X Factor 2011 Final Preview: Why we’re still on board with Marcus Collins

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. When we wrote our speculative 1-16 prediction over two months ago, before the live shows started, we said that in an exceptionally open looking year, Marcus Collins ticked the most boxes. On the morning of the final, we feel exactly the same way.

What an intriguing three-horse race this is. A good case can be made for each, as indicated by the Sofabet comments section, where supporters of Marcus, Amelia and Little Mix each seem convinced their own choice can take the prize. But it is always dangerous for a punter to get emotionally as well as financially invested in an act – in the age of Betfair, when it is always possible to close down a position, hopes should never override judgement.

I’m helped in minimising this risk by the fact that I only dabble in the win market compared to the weekly eliminations. Having taken my own advice – backed Marcus Collins pre-shows, then laid my stake back – I’m sitting on a free bet at double-figure odds. But most of my betting for this series is done, and a Marcus win won’t make a huge addition to my profits for the series.

But of course, I also have my emotional hopes. It’s unavoidable, having tipped Marcus Collins at 14/1 before the live shows, and having also been sceptical about Little Mix’s chances for longer than I should have been. On which subject, huge kudos to Rob at entertainmentodds for having tipped the girls at 66/1, and even huger kudos to Richard at betsfactor for having tipped them at 75/1.

Best of luck to all. Nonetheless, I am going to set out in as objective way as possible why I am sticking with the idea that Marcus Collins will take the X Factor 2011 crown this Sunday, though I should say that I am far from certain about the outcome – a win for Little Mix, and to a slightly lesser extent Amelia Lily, would certainly not surprise me in the slightest.

The most reliable indicators of public support show that there’s everything to play for this weekend. The Survation poll conducted after the semi-final found that there was less than 1% between each of the finalists. Today’s YouGov poll for The Sun (last year’s was pretty accurate) is not quite so tight: it has Marcus on 31%, Little Mix on 28% and Amelia Lily on 21%.

Even so, take into account the significant minority (19%) of undecideds, and the fact that the margin of error in a poll with this sample size (942) is around 3%, and it’s clear any of the three can still win with a strong performance on the night.

Digging into the detailed figures of that YouGov poll, though, you do seem to find more encouragement for Marcus than for his rivals. It seems YouGov have asked the question of how certain someone is to vote in two different ways. In the first, the “Yes” column under “Vote” on the first page of the pdf linked to above, Marcus’s lead is 38-26-23 over the girlband and Amelia. Little Mix are ahead among those who answered “Maybe”.

In the last question on that first page, 41% of Marcus’s fans say they will “definitely” vote for him and 42% “probably”, which is firmer support than for Little Mix (32/48) or Amelia (34/49). These indicators of firmness of support are usually considered significant when analysing political polls.

Those who take an interest in US presidential elections will also know there is significance to the poll question asking which of the candidates voters would most like to have a drink with. For what it’s worth, Marcus wins here. He also wins handsomely when voters are asked who they think is the best dancer; he is one point behind Amelia Lily in the “who is the best singer” question, but both score more than three times as highly as Little Mix on this question. This suggests that voters will see him as a worthy winner.

On page 4, YouGov asks which of the acts will go on to have the biggest career. Little Mix get 37% of this vote, against 27% for Amelia and 23% for Marcus. We reckon this is a positive for Marcus – if the perception is that the girlband will have a great career anyway, and Marcus is most in need of a boost, then it should motivate Marcus’s supporters more.

Given the mentor duets, it must also be a boon for Marcus that Gary Barlow comes out as the favourite mentor, with 34% to Tulisa’s 21% and Kelly’s 16%.

Nonetheless, we repeat, Marcus’s headline lead is within the margin of error and nearly a fifth of respondents haven’t made up their mind yet. When asked who they would vote for in a head-to-head between Little Mix and Marcus, respondents split exactly equally.

What happens over the weekend could therefore make all the difference, and there is room for fluctuation aplenty in the win market over the next 36 hours. All three acts have had their wow moments and their wobbly moments over the last few weeks, and how they will perform in the very different setting of Wembley Arena is an unknown quantity.

In addition, as YouGov’s Joe Twyman writes in an article analysing his survey results, “Compared to earlier rounds the final has relatively few songs and so a greater amount of time will be devoted to backstory. A particularly powerful narrative for any of the contestants could quite easily sway public opinion as much, if not more so, than a particularly strong song belted out on the Wembley Arena stage.”

We will post an update after tonight’s instalment. Beforehand, I believe that Marcus’s individual story, and the way that viewers will be able to make an emotional connection to it could make the difference, especially given the fact this his duet with Gary Barlow will tap into this. My objective reasons for believing in a Marcus Collins success rest on a belief that the subjective reaction of the audience will respond more to this than anything else they will witness during the final.

We wrote in our original 1-16 prediction, “he has an escape-from-poverty backstory but wears it with an endearing lightness,” and, “he has appeared fiercely loyal to his single-parent mother, without it being turned into an overly cloying sob story”. These angles of Marcus’s life will come to the fore on Saturday in VT showing his Liverpool homecoming, and in his duet with mentor-turned-father-figure Gary Barlow. Thursday’s official press conference stated they would sing ‘Always A Woman’ and Marcus has already explained he will dedicate to his mum.

Cheesy? Yes, though authentic as well, and as such the kind of thing that Middle England will lap up in this popularity contest for singers. We have some issues with how Marcus and Gary will perform the song, but so long as it’s not disastrous, that may play second fiddle to the story behind the duet, with the mentor’s fierce loyalty to his younger charge completing the family portrait. This will resonate with the Take That frontman’s huge fanbase among women over 30.

Neither of Marcus’s rivals may be able to offer such a coherent personal connection. For Little Mix it is always going to be that much more difficult because there are four of them. Still, these are four very likeable girls, who have also formed a very close bond with their mentor, Tulisa. The latter will be able to play up her ‘big sister’ role when duetting with the group.

There is clearly plenty going for Little Mix. The 37% of YouGov respondents who felt that they would have the best career post-X Factor indicates how successful the show has been in creating a buzz about them. Today’s front page of The Sun indicates that Simon Cowell may well give them his blessing when he appears by satellite.

Their coverage both on the show and off it over the last week hasn’t been as universally positive as it once was, however. Perrie has been singled out by the judges as the one who should be the lead singer, and in the tabloids for other reasons. Sofabet commenter Dug is right that they no longer look like the plucky underdogs, despite Tulisa’s best efforts to sell them as such.

The news that voting by text will not be permitted for the final will surely have disappointed their backers, too – the YouGov poll gives Marcus a comfortable lead among the 40+ age group, who presumably are more likely to vote by landline, with not much between Amelia and Little Mix.

None of these things kills their chances, of course, but it means Little Mix no longer feels quite like a steamroller either.

It will be interesting to see how far they let Perrie and her strong vocals dominate the Alicia Keys mash-up of ‘Ain’t Got You’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’, and whether they will remind us of the girls best storyline, that of Jesy’s battle against those who criticise her weight. Saturday’s show will tell us more.

Amelia does have a few potentially explosive storylines for viewers this weekend: her battle with diabetes and her efforts to get her bankrupt Dad out of trouble. Either could play well for her, but she may be hampered by a lack of personal chemistry with her mentor and duet partner Kelly Rowland. Tabloid stories today continue to suggest the relationship is not a strong one.

There is also a question mark over whether the British sense of fair play will kick in, given her return after five weeks of absence. 25% of YouGov respondents say she doesn’t deserve to be in the final, against 17% for Little Mix and 9% for Marcus. As Richard says at betsfactor in his article on Amelia’s road to Wembley, “Amelia’s journey has been like someone taking the hard shoulder when there are miles of tailbacks.”

In her favour, the big arena may be less trouble for her big voice. She may seem more at home there given that she looks more the finished product than either of her rivals.

Nonetheless, her appearance in the bottom two in week 7 suggests that her connection with the public wasn’t strong enough just three weeks ago. For that reason, I have to place her in third, where the YouGov poll also indicates she will finish.

If Amelia is first to exit, there is an argument for saying that more of her supporters could switch to Little Mix (they both appeal more than Marcus to a younger audience in general), leaving us with a close-run final duel. However, I have always felt that Marcus is the kind of harmless middle-of-the-road performer who would pick up plenty of floating votes in the closing stages. History also suggests that the individual has trumped the group up till now.

In which case, I’d rather be backing Marcus Collins at 9/4 – a price which is disappearing fast as punters latch onto the YouGov poll, but currently available with Stan James – than Little Mix at 11/8. Quite what their prices will be after Saturday’s first live show is another matter, but for now I’m sticking with the Good Ship Marcus.

Saturday Preview Prediction

  1. Marcus Collins
  2. Little Mix
  3. Amelia Lily

What’s your 1-2-3 prediction going into the final, and why? Do let us know below.

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61 comments to X Factor 2011 Final Preview: Why we’re still on board with Marcus Collins

  • Boki

    My final prediction equals my “final” bet, equal profit on MC and LM since I can’t tell which of the two will win. Agree with Amelia on 3rd place. Everything can change after the performances, of course.

  • bob

    Great article. Prefer the harder analysis to the sometimes conspiracyesque theorising.

  • Daniel,

    Great piece, and delighted you’re going for Marcus in such a sober and thought through way. You’ve also done a far superior “why Marcus will win” article than I would ever do, so I can just link to that and have lunch! Can I just raise one question, which I thought was a really good point from tplkar

    http://sofabet.com/2011/12/09/x-factor-2011-final-friday-news-roundup/comment-page-1/#comment-11221

    The polling can’t be read into too much unless you ask “how many times are you going to vote”. If every Little Mix fan votes twice for instance, surely the result is skewed. Is that fair comment?

    • Daniel

      Hi Richard, and thanks for the kind words. The impact of multiple voting is an unknown one and could indeed skew the result, though maybe less so in the final where the overall amount of votes cast is presumably very large indeed.

    • Andrew

      Hey Richard, Just to add to Daniel’s thoughts there. If you look at last year’s YouGov poll, it is suggestive that multiple voting might have some impact. The poll had One Direction and Cher at 7% and 6% respectively, and they actually got 18% and 15% (the percentages for Matt and Rebecca were almost spot on). It also suggested 1D’s and Cher’s support skewed very young. If we assume the young are more likely to multiple vote, as seems reasonable, that could well be the explanation.

      However, according to YouGov today, Little Mix’s support doesn’t skew as young, which is a bit of a surprise. Marcus actually leads narrowly among under-18s (albeit with a ridiculously low sample size) and 18-24s. So it doesn’t seem obvious that Little Mix can expect as much of a boost from multi-voting as 1D and Cher might have got, if that was indeed the explanation.

  • Ben Cook

    I’m an Amelia fan but I’m beginning to accept she will probably come 3rd, unless Little Mix seriously mess up tonight.

    I have no idea who will win between Marcus and Little Mix. I actually think it will all come down to who does the better version of Cannonball. In a close race that could make all the difference.

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    Excellent article.
    I agree with everything you say.
    Sail on the good ship.

  • Chatterbox5200

    A lot has been made about the duets tonight, with a LITTLE MIX appearing to have a disadvantage, by being paired with their mentor Tulisa. I actually feel that this may prove to help them.

    In previous series, duets have helped to show how good an act is, but can also lead to them being overshadowed by a stronger perfomer. This could show that they are not yet ready and have still got a way to go before they can be a recording artist in their own right.

    Tulisa’s vocal on the recent Children In Need performance of the charity single (the BBC studio performance) was very disappointing – it may have been due to microphone issues – but this clip from the Manchester Rocks concert shows that she has a strong enough vocal for an arena such as Wembley

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q5yU9gehd8

    I believe that it will actually show that LITTLE MIX, especially with the strength of Perrie’s voice compared to Tulisa’s, are not a million miles away from an the quality of an established act (as part of N-Dubz, with 2 Platinum and 1 Gold albums to their name). Whereas both MARCUS and AMELIA may look to still have something do compared to their mentors.

    As has already been mentioned on here, I like many others, would have loved to have seen the Kitty & Louis duet!

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      IMHO Tulisa cannot sing very well and unless a really good backing track comes to her aid she is going to be shown up in this company.

    • Pete D

      chatterbox5200. I agree with you on all points there. My two trains of thought being that ‘if’ TULISA is not that great a singer, then it will complement LITTLE MIX strengths anyway (though she ‘DOES’ sound competent, sweet and in tune enough on that vid link).

      She is basically the complementary floaty ‘dance music’ voice to the Rap act she is in N-DUBZ (where they are nearly always laden with giant echo effects anyway, etc) and she has never portrayed herself as serious competition to the more powerful GA GA or AGUILERA.

      Then again, if she DOES prove to be good, it will be a more experienced ‘match played’ stabilizing effect to help knit LM’s harmonies together even more.

      I think that some forget here that these very young girls have only been together for barely a few months (and were virtual strangers) and it takes ‘time’ to gel and apportion strengths and harmony duties and to get a feel for each other’s individual vocal abilities.

      It took THE BEATLES years of hammering the the Germany Hamburg circuit at 8 hours playing every night (with only 5 mins off per hour for a quick pee) before they got it perfect.

      They have done sooooo well under all the distracting high pressure and have worked extremely hard.

      Here is a clip from the South Shields gig where they do Timberlake’s ‘CRY ME A RIVER’ to a frenzied crowd (who also go more ‘nuts’ when Jesy starts to BEAT-BOX). They are supposed to be doing this at Wembley and it will bring the house down if they can hold their nerve and get the harmonies spot on.

      On a technical point first though about this video (as in a couple of places the harmonies do drift slightly), they have to get this totally ‘spot on’ tonight and it WILL take some guts to pull it of.

      Being a singer myself, it is so hard sometimes to ‘pitch’ harmony notes when there is music and noise going on and when you are ‘behind’ the pa system speakers. That is the purpose of those monitor ‘wedge’ speaker boxes at the front of the SS stage.

      At a huge venue like Wembley (especially with a noisy crowd), they will likely be on ‘in ear’ monitors which will effectively help to ‘shut off’ the crowd noise so that they can just hear themselves in the foreground to pitch properly. They also feel ‘alien’ at first if you are inexperienced.

      They should have had these at South Shields (but then again, we hear the sound more clinically on our pc’s than the crowd there through their screaming (and they didn’t seem to give a Monkey’s about it anyway). I have heard consummate pro’s mess up worse too.

      Nevertheless, an indication of the great things to come from these, what must be exhausted by now, LITTLE TROOPERS.

      It always amuses me when folk are only too ready to taste and criticise the ingredients before Mummy has even had chance to finish up and present the ‘full baked’ CAKE MIX.

      ENJOY !!

      http://youtu.be/-nI1CSRr8rk

      1st. LITTLE MIX
      2nd. MARCUS
      3rd. ‘HAM’ELIA

      • Pauline

        Pete. Sorry didn’t like this clip. Sounded like wolves on heat. Please, don’t take offence, just my opinion. I want LM to win, but on that I would not put them as winners.

        • jashala

          That was honestly like a impromptu performance, they hadn’t even rehearsed that song a lot, before then, That particular video of it had bad sound, there was another person there whose video i sa was a bit closer, and the sound was way clearer, they sounded good, my whole thing is I want the arrangement to be a bit more clean, but I thought they sounded fine, and they have smashed this accappella on xtra factor and they sounded amazing.

        • Pete D

          Pauline. I ‘never’ take offense unless offense though ‘personal’ intention ‘childish greeneye’ or if ‘pure malice’ is meant. Then I move into defense mode where my 40+ years of professional music experience starts to pay off (and usually sees them off back into their pathetic little corners).

          Your opinion is VERY respected indeed (as I hate Beetroot with a vengeance and some people love it).

          I have said this before, but I don’t earn repeat business as a Live/Recording Sound Engineer unless I get it right. They are my best critics as they have plenty of choice. Please read through that article ‘again’ as it IS ‘objective’ and ‘honest’ even though I am backing LITTLE MIX to the hilt.

          Being late back home after a gig (and a well deserved Malt) I have only watched the first section of the final at this point and will leave it here for now.

          So far MARCUS was great and LM were simply stunning (and the shape of things to come). The complete opinion will come tomorrow as I really want to ‘switch off’ now and enjoy the rest of show after a personally brilliantly satisfying night with one of my favourite bands to mix (but I am sooo tired too, as still recovering from a recent heart attack).

          One observation though. AMELIA had a classic RED/BLACK set first song and an ELVIS, JAILHOUSE ROCK backset. Personally I do think she should be locked up for life with a SCREAMING SHOUTY KARAOKE voice like hers. lol.
          She offends my ears !! Period !

          Also the MARCUS ‘STARS’. One on top of the Crimbo Tree up the main shopping Mall (several times) and the camera light diffuser FX on the Jumbo Jet Wing lights (in the shape of ‘STARS’).

          I DO wish he would STOP shouting “WOOOOOOO” and “Here we go” though. It’s so cheap and amatuer and very cringmaking.

          • Pauline

            Pete, as my comment regarding your LM clip wasn’t inspired by any of those reasons mentioned at the beginning of your reply, I won’t back off into my pathetic little corner. But I wouldn’t anyway, I always stand my ground. I didn’t like that clip. I’m sure the girls did better last night. I hope they do tonight.

  • BoomBoom

    Excellent and lucid arguments as always Daniel.

    I too find all pointers leading to Marcus at the moment. Tulisa’s plea for votes for LM in the semi was perhaps the biggest indicator yet that their huge advantage in terms of internet chatter isn’t translating into votes.

    It’s the old cliche about groups having to work much harder to make that connection with the audience/voters, and unfortunately that spells further bad news when we are considering where the floating voters might go. I suspect that as with OD their impression amongst the swing voters will be limited.

    Given that it’s the final and that a positive/entertaining show is going to be about as much of a priority as getting the winner that they want, we won’t see any hatchet jobs on any of the three tonight. As such, I think the potential for significant changes during the final is often overestimated. (Having said that, given the narrow margins we are talking here, it wouldn’t need these changes to be significant.)

    Anyway, thanks to Sofabet for another great season of articles.

  • Kate

    Can I just reiterate what I said on yesterday’s article, re: Marcus? I just can’t envisage Syco executives sitting around telling themselves “We need to find the next Leon Jackson!”

    Marcus is more appealing in all respects than Leon ever was but I fear that he’s already established a musical niche from which it will be hard to escape.

    None of this is to say that he can’t or won’t win, but I suspect that he is not TPTB’s top choice.

    • Sarah

      I do agree to an extent. But Gary gave me a bit of hope at the press conference with the quote “Marcus is planning to do an album in the taste/style of Alicia Keys and John Legend” I can’t remember the exact quote ofc, but this does give me a tiny flicker of optimism for Marcus’s album. Plus he plays piano and write music, so that could help him massively. (Leon and Joe seemed to be acts who just found out they were good at singing through karaoke and just decided to go on X factor, I never got the impression they had really considered the career afterwards).

  • The Marcus – L Mix straight forecast @ 4/1 with Blue sq and 888.com therefore makes some appeal and could shorten up.

  • Jack

    Once again, an excellent article and I’d like to congratulate you for tipping Marcus all those weeks ago before the first live show.

    Did anyone see the X Factor press conference? It was 22 minutes, so not good if you get bored easily, but what was interesting was the connection between the mentors and the acts. Gary was very calm and emphasised his bond with Marcus throughout. Kelly seemed very half-hearted about Amelia. I think its clear she would have preferred a certain Misha B in the final. Tulisa surprisingly wasn’t her usual over-the-top self with regards to her bond with Little Mix, but as people have pointed out on DS, I think that’s because she was nervous though, as Misha had just gone out and she was worried about potential “Bullygate” questions.

    I have to agree that Amelia will finish 3rd. Before reading this article, I thought that Little Mix would win, but your points on Marcus are valid and I now do believe, if he is singing Signed, Sealed, Delivered as rumoured then that, as well as the Barlow duet could seal it.

  • Donald

    Nursing a hangover today! Good luck to all on here, and come on The Good Ship! and the Mix for the forecast.

  • Rob

    Must return the compliment and say what a fantastic job sofabet have done analysing this series of XF.
    Have to stick with the Muffins pre-show but think Marcus is likely to lay down a major challenge.
    Good luck one and all 🙂
    1. Little Mix
    2. Marcus
    3. Amelia

  • Rob

    btw, Dan, XF final clashes with Swiss Eurovision qualifying final tonight – already looking forward to Baku next year. One of the Swiss contenders 🙂

  • Absolutely with you on this one Dan, for the reasons you outlined. My prediction is Marcus, Little Mix, Amelia.

    However, the arena will work to Amelia’s disadvantage (big voice, lot of force/projection behind it and a rockier style), and to LM’s disadvantage. I’m not sure LM have the stage presence to pull off an arena show, which is essentially what this is, whereas Amelia does and Marcus potentially does too.

    It’s not impossible that LM could do a 1D. As has already been pointed out, there are parallels – both put together by the show, both never in the bottom two, both hyped throughout the series. Whether this translates to public support is another matter – 1D couldn’t do better than third in the end. They got the kids’ vote, as I’m sure LM will do this weekend, but not the adult vote. This year, the adult vote will go to Marcus and Amelia. Straight men, dads and people who like rock will vote for Amelia, with mums and grans voting for Marcus. However, to win you need to cross the kid-adult divide and get people of all ages voting, and the only act I think can do that is Marcus. The Gary Barlow duet will help tremendously. I just can’t see adults voting for Little Mix. There’s no star quality there.

    Rob: I’m recording the Swiss final and watching X Factor. Not sure about Lys Assia’s comeback – if she does win, she’ll probably end up coming about 22nd in May :/. That’s assuming they even manage to get the stadium in Baku built in time to host it – it’s not looking good…

  • Correction: I meant “to Amelia’s advantage”.

  • Boki

    Amelia drifting on bf, around 5 now. Something happened that we don’t know or sign of game over for her?

  • bob

    Interesting Mirror article but think that’s old news. Think it’s been mentioned on here somewhere but could be wrong. I was just coming on to see if anone else though Amelia was a great back to lay option. Have lumped on a bit at 5. Think a lot of money will be bet during the show and very reactive to the performance. Amelia is pretty sure to belt it out and suit the arena (even with a lowkey production), I also reckon she’ll sing first (wasn’t there an article saying that’s the worst spot to sing in a final?) and so when she gets good comments, whuich she will as they surely cant slate the first song, she should come in nicely. A few ifs and buts but anyone agree?

  • Nicky

    Betting wise, I need either LM or The Good Ship to win, but preferably the latter. Now, I know this makes me biased and I’m trying not to be, but I really can’t see Amelia winning. Winners of this manipulative, cynical competition do tend to be very good singers despite all the
    shenanigans, even if they don’t amount to much in the long run. If Amelia were to win, she would, in my opinion, be the worst ever champion. I think LM and TGS (The Good Ship) can both just about justify winning.

    The risk for TGS was always that Borelow would pick songs that were, well, boring. I think a ballid that moves people could be a game changer. (Incidentally, I know it’s way off topic and old news now, but I believe Craig was capable of having a big, ballid moment and that might have been one of the reasons he had to go!). The Billy Joel number might just work. My only worry is that being such a sunny, breezy chappy, TGS doesn’t realy exhibit a lot of emotional depth when doing a slow, sensitive song. If they harmonise together, with TGS taking the top line, it could sound quite lovely, though.

    Little Mix’s danger, if you ask me, is that the R and B numbers Tulisa picks for them are quite tricky, especially when it comes to singing four part harmonies on them. There’s always a possibility of these type of close harmonies sounding out of tune. I think they would have been better off keeping it simple. The Alesia Keys songs are great, but if they are as under-rehearsed as last week, it could be an anti climax. LM said on Xtra Factor last week that they’d only had two days to prepare their songs, which is obviously not enough if tackling something tricky. TGS may have been somewhat absent from the papers this week, but hopefully this is because he’s been rehearsing instead of doing endless PR and getting off with One Direction.

    I can see the Amelia/Kelly duet being one big shouting match. Personally, I like big, shouty voices but only if the vocal tone remains rich and the artist has a decent softer tone to create contrast. I don’t feel Amelia has either. Her loud voice sounds thin, forced and shrill to my
    ears. She comes across as a bit too desperate and all the stories about her this week have smacked of sob stories and attempts to get the sympathy vote. See, I told you I was gonna be unbiased! Worryingly though, the fact that lapdog Louis has been supporting Shoutelia so emphatically might indicate Syco approval.

    Sail On 🙂

  • Boki

    Btw I’m usually not praising the sofabet articles separately because don’t want to repeat myself (cause they are all great) but there is a sentence in this one I find crucial for many punters, especially for those who don’t “bet by its rules”. Whether you win or loose with your winner choice this weekend keep this sentence in mind.

    “But it is always dangerous for a punter to get emotionally as well as financially invested in an act – in the age of Betfair, when it is always possible to close down a position, hopes should never override judgement.”

    • Nicky

      Presumably though, if you’re betting on a talent contest, you have an opinion. The actual singing and talent on display is a criteria in determining the outcome, so it’s perfectly legitimate to have a stance on this.

  • Been out all day. Good article but I think I’m tied to the Little Mix steamroller based on my twitter work. My wallet is very green on Little Mix, fairly green on Marcus, slightly red on Amelia.

    Low confidence though – you do make good points about why Marcus is a very strong contender. I do expect Amelia third, and her votes transferring to Les Mix will help them.

    Good luck everyone.

    • Pete D

      tpfkar. At this (watching the recorded) point for me in the show (as Buble has only just done his joyous Crimbo song COUGH! paaarp, poot, scuse me), I saw this comm and I just wanted to say before I know any result, “YOU ARE ‘THE’ MAN”.

      Thank you so much matey peeps for all your (encouraging for me) dedicated hard work !!

  • First set of analysis is up – just based on today’s traffic.

    http://wp.me/p1U16p-2X

    • Thanks Toby. If you’re able to put an update up once all the acts have performed I’ll do my best to number crunch and give a prediction.

      It will have a major health warning though – no text voting will change the pattern between tweeting and voting and I can’t build that into any prediction 🙁

  • Malcolm

    Little mix
    Marcus
    Amelia

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    Well as a MARCUS supporter I was very pleased with Little Mix’s performance.
    Very average.

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    AMELIA sunk by the sound.
    Was it sabotage?
    Her goose is well cooked.

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    And now we have JLS and 1D miming.
    Can you really fool all of the public all of the time?

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    The odds are so volatile
    LM going from 11/10 to 4/7 to 4/5
    Crackers man- and we are only half way through.

  • ganix

    Great duet with Gary, but the knives are out for Marcus tonight. His first performance was pretty poor IMHO due to a dreadful song choice (I say this as a Marcus backer). And the unexplained absence of his mother during the regional interview? “She’s probably off crying somewhere”, Marcus suggested – well, either that, or the producers have given strict orders to keep her off camera at any cost. And the camera angles in the duet were a little suspect, if you ask me – we didn’t even see Marcus until about 20 seconds in, and Gary appeared to be singing more than he was. Very difficult to make an emotional connection with Marcus if you can neither see nor hear him.

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      You are right Ganix
      A bit dissapointing – LM were good but their “duet” was more about Tulisa than LM but it sounded good.

      Bookies have LM 1/2 to win this which shows how they view it but 1/2 is far too short when AMELIA has yet to sing.

    • Curtis

      It didn’t help Marcus that both performances Little Mix were out before his performance could sink in as well. Especially this time, when I think Little Mix were quite good.

  • annie

    kelly and amelia are good.

    bye bye little mix I fear. :((

    • annie

      i thought gary and marcus were charming but i didn’t think tulisa and girls worked particularly well. the fact they did a mashup in such a short timespan didn’t help much.

  • sam

    anyone else catch the subliminal message from dermot,regarding the download of the song”all songs can be downloaded” he said,got some boooos from the crown to,is this a hint at an amelia cull?

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    Best performer by a mile Leonna

    1D and JLS shuld hang their heads.

    • sam

      simon,you so right this was the best performance by far a true performer , shes what the show only wishes it could find again,sadly for me they wont ever find another leona,i once heard she refuses to mime as it is so fake.

    • Lux Lisbon

      No truer word has been uttered tonight.

      Haven’t the producers on this show ever heard of K.I.S.S (keep It Simple Stupid)?

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    Amelia 2/9 to go.
    She may well do but that is a very false price.
    I agree with Annie and thought she was really good

  • Looks like we’re out of time to get a prediction for the final 3. Amelia miles behind on toby’s pre-show count, but I haven’t got any data from the show itself to help sorry.

  • Nicky

    Survation survey has Amelia to go

  • Simon "le middle aged chat"

    On the performances only the one act I would put through is AMELIA
    If she gets through I would expect her to be announced first

  • sam

    is it me or are they booing marcus,or was it for amelia,could not tell

  • Curtis

    Surely at this stage Little Mix are simply going to win. I understand that this site has backed Marcus from the start, but surely not is the time to recognise that Little Mix have become an unstoppable juggernaut.

    • Simon "le middle aged chat"

      I disagree Curtis.
      When Marcus is announced as second I will know he is out of this competition but until he is I will continue to believe he will win it.
      He had a poor night this evening in running order and (first) song choice but the good ship continues to sail on.

      • Pete D

        Simon “le blue rinse chat”. Congratulate yourself my ‘good ship’ friend and don’t look for ‘poor night’ excuses. He has done amazingly and deservedly well under ‘full sail’. MARCUS has come up trumps for me as top 2 regardless but all hope is not lost yet for YOU yet.

        He had the honour to open the BIGGEST XF final EVER and SMASHED it ‘Jumbo style’. Did you hear the crowd ??

        I always count my blessings, as it is now ‘win or win’ for me either way with my any-way long odds forecasts and a long odds win on LM or MC (as it is only a different number in £’s in who wins). The astute opportunity was there for ‘everyone’ with faith to take. I even covered LM/AMELIA f/c at 28/1 with a 20 spot (just in case).

        Despite the good humoured banter, I am with you matey and I just ain’t sore about who is second or first any more, as it is ALL a plus for me anyway after the crap year I have had with my health (and survived it too to fight another day, most importantly).

        Best of British for tomorrow my friend !!

    • Pete D

      Curtis. Correction. “AN UNSTOPPABLE STEAMROLLER”.

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