Daniel Evans has become the latest casualty of X Factor – after surviving weeks of poor comments and criticism from the judges.

The 38-year-old pool cleaner – who is the first of Dannii’s acts to get the boot – was voted off unanimously by the panel after finding himself in the sing-off with fellow over-25 finalist Rachel Hylton.

He performed the Simon and Garfunkel classic Bridge Over Troubled Water in a bid to stay in the competition, while Rachel opted for the Mary J Blige/U2 song One.

And after Louis had voted to eliminate Daniel, Cheryl followed suit. “I hate sending people home,” she said, and this must be so awful for Dannii but I’ve seen a little spark back in Rachel.”

Simon, meanwhile, spared Daniel much of the criticism he has given him in recent weeks. “To be fair, you chose a good song and I believe that you mean what you’re singing,” he said. “And Rachel, I would have loved to have heard you sing that song with a bit more passion.”

However, he saved Dannii the ordeal of having to vote off one of her own acts by choosing to eliminate Daniel, saying his choice “may come as something of a surprise.”

The man himself took the news calmly, and thanked both his fans and Dannii for his X Factor experience.

“I’ve said it before, I’ve got great fans and a great mentor and they’ve kept me going,” he said. This is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, it’s been unbelievable.”

Earlier in the evening Simon had compared Daniel’s performance of Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual to “a drunk dad at a disco”.

Next week the remaining six finalists will tackle the hits of Take That .