Having been the market leader in the past Ben Haenow finds himself behind red hot 4/11 favourite Fleur East in the betting ahead of this year’s live X Factor final.
The 29-year-old van driver has been a judge favourite and while he lacks the vocal ability of either East or rank outsider Andrea Faustini (14/1) the show’s producers clearly see a star and would love the Croydon resident to win.
While it’s fair to say Haenow may have overdone the gritty voice thing at times there have been moments when his vocals have shone through and with that in mind, here are his five finest X Factor moments of the series so far.
With his goatee beard, silver chain and lip ring viewers may have thought Haenow came to his audition directly from the 1990s, but as previous talent show success stories Susan Boyle, Paul Potts and Michelle McManus will tell you the look isn’t everything.
This showed as Haenow quickly went from any bloke off any building site around the UK to any bloke off any building site around the UK who can sing.
Joking aside his rendition of Ain’t No Sunshine had what Cheryl described as “genuine grit”, while Simon was shocked he hadn’t been offered a recording deal in the past.
With the chain and lip ring gone Haenow was starting to bring himself into the present day looks wise, though the faint outlines of his goatee remained.
Competition wasn’t fierce at this stage of the competition for Croydon’s answer to Chad Kroeger, with Robert Pattison’s sister and Jay James screeching their way through their songs.
Cowell and perennial hanger-on Sinitta were blown away by his take on With A Little Help From My Friends and it rightly saw him sail through to the live shows.
Rock n Roll God
After a fairly pedestrian start which saw Haenow take on Cowell favourite Bridge Over Troubled Water and John Lennon’s Jealous Guy, the singer was given a chance to show his rock teeth with ACDC’s Highway to Hell.
The much-talked-of grit in his voice was actually required for a change and allowed him to perform a song that could easily have been made very karaoke with a natural authenticity.
The rendition earned a standing ovation from all four judges and saw Ben emerge as a genuine contender for the first time.
Man in the Mirror is arguably one of the best-loved Michael Jackson songs so to take it on at all – let alone sing the first verse a cappella – took some serious balls.
Jackson, like only a few others, is one of those incomparable artists that has you loathing almost any covers of any of their songs.
“I didn’t hate that” is usually the most you can muster when someone else sings from the King of Pop’s back catalogue but this transcended that and landed somewhere in the land of “that was actually quite good”.
Dry your eyes
With Cowell going after the slightly older fan base the decision to sing Michael Buble’s Cry Me a River was a wise one.
Haenow may not be up to Mickey Bubbles’ standard but he can certainly hold his own as a crooner and seemed to revel in the role.
Subsequent performances – most notably of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love you and Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud – show the white van man may have peaked too early but if he can hit the same notes he did in week six he’ll be in with a chance.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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