When and why was Craig Colton hob-nobbled?

If the X Factor production team read Sofabet, they must have had a good old chuckle last Thursday when we posted an article explaining how week 6 had convinced us they had finally made up their minds to get behind Craig Colton over Marcus Collins as the favoured Liverpudlian boy. As it turned out, nothing could have been further from the truth.

We don’t know at what stage of the week it had been decided to shrink the biscuit boy’s hometown from Liverpool to Kirkby, give him the red and black treatment and style him (as commenter Nicky observed) as a junior Terry Scott, but it seems likely that by the time we posted that article Craig’s coffin was prepared and the hearse had been provisionally booked.

The lukewarm treatment of Amelia Lily on Saturday’s show hardly suggested that producers have long-term plans for her, so the fact that she was saved over Craig demonstrated the show must have felt a real imperative to get shot of him. It was a brutal and shocking comedown for a contestant who only the previous week had been talked up as a recording artist.

Today the Daily Star reported that Craig thought he was the “victim of a stitch-up”. Interestingly, he claims that it was only decided at the last moment that he was going to perform first (although we can’t help wondering if actually it was decided only to tell him at the last moment that he was performing first). So when was it decided to hob-nobble Craig, and why?

At the end of our article last Thursday, we noted: “We don’t know of any particular reason why he has drifted so much on Betfair in the last 48 hours (out from 5.0 to 7.6 at the time of writing). Perhaps there’s some kind of rumour we’re not aware of? Don’t forget Craig was reported last weekend as having packed his bags and quit, before Gary talked him out of it… it may be wise to tread carefully on any bets involving Craig until the reason becomes clear.” Here’s the story we referred to, from the Saturday of the week 6 show:

Liverpool lad Craig packed his bags and was poised to leave. He declared: “I can’t hack it anymore.” He said goodbye to all his housemates on Thursday but yesterday staff, led by mentor Gary Barlow, convinced the 23-year-old to stay. A source said: “Craig quit on Thursday. He said he was going home.

“He was really determined. He didn’t cry, he just wanted out. He didn’t want to be in the show any more. He was too drained and he was homesick.”

Of course, it’s never wise to take tabloid stories as gospel truth. But could producers conceivably have been sufficiently panicked over Craig’s mental state, and the thought of needing to bring yet another contestant back if he threatened to quit again, that they decided it was a chance they couldn’t risk taking?

Over at the excellent betsfactor.com, Richard runs with this theory: “The producers, in a first for 2011, dealt with the problem efficiently. Make sure he stays, keep him happy, when it’s died down get rid of him. Elephants don’t forget. The producers simply ran that weeks’ show as normal and then quietly and ruthlessly get rid of him.”

One possible piece of evidence in favour of this theory is Craig’s running order slot in week 6 – an unhelpful second. This, followed by opening the show in week 7, is the same softening jab followed by sucker punch routine that did for Johnny Robinson in weeks 4 and 5 – the 2-1 one-two. Amid the maelstrom of the returning contestants, producers might not have had much chance to change their plans for Craig’s treatment in week 6, but the running order is one thing we assume they could have tweaked.

Did we miss any other signs in week 6 that Craig might have been being softened up? His spot of second in the running order came after an equally unhelpful third in week 5 – but then, that was off the back of the pimp slot in week 4. And his VTs and comments were relentlessly positive in both weeks 5 and 6, so on the whole we don’t detect any earlier signs of disfavour.

If not this, then why else might producers have decided to ditch Craig? One theory we floated in our update post immediately after Saturday’s show is that he might have been collateral damage in the campaign to get Little Mix into the final. This would require us to believe that Little Mix aren’t doing so well in the votes, and Craig was the most vulnerable contestant for producers to pick off in the hopes of getting Little Mix to the final without the need for a singoff save.

Most importantly for the next three weeks, we also need to consider what the dunking of Craig suggests about producers’ intentions towards Marcus. Might we have misread the signs completely last week, and Marcus was actually intended to have been top boy from the start?

We think it’s unlikely. Indeed, in week 3, it looked very much like they might have been trying to get rid of Marcus when they sent him out as the only act in the Strictly overlap zone. With hindsight, we wonder if Marcus’s vote performance for week 2’s ‘Russian Roulette’ was so bad, producers thought they might have been able to get him bottom of the public vote.

Why might they have wanted to do so? If they expected Frankie Cocozza in the singoff again and wanted to save him, just about the only credible way to do so would have been through deadlock against another boy – it would have required only one other judge to save Frankie, and Gary could have deadlocked it “in the interests of fairness”.

As it happened, neither Frankie nor Marcus landed in the singoff, the latter after giving a determined rendition of ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ which prompted Tulisa to express surprise at how good it was compared to rehearsals. But the fact that Marcus was the only act in the Strictly overlap zone – in a week when producers must have been concerned for both Frankie and Kitty, and when it would have been easy enough to put either of their ultimate week 3 or subsequent week 4 victims Sami Brookes or Sophie Habibis there instead – is hard to spin positively for how they viewed him at that stage.

We then had Craig’s pimp slot in week 4 with his Adele impression for ‘Set Fire to the Rain’, after a Liverpool-tastic VT and praised to the rafters by the judges. Marcus performed ‘Superstition’, its soul undercut by the inclusion of an INXS riff, with heavy make-up around the eyes – as faithful to the Halloween theme as he had been to the rock theme the week before.

Perhaps the week 3 performance had persuaded producers of ideas we floated about Marcus in our speculative 1-16 prediction piece – “they will be able to rely on him to put on an enjoyable show, week after week” – and our review of the unpleasant week 3 Bullygate show: “his sunny personality offers one way to drag the show out of the negativity in which they have mired it.” Certainly by week 5 the vibe about Marcus was a whole lot more positive.

Then, programme makers took the ability of Marcus to provide a traditional song-and-dance, Saturday-night variety show performance to its logical extreme, by having him cover Jackie Wilson’s 1957 hit ‘Reet Petite’ for the dancefloor fillers theme. He had a section of the show to himself, a huge production begun with a mock announcement in black-and-white and Gary’s proud pimping that it was the “performance of the series”.

It didn’t last long, though. Week 6 saw Marcus sent on in a dickie bow for ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ with a carbon copy performance of the week before that the judges could label ‘predictable’. This is what prompted us to advise any Sofabet readers who took our recommendation to back Marcus at 14/1 before the live shows that we thought it would be prudent to lay back their stake money.

Clearly we were premature to do so – Marcus was 4.2 on Betfair when we advised that, and he is now trading at 3.2. Still, it did look very much as though producers were trying to torpedo the Good Ship Marcus, so we can’t have too many regrets about investing in a seat on the liferaft.

Having decided to throw the Kirkby Kid under a bus, though, producers proceeded to give Marcus the works on Saturday. They tried to turn week 6’s ‘predictable’ into a positive by having Scouse Saint Rebecca Ferguson preach the gospel that remaining true to yourself was important – and Rebecca’s presence in Marcus’s VT was alone enough to suggest anointing him with her blessing.

But were producers intending to undermine Marcus at the same time as pimping him? Dug raises an interesting point:

I’m guessing that producers know his niche and that they are gunning for the older woman vote but seriously? It was less Bruno Mar(cu)s and more Reverend Marcus Sunshine, inspirational leader of an inflatable, pink church in the American Deep South. It had the feel-good factor but I felt it was alienating overall. As a Marcus backer, I am seriously doubtful after a performance that only served to solidify his destiny on stage in the West End. Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t feel it reflected any producer love at all.

Reverend Sunshine has certainly come in for some healthy mocking since Saturday, with observations that he looked like Jesus and appeared to have been styled as Cat from Red Dwarf.

Although this week’s theme of Motown should play to Marcus’s strengths, we’re inclined to agree with EM, who says he is “in danger of looking less and less humble each week, something that doesn’t sit well with voters”, and annie, who reckons: “marcus will make it to the final to have a happy uncle gary, but i’m sure they’ll pull every trick in the book to make someone, anyone else win”.

Do you agree? What are your thoughts on when the decision was made to hob-nobble the biscuit boy, and what it all portends for Reverend Sunshine?

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68 comments to When and why was Craig Colton hob-nobbled?

  • Simon "le happy chat"

    Hi Daniel
    Excellent article although I don’t agree MARCUS is there to make up the numbers in the final – I believe he is in there to win it.
    I think there is a danger we mortals on the blind side of the leadr board tend to read far too much into producers aims and designs. As many here have pointed out X Factor is first and formost a money making machine, it is an unquenchable monster created to screw every penny possible from everyone possible in vehicles as diverse as the advertising to the weekly telephone votes, blatant hawking of the previous stable stars to the outrageous competition.
    Although the kingmakers have been knifing also rans in the shadows in the corridoor, now we are now all in the Great Hall of the ubiquitous King Syco where there are riches for all irrespective of who takes the one year tenancy of the glass throne that awaits the X factor winner.

    Having carefully and unscrupulously picked the last 5 the producers onyl need to get rid of one of the girls on Sunday then they will be in the usual win-win position.

    This series will be won by the best all round appealing entertainer and while I too will reserve a seat on the lifeboat after one of the girls goes this weekend, I shall not be looking passed the Good ship MARCUS- because he is a good ship. he has sailed throuigh rougher waters than those awaiting him in the next three weeks and with fair weather treatment from the producers I remain convinced he will do it.
    If I’m wrong then I’m wrong but this is now a free bet, MARCUS has already brought home the bacon as top boy and I am well ahead on his selection.

    Good luck everyone whatever you decide.

  • Rob

    i’m only on marcus as a saver bet to protect profits tbh so i’m not really wanting him to win – just to do well.

    in many ways he’s been treated worse than janet. he’s been brainwashed into accepting he’s the reincarnation of little richard, with the cheesiest styling this side of a showaddywaddy reunion concert and no chance to show off his singing voice against increasingly ludicrous staging gimmicks and saturday night at the palladium dance routines.

    however, there are clearly people who will vote for this. the problem i think syco have got is that i think the voters are voting for the performance and not the voice so at some stage they have to consider whether he is the best post show option? i suspect that they will ensure he finishes no higher than 3rd, and may even sneakily try to ditch him before the final in favour of damaged (but more marketable) goods, namely one of the girls.

    • Jake

      @Rob, It could be all talk but Gary was adamant on Xtra Factor that Marcus was not just an entertainer first, singer second, and he promised to “unleash Marcus’ voice” on us next week and that we were in for a “Big surprise”. Marcus went on to say that along with a surprise non-retro uptempo number next week he would perform a ballad alone on stage.

      If Marcus’ voice is up too scratch (watching his short ‘A kiss from a rose’ bootcamp clip and his performance at Judges houses, I am inclined to agree) then next week could well be a turning point for Marcus. Especially now that Craig is out of the competition and so his ballad vocal won’t draw unfavourable comparisons. Marcus’ progression in the competition has reminded me very much of Alexandra’s (complete with her week 5 standout performance and Candy Man moment = Reet Petite). Alexandra had her listen ‘moment’ in week 8, and if Marcus pulls off his ballad he could well experience a similar reaction.

      Also, Daniel I would disagree that each week Marcus looks “less and less humble each week” most of my friends and family have commented on how even at this stage in the competition he seems so friendly and modest (always thanking the judges after their comments, and that great smile of course).

      I am sure at the very least that Marcus is a cert for the finals. Even if he is dangerously close to the bottom the producers will never allow an all female final, for fear of isolating part of their audience.

      • Daniel

        Hi Jake, I think that Marcus is incredibly humble when listening to the judges comments, and this is one of his most likeable traits. My fear is that the production he was given last week was meant to undermine this, in particular the final crucifixion pose which would have been given to him by choreographers.

        • Jake

          Yeah that moment did worry me slightly, and now that I think about I agree things like that could definitely remove the ‘humble factor’. Hopefully next weeks stripped back ballad, with just Marcus and a mic will bring him back down to earth in the eyes of the viewers (if he gets good comments of course…)

          • nugget

            I think the damage is done now to be honest. It all went badly wrong, being given the pimp slot and a big production is supposed to be a great chance to boost your support and votes. In Marcus’s case it appears to have exactly the opposite effect.

            In every ones mind now is the vision of Marcus as a light entertainment cabaret act in a bright suit rather than undiscovered popstar.

  • Rob

    off topic but of interest
    http://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/x-factor/x-factors-janet-devlin-to-turn-on-omagh-christmas-lights-tomorrow/

    JD may get an even bigger than normal regional vote due to this?

  • nugget

    As I said earlier Craigs statement that the running order was changed 5 minutes before the live show is at best a complete exageration and at worst a total lie.
    How do I know this?
    Gary Barlow introducing Craig as the first act to appear was filmed 30 minutes before the show.
    You can not beleive me if you want but I know that to be a fact.

    • Dug

      If the intro is filmed in advance then technically Craig could have meant 5 minutes before filming started – even if that filming was in advance of going live. However, I’m more inclined to believe that Craig was under a false impression until the last minute. I can’t see why he would lie outright.

  • nugget

    Actually,thinking back, when I first got into the studio on Saturday at 7.15pm the visuals and lighting WAS initially set up for Amelia (black and red THINK backdrop)….maybe the order was changed about 3/4 hour before the show.
    Not that it matters, he has gone now and I never at any stage saw him as a potential winner.

  • tpfkar

    Really thoughtful, intriguing article, exactly what makes sofabet so compelling.

    1. Was Marcus in trouble after his Russian Roulette performance? Checked my figures, and I reckon he was mid-table, but not out of danger at all. Certainly feasible being sent out first could have seen him in the bottom 2, but I have him as one of few acts to significantly improve in week 3 (the very negative week.)

    2. Why was Craig dumped? You’ve tried to find a long-range pattern, but I reckon this is one of many areas where the producers are winging it this year. Not impossible it just got decided on a whim in some meeting.

    3. Or…a (very speculative) theory from my analysis. Go back 3 weeks. Johnny/The Risk/Frankie booted out, I have Kitty and Craig as the next two lowest in the vote. Craig was then sent out second. I make it that Misha had a massive comedown from her sympathy bounce, despite huge pimping, to leave her bottom 2 with Kitty. What if it was supposed to be Kitty/Craig? Then Craig is saved and bounces last week (i.e. 3 days ago) before crashing back down to earth and out afterwards (this coming Saturday.)

    But it went wrong two weeks ago, when Craig did well with a dull effort at Paparazzi. The producers never really favoured him, but he needed help in the vote, and they couldn’t afford for the Liverpool vote to stay split into the final. speculative indeed, but you never know.

    4. What happened to Marcus on Saturday? I posted along these lines at lunchtime, again mostly likely explanation is a bit of a cock-up rather than dastardly plan (as the comments/VT were so positive) but I stand by his support collapsing as a result.

    • Simon "le happy chat"

      You might be right Tpfkar about his popularity taking a bit of a hit with the “crucifixion” pose at the end of his last set – I didn’t particularly like it- it reminded me of the Madonna one she did on tour a few years ago.
      However Madonna (and Michael Jackson from his “Earth Song”) were both up their own a-a’s where as MARCUsS is clearly not in the same “I love me who do you love?” league.

      In the short run no harm done because he got through- in the long run everything to play for and when they unleash MARCUS’s ballad voice on Satruday he will be seen for the marvellous all round talent that he is. I too recall the brief extract from “Kissed by a rose” and he was really, really good. He also has a wonderful range and superb falsetto and whereas all the others have opened their box of tricks, MARCUS has more in reserve.

      Anyway I’ve spent two months yabbing on about how good I believe MARCUS to be and how I believe he will win this competition. There’s not much more I can add except that I expect MARCUS to do the talking for we passengers on the Good Ship on Saturday evening.

      • Dug

        For as long as I live, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see or hear the words ‘good ship’ without the face of Marcus Collins flashing before me.

      • tpfkar

        Hi Simon, I’d say it’s a bit too early to say whether there’s any long-term damage. If there’s any act versatile enough to turn round a bit of a misfire, it’s Marcus. Signs are pretty encouraging imo – Gary talking about a stripped back ballad next week sounds like they aren’t going to repeat this styling.

        I’d worry if his next VT shows the crucifixion pose while Marcus talks about ‘finding his identity’ on stage, and if he is wearing as outlandish an outfit, but I still think it was all a bit of an mistake not a conspiracy- the VT and judges comments were so positive.

    • Annemarie

      Craig himself never believed he could win. Perhaps, that was part of the problem, and the X Factor production team saw that. First he tipped Sophie to win, then Janet after Sophie left. The fact that he threatened to leave suggests his heart may have not been one hundred percent in the competition anyway and it was an opportunity to let him go.

      • nugget

        Craig just wasn’t good enough to win. Ok I admit he was pushed in the end, but anything else would only be delaying the enevitable.
        I wrote 4 weeks ago that I would give up this game if Craig Coulton won XF, I live to punt another day 🙂

  • Jake

    @Nugget I disagree, the viewers are fickle and if Marcus pulls it out of the bag next week (and the subsequent weeks) then he can easily shift that image.

    Just look at Craig, nearly topping the yougov stats, youtube views, itunes ratings etc. Than the following week bottom two and eliminated with the least votes to save.

    • nugget

      If You Tube views on Xfactors official channel this week are anything to go by then Marcus is going to have his work cut out.

      Littlemix more than twice as many views as Marcus and 65,000 more views than their nearest rival Janet.

      Its a one horse race from here, bar a fall at the final 3 fences.

      • Curtis

        But Youtube views don’t tell the whole story do they. I’m still up for calling this a 3 horse race, or at the very least, a 2 horse race between Little Mix and Janet.

    • CllrMick

      I’m not sure if YouGov stats are reliable in a contest aimed at the younger audience.

      YouGov is made up of volunteer panellists, predominantly older than your average XF voter.

      One JD fan I follow (who I believe is about 15) claims to have voted 65 times on Saturday and more on Sunday. Unlikely she would be asked to do a YG survey.

  • CllrMick

    Can someone explain the double elimination to me. If it was a surprise to all surely they have one too few contestants to see this through to the end unless they have a week without elimination?

    • Andrew

      Hi Mick, as it stands they’ll have a three-act final, which is as it was in 2007-2009. Last year was the first time they had four acts in the final. If they hadn’t brough Amelia back after the double elimination and Frankie’s departure they’d be on course for a two-act final, which hasn’t happened since 2006.

  • Rob

    just speculaion, but if marcus does an upbeat contemporary track this week will that not alienate his core vote who have taken to his retro image? i’m not so sure being versatile is a strength on this programme? in fact i think borelow asking littlemix to strip back the vocals is a tactical way of trying to undermine what they do so well. also in the case of janet the chopping and changing they encouraged her to do was also an effort to undermine but in her case she was able to ride it out so far because of her fanbase.

    i worry for marcus a little. his upbeat contemporary numbers in shows 1 and 2 were not successful, and if they give him a ballad how will it fair sandwiched between big numbers for the girls, and he won’t have the benefit of the pimp slot this time. personally i think he should be ok but at this stage i also think trying to show versatility might be a mistake.

  • shoulders

    I have just thought of a little theory for producers intentions for who they want to win. I think it is a common thought amongst punters that the producers want the act that can sell the most records to win and not another winner that releases one album then goes back to obscurity, but this may not be the case. I think that what is a certainty is that the show is a business that wants to earn as much money as possible from each years crop of contestants. (they have no long term commitment to anyone because even if it’s a bad harvest the seeds for next years crop will be auditioning soon) I also think that to be credible it is only going to be the acts that finish in the final that the show gets behind for a recording career. Are there any acts that finished lower than the final top 3/4 that anyone can remember the show getting behind? (novelty acts excluded!!).

    I think that the show does not need Little Mix to win to earn the most money from them (the only reason for them to win would be to break the duck of a group not winning), like JLS and One Direction if they get to the final their long term post show career is a certainty. The show is going to earn a fortune from them But lets take Marcus, everybody thinks he’s heading to the final but there’s people who think that if he does win he will have a similar career to Joe McEldery & Matt Cardell and that is a trend that the producers want to break.

    But is that really the case? Marcus is brilliant on the show but would he be as successful in the charts? Comparing him to the other male winners I’ve mentioned he doesn’t seem like he would be, but that is not to put any of them down as they’ve all made great Saturday night television and already in Joe and Matt’s cases worthy winners of a singing talent contest but I think the shows main intention is it is a business which is trying to earn the most money possible from all the contestants that reach the final and to earn the most money, history shows they need the Joe’s, Matt’s and Marcus’s to finish higher much more than they do the JLS’s One Direction’s and Little Mix’s

    I think the earning potential from Marcus if he wins, even if it comes from just his first album would definitely be more than if he tried to release an album after finishing 3rd or 4th whereas with Little Mix once they reach the final (and become credible) I don’t think their finishing order is going to make any difference to how much they fill Simon’s wallet, there is clearly a career and place for them in the charts (not winning has done no harm to multiple acts). I think the show is a business and it is all about making as much money as possible and the order that the top 4 finish in could certainly have an effect. Sure they want to find the next Leona (arguably the only contestant they have found who has the X factor) but its all about making money and making as much as possible each year. Regardless of finding a Leona or not they want to make the most money from who they’re  left with (which is the acts they chose to steer to the final) and there will be a whole bunch of new hopefuls for them to chose from eager to fill Simon’s coffers next year.

    To use this theory i think it goes someway to explain the treatment of Janet, I am now of the belief that she is also the producers choice to reach the final. As pointed out in the Sofabet articles from the audition process she was clearly favourite. So why the poor treatment since then? Well my theory is that as i mentioned above its all about making as much money as possible. They want and need Little Mix to make the final and with the history of bands especially girl bands on the X Factor that is not an easy task to get them there. I think Tulisa’s comments last week where she practically shouted at the camera that Little Mix really need the votes was all too true. I think that although they want Janet in the final the reason they are giving her poor comments / slots / song choices is that she is the act that is doing well enough in the phone votes that she does not yet need to be praised to get there. There are people who watch the show that will vote purely on who they think sang the best each week and they will change depending on who they think was the best on the night. Of course there will be the fans who vote for the same act week in, week out regardless and both Janet and Little Mix will have these, but what i think is becoming clear is that Janet has enough of her core fans voting regardless of comments for her to avoid the bottom two without any pimping whereas Little Mix needs all the help they can get. I think to pimp Janet and give her comments like, wow you were the best of the night, wow you’re going all the way to the final, could take vital floating voters anyway from Little Mix risking putting them in the bottom two, i think they can’t afford to lose votes. The producers want Little Mix in the final that is a certain but for the people that have jumped on the pimping band wagon and think they are now heading for victory, i think once Little Mix have reached the final there is the strong possibility that for the producers that will be job done and that the judges support for Janet is going to come on strong.

    I think the winner will come from Janet or Marcus, and it will be voted from the non record buying public at large (20 million viewers / 100 thousand winner single sales) who simply vote for the middle of the road mass appeal act who they think sang the best. Which history shows more often than not in this competition will probably not be the person who can sell the most records.

    • nugget

      All very sensible thoughts shoulders, and I agree with much of it.

      A couple of weeks back I would have said maybe your completely right, I agree that Janet has enough hardcore fans to keep her in the running without gushing praise at her.

      I do think you are underestimating though the speed at which the Littlemix train has accelerated. Maybe its just me and the people I meet, my colleagues, my FB friends, but so many now are supporting Littlemix that I think their victory is unstoppable. These are people who were not LM fans until the last 2 or 3 weeks. Far from needing to beg for votes now I am almost feeling that the producers will NEED to dampen support in the next two weeks a little just to stop the result being a foregone conclusion.

      The crowd went mental for LM after last weeks performance and LM fever is sweeping the country, all the stats Tweets show it loud and clear.

      Not a bad word about them in ANY press, all down to earth likeable girls. People who have watched the whole series feel like they have followed them on a journey, and I would be the first to admit that they looked pretty hopeless in the first few weeks.
      I am now really starting to beleive that this was all cleverly planned from the start, the song choices in 3 of the last 4 weeks have been truely inspired and the makeover into a polished girl band amazing (they did look like 4 average girls stood at a bus stop together the first few weeks). Someone like Janet, whose best performance was arguably at the audition stage has no scope for improvement.

      A top 3 finish for LM is fine for me, however I have a feeling they are not just going to win the X Factor outright but be HUGE for the next 2-3 years.

    • Richard

      I think there’s another reason why they might not want Little Mix to win. The winner’s song will be a Gary Barlow-penned ballad. Bear in mind that a lot of record-buyers don’t watch X Factor, and their first exposure to the winner will be their winner’s song. For Janet or Marcus that would be fine, but Little Mix need something up-tempo and a bit more imaginative than Barlow is likely to write.

      Look at Girls Aloud – they got handed an entire career because someone picked Sound of the Underground as their first song and everyone who associates reality TV winner with tedious ballad got a shock.

      I suspect that the producers know that Little Mix will be better off avoiding the Barllad and releasing a Summery up-tempo floor-filler in June or July, and then building a career from there.

      That means looking to Janet or Marcus for a winner – unless they’ve got a Xenomania-style hit tucked away for LM, of course.

  • sam

    what im unclear of this year more than any other and it may be just me here but why does it really matter to the producers who actually wins this show,i mean lets be honests this show is all about making money ,they dont care about anyone on this show full stop and this also includes the judges/mentors.Its a busisness and nothing more cowell and co made this show to make money and they do every year regardless of who stays ,who goes,who wins!
    its now becomeing very clear to alot of people outthere that this show is more fixed than when GEORGE.W.BUSH became presedant of the usa.
    Craig i believe has said that he thinks he was stitched up on the show and that was very clear to one and all last week,so if they dont look out then everybody outthere will sooner or later regardless if they want to believe it or not will realise its fixed for certain acts to get to various stages of the show regardless of their talent or lack of in some cases and stop playing the game,if this happens then the whole thing will erupt like a fricking volcano

  • Rob

    running order so far (public vote only):

    JD 4 2 6 2 4 2
    MC 7 1 4 5 5 6
    LM 8 4 9 9 3 5
    MB 9 11 5 8 6 4
    AL * * * * 7 3

    lol it’s so obviously rigged that maybe they have a handicap system!! JD and MC should be scrutinising their contracts for a fairness clause?!?

    • nugget

      Maybe of interest , Ladbrooks now betting on who will sing last this week

      LM 2/1
      JD 11/4
      MB 7/2
      AL 4/1
      MC 7/1

      Any thoughts?? Surely JD is due a spot at 11/4 ??

      • taichou

        btw guys did you notice that acts which were in bottom 2 for few previous weeks either sang before or after Devlin…

        • Rob

          @taichou – yes i pointed this out on the previous thread. the last week she was flanked by the people ending up in the bottom 2. it seems to suggest an a position of strength (after all 2nd is a tough runnong order too and i think she was the only one who didn’t get an ad break straight after) and perhaps an ability to outshine through immediate comparison. if my theory is right expect her to be kept away from littlemix this next week. in fact i wouldn’t find it surprising if she goes 1st and LM are last again (1 direction and rebecca ferguson were given that running order this time last year).

      • Rob

        @nugget – i don’t know about the pimp slot but i think out of the survivors JD is the only one who hasn’t been annouced first on the results show.

      • Andrew

        JD may be due one, but I’d be surprised if it’s anyone other than Misha or Little Mix.

  • nugget

    I have said before Rob, I think they should draw lots to decide the running order for the next week live on the Sunday show.

    Apart from making it much fairer, it would give us something else to punt on 🙂

  • Fergus

    Not sure what to make of this BUT somebody on Twitter named “Paul_McCartneyx” sent these two messages to Janet

    “Janet I work for VM.You have the largest share of the vote by a mile..Look forward to your winning song from Aidem Nigriv.”

    and

    “Janet I work for VM.You have the largest share of the vote by a mile.Relax and sing your heart out Aidem Nigriv.”

    Er….??? Aidem Nigriv is Virgin Media spelt backwards, three VM employees got done in April this year for betting on insider voting data for a previous series, um…….. Any thoughts?

    • Rob

      could be an attempt to make her voters complacent but i think that would be stretching conspiracies a little far. it’s very unsubtle though?

      • Rob

        there is a message following the above message on janet’s facebook page:

        “You talk utter Billy Bullshit and live in dreamland. You have spammed ever XF artist with the same crap.”

    • Pete D

      FERGUS and ROB.
      That guy is and those messages are originally from Janet’s facebook wall (about 6 posts down) and are from a guy called ‘John Smith’..yeah sure, LOL, (not Paul_McCartney). When you click on his own (billy no mates) fb it comes up that he is involved in some Betfair/Betdaq fiasco thing.

      This is a guy who thinks “Johnny rocks” on his fb and who is also writing complete taunting jumbly on LM’s fb wall.
      Sounds like a bit of a Walter Mitty to me who’s dealer sold him some really bad gear.

      • Rob

        lol ‘John Smith’ thats Dr Who’s pseudonym… you don’t think..?… nah!

        • Pete D

          Rob. On his wall it seems like he is some sort of whinging shareholder for Betfair or Betdaq or something (a bit beyond me really).
          Perhaps he is just touting for biz on on commission with them. Still, he sounds like a harmless nutjob (who carries a sonic screwdriver and thinks he lives in a Tardis perhaps ?, LOL).
          Exterminate !

      • Fergus

        Haha the internet can be a straaange place, his twitter account is 95% spam as well, not to worry then. Still clinging onto the good ship Marcus, I expect things to become a lot clearer on Saturday one way or the other

  • Simon "le happy chat"

    The only other thing I would add is watch the bettingh closey. I dont believe the statistics get out but the producers plans for individual acts are clearly capable of it viz CRAIG’s odds drfited awfully this time last week as those in the know placed their stakes in anticipation of the “dunking”.

  • Rob

    if the star is right with this then we are on the right track for the finalists. have to say that this would be the best final line up both from a betting and entertainment point of view
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/222078/COLDPLAY-FIX-IT-FOR-JANET/

  • Allan

    If it’s true the good ship is getting lumbered with that oaf Buble, he is screwed, especially if Janet gets coldplay and the mixers get Jessie J, who would obviously suit them well. Reminds me of a few years ago when Alexandra got Beyonce and poor JLS were lumbered with frigging Westlife!

    • Pete D

      Even so Allan, JLS are the ones who came up trumps with chart sales and awards over Alexandra.
      I got the feeling that Beyonce just wanted to get off stage to scrape something off her shoes and tear up her phone number. Hug hug, mwa mwa, yeah now sod off love. LOL

  • Rob

    it seems like a good time to start considering the final. i think the venue could have a signidicant impact on the result. 10,000 people and wembley arena is a completely different setting than the television studio and presentation is going to have a major influence on the vote.

    daniel, andrew have you been having any thoughts on this? with your eurovision experience with the big venues it seems to me that you may have some impressions as to who is likely to fly and who to stall in a setting like this? i’m guessing the big productions of marcus and littlemix are likely to make big impressions in the auditorium but who is likely to be the best on television? it seems to me that if they edit janet with the sweeping camera moves of the television studio she’s going to be further diminished in a big arena, although with the right editing perhaps the intimacy of television will act in her favour?

  • Oscar Diggs

    Rob – that’s a really excellent point about Wembley Arena for the final. I was beginning to think Janet could be gaining speed this week but envisioning her in an arena environment in the final really doesn’t click for me. Her style hits home when it connects on an intimate level (like ‘Your Song’ in the audition) – I really can’t see that coming across the same way at Wembley.

    The Wembley stage really does appear to be set-up for Little MIx in particular who will thrive in that environment, not to mention a potential performance with Jessie J who they have already performed with on stage (remember their VT a few weeks back?)

    Marcus is also very well suited to the arena atmosphere and his type of big production performances will go down a storm. However, I don’t believe Little Mix will be denied.

    I got in early enough with a Little Mix/Marcus straight forecast at 22/1 and I’m considering a cover bet on Little Mix/Janet currently at 8/1.

    There’ll be inevitable twists and turns yet – and I wouldn’t discount Misha B somehow sneaking into the final. Amelia Lily has no chance.

    • Pete D

      Not so sure about Misha being there though Oscar. If the latest ‘bullying a blind girl’ thing is still fresh in folk’s minds, that’s a mighty risky lot of Boooo’s at 10,000 for XF to transmit live. Stay with people’s champion MARCUS to be in it ( I don’t like to see riots and lynchings anyway if he ain’t there).

  • Simon "le happy chat"

    I too hope its not that overrated autotune oaf Buble but as the producers dont know who is in the final yet it is too soon to start matching the acts up.

    I am fairly representative of the middle aged viewer and I have hardly heard of “Jessie J” and you can bet your ass she wont cut any ice with most of the blue rinse brigade either.
    They will have heard of Buble for sure but I would have thought it was a step down for COLDPLAY – they would have trouble with keys and JANET, let alone the yodelling – that assuming she gets to the final.
    Wait for the reading of the will….

  • Malcolm

    It’s a good point about wembley arena, but Janet won’t be the first solo singer to perform there so I don’t see that in itself being a big deal. A bit of variety is needed for the final and Janet complements the other likely finalists, Marcus and Little Mix. In the final the ‘blow the audience away moment’ is usually with the guest/s …. Remember Leona and Take That? So Janet and cold play could be that moment and the same with little mix and Jessie J. In that kind of environment I see Marcus lacking the power to blow us away. He’s been competetent so far, and there’s no doubt that he can perform, but for me he’s fallen short of giving even one big moment in the series so far. Leona, Alexandra, Joe, matt and Shane had all done that by now several times.

    • Kev

      Coldplay have a concert that evening so it won’t be them. Janet backers will need something else to cling to for a few days.

      More ridiculous rumours to follow but Jessie J/LM seems nailed on.

      • Rob

        it does seem unlikely. the only reason i gave it credence was because the daily star are often accurate with xfactor leaks.

        • Pete D

          Its front page hard copy today about COLDPLAY. Thats gonna be one BIG climbdown and will blow the STAR’s ‘inside leak’ cred if they ARE already out gigging.
          Possible ‘early’ XF JANET slot and then a chopper to their venue (if in London) perhaps ?

          Good news for other acts if so, as last on best remembered.

          • Pete D

            Actually, this is way possible as COLDPLAY are at the 02 on Saturday 10th with 4 other acts on the bill with them in one night. 11th they are free anyway (if XF stretch/milk this over 2 nights, as some googling indicates).

  • bob

    Is jessie J a bit edgy for X factor? As in, even if Cake Mix and co do get her, not necessarily great. She’s also not THAT well known is she.

  • Andre

    Would have thought that the only reason Marcus fans were against Buble appearing would be the monumental gulf in class being so apparent!

  • Andre

    wish I knew how to do smiley face on computer!

  • Nicky

    Despite supporting the good ship Marcus, I’m afraid I agree with Andre. A duet with Buble would be a disaster and make Marcus look ordinary. A female vocalist would be a better idea.

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