Katie escapes the 'X Factor' axe

Katie Waissel scraped through to the next round of 'The X Factor' after judges voted to save the controversial singer.

Katie Waissel scraped through to the next round of 'The X Factor' after judges voted to save the controversial singer.

Quirky Waissel breathed a sign of relief when judge Louis Walsh voted to keep her on the show despite saying she was “more style than substance”.

Dreams of pop stardom ended for Nicolo Festa last night when the Italian was automatically booted off the show with the lowest viewer votes following Saturday’s live performances.

Waissel and boy band FYD polled the next lowest totals and had to sing again to try to persuade the judges that they should stay in the competition.

Walsh was left with the final decision after Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole backed their own acts and Dannii Minogue said she believed Waissel performed better in the sing-off.

Walsh had the choice to save Waissel or to create a tie to be decided solely on viewer votes and decided to save the eccentric singer despite telling her Saturday’s performance had not impressed him.

Walsh claimed saving Waissel was “the right thing” as he ended FYD’s dreams of winning.

It was a narrow escape for the singer who was a controversial choice to go through to the live finals after she broke down while singing to mentor Cheryl Cole during the selection process.

Cole failed to select viewers’ favourite Gamu Nhengu and many felt Waissel did not deserve the spot. She was the bookies’ favourite to go first until four surprise wildcard acts rejoined the show on Saturday.

Viewers voted all of the wildcards – Treyc Cohen, Wagner, Paije Richardson and duo Diva Fever – straight through to the second week.

Cohen, whose selection as Cole’s wildcard ended Nhengu’s hopes of rejoining the show, screamed when her name was the first to be called.

Aiden Grimshaw, Matt Cardle and boy band One Direction are current joint favourites to win with bookie Paddy Power offering odds of 4/1.

Wagner is the long shot on 100/1.

Last night’s first eviction show also featured the return of 2009 winner Joe McElderry, singing his latest single Ambitions which was released yesterday.

There was also an energetic medley of his hits from US star Usher.

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