X Factor 2013: Elton John will join One Direction, Katy Perry and The Killers for the final show of the series

The star will duet with Gary Barlow despite attacking the show in the past

He would rather have his “c**k bitten off by an alsatian” than watch The X Factor, but five years after uttering those words at an O2 gig, Elton John is to perform on the last show of the series.

The musical legend will be joined by several major acts in a stepped-up effort by ITV to beat the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year in the ratings war.

Just this year, the “Your Song” star criticised similar talent show The Voice for producing “non-entities” and attacked The X Factor for presenting the contestants like “products” instead of creatives.

Elton John will give a world exclusive performance of “Face to Face”, his duet with judge Gary Barlow due for release from the Take That star’s new album Since I Saw You Last.

Las Vegas rock band The Killers, former contestants One Direction, “Roar” singer Katy Perry and BRITs Critic Choice Award winner Tom Odell will also perform at London’s Wembley Arena across the final weekend.

The Killers will perform classic hits “Mr Brightside” and “Human” for their debut appearance on the show, One Direction will sing “Midnight Memories” to an inevitable barrage of teenage screams and Katy Perry will perform “Unconditionally”.

Simon Cowell’s decision to invest in big-budget names for the series climax comes after The X Factor attracted only 8.6 million viewers on Saturday compared to rival Strictly Come Dancing’s peak of 11.1 million on BBC One.

Next Saturday’s show will see 17-year old Nicholas McDonald, Croydon boy band Rough Copy, big-haired Luke Friend and favourite Sam Bailey battle for a place in the final.