X Factor 2015: Judges’ Houses ‘Girls’ – LA Confidential

Unsurprisingly, the much-hyped girls were first out of the blocks for the six chair challenge last weekend, and those selected have been rewarded with a trip to Los Angeles to perform for mentor Rita Ora. Rather than merely hark back to each successful performance, we thought we’d look forward to judges’ houses by ranking the chances of the remaining six based on coverage so far.


Had we tried this last year, we would’ve been fooled by some of what followed. Jay James went from looking like Plan A for the whole competition to walking wounded in the Overs category, whilst his compatriot Fleur East went from barely-seen also-ran to new best thing. Bearing that in mind, let’s have a go at guessing the lie of the land in producers’ minds before we have any idea what the girls’ LA story will bring.

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X Factor 2015: Is Louisa A Worthy Favourite?

Going into the six-chair challenges, Louisa Johnson is hot favourite at 11/4. Is that a reasonable reflection of the Irons fan’s chances of hammering her X Factor rivals? Or will there be a surprise giant killing at Wembley (studios) this season?


Louisa Johnson photo courtesy of Dave Smith

Some context here. For three of the last four years, consensus in the Sofabet community was that the show’s producers seem initially to have hoped to engineer a young teenage female soloist as their winner. For vaying reasons, it didn’t work out with Janet Devlin (2011), Ella Henderson (2012) or Tamera Foster (2013).

Last year they eased off the girls in a failed attempt to position Stereo Kicks, in anticipation of One Direction’s hiatus. But this year we seem to be back to having a young teenage female soloist as Plan A. What can X Factor history, and Louisa’s portrayal so far, tell us about producers’ – and Louisa’s – chances of justifying her position at the top of the market?

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X Factor 2015 Boot Camp Week 2: Will Che Go Far(-a)?

“Nerves … nervous … nerves.” The second stage of bootcamp was thematically monotonous. It’s quite an episode of X Factor that makes you miss a maudlin sob story or two. And don’t get me started on the song choices.


In terms of airtime, this phase cemented the apparent alpha status of Louisa Johnson, 4th Power and Seann Miley Moore in their categories, though the latter now faces stiffer competition after Che Chesterman’s standout performance of ‘A Song For You’. Let’s start with the boys then, reminding readers that the analysis below covers the acts regarded by spoilers as having passed the six chair challenge which begins airing next week.

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X Factor 2015 Boot Camp Week 1: A Montage Is Worth A Thousand Words

Being a betting blog, we’re interested in what’s been filmed but not yet aired, so we start this week with our usual warning: if you wish to avoid spoilers, do not read on.


It will not have escaped the attention of readers who have been following spoilers that the montage shown at the close of Saturday’s final audition show – which looked back on the talent unearthed during the previous seven episodes – consisted almost entirely of acts who are rumoured to make judges’ houses. This is a clever subliminal aimed at the majority of viewers who are not aware of the spoilers: the purpose is to plant the thought that these are the best acts we’ve seen, so that when they are the ones who end up making it through the six-chair challenges over the next few weeks, viewers will have more a sense that the judges’ decisions were right.

The question then becomes: what might this montage suggest about which of the final 24 are producers currently anticipating will make the final 12, and be given a push when they get there?

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X Factor Auditions Week 3: Weathers Forecast

As last week, we’ll review this week’s shows based on the assumption that spoilers from the filming of the six chair challenges are accurate. If you want to remain in suspense about who’s evidently being set up for a fall at bootcamp, read no further.

That means we can fast-forward through the first half of Saturday’s show, including Jade McGuire, who had Rita gushing “I love it when a strong, independent woman takes control of her own destiny”. No matter how strong and independent you are, it’s somewhat difficult to take control of your own destiny on this show. But more of that, apropos the girls category, anon.


Our first sighting this weekend of acts reputed to be through to judges’ houses came in an unusual set-up featuring two groups drawn from the London gospel scene, all-male Bekln and all-female Silver Tone, with friendships and a brother-sister relationship connecting the two fivesomes.

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Book Review: Getting Over The X, by Steve Brookstein

Coming across the Cory Spedding story on Steve Brookstein’s blog reminded us to check out the book that Steve put out towards the end of last year, Getting Over The X.


Some background for readers who need it: Steve Brookstein was the first winner of the UK X Factor, in 2004. After getting six million votes in the final, his post-show trajectory quickly went awry: he was disappointed at being made to do an album of covers, having hoped to include some of his own original material; and he suffered the indignity of seeing the runners-up, popera quartet G4, have their album launched before his. Within eight months, he had decided to part company with his label.

Since then, Steve has become something of a tabloid punchbag, with occasional stories gleefully poking fun when one of his gigs can be made to seem disappointingly low-rent: a “pizza restaurant”, a “ferry”, a “village pub”. (Steve makes the case in his book that these descriptions are unfair, and that the tabloids ignore his other more prestigious gigs). The show has effectively airbrushed him from its history.

While nothing in Getting Over The X will be too surprising for readers who already view the show from a Sofabet perspective (new readers might like to check out our How To Watch The X Factor post), here are our five main takeaways.

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X Factor 2015 Auditions Week 2: Alien Invasion

Last week’s filming of the six-chair challenge with a live audience makes reviewing this weekend’s audition shows much more efficient. This weekend’s programmes provided airplay for plenty who reportedly don’t make judges’ houses, and we can feel reasonably secure that’s the end of their chances. As the pre-Match of the Day newsreader says, if you don’t want to know the scores, look away now.

Those left on the sidelines in the next round from Saturday’s show include Jamie Benkert, Zen Blythe, Danny Charles, Steven Johnson and Stephanie McCourt. Ironically, the last-named was told by Cowell, “I don’t know who these idiots are who’ve knocked you back.” Turns out Simon would soon be including himself in that category.

From Sunday’s show, those who don’t make it include Sharon Rose, Joselito Peralta, Laura Johnson, Tonatha Raihan, Jordan Luke Gage, Karen Mav, Jasmine Leigh Morris and Hannah Marie Kilminster. The latter in particular might have been an interesting prospect for the lives, and High Street bookmakers must have been delighted as unsuspecting punters backed her in to as short as 16/1.

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SCD2015 Discussion Thread

There’s no better time to start a discussion thread on Strictly Come Dancing than during the launch show. Tonight the celebrities are paired with the pros, and the betting begins in earnest. Peter Andre starts the series as the early favourite. Let us know your fancies and thoughts below.