Cardle’s was an earnest, plodding cover of Many Of Horror by Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, Ferguson’s a soulful and anthemic take on Duffy’s Distant Dreamer.
Both were bland choices but Ferguson stole this round too.
It’s not often you meet a musician who feels that, perhaps, they have released too much music too quickly.
In an overblown, overlong final showdown – punctuated with incessant exhortations to download the performances and call the voting lines, not to mention countless ad breaks raking in a rumoured £500,000 per minute – Cardle was crowned the singing contest’s seventh winner, amid a frenzy of dry ice, fireworks, glittery confetti and all the tearful talk of “journeys” that’s become a reality TV cliché.
An audience topping 20m was expected to be watching as presenter Dermot O’Leary dramatically paused before calling Essex-based Cardle’s name. Cardle and One Direction opted for feeble power-ballads but outside bet Ferguson did a stunning disco diva version of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) that suddenly made her a serious contender.
She looks unambiguously downcast, and with good reason.
The song is not a happy one."Do whatever you gotta do so you can feel like you're winning on me," she sings.
But, East Anglian X-Factor winner Matt Cardle is not your average pop star and while it would be wrong to say that he regrets releasing three albums in quick succession, he is concerned that perhaps they don’t entirely capture who he is as a musician.