I’m typing this with burned fingers. When Melanie and District 3 were announced in the bottom two, I thought this was yet another of the no-brainer singoff situations on which I’ve made handsome profits in recent series. For two weeks in a row, the show has seemed to be gunning for District 3. And while we never thought producers were especially interested in keeping Melanie around for the long haul, nor had they seemed out to get her to the same extent as they had District 3.
I piled in on Betfair, so like many of you in the comments I have lost a significant sum tonight – four figures in my case. My sympathies to everyone else in the same boat. In the comments, tom21 asks “Is this a watershed moment for xfactor betting (at least for those willing to lump on at short odds) or am I being over the top?” No, I don’t think you’re being over the top, Tom – I can’t remember the last time the show surprised me so much.
So what just happened?
I’m still scratching my head as to why they’d have wanted to give District 3 a reprieve, having indicated clearly over the last two weeks that Union J were the preferred boyband. Do they think there is mileage in a “battle of the boybands” narrative? But now that District 3’s weakness in the votes has been revealed by their bottom 2 appearance, it’s not going to be such an exciting battle any more – if it ever was.
Or perhaps there was a compelling reason of which we weren’t aware that they had to get rid of Melanie? Are producers actually trying to get Gary out of the competition by halfway, perhaps so they can bring back Simon Cowell as a non-mentoring judge to give ratings a boost? Given the cheesiness of Shakey Maloney and the anonymity of Kye, it looks like it should be achievable if this is their aim.
One thing of which we can be certain is that all our historical assumptions about the running order have been overturned. Landing up in the bottom two from the pimp slot is unprecedented at this early stage of the competition, and follows on from Carolynne Poole likewise ending up in the bottom two from second-from-last in the first show, for the first time in the show’s history. Props to Sofabet commenter jscouser2002 for making this point in the comments after Saturday’s show:
The biggest question I have been asking is, is running order as Key as previous years, now lines are open from the start and there is practically no SCD clash.
Was it to be on early?, late? Middle?
I really dont think that matters anymore, I think its now all about position of the artists around.
If you are an average act in the middle of the favourites Ella/James/Jahmene, then you are in big trouble, you are very unlikely to pick up any extra votes, as viewers will be waiting to vote for their favourite, who they have either:
a) Just voted for
b) Waiting to vote for them because you know they are on next
I can’t remember a running order as frontloaded with big names as Saturday’s. Nor can I remember a pimp slot performance that felt less like a pimp slot – with Rylan providing the natural climax of proceedings, Melanie felt like she was in a post-pimp slot, especially with an unusually late 10.35 finish. Perhaps producers are feeling their way as much as we punters are with the effects of phone lines being open from the start of the show?
There will be much to ponder for us in the coming days. As ever, we warmly invite you to get involved with your thoughts and theories in the comments below.