Cowell not biased, says Haenow
X Factor hunk Ben Haenow insisted Simon Cowell does not have a "favourite" on the show as they visited the singer's home town tonight 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 competiton" between X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing despite the BBC One show regularly winning the ratting 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 tonight. Cowell told the audience beforehand that Haenow was "representing Croydon" before bringing on stage the contestant's mother and grandmother.
Italian X Factor finalist Andrea Faustini took to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall tonight for 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.