The X Factor bids adios to sexy señorita Ruth
Just four acts now remain in The X Factor, after the viewing public voted off Spanish singer Ruth Lorenzo.
Alexandra Burke, Diana Vickers, Eoghan Quigg and JLS will all return to the stage next Saturday for the semi-finals, with their dreams of a million-pound recording contract still very much alive.
It was Britney Spears' week on the show, and Ruth opened proceedings with her first song of two - a belting rendition of ‘I Love Rock ‘n' Roll', a cover itself of the original by The Arrows but made famous by Joan Jett in 1982.
JLS - now 5/1 outsiders for the competition - were next, singing an average version of Britney's debut, the worldwide smash ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time'. The judges weren't impressed, with Simon Cowell describing it as "limp".
New 11/8 favourite Alexandra followed, wowing the audience and judges alike with another Spears hit, ‘Toxic', which should almost single-handedly guarantee her a place in the final.
After everyone had calmed down again Eoghan - third of the four remaining on the list at 11/4 - gave us a rather unimpressive performance of ‘Sometimes', but to be fair to the young Irishman, he admitted it wasn't his style of music.
Last up was long-time favourite Diana, with the 17-year-old and her strange wavy hands singing ‘I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman'. It didn't go down particularly well with the four judges, and she's now behind Alexandra in the betting at 5/2. She's probably built up a big enough fan-base to ensure a safe passage to the final though; her backers shouldn't be too concerned yet.
Ruth returned for her second song, Bon Jovi's ‘Always', followed by JLS, who put themselves back into the frame with a fantastic cover of the Whitney Houston classic ‘You Light Up My Life'. Alexandra was again breathtaking, putting her heart and soul into Beyoncé's ‘Listen', while Eoghan came back with a fantastic and fun production of a number from the US monster that is High School Musical, ‘We're All In This Together'. Last on stage was Diana, who put her own unique stamp on the R.E.M. masterpiece ‘Everybody Hurts'.
That closed the first show, but the contestants returned an hour later for the results of the public phone vote. There was no bottom-two this week; the judges were powerless. Before revealing who was safe, the aforementioned Britney Spears ‘sang' ‘Womanizer', although it was blatantly lip-synced.
And then came the dreaded results - "in no particular order", host Dermot O'Leary read out the names of the safe ones: JLS, Alexandra and Diana. That left Eoghan and Ruth stood waiting, and when Eoghan's name was announced, Ruth was gone. As usual, the Spaniard was class personified, congratulating Eoghan while smiling as if she'd made the semi-final.
With fifty percent of the last four, mentor Cheryl Cole now looks to have The X Factor sewn-up, and her price of 4/9 tends to agree. If you think different, take a look at our latest betting and you may find some value to be had.