The X Factor 2016
Saara Aalto could be crowned the winner of X Factor 2016 ITV/The X Factor

X Factor finalist Saara Aalto believes winning the competition could be detrimental to her career and would instead prefer the "freedom" of finishing as runner-up.

The 29-year-old made the comments to news outlets in her native Finland, stating: "Coming second would be better than the number one spot, as it would mean having the freedom that the winner does not."

The singer feels that by avoiding the winner's contract she "won't be bound by the same terms and conditions and can begin to work anywhere and with anyone," claim The Sun.

Aalto's concerns are not unfounded considering the number of winners who have all subsequently been dropped by Simon's label Syco. The list includes 2014 winner Ben Haenow, Sam Bailey, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle and 2005 victor Shayne Ward.

By contrast acts such as JLS, Little Mix and global phenomenon One Direction, secured longstanding success despite not coming out on top.

The same also holds true for solo artists, including Fleur East and Ella Henderson, who, like the groups, where not held to the same scheduling and contractual restrictions of the winners.

Henderson, a 2012 favourite, was controversially sent home in place of Rylan Clark, a novelty act who has since transitioned over to a successful presenting career on ITV, including working on the X Factor.

Examples such as this, claim Aalto, prove that those who finish beneath top spot can achieve a "more useful career in screen time and more publicity than the winner."

Fellow-finalist Matt Terry, 23, echoed these remarks in separate UK interviews, admitting winning the talent contest no longer assure success.

Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday, he said: "It's nerve-racking to know you could do well on the show and it still might not happen for you.

"I feel like it depends on who you are."

However, Terry felt work-ethic could make the difference, adding: "If you want it that much and you're prepared to work hard then you can make it happen."

Last night, Aalto became the first act to be confirmed in the final and jumped for joy as she told host Dermot O'Leary: "I'm just so grateful, I can't believe people are voting for me."

A tearful Terry, later also sent through, looked shocked, as he said: "I honestly did not expect to hear my name so thank you."