Wagner and Katie out of X Factor
Attempts to "derail" the X Factor have been thwarted after wildcard Wagner Carrilho's run on the show came to an end, according to Simon Cowell.
The judge struck a triumphant note after the anti-X Factor campaign to make the Brazilian an unlikely winner of the contest failed. He said: "There were people out there trying to derail this show. We've put this show back in the hands of the public."
Carrilho was booted off along with fellow controversial contestant Katie Waissel on Sunday night. Waissel received the lowest share of the public vote while Carrilho, who also ended up in the bottom three, had his dreams of pop stardom dashed when he lost out in a sing-off against Mary Byrne.
Carrilho's rendition of Nat King Cole's Unforgettable failed to convince the judges he should stay and all four voted to send him on his way. But he took his ejection from the programme on the chin, saying he had "loved every moment".
And as if to remind viewers why he was dubbed an oddball, he added: "I have achieved so much. I'm happy and I missed my cat so much."
Waissel, who weathered a storm of unwelcome newspaper headlines about her porn star grandmother this week, also took the rejection in her stride, insisting she had had "the most wonderful time". She said: "Hopefully this isn't the end of a beautiful journey. It's all been a highlight, just being here in itself has been a highlight. I'm just going to miss everybody. I'm grateful to have even gotten this far."
The judges praised Byrne as they announced one by one that it was Carrilho and not her they were sending home.
Cheryl Cole described her performance of Shirley Bassey's This Is My Life as "incredible". Louis Walsh agreed, telling the bottom two contestants: "Wagner, you are unforgettable. But Mary, this is your life. In the sing-off, Mary won hands down."
The results mean that Byrne, Cher Lloyd, Rebecca Ferguson, Matt Cardle and boy band One Direction will compete in the semi-finals of the ITV reality show next week. Bookies said Cardle was now the favourite to win, with odds of 8-11 on his victory. They had been at 2-1 before his performances on Saturday night.
And betting shops breathed a sigh of relief as Carrilho was sent packing, saving an industry payout of over £1 million. Bookmakers Coral alone were facing a six-figure loss if he had won as odds for a Brazilian victory had dropped from 150-1 a month ago to just 6-1 before his exit. A Coral spokesman said: "Wagner was our worst nightmare. We had been taking money on him non-stop for a month and faced the largest payout ever on a reality TV show."