X Factor 2016 Bootcamp: Full Matt-Tel Jacket

Away from the narrative unfolding on screen, the Betfair market is telling its own story about this year’s X Factor – as judges’ houses are being filmed, rumours are swirling about who has and hasn’t made it. Since last week we’ve seen initial favourite Caitlyn Vanbeck drift alarmingly in the betting, despite an excellent edit in last Sunday’s bootcamp show. Now clear at the top of the betting is another act who had a highly promising bootcamp edit – although, of course, that’s never a guarantee of a happy ending.

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Ah, bootcamp – it’s always offered up its share of ridiculously forced storylines: who can forget Simon Cowell singling out Zayn Malik from the crowd for the latter’s inability to dance? But down to one episode, and overshadowed both by spoilers from the 6CC and those rumours from judges’ houses filming (as summarised by Martin in the comments), it feels of more dubious relevance.

Offering even more evidence against taking too much from Sunday’s episode, Ryan Lawrie was shown among those being sent home, and yet rumours indicate that he is among the boys in the live shows, presumably having made judges’ houses as the wildcard. Time will tell how this is all managed. First let’s tidy up the final room audition show from last Saturday.
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X Factor 2016 Auditions Week 3: Best-laid Plan A’s

We’ve only got one room audition show left (this Saturday), which usually involves just a few scrag ends for live show contenders. That means we’ve probably seen the winner already, though if we have it’s not obvious: Caitlyn Vanbeck and Matt Terry currently battle it out at the head of the betting market.

We’ve seen less blatant favouritism at this stage than in recent years. All the signs so far are that the priority has been putting on a good show and getting good ratings. In that they seem to have succeeded. Up till now it’s felt more like a classic X Factor season, with natural chemistry between the judges, and Dermot reliably steering the helm. The result: over 10 million viewers for Saturday’s show once catch up figures were added; a two-year high.

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Saturday’s show was bookended by some comedy characters, meaning yet another pimp slot given over to entertainment rather than any potential Plan A – the guessing game there continues. Our first serious singer was Gifty Louise, 20, from Kingston-Upon-Thames, who is rumoured to be one of the girls at judges’ houses. We heard how she lost her voice at bootcamp last year, though not whether she received a medical check-up: did anyone look a hoarse Gifty in the mouth?

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X Factor 2016 Auditions Week 2: Celtic Binge

We commented how the first weekend of audition shows made a big play of Scottish singers. Last Saturday’s programme literally made a song and Riverdance about auditions returning to Dublin for the first time in six years, although they didn’t bother to repaint a bus for the occasion of Louis Walsh’s grand homecoming – instead they took an existing tourist bus and stuck a decal of his face on the side.

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Then their first gambit was to humiliate a 19-year-old potato farmer. Way to those Irish hearts!

A few more hopeless acts left Simon wondering why he’d bothered, but better things came after the ad break. Niall Sexton is one of the supposed boys at judges’ houses. The 22-year-old barman is actually from a small town in Northern Ireland with “a million fields with several cows – that’s when you know you’re in Ireland”. His voice fluctuated sweetly between delicate and assertive. Simon said: “You have a beautiful voice. You’re different. But I think you’ve got real class. I like you.”

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X Factor 2016 Auditions Week 1: Britain’s Scot Talent

Last weekend’s X Factor return featured a new old panel, and the usual mixture of grief porn, funny foreigners and novelties-that-annoy-Simon.

Remarkably, three of the top four in the betting after the opening weekend are Scottish. That’s remarkable because Syco seem to have been running scared of the Scottish regional vote in recent years. Scotland’s population is about one-in-12 of the UK’s, so you’d expect an average of one Scot in each year’s live shows. But in the last six series, Scots have had only had one act to cheer – 2013’s runner-up, Nick McDonald.

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Based on the evidence of previous years, the likelihood is that we watched at least a few finalists last weekend; we’ve actually seen 4 or 5 in the first audition show alone in the last three years. However, we didn’t learn The Chosen One based on the first-show pimp slot this year. Not unless Honey G is reinstated by the wildcard at judges’ houses, and the voting public goes on to lose its collective mind.

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Solving for X (Factor)

[With the X Factor back on our screens, we’re delighted to present a guest post by Joy Leahy, statistics PhD student at Trinity College Dublin and part-time lecturer at Dublin City University and Institute of Technology Tallaght. Joy brings academic rigour to some common subjects for Sofabet discussion: the correlation between the public vote and factors such as the running order in live shows, the sympathy bounce, and the amount of screentime in auditions – Daniel.]

X Factor has had a huge influence on modern music since it began twelve years ago. Successful contestants have gone on to release 37 UK number ones, including seven Christmas numbers ones. It has given us superstars such as Leona Lewis and One Direction, but most importantly the show itself has given us many hours of entertainment. The tears, the drama, the sob stories, and the occasionally decent singing have succeeded in ruining Saturday nights for millions of boyfriends across the country! Of course, what keeps the nation gripped is that the public controls the fate of X Factor contestants… or do they?

In one of the most dramatic moments of the 2015 series, contestant Mason Noise got into a heated argument with show boss Simon Cowell, as Noise criticised the lack of air time his audition received in comparison to other contestants. We were shown a 47 second clip of Noise. In comparison, fellow contestant Anton Stephans received 10 times as much airtime, when we learned about his past career as a backing singer and even met his incredibly adorable dog Honey! In fact, by my stopwatch, Honey had approximately the same amount of airtime as Noise. But did this disadvantage Noise? The answer lies in a careful analysis of the show’s statistics.

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X Factor 2016 Spoilers: Who Makes Judges’ Houses?

The X Factor auditions start screening on ITV this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 27th/28th at 8pm. This year’s SHOCK TWIST has been announced: an act in each category is reinstated for judges’ houses, by the three other judges. That means the final 24 who were chosen weeks ago – the Six Chair Challenge was filmed in early July – becomes a final 28 for judges’ houses, which will be filmed over the next two weeks.

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Helpfully for punters, some audience members at the 6CC filming have shared their information about the 24 who got through. In previous years, these crowd-sourced spoilers have been impressively accurate, although as ever there are no guarantees. With thanks to posters on the Digital Spy forum Six Chair Challenge Spoiler thread, we’re passing on below what appears to be the current state of crowd-sourced spoilers, for ease of bookmarking and reference as the audition shows progress.

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CBB 2016 Discussion Thread

With confirmation that one of our favourite former X Factor contestants, Katie Waissel, has entered the Big Brother house on opening night, it’s time to open up a discussion thread should any of our commenters feel inclined. Katie is not the only X Factor alumni in the house. Chloe Mafia, now known as Chloe Khan, is also present. If you have any views on the series as it progresses, let us know below.

BGT 2016: The Post-Mortem

Now that’s magic! BGT producers left punters bamboozled and confounded after Richard Jones won from trap two in the running order, like a rabbit being unexpectedly pulled from a hat. How did they do it? Was it even part of the trick? Were they expecting to pull out a bunch of flowers instead?

The fun started around 5pm when the running order must have leaked, as Richard started to drift – from around even-money during the day, he was as big as 20/1 after his performance – and Wayne Woodward, who would perform in the pimp slot, was backed in from around 16/1 to short-priced favourite. Congratulations to commenters Stoney and Joe, who read the runes correctly during the show, posting that they thought Richard would still pull off a win despite the early slot.

In a close result, Richard won with 16.7% of the vote, ahead of Wayne on 13.8% and Boogie Storm, who performed second-from-last, on 12.8%. That’s the lowest percentage a winner has scored on BGT, by some distance, although the free app voting will be having the effect of spreading around the votes more than in pre-2015 contests.

Sofabet commenters floated three main theories to make sense of a confusing evening:
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