In a week where British journalism has come under intense scrutiny for other reasons, our Sofabet commenters have been assessing the implications behind numerous intriguing tabloid allegations. Most notably, eurovicious wondered if Chris Maloney really is still topping the votes, as suggested by The Sun on Thursday.
The story saw Maloney’s odds in the market cut from 33/1 to half that. There is a Wagnerian ring to this. The Brazilian lothario from the 2010 series exited when the hype began over his previously unconsidered chances.
Meanwhile the drip-drip of anti-Maloney stories continued just this morning, following an article brought to our attention by Caro earlier in the week reporting that the Liverpudlian votes for himself on numerous occasions.
But there is a sense that X Factor producers agree with Oscar Wilde that there’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about. If that’s so, it’s District 3 who should be most worried this week.
Whilst the Maloney story is still bringing plenty of intrigue to the series, our commenter Neeve pointed to a Daily Mail article that air-brushed District 3 from X Factor history.
Perhaps producers would rather it was this way, having seen the boys survive for the last two weeks of silly productions and judges’ barbs. But they may have learnt their lesson from last week when fierce criticism possibly acted as a motivating force for their fanbase.
If so, expect something altogether more muted from the judges tonight, which is what did for Melanie and Kye. It doesn’t bode well for the threesome that, as Heisenberg informed us, their boyband rivals Union J have a heartwarming backstory to tonight’s Best of British-themed show in the shape of George Shelley’s brother being a Royal Marine.
Shoulders also made the genius point about the theme potentially allowing the patriotic implications behind the foursome’s band name to come home to roost. If producers do want to make break-out stars of Union J, you sense they really have to go for it this week.
With the show allegedly having a pre-recorded One Direction performance on hand for tonight, there are plenty of methods at producers’ disposal should they decide to go in for the kill on District 3 once more. As mentioned, however, they may prefer to smother the babes in arms rather than more obviously shoot them down.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if District 3 manage a fourth week of safety after a singoff save, it would be a feat equalled in X Factor history only by Danyl Johnson and Ray Quinn. One counterpoint to that is this year’s presumably lower voting totals may make it easier for a motivated fanbase to keep an act clear of the danger zone.
Still, with only seven acts remaining there’s increasingly little room for manoeuvre, and that also applies to Rylan Clark. He managed a second singoff save last week but the sympathy bounce typically loses some of its power second time around.
Much depends on how producers decide to play it. Last year they pulled out all the stops to help Misha B bounce after her second singoff save, in a memorable VT showing her bonding with mentor Kelly Rowland by crying over family heartbreak. In a similar situation, Kitty Brucknell was shown being a diva in her VT and shoved into the death slot. Kitty was eliminated, Misha B lived to fight another day.
With only seven contestants left, Rylan’s time is shortly up – if he left this week it would be in the same finishing position as both Kitty Brucknell and Katie Waissel, similarly divisive acts. His treatment tonight will tell us if producers still think they can eke another week or two’s mileage out of him.
That leaves us with the ‘big 3’. As mentioned earlier in the week, only Jahmene feels like he’s secure from danger this week. His help in raising awareness about domestic violence on Twitter this week, which our commenter R mentioned, continues his positioning as this series’s most positive role model.
I’ll be fascinated by the treatment of Ella and James this week. Both were name-checked as finalists last weekend, but may not be doing as well in polls as producers like. I generally believe that programme makers will look to rectify this tonight by doing their best for both, but I’m looking out for possible red flags.
District 3 look like worthy favourites to go this week, although that has been said before, notably after last Saturday’s show. I’m very much going to watch and learn tonight. Let us know your thoughts below.