X Factor UK: Saara Aalto finishes in 2nd place

Saara Aalto has finished the X Factor in 2nd place. After a shaky start, she was seen as the favourite to win tonight’s final. The race to win the X Factor this year has been the closest the competition had ever seen as all finalists had won the public vote at one point over the live show period.

2nd must be Saara Aalto’s unlucky number. After finishing in 2nd place in The Voice Finland in 2011, Saara also came runner up in the Finnish national selection on two occasions. Again, she has come 2nd place, on the 13th series of the X Factor UK. Saara lost out to Matt Terry who was mentored by Nicole Scherzinger.

This week saw Aalto return to Finland for the ‘battle bus’ segment of the programme. Viewers displayed their dismay on social media when Saara’s battle bus was empty when it left the X Factor studio last Sunday despite the other contestant’s buses full of their friends and family.

On Monday 5th December, Aalto was swamped by media and fans as she touched down in Helsinki for her ‘homecoming’. She performed a free concert on Helsinki’s Senate Square in front of a 10,000 strong crowd that was captured on film for the X Factor. Following her return to the UK, Saara continued to encourage fans to vote for her by doing numerous radio interviews and appearances.

This year’s final has been the closest competition in the history of the X Factor UK. All of the finalists had at one stage of the competition, won the vote during the live shows. Moreover, each finalist had also been in the bottom two and had to battle in the sing off for their chance to stay in the competition.

Let’s have a look at Saara’s X-Factor journey as she progressed through the competition.

Audition

Saara audition for the X Factor in the first week of the show being aired. The audition took place in front of judges Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell. This was the first time that we saw her singing Chandelier and the judges were blew away with her performance. Nicole Scherzinger said “That was so good that you make me want to twerk….my ass wants to clap for you”.

Bootcamp

At the bootcamp stage of the competition Saara sang Donna Summer’s On the radio alongside some of her fellow competitors. This was the first time that she met her future mentor Sharon Osbourne. Speaking about Saara’s performance, Simon Cowell said “I know that she’s very over the top but she’s a character”. Saara was sent through to the six chair challenge.

Six Chair Challenge

The six chair challenge didn’t go very well for Saara. On entering the stage she described herself as a “snow fairy from Finland”. The camera panned over to a confused audience before mentor Sharon Osbourne asked Saara what she would be singing. Saara performed I See Fire. Despite Nicole and Simon singing Saara’s praises, She failed to connect with her mentor and Saara was denied a seat. The audience booed Sharon’s decision as Saara walked off stage. However, Saara wasn’t having any of it and marched back on to the stage to demand that Sharon give her another chance. But the audience then turned against her as Saara began singing in French. Chanting “off, off, off” It seemed that Saara’s journey was over.

Judges Houses

Saara got another shot in the competition thanks to Nicole Scherzinger who selected Saara as her wild card. Saara performed Abba’s The Winner Takes It All in front of Sharon Osbourne and guest judge Robbie Williams. Although it didn’t seem that Sharon and Robbie enjoyed Saara’s performance she was given a place in Sharon’s final 3 and therefore, making it through to the live shows.

Week 1 – Theme: Express yourself

During the first week of the live shows Saara performed a mature, yet eery version of Let It Go. Describing herself as a Snow Fairy from Finland, Saara chose the song from the Walt Disney film Frozen. Despite a great performance, the public unfortunately didn’t vote for Saara which meant that she was in the bottom two. Consequently, she had to compete in the dreaded sing off with novelty act Bratavio. It was a no brainer for the judges who opted to save Saara and send her through to the next stage of the competition.

Week 2  – Theme: Motown

Saara decided to mix things up a little in the second week of the competition. Singing a more uptempo track, she sang River Deep, Mountain High made famous by Tina Turner. However, this still failed to impress the UK public and she found herself in the bottom two yet again. This time with contestant from the boy’s category Freddie Parker and her fate lay in the judges hands once more. The decision in week 2 was much harder for the judges as both acts had demonstrated good vocals. The judges failed to make a decision and the vote was taken to deadlock. This meant that the judges lost their power to decide and they would go back to the original vote and the person that got the least votes would go home. Luckily for Saara, it was Freddie that received the lowest votes and was the act going home.

Week 3 – Theme: Divas

Zing boom! Week 3 was when things started to take a different turn for Saara. Performing an Alice in Wonderland inspired version of Bjork’s classic Oh So Quiet, the public finally embraced her quirky style. She received a standing ovation from all four judges and additionally scored enough votes from the public to go through to the next round.

Week 4 – Theme: Fright night

During the Halloween themed Fright night weekend, Saara opted to sing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. Despite singing the song well, the judges criticised the performance for being too over the top and cheesy. However, despite these comments Saara again received enough votes to go through to the next round without having to compete in the sing off.

Week 5 – Theme: Girl band vs Boyband

Saara found herself in the bottom two for the third time in week 5. In keeping with the theme, Saara performed Sound Of The Underground which was the debut single for girlband Girls Aloud. This week found Saara in a bizarre Japanese inspired performance, whilst standing on an army tank. This was commented on by the judges and Simon Cowell warned Saara about being the ‘choreographer’s puppet’. Unfortunately for Saara, the performance was too ‘out there’ for the public and she found herself in the bottom two for the third time. As a result, she battled against girl band Four of diamonds, Saara managed to impress the judges with her performance of Who Are Are by Jessie J.

Week 6 – Theme: Disco

No More Tears (enough is enough) was Saara’s choice for Disco themed weekend. My personal favourite performance in the competition, Saara gave an energetic performance with a big production complete with dancers, glitter balls, pyrotechnics and glitter – Perfect for Disco week. She received a raucous applause from the studio audience and furthermore a standing ovation from all four judges. Saara was back with a bang and was the first act announced as through to the next round on votes alone.

Week 7 –  Movies

Movie week saw another big performance for Saara. Taking on Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On from the film Titanic. There hasn’t been many contestants over the years brave enough to tackle this classic, but Saara seemed to do this effortlessly. Scoring highly with the public again, Saara was through to the next stage in the competition.

Week 8 – Theme: Louis loves & contestants own choice

Week 8 marked the date where contestants would have to sing not just one song, but two. The first song had to be selected from the Louis loves category. These are songs loved by judge Louis Walsh, these have to be sang alongside another song of the contestants own choosing. From the Louis loves category Saara selected The Winner Takes It All by legendary Swedish group ABBA who won Eurovision in 1974. In addition, she also performed a medley of Diamonds Are Forever and Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.

In the first song of the night, Saara gave a stripped back performance where she sang alongside playing the piano. However, in the second song, in full Saara Aalto style, she was on her feet in another big production. The judges has praised both performances but felt that the first performance was superior to the second, adding that the second performance was slightly cheesy.

Week 9 – Theme: Christmas (Semi final)

Christmas came early on the X-Factor UK this year. As in week 8 each contestant was required to sing two songs, the first being a Christmas classic. Never shying away from the big songs, Saara opted for Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You and the second being Chandelier by Sia. Saara’s first performance of the Mariah Carey classic was full of Christmas spirit and joy. The second song Chandelier, was considered by many the highlight of the show. As well as a standing ovation from all four judges the studio audience chanted “Saara, Saara, Saara” as the judges gave their comments. Speaking of the final performance Simon Cowell said “Oh bleep!” before adding “That was absolutely stunning”. Meanwhile, mentor Sharon Osbourne was speechless.

Week 10 – The final

This weekend’s final was split over two shows. On the first show Saara sand Tears for fears classic Everybody Wants To Rule The World which received high praise from the judges. The X Factor final has always been famous for the duets. Saara duetted with 2009 American Idol runner up Adam Lambert. Lambert, who now tours with Queen joined Saara for a special performance of Bohemian Rhapsody. The pair shown great chemistry on stage and shared a tender moment at the end of the song.

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