Saara Aalto is nearing The X Factor Finnish line

Finland’s Saara Aalto has taken a step closer to becoming the first non-UK winner of The X Factor.

Saara, from Helsinki, performed Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears For Fears, as well as a Queen medley with Adam Lambert, to win her place in the second leg of the final on Sunday night.

She is now the bookies’ favourite to win and will be up against Bromley waiter Matt Terry, who sang Jess Glynne’s Take Me Home and teamed up with his mentor Nicole Scherzinger for a rendition of Prince hit Purple Rain.

Knocked out of the competition were group 5 After Midnight, who had performed Beyonce’s Crazy In Love and were joined on stage by Clean Bandit and last year’s X Factor winner Louisa Johnson to sing Tears.

After a video showed huge crowds turning out to watch Saara perform in her home city earlier in the week, judge Simon Cowell said: “I’ve never seen anything like that on X Factor before. I want to go to Finland.”

The programme took an emotional turn when One Direction star Louis Tomlinson appeared as a solo artist days after the death of his mother.

Johannah Deakin died on Wednesday at the age of 43, after a battle with leukaemia.

As he came to the end of his performance of Just Hold On featuring DJ Steve Aoki, Louis looked down at the floor with all four judges giving him a standing ovation.

Simon, who manages One Direction, said: “I have to say something to you, I’ve known you now for six years. What you’ve just done, the bravery you’ve shown, I respect you as an artist, I respect you as a person.

“Your mum was so proud of you, she was so looking forward to tonight and she’s looking down on you now.”

Louis blew a kiss up to the ceiling as he listened to Simon’s comments.

Earlier in the day, Louis, 24, wrote on Twitter: “All the support has been incredible! Let’s do this together tonight.”

Previous contestants from this year’s series returned to the stage for a group performance at the start of the show and controversial rapper Honey G stayed on after the final three had finished to showcase her upcoming single.

Adding an excerpt of the track at the end of a medley of rap hits, she said: “My single The Honey G Show is out on December 23 and that was a sneak preview of my upcoming single in that medley.

“Honey G’s taking over, it’s the Honey G time.”

:: The X Factor concludes its live final from Wembley Arena on Sunday at 8pm on ITV.

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