On Twitter, Holly said it best: "If Samantha Jade doesn't win I'll kick everyone at school in the face yay." My thoughts exactly, Holly. Or as Short Stack lead singer Shaun Diviney also tweeted: "as if the chick shouldn't win xfactor. she's hand [sic] down the best." Translation: If Samantha doesn't get up , The X Factor isn't worth watching, because the best didn't win.
Sure, I may be two generations off the target demographic for Seven's The X Factor Australia, but it's hard to disagree with the Twitter consensus that Guy Sebastian's remaining contestant, 25-year-old Samantha Jade from Western Australia (aka the Singing Budgie 2.0), should be crowned the show's first female winner tonight.
Unless she goes all Altiyan Childs, Jade should become Australia's new Pop Queen
Jade's main challenger is surely daylight. Not that she's flapped across from the set of the last Twilight flick, there's just no comparison between her singing and that of Ronan Keating's boy band the Collective and Mel B's unlikely bush hero Jason Owen, who we keep being reminded comes from Albert, a town of 12 people. (How come I counted at least 1300 in last night's clip of his predictably emotional hometown return?)
Our next singing budgie ... X Factor finalist Samantha Jade.
Back in the real world, Samantha Jade is the only remaining X Factor contestant who sounds and looks ready for a harsh music industry reality: sell singles and tickets or you're a talent show has-been in a matter of days. For two weeks in a row Jade has blown away her rivals, earning standing ovations and hitting number one last week on the iTunes chart with her version of Kanye's Heartless.
Last night her three performances were the three best, even her nervy winner's single, What You've Done to Me, and she's been installed as the bookie's favourite, just ahead of boy band the Collective. Their winner's single last night lacked, as they say, big moments. Owen's country-tinged single was solid but he always looks one stop from a train wreck.
Owen is a modern-day television miracle, a naturally cheesy performer who, while he has grown enormously (and shrunk impressively), never remotely looks or sounds like someone who could fill a ticketed venue - and yet he's not been in the bottom two once. Lately the trimmed-down Jason has added some snappy dressing and man-make-up to his appealing humility, but the true Jason emerged on last night's performance show, with a few corny moves at the end of his Elvis-inspired version of the Black Keys' Lonely Boy.
2012 X Factor Top 12
Boy band Collective, X Factor 2012 Top 12
Owen is apparently evidence that the public will champion a genuinely nice guy with moderate talent - and a mentor so scary you'd sooner tell her a Spice Girls reunion would be a good idea than disagree with her.
He's cornered the regional and underdog vote, although in the end that should not be enough.
As boy bands made up of failed contestants but retrieved for their looks go, the Collective are excellent; their energy is infectious, the tweeny audience adores them and their rapper, Will Singe, gives them a badly-needed edge. Their downfall is appearing so nervous and self-conscious they can't seem to stop posing and throwing Blue Steel-gazes at the camera. And let's face it, a couple of them can't sing.
Jade lacks the Collective's party-on-the-set energy, but after consecutive weeks in the bottom two she's thrown caution to the wind and has added feistiness and sex appeal to her fine voice. Plus she's maintained a quiet dignity that could split the likeability vote with Jason.
Samantha Jade should win The X Factor tonight, partly because Australia now desperately needs a new singing budgie; the original now speaks with an English accent. Unless she goes all Altiyan Childs, Jade should become Australia's new Pop Queen, at least for a time, but even if she falls short someone should have the decency to give her a starring role in Neighbours.
I'd argue The X Factor needs Jade to win to retain credibility (stop sniggering you lot) and keep pace with The Voice - or at least the ability-conquers-all idea behind The Voice. As the weeks have gone by, the quality of singing has too often been obscured by ostentatious set and costume design, bombastic arrangements and frankly, emotive narratives that have gifted sympathy votes to contestants like the deer-in-the-headlights performances of Shiane, but also Owen.
Meanwhile, consistently good performers like Angel Tupai and Nathaniel Willemse, and the erratic but hugely talented Bella Ferraro fell by the wayside.
It'll take a Samantha Jade win to restore faith that the reality talent show revolution has not stalled.
The X Factor finale, Tuesday 7.30pm, Seven