He had the power to send them packing — but when it came to the crunch, he couldn't let them go.
Simon Cowell may have described John and Edward as “vile little creatures”, but those “vile little creatures” are perhaps the biggest X Factor story ever, taking up more column inches than the back-biting, the fall-outs, the contestants and the costumes.
When the Terrible Twins found themselves in the sing-off last night, facing the talented Lucie Jones, they must have thought their dream was over. Louis Walsh, not surprisingly, chose to save the act he had unleashed some weeks ago on an unsuspecting public, while Dannii Minogue opted to send them home. Cheryl Cole sided with Dannii and backed Lucie to stay, leaving the final decision in Cowell's hands.
The shock was palpable when Cowell announced a deadlock situation, meaning the act going home would be decided by the public vote. Poor Lucie knew then that her number was up.
The decision to go to deadlock will undoubtedly be the talk of the tabloids today. Just why did Cowell not stand by his convictions and boot the big-haired boyos off the show? Week on week he slated them for their lack of talent.
But this is why Cowell is a multi-millionaire. He knows an opportunity when he sees one and John and Edward, let's face it, are the headline-grabbers, the act that is dividing the nation, the ratings booster.
Given Cowell's criticisms of the Gruesome Twosome every week, it seems highly hypocritcal that he squandered the chance to get rid.
And surely this says something about the show and what it has become. It's not about talent anymore.
It all started going wrong with this current format, I believe. Holding auditions in front of a live audience was a bit too much like the tacky variety show Britain's Got Talent for my liking.
Somewhere along the way, The X Factor lost its soul. Cowell has sold out in his bid to be the richest, most powerful man in the entertainment industry. And last night's verdict proves that.
Let's hope another potential — and deserving — winner isn't sacrificed on next week's show to allow the Jedward juggernaut to keep rolling. Or Cowell will have some explaining to do.