Soon after Sam Bailey took the prize, the weekly breakdown of the phone votes was revealed. We like to take our time poring over these to provide a fuller analysis when the dust has settled (see our 2012 review articles). Still, here’s our quick-and-dirty analysis.
As usual, we’ve run these through a spreadsheet to get each act’s vote as a proportion of the average, given the differing number of acts who were in each week. For example, Nick’s score in week 1 was 23.5%. There were 12 acts, so the average vote was 8.33%. That means Nick got 3.05 times as much as the average, or, to put it another way, 305% of the average. We think these figures allow for more meaningful comparisons week-on-week.
And as usual, we’ve quickly done a pretty graph. Here are the trajectories of the top eight, on those percentage-of-the-mean figures:
Please let us know if you spot any snafus in our calculations, as they’ve been done quickly. Assuming they’re okay, here are our quick takeaways.
1. It was always Sam or Nick in first and second
Nicholas won the overall vote in Weeks 1, 2 and 6. Otherwise, Sam always polled best, but it was far closer than we suspected from week 8 onwards.
By our calculations, almost two-thirds of the votes in the final were cast after the Saturday freeze which saw Luke eliminated, and those votes split 61.5-38.5 in Sam’s favour – a bigger margin between the two than when Luke was still in it.
2. Producers’ took their eyes off the ball with Nick in week 6
As we suspected in our post on Nick’s journey, if producers were looking to deramp Nick gently throughout the whole series, they took their eyes off the ball with his week 6 pimping. His line in the graph shows he was comfortably below Sam in weeks 4 and 5, but had to be dragged down steadily from week 7 onwards to keep him below the eventual winner. The Powers That Be must’ve been worried.
3. “ScrewBo” hurt Sam, the cruiseship VT didn’t
In our retrospective on Sam’s journey, we thought she was deramped in weeks 2 and 3. It turns out week 2’s treatment, including the ‘ScrewBo’ tag, hurt her mean vote – but her week 3 Celine Dion effort, with the cruiseship VT, was almost her best ever – better than the following week’s pimp slot. It turns out commenters AnnaC and Chris Bellis may be right to argue that X Factor viewers see cruiseships as aspirational, even if producers generally mean it to be a negative connotation.
4. Tamera disappointed in her “Beyonce impersonation” pimp slot
Also in that retrospective on Sam, we surmised that after week 3 producers decided that if Nick were to be stopped, Sam was the only game in town. That theory stacks up well on these figures. Both Hannah in week 2 and Tamera in week 3, acts we believe producers might ideally have preferred as winners, were given early chances to shine but did disappointingly from their pimp slots. Producers may at this point have decided the gap between them and the top two was too far to be realistically bridged.
Indeed, Tamera – who most of us had pegged as Plan A coming into the live shows – could only manage a distant fourth at best, from that week 3 pimp slot with ‘Listen’ and when sympathy bouncing into week 5 with ‘Cry Me A River’. Her best performance, on those percentage-of-the-mean figures, was actually with ‘Beneath You’re Beautiful’ with the smoky backdrop in week 2.
5. Luke may well have been considered a spoiler to Nicholas
Another of the theories we floated last week, in the piece on Luke’s journey, which stacks up well is the idea that producers might have been pimping Luke in the early weeks to try to draw support from Nicholas, then turned on him in week 5 (when he was called the “busker from Devon”) after week 4’s vote persuaded them Nicholas was under control.
Looking at Nick’s trajectory up to week 4 lends credence to that theory. Ironically enough, Luke’s mean score was actually better in week 5, when he was the “busker from Devon”, than when he was described as a “dark horse” in week 4.
6. Although in the singoff, Luke almost won the semi-final
After week 6, judges started ramping Luke again, which we had surmised was a reaction to Nick winning that week 6 vote. What we hadn’t expected was how successful that ramping was – the graph shows that Luke was the only act gaining momentum in his mean vote through to the semi-final, when, despite being in the singoff, he was only 1.5% off Nicholas and 2.9% behind Sam.
He couldn’t quite carry on that momentum into the final. But if punters had seen those semi-final statistics, it’s hard to believe Sam would have gone into the final a 1/4 shot with Luke a 20/1 outsider.
7. The Flash Vote may have been ditched to spare Tamera’s blushes
Tamera was bottom of the vote in week 4 for ‘Wishing On A Star’, and had to be saved by the judges against Kingsland Road. This was the week that they ditched the Flash Vote – Tamera would’ve likely been bottom that Saturday night, had the format continued.
The comparisons of the Flash Vote to the overall vote show that over half of the weekend’s votes were cast in those first ten minutes.
8. Would it have been just too embarrassing to save Rough Copy in week 9?
Rough Copy started brightly enough with third from the week 1 pimp slot, but it represented easily their best relative showing. They did manage third again with ‘Hit The Road Jack’ in week 5, but had to be saved 3:1 over Hannah in week 7, having finished bottom of the poll.
To my cost, I expected them to be saved 3:1 over Luke if necessary in week 9’s unprecedented final-four singoff. Assuming that Sharon going rogue isn’t the explanation for why that didn’t happen, is it just that with such a big gap between Rough Copy and the other three, producers decided that shoehorning them into the final would just have been too embarrassing when these figures were released?
(The other obvious possibility, of course, picks up on the idea that Luke may have been viewed as a spoiler to Nicholas, and perhaps Nick being so close to Sam in the semi vote persuaded producers to take him to the final – although, as noted above, the gap between Sam and Nick actually widened in votes cast after Luke was eliminated. Also against this theory is the fact that they didn’t make much noticeable effort to ramp Luke in the final, which suggests they were always confident they could ramp Sam to the win).
The same question goes for Tamera in week 8, when she was also far adrift of Luke. It may be that producers didn’t want the bad publicity of what would have been seen as blatant favouritism.
9. The also-rans
Abi started brightly enough with fourth place in week 1 with ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, almost beating Hannah and Tamera put together despite getting much the worst edit of the three at judges’ houses. There wasn’t much of a tears bounce in week 3, when Sharon was harsh in her criticism, as we’d suspected there might be – Abi was just fairly steadily losing ground, week on week.
It was a real struggle for the rest, as shown by the bunching together of those lines on the graph. Sam Callahan’s best showing was in week 2 when he got the lovely golden guitar strings backdrop. Making him into the novelty act in week 4 seemed to have no effect on his vote one way or the other.
10. The one that got away
Punters will always look for the ones that only just got away. My one that got away was Miss Dynamix – tipped here at 10/1 to be eliminated in week 1, and a tantalising 0.3% off the bottom on Saturday and 0.5% off the singoff on Sunday that week.
What were your near-misses and near-hits? What do you make of the figures and the trajectory of each act? Let us know what you got right and what surprised you below.