Luke Friend has admitted that he thinks he and Nicholas McDonald will have their work cut out for them to beat Sam Bailey in The X Factor final.

The 17-year-old from Devon will compete against Nicholas, also 17, and Sam, 36, in the ITV show’s final this weekend.

He admitted: “The biggest competition definitely for both me and Nick is Sam. Sam for me is the one to beat. She is definitely the strong runner of the competition.”

Luke, who has been in the bottom two acts for the last two weeks and once again before that, said he felt especially lucky to be in the final.

“It is strange to think that I’m still in it when I’ve been in the bottom quite a few times… It’s strange to think that out of anyone I’ve done the most songs. The judges have been very supportive, especially Louis and Sharon.”

He confirmed he had a thank you lined up for judge Sharon, who mentors Sam: “She saved me on Sunday so I owe her one. I’m going to take her out for a meal.”

Louis has two of his acts left in the final and Luke said: “Louis is over the moon, I’ve never seen him jump around so much.”

Talking about going up against his category mate, he added: “It’s been like that all the way through the competition. Me and Nicholas especially have bonded together, so it is going to be hard in the final, but we’re all going to have fun now and it’s going to be the last time we ever do something together for a while.”

Saying he hadn’t been told which famous act he would duet with yet, Luke shared who he’d love to perform alongside: “I’m a big fan of Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac, and Seal, so they’d be cool.”

He added of which final weekend performer he was most looking forward to seeing: “Either Elton John or The Killers. The Killers will be amazing. I’m so happy that I get the opportunity to [share a stage with them], it’s literally the most amazing thing ever.”

Luke, who said he’d be most likely to stay in touch with Nicholas and would consider collaborating with him in the future, said he was very proud to be in the final three.

“It’s just strange that I’m one in three people out of how many thousands that entered it. It’s the weirdest thing, I have thought about it several times.

“When all 11 of us were here we were at Wembley watching the England game and we were looking at how many people were in there, and there’s twice as many people as were in there auditioned for The X Factor.”