By EMILY SHERIDAN
Face off: Mary Byrne (right) was sent home on tonight's X Factor after Simon Cowell chose to save Cher Lloyd following the sing-off
Cher Lloyd is just through to the final of this year's The X Factor, after Mary Byrne was voted off.
Simon Cowell was given the deciding vote after Louis Walsh predictably plumped for his last remaining act Mary, with Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole saving the teenager.
The Tesco checkout worker, who was in the bottom three last week, sang It's A Man's Man's Man's World - which she originally performed during the first week of the live shows.
Gracious: Mary took the decision well as she was joined on stage by her mentor Louis Walsh, who has no more acts left in the competition
Making the deciding vote, Simon said: 'This is quite straightforward. Mary I have supported you from the beginning and tonight proved what a good singer you are.
'Cher, I actually liked that song you just sang. It was like hearing you for the first time. The act I'm sending through to the final is Cher.'
Before the sing-off, the single mother, 50, admitted she 'expected' to be in the bottom two, but later revealed her highlight of the contest had been 'definitely meeting the soldiers and doing the single for the guys in Afghanistan'.
Looking tearful as she took to the stage, Cher, 17, slowed down her usual uptempo songs to sing Britney Spears's 2004 single Everytime.
Sing off: Mary performed It's A Man's Man's Man's World, while Cher sang Everytime
Presenting the 2010 finalists: (L-R) Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Rebecca Ferguson, Cher and Matt Cardle
Simon's boy band One Direction were the first act to find out they were in the the final, to the delight of their mentor, who hadn't spent much time with them this week after suffering from a cold.
The group spent a lot of the week rehearsing as a four-piece after bandmember Zayn Malik went home to Bradford after his grandfather passed away.
Cheryl also stepped in to mentor them after Simon spent a lot of the week in bed with a cold, despite criticising their rendition of Rihanna's Only Girl In The World, because she thought it was too 'current'.
Next to discover their fate was Liverpudlian Rebecca Ferguson, then Matt Cardle - despite his shaky second performance on Saturday night.
The boys are through: Simon Cowell celebrated with One Direction after they become the first to be told they are in the final
The Essex native, 27, had been suffering from tonsillitis most of last week, so admitted his second performance on Saturday, Billy Joel's Always A Woman, 'was not my best performance'.
Last night's episode kicked off with a performance by X Factor 2008 alumni Alexandra Burke, who performed her new single The Silence.
Wearing a flowing white dress, the 21-year-old belted out the ballad before being lifting up into the sky on a harness.
We're through: Rebecca Ferguson and Matt Cardle celebrate after learning they're through to the final
Coming home: X Factor 2008 alumni Alexandra Burke performed her new single The Silence.
Spectacular: Alexandra was lifted up into the air with a troupe of acrobats and violin players at the climax of the song
The song, which is released tomorrow, is the fifth single from the Deluxe edition of her debut album Overcome.
She was followed by members of the cast of Glee, performing the show's stand-out hit
Don't Stop Believin' - but appeared to be having major sound problems as the members of the cast took to the stage.
Wearing gold dresses were Lea Michele, Jenna Ushkowitz, Dianna Agron, Amber Riley, Heather Morris and Naya Rivera, while the men Cory Monteith, Mark Salling and Kevin McHale wore all black.
Energetic: The Black Eyed Peas performed their new single The Time (Dirty Bit)
The last guest performance of the night was from The Black Eyed Peas - who also performed last year- with their newest single The Time (Dirty Bit).
No doubt there was time for bandmember Will.I.Am to catch up with his friend Cheryl backstage, who he was romantically linked to following her split from ex-husband Ashley Cole earlier this year.
Will.I.Am helped Cheryl choose her three acts at the judges' houses stage of the competition - when she controversially declined to let Gamu Nhengu through, but put Katie Waissel and Cher through - despite neither being able to complete their song.
Sound problems: The cast of hit U.S. TV show Glee performed Don't Stop Believin'
Will said he was 'torn' between if he wanted Rebecca and Cher to win the show, insisting they were 'very different artists'.
Meanwhile, Dannii made another bid to hang onto her X Factor 2010 style queen award in a stunning strapless lace dress with black pumps.
But Girls Aloud singer Cheryl showed a bit more flesh in a asymmetrical leopard-print 'mullet dress' - called so because of its floor-length back and mini-skirted front.
Fashion face-off: Dannii wore a revealing strapless lace number and black pumps, while Cheryl opted for a risky asymmetrical animal print 'mullet' dress and plain black heels
A new guest judge? Hollywood star Jack Black, who was seated in the audience, threw Simon out of his seat on the judging panel during the ad break
The Results - The X Factor Live Semi-Final Results
Cher Lloyd sings Everytime for survival - The X Factor Live Semi-Final Results (Full Version)
Mary Byrne sings It's a Man's World - The X Factor Live Semi-Final Results
Alexandra Burke performs The Silence - The X Factor Live Semi-Final Results (Full Version)
One Direction sing Chasing Cars - The X Factor Live Semi-Final
The X Factor 2010 - Black Eyed Peas - The Time (Dirty Bit) - Live Performance
Sunday, 5 December 2010
By EMILY SHERIDAN