In the event, there were no real shocks in the Sunday show’s big twist (rather disappointingly – is the show losing its taste for headlines?)
All the odds-on favourites for elimination were eliminated, with the exception of Sophie Habibis. Kelly instead eliminated Amelia Lily, who was just a shade of odds-against in that two-horse race. Amelia would have been much more of a shock before singing first and failing to make much of an impression with an arrangement of Billie Jean that did wonders for David Cook on American Idol but worked rather less well for Austin Drage on this stage in 2008.
As Giles put it in a comment to the last post in which he correctly called the four eliminations, “I know it’s no public vote, but starting a show of 16 people will mean she was forgettable and no one will be that bothered when kelly chucks her out”. Indeed. Public vote or no public vote, that’s now seven out of eight series in which the first act to perform in the first show has found themselves either facing a singoff or going home.
Also in the comments to the last post, Malcolm asks: “Wonder if Sophie is now set up for a wonderful X factor ‘journey’?” A good question – it remains far from clear where Sophie is intended to go from here. They will certainly have to find something more interesting to say about her backstory than that she knows how to pull a pint.
Still, perhaps producers felt that this was more interesting than Amelia Lily’s supportive dad and inability to do her laundry? Perhaps they are hoping for her to generate some headlines by getting it on with Frankie Cocozza? Perhaps they perceive her as less of a threat to Janet Devlin, who looks more than ever like Plan A after her first show pimp slot, than Amelia would have been? Or perhaps they are going for a slow-burn with Sophie and see her as a potential winner?
We had speculated in yesterday’s post that the show could be cooking up some controversy by having Louis send home Sami after Gary rather theatrically promised to walk out of the show if he did, but alas this particular punch was pulled.
It’s intriguing to speculate about who might have been in line for the chop among the overs before Saturday’s performances, but Jonjo ultimately made it uncomfortable for Louis to make any other decision with a rendition of ‘You Really Got Me’ that made our pre-lives description of him in our 1-16 prediction article as “an anonymous and average performer who looks overawed on the big stage” look like the kindest review he was ever going to get.
Most disappointingly, we lost our long-odds each-way selection for the show, 2 Shoes, with Tulisa looking genuinely upset and struggling to make eye contact as she announced her decision. We are finding it hard to escape the conclusion that, as we had feared, Charley’s pregnancy may well have been the unspoken key factor here.
We maintain that in dramatic terms it makes no sense for the show to have lost 2 Shoes and kept two manufactured boybands. The show has given up Essex fun and heartwarming VTs about Charley’s ante-natal visits, for what? An attempt to drum up some “battle of the boybands” tension and perhaps some suspense about whether the members of Nu Vibe will stop bickering with each other? It is difficult not to feel some sympathy for the girls.
It is hard also not to feel a certain sympathy for James Michael, who was rather cruelly allowed to do a sob story VT on Saturday while Gary talked about how he’d never had the breaks. High up the list of people who haven’t given James the breaks are, of course, the X Factor producers, who gave him practically no screentime in the auditions, or at bootcamp, or even at judges’ houses.
It turned out that lack of audition screentime was highly significant here, unlike in Sophie’s case. We had wondered beforehand if biscuit boy Craig Colton might come to James’s rescue, but he turned out to be a tougher cookie than we had anticipated with a surprisingly strong rendition of ‘Jar of Hearts’. After that, it never looked likely that poor James’s ‘Ticket to Ride’ was going to be anything other than a return journey to Widnes.
At least our pre-lives selection to win the whole show, Marcus Collins, made it through after a thoroughly solid if somewhat unspectacular performance. We expect more is to come from Marcus. And Frankie Cocozza was never going anywhere – while we fully agree with Simon le chat’s comment that he is “not a good singer – he has a small range and no falsetto and sings in long breathy pants and that’s it”, Frankie’s voicebox is not the part of his anatomy that is keeping him in this competition.
Aside from the quadruple elimination, the big news of the weekend was the plunge in odds of three acts: Craig, Misha B and The Risk. But are any of them really conceivable winners? We’ll turn our thoughts to this in our next post in a few days time.
What are your thoughts on this, and what did you make of the twist? As ever, do let us know your impressions below.