Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the production suite through Sunday’s final. It was only with the ridiculously over-the-top praise from the judges for Matt’s winner’s single that it became clear what the result was. His best performance of the series? Er, no. Not by a long way.
That level of hyperbole strongly suggested that the judges had been told Matt had it sewn up, and it was time to flog the single. Louis mentioned it was a Number 1 record – Rebecca’s last song got no such mention. And Simon Cowell looked gutted. This was not the result he wanted.
Once I had processed these comments as a signal Matt was indeed the winner, I waded into him on Betfair at prices from 1.6 down to 1.4, to finish up around £2,200 on the night.
But up till then, producers had been sending out mixed signals.
First the reprise seemed to favour Matt, with a well-chosen clip of his best moments with Rihanna, reminding us that it was the only duet with any chemistry. Then, unlike on Saturday night, he got an ad break after his first performance.
But the bottom line is that if the show had wanted Matt to win this, he wouldn’t have been singing first. He’d have been singing last, and he’d have been singing ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. The fact that this did not happen clearly indicates to me that producers were hoping to get Matt beaten right up till the very final stages.
Then it was One Direction on second, introduced by a slightly surpised and distracted-looking Simon. Had he been expecting Rebecca on before them, and – if so – was a change in the running order indicating to Simon that One Direction could no longer do it, so Rebecca was now getting the pimp slot? Simon’s look could have been a complete coincidence, however.
One Direction’s ‘Torn’ was much worse than their judges’ houses version, which was a touch slower and featured just their vocals. It looked to me, yet again, an example of producers shooting the boys in the foot by insisting on cranking up their backing track – a phenomenon I remarked on last Wednesday when explaining why I’d ditched our pre-live-shows speculative prediction of One Direction winning, and was instead switching to Matt Cardle.
Just before One Direction’s departure being announced, the mysterious Abigail88 posted on the Digital Spy forums that her source had told her Rebecca was third. That will have pleased her many detractors (and, while we were intrigued by her record up until this rather spectacular copybook-blotting, we have, of course, always advised having the salt cellar on hand).
I was confident Rebecca wasn’t going to pip Matt, having thought her Saturday performances to have been weak, but the comments after Matt’s winner’s single sent me straight to Betfair. They sounded like an admission of defeat. This was confirmed by comparing them to the comments for Rebecca’s song.
I think justice was done in the end, even if Matt wasn’t at his best for the final few weeks. He provided the best two performances of the series in ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ and ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’, and was the most versatile performer.
Stay tuned on Sofabet, because we should be getting the week-by-week voting statistics released on the X Factor site soon. We’ll be analysing these and hoping you’ll continue with your insightful comments on our articles. And, of course there’s the Strictly Come Dancing final next weekend.
What did you think of the result? Let us know in the comments box below.