Ask anyone who is watching this year’s ‘X Factor’ and they will tell you while all the format changes haven’t exactly been well executed, the talent has actually been rather good.
After just five weeks of live shows, which were dramatically cut down as part of the revamp this year, we’ve somehow already arrived at the final. And with three brilliant acts all set to do battle this weekend, we take a detailed look at the contenders to try and work out who will join the likes of Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and, errrrm, Steve Brookstein in the ‘X Factor’ history books.
Rak-Su: The Front-Runners
If you cast your mind back to Rak-Su’s first audition you’ll remember it didn’t go exactly to plan, when Simon Cowell stopped their performance of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Senorita’ to tell them it wasn’t working - something which seems pretty unthinkable now.
It’s fair to say the boyband have grown to be one of the most original groups the show has ever seen, with their ingredients of original songs, rapping, beat boxing and street dance. They have not only won consistent praise from the judges, but they’ve been consistent in quality too.
Not only that, but we feel like we’ve really gotten to know Ashley, Jamaal, Myles, and Mustafa as individuals - something which certainly can’t be said for many of the generic ‘X Factor’ bands of years gone by, and something which has also helped them win an army of admirers (especially Myles).
A victory in the final would also make ‘X Factor’ history, as while they wouldn’t be the first group to win (that honour went to Little Mix in 2011), they would be the first boyband, and there’s definitely a place in the market for a new one with One Direction still on that hiatus.
Grace Davies: The Early Favourite
Grace was an instant front-runner for this year’s crown when she was one of the first contestants to sing an original song at her audition, which aired in the series opener.
We were as blown away by her song ‘Roots’ as the judges were, and it was refreshing to see an ‘X Factor’ contestant with not only a brilliant singing voice, but a genuine talent for songwriting too.
After sailing through Bootcamp and the Six Chair Challenge to Judges Houses, her place in the live shows looked in jeopardy due to a shaky performance, but mentor Sharon Osbourne eventually put her through.
On the live shows, she has continued to showcase her amazing songs, which have proved she already has a ready-made album. However, she was been dogged by tabloid reports of a fling with fellow contestant Matt Linnen and accused of diva behaviour behind-the-scenes, which seemed to throw her off her game mid-way through the competition. It seemed the public had turned against her too when Rak-Su overtook her in the bookies’ odds.
Now back to her best, Grace is going into the final strong, but whether she can make up the ground she lost remains to be seen.
Kevin Davy-White: The Wildcard
We’ll be honest, we were a bit baffled when Nicole Scherzinger put Kevin through at her Judges Houses. Up until that point, his auditions had been good but not exactly memorable.
Going into live shows, he was also a rank outsider with the bookies, but soon proved why he’d earned his place there, wowing viewers with a series of powerful performances. He received repeated praise from the hard-to-please Simon Cowell, and also won one of the controversial Prize Fights, having topped the public vote on two occasions, cementing him as a firm favourite.
And while he’s predicted to finish third in the final, we wouldn’t write him or mentor Nicole off just yet, as she’s got a proven track record when it comes to guiding male contestants to glory, having previously won with Matt Terry and James Arthur.
Vote for who you think should win below...
'The X Factor' final airs on Saturday and Sunday on ITV.
Betting odds from Paddy Power.