To nobody’s great surprise, Sam Bailey is our winner. Congratulations to Sam from all at Sofabet. On the bright side for Nicholas, he’s still alive. I was happy to end the series by recovering some of last week’s losses on Rough Copy, having been sufficiently encouraged by how far clear Sam was in YouGov’s poll to keep piling on her at odds of 1.25, having started backing her in week 6 at 2.34.
All credit to Sofabet commenters including Tim B, JScouser and tpfkar who had been cheerleading for Sam from the start at much longer odds than I managed to secure. I hope you got on board the Bailey bandwagon at an earlier point than I did.
And having found out the winner, there’s not long now until the highlight of every X Factor series – the release of the voting statistics on the X Factor website. We’ll be pressing F5 and hoping they appear before the small hours of the morning. If so, we’ll aim to get an insta-analysis post up within the hour.
One of the things we’ll be looking for is to test the theory that Sam’s week 1 vote was one of her best, and Nick’s week 3 vote one of his worst, for those were the songs they reprised in the first round.
Nicholas was up first, reprising ‘Angel’ rather than ‘Someone Like You’, which saw him pimped and, according to the Daily Star, topping the phone poll in week 6. His VT showed that Louis had made this choice. As Jessica pointed out, the word “little” was used frequently about him. It was a solid vocal performance from Nicholas, and the staging was tasteful, although there was a long shot for every emotional moment of the song.
Sam Bailey was reprising ‘Power of Love’, and we’ll be surprised if she didn’t smash the week 1 vote with it. Like Nicholas, her VT also emphasised the journey she had gone on. I much preferred the more intimate staging of week 1 to the red-and-black we saw tonight. There was also a plinth and Sam started in a cage – so quite a few of our red flags were present. (Though in the comments, Fudd speculated that the raising of the cage might have been a metaphor for escaping her prison job).
But if some aspects of the staging were unexpected, the panel’s reaction wasn’t. She got a four-judge standing ovation, and even Louis pleaded for votes for her. Joe wondered in the comments if this indicated it was close – we shall soon see, although Tulisa’s table-thumping this time two years ago came with Little Mix never in serious danger of losing out to Marcus Collins.
Nick’s final VT had him telling us that when he got through Louis’s judges’ houses he never believed he’d get this far, which clearly indicates he’s unaware of what being young, cute, vocally competent and Scottish can do for you. Or, indeed, what it can lead to the show doing to you – the lyrical message of his winner’s song, “it’s not easy to be me”, felt like a commentary on his less-than-helpful treatment since week 7, which continued with this rather meandering song choice. The staging was nice enough again, though – gold balloons, and what looked like Stonehenge.
Comments for the underdog’s performance of their putative winner’s single are always intriguing – we would have expected, if Nick had been leading in the vote, the judges to have been tipped the wink to hype this as a song everyone must buy if he wins and it’s released as a single. That didn’t happen, Sharon and Gary merely congratulating him for doing so well throughout the series while Nicole and Louis mentioned that the song could go on his album.
Sam got a fabulous send-off VT, focusing on how she felt the show had taken ten years off her while strengthening her bonds with her family, and a choice of winner’s single much more typical of the inspirationally-uplifting genre.
Louis said – twice – that this was going to be a number one record, which seemed to stand in stark contrast to the “you can put this on your album” message for Nicholas. That seemed to be all the proof we needed of which way the result was going – and so it proved.
We’ll be back soon after we get those statistics, but in the meantime let me say a big thank you to all the commenters who have kept up a debate in the comments that has never veered from being friendly, good-humoured, informative and constructive. In the spirit of X Factor final sentimentality, I’m under no illusions that you make this site what it is.