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Janet's X Factor odyssey ends as judges send Tyrone teen home

Just what does an Irish act need to do to win? Janet Devlin is the third Irish entrant to finish fifth in three years.

Image: Ian West/PA Wire

IRELAND’S HOPES of finally claiming a victory in The X Factor have been dashed, after Tyrone teenager Janet Devlin was last night eliminated on a judges’ decision.

The Gortin girl, 17, was the unanimous decision for the boot among the three judges who voted, with Kelly Rowland – who mentored both Devlin and her elimination rival Misha Bryan – opting to abstain from the judges’ decision.

Devlin had originally begun the series as the bookies’ favourite, after bowling over the judges with a stunning first audition, but had floundered in more recent weeks as she showed a difficulty adapting to more up-tempo songs.

That difficulty was underlined on Saturday’s quarter-final, themed ‘guilty pleasures’, when she seemed uneasy performing Hanson’s ‘Mmm-bop’ and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Under The Bridge’.

Though her sing-off performance of Snow Patrol’s anthem ‘Chasing Cars’ was well-received, it was not enough to save her from elimination, marking the completion of an ignominious hat-trick for Irish entrants.

Devlin’s elimination before the final week means that now, for three years running, an Irish act has finished in fifth place – following the lead of Jedward (2009) and Mary Byrne (2010) in crashing out before the grand finale.

Though Ireland has been represented in the live TV finals stage in seven of the eight series, Ireland has never won the competition – coming closest in 2006 when Ray Quinn came second to runaway favourite Leona Lewis.

Tabby Callaghan came third in the first series in 2004, as did Eoghan Quigg in 2008, while Sligo outfit the Conway Sisters came sixth in 2005.

Devlin can probably take some consolation, however, in the fact that she will inevitably end up with a number one single to her name: the series’ annual charity single, which almost always tops the charts, was released yesterday.

As one of the final 16 acts in this year’s series, she will also feature on a live tour of the UK and Ireland next spring.

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Gavan Reilly

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