X Factor 2012: Is Spraggan flagging?

X Factor gossip has centered on Lucy Spraggan in recent days. Let’s recap. At around 2pm last Saturday it was announced that Lucy would miss that night’s show due to illness and be given a bye to the following week, following a precedent set by Diana Vickers. It had been reported on Friday that Lucy had missed rehearsals that day due to having the flu.

This wouldn’t have been so controversial but for the fact the show has built up a narrative of Lucy being a hard-partying girl. Her previous week’s VT featured her out on the lash with fellow contestant Rylan, getting drunk and running into trouble as a result. The Wednesday before her illness had been Rylan’s birthday party which she had promised to ‘rock’.

Many viewers have connected the partying with the illness, creating a backlash against her free pass. After all, some are saying, poor Jade had to perform with a sore throat the week before and still hadn’t fully recovered before her recent elimination. What’s more, the lack of further information from producers and Lucy’s own radio silence has only fed the rumour mill.

So what’s the matter with Lucy Spraggan? Here are four alternatives and their likely consequences for punters.

1. Lucy is genuinely ill and deserves our sympathy

Flu arrives quickly and is incredibly debilitating. It’s much worse than a Jade-like sore throat. It’s also worth bearing in mind Nugg’s insight from mixing with the acts last weekend: they are made to work incredibly hard, usually 12-14 hours a day. And if she has been out enjoying herself afterwards, don’t blame her – it is likely to have been with the encouragement of the shows’s producers, if Frankie Cocozza’s recent revelations are anything to go by.

Nugg points out the obvious question if this scenario is the correct one: why did they not mention it more in Saturday’s show? “No VT from bed… At the very least we were all expecting a recorded message showing how ill she was.” Our suggested answer to that question is a simple one: as the very fact that we’re writing this article shows, maintaining a cryptic silence gets us all speculating and helps producers to keep the show in the headlines.

If the show can give Lucy a highly sympathetic VT next week which makes clear just how genuine and unfortunate her illness has been, it should motivate her supporters who weren’t able to vote for her the week before. You would have thought that this sympathy bounce would keep her well clear of the bottom two. Diana Vickers topped the vote on her return, after all.

2. Her vote is flagging and this encouraged producers to overplay her illness

As Lee Phelps commented on Saturday apropos Lucy, “I have a suspicion this show is a big advert for her album which will no doubt turn up on an ‘Indie’ Cowell label.” The iTunes popularity of ‘Last Night’ indicates that Lucy can shift records, and producers might have decided this is a good enough reason for getting her reasonably far in the competition. She has been treated highly sympathetically so far, the week 3 VT going out of its way to show that despite the drunken antics, Lucy wasn’t letting it affect her work.

But imagine that Lucy wasn’t far off the bottom two in week 3. It’s certainly not inconceivable. Some of our commenters, notably jscouser, find her to be a one-trick pony who peaked in that refreshing first audition. Bookmakers don’t disagree. 10-1 back in August, she had drifted to around 50-1 before illness hit. What better way of getting her into the latter stages than seizing the opportunity of a rather bad hangover to hop past one week altogether and give her a sympathy boost the following week?

Of course, in this scenario this coming week’s VT will look exactly the same as it will have done if the illness is genuine. The fact that plenty of sceptics are willing to believe the worst reiterates the importance of that VT in conveying just how genuine Lucy’s illness has been. If it doesn’t do that job, Lucy will be in big danger of falling into the bottom two – and Sofabet commenter Stoney reckons 3/1 about this eventuality is well worth lumping on.

3. There’s a backstage rift that they’re trying to heal

Lucy’s silence has alerted the suspicions of eurovicious: “She hasn’t tweeted since 24 Oct – if she’s ill, surely she’d have said so? She’s a chatty, engaging sort, so it’s not like her… Could it be that she’s only just realised that the show basically owns all of her music now?” In response, Caro pointed to a story in The Mirror alleging just this, and also claiming that she is fed up of having to sing covers.

Each of these rumours has a counterargument. On the matter of royalties, we have Lucy pegged as a smart lass, and the fuss about ‘Last Night’ being taken off iTunes indicated that she should have realised months ago what she had signed herself up for. As she was quoted saying phlegmatically at the time, “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, to get somewhere in life… There’s always going to be a part of me that’s disappointed about it but if you think about it in the long run, with things which could be happening in the future, they’re going to be substantially better.”

Secondly, she hasn’t had such a rough deal with the cover versions. She was allowed to put her own spin on ‘Titanium’ in week 3, and she did her own song in week 1. Surely she realised that the occasional cover version was inevitable on the live shows?

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see whether she performs a cover or an original song this Saturday. If there has been an argument on this issue, it may indicate who has come out on top. In this scenario, how favourable her treatment is this week would also indicate how happy producers are with the outcome.

4. Producers are planning to make a Cocozza of her

Props to KaraokeSauron, who before the live shows argued that producers may have seen in Lucy a controversial figure in the mould of Frankie Cocozza. This was the girl who got the name Olly Murs tattooed on her foot for her first appearance on Xtra Factor, after all.

When a paparazzi video came to light showing Lucy and Rylan rather the worse for wear, it seemed a dangerous route for someone who has been one of this series’ most popular personalities before the live shows began. Same with all the publicity surrounding the pair being suspended from their hotel. Is this a prelude to a full-blown misdemeanour that might give the show a reason to boot her out? (Or, as eurovicious puts it in the comment linked to above, “is she being Cocozzaed?”)

This is obviously the most far-fetched of our scenarios. It directly opposes the idea we have suggested in scenarios 1 and 2 that producers want Lucy to get as far as possible. However, it would be good both for ratings and may not harm her post-show career much either. It’s implausible but not impossible.

We’ll fully admit that scenario 4 is less well baked than the others, though it has clearly also crossed the minds of the Betfair punters who have been nibbling at long prices about Amy Mottram in recent days, much as happened with Amelia Lily around this time last year. But they wouldn’t dare… would they? At least, unlike last year – when a double elimination preceded the Frankie Cocozza exit – the show still has a ‘spare’ and could still have three acts in the final if they were to lose Lucy outside of the regular elimination process.

What’s your take on the situation, and how it will impact your betting for next weekend’s elimination market and beyond? Let us know below.

 

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43 comments to X Factor 2012: Is Spraggan flagging?

  • Nugg

    If she does reappear next Saturday I am not convinvced there will be much of a sympathy vote. So many people commenting on how unfair it is she got a bye when others have performed when unwell. Plus the excessive drinking and partying won’t have helped convince the public she really is too ill.
    Would not be at all surprised to see her in bottom 2 , unless she pulls a great performance out of the bag. The feeling is we have kinda seen now all she has to offer, the novelty has worn quite a bit.

    • Tim B

      In 2008 (wow, was it really that long ago?) many people were also saying how unfair how Diana got a free pass to the next week after being shown in a VT shouting and screaming on bonfire night. The majority didn’t seem to care though. After all, it’s not like she was perceived to be in much danger of the bottom 2 and I think Lucy, whilst clearly not as popular as Diana was, would be safe if she returned this weekend.

  • stoney

    the perfect weekend for me is spraggen bottom 2 and kye being eliminated, snapped up yesterdays odds of 9/2 on him going, he now appears to be the favourite, and shortening right across the board

  • Donald

    A well placed article it would seem Daniel, while some normality returned to elimination last weekend, although Jade definitely drew the short straw, rumours abound re Lucy, one source reportedly to have said she makes Janet seem easy to deal with and Ella not far behind..

    There is also mention of Lucy on the live tour and publishing revenue on her performances, definitely not a happy camper by all accounts.
    PhonepayPlus are getting their teeth in more than ISCTIS to telephone voting hence voting from the start etc.

    If Lucy is causing trouble they will just get rid of her, of course Lucy may also realise a win not possible so better go and keep some cred. factor.

    Elimination market wise it is not easy, I have not got it right for few weeks now although did get on Jade in the end.

    If rumours re Ella are correct and furthermore may not be doing as well in voting as is generally thought, (Real reason to loose Jade??) The two J’s are to be sided with at the minute (especially based on last weeks VT) and for a real pantomime next Sunday, Rylan and Kye in the bottom two with another walk out from Gary. Worth a few quid just in the hope it might happen.

    As for the whole thing overall as was said a few weeks ago on here “Jaded” No stand out song from anyone yet and definitely a thread careful series betting wise at the minute. Maybe it just me but it just seems all over the shop from a punting point of view, just too unpredictable at the minute.

    Only part on my bushwire is a good few seem to like James Arthur and they mostly females so maybe the producers have as I think Eurovicious posted decided to “Cardle” him.

    Time will tell but it just maybe worth some sort of half decent punt at this stage of the game. Things do get spotted on the great Sofabet which is always the only true and most entertaining read for guidance when it comes to punting on X- Factor despite what others may try to say, this is the home of the real punters, that for sure, come on let’s get on top of this.

    Nugg do you know the bar of choice near Fountain?

    • Nugg

      Hi Donald,
      There is a large bar on corner opposite Fountain facing the shell petrol station, though I have never been in there.
      I am back down there on 17th NOV for Saturday show, but they are ordinary tickets not VIP so will be queueing from about 8am.
      Unless something extrodinary happens then that will likely be the next and last show I am at before going upto Manchester for finals weekend.
      Nugg

      • Donald

        Hi Nugg, no that not the one of choice… No worries. Lucy wasn’t out tonight with Tulisa either.

        • Nugg

          Ah Donald, where do the acts drink ? I have no idea, Fountain Studios has its own bar, but it’s heavily guarded. I think Jade got a cab into town with Tulissa after Sundays show and carried on a bit longer, all the rest just went back to their hotel after Fountain bar closed as far as I could tell, to be fair they must have been shattered.
          Who do you want to talk to ? Acts, producers, judges ?
          I know where you can possibly get some VIP tickets for results show but you are talking £400 for two.

          • Donald

            There is one behind the Shell in Wembley Park Drive called The Parish which is visited by supporters and crew..

  • FYI Lucy’s mam is on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AnsteySpraggan. She tweeted this morning that she visited Lucy today with get-well-soon gifts (duly pictured) and said “i’ll let you all know how she is as soon as I’ve seen her”. Except she didn’t. When a fan ask her this morning whether the quitting rumours are true, she responded “Like Jade said yest, Lucy loves doing covers & her last MEGA paerformance was 1/2 her, 1/2 Guetta. And she loves X Factor.” So not an outright denial.

    God knows what’s going on. Maybe she is just ill? Her mum posting fake get-well-soon gifts and talking about making a card would be a bit of an extreme to go to if she isn’t ill. Could it actually be both – she’s ill and she’s quitting? If you’re in a stressful new environment and pissed off about certain things, being under the weather can make you feel even more miserable. So I guess the “ill” angle isn’t mutually exclusive with the “quitting” angle.

  • Esme

    Struck down with flu bad enough to keep you from performing, would you not go and stay with your mum if you were that age? I seem to remember Matt cardle spending a couple of days with mum when he fell ill – they made a big VT out of it. Preferable to sitting on your own in a hotel room anyway.

  • Alen

    Sorry for going offtopic but seems Christopher is drinking way too much too.

    http://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/114423-x-factor-2012-district3-annoyed-by-chris-maloneys-drunken-antics.html

    They really are trying everything now to get rid off Christopher right?

  • tpfkar

    I don’t see why we can’t pick and mix on the theories. She’s probably ill for whatever reason, and if it’s made her miserable then she might have thought about quitting, and if she’s being awkward then she might be losing producer favour. Twitter radio silence very surprising though.

    I know my twitter model hasn’t covered itself in glory so far, but it does back up Donald’s point that Ella is struggling in the voting – I find this very plausible.

  • Regarding Spraggan, my initial thoughts were – as you said – that producers might have seen in her some potential for mischief; and that a decision to select her on that basis would be very dangerous (due what I perceived as her unwillingness to take direction kindly). Hard to say what the truth of her current absence is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if rumours of her disatisfaction are true; to me, she gives every impression of somebody who thinks she’s much too good for the X-Factor (despite all evidence to the contrary).

    I didn’t mention it at the time but your assertion a couple of weeks ago that Titanium proves Spraggan can do covers was (I thought) very generous. It wasn’t a cover at all – but another demonstration of her tendency to consider re-writing good songs by other people wildly original art. (Exhibit B: her version of The A-Team, as found on YouTube.)

    Even her own songs are derivative (of each other). Tea and Toast, Mountains and the verses to Titanium all feature plucky and sentimental protagonists pledging their souls to friends/children/acquaintances. A nice enough motif, but indicative of the indulgent upbringing needed to spring such unflinching self-regard as Lucy possesses upon the world.

    And it must also be noted that Lucy’s hangover face (even when coated thickly in foundation) is not suitable viewing on a high-definition television for the under-18s. Or anyone at all, in my opinion.

    • Ooh, bitch klaxon! Love ya Sauron but have to disagree on most of this: since when is modifying songs a bad thing? She’s basically just doing the acoustic equivalent of what Misha did last year – “making it her own”, to put it in the show’s lingo. As James Arthur also is. I agree with your critique of her songwriting (she definitely has scope to mature and diversify). I’ve never felt she “gives every impression of somebody who thinks she’s much too good for the X-Factor (despite all evidence to the contrary)”. I loved what she did with Titanium, it’s the same thing quite a few finalists this year (such as Kye and James) have been doing – taking lightweight pop songs (Guetta, LMFAO, Rita Ora, Swedish House Mafia etc) and turning them into acoustic numbers. I literally have no idea where you get the impression that she has “unflinching self-regard” and has had an “indulgent upbringing” – what does that even mean? Should her mother have instead crushed her dreams and said “Yer not goin on stage with that shite”?

  • AlisonR

    There’s probably some truth in all of these. The long workload must take its toll. I agree with you that the week 3 VT was more favourable than it could have been and that they are trying to keep her in, for now, (the bye also seems to indicate this) – this seems to conflict with the Cocozza scenario but, depending on what else she does, the foundations have been laid should TPTB need them. I would doubt her vote is flagging as she’s still doing well in the social media charts. The rift sounds plausible and there must be a risk that she would walk. In week 2’s show it initially seemed as though there might be a double elimination in week 3, then we got to the third show and there wasn’t. At the time I wondered if it was because Jade could have dropped out if the scan on her vocal chords had revealed anything more nasty than just a sore throat, TPTB knowing they could always do a double elimination later in the series if necessary (perhaps when trying to dump Maloney and/or Rylan). But it also gives them slack in case of a potential walkout, without having to bring anyone else in. If two people were to drop out in the next week or two (in addition to the normal elimination) I wouldn’t rule out a return for Amy Mottram.

  • Nugg

    Posted by Lucys mum at 10.30am this morning

    Lovely fans of @lspraggan: she came for a walk yest(1st time out in a week)! Doing her best to get better for Sat – thanks for everything. X

  • Curtis

    I think Spraggan will be perfectly safe this weekend – there will be enough sympathy, and she is one of the more high-profile contestants. However, I think it’s very plausible that she was encouraged to miss last weekend by the producers. I think she may have been in trouble in the votes, and by giving her a bye last week and assuming sympathy vote this week they have essentially bought her an extra 2 weeks. They want her around more than Shaky, Kye, and District 3 right now I imagine.

    • stoney

      why would you assume that? Every one knows she was out causing havoc with rylan a few days before her ‘illness’ the public wont like that

  • lolhart

    I don’t think it’s so hard to believe that Lucy was in trouble in the voting. Despite the praise from the judges, she hasn’t really had a wow moment since the live shows started. I also think she’s a bit too hard-faced to have the broader appeal of previous quirky female acts like Janet or Diana Vickers. She’ll probably be safe this weekend through a combination of hyperbole from the judges and her fans rallying to support her. But I suspect a backlash à la Vickers is on the way. As for the theories, I’d say it’s a combination of 1-3 though to a lesser extent 3. If she was being that difficult behind the scenes, I’m sure there’d be some attempts to deramp her by now.

  • Mick

    IF she is ill, and I have no reason to suspect not, then they would do well to keep her away from the other contestants and production team in case they all go down with it. Hence noome has seen her (she’s in a different hotel anyway.)

    This week being No. 1’s theme they should all be doing covers.

  • stoney

    as a jahmene backer from day 1 im looking at it more in the angle of he is nicoles chosen 1, infact id say he is the prodcucers chosen 1, he has been done more favours than most, and if and when maloney crashes out im sure he will pick up some serious momentum

  • stoney

    although it could just be me being biased haha, but the majority of this site have been tipping jahmene for an early exit since the start, where as i think even at 3/1 he still hold excellent value, and im going to see how this weekend goes before possibly having one last lump on him before he moves into silly odds

  • I think a lot will depend on whether Nicole (a good mentor, by all accounts) can rein in his tendency to oversing. He was brilliant in his initial audition, and has impressed – in bursts – intermittently since. He had a disappointing Boot Camp/JH, which is perhaps why a lot of commenters did indeed tip him for a relatively early exit.

    • R

      Interesting that Nicole has become the judge with the most forceful personality. She’s been the most talked about judge in the last two weeks, pushing her boys in the same way Tulisa pushed Little Mix last year.
      Meanwhile Tulisa has been pulled back from going OTT with her acts.

      • Pauline

        R. Have you pledged yet?

        • R

          Hi Pauline,

          Absolutely, as soon as the site went up 🙂
          Signed album, pledgers’ concert in London and a handwritten lyric sheet (not the Skype chat though, it would be too awkward and probably better for Janet’s younger fans).
          I noticed your comment on the site too.

          Hopefully I’ll be able to go to one or two of the other gigs when the tour goes on general sale tomorrow.

          Loving the two songs and really excited for the album.

          • R

            Oops, that was the wrong link.lol

          • Pauline

            “Wonderful” R. Like you I felt the Skype chat not an option, ‘tho I’m sure the girl wouldn’t feel that way. I have pledged and will pledge further, probably the Sheffield pledgers’ concert.I missed out on the lyrics, unless more come up. I pray the goal plus more is achieved. Thanks for the behind the scenes, I hadn’t seen that one. I like the band. The two songs are really impressive and give such promise to the album. I look forward to it. Regards 🙂

  • stoney

    yeah i agree with the bootcamp, i was a tad worried at the time, but think that set him up better to improve week by week in the lives, as a pose to ella who quite frankly has gone the opposite way. She had a stunning bootcamp and has now become a bit meh. I would be worried for those who lumped huge amounts of money on her at silly odds.

    • Kevin O Reilly

      I would disagree and think Ella is too good to beat. I do not have her backed (so close to pressing button pre judges houses but didn’t). Yes Jahmene is being pushed but I think they want to ensure final 3. Ella has been undermined somewhat in recent weeks for whatever reason. I think that she is way above Jahmene. Also consider the history of single male winning acts, Ella to win makes far more commercial sense. She is still 5/4 at best, it has not been a collapse. Odds on again next week I predict. I could be completely wrong of course, that is the joy of speculation.

  • We’ve been disagreeing (semi-amicably) on the contentious subject of Spraggan since the series began, so I see no reason to change that now. Good point about the ‘lightweight pop’ makeovers, though: I hadn’t realised just how many re-interpretations there had been. (Props to Dug for his article/s on ‘karaoke’ and the evolution of the talent show. All of the performances you reference would be more grist for that particular mill.)

    The difference with Titanium, on the other hand, is that none of the other contestants – bar the odd rap here and there – feel the need to fundamentally alter the original writer’s design by inventing new verses and lyrics. And what annoys me further is that Spraggan appears (the impression I derive from her VTs) to think such creative defacement entitles her to special kudos.

    ‘Tis simple: write an original, or perform a cover. By all means ‘urban’ it up, or make it your own. To insert entirely new verses into a existing song, however, whilst perfect for a student ‘acoustic night’, not only displays a fundamental lack of respect for the original artist but is deeply unprofessional.

    The fact that Guetta’s ‘people’ did not – to the best of my knowledge – license her take on his song for release on the official YouTube channel suggests he feels the same way.

    • “To insert entirely new verses into a existing song, however […] not only displays a fundamental lack of respect for the original artist but is deeply unprofessional.” – what??? This is an irrational point of view. Could not disagree more – ridiculous! Any artist would be flattered to see others inspired by their work – inspired enough to personalise it and transform it into something new. Music is all about cross-fertilisation, sampling, developing one thing out of another etc. This is exactly why Tulisa (rightly) has a bugbear about people not changing raps – music is a means of personal expression. Lucy could have done Titanium straight, on the guitar, and done it well – but it still wouldn’t have been half as good as the version that she performed. James Arthur transforms his songs and inserts original raps into them and no-one seems to be complaining about that. Likewise, Misha B’s added raps to Respect, Rolling In The Deep, Tainted Love etc – completely analagous to Lucy’s treatment of Titanium – merely added to her performance. It happens in hiphop all the time (Eminem turning Dido’s “Thank You” into something entirely different in “Stan”, Flipsyde turning tATu’s “Gomenasai” into a meditation on abortion in “Happy Birthday”), it happens in indie/acoustic all the time (think Milow’s take on Ayo Technology or Triggerfinger’s version of I Follow Rivers), and it happens in southeast Europe all the time (Ivan Gavrilovic transforming 2Unlimited’s “No Limit” into “200 na sat”, Energija’s “Kisa” etc.). In other words, it’s perfectly normal and a sign of artistry – and people respond to it! Even in classical and folk music. Global Kryner used to do a 6-minute live version of Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz (a 1929 aria from a Franz Lehar operetta) on their tour – featuring yodelling, an extended guitar solo and an insane accordion breakdown, all of which differed every time they performed it. I doubt very much Lehar was spinning in his grave, because it was amazing!

  • tpfkar

    Online rumours that Lucy has quit tonight. I can’t find any substance or evidence, and there seems to be a bit of groupthink at the moment. LIRS of suggestions she hasn’t rehearsed; if she’s really I’ll, she might be able to perform with.less rehearsing than the others (she’s not likely to move much amyway)

    How will the show handle a departure if this is what they are facing?

  • Alen

    A double elemination is still missing, so maybe they will ditch that (although it might get harder to get ridd of Rylan and Chrstopher with that)

  • Mick

    Online papers are reporting that Lucy can leave it until the last minute to decide to carry on (she’s still ill.) UJ’s Josh maybe too ill to go on tonight …..oh and Chris was pelted by stones when a kid. Lots of sympathy votes tonight?

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