This morning brought confirmation that Lucy has withdrawn from the X Factor.
Clearly, health is vastly more important than a TV show, and it’s obvious that what Lucy needs now is a period of recuperation away from the glare of publicity. There’s nothing more to say except to send Lucy our wholehearted best wishes.
Let’s now focus our attention on the acts who remain, and the market for the week 5 elimination.
I think there are three acts on producers’ disposable list this week. They are Kye, District 3 and Chris.
Kye had been backed into 7/2 favourite to be eliminated before the announcement of Lucy’s withdrawal, which will cause bookmakers to remake their lists this afternoon. I can understand the sentiment behind that support. He is the least charismatic contestant and is coming off a sympathy bounce. Programme makers gave him every help last week with a big production for ‘Let Me Entertain You’, having sent him up in flames during weeks 2 and 3.
Pulling off Robbie Williams isn’t easy; we saw the real thing entertain the crowd on the next night’s results show. Nonetheless, Kye’s lack of stage presence was clear despite his best efforts. The most memorable tweet of the night came from someone who explained Kye’s performance was “like my Dad nicked my leather jacket and hired some prostitutes”.
District 3 have also had one week of kind treatment, again going with the grain of a sympathy bounce in week 3’s ‘Beggin’ mash-up. (I have to admit it’s my favourite performance of the series so far, but that may be a combination of Frankie Valli and the back-flip.) Otherwise producers have been metaphorically kicking sand in the boys’ faces, including last week’s Clockwork Orange-themed production.
The surprise inclusion of preferred boyband rivals Union J in the bottom two may have indicated to the powers that be they should have got rid of District 3 when they had the chance – in the week 2 singoff. As a result of not doing so we now have a proper ‘battle of the boybands’ narrative. I can’t imagine it’s one that programme makers will want to continue for long. With Union J likely to bounce this week, I wouldn’t be surprised to see producers killing District 3 softly by making them as unappealing as possible.
The attempted assassination of Chris Maloney has been even less subtle, so much so that last week’s shipwreck theme for the so-called cruiseship singer felt relatively kind. ‘I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight’ at least seemed like a good fit vocally. That song was from 1986, his week 3 effort was from 1988 and his week 2 choice from 1987. I can’t wait to see which number from ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 13′ they have in store for him this week.
Thing is, being called out on doing cheesy 80s numbers is giving him a definite shtick to go alongside the nerves and obvious fact that he is not the producers’ favourite. Maybe giving him something modern and inappropriate will be tried to alienate his support. Can I suggest 50 Cent or Flo Rida? Quite how long he can last is open to question, but it’s already further than I was willing to consider a few weeks ago.
Alongside these three in a tight betting market that reminds me of a 0-90 Catterick handicap is Rylan Clark. I still think producers want him around for another week or two but I’ll be slightly concerned if they do decide to give him a stripped back production, as he promised last week. As eurovicious pointed out, it was hardly impressive when he did ‘One Night Only’ in the week 1 singoff.
On the other hand, if a stripped-back performance lands him in the bottom two, it opens the door for a “get back to entertaining us” rationale for a singoff save. That should be easy enough to pull off if he lands up in the bottom two against Kye or Christopher. If it’s against District 3, the problem would come if Rylan is bottom and needs a 3-1 save. While there must have been some reason for Gary’s rapprochement with Rylan last week, such a scenario would test how much of his credibility he’s willing to sacrifice for the show.
There are still long odds about Ella, Jahmene and James even hitting the bottom two. I know that some commentators are starting to sniff around such prices for whichever act of these three they feel is least secure. I need to see evidence of a proper deramp before joining them; each has been treated very well so far.
I’m not getting involved in this week’s elimination at this point, mainly because that disposable list of three poses a question. What would producers’ priorities be in any singoff involving two of them: ditch the least charismatic; ditch the surplus boyband; or ditch Maloney? I’m not sure.
Let me know your feelings on this below.