James Arthur’s brace of brilliant performances on Saturday’s X Factor makes him a great bet to claim the 2012 title.
He started the show with an angst-ridden cover of ABBA’s 1975 hit SOS before launching into a surprisingly good version of Marvin Gaye song Let’s Get It On.
The judges were typically over exuberant in their praise, with Gary Barlow saying that Arthur “brought your integrity back onstage with you – I really respect you for that. I’m your biggest fan.”
Mentor, Nicole Scherzinger, said: “You are kind of ridiculous. You take everyone else’s songs and then you make them better… you are the game changer!”
However, while their praise may have been slightly over the top, there’s no doubting that Arthur’s versatility and ability to at least look like he has some artistic credibility makes him a decent bet to win the whole competition at 11/8.
Matt Cardle showed two years ago that there’s an appetite for a guitar strummer amongst the X Factor voters and it would take a brave punter to back against Arthur repeating the feat this year.
Meanwhile, Jahmene Douglas is also priced at 11/8 to bag the title but, while his rendition of ABBA song I have a Dream hit all the right buttons with the judges, his version of The Tracks of My Tears was less impressive.
It was accomplished but paled in comparison to some of the more energetic performances.
He can undoubtedly belt out a ballad but, whether he has the versatility to keep fans interested until the end is another matter altogether – and that’s a problem Arthur certainly doesn’t have.
Finally, Christopher Maloney is out at 11/2 to win, while boyband Union J are the big outsiders at 10/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.