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I feel like I've said this many times in recent years when discussing the shenanigans of Reality TV but I'll say it again; only in the land of The X Factor.

Only on The X Factor can you get a contestant eliminated in week one, confess to being happy at being off the show, sing (sorry shout) to a disinterested audience at my local town's firework display, get matched at 1000.0 in the Winner market, and then from almost nowhere, challenge for favouritism to be crowned this year's X Factor winner. You couldn't make it up, except in X Factor land we could, and probably should have.

True, I felt the decision to eliminate Amelia Lily so early was a wrong one, and I said as much here. But I'm not convinced that any act should have been brought back with just four weeks of the competition remaining, and most certainly not someone who might now have to sing just five or six times to emerge victorious.

Lily's return is not the only talking point from Saturday night's show however; Gary Barlow's persistent negative criticism of Janet Devlin has also provoked anger from Devlin's fans. Despite the Irish teenager singing more than adequately enough, Barlow, not for the first time, accused the Irish teenager of being boring and insisted that he is losing interest in her. Barlow ought to know that there's a huge difference between being a good singer and being a bad singer, regardless of how boring you are. And the last time I looked this was a singing competition.

Barlow's criticism of Devlin appears a little desperate in all honesty, a clear attempt to try and dissuade the public from voting for her.

It has been suggested that, as the head judge, Barlow has a big say in the singing order for each show. And if this is the case then it explains why Devlin has in all but one week performed early (and before fellow Girls competitor Misha Bryan). Contestants performing early generally have a poor record of surviving remember; though according to many reports in the last few days Devlin has been topping the public vote every week. No wonder Barlow is trying to shatter her confidence.

Unfortunately Barlow's antics appear to be working, and with mentor Kelly Rowland rumoured to have had a big rift with Devlin, the 17-year-old now looks to be in complete limbo.

I sincerely hope she can recover, and I really hope people keep voting for her, because after a troubled few weeks, singing in an early slot, being criticised to the hilt; well if she is topping the vote each week it means she has some following. And yet she can now be backed at 5.9 in the Winner market.

On Saturday we saw Marcus Collins (4.3) receive some criticism for the first time in a while, for performing in the same style as he had the previous week. I have no problem with an act performing similar numbers each week if that is what they are good at, though it was quite amusing to hear Barlow accuse Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos of expressing, "tactical critique". Talk about the pot calling the kettle black and all that.

After Kitty Brucknell's exit this year's competition now looks wide open with Lily (4.4) just behind Collins in the Winner market, followed by Craig Colton (5.8), Devlin, Little Mix - aka Rhythmix - (7.4), and Bryan (16.0).

After a bad few weeks (betting wise) myself there was a small temptation to get Lily and Collins on side, thus guaranteeing that, should one of the first four in the betting win, I couldn't lose on this year's event. But I'd like to think I'm a little braver than that and more than capable of rescuing the situation. A big chance comes in the 11th Elimination market where Misha Bryan - the only remaining act to have been in the bottom two (and she's been there twice) - looks a standout wager at 3.0.

Recommended Bet
Back Misha Bryan @ 3.0 in 11th Elimination market (2pts)


For more X Factor betting articles, go to http://betting.betfair.com/specials/xfactor/
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