It turns out the public are suckers for a sob-story VT after all. Misha B’s teary chat with Kelly gave her a second sympathy bounce, against the expectations of most, leaving Craig Colton to face off against Amelia Lily in the final showdown.
We had tipped Amelia Lily at 10/1 in our pre-elimination post, and while that wasn’t a winner it could at least have been laid off at around 3.0 on Betfair during the singoff.
In our immediate review of the Saturday show, we noted that all the evidence pointed to Craig Colton being “dropped like a turd in a patisserie box” as Dug later put it. It was certainly a sharp and unexpected change of direction from producers considering the previous unremittingly positive coverage the biscuit boy had received.
As I wrote in response to a question from commenter taichou in the comments under yesterday’s update piece, “A Craig / Amelia bottom two would be a difficult one to call. I don’t think I’d be betting on that one.”
And I didn’t – the first singoff of the series that I’d sat out, after five previous singoffs that had seemed like finding money in the street. While the fact that Craig sang first continued the remarkable run of predictability – now 19 of the last 20 singoffs have seen the act singing second saved – there were too many nagging doubts for me to pile on Craig.
Notably, the rationale that had led us to tip Amelia Lily – essentially, that we thought it would damage the credibility of the X Factor brand for a contestant who had entered through the back door to get to the final. The fact that they allowed her to go through means that they really wanted rid of Craig this week.
We rather suspect the bottom two pairing was not quite what producers were anticipating. We would bet they were hoping merely to get Misha B above Craig but still in the bottom two, allowing them to save her on deadlock and set her up for a sympathy bounce next week.
Interestingly, the two acts in the bottom two had both got the “red and black” treatment pointed out by new Sofabet commenter Richard on his betsfactor site. He flagged up how a red and black colour scheme seems favoured when the show want to depress an act’s vote, and pointed out how this had been part of Craig’s treatment this week. Sofabet commenter Nicky pointed out that it applied to Amelia, too.
Perhaps the thinking is to put viewers in mind of Hades. At any rate, it is a fascinating new angle to bear in mind which we certainly hadn’t noticed before.
The treatment of Amelia Lily on Saturday – a gentle deceleration rather than the gear-crunching into reverse that we had anticipated – had strongly suggested to us that the intention was to soften up Amelia for a week 8 exit rather than drop her into the bottom two now.
If this is the case, the show now faces something of a headache as Amelia will be due for a sympathy bounce next week. Of course, the unique circumstances of her re-arrival into the show raise a question mark about whether she will get one – but one of the central planks of the softening-up process, breeding complacency in her supporters that she doesn’t need their votes, has now been blown out of the water.
Added to that, now Misha B has enjoyed her second sympathy bounce, she is due for a comedown next week. It may be hard for them to keep Misha above Amelia in the vote, much as we believe they’d like to.
It will now be fascinating to see whether producers decide to revert to the format of losing the singoff at the week 8, final 5 stage which has been traditional in previous series where we have headed to a three-act final. There are precedents for a singoff at the final 5 stage, of course, not least last year’s.
As far as we are aware, no announcement has yet been made of how next week’s vote will work, and last year at the final 5 stage it was unclear whether or not there was going to be a singoff right up until the Sunday show.
We’ll be back on Monday with more in-depth thoughts in a review post as usual, but for now what are your reactions to Craig being sent back to Liverpool Kirkby? Do let us know below.