Ambassador, with these spoilers you are really spoiling us. For the last four weeks we’ve had the unusual benefit of a credible-looking list of the 24 acts who make judges’ houses. This has enabled us to fast-forward through some acts, and watch others with an added layer of bathos: “No, Hannah Sheares, don’t ditch your friends! You don’t make it past bootcamp!”
But this is no longer enough. No, we want some definitive spoilers for the final 12, please, and we want them now. Unfortunately, all we have are Digital Spy threads which contain occasional nuggets of usefulness amid a sea of speculation to which prolonged exposure atrophies the brain. Readers, as you kindly have in the last three weeks (respectively on Rielle/Riely/Relley, Shelley Lewis/Smith and groups shenanigans), please correct us in the comments below where we have erred in this article.
Starting with the boys, there seems to be a consensus on Digital Spy that the final three are Luke Friend, Nicholas McDonald and Sam Callahan. Which made this weekend’s final brace of audition shows strange viewing, as the much-hyped Sam was twice montaged on Saturday’s and Sunday’s shows, while arena screentime was ladled upon Ryan Mathie, Giles Potter and Paul Akister.
Of course, the show needs its controversy, which means high-profile acts must be dumped at both bootcamp and judges’ houses stages. And if – as many have speculated – they are keen for a girl to win, it arguably makes sense to put through a couple of boys who won’t have gathered a head of steam from the audition stages. (Though why then put through a button-cute sixteen-year-old with a powerful regional vote after a third-week pimp slot?)
Ryan Mathie, opening Sunday’s show, has more than a touch of the Craig Coltons about him. The bluff Yorkshire bin man is vocally a little limited, but easy to warm to and with a crowd-pleasing line in banter.
Closing the show, Paul Akister represented the “shy fat man” trope which is a hardy perennial on Britain’s Got Talent but – if the spoilers are right – here leads only to heartbreaking rejection at the hands of Louis Walsh. Paul is highly likeable, has a pleasing soul voice and had the judges on their feet in the closing pimp slot – but doubts about the nerves will provide a rationale for Louis if needed.
Giles Potter, the last of the three boys supposedly disappointed by the Irishman, was described as having delivered “car crash” vocals (although we thought he didn’t sound worse than Tamera Foster). Interestingly, Gary went backstage to lend a hand as a concerned bystander, a mechanism which has previously portended good things in the cases of Jahmene Douglas at bootcamp last year and Zayn Malik at bootcamp prior to his inclusion in One Direction.
Blink and you missed Sam Callahan. Last week Gavster speculated in the comments that Sam could play the over-confident villain role of Danyl Johnson, which remains a possibility. But based on how little attention has been paid to him so far, it’s too early to speculate what kind of trajectory producers have in mind for him. The obvious suggestion, based solely on the brevity of his screentime, is a relatively short-lived one intended primarily to pull in some young female viewers.
But can we trust these supposed final three boys? It seems clear that the market largely does, with Paul at 20/1, Giles at 66/1 and Ryan at 80/1 compared to 7/1 Nicholas, 10/1 Sam and 20/1 Luke. But based on the closing arena show edit, wouldn’t you have to say there’s at least room for a question mark?
Turning to the groups, and the Digital Spy consensus seems to be that Gary will be represented by Kingsland, a manufactured group initially called StopLookListen and now called M!ss Dynam!x, and Brick City – or possibly Rough Copy, who apparently lost a member en route to judges’ houses.
If it is indeed Brick City who are through, they may as well change their name to Week 1 Fall Guys at this rate. Having not had much screentime in the room auditions last week, they were montaged again in the arena show. Their fate was shared by Code 4 and Xyra, who make up Gary’s rumoured sextet.
Which brings us to this year’s frankengroup. Apparently this comprises Rielle, seen briefly in week 1’s room auditions; Jeanette, seen briefly in the arena auditions last week; and SeeSee, who somewhat bizarrely turned up on our screens on Sunday night in a group called Dynamix, sandwiched by two blokes.
Producers have played the tired old “break up a group” card three times in four weeks now, following Tamera in week 1 with this week’s morality tale, in which Hannah dumps her friends at the urging of the panel and allegedly makes it no further than bootcamp, while SeeSee displays loyalty to her men and is supposedly rewarded with a place in the lives in between a differently-gendered pair of bookends.
The girl group is intriguing, given that all three members have displayed vocal prowess but none have exactly been showered with attention in the way Liam Payne and Harry Styles were during the audition stages in 2010.
Now the overs, and much confusion surrounds a story on Unreality TV claiming that Souli Roots is through to the final. If so, bring it on! As Dug said last week, “she combines something of the madness of Wagner with the gracious self-awareness of Rylan Clark” – it wouldn’t be the X Factor without this kind of fun, and anyone who can rhyme “beach break” with “cheese cake” has already earned their place in the lives as far as we’re concerned.
Only trouble is, Souli doesn’t appear on the Digital Spy list of judges’ houses. Unless someone misheard “Souli” for “Zoe”. But then “Zoe” transpires evidently to be Zoe Devlin, who tweeted that she was “fuming” on Saturday not to have been shown, and will likely not have been in better humour on Sunday having been featured in a montage memory-holed by an extended segment devoted to a wedding singer called Chrissie Rhodes who isn’t supposed to make it past bootcamp. It’s all very confusing.
Digital Spy seems fairly sure that Sam Bailey and Joseph Whelan make it, but unsure who joins them. Andrea Magee, one of the names mooted, got montaged on Saturday.
It was more of a surprise that Joseph also suffered the montage treatment in the arena show, having been given highly positive comments from the judges and plenty of screentime for his adorable son during the room auditions the night before. As noted in the comments by Boki, eurovicious and Guildo Horn Forever, he was vocally unimpressive then.
It would still be a surprise if Joseph doesn’t make the lives. For a start, he’s the only male in the six rumoured to be at judges’ houses; an entirely gender-imbalanced category is not impossible (as with the overs in 2009), but an exception. And in an interview with the Radio Times last year after his shock exit he seemed well aware of how the show works, so one wonders if he might have required some kind of a nod and wink to be willing to put himself – and his little lad – through the mill again.
Then again, one could say much the same about Melanie McCabe, whom well-connected commenter Tim B has heard falls at the final hurdle yet again (to Tamera, Abi and Hannah Barrett). If this is the case, then is it possible she is being earmarked for a Maloneyesque wildcard route into the lives?
Coincidentally, the US version of the show has form in rejecting then reinstating a heavily-telegraphed Melanie – will Nicole recreate Simon Cowell’s credibility-defying regret-fuelled drive to Florida by swimming from Antigua to Dublin to offer Mel a lifeline? It would be a surprise if, after three years of twists, they just give us a simple final 12 this time around – and if there isn’t a 13th act shoehorned in, there’s no scope for double evictions or accidental departures.
In short, the conclusion from tonight is either that the [edit for clarity: live show] spoilers are dodgy or that producers, intent on a female win, are trying to prevent female catnip Sam and Joseph from entering the lives with too much momentum. But then, how will they solve a problem like Nicholas? So many questions. Your answers, please, below.