The live show acts have their fair amount of critics. They don’t seem particularly talented or exciting even by the franchise’s own standards, and there was an obvious lack of a novelty contestant last week. But in betting terms, it’s a fascinating series.
After today’s tabloid stories about Tamera’s shoplifting antics (thanks to Heisenberg for alerting readers), she is being challenged for favouritism by Wee Nic and it’s nearly 9-2 the field on Betfair. Hannah, who drifted out from 11-2 to twice that price after her first week treatment is being backed down again following news she would be covering Christina Aguilera’s iconic ‘Beautiful’ this weekend. We can’t deny it’s encouraging, but as ever with X Factor, the proof is in the staging.
Week 2 gives us a chance to assess the intentions of producers who have access to the results of the first public vote. They’ll know who their big hitters are and who’s struggling – some of whom they’ll be looking to help and others not.
How will we tell who the neglected strugglers are? Running order isn’t as clear-cut as it used to be. There’s a 20-minute Strictly overlap tonight, which prejudices the first two acts, but both last week and this time last year, there was a noticeable front-loading of the show with big names.
It seems fair to assume that Sam Bailey, Wee Nic and Rough Copy polled best in week 1, and it’s probably best not to be sandwiched between two of these acts, a tactic we suggested may befall Miss Dynamix in our Thursday piece on the girlband, as it did in that first live show.
The girls are now a general 6-4 to be eliminated this weekend. They’re deserving favourites, but can’t be tipped at that price. Nor can singoff survivor Shelley Smith at around 3-1. The well-known phenomenon of the sympathy bounce, which ran like clockwork last year, is in the uncharted territoy of the Flash Vote. But with a song choice of ‘Single Ladies’ indicating an attempt to make her fun again, it seems that producers will go all out to help her this week.
Luke Friend is next in the elimination market at 5-1. A gamma boy edit during the audition stages marks him down as early fodder, though producers were relatively kind to him last week. It seems like there’s slightly less reason to keep him in than 10-1 elimination shot Sam Callahan, despite the latter’s weak vocals.
Producers did everything they could for boyband Kingsland Road last week, more helpful staging than the preceding Sam Callahan and a huge backing track. ‘Marry You’ is another wise song choice that plays to their demographic. It indicates to me that bosses want them sticking around for a while longer.
Whether they feel the same way about Abi Alton is more open to question. Despite strong judges’ comments last week, this will be the second song choice in a row that doesn’t sit well with her singer / songwriter background. Presumably her version of ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ will merely be a dull, slowed down version of the dance classic, just as her ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ was a dull, slowed down version of the rock classic.
Abi’s 16-1 elimination price with Ladbrokes makes some appeal, although she may have some regional support as well as remaining momentum from her encouraging sudition edit. Nonetheless, producers have shown little interest in her since then. If that is reiterated in tonight’s show with an early slot and/or unhelpful staging, she’ll be trading at much shorter during the programme. For that reason, she’s worth a nibble at the price even though an exit at around week 4 still seems more likely.
Wee Nic and Sam Bailey should be safe as houses. Rough Copy and Tamera are also among the leaders in thw win market, though it’s interesting to see what impact the negative headlines have on the latter. It took a week for the “bully” allegations – made on the show instead of in the tabloid press – to send Misha B plummeting to the bottom of the vote. Meanwhile, I’d like to see some positive staging for Hannah to cement the promising song choice.
Let us know your developing thoughts on this week’s elimination below, both before and during the show.