The finalist factor

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
October 07, 2011, 12:41 PM GMT+0

Irish teenager Janet Devlin has been voted as the favourite contestant to win by British viewers of ITV singing phenomenon The X Factor, ahead of this Saturday’s first live shows. Eccentric contestant Kitty Brucknell is the least popular finalist, with nearly a third saying she was their ‘least favourite’.

  • Devlin emerged as the favourite to win in our poll of viewers of this year’s series, with 15% of fans saying she was most likely to win
  • While cheeky Frankie Cocozza came next on 12%
  • Followed by ‘incredible’ 16-year-old Amelia Lily on 7%
  • And soul singer and rapper Misha Bryan on 5%

Popularity contest

Being fans’ favourite to win, however, doesn’t necessarily translate into being their most-liked contestant. Although Janet Devlin tops the ‘like’ list as well as being deemed ‘most likely to win’, Frankie Cocozza has divided viewers, with 12% saying he was their least favourite contestant despite exactly the same amount thinking that he is likely to win.

Voted least favourite contestant by far was the outspoken and already controversial Kitty Brucknell, who has divided audiences and commentators alike with her dramatic desire to ‘be different’ ‒ she suddenly jumped in the pool after her audition at last weekend’s Judges’ Houses show, for no apparent reason, much to the amused shock of presenter Dermot O’Leary ‒ and eccentric dress sense. 29% of viewers voted Kitty as their least favourite finalist, while only 2% of fans voted Brucknell as likely to win the show.

Judging the judges

The X Factor is undeniably as much about the famous judges as the aspiring contestants, and our poll shows that fans are clearly decided on the formidable foursome.

  • Take That star Gary Barlow was the clear favourite judge, with 46% saying they prefer him
  • Glamorous female judges Tulisa Contostavlos, of hip-hop group N-Dubz, and Kelly Rowland both scored 17% apiece, putting them in joint second place as favourite judge
  • While judging stalwart – and only remaining member of the original panel – Louis Walsh emerged less successful: 39% chose him as their least favourite judge

The results add further fuel to the flames of the programming juggernaut, as this year’s controversies start early amid reports that one contestant from each of the judges’ groups will be forced to leave following their first performances this weekend, instead of being put to a live public vote as in previous years.

The judges-turned-mentors’ decisions from last week’s shows have already been panned by many, with Adele-style jazz singer Jade Richards from Fife unexpectedly being dropped from Kelly Rowland’s group. Off-the-wall act Goldie Cheung from Louis’ over-25s saw a storm of indignation from fans on micro-blogging site Twitter as she was picked for the final four, with Louis standing accused of choosing ‘oddballs’ over talent. The situation was diffused somewhat after Cheung swiftly left the show for undisclosed reasons, allowing the previously snubbed Sami Brookes to take her place, but Tulisa surprised some by giving the green light to The Risk (a patchwork band formed from contestants originally in other acts) without even having heard them sing together.

The show is well-known for introducing ‘twists’ to its schedule, with wildcards common, surprise votes and radical makeovers keeping its millions of viewers guessing throughout – and with the least favourite acts such as Kitty reportedly terrified of a first-week dismissal, this weekend’s show looks to be no exception.

See the survey details and full results here