It was an emotional evening for the remaining acts in X Factor 2009 after they learned who had made the final.

First to learn his fate was Olly, who burst into tears and hugged his mentor Simon Cowell upon learning he was in the final three.

The 25-year-old appeared overcome with emotion. “I’m so happy,” he said, “I want to thank everyone for supporting me, I don’t know what to say.

Teenager Joe McElderry, the youngest finalist, also appeared lost for words. “I actually can’t believe it,” the 18-year-old said of his place in the final, “I’m so happy.”

Last to learn she had made the cut was Stacey Solomon, who was speechless at first, then appeared to be thrilled as the news sank in. “It’s amazing,” she said afterwards, “it’s great. Thank you.”

The three will compete for the first prize of a life-changing record contract in next Saturday’s show – and for the first time the final is being split into two parts, with the winner announced on Sunday’s results show.

Bookmakers Coral have made Joe the 1-3 favourite to take the title, following Sunday night’s result

“Joe has been favourite to win for several weeks now,” said Coral spokesman David Stevens, “and his latest performances showed why. It would be the biggest shock since Will Young beat Gareth Gates in Pop Idolif he didn’t win next week’s final.”