How much do the X Factor producers care who wins?

How much do the X Factor producers care who wins? It’s obviously a pertinent question for punters in the win market. In the Sofabet comments box, while it seems everyone has been agreed for some weeks now that producers care very much about getting Little Mix into the final, there has been a sharp divide of views on how much they will care about Little Mix winning.

At one end of the spectrum, Rob speculated that producers may be so keen on Little Mix winning, they would try to engineer the two weakest possible opponents into the final. At the other extreme, EM has frequently expressed the view that all producers care about is building up three or four acts who will be marketable after the show, and which of them wins is immaterial.

Certainly recent experience suggests that getting to the final matters more for post-show charts success than winning it. Last year’s beaten finalists Cher and One Direction have this year seen their astutely-pitched debut singles go straight to the top of the charts, while ‘Run For Your Life’ describes what Matt Cardle should probably have done when this Gary Barlow-penned dirge was proposed as his launching pad.

From 2009’s finalists, second placed Olly enjoyed more chart success than winner Joe McElderry, who needed to drop down a league in reality show terms to get a second bite at the cherry by winning Popstar To Operastar. Meanwhile, arguably the most commercially successful X Factor graduates of all – if we look more broadly than the charts – are Jedward, who finished down in 6th.

From the class of 2008, JLS have clearly been done no harm by finishing second. 2007’s alumni are largely best forgotten about, though second-placed Rhydian Roberts is at least still releasing records, unlike winner Leon Jackson. You have to go back to 2006, when Leona beat Ray Quinn, to find a year in which the winner has outperformed the beaten finalists.

Can we draw the lesson that producers won’t care? We can see the case for thinking along the lines proposed by Richard: be relaxed about the prospect of Marcus winning, as then he’d be the one lumbered with the Gary Barlow-penned Chistmas single; keep the more marketable Little Mix and Misha B under wraps for a more carefully-planned launch single next summer, a la One Direction and Cher.

But our guess is that the producers probably do want a commercially viable act to win, and we have two reasons for guessing this.

The first is that it would make sense for them to care, because it matters for the long term health of the franchise (admittedly the long term health of the franchise does not appear to have been uppermost in programme-makers’ minds this season).

Without wanting to sound elitist, it’s one thing for those of us who enjoy analysing the show in forums such as this to discuss how it doesn’t matter whether or not you win in terms of post-show commercial success, but if we were the show’s producers we would very much want to avoid that thought penetrating the consciousness of the average X Factor viewer.

The need for drama dictates that the viewing public believe a finalist when they say “I’m so nervous, Dermot, I want this more than anything”. If it became widely believed that they were really thinking “actually, Dermot, history shows that third place is a perfectly good springboard to commercial success, so I’m quite relaxed about tonight”, would people stop voting? Would they stop watching?

There is, of course, an additional consideration this year in terms of the health of the format – it would presumably be useful to establish that a group can win it.

The second reason we assume that producers care who wins is that some of the tactics we analyse in terms of which acts they seem to be trying to keep and get rid of in the earlier stages also appear to be used in the final.

We are into the realms of pure speculation here, because it’s only singoffs that can keep us grounded in reality in our attempts to read producer intentions. When we write that it seems clear that the show is trying to get rid of an act, and that act lands in the singoff, we can be disproved if the act is saved.

There is no such reality check when it comes to decoding intentions in the final. We can never know if our reading was correct.

Nonetheless, it’s fun to speculate, both beforehand and with the benefit of hindsight. Readers of Sofabet during the 2010 season will know that our reading was that producers would have ideally liked One Direction to win but decided to make a last-ditch try for a Rebecca Ferguson win in the final having concluded that One Direction wasn’t possible. As we wrote in the first of our pieces reviewing the 2010 season once we had the voting statistics to hand:

a strong piece of evidence that producers were still hoping to get Matt beaten on the day of the final was the absence of a “contestant’s favourite” round – which had happened in the previous two years – in which each act reprised a favourite song from the live shows. That would have given Matt the chance to sing ‘First Time’ again, and his week 5 voting performance suggests that would have made him unbeatable.

We also interpreted the running order (Matt on first, Rebecca last) in this way, and the choice of Christina Aguilera as Rebecca’s duet partner – singing ‘Beautiful’, which fitted her narrative arc of journeying to self-confidence – as an attempt to recreate the kind of magic moment with Beyonce which helped Alexandra Burke over the line in 2008. (Unfortunately for Rebecca, she fluffed it).

Sofabet wasn’t around in 2009, but our sense of that final is that programme makers had probably accepted by the time of the final that Joe had unstoppable momentum (he had stormed the vote in weeks 7, 8 and 9) and embraced this by giving him the pimp slot.

In 2008, as mentioned, the duet with Beyonce appeared to be a huge help for Alexandra – especially in comparison with pairing JLS with Westlife – and this was compounded by giving Alexandra the pimp slot. The voting figures showed that JLS had won the week 9 semi-final, so it would presumably have been conceivable for programme-makers to have pushed them forward instead of Alexandra had they wanted to.

In 2007, Rhydian Roberts went into the final as a long odds-on favourite and was given the pimp slot. The show didn’t release voting figures for this or previous series, so we don’t know how votes had stacked up in previous weeks, but we’d be amazed if programme-makers had wanted any outcome other than a Rhydian win. The Welsh showman would surely have been a better ambassador for the X Factor brand than rabbit-in-headlights Scottish warbler Leon Jackson.

Likewise, we find it hard to believe that programme-makers would have been ambivalent between a win for Leona Lewis and Ray Quinn in 2006.

On the question of the running order at this late stage of proceedings, there was some discussion in the comments after last weekend as to whether it might actually have been intended to help Little Mix’s vote to put them on first, rather than a sign of confidence that they didn’t need help, given that the phone lines opened after the first set of songs. It’s a nice theory, but we think history doesn’t back it up.

In previous series’ shows with three or more contestants singing twice, the first act to sing has been eliminated ten times and the last act to sing only four times. That strongly suggests to us that producers perceive it to be an advantage to sing last rather than first, even when lines open after the first set of songs.

The identity of the acts eliminated after singing last in these circumstances also points this way – Cher in 2010 in the four-act final, Katie Waissel in 2010 in the seven-act quarter-final, Danyl Johnson in 2009 in the four-act semi-final, and Ben Mills in 2006 in the three-act semi-final were acts the show generally seemed to be hoping to help, not hinder.

In sum, we are expecting producers to do their best for Little Mix in the final – though not to the extent of actively stitching up the other acts too badly. It’s an acceptable compromise in entertainment terms to nobble one-sixth or one-tenth of your acts by making sure they’re too boring to motivate votes, but not two-thirds of your acts in the show’s grand finale.

Two closing thoughts. Is it purely a coincidence that of the show’s seven winners, it’s the two girls who can be considered successes while Matt Cardle is showing every sign of joining the other four males in the not-so-successful category – and conversely, of the commercially successful acts who have been beaten, more are male? If there a non-coincidence explanation, we can’t think of one.

Second, if you’ve not been following Richard’s hilarious red and black day over at betsfactor, we highly recommend you do so (recall Richard’s theory is that red and black in performance staging indicate a vote-dampening intention; after some querying of this at the weekend, it’s a theory he is today testing to destruction).

As ever, your thoughts on all the above are warmly welcomed in the comments box below.

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38 comments to How much do the X Factor producers care who wins?

  • Pete D

    Of course XF cares who wins. They want ‘cap feathers’ and trophies just as much as anyone else would. Lord knows they have been trying long enough to get a band of any gender to win.

    They just know the extent of the votes and support and what they can either ‘pull out of’ at the eleventh hour, OR ‘really’ run with in order to put extra effort into to getting them over the line.

    This year it is looking very likely to succeed having found the right ‘MIX’ of well experimented chemicals (and a very hungry and lucrative gap in the market for their well ‘market researched’ product).

    The whole show is just one big ongoing ‘test project’ business plan in progress.
    The voters/potential customers are telling them what they want. Just the product alters slighty to suit as they feel their way forward.

    “Plan your work and then work your plan” is every businessman’s road map to his goal.

    It took Thomas Eddison 500 attempts to invent a successful light bulb and it seems that XF are doing it in 7.

    Off subject (or maybe it’s not ?)
    BTW. I found this on a Yahoo XF news thread today and it is about the best and funniest concise ‘sum up’ of X-Factor I have seen yet. I laughed so much that I thought my pants would never dry.

    “X-Factor is a bit like the air conditioning on an airplane which recycles your own farts and sells it back to you as ‘Fresh air’…..”

  • tpfkar

    Yes they do care who wins, at two extremes:

    1. Preventing a joke winner. If something went wrong with the assassination of a Wagner/Jedward act and they somehow went on to win, it would damage the credibility of past/future winners – to be avoided at all costs.

    2. Going international. If you’ve got a real star who can make it abroad, such as a Leona, far easier to market them as a winner than as a loser. In the UK, we know who they are and it’s not a big deal, but outside why would an international market care about who came 4th before they’ve seen the winner?

    Between these two, there are short-term considerations; who will flog the most Christmas records? Whose victory would make the best conclusion for the show? Are there any acts who would be harder to market as a loser? Would a re-tread winner damage the show’s credibility?

    Making it more practical, I don’t think any of the remaining 4 acts would be an awful outcome for them – they’ve got the scalp of Janet at long last. I still think this would be a good week to ditch Amelia, and Misha is too far behind, but if they get the final 2 of Little Mix/Marcus and play it straight & fair, it could be a positive note to end a series full of negativity on, whoever wins it.

  • Kev

    Good piece.

    This year they have to push the group as they may not get a chance as good as this for another five or six years. 8 years without a group winner is absurd but 14 years shows the format has been a complete failure.

  • annie

    They do care who wins, and ideal outcome would be the winner to have the most cmmercial succes. They were pushing 1D down our throats last year because they knew 5 shampoo commercial boys will cause histeria and sell products(note that i’m not saying just music)like crazy even with limited musical input(cause come on, their songs are not bad, but not much better than an OK and their voices don’t hurt but aren’t that brilliant either). It’s clear to them that the voting public isn’t the music buying public(just compare the numbers: millions of votes cast vs ten-thousands of records sold meaning a lot already). Many of the mature male/female voters of matt for example might like to listen to him, but won’t bother buying an album, the amount of matt they get through radio and other media is enough for them. But fanatic youngsters will get their hands on Anything by their favorite, will give out money to buy their song, album, book, doll, t shirt, and the song will peak close to the top of the charts, even if it won’t stay there for too long.
    Regarding the male/female winner’s succes stories. I think both alexandra and leona were lucky, that their first post show releases were brilliant song choices. I had no idea what the x factor was in 2006 (not being in england) but I loved Bleeding love after I heard it on the radio, same with alexandra. The demograhic of voters makes it easier for a charming regular bloke with good voice to win, for a girl to make it to the top she really has to have a strong aura (either singing or personality wise), that is needed in the post show career,where it’s essential to stand out immediately.
    Regarding Little Mix, they are headed for the win (yes they have started to push them a but too desperately by quoting even simon to back them…let’s hope it doesn’t backlash), but I still think now that Janet’s out of the way the charming and safe smile of Marcus, with a brilliant duet (a la kylie with Leon) can catch a lot of just-in-the-final-housewife votes and could win for him, even if it’s the last thing producer’s want.
    There was a long comment at one point, can’t find i just now, arguing that LM were the secret plan A all along. well, I disagree with that completely. Maybe in a previous year I would have thought the show is clever enough to play in such a subtle and efficient way and do the points enumerated, but this year it’s impossible. The whole series is very easy to read, every act desired to be eliminated was easy to identify, even Janet-even if many of us were in denial, the signs were there. It’s like everything is scripted, boxes are ticked each week. they don’t even bother mixing up the order in the sing off to make it a bit more exciting. Like the staff from previous years that went to america left behind the manual ‘This is how you make X Factor’ for the interns who are now following every instruction literally without much creativity in the execution. So no, I don’t think them to be clever enough to push Little Mix in the subtle way described by the commentator. I think they are contenders by chance, with a bit of luck. First of all I don’t find them that much better or outstanding than other previous girlbands. They might have a bit better voices, but I’m sure if for example Belle Amie from last year would have gotten the same amount of push and would not have been in the shadow of 1D they could have made it far too. Little Mix were initially pushed simply to escape the girlband curse of being first to be eliminated, then as NuVibe left week 1 they got some more push to avoid embarassing Tulisa by letting her loose another act. Then they were lucky with the Risk turning into a ridiculous Frankenband 2.0 . I’m 99% sure without the nonsense of Ashley leaving and Ashford coming back The Risk would have made it further then Little mix. I think producers panicked bit of leaving Tulisa actless so early on, so the girls were pushed and luckily they were actually capable to deliver a show stopping moment at the right time with ET. Pure luck that all these things came together, nothing pre-planed for sure. Just remember the strange smile on everyone’s face when in week4 xtra factor rufus hound said he’d buy a little mix album, it was almost like a joke. Then they became contenders by default, cause none of the remaining acts were making producers really happy and I guess they realised that in a weak year it is an excellent opportunity to pimp the x factor franchise itself by getting a group to win.
    Little Mix will surely have some of succes now, whether they win or not, cause they appeal (amongst others) to the tonedeaf teenage market who didn’t have that many options whom to follow this year, the longevity of their succes will depend on the tipe of material they get to release.
    Marcus might win, but I don’t see him having a longer are shinier carrier then Joe or Leon.
    Misha will do well if she returns to her truly edgy self form the first 3 weeks, which didn’t get her enough wife votes to keep her fromn the b2, but is comercially viable.
    I can see a niche for Amelia too, with the right material I can see her doing well too.

    Oh God, I know this became a bit of a novel rather than a comment, sorry for that …

    • Panos

      annie, I have to say, I couldn’t agree more with everything that you’ve said, especially the little mix stuff. I wonder how disgustingly OTT the producers are willing to become via excessive pimping even during the final.

      • annie

        …and I wonder if they learned anything from previous years that very obvious and shameless push of someone results in turning things the other way around.

    • Andrew

      Hi annie, here’s the Little Mix comment you were referring to, from abs
      http://sofabet.com/2011/11/28/x-factor-2011-week-8-review-janet-devlin-the-princess-diana-of-the-x-factor/comment-page-1/#comment-9835

      It is an alluring theory… but one which, as you say, would be a whole lot easier to believe if producers had shown much evidence of subtlety elsewhere this year.

      • annie

        Thanks for that, this is the comment I was referring to, and I still stand by what I said, that whilst in retrospect all points look possible I doubt it was so.
        Oh, I can’t wait for the voting stats to come out in 2 weeks, I am quite confident that weeks 2-3 the girls were in the bottom half of the pack, wouldn’t be at all surprised if close to danger zone. I just re-watched their pre-pimping first 3 performances, veeery weak, their styling is as if they were let loose at the bins behind not very good high street shops with unflattering make up and hair arrangements, not very good showcasing of vocals, decent but not at all outstanding or brilliant in any way.
        I do wish now they would win, just cause I’m somehow not that fond of the rest of the remaining acts, but I am a bit worried by the recent extensive push they are starting\ to get.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Excessive pimping by producers has not swung a final. far from it. Remember back to WIll Young beating GG, Scots lad beating Rydian, Matt Cardle beating RF and the others, also remember BFT last year where another odds on favourite crashed to the Scottish singer.
    There are too many people voting and they cannot sway enough of them if the performances dont cut the mustard.
    Whoever performs best in the final will win.
    That has not always been the case in most of the heats, although when you think about it, people who perform porrly (Frankie the Scientist and Jaent the memory loss) pay the price. The ebst performer will win this, and so far the most consumerate professional is the good ship you-know-who and in my view he has the experience and stage presence, voice, talent and likeability to see the others off.

    • Panos

      my wallet (and taste, but mainly wallet) are both hoping u r right!!

    • Pete D

      Simon “le good ship chat”
      That could be quite true in past years with the limited catchment area boy band attempts, but this year they have a much bigger ‘golden egg’ with the ‘full package’ that will appeal right across the board.

      Right from the ‘pester power’ 5 year olds like my own Granddaughter (where the T-shirts/transfers are already on eBay), through to the schooly teens (who are already identifying with their ‘ordinary girl’ issues).

      Then through the Karaoke/Pub/Jukebox/club/disco/dance/bubblegum music/Hen-night scene, to the Mum doing the ironing singing along to the radio and even some wrinklies who like a bop at weddings on their Zimmer Frames.

      Abba, Steps, Grease stuff STILL fills the dance-floors even now and everyone knows the words and the ‘Mamma Mia/Tragedy/’ dance moves. It’s just good clean fun stuff (BTW, ‘Steps’ have just re-formed to catch the nostalgia pop wave too and are doing well again with a new single out).

      I am out there all the time in my work and hear what kids (and adults) say. A lot are fed up of the bum bum thud hard dance music churned out at them and just like a good time, a good laugh and a sing-along when they have had a good drinkypoos.

      This is why they turn back to the older ‘clean’ stuff for some fun because there is no new stuff there to be had.

      LITTLE MIX will deliver all this ‘fun stuff’ too only in a more 2012 trendy form if they are managed right and keep it commercial with the right image and catchy songs.

      Remember the phenomenon that was The Spice Girls and you have it nailed and being reinvented and re-packaged here.
      There has never been a better time for it in recent years.

      SG sold out a recent reunion tour in hours and most of those attendees were now into their late 20’s and 30’s (and even taking their own kids with them). Call it ‘their guilty pleasure’.

      Even The Spice Girls themselves are advocating LITTLE MIX as the new ‘them’. Then there are the clothes fashions and hairstyles market etc that they will create for girls to emulate.

      Can MARCUS create all this ?

      Simon, we all want MARCUS to do well as he is so deserving and has all the attributes you describe in droves, as is ‘my view’ too (and I will still profit well anyway), BUT we have to be realistic as to what ‘girl power’ he is up against now (with all 4 contestants).

      Even the trending AMELIA SILLY is appearing to be well ahead in a week 9 poll http://xfactor-updates.com/).
      Misha takes a small part of that solo male MARCUS vote too (until she is gone and THE where does it go ?).

      As it is, I am hoping its the SCREAMING PINK KARAOKE QUEEN who goes this week to help create a better secured gap between LM/MC and MISHA).

      With the greatest respect for you and your quality personal taste in MARCUS, you cannot justify that he will ‘”see them off” just on those attributes alone when you yourself will probably only buy a CD and go to see him in a West End show or a concert some day.

      There is a tidal wave gathering fast now which could affect the smooth passage of the ‘good ship HMS Hope’.

      Meanwhile the ‘good ship’ and the ‘Steamroller’ go on ‘together’ to the finish line hand in hand.

      • Simon "le happy chat"

        You might be right Pete D
        I certainly wouldnt buy a MARCUS record.
        I wouldn’t buy a Little Mix one either.
        They are ok, but not THAT good.
        The best of the female performers is Amelia but she looks hard as nails for 16, has been in bottom 2 so votes are limited.
        LM could win.
        MARCUS could win.
        They obviously both cant and it may be the momentum behind LM will prevail- thing is we don’t know. I’ll lay a bit off on them if they get to the final, but I dont rule out a MC v AM!

        • Pete D

          Simon “le decent bloke chat”. I have a £20 28/1 straight f/c cover on LM/AM too just as ‘value’ insurance (as I didn’t come up the Cylde on a bike).

          Anyway, after just complementing your quality taste, I am surprised that you even rate THE ME ME ME ( “I deserve to be here”) PINK ONE.

          Talking about ‘nails’, when she sings it reminds me of that scene in Jaws when Quint was scraping his ‘finger nails’ down that blackboard ‘just to get people’s attention’ (same scenario, same result).

          Fraid I HAVE to buy an LM CD, but for my little Princess (but I will burn a copy off for myself first, LOL). I do actually like them and I ain’t ashamed of it either. I like a bit of shameless pop around the house now and again to complement my Beatles, Stones, Floyd and Zep.
          I need it too to study studio recording techniques for my customer jobs.

  • Ano

    I’m not sure that the producers wanted Rhydian Roberts to win in his year. Rhydian was from a (fairly) well-off family with a beautiful house in the Welsh countryside. He had been head boy at his public school and had just graduated from a conservatoire with a first-class degree in music performance. Leon Jackson, on the other hand, was the child of a poor(ish) single mother from Glasgow, he had just left school and had received no singing lessons. His only performance experience was a bit of karaoke in local pubs. Leon was heavily pimped in the final, including a duet with Kylie and a strong appeal to the Scottish vote. The winner’s song was far more suited to Leon’s ‘journey’. Rhydian, on the other hand, was portrayed as cocky, even arrogant. His duet with Katharine Jenkins labelled him as a classical/opera singer rather than a pop singer.

    The audition stages are really important for X-Factor in terms of gaining viewers and a win for Rhydian might well have discouraged future auditionees. The story of the Leon/Rhydian final was that anyone can have the X-Factor – you don’t need to have had years of training or a university education. Just turn up and audition and, if you are good enough, you can make it.

    In short, I think that narrative is as important as potential in the minds of the producers.

    • Andrew

      Hi Ano,

      You might be right. On the other hand Rhydian had also been on a “journey” from arrogant beginnings and I think was seen as quite humble and likeable by the time of the final; they pimped the Welsh vote as much as the Scots vote; and I wonder how calculated the Kylie help was – it might just have been that Dannii could get her, they couldn’t say no and Leon was much the more obvious fit. They might also have thought the Katherine Jenkins duet would work better than it did.

      • Ano

        Hi Andrew

        Yes but…

        1) the population of Wales is much smaller than the population of Scotland so the voting population is likely to be smaller also

        2) even if the KJ duet had been perfect it would NOT have made Rhydian look like a pop star

        3) the final VTs showed ‘arrogant’ Rhydian and ‘little boy lost’ Leon.

        4) Simon Cowell had earlier described Rhydian as ‘the one to beat’ which seems to be a coded phrase for ‘one who will be a surprise elimination’. I guess it is one of those ‘this person is safe; you don’t need to vote’ signals.

        The X-Factor producers have two real priorities; viewers and votes. They need to create surprise and suspense in order to maintain both of those so will want to avoid an obvious winner. It seems to be that an early or obvious favourite never wins. As I said, they also need fresh auditionees so it is not in their long-term interests for highly trained, professional singers to win the competition. They need a winner who appears to be a talented, hard-working amateur: somebody who has just walked in off the street. It could be you.

  • bob

    My wallet and taste second that (and I don’t have any taste)

  • sam

    In 1968 when andy warhole said “in the future,everyone will be famous for 15 minutes” i dont think even he would of realised just how true this has become of todays culture and fame hungry population.
    The “x”factor is not just a show its an industry which year after year makes millions of pounds based on both popularity from its tv program and from its after market franchises.Simon cowel was the brain child behind this show but he alone could not have created this show without others helping him make it become so popular(the producers of the show are required for this).
    Yes they care about who WINS this show but baybe not quite in the way some may think.To make it popular and profitabe and to keep it running the Winner of the show must not only appeal to the majority of the paying public who will eventually go out and buy the records but must also appeal to the show itself,and to appeal to the show itself the show(thats the producers) must want the act there ,and if they want the act there they will at all costs do what ever it takes to help get a winner from them,even if this means a few underhanded tactics to achieve this.
    This shows been around for 8 years now and has created really only 1 notable star”leona Lewis”i can even remember simon cowell saying that they may never find another winner like her on this show,and he was right they havent.
    unfortunetly this shows has become very bad at being able to find REAL tallent to front the show, and this years unholy balls up with all its on and off screen contraversy has proven this,but be that as it may they have just got to get on with it and get their “winner” if they want to retain any sort of future for the show.
    I think though this FINDING A WINNER of the show is where it goes very wrong for the producers,this year they have gone way to far and crossed the line in the eternal hunt,setting up acts to fall on a weekly role aint good viewing and like a extream horror flick at times very hard to stomach and the GBP are seeing though what is now a very thin wall,but find a winner they must and i can only see 1 this year the little mixs very well loved by the shows producers and it apperar by the public,the producers know this all to well thats why they have started treating they as super heros on the show and praising then to the hilt,and allowing star acts to endorse them which makes them look even better as a potential winner,its this though i find a little distastfull,if you cant let them win on there own abilities as singers and performers then they not good enough to win,being pimped up to the hilt on and off screen is not playing ball,but i guess its this that says it all in the tital thread
    “do the producers care who wins”,i say both yes and no,yes because its the show reputation that will be slated if the winner turns out to be yet another in the line of to quote my top line of andy warhol “15 minutes of fame” act,but NO because its a buisness not a charity they will have there fame and then there fortune but its ultimatley what they as winners do with it that matters ,but to the produers its just the end of the game untill the same time next year when they will go through it all again and this years winner winner will be a distant memory.

  • Boki

    100% off-topic

    Melodifestivalen odds are already offered by several bookies, anyone interested? Dear Sofabet team, are you thinking of covering the Scandinavian ESC choosing contests? I guess the answer is no but why not, it’s fun and good warm-up for ESC.
    Last 2 years I had mixed results from Sweden and Norway (did also Denmark and Finland but just a little since no/limited qualification odds there) but I learned a lot. I would recommend bet24 as a bookie with highest and sometimes completely crazy odds on those markets.

    • Daniel

      Hi Boki, what a nice reminder that Eurovision season is not so far away. I occasionally get a little bit involved in the Swedish and Norwegian competitions to choose their entrant. If anything catches my eye, rest assured I will give it a write-up here.

      • Boki

        The worst thing about ESC is when it ends and you have to wait about 10 months for the next one. Luckily I discovered this x-factor world in between. Looking forward to the articles about Melodifestivalen and Norway MGP, if I could help by sharing my experiences let me know when the time comes.

      • Panos

        Some good odds already for melodifestivalen, last year I had eric at 1:6 even b4 his song was out due to the anna fiasco the year b4, so some speculative combos are defo in order with those odds.

        • Martin F.

          That’s precisely what makes this year’s MF so unpredictable, if you ask me. Sweden needed a good solid result after the Bergendebahcle, and that’s exactly what they got (and how!). So quite what they’ll do this year is anyone’s guess.

          My great hope, of course, is that they’ll foolishly select The Moniker so that we can all cash in on his inevitable semi-final failure, but (to quote, appropriately enough, this little slice of robbed NF glory) it don’t work like dat doh.

  • Lux Lisbon

    Ahoy-hoy, hipsters, flipsters and finger-popping daddies – three days on and I’m still ***seething*** over Janet’s treatment.

    It was, without doubt, the biggest whitewash since the printing of The Warren Report, and the most unjust thing since Harry Gibbs raised Joe’s hand at the end of the Cooper/Bugner fight.

    Karma will have its day though, it will have its day.

    • sam

      i think lux lisbon janet well may have the last laugh over this years show after all if any of the media reports i have read and heard today are true ,it appears she may well have already been offered a recording contract by one of the DRAGENS DEN stars duncan valintine on his AKA record lable,if this is true and she takes it them she will have well have the last laugh and can truely stick to fingers up to this shows producers and simon cowell ,i would just love it if she has as i was a Miss D fan and still am.

  • Lux Lisbon

    I agree, Sam. Modern R’n’B seriously, (as Danny Kelly, former NME Editor has said many times), has truly been the death of pop music.

    Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, J-Lo etc. It almost seems like they all release a record every week. That they can sing, is not without issue. However, it is about as sexy and as exciting as a night out with Jimmy Krankie.

    Miss Devlin however, perhaps because of my own Irish ancestry, spoke to my soul.

    Oh, my god…her rendition of ‘Chasing Cars’ – I was crying like a kid at his first day at school.

    Sorry guys, slightly off-topic, but there we go.

    PS I can’t believe how long it has taken me to discover this esteemable website. I am not usually impressed by anybody or anything these days (except, maybe, Frankel), but the level of depth and intelligence on here has blown me away. Awesome sauce.

    • sam

      i should of said Duncan Bannatyne (not valintine) dam hope hes not reading this.
      yes i to liked janet to its not all about shakeing your booty or dressing up like an extra on the tweenes ,that to me is whats wrong with some music today but everyones entitaled to have there own tastes.
      looking in the that recored deal janet may have been given if its true it wiil be grate for her own confidence in this cut throat industry to think there some one out there who does believe in her music even if the show itself did not,she may have to wait a while though even if the story is true as she still going to be tied into the x-factor contract untill after the live show tours are over mid next year.yes i know weare off topic but some times it looks as though some do on here and as long as it does not take over the thread i think it will be ok, i hope.

    • Pete D

      Hey Lux, you just leave Jimmy Krankie alone. I worked with the Krankies once and they were the the funniest thing in the dressing room.

      (trouble was, the only ‘other’ thing in there was Orville the Duck in a ‘body bag’ after Kieth had finished his act ‘early’ and was drowning his sorrows in the bar).

  • Duncan Bannatyne

    Funny you should say that Sam (and for that reason I’m out).

  • bob

    The goos ship sails on. Not only have they stolen Rebecca’s boyfriend, but they’ve also stolen Zayn from young girls everywhere.

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