X Factor 2012: Going Grey?

Yet again this weekend Union J were referenced as the “next big boyband”, and yet again the public vote put them in the bottom two. Instead, if we’re to believe the Daily Star (and results seem to be bearing out the leaks), Christopher Maloney and Jahmene Douglas, who appeal to an older demographic, are leading the phone poll week in, week out.

A similar thing has happened in this year’s US X Factor. The finals were overloaded with acts intended to please a young demographic, but topping the vote each week are those with a different appeal: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar and Vino Alen. Tate and Vino are in the overs category, singing country and soul respectively. Carly Rose is 13, but she’s 13 going on 43 and at her most comfortable covering Celine Dion. Her more contemporary-seeming young rivals are trailing in her wake.

In the year that One Direction are proving Simon Cowell’s biggest cash cow to date, the Svengali must be tearing his hair out at the disconnect between the acts with teen appeal the show is trying to push and the voting public who are refusing to play ball. So what’s going on? Do dropping viewing figures reflect a growing disinterest from young viewers in the franchise, or was it ever thus?

A fantastic comment from ChrisR brilliantly sums up the Christopher Maloney phenomenon in this year’s UK show. It’s worth quoting at length:

My olds (lets call them Norman and Norma from Norfolk) are about as Shaky demographic as you get. Pensioners, mum loves Cliff Richard, dad loves anything pre status quo.
We put it on part of the way through James Arthur’s 1st song. Dads reaction… ‘he can’t sing, thats a load of screeching. Rubbish.’… Jahmmene was on, their reaction was ‘ I wish he wouldn’t do all that wabbling around with his voice, its cos he can’t hold a note’…Rylan… ‘christ he’s terrible.’
Union J… ‘not as good as one direction’. Funny, because they are far stronger singers in my opinion. Then Shaky gives it some Fernando, my old man says ‘Thats much more like it. I like this one, he’s a proper singer, singing a nice song.’ Mum agreed, ‘yeah he looks nice.’ I told them that he gets the full treatment to be got rid of, I stopped short of explaining camera angles and red n black, but their reaction was ‘Why are they being horrible to him, he looks really nice and normal.’

Is Christopher’s apparent dominance in the phone vote evidence of a changing demographic watching the show? This was Panos’s hypothesis after MK1’s exit in week 3: “Maybe those millions of viewers the show has lost were mainly young ppl who couldn’t be bothered anymore, so the grannies are taking up a greater market share.”

Esme responded that the viewing demographic breakdown for the show in 2012 is, in fact, the same as before: “I work in TV and have access to all the viewing stats and data. And while ratings have fallen off a cliff the % of the core younger demographic remains exactly the same as 2011 suggesting the fall off is across all age groups.”

We’d love to hear if this is still the case, given the interesting decision at this late stage of the live shows to have a week centered on Abba and Motown songs. While Nicky mooted the theory that it was intended as a leveller – ensuring all of Chris’s rivals would also sing songs appealing to older demographics might help skim off some of his vote – it might also suggest that producers had almost thrown in the towel with regards to getting back younger viewers and were shoring up ratings among an older demographic. This is not generally what advertisers want.

Abba plus Motown came straight after guilty pleasures week, where the uneasy juxtaposition became very stark between a show that strives to be ‘relevant’ but has an audience that doesn’t give a rat’s arse on this matter. Tulisa, whose recruitment to the show was no doubt meant to encourage more teen viewers, said to Ella after her rendition of ‘You’re The One That I Want’, “That’s what guilty pleasures is all about, taking a cheesy loveable classic and making it current.” The public mightily disagreed.

It’s the best example of what Nugg describes in his following comment: “The reason Chris is doing so well is surely because he is singing songs people are familiar with , the way they were supposed to be sung. No twists, slowing down, speeding up or vocal acrobatics, no raps in the middle, or mash ups, just simple solid performances that appeal to the demo. Xfactor is a middle aged thing these days, young people are increasingly seeing it as ‘something mum and dad watch’.”

The irony is that Ella, with her sensible, conservative nature and 50s styling, could have easily appealed to this older demographic if treated differently. I’d go so far as to say that she would at least be in the final if producers hadn’t tried to make her so current by slowing down arrangements of modern songs.

Nugg’s remarks echoed a comment EM made in week 4 after Union J’s first appearance in the bottom 2: “the Guardian yesterday pointed out that if you’re 14 now you were 5 when the X Factor started making it that old fashioned show you remember mum and dad watching.” I responded by noting that the three acts most designed to appeal to younger voters, MK1, District 3 and Union J, had all been in the bottom two by then.

But is the strength of the older voting demographic such a new trend? After all, X Factor has always been Saturday night TV entertainment, which by its very nature is a conservative, cheesy affair, as eurovicious reminded us after Ella’s shock exit: “The show’s authenticity drive has led to ratings plunging off a cliff (compared to the, erm, incredibly authentic Strictly Come Dancing which is soaring in the ratings on t’ other side).”

It’s worth remembering some of the phone votes in the 2010 series, the year when ratings were at their highest. In the first two weeks, boyband One Direction, conceived with maximum teen appeal in mind (which they’ve since proved to have in spades), only received half the votes of 50-something Mary Byrne. The latter liked nothing more than belting out Shirley Bassey or Dusty Springfield songs in a manner of which I’ve no doubt Norman and Norma of Norfolk approved.

Admittedly, she also had a regional vote on her side, as did Eoghan Quigg who had plenty of gran appeal and generally polled strongest up to week 7 in 2008. Still, it does beg the question that perhaps the grey vote, more constant as it may be, is at its most powerful before the semi-final.

However, producers dampened Mary’s appeal with a series of poor song choices that forced her into a more modern oeuvre unlikely to ‘delight the demo’ before she was ousted in the penultimate week. Having not done this against Maloney (he’s still delighting the demo with the likes of Fernando), programme makers will presumably be much less hopeful of managing the same result this week if he was still leading the phone vote in week 7.

Meanwhile in 2010, One Direction continued to be pimped heavily into the final but could never live with the broader demographic appeal of Matt Cardle or Rebecca Ferguson. Does this prove that the show has always had a problem trying to foist teen acts on a generally more unwilling public? The show has a long history of seeing middle-of-the-road acts winning or doing well. One only has to look at the 2007 top four of Leon Jackson, Rhydian Roberts, Same Difference and Niki Evans. It doesn’t get much less ‘relevant’ than that.

But the one year we have so far avoided talking about is 2011, which of course did see an act with teen appeal win, with Little Mix beating out the more nan-friendly Marcus Collins in the final.

Some people – including ourselves, having tipped Collins before the live shows – felt that this may have been partly due to falling ratings leading to fewer phone votes tilting things in favour of the tastes of multiple-voting teens. We cited a usually reliable predictor of the result, the YouGov poll on the day of the final, which suggested Marcus Collins was marginally more popular thanks to his broader demographic support.

Incidentally, it’s interesting that YouGov haven’t published any polling on X Factor this year. Can we take this, perhaps, as an indication that they feel voting turnout has become so low, the show has become too difficult to poll with confidence?

However, this series – with its even lower ratings – doesn’t seem to be bearing out the multi-voting teen theory of Little Mix’s win. We’ve seen #voteUnionJ trending on Twitter virtually every week and they’ve still been in the singoff three times. So perhaps Little Mix were a false dawn for the teen vote, their victory owing more to the unusually brutal effectiveness of producer assassinations of other acts.

Or perhaps the teen vote was indeed more powerful last year, but voting lines being open from the start of the show has tilted the balance back towards grey power? It would be unexpected, as we’d assumed that if anything this voting change would motivate the multi-voters. But a few weeks ago, TommySauce offered this theory:

In the old days the “lines open now” used to immediately cause the system to clog and (certainly in our experience) you’d have to try multiple times to register your vote. Might the new system have changed this, spreading the load over the whole show? If so, uncommitted viewers who might have voted on a whim in previous years, but given up the attempt after being unable to register their vote, might be adding to the totals this year… Might this mean some demographics – the older and technophobic are having their votes counted more?

Could this be a factor? And what are your thoughts in general on the potentially changing demographics of X Factor voting? As ever, let us know below. And make sure you check back on the site this Wednesday for Richard Betsfactor’s latest state of the union address.

42 comments to X Factor 2012: Going Grey?

  • EM

    From the Freemantle TV website

    The X Factor
    Returning for an eighth series in autumn 2011, The X Factor was the highest rated show of 2011 for both total individuals (4+) and young adults (16-34) winning an average audience of 12.0 million viewers and a 41.8% market share (4+).
    Gaining an average share of 57.6% for young adults (16-34), The X Factor performed more than three times higher than ITV1’s prime time average.

    Two 2011s in there to confuse us and they’ll also want to shout about the younger demographics.

    I also found viewing last year was declining faster among the 16-34s than the rest of the audience, but not by much.

    I think the “older” themes are part of a campaign to get the larger Strictly audience re-hooked.

  • wideofthemark

    So if Chris is obviously the favorite (and I say that advisedly considering his treatment) why is he still so far behind in the odds. Bookies and betfair are not really a young people’s game so repsumably us oldies are trying to second guess the youngsters. A flawed approach when it turns out its more in our collective hands than theirs.

    May seem blatantly obvious, but until serious money starts getting behind him with a shift in the odds I think we can’t be certain of this.

    On the other hand (that’s 3 now) all my friends think I am barking for “spoiling” a sat/sun evening by having some cash on, so maybe we can’t really influence as much as we might like to think

    • EM

      As the main article points out I’m not so sure that youngsters make up the main constituent of voters. The winners in the main are staid and safe and any research I’ve seen points to older 35+ and ‘downmarket’ females that dominate the viewers.

  • Boki

    Speaking about bookies, some have already bottom2 market up.

  • Kevin O Reilly

    Super article.

  • eurovicious

    If there was a Matt or Rebecca this year (ie. another act with broad popular appeal), Chris wouldn’t be winning. Neither James nor Jahmene has that broad appeal.

  • lolhart

    A good article but I would argue that by the final Little Mix were definitely nan friendly. The way they were promoted on the show was actually quite clever; likeable girls who your parents wouldn’t mind their kids hanging out with, but not too boring or cute for their young fanbase. They also had really good song choices that favoured the urban pop of their target demo, but weren’t too aggressive or sexy. And Crying Jessy was definitely meant to not just appeal to the teens, but also make the oldies feel sorry for her as well. I know quite a few people middle aged and upwards who voted for them based on their image of being “nice girls”.

  • Lia

    One of the things I noticed is how boring the show has been. In its incessant search for relevance the show has not entertained. Did anyone tuning in to have a bit of fun care if Steve or Leon or Matt didn’t sell many records? NO!!! They just want to have a fun family evening.
    Ratings fall because a lot of people can’t stand another slowed down version of a song that used to be fun. I don’t want dirges and if it’s guilty pleasures week, I want to hear songs that are so bad I shouldn’t really like them. I don’t want them to be made cool. I want them as guilty as they come. I want to hate Kooky monster Waissel, I want to be amused by Jedward and Wagner thinking how the hell did they ever make it through.
    I still watch because I have nothing better to do weekend evenings. I’m in the not too young/not yet old demo and the issue for me is total disconnect. I’m watching but I’m not rooting for anyone, so I haven’t cast a single vote this year, which is news to me. Usually by top10 I have a couple of favourites that get the odd vote and when I make up my mind I cast a few votes. This year I am sure there will be no votes and I’m sure a lot of people feel just like me.

  • Curtis

    I personally don’t think that the viewing audience is getting older, I just think that the young audience don’t have anyone to vote for. That’s the impression I have as part of the young audience myself. Union J obviously fill the boyband market, but quite a large group of young people really aren’t interested in that at all, and besides, Union J are far less interesting to that market than One Direction were in my opinion.

    So beyond Union J, who have young people actually had lately? District 3 – the same as Union J, and MK1 just really weren’t that good. It seems like the best representative left is James Arthur. Well he’s all well and good when he’s singing “Sexy And I Know It” but do you really think “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” last week was really delighting the demo?

    There was an attempt to make Ella appeal of young people by singing modern songs but by not singing them the way that people know them, all this did was alienate her to people both young and old. “Rule the World” was really the only good choice for Ella – a modern song sang the way it was designed – yet not a choice that alienates older viewers either. “Firework” and “You’re The One That I Want” were very bad choices.

  • tpfkar

    To test this out, what if they put an over-60 through to the live shows? We usually see a pensioner entertaining for 5 mins in the audition stages (although this year’s was savaged by Mel B if I remember) but they’ve never been taken further. Wasn’t there a singing granny in one of the BGT finals? If they had a similar act they could really find out how important the grey vote is – and they’d make the series more interesting while giving Simon Cowell a potential cash cow.

    Perhaps the show itself just isn’t trendy enough any more? It’s been running for 9 years, neither Gary Barlow or Louis Walsh are Justin Bieber, and teenagers can see through the machinations and seem as frustrated as anyone else with the amount of filler and lack of singing time on the show.

    • eurovicious

      This is very vague but there’s a thing in advertising/marketing about the age of aspiration – ie. if you’re marketing to a specific age group, you don’t show people their age, but people the age they aspire to be. So if you’re marketing to primary-age kids, show 11-13 year olds; if you’re marketing to 11-13 year olds, show teens, if you’re marketing to teens, show 18-22 year olds etc. For older age groups, this is reversed, which is why when watching Countdown, you don’t see some haggard old bat struggling with her Stannah or Tena Lady during the ad break (assuming you’re not busy with the teatime teaser) but an immaculately coiffured, got-it-together 50-something when the target audience is actually 65+. I suspect this would also apply to X Factor. Kids aren’t voting for Chris but adults and especially older adults are. If he was 20 or 30 years older, they wouldn’t necessarily. And it’s not his actual age that makes the difference, it’s the style of performer he is. He’s an older style. That’s what appeals and it’s why older adults love Adele too. No artifice, no flesh, just an ordinary relatable person standing and singing well with emotion.

      The other problem with much older contestants is that your singing voice tends to go as you age, so the likelihood of finding a highly capable singer in that age group is much reduced. Of course, this doesn’t stop some professional singers from trying to carry on with their singing careers long after their voice has gone, like Mae West in Sextette or Lys Assia in everything.

      • Lia

        Interesting point there and it makes sense. I’ve realised I’ve already passed the reversal point! LOL
        Not that it will make any of this years contestants more interesting for me as age is just one factor.

  • AnnaC

    Personally, I find Chris creepy and I haven’t read any of the press coverage about him. However, he does generally sing well-known songs in the way in which they are known. I am sure that people often vote for the song rather than the singer so Chris is likely to pick up those votes. I suspect that there has been a change in voting demographic and it is due at least in part to increased use of mobile technology amongst more mature people. When X-Factor first started mobile phones were still largely owned by the young and trendy and it was possible to vote by text. However, as mobile phone ownership has spread upwards in the age bracket and the text voting option has been removed then the age of voters will have increased also. Add to this the fact that the show is not cool or trendy and the need for nan-appeal becomes very clear. The gap between the final two (both acts with nan-appeal) in 2011 (Little Mix: 48.3% Marcus Collins: 42.8% ) was not great, hardly a landslide victory for Little Mix.

  • Interestingly on XF’s own channel, YouTube, James has had an incredible 922,000 views since Saturday for his Motown song alone. On average there, he is 1st and streets ahead of UJ in 2nd and Jahmene in 3rd place.

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLJQHjmJHb1rONT8qMNbxbYM–s2f1t1O&feature=plcp

    On each video you can click the icon to the right of the ‘views number’ and it opens up the demographic stats of who is viewing the vids (bearing in mind that YouTube accounts are now attached to google accounts and therefore easily track-able).

    Baloney is trailing at a miserable last at just over 78,000 hits. His demoG there is .. Female, 13-17 years, Female, 45-54 years, Male, 45-54 years (not too dissimilar to James at Female, 13-17 years, Female, 45-54 years, Female, 18-24 years). I’m in my 50’s too (as are a lot of my musician friends) and we love his work.
    Whatever the demo, it indicates that whoever is voting for Shaky is certainly not bothering to give his scintillating performances a second look. It is almost like they are blindly voting for the sake of it just to keep Liverpool to the fore in a national talent competition.

    Looking at the Liverpool Echo newspaper site there is heavy indication of this City’s amazing ‘drawing ranks’ power to get behind Shaky as a team (Kick one and they all limp, so to speak). We’ve seen it there in the past in different unfortunate circumstances and indeed we will also see it again at Christmas with hotly tipped ‘The Justice Collective’ charity single ‘You’ll never walk alone’ for number one slot.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/christmas-news/9695888/Christmas-No-1-Sir-Paul-McCartney-joins-Hillsborough-single.html

    If (and to me it is a BIG ‘IF’) Baloney does win XF, it will also be interesting to see how HIS Christmas single will fair against it and how the city of Liverpool could then be a kingdom divided against itself on which cause to support most . With the city being drawn back together once again to the Hillsborough cause, could it also distract/draw attention away from the Maloney phenomenon (with it stealing the local headlines) ?? On the other hand, could it be a way to show its capability to continue to rally support for ‘one of their own’ and could he even cash in on it in his VT’s, song choice and newspaper stories, “I’m doing this for my Nan AND for Liverpool” ?

    Like AnnaC here, I find Maloney ‘creepy’, I can see right through him (as too many others like him in my biz) and I would not put it past him to try and shoe horn it in somewhere to be chief flag waver for Liverpool for more sympathy votes. He is drunk on power with his new found ‘in-fame’ and has greedy £ signs in his eyes. His latest stories also indicate that he is a self obsessed and mercenary.

    I’ve even seen stories from other ex-XF contestants also saying that this Anti-XF ‘power voting’ is just (in effect) being cruel to him and falsely bumping his so called talent way up to way above its ‘actual’ and that when the show is over he will be in for a very big free-fall back down to mother Earth with a massive bang.

  • EM

    A quick Google Trends search doesn’t reveal much other than Union J topping the searches (so it doesn’t correlate to votes!) but does reveal the majority of Christopher Maloney searches are coming from Liverpool while the rest are much more geographically evenly spread.

  • Donald

    It is not easy figure out demographic but based on advertisers around the show it is targeted at youth market but whether or not this series is modern day youth culture is another story.

    No real edge or dynamic in any of it, right down to stage production it is a little dated and starting to show that the format has aged and so it obviously becomes more of an older demographic programme. It was interesting to read that they were going to review the Sunday re-runs but I doubt that as it must increase their early Sunday £ add take.

    Overall the series has not been as good to watch as past few years, with the final in Manchester and remember they wanted it in London, the local media dynamic going to be different with less reach to local voters. Another feather in Christopher’s cap maybe? Will there be a big enough audience increase to change the voting dynamic? I doubt it.

    I see mention above on James YouTube views, I posted how they helped get him past 1M views the Friday before he was bottom two and pointed it out as pimping, so they obviously still at it, it didn’t work last time and probably will not this time.

    Will there be an unexpected twist this weekend though? If Christopher as far ahead as leaks say they won’t stop him or have a very hard job to, but that does not mean they will stop trying, they must be achieving something with the way they still trying and probably will try more.

    As for sing off this weekend it will depend on who in bottom two maybe. That is worth considering carefully especially if it came down to James /UJ but considering we have waited for a Christopher elimination for many weeks lets not miss it if it happened. As Daniel astutely pointed out about Misha B and bullying it just might be worth keeping the faith although it does look unlikely but like Ella their are little signs floating about that would say it not over just yet, maybe the voting is low and still very marginal which would mean a small swing would do it.

    Lets see how week develops but watching brief at the minute, finally on demographic allot of new phones, iPads and Tablets for the older demographic if the ad teams have been right, good way of marketing to present buyers for the youth anyway. Lets hope the winnings paying for ours again!

  • MightyMadders

    I’ve just watched X Factor USA for the first time this year and find it very interesting that they announce each week the ranking of each act so if an act is in ‘danger’ presumably their fan base can go all out to vote them higher the following week. Would not be surprised at all if they decided to do this in the UK next year given the very random voting patterns… And if the same had happened this year and Chris was keeping the top spot would it propel someone else forward quicker?

  • Donald. That YouTube ‘views not equalling voters’ with James does constantly mystify me. Are his fans perhaps just ‘too cool’ to vote ? He is right in my 27 year old musician/songwriter son’s Indie music/Ed Sheeran type demo (as are all of his friends and their girlfriends) and he/they would never dream to pick up the phone to vote for the same reason. Yet they would all download James’ tracks in a heartbeat (and even Ella before she was turned into a damp squib after all the promising ‘the new Adele’ hype. They all rated her but never voted).

    At parties I talk to them all about XF and Maloney is seen as an utter joke. Jahmene is …. well…. “an ok singer but not quite our scene dude (snigger…. change subject back to James, Noel Gallagher and Arctic Monkeys)”.

    Same attitude goes for UJ, although my son does like a punt on XF too and is on UJ/James with me (with win and reverse forecasts) because his 6 year old daughter and friends are nuts on UJ (as also with LM last year and so he let her have just one vote then for the novelty of doing it herself to support her new idols). She also liked Rylan because she liked to watch him with all the colour, dancers and razzmatazz and he was also ‘funny’ (out of the mouth of babes eh).

    Also, (and I hate to have to use this terminology) will UJ now get some of the gay community vote because of Jaymi’s timely admission right on Rylans exit from the show? (and did XF plan this to surface publicly right on queue in an effort to capture it?). That vote must have been quite substantial to have kept him in the show this long and it is now a large group of floating voters looking for a good home.
    It has to be worth thinking about.

    • Lia

      6 year olds think alike. My daughter adores Rylan. She thinks he is really fun and kept on begging me to vote. She was very upset when he left. She also likes Union J and keeps saying Georgie Porgie when they are up. Guess who her favourite member is? Lol

    • eurovicious

      I very very much doubt it. The gay vote as a discrete thing, if it even exists, is negligible. I think the vast majority of gay people just vote for who they like rather than supporting the act that they feel “represents” them (which isn’t necessarily the gay act). So it’s certainly not gay voters who’ve been keeping Rylan in. Unfortunately there’s a lot of internalised homophobia and prejudice against camp/effeminate men in the gay community, so for every who likes Rylan, votes for him and enjoys his performances (as I did in weeks 2, 5 and 7-8), you can bet there’s another who dislikes Rylan because he’s camp, effeminate and stereotypical, and deliberately votes for anyone but. It’ll have been predominantly women and kids voting for Rylan, with only a smaller proportion of us woofters. Actually, in Rylan, Chris, Jaymi and Jahmene, we’ve had a really interesting array of gay men on the show this year, spanning the whole spectrum from tanned-and-plucked fame-hungry clothes horse (Rylan) and slightly sad mummy’s boy (Chris) to ordinary lad next door (Jaymi) and closeted religious weirdo (Jahmene). It’s actually far more realistic and representative of the real spectrum of gay men than I’m sure they ever intended. Not to mention Lucy, Charlie and Jade representing the spectrum of gay women.

      • On the contrary, we have to accept that a lot of famous performers are icons for the Gay community and have a huge recognised gay following, artists like Kylie Monogue, Cher, Madonna, Enrique, Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Morrissey, Pet Shop Boys and Boy George (the list is endless). Even in the Netherlands you have Willeke Alberti. Therefore it does exist and is very apparent.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_icon

        It would then naturally follow that certain XF contestants would also develop a similar type of large following proportional to their more famous and established counterparts and hence it is quite relevant to voting figures for XF.

        It would still be interesting to see where the proportion that was there for Rylan will go if they bother to transfer their vote. Jaymi in UJ would be favourite having just ‘come out’.
        .

        • eurovicious

          Fair point but it takes time for a gay icon to develop (much feeding and watering etc) and they tend to be female pop divas. Apart from Freddie Mercury, I’m not sure I’d class the other male performers in your list as “gay icons”. They’re prominent gay artists, but I’m not sure people really worship them the way they do Gaga, Kylie or Freddie Mercury. I definitely wouldn’t call any X Factor contestant this year a gay icon, apart from possibly Lucy. But definitely not Rylan, Chris or Jaymi. It takes more than being gay to be a gay icon. The Rylan vote is a floating vote (one for entertainment and bright colours) and I think treating it as a discrete bloc and trying to work out where it’ll go may not be that practical. As a vote for camp fun, zany stage productions and bright colours (by women and kids), it’ll go to whichever other performer offers this, currently none, which is the show’s big problem. Possibly Chris if he ups the tempo a bit.

          Are you Dutch?

          • EuroV. This is why I used the word ‘proportional’ because although they are not yet iconic they will still attract a certain gay vote, like attracts like, so to speak (having said that, constant tv exposure is a powerful instant fan maker). But until you can provide stats and facts to disprove it outright, it has to remain a big possibility and you can’t rule it out just on unsubstantiated personal opinion. This is why quoted the more reliable wiki (which I find quite accurate in it listing recognised male gay icons too) and it is why I posed the question. No I’m not Dutch, but have many Dutch friends who are in the music biz like myself though (and before anyone asks, I’m not gay either, lol, but I have friends who are and who are not so ‘discreet’ about it).
            If voting is now getting tighter knit, then any amount of extra votes for any act could tip the balance for a place.

  • Okay now I get paranoid when the meds wear off so how about this for a XF conspiracy theory?
    *coughs, deep breath* right. XF want Chris or Union J to win because they know the series winner will get crushed in the Xmas No 1 race by the Hillsborough tribute single and disappear from sight just like Joe McElderry.

  • tpfkar

    Thanks for the reply Eurovicious. Particularly struck by “The other problem with much older contestants is that your singing voice tends to go as you age, so the likelihood of finding a highly capable singer in that age group is much reduced.”

    Engelbert Humperdinck *shudder*

  • tpfkar

    Random thought for the day:

    We are fairly confident that the current voting order give or take is:

    1) Christopher
    2) Jahmene
    3) James
    4) Union J

    Also that the order the show wants the contestants to win is:

    1) James
    2) Union J
    3) Jahmene
    4) Christopher

    Nearly a total reversal. So I’m wondering whether the show will gamble or play safe. If the ultimate aim is to stop Christopher, and only Jahmene can do so, will they put all their eggs into pushing Jahmene over the line? Or if Jahmene isn’t seen as much better, will they fight to the end with James or UJ?

    It also strikes me that the difference between the remaining acts is that all of UJ’s supporters are tweeting, all of James’s are watching YouTube, and all of Christopher’s and Jahmene’s are voting.

    • Great question, tpfkar. I would suggest it ties in to the point Richard Betsfactor makes in his article just posted on the site, about the final vote freeze (unless they decide to drop it!)

      Their nightmare scenario will presumably be for Chris to reach the final vote freeze at something like 40% with the other two acts at 30.1% and 29.9%. I would think that if they feel that’s a danger, they may be more inclined to push whoever they think is more likely to beat Chris (presumably Jahmene) from the start of the final, to get him as close as possible with a view to overtaking Chris in the second part of the final. If they feel the freeze is more likely to be in the region of 34-33-33, they may be more inclined to push the one they would most like to win (presumably James), in the confidence that whoever is in the final two with Chris will be close enough for them to help over the line.

    • Boki

      Hey tpfkar, why do you put UJ in front of Jahmene (wanted to win) since UJ was marked as disposable couple of weeks ago? You think they changed their mind or that UJ was ment for final from the start?

      • tpfkar

        More hype about UJ over the past couple of weeks, next big thing etc, and a bit less on Jahmene. UJ look much more like pop stars than Jahmene and I’m also assuming that they think UJ will shift many more records in the medium term. I still experience t them to go this weekend though.

  • ps. As a clue, I am born and bred from your grandad’s county (although until they, in their infinite wisdom, re-boundried the area I was classed as a good old Lancashire lad).

  • If Christopher goes on Saturday it’s 100% guaranteed that almost all of his votes will go to Jahmene.James just isnt getting the votes>Jahmene is far the best singer and should win for fun.

    • eurovicious

      That’s not a very objective comment. Nothing is ever 100% guaranteed in these things, especially an unpredictable and unquantifiable statement like that. As evidence to the contrary, we’ve already had one commenter who posted their parents’ opinions on the finalists: they liked Chris but not Jahmene (“can’t hold a note”) or James. Jahmene’s vocal style is niche and an acquired taste, hence many in the betting community predicted a surprise early exit for him.

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