Maloney turns the table, making Cowell the nervous one
The X Factor Final preview
Simon Cowell has plenty to ponder ahead of this year's X Factor Final.
The music mogul has built his empire on the back of reality TV, signed some of the world's biggest acts and enjoyed success all over the world. And despite all of this, even the world's most iconic talent finder has been left scratching his head about the rise to fame of Christopher Maloney.
What at first was seen as a minor headache for the show's producers is fast becoming a fully blown migraine as fans, whomever they may be, continue their unrelenting support of the former cruise ship singer. Cowell is allegedly dismayed at the British public. Perhaps his complaints should be aimed closer to home though after opting to allow a wildcard back into the competition - especially when mentor Gary Barlow had done his best to send home the nervous Scouser!
There is still plenty of hope that music will be the ultimate winner - Jahmene Douglas and James Arthur certainly have the voices to sell millions of records - but never has there been such uncertainty heading into one of December's showpiece television events. Maloney, at one point a 66/1 no-hoper, has never been in the bottom two. He was apparently the clear winner of the very first public vote, the one that gave his 'Nan' renewed hope for her doting grandson. He's thrived on the outsider tag from the beginning and heads into the final stages still boasting that tag, trailing his younger rivals in the betting at 10/3. You have to admit Cowell has every reason to be worried about his British staple.
Here's a rundown of the final three.
Nicole Scherzinger advised Jahmene to 'grow some balls' when selecting the former shelf stacker for the live finals. Maybe not the most eloquent piece of advice but that's exactly what the gospel fan has done, even if his high notes hint otherwise. He sticks to what he knows, hits the all the right notes and brings a steely, if still somewhat shy, determination to the show. It's hard to call him the best male vocalist in X Factor history but he must be close.
This isn't just a singing contest though. As Rylan's deep run showed, this is also a popularity contest. Disliking Jahmene is tough. After all he's a nice guy with the sort of troubled past that unfortunately works well in reality TV.
On the flip side liking Asda's favourite son has proved equally tough for some people with his singing style not lending itself to the sounds of the current music industry and his personality not bursting through the screen. He will bring a pair of 'Jahmazing' performances to the table on Saturday night, he can't afford anything but!
Name a song, hand it to the Middlesbrough man and he'll 'James Arthur-it'. That, alongside his unwavering pain and angst, has been the tried and tested formula for another of Nicole's protégés and barring a single week it has been great.
He is definitely the 'musician' amongst the final three. He has twisted classics into dubstep; grunged up Katy Perry numbers; used his new found fame to bed a serious of women - if the papers are to be believed. A bit like Jahmene he fails to make an impact when there's no music playing in the background; unlike Jahmene though he has an air of cool about him that adds to his authentic label. Indeed it could be said his best trait has been manufacturing such a label without breaking one of his own tunes out - maybe that's what he'll bring on Saturday.
It seems former call centre advisor Chris is an expert in making people pick up the phone. He's been slated from pillar to post by the media, judges, viewers, insiders - well just about everyone in fact - but every week he's returned with another 80s power ballad and fake tan. If stories are to be believed then phone bills in the Merseyside area must have rocketed, although it's looking like there's more to this unlikely tale than that.
He's Britain's most courteous karaoke king and a kick in the teeth to the image that Simon Cowell envisaged for his money making machine. In terms of talent he struggles to compete with the two Js, Jahmene and James, but he is the most memorable member of the three. Not a bad feat for a man that Gary Barlow left behind in favour of now forgotten Carolynne Poole and Melanie Masson.
It's unlikely he'll bring anything fresh and new to the final but equally unlikely that it will matter.