The six chair challenge lived up to expectations last week and with just 28 contestants remaining, the judges' houses await. As well as the six acts from each category that made it through, the judges have given a lifeline to four wildcards – Samantha Lavery, Ryan Lawrie, Saara Alto and Yes Lad. Only 12 can progress to the live shows so let’s have a look at who those 12 will be, according to the bookies.
Simon Cowell and the girls will be heading stateside to his second home in Malibu. Joined by Mel B and Emma Bunton, it will be their task to whittle the remaining seven down to just three. As the bookies have it, the three to advance to the live shows will be Emily Middlemas (best-price 6/1), Gifty Louise (9/1) and Caitlyn Vanbeck (16/1). At 20/1, the bookmakers believe wildcard Samantha Lavery is in with a realistic shot but expect her to narrowly miss out.
Louis has never striked me as an Ibiza fiend, but nonetheless that’s where the X Factor’s elder statesman will be hosting the groups. He’ll be joined by Britain’s Got Talent panellist Alesha Dixon as well as X Factor 2014 runner-up, Fleur East. It’ll be up to the tripod to cut the seven acts down to three in time for the live shows but who are the favourites? If the bookies are right, we will be seeing 5AM (best-price 11/2), The Brooks (9/1) and Four of Diamonds (100/1) in the final 12. Worth noting that at best-price 150/1 there is no room for the fame-hungry Ottavio and Bradley, who are as short as 40/1 in places!
The overs, mentored by Sharon Osbourne, will be flying out to Los Angeles where Robbie Williams will be on hand to help with the decision making. The ‘good’ news is that Honey G is making a spectacular return. The bad news for her however, is that the bookies aren’t giving her a sniff. They’re predicting James Wilson (best-price 14/1), wildcard Saara Aalton (33/1) and Christopher Peyton (50/1) will sail through to the live shows. For the Honey G lovers (are there any?) you can get a huge 200/1 on your hero winning the show.
Last but not least it’s Nicole and the boys. She will be joined by Calvin Harris in the South of France with arguably the most difficult task of all the mentors. Somewhat controversially the judges have opted to bring back Ryan Lawrie, who was ditched as far back as bootcamp. It seems the bookies are a fan, as at 20/1 they make him the second favourite boy to win the competition. Matt Terry (4/1), Ryan Lawrie and Freddy Parker (25/1) are the bookmakers’ choice.
*All prices are on the respective acts to win the X Factor.