After three months of singing and a whole lot of votes Australia decided that Marlisa Punzalan has The X Factor.
It was a night of high emotion and superb performances where Melbourne singer and guitarist Dean Ray took second place, while Brothers 3 from Mudgee in the central west of NSW came in third.
Marlisa’s mentor Ronan Keating was overwhelmed with the victory. “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it. I’m so proud of her, she’s been unbelievable. What a superstar, so deserving of the title, it’s only taken me five years!”
In a night of phenomenal performances, the Top 13 opened the show, performing Katy Perry’s Dark Horse. One by one our eliminated contestants made their way back onto the stage – Trill, Younger Than Yesterday, Adrien Nookadu, XOX, Sydnee Carter, Rochelle Pitt, Tee, Jason Heerah, Caitlyn Shadbolt and Reigan Derry rounding out our first 10 eliminated acts. Our Top 3 – Dean, Marlisa and Brothers 3 joined their fellow contestants as our judges watched on.
Then it was time for our first elimination. Marlisa was first through to the Top 2, before Dean Ray joined her backstage. Saying goodbye to their legion of fans, Brothers 3 were humble and grateful for The X Factor experience. Youngest brother Makirum said they were overwhelmed with the support: “We weren’t just trying to stay in the competition for ourselves, we we’re doing it for Dannii as well… we would just like to thank everyone who supported us.” Fan favourite Tayzin agreed: “It’s life changing, our lives have completely changed… we’ve had the best time of our lives, it’s definitely not over.”
Mentor Dannii Minogue said while she hadn’t made it with back to back victories following Dami Im last year, she couldn’t have been prouder of her rays of sunshine: “It’s been an amazing ride for these guys, they’re true Aussie country gentleman, and we’ve become really good mates. I really believe in them.”
Performing for the only time as a duet before the announcement tonight, Dean and Marlisa then took to the stage, performing Labrinth ft Emeli Sande’s Beneath Your Beautiful. Later, they both performed their best moments from the show. Marlisa was first, performing her hit version of Davie Guetta ft Sia’s Titanium. Ronan said it was an easy choice: “I feel it was a game changer, she really stunned us with her vocals.” Following the performance, Redfoo said her success was easy to see:“You keep that attitude and performing like that, and you’re going to make it at 15, I guarantee it.” Dean was next, taking on George Ezra’s Budapest. Mentor Natalie Bassingthwaighte said the song marked a change in the competition: “I wanted to choose a song I felt really changed the game a little bit. I felt people really fell in love with Dean after this performance.”Redfoo agreed: “You are one of my favourite artists right now, period.”
Also performing on The X Factor stage tonight was international songstress Taylor Swift with her chart-topping hit Shake It Off. The superstar said her advice to our Top 3 was simple: “I think that never assuming that you are entitled to anything is very important… and just generally treating everybody well is a really good thing to do.” Aussie sensation Jessica Mauboy also performed Can I Get A Moment, telling the audience it’s not hard to do what you love: “It comes with passion, if you really love something, it happens randomly.” Taking to the stage later was The X Factor veteran Guy Sebastian who performed his new hit Mama Ain’t Proud. He said he was thrilled to have Marlisa opening his upcoming national tour: “This is my first arena tour… we’re stoked and we can’t wait. To have someone who’s fresh off the show and to kind of kick them into that crowd, it’s going to be great, I can’t wait.” Showcasing what The X Factor can do, 2009 The X Factor UK runner-up Olly Murs also returned to the stage, performing Wrapped Up. He said the show was incredible: “It’s just an amazing platform… just keep going, work hard, and just enjoy it.”
After being announced as the winner Marlisa told the judges and audience she was blown away. “I just can’t believe it, I feel like I’m floating on a cloud right now. Thank you so much Australia, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
The X Factor will be back next year with the show undertaking a huge audition tour soon.