Around 90,000 more people signed up overnight to a Facebook group called ‘Gamu should have got through’, which on Tuesday had more than 143,000 members.

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

It has been reported that Cheryl was influenced by fears that Gamu’s visa will shortly run out and may not be renewed, but a spokeswoman for the ITV1 talent show said: “Gamu’s visa being processed was not the reason that she didn’t make the final 12.”

At least one of the show’s rejects will return as a wildcard entry this weekend and bookmakers clearly think Gamu will get a second chance.

Paddy Power are offering odds of 11-2 on her winning the show – better odds than the 18-1 offered on Katie Waissel, who got through at Gamu’s expense.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: “She has been by far the most consistent act and the most popular with punters. Viewers can relax – Gamu is still very much in the game.”

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

The final 32 acts were whittled down to 12 on Sunday’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.

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