1. ITV Report

Manchester plays host to X factor final

Liverpool's X factor finalist Christopher Maloney with mentor Gary Barlow. Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It's the showbiz event of the year..... and it's in Manchester.

For the first time in the show's nine year history, the live final is being staged outside London.

The shows will be held on Saturday and Sunday night at Manchester Central.

Judges Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger, Tulisa and Louis Walsh have all arrived in the city ahead of tonight's first final show, which will see Liverpool's Christopher Maloney battle in out with fellow contestants James Arthur and Jahmene Douglas for a place in the fnal two tomorrow.

Over 20,000 fans are expected to attend on Saturday and Sunday nights.

They'll be treated to performances by superstar Rhianna and boy band One Direction.

Christopher Maloney made it through to the top three on Sunday night, along with James and Jahmene, after boyband Union J missed out on a place.

He will be duetting with his mentor Gary Barlow during the live show on Saturday.

X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger with finalists James Arthur, right, and Jahmene Douglas. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Liverpudlian Maloney has been ridiculed on and off the show for his "cheesy routines" but has proved popular with the voting public.

Judge Louis Walsh said "I just don't think he is an international star. Nice guy, good singer. Has he got the X Factor? I don't think so. Best of luck to him, he has done incredibly well to get into the final."

Asked who he would like to win, the Irishman said: "I want James or Jahmene.

"You want the talent to win... It is the best launchpad in the UK if you have got the goods and we believe James and Jahmene have definitely got the goods."

The X factor final is on ITV1 tonight at 8pm-10pm and Sunday 7.40pm - 9.40pm.