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Ben's the winner as biggest shock is Mel's final comeback

Mel B made a brave return to the X Factor final after being released from hospital to watch Ben Haenow storm to victory.

Ben pipped Fleur East at the post to be named the winner for 2014.

Italian Andrea Faustini was booted off the show on Saturday night, leaving Ben and Fleur to battle it out with two performances each in their final bid to grab this year's title.

Ben clocked up compliments from mentor Simon Cowell after his stirring performance of Michael Jackson's Man In The Mirror.

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But it was a close call when Fleur performed Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk, which topped the iTunes chart after last weekend's show.

X Factor judge Mel B thanked the nurses and doctors who cared for her during the illness that saw her miss Saturday night's show. The former Spice Girl returned to the judges' panel after being released from hospital.

"I really missed being here but thanks to all the doctors and nurses who took care of me and got me here tonight," she said.

Asked by host Dermot O'Leary if she was feeling better, Mel said: "Yes, ish."

Mel B's husband today publicly denied rumours of domestic abuse being the cause of her mystery illness.

Some fans had said she appeared to have scratches on her body and a bruised cheek.

Her husband, film producer Stephen Belafonte, denied the "disgusting" speculation in a message on Twitter.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Saturday's show drew its lowest audience for a decade - and trailed its BBC1 rival Strictly Come Dancing by more than a million viewers. The ITV show had an average audience of 8.4 million.

Haenow, a 29-year-old van driver from Croydon, south London, was one of the favourites to win.

Judge Louis Walsh said: "You are here for a reason. You have got the talent, you are an incredibly nice guy." His performance left Mel feeling emotional. "You made me cry a little bit," she said. "Those lyrics mean so much to you, so much to me."

Simon Cowell, mentor to the final two acts, said: "Oh my God. I've got to say of all the finalists I've ever head that was the greatest performance I've ever witnessed".

hnews@herald.ie


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