Will the Gary Barlow duet help Marcus Collins?

An official press conference has just confirmed Saturday’s X Factor Final duets. As suggested off-handedly as a piece of wild speculation on Sofabet last week, the three finalists will perform with their mentors. Marcus Collins and Gary Barlow will sing Billy Joel’s ‘Always A Woman’, Little Mix and Tulisa will do a mash-up of Alicia Keys’ ‘I Ain’t Got You’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’, whilst Amelia Lily and Kelly Rowland will perform ‘River Deep, Mountain High’

We’re planning to post our main preview of the final on Saturday morning, once we see what the Saturday newspaper coverage is like. In the meantime, there is clearly plenty to say about the news just released. What are our first thoughts?

On the surface, news that Marcus Collins will be performing with Gary Barlow seems like a big net plus for him. Gary is easily the most popular of the mentors as artists, with his huge Take That fanbase, which fits nicely into the demographic where Marcus is likely to be most popular – women over 30.

Beyond this, there’s potential for a story that is incredibly powerful. Last week’s VT hinted at a Surrogate Dad plotline for the pair – Marcus was brought up by his single parent mother, and explained that Gary has become a father figure for him. The sight of the once-bullied oversized boy from Runcorn turned pop star guiding the little gay black kid from Liverpool could be dynamite. There might not be a dry eye in the house, including Marcus and Gary.

But then there’s the song – Billy Joel’s ‘She’s Always A Woman’. It’s a song I love, but it’s wrong on so many levels for this duet.

Firstly, it’s strange for two men to be singing a song which is clearly about an individual woman, rather than women in general. If there’s a surrogate dad thing going on, then maybe they could dedicate it to Marcus’s mum… but it’s hardly appropriate. We’ve seen photos of Marcus in his mum’s graduation photo, so “she’s earned her degree” would be lyrically appropriate – but then there’s “she steals like a thief”, “casual lies”, “suddenly cruel”. This one’s for you, mum? Hardly.

Secondly, the song works as a heartfelt ode about the difficulties of loving someone of the female sex, and Marcus is – of course – an out gay man. Admittedly this was an incongruity with ‘My Girl’, too, but less so because that’s far more bubblegum and hence sexless as a pop song. Still, if Marcus does manage to emote like he means it, that should at least stand him in good stead for the West End career most are predicting for him.

Thirdly, and most worryingly, it’s a song in which the verses are set a lot lower than the chorus. We have noted Marcus’s troubles with his lower register during ‘Lately’ and ‘Can You Feel It’, and it seems quite possible that we may have another shaky start in the offing.

Why not choose one of Take That’s back catalogue, which would be better recognised and emphasise Gary’s blessing? It feels to us as if, having chosen to run with the concept of mentor duets, producers then set out to minimise the in-built advantage it looked likely to give Marcus.

Nonetheless, the news saw Marcus overtake Amelia as second favourite in the Betfair win market.

Amelia Lily and Kelly Rowland don’t immediately seem like an ideal fit, and there are those who will point out that the storyline between the pair cannot be as strong because Kelly rejected Amelia in the week 1 twist. Kelly showcased a cute line in good-naturedly shrugging off this problem during the press conference, though: “Dude, ain’t that over?”

And there’s no reason for this Saturday’s song not to work on the night. As Dug points out, Kelly has plenty of star quality, and the song is a real belter, which could suit the Middlesbrough lass. In fact, it’s a very big number indeed, and Amelia’s chances may hinge on whether she can nail it or not.

Finally, whilst some Little Mix fans are very happy at the prospect of them duetting with Tulisa, the reaction on Betfair was negative, with the girlband drifting in the win market once the news was announced. Tulisa’s abilities as a live singer are open to debate, and she’s certainly not as well known as an artist than either Gary or Kelly.

There are some interesting questions posed by their song choice, a mash-up of Alicia Keys’ ‘I Ain’t Got You’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’. They are huge tunes, both of which I love, but they’re also two songs that are very much based around one voice. The debate over Perrie’s role as a lead singer was to the fore last weekend, and we will see whether the result feels more like the chance for her fantastic vocals to shine or if it feels like the group are rather one-sided in their talents. It could go either way.

Of course, in all three cases, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Don’t forget that last year, Rebecca Ferguson looked the net gainer when the duets were announced – she got Christina Aguilera – but she fluffed her lines and the opportunity it offered.

A couple of other notes on the news stories of the week. The headlines of yesterday were dominated by the story that Amelia’s recording of the winner’s single had been ready to sell on the HMV website. In our view this is probably unlikely to do her any harm this Saturday, and might even do her some good. It got her photo splashed all over the papers, after all; the negativity surrounding what happened is virtually forgotten already; and the more lasting effect might be to have subliminally associated the words “Amelia” and “winner” in the public’s mind.

Secondly, we’re intrigued by the story that text voting will be unavailable in the final. You can read the explanation why on the X Factor’s website, and it certainly sounds like something they were forced into and would rather not have done if they could have avoided it. On the face of it this seems like good news for Marcus, whose supporters we suspect are most likely to skew towards older landline-users.

The question is, what proportion of votes are by text? We haven’t been able to find any intelligence on this – if you know, please let us know in the comments box below. And, of course, let us know below your reaction to the duets.

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105 comments to Will the Gary Barlow duet help Marcus Collins?

  • Jaidi

    On the voting front, I’ve only ever voted by text and as an audience member this Saturday I assume, along with the other 10,000 in the arena, that I won’t be able to vote during the show. The same will occur on Sunday. I think a lot of people probably text their votes. I have no landline and mobile call rates to vote are high. I certainly won’t call as many times as I would have texted.

  • Jake

    I have to disagree on one part, She’s always a Women is actually set at quite a high key. Yes the chorus is higher then the verses but the verses are still pretty high. So I actually think that can be great for Marcus’ voice. Whereas with Take that songs the choruses are pretty high but the verses/beginning of the songs are quite low and that’s where Marcus would struggle.

    • Dug

      The key in the original is irrelevant. The team can, and usually do, transpose the backing track into whatever key suits the act best. The point is that She’s Always a Woman requires a decent vocal range wherever it’s pitched. For Marcus to be comfortable in the verses he would most likely have to do the whole chorus in falsetto which would sound strange and pose problems for harmonising with Gary. If he can smash it then he could take the show home with it but I agree that it poses a massive challenge.

    • Sarah

      Also Matt Cardle performed it last year, so they can always raise the key if they need to, like Matt did.

      • Simon "le chat"

        I cannot believe that after the miskeying of “Lately” and “Can you feel it” they will make the same mistake again – mind you I couldn’t believe that with all the talent there they made it in the first place.
        Worthy of comment is that Gary Barlow’s voice is also high like Marcus’s – listen to the chorus of “Rule the world” – the two voices will compliment each other wonderfully although I too have reservations about the choice “she’s always a woman”. Still we have to assume they know what they are doing and I cannot see BARLOW placing his musical integrity and reputation on a duff production because if MARCUS sounds bad it will reflect upon Gary and he wont have that.

        TULISA is going to be shown up for the musical charlaton that she is – unless helped out by a giant backing track which would be no surprise.

        Overall, and assuming BARLOW and co know that they are doing musically, it has to be good news for the good ship.

      • Dug

        I wouldn’t say it’s a case of ‘raise the key if they need to’. Covers are rarely performed in their original key. It’s a case of setting a song in the best range for a performer. Even original artists perform in different keys (Elton John lowering a lot of his songs as his voice deteriorated). Setting songs in different keys makes no difference to the feel of the music. Although there will be an original recording, there’s no such thing as a standard key to ‘raise’ from when it comes to these things. More like get to the dinner party and pick a chair.

        • Dug

          Obviously there is a standard in the sense of the song as it was written and recorded (although it can even be different between those two stages). What I mean to say is that unless you were an expert musician with internal pitch, you wouldn’t watch a performance and think ‘that’s not set in the original key’

          Sorry, my inner music geek got let loose on the comments section.

  • phil tomkinson

    I think Marcus has got the best mentor for the duets, but am not sure how well they will fit together. Marcus to shake through the first half of the song, then to be accompanied by Gary’s perfect pitch – and will they be doing Marcus’s trademark “woo” in unison??

    Amelia can nail this song, and will do. She is the only act that will be able to cope with such a huge audience and arena – the other two will have even shakier voices than usual.

    Little Mix have been landed a real blow having a duet with Tulis. Whilst I think she has a pretty good voice, she is not well known as an artist, especially amongst the main voting demographic of x factor. They could really struggly with the two songs mixed up aswell.

    Intersting to see how much Marcus’ odds have benefited from his match-up, obviously the punters think this will really help him. But he is a sure 3rd in my eyes.

  • Malcolm

    Don’t know why Marcus isn’t doing ‘Rule the world’ with Gary Barlow. Change the girl references to boy, get gary to do the intro, and it has enough references to ‘stars’ to win it for him

    You light, the skies up above me
    A star, so bright you blind me
    Don’t close your eyes
    Don’t fade away
    Don’t fade away

    Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
    If you stay with me girl, we can rule the world
    Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
    If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.

    If walls break down, I will comfort you
    If angels cry, oh I’ll be there for you
    You’ve saved my soul
    Don’t leave me now
    Don’t leave me now

    Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
    If you stay with me girl, we can rule the world
    Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
    If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.

    All the stars are coming out tonight
    They’re lighting up the sky tonight
    For you
    For you
    All the stars are coming out tonight
    They’re lighting up the sky tonight
    For you
    For you,

    Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
    If you stay with me girl, we can rule the world
    Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
    If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.

    All the stars are coming out tonight
    They’re lighting up the sky tonight
    For you
    For you
    All the stars are coming out tonight
    They’re lighting up the sky tonight
    For you
    For you
    [repeat]

    Actually a male duet is always awkward, I can see Tulisa fitting in well with Little Mix, given the chemistry between them. Just a bit too contempory for some maybe.
    ….Just imagine if Janet had made the final, what an awkward duet that would have been.

    • Curtis

      Don’t forget that the song was written for the film Stardust. No doubt it will be performed on a star shaped platform, and Marcus will be wearing his star-shaped ring.

      If Janet got to the final, I think they’d have had to not go with this idea of mentor duets. Because she didn’t, it worked better (though it would have been even better if Misha B had got to the final rather than Amelia)

  • Boki

    I wonder when the decision was made to have such duets with mentors? Could it be that they ditched Janet just to get better match for Kelly?

    Amelia’s song is the most energetic btw, however “Think” was a similar style and it put her into bottom 2.

  • annie

    I do feel that this nailed the coffin for little muffins’. Tulisa is hardly as well known or as well liked by the Bt landline owners as the other two. Beside this fame and popularity factor I don’t see Tulisa being the brilliant singer the alicia keys songs require… Still, it will be fun to see, I reckon they will do the rap version of empire state of mind like cher did last year(and which again won’t go down that well with the over 30s voters). The way this looks I think voting figures on sunday will show that little mix are like 1D with the votes, not having many chances to win, but at least they will have a nice finish. I reckon they will be 3rd.
    I heard that Kelly duetted with one of the finalists on german x factor this weekend, I checked it out, and I thought she looked like a very positive duet partner. She made the girl she sang with very comfortable, they were very dynamic, it looked good, she was the giving type of duet partner-making the other shine. I haven’t watched the show before only the videos from the final, but I think it was thanks to her and the duet that the girl got to be 2nd raher than 3rd. The act that landed 3rd was actually very good and special, never been to bottom 2 and the girl paired with kelly visited the bottom 2 twice before and was a bit generic… I do think it will be good chemistry with amelia and kelly, and I expect amelia to be pushed against marcus very much (as I said before I feel producers know little mix don’t have much chance and they definitely don’t want marcus to win…) but I reckon Amelia will end up 2nd.
    Gary is undoubtably the most popular from the judges, especially among the mature audience. I do think the song can be arranged so it will work for marcus’ high voice, like it was done with matt, it was fitted to his brilliant upper register. If I think back the fact that Marcus is gay was hardly a tackled subject on the show, it’s even possible that casual viewers who don’t read forums, tabloids etc and will vote in the final aren’t even concious that marcus is gay, they surely won’t make a problem of how credible the song was if he sings it well. And the image of him and gary in suits, maybe a piano, well, I think it will gather many votes. So even if I am not happy about it at all I think Marcus will win.
    ..and yes I am still smiling when I imagine Janet duettig with Kelly :)))))

    • annie

      ps. I was very suprised last year when everyone thought rebecca with christina a. would work. Rebecca’s strength was in the tone of her voice, she is not a strong belter, whereas christina screaaaaams everyone’s head of at every chance she gets. Plus i remember last year being discussed how the succes of the duets depends on how much the star lets the contestant shine rather than showcasing him/herself, and well, everyone knew what a Diva Christina Aquilera is… I am sure she would have outshined everyone, let alone poor shy and quiet rebecca. The only thing good about that pairing was christina’s name, the most appealing out of the duet partners.

  • bob

    Happy, happy day this. The Good Ship is rolling on into harbour. Laden with gold.

  • Lee

    I think the Gary/Marcus duet can only be good news for Marcus backers (how is he still 11/4 by the way!?).

    The voting numbers rocket in the final and those casual viewers who haven’t invested time into the show will be swayed by Gary’s influence over the other two judges.

    One interesting thing, and I have this on good authority, is that “ballids” get the phones ringing off the hook.

    IF they deliver, I think it wins Marcus the show.

    Superb shout on the mentor duets by the way guys!

  • Rob

    perhaps an idea of the set up for gary and marcus will be something like this?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz5-ZCMW16A&feature=related

    i think it has the potential to be horrible as the range is low and it’s verse heavy so there’s no hiding in the chorus. also GB isn’t the strongest of live vocalists either.

    i think tulisa should be fine and complement littlemix well
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_GijKbjawI

    no idea about amelia. i expect she can belt it but needs to avoid overdoing it. kelly rowlands vocal was good last week though not exceptional.
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kelly+rowland+river+deep&oq=kelly+rowland+river+deep&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=30709l36028l0l37859l19l13l0l7l0l1l144l707l2.4l6l0

  • bob

    Not a dig here Lee but is this ballid thing some in joke I don’t know about? Or just a misspelling?

  • Pete D

    What would be novel and entertaining would be if all the Judges sang solo and the acts sat on the panel to get their own back.

  • annemarie

    If Marcus’ duet with Gary Barlow goes well, and I cannot see why it would not, it looks like Marcus will take this year’s X Factor crown. Many viewers might just see Gary Barlow singing and be somewhat oblivious to Marcus. Gary Barlow = TAKE THAT and the viewers will vote for Marcus by default.

    I disagree with others that the song choice for Amelia is good. River Deep Mountain High is an iconic song and I have not heard any artist sing that song the way Tina Turner does. In addition, the song is 45 years old. How many of the younger generation are familiar with it? This song choice could be a complete disaster for Amelia. We can see now, if the duet with the mentors plan has been in the pipeline for some time, why Kelly wanted to hang on to Misha. And poor Janet didn’t stand a chance. A Janet and Kelly duet would have been really awkward.

    I think Little Mix have been overcooked now and have probably already peaked. Not familiar with the songs chosen for them. An interesting piece in our local paper today though about Little Mix, quote:

    Leigh-Anne’s mum Debbie said “The girls were really upset on Saturday-distraught-they hadn’t had any negative comments from the judges before so it hit them. We had to bring Leigh-Anne home on Saturday night because she was so upset. I think she just needed to get away from it all”.

    Leigh-Anne fluffed her lines last weekend? Is the pressure of the competition and now the negative comments going to have an impact on their final performance? Little Mix are really going to have to hold their nerve if they want to win.

    It is beginning to look as though this year’s X Factor is really the Gary Barlow show and that he has been pulling the strings behind the scene all the time. As a judge he has been even more unpleasant than Simon Cowell. Many of his negative comments towards the contestants have been unjustified and have been used for the effect only of boosting his own acts. Constantly and unnecessarily deriding the acts in the way he has, week after week in front of millions, is a form of subtle verbal bullying in itself. If Gary Barlow does not return next year the X Factor will hopefully be all the better for it. And I cannot help think that in the long term Gary Barlow’s stint has an X Factor judge will only damage his public persona.

    • Stephen

      I disagree annemarie about amelias song choice yes it is old but the younger people will know it as its been on glee check the video if you like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8mlMHtWVnk if they do the glee version i think it could work well and show off amelias vocals.

      I dont know what other people think but i have seen on other forums and i agree totally why would anyone watch gary barlow on the piano and marcus sing its a boring song and alot of people said there going to switch over when those 2 come on.it has the making of been a very dull song atleast with amelia and kelly song it be abit fun but i guess everyone has there own tastes.i think little mix are doomed so i agree with you on that ann marie the fact that there singing 2 songs from alica keys who is extremly talented i think it will turn into abit karoke for alot of people and it be more funny to watch them inspiring to pick up and vote.

      also the duets are not going to win the show for someone it will help but there is plenty more songs on the night there going to do probably there audtions song and amelia has a great song piece of my heart heres her cover
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCBAnUBYPZ8 i think she is fantastic.

      I think little mix are doomed but even tho marcus will get the edge going into sunday i think amelias versatilty will win true in the end as they have more songs to sing sunday.

      • Sarah

        Let’s be honest Simon. The ‘forums’ you are talking about is Digital Spy. A forum which rarely matches the views of the general public, and seems to have a universal hatred for Gary Barlow and MC. They may say they will “switch off” for the duet, but I am pretty sure the general public (and as the final’s viewers increases, the average viewer age increases) will be pretty interested in a performance from Gary Barlow and his duet.

        • Sarah

          *Stephen* sorry lol

        • Stephen

          That is true sarah but in my opinion it be really nice to have a change this year in the winner little mix just because there so friendly and have great connection towards eachother and have put on 2 very good performances haloween night and dont let go however they have been pretty average the last 2 weeks.and amelia just because she is so talented and is clearly going to make it big either she wins or dont.

          i really dont understand the publics choice every year

          jai britans got talent-boring as hell
          matt cardle-boring as hell
          joe-boring as hell

          what is with the public voting for these people as we never hear them a year later.rebecca and cher and one direction seem to be way more popular than matt now how things change.

          public never look to the people who will get no.1 hits they look at one trick poneys who everyone forgets a year later.

          the proof is in the pudding have we ever heard of jail since he won britans got talent the only news we heard from joe since he won is that he is gay and matt is flopping in the charts.

          anyways i dont think marcus is going to win this year as he doesnt deserve it been lou bega the whole competetion.

          • Jake

            I think most male contestants are unfairly labeled bland/boring, just because of the history of previous winners. I would hardly call Marcus boring, he may not be a suitable record artist, but in my opinion he is certainly not boring, in fact he is one of the most entertaining contestants and almost always delivers a good show. I am pretty sure out of the remaining acts he will entertain the 10,000 audience the most in Wembley.

    • Nicky

      Hi Annemarie. Just thought I’d point out that River Deep Mountain High has been covered by Glee, so might go down well with the teenagers.

      • annemarie

        Hi Nicky

        Have heard the GLEE version of River Deep Mountain High on You Tube and accept some of the younger generation may be familiar with it. The GLEE version is OK but this song is iconic and for the older generation watching X Factor at the weekend they will compare Amelia and Kelly’s version to the original. It is a hard task for Amelia. No one sings that song like Ike and Tina Turner.

  • EM

    My first thought on the duets was the exact same as yours, She’s Always A Woman doesn’t sit right with Marcus either in sentiment or tune. It has the potential to be a disaster. Gary Barlow might be part of Take That but his solo value is next to nothing.

    If Kelly and Amelia nail their song then it could be a game changing peformance, it’s a BIG song. It’s also a big IF.

    I’ve seen Tulisa sing live and she’s great. The problem I get with it is that 99% of the X Factor audience haven’t seen her sing at all so will all attention be on her to the point of closing their mind to Der Mix?

  • shoulders

    Little Mix and Text Votes,

    Texting is certainly more popular with the youngsters and if Little Mix have been benefiting from single voters texting multiple times, unless they can pull something out of the bag in the final they could be in trouble 
    Text voting was only reintroduced for this series and has been used right up to the Semis, 

    Last year One Direction managed 3rd without text votes. If text voting has been giving Little Mix a boost, I think no text votes could spell trouble for them, I think it is clear from Tulias banging the table that Little Mix really need the votes, it  looks like they could be the act to suffer the most without them

    • EM

      You’re all showing your age now.

      Kids are BBMing, iMessaging, Instant Messaging, Tweeting and FB Chatting. Texting is somethign your parents do now.

      • shoulders

        You’re right!!!, a better way to put it would have been, Marcus has a much older fan base who havn’t quite got to grips with that texting thingy yet, so it shouldn’t affect his votes much

    • ganix

      The banging on the table always seemed a little suspect. 😀 Plus there’s the last minute change in running order in the semis – hardly a sign of confidence.

  • shoulders

    P.S. such a shame we’re not getting to see the Louis / Kitty duet

  • Pauline

    Don’t like Gary Barlow anymore. This because of his cruelty to Janet from the ‘Somebody to love’ week onward. Quite frankly he shocked me. Especially on her birthday. It’s possible to criticize and advise without cruelty.I didn’t think the judges would be able to get away with the meanness that has gone on this year. This would have an effect on my voting for Marcus even if he is the best singer on the planet (not), I wouldn’t vote for him because of his connection to Garry Barlow. Furthermore, don’t like the song ‘Always a woman’ find the lyrics patronizing. Also, whilst at a race meeting I overheard a punter shouting at a jockey who, in his opinion, wasn’t doing too well with his horse, “Come on you’re like a bl…y woman”, so I perceive that song differently to most. I don’t find it complimentary. I am hoping for a Little Mix win, but, although I have both land line and mobile, won’t be voting. Indeed I won’t be watching. Will follow events via this excellent site.

    • Lux Lisbon

      I agree with every single word of this post Pauline. Amen, sister.

      The way he treated Janet, Barlow came across as precious, prissy, mean-spirited and vindictive.

      A horrible little man – the lead singer of the most overrated band in the history of pop music.

  • Small Mix drifter now on betfair 2.38 (11/8) – money for Marcus.

  • Dug

    Now that the X Factor gang and packing up and moving to Wembley, I thought I’d write a review of the top twenty performances of the series. It’s completely biased according to my taste and therefore contains a lot of Little Mix and Misha but no Janet at all.

    It’s completely unrelated to the betting side of things. Daniel, Andrew, I hope you don’t mind me plugging my blog but I thought it might be of some vague interest to an X-factor geek or two. Feel free to delete this if you deem it inappropriate.

    http://foolsandgold.blogspot.com/

    • Pete D

      Dug. Good blogspot that. Enjoyed the read. Honest view, humorous and to the point.

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      Hi Dug
      I respect your view on many matters but dont agree wioth this.
      The two best performances so far have been MARCUS REET PETITE and ahead of the rest by a mile is CRAIG COLTON “Jar of hearts”.
      Unfortunately for CRAIG he had the one good card and played it early.
      It kept him in the competition for three weeks longer than he should have remained but he couldnt follow it up, he was blown as being limited and jettisoned in a much commented brutal fashion.

      ET by LM I would put in third – quite apt because it is the finishing position of LM in the competition.

      Good ship now clear second favourite down to 9/4ish.
      LM going out.

      • Dug

        Thanks Simon, no surprises you are backing your ‘good ship’ for the top spot. The list is not meant to be objective, it’s based on my personal opinion and what I think is good for the charts right now, hence the excellent Reet Petite not ranking any higher. I have tried to be vaguely realistic by including it in the first place – as with Jar of Hearts – despite being a performance that didn’t do much for me. I’m certainly not trying to rank them ‘correctly’ as it were. I shall update you when I’ve written my fictional ‘what are they doing now’ article so don’t correct me when you realise Craig Colton hasn’t actually joined Mary Byrne on a tour of Britain’s working men’s clubs.

  • zoomraker

    The meaning of the lyrics of “she’s always a woman” are completely irrelevant as is the fact Marcus is Gay.

    The point is middle aged women, of which I have some experience, Love this song, they will imagine that two beautiful men are hopelessly in love with them singing to them and about them.

    The combination of Gary Barlow and this song is the best possible news Marcus backers could have got in the best of all possible words.

    My fear with Marcus is that he is sometimes a bit Ray Quin but I feel his beauty and talent will carry the day.

  • Rob

    my personal opinion is the duets are going to make next to no difference this year unless one turns out to be a car crash as was the case with rebecca/christina or that year robbie williams looked spaced out.

    judging from eurovision it will be the performances with the greatest impact in a large live venue that also transfer across to the TV screen that will be the deciding factor. only the producers can influence this through song choice, arrangement, staqing and camera moves. in a venue like wembley arena thay will be able to manipulate this like never before. it really is a case of deciding who is really PLAN A? imho, past evidence gives the answer as littlemix – they’ve had the pimp slots, the VTs, the running order switch, the ramping and the coverage. even chris moyles thru his (lol considerable) weight behind them this week.

    its simples – it’s a marketability choice. to be blunt AM is not good looking enough to sustain a long term career, and marcus has limited appeal across a broad spectrum. only one act has the potential to fill auditoriums – if the producers can’t see that then they need to get new careers…

    • Oscar Diggs

      Totally agree Rob – it’s how the acts come across in the arena environment that will be the deciding factor. I can only see one act being blessed with a real ‘arena’ set production and you can bet your bottom dollar the producers will give it every trick needed to convey that through the box at home. I was initially deflated by Tulisa’s involvement with the duet – but I now think it will be the show stealer and everyone involved can go home happy, mission successful.

      2nd and 3rd position will be a very, very close call but I expect the good ship to edge it by a nose.

  • AlexK

    Surely Amelia will come 3rd. The other 2 have been in so much longer and must have a bigger fan base because of it. Surely!

  • Jake

    I don’t think anyone can deny that Little Mix have the largest online support by a very large margin. However, what it will be down to is whether Marcus’ offline support rivals Little Mix’s online support.

    • Pete D

      Jake. A point to favour ‘both sides’ here is that they will BOTH have ‘online’ AND ‘offline’ support, so one opposite line of support versus the other isn’t a true measure really.

      It makes me happy though to think that LM could have biggest ‘offline’ to add to the biggest online too. In fact I will remove the ‘could have’ there to replace it with ‘will have’. I have a good feeling in me water about this.

  • Kate

    Given that everyone thinks the Tulisa duet will be the kiss of death for Little Mix, is there room to see this as another manipulation to stop them from winning? Or maybe dampen their support?

    It occurs to me also that this move can only have been decided on quite recently, as the prospect of having three acts in the final with different, performing mentors was never a foregone conclusion. If Marcus had been eliminated last weekend instead of Misha this clearly wouldn’t have flown, so conceivably the plan might only have been hit upon since the weekend (unless TPTB were very very certain that Misha was going).

    Another conspiracy theory doing the rounds contends that the show wasn’t able to attract top-flight talent to duet in the final. I think this is unlikely because a) it hasn’t exactly been top-flight talent in previous years and b) at the very least they could have roped in JLS, 1 Direction and (maybe) Olly Murs, all of whom will be appearing at some point this weekend.

    • Rob

      i doubt it was between marcus and misha, more likely misha and amelia!

      it also now makes all the more sense to bring back amelia and ditch janet. all the rumours of other guests were probably contingency plans in the event JD got to the final!

      • Rob

        ps and in this scenario amelia was a contingency plan also in the event they couldn’t get misha to the final. which suggests 3rd place.

      • Kate

        Misha v Marcus last weekend was a hypothetical to illustrate my point, i.e. that they can hardly have been planning this if there was a possibility that Kelly might have 2 acts in the final and Gary none.

  • Jashala

    I think it all started because little mix have said an many interviews that they wanted To duet with tulisa if they made the finals, and there was a article saying tulisa didn’t know if it would be cool with the other judges basically, so they probably figured we have a proper top 3 what he hell let’s let them all duet with there mentors.

  • Lux Lisbon

    Fat Gaz to sing with Marcus? Awesome sauce! That’s what’s known as the bland leading the bland.

    If Amelia Lily doesn’t win this, I’ll sell my mother to the Martians.

  • Zoe

    From the start I picked Little Mix, Amelia and Marcus in that order, However alot happened since and now I am sitting very comfortable on all acts. I have read and listened to alot since but my opinion is still the same and I am glad I had a safety bet on Marcus today so I gain a profit whatever. However I am still tempted to have a fiver or two on straight forecasts -Amelia … little mix, little mix ….. marcus. Its the only final I am unsure on! What would be your final 3 in what order?

  • abs

    Thinking about the duets from a different angle ….

    The fact that these are judges, makes them completely different to any other duet that previously happened in the x factor. … so who’s to say the same ‘rules’ will apply (like who’s well known, etc)

    I think that there may be an impact on the votes coming from viewers who supported other acts as in … would Misha B supporters vote for Tulisa/LM??? would Janet Devlin performers vote for Kelly/Amelia?? Would Gary’s negative comments for some acts throughout the series impact how ‘liked’ he is by some X factor viewers??

    The other consideration to make is that viewers may want to reward the judge who has been shown to mentor their act most effectively during the series … in which case i think Tulisa and LM have a definite advantage.

    Other assumptions like popularity of the celebrity, whether they’d let the act shine, etc will only impact viewers who tune in to the x factor for the first time on the night of the final…

    • mark (mapps)

      What about Tulisa and the whole bullygate and not apologizing..just glossing over it, surely that could make viewers not want to support her?

      Plus no text vote seems like a negative for LM

  • Phil tomkinson

    Does anyone know what the setup is over the weekend for the 3 acts? Obviously they do their duets with their mentor on sat, then is it just one song of their choice? And then on Sunday presumably the last 2 will both song the winner’s chart song, will they also do one further song?

    The odds between all 3 are so close, this implies that there is very little on it at present. So foe the first time in x factor history, it really does all cone down to the final. There is only one person left with any real talent, and that is amelia. The press have quoted that they are expecting 20 million viewers for the final, almost double the average, so this will hold a lot of new potential voters, who should vote purely based on what they see in the final. If anyone disagrees that Amelia has the best chance of a class performance, they must be hard of hearing and/or sense! Has no-one noticed that Marcus and little mix have needed all the hype and pimping that was possible in order to get them to the final. They are both very average in singing ability, and have little stage presence IMO.

    • Jake

      I seriously doubt the final will gain 20 million viewers. The Semis only got roughly 11 million so the finals will be unlikely to attract over 15 million viewers (and that’s at the peak).

      Also considering Marcus had meh performance slots (and treatment) up until week 7, he has hardly been pimped to get this far. Also I think you are forgetting that Amelia had the rather large advantage of returning after being eliminated 5 weeks later…

      • Phil tomkinson

        It’s hardly an advantage missing 5 weeks of vocal training and 5 weeks of building a fan-base. Isn’t that obvious what a disadvantage she has had? Plus the fact that many people, including the other contestants, make her feel like she is a cheat for coming back. Wow great advantage there!

        • annie

          the advantage is big, many acts are killed of by becoming or made to become predictable or boring. well amelia didn’t have the time to get to these ‘compliments’

          • Phil tomkinson

            But she had no time to build a fan-base! This is much more important than becoming boring and predictable, which by the way only happens to very mundane acts like Janet devlin. There is no way Amelia would have done so, or gone out in the first 5 weeks. Just imagine if little mix or Marcus came back in week 6, they would not have lasted a week! I am still amazed people rate either if these acts – yes they have improved, but from downright awful to rank average.

        • sam

          i agree to a point,missing 5 weeks aint a winning position but there was major uproar when she went out in week 1,this alone helped her to gain a fan base even by not being on the show for 4 weeks.she also went giging in those 4 weeks and got herself heared so she was still out there but way in the background,but the slipup this week with the winning single thing will cost her,even if it was a genuine mistake(i think it may not have been myself)it will only serve to derail her winning chances.
          i also agree with you on the rating of the other 2 acts, i was and am still not a fan or supporter of them ,forget the hype,thats all it is,neither are going to change to british music industry,i cant see either making a diamond selling album or haveing longgevity in the industry but i do see short term gains if only for there respective markets,but i do think it will only be short term,maybe 6-12 months tops and then fade away,they are just not unique or different enough to change an industry that already has many numbers of this type of music.
          But if they do then i will post an apoligy hear in 12 months from now if they make a dimond selling album.

          • Jake

            I doubt anyone thought Olly would do well as a recording artist but he seems to be doing pretty well. Number one singles and just got a Number One for his 2nd album. To be honest I think its down to the song the artist is given.

            Good looking + Reasonably Talented + Current, Catchy song = success for the time being.

            Poor first song and its unlikely they will recover.

  • tpfkar

    1. Not for the first time this series, I’ve printed an article about how I think the remaining acts are doing, and the betting odds promptly rearrange into that order 🙂

    2. One person will be screwed by the no text voting this weekend – me. My model tries to bridge the gap between online (twitter) support and voting patterns. This week sees very different voting rules to the rest of this series, so although I’ll have a go, I’ll have much less confidence with any predictions.

    3. And why can’t they allow text voting between end of Saturday’s show and Sunday lunchtime? This would deal with the time delay issue but still get the votes in – looks odd to me.

    4. Not sure the duets will be make or break the way some posters are saying. Tulisa has the most to gain as less of the audience have heard her and expect her to be good; opposite for Gary. All three song choices look risky.

    5. I now see why Amelia wasn’t given Louis as a mentor, awesome duet that might have been!

    • Jake

      I guess because an act will be eliminated on Saturday night (unless I am mistaken?) it is fairer just to scrap text voting, rather then stop it for one part and reopen it later.

  • sam

    having gary barlow duet with his ” little boy wonder”has got to be a recipe made in HELL,and think it will only serve to do one thing “sink his battleship”.
    just go and ask matt cardle what haveing the O mighty one (or not so)garry barlow have anything to do with your future status,matts first record he put out after his album release was garys handy work and look what happened to it,yes exactally nothing ,it sank quicker than a german uboat,in fact it went down so fast he released another track just a few weeks later so he could loose the stigma attatched to it.
    o well guess we will see just how bad its going to be on saturday and with that song choise as well,could it get any worse for marcus.

  • mark (mapps)

    Good evening everyone – when I heard the announcement I was pleased for Marcus as it’s clearly a positive and his price rightly shortened on the betfair market

    It seems an odd choice for Little Mix though – unless I’m wrong mash-ups dont go down too well? I’m sure i’ve read that in an article on here!!

    So, mashups dont go down too well and Tulisa? Tulisa is part of a group and she’s not exactly an oustanding singer, so how much use will she be on her own? I saw both of these as big negatives

    The song choice for Marcus is a weird one and perhaps a worry with the lower notes, we just have to hope he’s been practicing and can manage it this weekend!!

    Amelia Lilly – not sure on, Kelly’s hugely overrated in my personal opinion, and there’s not a normal journey between mentor -> contestant, Kellys ‘dude aint that over’ doesn’t get rid of the plain simple fact that she got rid of Amelia at week 1 and she’s now proved to be the top girl and perhaps the overall winner…

    • ganix

      Re. mash-ups: I was under the impression the opposite was true. I definitely remember reading on here that they prevent the audience from getting bored – but that was in relation to Wagner/joke acts, so whether or not it applies to “real” contestants to the same degree is up for debate.

      In any case, it’s worth noting that, off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure Little Mix have had more mash-ups this series than all other contestants combined.

  • Edie

    Is Barlow really that much of a bonus?
    Doesn’t he have a really boring drone of a voice?
    Don’t really remember his voice that much, Take That traumatised me as a young child, but did put me on the path to indie worship.

  • Denise

    I can not see any reason for TPTB NOT to want na LM win. So the fact that TPTB very obviously KNOW IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN means that LM are scrapping by. So lay them to win. Out of the other two it seems that Marcus is the least wanted to win because very obviously he will flop alla Leon. This is starting to ruin the shows cred. i.e “It doesn’t matter who wins they all get contracts and the 2,3 ,4 place does better than the winner meme”. The show needs people voting and excitement and if your fav reaches the final is enough then getting to the final is the prize not winning. So vote Amelia to win but cover yourself with LM NOT winning. My advice xx

  • Donald

    Interesting, having said very early on that Take That fans might make a difference this is good news for The Good Ship. Although Gary not Take That but as close as we can have to guide the Good Ship home.

    Very strong songs for Litte Mix that for sure, even not performed great they will still carry well especially with a group and they fit the N Dubz vibe. It should also be noted that N Dubz manager seriously knows his job and dam good at it and is bound to be guiding a little somewhere at this stage.

    The clash of the $ notes is fraught with danger and the song well bad choice I think. Neither of them are Tina Turner even though the LIOM (Legends In Their Own Minds) in them might like to think so.

    When are the duets on?

    Louis comments could have some bearing also.

    Tempted to cover my LM and MC bets with Amelia but naah, Good Ship and The Mix all the way especially after a crazy series.

    See what Sofabet thinks on Saturday.

    No text voting imm!! PhonepayPlus?

    And finally First Elimination of the three Daniel?

  • Boki

    I got some time to listen carefully to duet songs and concluded:

    Bets choice for LM: Tulisa apparently can sing and the songs are great for LM, they will storm the votes of younger audience.

    Next best is MC: I had some doubts about the dull song but it seems to be well known (Matt last year, also from tv commercial), it will certainly suit Gary and if MC manages to pull it off vocally he will take the votes from “serious” audience.

    The one who is in trouble is AL: song was a huge hit but it’s still so outdated, similar style to “Think” which already brought her to bottom 2. It’s a “black” song and it maybe doesn’t suit Kelly being so modern but certainly it will look strange on Amelia because we somehow expect Tina to come out (Misha would look much more natural with it). It’s not all about singing but also a visual aspect and rhythm, AL is more a pop-rock-star. What is actually the target audience in this case (except the already established fans of course)?

    So, if Marcus doesn’t mess it up vocally and TPTB don’t pull a powerfull sob VT on Amelia she is gone imho.

  • Boki

    off topic:
    Amazing stuff in USA, Marcus in bottom 2 for 3rd consecutive time and saved on deadlock, Melanie the only girl left with 3 guys.

    • EM

      Back on topic Simon made an (I think) unguarded comment to one of the acts along the lines of “you’re not trying to sell your self to Grandma’s which you so often have to do on this type of show”

      Maybe he was thinking US only but it suggested they know there’s a large older voting audience.

  • Pete D

    Unless the news is wrong where Westlife, JLS and 1D are all booked to perform, it’s a great subliminal “vote band, vote band”, message for LITTLE MIX fans, as the latter 2 are most definitely supporting them and have a lot of influence over their fans.

    Older Westlife fans may swing a little towards MARCUS and BORELOW (and also take take a little longer to reach for the phone on their Zimmer Frames)

  • abs

    When Robbie Williams has duetted with acts in previous years, I dont recall the act doing very well … so why is everyone assuming Gary Barlow will bring in a lot of Take That voters???

    If this was the case .. wouldn’t it have applied to Robbie as well??

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      I’d rather have Barlow on the good ship than either of the other two, only one of who can sing and both of who a re ME/ME.ME

      Sail on.

  • Kate

    One thought occurred to me last night: everyone raises the points that Tulisa is not a great singer, is part of a group not a solo performer, isn’t as well-known as the other mentors, etc. as if this is a de-merit for Little Mix. Couldn’t it also be spun as a positive?

    In the duets we’re at least partly watching the established act, and we’ve had several instances of well-known singers out-performing or failing to gel with their acts. If Tulisa establishes a good musical rapport with her muffins, and doesn’t overpower them, couldn’t that work to LMs advantage? Viewers who’re not familiar with them would then see them holding their own against the featured star act, which might create a favourable impression?

    • Stephen

      Even if tulisa doesnt overpower them which clearly she wont,your right it will give little mix more limelight but all for the wrong reasons as clearly they cant sing except perrie who is still average at best especially if she couldnt even make it as a solo artist.

      Marcus isnt great vocally either but alteast with gary gary can pull it off as he has so much experiences tulisa looked out of a place in childrens in need you saw her at the press conference yesterday she usually never shuts up but didnt say 1 word rarely she is nervous as hell as she knows she will know she has cost little mix a chance of winning the show.

      Amelia and Kelly are going to be the most epic performance if they do the glee version i think its going to be great plus if they do there audtions songs as expected amelia will belt out ‘piece of my heart’ which will get loads of votes to and dont be surprised if amelia gets the pimp slot 2moro night as both little mix and marcus were at the end of the show last week only fair its amelia 2moro night.

  • Dug

    At this stage, I still think Marcus has the best chance of winning, duet or no duet. I think the widespread perception of group acts is that the top placer will have huge success regardless of their medal in the final. Not so for soloists – Matt Cardle would arguably have floundered in the industry had he placed second. One of the biggest motivations for voting is to see an act return the following week. Now that they’ve made the final, I think LM voters will become a little complacent and once an act goes home, Marcus will be raking in the floaters.

    I think Little Mix could have won it if their ascent from obscurity happened maybe two weeks later and they still felt like underdogs but I think they’re dangerously close to being that expression about the higher you are the further you fall etc. etc.

    • shoulders

      I have said this before, I think the show is an entertainment show but post show it is only about making money, little mix top 3 equals post show money regardless of finish position, win or come 3rd I think it will make no difference to their earning potential, on the other hand, Marcus finishes third, not a chance of generating album sales, if he wins he’ll do the same as Matt, if you were syco wanting to earn as much as possible, you would benifit more pounds with Marcus winning than you would with Little Mix, don’t get be wrong, I’m sure the producers would be happy with a little Mix win to show a group can do it, however if the voting public at large can send Marcus to number 1 over Little Mix, I think the producers couldn’t care less

  • Malcolm

    Little Mix and Tulisa must offer up the biggest chance for a surprise,
    It might not be quite the case this year but the duet in some other years has been almost the moment of the series, Leona and take that, Alexandra and Beyonce.

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