Belfast Telegraph

Cher to join Will in X Factor duet

Cher Lloyd is to team up with Cheryl Cole's pal Will.i.am in one of a number of mouth-watering duets for The X Factor final.

The teenage "mini Cheryl" will sing with the Black Eyed Peas frontman on this weekend's show. But Cher, who bookmakers have made the favourite to leave first, admitted she did not expect to win.

She said: "I know I'm not going to win. Come on, I'm the rapper."

Robbie Williams will join boyband One Direction for a duet, while R&B's hottest property Rihanna will join forces with show hunk Matt Cardle.

Powerhouse diva and Burlesque star Christina Aguilera will team up with shy Liverpudlian Rebecca Ferguson.

The act with the fewest public votes will be kicked off on Saturday night, leaving three finalists to perform on Sunday when the winner is announced.

At a press conference in London, Simon Cowell batted away controversy about this year's series, which has been hit by claims of fixes and controversy over the use of auto-tuning technology.

Simon said: "I don't want this to be the goody-goody show and pretend we are nice people because we are not."

He defended the programme, which he said helped get people "interested in music again", adding: "I think it is crazy to say, when you've got 18, 19, 20 million people watching the show and getting interested in music again, that it is a stranglehold on it. It is actually ludicrous."

Asked about the anti-X Factor campaign to get a recording of John Cage's silent track 4'33 to number one instead of the X Factor song, Simon said he wished them "every possible luck". He added: "Question to the people from radio - Are you going to play it?"

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