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Feature: 'X Factor' Final 24 - Over-25s

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Feature: 'X Factor' Final 24 - Over-25s

ITV

We kicked off with Louis Walsh and his mixed bag of Groups yesterday, but today DS is looking at what many are tipping to be the strongest category in 2009 - Simon Cowell's Over-25s. We haven't had an Over-25s champ since the one we don't talk about - Steve Brookstein - beat vocal troupe G4 to the title in the first series. Similarly, Cowell hasn't won since Leona Lewis in 2006, so he is surely due a victory. Can one of the following six singers deliver the results for him? Keep reading for our verdict.



Danyl Johnson
The story so far: He has been the hot favourite to win the show ever since Simon Cowell declared his microphone-chucking performance of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' to be the "best audition ever". It earned the 27-year-old Johnson the tag as 'The Next Susan Boyle' and the YouTube video of his performance brought the teacher interview spots on US TV. His boot camp rendition of 'Holding Back The Years' didn't go down as well with the judges, but despite the glaringly obvious blunder of picking a Simply Red song, he still made the Final 24.
Chances of winning: Simon clearly loves him, he's the most well-known of all the contestants and he's got an obvious stage presence. However, Britain always loves an underdog and we suspect Danyl may have started too quickly and could end up missing out on the title at the final hurdle.



Jamie 'Afro' Archer
The story so far: Is there more to the 34-year-old from Putney than a wacky haircut and a half-decent rock growl? Well, anyone who gets Simon Cowell singing along to 'Sex On Fire' has to be doing something right. One of the most memorable first round auditionees, his version of 'With Or Without You' at boot camp wasn't too shoddy either.
Chances of winning: He doesn't want to go back to playing empty pubs and clubs, but will Simon dare pick Jamie and Danyl, when they are both clearly competing for the same fanbase? Even if he does, we suspect The Afro's pub-rock honed showmanship and cheesy audience participation may wear thin very quickly.



Daniel Pearce
The story so far: Daniel Pearce already has two Top 10 hits under his belt with 'Sacred Trust/After You're Gone' and 'Shakespeare's (Way With) Words', but the mohawk-ed singer wants to forget his One True Voice boyband past and forge a solo career. His 'Kiss From A Rose' first audition and 'Purple Rain' at boot camp got Cheryl Cole all welled-up with emotions and bagged him a well-deserved spot in the Final 24.
Chances of winning: He faces stiff competition in a category packed with engaging singers. Would Simon pick someone who has already failed once over Olly, Danyl and Jamie? If he does make the cut, we suspect the public wouldn't be too favourable towards him having a second crack at a reality TV pop career.



Olly Murs
The story so far: Arrogant or charismatic? Olly Murs has divided opinion with his renditions of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition' and Elton John's 'Your Song'. Sensible song choices, an ability to move on stage and an interesting line in hats made him stand out from the crowd and have got him this far. It will be worth seeing him reach the Final 12 to see how many times the producers can wheel out the theme tune from Minder for montages with the Essex boy.
Chances of winning: He could be a good outside bet if Simon picks him for the Final 12. He hasn't been over-exposed and he has the necessary looks to win a sizable female fanbase. His voice might not be the strongest, but that didn't stop a certain chap called Leon winning a few years back.



Nicole Lawrence
The story so far: There were some groans at DS Towers when we heard there was yet another X Factor singer performing in tribute to a late relative. However, despite the sob story comparisons to the likes of Daniel and Niki Evans, Nicole merits her position in the Final 25 after barnstorming renditions of 'And I'm Telling You' and Alicia Keys's 'If I Ain't Got You' at the early audition rounds.
Chances of winning: Nicole could well fit the "old belter" slot in the Over-25s this year. Ruth Lorenzo, Niki Evans and Brenda Evans have filled the role in previous years, but none of them could quite win. Nicole looks unlikely to break that duck, but a West End role surely beckons.



Treyc Cohen
The story so far: Probably the contestant we've heard least from in the Over-25s, she's a real darkhorse in the group. She's a full-time student doing a popular music degree, who does the pub circuit to keep her afloat financially. There's no real sob story, but her version of 'I'm Every Woman' at the first audition hinted that she may have the best technical vocals out of everyone in her category. Her rendition of the Simon Cowell favourite, Michael Jackson's 'Ben', at boot camp can't have harmed her chances of progressing either.
Chances of winning: She's got a battle on her hands making the Final 12 and even if she does, we suspect her lack of airtime could leave her vulnerable to an early exit. As we all know, there's more to X Factor than being a very good singer.

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