In the words of Etta James and the gazillion X Factor hopefuls who imitate her, ‘At Last’. After weeks of spoilers and sepculation about who makes the live shows, they are upon us. At last we get to assess producers’ thoughts based on the running order, staging, VTs and judges’ comments of a live show.
We’ve already given our thoughts on the week 1 elimination market in our 1-12 prediction, siding with Miss Dynamix on a value basis given that producers may not want to keep them around for long because of SeSe’s pregnancy. The news that they will be singing ‘Jump’ (presumably The Pointer Sisters song covered by Girls Aloud, and not Van Halen), saw them shorten a tad further in the elimination market.
It seems an unpromising choice on many levels. It’s a song that doesn’t allow them to show off any vocal prowess or give them any credibility; there’s a rather cruel irony in getting a six-month pregnant lead singer to proclaim “Jump!”; and it also strikes us that it would be an ideal upbeat number with which to open the show. But then, perhaps we’re just exhibiting confirmation bias having put our money down at 10-1?
For the record, elimination favourite Lorna Simpson was the most popular first elimination candidate in our commenters’ 1-12 predictions. She was the choice of Andy, Dan, stoney, Highlighted, TimB, JScouser and Santa Giles. Next popular was Luke with three bottom placings, from AlisonR, tpfkar and Nissl (who later wished he could edit to Lorna having read the shotgun story). Ben Cook and Cath went for Miss Dynamix, Mech for Shelley.
It’s well worth reading the carefully considered 1-12 lists among our commenters, given the thought and experience behind them. And of course, now is your last chance to add your own finishing order if you haven’t already done so. The deadline is the start of tonight’s show!
Running order will be keenly anticipated tonight: arguably it makes a bigger difference when there are more acts involved, when acts have had less chance to build up loyal followings, and when there is an overlap with Strictly on BBC1 – that overlap is 30 minutes tonight, likely to encompass the first two acts and part of the third.
The obvious route for producers is to field two acts they wouldn’t mind losing while Strictly is still on BBC1, and then a high-profile act on third to snare the interest of viewers channel-hopping as Strictly finishes. This would also, of course, have the time-honoured effect of sending the first two acts down the memory hole for those viewers who have been watching from the start.
Running order may arguably have an accentuated importance this year given the new flash vote system – a short window of time to call starts immediately after the acts have performed tonight. At the end of tonight’s show we will know which act was bottom of the votes. That act will sing for their survival on Sunday night, and lines will reopen to determine which other act joins them in the singoff on Sunday.
There is still some confusion about how the singoff will work this year. When the flash vote was first leaked, back in August, stories suggested that the act who finished bottom of Saturday’s vote would go in the event of a deadlock. We pointed out in our audition shows preview piece that this would make deadlock situations much less dramatic, and yesterday Boki pointed out in the comments that more recent reports were more equivocal, stating “bosses have yet to confirm how a deadlock situation… will be decided”.
It will be a relief to see how the new format works and start to assess its consequences.
In this and so many other ways, it will be a fascinating weekend’s viewing for X Factor punters. Good luck to all of you and do keep your thoughts coming below.