The 50-year-old was third-favourite to be outright winner ahead of last night’s results show on ITV and TV3 and was one of a dozen acts to survive a double elimination that saw Storm Lee and Diva Fever exit this year’s show.
“Me?” she asked in surprise after host Dermot O’Leary called her name as one of those outside the bottom three acts after 24 hours of public voting.
Following that outcome, bookies had her at prices as slim as 6/1 last night, trailing Matt Cardle and boy band One Direction, which features 16-year-old Niall Horan from Co Westmeath.
She dazzled the judges on Saturday night with her version of Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.
“That was priceless, that was so good,” judge Dannii Minogue said.
Cheryl Cole added: “You do something to me where I am covered in goosebumps.”
Simon Cowell told the employee of Tesco in Ballyfermot: “That is why I would never put an age limit on one of these shows.”
Earlier on Saturday’s show, Cowell asked Brazilian-born finalist Wagner Carrilho if he was romantically involved with his fellow contestant from Dublin.
“Mary is a wonderful soul, such a noble woman of a great character,” he responded.
To which Cowell replied: “I’ll take that as a yes.”
Storm Lee was booted off the show last night after he polled the lowest number of viewer votes, having failed to impress the audience with his rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run.
The 37-year-old Edinburgh-born musician told host Dermot O’Leary: “You have not seen the best of me yet.”
Girl group Belle Amie, whose line-up includes another Dubliner in Rebecca Creighton, survived the subsequent sing-off with male duo Diva Fever, who were shown the door by Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole. This meant Cowell did not face the difficult task of having to choose between two of the acts he had brought to the final stages of the competition. He refused to say who he would have chosen and later said he took “full responsibility” for the duo’s departure after making them perform Duck Sauce’s song Barbra Streisand on Saturday’s show.
Louis Walsh said he had to save Belle Amie, who all entered the contest as solo artists but joined together in the final stages of Bootcamp.
Last night’s programme featured a performance by pop star Katy Perry of her new single, Firework. The American singer acted as a temporary judge while Dannii Minogue was on maternity leave and she helped Mary Byrne through to the bootcamp stages.