Pre-show tip Rak-Su are the most likely winners, writes Jack Houghton, who still prefers them over the "interesting" Grace Davies...
"Rak-Su will probably win, and those who took the recommended odds at the start of the series can look forward to a profitable show..."
Which acts are left in the show?
In a compressed six-week live-show schedule, one of many changes made to re-invigorate the show, we find ourselves at the Grand Final in record time, with three acts left.
Rak-Su, tipped-up prior to the live shows at 5/16.00, find themselves as the strong, odds-on favourites at 4/91.44. Early favourite, singer-songwriter Grace Davies, is next in the betting at 100/304.30. Completing the trio is French singing-contest-reject and initial outsider, Kevin Davy White at 11/112.00.
Which act will win?
Probably Rak-Su. They've impressed throughout as charismatic, likeable and talented, qualities required of any X-Factor winner. They've already topped the iTunes charts, too, with Mona Lisa and with their semi-final version of I'm Feeling You, the original song which they also sang at their first audition. It's also worth noting that they have contested the Prize Fight in three out of four weeks, winning the last one in a public vote against Grace Davies. Their only absence came in Week 3, with a weaker performance and the dreaded coffin-slot of singing first.
Plenty of odds-on shots have lost in finals - think Gareth Gates, Rhydian Roberts, Jahmene Douglas and Fleur East - but working in Rak-Su's favour is the venue: the stadium environment of the Excel Centre is much easier to fill with four people cavorting around the stage with a music and dance production. They are perhaps the only act who won't get lost in it all.
Can anyone beat Rak-Su?
Grace Davies has an obvious following. At the time of writing she has four songs in the iTunes Top 50, although her best chart position has been number two, with a cover of David Bowie's Life on Mars.
That perhaps sums up her appeal: enough people like her that she was able to win public votes early on, but that fan base has likely not grown as the field has thinned. She will repel as many voters as she attracts - she falls into the category of "interesting" X Factor acts that never do as well as commentators think they will - and could well get lost on the big stage of this weekend's final.
Who will be first to be eliminated?
Kevin Davy White. He's talented and likeable enough, but has only reached one Prize Fight in the series, losing in a public vote to the now-eliminated Lloyd Macey. It's notable that his best chart showing has been a lowly 29, with a Beatles' cover, Come Together. It will be a surprise if he survives the first elimination of the final.
Rak-Su will probably win, and those who took the recommended odds at the start of the series can look forward to a profitable show. Those odds have long-gone, though, and I won't be getting involved at 4/91.44. A better bet is to back Kevin Davy White in the 3rd Place Market at 40/851.47. Even if one of the other two acts put in a bum early performance, it's hard to see how their loyal fan bases wouldn't vote them through anyway, which makes Kevin Davy White a near-certainty to leave first.
* This article was originally publised on November 30.