X Factor 2013 Week 5 Live Show: Dumped-on Abi

There were bells, whistles and Simon Cowell on the big screen for tonight’s Big Band theme. First on, in the graveyard slot, was Abi Alton. She had a pleasant but dull VT focusing on a quiet meal out with her dad, with shades of the infamous Sophie Habibis in an empty pub VT.

She did get her name up in lights in the backdrop, in a cocktail glass along with the name of the song, ‘That’s Life’ – a slightly obscure Frank Sinatra track which has been sung twice in Big Band weeks previously, and resulted in the act in question being eliminated both times. Judges’ comments were neither wildly enthusiastic nor hashly critical, as you’d expect when they’re trying not to motivate votes. Sharon’s casual mention of wanting to see more sassiness “next week” carried the vote-demotivating implication that she’d definitely be here next week.

To be fair to Abi, I rather liked her performance, and I can’t claim I’ve felt that every week. She looked happy and we saw her Dad was proud, which in itself perhaps had a bit of an “end-of-journey” vibe – like the judges’ comments, not providing much motivation for people to vote to see her go further in the competition.

Her performance was then promptly memory-holed by the triple-whammy of the new John Lewis ad, probable poll topper Sam Bailey and fellow big-hitter Nicholas McDonald. By the end of all that, it was a case of “who sang first again?”

After we’d seen Abi with her dad, we saw Sam Bailey with Michael Bolton. Sam cemented her role as the new favourite with a fine performance of ‘New York, New York’, the Frank Sinatra song that everyone does know. She got gold lighting for the Big Apple backdrop, she looked to be really enjoying herself on stage, and there was not a hint of deramping here. Louis summed it up when he said “You’re the one to beat in the competition”.

For the nth week running we were told that Wee Nick was the “Baby Buble”. The Brylcreem styling will have delighted the demo. He got lovely gold lighting throughout ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me’ with notes of gold on the backdrop and Tamera gold lighting at the end. They’re still banging on about his age at every opportunity, but vocally he’s very consistent.

The same can’t be said for Luke, whose VT had us debating how many college friends is too few, and how big a busking audience is too small – did that make him look a bit smalltime? He could have done with displaying more of a sense of rhythm for a song like ‘Moondance’, and it seems possible that even his fans will have felt Gary’s criticism was justified. (Our rule of thumb is that criticism that seems unfair motivates votes, whereas criticism that seems fair doesn’t).

Louis’s “he’s a busker from Devon” confirmed the sense from the VT that Luke is no longer the apple of producers’ eyes. It would be no great surprise after that performance to see him fall into a bottom two with Abi.

Coming down from her sympathy bounce, Hannah was always going to be in danger of a second singoff appearance. Producers again did their best for her – honking the dead dad klaxon in her VT, building up the tension over her throat problem, and giving her great styling and yet more golden lighting. Sharon even reminded her to smile when she seemed in danger of forgetting. It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to keep her above the danger zone.

As expected, now that Gary is down to just Rough Copy as his final act, he’s morphing into the group’s de facto fourth member. The go-karting VT showed them bonding, and the judges made sure we were told that Gary arranged the song for them.

Significantly, Nicole and Louis both name-checked them as desired finalists, and Dermot reminded us of this in the post-performance interview – which pointedly featured Rough Copy telling us they didn’t want to let Gary down. The show is doing its very best to motivate fans of Gary to vote for Rough Copy for his sake.

Tamera got the expected tearful VT, and the honking of the proud mum klaxon. She got yet more gold lighting – the fourth act of the night – capped off with the “winner’s lighting” effect of a curtain of golden fire.

Judges made sure to try to maximise the effect of the expected sympathy bounce by repeatedly reminding us that she had been in the bottom two last week, Gary twice hammering home the point that we’d “taken her for granted”. Overall, we felt it was a very Tamera performance in that she looked amazing but we didn’t feel any connection with the song or the lyrics.

If you haven’t done so already, do please read through the comments to the last post from 8pm onwards, in which Sofabet’s army of astute commenters dissected the show in real time – there are far too many insightful points there for us to hope to do justice to in this brief insta-reaction post.

Favourite for elimination through most of the week, Sam Callahan got the pimp slot. His VT had Sam repeating the “Gary’s punchbag” line, defining his new role in the competition. That was followed by another Rylan/Wagner-esque big production with dancing girls and a backdrop of playing cards subliminally telling us that he is the King of Hearts.

However, it seemed that Gary was not playing ball with the producers’ controversy script, with a brief “you looked like you had a good time up there, well done”, prompting Dermot to come back to him in an unsuccessful attempt to wheedle a more controversial comment. Caroline Flack tried a similar thing on Xtra Factor with the same result. It makes no sense to have Sam in the pimp slot without any controversy, which further suggests Gary went rogue in not rising to the bait. Will Sam’s fans come through for him after such an anodyne response from Gary, and knowing now that he’s already made the tour?

It’s worth adding here that perhaps Gary was protesting about the treatment given to “proper musician” Abi Alton this week. As ever, please keep the debate flowing below.

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121 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 5 Live Show: Dumped-on Abi

  • Fudd

    It’s worth noting that Sharon also played the criticism down with Sam, as did Nicole and Louis didn’t try and rile Gary into a comment either. Dermot returning to the point just worked to emphasise that Gary failed to critique. I’m not sure whether it was Gary going rogue or whether the criticism last week resulted in a level of ramping that they didn’t expect – hence they’ve now switched tact and are attempting to deramp him.

    On the other hand, if there’s a risk of both Tamera and, say, shockingly Nicholas (which may explain the constant ’16’ plugging) falling into the bottom two – even with the sympathy vote – they will be deramping others to take their place and Sam C is an obvious option alongside Abi and Luke, who got a dodgy song arrangement and fair criticism.

    • It could be interpreted as Gary still seething from last week, kinda like Dannii being the only negative soul in the panel after Jedward’s saving over Lucie… but I’m not the average viewer, so…

    • Worth pointing out that it would surely never have been in the script for Sharon to have been harshly critical of Sam C, as she would be the one who’d need to save him to deadlock it if he finishes second-from-bottom above Abi.

      • EM

        Good point, maybe I’m using confirmation bias but I could see most of last night as setting up reasons to save anyone but Abi.

        Hannah’s sore throat, Tamera has much more to give, Luke was below par, ambiguous comments on Sam C.

  • I thought that Gazza’s remarks were part of trying to take him down next week, but now that you say that…

  • EM

    Some talent show compilation on Channel 5 right now featuring the producer of Popstars The Rivals telling how the regional vote is massively strong on these shows apart from around London where they’re too apathetic to ‘vote for their own’

  • kinski

    Weird show tonight…

    Agree that Gary was obviously deviating from the script, especially with Sam. Think he has checked out early and couldn’t give a toss at this point.

    Abi was the obvious target, but I think either Luke or Tamera might be in trouble. Tamera was badly out of time in the beginning of the song and the audience was audibly not drinking the staging/pimping kool-aid which made the whole thing feel very strange.

    I think Abi is a safe b2 but whoever else is there I wouldn’t hazard a guess.

    • Ron

      Good point about Gary, kinski. If he’s leaving the show, there’s no need for him to continue to read out the producers’ script in the way Nicole and Louis are and he probably feels liberated enough to defy their wishes if he feels so inclined. There’s absolutely nothing they can do about it either, they no longer have any hold over him.

    • Whilst I think that’s possible, what does he have to gain from deviating from the script?

      • His dignity? He’s had to put up with selling Frankie and Christopher to the public. It’s not like Simon can take over his position on the spot.

        • Sure, but “not attacking Sam C this week after he did last week” does nothing for people’s opinions of him. If anything, he’s been getting grilled for not providing proper feedback.

          • Jessica Hamby

            “There’s nothing I can say that will help him” is incredibly explicit and damning feedback. He might as well have said “you’re shit”.

          • It could make the #Callafans complacent, though, which makes it seem like a takedown. Unless they wise up and notice Gazza’s shade, he could be on his way out.

          • Why would he want to make them complacent though? There’s nothing that he gains by that. That’s my point. It helps him in no way, aside from burning bridges with producers.

          • ITV love him afaik. He probably didn’t like that Sam was reacting to his critiques to the press. He was never this frosty with Rylan, who was on the other side of the elimination of two of his acts last year, mind you.

            Also, his staging was dodgy again imho. Not enough time given to his pretty face; being covered by the feathery women doesn’t help. 😀

          • Luke, is it not possible that Gary’s just had enough of the pantomime? Maybe he genuinely likes Abi and doesn’t want to be part of the script to stir up votes for Sam C so they can jettison her.

            He’s already burned his bridges by announcing on air in episode 1 that this is his last season. So isn’t it possible he’s motivated by feeling dirty about having played the game for two and a half seasons, and wanting to recover some self-respect before he leaves?

          • Possible sure, but there are arguments that far outweigh self-respect against him going rogue (money, breach of contract, the fact he’s on the show next week performing and will probably want an ‘excellent’ edit rather than a ‘good’ edit, to name the first 3 that come to mind). Announcing it’s his last season isn’t burning bridges as long as he’d already discussed that with the producers, it’s a good talking point and gains column inches.

            Plus, if he didn’t want to crucify Sam C, why the sudden change of heart in the past 7 days?

          • It’s an interesting one, Luke. We don’t know what his contract says. Presumably he gets his money as long as they don’t actually sack him, and if they sack him they’re not going to want to say why (“he refused to create artificial controversy!”) – or risk him saying why (he has that card up his sleeve).

            There’s always seemed to be a sense that Gary has his own ideas about what direction the show should take (fewer novelty acts, more singer-songwriters etc). Perhaps there are split opinions in the production team and that’s emboldened him?

            Why the change of heart in the last seven days? Good question. Demob happy? He did it with misgivings last week and something’s happened since that was the straw that broke the camel’s back?

            I agree there are questions about the hypothesis that he’s gone rogue. I still find the alternative – the idea that Gary’s non-comment was in the script – even harder to explain. Everything pointed to it all being set-up for fireworks with Gary saying something scathing – the pimp slot, dancing girls, “Gary’s punchbag” line in the VT. Why would you do all that set-up and then script the damp squib payoff of Gary refusing to comment?

          • Andrew, I completely agree with you about the last paragraph, hence my original question. I’d have loved for someone to provide a reason for Gary to deviate from what was meant to be the focal point of the show. As it stands, I’m not convinced either way.

            They cut away from Gary very quickly as well (I say from memory), which seems a bit glossed over rather than waiting in expectation of fireworks too.

    • sistermym

      The point is not whether Gary is going rogue or not, he isn’t. The point is that we and many others are talking about it.
      The producers will be thinking about the falling ratings so much they won’t be able to sleep. 2 millions down compared to Strictly and slowly losing more every week. So they are creating controversy any way possible:
      Sam c pimp slot and I am sure he will be safe this week
      Simon Cowell right at the end of the show
      I believe although they would like rid of Abi she must be polling okay and putting her first with San and Nick is more if an effort to pull viewers in
      Negative comments for Luke is like kicking a puppy and people will want to see what happens to him today
      The highest rating show last year was James vs Ella resukt show about 10 millions
      So can’t see Nick or Sam b there but what about Tamera against Hannah or RC. I am not sure Tamera would have a sympathy bounce only because who has much sympathy for her? Think of Kattie Waissel who was 3 times bottom on the trot.

    • I saw an Xtra Factor clip from last night (thanks to the show’s YouTube channel). One of the TOWIE girls asked Gary why he seems to “hate” Essex because he targeted Rylan and targets Sam. Gazza replied by saying he loves Rylan and loves Essex. Notice something missing? It seems to point to Gazza being rogue this week.

      Also, a viewer asked Louis about Sam. Lou-Lou said something about panto and being in a boy band. Seems like he will be taken down soon.

    • Aolta

      Another argument for Gary being rogue: after Abi’s performance, Gary praised her to high heavens after some critique from Sharon and Louis (as if trying to stop the takedown). Isn’t faint praise the name of the game?

  • Anyone watching Xtra Factor? They just spent the past 4 minutes talking about Sam c and Tamera and their romance, including a video clip of them flirting etc.

    Dampens both their votes.

    • Fudd

      Though they also had a clip with Sam with his shirt off. But in the great scheme of things I’m not sure whether Xtra Factor has much of an impact on the vote compared to the main show.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I don’t think the production team could make it more obviously that Abi just doesn’t fit in anymore. Not only was she the only act not dressed in black and white when everyone returned to the stage at the end of the show (she looked like an extra that had wandered on), but she was the only person not to have any significant gold in the colour palette of her staging:

    Sam B – Golden images of New York architecture.
    Nicolas – Golden lighting for the band, golden musical notes, backing singers in black and gold dresses, golden spotlights and the lighting beneath the judges chairs was even golden.
    Luke – Golden images of lights and mirrors(?)
    Hannah – Golden images of trumpets, cogs and wheels and golden spotlights
    Rough Copy – Golden spotlights and much more clearly visible name check in silver which then became golden towards the end of the song.
    Tamera – Golden imagery, golden lighting and even a pyro curtain. She was literally dripping in gold.
    Sam C – Golden spotlights (had to look for them!). The staging could be seen as black and red, but the “King of Hearts” playing card played on his popularity with the ladies.

    The only hint of gold for Abi was on her dress (if you’re looking for it) and the spotlights under the stage. Although her name was shown behind her, it was only visible vertically and surrounded by other words, which didn’t make it stand out anywhere near as much as, say, Rough Copy.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It seemed like she was in a different show, separated by time, colour, staging…. Wouldn’t it be funny if she escaped b2. I’ve covered my Hannah to go and my Abi to be top girl stakes with a few pretend pounds on Abi to go at 9-4 but I’d laugh like a madwoman if she stayed. They’ve really pulled out the stops to get rid of her.

      • Chris Bellis

        Dead right. First on, colour vomit staging, strange lukewarm comments, and a song with words that suggest her time on X-Factor is ending. In fact my earlier joke about her performing Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” is about right, only that would actually have been a better song choice for her. She did her best with “That’s life”, but it’s a hard song for people to remember. They at least would have remembered the Prodigy, but maybe it wouldn’t have fitted the category. She could have upstaged the others by doing any Paloma Faith number – she tours with a 48 piece band, and in reality is not that much better a singer, although a brilliant performer and entertainer.

  • Carla

    I also think there was more than a hint of colour vomit for Abi.

  • Lolalola

    I’ll admit to reading the paper, scrolling on the phone & watching x-factor pretty much at the same time. The only people who really made me stop & watch were Sam B, Rough Copy & Tamera but only by the end of her song.

    Tamera playing the more “vunerable, loves her mum, appreciative of her opportunity” card was fairly heavy handed tonight.

    I think Gary knew that beating up on Sam C again would only win him votes. On x-factor tonight talking about Sam – he really came across as couldn’t be bothered to critique him. Ostensibly saying “he’s come as far as he can, nothing more to be done with him”

    Luke looks like a B2 contender. And has nobody told him its November? He could catch his death wearing those shrunken trousers.

  • Boki

    It looks difficult task for Abi to get out of bottom two and I still think Hannah is the one who will join her.

  • Is it worth pointing out that on Xtra Factor they repeatedly brought up the “issue” of Gary NOT critiquing Sam C.

    If it was intended by Producers in order to de-ramp him, not sure they would make a big issue of it on Xtra Factor? They would allow it to go unnoticed

  • Not much to add apart from a couple of points about Sam Bailey; her staging had celebratory fireworks going off above the New York landmarks – doesn’t get more positive than that! Also, there was a part in Sam C’s VT where Simon said “And you have to sell millions of records”, at which point the edit cut immediately to…Sam Bailey!

    • Speaking of Simon, can someone tell me what the point of having him in the middle of Sam C’s VT was?

      • Chatterbox5200

        My feeling, as I noted on the other thread, is that they positioned Simon’s announcement in the middle of Sam C’s VT as a way of informing his fans that he’s now safely on the tour. This would mean that they don’t need to spend money voting for him, and can save it towards a ticket for the tour, if they want to see more of him.

  • Curtis

    Feeling pretty good about the money I’ve got loaded on Abi to go. Her performance was good tonight, but you could hear the limitations in her voice. With the piano you see a talented young musician. Without it, she looks like a better than average karaoke singer. What with her being shoved down the death slot I see it as unlikely people are going to vote for her.

    Also, Sam B’s New York was simply amazing. She will not have a career as a recording artist, but she definitely does have a career in music.

  • R

    If they want to deramp Sam C, why give him the pimp slot? The only reason I can think of is that they want people to remember that he can’t sing. In which case everything else fits into place. I don’t see this.

    I see Hannah as the main contender for B2 with Abi. Hannah’s strange face contortions at the end of her song were hilarious (was she supposed to be flirting with the camera?).
    I thought her voice was all over the place during the performance and she didn’t connect at all.

    Hannah also had an odd moment with Durrbot when she started speaking in incoherent “Saaf Laandaan” slang.

    If B2 is Abi & Sam C, Gary must save Abi to save face, as will Nicole (as mentor). So, to get rid of Abi, they’ll have to take it to deadlock with Abi receiving the least votes. This seems like a very long winded approach to getting rid of someone. Why not just have Hannah B2 and vote 3 to 1 to jettison Abi?
    Unless of course Sam C being B2 means the week 5 shock saving of the joke act happens again.

    I think Luke was shown to have enough friends to be popular but not too popular. He comes across as a nice chap with a good personality and a decent voice. Someone people can relate to. He has climbed the ladder in the past two weeks & although this will see him slip back a little, he had become a lot of people’s 2nd favourite on some polls, so it’ll be interesting to see if that holds this week.

    • He’s been performing quite early (before this week, the only act left not to perform in the last third of the show) since week 1; he was due a late slot, so why not dampen it with Simon interfering in the VP and everyone else giving dodgy critique?

      • I’d keep an eye on Sam C’s price. For the last few weeks, the second B2 participant landed there because of some non-obvious deramping technique (Hannah’s fire and Tamera’s star crazy), whether accidentally or not. This might just be the sign for him.

        • EM

          I’m not sure either were de-ramping techniques. Tamera’s stars were an indication she wasn’t polling so well and designed to push the idea of how much of a star she is.

          The fire was, for me, just a fire. Everything else about the performance was helpful to Hannah.

          Biggest learn from both of those is that T and H struggled despite a lot of help.

  • Kevin

    Have they made it too obvious that Abi has been targeted? It might inspire a protective reaction. Regional support wont forget the lovely Mrs O’s comment as regards turning on kettles and Abi’s tears.

  • Saoirse

    I think Tamera did really well tonight and she tends to come across more as socially awkward than cocky. I hope she avoids the bottom as I think she will. Hannah was disappointing but was trending for the right reasons- viewers seemed to love her personality on xtra factor. Abi remains the weakest of the girls but does seem to have a fanbase. She is not an easy interview and yet again did not come across well on Xtra. The judges are constantly trying to soften the blow towards her by referring to her musicality but the show has Luke Friend, who does this genre much better. He was also out of his comfort zone ( and out of time) tonight so I guess it depends on his fanbase. He definitely appeared to be going in the right direction the last few weeks and was getting the great ‘ dark horse’ comments, so hopefully his support will have garnered behind him enough to survive. The show obviously like him, given his 3 late slots in the running order, and he adds that ‘ credibility’ that they like to toy with. He did win Teenstar 2013 afterall!
    Sam Bailey put in another strong performance and got another standing ovation so I’d imagine she’s safe. Rough Copy were definitely better staged tonight and interactive with both the audience and band. They looked more JLS mark 2, than ever though. However, I don’t think that would prove a deterrant to voters. Nicholas is losing his charm a little I think, though his vocal was smooth. Sam C’s pimp slot started like any joke act of old, with giant feathers and red/black lighting. He did look comfortable up there though.
    Prediction for bottom 2 – Abi v Hannah/ Luke with an outside chance of Nicholas falling there.

  • Saoirse

    Tonight was also the first night not to have a clash with Strictly which will make Running Slot number 1 the most vulnerable again.

  • Kevin

    If Abi v Hannah what does their mentor do?

  • Jessica Hamby

    I like the description of a “Tamera performance”. I too feel a lack of connection with her performances. Her voice is swret and she hits the notes, the rises and falls in pace and intensity male sense but somehow I’m uninvolved. I feel like I’m watching her through a window.

    Facebook likes on the x-factor Facebook page have Abi safe in fourth and a bottom 3 of Tamera, Luke and Sam C. Last week it’s bottom 2 were Tamera and Kingaland Rd.

  • lolhart

    Maybe this is just me being cynical but I saw the judges’ critique (or lack of one to be precise) of Sam C to be more a way of justifying saving him over Abi or Hannah. Sharon will be the decisive vote and she can say that he has improved and tried really hard on Saturday night. I just find it hard to believe Gary has gone rogue. He happily went along with the takedown of Janet during his first year, which was particularly unpleasant to watch. Also, it may be his last year on the show but it’s never a good idea to burn your bridges in the entertainment industry.

    • R

      The only time Gary will ever go rogue is if his script says “Gary pretends to go rogue”.
      He gets paid far too much, his contract will be watertight & he’ll know from his previous career flops that he needs the limelight to keep his music selling.
      He’ll have also seen how easily Tulisa was jettisoned after her off-show antics made her such a liability.

  • Natasha

    The only act I can envisage winning at this point is Sam Bailey. Eventhough I don’t think she will do that well commercially and will have a better career on stage, I can’t see anyone else beating her. Nicholas has been the only other consistant act with no negative comments and a lot of support both regional and non regional but as someone else said on this thread, he is loosing his charm. Maybe someone will overtake her at the later stages but I can’t see this happening as she a huge force to be rekoned with. Anyone else have a counter arguement?

  • Dean

    Most telling of all with Abi was the comments. Lukewarm if there ever was one. Nothing in them to motivate voters even for her fanbase. It tells me as predicted last week she probably didn’t poll well as week 3 after the sympathy vote and now this is their chance. She can still stay if course as I fear for Hannah, Luke and Sam C but if she us in the B2 she must surely go.

    Either way, IMO I now think Abi v Sam C could be a bad B2 for TPTB. Sure some controversy can be stirred, but do they want Sam C going to week 7 after a sympathy bounce when even Gary B didn’t play ball with him.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if this week when judges asked whose in danger they skip Abi again though, as if to say she is safe, don’t vote.

  • Boki

    I’m looking into the social media indicators and possible reasons they are sometimes far from right. Twitter, Facebook likes and YT hits have all similar shortcomings like not showing the “non technically skilled” demographics, not taking into account the multiple voters etc. We could see that an act with most twitter traffic ends up in bottom 2, also Hannah had more Facebook likes than many others when she also landed in b2. So everything with pinch of salt…

    I was thinking how to improve that a little bit and came with a following: it’s important what you measure but also when are you doing it. The likes/traffic of the act singing first can’t have the same weight as for the act much later, so measuring for each act after the performance is not the way to go imo (there is a guy on bf forum publishing likes for each after 5 min). Taking the cumulative values can be better but the numbers are often too close to make the clear distinction.

    My present idea is to measure at the moment when the people are voting the most (flashvote was actually ideal for that) and I need some opinions when that occurs. First thought is when Dermot announces “lines are open” of course. Should Xtra also have to be taken into account, are people going to wait for Xtra and than vote later?

    • Boki

      The lack of response on this subject means either it’s a sensitive one that nobody wants to discuss or I’m talking rubbish. So I have to ask more explicitly then…
      Dear Sofabet team, at what point in time you think the most votes are sent – after the opening of phone lines, later in time, Sunday evening or sometimes else?

      • Kevin

        Opening of phone lines is your only solid option I think as there is no logical way of splitting the other times.

      • Hey Boki, I guess there are a couple of inferences we can draw –

        – from the fact they introduced the flash vote, we can infer there must be enough votes cast in the first 10 minutes to be representative of the Sunday result, ie they wouldn’t have risked introducing the flash vote if the figures after 10 minutes in previous series had been essentially random;

        – they do seem to choose comments etc for the Sunday show reprise with a view to motivating/dampening votes, which presumably they wouldn’t bother doing if it were inconceivable that votes cast during the Sunday show would change the composition of the bottom two.

        But as for what proportion of votes are cast straight after the show on Saturday, during the Sunday show, and in between… no idea. Would be interested to know.

    • eurovicious

      I think we can assume most votes are sent when lines open on Saturday and during the Sunday Show – two peaks with a trough in between. As to social media, I think it can only ever be a rough guide to popularity. Twitter in particular remains a niche service. Chris was unpopular and outright vilified on Twitter throughout last year’s contest but it didn’t stop him winning the vote for the first 7 weeks. So I’d be wary about using either qualitative or quantitative social media sentiment analysis to gauge votes in a given week, unless you have the technology to do it professionally (like X Factor Tracker).

      • Boki

        Yes, Chris was the exception but again easily explainable by his non-tweeting demographics. Thanks for the response guys.

        I’m not saying there is something in relying on twitter traffic but I will try to do a serious look at it. More I dive into it I see that many things can go wrong and skew the result so it will be trial and error and I might never get anything meaningful. Technology is free to everyone btw, people with any programming experience can get free code from twitter website to analyze the tweets in realtime… it’s the method of analysis that differs and that’s a pain in the b…

    • sistermym

      My guess is most people vote during the show but just a guess . About Twitter I found this interesting article which suggests Twitter has a massive influence on the votes. Argh can’t paste with mobile. Will try again

  • eurovicious

    Given a) there was basically no criticism for Sam C’s performance due to Gary’s refusal to play ball b) the fact Sam was surrounded by many dancing girls and c) the fact his fans mobilised already to save him last week (so might ease off with him looking safer this week), does anyone think he might be B2 despite being on last?

    • Curtis

      I think there’s a distinct possibility. People like to see novelty acts to antagonise the judges. If he’s not doing that, the public are going to be less inclined to vote for him. I think he would be saved in any B2 over Abi though, and Gary, by not criticising him last night, has kind of freed himself to save him over her.

  • Kevin

    Regional votes are always going to be dedicated votes. Putting an act on first, down a memory hole etc. should have a limited affect on the core vote. It is more of a bombproof vote and this is worth bearing in mind. And it is a dangerous animal to wound, I think this is why there was nothing openly hurtful said to Abi. But overall I do not think she will have lost (or gained) many voters this week but her odds have shortened significantly. All we know from the show is that the Producers went for her. You could even argue that this is a positive as her fan base might be further motivated. Dedicated supporters wont have forgotten how they overstepped the mark 2 weeks ago.I think she is very good value to lay for B2.

  • cfahrenbach

    As always: great headline, although it took me way longer to get it then I’d like to admit.
    Watched the show yesterday with three people who watched it for the first time this year. They really felt disenchanted after I explained some of the stuff going on in our filter bubble to them – but they very quickly chipped in: “Look, it’s a plinth!”, “Look, she has a golden background!”.
    I know, it’s just three people (who aren’t even allowed to vote, here in Germany), but they disliked Rough Copy, Luke and Hannah, basically because of the vocals… Sam C more entertaining than Nic, therefore should stay. Sam B being the approachable superstar who sings like divas did 15 years ago. Interestingly enough, they also said about Tamera that she looks the part and does sing well but is not touching anybody. They liked Abi for the Mad-Men-looks and we all felt that she made the most out of the song. (I know, it’s not representative at all, but maybe sometimes the outsider views, completely undepraved from the bubble give interesting hints, too).

    I think, given her loyal fanbase and her underdog character, maybe Abi can escape another week and I’d go for a Luke vs. Hannah b2 with Hannah leaving, although I’d like to see Rough Copy being down there, too. (Seriously, “Hit the road Jack” could’ve been a great song for a harmonies, dancing, etc. but to us, it came across as totally boring and lacking tightness…)

    • eurovicious

      I’m amazed you watch UK X Factor what with quality stuff like this on German TV at the same time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og-4PF5EhPU

    • Always happy when someone appreciates our attempts at obscure puns 😉

      Always love being able to induct people into our little bubble, too. Last night a non-XF-watching friend came in just before Sam C’s comments and was understandably bewildered at my fascination with Gary’s superficially-anodyne comment. After I’d explained the background she was sufficiently fascinated to consider starting to watch it.

      It gets hard to imagine watching these programmes without the fun of going “gold!”, “plinth!”, doesn’t it?

    • Lia

      Chipping in on the newbies, my mom has just arrived from Brazil, had never watched XF before, only American Idol and gave me her fresh opinions.
      She didn’t think anything of Abi, she loved Sam B, liked Nick and hated Sam C. She liked Hannah and didn’t understand my disappoitment with Hannah until I showed her Mary Byrne’s performance of that song on YT.
      She loved Tamera (no bad press influence on her) but when I said she is 16, mom was shocked. She said Tamera looked 30, which, as I had noticed before, would fish on Sam B waters.

  • eurovicious

    I’ve been bigging up Abi but I reckon they wouldn’t have done such an effective stitch-up last night if they weren’t confident they could get her in the B2. She’s towards the bottom in online polls, along with Hannah and Sam C.

    • Louis'wig

      So TPTB threw everything at Abi, it will be interesting to see if her decent performance can overcome producer wishes. I’ve layed her for bottom 2.

      • Curtis

        I honestly thought that Abi’s performance was the final nail in the coffin for her. Decent is exactly the word. It wasn’t good enough to inspire support, but not bad enough to get sympathy. We’ll see how it pans out.

  • Caro

    I found Tamera’s staging a little bewildering. Yes there was lots of gold, but there was also an awful lot of long range shots which made her look very small on the stage. Also the very bright lights totally obscured her at several points during the performance which was odd. This was to a certain extent offset by the screens to the sides showing her face, but considering that she is someone that is failing to connect with people, I don’t think that this was, overall, a positive staging.
    Contrast that with the treatment of Rough Copy who had their name everywhere, used the whole stage and were in and out of the audience, literally connecting.

  • Louis'wig

    If Tamera was ever TCO why would they give her a string of dreary songs from the Vickers, Devlin, Henderson catalogue, bewildering indeed.

  • Caro

    Lots of stuff to chew over here:
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/tv/x-factor/349997/Bookies-favourite-Sam-Bailey-wants-cosmetic-surgery-after-online-torment-
    1. sympathy for Sam – as a classic vote booster
    but then
    2. life after X Factor – Sharron’s comment about Simon signing her whether she wins or not is just one of several recent comments by judges about not needing to win (e.g. Gary re Tamera), so vote for someone else who might need to
    plus
    3. life after X Factor – the whole Michael Bolton saga is gathering speed with a tour and a duet now, so vote for someone else, she doesn’t need your help
    but
    4. Gary is a fan and he’s helping with song choices etc – so if RC go out Gary fans can switch allegiance? or what?

  • Ben Cook

    I loved the THAT’S LIFE ABI on the screens behind Abi.

  • tpfkar

    I was out and tried to catch up later, but fell asleep somewhere around Hannah. So listen to anything I say at your peril! BUT – I thought Abi was excellent. She had everything against her, and delivered a great performance and interview. I’ve taken the advice elsewhere to lay off Abi for B2 as I’m already on Abi to go. Real chance of a swing and a miss methinks.

    Thought Luke was hopeless – everything I saw at the audition stage to make me think he’d be a sitting duck for the live shows.

  • Something else I dont think has been mentioned? Did they make Abi remove her Glasses? Isnt that part of her image, its equivalent of Luke shaving his head imo. If you liked Abi because of her image and the geeky girl next door… you certainly didnt last night.

    This trend has continued today on The X Factor twitter, when Abi was posted earlier in a picture, she wasnt wearing the glasses again, it stood out to me, I almost had to double check who it was.

  • Dean

    Btw, Gary spoke highly of Abi. This was prob coz if they do get her bottom if the vote and save Sam C over her on deadlock it will be a tasty show 🙂

  • R

    If it’s a Sam C v Abi B2?

    Gary saves Abi
    Nicole saves Abi
    Louis saves Sam C

    That leaves The Crazy Lady Shazza O to throw major histrionics as Louis begs her to take it to deadlock, & Abi would still need to be rock bottom.

    I can actually see this happening, although I would still prefer a Hannah/Abi B2.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Missed most of last night’s show. Just caught up with Rough Copy’s Jacking on YT.

    Eurovicious was right, in that it was a fun song and a good choice for them; though the choreographer, who instructed them to continually crouch about the stage, looking awkward (and inhibiting their vocals, btw), could have done better work for them. But it was interesting to see how the tricky lyrical storyline issues were attempted to be overcome.

    The first time I saw Rough Copy was in the first live show,(‘Something in the Air’) and I thought they were brill. Have been disappointed with the vocal frailties that have subsequently been exposed.

    But when they’re “on”, they’re excellent, good performers and charismatic guys. They look the absolute business.

    I’ve my nice early prices on Nic and Sam B in hand, so I think an EW bet on RC at 6/1 is a good addition.

    Sam C and Hannah aren’t going to last forever and I can see some future vote transfer coming their way. If Tamera goes, even better.

  • Kermit The Frog

    I don’t see how anyone can view Gary’s refusal to give a comment as ‘part of TPTB’s plan’ – he’s absolutely gone rogue. The assassination of Abi told me that she’s polled well so far and that drastic measures were needed to get rid of her. They require Abi + anyone but Sam C as a Bottom 2. Hence Sam C on last, all set-up for fireworks as Gary tells him it was terrible and the nation votes for him in retribution… except that didn’t happen… I suspect that Gary thinks Sam C shouldn’t be there and with no future contract resting on his choice, decided not to fuel the fire and subsequently ensure his safety.

    I predict a Sam C + Tamera Bottom 2 (Hannah’s personality change will keep her safe for another week or two), with Sam C leaving. Which is absolutely not the show’s plan and weirdly a bit of a shock elimination (on here anyway, I don’t expect there’s much money to be made on it)…

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Now watching Hannah manning it up.

    What a dog’s dinner that was.

    Wobbles on like a chunky MJ impersonator with comedy over-sized hat, then throws that hat to the floor as though she is back chucking litter onto the pavements of Croyden,

    Distracting background projections of whirling engineering cogs at times seem to be chewing her up, and put me in mind of calling the H&S Executive. Those stupid oversized Bet Lynch ear-ring hoops look as though they are going to get caught in the machinery.

    At points her voice was giving out, fading into a screech on the big notes, a la Joseph Whelan. Of big gospel soul singers, she is a rough copy.

    Liked her Big Mama’s in the house throaty warbling at the song’s end, plus her sassy facial expressions, but appreciate it won’t be everyone’s cup of char.

    Personally, I like her, but she lacks versatility, must be a f**king nightmare for the stylists, has a voice that gives out, and there is the ongoing problem of finding suitable songs for her. She doesn’t (quite) have the voice for the big belting numbers, but that is all -feasibly- you can give her to sing, the only songbook from which you can select for her.

    Plus, whatever she does, Sam Bailey will come along and blow her out of the water with ease.

    Imagine if Hannah had followed Sam Bailey’s New York New York. When they are put one after the other, Hannah is a goner.

    If she is still on the show next week, that is.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Has to be said that Abi’s was a more enjoyable performance than Hannah’s.

      Abi tried to step up, come out of herself, and was partially successful. Her arm movements looked mechanical, moved like a clapperboard, and her squinty eyes are a permanent drawback, but credit to the girl for giving it a go and giving a performance that was outside of her comfort zone.

      She was not ace but was ok – and better than I expected. She can cope with jazzy numbers and has a little bit of sass. Promising – might be the verdict. .

  • Dean

    Was it just me or were all the girls on the beginning of that group performance woeful?

  • Dean

    Abi now virtually evens to be eliminated and 1/2 for bottom 2 suggesting someone knows something.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Anyone! – What was the name of the actor who played the baddie opposite Arnie in Kindergarten Cop?

    Whoever that was, I’m looking at a younger version of him as I watch Luke Friend “sing” Moondance.

    Jesus Christ! that was woeful

    Listen to 1:02 to 1:09 as he lowers the key he is singing in because he knows he cannot reach the key of the song.
    And look at Nicole’s facial reactions (she tries to mask them – which makes it funnier yet. Is that disgust, I’m spotting?!) to this on 1:09 to 1:10. Oh dear.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSJYTPL9xl8

    If you close your eyes, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to Sam C.

    Unpleasant to listen to or watch. He wrecked the tone and mood of the song. Awful.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Robbie Williams is one of Sam C’s favourite artists.

    Wonder why… 😉

  • Joe

    I have been on the Abi and Hannah bottom 2 all week and still confident that could well be the case. However, knowing their targets don’t always fall as intended I wonder if Abi might escape as she must be polling better than expected. To crush her with both Sam and Nick after her performace was a sign of desperation.

    I think regional support has a part to play and she is far more likeable than Hannah who is coming down from a bounce. If Abi does escape Luke for me drops into bottom with Hannah. Deadlock will follow and Hannah goes helping to push Tamera.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Well… they threw everything at her apart from handfuls of their own faeces… no great surprise really.

  • Fudd

    Is leaving Nicholas to last another attempt to deramp him considering it appears as though leaving someone to the end doesn’t help the voting and, if anything, depresses it?

    • Natasha

      Id say it worries people into voting actually!! I got pretty worried then when he was left. Phew lol

      • Fudd

        You’d think so but Sofabet ran an article on this after the last series and it seemed to result in a dip in the vote. Being called first does the same:
        http://sofabet.com/2013/01/11/x-factor-2012-review-part-5-in-no-particular-order/

        • Natasha

          Theory 1 mirrors my thoughts on ‘acts announced safe’ and has led me to pick up the phone and vote for my fave the next week and each thereafter. Everyones different though so could work either way

        • Danny

          Nicholas has been given first-half performance slots for 4 of the 5 live shows so far. I’m starting to think that he’s getting votes by the wheelbarrow and the producers can just use him (and Sam Bailey) to sing right after whoever they want to target without any fear of dropping Nic or Sam B into the B2.

          • Natasha

            I agree to an extent but at one point they will have to dump one of them unless they want both in the final 3. Sams treatment has been far more favourable than Nicks. whether its because Nick doesn’t need it yet or whether they favour her over him. Nick seems more stoppable though so will have to see how the next couple of weeks pan out

  • EM

    Got and Abi-Hannah bottom 2 bet on Monday so happy days.

    Now about to find out who came bottom of the vote one way or the other

  • Dean

    If Hannah does go through as predicted she’s almost matching Misha’s run.

  • Fudd

    Abi got blue and white; Hannah’s been given red and black. Normally blue and white survives…

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’d prefer Hannah but I cover my stakes with Abi so it’s all good.

  • Dean

    I’m a bit sad Abi has gone but also relieved for her in a way. Now on to next werk, difficult to say at this point.

  • R

    Pure Janet/Misha replay even through to the abstained vote & 3-0 scoreline. Nice profits but feel for the girl.

    • Dean

      Sing off reminded me if that in so many ways. I’m confused by the end comments. I thought Abi connected emotionally to her past 2 weeks rather well.

  • Lolalola

    Well done sofa-betters. Called it perfectly. Genius how the producers managed that. Must admit I felt sorry for poor Abi. She didn’t really stand a chance.

    And now…who’s next?

  • Leroy

    Absolute textbook takedown for poor Abi. Right from the gimp slot onwards she was a gonner. TPTB must be delighted with themselves. Well called everyone.

  • Dean

    Surely gotta be a boy next week? Sam C’s time at last?

  • Curtis

    The profits are enjoyable, the event was not. I don’t know why the judges had to berate her for “leaving it until now to emotionally connect” (I’m paraphrasing, but it was something like that). It all felt pretty tactless.

  • Ria Elle

    Hannah may get the Union J post-second B2 treatment (opening slot to dampen the bounce), if only to cause some crazy in the B2.

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