X Factor 2011: Our 1-16 Prediction Revisited

It seems a long time ago that we made our ridiculously speculative initial 1-16 prediction and invited commenters to do the same. It was before Frankie Cocozza was kicked off for boasting about drug-taking, before The Risk replaced Ashley with Ashford, before even the twist was announced that saw Amelia Lily, among others, eliminated early; let alone her eventual return five weeks later.

These events are a reminder of how capricious the show can be, which is why I don’t get involved in the win market to the extent that I bet on the week-by-week eliminations. How frustrating if you backed Misha B pre-bullygate or Janet whilst she was still the producers’ golden girl, then watched future events unfold.

Of course, there is always the option of hedging one’s bets and profiting from fluctuations in the market, as producers’ intentions change. But in 2011, you had to keep an eagle eye on the daily papers and forums as well as the live shows to see whether the wind had changed.

It goes without saying that, like everyone, we got some things right and plenty of things very wrong – especially as it seemed like such an open year. But going through our and others’ original lists is a helpful way of reviewing subsequent events and learning some lessons.

We are obviously pleased that Marcus Collins, who topped our list, is in the final. The death slot in week 3 suggests it wasn’t necessarily always the case that he was “the kind of act producers will want to keep around until the latter stages” which we had predicted. Having survived that, however, producers seemed to follow our original assessment that, “they will be able to rely on him to put on an enjoyable show, week after week.” A further asset that we marked out was his “middle-of-the-road likeability”.

This was clearly not just evident to us, because having made the argument, plenty of our commenters agreed that the Liverpudlian would go far. Simon first nailed his colours to Marcus’s mast as the most likely winner at this point. Panos suggested shrewdly, “I am very confident in him being in the final but not confident at all for victory.” Dug had him in second, explaining “there will always, ALWAYS be at least one boy in the final 3”. Tpfkar put him in third, agreeing that “he’s the strongest male contender”. Props also to Ronnie and Jack who both predicted he would fill the runner-up slot.

In second place we had the apparent producers’ Plan A at the time, Janet Devlin, who eventually finished fifth. As the 4/1 favourite, she was an obvious choice for a high placing, and was selected as a likely winner more than any other act among our commenters. It’s rather amusing with the benefit of hindsight to read what we got right and wrong about Janet. When we said, “on evidence so far, producers will throw the kitchen sink at her” the mental image we now get is of producers hurling Belfast sinks at the Ulster lass to get her off the show, the opposite of what we meant at the time.

We made great play of her “innocence” and “path to self-confidence” but Janet’s problem for programme-makers was that there was a surprisingly steely inner confidence to her after all. Within the context of the show, she refused to surrender her “innocence” hence the succession of damaging VTs and early draws that eventually got her out at the quarter-final stage.

Our speculative each-way selection at 66/1 was 2Shoes in third. Quite what the staying power of the Essex duo would have been is unknown as they were victims of the first week twist. We had qualified our enthusiasm with a fear that Charley’s pregnancy might see producers want to get rid of them straight away, and that seemed to be the case, because within the same category there was no interest in keeping Nu Vibe for long either.

In fourth we put Frankie Cocozza as the “second most favoured act” during the audition stages. Few of our commenters put Frankie as high, reckoning that his weak vocals would not allow him to get so far. Our justification was that, “We reckon Frankie could be in the bottom two a couple of times on his way to our predicted finish of 4th, with judges saving him due to a “charisma” which plenty of viewers find hard to detect.” There was one sing-off survival for him, after the first public vote, but with seven contestants remaining, his behaviour was perceived to have gone too far.

Fifth place was given over to eventual finalist Amelia Lily, of whom we said, “We recognise her abilities as a decent singer, which have led many to see her as the most likely ‘default’ winner.” Among our commenters to suggest we under-rated the Middlesbrough lass were Jack and Noisy, who named her as their winner at an early stage, whilst tpfkar predicted second place, Ronnie and Boki suggested third place and Dug fourth. Our fear of a lack of an obvious journey for her was trumped by a controversial early elimination and return, which has given her such a story.

The category we really got wrong in our original prediction was the groups. I will say in our defence that this was arguably the hardest one to get right because three out of the four acts had been manufactured at the audition stage, thus giving us less to go on. Nonetheless, our assessment that Nu Vibe would do best of the new bands in sixth place, based on the coverage given them at bootcamp, proved very wide of the mark.

Kitty Brucknell did however fulfil our prediction of seventh place. I had put her in this spot to accentuate the analogies with Katie Waissel, who finished in that position last year. The polarising but headline-generating figure needs to hang around reasonably long for the purposes of tabloid coverage before being jettisoned when the competition really hots up. The Katie Waissel Memorial Spot theory will probably inform my prediction next year too.

Sophie Habibis was in eighth place in our list, and ultimately finished a little lower. We were more uncertain on Sophie than anyone else because of the lack of coverage she had received at the audition stage. Sophie’s journey remains one of the bigger head-scratchers. Kept in over apparent contenders Melanie McCabe and Jade Richards at judges’ houses, and Amelia Lily in week one, she was then shown no interest by producers from week 3. One possible answer is that her public vote when in the penultimate slot in week 2 may have shown she was failing to gain any traction.

In ninth place we put eventual fourth Misha B. We were concerned right from the start that, “the general public finds a strong young black woman, especially one who is rapping at them, a little intimidating”. Bullygate unfortunately tapped into this notion, seeing her endure the bottom 2 as soon as week 4. That she eventually got as far as she did is testament to how far producers can get even those acts which seem to generate plenty of public antipathy.

In tenth we placed Johnny Robinson on the basis that his schtick would be entertaining and useful to producers for a few weeks before it would be put to bed. Of course, after his week 3 rendition of ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, it looked as if it may get him very much further, but producers had other ideas and managed to kill off the cult figure within the next few weeks.

We were guilty of underestimating Craig Colton by predicting a finishing position of eleventh for the Kirkby boy. His week 1 ‘Jar of Hearts’ may not have persuaded us he was going to win, but it showed that there was more there than we had previously given him credit for. Craig looked set for a very high finish until producers did all they could to get rid of him in week 7, resulting in a sixth place finish.

Our biggest blind spot of all is obviously that of Little Mix, who we had down in a lowly thirteenth. This was based on a couple of things: the poor record of girlbands; the difficulties faced by groups manufactured at the audition stage; and the sense that they didn’t look like your normal girlband. The latter ended up being one of their strengths, something which we were still blind to even after week 4, by which time plenty of our commenters were trying to put us right on their prospects.

Before the first live show, however, most of our commenters also had the girls down as also-rans in their 1-16 lists, which was hardly surprising given that they were initial favourites to be first eliminated before the week 1 twist was announced. The notable exception even at this early stage was fiveleaves, who if we had a Sofabet Crystal Ball Award, would win it for standing out from the crowd and putting the girls at number three in his top four prediction.

Our other also-rans included Sami Brookes (we predicted 12th), James Michael (14th), The Risk (15th) and Jonjo Kerr (16th). Of those, only The Risk looked like they might seriously embarrass us after an excellent week 1 performance saw their odds plummet. It was to be their high point, however, and who knew that by the time they finished bottom of the public vote in week 5, it would be with Nu Vibe’s Ashford among them.

It’s a reminder that a lot of water flowed under the bridge since those initial predictions were made – the tears of so many contestants shafted by producers for starters. Who surprised or disappointed you most compared to what you foresaw back in early October, and what lessons have you learnt when it comes to approaching future series of X Factor? Do let us know in the comments section below.

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60 comments to X Factor 2011: Our 1-16 Prediction Revisited

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    Excellent write up as usual, hitting a few nails bang on.

    I think the fact that MARCUS survived some bum songs and early slots in the initial stages bears testement not only to his singing talent and stage presence, but also to his likeability. I regard one of his better weeks in a prime of being set up “Moves like Jagger” – Maroon 5 had not properly released the song but when it subsequently received national airplay the X Factor voters immediately remembered it was from MARCUS’s performance when they first heard the song. I absolutely agreed with your comment at the time Daniel that while MARCUS could have sung “Jar of hearts” it was unlikely that CRAIG could even begin to handle “Move like Jagger”. I had also recognised the poor range and tone of FRANKIE COCOZZA and realised at that week that the 7/2 for MARCUS to be top male (CRAIG was 2/5) was a steal and lumped on.
    KER-CHING!

    I also had 2 Shoes as my top group taking a chance that their future would be decided by the public and not the producers but they were enver given the chance. I also selected KITTY as top over 25 which was bang on at 11/4 but having seen the PTB opt for SOPHIE over AMELIA reckoned there was more to Sophie than met the eye and was waiting to see what it was. In the event there was very little- SOPHIE has a fabulous voice but focussing on her perceived boring perspective the PTB went out of their way to enhance it leading to her inevitable eviction.

    What can we punters learn from the three finalsits then? I reckon the following

    1. They can all sing. Red line through the likes of FRANKIE, JOHNNIE (he was ok but behind the glam and slapstick nowt special and he was never going to win)
    2. They are all young. I know Matt Cardle broke the mould at 28 but he was an exception. I will never back someone to win this competition under 25. Red line through KITTY and SAMMY
    3. They are all good looking in the “HEAT” magazine sense. Red line through SAMMI and CRAIG and half of the memebers of the groups.
    4. They all perform. Red line through CRAIG who good voice was far too wooden to progress, likewise SAMMI (again) and JANET whose voice had an annoying “yodel” but above all committed the mortal sin of twice forgetting the words which at this level is unforgivable and she wasn’t forgiven.
    5. Finally and most importantly the finalists are LIKEABLE and HUMBLE. MARCUS is clearly so, his sunny disposition quite infectious. LITTLE MIX are appealing because of the pimping and the other assistance they have received from the judges and PTB – particularly the (correctly identified) No 1 manipulative VT moment. Girls with big arses and tree trunk legs and those who think they have big arses and tree trunk legs will always associate with girls in a talent competition that “come out” as having a big arse too – remember MICHELLE McMANUS. LM therefore humble in the “ordinary girl” sense and for that reason appealing.
    The stone faced AMELIA is perceived as likeable simply because on any reading of the first live show she was badly done to being overlooked in favour of inferior performers. Quite how good her vote share is clearly varies according to what sort of performance she is able to put in with the song choice, but she is only a kid and the public warm to her for this – even though she appears hard as nails which is no bad thing bearing in mind the ruthlessness and self serving manipulation which is the currency of the music business generally and this show in particular. The injustice to AMELIA together with her youth has propelled her to the final although I don’t believe she is quite HUMBLE or smiling enough to win it.

    Views overall? The punter has to look at this competition as a beauty parade where all the acts are on display in a line and he has to ask himself which of these men and women are the public going to select and take to the till? It is therefore a show of much greater significance than a singing competition. The all round likeable humble PERFORMER will always prevail and so it has proved.

    • tpfkar

      Great points Simon. I’d add the obvious one that when we haven’t seen much of them before the live shows, it’s not likely wa soloist will be promoted. They are likely a reserve plan at best.

      But for ready-formed groups we need to watch the early live weeks to work out where the favour is. The producers haven’t seen the manufactured groups much before lives, so are much likely to make a late decision on a favoured runner.

    • Pete D

      Simon, you lovely respected guy you, I hate to correct you but ‘Moves Like Jagger’ (my own lady being Mick’s BIGGEST fan and who is always hugely entertained by my naff Mick/Freddy Starr like impression, thus winning me many ‘brownie points’) was released and charted way before MARCUS did it (which is WHY he did it then and did it well might I say, as it was very current).

      Here is is the Wiki on it (bearing in mind that the official X-Factor upload to YouTube was straight after the show on 8th October…

      “Moves Like Jagger” made its debut on the UK Singles Chart at number three and sold 56,000 copies on the issue dated August 21, 2011, becoming Maroon 5’s 4th top 10 hit and Christina Aguilera’s 15th top 10 hit in the UK.[19] Starting at the issue date September 10, it peaked at number two for seven consecutive weeks, equalling the all-time UK record held by All-4-One’s “I Swear.

      I listen to BBC Radio 2 and it was hammered for weeks previous on there and also RADIO 1 and local stations. There wasn’t a person in the UK that hadn’t heard it by the time MARCUS did it.

      You are right though, CRAIG couldn’t do it as he moved like a Slug.

  • Stephen

    Its hard to decide how the voters are going to vote this week.

    If we look at tpkfar stats then its clear little mix are going to run away with it unless something horribly goes wrong,i find this person work very credible but i prefer not to believe it at this stage and i will focus on 2 things.

    1.the survation survey which has the 3 of them locked together in terms of percentage.
    2.the yougov poll that will come out saturday in the sun thats always predicts it right they have predicted the final 3 the last 2 years in a row and even tho it be tougher this year to decide i think they be on the money again.

    if the percentages are as close as the survation says then i think amelia will romp to victory as i think its clear she will get the best duet im sure confirmation will be on this 2moro but amelia will get the biggest star i also realised in the past 2 weeks that amelia has really upped her game when there has been 2 songs and marcus and little mix seem to struggle with 2 songs with more songs in the final who will this benefit more amelia marcus or little mix?my money would be on amelia making the most out of all the songs as i think little mix are only capable of doing 1 song at a time on the night there could be 5 songs in total for final which would rule little mix out in my view as there versatility is questioned.

    I think social media downplays amelia and marcus support and overhypes little mix support im sure if there was a tracker last year one direction would be top of the pot.

    if the survation guide is right my money is on amelia to win

    if tpkfar is right then i think marcus will close the gap on little mix and will win and amelia will end 3rd.

    anyways it be interesting to see who gets who 2moro in the duets.

  • lolhart

    I have to admit I was completely wrong about the groups as well. I was fairly confident Nu Vibe would do the best in this category and The Risk the worst. This was based on the boot camp coverage as you already stated, but also Tulisa referring to them as her “little muffins” made me think she’d pull out all the stops for them and play a big sister role. Of course, this treatment was transferred to Little Mix. The Risk seemed like a group thrown together just to make up the numbers. I thought Little Mix would make it to about the halfway point based on the producers wanting to see a girl group do well for once. Also, their performance of Super Bass and the cute rather than sexy image suggested they were at least trying to aim for their target audience of teen girls who love this type of song.

    The boys and overs category panned out more or less how I thought. However, I’m sure if it wasn’t for breaking “the golden rule” Frankie would gone further, maybe even top 5 (probably saved by the judges on more than one occasion). I confess I was very undecided on what the plan was with Craig and Marcus.

    The only other disappointment for me was Sophia Habibis. I didn’t think she’d win, but when it was decided to keep her over Amelia I thought maybe the producers were planning a Leona/Rebecca style journey with her. The “boring” girl working in a pub who transforms into a pop star. I was always confident that Misha B would make the top 5 despite the factors you cited in your article on why she wouldn’t win. She’d received too much coverage post the lives to get the Rachel Adedeji treatment and she didn’t have Rachel Hylton’s chequered past. I think Janet’s treatment surprised everyone. I certainly thought she’d be the last girl standing.

  • Stephen

    Hi simon what do you think of the rumoured duets

    westlife-marcus
    amelia-leona
    little mix- 1 direction

    surely if that is the duet then its amelia or marcus for the win.

    little mix and one d would get the teen vote but i cant see it inspiring the middle aged voters to pick up the phone to vote for 2 average groups singing together even tho i rate little mix more than one direction the 2 them makes a bad combiation.

    if you want to go by the forecast

    i would advise you to split your money

    amelia-marcus
    marcus-amelia
    6-1 7-1 you still make a profit like.

    • Noisy

      Or Coral & Sporting Bet are offering 10/3 for Little Mix to be next out if you want the others top two

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      Hi Stephen

      The duet that could rock the Good Ship is LEONA and AMELIA because LEONA is a course and distance winner and she can sing beng the greatest star to come out of any UK talent contest for 20 years. They are both great performers who hold a stage and together would sound fabulous.

      WESTLIFE as an act are goners, over the hill passed it, they have announced they are splitting up and for MARCUS to duet with them would not enhance his chances. WESTLIFE are one trick ponies well passed their best which had limited appeal beyond the teens anyway. These same teens now kneel at the feet of one direction but dont have the voting block to appoint the winner. I would rather MARCUS sang with LEONNA although I have confidence in him as a performer to do well whoever he sings with.

      One Direction can perform all day with Little Mix as far as I am concerned- there would be far too many people on the stage and the more performers there are , the more chance there will be a cock up by one or two of them. I don’t believe LM will win this competition whoever they sing with unless they pull an astonishing performance out of the hat that will appeal to the “oldies”. The major disadvantage of being a group is that there are four of you and there is more chance of a cock up with live singing and dancing -take last weeks forgotten lyrics and mic fumble. One performer can mask this batter, four working as a team and a simple mistak by onee can really “f” the performance up for all.

      I know those specified acts you mention are just roumers but I expect the PTB will be incestuous as ever and draw at least two of their duets from the X Factor stable and I would expect ROBBIE (well passed it but hey, let’s keep the brand ticking) WILLIAMS to be one act, JESSIE (who the “f” is Alice?) JAY to be another and LEONNA or BUBBLE to be the third.
      We’ll see.
      I agree with DANIEL that the choice of duet partner and song will likely have a major bearing on the result

      • Stephen

        I dont think marcus chances will be enhanced either if he gets michael buble he proved that with stacey a few years ago stacy wouldnt of beaten joe but had she got a good duet she would of pipped olly for 2nd .

        if marcus got stevie wonder tho hands down marcus would romp to victory but i cant see that happening.

        and i agree if little mix get one direction there doomed 2 groups on 1 stage when none of them can really sing apart from perrie who isnt great either if she couldnt even make it as a solo artist.

        Also simon do you think amelias chances have been hit due to this hmv thing its clearly an error and people with a half a brain would realise its not amelias fault but twitter etc has gone mad about it.

        also since marcus is your favourite do you worry that marcus never gets talked about much be it good or bad you see forums etc not 1 word about marcus yes you get a few threads about him but it seems to be all about amelia and little mix or is it a good thing he isnt in the limelight and just focus on what he does best and perform difficult thing to say.

        • Dug

          I think ‘couldn’t make it as a solo artist’ paints the wrong impression of how the producers select people for groups. Perrie could more than hold her own at Wembley and has a better track record for singing in tune than pretty much anyone this year. This links back to the suggestion that maybe the lead singer comments were intended to set the group up for the final.

  • Lux Lisbon

    The fact that Jonjo got anywhere near the live shows is a damning indictment of just what a dog of a series this was.

    I backed Janet after the very first show (she is the only act who will still be making records in five years), but I thought, and still think, Misha was terribly underrated – even though I didn’t warm to her personality.

    All my favourites were the acts who were authentic, congruent and unapologetic about who they are as people – embracing their flaws and their qualities i.e Janet, Funtime Frankie and Sweet Jonny Robinson.

    The rest stank like five-day-old fish.

    PS – Can we do something to get Dermot voted off the next series too?

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      Hi LUX
      Couldn’t agree more about Dermot
      The bloke comes across as self centred, arrogant and purile and I do not like him or the condescending way he talks to and treats the contestants.

      BTW did anyone notice that apart from not singing live, JUSTIN BEAVER wasn’t even there! It was a rpecrecorded “performance” that was filmed weeks ago and slipped in the schedule as if he was part of the live show. The PTB take the public for fools but we knew that.

      • Lux Lisbon

        Hey, my friend – re: Bieber, no, I did not know that! Whatever next? You know, before I discovered this awesome site a few weeks ago, I was an innocent soul who believed this was a fair fight. I thought I was far too clever and too savvy for anybody to take ME for a ride.

        But now, I feel like a mug. I feel so stupid.

        Thanks everybody for marking my card. However, I’m now in a place where I think EVERYTHING now is fixed! Haha.

      • Pete D

        Simon. Another point on which you (and LUX here) are so right regarding Dermot. If it weren’t for his great Radio 2 guests and their live studio sessions I would turn his sickly over patronizing voice/Saturday radio show off. It is pure musical enjoyment (but under sufferance of him).

        In fact I have even set my new KELLY ringtone “HELLO HELLO HELLO HELLO” alarm for an hour earlier every morning so that I can get up and hate them both for just a bit longer.

  • mark (mapps)

    Evening – been looking around and noticed stans have a’final peak viewing figures’ market 13.5 5/6 pick

    I know viewing figures are down, but would over not be the play? Last year the final had 16.55 year before 19.7 , theres a big increase from semi final to final too

    the week ending 27th had a peak of 11.3 million – need to see what last weeks figures were to get an idea, but it’s not on the BARB yet

    My thoughts were if 11.3 for week8, surely for the final it can push 13.5 , even with viewing figures down 13.5 is significantly less than previous years?

    Series Semi final Final Increease from semi to final (mil)
    1 6.9 8.7 1.8
    2 0
    3 12 12
    4 7.5 12.1 4.6
    5 11.6 14.06 2.46
    6 15.4 19.7 4.3
    7 14.53 16.55 2.02

    Just the figures I got from wikipedia X Factor pages

    anyone got a view on this?

    Thanks

  • Stephen

    To be honest guys i really do think Amelia will win.

    I have backed her from day 1 to this day now all my bets are on her.

    It has been an amazing journey for myself and for amelia and other people who placed bets on her.

    I placed a bet on her to win at 8/1 and a few hours later i saw kelly kicking her out i couldnt believe it i was so shocked usually when i lose i just throw away my dockets but not this time i kept every single one of them in my bedroom and hoping for a repreive and i did his name was ‘frankie cocozza’ then i saw her doing an epic performance of the ‘show must go on’ her odds shortend very quickly then week later she is in bottom 2 and seen my chances cut in half once again but now she is got to the final 3 surely it would end in the comeback princess to claim the crown.

    i had rebecca last year and came 2nd it was such a crushing blow hopefully amelia will make amends for this and i can see her doing it.

    people say because she was in the bottom 2 she doesnt have a chance however no black male has ever won the show either and no group has ever won the show even one direction couldnt win with all there pimping a tradation will go sunday night lets hope for 1 of us we can make some money from what has been a poor show to date.

    goodluck to everyone

    simon-with marcus

    and others who placed bets on little mix.

    • Kate

      Re: precedents. I’m not sure that “no act that has been in the bottom two has won” is a comparable statement to “no black male has won” or “no group has won”. These two really are a question of precedent existing until it’s broken, i.e. there’s nothing about being a black man or a group that impacts directly on their popularity. You might as well say that “no one called Frankie has ever won” or “no one born on 22 March has ever won”. These statements are true but they are statistically irrelevant.

      But a placement in the bottom two is relevant because it indicates that at least one stage or another this act hasn’t been able to muster the popularity to beat any other surviving act in the competition. In order to win they would have to build up support from somewhere, or hope for a collapse in support from their rivals. That’s not impossible but clearly it hasn’t happened yet. It suggests, if nothing else, that if Amelia wins it will be down to specific boosting factors that have yet to be identified.

      • Stephen

        Hey Kate i do think been in the bottom 2 is not good sign of support.But how long has x factor been running for 8 years or more and no group has ever won so why would it win now?the likes of jls couldnt even win and look how popular they are now they could only muster up 2nd.I think been in bottom 2 is bad but this year it doesnt matter so much as proven with the survation poll how close it can be.I think song choice is crucial and on that night amelia was in bottom 2 janet had her best performance of the series so did little mix with dont let go and marcus had the whole choir behind him and the pimp slot to ease him through while amelia got a rather unforgettable aretha franklin song and i think misha was ahead of her due to her very excessive vt about crying about her family problems i think that was a mixture of why amelia was in the bottom 2 but by saying that i think amelia topped the vote last weekend she was clearly more superior than little mix and marcus on the night saturday night so i dont see any reason why she wouldnt top the vote on performance.also you have to remember amelia has had a 6 week disadvantage on getting her fanbase back on track but she is slowly and gradually gaining her fanbase again when she came back her twitter followers were 160,000 now its double that 320,000 thats alot of followers in such a small space of time.she has slowly cut down her oppostion craig was her 1st victim you would think craig would have more support than amelia but it wasnt the case then the week later she cut down janets support then week later she cut down mishas support i dont see why she cant cut down little mix and marcus support in the final if she puts on another showstopping performance.

        time will tell tho

        • Boki

          If I’m not mistaken, no white girl has ever won either 😉

          Stephen, whatever the outcome may be you should reconsider your betting strategies if Amelia as winner was your only bet (don’t get angry on me, it’s a friendly advice).

        • annie

          the difference with this year and others years(when jls or other groups couldn’t win) is that this is actually a weak year talentwise. other years were full of contenders yet this one…. well almost all finalists are there by default, because they haven’t had as many faults as others.
          even so, i am not convinced little mix will win, if Marcus or Amelia pull of some good performances and get decent duets i think they(especially smiley marcus) are more likely to pick up the votes who only actually tune in and vote fr the final. I do think little mix are good, but I also feel a lot of their giant support comes from people warming onto them(them as people and their performances as well) in time over the course of more than one show, not from instant appeal which is required to attract floating votes in the end.

  • Lux Lisbon

    @Stephen: Oh, my giddy God! Marcus to sing with Westlife? Is the Wembley stage strong enough to support that many stools?

    If that proves to be correct, then the producers REALLY don’t want Marcus to win and that good ship will be floundering on the rocks by the second ad-break; they will do nothing to showcase whatever talents he has.

    But, anyway, with all their contacts and the special guests they’ve had on the series so far, you’d think they’d be able to come up with something better than THAT lot.

    It’s more incestuous than ‘Hamlet’: A former Xfactor winner, last year’s Xfactor finalists, and Walsh’s lot probably there to flog more tickets for their Farewell Tour and another Greatest Hits CD.

    Holy St. Francis!

    • annie

      this was clear weeks ago, they will do everythig needed to get the last of Gary’s boys to the final but then do anything legal to stop another male from winning. Well, Westlife is a good start to hinder his chances, but I expect even more. Let’s see how the good ship takes the blows and icebergs 😀

  • EM

    Simon, great write up on the common threads of the finalists, well worth remembering next year.

    I’m miles out the X Factor loop this year so this may not be news but Coldplay and Michael Buble are confirmed to appear on the show in their own right. It’s not unreasonable to think that they may be on the duets.

    In that case I’d predict Marcus with Buble playing right into his supposed voting demographics and Coldplay, I can’t see them duetting myself but it would have to be Amelia wouldn’t it?

    Which leaves Little Mux and who?

    If these turn out to be correct I expect kudos if it’s totally wrong my name is Richard Betsfactor 😉

  • Donald

    Well it’s been a rollercoaster series as the list of prdeictions shows.

    The producers got their act in gear but took a while.

    Thanks to Sofabet did well on eliminations after initial bets on Jade and Melanie went west.

    Then the whole Frankie saga was not good for the show really.

    Getting Little Mix for top group in the two horse race was a great bonus but sort of kicking myself didn’t steam in EW after thinking they were real dark horses but hindsight is easy when they still there. At the time Janet was still there, consider myself lucky not to have let my liking of her not influence my betting as she had not delivered which eventually made it easy for them to seal her fate.

    Sofabet steadies the betting on win market for sure that is a good thing.

    I am sitting on Little Mix and The Good Ship both nice bets for the win and the forecast either way thanks in no small way to all on here.

    My heart says Marcus for the Sofabet party and to the people on here who have campaigned Marcus all the way through a nightmare series really.

    Just hope Amelia dosen’t spoil the party but having read about her diabetes wouldn’t begrudge her either. Pretty brave girl in fairness but still come on the Good Ship!

  • Jack

    I know I got two of the top three right, but I did put Rhythmix to go first, which wasn’t the best move in hindsight.

    I think you did very well considering and to predict Marcus to win was a great move that may yet come off.

    Still looking forward to this final preview – when is it going up?
    Also do you know when the duets are announced? As usual, that will be biggest influence producers can have on who wins, as running order is nearly (but not quite) redundant now.

  • shoulders

    OK guys, your thoughts on this………..

    I mentioned before in a post how the M & S ad was changing as the contestants were whittled down and acts solo spots were disappearing as a contestant left. Well Misha and Craig are no longer soloing in the ad and we now have just Marcus, Amelia and Little Mix singing the solos.
    I am of the believe that the ad will finish with the winner singing the whole solo. I also believe that the ordering in which they sing has been carefully controlled so acts that the producers thought would not make the final were shown in the solo singing closing slot before their anticipated departure.
    With Misha gone and her solo singing the closing slot completed. Amelia has just seen her singing last position change.
    Little Mix are now singing at the end in her place. Does this mean that Little Mix are the producers preferred choice to win the competition and introducing them in the closing shot of the M & S ad just as we go into the final is give the impression to the public that they are the headline act which Marcus and Amelia just warm up for and now have to fall behind.
    Or Marcus has not yet had his go singing at the end, does this mean that he’s unfairly missed out or have they left him out of this privileged position because they are confident that he will get his go after he wins on Sunday!!!
    Misha, Little Mix and Amelia out of the final 4 have all had their turn, will Marcus really now not get his????
    I feel my thoughts in this post comes from reading too much of the excellent Richard at BetsFactor, but i’m sure the producers use every method to hand to manipulate the conscious / sub conscious minds of the voting public
    The ad is on the M & S site
    http://www.marksandspencer.com/MS-TV/b/311612031?intid=gf

    • EM

      Legally the tv producers should have no influence on the advert. Also if I’m Marks n Sparks I’m paying a fortune for the ad time and licensing of C Factor then I’m going to run whatever sells my products not what influences the tv contest.

      I wouldn’t read too much into it

    • Dug

      I’m still confused about the second line, “makes no difference…”

      Is it James Michael? It has been the same voice throughout the series and I think it’s this year’s third favourite Scouser. Why on earth haven’t they replaced it.

      It was obviously all done in one shoot and whilst it would have been wise to record each act doing the entire song through, I feel the shoot spent a lot more time on some than others. It would have been obvious to up LM’s involvement over the past weeks but this line at the end is the first increase for them. Is this evidence that they weren’t filmed enough and thus another sign that they were not an early Plan A?

  • shoulders

    Just need to add to my comment above because of something Betsfactor has noticed, the M & S ad’s song is about a “STAR” Murcus opens the singing and the shot right before you see him is a purple box with covered in “STARS”, then the first person you see is Murcus sing using the word “STAR”, then it goes back to the box covered in “STARS” third shot of Marcus and he sings “STAR” again at the same time as showing of his “STAR” tattoo. No other soloist sings the word “STAR” FACT !!!

  • Peter

    So, who has actually done best overall then? And how biased are we when looking at them and assessing how well we’ve done?
    Taking the five sets of 1-16 predictions back in that earlier thread, I’ve had a quick run through the numbers.
    The score below for each poster is the average error in each position prediction they have made, up to the semi-final. A lower score is better…

    5th – Dug 5.2
    4th – tpfkar 4.5
    3rd – Jack 3.9
    2nd – Sofabet 3.9
    1st – Noisy 3.4

    So Noisy did best overall, the Sofabet team and Jack have done equally well so far, though they will be separated when the order of the top three is revealed.
    Unfortunately tfpkar and Dug both did worse than chance – a random order would be expected to get a score of 4.0…

  • Lux Lisbon

    I think we are starting to overthink this, guys…although it’s fun!

  • On duets:

    – A couple of years ago it was all very last minute and in the end Westlife were wheeled in to do one, just as a favour to Simon (I seem to remember a “so what are you upto.” chit chat and them sayng er… we’re on holiday at the moment.) So, it could still be all to play for and Simon’s Black Book being used.

    – There are TWO two hours shows to pad out. That’s a crazy four hours of content (45m if you take out the ads). I’d suggest Coldplay are the biggest rumoured act, so I’d expect them to appear on Sunday, not necessarily Saturday as well.

    – The duets need to look massive, so there is NO WAY One Direction will be performing with the Mixettes! Just no way at all – what are they going to perform “You Light Up My Life”?!

    – Buble and the Good Ship look nailed on. Unless GB can call in a favour with a megastar.

    – Coldplay and Amelia would be a natural fit, for a rockier ballad but I’m not sure Fix You would be right, so can’t think of a Coldplay song with enough mass appeal that would suit Amelia’s voice.

    On balance, I still reckon Little Mix are Plan A, but only just – let’s call them plan A-1! You know what, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fix You is wheeled out with the girls. Their voices are more suited to it, and it’s a tune about friendship/caring. In that scenario expect Will and the boys to be stuck in the background (if they can even be bothered turning up) or more likely just Chris Martin being shipped in with five minutes to go, sing 45 seconds Chris, thanks very much, collect your £25,000 and we’ll see you tomorrow. Don’t rule that out.

    He loves Girls Aloud, if I was CM, Little Mix would be the act I’d want to win it, so I’d be putting my foot down and making sure I’m supporting the winning act. Not backing a loser.

    So Marcus / Buble
    Leona or Coldplay / Amelia
    Leona or Coldplay / Little Mix

    With Westlife in reserve for any emergencies.

    I think they would be crackers to stick anyone lower than Leona in terms of “star” appeal with any contestant, unless they wanted to nuke them of course, and these days they seem to be lurching from one contestant to the next.

    Shoulders, in my humble opinion, all that M&S ad shows, is how weak our finalists are in terms of vocals!

  • Jake

    Breaking News! According to the Mirror, the acts will be duetting with their mentors on Saturday night (well done to those who guessed/suggested this). I think this means it is quite likely Little Mix and Marcus will make the final two. I don’t think Kelly has much of a bond with Amelia (especially considering she got rid of her in week 1).

    • mark (mapps)

      This had been talked about, but didnt think it would actually happen?

      • Jake

        According to the Mirror it is confirmed (and will be confirmed in the press conference tomorrow).

        What they say the song choices are:

        Tulisa and Little Mix: If I Ain’t Got You and Empire State Of Mind
        Kelly and Amelia: River Deep, Mountain High
        Gary and Marcus: A Take That song most likely

        • Pete D

          Jake. If these song choices are true then this will be a STUNNING ‘pin drop’ moment for LITTLE MIX. What a fantastic song !! Especially if they can work a great (less is more) complementary harmony into it using PERRIE as ‘the main man’.

          Link here for anyone who hasn’t heard the original by ALECIA KEYS.

          http://youtu.be/pEq9EKwanJE

          Knowing ME, ME, ME, USA SUPERSTAR KELLY, she will want to steal the show and make AMELIA look like the Karaoke Queen that she is. Song is great and powerful, but old hat ‘MISHA purifying-esque’ and definitely NOT the type to capture the younger elements imagination to the max.

          Most ‘later’ TAKE THAT songs are great and will bode well with their fanbase and MARCUS-ites, but I can’t see it topping LITTLE MIX’s new HUGE growing ‘multi-vote mad’ fanbase (guaranteed 2nd then).

          • Simon "le middle aged chat"

            That’s because you are in the LM camp Pete!
            Come on the good ship!
            (only joking- good luck to LM- for second place that is)

          • Simon "le middle aged chat"

            The X Factor website update also have this information down as roumer which means it aint going to happen.

            However if MARCUS and GARY sing “Rule the world” the others might as well pack their bags.

        • annie

          well, of this is true, I think that’s best news for good ship Marcus, I think Gary has the best chance to grab the BT landline votes out of all.
          the songs listed for LM are quite ambitios, I only heard Tulisa sing on Ndubz videos and from that are they sure she can handle alicia keyes??
          looking forward to it.

  • Pete D

    A heartwarming and assuring read with pics and vids for LITTLE MIX backers, ‘predictors’ (and fans).

    It not only indicates that (imho) LITTLE MIX are safe to win with the HUGE fanbase following that is fanatically accruing, I also predict that it will also be by a ‘landslide’ vote this year.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/tv/2011/12/07/little-mix-mania-our-man-joins-the-x-factor-faves-on-an-emotional-return-home-115875-23615652/

    Then we go over to the actual ‘live’ South Shields show this week in front of 2,500 frantic screaming (‘girl-power’) fans (where 3,500 were also turned away because they couldn’t get tickets).

    That attendance ‘demand’ in just one town alone ALREADY equates to about 1/3 of the capacity of the giant 02 ARENA for the sell out SPICE GIRLS reunion gigs there, where I also witnessed the esteemed legends Sir Macca, The Stones and Led Zep playing there to sell out crowds (and where LITTLE MIX will also be doing the same next year).

    Could MARCUS (‘good ship’ as he is) or AMELIA KARAOKE do that ? I think not.

    You will also see MARCUS (bless his lovable cotton socks) on the same site link turning up to his old ‘school’ in a Helicopter for a much smaller gig.

    And for any ‘doubters’ here, on this next clip you will witness an ‘honest first hand’ viewing the 2012 ‘phenomenon’ that is going to be, where I not only predicted this months ago but also backed it with the early-bird 66/1 bets that I took out on 9th October around the ‘week one’ XF show (shame I wasn’t quicker as some astute lucky punters were in at over 100/1. My only regret).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9zIByGc9EA

    OK, the recorded sound is a bit ropey from a camcorder/phone-cam, BUT it’s clear enough to show the great vocal harmonies that are there; AND (because of it) they are right ‘up in front’ of the backing music mix and more prominent than on the tv show with it’s clinical ‘compressed’ and ‘limited for transmission to your speakers’ sound.

    I estimate that ultra modern and clear ‘line array’ pa system there to be around 15,000 to 18,000 watts, as I run the same type. Also, the Sound Engineer has ‘neither’ added any fancy ‘vocal FX’ or huge reverbs and echo’s onto their voices to try to mask anything (or to ‘big them up’). Therefore it’s straight and it’s HONEST !!

    That is also the same pre-recorded backing track from the XF performance and there is no evidence of the ‘huge borrowed from MARCUS choirs’ that it was accused of having by ‘other sites’.

    I sometimes think that these untrained amateur critics have ‘painted on ears’, so don’t be swayed or upset by what they say Little Mix backers, as it is only ‘weak opinion’.

    However, there was admittedly a far less predominant complementary ‘lower’ harmony to balance up the harmony chorus line section whilst they were singing the main “don’t let go” line in higher 2 part harmony (and 2 x part mid range unison combined).

    This is quite normal to ‘fatten’ the vocal sound up for thinner sounding girly voices above a heavy backing and it is very evident on the EN VOGUE studio original (link here later).

    I estimate this to be around only 2 to 3 MALE bass/mid harmonies at most and sung in a sort of drone/durge (OR even Jesy ‘overdubbing’ them as she has an amazing lower range for a girl, as demonstrated on the ITV XF site when ELLIOT runs them through the song and breaks it down to show all the harmony parts……no link, just go and find it there)

    Now we go over to the EN Vogue original, where the lead vocal line is also ‘pimped’ up to the eyeballs with ‘double tracking/chorused’ FX and huge Titanic-esque repeat echo’s and reverbs.

    Noting here that PERRIE actually did the repeats herself DRY AND LIVE on tv and on the clip, and with no ‘parachute’ or ‘safety net’.

    This original also has many ‘overdubs’ similar to “I’m not in love” by 10cc (as they cannot possibly do a 4 x part harmony lead AND complementary ‘fattening’ lines AND a series of “OOOOOH’s” all at the same time in the stdio OR live on stage.

    Then again, they were the mega rich EN VOGUE and did carry a virtual orchestra with backing singers with them on tour.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSb5Sd_FCJ4

    Having live mixed a few ex X-FACTOR finalists in clubs I am afraid that I will never have the pleasure to mix the LITTLE MIX girls, as they are going to be far to HUGE for me to ever get near and get my hands on the console that my superiors will get to control instead.(my only other regret,… sigh)

    Meanwhile the LITTLE MIX ‘STEAMROLLER’ chugs on relentlessly to collect the winner’s trophy. And for those newbies here who haven’t seen my tag before, here is my entertaining view of what is happening to all the other wannabes …

    http://youtu.be/qLlUgilKqms

    I now go to try and find some ‘Bonjela’ to ease my hurting gums, as I am sure that the new huge unnecessary dental plate that the Dentist gave me (with only one blinkin’ tooth on), was meant for someone else and that I must be wearing it in for them.

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    AMELIA held a similar reunion in Teesside last night with KELLY and you couldn’t get near the place. Many screaming kids and no doubt in the final they will be fishing from the same pool except AMELIA will also have a rod and line in the day centre where the old folk love her.
    The results will be very interesting but I stand by my assertion that LM will not win because they do not appeal to the older folk who are the kingmakers in this show.
    Also you can have all the hype you like but they havent performed yet – let’s see how they do when the heat is on Saturday night!

    • jashala

      That theory makes no sense though, when their are older people who are voting for little mix, there fanbase is not just young teens, there appeal is much more broader then you are giving them credit for. Im from California, but i am friends with a few older people from the UK that vote for little mix every week, and they are far from teenagers. Like I said before all u have to do is read around, I’ve seen young, old, men, women, young girls, even teenage boys say they are voting for little mix. Im not saying they will win, imm hoping they do though, but im just saying there fanbase is alot more broader then u may think, a reporter who was at there homecoming in South shields mention also how broad there fanbase is.

    • Pete D

      Simon “le smashing chap chat”. Now you know how much I love and respect you, being a fellow MARCUS supporter/spotter too (as a win from him and LM 2nd will do me no harm), but your supportive ‘older folk’ vote theory has one or two major flaws.

      Until AMELIA came along it seems that the ‘good ship’ MARCUS was the ‘flavour of the month’ with you and them and was going to get all the ‘blue rinse’ votes.

      NOW though, it seems that because LITTLE MIX have come through the pack to the front to threaten MARCUS, they will all now be voting for AMELIA instead with their pension credit funded ‘single’ affordable vote.

      Not only is that a ‘kingdom divided against itself’ it doesn’t bode well for MARCUS’ hopes now. Sounds too like you are ‘jumping ship’.

      Take a look at YouTube LM vids and see the extent of what is happening with their support and of the ‘multi vote’ frenzy that is taking place. It’s ok selling a theory to yourself but you really have to open your front door and look into the street first to see what is going on to support or damn it properly.

      Take a look at the comments (and view numbers on just one of the many unofficial “don’t let go” vids of the same song. The official XF one is now up to nearly 1/2 million in just a few short weeks)

      http://youtu.be/Wl51vfdqQ3o

      Jashala has it ‘open mindedly’ right (as an independent overseas observer too). LITTLE MIX are good clean living sweet girls (who CAN actually sing) and they have a VERY WIDE appeal right across the board.

      As I have said before, being a Grandad myself, it also brings a huge feeling of entertaining pride to watch my own 5 year old LITTLE MIXER Princess doing all the LM moves and singing every song word for word ALREADY (and they haven’t even got started properly yet).

      Kids know their names already (and have their favourites), they relate to them because they are ‘ordinary girls’ and they will have smash hit records, sell-out tours and will be fashion icons and hairstyle leaders (just like the SPICE GIRLS).

      It’s girl power re-visited and it is useless to try to play King Kanute against it.

      As for ‘not having yet performed’ the final, each week their act has been layered up with new challenges by BORELOWS ‘XF scripted’ hints and improvement suggestions and as a result, the best is yet to come.

      Prepare for your ‘flaws’ to be ‘floored’ my good ship friend and I sincerely hope that we can both share some mutual financial benefit from an open minded fair result.

      ps. turn your telly down too as they have intentionally picked a suitable classic SCREAMER for AMELIA KARAOKE to do what she does worst (where only TINA TURNER herself has the quality voice to handle it right). I have my winter ear muffs at the ready and will be gritting my new teeth.

  • bob

    The good ship is still the value. The one thing that stays the same with the x factor is the voters. The voters like a nice, smiley, unthreatening boy. They don’t like groups. Apart from Cake Mix and Sing Mix doees anyone care who’s in LM? Do they know? As for Amelia, I’m relying on the GB sense of fair play. And the fact that something isn’t quite right with hjer, as proved by her bottom two appearance.

  • Selma

    Now we know the duets surely Marcus has the best partner?

    Marcus and Gary
    Little Mix and Tulisa
    Amelia and Kelly

  • Dug

    But then Little Mix can’t be Plan A because Tulisa can’t sing!

    I’m not just trying to be disparaging about her as an ‘artist’ but let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that letting her loose in Wembley would be equivalent to a minor terrorist attack.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0OxvO6yNME

    Gary Barlow doesn’t exactly have the best track record as a solo artist. At worst he looks like he’s angrily suppressing his inner heifer and at best he looks like a smug dad that just won an argument with another family at the crazy golf course.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKIa33wcakE

    I strongly disagree with Jake this this spells curtains for Amelia. Kelly may not be Beyonce and her appearance at the weekend might have been a bit embarrassing (what was that Misha B style intro?) but she’s still the closest thing to charismatic in a panel she shares with a mormon, a chav and Louis Walsh.

    On the subject of top 16, I do not deserve any credit whatsoever because my offering was shifted around massively to copy yours with some alterations. My original guess had Amelia in second place but Craig, embarrassingly, in first.

    • Pete D

      Dug. N-DUBZ are not exactly the first thing also my Christmas list either and Tulisa may not be the best singer around, though she does look hot (I did click your vid link).

      We have to accept though that this is not a singing competition for the judges (Lord knows what LOUIS would have done, lol) and it will not hail or fail on their personal duet performance alone.

      If it did influence though, consider this. LM will reign over TULISA if she is that bad and MARCUS will at least equal BORELOW (or completely out ‘SHINE’ him…..Take THAT Borelow and don’t try to be a nasty smarty pants again !!).

      AMELIA will be blown out of the ‘River Deep’ by KELLY and over the ‘Mountain High’ back to ‘karaoke oblivion’ (KELLY being a consummate pro performer who came from the worlds biggest and most polished girl band).

      Also N-DUBZ have a massive supportive young/voting urban following, having had platinum selling albums and sell out tours (where they had 8 award nominations and won 5 of them, including 3 MOBO awards). Not to be sniffed at and it will do LM voting no harm at all).

      It’s all there on Wiki, where these ‘study tools’ are also part of our armory in this war against the bookies for situations like this.

      I never really did a 1-16 as I only had my bookie canon trained what mattered, LM and MARCUS with JAN as a main danger 2nd or 3rd and then replaced (kicking and screaming and resisting) with the tasteless public’s ‘new kid on the block’ choice AMELIA when JAN was knifed to death (with a possible edged in MISHA as a guaranteed 3rd if AMELIA went when I wanted her to).

  • Simon "le chat"

    Hey guys, if GARY sings with the Good Ship the rest are finished.
    BARLOW is the lead singer the greatest boy band in UK history and the stadiums up and down the country are still reverberating from the TAKE THAT! record breaking tour last year. His voice is instantly recognisable from 23 years of smash hits and the Mums and Dad’s everywhere will love it. Add to that another consumerate professional in MARCUS and I cannot see them getting beaten.

    KELLY can sing as she showed last Saturday but all TULISA can do is wriggle her backside appealingly and grunt. TULISA is not a performer, at least nowhere in the same class and if she goes on stage with LITTLE MIX they are both TOAST.

    FINAL 2 AMELIA (second) and the good ship to sail through.

  • Jake

    Confirmed Song Choices:

    Gary and Marcus: She’s Always a Woman
    Kelly and Amelia: River Deep, Mountain High
    Tulisa and Little Mix: I ain’t got you and Empire State of Mind.

    If Little Mix and Marcus pull it off I think they have the far better song choices.

  • Boki

    Is it just me feeling that Marcus can’t make any impact with his song?

    • Boki

      Or maybe I’m wrong, just read about John Lewis Advert etc., it’s hard to know these things when you are not from UK.

    • Simon "le chat"

      It must be just you Boki – the Bookies have money pouring back on MARCUS and he is in from 3/1 tom 9/4 on the announcement and will shortly overtake AMELIA as second favourite.

      Sail on the Good ship!
      Not far now!

  • Dug

    Hmm, She’s Always a Woman is undoubtedly a winning choice.

    If I ain’t got you is an atrocious selection. It did no favours for Paije Richardson last year and it’s more piano bar than vote stealer. I honestly can’t see the thinking behind that.

  • Dug

    I see X Factor Tracker have some unexpected rankings:

    http://xfactortracker.com/

    What’s the latest from Tpfkar?

  • fiveleaves

    Cheers Dan.

    I hope I’m wrong about 3rd and Tulisa and the Muffins can win the whole thing.

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