28 NOVEMBER 2008 As the drama has unfolded on The X Factor over the past 12 weeks it seems one particularly high-profile viewer has been as gripped by the action as the rest of the nation - the prime minister.
Gordon Brown wrote to the 12 finalists in recognition of their benevolent efforts after their charity single Hero topped the charts earlier this month. The notes also revealed the premier - who apparently watches the show with wife Sarah - is something of a fan.
Spanish finalist Ruth Lorenzo said his message to her praised her for ignoring Simon Cowell's instructions to choose songs in her native language. "He said, 'Keep singing in English, girl. Youíre doing a great job going against Simon.' It was great."
Mr Brown also had kind words for swimming pool cleaner Daniel Evans. The 38-year-old, who is bringing up his daughter alone after his wife died in childbirth, stayed on the show for several weeks despite huge criticism from the judges.
"On a personal note," wrote Mr Borwn, "the next time Simon says that you are only supported by the over-Sixties you can tell him that my wife Sarah and I disagree, although you would be better mentioning her rather than me as she is much further away from 60 than I am!"
He continued: "Whatever the final outcome, yours is one of the great stories of the show and I know you will go on to great things in the future."