Well, it was almost as though X Factor producers had received a phone call from Simon Cowell and been told, “Whatever it takes… keep Rylan Clark in, and make it interesting.”
Because X Factor said goodbye to its first finalist on Sunday’s show, but they managed to make it as controversial as possible, with Louis Walsh changing his mind, and Gary Barlow storming off in disgust.
The final two left singing for their reality supper were torch paper contestant Rylan Clark – this year’s Frankie Cocozza, but with less hair gel, trousers firmly belted – and Overs’ Carolynne Poole, whom Gary was firmly championing, and trying to sway his colleagues with encouraging words about her “performance making it very easy for the judges". And sure, enough, she belted out Faith Hill's There You'll Be..
Gary and Tulisa both opted to send home Rylan – “I have to go on the performance tonight” explained Tulia - while Nicole stuck by her protégé. So far, so script notes. After his emotional performance last week, his mentor kept clapping through his murderous rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s One Night Only, with a smile clapped on her pretty face… but it was clear Rylan did not have the musical chops to cash the charm cheques he’d been writing for the past fortnight.
Do you think Carolynne was robbed? Check out Rylan's performance here...
Rylan had been the subject of the judges’ first major disagreement the previous night, with Gary Barlow asking Rylan’s champion Nicole Scherzinger what she was doing, keeping him in.
And, so it came down to the polo-necked Louis’ deciding vote. He hummed, he haahed, he hid behind his fingers, he opted to keep Carolynne… and then he opted for a deadlock. And the public decided to keep Rylan.
Gary Barlow couldn’t contain his wrath, and exited stage left. Conspiracy theorists will have a field day wondering just who was seen in the wide shot whispering something to Louis during Carolynne’s performance, and just how the spotlight that followed Gary off stage was so quickly prepared.
Whatever went on, Rylan has survived and, for now at least, he’s still going strong…
In other news, series current favourite Ella Henderson was safely through, as was Overs wildcard Christopher Maloney.
Guest performers on Sunday’s show were American star Ne-Yo, and X Factor’s most successful previous winner Leona Lewis singing her new single.
Who’s your bet to win this series? Finalists below…