Belfast Telegraph

Cowell not biased, says Haenow

X Factor hunk Ben Haenow has insisted Simon Cowell does not have a "favourite" on the show as they visited the singer's home town to drum up support ahead of this weekend's eagerly anticipated final.

Hundreds of people braved the cold and wet weather in Croydon, south London, to watch the 28-year-old perform on stage after he was introduced by his mentor.

Fellow finalist Fleur East, who is also in Simon's over-25s category, has received high praise from the music mogul who described her performance last Saturday as "one of the top three performances" in X Factor history.

But speaking ahead of his appearance in Croydon, Ben said Simon had offered "priceless" advice to him and the show judge was "confident" in both of his acts.

"I don't think he's biased," he said. "He's really excited for the both of us and happy we got this far.

"I think he believes in both of us as artists. I don't think he'd have a favourite there.

"I think he's just got two of us through and two people who have worked so hard really beforehand trying to make it in the music industry. I think he's confident in both of us."

Ben also claimed there was no "major competition" between The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing despite the BBC One show regularly winning the ratings battle this year. He added: "For me it's a completely different audience. I don't think there's any major competition in that way.

"Ratings wise I'm sure X Factor has done amazingly well. I think it's like 11 or 12 million which is not too bad if you ask me."

Ben performed his version of Come Together by The Beatles and John Lennon's Jealous Guy in front of his home town supporters. Simon told the audience beforehand that Ben was "representing Croydon" before bringing on stage the contestant's mother and grandmother.

X Factor hunk Ben Haenow insisted Simon Cowell does not have a "favourite" on the show as they visited the singer's home town to drum up support ahead of this weekend's eagerly anticipated final.

Hundreds of people braved the cold and wet weather in Croydon, south London, to watch the 28-year-old perform on stage after he was introduced by his mentor Cowell.

Fellow finalist Fleur East, who is also in Cowell's over-25s category, has received high praise from the music mogul who described her performance last Saturday as "one of the top three performances" in X Factor history.

But speaking ahead of his appearance in Croydon, Haenow said Cowell had offered "priceless" advice to him and the show judge was "confident" in both of his acts.

"I don't think he's biased," he said. "He's really excited for the both of us and happy we got this far. I think he believes in both of us as artists. I don't think he'd have a favourite there. I think he's just got two of us through and two people who have worked so hard really beforehand trying to make it in the music industry. I think he's confident in both of us."

Haenow also claimed there was no "major competition" between X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing despite the BBC One show regularly winning the ratings battle this year. He added: "For me it's a completely different audience. I don't think there's any major competition in that way.

"Ratings wise I'm sure X Factor has done amazingly well. I think it's like 11 or 12 million which is not too bad if you ask me."

Haenow performed his version of Come Together by The Beatles and John Lennon's Jealous Guy in front of his home town supporters. Cowell told the audience beforehand that Haenow was "representing Croydon" before bringing on stage the contestant's mother and grandmother.

The third finalist, Italian singer Andrea Faustini, took to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall during a Christmas concert in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The 20-year-old, who was introduced by his mentor Mel B, performed his rendition of Hero by Mariah Carey.

Fleur will perform at her own homecoming gig tonight (December 10) when she performs in Walthamstow.

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