So, farewell then, Misha B. You were clearly the most talented semi-finalist on that stage, but you didn’t make the final and nobody was remotely surprised. To sum up Misha’s journey, we can do no better than quote The Bitch Factor’s review of the week 7 show:
Misha VTs that she doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong. Ooh! Ooh! I know! You started off being a confident black woman, which is always an obstacle on this show, then Tulisa threw you under the bus, then you reinvented yourself as someone tediously humble who gives low-key performances, thereby alienating the small but appreciative group of people who liked you in the first place. I think that covers it, right?
We’ll look back more on Misha B’s X Factor journey in the next article, revisiting the bullygate question with the benefit of hindsight. But for now let’s offer some further observations after re-watching Saturday’s show.
This morning Boki wrote in the comments: “What I have learned here is that at this stage judges tend to praise everyone but yesterday they de-ramped both favorites to win! Why is that, simple internal clash within them or still scripted?” It’s a great question.
We wrote yesterday about how surprised we were when Gary said Perrie should be recognised as the lead singer of Little Mix, given this had been used as a vote-dampening tactic for both Nu Vibe and The Risk this series. In our surprise, we hadn’t fully clocked until we re-watched it that Louis backed him up by shouting that Diana Ross led the Supremes, and Kelly also yelled out at Dermot that groups need a lead singer.
What do we make of this? Could it be that all three other judges are in revolt against the producers’ pushing of the girl band? Perhaps it’s most likely that Gary’s comments were premeditated, but dear old Louis forgot himself in the heat of the moment and merely wanted to re-establish his knowledge of the motown era, having just killed off the still very much alive Berry Gordy in his comments to Misha.
Or does the three-judge hitting of this point indicate it could have been a planned dampening of Little Mix? It seems unlikely – why then switch the order of Marcus and Little Mix for the second round of songs, putting the girlband in the pimp slot?
We don’t know for a fact they were switched, of course. But it looked very much like Gary was genuinely surprised when Dermot came to him to introduce Marcus as the penultimate act. There was a look of amused incredulity and an “OK… wow”, which seems challenging to explain in any other way.
Perhaps the de-ramping of both favourites was merely an inevitability given that they were both, well, a bit shite. Marcus’s struggles with his lower register in ‘Can You Feel It’ fully deserved the negative comments from the other three judges, and made Gary’s praise reek of similar unlikely things he said about Frankie Cocozza.
Meanwhile, the opening bars of Little Mix’s performance of ‘If I Were A Boy’ amply demonstrated why they have needed liberal use of the One Direction Memorial Backing Track this series, and why Gary was right to point out that we have a developing “Perrie and the Woo Woo Girls” situation on our hands.
The comments on Little Mix’s pimp slot were a fascinating combination of outrageous hype from Kelly with acknowledgement of disappointing reality. Louis: “If you work harder, get the styling right, this is the next big girl band”. But why aren’t they working hard enough? Why isn’t the styling right yet? They’ve had nine weeks.
Kelly: “When you guys find the strength within each other, who brings out the best in the group… once you figure that out, this group is going be so dynamic and change the world”. But why haven’t they figured it out yet? Aren’t putative winners supposed to be completing their journeys by this late stage of the show, not standing by the roadside confusedly consulting a map?
Tulisa’s comments were oddest of all: “there’s only one recording contract in this competition, and if people want to hear your music after the show they have to pick up the phone and vote”. How unaware does she think voters are? Or was she not paying attention when Olly Murs appeared on stage six days previously, and has she not heard Cher or One Direction in the charts this year? (She hadn’t heard of ‘Think’, so it wouldn’t be entirely surprising).
We suspect the de-ramping of both favourites is probably more of a cock-up than anything else. But there is one possibility we ought to consider. Could it possibly be that this is all now intended to smooth the way for an Amelia victory?
As regular readers will know, our view on this has long been the one Richard eloquently expressed in a post at Betsfactor today:
My hunch is they would have prefered Amelia to go, because if she wins it makes a mockery of the entire show. It also makes a mockery of the judges deciding who to put through and shows Kelly made a catastrophic error of judgement. If Amelia wins, Kelly couldn’t even spot that she would be popular with the public and ranked her FOURTH out of the girls. What an utterly useless and inept judge and what a utter waste of time. So if she wins, it will be shambolic for the show – but this year has been full of cock ups like that!
Though we are increasingly coming round to the view expressed by EM in the comments today:
I’ve long said Amelia winning or doing well is a storyline the producers would love. They’re quite happy to have mud slung at the judges if it means money in the bank. Look the judges got it wrong but my how Amelia and the British public told them so.
Amelia narrowly heads the pack in a tight race according to the latest Survation survey (thanks Shoulders for pointing this out). Let’s also remember that there are a couple of vote-grabbing storylines that could be trotted out in Amelia’s VTs next week – we never got the rumoured diabetes VT in week 8, and we now discover that Supportive Dad is apparently bankrupt (hat-tip Sam B).
Could it possibly be that Amelia is the new Plan A? There is a plausible case for thinking she might be easier to get across the finishing line than Little Mix, and more commercially viable than Marcus. And you would presumably worry less about embarrassing a judge if that judge might not be coming back next year.
What are your thoughts? Is the Good Ship Marcus holed below the waterline? Is the Little Mix steamroller running out of gas? Do let us know in the comments box below.