The running order is always an interesting guide to what X Factor producers want to happen, but rarely are their preferences revealed as blatantly as last night.
Giving the last two slots to Katie and Wagner is a clear indication that producers are very keen to have both of these two headline-generating acts around for another week. And from Dermot’s end-of-show announcement that only one act will be eliminated this week, we can guess that producers are nervous they might have lost one of those acts with a double elimination. So it seems likely that the bottom two will be a very close-run thing.
I started laying Wagner (that is, betting that Wagner will not be eliminated) before the show when I got wind of a rumour that he would be performing last. That rumour wasn’t quite right, and Katie’s pimp slot performance should be enough to see her through to next week. But still – as we discuss in our running order article – performing second-from-last has historically also usually been enough to save an act from the bottom two at this early stage of the competition.
I am still fairly sanguine about my position on Wagner. If he does end up in the bottom two, I think the producers will likely be looking to save him, although it would be controversial. Did his exchange with Simon over his dissatisfaction with Louis’s song choices perhaps give them an opening to do so?
The first two slots were given to Paije and John, followed by four big-hitting acts. This seems to indicate the producers are happy to lose either of them. Of the two, Paije received more positive comments from the judging panel, but still I wouldn’t put you off too much at a top price (at the time of writing) of 8/1 with Paddy Power.
However – and I know I keep saying this – the most attractive bet for elimination looks to me to be John Adeleye (currently best-priced at 11/4 with Betfred and Sportingbet). The fact that this is the third week in a row he’s been sent out with an awful position in the running order seems to indicate that the producers have no interest in keeping him around. I’m fairly confident that if John is in the bottom two, whoever it’s against, he’ll be gone.
Belle Amie are favourites for elimination, and their song was predictably dull, but their running order position was relatively good and the spat between Louis and Simon seemed designed to maximise their sympathy bounce from last week. It should be a close-run thing for them and they make only limited appeal to me at their current odds of around 2/1.