Sixteen-year-old Ella Henderson is the early 9/2 favourite to win the X Factor after captivating the judges in a Manchester audition shown at the end of the first episode of the new series.
She performed a self-penned song paying tribute to her late grandfather and claimed to have been writing her own material since the age of 13, prompting comparisons to perhaps the country’s most famous female singer-songwriter Adele.
Henderson was easily the standout act of the series debut, creating such an impression that hard-to-please guest judge Mel B was full of praise and Tulisa took the unusual step of immediately signalling her intention to mentor the youngster.
The former N-Dubz star might get her wish as the producers have handed the girls to a female judge in each of the five series that the category has existed for, and she didn’t oversee them on her first appearance last year, instead helping the groups.
Tulisa is 2/1 to be the winning manager behind 13/8 newcomer Nicole Scherzinger (X Factor has a history of successful debutants, with Tulisa the latest) while it is 2/1 that the girls are the winning category, with the boys at 13/8 favourites.
There were two impressive solo males on Saturday’s show, including shy supermarket employee Jahmene Douglas (6/1), who went from discussing Asda’s price reduction policy to nailing a version of At Last to progress through to bootcamp.
The other was self-labelled geek Curtis Golden (33/1), who surprised the judges and live crowd with his guitar-assisted version of Candy Man.
Mel B was the only one to provide negative feedback, calling his performance “irritating”, though it might have been his confession that he once owned a cardboard cut-out of her that influenced her reaction.
The live shows don’t usually start until October, so there are plenty more auditions to be aired and potential winners to be revealed before the bootcamp cull occurs.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.