X Factor 2014: 1-16 Pre-Lives Prediction

Andrew and myself are now in the fifth year of our traditional first-to-last list before the live shows begin. It’s always fun to imagine one of the millions of scenarios that could come to pass. No doubt the crystal ball will start to crack with Saturday’s opener, as the journeys of various acts twist in different directions to those envisaged below.

A word on the wildcards, which are yet to be officially confirmed. All the signs suggest the acts we have included. Unless you have conflicting information, we suggest you assume the same when posting your own full prediction in the comments section, for the sake of consistency.

Here we go …

1. New Boy Band (current best odds 6.5)

One Direction are getting old – literally if not yet metaphorically, though that too is only a matter of time. And when the market demands fresh teenaged faces, Simon Cowell wants to be the one to supply and profit from them. Trusty old servant Louis may have been assigned the mentorship role – wisely, as Simon doing it would have looked too transparent, and Louis is the ultimate team player – but the footage of the judges putting the eight-piece together left little doubt that this is Cowell’s baby.

1D showed that finishing third is no bar to commercial success, but producers would surely rather send New Boy Band into the big wide world with a win if possible. And so far the impression we’ve been getting, right from the extended screentime given to Reece Bibby in the historically-significant first audition show, is that they’ve set themselves the challenge of rerunning 2010 and getting the result they want this time.

Clearly, getting viewers to remember and identify with eight members adds to the challenge – although already six of the eight (Reece, James, Jake, Charlie, Tom and Barclay) have had decent chunks of individual screentime, with only Casey and Chris remaining relatively ill-defined. Arguably an even bigger worry is how One Direction went backwards during the lives: compare their judges’ houses version of ‘Torn’ (very good) with their grand final rendition of ‘Torn’ (not very good). We’re trusting producers to have got to the bottom of whatever went wrong there, and to have had some clever ideas about how to create the all-important breakout moment that One Direction never quite managed.

At bootcamp we saw repeated cutaways to girls in the audience choosing their favourites. At judges’ houses we were introduced to each by name and heard about how they had bonded (a reminder of how Louis kept banging on about how 1D had “gelled as friends”). It all points to them being Plan A this year, and we look forward to seeing what manner of heavy artillery producers wheel out in their support.

The obstacles to be overcome should not be underestimated, but this is a percentages game and 6.5 looks to us like reasonable odds against the plan coming off this time.

2. Lola Saunders (Wildcard Girls 11.0 with Skybet)

It seems a strange thing to say about someone who is not yet a definite for the live shows, but producers have invested more in Lola’s journey than any other act so far. Two audition pimp slots featured her humble job, emotional grandparents and problems with nerves. The bootcamp car-crash felt too bad to be true, and sure enough helped set up her agonising rejection at judges’ houses, followed by probable wildcard reprieve. There are elements here that took Chris Maloney to the final, and Melanie Amaro to victory in the US show.

Why should the show invest in Lola? She is the most commercially viable voice and overall package in the girls category. Her vocals have more power and relevance than Cheryl’s picks. They’re not perfect; but they remind us of Ella Henderson, who is fresh from selling over a million copies of debut single ‘Ghost’. As with Ella, we’ve been told to buy into Lola’s passion for music, as well as her supportive grandparents.

Ella was an initial plan A in 2012 before crashing out in sixth place. We’re thinking that Lola’s progress will show that lessons have been learnt from that failure. One problem for Ella was a funereal set of song arrangements. Secondly, despite the show thinking that Ella being “only 16” was an advantage it could harp on about, as is often the case it came with a lack of personality and backstory. Sixteen, more often than not, is just too young. 20-year-old Lola, with her fishmonger’s job, shouldn’t have the same problem.

Add to this strong regional support from the north-east, an otherwise weakish-looking category for alpha female judge Cheryl, and Lola has plenty going for her. The main concern has to be the nerves that have made every audition so far an edge-of-the-seat experience. There is a possibility that they could derail her progress; but overcoming them as part of her journey would see her go far, and that was why we were taking the 15.0 on offer for the win last weekend.

3. Andrea Faustini (3.0)

We’ve loved Andrea from the moment he announced in his room audition: “Yes, like pugs, definitely!” But our tastes can be a little niche, and we merely allotted Andrea a novelty role in the lives at this point. Simon seemed to do the same when summing him up as a “funny little thing”. Louis reinforced the sense that Andrea was no Plan A at the arena audition by commenting, “he’s the best boy we have” – about Paul Akister.

But with each round, it’s become ever clearer that audiences have taken to Andrea more than anyone else so far: his ability to elicit tears from the watching judges being the most obvious indication. He’s modest, funny, vulnerable, charming and huggable. Every time he powers out a song is a Subo-esque exercise in transformation and wonder.

How far does the show want to run with him? They could accept him as a feel-good victor even if he’s not the most commercially viable prospect. Andrea’s expressive, winning personality means even perceived weaknesses could be turned on their head. Take the fact he’s foreign. He’s already expressed a desire to become “perfect English”, so why not a VT of him learning to love drinking tea, eating fish and chips, all the while thanking the British people for supporting him. This kind of treatment could take him all the way to victory.

However, at almost a third of the price of any of his rivals, he’s no value to be our tip. His foreign status and diva-ish style of (over)performing could be used against him at a later stage of the competition, as the show pushes more commercially viable acts instead. Any end-of-journey VT (that is, suggesting that now Andrea has won the UK public’s acceptance, he has nothing left to achieve) would indicate producers are attempting to halt the juggernaut. They’ll have to be careful not to overdo criticising someone so loveable though. Either way, it’ll be fascinating to monitor.

4. Ben Haenow (6.5)

Ben has lots going for him. His voice is strong and distinctive, and with his looks and age he should appeal to a wide range of female demographics. He also comes across as likeable and – a quality not to be underestimated – humble: note his mid-song acknowledgement of the guitarist during bootcamp’s ‘Hotel California’, and his appreciative nod to the backing singers at judges’ houses on the lyric “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”.

How well Ben is allowed to do will largely depend on producers’ plans for his rival in the category, Jay James. Right up to judges’ houses the suspicion was that Ben was the beta over, included as backup only in case the initially more heavily pimped Jay failed to fly with the voting public. However, the extent of the battering meted out to Jay last Saturday makes you wonder if the passing of the alpha mantle might even have happened already.

Time will tell, but in any case we’re comfortable with backing Ben to strike more of a chord with the public. While Jay looks like the act central casting might send you – war hero, perfect teeth, wife with lingerie model looks – to us Ben comes across as more real and relatable, with his van-driving in Croydon and a long-term girlfriend who looks surprised when he casually mentions marriage on the arena audition stage.

No doubt Simon will want a horse in the final on his return, and with 16 acts there’s no reason why – as in 2010 – we can’t have a four-act final, all the better if all four mentors are represented. We’re slating Ben for fourth in our imagined final as we suspect the boyband and Lola might be seen as more commercially attractive and thus get more of a closing push.

5. Paul Akister (8.5)

Paul rounds out our trio of capable male vocalists who are also easy guys to root for. His story of rejection, by Louis and an ex-girlfriend, will have won him an early place in viewers’ affections. And his emotional, disbelieving reaction to getting through – unsure whether to go in for the hug with Mel, he instead awkwardly cuddles a cushion – will also have warmed some cockles.

At the arenas, producers gave him ‘Let’s Get It On’, the song which propelled James Arthur’s post-singoff surge to invincibility, and had Mel and Cheryl perform a lapdance. It all smacked of alpha boy treatment, at that stage. Unfortunately for Paul’s prospects, Andrea since appears to have won promotion from the novelty beta role for which he seemed destined at the room auditions.

Paul still seems in line for a good run – with his battle to keep his weight under control, his proudly supportive welder dad and carer mum, and power-packed vocals, he’s got plenty to endear him to ITV-watching Middle England. But with his post-show commercial viability looking limited, we reckon he might prove to be this year’s Tesco Mary, falling just short of a four-act final.

6. Stevi Ritchie (Wildcard Overs 101 with Skybet)

“Seriously?” you may be saying to yourself. We speculatively have probable overs wildcard Stevi reaching the novelty heights of Wagner’s sixth and falling just short of Rylan’s fifth place, not least because so far he seems to be combining the best features of each – Wagner’s flamboyance with Rylan’s likeability. There’s plenty of competition in the novelty/villain category this year, but Stevi is the one who promises to bring the most unashamed fun, which means we have him topping this particular cast.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this kind of character in the competition: once they exit, the show loses lots of its magic. It happened in 2012 when Rylan left in the quarter-final. Wagner himself was brought in as a wildcard in 2010 before heading up some of the most memorable routines in X Factor history. We’re banking on returning choreographer Brian Friedman doing the same for Stevi.

Producers will be doing their best to help him avoid the bottom two in early weeks, which means getting plenty of early mileage from the storyline of Simon being lumbered as his mentor. And as a former Pontins Bluecoat, Stevi is not quite the novice entertainer that is portrayed.

7. Chloe-Jasmine (41.0)

You can tell when producers are more than usually nervous about how an act will be received by the viewing public, as they ramp up the use of audience cutaways. Chloe-Jasmine had four in her room audition alone: we cut to an orange-clad couple commenting on her poshness as soon as she starts to talk; we’re shown a thoughtful-looking man and happily-smiling woman nodding away to themselves when she starts to sing; after her four yeses, we see the audience applauding enthusiastically; and then it’s back to the orange couple talking about her poshness again.

Producers were at it again during judges’ houses, with a cutaway to the other girls nervously commenting on how good her vocals are. They might more accurately have been saying “she’s so much like Katie Waissel, isn’t she? She’ll be lined up for the villain role, then. Sigh. Only two places left for the rest of us”.

When doing this prediction ahead of the 2011 live shows we allotted Kitty Brucknell the “Katie Waissel Memorial Position” of 7th, and lo! It came to pass. We see no reason to depart from Sofabet tradition with Chloe-Jasmine, who so far seems to rival Katie in the monstrously fame-hungry department and to be a more malleable personality than the delightfully batty but brittle Brucknell.

We could debate how much of Chloe-Jasmine’s posh girl schtick is put on with the encouragement of producers, but why bother? Let’s just enjoy the ride, which we’re assuming will involve an early singoff (it happened to Katie, and almost to Kitty despite the pimp slot, in the very first vote), a controversial sing-off save or four, and plentiful tears about what she has to do to connect with the voting public.

8. Jay James (10.0)

This is a lowly position for the act who looked like a plausible Plan A until last weekend. We’re not just basing it on the judges’ houses car-crash, though we’re still amazed the show went as far as it did in bringing him down last Saturday. We’ve already mentioned that on the surface, Jay has every advantage with his military background, perfect teeth, pretty wife and baby. As a result, conveying a sense of vulnerability was potentially problematic. Perhaps that was the grand plan behind his disastrous rendition of ‘Everybody Hurts’ last weekend.

However, the criticism touched on another problem we have with JJ: his nasally way of singing. From his first audition onwards, there was a certain disconnect between the vocals showcased and the hyperbolic judges’ comments that followed. What’s more, each performance felt very similar: Jay keeping his eyes closed and clawing his face as his voice overemotes.

We don’t discount an experienced performer like Jay, who has supported Rebecca Ferguson on tour, bringing it back for the lives. Mentor Simon Cowell may have just decided to mix it up a little and play a few mind games in bringing him down last weekend. A bromance with Stevi is in the works too. But even bearing all this in mind, we still prefer Ben as a vocalist and a character in the overs category.

9. Lauren Platt (10.0)

With Lola’s presumed wildcard setting her up for alpha girl status and Chloe-Jasmine requiring longevity as a series talking point, that doesn’t leave much oxygen for Lauren. Her treatment has been kind throughout, without ever suggesting that the show has especially big plans for her – other than her being 16 (now 17) and her X Factor experience having reunited her estranged parents (aah), the show hasn’t told us that much about her, or invited us to emotionally invest.

She’s a solid vocalist, but on current evidence at least, she comes across as a bit vanilla. Consequently we’re currently seeing Lauren in the mould of a Sophie Habibis or a Jade Ellis – included as a reliable backup in case the alpha girl implodes, and otherwise to be quietly disposed of mid-series.

10. Jake Quickenden (29.0)

“He’s not the best vocalist but…” has been the most frequently heard comment about Jake so far. It’s fair enough – there’s a certain key that Jake stays in for every song, and weekly live performances seem likely to expose his vocal limitations, much as they did for Sam Callahan last year.

However, it’s worth pointing out his many endearing qualities. No one minds Jake’s penchant for waterworks because they are utterly genuine, and even he has started to make a joke of it. He’s already building a bromance with Andrea, whom he has twice referred to as “my Italian bear”. All this, his Geordie Shore good looks and smiley demeanour may help him through a good few weeks.

11. Only The Young (34.0)

“We’ve given up school, college, university”, says one of Only The Young at judges’ houses, as we see photographic evidence of their 12-year friendship. We’d learned in the rooms that they live together with one of their mums, and when asked if there were any relationships they replied with a “eurgh”. There’s a children’s-TV-presenter cheery asexuality about them, somewhat reminiscent of Same Difference without them being actual siblings. It’s all a bit… odd.

The wholesome, toothsome foursome have built up an existing fanbase and were given a promising introduction in the second room audition show, but Simon’s parting comment that “I actually would like to find another Steps” sounded alarm bells about possible cheesification. They haven’t been afforded much momentum since: unsighted in the arena auditions, they featured only briefly at bootcamp before being overshadowed by the chaos that ensued when Louis initially gave them Overload’s seat before staging a singoff. At judges’ houses, Louis could come up with only “consistently good” and “reliable” when defending them from Tulisa’s comments about their lack of edge. He then repeated the “no edge” line before putting them through.

It’s not exactly the most promising of slingshots into the live shows. Producers are likely to give them a couple of weeks to see if they capture the public’s attention, but their fanbase will carry them only so far and we’re currently struggling to see where broader votes are coming from.

12. Overload (Wildcard Groups 19.0 with Skybet)

This is a puzzle. With all signs pointing to the eight-piece boyband as this year’s great white hope, it would seem strange for producers to reinstate a rival boyband – especially one rejected twice at bootcamp, following an arena audition that was turned into a joke about Simon needing a pee.

Producers do have some form in the puzzling inclusions of rival boybands. We still haven’t got to the bottom of the 2012 decision to include District 3 when all signs pointed, correctly as it turned out, towards Union J being the favoured group: producers tried to kill off District 3 early, failed, half-heartedly ran with a “battle of the boybands” narrative for a while, and then finally succeeded in killing off District 3 only after Union J had been tainted by a singoff appearance. As with District 3, Overload’s existing fan base may be enough to preclude the kind of immediate kill that was performed on the manufactured Nu Vibe in 2011 and for FYD in One Direction’s year, especially with this year’s free app voting.

The most worrying explanation for Overload’s reinstatement is that something has gone awry backstage with the eight-piece. Or perhaps they’re thinking of picking off a bit of Overload to frankenband the eight-piece, a la The Risk? Let’s hope not. On balance we’re running with the theory that Overload are supposed to be some kind of foil for the eight-piece’s journey, perhaps initially praised, but ultimately eclipsed. The District 3 scenario remains, however, a concern.

13. Jack Walton (Wildcard Boys 21.0 with Skybet)

We thought Jack showed some promise in his short room audition, but worried about where he stood in the show’s plans as a 17-year-old fishing in the same pool as the mooted boyband. Sure enough, his profile has remained low up to and including judges’ houses, when Mel stopped him mid-song to offer advice for a non-existent problem, only for Jack to continue singing much as he had done before.

Beyond being a Castleford boy, there’s very little we’ve learnt about Jack. With not one but two boybands in probable competition, he really has an uphill struggle to emulate another young WGWG, Luke Friend, in going from outsider-to-contender. Jack’s wildcard reprieve may help him through the first week, but if he doesn’t gain any further traction, he may not stick around much longer.

14. Fleur East (34.0)

Until last weekend, producers seemed to be setting up Fleur East as week 1 elimination fodder. We didn’t see her at all until a brief, urban performance at the arena, when we were reminded that she has tried the lives and failed before – as part of Addictiv Ladies in 2005. This was followed by a similar, sunglasses-clad routine at bootcamp. As a confident, post-teen, black, female Londoner, Fleur fits the demographic that struggles most in this competition – just ask Lorna Simpson.

So, as surprising as Simon turning on JJ last Saturday was the pimping of Fleur, who gave her most convincing performance yet singing current American Number 1, ‘Bang Bang’. Was this a reordering of the overs or just Simon playing games? Whichever it is (and the latter wouldn’t surprise us at all), Fleur is still going to struggle for the reasons given above.

15. Steph Nala (34.0)

So far Steph’s trajectory has been a cautionary tale in reading too much into reports from those who attended the filming of the arena audtions and bootcamp. By all accounts Steph was well received in both venues, but what matters is what producers choose to show the television audience, and in Steph’s case that has been virtually nothing – brief clips from both venues, after no sighting of her at all in the rooms. In judges’ houses, her chief role was to be not-Lola in a show-closing decision edit intended to catch the audience by surprise. She’s undoubtedly had the most gamma edit of all the acts – indeed, Lola’s presumed return may relegate her from gamma girl to delta.

It’s always possible that Steph will still be given a chance to fly – wildcard girl Treyc, after all, was somewhat surprisingly given the first show pimp slot in 2010. But if producers continue their lack of interest from the auditions into the lives, as they did in 2010 with John Adeleye, Steph’s trajectory may be a short one.

16. Blonde Electra (126.0)

We’ve placed Blonde Electra last with a heavy heart. As teens in the 90s, we remember girl duo Shampoo, and think there’s a place in the music world for a pair of manic female popstars. Unfortunately, the show hasn’t handled Jazzy and Ruby very well up to now, constantly tagging them as “annoying” and failing to focus on what they have to offer, not least an amazing backstory involving fundamentalist parents. After a promising rooms round, getting the first slot in the first audition show, they’ve been disappointingly undersold in the edits of subsequent stages.

Their American-accented, in-your-face antics are just the kind of thing that struggles for votes with an ITV Saturday night audience. We have to assume a double elimination for the first live show based on programme length and precedent in a 16-act field. That usually means bottom of the phone vote automatically leaves. Unless producers do a much better job of selling Blonde Electra, they sadly look the most likely candidates right now given that scenario.

Now it’s your turn. We look forward to comparing your various 1-16 lists below. Whether you’re a regular commenter or a lurker who fancies gaining some bragging rights, feel free to give it a go.

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122 comments to X Factor 2014: 1-16 Pre-Lives Prediction

  • Tim B

    1. Lauren Platt
    2. New Boyband
    3. Jay James
    4. Paul Akister
    5. Andrea Faustini
    6. Ben Haenow
    7. Chloe Jasmine
    8. Lola Saunders
    9. Jack Walton
    10. Stevi Ritchie
    11. Jake Quickenden
    12. Stephanie Nala
    13. Only The Young
    14. Overload
    15. Fleur East
    16. Blonde Electra

    Best of luck to everyone!

  • 1, Boyband/JJ
    2, JJ/Boyband
    3, Lola
    4, Jack Walton (Speculative)
    5, Andrea
    6, Stevie
    7, Jake
    8, Fluer/Steph
    9, Ben
    10, Chloe Jasmine
    11, Blonde Electra
    12, Paul Akister
    13, Lauren Platt
    14, Overload
    15, Steph/Fluer
    16, Only The Young

    Did originally have JJ as 1, but bit spooked by treatment of JJ at the weekend.

  • Fork'N'Fish

    1/ Andrea
    2/ Jack
    3/ Blonde Electra
    4/ Lauren
    5/ Jake
    6/ Boyband8
    7/ Jay
    8/ Ben
    9/ Lola
    10/ Chloe
    11/ Paul
    12/ OTY
    13/ Stevie
    14/ Overload
    15/ Steph
    16/ Fluer

  • uncalquera

    1 Ben
    2 Andrea
    3 Overload
    4 Paul
    5 Lauren
    6 Jack
    7 Lola
    8 CJ
    9 JJ
    10 OTY
    11 Boyband8
    12 BE
    13 Steph
    14 Jake
    15 Fleur
    16 Stevie

  • geoff

    1, Andrea faustini
    2, lola saunders.
    3, ejacul8
    4, Ben Haenow
    5, jay james
    6,chloe jasmine
    7,steph
    8,paul akister
    9,blonde electric.
    10,lauren platt
    11,Stevie
    12,jake
    13, jack
    14, overload
    15, fleur
    16, only the young

  • 1. ejacul8
    2. ben
    3. lola
    4. jay james
    5. paul
    6. andrea
    7. chlojas
    8. stevi
    9. lauren
    10. jake
    11. jack
    12. overload
    13. steph
    14. OTY
    15. fleur
    16. blonde electra

    Daniel, you must create a points system and give a christmas gift to the winner!

  • David Cook

    1 – 8 Boy Band
    2 – Ben Haenow
    3 – Paul Aikester
    4 – Andrea Faustini
    5 – Lola Saunders
    6 – Lauren Platt
    7 – Jay James
    8 – OTY
    9 – Stevie Ritchie
    10 – Chloe – Jasmine
    11 – Jake Quickenden
    12 – Fleur East
    13 – Overload
    14 – Steph Nala
    15 – Jack Walton
    16 – Blonde Electra
    I don’t see a clear winner at the moment so I think this gives the boy band a chance to develop and emerge as the winners as TPTB seem to be hoping. And before anyone even suggests it – no they are definately not my favorite act.

  • Gamblebot

    1: Lola Saunders
    2: Andrea Faustini
    3: Jay James
    4: New Boy Band
    5: Lauren Platt
    6: Ben Haenow
    7: Chloe Jasmine
    8: Jake Quickenden
    9: Overload
    10: Stevi Ritchie
    11: Paul Akister
    12: Only the Young
    13: Jack Walton
    14: Stephanie Nala
    15: Fleur East
    16: Blonde Electra

  • Alen

    01: Ben Haenow
    02: 8 Boy Band
    03: Andrea Faustini
    04: Lola Saunders
    05: Jay James
    06: Chloe Jasmine
    07: Stevi Ricthie
    08: Paul Akister
    09: Jake Quickenden
    10: Lauren Platt
    11: Only the Young
    12: Stephanie Nala
    13: Overload
    14: Fleur East
    15: Jack Walton
    16: Blonde Electra

  • Ben Cook

    I agree it’s between Lola and the boyband, but I’m going to go with Lola potentially sneaking ahead of them in the final, mainly because I’m not sure that boybands have enough widespread appeal to top the vote in the end when it matters.

    I agree Ben is going to do better than originally expected, but whilst he isn’t the best vocalist, I think Jake will be more popular with the audience than you think, and could sneak into the final. I don’t think people will warm to Paul in the same way as the other guys so I see an early exit for him.

    Fear you may be right about Only The Young, but I have my fingers crossed for them. Syco ought to be pushing them more as there really is a gap in the market for a new mixed group.

    1. Lola Saunders
    2. New Boyband
    3. Ben Haenow
    4. Jake Quickenden
    5. Andrea Faustini
    6. Lauren Platt
    7. Jay James
    8. Only The Young
    9. Chloe-Jasmine
    10. Stevi Ritchie
    11. Paul Akister
    12. Overload
    13. Stephanie Nala
    14. Jack Walton
    15. Fleur East
    16. Blonde Electra

  • David Cook

    I probably agree with you about OTY. On my own list I have tried to go with a top 8 that TPTB would be happy to take on the tour and I think OTY will fall into that group – but I am wondering if they will actually make it. It looks like they were invited to take part and may well have been ‘pencilled in’ for a slot. For the same reason I think both Lauren and Lola will be pushed into the top 8, otherwise it’s very male heavy. I might have made a mistake with Stevie – but I think if he finishes 9th that will still be enough for them to include him – and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t make the tour. I don’t think the same about Chloe – she’s television entertainment and will play a (big) part in the narrative of the show, but not as part of the tour. In any case Chloe will be busy in January.

    • EM

      My yearly reminder there are no rules about who goes on the tour. Obviously they’d like the line up to be the one that would sell the most tickets but that kind of looks after itself with the voting. For example if people can’t be bothered to pick up and phone to vote for OTY are they really going to be likely to spend a small fortune to see them live for a couple of songs?

  • qwerty1234

    1 – Andrea Faustini
    2 – New Boyband
    3 – Lola Saunders
    4 – Jay James
    5 – Paul Akister
    6 – Stevie Richie
    7 – Chloe Jasmine
    8 – Ben Haenow
    9 – Lauren Platt
    10 – Jake Quickenden
    11 – Only The Young
    12 – Steph Nala
    13 – Overload
    14 – Jack Walton
    15 – Fleur East
    16 – Blonde Electric

    I’ve tried to pay attention to 2010, the editing so far, and how I think the public will take to their trickery editing this year. I always notice that once a traditionally good singer gets momentum, it’s hard to stop them and I’m not sure 8 piece is the act to do that. I’m sure the producers will try their best, and already are with free voting and unashamed pimping so far, but something about it isn’t washing right with me thus far.

    Also concerned about Jay James – one of our cardles (Ben, Jake, Jay) will be in fourth, I’m sure of it – I just can’t predict which one will stick. Ben is my favourite, but I haven’t seen enough of him and doesn’t have the story behind him that Jay does. I really dislike Paul, so I’d prefer it wasn’t him but I think he’s got the “all round” appeal that voters will go for.

    All the others are pretty interchangable, and taking into account various double eliminations, potential theme weeks and wildcards I think that’s the best I can do so far. I’ve gone higher with Steph because she seems to have a bit of hype about her, and I think that will see her past week one alone.

    Interested to see how it works out!

  • Gamblebot

    There are always acts being pushed far enough to make it to the tour (due to agreements with managers and all that crap) then thrown under the bus afterwards (see: Callahan, Sam). My bet is that one of the two non-Electra, less than 8-piece groups are part of that bunch, if not both. Given that tour participants should generally last through half the competition, I don’t think Overload and OTY are both going to miss out.

    Also, things have changed since Simon left. The Boys category has been brutally strong (I guess most of the viewers that stopped watching voted for females) for the last two years and even Jack Walton may survive the first four weeks.

  • Gamblebot

    I myself fell victim to this but don’t you think you’re overrating Ben Haenow? He feels like someone who’s past it (yes, all Overs tend to be that way but him even more so) and tries too hard to make it. He could very well crash out of the competition before November.

  • qwerty1234

    I’ve also had a thought regarding Steph/Fleur. Will the producers want their only two non-white acts crashing out successively, or even in the same week? How long will they feel it nessecary to keep at least one of them going (if at all?) Or will they consider Andrea their diversity for the year?!

  • Moon Gin

    I think the main reason why TPTB bring Overload as wildcard is to give a “battle of boyband” narrative to the alpha 8 piece boyband with a real intention to glorifying them even more.

    Then they can set up the 8 piece boyband in the winning edit by praising them each week while criticizing their direct rival Overload. Because as we all can see the New Boyband clearly have better singing ability than Overload. This may push the viewers to think that they have to vote the 8 piece even more so that the real talent would not lose to their “just pretty face” rival.

  • Heisenberg

    1 – Lola Saunders
    2 – Andrea Faustini
    3 – 8 Boy Band
    4 – Jay James
    5 – Overload
    6 – Ben Haenow
    7 – Chloe Jasmine
    8 – Stevi Ritchie
    9 – Jake Quickenden
    10 – Lauren Platt
    11 – Paul Akister
    12 – Steph Nala
    13 – OTY
    14 – Jack Walton
    15 – Blonde Electra
    16 – Fleur East

  • Nissl

    I’ve had a much harder time coming up with my ordering this year. Frankly, this field is fairly soft at the top. There’s no one with overwhelming star power. There’s no one I’m strongly rooting for as a viewer. There’s no one who consistently connects powerfully. (No doubt there are several contestants who get there on occasion, but for each it seems to largely happen by chance. Nobody seems to have significant insight into what they’re doing out there, by contrast with the ultra-consistent Sam B. last year.)

    However, this field looks both very deep and very promising from an entertainment perspective. Take a quick pre-season bow, Sofabet, because almost everything about this season’s setup suggests the producers closely read the mid-season 2013 prescription for the show. Most of the acts are reasonably entertaining and likable, and seem to have amassed at least some fans online. As a result, I expect a lot of close votes in the early going, and perhaps even some influence from the actual performances on the week! (Shock! Horror!) I would not be surprised at all to see a few of my top 5 done in early, or a couple underdogs from below midtable make the top 5.

    1. Ben – The most attractive soloist in my (admittedly hetero male) opinion, Ben’s got a consistently strong voice and very good charisma, though he needs to watch the line between cheeky and cocky and the “van driver living the dream” joke is already tired. His rocker affection and consistency remind me of USXF’s Jeff Gutt, who came in second, except he’s almost a decade younger and much more charismatic and attractive. This might incline producers to push him ahead of Andrea for a commercial shot in the vein of Olly if they can’t get the boyband or Lola over the line, as I expect will be the case.

    That said, he’s a couple years older than would be ideal, and might also remind the producers too much of Matt Cardle. His biggest worries besides that are that he looks a bit awkward on stage and may be lacking multiple gears. It’s a considerable list of liabilities, no doubt, but I can come up with equally long ones for any act in this year’s field.

    2. Andrea – Extremely likable and non-threatening, one of the consistently strongest singers, and has received uniformly positive treatment so far. The downside is that he will not be the show’s preferred winner, as he is probably cruising for a novelty single career in pop at best. In fact, when it comes down to crunch time I expect he might be the least producer-favored among my top 4, and perhaps even less than several of those farther down the list. I think his treatment so far has simply been aimed at ensuring he reaches the latter half of the competition, and the producers will be some combination of displeased and amused at the state of the forum polls and markets this week. Thus I expect he will gradually get tagged as foreign, not a true popstar who can sell records, and perhaps a little repetitive, limited and/or forced as we reach the business end of the competition. But again, this is a field with a soft top, and I think his entertaining, feel-good act will make the finals.

    3. Boyband – It feels a bit uncreative putting them in the 1D slot. But they won’t be allowed to finish lower unless they are an utter disaster, nor do I see them gathering broad enough support to beat out the last two finalists. They might have the most powerful (but gurning) singer and a couple of the most attractive males among their members. But I really, really don’t buy them as a group at this point, not even as much as 1D, nor am I rooting for any of them. Perhaps their vocal quality and the soft top of the field will get slightly more of the general audience on board than 1D did in 2010. At the same time, though, I don’t think teenage girls will be quite as rabidly interested given how saturated the boyband market is now and the group’s apparent lack of a Harry. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they come off in the arena.

    4. Lola – I think she’s still the show’s pick for alpha girl, but I’m doubtful her handling to date has been all that helpful. I think they will be able to mostly tame the tears and erratic performances, and if that’s the case she’s reasonably likable and has a powerful connected voice when she’s on. Still, the combination she presents reminds me in many ways of Hannah, who did not exactly light the voting audience on fire, and Hannah had a better voice and more stage presence. But I think they’ll save a girl into the top 6 and she seems to best fit the bill in their eyes.

    5. Paul – Has got a strong voice by this year’s standards, a solid fanbase, and reasonable backing from the show, but I expect he will be drubbed out for lacking star power at this point, boosting the bonafides of the show’s top 4. I have him slightly outlasting the somewhat-similar Lauren due to a pre-existing fanbase.

    6. Stevi – An entirely worthy recipient of the Wagner memorial slot. It’s an amusing twist to have him in Simon’s category, assuming it happens. One worry is that Andrea may siphon off too much of the “fun act” vote. He may encounter CJ in the B2 earlier than desired, and I’m uncertain of his B2 support level in general given Andrea’s presence.

    7. Chloe-Jasmine – Now looks like a worthy recipient of the Katie Waissel memorial slot to me. I hope her understated demeanor at JH wasn’t a preview of lives, a reaction to reading online about being teed up as the love/hate figure. CJ, you’re not going to be a big popstar, but you can have a good, profitable run as a reality TV star if you play this right.

    8. Lauren – She has solid voice with solid show support and has attracted decent interest online, but lacks a real story or competitive charisma. I guess that’s enough fun with middling adjectives, so: she’s got all the hallmarks of someone who’s an excellent choice for a “shock” midtable exit. (Edit after reading the SB prediction: I agree on the Sophie comparison and that she’s being kept in reserve in case Lola crumbles.)

    9. Jake – Has been tagged over and over and over with the weak voice label despite otherwise moderate support. Still, his voice isn’t *that* bad, he’s good looking and has a strong story and a bit of a fanbase from outside the show.

    10. Steph – Has received the least preseason screentime of any of the 16 other than perhaps the wildcard group, but she’s currently 3rd in the DS poll. Given that, I expect her to survive a good few weeks. Steph is really tricky for me to place, as she’s gotten a pretty hard gamma edit despite good judges’ comments and seemingly decent commercial potential. Perhaps the market failure of The Luminites has dimmed Syco’s interest? Surely if they were just trying to avoid an early peak she’d get more of a beta-level edit. Ultimately, I’m betting her prettily nuanced but thin voice won’t hold up that well over multiple weeks in the arena – or will it? She’s worth getting onside as an EW longshot, in my book, as TPTB will surely want a girl in or near the final for balance and I can see the rest of the category collapsing past her.

    11 Only the Young – I’ve been constantly looking at them as another EW longshot based on their chemistry and likability, but have not been overly impressed by their last two performances. Ultimately, I’m afraid they don’t really have the voices or star power to stand up to the poor treatment they will almost certainly receive due to their category. They do have a bit of a base that might see them through a few weeks. Shame as they seem like nice kids who might find a market niche with a top 5 finish. I still think they could move up into that range if the alpha boyband either completely self-destructs or is performing well enough for the show to relax about clearing the category. But I’m doubtful of that second scenario, because…

    12. Overload – I think they’re here both to drive home the point that the alpha boyband can really, really sing and to limit the narrative that they are the chosen ones for the season. But they’re pretty good looking and have good stage presence and chemistry with each other, and 200k Twitter fans says they’ll be through at least a few weeks. Still, they’ll be splitting votes with the alpha boyband, and I’m sure they’ll be targeted hard from the second week at the latest.

    13. Jack – Fairly hot, has the cute young boy thing to himself this year, and is a better singer than say James Michael. But he has no story, at JH was pegged as unready, dull, and not connecting, and has a dagger aimed at his back due to the boyband. I think he’ll be heavily deramped until he exits.

    14. Jay – Yes, he was an early favorite, and he’s got a good story, but I can find almost nobody online who seems to have been converted. Between the muted audience reaction so far, his crowded niche, and the show seeming to turn on him so ferociously at JH, I’ll gamble on him being the higher-tier (betting) act who falls shockingly short.

    15. Fleur – Apparently her options are giving decent performances that turn off the general viewing audience or giving limp, forgettable ones. If she were 5 years younger and Syco didn’t have Tamera on its books, maybe they’d consider saving her into 4th or 5th a la Misha B, but I don’t see that happening here. Still, she has amassed reasonable support online. I think there’s a better than even chance she’ll be done in by poor support in the first week, but perhaps the show will keep her around for a bit to entertain, knowing she poses little threat.

    16. Blonde Electra – I think they will lose the novelty act competition to Stevi, and we all know what happens to losing novelty acts. Even if Stevi were missing from the field I don’t think it would help them much. Nobody seems all that interested in keeping them around.

  • Nissl

    A couple comments on things raised at the end of last thread.

    First, I do agree song choices have been mostly dated. I’d love to see a “2014 hits” theme week. Easy narrative, the show wants to see how current everyone can be. Maybe they will even dip their toe in some electronic sounds?

    Also I’d give up predicting the opening show order other than that the boyband probably won’t be on early. Last year they rolled out their big hitters in the first 4 slots sandwiching Miss Dynamix. Although with how tight this field is, that could be a lot more dangerous this year….

    • Phil

      X Factor Australia is very good at doing current songs – in fact the show as a whole is brilliant down under. I wish they’d show it here.

  • Kenneth Chow

    1. Andrea Faustini
    2. Lola Saunders
    3. New Boy Band
    4. Lauren Platt
    5. Ben Haenow
    6. Stevie Ritchie
    7. Chloe Jasmine Wischello
    8. Jay James
    9. Paul Akister
    10. Only The Young
    11. Jake Quickenden
    12.Jack Walton
    13. Blonde Electra
    14. Fluer East
    15. Stephanie Nala
    16. Overload…

    I’m not going to give you a detailed explanation, but I will say a lot of it has to do with what I think the producers want the tone of the series to be and how they want it similar to series 7 in which we have Blonde Electra as Diva Fever, Stevie as Wagner, Chloe as Katie where she is saved a million times and how there will be a shocking Aiden Grimshaw like elimination…which will likely be one of the boys and I picked Paul…

  • Dean

    I’m going 1 thing further and predicting b2’s/b3’s lol

    16. Steph Nala (double elimination) – week 1
    15. Overload (B2 with Blonde Electric) – week 1
    14. Jack Walton (B2 with Chloe Jasmine) – wk 2
    13. Blonde Electric (B2 with Fleur East) – wk 3
    12. Jake Quickenden (Double Elimination) – wk 4
    11. Fleur East (B2 with Chloe Jasmine) – wk 4
    10. OTY (Bottom 2 with Jay James) – wk 5
    9. Lauren Platt 🙁 (B2 with Chloe Jasmine, who world goes mad) – wk 6
    8. Jay James (B2 with Paul Akister) – wk 7
    7. Stevi Ritche (double elim)- wk 8
    6. Chloe Jasmine (B2 with Lola Saunders) – wk 8
    5. Paul Akister (B2 with Ben Haenow) – wk 9
    4. Ben Haenow- final
    3. Lola Saunders – final
    2. 8 piece boyband – final
    1. Andrea Faustini – final

  • Phil

    1. Jack Walton
    2. Ben Haenow
    3. Fleur East
    4. New Boyband
    5. Andrea Faustini
    6. Steph Nala
    7. Lauren Platt
    8. Overload
    9. Lola Saunders
    10. Chloe Jasmine
    11. Blonde Electra
    12. Paul Akister
    13. Jake Quickenden
    14. Stevi Ritchie
    15. Jay James
    16. Only The Young

    Thought I’d throw a curveball. I think Jack Walton will do well – very well in fact. He looks good. I think his performances so far have been really good. I think he’s what they wanted Sam Callahan to be. Add in that he’s been picked by Cheryl and I think he could go all the way.

    I also see something in Fleur – again I think she is brilliant, she’s one of the few this year that actually sounds current and, had she been a girl rather than an over, I think she’d have been more on the radar and not written off like she seems to have been. I don’t see her as being a million miles away from Alexandra Burke in style.

    I think Jay James is wet, and won’t go far. I think Lola is dull. I was also tempted to swap New Boyband with Overload – I think they could leapfrog “the chosen ones” if they pull off some good performances.

    One thing is clear for this year however – they’re making the show for ratings over commercial success, for the first time in a good few years, which explains the wildcards and the quantity of novelty acts. I think there will be a number of shock eliminations, controversial bottom two saves, judges abstaining and walking off etc. It will be full of drama and, therefore, more unpredictable than ever.

    • re Jack. You’re on point! He’s like a better version of Sam C. That said, we saw how easy it was to sink Sam C (who managed to get to Week 6 only because he HAD to be on the tour; he could have been a Week 4 casualty, if not earlier), so…

  • Dan

    Here’s mine:

    1. New Boy Band
    2. Ben Haenow
    3. Andrea Faustini
    4. Lauren Platt
    5. Paul Akister
    6. Overload
    7. Stevi Richie
    8. Jay James
    9. Chloe Jasmine
    10. Lola Saunders
    11. Only the Young
    12. Jake Quickenden
    13. Stephanie Nala
    14. Blonde Electra
    15. Jack Walton
    16. Fleur East

  • Henry VIII

    I’ll probably have a feeble attempt at an order guess later but just a small point on something you said about the boy band Daniel – “with only Casey and Chris remaining relatively ill-defined”. It’s right actually but, although I didn’t catch Chris at all before the group formation, Casey did get some very positive airtime, albeit a mere 42 secs worth.

    Show 3, Sat 6/9, 37m 44s in (timing is with ads removed), after James Graham.

  • Heisenberg

    This interview with Jay James (Picton) from 2012 is a real eye opener, given how X-Factor has chosen to present him so far.

    He’s clearly hands-on with all aspects of the creative process and watching this leaves me convinced he’ll be clashing with TPTB soon enough, if indeed he hasn’t already (see judges houses about turn).

    17:27 is priceless.

  • Heisenberg

    Sorry, wrong video – here it is:

    • Jessica Hamby

      I love 17:27. I wonder if he let that attitude slip? I think he’s toast anyway.

      For those of you who haven’t watched it, at 17:27 he says words to the effect that he doesn’t like the X-Factor.

      • Similar sentiments here –
        http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/showbiz/jay-james-picton-releases-debut-2026297

        “I don’t particularly like it… I’ve worked for four years… people like me don’t get a look in. It saddens me”

        • Jessica Hamby

          Another gem from that article is that the injury they make so much of was a torn knee ligament sustained while playing rugby. The way they talk about it I thought someone dropped a cruise missile on him or at least it had happened on a ship. Hell no. He was a fitness instructor in the navy and couldn’t do that any more because of a dodgy knee. Not quite the romantic, near death or disability scenario hinted at in his VTs.

          • Dean

            Haha yes and I expect us to hear about the true extent of his injury when they decide that he is toast

          • KaraokeSauron

            Lola, JJ, Stevi, Chloe-Jasmine, Blonde Electra… The show feels more contrived than ever. These really are casting decisions, characters designed to capture interest and propel a plot.

  • KaraokeSauron

    1. Faustini
    2. New Boy Band
    3. JJ
    4. Platt
    5. Akister
    6. Richie
    7. Lola
    8. Haenow
    9. C-J
    10. Quickenden
    11. OTY
    12. Overload
    13. Steph Nala
    14. Jack Walton
    15. Fleur East
    16. Blonde Electra

  • Luke

    1. Jay James
    2. New Boy Band
    3. Jack Walton
    4. Andrea Faustini
    5. Lola Saunders
    6. Stevie Ritchie
    7. Fleur East
    8. Jake Quickenden
    9. Chloe Jasmine
    10. Ben Haenow
    11. Overload
    12. Lauren Platt
    13. Paul Akister
    14. Blonde Electra
    15. Steph Nala
    16. Only The Young

  • Chatterbox5200

    1. 8-Piece Boy Band
    2. Lola Saunders
    3. Ben Haenow
    4. Lauren Platt
    5. Andrea Faustini
    6. Only The Young
    7. Chloe-Jasmine
    8. Paul Akister
    9. Stephanie Nala
    10. Stevi Ritchie
    11. Jay James
    12. Jake Quickenden
    13. Overload
    14. Blonde Electric
    15. Jack Walton
    16. Fleur East

  • Liam

    1. New Boy Band
    2. Ben Haenow
    3. Andrea Faustini
    4. Jack Walton
    5. Chloe Jasmine
    6. Fleur East
    7. Paul Akister
    8. Stevi Richie
    9. Stephanie Nala
    10. Jay James
    11. Lauren Platt
    12. Blonde Electra
    13. Lola Saunders
    14. Only the Young
    15. Jake Quickenden
    16. Overload

    Eugh, this was tough. I feel like we’ll get a better grasp on how these guys perform once we see them actually singing on the live show but until then this is a mix of my own personal opinions and some predictions based on the evidence.

    I can really see Jack Walton doing well especially if he is to become Cheryl/Simon’s champion in Mel’s category. I feel like that could be a real boost to his status. A lot of people are comparing him to Sam C from last year but I see him more as a Luke Friend type, I’ll be interested to see how the producers manage him.

    I also think Fleur and Chloe Jasmine have stronger staying power than a lot of people expect, I can imagine Brian Freidman pulling out some pretty spectacular choreography for them which will really get people interested. Aus X Factor has had a run of very powerful females in the overs category and I feel like Fleur could really fill the shoes of a Samantha Jade type and prove herself to be real popstar material in her early performances.

    • If they don’t want a Boy winner, they might keep Jack to stir things up (read: prevent the other males from getting more floaters). He is easily a dark horse, along with Fleur and Only the Young, if handled properly.

  • Nissl

    I made a spreadsheet with everyone’s predictions so far. Interestingly, the most controversial (high-variance) placing by far is Jack, followed by Fleur and Jay.

    I’ll update it again before the show on Saturday, and maybe post a weekly update on the prediction competition if that wouldn’t bug people.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qnb1Mzg0EuXoh6Hiqv7oVSUfRPNMBDizlUvspl3hEE4/edit?usp=sharing

    • Nissl

      I just updated the sheet with the new predictions and I’ll be sure to do it again tomorrow and Sat before (or during) the show. I saw there was a (now deleted?) comment asking about updates. I’ll do them tomorrow and Sat. for sure, but keep in mind I’m on west coast USA programmer time!

  • NEEVE

    This was so difficult, and I’m still so unsure about the winner.
    I’ve not followed the show as closely as other years, and I don’t feel like there is a clear cut winner at this point. Plus the wildcard uncertainty makes things difficult!
    I’ve gone for Lauren as champ, as a female Joe McElderry type in the sense of her journey.
    Vocally sound and consistent building a fan base as the weeks go on without hogging the headlines too much or being too controversial. I don’t think Ella being signed to Syco is a probem. If Ella is Syco’s version of Adele, Then Lauren can be their “popstar” in the mould of Ellie Goulding / Taylor Swift / Ariana Grande etc. It is a long shot though I do realise.

    1. Lauren
    2. 8 Piece
    3. Andrea
    4. Ben
    5. Paul
    6. Chloe (Obviously after a number of sing-off saves)
    7. Jake
    8. Stevi (saved over Lola in a sing off, Headline jackpot!! Leaves gracefully 2 weeks later)
    9. Steph
    10. Lola (for the low placing prediction see: Laura White 2008. Talented but dull. No connection. And has been dishonest about her background)
    11. Jay James
    12. Only the Young (Louis down to one act by week 3, begging for votes for “THE NEXT BIG BOYBAND”)
    13. Jack
    14. Fleur
    15. Blonde Elecktra
    16. Overload

  • Heisenberg

    I finally remembered where I’ve seen Chloe-Jasmine before, having a bath that time in the shopping precinct:

    http://goo.gl/it8UCq

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’m basing my predictions on the principle that ratings are more important this year than a springboard for an act.

    1. Andrea Faustini

    I think Andrea is the feelgood winner for the majority of the audience. His sweet, innocent bear persona is so cuddly and loveable that even those who favour other acts will be happy to see him win – plus he’s clearly very talented.

    2 Little Prix

    Fill in whatever you want here.

    3 Fleur

    I know this is controversial but imo she’s the most talented woman left in the competition and now that JJ (again imo) has been delcared an unperson she’s going to get enough of a run to let herself be seen. I think her popularity will grow as the competition progresses.

    4 Lauren

    Bland and inoffensive, can sing in tune, will give all 4 judges an interest up to the end. Interchangeable with Steph in a lot of ways. If Steph’s fanbase turns out to be a real thing then these two may end up swapping places.

    5 Ben

    Sweet, handsome, humble, but not as talented or charismatic as Andrea. Nuked on his “bad habits”.

    6 Stevie

    Got to keep him in till about here or each episode will drag like hell with a lot of similar singers singing similar songs in siimilar styles.

    7 Katie Waissel

    She’s a witch. Burn her.

    8 Lola

    I don’t connect with her at all. There’s something about her I find offputting. Also I think sooner or later she’ll blow up from the tension.

    9 Only the Young

    People get bored of them.

    10 Paul

    He sings very well but he’s not so accessible as others and he’s harder to like. Surprise early exit.

    11 Steph

    Could swap with Lauren as she has a fan base and very sweet. Get some energy and excitement out of her and she could get somewhere.

    12 BE

    Truth be told this would be a triumph for them given that they main message we’ve been given about them is that they annoy us. I hope they get the chance to show what they can do but I doubt it.

    13 Overload

    Fail in comparison to Little Prix. I expect them to be given inferior songs and mixes and finally be damned with colour vomit and dreadful staging / choreography.

    14 Jack

    Nice enough load but ultimately disposeable. Doesn’t offer anything particularly exciting. I don’t think we’ll see a Luke Friend this year. Luke was actually crap and the “rasp” in his voice was a myth. The only reason he did so well was that there so little quality. Jack is better than Luke imo but the standard is a lot higher this year.

    15 JJ

    I think his card is marked. On Saturday I’m expecting flames and red/black while he wails his way through Nothing Compares 2 U after a VT which concentrates on his vocal failings and he’s advised not to oversing. If they can they’ll have a toilet flush sound effect while he swooshes through a trapdoor. Someone else wondered if he’d had a falling out with producers. I thought the same thing before I saw the post. His other performance in LA (shown on Xtra Factor) was so much stronger than Everybody Hurts that the only possible reason they could have for showing it was to nobble him.

    16 Jake

    I’m saying this because i don’t want to say my beloved BE are going first.

    • A fascinating video here: of BE’s earlier incarnation as KING. This was the five-piece band featuring ‘Jazzy’, ‘Ruby’ and her three siblings: one sister and two brothers.

      This was uploaded to YouTube (by the director of the video) less than a year ago… You have to wonder at the evolutionary process than took them from this (porno chic hip-hop) to Blonde Electra and the X-Factor.

      I’m surprised the tabloids haven’t picked up on this just yet… They probably will do if BE hang around a couple of weeks.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgPB80pPeO8

      FYI: ‘Jazzy’ is the first woman featured, with blonde hair. ‘Ruby’ is the redhead.

      KING also have a Wiki page, which gives more detail. Interestingly, the other female band member – Marieangela (known as Queenie) – is now married to the son of Cher and Greg Allman.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KING_(band)

      I was interested to see that Wikipedia lists their place/s of residence as Mayfair, London (and Hollywood, LA) – a far cry indeed from Peckham (which is where BE currently live, according to the X-Factor!)

      Even more surprising – as Daniel alludes to – is the fact that the Kings are self-educated, children of itinerant fundamentalist evangelists of no fixed abode.

  • Andy.

    Here goes.

    1. Stevi.
    2. Boyband 8.
    3. Ben.
    4. Stephanie.
    5. Andrea.
    6. Jake.
    7. Lola.
    8. Chloe.
    9. Paul.
    10. Overload.
    11. Lauren.
    12. Only the Young.
    13. J.J.
    14. Fleur.
    15. Jack.
    16. Blonde E.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Are you expecting the free voting to inspire a rebellion? You could be right.

      • Andy

        That’s what I am thinking Jessie. I watched all four of Stevi’s auditions last night and each one brought a smile to my face. If he takes his madness into the lives he could well go a long way. He will be up against the Syco machine with all their tricks but a Stevi win would make a lot of people happy this Christmas.
        I will be backing him very early and hoping to lay at shorter odds later into the show.
        About time a novelty won.
        🙂

    • Kenneth Chow

      I applaud your bold prediction…

    • Heisenberg

      Stevie is my favourite – he comes across as a genuinely good, honest guy who’s done the rounds in the entertainment business and has finally got a well earned TV break.

      He’s the archetypal underdog that the British public are sure to invest in early on – I’d say he has a fighting chance of winning his category and at pretty decent odds too.

      As for winning the show, well, he’s got more chance of winning American Idol – hang on a minute, who’s that auditioning in Florida..?

      http://goo.gl/qiRjBx

      • Kenneth Chow

        I think some people are definitely gonna put their votes on Stevie early on because they want some fun on the show, but once the show gets to the home stretch, say about week 7 or 8…people are gonna start to be looking for credible winner…the fun factor will wear out and people will no longer get behind it…overall thought…WAGNER…

        • Andy made the point on an earlier thread, which I think is really interesting, that free app voting may make it harder to rein in the great British public’s sense of mischief. Worth remembering that tactic #12 of the Wagner takedown
          http://sofabet.com/2010/11/30/x-factor-wagner-an-anatomy-of-an-assassination/
          was reminding his voters that voting was costing them money. Not any more!

          That still leaves 27 other tactics, and you would think that the usual uber-tactic of guilt-tripping people into voting for whoever they tell us “deserves” to win would most likely work in the end. At three-figure odds, though, I see where Andy’s coming from.

      • Dean

        Haha Heisenberg where do you get this stuff from? 😀

      • Dean

        It does seem Stevi Ritchie is a fake, this contest really is a joke now if they are actually getting people to pretend they have a completely different life. I understand sob stories etc. but this is going too far. Bring back Wagner!

  • Will we see the set list before Saturday? They gave out the song choices last year.

  • I’m feeling a little better now about my early 33/1 e/way bet on OVERLOAD. I had a hopeful suspicion that this wildcard could happen with them. At least I might get some extended mileage out of my £20 stake as I really don’t think the 8 piece will work.

    Too many good alpha voices here (and therefore ego’s to match) all jockeying to be top dog to ‘hold the conch’, a la ‘Lord Of The Flies’. Could be some good car crash tv here and a couple of drink fueled fisticuff arguments once the novelty of instant fame has worn off (and with a bit of encouragement from sensation seeking producers in throwing 8 strangers together in a confined space, lol).

    Daniel…I’m loving the ‘Frankenband’ analogy, yet another new brilliant descriptive to add to the the Sofabet dictionary. pmsl.

    Here is a Yahoo story on XF wildcards and Lola photographed sneaking around and coming out of contestants house …. https://uk.celebrity.yahoo.com/gossip/omg/x-factor-2014–wildcards-revealed-as-overload-are-spotted-leaving-the-contestants–house-185948747.html

  • Cath

    Here’s my prediction for the class of 2014 (taking much inspiration from the class of 2010):
    1. Andrea
    2. 8 Piece Boy Band
    3. Lauren
    4. Ben
    5. Paul
    6. Stevii
    7. Chloe Jasmine
    8. Jay James
    9. Lola
    10. Steph
    11. Only The Young
    12. Jake Q
    13. Blond Electra
    14. Overload
    15. Jack Walton
    16. Fleur East

  • Stu B

    1, 8 Piece
    2, Ben
    3, Andrea
    4, Lola
    5, Paul
    6, Lauren
    7,Stevie
    8, Overload
    9, JJ
    10, Chloe
    11, Jake
    12, OTY
    13, Steph
    14, Fleur
    15, Jack
    16, Blonde

  • Marc

    here we go… this was very difficult!

    1) Lola
    2) Ben
    3) Boyband
    4) Jack
    5) Stevie
    6) Andrea (no way tptb will let him near the final – he’d wipe the floor if he got there)
    7) Lauren
    8) Chloe
    9) Paul
    10) Jake
    11) Fleur
    12) Jay
    13) Overload
    14) OTY
    15) Steph
    16) Blonde Electra

  • Mech

    Produced largely by putting all the acts in order of how much I like them based on superficial information and whim. *

    1 New Boy Band
    2 Jake Quickenden
    3 Jack Walton
    4 Overload
    5 Lauren Platt
    6 Lola Saunders
    7 Ben Haenow
    8 Jay James
    9 Andrea Faustini
    10 Steph Nala
    11 Paul Akister
    12 Chloe-Jasmine
    13 Stevi Ritchie
    14 Blonde Electra
    15 Fleur East
    16 Only The Young

    * and then reversing the list.

    Further to that, I’d already updated the spreadsheet I shared from last year when it was pointed out to me that there’s already one posted above, but I figure I may as well share it anyway.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnuY0QdO5h1gdDhOYzkxeWNTQnNpYjVKZUxXY2ppTlE

    As there are no real results for week zero, I’ve shown the results if the ‘average’ result wins – so by everyone’s reckoning Panos should have it in the bag. Interestingly Daniel is in second place, despite having the disadvantage (or perhaps it’s actually an advantage) of not seeing everyone elses order.

    • David Cook

      I was amussed by one of the comments on DS which suggested that they thought Daniel must have published his list in reverse.Whilst I think the chances of the boy band crash and burning week one whilst BE romp to victory looks remarkably slim, the gauntlet has clearly been laid down. Perhaps you can include the reverse list just to see how it compares.

    • Nissl

      Good to see you back, I’m running the other spreadsheet so I guess we’ll be good double-checks for each other! Plus I will probably be out for at least a few elimination shows since it’s mid-Sunday here.

    • Kenneth Chow

      Lol…why is Stephanie labeled as #N/A on your crowd predicted order list…

      • Mech

        Rumbled 🙂
        A very slight glitch due to Stephanie and Only the young sharing rankings to too many decimal places. I’ve resolved the issue by biasing very (very) fractionally towards Daniel’s prediction for the finishing order, just enough to split any ties.

  • Jessica Hamby

    On the Digital Spu poll of the final 12, (doesn’t include wildcards) JJ is second from bottom, just ahead of Blonde Electra. I know digital spy is not always representative but interesting nonetheless.

    • Kenneth Chow

      People there like myself are not Jay fans…more of us are Steph fans…so it definitely is a little unrepresentative, but who knows..Steph may surprise us and most of predictions would blow up in our faces…its also worth mentioning she has a lot of online support… More than you would think for the unknown of the season…

    • Nissl

      Based on past patterns, I generally look to DS preseason polls to find out if there are acts that the show obviously isn’t interested but that have enough of an audience base to last a few weeks. Last year DS did a good job predicting Abi would be a tough out despite a hard gamma edit. This year I’m banking on a repeat of this pattern for Steph.

      As far as the business end of the competition, in general the DS polls don’t do a great predictive job. However, the acts that strongly overperform their DS position are usually those with major appeal to teen girls or gay men, and JJ doesn’t fit the bill at all. Will his background appeal to a middle-aged to elderly, blue collar female demo that doesn’t post on DS? I dunno, but the track record suggests that service in the armed forces doesn’t count for much. There’s a reason I’m one of the people who predicted him lowest.

  • qwerty1234

    I am annoyed that I’ve put Jay James so far – him and Ben will be the two that I’d exchange. The producers have gave him such attention so far, and his terrible edit for JH must have been much more than the foundations for a story arc. Plus, all the feedback I’ve seen on DS/Twitter/general chat for him is mostly people slagging off his footwear.

    My train of thought it that the foundations have been laid – I think the producers are looking to split the vote between the boys for as long as they can and so will keep Ben, Jay, Paul and maybe even Jake going as long as they can. We won’t know who will be easiest to nobble until after week three I think – makes it particularly difficult to predict.

    When do the song choices come out? (if at all)

  • okay – my predictions

    1: Ben Haenow (personal preference – he is my favourite and i think he can be marketed to earn Syco $$$)
    2: Lola Saunders
    3: BoyBand (the most commercially successful X-Factor acts never win – Olly, 1D, JLS etc, but they do make the final!!)
    4: Andrea Faustini (will make the final but if TPTB swing the the “hes not british” angle may see him leave first of the 4
    5: Stevi Ritchi (the boy can sing – check out his Les Mis stuff – he is being built up to suddenly turn from complete novelty to complete novelty with a voice!)
    6: Lauren Platt
    7: Paul Akister -(pimp slots to date will take him this far but ben and Andrea will eclipse him by now)
    8: Chloe Jasmine (the witch will fall at half-way)
    9: Steph Nala
    10: Fleur East
    11: Overload (will need to go early to leave focus on Boyband)
    12: Jay James (would like to see him leave first tbh)
    13: Jake Quickenden
    14: Blonde Electra – Talentless and annoying – but not bland enough to go Wk 1
    15: Only the Young (sad because i backed them early but they are being given a MOR makeover – they do need edge to survive)
    16: Jack Walton (minimal air time + blandness = early exit)

  • David

    I like how Ben Haenow gets the pimp slot in the X Factor live show advert.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Now that the song list has been released by ITV, I’d be pretty sure that Chloe-Jasmine will sing a jazz version of Toxic, a bit like this, from a contestant in the USA version of The Voice.

  • David Cook

    The song list from the ITV webpage:

    Boys

    Andrea Faustini
    Earth Song

    Jake Quickenden
    She’s The One

    Paul Akister
    Ghost

    Girls

    Chloe Jasmine
    Toxic

    Lauren Platt
    Happy

    Stephanie Nala
    Everything I Own

    Groups

    Blonde Electra
    Kids In America

    Boyband
    Roar

    Only The Young
    Jailhouse Rock/Twist n Shout

    Overs

    Ben Haenow
    Bridge Over Troubled Water

    Fleur East
    All About That Bass

    Jay James
    Changing

    Looks like Chloe has the worst choice

    • Nissl

      Have you seen the Alex & Sierra version of Toxic? It’s still a big hit on Youtube and it’d fit Chloe well, I think, while emphasizing how “different” she is.

    • Nissl

      Sorry for the double post, but other thoughts as I’m digesting the songs. Several very current picks. Fleur has last week’s (!) with similar qualities as Bang Bang which should suggests to me they’d like to keep her around for a few. Dated, non-demo-delighting choices for OtY and Steph, no surprise. I have a hard time seeing BE not being really, really grating.

    • Lia

      What about the songs for the toilets? WCs in case no one gets my stupid joke… Are they still pretending they will be a surprise?

  • qwerty1234

    Have we all seen the song choices?

    http://www.itv.com/xfactor

    A few surprises. I called “She’s The One” for Jake over on DS – I think that’s my only spot on prediction haha. My main three notes:

    Steph – Everything I Own.
    I’ve not heard that song – it’s very old, not often performed and certainly won’t be known to the younger audience. I’d be surprised if it is designed to do anything but derail her.

    Jay James – Changing
    I’m assuming this is the recent #1 from Sigma? It’s a big, powerful Paloma Faith vocal, and not a particularly memorable song from 2014. Given his previous emotional performances and his target audience of housewives (sweeping but pretty obvious) – this song fits neither of those criterea. Plus, it will have to be changed up quite a lot to appeal to voters, which never goes well. I’m predicting a Carolynne Pool – Starships affair with a similar result.

    Fleur – All About That Bass
    She said in the DS article that there’s a bit of rap in there – a big no no already. This is the current number one, which is risky territory as its not as well known. Fortunately it’s a massive worldwide hit, but how will voters take to a slim, athletic, confident lady lecturing them about their curves and body issues? Interested in this one.

    Also unsure about Paul doing “Ghost” (assuming it’s Ella Henderson’s one) – doesn’t seem like it will suit him.

    Surprised that OTY are being given a mash up, I thought they’d be thrown under the bus a bit.

    Very interested for tomorrows show.

    • Marc

      Fairly poor choices across the board, can only really see the 8-piece, Andrea, Ben and maybe Paul nailing these. Intrigued to see what the wildcards do.

      OTY did a mashed up version of Jailhouse Rock as their ‘second song’ at arena auditions – I think it was mashed up with a Frank Sinatra song though? It was pretty good in an arena context after a load of ballad singers but thinking on TV it might come across as pretty dated.

      Absolutely bizarre choice for Steph, they seem to be leading her into a strange UB40/reggae-lite direction which is giving me hints of their attempts to make Carolynne a ‘UK country star’ a few years back 🙁

      Great point from qwerty1234 about Fleur handling lyrics about body issues. Fully expecting a B3 of her, Steph and Blonde Electra at this stage (which would be a shame!)

      There’s a few more hints about what to expect over at DS: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/s103/the-x-factor/news/a602549/the-x-factor-the-circus-summer-what-you-can-expect-this-weekend.html

      • Dean

        Andrea has a really good song choie, they definitely want him in the final.

      • Jessica Hamby

        At first glance it looks like playing to strengths for Paul, Chloe, Lauren, Fleur, Ben and Little Prix.

        Andrea will do a good job but it’s early for doing a messiah type song and suggests a peak too soon. BE are being stranded in an MOR rock zone like Storm Lee and will look pedestrian when they are anything but. Arrangements may change things but some of those songs are just wrong.

        Steph and OTY are also being put in the wrong pigeonhole. Sometimes I just hate this show.

      • qwerty1234

        I’d be wary of Jay James, too. He may do a Cardle – he was given “When Love Takes Over” in his first week which seemed an equally underwealming choice but “Changing” (if it is the Sigma/Paloma Faith one) doesn’t have the all-round appeal. I just think it means he’s going to have to mess with the arrangement of the song which doesn’t go down well as we can see with “Starships, he (like Carolynne) was given a lot of attention in the early stages, granted he’s been given more but it’s all a bit strange.

        It is bizzare for Steph – I’m a bit gutted for her to be honest because quietly she is a favourite of mine.

        • Kenneth Chow

          I don’t think Jay can do a Matt Cardle, Matt just has a much better voice that Jay has, Jay’s voice is really not great…he’s oversinging half the time…I truly don’t believe he can hit the notes that Matt can hit…and who is Little Prix???…I get lost when people use nicknames like that…

          • qwerty1234

            No I’m inclined to agree, Jay doesn’t have the power that Matt did and the song will do him no favours.

            Little Prix are New Boyband.

          • Marc

            What was clever about Matt doing Love Takes Over was the song itself is basically a dance rewrite of Clocks, it wasn’t a huge leap to sing it in a rockier style and it wasn’t too jarring as a result.

      • Steph’s band Luminites had a pop-reggae feel too though, so it’s not totally bizarre.

  • qwerty1234

    I’ve also realised I’ve written “derail” for Steph – not that she was ever really put on the rails properly.

  • David Cook

    To me it looks like the boy band, Paul and Andrea who have been given songs which should both suit them and help them pull in votes. Ben has been given a good song, but one which is perhaps more difficult to pull off. If he does manage it however it would of course make him seem more of a serious contender.
    Lauren has been given an OK choice, but not one that can really make her vocals stand out. We’ve seen that she can sing very well, with good technique and very smooth accurate vocals – but she needs a performance that will lift her. It will be interesting to see what they give Lola by comparison.
    Fleur seems to have been given a song which should suit her style, and she should do it well – the issue being whether there are many votes out there amongst the viewing public. I think she will be in trouble.
    I am assuming that ‘Everything I Own’ is the Bread song. Of all the number one songs they could possibly have given to Steph they give her this? If she does the Bread version I suspect her vocals will sound paper thin. From the Tellymix comments it looks like it could be more the Boy George version which I fear could be even worse. Again Steph looks like she will be in trouble.
    Jay’s song choice of Changing could turn into a real dirge. He’ll need to change the arrangement to suit him, and if we get the typical Jay sound then this could be a real shocker. Are they really going to derail him this quickly though.
    I still can’t see Toxic helping Chloe at all. This may sound strange but when Chloe sings well she seems to do it by singing in character rather than singing as herself. I think it is a sort of act and the song arrangement has to suit the act. I just don’t see how they will get Toxic to fit with this even if it’s done as a jazzy version. I must be wrong because clearly Chloe is integral to the lives shows.
    Finally, although Jessica will probably disagree I think they might just have thrown a lifeline to Blonde Electra. Depending on staging this might actually keep them off the bottom, which would allow them to get them through to week two. As I remember the last act to sing this was 1 Dimension (I did have to check this – honestly) on what was supposed to be American song week. I think this was the week Louis threatened to get his imaginary rule book out because of the tenuous link to the theme. Perhaps that bit of stardust rub off on BE.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I hope you’re right. My fear is that it is a bit twee à la We Built This City On Rock & Roll and also that it’s a bit alienating in that it emphasisis their american background. Their strength is clearly sleazy r&b but I’m sure they’ll make it entertaining. It’s not their sweet spot though.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I’m not sure who the backdrop in this picture is for, but it seems the epitome of “Colour Vomit”.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BzmTS4ACEAEdptP.jpg

  • EM

    On the app voting it’s worth noting that the X Factor app is only the 110th best selling app on Android and I couldn’t see it in the top 150 for iPhone.

    Granted It will pick up but right now it ain’t all that

    • Chatterbox5200

      Does anyone know if the App voting can be used outside of the UK? A lot of the acts with large twitter followings includes fans in other countries.

  • Heisenberg

    Just released:

  • Boki

    I started slowly this year, no prediction at the moment, just a feeling that Lola could finish about the same as Ella and Jay as Kye.
    The elimination is tricky due to small vote diff at bottom and the betfair rules say: Which will be the FIRST act to be eliminated from The X Factor?
    Since there will be a double elim like 2010 (most probably) it means that the current market targets only bottom of the vote, right?

  • Fudd

    I think I’m going to repeat previous posts here so sorry about that in advance!

    Now I’m listening back to Andrea I’m unsure as to whether his voice is strong enough to hold up over the competition – his lower range can waver and the producers will obviously not want another Sam Bailey as a winner. The question is when will they nobble him? I can’t help remembering how nervous they were about Nicholas – to such an extent that they gave him Candy with coloured vomit at Wembley. They may want Andrea out of the way slightly earlier than that. I think Paul might be lined up for the mum’s this year, so will be a finalist being falling at the final hurdle. Jack’s future will depend on who Plan A is – if it’s the Boyband he’ll probably be stopped in his tracks early. If they have their eyes on another act they’ll keep him around as a spoiler. Jake, for me, will beat Jay in the Battle of the Cardles but lose to Ben.

    I think Lauren is being underplayed rather thanbeing nobbled. Maybe they’re learning from 2012 when they pushed Ella far too much resulting in her early departure. Chloe will be kept away until around week seven stage like other… diverse… acts. I think Lola will be used as a ‘shock’ victim at the hands of Chloe. The thing that bugs me in regards to Steph is Simon likes her and surely she must have been promised support in order to leave Luminites? For that reason, she could be pushed further than maybe some suspect.

    The Boyband appears to be an obvious Plan A; I’m sure we’ll have a big announcement mid-show along with an individual name-check alongside how they’re all best mates and they can’t believe that they’ve only been together for a matter of weeks. I think Simon having doubts (maybe even drumming up a sympathy vote) will be important – otherwise they’ll be over-exposed. I would still argue having Louis as mentor is a slightly strange move; he’s seen as the ‘joke’ and indeed has a ‘joke’ act in his category. Handing the Groups to Mel or Cheryl would have made more sense to me as both have been in a group and makes me wonder if we’re missing something. Only The Young did well in the early stages but I can’t help getting a Kingsland Road vibe from them and will be lucky to make an impact. Overload’s inclusion are another reason why I wonder if we’re missing a trick with the eight; surely the girl band would have been less of a threat and easier to dispose of without splitting the vote? There must be a label behind them which means (if the Boyband is ‘A’) they’ll be disposed of as early as possible – in week 6 so they can still go on the tour. People seem to be citing Blonde Electric as the ‘lost’ joke act but I’m not so sure. I think Stevi will be disposed of in week one as Blonde Electric have more potential for wacky and weird performances. I get the feeling Stevi is very self aware and that will come across on screen.

    As I said above, I think Ben will be the winning Cardle – or at least is lined up to be. I think Jay will be get rid of early, particularly if he starts disagreeing with the producers. The switch up of Fleur in the edit took me by surprise and adds some intrigue in to how they see the four overs as a group. Thinking about how the group works as a whole I wonder whether they may dispose of the overs early and focus on the alpha. Simon’s ego has taken a kicking with falling ratings here and the disaster in the States so a victory would be quite sweet – especially if it seems like he’s only the back foot early on.

    So what does this mean for the final 16? Looking at series 7 I’m going to go for something like:

    16. Stevi Richie
    15. Only the Young
    14. Jay James
    13. Jack Walton
    12. Lola Saunders
    11. Fleur East
    10. Jake Quickenden
    9. Blonde Electric
    8. Stephanie Nala
    7. Overload
    6. Chloe Jasmine
    5. Andrea Faustini
    4. Lauren Platt
    3. Boyband
    2. Paul Akister
    1. Ben Haenow

  • Tabitha

    1. Ben Haenow
    2. Andrea Faustini
    3. Overload
    4. Lauren Platt
    5. Jack Walton
    6. Stephanie Nala
    7. Paul Akister
    8. 8 piece boyband
    9. Chloe Jasmine
    10. Jake Quickenden
    11. Lola Saunders
    12. Stevie Ritchie
    13. Jay James
    14. Fleur East
    15. Blonde Electra
    16. Only The Young

  • Gamblebot

    I noticed something! The most beautiful women on the show (my opinion, validated by some friends) are the girls of Only the Young. Given how unforgiving the (women) of the voting public are to the pretty ones, is this a warning sign?

  • Santa Giles

    I think that Lola, even though she isn’t in the final 12, she wins it. We had amazing screen time for her at the audition process, with Cheryl as her mentor – it is all set up for the North-East vote – similar to Joe when he won it. The relationship with the mentor is so important, we saw that with Sam Bailey last year too…
    for what it is worth,this is my finishing positions.
    Steph Nala could get serious momentum, or she could do a sophie habibis…i think Fleur will be car crash tonight. I don’t think Blonde Electra last long, Stevi has a much better novelty act going for him.
    Overload will stay in long enough to give Boyband some rivalry and then be chucked. Andrea (whilst i like him a lot) will become too similar and his storyline of foreigner winning over British public will be tired. Jay James is the ringer – he is the established act who with his back story – he will scrape into the final. I think Jack is forgettable, and Only the Young look ripe for an early bath too. Lauren has the Abi Alton role i fear, rather than the Diana Vickers role.

    1) Lola
    2) Boyband
    3) Jay James
    4) Paul
    5) Andrea
    6) Ben
    7) Stevi
    8) Chloe
    9) Overload
    10) Jake
    11) Lauren
    12) Steph
    13) Only the Young
    14) Jack
    15) Blonde Electra
    16) Fleur

  • Ben Hænow (sorry I just wanted to use the æ character) has the song done by Paul at JH (which is last week). Too soon?

  • R

    Finally got my list together:

    My first thoughts were that this would be a year for a male winner and the free voting would help swing the votes towards a younger male act.

    This seems to have been reinforced by the introduction and favourable treatment of the 8 piece boy group (my suggestion for the group name is “Colonically Irrig8”). The only cloud on their horizon being the Overload wildcard.

    1. Collonically Irrig8 – This is based purely on their edit to date. While I have my doubts that they will catch on I do feel that the aim this year is for a boyband to win. If it’s not them, then Overload will take the crown. However, I don’t think they can have both acts splitting the vote in the final, so I have put one first and the other in fifth place.

    2. LoLo Lo Lo Looooola – Something very fishy going on with Miss. Saunders. She’s generally been treated really well except for the arena audition which seems to have been purely to set her omission and wildcard return.
    I watched a bit of Gogglebox for the first time yesterday and found it very useful as a snapshot of public reaction and as a tool to reinforce to the public how they should be thinking. ie everyone hated Steph and loved Lola. This suggests that she will get an engineered surge of public support. Not forgetting she’s from Tyneside.

    3. Andrea Faustini – A very likable character with a decent voice.

    4. Paul Akister – Putting two similar guys in the final 4 to split the vote.

    5. Overload – They have over 200,000 twitter followers and have trended numerous times suggesting that their fans are invested in them. If I remember correctly, some contestants only received around 10,000 votes in the early weeks so there is no chance of them going early, especially with the free votes they will receive.
    The difference I see between them and an act like Kingsland Road is that Overload’s fans will be younger and are more likely to buy into the XF as a show. An outside bet to win.

    6. Ben Haenow – Because I had one act left and one spot to fill…

    7. Chloe Jasmine – As mentioned before she’ll be slotted in for the usual 7th place act. How many times will she be saved?

    8. Lauren Platt – She’s 16, only sweet 16. Wait! She turned 17 this week! And when they turn 17 the producers seem to turn on them.

    9. Jay James – His judge’s houses audition and all that went with it suggested a massive turnaround in his treatment. They may be looking for an early exit.

    10. Jake Quickenden – Limited singer with over 200,000 twitter followers. Most of these will be following him due to his media profile so won’t be voting.

    11. Stevie – I couldn’t work out where to put him. This is a strong year with most contestants having a pre-show fan base. Stevie doesn’t have this and is one of Simon’s own Overs. It all depends if we see Simon being disgusted at having Stevie foisted on him and if they try to create the “vote Stevie because it will annoy Simon” campaign. The added bonus he has is that, if he falls in the bottom 2, Louis will save him as the wildcard he chose, and Simon will do the “well I have to save my own act” routine.

    12. OTY – Very sad to see what TPTB are doing with the talent. Looking forward to see what they do in Brie-yonce week. TPTB have plotted their downfall very Caerphilly and frankly, I doubt they’ll give Edam by the end of it all.
    They have a lot of connections with past XF acts and fans who understand how manipulated the show is.

    13. Fleur East – She has the second lowest number of twitter followers, excluding wildcards, and has an awful song choice which will alienate her fanbase. I think she will be saved against Steph in week 1 and be a bit Jade Ellis.

    14. Jack Walton – Very little screen time and will struggle to gain votes competing with so many male singers.

    15. Blonde Electra – Very annoying. If there’s a double elimination they will be up for the vote. I do think the song choice is very good for them as it’s an upbeat fun pop song, but they don’t have much support.

    16. Steph Nala – I was torn between having Steph or Fleur going first. Fleur has 10k fewer twitter followers and her song choice is terrible but her JH audition gives her the edge. Steph has been almost anonymous through the show so far, hasn’t had any impact except the edit to show her going through at Lola’s expense.

    • Fudd

      One thing – from the spoilers I’ve read, CHERYL chose Stevi as the wildcard while Louis picked Lola. It could be wrong of course but, along with being given the category with the arguable Plan A, I wonder if Louis’ being ‘rewarded’ for his loyalty to the show while Simon’s been away? Maybe, at the same time, they’re trying to separate Cheryl from Simon after quite a few viewers complained about their double act in 2010?

  • Seductive Barry

    8 piece
    Lola
    Andrea
    Stevie
    Jack
    Ben
    Chloe
    Lauren
    Paul
    Blonde Electra
    Fleur
    Overload
    Jay
    Jake
    Only the Young
    Steph

    Good luck all!

  • Donald

    Some great reading here, playing catch up. and some great detective work. So Stevie is acting his role.. what a joke..

    Here goes, reluctantly going with Boy Band to win as they are sure to get serious producer support but reckon Ben or Lauren not to be under estimated for the win.

    1. 8 piece Boy Band.
    2. Ben
    3. Lauren
    4. Andrea
    5. Lola
    6. Stevie
    7. Paul
    8. Only The Young
    9. Jay
    10. Chloe
    11. Jake
    12. Fleur
    13. Overload
    14. Jack
    15. Steph
    16. Blonde Electric

    Good luck to all on Sofabet and a profitable series.

  • tpfkar

    Last year my prediction was mathematically “worse than guesswork” And this year I haven’t seen half the shows. What could go wrong?

    1 BEN HAENOW
    2 LOLA SAUNDERS
    3 PAUL AKISTER
    4 PIECES OF EIGHT
    5 ANDREA FAUSTINI
    6 STEPH NALA
    7 JAKE QUICKENDEN
    8 CHLOE JASMINE
    9 LAUREN PLATT
    10 STEVIE
    11 ONLY THE YOUNG
    12 JAY JAMES
    13 FLEUR EAST
    14 BLONDE ELECTRA
    15 JACK WALTON
    16 OVERLOAD

  • Word Maker

    1 Ben Haenow
    2 Stevie
    3 Paul Akister
    4 Jack Walton
    5 Andrea Faustini
    6Lola Saunders
    7 Jake Quickenden
    8 New Boy Band
    9 Chloe Jasmine
    10 Lauren Platt
    11 Steph Nala
    12 Only the Young
    13 Fleur East
    14 Blonde Electra
    15 Overload
    16 Jay James

  • Lia

    Didn’t really want to do this as I always suck but, what the hell, why not?
    16. Jay
    15. Blonde Elektra (shame)
    14. Overload
    13. Steph
    12. OTY
    11. Jack
    10. Paul
    9. Lauren
    8. Fleur
    7. Wagner 2.0
    6. Kooky monster 2.0
    5. Jake
    4. Lola
    3. I 8 U
    2. Andrea
    1. Ben

    I’ll be surprised if I get any of it right 😉

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