X Factor's Christopher Maloney to sing duet with Gary Barlow

X Factor judge Gary Barlow and finalist Christopher Maloney at Manchester Central in Manchester. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

X Factor finalist Christopher Maloney is vying for victory in the competition by singing a Take That tune with his mentor Gary Barlow.

Christopher, who was once a ship's crooner, will sing alongside Barlow in a performance of Take That chart-topper Rule The World during the duets section of tonight's final. Maloney has been a favourite with viewers and has bucked expectations despite bookies ranking him the outsider to win the final. He is up against fellow finalists James Arthur and Jahmene Douglas, who will perform their duets with mentor Nicole Scherzinger.

James Arthur will perform Adele's Make You Feel My Love while Jahmene Douglas will sing the Whitney Houston hit The Greatest Love Of All with the judge.

The two part final in Manchester will also include star guests such as Kylie Minogue, Kelly Clarkson and Rita Ora tonight, while tomorrow Rihanna, One Direction and Emeli Sande take the stage.

Rihanna performs during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. Credit: EMPICS Sport/EMPICS Sport

Songs from the finalists, to be released as their winning single, remain a closely-guarded secret. All three have each recorded different tracks to suit their styles. The song will be released moments after the winner is announced tomorrow night.

Lucy Spraggan, who quit the show due to illness, will return to the programme along with the other ousted live finalists to perform a group song.

She has tipped Jahmene to win, and said: "He is one of the most beautiful and caring people I have ever met."

Jade Ellis, Tulisa Contostavlos, Ella Henderson and Lucy Spraggan arrive at the Royal World premiere of Skyfall. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

However District 3 are backing James Arthur, calling him "a true talent and an amazing artist". The contestants have been advised by show bosses not to head out in public for fear of being mobbed.

A programme source said: "It's unbelievable when they walk the streets. The producers are keen to ensure nothing happens to them before their big night."

The contestant with the fewest votes tonight will be eliminated with the other two going through to fight it out on Sunday. Around 10,000 fans each night will see the show, which takes place at Manchester Central - the first final to take place outside London. During the ITV1 broadcast, viewers will see judge Scherzinger visiting the Rovers Return to pull a pint.

X Factor judge Tulisa ahead of the final. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bookmaker William Hill placed Jahmene as the favourite at 5/4, while James is at 11/8 and Christopher Maloney trails on 7/2. However Maloney has managed to battle on from early odds of 100/1 and survived in the show.