We wrote an article a few days ago looking at the way that the show had treated its two remaining boys last week: Craig Colton had clearly been favoured over Marcus Collins. We experienced a much bigger switcheroo this week than we could ever have anticipated: Marcus was handed the Liverpool shout-out in his VT and got the pimp slot for the first time, with some major pimping; Craig came on first to face some classic vote-dampening tactics with his VT and the judges comments.
His VT was a neutral one, as indicated by the fact Craig was now from KIRKBY, not Liverpool (something EM also noted in the comments). They didn’t feel like they could attack his vocals, which were competent once more for such a big song. Instead, the judges bickered about the song choice, so that any praise was overshadowed.
They also planted other doubts in the minds of the viewers. Tulisa said: “I found it a bit predictable,” and, “It felt like a bit of a step down.” Meanwhile Kelly wanted “just a little bit more personality”. Sending on Janet Devlin afterwards was an attempt to send him down the memory hole, a role she has performed before in this series.
All this came after a day which started with The Sun reporting “X Factor’s Craig Colton is dating Danyl Johnson“, complete with a picture of the pair. As Danyl was such a polarising figure, this seems hardly likely to have had voters racing to the phones.
In our article on Marcus and Craig, we floated the theory that producers might want to engineer Craig into a singoff from which he could be saved. This would help him bounce towards the final if he was indeed the preferred boy but not doing so well in the votes. A week 7 singoff save saw both Olly Murs and JLS bounce to the final.
We initially thought this might be what was happening – but the treatment of Misha B and Marcus later in the show has caused us to incline to the more obvious explanation for Craig’s treatment: that they have decided to cut him loose.
Because if they wanted to bounce Craig ultimately over Marcus and into the final, then why pimp Marcus so much at the end of the show? Let’s face it, they gave Craig’s Scouse rival the works. Marcus got Rebecca Ferguson, the gospel choir, a perfect song choice, great styling, brilliant judges’ comments. If they were hoping to dampen Marcus over the coming weeks, they gave themselves the most difficult of uphill tasks.
Misha was given another very favourable draw, a kind VT, good song choice and excellent judges comments. She was further softened in the minds of viewers by the story of her birth mother. Quite whether viewers will respond to it is another matter, and it would be no surprise to see her in the bottom two once more.
But Gary’s comment was fascinating and worth quoting in full:
“I completely disagree with every person out there who’s watching this show because I can’t believe no-one’s voting for you, I really can’t. The other thing that’s making me really sad is that it’s actually affecting you, the songs you choose and the performances you’re giving, because I think you’re being too safe, I want Misha B back, the way Misha B should be. I feel like you’re trying to win votes. Get back to how you was because that’s how I loved you, and if you’re going to go out of the competition like that, who cares, go out with your integrity.”
This appears to be setting up a perfect excuse for what would otherwise be the embarrassing task of saving Misha for a third time – the idea that she has lost her way, and needs another week to go out with her integrity intact.
Little Mix were given every pimping, as was expected. Reaction in our comments box and from Betfair punters was highly positive, and while we didn’t feel it was such a gamechanger, we weren’t expecting them in the bottom two before the show and we aren’t now. We would certainly expect them to be saved if they are.
Of the others, it was quickly apparent that ‘Kiss Me’ was an excellent song choice for Janet Devlin. She looked her most comfortable for weeks and judges concurred. Louis once again made reference to her potential as a recording star, something that we pointed out in our article defending her chances earlier this week. The judges were all far more positive, and this felt like an attempt to turn around some of the negativity the show had previously thrown at her.
We had advised a small stakes interest in Amelia Lily at 10-1 to be eliminated this weekend, on this basis that producers would want to put the brakes on her triumphant return last week. She’s now a general 7/1 and we still wouldn’t rule out her falling into the bottom two, but her production and treatment this week felt more like a gentle deceleration than an emergency stop.
I normally have very strong views on who would be preferred in any sing-off. However, in the most likely-looking match-up – between Craig and Misha – I wouldn’t be as sure as I usually am. Taking this weekend in isolation, everything points to Craig being given the boot. And it may well be that producers have looked at the lie of the land and decided that if they are to get Little Mix into the final, Craig is a sacrifice that needed to be made.
But the relentlessly positive treatment Craig has received up till now must at least give pause for thought.
Given that 18 out of 19 of the previous sing-offs have been won by the act coming on second, that would be the best (but by no means guaranteed) indicator for me if these are the two in the singoff. At any rate, I’m not getting involved for the moment, having already laid Little Mix in the elimination market all week.
Who are you expecting in the bottom two, and who do you think would be saved if it’s Craig and Misha? Do let us know below.