X Factor 2012: Christopher’s Journey – from Nervous Wreck to Alleged Cruiseship Strangler

Let’s play a little game. Imagine that you’d started watching the X Factor only in week 2. You remember week 2 – back when only one wheel had fallen off Project Credible Overs, the market still considered Kye Sones and Melanie Masson as more likely to be Gary’s last act standing, and in response to Christopher Maloney’s rendition of ‘Alone’, the judges used the word “cheese” more often than a children’s photographer.

Since then all you’d have heard about Christopher from the judges is that he is too embarrassingly karaoke to deserve to progress through the competition, while a drip-drip-drip of stories in the tabloids have alleged that he’s a diva, rude, arrogant, intimidatingtwo-faceda fake, a phoney, a love cheat, disliked by backstage staff and his fellow acts, and – most startlingly – that he once attempted to strangle someone on a cruiseship.

Now watch his original audition. It’s like stepping into a parallel universe.


Talking about how he’s filled in the application form then ripped it up for five years in a row, Chris says “people have discouraged me and said I’m not good enough. They’ve really knocked my confidence”. Who would have guessed, at that point, that Christopher’s narrative on the X Factor would become one of the judges repeatedly saying he’s not good enough?

In stark contrast to the cutaways to a bored-looking panel that have come to mark Chris’s performances on the live shows – most notoriously a sniggering Louis in week 8 – in the audition, cutaways to Louis, Tulisa, Gary and guest judge Rita Ora Geri Halliwell all show them looking rapt. We see audience members moved to tears. The audience, and all four judges, rise to give Chris a standing ovation.

Tulisa and Louis then insist on “me nan” coming out on stage. As Chris explains that people have said “don’t come on here because you’re going to embarrass yourself”, Louis and Tulisa look outraged on Chris’s behalf. Ha! The irony. Louis sends him on his way with a “million percent yes”.

Oh, Christopher. Where did it all go wrong?

As it happens, we can pretty confidently answer that question. Although we don’t know exactly when and where it was, there will have been a precise moment at which a meeting of the production team decided it would be a good idea to have a wildcard – inviting the public to vote through one of the judges’ houses rejects to join the live shows as a 13th act.

We speculated at the time that this whole twist idea might have been conceived purely and simply to wring some extra televisual entertainment out of Christopher’s nervous shakes – they had, after all, cruelly left his name till last to be called safe in the bootcamp cull. If so, this now looks like the reality show equivalent of Dr Frankenstein breathing life into his Creature.

We’d put good money on producers’ thinking at the time going something like this: “We’ll let the public vote Maloney back in, give them a feelgood moment in show 1, spend two or three weeks gently taking the wind out of his sails, and get shot of him by mid-series”.

And they must have felt they had good reason to think this was do-able. After all, they had experience with a rapidly-deflating wildcard in the shape of Amelia Lily. In her return week in 2011, she topped the vote after singing from the pimp slot; just one week later, she was in the bottom two.

Producers’ treatment of Chris in week 1 suggested that they were already worried about the possibility of him building up too much of a head of steam; it will be interesting to see how convincingly he won the wildcard vote when the show release the statistics after the final. Televisually, it makes sense to treat a wildcard return as they did Amelia Lily – keep the tension going through the show, and announce the wildcard winner as the final performer at the end. Instead, they slotted Chris in 6th of the 13 acts.

(As it happens, the new voting system lessened the effect of singing from the pimp slot in early weeks, but producers weren’t to know that at the time.)

Not only did they give him no help with the running order, Louis unleashed the word “cruiseship” after that week 1 performance. Producers ran with the theme in week 2, when Christopher’s backdrop couldn’t have looked any more cruiseship unless they’d made the stage sway slightly:

This kind of thing despatched Sami Brookes pretty quickly in 2011, so when Christopher survived week 2 but got more of the same in week 3, we reckoned he looked a reasonable price to be eliminated at 5/2 after the Saturday show.

No sooner had we pressed publish on that article, the Star published a leak claiming that Christopher had topped the first two votes. This would happen twice more, after week 6’s and week 8’s live shows. We were sceptical at first, despite the Star’s track record of being accurate with their leaks. But the departure of Ella in week 7, the week following the Star had claimed she was struggling to avoid the bottom two, effectively made doubt impossible.

At some point, producers appear to have decided that if they couldn’t drag Maloney down, they might as well get some fun out of him. They may have been influenced by the way Rylan was unexpectedly winning people over on a personal level. As well as rewatching Chris’s audition, it’s well worth reminding yourself of Rylan’s. If you’d been told before the live shows that backstage reports would claim one of these acts was universally regarded as genuinely lovely and the other widely disliked for vanity and diva-ish behaviour, which would you have guessed was which? Unable to shoehorn Rylan into that role, the show needed a pantomime villain.

It’s worth quoting in full the wonderful analogy drawn by Heisenberg after Nicole had compared Rylan to Babybel and Christopher to Stilton in week 3:

I’m sensing complex flavours developing for Cheesy Maloney, please indulge my analogy for a moment…

“Cheese improves over time. Different cheeses require different treatments. For example, most goat cheeses are aged for less than three weeks, and require regular turning and patting down.”

[Note: We are 3 weeks in and Maloney has been thoroughly turned and patted down – but without success – producers now realise that he’s not made of goat cheese as originally suspected]

“Sheep and cow’s milk cheeses can be aged for longer and many of them develop more complex flavours as a result.”

[Note: The next few weeks will likely reveal that Maloney is indeed made of sheep and cow’s milk cheese, with his performances embodying such complex flavour and appeal that a ‘people’s champion’ phenomenon begins to emerge.]

“That said there is also such a thing as a “dead” cheese. The cheese probably sat on the shelf for a little too long, and has started to lose some of its spark. It may still taste OK, but it quickly becomes forgettable.”

[Note: Following the peak of the sheep & cow’s milk cheese phase, with mutterings of making the final beginning to circulate – the producers decide that gloves are off and operation “dead cheese” begins – quick, painless, and lethal. Thankfully the duration of most cruises doesn’t surpass sheep & cow’s milk cheese phase and Christopher sails off happily into the sunset never having to succumb to “dead cheese” treatment again (probably with his nan).]

As it happens, Operation Dead Cheese took longer to materialise than we had expected. As Daniel described in his article on the Christopher Maloney phenomenon after week 6, every week it was possible to see some help for Christopher amid the attacks – indeed, in the form of the attacks, as over-the-top criticism risked motivating a sympathy vote, or was designed to do so.

Week 7 saw arguably the most hilarious sight in X Factor history – in the week after we published an article on how stage lighting may be used to help or hinder acts, the show decided to shine beams of light from the eyes of a creepy, devilish, meltingly pixellated portrayal of Christopher’s face:

But then the judges, and Dermot, chose to draw attention to it afterwards, allowing Gary and Chris to make clear that it had nothing to do with them. We can just about believe that this may have been an oversight in the case of the judging panel, but that’s more of a stretch in the case of Dermot, who is invariably a well-briefed model professional. The decision to point out to viewers how the backstage team appeared to be undermining Chris was an odd one if they were serious about dragging him down.

Next week it was more of the same. As Dug described it in his review of the show, “Chris performed in front of a homoerotic writhing of manflesh – surely the best way to alienate the nans and the scousers who are supposedly keeping him in week by week.”

And yet again, the comments afterwards drew attention to it, thus giving the nans and Scousers reason to vote for Chris in sympathy at having been surrounded by all that homoerotic writhing manflesh.

We’ll admit it – we wondered if the show had lost their touch. With all the reports about how much Christopher is disliked backstage, were they just unable to rein in their antipathy with the result that they kept misjudging and pushing things too far? But week 9 put us right on that score. Of course they hadn’t overlooked that the best way to undermine Chris would be through lukewarm validation from the judges and an unsuitably modern song. They were just biding their time.

In our devil’s advocate moments, it had occurred to us to wonder if producers might actually want Chris to win. Racking our brains to see if we could come up with a plausible-seeming rationale for this, we came up with this one: supposing that Simon Cowell has already decided to return to rescue the show in 2013, could it be that the rescue attempt would be more headlineworthy if a Christopher win had plunged the show into the deepest of nadirs?

But week 9 reassures us that this isn’t the thinking. We’d got a taster that the tactics might be changing in The Sun earlier in the week:

Insiders have been briefing against the ex-cruise ship singer for weeks and Rylan Clark has told TV Biz he planned to blast Christopher when he got chucked out.

But last night ditched Rylan kept schtum and trotted out a bland line that sounded as if it was fed to him by the show’s powerful press office.

Asked what he thought of Christopher — dubbed Christopher Baloney after he hid his cruise ship past — he simply muttered: “Chris is a great performer and has a fantastic voice. I wish him all the best.”

Rylan’s hatred of Christopher is well known to show staff and his pals.

A source said: “The backlash is working for Christopher.

“The more people say nasty things about him, the more votes he gets.

“The feeling now is the less said about him the better.”

(Is it just us, incidentally, or has the show felt a lot more meta this year? From reports like this to the fun-poking at Louis’s “next big boyband” tic last weekend, it sometimes feels like they’re merrily taking the piss out of themselves).

Sure enough, Chris’s treatment on Saturday studiously avoided stirring up any sympathy votes. Louis’s “you’ve already done enough to change your life” tone after Chris’s first number was indicative of lethal assaults on overs who have overstayed their welcome in previous years. Then there was Chris’s second number, a Michael Buble cover that exposed his vocal limitations.

Completing the coup de grace, Gary assured Chris’s fans that this is what his album would sound like.

Producers will welcome the fact that Chris’s presence in the final will generate far more column inches this week than Union J’s would have done. But based on his semi-final treatment, we’re fairly sure they will be dreaming up every tactic they can think of to ensure he doesn’t take the prize this weekend. It should be fun to see what they come up with. Primarily, we expect them to push the idea that Louis introduced last Saturday – that Christopher has done enough to guarantee a career on the West End stage and doesn’t need the win. They will simultaneously push the idea that only if James/Jahmene get the win will they have the recording career they deserve. It will be one big attempt to guilt-trip the voting public.

Whether you think Chris is worth backing or opposing at current odds of 7/2 largely depends, then, on how much you trust that producers have the situation in hand. Week 9 went a long way towards restoring our confidence that they know what they’re doing. Could it be that Chris’s backdrop of clock faces and gears for his Buble song was not just intended to suggest that his time is running out, but that their treatment of him is going like clockwork?

What have you made of Christopher’s journey from the nervous wreck of auditions to the alleged Cruiseship Strangler? Do you trust producers to be able to stop him from winning? As ever, do let us know below. Later in the week we’ll be covering the journeys of James and Jahmene.

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55 comments to X Factor 2012: Christopher’s Journey – from Nervous Wreck to Alleged Cruiseship Strangler

  • Highlighted

    I still believe the OTT production on Chris is done purposely. They of course will now not want him to win and I think they can be confident there are too many who dislike him to win now. However this has been the main story of the show and was important considering the ratings had already dropped since week 1. It doesn’t seem to have improved ratings anyway, but it’s still given paper inches and lots of Facebook/twitter comments.

    Great article by the way

  • Henry VIII

    “Who would have guessed, at that point, that Christopher’s narrative on the X Factor would become one of the judges repeatedly saying he’s not good enough?”

    Me 🙂 Not exactly “he’s not good enough” but after Louis’s Week 1 comments to Chris I commented here that they had a ready made narrative with Chris.

    Andrew you talk of producers wishes but from here they’re limited – all three guys get all the fanfare now and it’s down to their performances.

    And as the best stories have a happy ending the one of the engaging personality and orange face has to take the crown.

    • Hi Henry, After live show 1, sure, but if you guessed that after his audition segment alone, you’re a seer! 🙂

      Have to disagree slightly in that last year showed there are still dampening tactics they can use in the final, notably choosing Marcus’s worst-performing song of the series (‘Higher and Higher’) to reprise, and the lack of big production for the ‘Last Christmas’ number.

      • Henry VIII

        I thought that after I’d posted, then I thought Gary won’t go along with his act being de-ramped this year and they don’t need a win with James like they did with LM, but you’re right – they can meddle even in the final.

        After Chris’s audition I just thought he’s a rascal – no sweating with 3 layers of clothes and he’s supposed to be nervous. He’s playing a game with the biggest game-players on TV. And I liked him.

        Who do you think said this:

        “A lot of people at home will have been thinking ‘he’s got a good voice, he seems like a nice chap, he doesn’t deserve that’. They have picked up the phone in support because they see him being treated unfairly.
        He’s also handled it very well. He’s said ‘Yes, there are people who don’t like me out there, but there are also a lot of people voting for me and I’m very grateful to them’.
        That’s exactly how he should be dealing with the situation.
        He’s shown that he’s bigger than his critics, he’s refused to stoop to their level, and the public like him for it. He’s done incredibly well already – he’s in the semi final and he can be justifiably proud of what he’s achieved so far, and how he has handled himself in a tricky situation. I wish him all the best.”

        Max Clifford, Simon Cowell’s personal PR guy said it. The man who might have been responsible for the Chris articles. And that’s not a slur, I think they were genius and helped Chris as well as the program.

  • Jake Kl

    *Geri Halliwel was guest judge (not Rita Ora).
    About Chris, that audition was one of the most touching ones this year. Its weird how at first I thought he was this innocent, extremely nervous guy and now what hes bcome. I dont know if all those “phoney” and “fake” rumours are true but the nerves have definitely disappeared now.
    His treatment has been very predictable imo. From the beginning, producers must have been worried about his place in the live shows, with a bad slot and negative comments. At first I thought thats a bit mean for some1 whos just been chosen as the wildcard and all but they must have been aware of Chriss fanbase and from the minute he came in, tried to get rid of him (to no success). Im not sure its wise to compare Chris with Amelia. she was voted back in 2-3 weeks before the finals, therefore not having enough time building a solid fanbase and having that support other acts had been getting for weeks. Viewers probably didnt see her as an XF act trying to win a competition but more of a temporary singer. Chris had been in the competition from the start and should have been given the same treatment as anybody entering the live shows at the same time.

    • So it was! Thanks, Jake, fixed now.

      Indeed it proved unwise to compare Chris with Amelia, but I can see why the experience with Amelia might have contributed to them thinking – at the time that they conceived of the twist – that it would be easier for them to deflate Christopher than it ultimately turned out to be.

  • George

    Is there any chance Maloney could actually be “The Chosen One” who’s purpose is to bring back balance to the force and restore the show’s credibility.

    People have become cynical about X Factor due to all the manipulation and many now regard it as fixed. Wouldn’t the appearance of a contestant who was apparently the producers least favourite and the one they didn’t want to win represent a massive clearing out of the Augean Stables in the publics mind. Bringing fresh impetus to the next series.

    How else can we explain the massively favourable treatment Maloney has had thus far. Songs people know sung in the way people know them with traditional arrangements. The combined with unfair criticism from the panel guaranteed to stir up a sympathy vote.

    Or have I completely disappeared down the rabbit hole?

  • Denise

    I think the Producers adapt. They wanted rid of Chris but now they have failed, they will make the best of it.

    The best of it is probably him winning against the odds. That has never happened before where the anti candidate wins. This series is already a bust ratings wise – so a Maloney win with “You’ll never walk alome” for example – with cut aways to his Nan will bring the feelgood, miracles can happen vibe.

  • Heisenberg

    Love the article (and thanks for the quote).

    Chris reaching the final makes for fascinating viewing this weekend and like everyone else I’m very intrigued by how he’ll be portrayed to a larger primetime viewing audience – many of who will be tuning in for the first time with little or no background knowledge of Chris’s narrative, so the presentation of his ‘journey’ will be pivotal to who picks up the floating vote.

    Regardless, I’m struggling to envisage a scenario where Chris finishes in third position. I remain convinced that James only just scraped through over UJ last night – Saturday’s guitar-less, mediocre song choices and over-exuberant judges comments just didn’t resonate with me like they had done in previous weeks. Also, he’s already stated a desire to perform original material in the final – which from a career point of view would be a wise move but that doesn’t sound like an all out assault on the X-Factor crown to me – and although I like James Arthur’s music and style I haven’t detected an ounce of sincerity in his repeated “I really want to win this” declarations. He’s got to the final, job done – but James Arthur, feel-good warm and fuzzy X-Factor winner – I don’t think so.

    Now that the duets have been confirmed, this is going to come down to Jahcole vs Barloney for the right to bask in a big glitter explosion.

  • Boki

    I’m not sure if they can stop him or not and there is still a question if relentless pimping of the other two is causing an anti-x reaction (as seen on dspy where lot of people vote for Chris cause they are pissed how unfair the show is by pushing James for example). It is still very open and I agree that James is the one with least chance.

    My difficult choice is if Chris is going to pass the 1st step but I think, largely based on the duet with Gary, he has a good chance of top2. Both boys are not gaining from their duets as much as Chris will do, it’s a natural combination wrt target audience and might pick-up some floaters too.

  • Henry VIII

    The duets are crucial imo. Chris has a relaxed and engaging happy personality (if you can look beyond the microphone shake acting which Gary may order him to stop).

    James and Jahmene are very awkward, especially with a beautiful woman. 1/10 Chris and Gary perform by far the best duet.

    • Tim B

      Nicole is an incredible singer, so potential for a ‘wow’ moment or two there. But what will harm the boys slightly is that they’re duetting with the same person. Gary is very popular with the voting demographic and his stock has risen this year as a result of the Diamond Jubilee concert and the OBE.

  • EM

    Andrew YES on the meta thing.

    It’s like they’ve taken a year’s worth of comments here and a series worth of Tweets from Popjustice and Grace Dent and used them to write Dermot’s script.

    It hit me last night that Dermot’s operating like a man who doesn’t care anymore, could be he’s off at the end of the series which would explain lots around how meta he’s gone.

    Thinking about it would explain just about everything!

  • Tim B

    If Christopher can pull off a win this weekend then by default that would make Jahméne and James in the bottom 2 😀

  • wideofthemark

    EM – easyodds.com are showing that there is a who will replace Dermot market – the current runners are a rum lot, but maybe a hint of something escaping into the market – unless they do this every year and I just didn’t notice

  • EM

    Wow that’s what i call a market. Fill it up with a lot of people who’ll never be in the running – Anton Du Beke? Really?. And pocket the cash once the real replacement is announced who was never in your running.

    Ant n Dec (mega money but would save the show) would be ideal. Steve Jones a possibility, Nick Grimshaw etc etc much more likely.

    • Tim B

      Paul McKenna? Derren Brown?

    • Jack

      Surely ITV wouldn’t order Ant & Dec off I’m A Celebrity? They hold that show together. And I severely doubt Steve Jones is in with a shout after his attempt at hosting X Factor USA.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Would bet on Anton De Beke to (at some point in time!) replace Brucie on Strictly.

      • TommySauce

        I’d have said he was a shoe-in a few years ago, but then blotted his copy book by proving not to be quite as squeaky clean a replacement for St Bruce needs to be – racism claims in the tabloids for instance – not sure if he’s on parole, or been completely ruled out as he doesn’t even seem to do some of the “hosting” skits he occasionally did a few years ago.

  • EM

    X Factor has a history of giving guys “dated” songs and seeing them head all the way to the final.

    Ray Quinn basically gave it the Best of the Rat Pack most weeks, Olly Murs did very little newer than 1977 when he was on his run. Given their track record I don’t think the producers see pre 1990 tracks as a bad thing to do. Some people seem to do very well out of them.

  • EM

    That should have been a reply to Eurovicious – sorry!

  • lolhart

    I may be in the increasing minority here, but I do not believe that the relentless criticism of Chris and the tactics used against him are part of a strategy for him to play a role, or create some kind of ratings boost for the show. My own theory is that Chris won the wildcard vote by a large margin which panicked TPTB. Then, if the leaks are to be believed he topped the vote the following week. I think this is what led to the all out assault rather than a subtle deramp. I would be more inclined to believe this was deliberate if TPTB hadn’t been so incompetent at taking down most of their targets this series. It’s been pointed out that Chris finally got an inappropriate song choice this week. Perhaps Gary has agreed things have gone far enough with Chris and is finally playing ball. He has an act to the final which will have massaged his ego.

    Chris’ treatment actually reminds me somewhat of Daniel Evans from Alexandra Burke’s year. He was considered a cheesy pub singer but was constantly saved by the public who liked his dated song choices. He was ridiculed by the judges every week with Dermot often sympathetic and stepping in to defend him. I’m pretty sure Dannii also blamed the staging for one of his performances on Brian Friedman. But I wasn’t as savvy about the X-Factor back then, so maybe Daniel was being kept in to play a role.

    • annie

      I belong to the same minority.
      I think they simply were a bit overconfident after they were such competent asasins last year, when they said sami is cruisechip and she was gone, sophie is a secretary and she was gone. They thought they can continue with the script this year as well, but with the voting change they were out of control. I also think that after the first three weeks and the humiliation of gary his ego was hurt, so he stepped up and decided that if chris is what his left with he’ll show that he can do the best he can with him and didn’t allow his complete distruction with (for example) song choice.
      And yes, I also found likeness between daniel evans and chris. He also made it quite far considering the competition.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Thirded.
      In 2011, Simon Cow decided he wanted a group to finally win X Factor. And so Little Mix were manoeuvred to the win.
      He always wanted a performing dog act to win his Britain’s Got Talent. In 2012, Asleigh and Pudsey won.
      To shout down The Voice, 2012’s X Factor was to be the year of the “credible” artist. Had male winners, had female winners, had an endless stream of nice and/or boring winners, had white winners, had black winners and then had a group win. A new box to tick off, a new challenge on the bucket list, a non-cute, credible winner who wins on talent alone.
      The credible artist, and the one with the ugliest eyes (all about the voice) was and is deemed to be James Arthur.
      James was saved over Ella. Jahmene has been pimped to High heaven to try to steal Nan and mum votes away from runaway Chris.
      The trouble with James Arthur is that if he was a dog in the pound, or down the animal rescue, he would be one of the last ones adopted.
      Chris is earnest and engaging and looks loveable when interacting with his nan and has an upbeat bark; Jahmene is fresh faced, looks like he’s come from a good home, looks loveable to mums and has a unique bark; James has whatever is the opposite of puppy dog eyes, looks like he’d shit on your carpet and then bite you if he tried to discipline him and this overrides any brownie points he may garner for the soulfulness of his bark.
      Just nipped onto the Mail Online and had a read of the Arthur-Boyle, ‘Your about as funny as aids’ story. ‘Best rated’ comments surprised me. Not what I expected from Mail readers.
      Still trying to think of an antonym for puppy dog eyes…

      • Luke

        I think you might’ve hit the nail on the head here.

      • I’m slightly surprised the XF don’t exercise more control over contestants’ twitter feeds – they might have given James advice on how to handle that better. Or at the very least they could have proofed his tweets before he sent them – “I hope you don’t spell your own tattoos” is the line of the exchange.

  • Donald

    Well Andrew, that is definitely your Romeo and Juliet piece, great stuff. The one thing is the whole show has finished up revolving around Christopher Maloney and as I posted last night they were still shovelling it at Chris on the Xtra – Factor.

    He is the talking point of the whole show now, but they had far from given up last night and he even looked out of place in the Rod singalong. I thought his body language last night was I’m here but I know I not wanted.

    He has had one incredible journey and has caused mayhem all the way for producers and all of us.

    The problem I have is I find it diffucult to see the other two even with all the help they getting actually raising their game enough to topple him unless the producers get him.

    James been in the bottom two and Jahmene as has been spotted by seasoned observers on here probably needs all the pimping which concludes the public not voting for them and if Chris topped early weeks they never were. So where does that leave us? Chris V the producers as you say, if that the case I know who’d I’d back based on their efforts so far.

    Dermot last night thanked the 1M who voted, that not huge votes, figures are down and an out of London final,

    I think the show has lost some appeal since Ella left, even Dermot mentioned Ella last night on Xtra- Factor. The Star seem to have been spot on all series and i do detect a groundswell of support out there for voting for Chris by people who not fans of the show, Twitter is helping spread that, I heard today of a bar last night that was full all watched the show and all voted Chris numerous times, big cheer when through, if that the general feeling and spreading only one winner, I think allot of the public do not like the show and could be seeing this as an opportunity to show them that also.

    Twiter was on fire re Tulisa performance last night and the press are crucifying the new album, “Rihanna for £ shops” being one comment so will it be remember as the season of “Rhianna for £ shops” (which is mean really) and “Songs For Nan” you know what there is still market for CD sales, that Chris market, except no Woolworths left for the king “Wollies” man to sell them in. How ironic that would be!

  • eurovicious

    Stop what you’re doing, Johnny Robinson has a Christmas single out!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC4aLEs9ouI

    This just reminds me how much fun last year’s X Factor was 😀

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Antonym for puppy dog eyes – Rose West eyes?
    Has bugged me for a while who James reminds me of. Thought it was possibly James Spader – but no.
    Just nipped onto Google Images and typed in the search ‘James Arthur Rylan’. In the first picture bespectacled James has a bit of a look of Rose West.
    Been on a profitable run on the elimination market (last two results have been straight-forward) and the 2/1 for James looks a fair price.
    Interested to see how the ‘You’re as funny as aids’ spat with Boyle is spun. May hold fire till then.

    • eurovicious

      Frankie Boyle is an arsehole and unlike in his last Twitter spat, James played this one superbly – maturely and adroitly.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I sometimes laugh at Frankie Boyle, have to admit he can be a guilty pleasure, but can only take his humour in small doses. Tramadal Nights was unwatchable.
        Disagree that lines such as ‘Poor old man making yet more shit jokes…’ and ‘You’re as funny as aids’ are superb, mature and adroit retorts.
        In the context of the tone of Frankie Boyle’s provocation – like-for-like responses and in that sense: fair play to the lad.
        Noted that the Mail headline lead with the ‘…aids’ comparison of James’s and am surprised at the number of Mail readers who are green arrowing the unsympathetic reader comments, are siding with Frankie, almost despite themselves.
        Am interested to see what, if anything, the X Factor production and press office do with this story.
        Yes, James has previous with ugly Twitter spats. Think I respect him for that, for sticking up for himself. Good for him.

        • eurovicious

          I approve of Arthur’s retorts and his decision not to continue with the spat and to lay it to rest. Frankie Boyle is actually less funny than AIDS because AIDS is hilarious. He used to have a sharp satirical mind but has just pretty much become a juvenile, lazy douchebag and an embarrassment to comedy; he has a scattergun approach and uses his powers for evil. To think I used to find him attractive.

          With comedy comes responsibility, kids.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Yes, Uncle Ben!

  • Kevin O Reilly

    Bob Mortimers tweets re: Christopher are actually funny.

  • Kevin O Reilly

    e.g. Maloney with his voice like a bag of nowt .. like an unreported gas leak … like a shitting pilchard #xfactor

  • tpfkar

    Great article, and that original audition feels from another world now. I think you’re spot on with the thinking behind Christopher’s wilcard, and that they could get rid of him casually when needed.

    However I don’t share your enthusiasm and confidence that the producers have things under control; he wouldn’t be in the final if they did. I’m firmly in Team lolhart on this one. We’ve noted the constant failure this series to dispatch the contestants they want, and it’s an obvious extension to getting Christopher off the top of the voting.

    The show has always excelled at building up the joke acts, seeing them survive longer than they should, and then mysteriously disappear just before the final so the show can claim credibility to finish with. Wagner is King. But this year they have failed miserably: they had to lose Ella and compromise James because they couldn’t deal with either Chris or Rylan, remember this is the guy who was 12th out of 13 in week one!

    In terms of who they want to win the show, once Ella had gone, Union J were the third act they would have wanted in the final, but they didn’t even try this (in my view they knew this was a hopeless case and the risk would have been James going out in the semi.)

    So they are stuck with Christopher – has there ever been an act the show really didn’t want making it all the way to the final before? None comes close for me. And it seems that with little work needed to run Union J out of steam this week, that it’s the first time they’ve got serious on Chris – can they really not multi-task any better?

    Two things really caught my eye over the weekend:

    1 – Gary’s comment that Christopher’s album would be like the Michael Buble song. I wasn’t the only person wincing at that; Gary has clearly not gone quite as rogue as we thought as he surely knows that ain’t going to help Christopher. It also probably explains why he calmed down so much after Carolynne left, if he knew quite how well Christopher was doing each week.

    2-The winner’s song proceeds going to charity. Obviously good for a worthy cause and let’s hope it raises money to make a difference. But is this about trying to soften the show? Or is it preparing for a Christopher win by making a big deal out of the single by pushing the charity angle, and then putting little effort into further songs/albums?

    • Hi tpfkar (and team lolhart!),

      1) Absolutely! Surely he knew what he was doing with that comment.

      2) It could be simply that with falling ratings they’re worrying about the ignominy of failing to make no 1 whoever wins, so they want the charity angle to give it a helping hand.

      Re he wouldn’t be in the final if they had things under control, with hindsight I suspect that up to week 7 they wanted a JamJahElla final, but having carelessly lost one of those, decided that Chris was their most ratingsworthy remaining option – EM posted this at the time. At any rate, the fact that they started Operation Dead Cheese in week 9 makes me think it was a deliberate choice not to have done it in week 8 or 7 or 6.

  • tpfkar

    Now looking forward, I think we start from the producers looking at the votes in the semi-final.

    If Christopher won comfortably with the other two given so much more help, then the game is probably up, and they should accept defeat and focus on doing the best show they can to end the series. Announcing the duet with Gary Barlow is an obvious step in this direction.

    If James or Jahmene (J1 compared to J2 in vote order) won the semi then I’d expect to see a similar final with J1 pimped relentlessly, Christopher told he doesn’t need to win, and given at least one awkward song choice. However I’d have expected him to duet with Michael Buble in this case….

    If J1 = James, then there is a real risk of more ‘Nan’ votes transferring to Chris once Jahmene is eliminated. I would advise the producers in this case not to have any vote freeze but to carry all three right to the end. If they announce this, I’d be looking at 1. James 2. Chris 3. Jahmene, and seeing James in a suit would also be an indicator.

    So the interesting case is if Christopher won the semi but is now within catching distance and they are going to have a go. I don’t buy the idea of millions of ‘floating’ voters suddenly mattering in the final; with the votes and ratings down I’m expecting carrying the core to be more important. This is where I think they’d nuke J2 as quickly as possible to get across that J1 deserves to win, particularly if J2 has no chance (and especially if J2 = James.) It’s only when down to 2 that an anti-Chris vote can have full impact. So if there is a clear ‘chosen one’ on Saturday that probably indicates that Christopher is a contender but not clear. Particular if Simon Cowell appears and tells everyone that it’s obvious J1 is the best.

    So which route are we going down? The last is the most interesting but I think Chris’s fanbase is solid, they aren’t going to switch off over a Michael Buble song (and his first in the semi was perfect) so I wonder if the Gary Barlow duet is the first sign of the white flag being waved? I’m glad I’ve covered him in the win market, let’s put it that way.

    • Kevin O Reilly

      Singing with Gary is surely a clear advantage with his two rivals sharing a mentor for their duets. Is it a white flag? Interesting one.

      • Don’t discount the possibility that the main takehome message from the duet segment might be “isn’t Nicole amazing”.

        • Kevin O Reilly

          I can’t imagine a duet with Nicole suiting either artist, especially James whereas Gary Barlow & Chris would have loads of options song wise. Both Jahmene & James have an individual style that does not strike me as lending itself to a duet.
          And:
          1) Nicole has two songs to prepare both of which will probably be more challenging than Barlow’s one.
          2) It must be more difficult for James & Jahmene knowing Nicole is their rivals camp also and will each get less time commitment than Chris?
          3) Nicole is so extroverted will she handle this strange task well. i.e not steal the show, it is a tricky balance.
          4) Gary Barlow has done this before so both he and Chris have an advantage there too. Tulisa spoke about how nerve racking it was last year so Nicole has no easy task facing it twice, with pressure to do equally as well twice.

          It may not settle the result but it is an area where I think Chris has things in his favour and lends me to think he will at the least be back on Sunday.

  • Tim B

    In the final last year they effectively nobbled Amelia Lily by putting her on third which was a kind of false pimp slot – I think they followed her directly with One Direction, with no ad break. After the second round, they did the same but following her with Leona Lewis. Something like that. Anyway, I’m not sure they’ll be able to do that this time. Nicole is performing two duets and unless she’s up for performing one after another, they’ll have to put Maloney on 2nd so she’ll get a break. Does that make sense? Although I guess that still doesn’t mean to say they won’t have some other tricks up their sleeves…

  • Tim B

    I bet they wish they made Melanie Masson the wildcard now! 😀

  • Kevin O Reilly

    By staking a ratio of 1:1.4 approx on Jahmene & James (@ 7/2 & 9/4 respectively) to be eliminated next it works out at just under odds on (5/6 approx) Christopher to make the final. I think as it goes that is not a bad 5/6 shot.

    • Tim B

      You can also lay Christopher for 3rd place for the same price, which is what I’ve started doing.

      • Boki

        Speaking about prices, what do you guys think Chris/AntiChris price will be if Chris goes to top2? About 1.5/3.0? It depends of course which of the two J’s would be there but I would like to hear some estimates…

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yep, I think you’re right that there are/were worse 5/6 shots than that!
      The last Star leak revealed that Chris’s lead over Jahmene was increasing. There is no breakdown of the figures, of course, but, whatever the relative percentages, it seems unlikely that both James and Jahmene have overtook Chris in that short time. I would figure that 1/2 would be a viable value combo bet mark, let alone 5/6.
      I had been searching for a new win bet on the outright but could not make up my mind. My three outright bets to date have been tips from commentators on this site. Way, way back I backed Times Red (Lol!) and MK1. Weeks ago I heeded the new line of thinking (as advocated in certain quarters) and had a small bet on Chris (I had learnt to my advantage whose thinking to row along with from tracking their success in the weekly elimination markets).
      Thanks for passing on the combo tip: I hadn’t considered Dutching. I think this will pass as my extra final three bet.
      Am surprised that the oddsmakers have returned to chalking up Chris as favourite (and odds-on at that) in an elimination market again.

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