X Factor 2014 Week-by-week Voting Statistics Analysis

As regular readers will know, we like to analyse the week-by-week voting statistics by converting them into a percentage of the mean vote available for each week. For example, in week 1, there were 16 acts so the mean vote is 6.25%. Andrea polled 19.2%, which equates to an impressive 307% of the mean. In week 9, there were four acts, so the mean vote is 25%. Andrea polled practically the same, 19.1%, but now this equates to only 76% of the mean.

Here are the full calculations. Unfortunately, the show decided not to release the freeze figures for the Saturday eliminations in weeks 4 and 7, so the figures for Jack and Only The Young respectively are skewed and we’re unable to work out what percentage of the vote came before and after the Saturday freeze. It’s probably not dissimilar to the final, when by our calculations, about 63% of the votes were cast after Andrea’s departure. Interestingly, the Ben:Fleur split was 57:43 before Andrea left, and 64:36 after.

What’s most remarkable is how steady Ben’s vote held. Pretty much every single week he was picking up roughly 130% of the mean, give or take a few percentage points. In other words, he was consistently gaining new fans each week, while Andrea never really expanded the base of support he took into the live shows – a testament to how firmly producers kept a lid on his appeal. We can show this in a graph, with Ben’s line looking impressively consistent, while Andrea’s is a nosedive interrupted only by his sympathy bounce in week 8:

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Ben Haenow wins the X Factor

In winning the X Factor from slot one in the running order, Ben has answered the question we posed about him a couple of weeks ago – it turns out he was more of a Matt Cardle than a Marcus Collins. I mentioned in my preview that I went into the weekend standing to win significantly more on Ben than Fleur, and I couldn’t resist going in further on Ben when comments to his winner’s single were along the lines of “that song was made for you, you can have a hit with that”, while for Fleur they were more “congratulations on getting to the final, whatever happens you’re a star”. Sofabet commenters read the runes correctly, too, as indeed did punters in general, as Ben rapidly shortened to as low as 1.15 on Betfair.

Now the wait begins for what, for many of us, is the highlight of the series – the revelation of the week-on-week percentages. In previous years the Xtra Factor has revealed the top two each week, together with opening envelopes revealing judges’ pre-lives predictions for who would win. The full stats have tended to appear on the website late at night.

How was tonight for you? Do keep the conversation going below.

X Factor 2014 Final: Second watch Sunday

What show did we watch last night, then? Was it the show in which producers are desperately trying to get Fleur to the victory? Or was it the show in which producers, reconciled to a Ben win, did everything they could to position Fleur for a postshow career and make sure she stayed above Andrea? We’ll find out tonight. In the meantime, here are some things that struck us on a second watch.

Continue reading X Factor 2014 Final: Second Watch Sunday

X Factor 2014 Final Freeze: Arrivederci, Andrea

As the show opened, Ben was trading at 1.79 on Betfair, with Fleur available at 2.44. By the end of the opening group song with Take That, Fleur had come in to favourite. Announced in the pimp slot, with Ben in the coffin slot? Check. Standing in the middle of the three acts, the gold medal winner’s position on a podium? Check. Dressed in gold, flanked by Ben and Andrea both in black? Check. Singing with Gary Barlow while Ben got the one whose name nobody can remember? Check.

Ben’s first VT hilariously started with prominent shots of the VOTE FLEUR EAST bus. The rest of the VT, though, was as positive as homecomings get (with the possible fleeting exception of the “Ben’s other mate” caption, implying he has only two), with emotional family members and sizeable crowds. He started, worryingly, in a glass box but smashed his way out of it, Eric Saade style.¬†You could see staging red flags in the raised platform and cage if you wanted to, but you could also see it as high concept stuff with gold aplenty. Comments were positive enough, focusing on Ben being what the X Factor is all about.

Continue reading X Factor 2014 Final Freeze: Arrivederci, Andrea

X Factor 2014 Final Preview: Star shines on Ben

Well, that put the cat amongst the pigeons. A “leak” in today’s Daily Star claiming that Ben took last week’s semi-final with 50% of the vote, ahead of Fleur on 22% and Andrea on 16%, saw a flip-flop at the top of the outright market.

Reaction in our comments section was equally febrile. Opinion was polarised, and it’s fair to say that Ben’s supporters were more willing to believe the story than Fleur’s backers. This is perfectly understandable on both sides – confirmation bias is strong at this stage of proceedings and your credulity will be based on how much you’re willing to believe such an outcome in the semi-final phone vote.

Full disclosure: at the time of writing, I have a reasonable green on Ben (for the uninitiated that means I make a profit in the event of him winning), a tiny green on Fleur, and a big red on Andrea taking the crown. I’ve generally been open minded on how to weigh my respective Ben/Fleur profits this weekend.

What’s the context to help us decide if we can trust the “leak”?

Continue reading X Factor 2014 Final Preview: Star shines on Ben

X Factor 2014: Andrea's Journey - from Pug Lover to Pug Eater

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s Faustini. Here at Sofabet we’re often accused of overanalysing the X Factor, but actually we suspect there’s probably a lot we don’t spot. This year we think we’ve noticed a new tactic. We think producers have been subliminally associating Andrea with the idea of a sickly excess of food.

We first noticed it with Simon’s “listening to you makes me feel like I’ve eaten six donuts” comments in week 3. Its latest manifestation was Simon’s comment to Andrea last Saturday, picking up on the scene in his VT in which Dermot had handed Andrea a pug in a pizza restaurant. “You didn’t eat the pug, did you?”


[All illustrations courtesy of Sofabet commenter Heisenberg]

Continue reading X Factor 2014: Andrea’s Journey – from Pug Lover to Pug Eater

X Factor 2014: Ben's Journey - from White Van Man to Rock Star

Van driver. Authentic. Rock voice. Nice guy. Recording contract. Deserving. Hot. Ben’s treatment and the buzzwords used about him have been relatively consistent since he was introduced to us driving his vehicle to the theme tune of ‘Minder’. With the exception of a mysteriously negative week 3 VT, he’s constantly been portrayed as down-to-earth and likeable, with a strong focus on his close-knit family.


[Illustration courtesy of Sofabet commenter Heisenberg]

But alongside these positives every week, there’s been a sense that the show hasn’t let us get too carried away, usually thanks to mixed critique from Mel B. His week 1 rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ had the former Spice Girl criticising him and his mentor defending him. By week 9, nothing had changed – Mel was still saying he shouldn’t have done certain (iconic) songs, to Simon’s chagrin. The script has stayed the same. What’s the idea behind it?

Continue reading X Factor 2014: Ben’s Journey – from White Van Man to Rock Star

X Factor 2014: Fleur's Journey - from Nightclub Singer to Uptown Girl

Something changed at judges’ houses. Until then, everything about Fleur’s treatment said “cannon fodder”. Since then, the show’s producers have pushed her determinedly, all the way into pole position for the final weekend – literally pole position, in the case of the battle buses lined up at the end of Sunday’s results show.


[Illustration courtesy of Sofabet commenter Heisenberg]

So what changed? Simon Cowell must be a busy man, and it’s always interesting to wonder how much he delegates and at what stage he seriously engages attention. Our best guess is that producers sent Fleur to Simon’s judges’ houses as the intended disposable over, and Simon surprised them by taking a liking to her and instructing them to push her instead. The decision not to have a disposable over has come at quite a cost for the rest of the series.

Continue reading X Factor 2014: Fleur’s Journey – from Nightclub Singer to Uptown Girl