X Factor 2014 Week 2: Nala games

Unlike last week, when the 65-minute Strictly overlap represented something of a blunderbuss for producers, the 25-minute overlap this week gave them more of a chance to focus their fire. Those in the crosshairs were Jack and Steph.

Jack’s VT bestowed a Louis Tomlinson blessing, but after that positive start it was downhill from there. His staging put us in mind of Christopher Maloney’s cassette deck backdrop from the 2012 final, with roaming spotlights scattering viewers’ attention. Jack’s VT mentioned he’d never heard of the song, and it was one of the least known of the night. Judges’ comments were, to our ears, relatively lukewarm postives offering no motivation to vote; it was a negative that Cheryl bigged up Jack’s relationship with Mel, before Simon pointed out she hadn’t even bothered to pay him a visit in person. Both Simon and Cheryl casually implied he’d still be here in the coming weeks. Perhaps it’s confirmation bias, always a danger when the money’s down, but we were surprised to see consensus in the comments calling this as positive for Jack.

Still, given what came next, there’s no doubt we have a worthy favourite for third elimination.

Putting Steph on under the Strictly bus and about to be memoryholed by Andrea Faustini, producers could not have made it any clearer that they think they can stop her bouncing clear of the singoff. Far from featuring tears over Steph’s death threats on Twitter, which would have motivated sympathy votes, her VT showed her thanking Twitter fans for their support. Her staging was colour vomit. Again, comments were generally lukewarm positives, with the exception of Mel calling her boring (Steph, don’t nod in agreement!) and Simon calling her half-asleep.

There then followed another classic tactic, the distracting argument between the judges (Simon starting the running “Kermit” joke), and Dermot twisting the knife – as he does so smoothly – by picking up on Simon’s question about whether she really thinks she can win. “I believe I have it in myself to try”. Oh, Steph – you need a minor miracle to make week 3. Still, we can’t discount the sympathy bounce being enough to nudge her off the very bottom.

We got the Andrea-does-British VT we’d hoped for in our 1-16 prediction, just in time for the Strictly switchover, and Richard Betsfactor aficionados will have been amused by the prominent stars on his jacket as well as in the backdrop. There has been much debate in the comments about whether the show would embrace Andrea as a feelgood winner or embark on a gentle deramp, and Simon pointing out the gurning will have given Andrea layers a reason to hope – as will Simon’s pointed “hands down the best performance so far” for Lauren, who was next up.

“SOMEDAY I WILL BE PRESIDENT”, Lauren’s sweatshirt had promised, in a VT intended to sprinkle some stardust on her. Slowing down an upbeat song is never entirely without risks, as Ella’s shock exit showed in 2012, but this came across well and the white dress and angelic lighting were also highly positive signs. Unsurprisingly she shortened in the win market as Andrea drifted.

Next it was Ben’s turn to star in that hardy perennial of the X Factor, the throat infection VT. Ben was okay, we thought – no gamechanger here, but he did plenty enough to keep himself ticking over.

Simon told us Fleur is “turning into a star in front of our eyes” – and what a turnaround since just three weeks ago, after bootcamp, when it was looking like she should change her name to Fleurna Simpson. As with last week, there was a tightrope to be walked to make her sexy but unthteatening. She got plenty of staging and production help, with gold records in the backdrop and vocal support – as Mel pointed out – in the chorus. There remains the nagging question of how Middle England-friendly is a confident black woman rapping, and it will be interesting to see if Mel B’s accusation of cheating might motivate a few sympathy votes or have an adverse impact.

Week 2 of Project Stereo Kicks and there were some positives if you looked hard enough – an attempt to establish two individual characters, however brief; a VT showing them bonding, working hard and contributing opinions; a performance itself that was better than last week, not that this is saying much; a challenge from Mel B to sing acapella; a “beginning to believe” from Simon. But what’s with the negativity from Cheryl, for the second week in a row? Presumably intended to set up the “we are not One Direction” riposte and form part of their longer-term journey, as Cheryl is not usually off script, but still – calling out a lack of hysteria seems an odd way of going about it.

Next up: dark horse, dark horse, dark horse – from Lola in her VT, then from Louis and Simon. Louis made a selling records comment, and Simon referred to Lola still being only 80% of the way there, i.e. her journey has further to run. The lighting and production were intended to be as helpful as possible.

Jake’s rendition of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ was actually better than we expected, but to be fair the average voter’s expectation levels probably weren’t as low as ours. Staging messages were mixed – gold spotlights, but red-and-black spider’s web-cum-shattered glass. Louis’s “after that you’re going to be safe” was a classic tactic in complacency inducing; Simon’s criticism of the vocals will likely have seemed fair to the average viewer, which we believe depresses votes (rather than unfair, which we believe motivates them). The market has Jake close behind Steph for next elimination, and it’s hard to disagree.

Comments after Chloe-Jasmine’s ‘Fame’, with fingers being pointed at Cheryl for a poor song choice, seemed to be setting up the rationale to save her in a singoff. The acts she most resembles from series past – Katie Waissel and Kitty Brucknell – hit the singoff in the first and second public votes respectively, so it would be no surprise if producers are expecting her there. But the fact they have called a double elimination presumably indicates confidence that they can keep at least one act beneath her. They won’t want to lose her just yet.

Paul got a helpful VT and great comments (“favourite of the entire series so far” from Louis, with a piano-playing challenge from Simon). Are producers pushing Paul this week to take votes away from Andrea, who is likely to be fishing in the same pool?

Stevi Ritchie continues to make us smile, as his VT showed the self-described child of the 80s demanding to change his song choice to something cheesier and Brian Friedman’s staging played into Simon’s “fast turning into a sex god” introduction. All of the judges made sure to let us know how lovely a personality Stevi is, with Louis and Simon both saying “the public like you” – calculated, we assume, to make people feel justfied in throwing some votes his way, rather than to make them think he’s safe. Dermot gave him the chance to show what a nice guy he is in a longer than usual interview, which he shrewdly used to promise a Hallowe’en performance if he’s here next week.

On paper, ‘Come on Eileen’ had looked like an enjoyably cheesy song choice for Only The Young, and they brought energy to the stage, but they were done no favours by the running order as a barrel of Stinking Bishop wouldn’t have been able to out-cheese Stevi Ritchie. By now, two hours into the show, there is a risk of fatigue setting in; staging was distractingly messy, and following Paul and Stevi it all felt a bit “after the Lord Mayor’s show”. Comments, as with Jake, were a mix of the non-motivationally positive (Mel, Simon) and the justified-seeming criticism (Kermit).

On paper, the idea of Jay James dirgifying ‘500 Miles’ sounded plausibly like it might portend a hatchet job, which just goes to show how differently the show can pan out – this was back to the hyping Jay James received before judges’ houses. With a recording studio VT, another film set backdrop, and a pimping from all but Cheryl, this was producers giving the Welsh navy veteran a chance to fly.

In sum, it seemed to us that producers are hoping to perm any two from four of Jack, Steph, Jake and Only The Young. It looks like they’re expecting Chloe-Jasmine may be in trouble, but hopeful that Stevi won’t be. Is that how you saw it? As ever, do let us know your take below.

124 comments to X Factor 2014 Week 2: Nala games

  • Dean

    For me best 2 performances were Lauren and Lola. Andrea was halted slightly, I think he top the votes by a big margin last week and its a reason for the slight deramp.

    I expect Steph will be gone, but perhaps not in the B2, could see Jake or Jack bottom. Wouldn’t be surprising if Jake, Jack and OTY were just above the B3 last week to be honest

  • Alen

    I think the main targets were Steph and Jake with keeeping Chloe close around there too and having Jack as a maybe surprise bottom3 (they did praise him so they could look shocked) but I think his performance was boring.

    I didn’t really enjoy Only the Youngs performance cause I think the beginning was messy and I just hate the song but I don’t think they want them out yet. Louis already lost two groups.

    I felt like they were trying to build up Paul a bit more to bring down Andrea. Not that they were close in votes I guess but just trying to slow down Andrea a little bit.

    Mel seemed quite negative tonight so it’s hard to guess if she ever got off-script which I don’t believe. Not really sure about Cheryl’s “you are too many” comment to Stereo Kicks, just like last week. Only way they can change that if they split up the group but that would be dangerous. Now the group has to prove that they are different than One Direction, but how could they? They are too samey imo.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I don’t thimk tptb would be upset to lose any of the four you mentioned. Most interesting imo is that the sympathy bounce doesn’t look like it is a factor so whoever survives this week may still be in trouble next time.

    I think they’re really getting a handle on directing voters by script as well as staging. Ben v Fleur and can Paul catch up Andrea (hard but not impossible) seem like the two big questions to me.

    I see Steph as nezt out and Jake in the sing off.

    • Dean

      Along with your q’s, Lauren v Lola is another intriguing battle for top girl and possible show winners if they can top the category. I still think TPTB have made their mind up, but want both to go reasonably far anyway. I think right now Lauren is slightly more favoured as the odds suggest.

  • Fudd

    I think it’s worth noting Only the Young also got a stroppy VT with them complaining continually about the song choice only be told that they were good (bar Kermit) after the live performance. That might put a few people off voting for them.

    Jack was just… there.
    Steph had a ‘lazy’ connotation cleverly added by Cheryl.
    Dermot’s reference to ‘Soho’ when talking about Chloe was stunning, particularly when following that up by implying that she was a club singer.
    Jake had mixed messages but the criticism was not really enough to drum up a sympathy vote – compare that to Ben who will be getting it hand over fist with Mel’s ‘man up’ slight.
    Andrea had issues with his cue but, as not even Simon picked up on it, I have the feeling that may have been a technical problem only heard at home. But the deramp has definitely begun in earnest.

  • Curtis

    So, the question is, is Steph nailed on to be next to go. Very tempted to bet but I’m nervous as ever!

    • Jessica Hamby

      Tjat’s why it’s called “a gamble”. 😉

    • Donald

      As someone who likes elimination voting and does put the money down when sure in my mind, I wouldn’t put Steph in “nailed on” category tonight. Too many variables and unknowns.

      Kingston Road was my serious punt on going home last year when they did, Steph tomorrow night not even remotely near that level of sure. It is dangerous game this early on with long shows etc.

      Steph obviously treated very badly tonight but nailed on next to go when you put in some of what we saw tonight and so early in the series is taking a chance. There will be plenty better chances at better odds before series is over.

      That my advise for what it worth. Caution has been written all over this week long before the show tonight and that did not really change tonight.

  • Dean

    Loads of bickering between judges today. Too much really, much more than normal. Is Cheryl and to an extent Mel B being off script at the moment do some of you think?

    • Jessica Hamby

      Personally I think they’re all on message. They have a sceiptwriter in the credits ffs.

      Thimk Derren Brown. The whole point about the x factor is that the viewers mustn’t know they’re doing what they’re told.

      • Robyn

        The scriptwriter credit is nothing sinister. It’s for Dermott’s stuff – his on-stage throws and questions, and the voiceover stuff in the VTs. I mean, he’s a talented guy but not so talented that he could just get up there and ad-lib everything.

    • EM

      There was a point where Mel B showed her cue cards towards the camera. Very big and clear wording on them.

      Of course it may just have been her introductions but…

      • Jessica Hamby

        I realise some may think me paranoid but imo there are clear verbal cues and nudges straight out of neurolinguistic programming, marketing and psychology. Some come out of an attitude towards an act but others seem like they’re scripted to me. I also think some of the banter among the panel is, if not precisely sctipted, planned in terms of when it will happen, what it is about etc.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I love the little things you csn pick up on second and third viewing. Toeward the end of Andreas vt we have Beyonce singing I can see your halo in the background. Andrea disappoints and the Lauren apprars with shining lights around her head.

        And it’s relentless.

      • Jessica Hamby

        And by the time both Simon and then Louis repeat that they believe in Stereo Kicks we’ve already had the message, delivered by an angel no less, “keep believing, what a feeling”.

        Of course it’s probably all coincidence. 😉

  • DS has this thing where they track the Facebook likes to guess the Bottom 3. It tracked the Australian version well but with more real votes coming into the UK pool and voting frequency not considered, I’m sceptical about it. That said, FB says Steph is the lowest, followed by Chloe. The third one is up in the air.

  • Martin

    The most alarming thing I thought was Lauren’s “stunning” performance. I wasn’t even paying that much attention and I noticed that word dropped three times – once when Cheryl introduced her, once in her VT and again from Cheryl in her comments. Are they throwing everything at Lauren and Lola (equally, if not better treatment) to see what sticks, or do we think that they’re struggling?

    Talking of struggling, Paul’s treatment this week suggested that they were trying to boost him after what I’m presuming was a low poll for him last week. I mean, best performance of the series?! That? It was as if Steve Brookstein’s X Factor ghost had been ressurected and was crooning lifelessly before us.

    I don’t think Only The Young will be in danger. The comments were generally positive, if a bit unmotivational, however positive enough to get them some votes and the song was fun despite the messy staging. I don’t think the show will want three groups gone in two weeks, I wouldn’t put any money on them being eliminated this week.

    Fleur was again, interesting to me this week. I’m surprised more isn’t being singled out on her – firstly the staging may have seemed positive with the gold discs and her name in lights but she was on stage dancing around a pole after being put to us initially as a “nightclub singer” (stripper?) and wearing what can only be described as underwear with a jacket on. She’s a CFB, she was rapping, doing a-not-particularly-well-known song and then Mel tells us that she’s cheating because her backing track was doing all the work for her. I think she’s in massive trouble – the only thing that will save her is that if Steph gets a bigger bounce than the producers are expecting. Does anybody else think Mel went off script with her backing track comment? Any sort of foul play in terms of vocals never goes down well with voters (when Kitty had some vocoder a few years back she was in the bottom two that week?) but I can’t see why the producers would crowbar her out so soon. Unless I’m overreacting.

    I’ve spent all week trying to decide whether Steph will survive this week. History shows that she will bounce, but the producers were 100% putting a lid on that and padlocking it shut. The reggae thing didnt work last week, so lets do the same thing again! Massive memory-holing and even giving Andrea the same stage (sans light sabre) – I still can’t decide whether a sympathy bounce will save her. I’m inclined to say it won’t.

    I think Chloe will be bottom two, no doubt – a VT telling us all how posh she is will pull in zero votes, her staging was neither here nor there but it was all set up, as the article says, for a valid reason to save her. She had an off week, forget about it, save her, she will come back fighting.

    Jake is my favourite to be eliminated first, bottom of the vote. Before he even came on stage Mel planted the seed that he is only there for his looks. Furthered in the VT, we also then had Mel basically telling us all that he couldn’t sing. He came out, did an OK job but not particularly favourable staging, as mentioned Louis’ classicly passive “you’re safe” comments and some gentle suggesting that he can’t sing, yet again.

    Everything about Jack has already been said. The Louis Tomlinson thing may boost him, but that was the first VT of the show – he’s the naffest member of 1D, he was singing a song that nobody knows, the comments were a bit “meh” apart from Simon saying that he’s one of his favourites. I’m not sure whether 1D + Cowell endorsement will cancel out awful song choice and graveyard slot.

    At this point I’m saying Jake out first. Chloe will be bottom two and saved, but who against – I can’t decide. It’s between Steph, Fleur and Jack – in my head I’m saying Fleur – her comments from Mel will be very damaging but I can’t help feeling that it’s not the desired outcome. Steph would be a more sensible choice but for the life of me I can’t decide.

  • I need an education regarding the impact of running order when votes open at the start of the show. How does it work, generally?

    • Martin

      I’m not sure that there is a tried and tested answer to that. We lost two acts who were in pimp slots in the first two weeks the last time they did it. Personally I think the safest slot, at the minute is post-Strictly but pre-10pm.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think this is a really important point. If votes open at the start of the show and you have five free votes then the impact of the death slot and the pimp slot is diminished. Jack was given a lot of praise from position one. Easy to chuck him a vote there and then where previously he would have been forgotten by the end. Being in the middle or towards the end, when someone has cast a few votes and is now being more circumspect about who to give them to, could well be the new death slot.

      Also, the panels’ (I can’t call them judges) comments have more significance because voters can act on them immediately.

      Tptb will doubtless also have feedback on when votes are cast. I doubt many are waiting till the end beforr they vote. The Andrea / Lauren big hit in the middle of the show may well have taken a lot of votes out before Lola, OTY and JJ sang.

      In many ways this is new territory for them as well as us (unless they’ve done it in shows overseas).

    • Jessica Hamby

      Most of all I think it gives them more control. I would imagine most votes tare cast while the show is on air and are based on what is unfolding on the show rather than on memory and favouritism.

    • They’ve done it only once before on UKXF, in 2012. This was our attempt to decide if it made any difference –
      http://sofabet.com/2013/01/08/x-factor-2012-review-part-2-the-running-order/
      We concluded maybe a bit, but probably not much. Of course they didn’t have free votes then so that’s a new factor.

  • Fudd

    One thing about the Strictly clash while I remember – all performances and scoring on the BBC One show had finished and they were into the recap before Stephanie’s performance began so I think a lot more viewers would have switched over to see Steph compared to who watched Jack.

  • Donald

    The whole show tonight revolved around the judges and general bickering between them which in turn distracted from the acts in various ways.

    Some of the performances were real bad and some serious errors made. Andrea messed up and Paul seemed to get well lost and adlibbed through a part towards the end with the BV’s saving the day. Andreas deramp was in full flow.

    Lauren is a seriously competent vocalist, fab tone and diction, very natural talent and so in the zone technically when performing and a bit understated with it which is nice to watch, a vote getter no doubt.

    Jay was a surprise tonight even his treatment.

    Stereo Kicks is all over the shop but no doubt will steamroll along, where to God only knows..

    Bottom three, Jake, Steph and Stevie was as bad as it gets for a singing contest. C

    OTY had bit of copycat 1D stuff thrown in with skateboarders and not sure how the app brigade would have reacted to banjo but they should be safe.

    Lots of red and black around across many acts and Gold Discs very 70’s 80’s so not sure what they really at with Fleur.

    Allowing for bounce, how bad Stevi was, going to say Jake bottom but small stake as it is bit of value, but they did shovel the coal on Steph.

    Sing off Steph goes. she might avoid bottom but doubt if will miss bottom three after that treatment again.

    The big unknown is the bounce factor and it won’t take much with so many acts in to avoid bottom so caution continues for me this week. Sing off might be different though…

  • Chatterbox5200

    I know that it’s quite common for TPTB to have their ideal winner identified before the live shows start, but I’m beginning to wonder if this year they are more open to switching horses midway through the contest, if a particular act is seen to be more commercially viable.

    It shouldn’t be forgotten that unlike celebrity shows, such as Strictly, SYCO have a vested interest in securing a winner that will make them money after the show. They have always had access to the telephone voting results, but now the popularity of an act can be assessed by reviewing many other sources of data, such as their Facebook likes, YouTube views and most importantly, iTunes purchases. Cheryl even mentioned when introducing Lauren that she has “already charted in iTunes”.

    Looking at the current iTunes Top 200, Lauren is actually at #26 (tonight’s song) and #27 (last week’s song). As I previously mentioned, on another thread, this may also have something to do with the arrangement being different from the original.

    Surprising to me, the most popular performances from tonight on iTunes are Jay James (#10) and with Ben (#22). Stephanie and Stevie are the only acts not to feature in the current Top 200 at all.

    What is also interesting is that although Stereo Kicks appear at #98, the original Don Henley version of Boys of Summer is at #65. This is also the case for Jake Quickenden at #182 with Bonnie Tyler’s original version at #96.

  • Natasha

    Didnt watch the show but a bottom 3 including Steph and Jake is likely then?

  • Jake for me. Lukewarm vocal, a VT centreing on his looks and of course red and black staging. Steph does appear to be on a serious deramp. Death slot, bottom two last week and another reggae cover with a hint of colour vomit. The signs point to a nuking.

    Andrea got a small but noticeable deramp this week. Lots of stars though, including on his (awful) jacket. And we were flying through a star field on Lauren’s performance.

    I get the impression the producers are intending to throw Fleur under the bus soon. It didn’t grab me as a vote-winner.

    I am going to sleep on it before spending any money on the automatic elimination market.

  • Jake got the brave tag from Louis.

  • Gamblebot

    A few notes:

    1. OTY and Steph had HORRIBLY MESSY staging. It was paired with surprising superlatives for the former and faint half-praise for the latter. Also, this week, only the ladies of OTY had solos; is that a bad thing?
    2. You know that sexy but unthreatening thing you talked about with Fleur? Gone now. Forgive the language, but she looked like a slut. Those men didn’t help, either.
    3. JJ is still getting good staging and good comments but with Cheryl’s remark, was it a (deliberately) wasted last slot (see: Misha B, Tamera Foster)? Note that I didn’t say pimp slot because two years ago, when voting opened at the start, last slot taker Melanie had the least votes.
    4. Ben got loads of sympathy after Mel’s “man up” remark but comments are still MOR overall. Once again, the males share songs (i.e., songs performed by one in an earlier stage are performed by another now).
    5. The Overs seem to be playing musical chairs, like series 6. There seems to be a hierarchy, but it’s not clear-cut and is definitely not stable.
    6. Andrea’s getting a deramp and Paul’s being set up as Andrea’s foil.
    7. Jake’s song does him no favours; no self-respecting up-and-coming male artist would sing that. The comments were also damning.
    8. Jack seems to be set up to fill a “guitar niche” but TPTB aren’t bothered if he succeeds or fails. Treatment so far is marginally better than Sam Callahan and miles worse than Luke.
    9. Lauren is being touted as an Alpha girl, but the producers seem to have learned their lesson from Ella and made her look so sweet and innocent (vs Steph, Chloe, Fleur). She brought her friends to the studio (aww) and she looked like a baby on stage.
    10. Lola is being developed slowly into a “dark horse” but is she going too slow?
    11. Chloe and Steph are certs for the bottom 3. Who’s joining them?

    • Jessica Hamby

      Strongly agree about Fleur. She was cast as a slut last night, in VT and on stage. Steph also in a very short skirt with provocative dance moves and singing call me any time (or whatever the lyric is).

      Huge makeover for Lola. I still have doubts about her vocal.

      SK improved a lot. I wonder if they can get Andrea out before the final and put in, say, Lola, Lauren, Paul and SK. Last week I thought he could become unassailable. This week I think a few weeks more of this and people may get a bit bored of the lack of variety. Add an end of journey VT and suggestions that everyone else is voting for him and that he’s italian really and….

      Sam B’s big advantage last year is that she was one of only two contestants who could actually hold a tune. That’s not the case this year.

      • Martin

        Steph was very unfortunate in her outfit/lyrics – ‘call me for some overtime’ is always a favourite, they didn’t make Diana sing any of the more sexual lyrics when she did it. Steph got them all, and then some. The flirty dancing won’t have helped either. Poor girl.

        I think the bottom two is between steph or fleur vs Chloe tonight. A safe bet would be steph but I’d fancy my chances on fleur over jack.

        • Fleur is still polling at around a comfortable 10% in the ds home page poll. Im not concerned about a bottom 3 this evening

          • Martin

            Yea but stereo kicks are also polling bottom (or close to). Fleur is exactly the sort of act they love over there.

          • Jessica Hamby

            DS habd Blonde Electra and Steph easily safe last week, eith JJ, SK and Overload in b3.
            Personally I wouldn’t rely on the forum polls for anything useful.

          • I think that is correct though. I can’t see stereo kicks out polling fleur. I think they are in more danger. Fleur polls even better on the forum page. Haven’t looked at the facebook likes

          • Ds did not have blonde electra easily safe by any stretch of the imagination

          • Jessica Hamby

            On the forum poll last week BE were comfortably safe, stayed between sixth and eighth. May have been different on the home page poll.

          • Percentage wise they were always in danger according to the ds page. Fleurs 10% puts her in 3rd place only behind andrea and lauren. She is polling 5times higher than the bottom placed contestants. Blonde electric were no more than 2% ahead of bottom despite being a few places above the drop zone

  • Dean

    YT views don’t really mean much but a word of interest is that Jack has about 70,000 views and is near the top. Is that perhaps because people missed him in the Strictly overlap?

  • EM

    I’m pretty much in agreement with the main summary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of Steph, Jake, OTY, Chloe and Jack in the bottom three tonight.

    I was puzzled through Stereo Kicks, the VT intro was classic One Direction, the staging and direction of the performance was average and the comments unhelpful. My wonder is are they setting them up for a member cull?

  • KaraokeSauron

    I’m wagering that Steph and Jake leave the show tonight, with Chloe-Jasmine saved in a sing-off.

    Cowell’s ‘pulling faces’ remark re: Faustini sounded like the start of a concerted takedown.

    • Dean

      It just confuses me though that they have given him such a pimping until now to then take him down when Andrea has invariably done nothing wrong. I still think they want him to get to the final, but today was just them taking him down a peg or two and not run away with it. I can imagine he polled huge last week

      • Its funny that some were saying he had already won after 1 live show and tptb basically take him down in one with a response that says we’ll be the judge of that.

        • Jessica Hamby

          It will be interesting to see who tops the poll from last night, Lauren or Andrea. I can’t see it being anyone else. There’s a lot of love for Andrea but five weeks of him saying cor blimey guvnor giss a cuppa will wear out the most loyal, particularly when contrasted against the ongoing beatification of Our Lady St Lauren of Platt.

          • The oncoming deramp was obvious the moment andrea in his vt said english people shouldn’t cook pasta. Surprised no one else picked up on this

        • Jessica Hamby

          I suspect it will still be Andrea at the top. I don’t think they took him down in one. I think it will take a bit more work than that.

          Interesting top hat the vt showed Mel saying they’d slowed it down a bit so he could add to the melody and Simon complained about some if the things he’d done to the melody.

          The lead singer from Little Pricks is a competition grade gurner too, but the panel don’t seem to have noticed that. Funny, eh?

          • When I say took down in 1 its in relation to people calling him the winner and tptb showing how easy it will be for them to stop him winning if they choose to

        • Jessica Hamby

          *too thar, not top hat*

  • I’ve slept on it. So, here’s the dilemma. Jake, Steph and Chloe will be B3. Chloe will be saved in the singoff. So, now, the question is who of Jake and Steph goes automatically, and who does the singoff and then gets dumped for Chloe?

    Based on all producer effort last night, my gut instinct tells me Jake automatically gone, Steph to lose the sing off.

  • Joe

    I backed Jake for automatic elimination during the week and although it will be close I still the trend of a bounce will hold up and see Steph clear of last place.

    I agree with James that she will lose the sing off to Chloe, it gives us all the drama of Cheryl having to pick between her own acts.

  • There is a precedent also for continually saving an act that the public constantly reject. Katie Waissel and Misha B are the two fairly famous examples of this (the latter of course famously being saved over Janet on the weekend of the long knives.) Chloe is being set up to take that role now.

    The other scenario we’ve seen a couple of times is saving the joke act over someone else in the singoff, usually by forcing deadlock. Rylan and Jedward both got saved this way. The joke act always seems to hang on until around late November, then they get junked just before things get serious… But Stevi’s performance was just awful from every measurable perspective. It did, however, get a green from the judges.

  • Martin

    I wouldn’t rule out one of the contestants that slowed down a song to be in trouble. Of course, most of the acts changed their song in some way but my mum is your typical middle England viewer her only comment of the night was that she hates it when they slow the songs down. It does all seem to be mirroring week two of 2012 when we had an over on last, well after 10pm and getting some decent praise – trouble for Jay James?

    I don’t think his performance worked at all. Will the voters be fooled? I haven’t seen anyone saying that it was great.

    Mother also said that fleur looked like a tart, stereo kicks were terrible and lauren was her favourite.

    • Martin

      Thinking about it, Lauren slowed her song down too. My mum clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think your mum is spot on. In the minds of viewers Lauren currently occupies a cloud placed equidistantly between Jade Goody and Princess Di.

      JJ, meanwhile, was set up to be a disappointment with verbal cues linking him with Jake and then a terrible song choice.

      Can we have a report from Martin’s mum every week?

      • Martin

        Oh of course, supply and demand.

        The ‘slowing down’ comment was in relation to JJ. We were having a lovely family discussion about the show and nobody had mentioned him so I brought his performance up, and her comment about slowing it down was the only one.

        My dads only contribution was that ‘them 8 pansies were shit’.

        I always like feedback outside of this place. I find it hard to watch as a viewer these days and I sometimes get caught up in it all. I haven’t bet yet – I’ve been a causal reader for a while but this is the first year I’ve got involved. Having a bit of an experiment at the minute.

        But yes martins mum is playing right into their hands. Hates them slowing down a song unless it’s lauren who is good, young and angelic.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Listening to Jay again on itv2+1 right now and I want to slap his stupid face and shout get on with it. All this suppressed emotion that he’s trying to act really irritates me. It’s like he wants us to identify with and admire what seems like a permanent case of emotional constipation. There aren’t many things that could make me wish for Sharon Osbourne but he’s one of them. She would have eviscerated him weeks ago and not just for his cork in the arse performance but also for his insufferably smug faux humility.

          But apart from that I thought he was great. Yeah.

          • Martin

            All of that, and I want to take an axe to his finger, which he insists on waving around in ‘1’ fist as some sort of power movement. He’s beyond irritating.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Amen brother.

            Amen.

          • KaraokeSauron

            You know I’ve hardly been JJ’s staunchest advocate, but I feel you are – not uncharacteristically – being a tad harsh here. Perhaps it says something about me but the ‘cork in his arse’, torch singer-stuff – the angst, the ‘passion’ – is what I quite like about him. It’s all rather grandiose, I admit – but the fact that he’s trying to be a grand, emotional singer whilst lumbered with a rather reedy voice and questionable technique makes for interesting viewing – I think. It would be awful if I didn’t somehow warm to him, but I do.

            All of your well-phrased comment could apply to Lola, I feel. (Although I’ve actually enjoyed her two live performances for all of the reasons I like JJ.) She was really laying on the Eva Peron histrionics last night… Adele is the obvious touchstone, but she has traces of Elaine Paige, Edith Piaf – even Maria Callas – in the way she uses her body to (attempt to) convey deep emotion.

            James Graham (of Little Prix) and Faustini have a touch of it as well… A certain theatricality, a conscious desire to impart ‘a feeling’ when they sing. In the right hands Faustini could be excellent… I saw glimpses of disco-era Barry Gibb in his beardy earnestness last night: a sort of singing, cult messiah.

            Interestingly, I felt Akister started to flex his torch singer muscles as well last night… He moved from concentrating primarily on executing a competent vocal to delivering sensations, impressions. There was a bit of the Van Morrison about him last night – as Louis would no doubt have sensed.

            I’d take these divas over the blandness of a Haenow, say, any day.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I’ve no problem with Andrea, Paul or even the lad from the boyband. None with Ben either although I don’t rate him highly as a singer. I thought he quacked like a duck last night.

            JJ, however, gets right up my chuff (not in the good way).

            And “not uncharacteristically”? Fie sir. You wound me.

          • Martin

            I think Ben Heynow is my favourite personally. May be more to do with how attractive he is rather than talent, though. I can take it leave the ‘diva’ types – it’s not my bag and I wouldn’t listen to it in the car, makes me feel nautious.

            At risk of sounding like an idiot – can somebody explain this singing candle/torch theory to me please? I’ve picked up most of the other methods but I seem to have missed this one.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Let me add I enjoyed the comedy of his performance at judges’ houses but last night sucked the big one.

            For what it’s worth I love a good torch song singer. The first time I heard Barry Manilow (it was Mandy on my big sister’s Greatest Hits album) I thought my heart would jump out of my chest. When I saw him at the O2 I cried practically the whole way through (with brief pauses for Copacabana and Bermuda Triangle of course).

            For me JJ goes beyond grandiose and into pompous. On a good day he is slightly (or at judges’ houses magnificently) ridiculous. On a bad day he grates on me. Yesterday he grated. Rather than letting the song do the work it’s like he tries to force the feelings down your throat. I’m the audience, not a foie gras goose. If he’s going to sing like that he might as well have a full orchestral arrangement, bells, whistles and a bubble machine. The point of a stripped back arrangement is that it’s meant to be intimate. Its power is in its understatement. JJ doesn’t seem to get that.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Martin: Link below provides the info you require on torch songs.

            http://lmgtfy.com/?q=torch+song

            If it comes across as a tad harsh try to forgive me. I have a reputation to maintain.

            😉

          • Face

            I agree 100% with your comments about Jay & Shazza O… there is something so disingenuous about him… I think he will be like the Danyl (from S6) of this year… someone who Simon and TPTB tried to push… but who the voting audience just didn’t take to…

          • KaraokeSauron

            On the subject of torch singers, it was interesting to see the backdrop of candles and lanterns in front of which JJ was performing last night… TPTB clearly have that association in mind.

            An orchestral JJ, with candles, whistles and a bubble machine is a fabulous idea. JJ in full evening wear, of course, with a costume change in the second half which sees him decked out like Richard Gere in An Officer And A Gentleman.

            Indeed, I see the neon letters now: One Night Only: Jay James – An Officer And A Gentleman.

            The Albert Hall is the obvious location for this folly, but I’m drawn to somewhere less quotidian: Venice, Vienna. (Cities of love.) All attendees to wear opera masks and formal wear, the concert for the duration to be performed by torchlight. The climax: a typically anguished 500 Miles, as a shower of rose petals cascades from the rafters…

  • I think we could see a few “shock” bottom 2s this series, especially if they keep doing these boring, slowed down versions of songs. It wasn’t just that, last night was full of them! I find it difficult to remember all of the acts, as they are so samey and dull.

    To be honest, I wouldn’t be that surprised if they let Stevi or Chloe Jasmine go earlier than expected.

    Chloe Jasmine is supposed to be another Katie Waissel, but she isn’t anywhere near as much of a hate figure as Katie Waissel was, I think people are mainly indifferent to her. Katie Waissel was also more versatile in her own way, she did something fairly different every week, with Chloe Jasmine I think we know what we’re getting each time, which may help in the public vote, but I’m not so sure TPTB will be as keen to keep her around. They might save her once, but I can’t really see them saving her again and again.

    Stevi isn’t really a Jedward/Wagner/Rylan novelty act, he’s more a bit cheesy and amateurish, like someone doing karaoke or at a holiday camp. The other problem I think is that everyone seems on the same page with Stevi. The consensus seems to be “Yeah, he’s not great, but we like him anyway”, and that seems to be coming from the public and the judges. I’m not seeing much of a “making a mockery of the competition” or “it’ll annoy Simon Cowell if he wins” factor this time.

    That said, I think there is a general feeling of fatigue with the show nowadays.

  • Sorry for the double post, but I forgot Stevi is in Simon’s category! That will make a difference.

    While I’m here, the only two performances I liked much were Fleur and Only The Young, though I agree Fleur in particular could be in trouble.

    I also agree about Stephanie wasn’t given any help at all to stay in this week. Being asked if she could win was a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” question. If she says yes, she looks arrogant, if she says no it just reaffirms any views people have that she has no real chance now.

    Stereo Kicks were really, really bad, a lot worse than any of the other acts, most of who weren’t great anyway.

    As pimp slot performances go, Jay James’ one was hardly among the best. It was dull as ditchwater. I think he’s lucky he wasn’t on earlier.

  • Vülker

    I really can’t see anyone voting for Steph apart from her family. She’s a dead cert bottom for me, especially after that performance, comments and dead slot. Who would vote for her, I wonder…

    Jake and Chloe complete the Bottom 3, Chloe is saved in what will be a ‘shock elimination’ – but not really.

    Really hoping Jay James somehow finds himself in trouble, that John Lewis-ed ”500 Miles” was plain ridiculous.

    • I’ve cashed out on jake and switched to steph hope it doesn’t bite me in the arse. I get a feeling chloe is going to be hovering around bottom spot

    • Vülker

      Actually, is there any remote chance of seeing Jay James in a shock bottom of the vote Masson-style?

      His price on Betfair is very very tempting…

    • Kenneth Chow

      Stephanie has a fan club in case you didn’t notice… She would’ve been gone last week if it wasn’t for it…but with a better performance which she did have and a fan club looking for the rebound, I say she gets it… Bottom 3 predictions
      : Chloe Jasmine, Fleur and Jake with Jake being automatically and the controversy beginning with Chloe being saved over Fleur this week…

      • Usually I would agree with this and a ‘fan base’ means nothing if they don’t feel passionately strong for the act, as overload found out last week

        • Kenneth Chow

          Stephanie’s performance this week >>>>> whatever the hell Overload did last week….also Overload never had the chance the get the rebound vote…

          • Ok lets just concentrate on what happened this week. Stephanies performance was the most forgettable of the lot. Jakes was just as bad but he clearly has more support

          • Kenneth Chow

            I would to argue with you and say that Jake was worst …a lot worst than Stephanie…and certainly the worst of the night…and he doesn’t have to benefit of the rebound vote which does work a lot of times…not always, but does work… Steph fans will just vote harder…

  • “John Lewising” does seem very much in vogue this year. Will it be used as a nuking tactic?

    • Jessica Hamby

      If Lauren does the same thing every week it might bore voters. I’m surprised the plagiarism isn’t more of an issue. Lauren last week and last night, Jay last night, both taking credit for other people’s arrangements. In my view it’s dishonest to the point of being a scandal but the majority don’t seem to care.

      • KaraokeSauron

        It’s been going on for years… James Arthur’s much lauded version of Sexy And I Know It was a rip-off of Noah1’s arrangement of the same track.

        There literally is nothing that is original, spontaneous or unrehearsed in the X-Factor… it’s almost Satanic.

  • Fudd

    Interesting to note Louis said Only the Young were recording artists but not Stereo Kicks. Part of their journey or are they switching the groups around in terms of alpha and beta?

  • This after the break nonsense is the most annoying thing the x factor have ever done.

  • annie

    Goodbye for Steph and Jake, right?

  • Lenny

    This is looking very promising. Stereo Kicks called safe please.

  • If Stereo Kicks go into the sing off, should they be backed?

  • Fudd

    Tonight’s reveal order:
    Fleur
    Only the Young
    Paul
    Andrea
    Jay
    Lauren
    Stevie
    Jack
    Ben
    Lola
    Jake

    OK, I didn’t see Stereo Kick’s drop coming.

  • Jack

    Good God! The SK experiment isn’t working then? One of CJ and SK to go!

  • uncalquera

    Hohohohohoho. Shocker.

  • Phew I had a lucky escape there. Another good week 🙂

  • Fudd

    Have we been completely blindsided and they’ve been clearing the decks for Only the Young?

    Who are they going to drop between Chloe and Stereo Kicks? Surely this wasn’t their intention? If it was, well played.

  • R

    Phew, had Jake or Steph to go first.

    SK or Chloe is an interesting one.

  • Martin

    Goodness me I can’t call it.

    Also the lack of best bits for Steph was hilarious.

  • Fudd

    Stars, gold and blue, halo lighting for Chloe…

  • annie

    woooow this is the shock of the year 😀 isn’t it? what will they do?
    will they save the overpimped experiment that didn’t get started or the tabloid filler potential?

  • Curtis

    Tempting to bed on SK to go but I think I’m going to take my Steph winnings and keep the hell out of this one!

  • Fudd

    No gold for Stereo Kicks but still the halo/stars vibe.

  • Couldn’t find a market but surely chloe goes

  • Jessica Hamby

    Might as well send SK home. Public don’t like ’em.

  • Chatterbox5200

    There’s no way they’ll get Stereo Kicks over the line now. They’ll be lucky to even get them to the final.

  • Fudd

    Cue Stereo Kicks going acapella next week then?

  • Betfred failed to get a market up so massively missed out.

  • annie

    oh, i really thought they will take it to deadlock as chloe obviously was bottom. …Plus I have no ideea what more they can throw towards SK to make them fly…

    • Curtis

      Well based on the fact they didn’t go to deadlock, maybe Stereo Kicks were even below her in the vote. That’s even more ominous for them!

  • Stereokicks 1 act that will bounce next week

  • Jessica Hamby

    OTY will be delighted by that. And Overload will surely have a few drinks on that result too after the panning they got last week.

  • Donald

    Ooh, good job was small stakes week, wonder how close that was at the bottom. 1D and 5SOS ruling the boy band market obviously, hard to get another to kick in.

    Time for reflection, good fun though, how will they get Stereo Kicks to the tour?

  • David

    After watching all Saturday’s performances again I have to say Fleur’s was surprisingly my favourite, it is the only one I have watched multiple times. Vocally she is sound and her execution is spot on. She really brings it without coming across overconfident or unlikeable. I know her target audience appears to be small but when she starts mixing it up with popular ballads which she will smash, she will pick up more support and momentum.

    I don’t think it is the end of Stereo Kicks either, it’s a much needed wake up call, if they perform songs that can show off their voices like in the sing off I think they can pull it back.

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