This week’s article might as well be titled, ‘What Katie did next’, such is her hold on the next elimination market – she is odds-on. She failed to get a second sympathy bounce last week, something we figured was more likely to happen than not, and the controversial events of ‘Treycgate’ have only made her even more of a tabloid hate figure.
Of course, that was always her role, as we surmised in our original preview of the live shows. Never say never in X Factor, but even producers probably realise that three sing-off survivals are enough. Either of her rumoured song choices this week – ‘The Bitch is Back’ or ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ – would suggest they are looking to send her out with a bang.
Every Saturday before the show, we second-guess producers’ attempts to influence the voting public through the running order or judges’ comments. And every time we add a note of caution. We’ve been surprised before, and no doubt will be again. Bearing this in mind, however, we reckon that not only do producers realise Katie’s time is up, this makes it even more important to save Wagner from elimination this week.
Think about it: a show without Katie and Wagner next week would lose ratings. And ratings are what drives this TV show. (All those who think it’s a singing competition are deluded.) Our article earlier in the week explains further reasons why Wagner is useful to the show, which Nick neatly summed up in the comments box: Wagner is tabloid gold. You can lay him at 4.4 on Betfair to be next eliminated, and I have done.
A double elimination was inaccurately rumoured before last week’s show, but this week there are stronger reasons to think it will happen. The published TV schedules (a 90 minute Saturday show this week, 80 minutes next week and 105 minutes the week after) are consistent with two double eliminations to get back onto the normal schedule in week 8, with five acts singing twice. And unlike last week, bookies have opened “double elimination – to go” markets.
So, if the producers want Wagner to be safe and we end up having a double elimination, who might they want to see go alongside Katie? Step forward Paije Richardson. Paije has proved a likeable contestant over the last few weeks, but there is a definite ceiling to his performances and how far he can go in this competition.
He does nothing for ratings and therefore is of no interest to Simon Cowell. He can be backed at Evens with Paddy Power and William Hill in the double elimination market – which means if there are two eliminations this week, and Paije is one of those to go, you win. I have taken that price.
Mary has got worse each time, and seemed disillusioned with the whole show last week. However, that could easily set up a script for her this week involving a sympathetic VT featuring a family reunion followed by the judges proclaiming a “return to form”, which would motivate her core fanbase.
Even then, if we’re right that the show will be going all-out to steer Wagner clear of the danger zone, Mary is still the most logical choice to find herself in a sing-off with Paije as the second leg of a double elimination. But she has the advantage of encouraging Irish viewers and voters, so I think it’s a showdown she would win.
We are at a stage of the competition when a big name can find themselves in trouble (Laura White in 2008, Lucie Jones in 2009). Neither Cher nor Aiden are safe from a sing-off situation, but both have larger fanbases and potential for record sales than Paije, and would therefore likely be saved if up against him.
As always, we should have a clearer picture of who is likely to hit the danger zone after the Saturday show, and I will be back tomorrow with a Sunday Update. What are you expecting for tonight?