Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 20 July, 2024
Of course Matt Cardle's all smiles - he's almost certain to win this year's X Factor. Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
The X Factor

So how's this X Factor finale going to work?

No surprise sing-offs this time, we think – instead, a madcap weekend of voting with one person going out tonight.

REJOICE, NON-FOLLOWERS, for your Saturday TV schedules will shortly return to normal. It’s the final weekend of The X Factor this weekend, with shows tonight and tomorrow night deciding who gets to be Christmas Number 1* and then be forgotten about until the next series comes along.

So, ahead of The X Factor finale, we thought it’d be worth going over some of the ground rules, so as to make the whole marathon a little more bearable.

First of all, remember this isn’t a Big Brother eviction style vote. As with the rest of the series so far, you’re vote for who you want to win, not who you want kicked out. So, if you don’t like Matt Cardle, this isn’t a case of furiously pounding the ‘redial’ button – that’s only going to speed his inexorable march to victory.

Unlike in previous weeks, voting kicks off as soon as the show starts tonight, so that the organisers have enough of a chance to harvest a night’s worth of votes. And this is important, because…

one of the four acts will be eliminated tonight. Presumably, after the four acts have all done their stuff, the organisers will close the phone lines, and whoever comes bottom will be kicked straight out. The phone lines then re-open, so that you can vote again overnight.

One of the remaining three acts will be eliminated at the opening of Sunday’s show. The other two, then, will continue to accrue votes over the course of the night, culminating with the announcement of the winner.

A few more tweaks

In a significant change from last year, it’s understood that each of the final candidates will have their own individual ‘Winner’s Single’ this year, instead of the previous situation where the potential winners would all sing the same tune.

Going on tabloid reports, it would appear that Matt Cardle’s song would be ‘Many of Horror’ by Biffy Clyro, Cher Lloyd’s would be ‘Impossible’ by Shontelle, Rebecca Ferguson would release Distant Dreamer by Duffy, and One Direction would cover Forever Young by Alphaville.

Despite the exit of Mary Byrne last week, Ireland will still be represented by Niall Horan (17) from Mullingar, who’s in the ad-hoc boy band One Direction.

Finally, as is usual, the Saturday show will see each finalist perform a duet with a genuine superstar. Tonight, Matt Cardle sings with Rihanna, Rebecca Ferguson performs with Christina Aguilera, Cher Lloyd teams up with Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, and One Direction gain a sixth member in Robbie Williams.

The winner’s single will go on sale pretty much immediately, so as to clock up a full week of chart sales. Britain’s Christmas Number 1 is announced on Sunday December 19, so the single has a full week to accrue its sales and downloads.  (In Ireland, the Christmas Number 1 isn’t announced until Christmas Eve, so the key week is between December 17 and 23.)

Finally, if you’re up for a punt, Cardle seems the likely winner: he’s odds-on with Paddy Power to make it to the top. One Direction and Rebecca Ferguson are both priced at 11/4, while love-her-or-hate-her Lloyd is the outsider at 20/1.

The Saturday show kicks off at 7pm, with the Sunday night show airing at 7:30pm. Each goes on for two hours – so if the X Factor isn’t your thing, you might decide not to tune into TV3 or ITV1 for any of that time.

Voting numbers go up on TV3′s website shortly after lines open.

* Well, that is to say, will probably be Christmas Number 1 – though Cage Against The Machine may have something to say about that.