X Factor 2017 Week 3 Review: Pocket Rocket

“We’re starting off this evening with the gorgeous, little, teeny-weeny Alisah,” Sharon announced. After her ‘Praying for Time’, Nicole used “little” three times and Louis called her “a little Filipino tigress”. “Tigress” continued the Orientalism theme about Alisah, described previously as a “ninja” and “warrior princess”, who “karate-chopped” her way through songs.

Regular readers will know we assume that emphasising a foreign act’s otherness is a tactic to keep a lid on their vote: the embassy visit, in particular, has become a running joke. Alisah didn’t need one of those. Indeed, the drip-drip association of not-from-round-here stereotypes with her has actually been quite subtle – at least relative to, say, the clunkiness of last year’s “Zaara from abroad”.

And, to be fair, the show has given Alisah plenty of chances, bringing her back from initial rejection at boot camp, six-chair challenge, and judges’ houses. Sunday’s treatment wasn’t harsh, suggesting that she had been struggling in the vote, despite winning our affections with her previous week’s rendition of ‘Let’s Get Loud’ – for which the staging had included golden bulls, fans and red banners, all imagery with Eastern connotations.

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X Factor 2017 Week 3 Post-Mortem: The Graduate

“Who will you send home? And who will win the prize fight against Kevin Davy White? Your votes decide,” boomed Peter Dickson at the start of Sunday’s show.

Come again, Peter? Either nobody sub-edited the script, and Peter read it without paying attention, or this was an amusingly subtle pointer to viewers that TPTB would like a new face winning the prize fight, please, thank you very much.

Lloyd duly won the honour of winning the prize fight against Kevin. Actually, we wonder whether the prize fight was meant to happen at all. At least one of the weekend newspaper TV guide magazines listed Sunday’s show as 90 minutes, the same as Saturday’s, which suggests the decision to add ten minutes was taken late. Could it be that, after the panning the concept took in the first week, TPTB had hoped to retire it with the score at 1-1 between Grace and Rak-Su, but (“bollocks!”) had to think again when Kevin won week 2?

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X Factor 2017: Live Show 6

Last night’s show saw Jack & Joel drift to the bottom of the public vote, another successful elimination target for producers. Meanwhile Kevin Davy White won the evening again after his prize fight victory the previous week. The outright market now fully respects his chances.

Tonight’s show sees the girls pitted against the boys. Sam Black has been early elimination favourite, but it’s worth bearing in mind that ‘I’m Your Man’ is the only upbeat song of the evening, and producers may wish to see the more numerous girls’ category reduced instead. If that’s so, we worry for Alisah, singing ‘Praying For Time’ this evening.

All the girls have song titles they’ll be hoping to refute. Holly Tandy gives us ‘One More Try’, Rai-Elle sings ‘They Won’t Go When I Go’, and Grace explains, ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. The last-named drifted in the market earlier today, but her backers will be soothed by support this afternoon. The other boy, Lloyd Macey, completes the field with ‘A Different Corner’.

It’s worth remembering that there’s a 40-minute Strictly overlap, so the running order will be keenly anticipated. Our below the line commentary has been as lively as ever this season, and is much appreciated. We look forward to your thoughts on tonight’s show.

X Factor 2017: Live Show 5

The news that this weekend’s shows have reverted to single eliminations takes some of the heat out of them. There’s been plenty of speculation about why this happened, though as Ben Cook wondered in our comments section, having only four contestants left on each night next weekend would not have been ideal.

Tonight it’s the return of the Groups vs Overs to tackle the George Michael theme. Only Kevin and Matt are left of the Overs, singing ‘Fastlove’ and ‘Careless Whisper’ respectively, when you might have expected it to be the other way around. Matt’s reputation for fast love escalated in the tabloids today with stories of him flirting with Nicole, apparently creating a Nicole / Matt / Grace love triangle. Kevin does get to show his versatility and artistry however, this time with a piano.

Jack & Joel are elimination favourites tonight with Wham’s farewell song, ‘Edge of Heaven’. Meanwhile, Sean & Conor Price get the iconic ‘Freedom 90’, Rak-Su have a chance to put their own spin on ‘Faith’, and the Cutkelvins tackle ‘Killer / Papa Was A Rolling Stone’. As always, we look forward to hearing your take on proceedings in the comments section below.

Photos via @ThePixelFactor

X Factor 2017 Week 2 Review: A Fall from Grace?

Thursday evening saw The Sun run with a story previously seen in Wednesday’s The Mirror alleging Grace had been “branded a diva”. Was this the start of a takedown, or just a shot across the bows, sending Grace a not-so-subtle reminder that they have the armoury to take her down if they want to? Our suspicion is a shot across the bows: for a start, “a source close to Grace” was allowed to defend her, which wouldn’t have happened in an all-out hatchet job; there was also the potential get-out clause of the line, “hopefully that’ll be the end of the matter”. Funnily enough, we also thought 5AM got a shot across the bows in week 3 last year, and they recovered to make the final.

Nonetheless, it does suggest that Grace might have been doing something behind the scenes to warrant a warning shot – and that any further infraction might therefore indeed bring fury raining down upon her. As Janet Devlin’s roommate, the early favourite should need no reminding of what can happen to acts who get in TPTB’s bad graces.

Looking back at the weekend, we thought the show still seemed perfectly happy with Grace – yes, there was a clear attempt to get her beaten, but only to get a fresh face into the prize fight, as there was an equally clear attempt not to inflict any lasting damage.

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X Factor 2017 Week 2 Post Mortem: All White on the Night

After the clear intent of Saturday’s show, Sunday’s was a more opaque affair, with several instances of questionable staging followed by high praise from the judges. No performance was praised more highly than Kevin Davy White’s, and he duly topped the evening’s vote after a four-judge standing ovation.

Kevin then doubled up by also winning the “prize fight” against Rak-Su, and again we saw Simon standing in response. This time, however, he appeared to loudly exclaim “bollocks”. One assumes that neither Kevin’s winning of the prize, nor the screening of Simon’s reaction to it, were in the script.

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X Factor 2017: Live Show 4

Last night’s show was pretty straightforward in its elevation of Rak-Su and dismissal of Leon. Apart from the new outright favourites and Lloyd-from-the-Valleys, it felt like each act was deramped to some degree. We’ll go into more detail on some of the treatments in our midweek article.

Meanwhile, tonight’s event looks harder to call, with questions to answer. Will Grace Davies be deramped, and if so, by how much? We assume she was reasonably far ahead of the field last weekend. This time she resorts to a cover, although Anne-Marie is in her comfort zone.

Tracyleanne Jefford received one of the most positive edits last weekend, and we expect her journey to continue with J-Lo’s ‘Ain’t Your Mama’. The show likes to defy expectations with one of the underdogs going into the live shows, and Tracyleanne was the biggest underdog of them all. We’d rather look elsewhere in tonight’s elimination market.

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X Factor 2017: Live Show 3

Tonight’s next elimination betting is headed by Leon Mallett, hoping to ‘Get Lucky’, having managed to ‘Stay’ after an unimpressive first live show. His closest rival is fellow member of the boys category, Sam Black, who remains stuck in 1961 for ‘La Lamba / Twist & Shout’. According to the market, the other act in the mix is Jack & Joel, with their take on current number one, ‘Havana’.

Among the more feted contestants, last week’s prize-fight runners-up, Rak-Su, give us another Latin original with ‘Dimelo’. The Cutkelvins’ rendition of ‘Reggaeton Lento’ is much anticipated, while we expect to see Lloyd continue to be portrayed as the ‘Hero’ of his weak category. Sean & Conor Price hope to improve on last week’s effort with ‘Cheap Thrills’.

We think the market has tonight’s elimination odds about right, and prefer to wait and see how the acts are treated. There’s no news yet suggesting it’s anything but a single elimination, but we’ll be watching Dermot’s introduction closely just in case. Do let us know your thoughts on the show as it pans out, below.