When “The X Factor” U.K.’s eighth season began airing on ITV in August 2011, Janet Devlin was named the clear frontrunner by the media. Misha Bryan was also named a strong contender who would go far in the competition, although most people have predicted all along that Bryan won’t win.
But more recently, 16-year-old Devlin and 19-year-old Bryan have experienced some major backlash that could hurt their chances of winning.
Here is where things stand with the show’s remaining finalists, as of this writing:
GIRLS (female solo singers under age 25)
Mentored by “X Factor” U.K. judge Kelly Rowland
Bryan has landed in the bottom two of getting votes from the public ever since the October 22 episode, when “The X Factor” U.K. judges Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos described Bryan on the show as being a backstage bully. Walsh later apologized for the remarks about Bryan, but Contostavlos said in interviews that she stands by her comments about Bryan. (The “bully” accusation also aggravated an ongoing feud between the two judges and Rowland.)
Rowland has made it clear for weeks that Bryan is her favorite in her mentor category, and that overt favoritism may have contributed to the backlash against Bryan. The Manchester Evening News also ran an opinion piece stating that Bryan (a native of Manchester, England) isn’t as popular in her hometown as she should be because she is too polarizing.
Devlin used to get unanimous praise from the show’s judges, but she has been slipping from favor, particularly with “X Factor” U.K. judge Gary Barlow, who has called her “boring” and “predictable” in recent episodes. Rowland even gave Devlin a lukewarm review about Devlin’s November 12 performance, by saying it was “just all right.” There have also been tabloid reports that Rowland is upset with Devlin for being difficult over song choices and wardrobe.
It’s also interesting to note that despite being named a “frontrunner” for so many weeks, none of the former “X Factor” U.K. finalists from over the years has named Devlin as one of his or her favorites. Devlin, who endeared fans with her shy demeanor and ethereal voice, has been getting some backlash from viewers on the Internet for performing too many ballads on the show.
Lily has emerged as a new favorite contestant after a spectacular comeback. Lily (a 17-year-old from Middlesbrough, England) was eliminated by Rowland in the October 9 episode, but Lily voted back onto the show by the public in the November 13 episode. (The reason for the second chance was because the show needed a replacement for former finalist Frankie Cocozza, who left the show on November 8 because of a drug-related rule violation. He admitted to using cocaine at a November 5 party.) Lily was one of four former finalists who were up for the public’s vote, and she won a spot back on the show with 48 percent of the votes, according to “The X Factor” U.K.
When Rowland chose eliminate Lily from the show back in October, it caused controversy with viewers who thought she was one of the competition’s best singers. Now Lily’s supporters have come out in force to ensure that she gets redemption for her initial dismissal from the show.
People love a comeback story from someone who is perceived as being treated unfairly. Based on comments that people are making on the Internet, this sympathy is working in Lily’s favor. It’s no wonder that some of the remaining finalists reportedly feel threatened by the return of Lily. Tabloids reported that Bryan and Marcus Collins were the most upset about this new twist.
BOYS (male solo singers under age 25)
Mentored by “X Factor” U.K. judge Gary Barlow
Marcus Collins and Craig Colton
While the Girls category has caused resentment and bitter rivalry, the Boys category is relatively harmonious in comparison. Colton and Collins (both 23 years old and from Liverpool, England) have become friends off stage, and they often hang out together by going to bars and concerts.
In addition, Collins and Colton are the two remaining finalists who the most frequently named as favorites of former “X Factor” U.K. finalists and winners who have said which current contestants on the show they are supporting. Barlow has not been blatantly favoring one contestant over the other, but his overall praise has been a little higher for Collins, who has an “old school” R&B style, while Colton’s vocal style is more contemporary pop.
Mentored by “X Factor” U.K. judge Tulisa Contostavlos
The female quartet Little Mix (formerly known as Rhythmix) is the last remaining group in the 2011 “X Factor” U.K. competition. All of the winners of “The Factor” U.K. from 2004 to 2010 have been solo singers, so if Little Mix won in 2011, it would be the first group to win on “The Factor” U.K.
Walsh was mentoring the “Overs” category (solo singers ages 25 and over), but they have now all been eliminated from “The X Factor” U.K. in 2011.
As of now, odds-makers are predicting that the final three “X Factor” U.K. contestants of 2011 will be (in alphabetical order) Collins, Devlin and Lily.