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'The X Factor' U.K. 2013 Episode 31: Sam Bailey, Nicholas McDonald are final two

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Sam Bailey, Luke Friend and Nicholas McDonald faced off in their last "X Factor" performances voted on by the public in "The X Factor" U.K. episode that ITV televised on Dec. 14, 2013. In the end, it was Friend who was eliminated, based on getting the lowest number of the public's votes. "The X Factor" U.K. host Dermot O'Leary announced that Bailey and McDonald are the final two contestants. The winner will be announced on the show on Dec. 15, 2013. Several media outlets have reported that Bailey has been getting the most votes for the past several weeks and will most likely be the winner.

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In addition to getting a Sony Music recording contract, the winner will get to be the opening act on Beyoncé's 2014 U.K. tour. "X Factor" U.K. producer Mark Sidaway tweeted on Dec. 14, 2013: “We just supersized our prize. Winner also gets to join Beyoncé in the UK leg of her world tour @Beyonce. #xfactor @TheXFactor #beyonce”

Friend's elimination wasn't a complete shock, since he had been in the bottom of getting votes a total of four times, including this episode.

"The X Factor" U.K. judges are Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh.

Osbourne is Bailey's "X Factor" mentor. Walsh is the "X Factor" mentor of Friend and McDonald.

Before voting began for this episode, the final three contestants performed one solo song each, one song together as a trio, and one song each as a duet with a famous artist.

Bailey, Friend and McDonald sang together on Naughty Boy featuring Emeli Sandé's "Lifted."

(Click here to watch Bailey, Friend and McDonald's performance.)

Bailey sang Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory." Walsh said to Bailey: "You have got it all, you are a class act, you have got an amazing strong mentor. Two strong women together, that is hard to beat. Fantastic!" Barlow commented, "That is how to use a song to showcase your voice! You used every tool you had in your toolbox and you hit us all with it. That is how to play the final, deliver a performance of that standard. I cannot think of any more good things to say about you. This is your weekend!" Scherzinger added, "You sang the pants out of this song! You are a beast and a force to be reckoned with. That voice is undeniable. I am so happy for you right now." Osbourne exclaimed, "Forget girl power! It is about woman power! I just hope that your fans back you for one more week to get you through."

(Click here to watch Sam Bailey's performance.)

McDonald sang Robbie Williams' "Candy." Barlow commented, "On a night like tonight it is all about playing to your strength. Your strength is your voice, and that song choice didn’t show your voice in the right way. I know you want to be versatile, but not tonight. This is the final! I hope your duet is better than that." Scherzinger added, "My Nicky Blue Eyes, I think you can sing anything, but I am not going to lie, that was a trippy experience. It was fun and bizarre and I don’t think you could have gotten any more humans on that stage." Osbourne said, "Nicholas, that was just like a giant Willy Wonka factor. It was fantastic, so colorful, so bright. Great way to start the show. Well done. I am so happy you are here." Walsh stated, "Gary has never given you any credit. From day one he has been negative about you. But you’ve made the final. People like you. You are a dream contestant."

(Click here to watch Nicholas McDonald's performance.)

Luke Friend sang fun.'s "We Are Young." Barlow commented: "This competition is a better place with you in it, for me personally I felt the verses were too low for your voice but when we hit the chorus you really started to sing. I hope everyone votes on the choruses and not the verse." Osbourne added, "Luke, in your VT you said when you went home, it was the best day of your life. I hope tonight was the best night of your life. You have come a long way little boy and I’m so happy you’re here. Scherzinger gushed, "You were a baby rock star up there. It all started out with dreadlocks and guitar and now you have a small nation of dancers. You bring a cool factor to the show, your uniqueness speaks volumes and the people love you." Walsh concluded, "You are in the final three for a reason, people like you. Devon, please lift your phones!"

(Click here to watch Luke Friend's performance.)

After Friend was eliminated, he said to Walsh: “Thank you so much, man. You have been a great mentor. Thank you. He has been amazing to work with ... I want to get out there, gigging, doing stuff that I love. I can’t wait for the tour.”

Walsh said about Friend: “He has got something unique. He will have an amazing career. Watch this space!”

It's an "X Factor" tradition for the final three contestants to sing duets with famous artists. In this episode, Bailey and Scherzinger teamed up for the "Dreamgirls" anthem "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." McDonald was paired with former Westlife singer Shane Filan on Westlife's "Flying Without Wings." Friend duetted with Ellie Goulding on Goulding's hit "Anything Could Happen."

(Click here to watch Sam Bailey and Nicole Scherzinger's performance.)

(Click here to watch Nicholas McDonald and Shane Filan's performance.)

(Click here to watch Luke Friend and Ellie Goulding's performance.)

It's also an "X Factor" tradition to have "surprise" performances from former "X Factor" contestants. This year's group of "surprises" were novelty acts from recent years: Jedward (2009), Wagner (2010), Johnny Robinson (2011), Kitty Brucknell (2011), Rylan Clark (2012), Diva Fever (2010) and 2 Shoes (2011). They did a mash-up of Wings' "Live and Let Die," "Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby," Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure," the B-52's "Love Shack" and the Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life."

(Click here to watch these "X Factor" alumni's performance.)

The other guest performers were the Killers (who did "Human" and "Mr. Brightside") and Tom Odell, who sang "Another Love."

As previously reported, here is the lineup announced for the season finale airing on Dec. 15, 2013: One Direction will perform "Midnight Memories." Barlow and Elton John will perform their duet "Face to Face." Katy Perry will perform "Unconditionally."

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