In addition to wreaking havoc with the seventh elimination market, the Halloween edition of the X Factor may be looked back on as a turning point in the battle to become the eighth winner of the ITV talent show.
Misha B bounced back from the trauma of last week’s bullying row with a fine rendition of Tainted Love, with prompted one-time critic Tulisa to admit that she had “smashed it” and was described as “out of the stratosphere” by Gary Barlow.
Barlow’s biggest seal of approval was saved for Johnny Robinson though, who he greeted on stage with a hug after a breakthrough performance of That Ole Devil Called Love. The 45-year-old is in to 14/1 to triumph from 28/1, with Misha B moving from 4/1 to 7/2.
The two acts that headed into the fourth live show at the front of the betting both suffered blows, with 11/4 favourite Janet Devlin – out from 2/1 – reported to have been in tears backstage after her attempt at The Police’s Every Breath You Take.
The judges were relatively warm in their praise, with Louis Walsh loving her interpretation and Tulisa giving it the thumbs-up but Barlow’s suggestion that she risks being seen as predictable perhaps caused angst.
It was also a turbulent week for The Risk, with the former frontrunners out to 4/1 to become the first ever victorious group after band member Ashley J Baptiste walked out in midweek and was replaced by Ashford Campbell from Nu Vibe.
The mentors talked up a fairly unremarkable version of Thriller, Walsh claiming to hear a “better vocal harmony”, arguably an indication that they will go easy on the four-piece for a few weeks as they react to the difficult position that they have been put in.