Friday, December 10, 2010

Simon’s little helper wins the Xmas Factor: Cheryl Cole sports some festive head wear for final X Factor rehearsals

By Simon Cable

Ski style: Cheryl Cole looked ready for the slopes in a white furry headband as she arrived for rehearsals yesterday at the X Factor studios

She looks like she’s kitted out to release a festive record of her own.

But Cheryl Cole was more concerned yesterday with ensuring one of her acts gets the chance to release a ­Christmas No.1 by winning this weekend’s X Factor final.

Just hours after she reminded fans that the competition was ‘a talent show, not a catwalk show’, the 27-year-old turned up at rehearsals in a red leather jacket and large white fluffy headband, resembling a mini-Santa Claus.

The tension at the show’s studios was ratcheting up, despite Miss Cole’s fellow judge Simon Cowell claiming he could hand all four finalists a record deal.

The X Factor chief admitted it was a ‘possibility’ he may give contracts to his act, One Direction, as well as to Cheryl’s two girls, Cher Lloyd and Rebecca Ferguson, and Matt Cardle, mentored by Dannii Minogue.

At the end of the last series, Cowell signed up only two acts, winner Joe McElderry and runner-up Olly Murs.

The year before, he just signed winner Alexandra Burke, while runners-up JLS were signed to Epic and Sony.

Cowell said: ‘I haven’t made a decision yet on whether I will give all finalists a record deal. The only person who is guaranteed one is the winner. But it is definitely a possibility.

‘I will just have to see how they ­perform on Saturday. Seriously.’

This year’s final, to take place over tonight and tomorrow, is expected to reel in 21million viewers, a record for a British talent show.

Mature mentor: The 27-year-old is clearly feeling confident enough to joke around ahead of this weekend's final

Purple Patch: Cher and Rebecca were matching as they arrived to prepare for the final showdown

Cowell has ordered the four remaining finalists to put in extra hours this week as he is said to be disappointed at the standard of last week’s performances.

He was also said to be giving a lot of advice to Cher, to the apparent irritation of her mentor Miss Cole, who called him and told him to stay away from the 17-year-old as she does not want him to take any credit for her performance.

Miss Minogue also confirmed that odds-on favourite Matt was unable to finish his rehearsals due to a throat infection and was worried he might not be able to sing. Matt himself admitted: ‘It would be a complete disaster, and it could happen.

‘I’ll sing it the best I can on the night. This has definitely been my worst moment on the show.’

Tonight’s programme will include each act duetting with a celebrity: One Direction will perform with Robbie ­Williams, Rebecca with Christina ­Aguilera, Cher with Will.i.Am and Matt with Rihanna.

One person will be evicted from tonight’s show with a second finalist ousted half-way through tomorrow night’s programme.

Reunion: Katie Waissel and Treyc Cohen were spotted arriving for the finale rehearsals today

The two remaining acts will then battle it out to be crowned the X Factor’s 2010 winner and win a £1million recording deal.

Matt is the 5/6 favourite to win with bookmakers, while One Direction are put at 9/4, Rebecca has odds of 5/2 and Cher is at 20/1.

The finalists were joined at the studios today by evicted contestants including Katie Waissel, Treyc Cohen and Aiden Grimshaw.

Aiden, who posed for photos with fans outside the Fountain Studios, is backing his good friend Matt all the way, telling his Twitter fans today: 'Matt to win!'

The boys are back: (L-R) Aiden, Wagner (supporting Rebecca) and John were all at the studios

Controversial Katie Waissel tweeted en route: 'Back to Wembley guys and gals.'

But the 24-year-old is clearly already looking towards life post-X Factor, telling her followers: 'Can't wait to get writing again!! I'm feeling so inspired!'

And while Katie has her mind on other matters, other ousted contestants are less worried about answering to their minders.

Paije Richardson was laid back about attending rehearsals, writing: 'Kinda gonna be late oh well.'

Now that the finale duets have been announced, speculation is buzzing over what songs the contestants will be singing with their artists.

'Tomorrow is the big day, totally super excited, buzzing and a little bit nervous all in one xx I can't wait to do the duet live!!' Rebecca wrote on her Twitter today.

Confident: Harry, Liam and Louis of One Direction are as 'prepared as they can be', according to mentor Simon

While Matt appears thrilled over his pairing with Rihanna - writing on Twitter that he was 'stupidly excited,' speculation is rife over which song he will attempt with the singer.

Contestants traditionally sing one of the artists' hit tracks, but most of Rihanna's single have involved rap collaborations - something quite at odds with Cardle's style.

Surprise guest performers are also expected on Sunday night.

Cowell had been in talks with iconic superstar Prince to appear on the final, his demands were said to be ‘outrageous’.

Tense: Matt Cardle, whose alleged dressing room romp with an X Factor make-up artist was front page news today, looked stern as he arrived


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