The final of The The X Factor 2011 saw the three remaining acts – Amelia Lily, Marcus Collins and Little Mix – take to the stage at London’s Wembley Arena in their bid to be crowned series winner.
In an evening which ultimately saw the departure of Amelia Lily, following the first public vote of the weekend-long final, the acts each performed two songs, including a duet with each of their mentors.
And a bespectacled Marcus Collins kicked off the show, performing the OutKast song Hey Ya while standing on top of a model of a jumbo jet, surrounded by dancers dressed as stewardesses.
Once again, he won rave reviews from the judges. Louis Walsh – the only judge without an act in the final – told him, “Marcus, you are in the final and it’s amazing. You are a born pop star.”
And his mentor Gary Barlow added, “Out of all of the contestants, you have got better and better.”
The Take That frontman had more praise for Marcus after they duetted on the Billy Joel song She’s Always A Woman To Me.
“Honestly, Marcus has been incredible, one of the great things about him is that he listens,” Gary said. “He takes on board what you have to say and comes back better. He has done that for ten weeks running.”
Little Mix also had an elaborate stage show, arriving on motorbikes to perform the Candi Staton classic You Got The Love – and wowing the judges with their routine.
“Ladies I am so happy for you,” Kelly Rowland said, “and I want you to take it in and get used to being on the stage because you are something incredibly special.” Tulisa, meanwhile, added, “I am so proud of you I’m lost for words.”
The girls then teamed up with Tulisa to perform a mash-up of If I Ain’t Got You and Empire State Of Mind.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” she said of working with the girls. “I really have met true, genuine and honest friends. They deserve this more than anyone I know.”
Amelia Lily was the last of the finalists to take to the stage, kicking off her final with the Christina Aguilera song Ain’t No Other Man, backed by an elaborate stage set and a number of backing dancers.
The judges once again gave her performance the thumbs up, with Louis saying, “You are the comeback kid. I see something raw and amazing with you. Vocally you are an amazing popstar.”
Kelly, meanwhile, told her, “I am so incredibly proud of you, fantastic job tonight.”
And the Destiny’s Child singer raved further about Amelia’s prowess after they duetted on the Tina Turner classic River Deep Mountain High.
“Listen to her, she is a born superstar,” Kelly said, “from her voice to everything about her. She is so thankful to be here and she has perservered so much. I am so incredibly proud of you Amelia, I really am.” Amelia in turn described the duet as “one of the best moments of my life”.
Saturday’s show also featured a performance from JLS and One Direction, who sang a mash-up of the JLS hit She Makes Me Wanna and One Direction’s recent-chart topper What Makes You Beautiful.
There was also an appearance from Leona Lewis, who performed her new single Hurt.
The final continues on Sunday with a two-hour show – during which this year’s winner will be crowned – beginning on ITV1 at 7.30pm.