This won’t have been a bottom two the show wanted, but they certainly made the most of a bad situation for them. Louis’s amusingly protracted dither and Gary storming off the stage made for controversy in spades, and controversy is this show’s oxygen.
It certainly wasn’t a bottom two we at Sofabet expected, either. Initially, contemplating the hand the public vote had dealt us, I saw no reason to doubt what I wrote on Saturday morning’s preview re Carolynne – “I think she has producer favour on her side and that should be enough – unless of course she was in the bottom two with Rylan”. Or, indeed, what we wrote on the Saturday show, re Carolynne that we thought “she’d be saved against most”, but that “Rylan would be saved against anyone”.
Then Rylan sang first in the singoff, contrary to the recent trend to save the second.
Sooner or later the show was always going to realise it would be a good idea to mix that pattern up. And it’s also the case that the singoff is usually in the order in which the acts sang on the Saturday, which could also have explained Rylan going first.
At any rate, as Louis milked the tension for all it was worth – a situation in which he is clearly in his element – I regained my confidence that we were indeed headed for the drama of deadlock and a Carolynne exit, and hoovered up as much as I could get on Betfair at odds of around 2.5. I’m now feeling mightily relieved and somewhat emotionally drained.
There’ll be much to analyse in the coming days. It’s the first time in X Factor history that an act singing either last or second last has ended up in the bottom two in the first live show – indeed, in the first three live shows. Is it possible, as Steven asks in the comments, that I may have been too dismissive of the idea that the phone lines being open from the start of the show would make a difference? There’s still no doubt in my mind that producers were out to get District 3 this week by sending them out first, so if this is the case, I expect it will have taken producers by surprise, too.
It’s early days to draw any conclusions, though, given the doubt that always existed over Carolynne’s ability to connect with the viewing public.
For now, let’s simply observe that this is nothing new for X Factor. Louis’s task in taking it to deadlock required a lot less gall from him than it took Simon Cowell to do the same thing with Jedward against Lucie Jones in 2009. What did you make of it all? Do keep the conversation going in the comments below.