With only six acts remaining on The X Factor, excitement is mounting as the grand finale draws ever closer.
But who is in with the best chance of going all the way? Here is our guide to the hopefuls and what they need to do to keep the fans happy and secure those all-important votes.
International soloists, mentored by Ragheb Alama
French-Algerian Nedjim Mahtallah is easily the best dancer of all the remaining contestants.
The 27-year-old has impressed the judges every week, yet none of his, admittedly excellent, performances compare to the raw energy of his audition, during which he sang Etre un Homme Comme Vous, the French version of I Wanna Be Like You, from Disney film The Jungle Book.
Since then, he has only sung in accented English – we hope he will perform in his native French, which would elevate his performance to the next level. Time might be running out, however – he has already been in the danger zone, under threat of elimination, twice.
LaToya from Lebanon is an established singer in her home country. The 22-year-old, who is studying psychology, has proven herself able to tackle pop, blues and rock music with ease. We hope she’ll tackle something a little different next week, something that demands less aggression in the singing than we have seen and more heartfelt emotion, allowing the beauty of her voice to shine, rather than relying on its undoubted strength.
Hamza Hawsawi from Saudi Arabia can do no wrong. In an ideal world, Jay Z will hear about the 24-year-old and sign him up immediately.
Arabic soloist, mentored by Elissa
Hind Ziadi from Morocco is the only Arabic soloist to make it this far. Her singing is always admirable and she has tackled some difficult songs by greats such as Thikra and Warda. She has done extremely well for a 20-year-old with little musical background. We have yet to hear her sing an Umm Kulthum number, which might solidify her status as a capable and mature singer. Having been in the danger zone once, Ziadi needs to raise her game to remain on the show.
Groups, mentored by Donia Samir Ghanem
The 5 need no introduction. Algerian duo Said Karmouz and his rapper friend Mohamed “BMD” Bouhezza were teamed during the audition phase with soloists Ahmed Hassan from Egypt, Adil Echbiy from Morocco and Kazem Chamas from Lebanon to become one of the first Middle East boy bands.
Their signature sound is Arabic pop, and every song includes an original rap verse written by BMD, with some input from the rest of the group. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the band will perform anything in English on the show – despite how well Karmouz and BMD sing in the language – mainly because band member Chamas doesn’t speak the language at all.
More complex harmonies that showcase the timbres of their very different voices are due soon, and members Echbiy and Hassan have to push themselves a little harder because the stronger vocalists are Chamas and Karmouz.
If this was purely a popularity contest, then there would be no contest.
GuitaNai are a band of Syrians and Jordanians who favour a style that incorporates touches of flamenco, rumba and salsa into traditional Arabic folk tunes. They released an album of live cover songs in 2011 and enjoy playing music by the Gypsy Kings, Fairouz, Ziad Rahbani, Aziz Maraka and Yazan Al Rousan. So far, they have performed a variety of Arabic tunes, but always in their signature, upbeat, energetic style. It would be nice to see something a little softer and calmer, to find out whether they can inject as much feeling and passion into a slow piece as they do with their more finger-snapping numbers.