X Factor 2013 Week 9 Post Mortem: End of the road for Rough Copy

I hope you’ll forgive me writing only a brief post-mortem tonight, as I’m nursing a five-figure loss after Rough Copy were announced as bottom of the public vote. As I explained before the show and immediately after, it appeared to me that instituting a singoff at this stage of proceedings seemed like it could only be good news for an act who producers had given every indication of wanting in the final.

In the immediate aftermath, I can think of two explanations, both suggested by our commenters. One is that they’ve decided to keep Luke around because they really, really don’t want Nick to win, and are hoping that he will split Nick’s vote in the final. Still, though – if they’d wanted to keep Luke around, it would have been easy enough to do so without going to all the trouble of holding an unprecedented final-four singoff. That would indicate to me that Nick must have done better in this weekend’s vote than producers were expecting.

The other is that Sharon wasn’t supposed to have done that. She’s disappeared from the Xtra Factor at the time of writing.

Knockbacks are an occupational hazard in this game – it’s not my first five-figure loss, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. Still, I’ll need some time to process this result. Please help me to do so by adding your reflections on tonight’s events in the comments.

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105 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 9 Post Mortem: End of the road for Rough Copy

  • A total shock for me, not watching Xtra factor,

    But anyone watching, is Gary revealing anything? showing any frustration etc? This could be more telling as to wether Sharon went rogue

    • Curtis

      Gary was a very good sport, but that’s probably because Gary knows full well that Luke was the better act. Nicole seemed more distraught, which makes sense because I think she’s the closer to the producers than Gary. However, there was no particular ill-feeling towards Sharon.

  • Curtis

    I was worried that a post like this might come. Sorry for your losses. I know that you play the game smart and these are losses you can afford, but obviously it hurts. Hell, I’m reeling off my 2 figure loss.

    On reflection, I’m of the opinion that Mrs O has robbed you of those five figures. There was speculation she might’ve gone rogue last week, so it’s not like she doesn’t have form. And her disappearance at the start of Xtra Factor was at least interesting.

  • Natasha

    I really can’t envisage Luke overtaking Nick and coming 2nd next week and am confident he will place third 🙂 That’s pretty obvious though isn’t it! If there’s a vote split between Nick and Luke then this will clear the path for Sam B to win as the boy who makes it to the Sunday show will not be able to catch Sam up in the voting. Thats what I think anyway.

    Sorry for your loss Daniel 🙁

  • Kevin

    Really sorry to hear this, i was fearful for you when the result was announced, I think Sharon bottled it and wondered beforehand how she would handle the situation. She had most to gain by Luke staying I guess.

    • I agree with you – Sharon had a great reason to go rogue here, though I didn’t think it at the time. Helps Sam splitting the boys vote in the final.

      • AlisonR

        The boys’ votes are split to start with, but then of the one that finishes third, where do their votes go? Surely more likely to the other boy? Sam will have to be a long way ahead of both to win. We don’t know how far ahead of Nick she is….

    • Mark

      Not sure I share your view that by going rogue she had most to gain with this result. I think she just didn’t want to compromise her principles in that she thought Luke is the better between the two and didn’t want to vote based on the producers wishes. It seems Sharon has a lot of the weight in the industry so I guess possibly upsetting the producers wouldn’t harm her as much perhaps the other judges doing the same. Possibly something to bear in mind on the betting front if Sharon is on the judging panel again.

      • Kevin

        I think if she dis-obeyed orders she wont be on the panel again so that will be an indicator I guess. Genuinely aghast to hear of peoples losses, i was on Luke from mid week so thought I was in the money but small sums. Bad night for Sofabet.

  • I thought they would deadlock if Luke was bottom, as they’d want the public to think Rough Copy weren’t down and out. Didn’t really consider it going the other way…

  • Boki

    I was alarmed when I heard End of the road but was already 4fig involved at that point and now my season winnings are wiped out. Sorry to hear that Daniel, we all know it could happen but I’m gutted it happened so late in a sing-off that should never be…

  • Natasha

    Nick definatley got the worst song. Not powerful and will no doubt get a cringy dance routine to go along with it! No disrespect to Robbie Williams

  • Gav

    Easy money I had a pound om Rough Copy to go at 8/1. Luke is much better.

  • Nugg

    sorry to hear of your loss Daniel, the fact Sharon has gone missing and the reactions of the other judges make me suspect Sharon went off script…..missing XtraFactor because she is so upset that someone elses act has left would seem a lame excuse

  • eurovicious

    I’m not convinced Luke and Nick do split a Boy vote; they’re quite different acts from different parts of the country. So I’m not sure that can be their logic. After all, Jahmene (as a Nick analogue) and James (as a Luke analogue) didn’t split the boy vote last year. It did seem like the whole reason for having an unprecedented Final Four singoff was to transparently shoehorn RC into the final. Without them, the final will be less entertaining and dynamic, and in fact as bland as last year’s if by no means as actively unpleasant.

    I dodged this bullet by heavily backing Luke B2 at 1.5ish but not touching the elimination, so had a good week.

    It wasn’t a predictable result so don’t beat yourself up (I only say this because I have done in the past) and remember “it’s only money” (easier said than done, depending on the amount, but true nevertheless) – that goes for Daniel and anyone else who lost. This can be a dangerous game. x

    Didn’t watch but it appears Sharon did go off-script, a Daily Star showbiz correspondent just tweeted “Sharon Osbourne has fled the studios after a bust-up with Gary Barlow following Rough Copy exit”.

  • Stevie4

    So sorry to hear of your big loss Daniel as you have helped guide so many of us to profit over the weeks. I too was ready to lump a hefty amount on Luke going but thankfully something made me stop. Hopefully you can recoup in the final. I have a feeling Nick topped the vote and it was a last minute u-turn to keep Luke for the reasons mentioned above. I’m a Scotsman and even I picked up the phone and voted half a dozen times for him. My folks did the same. As such I’m covering myself either way for Sam/nick first and second

  • Sharon Osbourne ‏@MrsSOsbourne 1m
    I didn’t want to make the choice tonight on @TheXFactor. They both deserved to stay. At this point it should be up to the public, not me.

    Does this translate to… “I don’t want people to judge me as the one that sent Luke home, so I fucked them over”

  • Final Song choices were anounced on Xtra Factor, not the duets though:

    Luke Friend:
    We Are Young by Fun
    What Makes You Beautiful by Luke Friend

    Nicholas McDonald:
    Candy by Robbie Williams
    Angel by Sarah McLachlan

    Sam Bailey:
    Edge Of Glory by Lady Gaga
    Power Of Love by Jennifer Rush

  • tpfkar

    Woah. Watching on +1 so this just happened. Thank God I didn’t have money on, I didn’t see that coming. All green on the win Market now; RC were my last red. Comiserations to anyone who is down tonight.

  • Ron

    Either the producers did a last second U-turn or Sharon went rogue and defied their wishes. I can’t believe a Sam – Nic – Luke final would be their preference (surely they’d want Barlow to have an act in the final?)

  • EM

    Sorry to hear about your loss Daniel.

    I think we need to slow down on the conspiracy, rogue theories. It’s all a little Digital Spy.

    Go back to what we KNOW and this is in the past they’ve stopped using judges votes to decide who goes at the last five or four stage. There’s no real reason why they should have given up that power other than they’re relatively relaxed about who makes the final three shall we say. With good reason too, Olly, JLS and One Direction are proof you don’t need to win to have a good career out of the show.

    So then you have to speculate why have a sing off at this stage this year? Given the treatment we’ve seen Nicolas get it might well have been to get him out if they could. But the public didn’t play ball. Do they want Nic out or avoid Joe McElderry, Leon Jackson syndrome.

    In retrospect the judges seemed totally unprepared in their comments after the sing off so it might have taken them by surprise? Perhaps Luke doing a lot of lead vocals on the group song got him a boost.

    So why ditch Rough Copy over Luke? I think we’ll know more when we see the results of the voting. It may be they don’t care too much who’s in the final, it may be they see more commercial success for him. If it’s about maximising viewers for ITV it stands to reason that you would want the 3 acts with the biggest votes going head to head next week rather than two of the public’s favourite acts and one they hardly care about.

    • Ron

      I think the sing off was a last ditch desperate attempt to get Nicholas off the show.

      Did you notice Louis looked absolutely stunned when Luke went through? Very strange…..we know he and Nicole are producers’ puppets and it’s quite possible that Sharon did indeed go rogue.

    • AlisonR

      RC could still get a record deal from 4th (others have). Would Luke have got a deal if he’d finished 4th though?

  • stoney

    Nicholas signing candy. And I thought they couldn’t get any more blatant. Horrific stuff

  • Chris Bellis

    I have lost a considerable amount. I put money on because I could see how they were being pimped, but they delivered weak vocals. I knew that could happen, but I didn’t expect the public vote. I feel quite shafted. Of course my bookie relative is well covered as he had done all sort of permutations, the clever bastard. The weird thing is, RC sang great harmonies on the intro piece tonight. Oh well…I’m going to drown my sorrows now.

  • BerlinChris

    Rough Copy messed it up. It was an awful performance. Boyz II Men was a stupid choice – of course they were going to come off badly. Why choose to sing a song that makes you look like a pale imitation? It was theirs to lose…and they lost it. If Sharon had saved Rough Copy then she would have looked stupid. I would have chosen saving face over the wishes of the producers.

    I’m sorry to read about your loss. I’m sure the producers wanted Rough Copy to be saved, but choosing to save Rough Copy would have looked too much like a fix.

  • Dan

    Ouch. Sorry Daniel.

    I really thought RC were heading to the final by any means possible. Looks like next week is fairly predictable then:

    3rd Luke
    2nd Nick
    1st Sam

  • there goes another shocker… who knows, Luke might win the show next week?
    More seriously, we now know how strong the Scottish vote is.
    I hope someone can help me with this… why did they choose to have a singoff if they settled with a deadlock?

    • The general consensus is they had a singoff because there were certain combinations where they would have got rid of the act that wasn’t bottom (e.g. if Nick was second bottom). There are other possibilities, but that’s the obvious one.

  • Boki

    One thought: if Sharon was the unreliable one, possibly gone rogue last week, why they put her to vote last?

    • Ron

      Perhaps she stunned them by going rogue again. Louis looked shellshocked by the result (and he’s practically a member of the production team and their chief puppet these days).

      If Sharon did go rogue, she’s the producers’ worst nightmare come true…..there’s nothing they can do with a judge who’s walking away from the show and burning her bridges with them.

      • R

        My commiserations to anyone who lost out tonight.

        If Sharon has gone off script what can they do to harm her?

        Kick her off? She’s leaving anyway.
        Try to blacken her name? She’s hardly an angelic person.
        Have a police raid discover drugs in the house? Ozzy has that covered.
        Discover a sex tape? Urgh, just no.
        She’s Mrs Teflon and I bet she can hold her own in an argument with TPTB.

        • Ron

          It’s a pity she wasn’t around the night of the Mary Byrne – Cher sing off. I can imagine the producers being incandescent with rage if she had sent it to deadlock (ironically she would have been saving them a whole load of grief).

        • If it’s in her contract, not pay her (unlikely to invoke that anyway even if it was). Otherwise, just leave it. They won’t do tit for tat with someone who has power in the industry – she isn’t a spoilt nobody whose pissing them off.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Much of this year has been muddled and unpredictable. It may be that the judges had a free vote or were always going to put it to deadlock.
            Either way I can’t see that they would or even could sanction Sharon. More likely she’ll be back again in a year or two.

            As for her reasons.. could be anything. If she knew the vote result she might have a bad feeling about Rough Copy (remember her Steve Brookstein rant?).

            Main thing though is that bad as Luke was in the singoff – and he was poor – Rough Copy were worse and clearly, obviously, palpably worse. Perhaps she just felt she couldn’t send Luke home and left it to fate, hoping for the “right” result from the public.

  • stoney

    Also the order in which dermot asked the judges was bizzare to say the least. I think they used that charity advert to set all this up to drum up publicity ahead of the final

  • Lia

    Sorry Daniel! Hope you win it back soon.

    I sensed something was up yesterday and posted I thought Sharon and Louis would send it to deadlock to piss Borelow back, as far fetched as it may have seemed. Judges egos can be a dangerous thing and I don’t think any of them is back next year anyway, so it’s not like they have to please producers. Sharon especially has not got where she is by pleasing people. Just ask how many people received boxes full of poo as presents from her.

    Apart from the drama, the whole weekend was a pointless exercise: they didn’t get Nick, lost Arsey and Luke will never win. 2 weekends where they could have just gone back to the old ways of public vote decides from top 5 as that was what we got through deadlock.

  • Esme

    If you watch the end of the live show again you will see in a distant shot that Sharon was not in the judges chair at the very end when they were all the others were seated. I think she went rogue in order to not be the bad cop in the public’s eye and then scarpered.

  • Lia

    On another lighter topic: was anyone else apalled by Leona Lewis’ staging? I was pissing my pants all the way through. Those trees showing their bums was ridiculously funny. Or maybe just plain ridiculous.

    • Chris Bellis

      Yes, Lia. If that had been a contestant’s performance, we’d all be backing her for elimination. The staging and choreography was bizarre.

  • Fudd

    Certainly they never gave Rough Copy full support last night – colour vomit and distracting lights for the first performance were warning signs that all was not right for them. The staging for the second song at the start was questionable, sitting back to back as though in disagreement and singing a song whih repeated the same word – ‘sorry’. While dressed more appropriately Stirling (?) was dressed differently from the other two, picking up on more ‘disunity’. There was also a reminder that the group had split then come back together.

    I argued last night that Nick had been targeted but really it was a deramp at best – the gold staging and coming off the stairs helped but distracting dancers and a poor key for Halo didn’t. The judges comments were nice but not enough to motivate people to vote. Does this mean he’s closer to Sam than they would like?

    I’m sorry to hear about the losses, though. For an act so openly pimped for them to be let go now is still a surprise.

  • stoney

    Not even maloney had the level of sabotage that nicholas has had. They won’t put him on first again will they? Surely viewers are reacting to this unfairness. He’s a kid ffs

    • Fudd

      Of course they’re reacting to it – he’s still there! Though I think the tears helped him last night… and his reaction to getting through may hurt him in the vote (not hugging Louis, not comforting Luke or Rough Copy, over celebrating etc.)

      But no way is he being treated worse than Maloney; for one the press have been ordered to lay off him.

      • stoney

        I’m sorry but I disagree. First ever semi final sing off. Death slot 5 out of the last 6 times. Dire song choices. Laughing at his mistake. Maloney got off lightly compared to nicholas. He was just given vote motivating critsism

        • Fudd

          That’s because Maloney was producing headlines. He was ridiculed and criticised every single week; the press hounded him from reasonably early on; the edit created doubts in regards to his past career but he was the villain of the piece so they wanted him to survive to a certain point. And the show had been so bleak for much of the series that a semi-final sing off would have possibly been too much for some to take – especially as it would have been seen as an obvious fix to get rid of him then.

          Except for a decent fanbase Nicholas has given very little to the show – no journey story, no villain storyline, no talking points – he’s just been there. He struggles with uptempo which means, by this stage, the show’s momentum is being sucked dry because more often than not they have to have ballad following ballad (remember how shaky James v Jahmene was last year because of that). He’s a poor copy of those who have gone before.

          Is he a bad singer? Definitely not. A bad performer? No he does what he needs to. But is he good TV? Is he good commercially? The answer would be no on both counts.

          Maloney was destroyed by the show and is now little more than a figure of ridicule. No one came out of the programme in a worse place than him. Nicholas will come out of it in a much better position.

  • Hi guys,

    Already privately sympathised with Daniel. I wasn’t as confident as many about this week. I felt it would go to deadlock. After that it was a coin toss in my view.

    May I make one point, just to add to the mix.

    If you read Rob at Entertainment Odds, he talks about getting in touch with the press office and them changing their minds about whether there would be a singoff (or maybe making an error). Luke’s mum tweeted conflicting things as well

    No one was really sure if there would be a singoff until the last minute. People on here are assuming that they have decided to have a sing off for some sort of manipulative reason…. (Imagine!)

    But, timings are very important here. Not having a singoff leaves a gaping hole in the show – I wonder if they were waiting on a “yeah maybe we can” A list music act to confirm their attendance on the show. Act doesn’t confirm, singoff activated.

    Take it to deadlock, so it’s fair if anyone complains that this isn’t what normally happens. The Press Office can say “Well, it went to deadlock, so the right result happened”.

    It was Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball on the other side of town…. One or two A listers that could pop in, at least for a pre-record, if the wind’s in the right direction.

    Just a theory to throw into discussion. This singoff was very last minute – it might not be for a manipulative reason!

    • Nugg

      Hard to beleive this because Dermot most definately did announce that the bottom 2 would have a sing off in Saturdays live show, Surely if that didn’t then happen after it was announced on air then they would leave themselves open to all sorts of Ofcom complaints and potential telephone refunds for misleading the public who dialed premium rate numbers

      • Fudd

        I think Richard means they hadn’t made a decision through the week. They waited until they had to open the phone lines; realised they wouldn’t get an additional act so threw in the sing off then to fill the time.

  • Shaun

    Bad luck with tonight’s result Daniel, but you can’t win them all. Hope you got Sam at a good price for the win. At 2/5 for Luke to finish third, it does seem like giveaway money.

  • Kahdoosch

    Noticed this:

    http://shows.stv.tv/the-x-factor/news/252226-sharon-osbourne-upset-after-x-factor-semi-final-result/

    Dermott says this

    “I think the thing is we were really over time-wise so we have to come off air at 9 o’ clock, so the producer was saying, ‘make her hurry up she had to make decision’.

    “If she had more time arguably she might have gone with a call one way or another. She didn’t say it, I just felt it.”

    Desperate party-line?

    She DID ‘go with a call one way or another’, she voted to save Luke who was 1-2 down.

    What DOES he mean otherwise, one wonders?

    She went rogue.

    Commiserations anyone who lost out.

  • I though so too but don’t they see the actual votes before the judges give their verdict? B/c they would’ve seen its RC and Luke in bottom and knew there was no point in trying to get rid of Nic

  • tpfkar

    Thought things through a bit. I reckon eurovicious is right that Luke / Nick don’t share much of a demographic, and if one is out on Saturday then there’s plenty of time for votes to transfer. So I don’t buy that as an excuse.

    Let’s assume for a moment that RC went with the producers’ blessing. In the same breath, let’s assume that the only purpose of the sing-off was to get Nick. So pimp RC and Luke as much as possible so that one of them overtakes Nick. Which one? Well, Rough Copy started higher in the vote (as Luke was in last week’s sing-off) had multiple appeals for votes, and had the better slot, so Rough Copy seem the more likely. However they failed, and ended up in the sing-off (and last in the vote.)

    As the sing-off has failed, they consider the franchise, how it looks with the judges deciding in the final 4, and feel it would be best going to the public vote. As the act expected to stay are bottom, it might be as near to a shock elimination as they’ve had this series.

    At this point, the producers also think about the final. RC’s harmonies are notably dodgy and Luke is a better stage performer. Maybe they think about the casual viewers seeing the final and are worried about Rough Copy being exposed (maybe the same folks who worried about Tamera remembering 6 songs.) Also – they want to max the votes in the final, and Luke has pulled in more votes in the semi. So in order to have the most reliable finalists and get the votes in they choose Rough Copy to walk.

    Do I believe all of that? Nah – it’s just too far-fetched. Rough Copy bring energy to the final, a duet with Gary would be worth tuning in for, and Luke is a dead man walking in the final as he’s been in the bottom two on three occasions; it’s obvious he can’t get the same level of votes as Sam / Nick.

    So what’s the alternative? It is that the production team are not at one with the judges and possibly split themselves. We’ve speculated that there was dissent over Tamera being allowed to go, and is it possible that there was unease about having a final 4 sing-off? The judges usually give a long flowing speech before jettisoning the less-favoured act; it was noticeable how much Gary and Nicole said (in saving Rough Copy) and how little Louis and Sharon said (in saving Luke.) Totally out of character for both and if you are going to do something you are nervous about that could land you in trouble, you don’t talk boisterously about it. Watch back and see how little Sharon said. And Louis’ reaction when the result was announced – not that of a mentor with 2 of the final 3; more a “I can’t believe she actually did that.”

    So I’m leaning towards not Sharon going rogue, but splits and infighting in the production team, and the judges starting to take sides.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Sorry for your losses, Daniel.

      It’s an occupational hazard, occasional inevitability.
      But more importantly, you win more than you lose. I don’t doubt for a second you will finish in profit on the series overall.

      Nobody’s perfect and you can’t win them all.

      Am very impressed that you’ve volunteered that you substantially lost yesterday. Such honesty Increases your standing in my eyes. (it’s much easier to be honest about wins!). Respect.

      Hi tpfkar (as ever I’m intrigued by your username! ‘The punters from Kilmarnock are resourceful’ (!), being just one silly speculation of mine),

      I more or less agree with your perspective.

      I haven’t closely followed this series of X Factor but my gut feeling is that your analysis is right.

      I guess the following proverb: has a resonance:

      ‘While the cat’s away, the mice will play’.

      The dominant figure of the big, boss man, Simon Cowell, has been away a few years now, Stateside, pushing Syco product over there. I guess his influence has waned; his finger isn’t on the pulse here. Simon tends to tweet his opinions about British XF decisions, doesn’t he?

      Then there is the fact that his standing has diminished (and I don’t just mean those times when he takes off his Cuban-heeled shoes).

      Whatever happened to that ‘Red or Black’ thingy from a couple of years ago, for instance? ‘Food Glorious Food’, anyone? US XF has been a shambles this year. And even members of his inner harem have turned on him, following his getting of that bitchy-looking American socialite up the duff.

      I notice from Wiki that Brian Friedman isn’t a Creative Director this year. He’s been a bit of a stalwart of the show, a bringer of consistency. Perhaps Jerry Reeve and Mark “Swany” Swanhart, two new Creative Directors this year, have been having “creative differences” in their relationship?

      A number of sf community commentators have berated the s**t decisions of XF this year. XF’s casting choices have stunk the place out. Choices that reek of ineptitude, misplaced arrogance and foolishness. They really don’t know what they’re doing. This series has proved that.

      The decision-making has not been co-ordinated, not joined-up – things have been fragmentary. In the early weeks of the lives (when I bothered to watch!), I became more and more perplexed at trying to read the staging and lighting decisions for the performers, the whole mise-en-scéne. So many seemingly contradictory intentions and mixed messages made things confusing. I initially assumed that some deep, sophisticated s**t was being employed in the design…until I realised there was a slightly amateurish sense to it.

      Add to this that you have Barlow on the judging panel, who’s never looked comfortable in his seat on the show, and the return of more-openly-alcoholic-than-ever Sharon Osborne, who each week looks like she’s just wandered in from the bar.

      The return of Simon Cowell to the show, his return to the judging panel (if US XF is cancelled), might help steady the ship and bring about a stability and consistency to the decision-making and trusty manipulation that will allow investors (punters) to proceed with more business confidence.

      • Chris Bellis

        I think you are right Guildo. Sharon has always been a loose cannon. Just because Ozzy is on the wagon (?) doesn’t mean she is. As I’ve said before, she grew up with a Mafia gangster agent as a Dad, so she has learned some survival skills. She has an eye on her own public image all the time. It could have been simply that she threw a sulk after an ego conflict. She’s done it before on quite a few occasions. She’ll be pleased we are all talking about her though.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I’m torn between the two reads, Chris:

          Did Sharon go off the reservation; or was she following the orders of XF producers who had changed their mind after analysing Saturday’s show?

          ‘She’ll be pleased we are all talking about her though.’

          Hahaha! Yes, she’s a narcissistic and nasty piece of work, as far as I’m concerned, too.

          (Though the most disgusting piece of BS over the weekend came from the mouth of Len Goodman on Strictly. I’ve always liked Len, but after his oily, self-promoting, pretend ‘good guy’, disingenuous, glib words of “consolation” to the just dismissed Ashley Taylor-Dawson, I consider him a mealy-mouthed s***e. Very, very disappointing).

          I imagine XF will not be changing their mind over NIc, come the final. The whole bloody series seems to be revolving around Operation Stop Nicholas.

          From a betting point of view, it’s important to know if Sharon really did go rogue, or not.

          If XF did actually intend for and expect Sharon to play to the script by (indirectly) rubber-stamping Luke’s inclusion in the final, then we can surmise that XF do consider Nic a threat to Sam for the XF crown.

          Jeez! Luke, Nic and Sam B in the final. Bring on the balladeer boredom, why don’t you?!

          If Sharon actually had a sort of unplanned sulky strop, went off reservation, and sent it to deadlock for the sheer heck of it (and thereby forwarding Luke to a place in the final), then this would suggest that Nic is less of a threat for the outright win.
          I’m going to hold fire on any bets on the final. I’ve fancy prices about both Sam B and Nic (incidentally, they’re my forecast top 2 in the pre lives 12-1 finishing order thread).

          Because the random element is still in play:

          Stumble forward, Sharon O.

          She already has form with making Abi cry; and didn’t she make a comment earlier in the series about one of Nic’s female backing dancers (who approaches Nic as part of the choreography of the song-story) being like ‘a paedophile’!!!!!

          And there’s always this legendary game-changing performance:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L8d4ExlwsA

          Sharon’s (unless she’s more pissed than usual) unlikely to turn on her own act, so that leaves a tirade at Luke or Nic as a possibility. Maybe, she’ll go out with a bang and blast both of them! If so, this could relegate Sam B to finishing 3rd.

          I’m joking, of course…but only slightly.

          Hey! Maybe, like Sinitta, Sharon has a reason to be angry at Simon (lol) and her performances on this season’s XF are a kind of slow-reveal revenge!

          You never know with Mrs O.

          • Chris Bellis

            Hi Guildo

            Good thoughts – entertaining as always.

            Sharon has such form on this that I think she went rogue – rogue as far as TPTB are concerned, but not for her own PR. She’s done it many times before, and as I say she learned at the feet of a master. No publicity etc. I have a friend who was a singer in Bernard Manning’s Manchester club in the 70s, and she knew Sharon’s dad (he was a crooked agent). His advice was always for my friend to ditch her choirgirl image. Sharon’s grown up with this sort of stuff as a background – she knows that controversy, any controversy, will keep you in the public eye. Look how she’s resurrected Ozzy’s career. Very clever but ruthless woman. Mix in the alcohol and anything can happen.

            I too liked Len Goodman till I heard him on Desert Island Discs. I had assumed he had had at least as hard a life as I have had. No, his 17th birthday present was a new Jaguar. I couldn’t have even afforded the insurance at that age. But he’s another Louis – voice of the producers.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Been trying to think of something more useful to say that can help with your processing of this result, Daniel.

        Was there a mis-read of producer intentions?

        You nailed it with regards to Abi’s demise, her series-long destruction, and gained a massive payout. You knew the producer knives were out for her. Was there a downside to that early win, though?

        Pre the lives you also successfully pinpointed the producer love Hannah was set to receive. But they picked the wrong pony to lazily pimp a la Jahmene.

        You successfully forecast that producers would quickly want shut of Dyno-rod.

        The producers tried to Rylan-afize Shelley, but this other dreadful mis-cast soon bit the dust as again the GBP didn’t buy it.

        Rough Copy were the new JLS but, as it began to transpire, they could only intermittently sing in tune. So, producer love wasn’t enough.

        Tamera was meant to be forced into the final but again the GBP didn’t want to know.

        Despite producer hate, they have failed (so far) in getting rid
        of the boy wonder, Nicholas.

        Thinking around the above, I suppose a few things come to mind:

        A) That producer love is not enough to force a contestent down the viewers’ throats, at least if that contestant is unlikeable or woefully mis-cast or useless. Producer power is suffering under the law of diminishing returns, 10 years in.

        B) That producer hate eventually works a successful nobble of their target but that the unexpected can get in the way. For instance, loose cannon judges ripping away with the verbals and causing the targeted contestants to cry. Abi extended her stay via this reaction. Nic possibly, too. Ineptly handled, heavy handed, botched assassination attempts. Tamera fluffing her lines is another example of an unplanned circumstance that probably earned a reprieve (while simultaneously sealing her eventual fate).

        C) That producer love can run dry. They tried and tried with Hannah, but the viewership didn’t want to know. They decided that she was in the way of RC and Tamera and decided to get shut.

        The same with Tamera. They tried and pushed and pushed, but they just couldn’t force the appeal or the love. She f**ked up the latest relaunch and XF grew tired of her and grew angry at her and so got rid.

        They set out with three girls. They put the skids under Abi to maximise support for Tamera and Hannah. Eventually, they gave up on Hannah, so as to boost support for Tamera and Rough Copy. Eventually, they gave up on Tamera to boost support for Rough Copy. Eventually, they gave up on Rough Copy, to boost support for Luke (even though it had seemed they had given up on Luke, to boost support for Rough Copy).

        It seems that it was the timing of the switch of producer preference for Luke over Rough Copy that threw people this time, this occasion. It seems to have taken place DURING the XF weekend. XF have gone into and come out of the Saturday show, leaking all the old signs that Luke was for the high jump, only for Rough Copy to be jettisoned after the sing-off.

        As commentators have said, it’s likely that the producers saw the voting figures and breakdown from Saturday’s show and reeled in horror when they saw Nicholas that he was neck and neck with Sam Bailey in the vote.

        D) How do you solve a problem called Nicholas? That’s been the biggest mistake of the series (in XF producer eyes) – letting Nic take part.

        Over at Rob’s site, eurovicious offers this speculative insight re the baffling decision to let Nic through to the lives: ‘I suspect they only put Nick through as some sort of deal with STV or to try and retain Scots viewers.’

        That’s the best (and only) explanation I’ve read as to why XF scored such a spectacular own goal with Nic. Rank average

        Luke has been boosted all series-long, as one plank in a wide-ranging strategy of damping Nic’s support, keeping a cap on Nic’s support.

        And it’s that anti-Nic factor which seems to have caused XF have a major change of mind re their respective and inter-related treatment of RC and Luke DURING the weekend.

        They’d been changing their mind all week over whether to have a sing-off and so the change of mind over which contestant to keep was kind of consistent with the week’s worth of vacillation. I think right there may have been the warning signs that were overlooked.

        It seems to have been the issue of how to solve a problem called Nicholas that has brought about the weekend unpredictability and volatility.

        Much as I dislike him, I think when Simon Cowell returns to take charge, there will be fewer of these fiascos. The Ella vs James B2 shocker didn’t happen on his watch, either.

  • Argenta Q.

    I noticed that at the start of the results show, Dermot, for some reason, emphasised that there hasn’t been any fighting, water-throwing, whatever in the panel.

  • Just to quash any theories about Sharon getting rid of RC because they where a danger to sam, they clearly where not since they were bottom of the vote.

    She may have gone rogue, but not for above reason

    • kevin

      I think it is more the theory that the demo who vote for Nick might be drawn by Luke. How true this is who knows but it could have influenced her. With Nick the only threath would she utilise any conceived tactic that might reduce his vote? If it is tight she would be a fool not to if winning is her chief focus. As opposed to Louis clearly does not want his acts to win.

  • General Hogbuffer

    OK, only two comments on this:
    1. If Sharon had not given the desired answer, Dermot would have asked again. He has the producers in his ear, and he did so in the famous week1 singoff last year.
    2. I felt something was up when Dermot made a big point of the fact that this week, the judges needed to save one act, rather than before, where they had to send one act home. Don’t know how that would make a difference, but nothing happens without reason…

    I would agree with whoever said that they have written this year off as a lost cause.

    • annie

      exactly! her answer was quite easily accepted. if you look back he doesnt make her say the exact words : the act I am sending through…. it was accepted that she said im taking it to deadlock. something which wasnt enough last year for example – it had to be the exact words.
      BUT I dont think it was necesarily the desired answer, it is rather that they dont care that much. maybe now that with all the pimping RC didnt catch on they dont care about them that much.

      • Henry VIII

        They care but Dermot was embarrassed last year and wasn’t going to let it happen again. He’s a professional presenter and he doesn’t want the public to see him as a manipulating stooge.

        • Kevin

          But Annie, the other judges & Dermot may have assumed Sharon was told to do this. The shock greeted the announcement of Luke, until then maybe all others concerned were assuming Sharon had been advised that going to deadlock equalled Rough Copy through as per the strategy.

          Anyway I think (from memory) Sharon confirmed Deadlock when Dermot queried it which was the exact word. She could not give the exact name of an act as she was neither saving nor sending someone home. There was no doubt what she was indicating and once she had done what was Dermot to do really? Should he have advised her she was voting incorrectly? My reading is he thought (or hoped) that she was toeing the line.

          I think the give-away is Louis’ face when Luke is announced; when he should have been happy he was utterly stunned. he fully expected Rough Copy to be called. So until then I think he did know with certainty that Sharon had went against orders.

          All water under the bridge now, unfortunately the same water took stakes & expected winnings with it.

          • Ron

            Not only did Louis look stunned but he looked displeased as well. He would have been fully aware the producers (and his pal Cowell) wanted Rough Copy in the final and expected it to happen. His look was one of “What the hell just happened?”.

            It’s quite funny that he gave the game away and forgot that he was supposed to be celebrating Luke getting through to the final (but seeing as he is in cohorts with the producers and couldn’t give a toss about Luke, his reaction was quite understandable).

  • Can McNic win this?

    From the audition stages I said he was the love child of two previous winners, admittedly that’s biologically impossible as the were Leon Jackson and Joe Mcelderry…

    But he’s my only profitable finalist, unless Luke wins (no Chance) as I have him in a Top Boy bet

    Something that I’ve always had in my mind and that stopped be backing Sam Bailey (even after reading JScouser2002 write up from last month) was that this isn’t The Voice.

    • Kevin

      Was the singoff designed to protect Rough Copy (ironic at his point if so) or were they genuinely hoping to get Nick B2? I suspect given the level of work they are putting in against Nick that he is a threat to win. Given his age his treatment is as bad as Christopher Maloney last year.

      A singoff would have heaped pressure on Nick so maybe there was an element of mind games going on to rattle him further.

  • Caro

    Saturday night’s show was, like the week before, full of mixed messages, perhaps the most difficult one to read so far.
    Past series have shown that the bounce at this stage is quite small, so we can speculate that the heavily pimped and RC and Luke may have been quite close in the vote with Nic far ahead and Sam in the distance.
    I think that RC went because:
    Sharon has never liked them and wouldn’t save them (is that going rogue? I’m not sure), plus it would mean that the boys category vote was split and so that is extra insurance for Sam.
    I know that Luke and Nic are not aimed at the same demographic, but teenage girls do like to have a heartthrob, and (without wishing to sound a bit pervy) Luke has more appeal in that department than Nic as you can see by the sort of treatment they have had by the producers.
    So I think nobbling Nic continues. RC would never have had an impact on his vote, but Luke just might. Add in the song choice and duet with a less high profile singer (Shane from Westlife?), and the possible effect of a clash with Sports Personality of the Year and it is potentially a damaging combo.
    The deramp continues, whether this is because Nic is a threat to Sam or not, I don’t know. I am not sure, in the end, who would be rushing out to by albums by either of those two, but Sharon’s plans to take Sam to the best songwriters in the world might pay off, I suppose. I also thought that having Michael Buble on the show was significant – it said that someone who sells lots of records does not have to be ‘hip’ and appeal just to young people.

  • Henry VIII

    Anybody should take any losses on the chin. It wasn’t just in the interests of SyCo’s RC future for them to be put through, it was heavily in the interests of the final ie in the interests of a better show – more variety, more judges.

    For this the judges towed the line. Except of course Sharon who may not have even known what she was doing. (Now, in the clear light of morning, she will have a good reason).

  • David Cook

    As RC were actually leading 2:1 she should have said ‘I am sending through Luke’ in order to bring it to deadlock

  • zoomraker

    it’s much easier betting on how the public will vote than trying to second guess the judges and producers intentions.

    we’re not just speculating about the producers intentions but whether the judges have gone rogue.

    that kind of stuff is really difficult to get right.

    The gods are capricious.

  • Jessica Hamby

    The thing is that for all the pimping and signposting that RC would be saved, the decision to save Luke was actually the right one. The shock here was not that a good act was eliminated in favour of an inferior one, it was that an act that appeared to be favoured by the producers was dumped. Given the treatment of Tamera (dreadful song choices and staging, a song in the wrong key etc), is it not possible that the new set of Creative Directors (as mentioned by Guido at 7.07 am) are simply incompetent?

    • Kevin

      But if getting Rough Copy to the final was the chief aim they had as good as achieved this goal barring a loose cannon who shafted their intentions from within. Whoever hired the loose cannon might be the incompetent one in this scenario. (if it’s true!) They managed to drag, pimp the appalling RC to the verge of the final.

      BTW I have this image in my head of RC phoning Uncle Gaz in a week or two and finding the number not connecting. “must be in a bad area bruv”

      Even the ones being pimped are pawns.

  • stoney

    The only disaster for me now is if luke gets above nicholas some how I’m gonna hold my nerve and not cover it, I was more tempted to cover myself last night. But now we know nicholas is at the very least in 2nd position going into the final with the scots sure to support him in even more force on the Saturday night surely at this point bet365 4/9 for luke to finish 3rd is way too big

    • Kevin

      I agree, 4/9 looks good. I think it all points to that Nick is running Sam B reasonably close. They are fearful of him winning, is that a fair assumption to the evidence? I think it is. I think they are far more fearful of him winning than they were with Maloney at this stage last year.

  • Santa Giles

    My reaction to last night’s episode was that Luke was so close to the 2nd place and Rough Copy were so far adrift – that it was the fairest result to happen for the producers – even though they weren’t expecting it.
    As many have said, it felt a bit rushed and confused if there was going to be a sing-off or not, but what if Nick got 20% of the vote, and Luke got 19%. But rough copy only 10% (assuming Sam Bailey is 50%) Then it looks pretty bad when the percentages get released in week’s time – that Rough got the judges to put them into the final with 10% compared to Luke missing out on 19%?? And we then get a phone vote scandal etc – is this why it was a bit on the hoof and no-one could understand what happened??

    • sistermym

      I think that Nick is probably very close to Sam and sometimes winning some of the weeks and TPTB want Sam to win as they have been telling us all along

  • stoney

    Ok and if that was true, luke and nick neck and neck with samB miles ahead going into the final why the continued hatchet job. Infact they are turning it up a notch with shane filan duet and candy song choice. Now nicholas is in the final what difference does it make to tptb if he comes 2nd or 3rd? There still worried

  • David Cook

    I don’t think that there is any chance that Luke and Nick were neck and neck. It is likely that Sam B and Nick have been getting over 50% of the vote between them throughout. The others are sharing whats left and therefore are all on relatively low percentages – which accounts for how easily acts have dropped into and bounced out of the bottom two with small swings in the vote.
    Last week it could have been Sam B 30%, Nick 25% and the other 3 all hovering around 15%. I don’t think there was any chance of getting rid of Nick this week – as realisticaly they could only do it if he was bottom – and there was no chance of that. The aim was probably just to dampen Nicks vote going into the final. They would have probably prefered RC in the final over Luke – but it doesn’t make that much difference.
    Also keeping Luke will not have too much effect on the final as voting statistics for last year show that approx 60% of the votes were cast after the vote freeze for the final two. Nick could therefore still pick up a lot votes from Luke.

  • eurovicious

    Consider: last year we went into a final with two boys – a sweet, safe balladeer that people wanted to mother, and a more credible, rockier singer – plus an Over who’d topped the vote for most of the series and become a sort of people’s champion. Of the three, only the “indie boy” had been in the bottom two.

    Which year am I talking about again?

    We know that the final has a different viewership to the rest of the series. People who haven’t followed the series tune into the final as it’s a TV event. We’ve seen how dramatically this can upturn things. Eoghan and Diana, having led for the entirety of their series, finished 3rd and 4th as Alex and JLS leapfrogged past them. Similarly, last year Chris and Jahmene, who also led for almost the whole series, were pipped by someone who’d trailed in their wake for two months and even been in the bottom two.

    Subo couldn’t win BGT come the final. Subo. She went massively viral worldwide within a week of her audition and was even on the news and things. She was incredibly likeable and sympathetic, with a beautiful, powerful, outstanding, note-perfect voice, and known to everyone. Still wasn’t enough. She wasnae pop. She wasnae cool.

    Dads, mums, people who think they’re too middle-class for ITV apart from one night a year, and cool teens (too cool to watch X Factor regularly because they’re out shagging or sexting or whatever it is young people do, probably while drinking cider) will tune in for the final – and they’ll like Luke. The other two are – in their eyes – just so beige, so square. It’d be like voting for your mum or your little brother. Luke is cool though. He’s lässig, rock but not too rock, and in many ways a preferable proposition to James Arthur – he’s cuter, more endearing, less threatening, less audiovisually offputting. He’s not having an angsty dubstep seizure on your plasma screen, flecks of spittle flying hither and thither – he’s just there, being cool, playing his guitar, being Luke. He’s the only musician of the final three. The other two sing songs straight, in an outstandingly competent yet old-fashioned way – but he interprets them, sometimes while playing an instrument. He’s doing what you’d quite like to do, just standing there, singing and strumming his guitar. He’s relatable. He could be your mate – in the pub sense if you’re a lad, in the zoological sense if you’re a girl. He has a GUITAR and guitars are cool. He’ll let you have a go on it. He’ll even let you touch his hair, and now that he’s washing it regularly, you won’t even have to dettol your soul afterwards.

    Luke to leapfrog at least one of Sam B and Nick is the value.

    Cons: Sam B is not Chris. They’ve given her every help since week 4, they gave him the opposite. There are warning signs though, like the continuing “cruiseship” comments. Why are those there at this stage? Nick has a strong regional base – but will they not all be watching SPOTY?

    Also, Luke hit B2 a week before Arthur did and didn’t start topping the vote in the weeks after. While he’s technically been B2 three times, if they’d just automatically evicted the act who came 4th in the semi like they did with Misha B and Union Jamjar, he’d only have been in it twice. He wasn’t bottom of the vote in either week 8 or 9, though may have been in week 6. Could the idea of the semi singoff have been to bounce him into the final?

    I won’t necessarily be putting €€€ on this theory. But it’s fud for thought.

    Predicted running order: Nick, Sam, Luke. Hey, I automatically have a 1 in 6 chance of being right…

    L8rz.

    • Gamblebot

      You might just be overestimating the difference (w.r.t. voting) between Weeks 1-9 and Week 10. Surely we’re due a dramatic difference between Weeks 9 and 10 if they’re so different. The biggest difference we’ve seen so far (at least since they revealed the stats) is when Alex came from neck-to-neck with JLS (who lost Week 8 by 0.19 percentage points and won Week 9 by 4-5 percentage points) to winning by a sizable margin, and that needed the Beyonce factor.

  • stoney

    What we also know last year was positions 1-2 in the semi final held positions 1-2 in the final. And id hazard a guess it’s gone like that for 90% of the series. We know sam and nick are 1-2 we just don’t know the order. Luke is a tesco version of james arthur. He’s lucky to still be here

    • Natasha

      Don’t you mean Tesco Value lol Yeh Luke is no way on the same par as James. I think it’ll be a really really close call for 1st and 2nd considering what happened on saturdays show. I think the camera shot of Louis and Sharon laughing when Nicks voice broke along with the tears may have edged him infront of Sam last week. If thats the case or not, i’m expecting a lot of colour vomit for Candy, along with a cheesy dance routine and lots of
      distracting dancers. At least we know this is a song that he cant f**k up because it doesnt require any big hitting high notes like Halo & greatest day. Oh, and definatly 1st in the running order, again!! lol

  • David Cook

    It would be much more difficult for Luke to win. Last year JA topper the vote weeks 8 and 9 going into the final. The year before LM topped the vote weeks 7 and 9. Luke has not topped the vote, week 8 he was 4th and week 9 he was 3rd – so to win he would be coming from a long way back.
    He might pick up some votes but probably no where near enough to reach Nick or Sam B.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Save for Sharon having a meltdown moment, drunkedly scrambling onto the stage and punching Luke smack right in the hair, Luke is coming 3rd.

    I’m still upset Luke got through to the final.
    Sadly, I was chaffing for the opportunity to write ‘Luke, the fourth is with you’.

    I love the luxury ice creams they make in Devon, but to keep up stoney and Natasha’s theme, Luke is likeable but unfortunately only has the quality of the economy ice cream range from Farmfoods.

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