With the overnight publication of yet another leak from the Star showing Chris Maloney continuing to top the votes up to last week, the bottom two combination of Rylan and Union J looked more predictable.
As was the result of the singoff. There was little room for doubt that it was Rylan’s time. He opened up on Betfair at 1.15 – the kind of price that indicates people who have backed him at longer odds are locking in their profits just in case, rather than that anyone seriously expects him to stay.
Nicole’s introduction (“he’s done amazingly to get this far”), Rylan’s look of serenity, and the mid-song hug with his stage nemesis Gary Barlow, all felt warmly valedictory. I had no hesitation in building up five-figure liabilities as Rylan’s price contracted down to end up at 1.04.
We at Sofabet have certainly thoroughly enjoyed Rylan’s time on the show. He has entertained and come across as a highly likeable chap. In contrast to the vinegary nature of the comments that preceded the last two departures at this stage of the competition (Janet Devlin and Wagner), it was nice to see the genuine-seeming warmth with which Louis, Gary and Tulisa sent Rylan on his way. We at Sofabet, too, wish him all the very best.
Looking forward, the narrative continues to revolve around the enduring survival of Chris Maloney. Can producers manage to pimp a thrice-saved boyband over him and into the final? As Curtis commented, they were channelling Leona Lewis yet again in the singoff.
Or are producers pinning their hopes on the success of a long-term campaign to build up so many negatives around Chris that whoever he faces in the final two will be able to win through a combination of positive and negative votes, as has been discussed by AnnaC and others in the Sofabet comments of late?
Chris this week survived the remarkable story in the Mirror alleging that he attempted to strangle someone on a cruiseship. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that Misha B survived in the week she was accused of being a bully. The damage was done the next week.
But has the campaign against Chris become so obvious that any heavy artillery used against him is now doomed to backfire? And could it possibly be that the backstage team feel such antipathy towards him that they can’t bring themselves to stop at the more subtle tactics that might actually work?
As ever, do keep the conversation going below.