X Factor 2012 Audition Show 7: Confusion reigns

As William Goldman once said, “nobody knows anything”. Anybody who has unwisely skimped on their salt supply while monitoring the so-called “spoiler” thread on Digital Spy will have found tonight’s show uncomfortable viewing: the widely-touted Starboy Nathan appeared only in a montage and under the name of Nathan Fagan Gayle; Poisonous Twin, rumoured to be Louis’s new Jedward, were relegated to the Xtra Factor; and Leanne Robinson, heavily speculated about in the girls category, was absent entirely (unless, as Sofabet commenter R posts, she was in fact the rushed-over Leanne Dlamini from last night’s show).

Bookies’ odds on previously-seen auditionees, meanwhile, are up and down like a yo-yo. Having taken a strong view on acts such as Ella Henderson, Kye Sones and James Arthur – pushing them right out to 9/1, 14/1 and 33/1 respectively a few days ago – Ladbrokes have now slashed these three back to 5/1, 10/1 and 20/1 respectively. Meanwhile, other bookies are lengthening their odds on the same acts. The market is not so much speaking as mumbling incoherently to itself.

And while we’d obviously prefer to have spoilers of the calibre Judge offered in previous years, in a way this state of confusion feels oddly liberating.

So what’s going on?

It may be that we are simply witnessing the success of the X Factor producers running a tighter ship this year when it comes to leaks. However, we should also not ignore the cock-up theory. Our main overall reaction to tonight’s show was that it struck us as hastily cobbled together, with a whole bunch of mid-length auditions that felt rushed through – could it really be that producers got to the editing suite for the seventh show and realised they had too much to fit in?

According to their own website, the first act shown, Rough Copy, are not ones punters need waste any time considering – they were forced to withdraw from judges’ houses due to visa issues. That didn’t stop bookies pricing them up, and indeed somebody backing them in from 100/1 to 50/1 with Sportingbet. If those punters are to get a run for their money in the lives, the visa story will have been the mother of all headfakes.

We then had a couple of acts shoehorned into a “perving over Tulisa” themed montage – the memorably-monikered Clapz Shizzayne and 17 year old Dale Ali, whose audition was – somewhat oddly – repeated at greater length on Xtra Factor. He’s priced up at 100/1.

Rumoured to have made it as far as judges’ houses, Adam Burridge showcased eye-candy looks and affected vocals in what felt like the first in a series of rushed edits. He was priced up between 33/1 and 100/1. Next up, and in bookies’ lists at 25/1 to 40/1, were yet another three-piece boyband, Triple J, a lesser version of 2011’s The Keys.

There is no particular reason, from their audition edits, to believe that the show is investing in either of them. The same can be said of the next act up, 18 year old George Shelley, who added a guitar to a similar package offered by Adam before him – vocally affected, visually pleasing – and also ended up quoted at 100/1. It has been rumoured that he ends up grafted onto the two remaining members of MK1. It has to be said that this does not appear to be the most obvious of arranged marriages.

Then came the much talked about Starboy Nathan, already an artist with an album and a couple of top-40 hits to his name. If there is any producer intention to use this series as a relaunching pad, you wouldn’t have guessed it from his colour-by-numbers montage treatment – a winning smile, a solid vocal, “four big yeses” and a stage-exiting cartwheel.

Nathan’s reputation precedes him, however, and despite the paucity of screentime he stands at a top price of 16/1 (offers of 33/1 from one bookie during the show were quickly taken). What’s going on here? Who can say?

The same question applies to the next auditionee of the night, homeless Robbie Hance. He was a rare blast of actual reality in a “reality” show – unlike all those deceased grandads and inspirational nans, he presented us with a rare case of an affecting backstory that you feel he couldn’t reasonably have auditioned without telling. He also offered a pleasing vocal, and would be an intriguing proposition in the lives.

If you read the Sunday tabloids, you’ll have seen stories that Robbie has gone missing. Here’s what The Mirror said:

Producers sent a team out to scour the streets after losing contact six days ago.

If Robbie is not found in a fortnight his dreams of turning his life round and being a recording artist could be over.

A show insider said: “He’s a fantastic artist and he blew everyone away at auditions.

“He doesn’t have a phone and the only point of contact was through a friend. Producers last spoke to him on Monday but they can no longer reach his friend and have no idea where he is. It’s a real worry.

“If he doesn’t get in touch by the end of next week, then he’d have to kiss goodbye to any part in the show, which would be a tragedy.”

But hold on – it’s been widely reported that judges’ houses have been filmed already. Are we to understand that Robbie has a place in the lives? Otherwise, it wouldn’t make much sense for producers to be scouring the streets for him. Or are we merely to understand that the “show insider”, and/or the journalist, are assuming the average reader has no idea that judges’ houses has filmed already?

Search us. If pushed our money would be on the latter explanation, but if you sniff a miraculous reappearance just in time for the first live show, you can get a top price of 33/1.

After a brief segment of rejections that also felt untypically cobbled together, the uber-pimp slot of closing the final audition show was handed to last year’s judges’ houses reject Carolynne Poole. And finally we have a plausible challenger to chimneysweep Kye Sones for the putative role of Gary’s alpha over. Carolynne came across as real and highly relateable, with a raw backstory about a failed relationship and rediscovering her self-image as a “fighting Yorkshire lass”.

She has a solid and pleasing voice. But does she have the X Factor? In an open-looking year, and with Gary’s “remember that name” ringing in our ears, it’s not surprising that punters backed her down to 11/1 from an opening quote of 22/1 during the show. The latter price would have been tempting; at the former, a watching brief for bootcamp is probably adviseable.

Over on ITV2, we saw the audition of Liverpool duo Stephanie and Sophie, aka Poisonous Twin. Despite not actually being twins, the parallels to Jedward here were unmistakeable – big characters, shakey vocals, a regional base, and Louis – as their mentor apparent – leaping to their defence against the scepticism of the other judges.

We can’t have a Louis category without a pantomime act, can we? The very fabric of the universe would be rent asunder. And these two would appear to have “Louis’s pantomime act” written all over them. But then why were they on the Xtra Factor, not the main show? We have no immediate explanation to suggest.

Speaking of pantomime acts, one thing that does look more solid after tonight is the theory that Rylan Clark is being lined up to play this role, after the image-obsessed Essex lad got the Olly Murs interview. If you fancy a back-to-lay strategy on Rylan, 80/1 with Bodog is currently the best price available.

What did you make of tonight’s show? As ever, do share your thoughts and theories below.

28 comments to X Factor 2012 Audition Show 7: Confusion reigns

  • Not much to add from me. The thing with the spoilers thread is interesting: one of the posters claimed they got the final 16 right in 2010 and everyone but Sophie right last year. Anyone followed these threads previously and know whether this is true? I think the advent of Twitter and the nature of Digital Spy might be distorting the spoilers, ie. people jumping to conclusions about acts like Nathan and Poisonous Twin (one of whom was apparently on Big Brother) based on their comparatively higher social media profile. They’ve been banging on about Nathan (whose cartwheel was fab) on that thread for weeks, but as far as I’m aware, Chris Maloney (for instance) was completely unknown to the “spoilers” thread before his audition.

    Based on the audition shows, I find this year’s lot really uninspiring compared with last year’s lineup, a lot of whom I really liked. The irony is, if they put any of Jade Richards, Joe Cox or Melanie McCabe through to the lives this year (which they obviously don’t intend to), they’d probably sail it against such weak competition.

    If Rylan does make it to the lives and his odds tumble, I’m getting a celebratory cockjazzle.

  • Oh and I meant to say: very uneasy about Robbie’s audition followed by that Mirror story. You can’t give someone 4 yesses, say “see you at Bootcamp” and let them return to homelessness. Surely someone could have taken him in. Aside from the fact of him not being able to prepare, it’s just inhuman.

  • Shoulders

    Here is Nathan’s boot camp audition, I think you can also just make out from the judges table Nicole standing up getting down to him

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evPM6G5wjdY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Judging by the crowds reaction and the comments below the video and the rumour Nicole is judging the boys he looks like a sure thing for judges houses, it also seems his latest album has been taken down from iTunes, there is a link to it from his Twitter account that says no longer avialible.

    My thoughts on the lack of Airtime are either the producers are introducing him gradually because of his head start with an already established fan base and they don’t want the public to think he has an unfair advantage over the Joe Bloggs contestants or they changed their mind on having such an established act on the show and are giving him the minimum screen time to let him go quietly without him being able to complain he wasnt featured and the audience also not getting to see how good his auditions were..

    I’m hoping it’s the first, Nicole standing up dancing to his performance, the audience on its feet going crazy, He definatly has the talant to go far, with the age group of the boys rising so he’s not in the overs I still think even with his lack of Airtime it was worth a bet last night at 16/1

  • Simon "le chat"

    All the artists have to close their I Tune accounts. WIth Nathan they can change his name and give him a low profile but he is not my idea of a winner- when the public catch on that he has already been in the charts they will drop him like a hot brick. My idea of a winner from the boys so far is the chimney sweep Kye and from the girls Ella henderson. Who knows though for you have to be in the judges houses before you can compare the field. Caroline Poole seems to have some from nowhere but I dont see her as an ex-wag winning anything – I mean apart from the middleaged men where is she going to get her vote from?

  • Dr Rich

    Having used the exchanges exclusively for x factor betting in the past, can anyone fill me in with the usual state of play with the so called bookmakers at this stage? Given that they are normally afraid of their own shadows i’d imagine that this is a very tedious time for placing bets given the rumours and confusion. Is it really worth the bother of trying in vain to place decent amounts at this stage?

    • Boki

      I think (based on 1 year x-fac experience so don’t listen to me) that you answered it already – odds too short and too much rumours/unknowns. Only few are going to the lives so have to be careful, there is no guarantee that their odds will shorten when their names are revealed although we know who is in great love with the producers so these have reasonable chance. But if you are confident enough to avoid the traps the question is what’s a decent amount? I have many ‘problems’ with the bookies so it’s not worth the bother for sure.
      Besides all of this, you can lay on the exchanges only and it’s surely more convenient to do it on the same place if back2lay is part of your strategy, especially for those high speculative odds. For example, last year I backed Johnny and Goldy @101 as much as they allowed me, Goldy went unfortunately out but managed to lay Johhny @15 I think (or 17 not sure anymore). That means my lay money on Johnny was tied on betfair and in the same time we all knew Johnny was not going to win so there was the purpose of early backing him at all. This year my only ‘decent’ pre-bet is on Lucy who will go reasonably far imo.

  • Dug

    A very strange weekend indeed. There were more nans and sob stories than one could shake an acoustic guitar at (there were enough of those too). If X Factor jumped the shark last year then this is the year it landed on a jellyfish and had to piss on itself.

    I found the arguing around Lauren Smith to be very confusing. The flame-haired fairy was a little too twee and Devlinesque for me but her take on American Boy showed a lot of promise and the slanging match between Louis and Tulisa felt typically contrived.

    Child of crime Jade Collins was painful to watch. Her vocal style was the perfect reflection of her sartorial image – loud, tacky, soulless and artificial. What father wouldn’t cut a few corners in order to fund that kind of addiction to Paul’s Boutique?

    Adam Burridge dressed like a raid on All Saints circa 2008 and sang like a dying Aiden Grimshaw circa 2010 but I can see how the proletariat might warm to his indie-soul spiel and average good looks.

    Triple J, whose name sounds like a sex move, were vocally and visually far better than GMD3, whose name sounds like a sex drug, but their stingy screen slot did nothing to inspire my confidence. The two acts both sang in painfully put-on American accents without even seeming to realise it but I guess we live in a post-Bieber world.

    I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the groups butchered in the coming weeks, what with two twinky threesomes and two acoustic beatbox outfits in the mix. Either way, I’d prepare for a few surprises, which the groups always seem to supply.

    And then it happened. The moment at which X Factor shrugged off any pretence at maintaining a shred of moral decency or good taste. Robbie Hance’s audition made my stomach turn. Rita fucking Ora peering patronisingly over her desk, asking “how does music make you feel?” was insulting enough but the surely scripted response of “like I’m worth a little something” took the bloody biscuit. My response ranged from confusion regarding Hance’s apparent ‘friends’ (who only let him sleep off the street once or twice a fortnight) to anger at the suggestion that the homeless are just suffering from low self esteem and need to buck up their ideas (“you’ve got zero confidence” – Lord Saviour, Gary Barlow). The whole thing stank of rotten eggs from where I was sitting and frankly it made me doubt my future viewing relationship with the entire show.

    Is the general audience not beginning to harden to X Factor’s attempted manipulations? I’m with Nugg in the fear that the show is mere inches away from exploiting rape and sex abuse (next year we meet Natalya, who fled the Ukraine after losing her baby and resorting to prostitution in order to fund her meth habit).

    Carolynne Poole practically introduced herself by saying, “unfortunately, last year, I was hit with a crippling lack of backstory or decent coverage so this year I’m here to exploit the pain of my failed IVF treatment.” Everything about Carolynne, from her vocal style to her pinned back fringe, reeked of ten years ago. I reckon her main purpose will probably be to face off against Hayley Evetts in the last chance saloon at judges’ houses before bolstering the credibility of Gary’s category in the lives. If the “fighting Northern lass” couldn’t win Fame Academy in 2003 then I fail to see her placing much higher as an ‘over’ in X Factor.

    I’m tempted to agree with eurovicious in his assertion that last year’s contestants, including Jade, Joe and Melanie, demonstrate better vocals and stage presence than most of this year’s sorry bunch. I’ve certainly not had my Misha B moment thus far.

    Jahmene is a disappointing market leader whose appeal in no way matches his technical abilities. A win for him would surely be disastrous for a show that has thus far produced 5 mediocre male soloists (the most successful of whom being Shayne Ward) and two platinum-selling female winners.

    Original songwriters Ella and Lucy are a lot easier to like but both seem to teeter on the edge of boring and both need to prove their mettle performing a familiar pop song at some stage. Jade Ellis showed potential but thus far the Rebecca Ferguson comparisons are, in my opinion, unwarranted. Amy Mottram has obvious skill but I doubt the show will invest any time un-teaching her that painfully copycat Adele-style that she’s obviously picked up in the last couple of years.

    After Jahmene, the boys’ category looks decidedly Sheeranesque with broken backstories and acoustic guitars galore. I think there’s something to be said for James Arthur, even if that thing is that I hate him. I can see him appealing more easily than Kye Sones but then the latter is not to be sniffed at.

    Melanie, Christopher and Carolynne could easily make up this year’s overs category but I’m sure there are a few dads who sang Iris and promptly disappeared from my memory that might squeeze through, only to face the Jonjo Kerr treatment.

    It isn’t just me, is it? The show is getting worse, right?

  • It is worse than ever – much, much worse – and I agree with you on most all of that. The live shows are gonna be pretty boring. It’s ridick that Jahmene’s favourite, there’s no way he could win it. This sounds bad but it’s almost like a freak show this year. It’s really coming to something when my favourite audition out of everyone’s, out of 7 hours’ worth, is Nicola’s(!). Shows how boring the field is. Have to agree with you on Carolynne too. And yeah, the superficial handling of Robbie’s audition was pretty appalling, combined with the fact he apparently went missing afterwards. Irresponsible. I’m sure there’d have been space for him in Louis’s closet.

  • Tim B (@Reality_Tim)

    I don’t see how you can say it’s worse than ever – we’ve only had the first auditions. I do however think it’s a bit clearer to see who might win this year. There are a maximum of five people who can, I reckon. These people are; Ella Henderson and Lucy Spraggan from the girls and Carolynne Poole, Melanie Masson and Kye Sones (who I’m not sure is even through) from the overs. It will come down to which act producers decide to go with in the second half of the live shows. Assuming Ella isn’t difficult like Janet was, I’d pick her to win at this stage.

    • To be fair, I didn’t see the 2005-2010 audition shows, so I’m assuming/extrapolating that it’s worse than ever based on the quality of last year’s auditions – Misha, Craig, The Keys, Jade, Kitty, 2 Shoes(!), Terry, Sami etc…

      I work in a chicken factory.

  • No, I don’t think it is just you. I liked the early shows, but this weekend was an eye-opener, and not in a good way. As Dan said in his original post, the editing was very sloppy; the editorial decisions inconsistent; and the talent very ordinary. Having said that, there is still reason to be hopeful enough for the lives. Most of the combatants, I think, have already been determined:

    Girls: Ella Henderson, Lucy Spraggan, Jade Ellis
    Boys: Jahmene Douglas, James Arthur, Rylan Clark
    Overs: Carolynne Poole, Christopher Maloney, Melanie Masson
    Groups: GMD3 [and two others – TBD].

    There is obvious fun to be had from Rylan, and I think he might surprise a few of us. He has style, is intensely committed, and visually at least is highly versatile. The glimpse of him from Boot Camp footage revealed an image quite different from his audition. Personally, I like him; and not only because of my own rather ambigious sexuality.

    Maloney is going to be worth tuning in for. Producers are determined to exploit his ‘body terrors’ story to the full – despite suggestions (would you believe it?) that his stage fright may be a little over-egged for dramatic effect. Lots of narrative potential there.

    You may under-rate Jahmene a little. Talent-wise, this young man is streets ahead of anybody else in the competition. He has ability to burn and if producers and mentors can get it right he might almost make the X-Factor worth watching for the music, as well as the story. Ella Henderson has a similar, slightly lesser appeal; but the prospect of contestants performing original compositions in the live shows is scintillating. It could be great or it could be car-crash awful. If you’ve read a few of my posts on here you’ll know which I’m (not that) secretly hoping for. Every year needs a few of those moments and the ‘songwriters’ of the crop are going to provide them, I believe.

    And so on to the real jokers of the pack: Arthur and Spraggan. (Oh, if only String could join them!) Arthur will make for great bad television. His self-importance, the evident mendacity of his back story, his desire to be ‘street’ (bruv) – to say nothing of his teeth – all portend a new and unusual direction for the show (and not the One Direction of yore). Quite how his shtick is going to be moulded into something commercial – and whether he prove versatile enough to cope with the loose demands of the weekly themes – which I doubt – is something I am really looking to seeing play out.

    As for Spraggan… The Digital Spy crew have sussed it out. She’s the controversy: the semi-novelty act with tremendous appeal but limited ability, who will – I predict – do a Wagner by getting a lot further than producers will have planned. However, whilst I enjoy reading the thoughts of the esteemed Eurovicious, sir, your celebratory cockjazzle will have to be postponed because I’m sure Ms Spraggan will not win the show. I’ve watched a couple of her YT videos and the evidence is plain: she can’t sing. I’ve said before: she can play (a little bit) and write, but Pam Ayres with a guitar is going to look very silly trying to deliver a big ballad, or a rock song. The audience are going to perceive this, and, whilst the Wagner/Rage Against The Machine crowd will flock to her banner (myself including, I expect) for their own perverse reasons, each week she survives the clamour from those who want to re-claim the show for ‘real talent’, blah de blah, will grow louder. She’ll create the most headline inches, and I can’t wait.

    Melanie Masson is a shouty belter, but also (as Dan has noted) a very yummy mummy. I’m not averse to the odd cougar myself, when not enjoying the company of Rylan Clarks, and musically she’s very strong. She won’t win, but is not early exit producer fodder either.

    On the basis of what we’ve seen so far, I think producers have either GMD3 or Carolynne Poole lined up for the win. Those finalists, plus a yet-unknown urban group act (very possibly starring the mysterious Starboy Nathan) strikes me as the quintessential X-Factor final for all tastes.

    Feel free to laugh at me relentlessly when my predictions (vague impressions culled from DS spoilers, general forum buzz and my own speculations) fail entirely to come to pass.

    Keep the faith!

  • Tim B

    MK1 are probably through with GMD3, but the identity of the 3rd group remains a mystery. I also highly doubt they’ll want GMD3 on the Syco books with One Direction currently doing so well.

  • Nugg

    Well I have had my first bets, by no means confident, but for the record I have a small bet on Kye (whom I am not actually sure even gets to final 12 based on conflicting reports) and a slightly larger one (but by no means big) on Ella. This for me is not gong to be a good series. The show has stooped to new lows with sob storys this season.
    I spent a good few hours watching through the audtions again and cannot really see past these 2 for my own money.
    I am wholly disappointed with the XF thing so far, how the hell is this new fangled acoustic/songwriter thing going to work in the lives. People watch X factor for well staged performances of songs the know and recognise, not some student/open mike folk event.
    My 2 selections have partly been chosen because they have enough versitility I feel to cope with different genres and styles and appear among the most open to be mentored and moulded by the producers without complaint.
    I guess I gotta keep my fingers crossed now that both get past bootcamp and judges houses 🙂
    On a positive note I look forward to Daniels weekly elimination analysis and bets, which I know is where he makes most of his money.
    I have a couple of tickets for live shows lined up and also final tickets (in Manchester of all places this year) and will post reports when I can.
    Good luck guys, has anyone else placed any bets yet?

    • Boki

      I’m hesitating with Ella since there were also rumours she missed out, although hard to believe. I guess I’m making the same mistake as with Janet last year, backed her far too late and just before she lost the producers love. If they continue to favor Ella she will shorten for sure but will they? Also with Amelia gone Janet was alone on the top, think Ella will not do the same since the competition is more levelled this year and she’s not unique as Janet after all.

  • Simon "Le chat"

    Yes, I’ve gone for Duke (to lay if they get through to JH and beyond) and Sharon ROse (likewise) Also Kye to win. We’ll see. Digital Spy is full of rubbish rumours and no one there knows out

  • Louis'wig

    Hi all, as an avid reality punter with some success (and obs some failures) I thought I would really have a go at the X factor pre live shows this year. So having watched all the shows and trawelled the internet for far longer than is healthy I’m releived that its not just me totally confused. For the record here are my thoughts on the principles ( based on potentially dodgy boot camp threads)
    Groups… A line thru the lot of them, wouldn’t touch the category at 11/2.
    Boys…very very average + Jahmene a strange one, not for me and unsure where his votes would come from. Overs…Liked Chris’s audition and jumped for PaddyPowers 66/1 but was too slow, THEY certainly wont want an older Joe Mcelderry winning but at 66’s he had back to lay possibilities but no win chance. Why is Carolynne so short? Despite a dubious sob story how has she improved? Kye’s audition was OK but his bands single was tepid. Theres a buzz about Melanie Masson, the “yummy mummy” (in what universe) but she just hurt my ears. I have no idea which three will go thru but i can’t see any having staying power…Girls Jade E or the mysterious Leanne R will make up the numbers. Ella’s audition was great but i won’t be playing until i hear what else she has, and there are the (surely false) rumours about her not making it which leaves me with the marmite Lucy Spraggan, I have backed her at 12’s on the basis that THEY may be rooting for an edgy act, she wont go early doors and surprise surprise she has an OK singing voice. I can only see her shortening………..if she makes live.

    • Boki

      Hi and welcome Louis, just to say I’m glad not to be the only one who thinks Lucy has an OK singing voice.

      • Chiming in very quickly here: after her audition, I listened to Lucy’s album and her Tea And Toast single on Spotify, then I rewatched her audition this weekend. From my perspective, her singing, stagecraft and diction are better than her songwriting, which has room for development and could be more sophisticated. She has a good voice which she uses skilfully, and her diction (paramount in her type of music) and the way she delivers her songs are excellent. Her songwriting, while it does what it does, doesn’t appeal to me – not in terms of melody or structure (which are fine) but with regard to the lyrics. The references to drinks that open Last Night don’t really rhyme and aren’t that witty either (“Last night I told you I loved you, woke up blamed it on the vodka / Last night I told you I need you, that’s the last time I drink tequila / Last night I asked you to marry me, that’s when I remembered the brandy). Her more serious songs can be vague and maudlin. This said though, I think she’s great and has tremendous potential and is one of the most interesting acts in a weak field. And she’s the one act that the public have really gone for so far.

  • KaraokeSauron

    Now that’s what I call a user name!

  • R

    Lucy really worries me at the moment. The most talked about audition.
    11+ million youtube views of said audition (more than any of the acts from last year).
    Two songs at Bootcamp (there’s a video on YT someone filmed on their phone) where she tells the audience she is doing a mash-up because she wasn’t allowed to do an original – she gets a standing ovation.
    Plus her single/album sales tell us she in now a bona fide star.
    I can imagine her pulling out Last Night in the final as the big fans’ favourite.
    It took the show 6 weeks to pull down Janet last year and some of the tactics were so obvious as to be downright embarrassing. Are they really willing to make the same mistake a second year, this time with someone willing to play the game? A secondary worry is that the editing has been so shoddy and poorly produced to this point that I have started to question the show’s ability to be devious without giving the game away.

    Yet, despite all this I still find myself unable to back Lucy. The reasons are that I have found her to have a limited style, I agree that her song writing is pretty poor and she doesn’t strike me as someone with international appeal.
    Also, I don’t think she will be able to adapt to themes. It really could go either way with this.
    Will Gary be saying “Well it was a rock song but your performance wasn’t rock was it? You have a very limited range and, to be honest, yadayadayada dull.”
    Or will Louis say: “That was a rock song but you turned it into something unique with the style that everyone loves. You’re a real contender, a new raw talent and the public wants to see you in the final.”

    I’m personally hoping that the show has realised from LM’s win last year that they can get away with not giving their favoured act a big audition but can build them up throughout the series as other acts fall by the wayside.

    • Lucy would go big in Germany – ever since Lena (*eyeroll*) they’ve been really into Kate Nash and all that shit here. But yeah: when the show is so different this year (acts with existing deals, acoustic/indie/quirky acts), the question of how the live shows will proceed to accommodate this is a big one.

    • Exactly! This is why I’m so keen to emphasise that Lucy is this year’s controversy. She has massive appeal – much bigger at present than any of the other contestants – and is already the most talked about. She is highly talented, and deserves a career in the entertainment industry; but if it’s comes off the back of an X-Factor win she will come close to destroying the franchise at the same time. There are so many reasons why her particular act is unsuited to the show I may even be compelled to list them in a more comprehensive manner at some point. Indeed, not unlike Cocozza, Wagner, etc, a Spraggan victory would represent a big two fingers to the suspension of disbelief necessary to support the continued existence of the X-Factor brand.

      Pop stars, like politicians, can’t be too real without removing the basis of their existence. I only need mention George W Bush and Michelle McManus… You get the point.

      I’m convinced this is going to be the key storyline of the lives: How far will producers go to de-ramp Spraggan’s appeal, whilst retaining her services for as long as it suits them. Or, perhaps more accurately: the enormous public support for Spraggan as a folk hero (and she is certainly a folk artist) versus producers’ desire to promote her on one hand, and nobble her on the other.

      I sense a dangerous game has been embarked upon by backing Spraggan in the way they have. Was it planned? Perhaps they only realised what they had on their hands following the incredible reception her audition provoked from the live audience. (I’ve played it back several times; it’s extraordinary.) And, yes, Lucy deserves a hell of a lot of credit for raising her game to a much higher level for the big occasion than you will see if, for example, you check out her YT vids.

      In another context, I would herald Lucy as quite an exciting talent. But right now, the wisest thing producers could do – in my opinion – would be to drop her now.

      • If they were worried about her “destroying the franchise”, I sincerely doubt they’d have packed the early audition shows with so many acoustic acts. I rather think they want to renew the format. Last year’s series was poorly received, the show’s in its 9th year, and rivals like Must Be The Music and The Voice have highlighted X Factor’s limitations (no acts already signed, no original songs, no instruments). I agree she’s wholly unsuited to the show we used to know, but this isn’t the show we used to know. Shit just got post-Sheeran, and the X Factor has woken up and smelt the plectrum. The success of Adele, Sheeran etc. also flies in the face of your assertion that “popstars can’t be too real” – they’ve succeeded precisely because they’re real and stripped back in a guetta-ised market. Dropping her now, as you advise, would harm the series’s credibility much more than running with her. It’d say “we’re not interested in original artists after all”, when they’ve been going to every length to prove the opposite.

  • Fair enough. But the format will have to change pretty radically to accomodate a winner like Lucy. No big production numbers, no dance routines, no big ballads? I find it hard even to imagine her participating convincingly in the ensemble numbers, where a degree of theatricality and physical coordination is required. Adele and Sheeran – I take your point, but crucially, neither of those artists sing primarily comedic (or bittersweet-domestic) songs about what might be described as small-town concerns (the Jeremy Kyle show, ‘Tea & Toast’, etc). And Sheeran’s ‘grit’, in particular, is fused with a traditional pop star edge – he’s no folkie.

    Indeed, to emphasize how unlike Sheeran and Spraggan are go to YouTube and play her version of The A-Team (with new lyrics written by Lucy).

    Yes, producers are seeking to renew the format. But the problem, I think, is that without the mid-market sensibilities of Cowell to guide them they haven’t got a clue what they’re doing. And if ratings continue to drop off, you can be sure of a switch back to the status quo in short order.

    Basically, I tihnk Cowell would regard a Lucy Spraggan victory as a disaster for the show.

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