Fleur East ruled the X Factor stage in last night’s semi-final with Simon Cowell hailing her feisty performance as one of the top three in the show’s 10-year history.
Taking a risk on a last-minute song change paid off for the strong singer when she stormed on to the stage to deliver an energetic dance routine and pitch-perfect vocals to Mark Ronson’s little-known Uptown Funk.
She had already made a lasting impression on Simon Cowell after her first song, following which he accidentally addressed fellow competitor Lauren Platt as Fleur.
But the slip-up led to some criticism on social media when Mel B turned towards Simon and told him “Fleur is black, Lauren is white” on the live show.
Liam Cooper tweeted: “Fleur has large, curly hair. Fleur is your act. Fleur is older. No no, Fleur is black.”
Debs Anderson tweeted ITV to say: “’Fleur is black, Lauren’s white’ Seriously unacceptable comment.”
The final four contestants each performed two songs in their bid to make it through to next week’s final. Fleur East’s show-stopper left the judges in awe, with Cowell praising his act’s talent.
“Let this moment sink in because this is the moment that you went from a contestant to a star,” he said.
“That was in the top three best performance I’ve seen on the show.”
It has put her in joint lead with Ben Haenow to be voted number one, according to bookmakers Coral.
A spokesman said: “Before Fleur sung her second song tonight, we had Ben down as an odds-on favourite to win the show.
“However, we weren’t the only ones impressed with Fleur’s second performance. The betting now suggests it is going to be a two-horse race between Ben and Fleur in which there is very little to separate them.”
Ben Haenow showed off his rock credentials with Please Come Home for Christmas, with the panel of four believing that he could go all the way.
Lauren Platt tried to hide her nerves during two melodic performances on the Christmas special, including East 17’s Stay Now, after she was voted in to the bottom two last week.
Coral said the 17-year-old singer is now favourite to be evicted from the show tonight.
Andrea Faustini was heaped with compliments after a moving rendition of O Holy Night which left Cheryl Fernandez-Versini struggling for words while Simon declared that he “absolutely loved it”.
But tonight one of the final four will be sent home and the last three of the competition will prepare for the biggest week in the show when they vie for a record contract.