Alisha Bennett has become the latest performer to be eliminated from The X Factor, after once again landing in the bottom two.
The 23-year-old – who had already been saved by the judges on two previous occasions, was Sharon Osbourne’s last surviving act in the competition.
Girl group Hope – who were also in the bottom two – escaped elimination, with Alisha’s mentor Sharon the one judge who voted to send them home.
However, the North Londoner seemed resigned to her fate. “I did the best I could,” she told Dermot O’Leary. Sharon, meanwhile, said, “She knows how I feel about her. She is a class act.”
She added that despite having no acts left she still had an important role to play in the show. “I will be the only impartial judge,” she pointed out.
Earlier in the evening, Alisha had performed the classic Young Hearts Run Free on the disco themed show, surrounded by dancers on roller skates.
After her performance she received a mixed response from the judges, with Louis saying he hoped she wasn’t in the bottom two. However Dannii said that some notes sounded “flat”, while Simon described the performance as “a complete and utter mess”.
He also criticised the dancers, saying Sharon should have taken responsibility for what was seen on stage. “I did not hire those dancers,” he insisted, “You should have stopped it.”
However Sharon was quick to defend herself. “You hire, you fire,” she pointed out, “I don’t pick the dancers. I’m the paid hand here!”
Hope, on the other hand, were largely praised by the judges for their rendition of Abba’s Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight).
“You looked like a proper girl band tonight,” Dannii Minogue told the five-piece, while Louis said they were “better than the Spice Girls”.
There was also praise for Beverley, with her version of Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman, and Leon, who opened the show performing Relight My Fire. However, Niki’s performance of Hot Stuff received a mixed response, with Simon comparing it to “Mum at a wedding”.
Hot favourite Rhydian also received a cautious response from Simon following his performance of Go West – which saw the Welsh opera singer clad in a sailor costume surrounded by similarly dressed dancers.
“A proportion of the audience will love that, but a lot of the traditional audience will hate it,” he told the 24-year-old. “You could be in trouble.”
The remaining six acts will tackle Motown classics on next week’s show.