X Factor 2013 Week 3 Post Mortem: Why Ratings Are Down

In terms of the elimination, it was one of those damp squib Sundays we’d worried the flash vote might create. Having dodged two bullets, Miss Dynamix’s bottom place on Saturday meant the only drama left for Sunday’s show was who would be saved over them.

That honour surprisingly went to Hannah (well done for calling it JScouser). Her singoff appearance lends credence to the theory that staging involving fire can leave an act burned – and leaves her with an uphill journey to complete if she’s to re-establish herself as a serious contender for the win. For the third week running, the act to be saved got blue lighting and the act to be ditched was red-and-blacked.

All logic dictates that Abi must be in the crosshairs as the week 4 target, assuming the panel can manage to avoid provoking sympathy votes again by reducing the poor girl to tears (and assuming she doesn’t take eurovicious’s advice: “I want to give Abi a hug and tell her to quit, and I want to punch every member of the jury in the face with a barbed glove”).

Abandoning the flash vote is reportedly one of the possibilities being considered by producers as they panic about falling ratings. And without much to analyse ahead of the singoff, we’ve had plenty of time today to reflect on the reasons why viewing figures are down.

A couple of comments on last night’s show sum it up: as cfahrenbach puts it, “the general level of contenders seems even lower than last year”; meanwhile tpfkar “was underwhelmed. The decent acts got dragged down, the average ones got daft praise. Too much negativity all round.” Even the judges looked unimpressed (thanks, Heisenberg). As well they might be. Let’s face it. This series is pretty dull, isn’t it?

Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is the ratings trend for the first live shows and the final over the course of the X Factor’s life so far. After a steady climb to a peak in 2010, the trend from 2011 is downwards.

XF_ratings_2004_2013

We reckon the nub of the problem this year is that the series is not enough like 2010, and too much like 2011. So perhaps one way producers should be asking themselves what’s gone wrong rating-wise in 2013 is to ask: what was so good about 2010? Here are our five suggestions.

1. Cowell

There’s no point denying it – Simon Cowell on the judging panel is a big attraction, as shown by the boost in BGT ratings when he returned. Gary Barlow is much less adept at working the crowd, and for all of Nicole’s many virtues in the role of head judge, she lacks Cowell’s gravitas.

2. 16 acts

Is it a concidence that the only season they’ve gone into their first public vote with 16 acts is the season with the highest ratings? We think not. There are two great things about having 16 acts. First, you can pepper the live shows with some surprise double eliminations to keep an element of suspense, and to deal with situations where there are two acts whose time is up – does anyone doubt they’d have enjoyed the chance to get rid of both Miss Dynamix and Abi this weekend?

Second, you can afford to make one or two mistakes in casting – presumably Storm Lee and Nicolo Festa were lined up to be “characters” of the series, before becoming surplus to requirements when the awesomeness of Wagner (initially ditched at judges’ houses before being reinstated in the twist) became apparent. Which brings us on to:

3. Wagner

Jedward, Wagner and Rylan all made their respective series. The show needs someone to come out and do ridiculous, fun-filled, flamboyant productions with dodgy vocals before getting chopped off at the knees two or three weeks before the final.

4. Katie Waissel

We need a love-to-hate figure, too. Katie’s monstrous self-belief and multiple singoff saves make her the best villain the show has yet produced.

5. Strength in depth

Let’s not get carried away, here – producers in 2010 still did their damnedest to help their favoured acts, notably Cher and One Direction, as well as Katie and Wagner until week 8. But more acts got a fair-ish crack of the whip than has been the case since. They never really tried to nuke Matt Cardle. Rebecca Ferguson was basically given every chance throughout. Even poor old Tesco Mary had a respectable innings before being nobbled at the last.

Contrast 2011, when they ended up nuking every single act except Little Mix.

Sofabet commenter HenryVIII has been vocal this year about his belief that producers have been sacrificing ratings at the altar of making it easier for themselves to manouevre the winner they want. As he puts it, “they’ve just gone too far this year by packing the show with poor singers. Suicidal really.”

There does seem to be an awful lot of fodder. When we debated our 1-12 prediction, it seemed to us there were basically only two acts with significant enough natural strength that they would need heavy artillery to stop them making the final: Nicholas and Sam Bailey. Imagine the show had eleven equally crowd-pleasing acts: instead of debating how big a battering ram they’d need to get Tamera to the final, we’d have been wondering if they could flog her past halfway.

Not that we saw eleven acts that strong in the auditions. But based purely on what they chose to show us in those audition shows, how might they have boosted ratings? Here are five suggestions:

1. Putting Joseph Whelan through instead of Lorna Simpson

As we said at the time, Tamera’s and Hannah’s presence in the big-voiced black girl niche rendered Lorna redundant. And given that she wasn’t even shown till bootcamp, it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that she was put through only to give their favoured acts a bigger safety cushion in the early shows. Surely it would have been a better ratings decision to go with Joseph, an act with a fanbase and wide appeal to female demographics.

2. Running with Souli Roots as a proper novelty act

What, in the end, was the point of Shelley? We all assumed she’d be shoehorned into the novelty role: why did they play it straight in week 1? Perhaps because they were hoping to get Miss Dynamix into the sing-off and didn’t want to save an obvious novelty act over her if Shelley was there too? Week 2’s ‘Single Ladies’ was more fun but barely registered on the Wagner/Rylan-ometer.

Sorry, Shelley, but we’d have cast Souli Roots instead. She showed promise for the role: as Dug put it at the time, “she combines something of the madness of Wagner with the gracious self-awareness of Rylan Clark.”

3. A wildcard

We still can’t quite believe they didn’t do some kind of wildcard twist this year, given that – as noted above – having more than 12 acts gives them so much more flexibility. (We’re not alone. Sofabet’s biggest traffic spike this year has come after judges’ houses with Google searches like “X Factor 2013 wild card” and “Melanie McCabe wild card” leading people to our article speculating about a possible twist). It would also have added some spice in week 1.

4. Giving Luke and Sam Callahan better audition edits

Having introduced us to Luke’s unwashed hair in the first show, producers then ignored him. Sam fared even worse, montaged in both room and audition in the final week. Sam and Luke both have their merits. But based on audition screentime, surely more viewers would have been tuning in to see, say, Paul Akister and Alejandro Fernandez in the lives?

Of course, we understand that producers need to make us invest emotionally in acts who are destined to be jettisoned at bootcamp and judges’ houses. But think about it: if they have 3 acts per category in the lives, they just need to make us care about another two acts in each category, one for an agonising rejection at each of those stages. With four weeks of audition shows, that’s an average of five acts per week they have to cover in detail, in two hours of room and audition screentime.

It shouldn’t be hard. And from a purely ratings perspective, it is bizarre bordering on the perverse to put through two out of three boys who barely got any audition screentime.

5. Giving Melanie McCabe her chance instead of Abi Alton

Poor Melanie. Poor Abi. It’s hard to know which has been more hard done by. Melanie must have found it hard enough thinking she was one of four strong contenders who just missed out, but now we discover she was passed over for an act producers seem primarily interested in reducing to a quivering wreck.

With hindsight, Nicole’s “one-trick pony” comment about Abi suggests there was an agenda to dampen her even as judges’ houses was being filmed, let alone edited. Abi’s vocals were always going to be an acquired taste, so why include her if you’re not going to help her? Melanie would have created an interest for Ireland, and, although she was hardly packaged as the most sparkling of personalities, people would at least have been interested to see how she’d have fared having finally been given a chance.

Discussion of the girls category brings us on to the similarities with 2011, the series when the ratings rot set in.

At this stage of the series in 2011, we wrote a piece asking where the series had gone wrong, in response to a truly bizarre show in which they nuked their entire girls category – then, as this year, seen as by far the strongest going in. They called Janet Devlin and Sophie Habibis boring, and called Misha B a bully from the pimp slot.

Something oddly similar – though less extreme – happened this week. They called Abi boring, gave Hannah staging that sent her up in flames, and deflated Tamera’s pimp slot by calling her a soulless Beyonce impersonator.

Tamera’s treatment is especially puzzling: it was interesting to watch her price contract on Betfair until the judges started speaking, at which point it boomeranged back out again. Lolhart suggests the hope may be to create the impression the judges are being unduly harsh, or set up a story of redemption. We wondered if they might be setting her up for “you’ve found your soul, your identity” comments later on – but it’s odd timing, as these comments are unlikely to come in disco week.

Looking back to our 2011 piece after week 3, we wondered, apropos Janet (and little suspecting that this was the start of a six-week campaign of unpleasantness): “If you’re worried about falling ratings, what would possess you to plant the thought in viewers’ minds that the heavily-hyped golden girl of the series is too dull to be worth tuning in for?”

We’re similarly puzzled this year. If you’re trying to pull in viewers, why would you tell them that one of the acts they’ve chosen to watch is less interesting than making a cup of tea? Why would you tell them that your golden girl should be on Stars In Their Eyes? It’s a dangerous game. These thoughts, once planted in viewers’ minds, aren’t easily erased.

(Should we perhaps consider the possibility of judges going rogue? Gary’s already announced he’s leaving, so he has little left to lose. Sharon constantly gives the impression of being three sheets to the wind).

In 2011, we suggested emphasising Marcus Collins’s sunny personality as an antidote to the negativity. But this year’s problem isn’t negativity so much as mediocrity and dullness, and there just doesn’t seem to be much hidden strength in depth, in terms of talent or interest, among this year’s crop. When asking ourselves how producers could make the series more ratings-worthy, we’re reminded of the old joke with the punchline “I wouldn’t start from here”.

Do you agree that this year’s series has suffered from casting decisions that seemed to be based on maximising the chance of getting Tamera to the final, rather than on maximising ratings? Do you see any ways for producers to get ratings back up, or is 2013 already a lost cause? Do let us know below.

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94 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 3 Post Mortem: Why Ratings Are Down

  • gwri78

    A poor show this year but a great one to follow on sofabet, with this my favourite article of the lot, great stuff

  • gwri78

    Also, early days, but Im planning on going all in on Abi to stay next week, her votes must be significant to have got this far, she will bounce (again!)

    • eurovicious

      They’ve gone nuclear on her because neither Tamera nor Hannah is polling as well as expected, and Abi – as the only northern act(!!!!!) and the only white girl on the show – is picking up a considerably larger vote than they’d like their gamma girl to be. I’d confidently wager the level of abuse Abi gets is proportional to how much better than Hannah (possibly also Tamera) she’s doing.

      Regarding Hannah, a week ago today I commented “I’m calling Ruth II and a B2 appearance around week 6 if not sooner”. Last night I commented “Hannah’s performance = ‘how to sing Skyfall with no emotion whatsoever’. Plus if they’re giving her mega-hitters like Beautiful and Skyfall this early in the series, she’s not polling as high as they want. […] There was no emotion or nuance, it wasn’t a performance – there was no sense of her interpreting or connecting with the song, she just sung it like a blank slate. And there was an awful lot of fire around her (though no smoke).” I actually thought “B2” at the time, I should have commented.

      I’ve said this before more than once, last year, but I do think among the TV betting community there’s a tendency to overfocus on producers’ intentions while underfocusing on the extent to which viewers are likely to play ball. It takes two to tango. Consider: they’ve pimped Hannah incredibly heavily and she has the biggest sob-story, but she just went B2 in week 3 (I didn’t watch it, we were watching the Bigfoot documentary on Channel 4) because viewers didn’t play ball. Similarly Ella was the favourite at ridiculously short odds throughout most of last year’s series based on her golden treatment as plan A – it was just assumed by everyone that viewers would play ball. But her highest vote was a commendable 3rd in week 1 and after that it was downhill all the way until she hit B2. When the first couple of Star leaks last year revealed not Ella but Chris had been topping the vote, people were initially far too incredulous. Parsing producers’ intentions and reading all the clues is incredibly important and I’m not diminishing it, but it’s only half the story, it needs to be balanced out – if you base your betting on the acts’ treatment and producers’ intentions without considering whether viewers will buy it, you’re betting with one eye open. The more you see things through producers’ eyes, the further removed you are from the perspective of the ordinary viewer. (I’d argue the same applies to Eurovision rehearsals – the more times you hear the songs and sit through the rehearsals, the more removed you are from the mindset of someone watching the show and hearing the songs for the first time, AKA 99% of voters.)

  • Ben Cook

    Regarding Tamera’s treatment – isn’t it just possible that the judges do sometimes just speak their mind? Gary might just have felt he couldn’t not pass comment on how ridiculously like Beyoncé that performance was. I can’t believe people genuinely think every second of the show is scripted. And it’s not like Gary is coming back next year anyway, so he doesn’t need to play ball as much. Also notice her negative comments were edited out of tonight’s reprise.

    And with Hannah, it’s very easy to say oh look they used fire to dampen her. Why would they give her a great VT and great song and then use fire as a negative thing? Sorry but that makes no sense at all. I expect they are shocked at her being bottom 2 but they’ll probably give up on her now and put all their weight behind Tamera.

    I do think there’s something in the red & black thing, though I’m confused that they bother using it in the sing-off, since they really don’t need to.

  • BerlinChris

    The problem I have with the show this year is how young many of the contestants are. An 18 year old Twitter friend of mine commented that X Factor made him feel old. This lack of variety means that there isn’t so much of a back story and also that you feel that they are not at their full powers – they have been picked out a little too soon. The judges come across as teachers or grandparents. In short, it’s all gone a bit school assembly.

    I also feel that I am watching a repeat. The same songs are used for the same types of contestant e.g. ‘Listen’.

    There’s no competitiveness between the judges. Is this because they don’t want to get on the wrong side of Sharon Osbourne?

  • Boki

    Unless they bring back Paul, Melanie, Joe and Souli next week 2013 is lost. Are we sure that this 10th series is not the last one?

  • Heisenberg

    An observation… the first and last acts announced as safe were same as last week, namely Rough Copy and Sam C respectively.

  • Lolalola

    Have to agree with many of the points above.

    Boring judges comments – Simon Cowell could at least be relied on for a bit of controversy & shooting from the hip.

    Boring contestants – really missing the fun of the novelty acts this year.

    Mediocre singers – need I say more?

    Obvious manipulation is a big turn off. Paul & Joe should have been put through at judges’ houses. Melanie McCabe & Amy Mottram & Jade were treated horribly this year. Abi is being treated horribly now. Rough Copy have lost their edge & are being turned into Westlife.

    Obvious manipulation on the lives show is a bit turn off. The act getting thrown under the bus is way too obvious.

    It used to be entertainment – now its the equivalent to a fixed gladiator battle. Not nice family viewing.

    Ratings have taken second place to creating a manipulated winner for Syco to sign.

    • eurovicious

      Completely agree with this, I feel like I could have written this comment myself. Amy (who we hardly saw) and Jade sing rings around Hannah but oh wait, they don’t have the sob story. And the outcry when Paul and Joe didn’t make it speaks for itself. They just don’t care anymore. They’ve alienated elements of their core audience ranging from viewers in the north (no northern acts apart from Abi who is being torn apart) to gay men (no divas – we lost the only divas in the first two weeks – plus no Joe) but, most of all, ordinary viewers who like good fun entertainment and fair play.

      “Obvious manipulation on the lives show is a bit turn off. The act getting thrown under the bus is way too obvious.” – yep, yep and yep. Everyone can see through it. Heard it from people I know, read it in local paper columns, seen it online, etc etc. People are tired of it and it’s so transparent. And dare I say – X Factor has lost its camp, and this is a crucial factor. SCD is ten times camper and the British love camp. We have a proud tradition of variety and light entertainment. Until and including 2011, X Factor still offered that – it even did last year in the form of Rylan and Chris among a sea of drab, which is why they got so far. This year: I want my camp, dammit! A choice between watching a perfectly coiffured foetus singing Sarah McLachlan and watching Ben Cohen and Kristina Thingy doing the rumba (or Ana Kokić doing Gangman Style) is no contest at all. X Factor is actively unpleasant to watch these days and a frustrating viewer experience when those who the public most support – from Jade, Paul, Joseph and Melanie to Janet, Chris and maybe even Abi – are continually denied opportunities they’ve more than earned or are torn apart undeservedly.

    • Leroy Cain

      Agreed, plus with the addition of boring song choices. Only watched Saturdays show on Sunday night but couldn’t believe how flat everything felt. When the show opens with three young, virile, energetic, cheeky, black guys singing an infamously boring dirge from Bryan Adams -sung in a boring manner- you know you’re in trouble. To then be told they chose the song themselves does not make things better. At least if they’d been forced to sing it they may have garnered some sympathy. The programme failed to impove from this inauspicious start…

  • gwri78

    Further to my earlier posts, have now backed Abi for the win, still think nic cruises it but if your original plan was that tptb want a girl winner, which one is getting enough votes to make it happen? If James Arthur did it, Abi could too – she could avoid bottom two for another 3/4 weeks and then where could we be?

    • stoney

      hmmm they would favour a Tamera win, but thats not to say they want just any girl to win. I think its fair to say sam bailey would be preferred to win over abi. You dont allow judges to make comments like sharon did for potential winner.
      Also i think Mcnic would have beating JA last year. It turned out that Jahmene was fairly easy to stop, dont think he topped 1 weeks voting

  • alscott67

    I was outraged when Paul Akister didn’t make the live shows, but in hindsight I’m glad he didn’t because he’s too good for this show.
    There is only Sam B who is a very good singer there – Wee McNick is good at his best, but he struggles a bit on high notes. The rest? Totally average or worse. Abi has an incredibly weak voice (and weak confidence) and Tamera, let’s not forget, forgot her words 3 times in auditions and then was told she has more potential than Leona Lewis. The whole series has been baffling from the start. It’s almost surreal at times, especially with Sharon babbling on like a drunk in the corner of a pub.

    • Boki

      I firmly believe Tamera forgetting words incident was completely staged to create wow (and they succeeded since that clips has almost 6 mil YT hits).

  • Boki

    Elimination odds up @Bwin.

  • eurovicious

    Thanks Andrew for this interesting piece. One could write a similar article about last year’s dire run too. 2011 was when the rot set in, for sure, with regards to the overmanipulation and negativity, but at least that year had great performers – Misha, Kitty and Craig made the show for me and I also loved Marcus, Amelia, Sami, 2 Shoes etc etc. It was fun and pop-oriented. Last year was the opposite. This year is a bit more like 2011 again but just considerably more boring – nobody leaps off the page apart from Nick, Sam and to a certain extent Tamera.

    My recipe for a better show has overlaps with yours:
    – 16 acts
    – Overs: from alpha to delta Sam B, Joseph, Lorna (with more airtime in the early stages – she deserved it) and Shelley.
    – Boys: The present 3 plus Paul Akister, with Luke as the delta boy. (From alpha to delta: Nic, Paul, Sam, Luke)
    – Girls: Jade instead of Hannah, who is simply not good enough to be on the show, and Melanie as the delta girl. (From alpha to delta: Jade, Tamera, Abi, Melanie)
    – Groups: The present three plus a novelty group like Euphoria Girls for a laugh
    – Treatment: No nastiness, and mild ramping or deramping only as opposed to the incredibly excessive, blatant ramping and deramping we’ve sadly witnessed since 2011. I have no problem with them steering it slightly, favouring certain acts a little etc., but I don’t think I need list the incidents and mistreated contestants from 2011-2013 to illustrate my point. You can go far too far with pimping and nobbling, and they have.
    – Let things run their course. If you care about ratings and people enjoying your show, why mistreat the act most popular with your viewers (Janet in 2011, Chris in 2012) week after week? But we know why. It’s the wrong decision.

    With regards to the novelty act/villain act, I’ve found I only like these kinds of acts when they can actually sing – so I didn’t like Jedward, Wagner, Katie, Goldie or Rylan. To me, those are grating one-note joke acts occupying spaces that could and should be filled by someone with talent. But – and it’s a big but – in 2011 when the acts filling the novelty role (Johnny) and the villain role (Kitty) were really talented, I loved it. For me that’s the way forward: make sure your outside-the-box water-cooler acts have real talent and aren’t just naff wannabes. All that said though, that’s just my opinion and it’s undeniable that Jedward, Wagner etc created a lot of public and press interest for better or worse.

    “[In 2010] more acts got a fair-ish crack of the whip than has been the case since. They never really tried to nuke Matt Cardle. Rebecca Ferguson was basically given every chance throughout. Even poor old Tesco Mary had a respectable innings before being nobbled at the last. Contrast 2011, when they ended up nuking every single act except Little Mix. Sofabet commenter HenryVIII has been vocal this year about his belief that producers have been sacrificing ratings at the altar of making it easier for themselves to manouevre the winner they want.”

    This for me is the absolute crux of the whole issue.

    And it betrays an absolute contempt both for viewers and for the participating acts.

  • Dan

    I felt like the audition stages were rushed. There were fewer shows this year compared to previous years and they were trying to cram more in having both the closed room and arena auditions. This meant that you ended up with obviously favoured acts like Sam Bailey getting maximum screen time with both auditions shown and a bonus audition on Xtra Factor, but little to no investment in acts like Luke, Sam C, and Lorna. It felt to me like they had ran out of time and had to montage or leave out footage altogether.

    I’m finding it hard to disagree with any of the points in the article. The wildcard/twist, whilst sometimes a bugger from a punters perspective, is needed to keep up the excitement. The flash vote doesn’t do this however and the lack of any wildcard acts means no double eliminations and no room for maneuver if one of the acts walks/gets thrown out as has happened the last couple of years. Don’t discount Abi doing this by the way…

    I’m glad you mentioned Wagner; as well as excitement, the show needs to be fun and whilst it’s marvelous having the best singers belting out ballad after ballad every week, I want to be entertained. We simply don’t have that this year – I’m not laughing or shouting at the telly. If the show wants to go all serious then it needs every contestant to be top calibre and they blatantly are not.

    As for Tamera, we didn’t see her getting words right until Judges Houses and the stories about her in the papers aren’t great; the drugs/bullying/shoplifting, all that at only 16 as we are frequently reminded. Please have a look at the Daily Mail website (which is the world’s most read news website) for X-Factor articles and check out the comments from readers about Tamera. They tend to be negative, lots mentioning that the feel it hard to connect with her or that she comes across as false. Is she really The Plan? Really?

  • tpfkar

    Can’t disagree with anything here, but let me add one: the show’s rigid structure is plain dull. Dermot’s script is recycled every week, and the rtime spent introducingthe judges exactly the same way every week feels lame. Even Gary waving a lightsabre around is praised as a novelty.

    Where’s the imagination, the creativity? There’s so much that could be done-alll it needs is something to surprise you, instead we just get a Procession of acts and the judges are saying much the same as last week. The audition shows are much better at this.

  • Hello! Long time listener, first time caller…

    Just wanted to comment as, at our house, we’ve been totally bemused as to why the show seems designed to be so dull this year: as you point out: no “Wagner”, “Jedward” or “Rylan”; no Halloween week (always good for a few moments of genius/madness); no villans; no particular fight from the judges; no wildcards; no twists (apart from the awful chairs thing and the flash vote – were they twists?); even more soporiphic ballards than usual and not even a Dad-Dance from Dermot. Couple that with some bizarre choices for the final 12 contestants, with no wildcard redemption, and you’re left with something pretty bland.

    We know that Gary’s off at the end of this season, so could this be laying the ground for the glorious return of his Simonness? Would they risk losing viewers this season to allow him to return as the show’s saviour next season?

    Also, this probably has no real relevance, but I did notice that last night in the VT and in the sing off this evening, Hannah was sporting the “Mischa B Memorial Top Knot of Doom”. She was a gonner as soon as they started the back-combing.

    • Daniel

      Hi Samantha, and welcome to Sofabet. Love your comments, especially noting the “Top Knot of Doom”. Image is one of Hannah’s problems in the live shows. They spent the first two weeks trying to show us how fun and smiley she was, then last night she was unhappy with her performance and couldn’t muster a smile.

      • Nice to be here, love this blog, much more enteraining than the show itself! In fact, sometimes I think I only watch the show so I know what people are talking about here.

        As for Hannah is she attempting “gracious and humble” and it’s coming over as “moody and sullen”? I do remember a totally different girl before bootcamp, and I’m sure I remember her smiling. Can’t help thinking of previous invasions of the body snatchers (Misha B, Daniel We-Love-You-No-We-Don’t-We-Hate-You-Actually Johnson to misspell two).

    • eurovicious

      Just roared with laughter at your last paragraph! 😀 Poor Misha, I love her – the show had its greatest act ever and cavalierly ruined her chances.

      • Always love reading your comments!

        Not sure what they’re intending with poor Hannah really. Then again I am still lamenting the demise of Paul. Paaaaaaauuuuul! Whyyyyyyyyyyy!

        Weird contestant choices this year huh? And only having 12 altogether does make the dross seem even more… drossy.

  • AnnaC

    Perhaps they are trying to demoralise Abi to the point hat she walks thereby creating space for a ratings-boosting wildcard battle.

    • eurovicious

      They’re not doing Halloween week because they’re probably terrified that if all the acts have “scary” staging and styling, it could hamper the fortunes of their favoured acts even further. Tamera and dare I say Hannah are a threatening enough prospect for a lot of viewers as it is. Plus no-one is camptastic enough to pull it off. Two years ago we had Kitty on a wheel and Misha with a massive hair-horn. What would they do this year, put cobwebs on Abi?

      • Dan

        They’re not doing Halloween week because they’re probably terrified that if all the acts have “scary” staging and styling, it could hamper the fortunes of their favoured acts even further.

        I did wonder what happened to Halloween week. As Samantha mentions above, it was about the madness aspect and it was fun as well. Checking out the stats, they only ran with the theme since 2010. Before that, week three was Big Band week. I think you are right Eurovicious in that TPTB didn’t want to risk frightening the horses and inadvertently deramping the likes of Tamera with the spooky theme.

  • Kevin

    If TPTB openly treat the TV show as a manipulated platform to produce a product after the show has ceased is it any wonder people begin to see it as an irrelevance? Fundamentaly it has to matter as an entity does it not? Relevance is thing, the talent of the acts is not relevant to the Producers, to the point where we agree better singers/ entertainers are rejected before the live shows for fear of competing with the “product”. The damage is self inflicted. Bring back thr Good Ole Days with Manuel’s old man.

    • AnnaC

      Good point, especially as the final product is almost never successful after the show. Apart from Leona Lewis all the really successful acts have finished in second or third place.

  • Ron

    I agree completely with the theory that they deliberately weakened – decimated in fact – the final 12 with the hope of getting Tamera over the finishing line. If so, it was an act of insanity by the producers. It’s meant to be an entertainment show with a cast of strong acts, not a lap of honour for one contestant, and if it’s the case that Tamera is far less popular with the voters than they expected, then they have made a monumental blunder.

    All they had to do was put popular singers like Melanie McCabe, Paul Akister and Joseph Whelan through, along with the proverbial novelty act (Souli Roots) and they’d be in a far better place than they are right now.

  • I don’t particularly agree with all this.
    First, Rylan was here last year and this didn’t help the ratings. True, there have been some wrong casting choices mainly Shelley, Lorna and Luke but putting a joke act like Sooli would have been worse for the show. Same reason why the show’s ratings are low. It’s just that the British public are getting tired of joke acts and they are getting tired of X Factor altogether. 10 years is very long, even for a talent show. you just have to look at American Idol’s ratings this year. maybe its time to change the format or the series altogether. Having 16 acts would have been catastrophic. They did it in 2010 b/c Simon was there and Cheryl was there and there was this huge hype going on with XF but doing it today wouldn’t work, its much harder to concentrate on 16 acts rather than 12 and imo its just a big mess when you have 16 acts with 2 leaving every week (at least the first couple of weeks), just looks rushed.
    Again, Simon is the perfect judge to attract viewers but he’s no miracle worker. when there’s no hype around XF even he, can’t do anything, XF USA proves it.
    Wildcards and twists WOULD have helped the ratings but not by much. Putting acts on the lives over favored ones (like Joseph or Melanie) isn’t wrong. Melanie did loose over Habibis 2 years ago, and when you think Habibis only lasted 4 weeks… I remember the whole Gamu controversy back in 2009 and this probably helped the producers more than it affected them, creating a lot of buzz around the show, so I don’t see why Joseph’s case wouldn’t help them .
    All in all, I think the main reason for the ratings is the weariness of the show

  • KaraokeSauron

    A great post – one of your very best.

    You’re absolutely correct. Although Ive not watched much of this series I’ve thought for a while now that the raison d’etre of this season is solely to ensure that Tamera wins at all costs. (Which I think she will.) Yes, this has meant packing the rest of the field with medicocrities – putting it nicely – and sacrificing variety (ie, the fun acts).

    The reason they’re so paranoid is because (as you well know ( their record at propelling Plan A over the finishing line is rank bad. In the years I’ve been a fan neither Danyl Johnson, Janet Devlin nor Ella Henderson has fulfilled their mandate. This year (one imagines) Cowell’s orders have been completely unambiguous: Tamera wins or you’re out of a job.

    The other thread you pick up on is the only other point of note to emerge from this season: Abi Alton. She’s becoming the controversy, by dint of her vocal limitations and temperamental weaknesses. Personally – and probably only for these reasons – I’m starting to warm to her. Nixing her next week, as the script demands, would be a disaster, and so no doubt why these suicidally incompetent producers will deliver it.

  • Fudd

    This is my first post – I’m not a someone who places bets but I’m fascinated with the tricks and slights of hands played by the producers on the show to get the desired result (and this site is great to give the heads up on this kind of thing) but this is the first time I’ve felt able to contribute.

    Regarding the ratings – on Digital Spy website a fourm member kindly posted a five minute rating breakdown of The X Factor’s performance show from last week and actually it wasn’t far down on last year if you ignored the clash with Strictly and flash vote voting period. If they started the show after Strictly finished and cut the flash vote in favour of the old system then the ratings would probably be up around 2012 level.

    2012 (show airing on 13 October; 2nd Live Show): 8.68m
    2012 (show airing on 27 October; 4th live show): 8.07m
    2013 (show airing on 28 October; 2nd Live Show exc. clash and flash vote): approx 8.45m (0.33m down on launch)

    So while there are massive issues in regards to talent/production decisions with the series it hasn’t take a huge dip on last year – not that that’s saying much! But it is holding up better than it first looks when taking into consideration factors it didn’t have to deal with last year.

  • Clinton

    Long time follower first time commenting.
    Looking over on wikipedia past week 3s makes for some really shocking stats, I hear you ask pray tell.
    2009-miss frank slot 3
    2010-john adelye slot 2
    2011-sami brooks slot 3
    2012-mk1 slot 2
    2013-hannah barrett slot 3

    I am a long reader and viewer to know how running order favours some and how TPTB have this down to a fine art but is it possible they thought Abi or Callahan were done in enough not to notice that they put Hannah in a borderline certainty sing-off slot.
    A quick look at wikipedia told me this and how clued in they are would say its not some oversight.
    If Hannah is becoming a ‘Malfunctioning Janet’ or just never had the votes in the first place ala Jade from last year we dont know. But putting her in that slot has me stunned now, not while watching it but Dynamix were the targets and they got ’em.

  • Henry VIII

    Andrew’s piece should be sent to ITV. The producers (mostly SyCo) are less likely to change anything. They’ve been paid for the show so now they’re working for after-show profits at the expense of the show. It’s the channel that suffers.

    Ben are you sure they gave Hannah a “great VT”? They had her ordering half of the shop from shop girl Nichole. Comic maybe, but a fat girl stuffing herself isn’t an attractive image. And where were all Hannah’s co-workers? Then they focused on her frustration at not doing the song justice. And threw in a couple of very unflattering extreme close up side face shots for good measure.

    I agree with Eurovicious that Hannah’s performance lacked emotion. Singing by numbers. Which is a shame because she’s one of the better vocalists. And Cowell just tweeted that he would have saved Miss Dynamix instead.

    Having said all that I’m not writing off Hannah. I’ve actually warmed to her during the series.

    • eurovicious

      I agree with Cowell and I think that tweet speaks volumes. I wasn’t sure about MD at first but I do think their two live show performances were good (particularly this week’s) and they have more potential and marketability than Hannah, who just has the sob-story.

      If I were the show now, I’d switch positions and run with Abi as beta girl, letting her do her thing, and ditch Hannah the next time she goes B2. You gotta work with what you have.

      • lolhart

        Miss Dynamix reminded me a lot of Miss Frank from Olly Murs’ year. In both cases TPTB clearly didn’t know what to do with them. And Miss Dynamix were a lot better in the sing-off than Hannah IMO

  • Kevin

    I think the term “fix factor” was a mortal blow. It could be that One Directions earnings so overshadowed any the thing the show could offer has influenced proceedings. Syco backed them at 10,000/1 and everything else is small cheese barring an attempt at a repeat. Tamera this years punt at an Internatinal star.

  • Dean

    I think you are right with the above, but also as it is just same old same old now. 2010 was a great year for a variety of reasons. 28 and 24 year old Matt Cardle and Becca Ferguson being the top 2. It’s what XF is about. A chance for such people to showcase. It’s why Paul or Joe should have been on the show, and Mel too. There was the villain, the wacky, the controversial and the true young stars in the making (Cher, 1D) plus controversy at audition (Gamu) and an all round better audition stage it seemed. Well put together.

    What we have now overs aside is a bunch of college students trying to get a quick route to stardom. Being fair the groups are older this year than normal, but the rest are just under 20s pretty much who lack a story.

    Matt Cardle who won it tried for years to break into the music business. Becca had a 5 year old tying her down. What do the girls or boys have this year? Tamera was a shop lifter, Hannah works in Gregg’s, oh and wait, had an abandoning father like many of the UK (it’s a sob story but not a story the public care about anymore). Nic’s story is being young. Lukes was his hair. SAMs was his body. Abi’s is? Hmm?

    On top of all this the performers aren’t the best, the panel without Cowell, Minogue and Cheryl isn’t the same, and the continued public character annihilation of vulnerable teens is more like something from a horror movie than Saturday night entertainment.

  • Boki

    Hi Andrew, one remark, I don’t see what’s the point of pointing (or to say ‘to give so much importance’) to the fact that the eliminating act got red-black lighting. It is a fact for these three weeks indeed but it can lead to dangerous conclusion that the act they want to ditch will always be red-black in the sing-off which is complete nonsense.

    • Hey Boki, not suggesting it’s important, just thought it was an interesting curiosity – Chatterbox spotted it in week 1 with Lorna and Shelley, same thing happened again in week 2 and again this week.

      Who knows why? Maybe to subliminally make viewers think “yes, that was the right decision”, maybe they’re just having some fun with it, maybe just coincidence? But yes, you’d clearly be mad to rely on it.

    • Chatterbox5200

      Maybe it’s subliminal messaging? The colour scheme/lighting will bear no relevance to the act eliminated, as the judges make this final decision, but it can plant negative connotations in the mind of the viewer. Therefore, in the following week’s show, anyone with a similar staging could unconsciously be perceived as not good enough to keep. Just a thought!

  • lolhart

    A great article Andrew. I was actually watching the series when Alexandra Burke won on YouTube a few weeks ago and it really clarified for me what’s gone wrong with the X-Factor (from a viewer perspective). That year had lots of great acts who had a reasonable chance of winning. Alexandra Burke would never have been given a chance to shine under the current producers; she would have been thrown under the bus to protect the chosen one – Diana Vickers. The controversy also felt a lot more organic. I still remember the outrage when Laura White was voted off in favour of Ruth Lorenzo. The show had a much more positive feel-good vibe back then. Even the treatment of the joke act Daniel Evans was not cruel and the judges had great banter.

    I’m not sure bringing Cowell back is going to save the day. It would probably give the show a short-term jab in the arm, but anyone who’s seen him on this year’s X-Factor USA knows he’s past his best. The different with BGT is he has a decent panel to banter with. And although she was fun, I don’t think Souli Roots would have been a good choice for the lives. It would have been Rylan part deux with Gary disapproving and the others saying she brings the Fun Factor. They need a Katie/Kitty and not another Rylan. Also, this is just a personal thing but I get why they didn’t pick Joe Whelan and Melanie for the lives. Hating to sound like Louis but Melanie is not a popstar and Joe was a mediocre singer at best. But I agree putting Abi and Lorna in was pointless if they were just fodder and could no nothing to prove themselves.

    I think the show’s biggest issue is the public are very cynical about it now. People may still watch but they are not invested in it anymore due to the perceived manipulation. The show pushed the envelope a bit too far (saving Katie Waissel over Aiden for e.g.), but I think last year went too far even for Joe Public with the producer whispering in Louis’ ear. One thing people don’t like is thinking they are being played. They really need the next season to be more “honest” or appear to be. Let the public choose the final 12 next year. They can still use careful editing, leaked stories to the press etc to get some of the acts they want into the lives.

  • Natasha

    Just a thought from what I remember in Leonas year. The judges made a comment as to her always singing the same type/style of song and wanted to hear her doing something more ‘uptempo’. She did the next week and did it very well and recieved extremley piositive comments, this I think propelled her to the finishing line. The same comments were made to wee Mc Nick and I’m hoping he can do the same as Leona and absolutley smash it and really justify why he should win over Tamera. Regarding Tamera, for some reason I get the feeling she will do an Alexandra Burke and sing Whitney Houstons ‘Dance with somebody’ (she sang it on disco week i think) which I think she did really well and personally made me realise she was a real contender and the one to beat. I think Tamera is the full package and still believe she is plan A but I still can’t warm to her or connect to her. And what were those overly strong arm movements and hair flicking she was doing? Looked ever so false and un natural to me!!

  • zoomraker

    anyone got any thoughts on why they were playing “highway to the danger zone” during Nik M’s VT.

    The repeated refrain “danger zone” was clearly audible several times. The tone of the VT was almost like they were trying to suggest he was in danger of being bottom 2. Why would they do this if not true?

    • Chatterbox5200

      Maybe the intention was to promote him as the “Top Gun”, after all, that’s the film that the song is from. It’s quite an iconic song, and I would guess that the majority of the audience would probably know straight away which film it’s from, and be thinking of the name of the film rather than the name of the track.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Apart from Kingsland Rd, every act seemed to sing a ballad. And poor old Kingsland were ripped for being cheesy. Has Gary forgotten how cheesy Take That were?

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think Kingsland Rd could do the camp card. I remember Take That did a gig back when they were a 5 piece and it ended with them turning their their backs to the audience and pulling their trousers down to reveal “Take That!!” written on their bottoms, a letter on each cheek. How about a reprise with “Kingsland!” or something.

    Mind you, pop music does take itself very seriously these days. I can’t remember the last time a good novelty act got anywhere near the charts. Previously one might have thought Lady Gaga was a novelty act but her fans take her very seriously indeed (as she does herself). It’s all gone a bit Batman. Now we’re meant to take the idea of a billionaire dressing up in a bat costume and going out at night to fight crime seriously!

  • Jessica Hamby

    Also, belated apologies fo not introducing myself. I find this site fascinating, much more interesting that most of the stuff posted about X-Factor. I’ve been something of a provocateur on DS but will try to curb those instincts here. I’m not yet betting on the show, instead I’m placing imaginary bets to see how I do. So far I have consistently been wrong.

    • Daniel

      Hi Jessica, and welcome to Sofabet. We don’t mind a provocateur or two in our comments section! Funnily enough, I spent a year or two placing imaginary bets on the early seasons of X Factor before committing the real stuff. It was good practice, though I’ve learnt that betting big amounts doesn’t stop me being very wrong on occasions.

  • Phil

    You know, I don’t actually think this years series is that bad. Sure, it’s missing one or two stronger characters, but on the whole it’s certainly not the worst series ever.

    I put the falling ratings of recent years down to one thing – Tulisa. Not necessarily her as a person, but what her appointment symbolised – urban, young, zzzzzzzzzz. I think their obsession with finding someone ‘credible’ has been to the detriment of the show, hence X Factor viewing figures down, Strictly viewing figures up. I think they need to go all out wacky to get people back – and I think they’ve begun to realise this. It’s just a shame this years ‘cast’ aren’t suitable for this.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Bad may not be the right word, but it is boring and a lot of the acts are mediocre, which might actually be worse. When “bad” people get through (Chico, Jedward, Wagner, Anne Widdicombe, John Sergeant etc) then controversy and headlines are generated and people tune in just for that. For me, and I think for a lot of others, this series is just a bit dull. Even the sex symbol, Sam C, is incredibly dull. By all means take your shirt of but for chrissakes stop talking!!!!

  • Jessica Hamby

    Thanks Daniel. Also, can you tell me how to do those “in-line” replies? Do I need to register? My replies seem to always pop up at the bottom of the list even when I click “reply” for the comment I want to talk to.

    • Hi Jessica,

      It’s no good asking us technical questions, I’m afraid. It just works for me – when I click “reply”, it creates a comment space under the comment I’m replying to, where it’ll appear on the page. Maybe it’s a browser issue?

      Also wanted to add welcome to the other first time commenters on this thread – Clinton, Fudd, Lolalola, BerlinChris, Samantha. Great to have you all here.

      • Chatterbox5200

        I’ve encountered the same challenge when replying to a post using my iPhone, but it works correctly when replying via my laptop (on Internet Explorer). Not sure if that helps at all.

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  • Nissl

    I’m having fun because of the internet commentary around the show, but I cannot imagine watching this year in isolation. At this point I’d be looking forward to Sam B’s singing – far from my musical style – and little else.

    Lots of people have properly diagnosed the problems with the show above. They seem to be over-focused on generating pre-selected commercial winners even though plenty of acts that finished lower or weren’t in the original gameplan have gone on to do quite well. They’ve been stacking categories around single acts, which doesn’t make for gripping viewing. (And when the single act collapses, you’re left with a pile of mush.) I wonder whether Simon is basically picking ~3 acts off audition footage, telling his B team to get them over the line or else, and then tuning out. As said this results in a huge pile of negativity; it’s hard to make the public like an act, but it’s often easy to nuke one so it winds up at the bottom of the pile and protects the other acts.

    They’ve also gone extremely ballad-heavy this year. Of course, it’s always possible that this is just what they had to work with as far as a talent pool. Paul and Melanie are good but as someone who’s just checked out a performance or two of theirs and is not invested in their stories, I’m very far from convinced that they would be bringing the fun.

    I see a lot of suggestions for 2014, but If they want a ratings boost this year there are plenty of things that might help. However, many of them require sacrificing some control of the game plan. The biggest one is to turn Rough Copy loose (with an admonishment not to flirt.) Their auditions absolutely made me smile. Of course, this is risking the middle Britain marketing plan. Go over the top even more with Sam C, heck have him rip his shirt on the show. This is risking keeping him in longer than you’d like. Give some background dancers to Kingsland Road and Tamera, who should be high energy acts but came across sterile this weekend. But then you probably have to risk diverting resources (extremely mellow background dancers) from Sam B and Nic. Accept that Hannah’s probably done and get her moving around the stage, no more pedestals, just try to squeeze out a few high-energy performances.

    Will they do this stuff? Yeah, probably not.

  • Leroy

    Sorry if this has been mentioned before but Cowell tweeted yesterday “On the uk X factor show I see three acts who will go on to sell records. A couple more if they dig deep can do the same.” Is it obvious who he’s referring to?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    “On the uk X factor show I see three acts who will go on to sell records”.

    Someone should say to Cowell: ‘There’s your problem’.

    That attitude is a big part of why Syco are incapable of arresting the decline of the ITV1 Saturday night entertainment programme for which they are paid most handsomely.

    As I’ve often said Syco and XF remind me of the dying days of Blair and Campbell’s New Labour rule-by-spin project; they also remind me of Premier League football clubs who take for granted and exploit their fanbase, and so erode the medium and long term sustainability of,success of and loyalty to their brand.

    It wouldn’t be hard to arrest the decline of X Factor, but when you have management who have built their success on greed, spin, indulgence, control and contempt, it will be nigh-on impossible for the said same gang of shysters to genuinely see the light and change their ways.

    Syco don’t give the public what they want; Syco give the public what Syco wants. Syco revel in being puppet-masters and regard the general public as schmucks.

    I’m just waiting for the re-launch of the show as ‘New X Factor’.

    Here’s a thought for X Factor executives:

    How about making a level playing field for the acts?

    Give over most of the creative control to the contestants. The contestants have the final say on what they sing, what they wear and the overall look of the staging.

    How about having the running order decided by the drawing of lots?

    How about stopping from briefing contestants and ex-contestants to slag off contestants who are not producer favourites? How about ceasing from planting negative stories about certain contestants in the press?

    How about barring singers from Britain’s Got Talent? This would help dilute the saturation of wannabe singers on reality TV, and also improve the quality of acts on X Factor (as there would automatically be a greater pool of talent from which to choose on X Factor).

    But the chances of greedy control freaks giving up control? Slim to none, I should say.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Here’s another suggestion:

      Get rid of Louis Walsh and Sharon Osborne. Get rid of any judges who are not fit to judge.

      Could you imagine Strictly Come Dancing letting anyone take a seat on the judging panel who has not actually danced professionally?

      Why then should budding singers who have just demonstrated the talent and stones to perform in front of a live audience and a viewer-ship of millions on X Factor have to smile gratefully as they listen to the opinions of toss pots who have never once stood in their shoes, set out on their path?

      The very presence of non-singers such as Walsh and Osborne is a patronising joke and sends out (or reveals) the wrong message.

      And why should the viewer at home give an aardvark’s foot about whether an act will go on to sell millions of records, or need to weigh the potential international marketability of respective acts?

      Is there something intrinsically wrong in tuning into a Saturday night entertainment show, liking an act, and wanting to see that act again next week?

      If we where to go Socialist in our thinking about this, it would be rational to choose to vote to see another week of the acts who have the least, future commercial potential.

      • Nissl

        I like a lot of these suggestions. Walsh has at least had managerial success, though, no? It’s not as if Simon can sing.

        In a re-imagined show, I’d do one category per week during the live qualifying round. Throw ~6 acts up, give them a couple songs each, and let the audience decide who goes through to lives. Be up front about who you see as having commercial potential and why.

        Once some of the acts are whittled out, it’d be nice to show more of their training and choreo practice. It might be neat to have some other challenges too. Make them all give an interview on a show or make a Youtube video.

        If a competitor wanted to damage ITV/Syco’s position, even one season of a show that did stuff like having contestants draw lots for running order – and got across to the public why it matters – would probably produce an irretrievable change in middle Britain’s thinking.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I think Walsh should take his managerial experience and try to get a gig as an advisor on The Apprentice.

          Sharon Osborne can have a free transfer to Dragon’s Den.

          As (co) creator of X Factor, Simon is allowed a free pass.

    • Kevin

      As regards Cowell’s comment about selling records isn’t Strictly self contained in that they are not looking for professional dancers. The show itself is the show.

      • Leroy

        Yes, with regards to dancers but they also have a tour to flog I presume.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        On that point:

        When I watch X Factor, or any entertainment show, if the show itself is not the show, then what I am watching and then why am I watching?

        X Factor is billed as a contest, with an outright winner, decided upon by the votes and thus money of the voting viewership. The show is promoted as a fair contest where every act has the chance to shine. But it’s reality is far from that purported ethos. And the judges eliminate contestants, singers who want a career in the music business, often for reasons and agendas other than that which they are saying.

        So, the show being a means to an end is compromising and corrupting and twisting the show. Because the brand and programme are fundamentally dishonest, the shows are sick with manipulation and agendas that are masked in elaborate disguises.

        The show is called The X Factor. The search for someone with a special, undefinable something about them that elevates them above the rest. It’s not called Search for a Money Making Machine for Syco or The Paltinum Selling Artist.

        The Apprentice does what it says on the tin. The winner is selected to become an apprentice, with Alan Sugar as their business mentor. As a viewer of that show, I don’t really care that much in the post-show business success of the winning contestant. And I certainly am not emotionally invested in how much money the “apprentice” can make for Amstrad. The show is the show. If I bought a box set of the series, I would be buying the seasons and the episodes. Not a selection of newspaper reports about what happened to the winning contestants. That could make for an interesting spin-off show or series of one-off specials. They would be different shows / programmes.

        And why should someone who is a special singer (someone with the X Factor) necessarily be equated with someone who is an uber-commercial hot prospect with the capability to sell millions of CDs and downloads? Some of the most outstanding, special unique music artists you listen to, will never be mainstream superstars. They still have the X factor. And why should an X Factor person seemingly have to be someone who will be able to crack the North American market?

        Yep, Strictly Come Dancing is a show that itself is the show.
        If the X Factor show isn’t the show, then that’s why it’s failing.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Just to clarify and confirm that my post above was a response to Kevin’s post two above it.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Here’s a different method to use to think of the show and its problems.

            Imagine it as a sick person and then assess it and diagnose it.

            It presents itself as someone, while it really is someone else – so it’s a liar? a manipulator? it lacks congruence?

            It is ruthless in its relationships with anyone who falls out of its favour or it finds unhelpful and will do anything in its power to get rid of anyone who gets in the way of its agendas, regardless of the human cost? – so it’s a shit? a psychopath?

            It shows particular disregard and contempt towards anyone it considers as past it, anyone it labels as ‘overs’? – so it’s ageist? it practises a mild form of euthanasia?

            It is obsessed with exercising God-like power and making money to the virtual exclusion of any other values? – so this “person’s” best-fit occupation would be a politician or banker?

            Little wonder X Factor can be such an ugly and unpleasant experience to watch. If it was a real-life person you wouldn’t let it over your front door.

          • eurovicious

            Narcissistic personality disorder.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            ‘Narcissitic personality disorder’ – now, there’s an idea for a quick fix, one-off ratings boost.

            Simon Cowell returns to the panel, and Sinitta guest spots “singing” Carly Simon’s ‘You’re so vain’.(I’ll bet you think this song is about you).

  • Kevin

    So many new contributors, it seems there have been sofabet sleeper cells in our communities all this time.

  • R

    How did people feel about Hannah crying in her sing-off compared to Abi’s tears?

    While I felt sympathy for Abi, I didn’t for feel anything for Hannah. Not sure why this is except that I knew she would be saved.

    Also, with Sam B being targeted by the Cruise missile & Luke Friend suddenly being favoured, I have a feeling be might sneak into the top 3. He’s certainly seems to be gaining momentum with the public.

    • Strange isnt it, its how they are perceived.

      With Abi, they were tears of sadness, and the zooming in that the producers allowed, enabled the audience to feel sympathy for her.

      Whereas Hannahs was tears of her own regret almost, and when someone has tears of regret, it signifies they own mistake, not the viewers, meanings its more difficult for the audience to feel sympathy for her own mistake.

      Ive backed Rough Copy/Hannah in all markets to go this week at 12/1 and for now Hannah B2 at 7/2 until the bigger prices come for RC bottom price (Only 5/2 top available at the moment)

      Think the comments from Simon Cowell, will have done nothing to help hannah, if anything will reduce the amount of “bounce” she recieves, she needs pimping to avoid the drop next week for me.

    • eurovicious

      It’s because we’ve been treated to the sight of Hannah crying 109 times already. It’s her primary function. Bakery items go in and sound and tears come out. (Kinda like me really) Whereas we’ve not seen Abi cry as much. Moreover, we know that the huge machine that is crushing Abi is entirely behind Hannah. Hence we feel sorry for the victim, not the beneficiary.

  • Lolalola

    I’m a definite sleeper over the last couple of years. Not even brave enough to start making real bets – except in my head. But I must admit to really enjoying the stuff on here about the x-factor. The regular commentators crack me up – I love the humour. I guess I’m one of those sad people who actually used to enjoy x-factor as simple entertainment. Now my eyes have been opened! My 11 year old says “mum please don’t tell me any more spoilers from sofa bet!”.

    • Kevin

      Great post, i suspect the Gurus here must be delighted with some fantastic new contributions. While X Factor stalls Sofabets’ coverage of it seems to be thriving.

  • R

    Nicole says they will take a disco song and Abi-fy it.

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/s103/the-x-factor/news/a526805/x-factor-nicole-scherzinger-themes-make-abi-alton-lose-identity.html

    This article is so close to Janet in week 6. They even use the sentence “We’re just going to strip it back and go back to the drawing board.”
    Added to Gary’s comments from the live show, it seems they really are going to repeat the “boring” tag from 2011.

  • EM

    Hi I’ve been lurking this year and not taking too much day-to-day notice of the show, having a wider overview has been useful.

    Last year there was a lot of talk about producer ineptness, how they tried too hard to make some things happen that it backfired and changed the horses they were backing week by week.

    This year they’ve managed clean shots on all their targets. The flash vote seems to help with this.

    I think most people are pretty much there with two of the top three.

    Nicholas looks like the talented almost note perfect young guy who grows as the series goes on, has a regional identity and does well.

    The negative hanging over him from a producers view must be the fact he’s in the Joe McEldery Leon Jackson mould, they haven’t gone on to make amazing money afterwards.

    That’s why I see them being interested in Tamera. With Alexandra Burke dropped and Leonna Lewis missing in inaction there’s a gap in the Syco stabe for a young female singer with some pop urban potential. They’ll be pushing her as far as they can.

    I feel Luke will get pushed further than Sam Bailey for the third spot. There’s never been much appetite to have the competent but unspectacular over in the final. Like has much more money making potential.

    I’ve always maintained they’re not too worried about who wins it, the public will make sure it’s someone half decent, instead they care about getting two or three acts with future money making potential the best launch pad possible,

  • eurovicious

    I think the podcast is excellent and I’d love it if there were something similar for Eurovision/the national final season – not necessarily from a betting perspective, but just a quality podcast done to a professional radio standard rather than the current “two fanboys and a microphone” efforts a couple of fansites do. The fact the Betsfactor podcast is so zippy and well-made means it’s entertaining even if you’re not into the subject matter.

  • eurovicious

    The two things that leap out at me about this thread are a) the number of people saying the same thing and b) the number of new people commenting. It’s clear the article has tapped into widespread discontentment with this year’s series (and arguably the whole inexorably downward trend since 2011) and said what a lot of people were thinking.

  • eurovicious

    Has anyone else noticed that a) unlike most previous years, there are no gays (at least that we know of) in the live shows this year and b) 6 of 12 acts are either black or have a black member? Is this just the way it panned out, or are they deliberately going for a different demographic?

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