Our X Factor 2011 Prediction: Marcus Collins to win, 2 Shoes each-way

This time last year, Sofabet tried to predict the finishing order of the initial 12 finalists, with mixed but respectable results. This year, the task feels much more difficult – and not just because there are already 16 finalists, whatever the 2011 ‘twist’ may be.

As commenter Euan summed it up with tongue in cheek after judges’ houses, “I’m not feeling I’ve seen the winner”. We know what he means. Every act comes with significant doubts – so much so, it’s tempting to conclude that nobody can win. But, of course, at some point in the last seven weeks, we have seen the winner.

So here again, just for a bit of fun, is our ridiculously speculative attempt to predict the full 1-16 finishing order of the 2011 X Factor. Please let us know in the comments where you feel our reasoning is most awry. And why not post your own 1-16 in the comments, too? Bragging rights are up for grabs at the end of the series.

1st. Marcus Collins
Current odds: 14/1

We’ve gone for Marcus as our winner because, in an open year, we feel he ticks the most boxes, and at 14/1 with Boylesports he remains a very attractive price in our eyes.

While Marcus has not been as blatantly pushed by producers as Janet or Frankie, he nonetheless seems likely to be the kind of act producers will want to keep around until the latter stages. Marcus is a versatile performer, having got the audition arena clapping along to an upbeat ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ before showcasing his “hardcore seriousface”, in commenter Dug’s memorable phrase, at judges’ houses. He has a commanding stage presence, and he is vocally solid. In short, they will be able to rely on him to put on an enjoyable show, week after week. This is not to be underestimated.

Nor is the likely appeal of his personality – to borrow another of Dug’s phrases, Marcus “emits cheeriness like nuclear radiation”. We think this is a good thing. As is the fact that he has an escape-from-poverty backstory but wears it with an endearing lightness, as evidenced by his auditions comment about wanting to have enough money to shop at M&S. He has appeared fiercely loyal to his single-parent mother, without it being turned into an overly cloying sob story.

He is one of three Liverpudlians in the competition, so he must initially survive a three-way split of the regional vote. But whoever is the Last Scouser Standing will inherit this strong base. Marcus’s middle-of-the-road likeability, down-to-earth normality and manifest talent should also see him well positioned to pick up floating votes in the closing stages against potentially more divisive rivals.

The doubts? Though he has youth and looks on his side, a slightly camp hairdresser is unlikely to command the teen girl votes which have helped the boys category win three of the last four series. On the other hand, swathes of other female demographics probably quite like camp hairdressers. As Simon “le chat” says, “don’t underestimate the granny and mom vote, and the vote of the silent masses of viewers who do actually treat this as a singing competition and put through the best voice”.

In an open year, we think Marcus has a range of credentials no other act can match.

2nd. Janet Devlin
Current odds: 4/1

Producers have invested more in Janet Devlin than anyone else so far. The shy 16-year-old was handed the starring role in the first audition show, and closed the preliminary stages with an edit showing her getting in ahead of strong rival Jade Richards at judges’ houses.

There, mentor Kelly sobbed “you can have it all” as Janet still doubted her abilities. The path for Janet is both clear and well-trodden – it’s the path to self-confidence that has taken the likes of Rebecca Ferguson, Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis to the final. It’s the best way for a girl to progress in the show.

The Ulster lass has a quirky little-girl-lost persona and style that has immediate impact. She makes her voice crack in a way that is very popular in the charts right now – her rendition of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ was very reminiscent of Elie Goulding’s version. It can produce the occasional goosebump-y moment that is so effective on shows like this. She represents youth and innocence in a set of finalists where this is otherwise curiously (deliberately?) lacking; the contrast with fellow 16-year-old Amelia Lily, who comes across as far more knowing and mature, is especially striking.

But there is a but. Further exposure to Janet has already created something of a backlash, and we’re not even in the live shows yet. There are fears that her vocal shtick is very particular and she may lack versatility. Her hippyish vibe, with the barefoot judges’ houses audition, may also rub some up the wrong way. Plenty of comparisons have been made with Diana Vickers, whose quirky style ended up wearing thin and saw her finish fourth in 2008.

Those doubts are enough for us to oppose Janet at a short price, but not enough for us to put her as low as fourth. She can, after all, rely on a strong regional base in Northern Ireland, and the failure of Melanie McCabe from Dublin to qualify may also send some votes her way from the south. And on evidence so far, producers will throw the kitchen sink at her.

3rd. 2 Shoes
Current odds: 66/1

We feel that in an ideal world, producers would want each of the three new judges to have a horse in the final. So whoever ends up being Tulisa’s last hope will, we feel, be in line for some producer goodwill. And while a group has never won the show, we’ve had a group in the top 3 for five out of its seven seasons.

We have no hesitation in plumping for 2 Shoes as the vocally strongest, most entertaining and most endearing in this category. They are the only ones who were not manufactured at bootcamp, and thus tainted from the start as being comprised of rejected soloists. It is also interesting that, in four of seven seasons, the top group has had only two members. Admittedly all were sibling duos, but these two girls were clearly close friends before auditioning – one of the factors of group success in this show which we identified in our post-mortem analysis of what went wrong with One Direction.

It also just so happens that 2 Shoes are the longest priced group. Punters in sympathy with our positive view of their chances could consider the 50/1 each-way with Coral, 11/1 with Boylesports for a top-3 finish, or 11/2 with Betfred to be top group, all of which we feel represent decent value.

2 Shoes were clearly set up to provide the surprise factor when making a giggly entrance at their first audition, but it has since come to light that Charley Bird is a recording artist and her partner in crime, Lucy Texeira, a professional vocalist. While the ditsy Essex girl act astutely rides on the coattails of ITV2’s successful ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ and should appeal to the celeb mag-reading demographic, the fact they have genuine talent means they can broaden their appeal.

It has also since come to light that Charley is pregnant. If we were the show’s producers, we would gladly embrace this as a feelgood story. But it does raise a nagging doubt – what if producers are worried about the risks of a pregnant contestant? Any suggestion that the stress of the competition could be interfering with Charley’s health would be toxic. If so, they could take the opportunity of the 35-minute overlap with Strictly this weekend to try to get rid of the duo early on.

This would be a shame, as we think 2 Shoes have the potential to become one of the big talking points of the series. If they aren’t nobbled in the first week, we can see them emerging as the surprise package.

4th. Frankie Cocozza
Current odds: 17/2

Frankie has been the producers’ second most favoured act behind Janet in the preliminary stages. He was, like Janet, introduced in the first audition show – right at the beginning of it, in fact – with his credentials as a ladies’ man writ large over his unattractive arse.

His philandering was also heavily featured during bootcamp, and although he claimed he wanted to be taken more seriously at judges’ houses, Robbie Williams summed up how he has been positioned when praising his bum graffiti as “proper behaviour”.

As has been recognised by his mentor Gary Barlow, his vocals are not the strongest. They are, in fact, breathy and without any kind of range. He tends to talk his way through the song. While Frankie is outstripping his rivals in Twitter followers (how much this translates into votes remains to be seen), his vocal weakness coupled with the blatant favouritism shown towards him have seen the south coast lad become a polarising figure.

In the early stages of  the show, it is definitely better to be talked about than not talked about, and Frankie has plenty of momentum going into the lives. You can bet your bottom dollar, so to speak, that producers will be hoping for Frankie to make some conquests within the X Factor house to feed the tabloids with gossip.

But we foresee a similar trajectory to Cher Lloyd last year, for whom producers did everything they could before the majority of people who didn’t take to her were able to coalesce around a smaller number of rivals. We reckon Frankie could be in the bottom two a couple of times on his way to our predicted finish of 4th, with judges saving him due to a “charisma” which plenty of viewers find hard to detect.

5th. Amelia Lily
Current odds: 5/1

We have mixed feelings about the 16-year-old from Middlesbrough. We recognise her abilities as a decent singer, which have led many to see her as the most likely ‘default’ winner in a year where a good case can be made against every act. She also benefits from having her own niche among the finalists, with no one else stepping onto her rockier turf. This is not to be underestimated – one only has to see how much further Jamie Archer went than his talents deserved.

There is, however, something slightly anonymous about her within the confines of the show. This is because there is, as yet, no decent backstory or journey for her to go on – all they’ve had to flog so far is that her dad loves her very much (one would hope she is not alone among the final 16 in this respect).

For that reason it wouldn’t surprise us to see her fall into the bottom two at an earlier stage than her odds suggest, like Laura White and Lucie Jones – accomplished but relatively anonymous girls from previous seasons. We wouldn’t discount a shock early exit. We choose her as the second-placed girl, though, because producers have given her far more airtime than Sophie Habibis, and she has more broad mainstream appeal than Misha Bryan.

6th. Nu Vibe
Current odds: 16/1

There are two boybands in this competition, which is one more than it needs. Our reading of the edits since the two were formed at bootcamp is that producers are going to concentrate efforts on the younger model, Nu Vibe. The brief glimpse of the makeover shots at the end of judges’ houses showed a vibrant look for the boys that will appeal to their teenage girl demographic.

Nonetheless, we can’t see Nu Vibe reaching the heights of last year’s third achieved by One Direction because producers have invested far less in this outfit. In stark contrast to the plentiful audition airtime given to One Direction’s Harry Styles and Liam Payne last year, Nu Vibe’s lead singer Ashford Campbell wasn’t even featured on the main show during the audition stage.

7th. Kitty Brucknell
Current odds: 50/1

Which of Louis’ poor set of acts will they try to keep in as long as possible? Hello Kitty. She has very clearly been set up as this year’s Katie Waissel, another for whom producers pushed as far as they could last year. Therefore, we have placed Brucknell in the same finishing position this time around.

Actually, there were aspects of Katie’s fame-hungry chutzpah we really enjoyed, whereas Kitty so far seems closer to the edge of sanity. Nonetheless, there’s no doubt in our minds that her antics will be a talking point of the early weeks of the show. It wouldn’t surprise us for there to be shocking rumours about her and Frankie.

It’s interesting how many people, both in forums and among our commenters, are prepared to defend Kitty’s vocals and other aspects of her performance. That will make it easier for judges to save her from a sing-off or two or three. Producers will have seen how good for the show it was to rescue Katie Waissel again and again, and being able to choose the timing of a double or single elimination helps them control events to some degree.

8th. Sophie Habibis
Current odds: 12/1

We’re more unsure about where to place Sophie than any other act among the final 16. We haven’t seen enough of her. She has a vast screentime deficit to make up against the others in her category – completely under the radar at the first audition and only briefly sighted at bootcamp, she got significant producer attention only at judges’ houses.

With such a lack of momentum, it wouldn’t surprise us to see her go very early. If producers decide to ignore her for the first couple of weeks, the North Londoner has no regional base to keep her safe.

However, we would also not be surprised to see her knocking on the door of the final. She showed herself to be vocally very distinctive in that judges’ houses performance, and if she is able to gain a foothold, she could gain momentum with the voting public. With such uncertainty, we’ve split the difference and stuck her in the middle of the pack.

9th. Misha Bryan
Current odds: 11/1

A controversially low placing here, but not one that reflects our opinion of Misha’s talents: she is one of the most original and interesting performers in the final 16. Producers know this, and have given her plenty of airtime.

Unfortunately, we fear that the general public finds a strong young black woman, especially one who is rapping at them, a little intimidating. Rachel Hylton and Rachel Adedeji are the two examples we have used on more than one occasion. The latter in particular was much more talented than many of those she finished behind in the public vote, and we fear the same fate for Misha.

10th. Johnny Robinson
Current Odds: 66/1

Johnny is now shouldering alone the pantomime burden that was to have been shared with Goldie, and producers will look to keep him in for at least a few weeks on the basis of that. Out-and-out camp can take you only so far – think of Diva Fever – but Johnny’s likeable personality and entertainment experience as a drag act should keep him safe for a few weeks.

11th. Craig Colton
Current odds: 16/1

Craig was one of the revelations of judges’ houses, as the intimate setting of the Los Angeles back porch saw him take the biscuit with a soulful and moving rendition of ‘Halo’. But we had previously been unimpressed by his stage presence at his first audition, and we are worried about how he will get on back in the big arena. Our suspicion is: not well enough to last for more than a few weeks.

12th. Sami Brookes
Current Odds: 44/1

The fact that Sami was initially rejected from judges’ houses and reinstated only after the withdrawal of Goldie Cheung means that she is one of the favourites to go first. She is after all, the substitute in the weakest category of the lot.

However, she seems to have her fans and the Rhyl singer also has an important regional base to rely on. This may keep her safe in the early stages, when it probably takes a relatively low number of votes to escape the bottom two. But producers are unlikely to have much interest in keeping her around, and we think she is too vocally limited to survive for long.

13th. Rhythmix
Current odds: 66/1

The only girlband are the favourites to be the first eliminated, and for good reason: female groups have a notoriously poor record in the competition, and Rhythmix are newly manufactured from soloists who had little exposure in the audition shows.

However, if producers are hoping for some philandering from Frankie, will they want to lose so many potential targets so quickly? Last year producers tried to keep the dire girl band Belle Amie in for a couple of weeks with kind placings in the running order, because a group of pretty young girls is always good for tabloid interest even without a Frankie in the house. We’re therefore expecting a good slot in the running order for week one.

14th: James Michael
Current odds: 16/1

Yes, we know this one’s controversial – James built up quite a head of steam in these parts after Judge named him as a finalist and we got only an intriguingly short glimpse of him at his first audition. But we are very concerned that producers continued to show little interest in him in the editing of both bootcamp and judges’ houses. Of all the solo artists, including Sophie, he is the one they have bothered with least.

It must be remembered that most of the voting public probably don’t follow X Factor forums on the internet, so they will hardly know who James is – and the glimpse of his makeover after judges’ houses shows that they have killed his signature curly locks. His regional vote is split three ways, and if producers give him graveyard slots and songs that involve him looking half-hearted on stage, he could be in line for a surprisingly early exit.

Could it be that, with the girls category looking so strong, producers have been keen to have at least one boy they could jettison early to avoid the first few weeks being simply a bonfire of the groups and the overs? It’s just a theory, but how else do you explain James’s treatment so far?

15th: The Risk
Current odds: 20/1

Most people don’t have The Risk down for such an early exit – and regular readers will know that we previously had high hopes for the group based on early rumours. But we have changed our minds having sensed that producers seem keener for Nu Vibe to do the best of the boybands. And if that’s the case, why wait to ditch The Risk? The second choice boyband gets tough treatment in this show – just ask FYD, who were sent on first in the first show last year as a sacrifice to help One Direction on their way.

Although The Risk are vocally more talented than FYD, they have a bigger hurdle to overcome, which is that lead singer Charlie currently looks like an opportunistic turncoat for ditching his previous band at judges’ houses, and this is a group who we haven’t seen perform together at all as a result. That’s not promising, although if they can get through the first few weeks, Charlie and Derry’s vocal dexterity may see a much more respectable finish.

16th. Jonjo Kerr
Current Odds: 50/1

There is a theory that, as a soldier, Jonjo will have patriots supporting him en masse and producers will want to keep him around until the finalists record a “Help for Heroes” charity single. We’re not buying it. Jonjo is an anonymous and average performer who looks overawed on the big stage, and we’d be surprised if producers have any interest in keeping him around over other acts who offer far more entertainment value. An early slot in the running order in the first week could mean he’d need the SAS to keep him safe.

Our next post will be a fuller look at the week 1 elimination market (you can be alerted to new posts on Sofabet via Twitter, Facebook, RSS or email). In the meantime, we look forward to your thoughts below.

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60 comments to Our X Factor 2011 Prediction: Marcus Collins to win, 2 Shoes each-way

  • Tim

    Just a little note on James. He has hinted on twitter that he may be singing ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ which would suit his voice and see him safely through to week 2.

  • tpfkar

    rushing off to Betfair to get on Marcus….. I’ll comment more when more awake but you’ve not been afraid to go against the grain and I think you’ll have more right than wrong.

  • Panos

    Great article, very logical. very curious to see where you get it wrong/right! i’m suggesting marcus as a top3 bet rather than outright. I am very confident in him being in the final but not confident at all for victory, and I think a top3 bet would prolly give more than a back-to-lay for vistory (if the profit was to be made on the lay).

  • Simon "le chat"

    Agree on most of the selections but not with Frankiee being in top 4. This lad has been put through as the so-called “ladies man” and is better known for his rear end tatoos and floppy hair than his singing.
    His audtion version of “Valerie” was sung in Eb major and he only just gets the top notes. He has no falsetto and his voice range is limited – his song there “na na what’s my name?” was sung in F sharp and he only sings reptetively around the C sharp. He is a one trick pony with his tensed up body and breathy vocals and no matter what the show do to his image, he is in reality quite an average voclist and will be found out quite early on.
    Not top 4 material Daniel, mate, in fact I’d have him as the first boy to go.

    • Daniel

      Hi Simon and thanks for your comments. As the text indicates, I’m no fan of Frankie’s vocals myself. In some ways I surprised myself by putting him in so high. However, the more anonymous entrants and a likely high profile maintained by tabloid headlines should see him through the early rounds. After which, it only takes saving him in a couple of sing-offs and subsequent sympathy bounce to get him to fourth and it’s an entirely plausible scenario in my book. Having said which, I think his chances of winning are virtually zero.

  • Boki

    Strangely I agree to most of it (except the winner) 🙂

    I would put Amelia a bit higher (maybe swap with 2shoes) and not sure about Craig so high.

    Still think a girl is the winner, with all respect to Marcus as a great performer he has to overcome the barrier of being the first camp non-white guy to win and that’s difficult imo. Potential to be the top boy is there, I agree.

  • Boki

    I would like to comment about the possible twist. Last year it were the wildcards and double eliminations. This year lot of theories but apparently Louis said it will be on Sunday so probably result/eviction related.

    Going back to last year: 1st eliminated went out directly by a public vote. That’s not good for us but also not for producers, they lost control on the one with lowest votes. Why didn’t they choose 2 sing-offs of lowest 4 instead ??? Maybe there’s a reason but were producers satisfied with it ?

    So this year people mention various crazy ideas but why not keeping it simple. Longer Sunday show with 2 sing-offs and better control who will stay. They might even just say who was in bottom 4 without revealing the order to make it sort of extra exciting 🙂

    • Andrew

      I agree, Boki, I often wondered last year why they didn’t simply do the double eliminations as a three-way singoff, with judges voting to save one act. More padding, more drama, more producer control – what’s not to like?

      My suspicion is it’s either that or Cowell as a fifth judge via satellite from LA.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Hi Boki
    Marcus would not be the first- remember WIll Young pipping Gareth Gates.
    Marcus is not just camp…
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3819485/X-Factors-Marcus-Collins-backed-by-boyfriend-David-Heath.html

    I wholly agree with the landlord, Marcus ticks all the boxes- he has the best and most vesetile voice by a mile, stage presence and immense likeability and the judges will find it difficult to surpress the vote if they want him out in the later stages because by then the public will have seen what a great live performer he is. I agree that Marcus v the field the field could and should win, but again as the landlord points out, Marcus is outstanding value at 14/1. Watch him plummet to single figures next week and swiftly take the mantle of fav male!

  • Dug

    It’s just impossible to see ‘the big four’ that were so clear from the early stages of last year, isn’t it? Once again, the girls category is saturated with talent which is a pity because you never see more than one female in the final. This means that Janet’s probably fixture as Plan A could render the others girls near irrelevant. Inversely, I don’t feel that I’ve witnessed a standout performance from any of the boys yet. I’m struggling and not because I’m afraid to be wrong. I wish I had made up a list before reading yours because, alas, I think I have been very influenced by it already. Here goes nothing…

    16. THE RISK: Because the boyband vote will more likely go to Nu Vibe based on youth and the fact that, despite being a manufactured group, the latter are more transparent in their formulation. The Risk are just confusing now. They’re like the boat in the thought problem that gets replaced bit by bit with new parts whilst the parts taken away are mended and eventually rebuilt into a new ship . Which is the ship? That’s it! The Risk are the new Sugababes and nobody really knows who the Sugababes are any more.

    15. JOHNNY ROBINSON: Because he is the guy novelty acts patronise.

    14. RHYTHMIX: Because if Cabbage Patch Kids had pet spaniels and you were eating a bowl of dumplings and found one that looked suspiciously like a Cabbage Patch Spaniel, that would be the face of one of their members. The public like girls to be pretty. And soloists.

    13. SAMI BROOKES: Because we already have one Jane MacDonald and that’s one too many.

    12. MISHA BRYAN: Because I love her and I think she’s wonderful and in my experience that always means she’s going home stupidly early.

    11. JAMES MICHAEL: Because sooner or later a boy will have to leave and James has yet to provide us with a great performance which justifies his inclusion in the final. The fate of James rests, I feel, on whether or not they throw a guitar at him. Who knows, he could win the thing. But maybe not.

    10. CRAIG COLTON: Who may be this year’s Paije Richardson.

    9. KITTY BRUCKNELL: Because she doesn’t have any of the endearing desperation that Katie Waissel had. Sure, the judges will save her over more talented artists in order to generate controversy but the public won’t want to see the exact same story played out over and over again after last year, especially for a character who is far more obviously self aware and in control.

    8. NU VIBE: Because, let’s be honest, the producers are going to push them, aren’t they?

    7. JONJO KERR: Because I disagree and I really see this army story taking off and the tabloids going crazy for him. He looks quite dashing in the preview of the makeovers and there isn’t much lady-fodder in the boys category for the older woman. No Danyl, Olly, etc.

    6. SOPHIE HABIBIS: Because she’ll prove to be really popular, has the most soulful voice and will provide the audience with a few standout goose-bump moments that they so adore. And because, after Frankie, her name will sound best when bellowed out by Peter Dickson.

    5. FRANKIE COCOZZA: Actually, I’d be tempted to go against the grain and put Frankie a lot lower. My teeth-grinding hatred of him tells me that he’ll do very well.

    4. AMELIA LILLY: Because she’s a girl that everyone can like. She’s sassy, northern, blonde and looks vastly improved by her makeover(under?). I also feel that she’s going to start off with the edgy belters but develop stylistically and pull out some mental ballads that show she’s not just a one trick pony.

    3. 2SHOES: Because, of course, everything you said, Essex, duo, pre-formed, vocally talented, underdogs, etc. They’ll do well. Top 5 and top group almost definitely.

    2. MARCUS COLLINS: Because, despite my assertions that he’s too cheery, he looks the best out of the boys. I have, up to this point, very much been considering the contestants individually and had arrived at the conclusion with each one that they could not win. But someone has to win and there will always, ALWAYS be at least on boy in the final 3 and Marcus is really the only one capable of vocal versatility. He will do well in each week whereas, say, James might be a bit useless at Big Band week and Craig isn’t very disco.

    1. JANET DEVLIN: Because people think she’s quirky and original and she’s not but people are stupid.

    On second thoughts, I might see Janet and Marcus switched around like you have predicted. Just no real clue to be honest.

  • Dug

    If James gets to big band week, then surely he’ll have to do Mr Bojangles…

  • tpfkar

    Just so you can laugh at me later – although like Dug I’m sure I’m influenced by what I’ve read. You’ll see I have 3 of the final four as girls which the producers will want to avoid – but it’s where I see the votes given how strong Kelly’s category is.

    WINNER: JANET DEVLIN
    We all know what she has going for her. The producers are maybe a bit more savvy about a backlash now – expect some criticism from judges to make her look less favoured. A strong favourite in my book.

    2nd: AMELIA LILY
    Not my cup of tea but she has fans and talent in abundance.

    3rd: MARCUS COLLINS
    See article, you’ve convinced me he’s the strongest male contender.

    4th: SOPHIE HABIBIS
    The unknown, but if she survives the first couple of weeks she has every chance of playing the ‘why didn’t we notice her?’ role and she sounds phenomenonally good.

    5th: SAMI BROOKES
    If Mary Byrne can come 5th, why can’t Sami? Fun, talented, good regional base (are there any other welsh contestants?) and a good story developing after her reprieve. Expect comments like ‘you’ve shown you deserve to be in the competition.’

    6th: 2 SHOES
    Assuming they survive the first week which is far from guaranteed. This would also give me my bet on Tulisa being the first mentor eliminated.

    7th: KITTY BRUCKNELL
    Agree with you, a combination of media stories, producer favour, and plenty of talent should see her into the second half.

    8th: FRANKIE COCOZZA
    As you say, the interest will get him through the first few weeks, but he’s a 7-trick pony and I can see the joke wearing thin in a month.

    9th: JAMES MICHAEL
    Like you with Sophie, I don’t know so I’ve put him in the middle.

    10th: NU VIBE
    The main thing they have going for them is that they were only rejected once. I just can’t see where their votes will come from given the interest in the soloists. Will urban Ashford and middle-class Stefan really gel together? Not convinced.

    11th: RYTHMIX
    All rejected twice, hardly a ringing endorsement. But they did sound good at judges house and seem interesting. Even with that going for them, can’t see them troubling the top 5.

    12th: JOHNNY ROBINSON
    Likeable, but having seen his alternative videos on youtube I’m going off him. Seen all round as a joke, give it a couple of weeks to wear thin.

    13th: MISHA BRYAN
    Misha B to the out week 3. Very good at what she does, but too niche for the X-Factor

    14th: THE RISK
    Risk hardly begins to describe them. Mostly rejected twice, Charlie just once but he abandoned his bandmates at the drop of a hat. Their first performance together is Saturday. Were there really no better options for poor Tulisa?

    15th: CRAIG COLTON
    I just don’t get him, and if Janet shines as a little girl lost, Craig could sink on the big stage. He doesn’t look like a star and with a split regional base, lack of casual viewers noticing him, and being the ‘one who shot Bambi’ at the end of bootcamp, he could be gone in a week.

    16th: JONJO KERR
    I wouldn’t have written that last night, but you’ve convinced me.

  • fiveleaves

    Very brave to call the complete finishing order at this early stage Dan.

    Top 4 is the most I’ll try til we get some more clues this weekend.

    Sophie is my no.1
    Mainstrem voice. Very likeable. The only one to give me goosebumps this year.
    The lack of coverage a slight worry, but a late position and a good performance on saturday will quickly see her close the gap on the other 3 girls.

    Craig my top boy and I’d place him 2nd atm.
    The best voice of the boys for me.
    He doesn’t have the ‘fit’ teen vote, but it was surprsing how popular the guy from BGT who sang Fast Cars was with women of all ages on twitter.
    Ultimately his voice let him down.
    I don’t believe Craig will have the same problem.

    Rhythmix I believe will do much better than anyone expects.
    4 very normal looking, likeable girls, who teenagers will be able to relate to and their mums will see alot of their daughters in them.
    They all sounded very good to my ears at the JH and with talk of the boy bands already falling out in the press, I believe they could be Tulisa’s plan A and do much better than many expect.

    4th I’d have Jonjo.
    Easily nobbled if they see fit, but again very likeable, has a decent voice and ofc has the soldier angle.

  • Ronnie

    I’m with Daniel on Jonjo, I think he will be out early doors and have to disagree with Fiveleaves who thinks he has a decent voice. Jonjo’s performance at Judges’ Houses was awful and he comes across as a bag of nerves so will struggle performing on live television in front of millions.

    I’m still of the opinion that Janet Devlin will be the winner, despite the growing number of negative comments about her on the forums. Although I can understand the comparisons to Diana Vickers, I think she is different in character to DV and will come across as a lot more likeable than DV did. I’m not of the opinion that she is a one-trick pony either, she has a very good voice which will only improve under the guidance of a vocal coach.

    I’m still struggling to pick the boy who will go the furthest. There’s a very good argument, as illustrated by Daniel, that Marcus will be the one to challenge Janet but I think I need to wait and see how James performs on Saturday. I agree that Frankie can’t win and am surprised that he is the bookies’ jolly amongst the boys – I can only assume this is a result of the screen time he has had.

    At the moment, my top four would be as follows:

    1) Janet Devlin
    2) Marcus Collins
    3) Amelia Lily
    4) 2 Shoes

    There is such a mish-mash of poor quality this year that it’s difficult to put the whole 16 in order so hats off Daniel for having a stab at it.

  • Ronnie

    This might be me over-thinking things but Janet’s nationality has to be a big bonus for her. Obviously the regional vote has some influence (up for debate just how much) and I think Northern Ireland has been going through a feel good period of late. I am thinking particularly of the Northern Irish winners of golfing majors and the fact that Darren Clarke leads the betting in the SPOTY award which will be put the the public vote in December – just as X-Factor reaches the final weeks. Janet is a shoo-in to reach the latter stages of the show and I think there will be a huge national effort to get Darren and Janet over the line.

  • Steve

    Given the sentiment on here and on the betfair forum surely the 4/1 Marcus to finish in the top3 with Paddy Power and Boylesports looks a great bet. As there has never been a boy out of the top 3 in the previous series, you are effectively getting 4/1 top boy (currently 3/1 top price) and as the groups and overs are particularly weak this year there is a small possibility there will be 2 boys in there.

  • Jack

    You must be better at persuading than I thought. After reading your article I think that Marcus will do really well. Here is my Final 16, which will probably be horribly wrong, but oh well:

    1. Amelia Lily

    She has the best voice in the competition, imo. Her appeal is very wide. Looking at the stats that I have seen in polls of Favorite Final 16 contestants most have Amelia with the most votes – she has a very big fanbase at the moment. I can’t agree with your placing of 5th, I’m afraid. she may not have a “journey” to go on, but then again, the same problem didn’t exactly kill Matt Cardle last year, did it?

    2. Marcus Collins

    You’ve convinced me. Honestly, though, out of the four boys put through this year, he is the only boy I would have put in my Final 16. I think that he won’t win, purely because producers have been pushing a girl.

    3. Janet Devlin

    If you look at who finished 4th in the last three years, it was someone who split opinion (Cher Lloyd, Danyl Johnson and Diana Vickers if you didn’t remember) and I think that Janet is too much of a Marmite contestant to win. Her fanbase should see her through to the final, but past that, I don’t see it.

    4. Nu Vibe

    I think they’re in line for producer favour, so I reckon they’ll do well, being saved in a few sing-offs. This is a risky prediction as the public don’t know the members at all well, but I think producers want a Tulisa act in the final and I reckon Nu Vibe will get in, courtesy of a semi-final bottom two save.

    5. Craig Colton

    Bit of a risk, this one, but I think Craig has huge appeal, as he has that cheeky chappie vibe. He is vocally strong (his Judge’s Houses performace being singled out as one of the best) and I do think that people will like him.

    6. Kitty Brucknall

    About the stage Katie was voted off last year, I reckon. She is in line for producer favour and will be the centre of controversy when she gets saved controversially over better acts (Like Sophie, James etc.). Watch out for several late slots in the running order.

    7. Frankie Cocozza

    Again, its further than his talents merit, but this is a fair enough prediction. Producers won’t want to lose him too early and I’m sure they’ll hope he sleeps around a bit. Maybe we may see a “Vote Frankie” campaign to “piss off” the producers (a la Wagner)?

    8. 2 Shoes

    I like them, but I think that they aren’t good enough to get to the latter stages and also, I think that producers will be pushing Nu Vibe as the best group. Also, the pregnancy could see producers wanting to get rid of them before the later stages. Just speculation atm, though.

    9. Jonjo Kerr

    Don’t underestimate the soldier vote. I think it will safely see him through to potentially past the double-elimination weeks (assuming the format is the same this year). Think he will be kept for the “Help for Heroes” single, but will be booted off shortly afterwards.

    10. Misha Bryan

    I love her, think she’s brilliant, but I think she’ll be the traditional shock Week 5 girl exit. She has too limited an appeal for this show and I just don’t think people will take to her. The examples have been quoted, but sadly, I think she will end up like Rachel Hylton or Rachel Adedeji.

    11. Sophie Habibis

    I had to trawl back through the videos to find her Boot Camp and audition. She does have a voice, but she has barely featured. Her lack of an established following could be critical. I think that people will send her through the first couple of weeks, but she won’t survive much longer than that due to her poor screen time. It’s a shame.

    12. James Michael

    See above. Like Sophie, he has too little screen time to last very long in the competition. He does have a good voice, but it has been pointed out frequently that getting through the early weeks is all about having an established fan base, which James, sadly doesn’t have. I don’t expect producers to do him many favors either.

    13. Johnny Robinson

    I see him going in the probable double elimination in the second week. I just don’t understand who is going to vote for him. I can see people voting for Frankie and even voting for Kitty, but not Johnny, which is why I envisage him going out so early.

    14. The Risk

    Risk doesn’t even cover it. Nu Vibe have a chance, because they’ve been performing together for a while, but Tulisa doesn’t even know what The Risk sound like together. I can’t see the re-manufacturing work at all and I think that they will be booted off in Week 2, automatically in the public vote.

    15. Sami Brookes

    Producers have no interest in her at all as she wasn’t in the original Final 16. I think she will be in the Strictly overlap and with a dull song. People won’t vote for her and the judges will eliminate her in a sing-off with Kitty or someone. I think they will want rid of her asap.

    16. Rhythmix

    They are a girl band who, traditionally have done awfully in XF. I think they are the classic act to open the show. Give them the graveyard slot and I’d be amazed if they weren’t the first off the show.

    So, that’s just my opinion, but we’ll see.

    • Dug

      I just can’t believe there would be only one male in the top three I’m afraid. I may be surprised but gender is a huge consideration in this competition. For either Amelia or Janet to make the top 3, it almost has to be at the expense of the other. What I am hoping for is that Janet’s appeal dies off early in order that the producers could push Amelia beyond the boys. If they push Janet too hard it could be One Direction all over again (the situation whereby Rebecca was denied the producer support that clearly could have pushed her past Matt Cardle – all because they were trying too hard to beat Matt with an act who never stood a chance). Whilst I see Janet’s current popularity as undeniable, I think her appeal will die off somewhat as her repetitive style begins to grate a la Diana Vickers…

  • Rob

    just not getting the marcus thing at all. he’s very talented but a nice smiley personality won’t be enough to win this ‘popularity’ contest (that’s popularity with public and judges). he’s only polling at 5% – that’s a long way to go to overcome Janet’s 28%. also imagine if he get’s into a bottom 2 vote with Frankie. i know who the judges will save!!! i’d be interested in any arguments against that. marcus may not even make the top half. may just take him anyway though for top 3 as you all seem convinced and you can’t ignore agreement in the gambling game.

    if i get the time i’m going to try a scoring system this year. if i do i’ll put up an order prediction. i doubt it will be accurate but it’ll be fun.

  • mark

    after predicting like daniel the final 3 last year and although havin a monster bet go down on rebeca ferguson 2 win i still showed a healthy profit this year is much tougher although i feel janet is a worthy fav- im really surprised you going for a marcus collings win i agree he is good vocally but i just cant see where his fan base is gona be also why all the fuss about 2shoes on this forum average vocally and how far can a annoying essex girl act go who is gona buy there records and where are there votes gona come from anyway heres my final 4 and betting selections 1st janet devlin producers plan a very likeable who will appeal to a wide range and a huge regionl vote 2nd nu vibe got a gut feeling about this group they remind me a bit ov jls and i can see them goin far 3rd frankie producers plab b not great vocally but i can see him bein the big improver and if he can come over not so cocky i can see him being a big danger and 4th amelia lilly for me the best vocaly but shes just to pollised shes 16 but looks 25 and i dont see her havin enough likeabillty 2 gain enough votes to go all the way-my other bets are kelly roland winning manager 7-4 placed 2 weeks ago nu vibe top group 7-4 frankie top male 9-4 and janet 7-4 top female- good luck to you all and lets go bookie bashing

  • Simon "le chat"

    The winner of the show will be the person who carried the silent majority who dont twitter or tweet, they don’t bet on the outcome and they dont read the Celeb or Gossip mags. These kingmakers (or queenmakers) are the average Jo who listen to the singers and vote for who they think is best. Matt Cardle won last year because he had the best voice and after singing “the first time ever I saw your face” he never looked back even though the judges and producers pushed and pushed One Direction. It is worth remembering that One Direction had then (as now) the teeny fanbase and Matt had none other than the general public who recognise a good singer when they hear one and Matt prevailed.
    I do not see Janet Devlin featuring in the top five- she has this incredibly annoying yodle-hiccup style which is -or will become- extremely annoying. I can’t imagine her belting out “Black Velvet” but I can almost hear Amelia doing it. Amelia will also sing a ballad well and she looks the part with real stage presence.
    Marcus 11/4, Sophie Habbis 5/1,Two shoes 9/2 (you’ve persuaded me on that one) and Kitty 11/4 for the top of their groups. A £1 Lucky 15 pays £1113.15 if they all come in – I’m putting this bet on tomorrow morning.

    • Maybe but I do think the twitter voting kids will have a massive impact this year.
      SYCO got all accounts verified for the first time last year for a reason & I’m sure they’ll do the same pretty soon this year too.
      There are so many more kids using it by the day and so many setting up fan pages pretty early compared to the last 3 years.
      I’d reckon if 1 Direction were in the show this year, they would win on based on teens tweeting ‘you have to vote…’
      When my 14yr old daughter told me she liked Frankie, I started to worry…
      With the editing at bootcamp showing girl fans screaming at boys they had never seen before, I think SYCO will rely heavily on the teen girls using social networks & mobile phones this year.

  • The embargo on Tuesdays press interviews is lifted at midnight, so we should know ‘the twist’ for sure then, might be interesting, might not be.

  • So, the twist is out.
    No public nominations & 1 act from each category goes home.

    http://xfactor-updates.com/x-factor-the-twist/

    • tpfkar

      Only the judges vote? So based on what we’ve seen so far Sami Brookes, James Michael & Sophie Habibis might as well not bother turning up? They are the unloved in the 3 solo categories.

      Not sure about the groups, worried they might nobble 2 Shoes.

      Will cause havoc on the first eviction market as presumably they’ll choose which category goes first?

      • Yeah, the judges decide. Think James might be safe as the dark horse though.
        And 2 shoes being the only original group, think Kelly might want to keep them in.

      • Andrew

        Thanks for the heads-up, Judge.

        I think you’re right about what it means for the first eviction market, tpfkar. And presumably most likely that they will start with the groups or the overs, as the girls and boys will be more tense so they’ll want to leave them till the end.

        Or they could just void the first elimination market, come to think of it.

        Don’t think we should jump to conclusions about it being Sami from the overs. Presumably this has been planned for a while, which means one of the original four was going to be the sacrifice – either Johnny (when they thought they’d have Goldie) or Jonjo, you would think. They may stick with the original plan.

        Groups-wise, would make most sense in terms of balancing the category if they to ditch one of the boybands. But the pregnancy thing continues to worry me for 2 Shoes.

    • Jack

      I’m speechless. I can’t believe they would cut four acts so early in the competition. X Factor has hit new heights of ridicule. Imo, the four acts leaving will be:

      James Michael
      Sophie Habibis
      Sami Brookes
      And God knows who they’ll axe in the groups, probably Rhythmix, though maybe 2 Shoes.

      • Ron

        I think Kelly actually likes Sophie. If she sends her home, we’ll know it was the producers’ decision (which is probably a given).

        • Jack

          Do you really think that the Judges will make the decision? The producers will have planned it and James and Sophie’s lack of screen time is now obvious. It will be something like Kelly saying “It breaks my heart, but the other girls are better” etc. and the producers will think the public will agree due to the lack of screen time.

  • Simon "le chat"

    I can imagine Tulisa, Louis and Kelly cowing to the producers and doing what is expected of them but not Gary. The other three need the job but Gary doesn’t -nor does he need the moeny or fame. He is the one judge that gives the show some credibility from the panel and I would like to think he will not be corrupted by the shenanigans as the show need him more than the other way around.
    Misha, Craig Colton, Rythmix and Johnny Robinson (who shouldnt have been there in the first place)
    What a horrible fix though and ruthless deception on the acts and viewers but hey, that’s bent showbusiness!

  • mark

    dont get it what are you saying they all sing saturday night then they reveal theys no public vote and the judges decide on sunday night which 4 go home????? sounds ridiculas to me

  • Boki

    1st out imo:

    Risk – one boy band is enough.

    Jonjo or Sami – can’t decide, a combo there.

    Sophie – low screentime and more dangerous to beloved Janet than Misha. Said that, if they REALLY want Janet to win and no one else, the right move would be to ditch Amelia before people start voting.

    James – low screentime and dangerous to beloved Frankie in terms of taking girls votes.

  • Boki

    Another thought:

    Does this now means that the singing order this Saturday is less important or not ?

    • Panos

      Boki, I think the singing order is now defo less important, as it affects televoters, not the judges. But they may still stick most of the acts they want to eliminate early on to make sure they have less of an impact on the viewers anw.

  • Stableboyuk

    OK

    This is so far the most open and interesting X Factor ever IMO and after having nailed my early colours to James (during bootcamp) here are my thoughts for the eliminations this weekend.

    OVERS – It’s between Jonjo and Sami who goes. Whoever hits it out the park will stay….the other one will go! The other two are good TV and tabloid fodder and will be safe. My feeling is Jonjo to go!

    GROUPS – It’s between Rhythmix and The Risk and I expect the girls not to be vocally as good as the boys. Rhythmix is selected to go!

    BOYS – It’s between James Michael (yes I know thats my early selection) and Craig Colton and I think Gary will keep Robbie’s choice of Craig…..so my early choice will the sacrificed. Thankfully I did not back him (always wait for the first show to finish before I put my money down). Selection is James to go!

    GIRLS – Most open race as to who gets eliminated as they are all very very good and all have a good argument to stay.

    This will boil down to who is worst on the night. ALL TO PLAY FOR! Don’t envy Kelly on Sunday night! My selection to go is Amelia!

  • Rob

    just to clarify. is it that mentors choose in their own categories? or do all 4 judges get a vote in each category? don’t get the latter as it could be deadlocked.

  • Rob

    any number of reasons can be put forward for getting rid of any act. even if they did it fairly it can still be a matter of taste. however i suspect they may use this opportunity to get rid of some good singers who they don’t want to see win. so i’ll speculate with a couple of controversial choices.

    overs is probably the hardest to predict but it won’t be kitty. i think it’s probably between jonjo and sami.
    sami to go.

    groups
    the risk to go. already said one boy band too many and these guys just won’t be very marketable as they are not cute enough.

    boys
    clearly a good chance to get rid of marcus collins. syco won’t want another joe mccelderry on their books.

    girls
    this will be the easiest to justify as all the girls will give good performances so just imagine kelly agonising over such a hard choice and it’s goodbye amelia lily.

    • Boki

      Hopefully not Marcus – one thing concerns me though, Gary said (in a negative way) that he has the generic voice so you wouldn’t recognise him on the radio (and other boys are unique in that sense).

      • Rob

        cool boki – you’ve just written the justification. i can hear gary barlow speaking it now.

        i may change my mind on the groups because tulisa may look less creditable if she eliminates a group she formed at the last minute. rhythmix to go then

        • Boki

          The question is (and I don’t have an answer): is the outcome already pre-determined by the producers or do judges have some freedom of choice at this early stage depending on the night’s performance?

          • Ron

            I suspect it will totally be the producers’ decision and the judges will have no input.

            This could be ominous for the likes of Sophie and James as they have (deliberately?) received no screentime this year. I think Kelly likes Sophie a lot, but she may have to put on an Oscar winning performance and tell her she found her “disappointing” on the Saturday night show.

  • Dug

    AMELIA SOB STORY ALERT – Did anyone else catch that she is diabetic? Do you think the producers would be shameless enough to milk this into a sob story?

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3808115/X-Factor-favourite-Amelia-Lily-in-daily-battle-on-diabetes.html

  • Noisy

    1 Amelia Lily if survive opening wknd
    2 Marcus Collins if survive opening wknd
    3 Janet Devlin
    4 Frankie Cocozza
    5 Nu Vibe
    6 Kitty Brucknell
    7 2 Shoes
    8 Rhythmix
    9 Johnny Robinson
    10 Craig Colton
    11 Misha Bryan
    12 Jonjo Kerr
    13-16 Sami Brookes
    13-16 Sophie Habibis
    13-16 James Michael
    13-16 The Risk

  • owen

    1st = Craig Colton
    2nd= Misha . B
    3rd = The Risk

  • Stableboyuk

    Hey Dan & Andrew

    I can’t believe nobody is a supporter of Misha B! She has by far the best voice (on a par with Craig and maybe Janet) and yet everyone is writing off as the next Rachel Adedeji/Hylton.

    Why can’t she be another Alexandra or Leona as we have already had two Non-White winners! Misha has the class and style that was missing from the two Rachels!

    I would love you guys to do a full analysis on Misha….Can she go all the way and will Manchester get behind their girl?

    I made the mistake of being a bit too cocky during Bootcamp by selecting James as the winner without much real info on him. However, when the chips were down, I put my money on Misha at 11’s last Friday. I think and hope that she can win this competition as long as she doesn’t put rapping into all her songs. It’s vital if she is going to remain in the competition that she sing something normal for a change!

    The only 2 people that I am worried about is Craig (if he keeps singing emotional songs) and Janet who is brilliant but whose voice might become a bit too samey for the punters!

    Comments please!

  • Oli

    I’ve cheated a little and waited until this week for predictions although concievably the producers could still do a double which is a little annoying:

    1-Marcus
    2-Janet
    3-The Risk
    4-Misha
    5-Frankie
    6-Sami
    7-Kitty
    8-Craig
    9-Rythmix
    10-Sophie
    11-Johnny
    12-Nu Vibe

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