The biggest story of the semi was the fact that there was a sing-off at all. This hasn’t been the case at this stage in previous series, and producers risked creating a huge backlash by instituting one this time. They weren’t even clear on this point until Dermot announced it halfway through the Sunday results show. Then they half-heartedly tried to make it seem different by getting the judges to send an act “through” rather than “home”, which Louis promptly fluffed.
We had warned in the final paragraph of yesterday’s article of this possibility, given the ambiguity of what Dermot said in Saturday’s show when the lines opened – and we correctly predicted that if it happened, it would be the final nail in Mary’s coffin. It was possible to envisage Mary finishing above Cher in public votes, but producers were clearly going to favour the 17-year-old in any sing-off. Saturday’s show had already shown us which act was preferred.
Once it became clear there was a sing-off, I went about getting the best odds I could on Mary being next eliminated. During the showdown, I placed £4,000 to win £800 on the Tesco worker departing.
Just as with the previous week’s sing-off, in which Mary had to win, the script of her defeat was incredibly predictable: put the act you are going to send home on first; let him or her sing something suitable with dignity; look apologetic as you wield the axe.
So, using every means at their disposal, producers have engineered a four-way final that keeps alive our top four prediction at the start of the live shows. There may be anger at how it has been done, but if you’ve been reading Sofabet then we hope that at least you won’t have been too surprised.
Now our thoughts turn to who will be crowned X Factor winner next weekend. The bookmakers have it as a three-horse race, which makes complete sense given the need to rescue Cher in a sing-off.
For what it’s worth, the source of the infamous “Twitter vote leak” in week 6, known as Abigail88, suggested on Sunday that Rebecca was winning the semi-final phone vote by a good margin, ahead of One Direction and Matt; she also had Mary marginally above Cher, which does seem consistent with Cher having been saved 3:1 in the showdown rather than going to the drama of deadlock.
Also well worth reading is Nick’s latest analysis of Twitter, iTunes and YouTube trends, which may indicate shifting sands as we near the finish of the competition.
We will be writing this week on the finalists, with their strengths and weaknesses. Do let us know what you think in the comments box below – as well as what you made of the surprise sing-off.