From Carolynne Poole to Ella Henderson, this year's X Factor has been dominated by shocking eliminations. But amid the contentious results, one man has emerged as an unlikely hero - loveable Liverpudlian crooner Christopher Maloney. Excluding the criticism he has received from the judges, press, Twitter users, internet forums, Facebook groups, bloggers, Simon Cowell, production crew, studio audience, past winners and his fellow contestants, Christopher has been this year's most universally popular X Factor hopeful. Victory may be on the horizon, but it is vital that his huge fan base continues to vote as he heads towards the final stretch. For the benefit of the uninitiated, here are 10 reasons why Christopher Maloney should win X Factor 2012:
- He's the People's Choice. Christopher is unique amongst this year's X Factor finalists in that it was the public - not the judges - that voted him into the live shows. In a moment of madness and uncharacteristic misjudgement, Gary Barlow had forgotten to include Chris in his original selection of Over 28s. Thankfully, he quickly realised his error and put Christopher forward for the wildcard public vote. The poll was a foregone conclusion - sense prevailed and Christopher was awarded his rightful place in the top 13. It would be a victory for 'people power' and democracy if Christopher - the people's choice - were to be crowned X Factor champion.
- He's conquered his nerves.
In his seminal first audition, we saw Christopher struggle to keep his anxieties at bay, visibly trembling as he sang for the judges and 10,000-strong crowd at Liverpool's Echo Arena. Contrast this with his week three performance of Waiting For A Star To Fall and it's clear that we have witnessed a miraculous transformation. The quivering caterpillar has metamorphosed into a confident, beautiful butterfly - and we've followed him on this inspirational journey together. Christopher gives hope to those suffering from confidence issues, proving that nerves can affect anyone, no matter how huge their talent, but can also be overcome.
- His song choices are timeless.
While other acts exploit the popularity of current hits to boost their votes, Christopher delves into the chart archives, adding his own contemporary twist to 1980s classics. Throughout his time in the competition, Chris has never performed a song released within the last 20 years. In doing this, he gives the audience a rare aural treat, allowing older viewers a nostalgia trip, as well as educating youngsters in musical gems from long before their time. You can listen to Call Me Maybe on your radio all day long. You have to tune into a Christopher Maloney performance to enjoy All Out Of Love.
- He's doing it for his nan.
Many contestants enter X Factor for selfish reasons, with no thought for anybody but Number One. Christopher's motives are selfless - he is doing it for his Nan. This altruism is enough to bring a tear to a glass eye. Perhaps such a family-orientated role model is what's needed in today's fractured society. And how lovely it would be to give Christopher's Nan the Christmas present of her life - her grandson's winning single in her stocking.
- He's fashionable.
Like Lady GaGa, Madonna and Rick Astley before him, Christopher Maloney has become something of a fashion icon. He takes pride in his appearance and knows his own image, achieving a balancing of style and warmth, donning his trademark overcoat for performances and trendy fingerless gloves in his downtime. It's almost impossible to find 'Maloney couture' on the rails of high-end clothing stores these days, no doubt because the garments have been snapped up by early adopters keen to latch on to the trendsetter's elegance.
- He has pop star support.
In addition to being mentored and endorsed by Gary Barlow - the UK's premier singer-songwriter - Christopher has been described by Rita Ora on Xtra Factor as "something fresh" and "breathtaking". Cheryl Cole, the queen of strong vocals, admired the "power" of his voice at Judges' Houses and accurately prophesised "the public will love him". Even Tulisa, who has been slow to succumb to Christopher's charms, last week gushed, "Your vocals are always amazing so tonight I decided to admit defeat, sit back and enjoy your voice and I think you sounded really good". The support of these influential contemporary pop stars should stand him in good stead for the industry. Who knows, maybe a duet with one of the above could be on the cards one day?
- Gary Barlow deserves it.
Having carried out such a wonderful job in masterminding the Diamond Jubilee Concert this year, it would be fitting to end 2012 with a victory for Gary Barlow and his protégé Christopher. With his tireless charity work and immeasurable contribution to music, Gary has given so much to this country - it is time for us to repay our debt to him by voting for Christopher. Receiving an OBE must have been nice, but an X Factor triumph would no doubt be even sweeter.
- Liverpool deserves it.
From The Beatles in the 1960s to Frankie Goes To Hollywood in the 1980s to Atomic Kitten in the 2000s, Liverpool is a city with a rich musical heritage. But one prestigious accolade has as yet eluded the city - being the hometown of an X Factor winner. The Guinness World Capital Of Pop has produced runners-up in Ray Quinn, Rebecca Ferguson and Marcus Collins, but is yet to claim pole position. Liverpool has been the bridesmaid three times - Christopher Maloney would make the perfect bride.
- He's resilient.
"And did you think this fool could never win? Well look at me, I'm coming back again," Christopher declared during his defiant week six performance of I'm Still Standing - a subtle but direct message to his detractors that his feathers will not be ruffled by the minority. Such resilience is always to be applauded - Christopher represents the stiff upper lip that made Britain Great.
- He's passionate. Insiders claim that Christopher spends every weekend repeatedly dialling his own X Factor voting number. "I've voted for myself a few times," admits Chris. This serves to demonstrate his passion, determination and ambition - admirable traits that should be encouraged. "He must have a very expensive phone bill!" confirmed fellow contestant Kye Sones. One must speculate to accumulate and Christopher's investment can be paid off when he receives the royalties from his first album.
James Arthur may be raw and original, Jahmene Douglas may be a superb singer, Rylan Clark may be entertaining, and Union J may have commercial appeal - but none quite encapsulate the unique qualities of Christopher Maloney. If the Mayan prophecies prove true and the world does indeed end on 21 December, then the swansong of human achievement must be sung by Christopher Maloney - X Factor champion 2012.