X Factor Week 3 Elimination: Who gets the graveyard shift?

I’ve already counselled caution in the early elimination markets, and it’s especially the case this week. That’s because producers have two powerful weapons in their armoury.

First, the 15-minute Strictly overlap zone allows them to put the first act performing at a great disadvantage relative to all the others (the second act may also be marginally affected). Second, last week’s phone vote figures should help them to strategise about which acts might survive the graveyard shift, and which are vulnerable.

In the circumstances, I am holding off from getting involved in this week’s elimination market until the show itself, and I recommend you do the same. Nonetheless, this is how I read the situation beforehand.

Let’s start with Sami, because she’s favourite to be eliminated, and justifiably so. She’s the one act of the 11 that we at Sofabet feel fairly confident, based on her treatment so far, that producers have little interest in keeping around in the competition.

This reflects the fact that she was rejected at judges’ houses before Goldie’s withdrawal, and given the worst position last week bar Nu Vibe (2nd, in the Strictly overlap zone). Nor will she have endeared herself any more to programme makers with her words of praise for cruise ship singers like Jayne McDonald in her post-performance interview with Dermot.

How well Sami performed from her poor slot last week could well determine how producers approach this week. If she was only just clear of the danger zone, I don’t think producers will have any qualms about sending her out in the death slot. (Those who think Sami should be due a better slot in the interests of “fairness”  should bear in mind that in 2010 Paije Richardson sang first in Week 3 having performed third in Week 2; meanwhile John Adeleye’s first three draws read 3-6-2, against Katie Waissel’s 10-11-12 and Wagner’s 14-10-11.)

Sami being announced as the first to sing will suggest to me that producers think she is weak enough to fall into the bottom two. (There is no cast-iron guarantee of them being right, however – Paije survived). And if that happens, I don’t expect her to be saved.

If we don’t hear Sami’s name being called first, however, that will suggest to me that she was safely clear of the bottom two last week and producers think she is too strong to be attacked with all guns this week and will need some more softening up. This wouldn’t be surprising – I observed last week that the no-longer-so-young trooper can do surprisingly well in the early weeks of the competition, as Mary Byrne and Daniel Evans indicate. Sami also has a regional base.

If they don’t think the death slot would kill off Sami, it would make sense to put her on a bit later (just a litte bit later, between a couple of strong acts) and bestow the graveyard shift on another act they consider vulnerable and expendable in an attempt to keep their favoured acts safe. The question is, who?

This is where it gets complicated, as the next four in the next elimination betting are all acts who producers have shown interest in keeping around in the competition.

Take Johnny Robinson, next likely to be eliminated according to bookmakers’ lists. Last week, he was given a big production and fed further opportunities to produce campy one-liners. With Kitty becoming more credible, he has become the show’s pantomime dame, an entertaining role that suggests programme makers would like to see him around for another week or two.

Kitty herself is one of the few talking points of this series so far, and her pimp slot last week told us all we need to know about how much producers want her for the long haul.

The same goes for Frankie Cocozza, who I expect to see in this week’s pimp slot or as near as, following his surprise inclusion in the bottom two last week. His ability to enjoy a sympathy bounce this week continues to divide our commenters following our dissection of this issue yesterday, but I’m with Euan in believing that, “If this was a soap opera they’d be keeping him going as long as they can… and it is.”

Rhythmix are the other act at a single-figure price to go home this week, but judges’ praise for the girlband’s likeability following their performance of ‘I’m Like A Bird’ was laughably insistent last week. It would be a quick and surprising U-turn for programme makers to decide they weren’t going to fly.

Who may producers test in the death slot instead in an attempt to keep these acts safe? The top three in the outright market – The Risk, Janet and Misha B – look both secure and favoured by programme makers. By process of elimination, so to speak, this leaves us with Craig, Marcus and Sophie as potential victims if programme-makers consider Sami too strong and aren’t ready to give up on any of Johnny, Kitty, Frankie or Rhythmix.

You can get reasonable odds on each of these three being this week’s eliminee, though punters are going in blind. Unlike producers, we can’t say with any certainty how well each did in the first phone vote, and that may well decide who gets cast asunder tonight.

There is an argument that none of Sophie, Craig or Marcus will be suited by this week’s rock theme, unlike Frankie. However, just as a poor draw the previous week is no indicator of how the acts will be treated this time around, so the weekly theme and song choice can be something of a red herring for punters trying to make their minds up before the show. The looseness of the themes, and the ways that songs are re-arranged to suit (or not), means assumptions can be completely overturned during the programme.

Neither Craig nor Marcus covered themselves in glory last week. In their favour, Frankie’s poor showing suggests that one of them may have to be called into service to keep self-appointed head judge Gary Barlow with an act in the final stages of the competition. But which one? Of the two, Marcus has so far been more favoured in terms of overall screentime, and Craig was sent on in the Strictly overlap zone last week. However, if Marcus still performed worse in the public poll, it pains us to say that he could be cut loose this evening.

Sophie also finds herself at the crossroads of producer favour. We have hypothesised that if Janet’s public vote last week indicates she’s not the potential winner that programme makers hope, Sophie may well become the back-up plan. If on the other hand, Janet is polling strongly, and Sophie’s showing from the penultimate slot was weak, she could be the one with tonight’s graveyard shift.

You see why I’m eager for the revelation of this evening’s first to perform. Last week’s sing-off showed that there’s money to be made when producers’ intentions can be read. Quite what they have in mind tonight is very much open to question, and for that reason, I’m going to wait and see and hope that it becomes clear during the show itself.

What’s your strategy for tonight? Let us know who you think will be in the graveyard shift and whether you think they’ll be in the bottom two as a result.

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39 comments to X Factor Week 3 Elimination: Who gets the graveyard shift?

  • Panos

    Couldn’t agree more Daniel, but I think at least some conclusions based on logic can be made before the show, as it’s been the case so far that the more obvious things happened in the end rather than the more elaborate conspiracy scenarios. Myself, I separate the bottom 2 candidates in two groups: the probable ones (sami, johnny, rhythmix) and the slightly surprising ones (frankie, sophie, craig, marcus). I believe that any1 in the first group would be sent home when opposed to any1 in the second group. And what’s the chance of 2 ppl in the second group being in the bottom 2? So unless something weird happens, I think it’s one of the first group going home. Which of course brings us to your point of waiting for tonight to see if something weird happens!!

  • Simon "le chat"

    An excellent write up and assessment.
    It is becoming obvious which acts the producers want and which they consider expendible and you may well be right that MARCUS is sent first across thew bridge. I obviously hope not for reasons that I don’t need to repeat again here but I agree that if he is in the graveyard slot, they have no long term plans for him.

    The three expndible acts are definitely one of the girls- Sophie I think- one of the oldies – Sami – and one of the boys – either Criad or Marcus. The plan (like you say Daniel) was thrown into the air by the dreadful singing of FRANKIE and his tattood bottom 2 and like you say, oe of the others will need to be called into service to give Gary a horse in the final. Would you seriously chance “The Gurn” and diss MARCUS who of the two is infinitely more talented and likeable. Remember the “Jar of hearts” – Daniel said (and was right) that MARCUS could have sung this easily but CRAIG would have been in trouble if asked to perform Moves like Jagger.
    It is Rock week, and I believe MARCUS’s versitility means he will put up a really good performance if allowed to. CRAIG on the other hand is likely to be weak – he cant “move” at all let alone “like Jagger” so perhaps give CRAIG the death slot with a rubbish song and soften him up. We’ll see- however one thing is certain nbamely the “chosen one” of these 2 Liverpool boys will be performing late on.
    I remain bullish about MARCUS on an even field but if he is nobbled by the backroom boys, well there is little hope for him.

    First up then?
    I’ll take a chance and say it will be JOHNNY then CRAIG then SOPHIE then SAMMI.
    We’ll see.

  • Ronnie

    Barlow on Frankie’s prospects this week: “He’s got the opportunity in his position in the show to really steal it.”

    This suggests that Frankie could well be last on.

    I was surprised Gary said he regretted taking Frankie to the lives earlier in the week. You’d think Gary would be media-savvy enough to not say something so controversial about one of his own acts unless it was part of a plan to undermine Frankie.

  • Mark

    Does anyone have any thoughts for a little flutter on Misha B for bottom 2. As much as producers have pushed her I believe this may be for the reason that she needs the pushing to get votes. Undoubtedly she has got talent, however I feel she is a bit to edgy for the mainstream and perhaps lacks a bit of the likeability factor where I think someone like Sophie H has this abundance. Either way I can see Misha being first of the girls out at some point. With an early slot and maybe a not so good performance as her first 2 weeks maybe she could be in danger of shock entrance to the B2. Of course, I think she would be saved but still some juicy odds to be had for her B2….

  • EM

    The acts there is no passion for are Sami, Jonny, Frankie, Craig and Rythmix. For reasons above I believe everything possible will be done to secure Frankie, Johnny and Rythmix so I’ve taken a 30/1 on a Sami-Craig bottom two.

    However they can influence but not control the public and we’ve yet to see the running order or performances which might change things. I’m holding fire on anything else until the show.

    Also don’t rule out a sudden twist to keep storylines on track.

  • Ronnie

    Judges starting to turn on Frankie.

    Louis Walsh on Frankie in today’s Daily Record: “He is a bit of a one-trick pony. His vocals aren’t great.”

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/showbiz/television-news/2011/10/22/x-factor-judge-louis-walsh-rips-into-rivals-as-pressure-is-cranked-up-86908-23506161/

  • Ronnie

    Thanks Panos – good info.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Do the producers and the judges read the comments on this site? I called Frankie a one trick pony a couple of weeks ago!
    Maybe the judges are throwing a loser on a loser and Frankie is for the chop after all but “Get your rocks off etc” is not a challenging vocal tonights version in standard “E” with the melody (such as there is one) sitting nicely in Frankies very acute panting range between the “A” under middle C and the “F” above it. A bit like “Valery” there are very few notes in the song to sing so even Frankie should manage this.
    I reckon he could be toast this week if the producers and judges see no way back for him ie throw a loser on a loser – however more likely to be bottom 2 with SAMI or JOHMMY and a sing off.

  • Ronnie

    Although ratings are falling – over 10m average viewers tonight @ 5/4 with Lads seems a good bet.

    First two shows averaged 10.5m and 10.1m but they both suffered due to a longer Strictly Come Dancing overlap – it was half hour last week compared to just 15mins this week during which time X Factor only had 7.5m viewers thus impacting greatly on its average.

    Its peak viewing figure last week was 11.3m.

    Also, it’s the back end of the month meaning you’d expect a lot of people to be hanging on for payday and spending a night indoors.

  • Donald

    Good advice Daniel to wait.

    It’s really hard to know what they will do, they know the voting we don’t as you rightly point out but if any guys going to get it wrong again it’s these guys.

    If as the figures revealed there were only 5.5M viewers last 15 mins last week the later acts must have done okay off fewer viewers. Sunday nights figures were good though.

    Frankie might get the bounce but boy is he going to need it if web hate anything to go by.
    Will they really risk leaving Gary with one act and Frankie? They are mad if they do but of course probably don’t want another male winner anyway.

    Daft as it may seem they may put Misha B on first followed by Johnny or Sami. Hard to see Gary acts opening and closing the show? They might let a Louis act go first?

    I want Frankie to be on first but probably will be last as you say but still think he going to be lucky to be out of bottom two.

    Going to be an interesting betting weekend for sure but caution advised. I’d love to punt Frankie properly for bottom two and to go but not worth the risk as you say Daniel caution especially this week.

    They never going to end a Saturday night show with such a disliked crap singer telling the audience “Get you rocks off”? What’s the betting he shows the arse tattoos at the end?? He may just be daft enough to do it?

    If they want headlines? Who knows. Will he bounce if he does that?

    Graveyard shift says bottom two all day long really so whoever there has to be in the running for bottom two, unless it one of the favourites. If I was near Wembley I’d find out but I’m away.

  • Allan

    all very interesting stuff leading into tonight’s show, the rush to get on whoever sings first is going to be epic!

    backed Sami at 3-1 a day or two ago, as for all the reasons outlined above and in other articles, she looks to be the most obviously expendable.

    thinking a little bit outside the box, am shocked that The Risk are as big as 270 on betfair. they look to be very producer-favoured etc etc and are now faves to win, BUT I don’t see that Rock week will necessarily suit them so am going to have a sly £2 on them as well…

  • nugget

    Intresting thoughts Daniel.
    I guess at this stage we need to look at who the judges will want rid of so as not to be part of the post show x factor tour. As long as the likes of Kitty and Frankie continue to make the front pages of the tabloids then the production team will want to keep em. Johnny will likely be safe for a week or two more as novelty acts tend to last through the first few weeks regardless of their talent (although it is clear that Johnny has not caught the publics imagination in the same way as jedward/wagner etc). Rhythmix will be safe as I feel they will not want to lose groups two weeks running and leave Tulisa with only one act at this early stage. Janet, Misha, The Risk all likely to be safe on talent, following and public vote alone regardless of slot given.
    For me bottom two this week will be Sami and Marcus/Sophie with the judges saving Marcus/Sophie.
    Already bet Sami at 11/4 to be next out (am fairly confident about this) but am considering doing a name the bottom 2 bet as well with Marcus/Sophie.
    It really is time for the allocation/manipulation of singing positions by producers to end (perhaps a live draw on the Sunday show giving next weeks order would be an idea??)
    Are you attending any live shows Daniel?? I went to bootcamp live and it really helped from a betting point of view (spotted EW value in Misha at 20/1). I am back at the live Sat show in NOV and have a spare ticket if any sofabet fans fancy it.

    • Daniel

      Hey Nugget, many thanks for your input. Whilst the thought of going to one of the live shows interests me, I fear I would spend my time in the audience worried about my ability to use Betfair! I did go to one of the audition shows, which was revealing. Agree with you that there needs to be a public draw for each week’s running order.

  • Tim

    Frankie is apparently singing Country Girl by Primal Scream and not Rocks as previously thought.

    I’ve had a few quid on Sami leaving and have laid Kitty for the third week running.

  • Shoulders

    Hi, I keep seeing comments where people are laying their bets, how do you do this, I can’t see the option on any of the betting sites I use, I agree with Tim above I think there is no way they would let Kitty go just yet

  • nugget

    I can really see something controversial happening tonight or tomorrow, just to hit the headlines and try and lift the viewing figures.
    Maybe an “engineered” fight/falling out between two of the judges or one of the judges threatening to leave the show.
    What ya reckon?

  • Daniel

    Songlist has been released on the official site – it reads as follows:
    Marcus Collins – Are You Gonna Go My Way
    The Risk – Crazy
    Frankie Cocozza – Get Your Rocks Off
    Johnny Robinson – I Believe In A Thing Called Love
    Kitty Brucknell – Live And Let Die
    Sophie Habibis – Livin On A Prayer
    Misha B – Purple Rain
    Craig Colton – Stop Crying Your Heart Out
    Janet Devlin – Sweet Child Of Mine
    Rhythmix – Tik Tok into Push It
    Sami Brookes – Turn Back Time

  • Donald

    Lenny Kravitz for Marcus?? So a Cher song did get in Sami has it. More of a puzzle now!

  • Boki

    Why did Janet get such a slot, does it suggest she didn’t do well on a last week vote or it’s too early to say ?

    • Donald

      you right or else she had enough to be safe, although somebody on here picked up on that she was announced early as going through so was not a great sign.

    • tpfkar

      Gets the voters switching over from Strictly, sandwiches Sami with a top level act, and even popular/safe acts have to be sent out early sometimes to make it look fair. Possibly also logistics of some songs which need an ad break to set up the staging?

  • ab

    i put 1000 pound on Frankie Cocozza elimination will he gone this time..

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