X Factor 2012 Week 8 Elimination: A right handful

Three weeks ago the judges started name-checking their anticipated finalists. They were headed by Ella and Jahmene, followed by James. With two of them in last week’s bottom two and the show’s ‘little star’ eliminated, there’ll have been a re-think. Tonight we get our first set of clues about out what that has entailed.

Producers are probably hopeful that they can still get a consistently-pimped Jahmene and bouncing James into the final. But who do they want to join them: pantomime act Rylan; boyband Union J, tarnished by two singoff appearances; or Christopher Maloney, whom producers have done their best to set up as a divisive figure?

This has been the matter of some debate this week in the Sofabet comments and, indeed, amongst the Sofabet writing team. Working through the permutations is the best way of thinking about this week’s elimination market.

The argument against trying to get Union J in the final is that they are arguably the least interesting act left. Eurovicious put it well in his own state of the union address before last week’s show. He felt no emotional connection to the four-piece. The fact that they have been in the bottom two twice despite generally favourable treatment indicates he’s not the only one. The show will garner more column inches if either Chris or Rylan make the final instead.

But despite Union J’s singoff appearances, producers may feel they are the safest option to push to a final alongside James and Jahmene. They are more commercially viable than Chris or Rylan, and screaming teen fans are not only good for flogging records and merchandise, but also useful for providing atmosphere in a live arena event. Programme makers didn’t mind shoe-horning teen act Cher Lloyd into the 2010 final despite a couple of singoff saves. It’s really no skin off their nose.

Where do they go with Christopher Maloney, who as Richard Betsfactor memorably puts it (and check out Richard’s latest posts on Betsfactor.com this week if you’ve not done so already), is in producers’ eyes the monster they accidentally created and now have to slay? The corner they have (intentionally or not) backed themselves into is making him the Marmite act of the series. I think the negativity thrown his way will continue tonight. Against his will (and he’s handled it with aplomb), it’s become his role on the show.

In its way that’s useful for producers and there is a precedent. Being continually branded cheesy didn’t stop Same Difference getting to the final in 2007, though I’m reminded of Heisenberg’s analogy that we are talking about very different kinds of cheese here. Do they reconcile themselves to the same fate with Christopher, or do they just not want to go there? This was probably top of the agenda during this week’s re-think.

If they still feel like stopping him, producers may realise they went overboard last week with the laser-eyes, creepy-face backdrop. It would really be much more subtle and effective to hinder him with an unsuitable song choice. Although Abba and Motown are themes which should play to his strengths, there’s no reason why they couldn’t give him something unsuitable within this remit.

One reason why they might not go all out is that pantomime act Rylan has now got further than any of his predecessors before him. Producers weren’t anticipating him going this far, certainly not at the expense of Ella. Partly it happened because last week they allowed him an extensive post-performance interview that included VT footage leading up to his memorable exchange with Gary Barlow. Rylan’s own likeability, which has become increasingly apparent as the series has progressed, also played its part.

Still, it’s no surprise to see the Essex lad comfortably at the head of elimination markets at a best price of 5/4. After all, having your pantomime act get through to the semi-final is uncharted territory. However, there’s a sense that this year is no longer an ordinary year. Every act remaining is an acquired taste, including Jahmene and James.

I think it’s hard to call the finishing order in last week’s show, and there’s a possibility that there  wasn’t much between many of the acts in the public vote. Low turnout up to this point has made things more far more volatile. As an example, I think Rylan’s witty jibe about Barlow’s weight propelled him out of the bottom two last week. Who’s to say how tonight will pan out? For these reasons, I don’t want to call anything right now.

What are your thoughts as the eighth live show approaches? Do keep the discussion going below.

46 comments to X Factor 2012 Week 8 Elimination: A right handful

  • annie

    I wrote down that Rylan’s time is up, he’ll definately go this week. Nicole has to loose someone. Most probably in the bottom 2 with union j coming of a bounce. But then it occured to me if they somehow manage to drag chris down to the bottom 2 they won’t miss the chance to get rid of him. If they can get chris into bottom 2… Up to last week I was a total non believer of the star leak, and I was sure he was just barely escaping,now i’m not so sure anymore. If he survives this week I think he’ll make the final: if rylan is lost this week that will happen against union j, I think James (as ella’s) visit to the bottom 2 was out of carelessness, people thinking they are safe… This won’t happen again, plus he’s on a great bounce. Jahmene is safe. I don’t think they can make a sing of in the semi final with just 4 acts, can they? they only did that in 2010 but they had 5 acts then, and even that caused a strong outcry. So I guess semi final will loose 3 times guests to the bottom, union j. Final Chris, James, Jahmene. Most probably Jahmene taking the crown, james 2nd, chris 3rd.
    If they manage to get chris to the bottom tonight then he’s gone this week, rylan next and final will be Jahmene (winner) James(runner up) and UJ (crawling and unworthy 3rd)

    • annie

      and it will be the sad series four again, with two acts from the newbie judge as winner and runner up and either a joke or a group as third (which coincidentally in case of series 4 was combined into one act same difference being both a joke and a group;) )

  • Very difficult to call tonight, I agree. I think producers would be delighted with JamJar and either of the panto acts in the final, and it won’t be the end of the world if it’s JamJar and Union J. JamJar MUST make the final, there are pros and cons for any of the other three taking the third slot, for ratings/credibility.

    Remember the good old days Daniel when we used to discuss running orders. These days we don’t because it’s all over the place with Kye, Melanie and Jade all disappearing despite good slots. Or “old world” good slots.

    In the good old days, contestants that were on in that sort of “2nd and 3rd zone” (so not starting the show and certainly not in the second half of the show), would be the ones that immediately had a red flag.

    Who was on 2nd last week? And 3rd?

    They’ll be doing two songs each tonight, which adds some extra spice. Watch for the contestant on 2nd and 7th, as I’d say that was the best “nuking” position. They haven’t been afraid to mix up the order though – famously (“famously”, only a bad armchair pundit on Sofabet would use the word “famously” about a X Factor running order change!) changing the semi final running order with seconds to go when Little Mix were in trouble.

    X Factor has been sagging in the ratings, but it has perfect “washing line” like help tonight. We’ve an excellent year for Strictly at one end, straight into 8pm, no gap, then the very very strongly performing Celeb at the other end. Yank the two ends and the sagging ratings dip in the middle should be pulled up. Severe Weather all over the UK, it’s a classic “reality TV night”, so traditional running order rules should apply.

    Thanks for the plug! Lots more drivel at betsfactor.com and I’ll write an article next week on here.

  • Jake Kl

    UnionJ are deff in bottom2 tomoz night (is there a bottom2 at all?).
    Any de-ramping tonight for Chris wont work. Hes heading straight for the final. So is Jahmene.
    Im actually worried for James. Theres no doubt hes going through to the Semis but im not sure his support will carry him to the final.
    Rylan has suprised us week on week, and anything can happen this week, although Id bet anything hes been barely avoiding the bottom2, in the last 2 weeks

    • annie

      (even though they are getting good critique i find ) union j are quite bad. not a very good version of the song… messy staging. will rylan join them in the b2?

    • Curtis

      So Union J in that second slot, singing “The Winner Takes It All”, a song which has a history* of sending people home, including I believe the only person before this series to bottom 2 from the pimp slot, Ashley McKenzie. Still, I think I’m reading too much into that, because the performance seemed decent, and the judge’s comments were helpful.

      *A history being defined here as “twice, in my memory, and one of those was on Pop Idol”

  • AlisonR

    So, so far, Rylan has had some acceptance from Gary and some weird dancers (must be b2), Union J have had some pimping. That was probably their best performance of the series tonight and I’m going to heap some money on them for the win. Jahmene had a strange VT, not the best performance and mixed comments. Is he being lined up for b2 with one of the joke acts to propel him to the final?

  • Jack

    “If you didn’t want her to go you should have picked up the phone and voted for her. It’s not my fault.” – Chris Maloney.

    Ouch.

    • AlisonR

      Yeah, comes across a bit of a diva in that. Performance not that great either. Lots of sharp notes. Fernando not as well known as some other Abba songs.

  • wideofthemark

    What are they doing with Chris Maloney and those naked people

  • Curtis

    So another week, another unhelpful “I love me” VT for Christopher. The public seem to be missing the message! I particularly enjoyed the part this week where they cut straight to Ella in tears after Christopher’s name was announced just to try and imply it’s his fault she went..

  • Donald

    That staging of Christopher was just mad, they obviously not stopping have a serious go at him.

  • Poor Christopher, obscured by backing dancers for half the song! Expecting a trapdoor to gobble him up during song two…

  • Boki

    Chris was 10 times funnier than Rylan and should get all his votes, can’t stop laughing 🙂

  • Curtis

    The funny thing about Christopher’s performance is I only listened to it, didn’t watch. I thought it was a run-of-the-mill ballad by numbers sung alright, I wasn’t prepared for the comments to be talking about half-naked men and what have you!

  • Nicky

    I think the untrendy themes this week are meant to be a leveller; why would the middle of the road fogies vote for Chris’s ‘poor Fernando’ after they’ve heard renditions of Winner Takes It All and Mama Mia that are more to their taste?

  • Donald

    Rylan getting two doses of Euro trash beats tonight, has Nicole been sampping some bevrages?

  • AlisonR

    Why are Union J and Rylan going out of order? Slightly surprised at their mixed comments.

    Nicole announcing James Arthur for Rylan? Deliberate? VT him looking thru his performances and saying “I’ve forgotten what I’ve sung” (might the public have forgotten too?).

  • shoulders

    Chris off to the Isle of Fanandoes!!!

  • Nicky

    Maloney’s Nan finally makes a come back. She wasn’t in Kye’s funeral pyre after all then.

  • EM

    Quick one to bear in mind – won’t do Chris any favours this being in every petrol station and supermarket tomorrow – http://twitpic.com/bg4zrl

    • Kevin O Reilly

      Attempted murder now aswell.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Or, no change: he’s been accused of attempted murder for eight Saturdays running now!
        From a dispassionate odds-calculating point of view, is the current 2/1 about Chris being eliminated (so to speak) tomorrow, a stand out bet?
        For definite, even the 9/1 about him with Hills in the series crown market looks a bet that must be swerved now.

    • Simon's Cuban Stacks

      Blimey! Think we can safely assume the knives have been sharpened and are out for him. Producers reckon they can actually get him this week?

  • Jake Kl

    Tulisa is clearly the least professional judge on XF history.
    First that comment last week about voting for the right people and now laughing at a contestant.
    Cany wait for her to leave at the end of the year

  • Boki

    I think he might be in bot2 tomorrow for the 1st time. No, I’m not talking about Chris.

  • annie

    that would be cool in a sad way wouldn’t it? to get a chris-jahmene b2 tomorow, and end up with a season where everyone had visited sing-off land at least once.

  • The Cat In The Hat

    This treatment of Christopher Maloney has to stop! That was the most uncomfortable 2 hours of TV that I’ve seen in a very long time; my heart goes out to the poor lad.

    • Jim D

      …ditto to that Cat ~ their treatment of him is pure and simple bullying ~ if they do not want an over to win or do well in this competition they should not have such a category.

  • The Cat In The Hat

    At least we know that the champions were all but crowned tonight: Union J.

  • Cath

    I’m really surprised that people are thinking Union J are safe – I thought the knives were out for them tonight. A ‘nice’ but not stand out performance, Louis saying he wanted them in the Semi Finals (in contrast to saying that Jahmene should be in the Finals), comments were fairly luke warm and the arrangements of the songs certainly didn’t ‘delight the demo’. Also, going 2nd in the first set of songs and then 1st for the Motown, seemed like the worst possible combination.

    The ongoing attack on Maloney continued, though a bit more subtle than last week. Particularly enjoyed the half naked dancers initially distracting viewers and then actually obstructing the camera’s view of his performance. The camera angles were either long, upside down or focused on this feet. No holds barred (yet again)! Having said all that, based on previous performance, I think he’ll be safe.

    • Sarah

      Union J was a weird one tonight. The first half it seemed like they were getting pimped (other than the order slot) with fantastic comments and a great performance. The 2nd half felt like the opposite with so so comments (Tulisa being extremely positive and Gary, their biggest supporter, the opposite) and another poor performance slot.

      Still I can’t work out why, because surely they would survive over Rylan and Chris if either of those two joined them? and its unlikely for James or Jahmene to be bottom two this week.

      All I can suggest is that this was a deliberate attempt to make them bottom two (along with either Rylan or Chris) and give them a bump into the final. A bottom two showing now gives them a better chance at bumping past Chris next week (if he is lower than Jahmene and James) and also stops a situation of both Chris and Rylan being bottom two, with the one who survives (most likely Rylan) running the risk of bouncing into the final.

  • tpfkar

    The only act I had 100% positive tonight was James, and Jahmene wasn’t far behind. I think they will top votes tomorrow.

    UJ were actually good tonight – and I’m not a fan so saying that through gritted teeth – but lots of deramps. I couldn’t help picking out ‘We need to go out tonight… ‘ from their first VT, don’t know why this stuck with me. And did they announce they would sing a different second song to what they did? Likely bottom for me.

    Rylan had much less vocal help than previous weeks, and the production wasn’t quite as strong. Comments seemed lukewarm in an ‘I don’t care’ sense. But good banter and likeable as ever so a fighting chance.

    Chris was Chris, odd staging first song and better second time, strong pimp slot. Comments not much changed. Possiblebottom 2 but not surefire.

    All felt controversy free and a bit dull tonight, I was almost hoping for the promised twist to liven things up but it never came. Rylan /UJ most likely bottom 2 in my view.

  • The Cat In The Hat

    I think the treatment of Christopher has gone passed the laughing stage. His treatment on the show is making me as furious as I was over how Janet was treated.

    Christopher finally knew tonight that no matter how well he sings, he will never be able to win over the three Witches Of Eastwick on the jury, and even Fat Gaz himself has admitted that he wants Lugless Douglas to win.

    What a stitch up!

    PS Note to Tulisa – cheer up, I’m sick of seeing your miserable face every Saturday night; if you don’t like what you’re doing lay brick, or get a job down a mine, for goodness sake.

    • Kevin O Reilly

      Very well said on all counts, i am finding myself sick of it. Christopher Maloney’s treatment is a disgrace. They have taken to childlike sniggering now.

  • R

    The Chris VT was terrible for him. The song was ok but the dancers as mentioned above was negative, especially noticed it was the half-naked males writhing around closest to him while the female dancers were nearly always just out of shot.
    Again the negatives could be negated by the judges pointing it all out, but somehow it seemed different this week.
    The biggest Chris deramp was Jahmene’s VT. I’ve really grown to dislike him as the show has gone on, unfairly so I know, but his VT was so uncomfortable. The awards thing was so emotionally targeted at the mum vote that currently vote Chris that it could actually work.
    I couldn’t work out if Chris’ reactions to the bad comments were real or a put on, he seemed to be holding back the tears at certain points. With most others I would have said fake, with Chris, it’s possible that it’s really getting to him.
    The newspaper headline could be the final nail in the coffin.

  • Mick

    I thought it was a pretty lack lustre show tonight without any act screaming out vote or me.

    A question for any statto’s out there: How many times has the adjective cheese or cheeesy been used this year? Too much for my liking.

    FTR my money is on UJ to go out this week,

  • Just shoved up my thoughts on Betsfactor.

    The big unknown is how the newspaper negativity today will play from a voting point of view for Christopher. If we did a vote freeze now, I’d guess he’s safe, as he came across as “bullied” tonight. Sniggering Louis, more silly comments from the judges pointing out the staging and so on. He was also given the last slot, which I would say was helpful as well, there might have been half a million casual “I’m a Celeb” viewers turning on for the last few minutes.

    They definitely want him gone, which makes the running order decision curious.

    V. difficult to call, and you could make an argument for four of the five of them hitting the bottom two, but I’d say Rylan vs Union J was most likely.

  • Jake Kl

    Afew things on tonight:
    Rylan: Going unoticed, good but not great performances, good comments from Gary, overall forgetful (if only for his trainers and fluorescent colours in 2nd song).
    Chris: Sounds like they’ve been visiting this site. Giving him the least famous ABBA song “nice” comments made Chriss night completely forgetful. I’ve said it before, this is the best way to get rid of Chris so he might be in danger for the 1st time (although nothing is sure).
    James: A lot of pimping, loved the background video making him look like an already established singer. Id say he is the safest one right now.
    Jahmene: Tricky one for me. mixed comments, same dangerous staging as Melanie in wk2, his name in massive letters in the 2nd song looked more provocative than anything (unlike District3s one in wk3) and overall i sensed abit of de-ramping. question is why?
    UnionJ: Again quite abit of deramping with the song choices and comments.
    There are 5 acts left. 3 from Nicoles group, 1 over, 1 group.
    Whats sure is: They want The 2 most talented guys (in their eyes) Jahmene and James in the finals. Theyd rather have Chris or UnionJ for the last spot rather than an all boy final. then again if they have the opportunity to get rid of Chris at any stage, they will.
    After tonight, the acts in bottom2 tomoz are UnionJ and Rylan with a 3-1 for Rylan to go

  • Danny

    This is the only third time the judges havn’t taken it to deadlock and this is the third time that Union J has been in the bottom 2. I predict that Union J have been at the bottom of the vote 3 times once with Jade, District3, and Rylan. I think their time is up next week. their situation is a bit similar to Misha B last year she was also at the bottom week 4, 6 and 8 and left semi final and everytime she was in the bottom 2 she got the least number of votes

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