pound hair transplant stayed put throughout. Without an act anywhere near the final stages, the Irishman can still call this series one of his most successful.
Tulisa hasn't been in this game as long, and made no mention of other judges. Instead, her highlight was seeing the results each week - unsurprisingly, in light of tonight's verdict.
Official musical ambassador Gary Barlow said he had wanted to put his “musical stamp” on the show - what went before, Gary? - but his strongest memory nonetheless remained a woman called Goldie from the first series of televised auditions - yes, the lady who got him in a strange love-lock. Which is a sad, or excellent reflection on the show as a whole, depending on which way you look at it.
See the best of the X Factor finale in our Slideshow below...