Cynical souls that we are here at Sofabet, our first reaction to news appearing in The Sun that Frankie Cocozza had been kicked off the X Factor was to get to Betfair and snap up some 500/1 on Frankie winning the show.
In our post previewing the last elimation betting, we remarked “the weekly dose of Frankie-out-on-the-lash articles is starting to wear as thin as his voice”. Yet, as we observed in our post-Saturday show update, we thought producers did their best to keep Frankie around by giving him a helpful late slot in the running order, a VT which featured him admitting he has no idea why people are voting for him, and a full-frontal attack from Louis in his comments.
It all seemed to us to have been carefully designed to stoke up the sense of irony and mischief which we can only assume explains why enough people had voted for Frankie to see him this far. And if this was indeed the intention, then it succeeded, as Frankie escaped the bottom three.
So we initially suspected that this story might represent a plan (of no little genius) to find a new way of keeping Frankie in the headlines this week. First, kick him out. Then, find a way to bring him back. 500/1 seemed a decent price, our thinking being to lay it off if he was reinstated into the show and then survived the bottom two for a fourth week in a row.
However, it now looks like we may sadly have overestimated producers’ deviousness in this instance.
As noted by Sofabet commenters, some bookies (though not all) have already refunded bets on Frankie, so they seem to be treating the news as final and we must assume they have good reason to do so. At the time of writing, the latest news we’re aware of is that Sky are reporting “sources” alleging the reason was drugs-related.
Certainly, the “golden rule” Frankie broke must be pretty serious, given that we have learned already this series that being accused of bullying or racism by other contestants is apparently entirely compatible with staying on the show.
We also can’t help remembering that last year, Wagner was pictured in the tabloids smoking dope and was even alleged to have introduced his dealer to the other acts – all without being summarily given the boot, as Frankie appears to have been.
Anyway – whatever the reasons for it – if Frankie is indeed gone and never to return, this gives the show something of a headache. With six acts remaining and four live shows between now and the final, we are on course for a two-act final.
There is a precedent for this – Leona Lewis’s 2006 victory over Ray Quinn came in a two-act final, third-placed Ben Mills having departed in the previous week’s semi. But given that this has never been repeated, and indeed last year’s final was expanded to four acts, we can safely assume that it will not be a preferred option.
What else, then? A week without eliminations would ensure a three-act final, but wouldn’t exactly give the viewing public much of a reason to tune in.
The only other route would appear to be reinstating an eliminated contestant. At the time of writing, the two most recent eliminees – Johnny Robinson and The Risk – are trading at 220 and 46 respectively on the Betfair win market. Two of the acts rejected in the big twist in week 1, Amelia Lily and James Michael, are trading 50 and 660 (optimistic fans of Jonjo Kerr or 2 Shoes could still get on them at 1000).
We’re pretty sure they wouldn’t want to take Johnny back, given the lengths to which they went to dampen his support in week 4 and then to get shot of him this week. They might not mind reinstating The Risk, but we struggle to see how they could do so without it seeming unfair not to bring back Johnny, given that The Risk got fewer votes.
Would they dare to bring back one of the big twist eliminees? If so, the phrase that comes to mind is jumping the shark. But producers have made some questionable decisions this series, so we wouldn’t entirely put it past them.
The X Factor website is promising a statement tomorrow (Wednesday) on what will happen this Saturday. What are you expecting, and what’s your reaction to the news? Do let us know know in the comments box below.