X Factor 2011 Week 9 Review: Bullygate Revisited

Oh dear. Can there ever have been a worse standard in an X Factor semi-final? As Sofabet commenter PG says, “the final could be classic car crash tv if they perform like they did tonight in a huge stadium arena”; Rob concurs and adds “tbh it’s the only interest i have now – to see if this develops into a real train wreck”.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that producers have misplayed their hand this series. Malcolm puts it well: “the semi final; and still not a single act producing anything like a wow moment… The x factor isn’t all about the record deal, it’s about entertainment week in week out as the live shows progress to the final. The Leona, Alexandra, Joe and Matt years all had lots of it, but this years show has only had one blow you away moment in the live finals and that was when Craig chose his own song.” Lux Lisbon sums it up: “this has been a dog’s dinner of a series”.

Indeed it has. We can debate how much better it might have been if certain other acts had got past bootcamp, judges’ houses or the twist; or if they’d taken more initial care to get The Risk and Nu Vibe right; or if they’d worked with the apparent popularity of Janet Devlin or even Johnny Robinson, whose ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ is arguably the closest thing we’ve had to a show-stopper since Craig’s ‘Jar of Hearts’, rather than panicking and hunting them down.

But for now let’s focus on how Misha B, who arguably had the most raw talent of any of the final 16, has also been allowed to depart before the big final.

For those who need reminding, it was in week 3 that the defining moment of Misha’s X Factor experience occurred. Having sung ‘Purple Rain’ from the pimp slot, she could only stand and gawp as Tulisa and Louis set about a character assassination that gets no less astonishingly inappropriate with the passage of time.

For reasons we explained after week 1, we think Misha would have faced an uphill struggle to win even without bullygate. But at least her first encounter with the bottom two might have been postponed by a couple of weeks, and that might have enabled her to get to the final – and without looking like irredeemably damaged goods.

This topic came up in the Sofabet comments box last week, with Highlighted asking: “why in week 3 did Tulisa and Louis accuse her of bullying… Was this just a production error thinking the reaction may have been different”?

Lolhart says in reply: “The bullygate accusations still make no sense. At first I thought that Misha was causing trouble behind the scenes for the producers and it was a deliberate attempt to damage her… The only alternatives I can think of are that firstly this was a rare incidence of the judges not following the script… More disturbing is that it was possibly an ill-advised attempt to create some controversy in an otherwise dull series.”

In our initial review of the week 3 show, we went with the latter explanation, given there had been reported panic about falling ratings. Like lolhart, we generally assume that judges’ comments exist to advance the show’s agenda more than their personal ones.

So, for example, when Gary said to Misha on Saturday: “You have been wrongfully accused of being someone that you’re not… even if you are lucky enough to get through tomorrow night, I don’t think you can win because of that, and that’s a shame”, our instinctive reaction was to wonder how we might parse these comments: An attempt to get votes for Misha by provoking sympathy? An attempt to suppress votes for Misha by suggesting there’s no point? An attempt to repair some of Misha’s reputation with a view to 2012?

But perhaps the least cynical explanation here is the correct one after all – that Gary is a human being who has the human quality of empathy, and is having a dig at Tulisa and Louis and/or the producers for how their mishandling of the week 3 situation has had such an undeservedly negative effect on a talented performer.

In that thread last week, Kate suggests: “My (entirely speculative) take on Bullygate is that maybe there was some tension behind the scenes, it hadn’t been resolved through normal channels, and Tulisa took it on herself to issue a coded warning on the live show. Ill-advised though this was I don’t think Tulisa would have said it without producers’ approval.”

If you re-watch the bullygate exchange in the light of Kate’s take on it and that straightforward explanation for Gary’s comments on Saturday, we think it starts to make more sense. Our best guess with hindsight is that there might have been an argument pre-show among judges and production team about how to handle complaints about Misha’s behaviour, which had not been satisfactorily resolved by the time cameras had to start rolling.

Notice how Louis ends his comments on a barbed and cryptic note – “you’re a very confident performer. I hope you’re not too over-confident” – that seems designed to tee up Tulisa for having a pop.  Tulisa’s initial comments are actually not the most damaging ones: “You being so feisty can come across quite mean… there’s been a few mean comments… just put aside the attitude.”

Gary then issues what might well, understandably, have been a genuine rebuke rather than the kind of pre-cooked bickering we usually expect from the panel: “I don’t care what goes on backstage, and we shouldn’t be getting involved in that”. Kelly follows up with “we leave things backstage backstage”.

There it might have rested, and the damage to Misha might have been just about recoverable with some smart VT work – or, at least, less terminal than it became thirty seconds later. For having finished her comments, Kelly turns to Louis and says “confident? You’re supposed to be confident when you go on stage”.

What had escaped us first time around, but stands out on repeat viewing, is that Dermot can now be heard in the background trying to cut it off with a “thank you judges, thank you judges”. One assumes from this that producers are not feeling in control of where this conversation might be going, and that what follows from here on in was certainly not in any script.

Louis keeps his cool in his first response. But then Kelly then comes back with another dig: “some of your category should get some confidence”. It is at this point that Louis appears to lose it a little and unleashes the nuclear b-word: “one of my contestants has complained to me about Misha bullying her”.

Dermot can now be heard in the background saying “thank you judges, thank you judges” with increasing desperation – and presumably with producers yelling “kill it, kill it now!” in his earpiece – as Louis continues “she told me, I did not make it up”.

The format of the X Factor, of course, has always invited the viewing public to believe that the mentors are at loggerheads – and as a punter, of course, it has usually paid to assume this rivalry is faux and pantomime. In an article after week 4, we wondered if there might be any possibility of one of the new judges going rogue in a singoff decision. It hasn’t happened – all the singoff decisions have been just what the treatment of the acts in the Saturday show woud have led you to expect.

But maybe the show we have been watching this series has been, to a greater degree than we’d realised, the show the public have always been supposed to think they are watching. Perhaps we have been guilty of underestimating the importance of ego; while it’s never wise to believe everything one reads in the Daily Mail, this behind the scenes piece pointed out by Uncle Si on a previous thread does make the three new members of the panel look like dicks – breezing in with their personal entourages and skulking in their private dressing rooms.

The question is, how far might judges have escaped the leash? Our initial reaction to Gary’s suggestion to Little Mix that Perrie should be first among equals on Saturday was, as Richard at Betsfactor puts it, “if it is true that he’s off at the end of this series, then he will be demob happy and will do whatever he likes”.

However, second thoughts set in when we saw on Sunday’s show that producers decided to remind us of these comments during the reprise. If Gary had in fact gone rogue, they might have preferred to ignore them.

We floated one alternative explanation in yesterday’s article: a planned dampening of Little Mix, if producer support is shifting to Amelia. But EM points out another possible explanation, which is well worth considering: “Gary has often led the calls for acts to do something different next week which has duly materialised, stripped back songs, more uptempo songs and so on.” Malcolm adds: “Going forward from Saturday, Little Mix might see that as their only chance. Perrie v Amelia”.

Could this particular comment of Gary’s, then, have been on-script after all? One of the often-rehearsed reasons for why groups struggle in this show is that the voting public find it easier to identify with an individual. So maybe it would make a lot of sense for Little Mix’s chances if on Saturday we see a major inidividual focus on Perrie, who we reckon would more than hold her own in a head-to-head vocal comparison with her fellow blonde north-easterner.

It all adds to the intrigue, and there is plenty for punters to chew over in the next few days – as the varied views in the comments to our last post showed, it is possible to make a plausible case for all three of the finalists.

What’s your view of bullygate in retrospect, and how on-message do you now believe the judges are? Are you inclining more towards the “Amelia is the new Plan A” theory or the “spotlight shines on Perrie” theory? As always, do please let us know in the comments below.

70 comments to X Factor 2011 Week 9 Review: Bullygate Revisited

  • Simon "le chat"

    MISHA was her own worst enemy and the whole experience was no doubt a learning curve for her as well as the show. Talent is not everything, MISHA wasn’t likeable or savvy enough to realise how important a factor this is. By the time she realised it was too late but hats off to her for a graceful exit, I felt a little bit sorry for her because she is only a kid but not too sorry- this is show business and dog eats dog.

    Revisiting Bullygate is a perhaps a topic better disected when we see what effect the incident had on the voting stats. More concerned about the final coming up.

    • Andrew

      Hi Simon, I don’t know that we need to wait for the stats on this one – the week 4, 6 and 8 bottom twos and week 9 exit seem pretty conclusive.

      Appreciate your impatience to discover if the Sofabet team is abandoning the good ship 😉 All in good time – this is a complicated case, you know, lotta ins, lotta outs.

  • tpfkar

    What a good article – the sofabet production line keeps rolling them out.

    A few points, I’ll need the evening to properly go through the figures on my model but it does look like Little Mix are walking it on first glance, and for all the buzz I believe Amelia only just scraped through:

    1. One conscious change after a few series of the X Factor was less competition between the mentors, and a more collective effort to find a star. This does seem to have reversed this year, both Gary and Tulisa have seemed ultra-competitive. Gary came into the series talking about being honest and looking for a star. His credibility has been battered by him having to defend Frankie Cocozza, and being unflinching in praise for the others. But also being destructive about the competition; it may well have been that his Saturday comments were planned to play up his competitive spirit. Tulisa on the other hand looks more like a drunk student cheering on her team; her lack of maturity and restraint have come out a couple of times.

    2. On the other hand, Kelly has the opposite problem, her support of Janet was lukewarm, Amelia might be the last of the girls but she was Kelly’s fourth choice, and she didn’t exactly fight hard for Misha. They missed a trick in not switching Amelia to Louis when she came back; he’s done a far better cheerleading role than Kelly has.

    3. Bullygate feeds into this; Tulisa being too competitive without restraint, and that’s a great spot on Dermot who we have to assume is the nearest we have to direct producer input. A rare example of Gary standing up for another mentor’s act; perhaps he spotted the line the others were crossing. But – if there was disagreement about how to handle Misha, why on earth did they give her the pimp slot? If you want to take her down a peg or two, tell her that she’s on just before Janet every week until she settles down. Job done.

    4. But – bullgate vocalised everything we’d already said about Misha, that a harsh black act would struggle for votes. It brought out into the open many things that were thought but not said, and made them mainstream. Looking back, I don’t think she’d have been fourth without it, but it left an unpleasant taste throughout the series. Looking at my figures, I think The Risk would have been B2 with Sophie if it hadn’t been Misha, so it wouldn’t have changed the direction of the series much.

    • Andrew

      Thanks tpfkar! Can’t wait to see how well your model stacks up when we have the figures to hand.

      Intriguing point about Louis – it would have made a huge amount of sense to have him mentor the comeback contestant, but I guess they couldn’t do it because he still had Kitty at that stage (for another 24 hours at least). We’d thought in week 5 they were angling to lose both Johnny and Kitty – I wonder if they were trying to clear him out with that in mind?

  • Kate

    I have an alternative take on Bullygate, which is that it was a botched attempt to make Misha appear more sympathetic.

    Misha’s actually a recognisable X Factor type – the confident/assertive woman with the powerful but generic voice, two qualities that make it hard for an audience to warm to her. I wonder if Tulisa’s comments weren’t meant as a signal to her to open up, show her soft and more individualistic side, and perhaps also hint at a redemptive ‘journey’.

    If that was the plan, then either Misha muffed it or no one bothered to tell her in the first place. Stranger things have happened on this show.

    It’s worth noting that in every subsequent sing-off featuring Misha, Tulisa voted to save her, and Louis only demurred once, when his own act was on the line. I wonder if Bullygate didn’t improve Misha’s chances of survival, by making it hard for Tulisa or Louis to vote her out without giving the impression of prejudice.

    Whatever the truth of the matter, I don’t think the meme that she was the natural winner, fallen to sabotage, holds water. She was simply not the type of performer that tends to do well in ‘The X Factor’. The viewers like their solo female singers to be cute or demure or both.

    • annie

      tend to agree with this.
      especially with the part that tulisa saved her at each sing of, but with the same uncomfortable look on her face that she had in week one when she ditched the lovely but pregnant 2 shoes for the obviously hopeless nuvibe.

      • Curtis

        Tulisa has an easy excuse for saving Misha. They’re both ‘urban’ artists.

        With or without Bullygate, I feel sure Misha wouldn’t have won. However, I’m equally sure that Bullygate had a detrimental effect on her vote, and I’m sure the voting statistics will reflect this.

        The impression I got from Bullygate now, and on the day, was that it was a producer plan to pick up ratings that got out of hand and more serious than they wanted it to. Whatever it was, it’s all a bit of a shame because since the week Misha was in the bottom 2, undoubtedly helped into there by Bullygate, they changed who she was and alienated her own fans, with everyone else already alienated by the Bullygate thing.

  • Phil tomkinson

    If amelia only just scraped through, then why is she now second favourite to win? I get the strong impression that the producers know little mix have a following on the show, buy are even less talented than any other winner of the x factor so will flop terribly which will be a poor reflection on the shows standard.

    I don’t know what everyone else has been watching this past few weeks, but Amelia is the only possible star by a country mile, the strongest voice and the strongest stage presence. Marcus is cruise ship material, and little mix are low quality karaoke.

    • Curtis

      To me Little Mix are the only possible stars. Amelia is simply average, as is Marcus. Look at One Direction from last year, a far worse group than Little Mix, but the producers didn’t care about that and I don’t think they’ll care with Little Mix. Syco doesn’t have a girl group on its books. I can see them wanting to change that, and to have something that rivals The Saturdays, Girls Aloud, etc.

      With Amelia, I think we’ve got to remember that fact we all know, that no one has ever won having been in the bottom 2 before. Yes, this can change of course, but ask yourself, what has Amelia done since being in the bottom 2 to redeem herself? As far as I’ve seen, she’s done absolutely nothing. She’s just been the same Amelia that found herself in the bottom 2. I fully expect her to finish 3rd next week, and I expect to find that she was 3rd on the vote this week and last as well.

      Despite this, I still feel sorry for the people who laid Amelia at 1000. It’s easy for me, with no liabilities if Amelia wins, to say that she won’t. I doubt those people who laid her at such prices will be feeling the same right now. If it’s any comfort to them, I think their worries will be over by the time they go to bed on Saturday.

  • mikey

    This, remember, is the second Bullygate in the history of X Factor. In 2009 Danyl Johnson was accused by Louis (again) of bullying Kandy Rain. The offence was Danyl telling Kandy Rain “they had no chance” – he was right there then. The circumstances are similar, a confident act being fatally wounded by the accusation of bullying. Maybe this is a lesson for the future that confident acts with their own ideas (we can add Janet to this list) scare the producers as they may not be able to control them later. Maybe Craig became a risk for this reason too, wanting to choose his own song, and alledgedly starting a relationship with Danyl Johnson (yes him again!). Danyl also went out at the semi-finals leaving a similar range as this year Joe McElderry best suited to stage musicals – like Marcus,
    Stacey Soloman the ordinary girl – like Amelia, and Olly Murs, producers favourite but still needing some work – Little Mix.
    Like 2009 there are no International Stars in the making. I predict Amelia for a future gig as an Xtra Factor presenter.

  • Allan

    Interesting article in the Mail about total lack of judge/contestant interaction

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2070029/X-Factor-2011-scenes-LIZ-JONES-goes-inside-X-Factory.html

    NB it is is Liz Jones who is a notorious idiot, so this has to be taken with a pinch of salt but interesting nonetheless

  • mark the bookie basher

    well said phill amelia is by far the the best vocalist left in i said on here 3 weeks ago amelia was the producers plan a and she would be a huge danger shes got mr walsh champion her obviously the producers have him in there pocket and in the semi final both marcus and little mix had the pimp spot in each round leaving it open now for amelia to get it in the final i see them goin all out now for amelia to win whether they can get the public to get her over the line is hard to call i see all the money has been for amelia to win and marcus has drifted from 6-4 and is now 11-4 im goin for amelia 1st little mix 2nd and marcus 3rd gud luck if her havin a punt

  • malcolm

    I think the bullygate incident started harmless enough with some public words of advice after some backstage falling out; but escalated – unplanned – in the heat of the moment once the word bully got mentioned…. shows the strength of one word used at the wrong time in the wrong place and i guess that will stay with Misha for a long time.

    I never warmed to Misha, in the same way that Rachel’s Hylton and Adedeji never did it for me, too edgy for X Factor, too much in yer face. I remember Misha’s audition, all that arriving on the bus and the tears. Too much (for me) . The newspaper outfit in the first show, again tooooo much. I definately rate her singing once she was stripped back a bit, her 2nd song ‘Perfect’ on Saturday was heading towards a decent X factor moment in my book.

    I think the basic X factor voter (me included) likes good looking, likes a powerful vocal capable of soaring to a decent note, likes likeability. I don’t like the journey if its rammed down my throat.

    I’m finding Little Mix hard work now, the Jesy thing comes over as too desperate. Her whole body language as she performs is desperate. Yep, girls next door but is that enough?, IMHO not collectively good looking enough. Perrie is the star of that group and i think as its progressed they’ve had the dilema of pushing her and losing the girls next door thing. Its a bit late to experiment, but i think they have to go all out for it with her talents in the final. Can I add ‘Bewitched’ to my Swap Shop description of them I used in another post?

    The more i think about it they are pushing Amelia, they allowed her to ride through the semi final almost unscathed, apart from Gary’s ‘shouty’ accusations. She is definitely an assured and confident performer, whilst speculation on here that she was only back for a week or two came to nothing, maybe there was a much bigger plan around her than we gave them credit for?

    The last two weeks i lost out when she stayed. Whereas i gave her no chance when i read all the internet forums (not on here!) about getting her reinstated first time she left the show, i was also inclined to think she wouldn’t last more than a few weeks when she returned. In light of last weekend; when Marcus failed to dazzle and Little Mix hit the ceiling, I’m thinking now that Amelia could steal it from under their noses.

  • I really appreciate this thoughtful and entertaining site. I’ve worked in production for national TV and radio and some of the speculation above rings true to me.
    It’s a strange relationship between ‘production’ and ‘talent’. In production you are tasked with steering talent who are paid way more than you and who have their own wilful opinions and agendas. They tend to be very competitive and image conscious and feel it’s the team’s task to clear a path for them: there’s no way to herd competing celebs for some greater overall interest.
    Senior production folks will be very careful who they show their cards to. They will be cautious around celeb talent, who have too many other agendas. In other words they will say a lot about tone and vibe to the judges but say nothing explicit about manipulation agendas, except maybe one to one gambits to play them off each other a little. Machiavellian stuff will be kept tight by senior production staff. Decisions will be no more explained to low ranking production staff than they are to the public.
    Finally, don’t forget that running a show on this scale is frantic, exhausting and relentless. Imagine running a war: you aim to win but there will be quite a melee along the way… no matter how smart the team, the ongoing developments are inevitably going to be cooked up barbeque style rather than cordon bleu, with at least some degree of panic and confusion guaranteed.

  • abs

    What still makes me believe Amelia is not Plan A, and LM are still very much favourites with the production team is the way the judges chose to ignore Leigh Anne forgetting her words … if they really wanted to dampen their votes it would have been easy to repeat what they did last week with Janet … I am more inclined to believe the “spotlight shines on Perry” theory .. after all Gary has already done something similiar some weeks back when he asked the girls for something more stripped back..

    i dont believe the bullygate incident was planned … the fight did not seem scripted at all .. you can tell the judges are divided into two groups : Kelly/Gary and Tulisa/Louis

    It will also be interesting to see how the change in setting will impact the final … will wembley stadium advantage any act in particular? will it help a group’s vocals sound better? Was this simply a decision to boost ratings, or to boost particular contestants/category?

  • Lux Lisbon

    As soon as the word “bully” was mentioned, Misha was toast.

    Bullying is such an emotive subject, however, one person’s idea of bullying may not be another’s.

    She may not have acted like a ‘Harry Flashman’ backstage, it may just have been a sneaky aside to another act or just a moment of ill-judged honesty and that was construed as “bullying”.

    Either ways, whether guilty or not, mud sticks. There are many viewers out there who may not realize, as we do, there is, in fact, always a show within a show going on every week. They do not know that there may be underhand games and manipulation taking place. So, when a member of the panel label a contestant as being a “bully”, why would they doubt them.

    You all know I’m a massive fan of Miss Devlin, but I must say that Sweet Jonny Robinson’s rendition of ‘Unchained Melody’ left me in total awe and along with Janet’s version of the Snow Patrol song, it was my show-stopping moment of the series.

    If, however, as some people on here believe, that next Saturday’s final could come down to a head-to-head between Perrie and AL then there will only be one winner.

    If Perrie can stop crying for three and a half minutes, she has as much chance of out-Kelly Clarksoning Amelia Lily as England have at beating the Germans in a penalty shoot-out.

  • Simon "le thoughtful chat"

    Well MARCUS has gone out to 3/1 with Boylesports. They must be stark raving mad!
    3/1 the best performer in the 3 horse field!
    Crackers man.

    • Pete D

      Simon “le good ship chat”. Well, what a great LITTLE MIX 3 point ‘good omen’ day it was today as a great indication of what the finishing order will be.

      As what started as a promisingly bad day, (but then ‘MIXED’ with good, as I had to go to the dreaded Dentist to have a tooth out; and then have a new gas fire put in), ended up making me feel all warm and cushty about what is to come in the final.

      *FIRST*.. I drove to the Dentist from my Island home and (no joke) I hit some road works straight off where there was a ‘BIG POWERFUL STEAMROLLER’ flattening everything in its path on the newly laid road.

      *SECOND*.. I then drove off the Island over the dock bridge where there was a rather handsome ‘SHIP’ all ready to set sail to new horizons on the the high tide (as it was actually one that was converted into a floating night club and has just been sold off this week).

      *THIRD*.. I duly arrived at the Dentist to have the said tooth removed. Then, whilst I was waiting for the Novo-caine to kick in, I was nervously talking to the young nurses about X-Factor; and where I found out to my joy that they ALL wanted LITTLE MIX to win (and were actually voting).

      It was at this point that I was beginning to think that the omen was going wrong (being the ‘THIRD’ part of it and the girls talking about ‘LM’). All until THEN when I suddenly heard a Dentist drill start up in the next room followed by LOUD ‘UNCONTROLLABLE’ SCREAMING.

      Then it clicked and I knew that the good omen chain was complete as the Dentist came at me with her pliers to remove my tooth.

      I just lay back and comforted myself with the thought of how all this was so much more preferable to listening AMELIA SILLY’s WAILING and SHOUTING.

      Then it was home to have a couple of glasses of nice Malt to settle my nerves, sat in front of a nice new warm fire thinking about the landslide votes that LITTLE MIX are going to get.
      Aaahhhhh… sheer bliss.

      • taichou

        haha nice write up:) btw also SHOUTELIA showed what she’s capable of and i dont think she can surprise where Littlemix still can, especially if they unleash Perrie’s vocals.. still at the betfair forum we didnt saw the performance which THE GOOSE (Perries stepdad) mentioned, where Perrie should blow everyone..

        • Pete D

          taichou. Believe it or not it all actually DID happen that way, except that the day hasn’t finished yet as I further have to anesthetise myself against the discomfort and pain and the possible onset of nightmares tonight about PINK THINGS (not Elephants BTW) and STRANGE LOUD FRIGHTENING NOISES.

          Did you see this by the way (of what I think they should unleash to knocked the SCREAMER off her over smug ‘I deserve to be here’ deluded pedestal)?

          http://youtu.be/aPXI9-YOZSA

          • taichou

            yes thats what im talking about..

          • Pete D

            Taichou. And another LITTLE MIX gem if you haven’t seen it yet. The SCREAMER doesn’t stand a chance against PERRIE (SHE has actually had proper voice training according to THE GOOSE).

            http://youtu.be/y4pOOqpJOEo

            AMELIA SILLY brings new meaning to the old saying “It’s all over bar the shouting”.

          • taichou

            yeah Pete i saw it all, i mean it was really fishy that she didnt get into the show as solo…thats why i think that Littlemix were Plan A to begin with, and Devlin Plan B.

          • Pete D

            Makes perfect sense that taichou. Then there’s BORELOWS tantalizing ‘suggestions’ drawing attention to show something new and stripped down and to find the ‘hidden strengths’ in that there is going to be another surprise coming the following week.

            Carefully planned (A) inch by by inch week by week scripting by XF to build it up the an amazing unbeatable shock crescendo for the final methinks

          • taichou

            yep and when they saw what they can do in week 4, they started to kill Devlin:), week before they killed Misha with bully thing , and in week 1 they removed SHOUTELIA:), brought her back when Mixes were allready rolling:)

          • taichou

            aiight so in that case they started killing them both in a same week… why not? when producers know conestants songs 1-2 weeks in advance if not more.. they know what to expect

          • Pete D

            Taichou. And in true Inspector Clouseau style. “Hello y’know. HEY, Christmas present crisis sol-ved y’know” (does your pink doug bite y’know ?).

            See ebay for the deluge of t-shirts and transfers.

            The video you will have to compile yourself for the moment on your pc from the XF best bits (but the kids won’t care). Did you see XF -Extra with those cute little 5 year old LM fans who have got the LM bug ?. Sweeeeet !

        • taichou

          and if you think carefully there was sense to dampen misha’s support, if the girls will do that beatbox thing misha’s urban voters are gonna vote for them too..

          • Pete D

            Very true matey peeps taichou, and had that MISHA one covered too as a possible ‘cunning stunt’, as they were up to something alright.

            Right from the start the signs have been clearly there “ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME” THIS WAY PLEASE >>>>>>>>

            Can’t understand how more supposedly astute folk hadn’t noticed even for an e/way. DOH !

            BTW, DEVLIN WHO ?

            Maybe us ‘chosen few’ were taken up by the BIG alien Lotto finger in the sky in our sleep, doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo.

            sshhh, I have a confession to make. One of my best buddies in the biz used to tour manage the Sugar Babes in between major big player tours with the world’s top 5 rock band legends, and between us we spotted this next BIG THING just before the Judges House show.

            The YouTube hits are getting crazy now and the comms on there are an amazing frenzy of support with some kids voting 40 and 100 times with their pocket money phone credits.

            It’s the SPICE GIRLS ‘girl power’ thing re-invented for a new generation and it’s going to cost me a bundle this Crimbo for LITTLE MIX stuff for my LITTLE Princess.

          • taichou

            well i still prefer Devlin(because of the youtube channel), couz im not into pop that much:)) got little burned on her.. now littlemix will cover that… btw dont know how much true is in that but apparently Devlin is gonna be real winner from all of this as i heard on irish tv saying that Bannatyne deal is 400k euro…

          • Curtis

            “yep and when they saw what they can do in week 4, they started to kill Devlin:)”

            There’s a problem with this theory. They started killing Janet in week 3 (some have said that they started as early as week 2, but by week 3, the ball was definitely rolling)

          • Pete D

            taichou. Understood, as she DID redeem herself in a strange way with me for her “up your DIGI-BOX XF attitude” and she WILL have a very lucrative career with those who like the style (respect and kudos for her here and for your personal taste too).

            I wish that I was a quid behind her (but then again it may possibly be £1.35k nearer for a mere £20 at 66/1).

            Kudos too to Curtis for noticing things had started ‘rolling’ already.

            Right or wrong, win or (gracefully) lose, I am having my say now on the unstoppable ‘Snowball happening that is IN THE FINAL’; and win or lose this is going to be bigger than any 1D thing that is going on.

  • Phil tomkinson

    Simon,

    Are you joking?? I know everyone has different opinions in terms of music, but surely you cannot be serious when you say Marcus has the most talent?! The last two weeks have seen him completely fluff the first half of his songs, his voice wavering like he is going through puberty. He is so average, I cannot think who would buy an album of his. His vest bet is to go on the cruise ships. As for little mix, they have one above-average singer, but their cumulative talent is about 2% of Amelia lily’s. They and Marcus both bemoan the fact that Amelia has not had to go through the whole process as they have, but could wither of them have returned in week 6 and managed to make it to the final?? I think not.

    • jashala

      Amelia also got a great head start coming in at top 6-7 are whatever it was. At the end of the day it wasn’t that hard to get to the final for her, Janet was on her last leg, and Misha being in the bottom so many times, wasn’t going to get there either. I’m more impress with the finalist who have been there from the start and made the final. And I’m a fan also of Amelia, but I’m team little mix. At the end of the day Amelia was eliminated fair and square first week, it ain’t the other contestants fault the producers decided to get fancy with there twist this year. So she made the final but she also had a very good head start missing all those weeks, and jumping right into the top 7.

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      Hi Phil
      Of course I am serious when I say MARCUS has the most taleny because he has.
      LITTLE MIX are really pretty average and if you look behind the crying and wringing of hands there isn’t that much talent there apart from a couple of good voices in the group. They are beginning to gell more but so they should after 10 weeks solid practice together. None of these girls is particularly good – although it didnt stop 1D.

      AMELIA has talent. She has stage presence and followers in abundance and the grannies and middle aged men will be voting for her.

      MARCUS is the most talented. He hasn.t fluffed anything yet – being given two songs in too low a key is not fluffing anything if you are only doing as you are told. I still dont understand why they insist on giving him songs below his register but his performances are far, far more watchable than AMELIA and even more so LITTLE MIX.

      This final will be won on the song choices and duets and as the best performer MARCUS is in pole position to pick up the extra votes from the oldies who come late to the party and turn everything upside down.

  • Donald

    It has been a series of distraction really, Frankie was the tabloid fodder really.

    Not one truly outstanding performance really.

    But not allot has changed except a seemingly weaker final than usual.

    But is it weak? Time will tell.

    Being on Marcus and Little Mix although not big stake tempted to cover with Amelia but the one real good bet I have thanks to Sofabet writers is the LM MC forecast both ways.

    My feeling is after a difficult season to watch it is fair play to SofaBet Marcus early doors and good few of us copped the LM steamroller possibility.

    The producers haven’t stopped it yet,

    Be a shame for Amelia to spoil the party.

    Steady heads for the week, yes she can sing $ notes all night but few great posts here early on mentioned middle England mums, I mentioned Gary fans also.

    Maybe the good ship dosen’t sink after all and few on here have the forecast as well.

    The kids are getting Little Mix but long week to go yet.

    AN arena final is definitely going to be different but it all down to the TV pics and AUDIO and we all know some serious blunders in that this year. SONG CHOICE GOING TO BE MORE VITAL THAN EVER. BIG STADIUM SONGS.

    Marcus to do Rule The World if Gary has any vision? Something like that just might swing it?

    Looking forward to the Sofabet article on who will win the final!

  • shoulders

    I’m of the opinion that bullygate or no bullygate, Misha was going to need saving all the way to 4th place regardless, the reason why they have the singoff is to keep acts like Misha, I think Bullygate made no difference to her ride to 4th place, if anything it won her some sympathy, she was never going to be a favourite in the public vote, the voters at large like middle of the road and she was too hard edged for that, I believe she was by far the best singer though, and now the producers have managed to get her to 4th place, it’s job done and quids in for syco, they are doing exactly the same thing with Astro on US X Factor, without the save he has no chance on the show, with the save will he reach the later stages and go on to make Syco $$$’s & more $$$’s definatly that’s why they will saved each time. How do you go in the bottom 2 for the first time but go against someone who’s been there twice? How do you go in the bottom 2 for the first time but go against someone who’s been there 3 times, hardly fair, but it’s is as far as Syco goes, public opinion or not, if your not the one they want to realease records with its see you later

  • Tim B

    Daniel/Andrew, are there going to be 3 articles over this week profiling each finalist, or will there be one larger post discussing all 3 of the contestants?

  • zoomraker

    could a Perry v Amelia head to head leave the door open for Marcus?

  • Lux Lisbon

    Perrie v Amelia will be the biggest mismatch since Connors v Rosewall.

  • PG

    Any idea when the special guests will be announced ( although Jessie J + LM seems to be highly likely ) and what effect do you think this will have on the markets? Would a couple of underwhelming choices for Marcus and Amelia be a sign of TPTB intentions.

  • zoomraker

    not sure how popular Jessie J is with anyone over 20

    • Pete D

      zoomaker. Well I’m 56 and I love her to bits (in a ‘pure admiration’ way of course). She has great courage (in fact a lot more in her LITTLE finger than all the combined bullies put together who have been taunting her about her weight).

      They will all eat their own words pretty soon and get nice and ‘fat headed’ off them.

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      Jessie who?

  • jashala

    The last rumor I heard from tm_xfactor was that the duets were the final three from last year paired up with this years. Matt with marcus, Little Mix with One Direction, and Amelia with Rebecca. I don’t think it’s true at all, but thats what they had tweeted earlier.

  • Clodia M

    X Factor had a massive change this year, with the new judges line up. It was not only the acts that were being judged, but the panel. If you view Bullygate in that light it is entirely possible that the whole thing was staged to build up interest in the judges, at the expense of someone who arguably had the best talent, so therefore may be least affected, and who also was in the most favourable group, so the mentor/judge would not be affected either if that person did fall casualty.

  • Lux Lisbon

    If the bullying was staged, that was a very dangerous thing to do.

    Such allegations can stick to somebody and they can have serious consequences.

    People’s lives should not be messed with like this for the sake of entertainment.

    That is all wrong.

  • Jake

    Slightly off topic but a weird suspicious thing I have noticed about Amelia’s treatment is Dermot’s recent random ‘walk ins’ with the audience. Both last week and this week Dermot has suddenly started going into the audience and addressing either a relative of Amelia (her dad, who called out for votes) or a supporter (pink painted man who called out for votes). Maybe I was wrong and the producers do want an Amelia win?

  • taichou

    btw must say love this site… Daniel or Andrew if u need help translating some stuff for Eurovision i know Lithuanian, Polish, Russian languages feel free to ask:)

  • taichou

    Pete no i didnt as im not from UK, i bet on UK/Irish webs, because here in Lithuania you can bet only on sports and eurovision.

    • Pete D

      taichou. Well you can write damned good English in spite of that ‘fact’. Better than the ‘bitchy factors’ in all ‘factors’.

      • taichou

        thanks Pete, now the main thing is dunno if someone watches Xfactor US, would love to discuss about it…

        • Pete D

          A bit of advice taichou. When you get onto the subject of ‘dunno’s, please just remember that in the UK a ‘dun’ is a place where one dumps one’s natural waste products (and quite typical from some folk here about). ROFL

        • Pete D

          Taichou SO SorRy, I blame my tiredness on the Scoootish Malt and a newly toothless day). Well it IS an earlier 5.15am here too now UK time, after all (as I get this msg) and I am also off to my sleeping sack soon (god bless my sleeping missus, praaaaarp, poooot, gag gag).

          Meanwhile, the ‘LITTLE MIX’ STEAMROLLER STILL keeps STEAMING WELL STEAMING ON (and SMOKIN’).

          Taking note here too that (in my astute opinion here, LITTLE MXX WILL WIN IT
          T the same timr, that there is already an apparent sneaky ‘self admitted’,’JAN LOSER’ stalker type, who is ‘hanging around’ some XF sites and attacking members of ‘decent’ sites like SOFABET,

          (eg. the elusive ‘thinks he is funny’ Internet fame seeking LEX LUTHOR and LM bully boy ‘who hides behind the screen’ on the Internet (sherp intake of breathe here)that I have been emailed about, although I could be wrong if you can’t see it for yourselves type thing ).

          As being a typical (in my experienced opinion type troller hunting for a reaction from folk, and one who is also blatantly LITTLE MIX’s and SUPERMAN’s ‘sour grapes’ and therefor ‘likewise’ MARCUSeque ‘blubbering into his own milky Mummy’s milky bosom because he lost’ Internet XF finalist NEMESIS, deep breath,(for those in ‘the Internet know’), he is actually quite ‘dim’ as his lack-‘LUX’-ster name indicates.

          ‘LUX’ actually being a measure of video Camera light sensitivity and and I give him a count of less than ‘one’.

          Just be observant LM backers because he openly knocked LM for being “mentally week”£, when that statement alone reflects his own “mental weakness” y defying purel even spell ‘weak’ corres=cty

          Because as I heard it on the wold wide web, I can only comment on his ‘factually quoted’ comments.

  • taichou

    btw Pete we should create a show an x factor copy only that contestans have to write the songs for a given theme like tragedy, comedy, romance and so on… gosh would be so fun to kill em one by one ! and the winner of such a show shall succeed 10x more than x factor one..

    • Pete D

      taichou. Would you believe that I am actually Dyslexic, but I can understand EVERY intelligent word that you write (I just have rely very heavily on ‘spullchock’ to reply)

  • Pete D

    Taichou. It’s been done already. It was called ‘Big Brother’ (but without music or any intelligence though), LOL

  • Dug

    It’s a little late but I’d like to offer my humble tuppence worth on the events of the past weekend.

    I was aware that Misha could well be in for the dumping. I was veering towards Amelia but wasn’t too shocked to see the Mancunian out first. However, they might as well have given Miss B ‘Happy Birthday’ to sing for all she was able to showcase her powerhouse vocals and signature style. Surely they should be sending singers off in style by this stage? And that Wig? It looked like a crab was sitting on her head and tickling her chin with its pincers.

    Amelia gave one of her strongest vocals yet. It was less strained and shouty, though I wondered why she was dressed from the 60s and yet flanked by skinheads that were clearly more 80s than their original counterparts. Motown does seem to make white singers sound a bit karaoke though.

    I thought that Little Mix gave one of their most confident and dynamic performances to date. It’s funny how quickly the judges can swing public opinion. A friend of mine went mad and applauded the girls from my sofa but then started to backtrack once the judges had their say. I’m going to stand by it and say it was one of their best yet. The second Gary piped up I thought the exact expression “Perrie and the Woo-Woo Girls” in my head. I was also slightly dumbfounded. Whilst criticising a performance may dampen support, slating the group dynamic may permanently dissolve it. Very worried for the girls now.

    Mar-WOO-cus-WOO-was-WOO-cheery-WOO-as-WOO-ever.

    Surely at some point the joke is going to get back to him and he’ll have to stop doing it. Otherwise he’ll remain oblivious and someone will find him in twenty years, propped up on the stage of an abandoned Butlins resort, beard down to his knees, croaking his way through “I just called to say I love you” like a Duracell bunny with Tesco batteries. WOOO!

    I had hoped that maybe Misha would switch places with Amelia. No such luck. And she sang a ballid. After all the showcasing they did last year to pimpstart Cher Lloyd’s career, I hoped they would at least let Misha reprise Respect or Fly in her final bid for public approval.

    Amelia Lily is starting to win me round a bit. I liked her in the early stages, disliked her return and then gave up on being resentful on Saturday. I did however have disturbing mental images of Tulisa in a Punkyfish t-shirt singing along to sk8r boi.

    Marcus! Marcus, Marcus! I’m not sure how he was ever complimented on his versatility when he’s such a one trick pony. I still fancy his chances of winning because I agree that he appeals much more to the older generations and is inoffensive enough to pick up floating voters. But seriously! Listening him sing any notes below “WOO!” is quite painful. I still think, as boring as he was, that Craig in the final would have allowed for more musical credibility – especially at Wembley where the only song I can picture Marcus filling the arena with is Agadoo.

    And Little Mix to close, the best hint we can get that they are still Plan A. Here comes the problem with The X Factor in comparison to Popstars or Pop Idol. You can’t fairly compare groups and soloists. It’s like scoring synchronised gymnastics against a solo display. Harmonising on a live stage is an extremely difficult skill and even massive groups like Destiny’s child will have taken years, not weeks, to perfect it. Little Mix can already do it better than, say, Girls Aloud or The Saturdays. It’s not merely about being in tune with one another (as The Xtra Factor has shows the girls can do with their eyes shut) but also tackling yo-yoing microphone levels and dodgy earpieces. I understand the need for criticism when vocals are edging on weak but I would also challenge anyone to find a current girlband who sound better at a live gig (or indeed, don’t use a heavy backing track for upbeat numbers).

    So what conclusions can I draw from these performances and the judges’ comments?

    – Amelia is back in the race and I don’t think that the judges are too worried about giving her a fair crack at the whip this time.

    – Marcus will receive neither help nor hindrance in the final. I reckon he will just be given whichever songs he likes and be allowed to whoop his way through them, accompanied by a billion dancers.

    – Little Mix are vulnerable on all sides. They’ve gone from bottom of the pile (Superbass) to breakout stars (ET) to serious contenders (Don’t Let Go) to overhype and early peaking. Front page stories that they are clear favourites by a mile will do nothing to incentivise voters whilst any positive treatment by the show will look blindingly unfair. It’s a shame because they are far more talented than One Direction and they’ve emerged from obscurity rather than having been a full on Plan A from the get go. I can’t make head nor tail of the lead singer comments. If they needed to showcase Perrie more for the final, fine. But surely they could have just DONE THAT without giving her the “Perrie, you’re the main man!” treatment? She’s probably now the most accomplished vocalist left in the contest (not surprising when you remember she’s a little older than Amelia and wasn’t born into a group).

    I think it’s important to remember that next weekend’s live final is a completely unprecedented event. Rather than the next episode in the same stage, it’s a whole new round of the competition. That makes the live shows so far like a kind of tediously drawn-out bootcamp. The stage will be entirely different, the acoustic will change everything. Visually, format-wise, etc., we’re looking at a whole new event where the change in scene sort of refreshes this year’s competition and purges it of its many, many evils. I think it’s hard to call anything – Amelia’s dodgy return, Marcus’s vocal limitations, LM’s preferential treatment – as a clear hindrance. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of The X Factor’s life!

    • Dug

      I would also like to add that I have stood by this series through the world’s general dissatisfaction and have generally enjoyed it. However, I’ve finally given in to negativity after the weekend’s semi-final. Not because of any bad twists or assassinations but purely because there was no feel-good factor about it. One expects some pimping of all the acts in the semi but the judges just seemed to stress the mediocrity of all the acts. I fell a lot later than most viewers this year but this was my breaking point. In particular, I find Gary Barlow’s presence on the panel to be deeply distressing. He’s like that dad that expects his children’s friends to call him sir when they come round for tea and then gives them a lecture about responsibility. Watching him give vocal advice is horribly cringe-worthy and his general demeanour just sucks the humour out of the room. In conclusion, I think Gary has been a disastrous replacement for Cowell and has been overlooked as a contributory factor to this year’s low standard. If he doesn’t quit, I hope they fire him.

  • Uncle Si

    Another thought-provoking article!

    Have Little Mix been promoted so much that a 3rd place in the final would be a major embarrassment? I think so, so I suspect their vote is stronger than One Direction’s last year.

    Surely the show thinks they can win and will do all it can in the final to make it happen… and I expect it to. I’ll go for Amelia 3rd, Marcus runner-up and Little Mix winners.

    I agree Dug that Gary has spoilt this series. His every utterance starts with ‘You know what’ then proceeds to be boring. I suspect he’s a lovely chap and a caring mentor, but for the particular role of judge with its need for instant and interesting quotes, sadly he’s just the wrong person.

    Kelly showed early promise but seems to have had enough of it now. Tulisa I think is fabulous and sometimes highly insightful, and Louis I think performs his necessary role very well. So I hope they ditch Gary and Kelly for 2012.

    Sorry for this digression! Little Mix to win.

  • phil tomkinson

    Last week it was only Amelia and Misha that had strong vocal performances, Marcus was very average and could not hit several notes, Little Mix were very poor and even fluffed their lines – but this was not picked up by the biased judging panel.

    Based on talent and ability, Amelia would win hands down. It is not even worth discussing Amelia vs Perrie – Perrie is the best of a poor group, but she could not even make it to boot-camp as a solo artist.

    It is anyone’s game at this point, and up to the production team who they have decided to push over the finishing line. It will be interesting to see the order in which the finalists get to sing – it should be Amelia last based on last week’s order. Also, who each is paired up with for the duet will have a big part to play. But one thing is for sure, Amelia is certainly the only act that will benefit from being in such a huge arena – the other two will not be able to hold their nerve, as seen even last week!

  • Lux Lisbon

    Another brilliant article: well-written, articulate and insightful.

    One thing we must remember: despite being booted out for a month, Amelia Lily, although the competition wasn’t exactly fearsome, sauntered back into the competition, ‘hard-held’.

    What did she get? Nearly 50% of the vote, or something like that.

    This girl has got a fanbase, and I can only imagine that in the last couple of weeks this has grown.

    Northerners – espesh from that part of the country, are very passionate supporters of ‘their own’ (look at how they got behind Joe Mc. a couple of years ago).

    And that, perhaps, may just be enough to push her over the finish line infront of the other two acts.

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