X Factor 2016 final: 5 After Midnight finishes third as Saara Aalto slays “Bohemian Rhapsody”

After nine weeks at ITV’s now defunct Fountain Studios, The SSE Arena at Wembley is playing host for the final weekend of X Factor UK 2016.

And on Saturday’s show, 5 After Midnight fell at the final hurdle, becoming this year’s third place finishers. They received the fewest number of votes despite a well-staged performance of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love”and a stirring performance alongside pop icon Clean Bandit, dropping his hit single “Tears”. Last year’s winner Louisa Johnson joined them on stage.

Saara Aalto will face Matt Terry in Sunday’s winner-takes-all showdown, where they’ll each sing their “song of the series” and this year’s X Factor winner’s single — which inevitably contends for Christmas No. 1 on the UK charts.

Vote for Saara Aalto

If you are in the UK, you can vote by phone or mobile, or by using the X Factor app. Voting will close during Sunday’s show after both performances from Matt and Saara. Votes from Saturday’s show will be carried over so every vote counts! If you’re calling from a landline or mobile, Saara is #3.

Saara Aalto covers Tears For Fears

Saara didn’t just nail her cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” — she hammered it, she bolted it and she stomped on it, earning rave reviews from all of the judges.

“I have loved you from day one,” Louis said. “You are an amazing performer and you love music. And you never complain, you’ve got a great work ethic and the bigger the song, the better you became. You are an incredible artist.”

Nicole admitted that she regretted picking Saara as Sharon’s wildcard act. “What a beautiful reception back home and your voice, there’s nothing you can’t sing. It was beautiful, it’s so bold. Congratulations.”

“I don’t know about bold — it was brilliant,” Simon responded. “That performance, when you’re on a big stage you just get bigger. It’s actually what star power is all about. You’re in front of an audience, the staging production, the track, everything was incredible.”

Mentor Sharon was over-the-moon: “You just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. There is nothing you can’t handle. There is no song no matter how big or small that you can’t take and make something out of it. Everything you do is spectacular.”

The bookies responded instantly and her lowest odds dropped from 8/13 to 2/5, showing that there was growing confidence in our beloved snow fairy. (Note I said was. Read on to see what happens after the show…)


Saara Aalto duets with Adam Lambert

Next it was time for the duets, with Saara partnering with Adam Lambert on the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Ahead of the performance there was a long interlude with Saara having a heart-to-heart with Mrs. O.

Would Saara have believed that she would be in the final if she were told just a few weeks ago?

“I wouldn’t have believed it,” she said. “When I was in Finland like a year ago I just hoped that some day I would be able to sing in front of people who really helped me. I feel like this whole experience has been up and down — and miracles have happened.”

“I’ve been working for the last 15 years to get here, but I always had this dream to be an international singer.”

“This competition has changed my life completely and not only career wise, but the way I am inside. I felt this is the first time in my life I’ve had support and acceptance from people who really mean a lot. I really needed that support because I didn’t get that from Finland. This whole experience has told me that anything is possible.”

After smashing her duet, which saw her dancing on a piano with her idol, Saara seemed simultaneously thrilled and relieved.

Adam was quick to offer his support: “Saara is a superstar ladies and gentleman!”

Following tonight’s episode — and with 5 After Midnight now out of the race — Matt Terry saw his odds shrink dramatically.

In fact, moments after the show he surpassed Saara to become the odds-on favourite to win, with his odds shrinking to 8/13 at Sky Bet.

Saara’s odds widened to as high as 6/5, putting her over 1 for the first time in days.

The bookies may have insider knowledge of tonight’s voting — suggesting Matt killed it. Or it may simply reflect the fact 5 After Midnight are out and their viewers may be more keen to get behind Matt than Saara.

Saara Aalto X Factor odds to win matt terry

Saara Aalto’s journey

Prior to tonight’s show Saara had already made her fair share of history. She is the very first act ever to make the final after having been in the Bottom Two in Week One. And she’s also the only contestant to make the final having been in the Bottom Two during the first two episodes. That’s a record unlikely to be matched in the future.

Among those supporting Saara inside the arena tonight was fiancée Meri Sopanen — a Saara Aalto superfan who sent the “No Fear” singer a message during the taping of The Voice of Finland in 2012.

Saara’s instant attraction led her to dump then-boyfriend Teemu Roivainen, whom she had been with for nine years at the time.

But clearly there are no hard feelings. Speaking on Lorraine, Saara revealed that Teemu flew out to London to support her this weekend as well.

Do you think the right act was eliminated? Who do you think is going to slay during the final night of competition on Sunday? Let us know in the comments box below.