Gamu Nhengu has been made one of the favourites to win The X Factor – despite being kicked off the talent show.

Cheryl Cole told the teenager she could not take her any further forward in the search for a singing star, but bookmakers and fans have not given up on the 18-year-old student who left her native Zimbabwe for Scotland five years ago.

More than 45,000 people signed up to a Facebook group, ‘Gamu should have got through’, and bookmakers Paddy Power are offering odds of 11/2 on her winning amid reports some of the axed candidates could return as wild card entries.

Those are better odds than the 18/1 offered on Katie Waissel, who got through at Gamu’s expense, winning the competition.

Painter and decorator Matt Cardle is the favourite to win at 11/4.

The final 32 acts were whittled down to 12 on Sunday night’s show and the pressure will now build in earnest as they face the nerve-shredding prospect of appearing live on the nation’s television screens.

There was no shortage of tension as the final 12 were announced.

Cheryl, who made her name as an ITV talent show winner with group Girls Aloud on Popstars: The Rivals, dramatically broke down in tears during the decision-making progress, but quickly regained her composure to lambast Katie for being ‘a little bit annoying’.

Cheryl told her: “I think you’re quirky, I think you’re original, I think there’s something very intriguing about you, but I also have to say that there’s a little something that I think people could find, if I’m being brutally honest, a little bit annoying.

“Also sometimes when I’m talking to you there’s always something that I don’t believe.”

The first of The X Factor live shows start on Saturday, 9 October.