X Factor 2013: Is it a two-horse race?

Following last week’s events, the win market is now dominated by Sam Bailey (best-priced 5/6) and Nicholas McDonald (11/4). It’s 8/1 bar the pair, bringing in erstwhile favourite Tamera Foster and Rough Copy, then 28/1 Luke Friend and 50/1 Hannah Barrett.

Last Saturday morning, The Sun claimed that Sam had been polling on average more than a third of the votes, whilst her nearest rival Nick was currently polling less than half that in second. It was the biggest consistent lead in the show’s history, alleged the source. However, The Sun is the paper which once claimed Jedward had topped a public vote when the post-final revelation of the percentages showed they were barely avoiding the singoff.

The paper with form for accurate leaks – including correctly calling Christopher Maloney’s early vote-topping last year – is the Daily Star. The only voting leak they’ve run with this year is the claim that Nick won the Week 2 vote. And on Saturday evening, Nick shone from the pimp slot with his rendition of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. It put him back in the game.

While I take The Sun’s story with a pinch of salt, I can easily believe that Sam and Nick between them are hoovering up most of the votes, leaving very tight margins among the others towards the bottom of the vote. So, as we approach week 7, can any of the four apparent also-rans come with a late surge, or is this a two-horse race? Let’s start by looking at some historical precedents.

The Sun claims Sam Bailey is polling on average even more than Matt Cardle, the runaway leader at the halfway point in 2010. In week 5, Matt polled more than two-and-a-half times as much as an emerging second-placer Rebecca Ferguson (33.4% against 12.8%). His margin was much smaller in weeks 6 and 7 (when he polled 23.1% and 18.4%), but he pulled away again in week 8 as producers were unable to get either of their most favoured acts – One Direction and Cher Lloyd – anywhere close to him.

Other historical examples are more encouraging for this year’s market trailers. In 2008, it was only in week 8 that Alexandra Burke and JLS emerged from the polling shadow cast by Eoghan Quigg and Diana Vickers. In 2012, James Arthur hit the bottom two in week 7 and promptly bounced to the top in week 8, well above previous leaders Chris Maloney and Jahmene Douglas. In 2011 at the same stage, Little Mix passed early leader Janet Devlin for the first time.

The problem with the 2012 and 2011 examples is that the producers had been doing everything they could to take the wind out of the poll leaders’ sails. By this stage of the competition both Janet Devlin and Chris Maloney had already been tarnished by weeks of criticism and unhelpful treatment.

In weeks 2 (Louis’s “Screwbo” comment) and 3 (the cruiseship VT), it looked like producers were taking the first steps down a similar road with Sam Bailey. But since week 4, she has received nothing but ringing endorsement. She got the tickertape “winner’s staging” from the week 4 pimp slot, and raving from the judges in week 5 for a rendition of ‘New York New York’ which they could conceivably have claimed was mum karaoke had they been disposed to be unhelpful.

It was as if producers had taken a look at the numbers after week 3 and reconciled themselves to the narrative of an Overs victory. As has been discussed in the Sofabet comments section, there is a compelling case for this being a good thing for the show: a feelgood victory for the tenth anniversary, and the first for a female over, re-establishing the point of the category. And if Sam doesn’t shift many records? No matter: we presume Simon Cowell will be riding back into town next year, suggesting that his return will get the show back to unearthing global talent.

The only point of concern for Sam’s fans last week was that Sun leak, and whether it could create complacency – indeed, whether it was intended to create complacency. Sofabet commenter Roxie wondered if the “over hype is going to be damning”.

But if producers are intending for Sam to have peaked too soon, I would have expected to detect some evidence of a deramp on last Saturday’s show, and I didn’t. Nicole’s negative note was on a positive subject – what songs should and should not go on Sam’s album. As for her VT, I was most amused by Heisenberg’s comment that “you know you’re the chosen one … When a cameraman climbs into your oven“.

Nick had a low-key couple of performances leading up to last weekend’s pimp slot standout, though staging and judges comments continued to be helpful. It’s worth remembering that this is the stage of the competition when you want to be gathering steam – James Arthur and Leon Jackson also had their first pimp slots in week 6, while Little Mix, Joe McElderry and Alexandra Burke had their first in week 5.

Given the regional and demographic advantages he also enjoys, producers must have known that giving him such a boost in week 6 (whilst doing the opposite for Luke and Sam C) is going to make it very hard to oust him from the final, which would require him being out of the top three in week 8 or 9.

Sam and Nick are both crowd-pleasing acts, and stronger than their nearest-equivalents from last year, Chris Maloney and Jahmene Douglas. Nonetheless, the extent of James Arthur’s surge in the closing three weeks of the competition – from 13.7% of the vote in week 7 to over 40% in weeks 8 and 9 and 50% in the final – suggests there may be some kind of a demographic gap among young adults who start voting only towards the end of the show and who may not be impressed by the rather old-fashioned appeal of the two market leaders.

So if someone makes a late surge – following historical precedents set by the likes of James Arthur, Little Mix and Alexandra Burke, plus runners-up Rebecca Ferguson and JLS – who is it most likely to be?

The acts I mentioned in the last paragraph arguably had three things in common. Firstly, in terms of judges comments and other factors, they had been treated well by producers throughout. Their brands in the context of the show hadn’t been tarnished.

Secondly, they were unthreatening and undivisive (James Arthur has become really controversial only since his victory). And thirdly, none of them had hit the bottom two by this stage of the competition. In fact, week 7 is historically a pretty good time to have your first bottom two appearance if you haven’t yet set the phone lines on fire – James Arthur bounced to the win from his singoff save over Ella, and both JLS and Olly Murs bounced to second place after a week 7 singoff.

Which of this year’s current market trailers fit this template best? Whilst I, like many, have failed to be impressed by most of their performances, it’s Rough Copy.

They have been given nothing but good staging and praise so far, and are the only act beyond the two market leaders not to have been in a singoff. Producers have also done their best to distance them from an urban tag with a series of anodyne song choices and the backing of housewives’ favourite, mentor Gary Barlow.

They’ve been namechecked as possible finalists in week 5, whilst talk of their album came in week 6. The problem is that there hasn’t been a standout performance from them since week 1, and their harmonies have been especially weak. If producers have ambitions for Rough Copy to overcome either of Sam or Nick (let alone both of them), you sense that this would have to change. But it wouldn’t be surprising if, given that losing did JLS and One Direction no harm, producers saw it as job done getting them to the final weekend.

What of the others? Luke Friend’s promising “dark horse” narrative from week 4 came to a crashing end over the last two weeks. It started when he was damningly described as “a busker from Devon” by his own mentor in week 5, and he subsequently dropped into the danger zone after some distracting staging and a poor running slot in week 6.

While Luke is due a sympathy bounce this week, his treatment over the last two weeks suggests producers will have him in their crosshairs in week 8 when he’ll be due to come down from the bounce.

Like many commenters, I have been puzzled by what producers have been trying to achieve with Tamera in the live shows, and where they take her from here. There have been constant references, from judges houses onwards, to her inability to connect. The answer hasn’t proved to be impersonating Beyonce, nor singing old-fashioned songs, even with an urban twist. Last week’s reported switch from one bizarre song choice (‘Bohemian Rhapsody’) to another (‘Diamonds Are Forever’) added to the impression that they are genuinely confused about what they should be doing with her.

Was last week’s lyrics flub – mirroring the narrative from her arena audition, which provoked some scepticism at the time – a desperate attempt to engender sympathy votes, or a genuine mistake? It’s hard to tell. Gary Barlow’s comment that she hasn’t stolen the show at any point up till now may have been intended to set up the narrative of it happening this coming week.

Tamera is probably more capable of a big moment than Rough Copy, although she’s tarnished as “controversial” and divisive in a way that the boyband aren’t. Producers should still be able to get her to the final if they’re willing to push for it hard enough, but getting her to win looks like a very tall order from here.

There has been some fascinating debate in the comments this week about whether Hannah could pull off an unlikely rise from the ashes. She’d been written off by many, including myself, before last weekend. The graveyard slot, VT and initial staging for ‘Satisfaction’ seemed to suggest the bus was coming, but she managed to turn it around with a strong second half that drew a positive response from the audience and judges.

When we did our pre-lives 1-12 prediction, we surmised that producers might find themselves turning to Hannah if they found Tamera too hard a sell. Unfortunately, having come across highly sympathetically in the audition, bootcamp and judges’ houses edits, Hannah hasn’t helped herself in the live shows by occasionally looking and sounding too fierce.

She repaired some of the damage with her upbeat performance last week. But as she goes into week 7 with two singoff appearances to Tamera’s one, it’s hard to see why producers would want to jump ship to her at this late stage of proceedings. I’m struggling to envisage why they would want to save Hannah in a singoff against Tamera or Rough Copy. And even if she manages to avoid the singoff this week, I fear she has become too divisive a figure to hold out any hopes of a late surge.

Richard Betsfactor and myself ended the most recent Friday podcast by increasingly seeing a two-horse race. The events of last weekend did nothing to change that opinion. There is still just about time for producers to start pulling the rug from under Sam or Nick, should they choose to do so, although if that’s their hope then I’m not sure why they would leave it so late. I’ll be looking for clues this weekend, and also to see which of Rough Copy or Tamera producers seem keenest to shepherd to the final weekend.

With three shows left before the final, do you see either Sam or Nick falling short? And who do you reckon will join them? Let us know what you think below.

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89 comments to X Factor 2013: Is it a two-horse race?

  • Joe

    I can see how Sam may create a feelgood narrative for the programme by winning this year’s show. But a head to head battle with Nic is somewhat dull. I’m of the belief that from here on in the votes pick up and you have explained very clearly that it is not too late for a turnaround. Sam although very good and likeable she to me is simply doing kareoke but doing it well. Is she an artist? No. Will she be a world wide star selling bucket loads of records? I don’t see it. Little Nic is sweet but singing songs he doesn’t know and can’t relate to. Do they want another Leon Jackson on their hands to mark the 10th anniversary?

    This weekend I sense a stand out performance, a potential game changer.There has been no shock moment yet. To me they have praised Rough Copy when they have been poor, this is their time. No boy band has ever won, they certainly may not acheive it, but with JLS departing (and featuring on the show this weekend) there is a space for them to fill. I believe a younger demographic start to vote towards the end of the series. I think Rough Copy will be finalists and may spring a surprise.

  • Alen

    I agree that it will be very hard to win over Sam and Nick. I think the most important thing right now is: who do they want in the Semi-Final? I’d guess Sam, Nick, Rough Copy and Tamera. They knew they couldn’t win with 1D and Cher Llyod but at least got them into the top4. Just as high as possible.

    As Luke is bound to have a sympathy vote this week that means Hannah is the one to be watched out. I guess the producers will do anything (give her slot 2, lukewarm judges comments, not much light, nice performance but nothing specatcular, followed by Nick and Sam performances) to get her in the Bottom 2.

    And like your arcticle I could see them try to put Rough Copy down to the Bottom 2 so they could bounce to the Semi-Final.

    That means Tamera needs a stand-out performance or we might end up having a girl vs girl bottom2 (which in any case I’m sure Hannah would leave).

  • Ben Cook

    Unless either Tamera or Rough Copy does an earth-shatteringly amazing performance this week, it will be Sam or Nick for the win. I can’t really see that happening. Tamera is not as good a singer as she has been made out to be. She looks like a popstar, but she has yet to give a convincing popstar performance. Rough Copy I’m amazed haven’t been bottom 2 already as they have been dreadful throughout. Hannah may still survive another week or two but she’ll be gone before the final. Luke is a dead man walking, given his recent treatment.

    I’m pretty convinced Sam now has this bagged. I don’t think Nick is cute enough or talented enough and doesn’t have much of a story. And as Betsfactor predicts, the Scots may well be voting for Andy Murray on the other side on the Sunday night.

    Sam has the best voice, the best story, the most likable, and she will sell more records than Nick. She won’t have huge hit singles, but she will sell albums.

  • Ben Cook

    They have signed other 4th place acts before though.

  • Off topic, but do you still do articles on the X factor in the states?

    • Hi Joe,

      This was the last one –
      http://sofabet.com/2013/10/28/us-x-factor-2013-finishing-order-prediction/

      There’ll be another preview before the final and possible one in between.

    • Nissl

      I wrote the pre-season preview, but I’m not sure I have an angle on an article right now. “Let me list all the ways in which the show is a mess and deserves its likely cancellation” isn’t gripping reading. This week had bad production for clear favorites (Josh) and other favorites got pimp/ante-pimp placement but the judges gave them fair criticism. Everyone’s been tagged except Rion, who is no great shakes vocally in my opinion. The judge panel has descended into bickering that is annoying rather than intriguing. Simon’s trying to do his thing targeting acts but everyone’s talking over him so it’s not very effective. Lots of the VTs are really clumsy.

      So far they are on track to get all of their potentially commercial acts (in my opinion) through to the top half, but that could change tonight with the second double elimination in as many weeks. I’m doubtful that anyone has broken out from the pack and a lot of the favorites stumbled last night. I suspect the show would prefer losing two of Tim, Carlito, Jeff, or Lillie tonight. Khaya might not bounce enough to stay clear of B3 either, and if she does, that was a fairly damping production that will see her back there soon enough (see: KR.) I thought Simon might be turning Carlito into a Sam C but that doesn’t seem to have carried through to last night.

  • Great article Daniel.

    I’m not convinced Saturday was an authorised or official leak. I’ve written a load of stuff, on an inferior blog, about why I feel Nicholas is going to come second and I also deal with a pattern when Daily Star leaks come out. Here’s the link….

    http://tinyurl.com/advantagebailey

    As for this weekend, my hunch is the plan will be Hannah vs Tamera or Hannah vs Rough Copy this weekend. I see Hannah as very dispensable now.

  • jay

    Whats your take on Lukes new haircut? Is this a positive or a negative for him? Will he get any vote transfer from the callafans?

  • Heisenberg

    Great post – I see X Factor’s week 7 like the third day of a golf major, it’s ‘moving day’. Its not quite the home straight but it’s the platform from which to make a move into the final furlong (with a little bounce inducing manipulation from TPTB if necessary).

    Although most are expecting Gary’s comments to be predictably followed this week with a show-stopping Tamera performance, what if we’re jumping the gun just a little bit.

    This week is the anniversary celebration, it’s going to be a party atmosphere – everyone has fun and Hannah probably bows out gracefully, simplifying duplicate hometown representation currently shared with Rough Copy and downsizing the girls category to a preferred single occupant.

    As a result, Tamera goes through to ‘jukebox’ week 8 (possibly with a second bounce in hand) where acts will perform two songs, one of which to be chosen by the public. Now remember Gary’s comments, “You’ve got it in you… you’ve got so much potential… I keep expecting you to steal the show… you just haven’t done it yet.” If only there was a way of handing Tamera a song with such mouth-watering potential to unleash her, well, potential, yet at the same time nurturing a connection with the public.

    Holy Jukebox Batman! Gary’s pre-emptive comments served to plant the seed of anticipation and viewers swiftly oblige by voting for the obvious ‘money’ song. One rousing judges’ ovation later and well done everyone at home for being instrumental in Tamera’s triumph.

    That missing connection previously seen only on the side of milk cartons comes romping home.

  • R

    It looks like a 2 horse race to me.

    I also see Hannah B2 with Either Tamera or RC this weekend. Looking at the number of RT’s & favourites they received from their Niall Horan tweets, Tamera & RC seem very evenly matched. If anything RC were slightly ahead despite their worst performance, whereas Tamera may have received some sympathy.

    I expect a Tamera/ Hannah B2 but won’t be surprised if RC end up there. However, the Dr Who overlap will be the decider & I expect RC & Luke to fill the final 2 spots in the show.

    This will allow Tamera to bounce into the top 4 the following week when she finally gives her “standout performance” ie same as the previous weeks but with all the judges telling us she finally gave them the performance they’d been waiting for.

    However, this will mean Luke & RC will be B2 in week 8, with Luke leaving.

    In week 9, RC will bounce into the final with Tamera finishing 4th, leaving a RC, Nick, Sam top 3.

    I think the top 3 is a misnomer as it’s the top 4 who are automatically signed to Syco, & keeping Tamera in 4th spot keeps their options open to Cher Lloyd or Misha B her. Saying that, RC & Tamera are completely interchangeable with regards to their positions.

    I don’t believe The Sun at all regarding Sam B. She may have topped the vote but that was with massive pimping & I believe Nick is much closer in the voting.

    I also noted last weekend that when Niall Horan (his Syco managed account) tweeted RC & Tamera, to keep them out of the B2, he also tweeted the one other person the show could not allow to lose any advantage of the youth vote, and that was Nick.

    Also, Nick has not received any deramping, whereas Sam has had some mild deramping which I believe is to test the water as to how easy it will be to prevent her winning.

    This show is very different to 2011 & 2012.

    In 2011, the show did everything to help LM to win & went all out to stop Janet from the early stages.

    In 2012, Maloney was an instant hate figure and was purposely used to get the “You have to vote for James Arthur” campaign rolling. Interesting that The Sun & Mirror also had “James Arthur to win campaigns. Was this media collusion?

    I just can’t see a show where we’re told to vote for the angelic Tamera to stop Nasty Nick or Psychotic Sam from taking the crown.

    I believe the early hints at Nick’s Scottish heritage has got the Scots on board and he is liked by a good proportion of the younger population.
    He will also be able to wear tartan in the final without it looking out of place as tartan is very fashionable at the moment.

    The only worry I have is if the Scottish will be voting Murray on Beeb1 instead of Little Nicky.

    As an aside, Janet is performing her debut single on This Morning tomorrow. While I’m pleased for her, the show has always followed TXF script, (I call it the sister show as it has so many past extra factor presenters) so it will be interesting to see how she’s treated.

  • R

    For anyone who thinks it is a two-horse race you can get some great straight forecast odds:

    9/4 Sam B/Nick
    4/1 Nick/Sam B

    Skybet & PP

  • Heisenberg

    VT clues, girls just want to have fun – without Tamera.

    http://goo.gl/3Ck44r

  • Heisenberg

    Sam’s been spraying bullets in ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ on Xbox One.

    “Keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding” suckers, the face of a champion if ever I saw one:

    http://goo.gl/b64nEl

  • Wow – what a difficult one this is to call…

    Hannah Barrett – Hallelujah

    Luke Friend – What Makes You Beautiful

    Nicholas McDonald – The Climb

    Rough Copy – Don’t Let Go

    Sam Bailey – Bleeding Love

    Tamera Foster – Impossible

    I’d say boosts for Hannah and Sam B, although my money before this moment was on Hannah to go!

    I’d say negatives for the rest. RC’s harmonies need to be on point (dangerous!), Nic’s got a weakish song, Tamera could do without the James Arthur link this week thanks very much, and Luke will be compared to the 1D version and I can’t see him doing that song justice (If you get my drift!)

    • Tim B

      They’re all quite good choices. One Direction fans will go crazy for Luke singing ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, and with him Sam C out he will almost certainly bounce. Rough Copy’s stands out as potentially dodgy, but I suspect their backing track will help. Definitely agree that Tamera may suffer because of her bad press.

      • Tim B

        *I meant James’s bad press – and people will be reminded of hers.

        The thing about Nicholas’s song is that, although it is suitable and a popular enough song, the audience will remember that it’s by a duff winner (Joe Mc) and the idea will be planted in their minds that he could end up being a Syco flop as well.

        • Heisenberg

          “…it’s by a duff winner (Joe Mc) and the idea will be planted in their minds that he could end up being a Syco flop as well.”

          Excellent point!

        • Lia

          I see the similarities with Joe McElderry and why Nick was given this song. In case he wins we just have to hope he’s not given a Norwegian pop-dance tune for first single off the album or he’ll flop just like Joe did. 🙂

    • eurovicious

      What is Don’t Let Go? And if it’s the En Vogue dirge that Little Mix covered in the live shows (but haven’t released), why are RC doing that when almost everyone else is doing a Winner’s Song?

      Tamera/RC for bottom 2. People love Hallelujah, the Burke version sold bucketloads in a v short space of time. Impossible is not much of a tune. And while until recently they might foreseeably have picked the song because they want to associate Tamera with their most recent winner, that can’t be the case at present. (I’m getting a surprising amount of schadenfreude out of it considering he’s never done anything to me personally. I just found him obnoxious and his musical anguish insincere from the moment he appeared. And to think it was the nervous, vulnerable gay man that the show assassinated by tabloid week on week instead, while relentlessly pushing this vile twerp. On their own head be it.)

      Is this the shock “Tamera goes” week?

    • Nissl

      Hmm. Two originals, three Christmas single covers, one cover that majorly helped an act on the show, if I’m not mistaken. Kinda emphasizes how little follow-up success XF acts have had. I’d think the choice of DLG might be grounds for a panto fight about category definitions if the producers weren’t pushing RC hard so far.

      Nick and Hannah are singing songs that were sung by people in the same category when they previously appeared on XF. I wonder if that will invite tough comparisons.

      Somebody had to do a 1D song with the album out this week (Simon pushed it on one of his groups on USXF as well) and I think Luke might carry it off all right. He’s a decent match for Harry’s voice. I think it will be helpful.

      As for RC, I agree it’s a risky choice. Maybe TPTB are hoping it’ll do for RC what it did for LM. Same competition week, even. But regardless of what you think of LM, they’re certainly a cut above RC in the vocal department. Perhaps enough of a backing track will pull it out. After all this isn’t so easily compared to the original since they’re male.

      • eurovicious

        As the tracklist for the X Factor album shows, there’s a lot more good stuff to choose from – they could have picked Beat Again, Everybody In Love or Lower Gastrointestinal Tract Skips A Beat (all great songs) for RC, all of which would have been highly suitable, or With Ur Love, Bad Boys or Bleeding Love for Tamera. The latter in particular would have been the obvious choice and Tamera could easily do it justice. But no: the landmark song by the show’s most successful winner goes not to Tamera but to Sam B.

        Hallelujah is an absolute gift for Hannah and I’m hard-pressed to see how she could ruin it – this is the one time that the more she vocally overdoes it (in the second half at least), the better. The 1D song (their most famous) is great for Luke also, plus he’s on a bounce. Nick is also safe with his suitable and demographically appropriate choice, though it could also have been better.

        I can’t believe they’ve given that song to RC. Look at that list of songs and what leaps out? 5 number ones by X Factor acts – 4 of them smashes – from recent memory, the oldest dating from 2007, plus 1 song by a US act that reached number 5 in 1996. To put it another way: 4 winner’s songs, 1 ersatz winner’s song (as 1D were the plan A that year and WMYB was their huge debut single), and… a girl group song from 17 years ago that Little Mix performed in week 7 last year. It’s totally bizarre and sticks out like a sore thumb, all the more so when you consider they could have been given a 1D or JLS song instead.

    • Crystal D

      I think Luke’s safe enough this week. I suspect he’ll get the pimp slot on Saturday (I think I’m correct in saying he’s the only one yet to sing last), the 1D song and mentoring VT will please the teen girls and there’s always that bounce!

      My money’s on Rough Copy against either Hannah or Tamera. Tamera looks on slightly dodgier ground, as I think she’ll be singing early in the show and let’s not forget that the Dr Who 50th Special clashes with X factor this week, so the first few singers may be at a slight disadvantage there.

      I also think the James Arthur connection may go against her, what with his recent controversies. Could Hannah buck the odds and make it through another week??

  • Heisenberg

    My pre-lives top girl bet just came off life support.

    “Well, it goes like this
    Survived week three, the fifth
    The minor fall now the major lift
    The baffled king composing hannahujah

    Hannahujah
    Hannahujah
    Hannahujah
    Hannahujah”

    http://goo.gl/37SI3u

  • Heisenberg

    Hannah really needs to attack the ascending part of the verses in Hallelujah. I don’t think she can sing it any other way.

    Something like this would be just fine, great styling too:

  • Roxie

    I think they’re deramping Sam Bailey. She’ll no doubt be praised for her version of the song but Bleeding Love is one of those songs which many previous contestants have failed at. Take Matt Cardle for instance – arguably the most talented (aside from Rebecca) in the most talented year of contestants. He did the song and it was his weakest performance ever! He even got a mild vote decrease. Nick’s drawn the short straw with his choice, arguably the X Factor song which sticks in people’s minds the least. Any possibility for a shock elimination or is he impenetrable?

    I’m just thinking that Sam B and Nick have similar demographics…could they perhaps be splitting the votes? And with Luke singing a One Direction song – will he be getting the teen girl vote and maybe even the mother vote now instead? I can’t help but feel that Nick is in danger this week especially after his pimp slot. He may even go during the Doctor Who slot and lose some of his demographic’s votes (mothers forced to watch Doctor Who for the sake of their families or the kids). Tamera is probably going to be going second I presume and that will inevitably mean a B2 appearance as Hannah going later will probably get her Tamera’s votes. Rough Copy probably won’t get the pimp slot as Luke will (if they want him out next week).

    Honestly I think it will be Rough Copy vs Hannah, but I have this weird feeling it will be Tamera vs Nick. Sam B won’t be in too much trouble because I think she’ll have a later slot.

  • Chatterbox5200

    The Climb is also probably best remembered as the X Factor song that failed to make the Xmas No.1, beaten by Rage Against The Machine (the anti-X Factor campaign), although it did make No.1 the following week.

    Does that give the impression of a winner? More likely a runner-up.

  • Gamblebot

    Notes about the song choices:

    Hannah:
    This could be like Beautiful– strong, emotional– and she makes one last run at the final or this could be ugly– she doesn’t control and sounds like she’s shouting or she controls but doesn’t show enough power– and she leaves.

    Tamera:
    This is a strong song choice on paper, but the association with JA is not good news. She should be getting a fun song this week as something like No More Drama fits better as her strong emotional moment. The slightest mistake could send her crashing down.

    Luke:
    Opposite of Tamera in the sense that it is a bad song choice on paper, but the association with 1D is always good. Of course, he could stick out like a sore thumb (i.e. he will come off as clumsy and un-charming vis–à–vis 1D) and threaten his long-term shelf life, but he will be safe this weekend.

    Nicholas:
    Predictable, predictable, predictable. He will give an okay performance that won’t gain him fans but will make his current fans happy. The association with Joe will remind people not to make the same mistake. There will be a problem (again) with emotionally connecting as even Joe (who was good at this) didn’t do so.

    Sam:
    I had enough time to think of this and (ONCE AGAIN) her biggest problem will be nailing the soft moments of the song. She could be seen as very weak compared to the gold standard of female winners.

    Rough Copy:
    The only song that’s not a winners’ single. The average viewer will probably think of how much better Little Mix was doing the song 2 years ago. Much like almost all the songs they’ve done, it doesn’t fit and could be very hard to watch. Could be in grave danger.

  • Hannah – I’m not sure its a good song choice, I don’t know how many extra votes its going to motivate for her, and she is at her worst when singing slower songs imo.

    Tamera – No view as yet, is being associated with JA really that bad? if so, does it fit any image they can push her in, her Bad girl type image, thinking after the show? Im totally speculating here but I’m not sure how Bad/Good it isd.

    Luke – Agree with Gamblebot, my only question is if OD hadn’t sung it, would it be a successful song in the charts? If the answer is no, then Luke singing it will also be unsuccessful. Would assuming his safety depends on running order anyway

    Nicholas – I’m expecting him to be on first this weekend, followed by average comments “You sung it well, well done” like that. Vulnerable for me 12/1 for bottom 2, I’ve seen worse bets. Long term I think its dreadful for his chances at outright.

    Sam B – Despite the poor treatment for Matt Cardle when he sung this song, I really believe that was down to actually treatment, staging/lighting/VT/comments, Sam Bailey should be fine with this. Being associated with the arguably the most successful winner is not a bad thing.

    Rough Copy – I’ve been against them every week baring “play that funky music”, I think these are very vulnerable for a bottom 2. The song focus’s on vocals and it just depends how much backing track they give them. I thought last week was poor and a poor song choice at that, last weeks also focused on vocals, they were weak and they follow up by given them another song that does the same. Something doesn’t sit right with me here. On them since Monday for bottom two at 3.0 happy with the bet.

    Overall if I had to back a bottom 2 combo now, at the prices would be Rough Copy v Nicholas at 50-1, hoping that they are on 1st and second. But think running order will decide everything this week, only thing we can be sure of… Hannah wont be on first? Right?

    • According to Twitter, Luke will do an acoustic version of the song. Whether it will capture the spirit of the song and capture the hearts of voters is another story.

    • Gamblebot

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvp2VH7b0lI Apparently, Hannah will integrate Jeff Buckley in her rendition.

      • Daniel

        Wonder why Tamera is the only remaining contestant not to get any interview or audition time in this clip? There’s probably an innocent explanation but it did strike me.

        • I wonder if her relationship with Sam Callahan has upset producers, since apparantly its strictly against the rules?

          Doesnt help their image after the show if they are in a relationship.

          • Henry VIII

            Why against the rules? The presenters kept bringing it up on ITT. A talking point. They even create false romances eg 1D Zahn and a Mixer (and probably Sam and Tamera).

          • Gamblebot

            I don’t think so. If anything, news about their relationship came from the producers to create some drama.

        • Gamblebot

          I noticed that, too, but I shrugged it off something like having no view of the judges in her Listen performance.

        • Heisenberg

          I also noticed just how prominent Hannah was in that video, is ‘Hallelujah’ going to be a game changer or a damp squib? This sets the tone perhaps more for the former.

          Maybe Tamera’s ‘notable by her absence’ shenanigans this week (also here: http://goo.gl/3Ck44r) will be portrayed as illness, pressure or yet more song choice indecision – further attempts to humanise?

          It was mentioned earlier here that TPTB will try and avoid a final that is seen to be a foregone conclusion and I think there’s a lot of substance to that theory. What can we interpret from this Sam B story?

          http://goo.gl/8QXmO8

          • Boki

            Tamera’s absence is really intriguing. I mean she is there in the group but there is no interview and also we don’t see her practicing. Is this to reinforce the view she is not taking it seriously?

  • EM

    Interesting song choices, on paper they’re all popular songs but thinking beyond paper there are a few possibilities.

    Hannah – we know it’s a popular song, the best selling winners single ever (I think). If she sings it like every other version I know if it’s impossible to shout it and be too screechy. Could be a very good song for her perception.

    Luke – it’s a song written for a vocal group not a solo singer. I’ve heard solo attempts at it and they’ve been really boring, the chorus only works with a group, they might use a huge backing group but that’s going to stand out. Might please the One D fans, it might aggravate them, it’ll be interesting to see what he says in the pre VT, does he get them on side by saying who much he admires them or does he say he’s doing it his own way?

    Tamera – another popular song in the scheme of things, perfect for that “stand out performance of the night” moment if she can nail it.

    Rough Copy – just can’t hear this done by a boy group, it’s in such a high key. However Little Mix topped the voted when they did this tune so it’s got some love.

    Sam Bailey – this doesn’t feel like her kind of song at all. Her songs so far have mostly had a narrative story through them which she connects with and a big soaring chorus. Bleeding Love is more a collection of phrases and repetitive chorus. Not sure this will work for Sam.

    Nic – for me a dodgy association with Joe McElderry and a perceived flop single (even though it actually outsold Rage Against the Machine in total!). It may well delight his fans though.

    Just a thought but maybe each act is being joined by the “original” performer of their song? Would certainly make song of the songs make more sense like Rough Copy and Luke’s.

  • Gamblebot

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03hmh0f I saw someone share this on DS. Apparently, the remaining Boys were in BBC Radio 1 with Louis and Lou-Lou was very candid! He’s shown displeasure with JA; I wonder how that will come to play when he visits this week and performs next week.

  • Dean

    Looking at the song choices they want Luke to bounce no doubt. I have a feeling they maybe don’t mind RC in the B2 this week in order to bounce. Unlike most I’m not sure Tamera has a bad song. It will suit her, could be a break out performance and despite recent slagging matches, JA still popular with a number 2 album behind Eminem. Problem is he is an idiot but let’s see how they treat Tamera.

    If I’m being honest looking at the show I think they don’t mind 2 of Hannah, Tamera and RC. Maybe just maybe Hannah got enough votes from the death slot last week that maybe producers think they can push her to next week too with a break out Hallelujah?

    Still my B2 combo this week would be RC and Hannah

  • Kyle

    McNics bday tomorrow, does that have any effect on anything??

  • Ben Cook

    The top 4 aren’t “automatically” signed to SyCo and not making the top 4 doesn’t mean you won’t be. Christopher Maloney and Ella Henderson being two examples. I’m sure at this stage they are going to sign Tamera and Rough Copy whatever happens, even if they are both bottom 2 this week. Though personally I don’t think they should bother with RC.

  • Ben Cook

    1D fans could just as easily go “who does he think he is singing their song” and say it wasn’t as good as the original because 1D are the best singers eva lolz xox

    Also 1D are divisive anyway so it will put off other people who might have liked Luke before. I think he is in danger of bottom 2 again and most likely to go if he does.

  • Ben Cook

    This could be a game changer for Hannah. I’ve always compared her personality-wise to Alexandra and I’ve felt that she has come across more positively in recent weeks. If she nails this song she could surprise everyone and make the final.

  • Ben Cook

    Though the people who think that probably always did and haven’t been voting for him anyway.

  • Ben Cook

    What has Christopher Maloney being gay got to do with anything? And in any case wasn’t a lot of the stuff in the papers about him not getting on with the other contestants true?

    • eurovicious

      I’m highlighting the fact that the show pushed to victory an apeth who says things like “fucking queer” while using the media to demonise a gay man week after week.

      • Dean

        This is indeed true, we only see what people are like from certain things the media are allowed to print and the VTs etc.

        Only the XF can get away with making JA out to be some pin up calendar boy. He is ugly as they come yet by week 8 the younger females loved him. Then the villain acts, are they really that bad as people as the show made them out?

  • Ben Cook

    I agree an Olly Murs song would have been perfect for them. Why have they given them yet another ballad, when they can’t sing?

  • Ben Cook

    I think the difference with Bleeding Love this time is that it will suit Sam. It’s a ballad, but a contemporary one so it sort of shows that there could be a future recording career for her. And you just know she will nail the vocal.

  • Ben Cook

    I don’t know why my replies didn’t follow the right comments but never mind. One more thing I wanted to ask, who do people think will go if Tamera and Rough Copy are bottom 2, which looks plausible if Luke gets a bounce and Hannah nails Hallelujah.

  • Lia

    I think the song list might have said any song ever performed by any X Factor contestant, which would be a very broad and potentially very good for all contestants. BUT I don’t think it was that good. It was probably more likely “songs the producers bothered to clear that were once performed by winners or people they think should have won like 1D”.
    It’s been mentioned by guests mainly that they would like Rough Copy to sing more R&B and Don’t Let Go would fit that bill. It came for Little Mix as they were constantly urged to show off their harmonies which were supposed to be great backstage (and occasionally shown on the XTra Factor). One of the highlights of the performance was the a cappella harmonies at the end. As for Rough Copy, their harmonies have been ropey at best and I’m not sure what their trying to accomplish here.

  • Gamblebot

    Where did that come from? 😮

  • Heisenberg

    More info…

    Olly & Tamera:
    http://goo.gl/8MCyti

    Luke & Shayne:
    http://goo.gl/ZbCyAC

    And we already knew:
    http://goo.gl/4UAt0z
    http://goo.gl/CUlPpo

      • Gamblebot

        Alexandra afaik. She flew from the US to help her (or was it she helped her then flew to the US).

        • Daniel

          Good question Greg, and we don’t know anything about Rough Copy’s guest mentor either. One would think they both have one (Hannah with Alexandra, as Gamblebot mentions), because the alternative is that trip to the funfair with Gary and Nicole was compensation for both acts missing out.

    • AlisonR

      That’ll do Tamera no harm, Olly Murs, everyone’s favourite cheeky chappie. Will also reinforce the “you don’t need to win to be successful” message

    • AlisonR

      I see Joe McE & Nicholas as a serious attempt to deramp Nicholas (but at least it’s not Leon – or maybe that’d be too obvious). Bet he’s been polling more than they want, possibly even topped last week with the pimp slot & best performance of the night. No wonder Louis is already so confident about him. I don’t think they want him to win, and I wonder if they will continue to try to deramp him a bit like Eggnog a few years back, even to the point of trying to make him miss the final. Is he on first this week?
      For that reason, no, I don’t think it’s a two-horse race.

  • Heisenberg

    Take with a pinch of salt, it’s a PP blog after all:

    http://goo.gl/ES6R9t

    • Never read the PP blog before and it provides a useful insight. You’d have to imagine that PP would use this to line their own pockets, so their conclusions should be taken with a pinch of salt. That said, I’m surprised that bookies would be allowed to the dress rehearsal.

  • Heisenberg

    Semi-final format, 2 acts with lowest votes face a sing-off. TPTB will have the final say, literally.

    Semi-Finals – Sat 07 Dec 2013
    http://goo.gl/elrjEL

    Results Show – Sun 08 Dec 2013
    http://goo.gl/E1vOKb

    • Boki

      Wow, sing-off in the semi-final !
      Is this a copy-paste error of the ITV site editor or they really want to keep the option of getting rid of someone?

      • AlisonR

        Probably the latter. Is there a precedent for semi-final singoff? I know they have sometimes done it and sometimes not done it at quarter-final level

        • Ben Cook

          I believe the only time they did it was 2010, and I also have a feeling that ITV have made the same mistake on their website one of the years since then.

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