As discussed in the latest podcast, last week’s assassination job on Kingsland Road was very much a classic X Factor kill of yesteryear. The boys were put on in a graveyard slot with a boring VT, bad styling and staging, followed by judges’ comments that failed to give any reason to motivate support.
The dropping of the Flash Vote made it feel more like the old days too, though it hadn’t stopped intended victims Miss Dynamix being successfully targeted the week before. As always, and it’s a raison d’etre of this site, reading producers’ minds can give punters an edge. And their intentions for week 5 seems to have become clearer as we near the live show.
Joint-favourite in the elimination market is Sam Callahan, but we’ve had a week to digest that he is being set up as the anti-Gary villain in this year’s pantomime. The Disco Week live show indicated this in many ways: from song choice to terrible staging to the repeated shots of Gary’s jaw dropping to the judges’ comments to the repeated mentions of “harsh criticism”.
Having set up the storyline, I see no reason why it won’t be followed through this weekend. Sam’s continued presence in the headlines, whether for selling merchandise or the amount of backflips he can do, only reinforces the idea. That makes him the same false favourite for elimination that Rylan and Wagner were at this stage, as acts that producers would like to keep around “controversially” for a week or two more.
He shares a best price of 9/4 to go with Abi Alton, for whom the red flags have been waved during the week. We’ve had comments from the likes of Paul Potts about her suitability in the competition, remarks that “she’s not so sweet… not so innocent” from the Kingsland Road boys, whilst her song choice of Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’ – as AlisonR marvellously pre-empted in our comments section – has a 100% X Factor record in seeing off those who sing it.
There could be a few reasons why it doesn’t connect as a song: it’s not the most well-known big band number, tune-wise it meanders around without a big moment, and the lyrics are highly suggestive of failure. Either way, as Jessica pointed out, the most likely explanation here is the one we stick to: they’ve given Abi this number because they want her out this week.
Given prodcuers growing effectiveness in eliminations this series, we have to recommend Abi at 9/4 to go against a joint-favourite whom they’d rather see stay. The argument against is that she has a niche and some regional support, which has helped keep her in the competition so far. That much is true, and could see her avoid the bottom two again this week.
However, I can’t help but think that the generally unhelpful song choices from week 1 onwards have seen her as nothing more than an also-ran in the phone vote, with the possible exception of week 3, when she cried on stage at some harsh criticism. She was in much better form last week, but slowing down an iconic song such as ‘I Will Survive’ is not traditionally a way to shine among the voting public in this competition.
Producers know that if Abi and Sam Callahan are in the bottom two, they need to get Abi to the bottom of the pack to save Sam in a controversial deadlock situation. I think she’ll be treated accordingly tonight, and her price will contract as a result.
The other short-priced act in the elimination market is Hannah, who we have admitted is dispensable in our midweek article. This has made her a popular choice to go this week among our commenters, plenty of whom were snapping up 9/2 earlier in the week. She now stands at just 3/1.
It’s worth pointing out that even last week, when they were as kind to Abi as we’ve seen so far, there was still a gulf in their treatment, with Hannah given a better VT, running order position, staging and comments. Whilst the staging hasn’t always been so helpful for the latter, song choice generally has been, another huge difference between them.
That hasn’t stopped Hannah falling into the bottom two, unlike Abi. And this week she comes back off a sympathy bounce. Once again, however, giving her ‘A Man’s World’ which propelled Mary Byrne to the top of the phove vote in 2010, suggests to me that producers are happier to keep her around for at least one more week compared to her northern rival.
I can’t rule out a surprise bottom two appearance for the likes of Rough Copy or Luke Friend, who have recieved nothing but praise and help during the series so far. How far Rough Copy in particular are connecting with the public is open to question, but I noted stories this week about them wanting to duet with Take That in the final, and it’s interesting that they are being name-checked this way in the press, if not yet explicitly on the show.
Prodcuers will want to avoid either of these acts falling into a singoff with Sam Callahan, which is another reason to target Abi (or indeed Hannah) this week.
Otherwise, some commenters have questioned Tamera’s ability to sympathy bounce following her “shock” bottom two appearance last week. I can’t envisage anything but a big pimping tonight that should see her safe, however. Meanwhile it’s very hard to see Nicholas McDonald and Sam Bailey in the bottom two at this stage.
I have backed Abi Alton for elimination already this week at slightly bigger prices, but the suggestions that she is producers’ target make 9/4 still reasonble enough to tip. Let us know your thoughts on this weekend’s elimination market below.