X Factor 2014 Week 2 Post Mortem: Stereo Kicking

It’s fair to assume that wasn’t in the script. After Steph had departed first, no great surprise after her treatment last night, producers were left with the dilemma of a singoff between two acts they had surely earmarked for another few weeks in the competition. They must have been regretting not doing more for Chloe-Jasmine, which remains a puzzle given it was always possible she would end up either bottom or pitched against another act they wouldn’t want to lose.

Betfair punters were in no doubt that Chloe-Jasmine would be sacrificed for the boyband, as she traded around the 1.1 to 1.2 mark, and so it proved by majority verdict. While I agreed that this was the most likely outcome, in such an unexpected singoff scenario I wasn’t tempted to get involved at those odds.

So where now for the Stereos after this Kicking?

There have been so many references to eight members being too many, perhaps it’s possible that the bottom two appearance could portend a cull and a reboot. Perhaps next week’s VT will feature an Apprentice-style boardroom inquest into who is responsible for the failure of this task, with Louis in the Sir Alan role.

It certainly hasn’t been working so far, and the debate will continue over just what was intended with Cheryl’s remarkably damaging comments about the lack of hysteria. As ever, do share your thoughts and impressions below.

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135 comments to X Factor 2014 Week 2 Post Mortem: Stereo Kicking

  • Curtis

    I agree with you that there was a producer blunder here. Both of these acts who, as you say, producers wanted to get more mileage out of, were given poor treatment yesterday. I feel sure there’s going to be an inquest into how this happened!

    • Curtis

      However, they did do a very effective job on containing Steph’s bounce, much to the pleasure of my bank balance, so well done producers for that!

  • Jack

    That was quick! 😉 I was floored by the sing-off but SK always seemed the likely sing-off survivors sadly and now it seems like an effort to get them to the final, let alone to have them winning it. Maybe they didn’t target enough acts? Jake was on pretty late, whilst Jack W was praised. I wonder how SK polled last week? Surely producers must have realised they could be in trouble this week, which, as you say, makes Cheryl’s comments yesterday all the more surprising.

    I wonder if they may switch horses to OTY if SK don’t pick up votes? This week and last week’s results have been great news for them and they clearly are popular to a certain extent, maybe due to a pre-existing fanbase?

    More questions than answers this week, but it certainly makes the competition interesting!

  • Jessica Hamby

    Two thimgs shown tonight.

    Sympathy bounces can’t be relied on.

    Tptb can’t always get what they want. Sometimes the public doesn’t play along.

    • Curtis

      However surely one type of act that can rely on a sympathy bounce in a boyband right?

      • Nugg

        I am not so sure that a sympathy bounce works so well with an 8 piece. Surely a sympathy bounce requires a connection, a feeling that that individual didn’t deserve to be in the bottom 2 and a sharing of the upset and emotion that has been brought about in the individual. You just don’t get that with an anonymous 8 piece.

    • Jessica Hamby

      If they can’t poll higher than Jake after his vt, song, performance and comments I see no reason why they’ll get much of a bounce. They’re just not popular with voters. They seem like a charisma-free zone to me. They need a front man with some ooomph. The lad in the tartan shirt is a little odd looking and seems a bit uninspiring.

      And ffs, have they cornered the world supply of hair gel? Is the quiff coming back?

    • Chatterbox5200

      I think the “5 free App Votes” has gone some way to minimise the impact of the sympathy bounce. In the past, the loyal fans might have been the only ones to vote multiple times for an act, but this year there are considerably more votes being cast (as stated by Dermot). This could also means that other acts who previously wouldn’t have received votes, are now getting some from the public that are splitting their 5 votes and not giving them all to one act.

  • EM

    As I said after last nights show I’m convinced they’re heading towards some kind of breakdown of the 8 piece band. However just dumping 3 or 4 is going to look very harsh and not likely to get the public to warm to them.

    So how? Well if some could be persuaded to quit and say it was their decision then that would work. Or split the band into two and create a mega battle of the bands narrative.

    Or limp on with 8… good luck with that

  • Fudd

    Thinking about Cheryl’s comments, could a ‘lack of hysteria’ have been a coded warning about a lack of votes last week? If it was meant to rejuvenate the vote it obviously didn’t work at all.

    Mel may have offered them an out with the hint to maybe try acapella. If they give them an atmospheric number and surround them with uptempo songs it may lift them up next week and subsequently give them direction.

    I can’t see cutting the numbers working unless they make two separate groups out of them and throw them both into the competition – I’m not sure what the OFCOM rules would say about that though.

    I’m sure the true targets were Jake, Chloe and Steph with Jack as back up. Next week will surely be a concerted effort to get rid either Jack or Jake so I expect one to be pushed and the other screwed over. Jack is probably taking more away from Stereo Kicks than Jake so the latter might be given some help and Jack thrown under a bus.

    • They could spinoff the underage members of Stereo Kicks into a new group and call it Yewtree Kicks.

    • Jack could easily be doing a Luke Friend. Only lad with a guitar who exudes a strong sense of real musicianship as opposed to just being a vocalist like the others.

      If we divide what acts bring to the stage into three categories – vocalist, performer, musician – then:

      – most of the field only exhibit skills as vocalists (Paul, Andrea, Jake, Lola, Lauren, Ben, Jay – all of whom are great singers but none of whom are exactly working the audience or the stage)
      – Fleur and OTY exhibit strong performing skills as well as being vocalists (with the balance slightly tipped towards the performance side for Fleur and the vocal side for OTY)
      – Jack exhibits musicianship and performing skills (with the balance tipped more towards musicianship compared to Luke Friend who was a little more about the performance) as well as vocal skill. He may be a slightly more low-key package than Luke Friend but he still ably ticks the same boxes
      – Stevi is just about the performance
      – Stereo Kicks at present don’t have the vocals, don’t have the performance skills (stand in a line and each sing their bit in turn – gets old fast) and don’t exhibit musicianship (despite the fact that on an individual level some of them are bound to have instrument playing skills, I don’t know, I didn’t follow the early stages this year)

      Recipe for Stereo Kicks:
      – get them better at performing to camera
      – if one or two of them have instrument skills, then to quote David Brent, “get the guitar”
      – rather than them standing in a line again, get them sat down, at least some if not all – not in a line of stools but an interesting and choreographed arrangement – and let one or two of them lead each week’s performance a la Scherzinger in the Pussycat Dolls while the others provide backing vocals. Rotate the 1-2 “lead boys” each week so all have their turn. I’d go as far as letting a specific 2 boys absolutely dominate the performance and do this for 4 weeks so audiences are able to form an emotional connection, which you can’t do with a sea of people standing in a line. Eg. next week, boy X takes lead vocals on the verses while sitting on a stool and playing the guitar, boy Y take the lead on the chorus while standing and halo-backlit, the rest just background-sing. The following week, a similar setup but with 2 different boys.

      This way, it becomes a band of individuals and artists, not clones. Right now their individual talents, to the extent they have them (which I’m sure they must) are being wallpapered over in the misplaced pursuit of a dated boyband model which people aren’t even voting for, not even their target group.

    • And do the same in the VTs. You cannot get to know 8 boys in a single VT. The VTs should be about 2 boys each week, the same two that lead that week’s performance, and they should do this from week 3-6 so that audiences can establish an emotional connection with all the boys and actually get to know who the fuck they are. Cos having not watched the early stages this year – and I certainly won’t be alone in that, I think a fair number of people only tune in when the lives begin – I still only know who one of them is and that’s only because he was on last year (Barclay), and there’s barely even time to connect with any of them because they only get to sing about a line each.

  • Jack

    Sinitta on Xtra Factor has just said Barclay from Stereo Kicks is trying to persuade a girl in the house to dump her boyfriend. Don’t think stories like that are going to help SK’s cause…

  • Fudd

    The Xtra Factor is a goldmine tonight:

    Sinitta just said that Barclay (a more noticeable member of Stereo Kicks as he reached Judges Houses last year) is trying to get one of the other contestants to dump her boyfriend (as an aside, Lauren’s boyfriend spoke to her on the show last night). That’s not going down well with the core support.

    Louis’ just said it was purely Simon’s decision to make an eight piece band and he didn’t want eight people as it’s never worked before. Bus… thrown under…

    • Fudd

      Sorry – meant to say in addition to that that Sarah Jane asked Louis whether he will cut numbers; he said he doesn’t want to but will have to ‘talk to the boys’.

      Let’s just say Xtra Factor is doing nothing to support a bounce so far.

    • Yeah, Louis’s various boybands to date have never had 8 members in at the same time. (Not so sure whether the same is true for Louis himself…)

  • Martin

    I almost feel sorry for the producers tonight. Anybody apart from Andrea or lauren would have probably survived that sing off. Must try harder.

    I’m thinking some sort of change with SK next week. Some members ‘leaving?’ Could we see the first category switch of the series with simon taking them off Louis?! Who knows. The fact that they were saved shows that they think something can be salvaged but they’ve done a pretty half arsed job with them so far, needs to be stepped up.

    Thoughts on next week? I think all the front runners may be deramped, along with jack – he’s eating into their votes and must be stopped! Also I’m thinking a big push to keep OTY on standby. Can anybody else see them ‘doing’ a Little Mix? They’ve not had a Boyband win, but also not a successful mixed group and now is as good a time as any. Sort of rooting for them myself.

    Either that or they’ll so a Kingsland road with them – embrace the bounce next week and throw them out the week after. Has an act ever got to the business end from being bottom two so early? Especially without being dragged there (ala Misha B, Union J)?

    • Jack

      Danyl Johnson from Series 6 is the only one that springs to mind – he was in the bottom two in Week 3 and bounced all the way to the semi-final (With two first places in there) but he seems very much like an exception.

    • Martin

      Sorry mean to say Chloe would have survived against anybody apart from Andrea or lauren.

    • Fudd

      Going by The Xtra Factor they’ve washed their hands of Stereo Kicks already… unless the Barclay comment combined with the question about a ‘cut’ is linked to him being one who leaves the group.

    • Curtis

      Danyl (that’s a number of years ago now though!)

      • annie

        Danyl was also a very outstanding frontrunner. His audition was viral all over the world, so his case is more exception than a rule or pattern to be followed.
        I think in a week’s time latest they will be sorry they saved Stereo Prix instead of CJ.

    • I would love for the show to switch tacks to OTY. It could go the other way though and the show could go nuclear on them (and Jack) in addition to Jake who’s clearly already a strong target. But that wouldn’t help SK, just like losing Abi then Hannah didn’t help Tamera last year.

      Last year Abi polled higher than the other 2 girls and was the only girl not to have hit the singoff by week 4, but they still managed to make her the first girl off. I can see them trying this with OTY who, analogously, are de facto the top group now by virtue of being the only group polling even moderately well. However a LM-esque trajectory is also possible, and what speaks in favour of this is they’re more reliable and versatile than Abi (<3) for starters. You can derail a specialised act by pulling them out of their comfort zone, but like LM, OTY are broadly competent. The show needs to find a niche for them though, and I'm not sure it knows where to begin – they certainly shouldn't be manoeuvred in a Steps or Same Difference direction. Maybe more like a white Big Brovaz with less rapping ("you remind me of a white Big Brovaz!"), or like JEM off this year's Melodifestivalen (who I loved). http://youtu.be/qFwFpQsPqnA What works in OTY's favour is that like LM, a) they're not sexualised and come over as solid friends b) they're all strong individually and are differentiated from each other.

  • lolhart

    Although I was very surprised that Stereo Kicks came undone so early, I am not shocked overall. No disrespect to the Sofabet Team but I thought they were being more than generous predicting they would win the show. I can’t see how they can salvage the group at this stage. Cutting members will seem cruel no matter how they dress it up. The member of The Risk a couple of years ago who quit did so voluntarily and the public still wouldn’t play ball. Even if they get rid of Jack next week, Stereo Kicks aren’t suddenly going to gain One Direction level popularity.

  • You beat me to it Dan, but that most certainly was not in the script!

    Betfred, unfortunately, failed to get a sing-off market up in time. Had they done so, I would have definitely bet on Chloe to go. Had it been Steph or Jake, she would have been kept but there was no way they were going to jettison Stereo Kicks at this time. And given the awful sing-off performance, she knew it.

    I guess an alternative headline could have been “Stereo Kick In The Dick” because it is nothing less than a HUGE blow to the nether regions of the producers. The thinking initially must have been simple – get eight of them, and you multiply their voting potential by eight. The fact they’re polling anywhere near the bottom, therefore, when there’s eight of them, is a big worry and one that there is no way producers saw coming.

    They’ve got three options, the way I see it: one is to give up, throw Stereo Kicks under the bus and pimp Only The Young. Another is to provide a nuking of Janet Devlin style proportions on Only The Young next Saturday. The third is to have one or more of the lads “leave” the band.

    Due to calling Jake to go, but correctly calling Steph’s elimination I end tonight a mere 56p down on the week, but remain £45.69 up on the series.

    I imagine there’s been a few casualties tonight but I hope any losses are minimal amongst you all, and that the returns from a very blatant outcome last week leave you up on the series.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think Simon will regret that decision. He should have dropped SK there and then, caused a bit of controversy and spared himself and Louis all the angst.

    • Not watched the ITV2 show, but I get the impression they’re making a lot of negative comments about SK.

      Jake to get chucked under the bus next weekend. There will be a reprieve for Stevi having, possibly reluctantly, lost one “quirky” act.

      Of course, the interesting thing is that both of tonight’s eliminees have had dealings with SyCo productions before – Steph on BGT and Chloe’s (rather less posh) audition as a 16 year old in Season 3. I think Chloe in particular came across as a bit of a fake to those who remember her very bratty 2006 appearance, and it cost her votes.

    • Fudd

      From a television point of view it’s more intriguing to see what they’re going to do with Stereo Kicks next week. It’s a risk but it’s a calculated one. It will keep the tabloids rolling over with news of culls, fall outs, claims and counter claims. Keeping Chloe wouldn’t have the same effect.

      Plus they have the potential to be far more commercial than Chloe.

    • dt76

      Agree. And I think for a moment ther he was considering deadlock too. He knows better than anyone that if you cant get the public behind you with free votes on offer and all the other favourable treatment then it’s never going to happen.

    • Think simon was in a no win situation – Chloe was probably second last in the vote so deadlock would have got rid of her anyway, so pointless crippling SK by having Simon vote against them when they survive anyway.

  • Martin

    I don’t think they will be sorry. There’s not really the hate for Chloe that katie had. Sure, they’d rather have kept her but between the two I don’t think there was any option but to save SK. They were plan A, they wouldn’t have ditched them at the first hurdle. They’d be able to clear out some more deadwood for the next few weeks, get a bit of publicity for the show and say they tried but I’ll eat my arm if they get anywhere near the semi final. Even Union J managed a few weeks before the sing off.

    Who do we think will be plan A now? Surely they won’t keep ploughing on with Stereo Kicks for the win.

    • Agree, Chloe wasn’t as “controversial” as they wanted her to be – more likeable and talented than Katie Waissel, and a less forceful personality and performer (and less good singer) than Kitty. She was good both weeks but didn’t leap off the page, and she was off in the singoff.

  • today’s lesson
    XF four years ago is different from the one now. The Boys will be lasting longer than TPTB wants them to be.

  • UnCalquera

    I had the sensation that Simon was, for once, really (and not faking) doubtful about what to do with his vote… Probably because he is not sure about what to do and he knew that sending it to deadlock would have meant the end of it… but nevertheless he seemed to have contemplated the idea, which is significant in itself.

    • Curtis

      I actually completely agree with you. I think we’ll find (surprisingly) Chloe finished ahead of SK in the vote and so Cowell did have a significant decision, and ultimately he wouldn’t have had a producer whispering in his ear a – he’s the boss so he had a genuine decision about what was more important.

      If we think it’s true, the fact Cowell was considering sending SK home at all is ominous for them.

  • Complete disaster for TPTB. No-win scenario for them (and us!)

    Chloe had been cultivated to be a controversy figure and against anyone else shoe would have been saved (Despite a horrendous survival song).

    This would have given TPTB the result they wanted – media exposure by the bucketful.

    I won on Steph but was waiting to back Chloe at decent odds against anyone. But not to be. They just could not throw Plan A out of the window just like that … but make no mistake, Plan A are dead.

    SK are mortally wounded. They require drastic surgery (cutting in half) or they should be tossed aside in favour of OTY.

    On a more positive note the gentle deramping of Andrea is helping open up the competiton a little I think – although i remain to be convinced that Lauren is the new Plan A.

    Right, time to study the odds again!

  • Liam

    Interesting week, while I’m not surprised that Chloe and Steph were eliminated, Stereo Kicks being in the Sing Off was great to see, its obvious the 8 piece isn’t working and a lot of fault is being thrown at Louis Walsh as much as anybody else.

    We’ve seen that the Boys have some staying power especially with the middling edit that Jack and Jake received this week, will we perhaps see a deramp of the SK and more of push towards one of them becoming the series heartthrob instead of SK?

    I feel like the last opportunity to make cuts to acts would have been boot-camp, before the live shows however It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. I can imagine the two younger members of the band instantly losing their spot and maybe another in an attempt to whittle them down to at least a more manageable 6 piece? But will it really make much of a difference? Bottom two at this stage is generally a death sentence and I cant imagine they will still be around in week 6.

    • They’d be a much better group without the two kids. It’d be rather cruel to kick them out now though.

    • Martin

      Surely cutting the two youngest members would be the harshest of all and would get untold amounts of criticism? The only possible way to get around this is either split them into two groups (the Ofcom brigade would have a field day) or have some members leave of their own accord – I wouldn’t think they’d leave us with a five piece however.

      The third option is let them sink as they are. The hatchet job has already started on itv2 apparently.

      Interestingly, the digitalspy homepage poll called it. Steph Chloe and SK were the three lowest acts. Judging by that, lauren Andrea and fleur were top 3..

      • Jessica Hamby

        I don’t think there’s anything they can do. It’s not working. We should at least know something about the lead singer, have a sense of who he is, but we don’t. They can’t cull and splitting in two would look incredibly cynical to say the least. Noone else gets a chance to become part of a different act if it looks like they aren’t doing well. Splitting them in two would deal a massive blow to what little credibility and integrity the show has left – especially when there are acts in there proving very popular like Andrea, Lauren and (grirs teeth) JJ.

        Ithink theyjust have to carry on. Boys of Summer was a shitty song choice, as was the Elton John, but other than a better song I really can’t see what else they can do.

      • Digital Spy might have been right about the bottom but is rarely right on the top of the field though. I doubt Fleur was that high given she rapped, which we’ve seen harms votes.

  • EM

    Loads of noise on Sofabet this weekend, it’s worth looking at what we know rather than feel.

    Groups have made up one quarter of the contestants in X a Factor history but only one ninth of the winners. It’s proved really hard to get groups over to the public unless they have a real hook like Same Difference/JLS/Little Mix (post bullygate).

    YouTube views, Facebook likes and Twitter followers have proved an unreliable way of predicting the outcomes.

    In the pre-app days most of the voters were over 25, around a third were male. I’m saying this because sometimes there’s an assumption that good looking male, teen-oriented acts will do well. The evidence is they don’t. In general it’s a combination of performance and personality that wins out.

    Again smartphone ownership profiles don’t suggest there will be a radically differerent demographic voting. However the fact smartphone owners (again most of these are over 25) have 5 votes to use may change the dynamics.

  • KaraokeSauron

    It’s telling that James Graham looked less than happy at the end of Saturday’s performance. Closing the song, he was grabbed by a bandmate in premature celebration, causing him to lose concentration and end his vocal somewhat clumsily. It was meant to be a moment of 1D-esque bravura, but JG seemed not to appreciate being manhandled just as he knew the camera was zooming in on his face. He stared very pointedly at the ground whilst his fellow Kickers were high-fiving each other, and the camera quickly cut away.

    SK in its current form can not possibly work… The producers have made the band all about James Graham, at the expense of the diversity of strong voices that was evident at Boot Camp. The name SK is naff. The age range of 14-20 was bound to lead to internal strife; the youngest, Charlie, can’t even appear on the Xtra Factor due to his tender age. Reece Bibby looks horribly out of place. We’ve learned nothing about at least five of the fringe singers.

    For next week the show needs to employ a musical director who understands how to harness each of the boys’ strengths in an arrangement which is not just about James singing the verse and tgen everyone else joining in on the chorus. They’ve tried that twice and it’s a mess. Either that or three members should quit/be culled. Can’t see that being a vote-winner though, as someone mentioned.

    • Lia

      Making the band about one person is typical Louis. JLS was Aston, Union J was Jaimy (with a little bit of Josh toward the end). He even joined on the Little Mix criticism that Perrie should be the lead singer, which I always found naff.
      And having 8 people in a group to do that just seems utterly stupid. If they wanted this to work then something drastically different had to happen in terms of vocal arrangements and performance. 8 guys on a line with the one who’s singing one step in front is terribly lazy. Where’s Brian?
      For me though, I have to agree that the age range is more problematic than the number. Charlie not able to sing properly and cry like that at the endof the performance was hard to watch. Is that considered child cruelty?

      • KaraokeSauron

        Totally agree… Making an eight-piece work needed a new approach – we definitely haven’t seen that.

        I wonder what Barlow would have had to say about SK? Can’t imagine it would be anything very positive!

        • Jessica Hamby

          He would say something like what’s the point in having eight people if you’re not going to use them. In Take That they all had roles. Howard and Jason weee dancers, Robble was attention-seeking fun, Mark was secind principal singer and Gary was lead. As has been said elsewhere, this lot just stand in a line and occasionally hug each other.

          It’s a big fat MEH.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Watching xtra factor on catch up. Sinitta’s comments about Barclay don’t do him any favours at all. He sounds like a sleaze.

  • Scott

    Not surprised to see Stephanie go and devastated I didn’t back that – along with failing to back Blonde Electra to go last week. I’ve called it right two weeks in a row but had no money on it. Hindsight and all that.

    Like many I was waiting on Chloe vs almost anyone else to back Chloe but Stereo Kicks resulted in my wallet being hastily put away.

    I have the feeling Stereo Kicks are now being comprehensively thrown under the bus, so no-one gets the idea the producers were serious about them. You’re almost certainly doomed the minute you fall into the bottom two, never mind this early on in the series. I never thought for a second they could win it but wondered if they could make it as far as the final five, at which point Syco had a decent chance of pushing them a la One Direction or Ella. But they just don’t seem to have caught fire at all. I suspect Kermit’s comments may have reflected the voting figures from the previous week, another reason why listening to the tone of the judges is hugely important.

    The comedy factor now depends on Stevi, and I wonder how far that can go before the everyman act switches to him coming across as a little sleazy. At which point we’re back to The X Factor taking itself a little too seriously again.

    Lola looked like she was getting a bit of the Sam Bailey treatment this week, which could be an interesting pattern to watch. Ben looks dependable, Paul has the Smooth/Magic demographic, Andrea is the front-runner who wants to be British (or English, as the show infuriating let him push). Jay’s still there or thereabouts. Lauren could do well if she’s not sacrificed to save Stevi one week in a double “get rid of a threat who won’t sell records and force the British sense of fair play to vote against him the following week” move (see Lucie Jones), Fleur’s this year’s Tamera, Jack is this year’s Luke Friend, and the others are doomed. I don’t get Only The Young at all – are they getting a granny vote?

    • AlisonR

      Don’t forget that Simon said in the early stages that Lola was “the sort of person you want to win”. She may well be Plan A all along, although they had a funny way of going about it.

  • shraine

    Going by the running order this week and sofabets comments, i reckon Jack Walton is good price for elimination next week. 9/1

  • Chatterbox5200

    If I remember correctly, in previous series, acts taking part tended to have their material disappear from YouTube at about the time of the start of the competition (it was often a clue to who had made it through to Judges’ Houses). I was therefore a little surprised to find that Only The Young had posted this “Halloween Special” on Friday.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8f4YbXXJtU

    Does this mean that they don’t think they’ll still be in the show for the Halloween theme week, or that they will perform this on the show? I somehow doubt that Brian Friedman would want to do something similar, as he wouldn’t get the credit for it.

  • I said earlier that I didn’t think TPTH would be all that keen to keep Chloe, and I stand by that, but I doubt they wanted to lose her this early. She was kind underperforming in her designated role, but she was still one of the few that was distinctive.

    I have to admit, I am quite happy that OTY are the one group yet to land in the bottom 2/3, as they are the only ones out of all the acts I’m kind of rooting for. I’m not voting, but I find them kind of fun, especially as there are so many boring balladeers in. I enjoyed Fleur’s performance the best in Saturday’s live show though. I doubt she’s massively popular in the overall vote, but I like that she’s getting through.

    Stereo Kicks have been rubbish, and after all the ridiculous hype they’ve got I liked that they ended up in the bottom 3. I think the damage is done for them, they’re obviously not very popular and line-up changes or kicking some members out will probably make things worse if anything, I think things like that put people off. The Risk in series 8 is one example, I don’t think it was the only reason their popularity fell, but I think it contributed a lot to it.

    Anyway, Stereo Kicks are definitely not Plan A anymore. I think that now might be Lauren, maybe they’ll start supporting Ben more?

    • Jessica Hamby

      Was public enemy actually Chloe’s designated role? It’s been azsumed but has anything in the show pointed to the producers wanting her in that role?

      I’m not at all sure it was their intention at all.

      • Dean

        Yes they never really gave her a villain-esque look to her role, either that or she just didn’t play ball well enough. Either way I still feel they would have saved Chloe against most others

      • fused

        Well, it got brought up on her VTs that she had a lot of “haters” and there were a few tabloid articles about Cheryl sticking up for her. But I suppose I’m mainly basing it on that I never really saw all that much hate for Chloe, certainly nothing compared to what there was for Katie Waissel. Maybe I just missed a lot of it, but I thought they were making it out to be bigger than it actually was. There’s also that she is similar to and was often compared to Katie Waissel, so I suppose I thought they might have been wanting her to have a similar role to her.

      • I think, without a doubt, that WAS the plan until tonight. They just didn’t have a chance to implement it.

        • Nugg

          The problem with Chloe, unlike say Katie, was that she looked like, and indeed was a plant, this was too obvious, so rather than generate the love / her hate her thing she just came across as fake and an actress so no one really cared. Katie Waisel actually came across as a real messed up dislikable girl.

          • lolhart

            I heard from a reliable source that Chloe was recruited for the show after her stint on The Face (Naomi Campbell’s search for a model show). Anyone who saw her on that show could envision what TPTB had in mind when picking her for the live shows.

  • Dean

    Along with others here I like OTY, but I watched over all performances again yesterday and I know why Jack stayed (despite some less than favourable treatment with staging, lukewarm comments etc.)…. Jack was thoroughly enjoyable, and the tune was actually quite catchy, the fact the song wasn’t that well known might have been a slight advantage as other fun songs were being turned into ballads, Jack and OTY were breath of fresh air for the show last night

    • Liam

      I have to agree, I feel like the past two weeks he has provided interesting takes on some pop classics. He may be classic WGWG but he’s a lot more upbeat than the likes of Luke Friend or half of the American Idol winners. I can see him going far especially with the designated teen heartthrobs not able to live up to their role.

  • * Sorry, meant TPTB. Also probably worded that sentence poorly anyway, I meant more that I didn’t think they’d be too bothered about voting out Chloe rather than actively wanting to get rid of her.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One other thing:

    The show now has 4 Cardles, a WGWG and Stevi. They need to keep Lola, Lauren, Fleur and OTY cor a week or two or it’ll quickly become very boring. I know they’re all slightly difgerejt hut I don’t think anyone wants to see it turn into a sausagefest.

  • Stu

    Even though I was convinced that Stereo Kicks were going to prove unpopular in the voting, I didn’t expect them to fall into the danger zone so early. Such a disastrous night for the producers. I fully expect the band to be pimped heavily next week with a favourable slot – and possibly a positive critique from Cheryl – in order to test whether there’s a chance the boys can bounce “Danyl Johnson” style. I doubt they will but I’m sure the producers will want to try at least. After all, they did just sacrifice this year’s controversy figure for SK.

    I’m also expecting to see Only The Young be pimped in order for them to act as a back-up plan if SK really fail to take off. Louis being out of the competition before the latter stages would be terrible and I doubt SK can go that far.

    On another note, I really have no idea who is going to be the first Over to leave. I thought JJ was being lined up for the chop but he was heavily pimped last night – was he polling low in week 1’s vote and Simon didn’t want to lose him so early on? I don’t think Fleur did as well in the vote this week compared to last week. Ben is definitely in the higher tier of the voting and, after losing Chloe, I doubt Stevi is going anywhere just yet. Although maybe the producers will **** up again next week?

  • Heisenberg

    Far too many mixed messages for my liking. After Saturday only Andrea, Lauren, Ben and Lola were seemingly assured safe passage to movie week.

    Definitely time to regroup and assess the landscape now that Stereo Kicks have been battle damaged.

    In a situation like this Carrie from ‘Homeland’ would stick faces on a wall, cross off eliminated targets and figure out a way to second guess the enemy. If it’s good enough for Carrie, it’s good enough for me…

    http://goo.gl/SYUeMH

  • Nugg

    It was always going to be difficult for Stereo Kicks as an 8 piece, but I don’t think TPTB expected a bottom 2 slot for them so early in proceedings. Cute boybands generally last at least till the half way mark. I do think they will give up on SK now as they are flogging a dead horse. The teen vote which could normally be relied on to push such a band forward with votes still seems to be 1D obsessed and maybe it will be another year or two before the market is ready for the next generation of boyband.

    When the bottom 2 were announced, Paddy Power initially priced it up as 5/6 each of two…..whoever came up with those prices shouldn’t even be working in the industry. If ever there was a 1/10 shot , it was Chloe to go tonight. I guess the only logic behind it was maybe thinking, if SK are not going get very far why bother keeping them in at all. I see SK as impossible to rescue and recover from here and they will be lucky to last another 3 weeks.

    Stevie needs to be kept out of the bottom 2 now to stop the show being devoid of any personality. This presents a bit of a problem, because should he hit the bottom 2 a save for him is pretty much impossible to justify against any of the remaining acts. I expect a big production number and pimp slot next week to stop this happening.

    If they are wanting Lola to win they are playing it very slowly. This actually might be a good tactic, peaking too soon in the Xfactor is never a good thing. Lauren may not be able to pull much more out of the bag than she has already, but with Lola you get the feeling this is just the start of the journey and the best is yet to come.

    Neither Jack nor Jake have ever looked like winners to me, and I expect them to go sooner rather than later.

    Only the Young, I can see the logic in this, there is a gap in the market for a 2 boy 2 girl group, nothing like this has been done since Steps, who proved if it is done right you can sell shit loads of records. The problem is they are not terribly good, i can see TBTB investing a lot of time and energy in trying to change that, particularly now that it is clear SK is never going to work.

    Andrea, I have no doubt is topping or at least coming second in the votes, but the sub 2/1 price is ridiculously short and again peaking to soon in the Xfactor is not really a good thing. The last thing they want is a one horse race so I expect more deramps like Simon did this week in the weeks to come. I think they may like him in the final and he may even win but the show needs to appear like everyone has a chance to make good viewing.

    Fleur may get as far as top 3 or 4 , but her modern style and (I hate to say this as I am not racist) , colour, will prevent her from winning the final.

    Jay and Paul seem the type of acts that are disposable, but I expect Ben to do a little better.

  • When rumours of an 8-piece started flying on DS, my first thoughts were this is gonna fall flat (or at the very least, fail to meet producers’s expectations). Korea managed to do the big group thing because the group was DYNAMIC. SK is nothing more than a tired British-style BB formula, applied to 8 people. In hindsight, I feel optimistic pegging them at 4th.

    Speaking of DS, over the week, someone posted that rumours of discord in SK were brewing. Mentioned on the post was the change of song from Elton John into something some of the guys didn’t know (which turned out to be correct, I reckon, because Don Henley is no icon), so there must be some truth to it.

  • David Cook

    What a strange weekend. Last week I was left regretting bothering with a covering bet on Steph, this week I was grateful that I had, even at the short odds available following last nights show. No chance of a dead cat bounce for Steph following that performance.
    My bets that Stereo Kicks will make top 3 now look almost beyond redemption. The performance on Saturday was really poor. Anyone who doesn’t know the Don Henley song should check it out just to see how limp that performance was. The vocals when they sing individually are poor, and when they sing together – well they just don’t sound together. One possible explanation for Cheryl’s comments may be that they were actually designed to get them bottom three giving them an opportunity to precipitate change in the group before it’s too late (if it’s not already). They’ve got to do something given the time and effort invested in them, because at the moment it’s clear that it’s not working. However just reducing the numbers – if that is what they do, isn’t going to make them sing any better, or give them anymore personality or charisma. It will be interesting to see how this shapes up this week and if any changes are made.
    There were however some good performances on Saturday. I thought Lauren and Lola both put in performances which were simple, crisp and understated which allowed the vocals to shine through. Lauren had the edge from last week, but maybe the journey for Lola started this week. Fleur and Ben were very solid again.
    Lauren really shaded Andrea this week. They seemed to allow him to do a performance so full of vocal tricks he virtually disappeared up his own backside. If it hadn’t been for the backing singers the song may well have disappeared entirely. He might be technically the best singer in the competition, but this wasn’t the kind of performance that’s very comfortable to listen to or watch IMO. Simon’s comments were valid, but was this set up as the start of a deramp.
    Overall things at the top seem to have opened up a bit after last night, but at the moment I don’t have any idea how this is going to pan out.

  • Robyn

    I’m so intrigued by Stereo Kicks. As others have said, a big problem is there are so many members that it’s hard to identify with the band. When I think about them, I can only remember one individual guy – the goofy looking dude who gets a lot of lead parts. And I couldn’t even tell you his name. (Interestingly, the official site is no help for finding this info.)

    So what’s the answer? They’d feel less like a choir and more like a pop group if they had fewer members, but would ditching members weaken audience perception? Or what about splitting Stereo Kicks into two new groups?

    Frankly, I’d rather just see Andrea give an uplifting performance or Stevi deliver more crazy. Stereo Kicks just seems like too much effort.

  • Nissl

    Looks like I missed some fireworks this weekend! Not *too* surprised by SK at this point, to be honest. I noted their remarkably weak iTunes sales last weekend, as well as an underwhelming production and somewhat more mixed comments than expected.

    The cute boyband market is flooded atm, their one big voice isn’t close to cute enough, and there’s so many others in the group you can’t get a good narrative going around the cutest ones. A band of Jack, Jake, James, Tom, and the other cute one starts to look much more competitive to me. (The blonde one from OtY would be a real asset too.)

    Big mistakes to keep in mind for when they inevitably try this again next year include putting Jack back in as a solo, getting rid of Overload rather nastily (probably didn’t pick up many of their few fans), and – though I hate to say it – putting a much more polished group in their category. (I hate to say it because I’d rather see groups with real polish and chemistry even if they don’t have stadium selling potential demographically!)

    Do they push OtY now, just to get them past halfway and save face for Louis? They are the act I find myself rooting for, but they just aren’t *that* good nor were their sales last week good. At least give them something better than the awful, flat arrangement this week.

  • Lia

    I think OTY could be good if given half decent song choices. I also wish they’d stop recycling Paul’s songs for Ben. If “Let’s get it on” was a movie theme that’s probably Ben’s song next weekend. Meh!

  • Alen

    There was also an interesting caller on Xtra Factor that said to Simon that there are too many in the group. He said “We’ll see what happens next week” and he blamed Louis once again for not connecting.

    Remember: Cheryl has said for the two past shows that there are too many people in the group and telephone calls are always pre-questioned so the team knew that caller would say the same to Simon. Plus Simon’s “we’ll see what happens next week” makes me think they already decided to split up the band.

    Watch 2, 3, 4 band members crying to the camera “we’ve decided to leave the band to give the rest of the band a chance cause it means so much to us blabla” and them re-branding the band.

    Or they decided to trash them already but then why didn’t they save Chloe? I wonder who was bottom of the votes.

  • Scott

    Are X Factor acts now being included in the iTunes charts or was that a one-week screw-up?

  • EM

    I imagine a “what do we do now?” meeting at X Factor HQ this morning. If the wisdom of the crowd is true then they’ve lost the contestant who was generating the lion’s share of the publicity and their favoured group. This weekend’s ratings have also been disappointing.

    A splitting of Stereo Kicks would kill two birds with one stone. It would generate some mighty headlines, create controversy and point viewers towards this weekend’s shows.

    Longer term they now have only one chance to pull off their favourite trick of ditching a decent singer in favour of a comedy act. With that in mind my early prediction would be for Stevi to survive next weekends elimination.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Putting aside betting implications, am I the only one who enjoyed the Cowrll/Walsh discomfort as they digested the result? After last week’s remark comparing Overload to a VW Beetle and the Prix to a Ferrari I can’t help thinking that someone shpuld remind Simon that the Beetle was, in its day, the most popular car in the world and that Ferraris cost an arm and a leg to fuel, service and insure.

    There are plenty of big characters left. I don’t think losing Steph and Chloe will affect ratings in the way losing Andrea and Lauren might, but clearly the boyband did not capture public imagination either. I’d rather watch Chloe in a pretty dress than see them linedancing any day.

  • Martin

    The whole show has seemingly been geared around Stereo Kicks hasn’t it? Even down to the casting of our Cardle-buffet, the weaker boyband and the (seemingly) disposable Jack Walton as their only competition as a wildcard. The public obviously has other ideas.

    I think over the coming weeks we will see some sort of rescue attempt for Stereo Kicks. Not sure whether it will come off, probably not, but anything can happen – maybe they have some sort of borderline fans that haven’t voted that will be flocking to their phones in panic to save their precious boyband.

    I think we’ll also lose out on two of the boys next week. No point in trying to distract the Cardle vote if the target audience aren’t even voting for their plan A. At this point Jake seems to be the Callahan of the show, we’ll see him around for a few weeks. Jack will be targeted but it appears that he’s filled his WGWG role quite successfully so far, he’ll be a slower take down. I’d say we will see the back of Paul or JJ next week – they both seem disposable and both of their treatments seemed a bit like the producers were trying to keep a sinking ship afloat. They’ll let the air out of both of them next weekend and the judges will be outraged when one or both of them falls into the bottom two (but vote against them anyway). Neither are really keeping viewers around.

    It also depends on the treatment of the likes of OTY and Fleur. Those two are arguably the most entertaining (aside from Stevi) and could do with being kept in.

  • lolhart

    Cowell is notorious for copying ideas. He probably heard about the likes of EXO and Super Junior and pound signs were floating in front of his eyes. If he had bothered to watch their performances he would have seen they don’t stand in a line and everyone has designated roles (lead vocalist, main vocalists, rappers and dancers). They could always copy EXO who are split into Chinese and Korean members, but have Stereo Kicks Senior and Junior. However, I don’t think the public would play ball and you’d also have the boybands competing against each other for the small amount of votes they already have.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think a big part of the problem with SK is the lead singer. His voice is good enough but his aura is all wrong. He doesn’t give off the feel of a lad in a band. He comes across more as a sensitive soul who should be a wgwg or maybe fronting Keane. He lools a bit too serious for all the backslapping and arm punching. The chemistry is just not right.

    • Martin

      You’re right. He looks uncomfortable, a bit nerdy. He doesn’t suit the shtick of a boyband atmosphere they’re trying create here with all the laddy football and Xbox talk. None of them do really, it just looks all wrong.

      • Jessica Hamby

        The main cohesion appears to be the gelled quiffs. When vocals go from lead guy to stretched earlobe/tattoo guy I feel a sort of pstchic lurch. I don’t feel like they belong in a band together. Some are ladsy, some are quieter and some are non-descript. Also there’s a uniformity in the clothes but somehow the look isn’t right. It’s as if an image has been chosen and is being imposed, regardless of whether it suits or not and the result is no individuality but no unity either, just a bland and unappealing conformity.

        • Martin

          They need a “thing”. Jake is the tattoo guy, the short one – he’s the only one with any individuality. Each member needs something to make them stand out and they also need a gimmick to unify them, as you say. It’s too late for that now – JLS had their colour scheme thing and Little Mix (Jesy) had the everywoman relatable thing – what have these guys got? An array of check shirts and quiffs, but not much else. They’re like Union J but double the size singing the same sort of songs that 1D did but worse. There is 100% a crisis meeting going on this morning about this, I’m amazed this happened on Simon’s watch!

        • eurovicious

          Very well put Jess, this is exactly how I feel, including the disconnect when the vocals go from one member to another.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Also, flesh tunnel earlobes. Just EURGH!!! Why? They’re so ugly. Instant turn off.

        • lolhart

          One thing they got right with One Direction was the chemistry (or at least faking it). You never would have imagined that Liam didn’t get along with some of the others at the start for example.

          This group has the same problem as Union J in that they seem like a Poundland version of One Direction. They should be taking cues from groups like 5 Seconds of Summer and The Vamps who have been successful, because they are not carbon copies of One Direction. Why not a more “urban” boyband and have Cheryl or Mel mentor them?

          • Jessica Hamby

            Hey!!! Don’t diss the J. This remix rocks.

          • I always thought that Liam resented being in the group but decided to fake it until they made it.

          • Martin

            Oh I always quite liked Union J – their versions of Call Me Maybe and Love Story were quite good as far as X Factor boybands go. I always thought they were quite endearing and they had a bit more integrity as they seemed genuinely interested.

            SK don’t have an “edge” – 1D didn’t at the time either, they just sort of fell into the guitar pop thing when they put their own songs out but The Vamps and 5SOS have drawn on that. I think they tried the R&B boyband thing with The Risk and then again with Rough Copy. I always think the “urban” thing is a bit risky on this show. I’m of the opinion that a boyband is a hard sell anyway – they got lucky with JLS the first time, and again with 1D. The market is a bit saturated at the minute. Try again in a few years and focus attention on something different for this year.

  • David Cook

    The main thing that I agree with is that it’s too late now. They’ve just got it so wrong on so many levels that this is totally beyond redemption. Last week should have been the wake up call. To do the same thing again this week and expect a different result was just total stupidity. Whatever they do now would be like trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear, because having seen them two weeks in a row it’s simply apparent that within the eight there’s not enough quality. No matter what they do I don’t think the public will buy it. If there is a crisis meeting I would suggest that the best resolution would be to abandon SK and put all efforts into OTY to save any more embarasment in the category. As Nissl said above lessons need to be learnt for next year.

  • David Cook

    Probably a single elimination this week which gives TPTB more control over who goes and who stays. Interesting to see how they play it.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Personally I suspect the talk of crisis meetings is a bit overdone. Obviously they’d like the band to succeed and make a gazillion pounds but it’s no big deal to Syco, Louis or anyone apart from the band themselves if they don’t.

    If anyone should be having a crisis meeting it’s the band, but I have no idea what changes they can make to improve. Better songs would be a start I suppose, songs they are to believe in and connect with, and a way to banish the impression that they’re trying to make a band by folliwing a recipe.

  • EM

    Are we 100% sure that Stereo Kicks weren’t taken down this weekend? Are we using confirmation bias to support most people’s theory (myself included) that the show wants the band to go far? If we look at how they were treated…

    The intro VT was mixed – it started with a One Direction like bit showing they were all friends and had lots of fun but quickly moved into them not liking or being able to handle the first song choice.

    The performance had many of the signs you’re not a favoured act – distracting background, lights everywhere, nothing showy about it, lots of long camera shots and a song that went nowhere.

    Nothing helpful – no jesus light, no spotlights, no starry backdrop, no focal point, no names up in lights.

    Judges comments not helpful at all in the main, discussion about there being too many of them, Cheryl implying they’re not really liked and no motivation to vote vote vote…

    Look at all the tricks we know X Factor has in the locker to help an act and they used next to none of them.

    They didn’t even need to do a double elimination – if they knew they were polling poorly they could have kept it to a single and put the decision who goes in their hands totally.

    My argument here is that if this wasn’t Stereo Kicks we’d be pointing to all the signs they wanted rid of them.

    If I’m looking wider I’d say that Steph was targeted for the bottom by giving her everything that didn’t work for her last week. Jake also looked like a target, Chloe less so but I can see the favours given to Lola, Lauren, Ben, Jay, Stevi, Paul and even Jack before Stereo Kicks.

    My own theory is that they’re looking to get a narrative out of breaking the band up. Let’s be honest if I can see they’d have a hard time making a 8 piece band work I’m not so arrogant to suppose for a minute that the X Factor machine was complacent about it.

    • lolhart

      EM I think there is certainly validity in your theory. Personally, I don’t think the public are going to buy into a break-up narrative no matter how they spin it. If things weren’t working, they should have cut the group down before the live shows.

    • Alen

      Why would they want to break them up now? Why didn’t they do that before the first live show if that was the plan?

      Or do you think they scored soooo poorely last week that they decided they need them in the Bottom3 to be able to split them up? Hm interesting. Still a dangerous game.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Takedown makes sense. Not sure a rebuild will work but after Sinitta on xtra factior does Barclay stay to add edge or go to make them look clean cut?

      Personally I don’t think the show is that invested in them. I guess we’ll find out on Saturday. It wouldnt be a huge surprise if they keep the four that have started the last two weeks and drop the four that come on late.

    • Donald

      Hi EM, hard to know, on Friday night I did a trawl of online coverage and found ITV local region piece re Barclay Beale . I posted Saturday AM as I thought it was very odd but even I did not really realise the true significance and said would have thought they’d be ahead of that. But it did strike me as very very odd but because it was SK passed it off.

      So on Friday the white flag was up and they were trying to drum up regional support late in the week. Just shows sometimes the smallest PR things can give way TPTB game.

      The VT of the boys behaviour the contestants house and showing their room etc. on Saturday night on Xtra Factor made them look like unbroken ponies as opposed to prancing horses.

      A managers and labels biggest nightmare that VT so maybe they did decide, bin this…

      Personally I think they flogging a dead horse, the public don’t seem to want another boy band right now, certainly not 8. Simon blaming Louis is all a play as they both know that audience either bite or they don’t. Those two have put many more failures than success in terms of actual getting one away through their camps and I’m sure no sleep lost one way or the other.

      Amazing that they have got it SO wrong though, these producers took a step forward from last few years last week and a massive two steps back this week.

      But are ‘that audience’ watching in enough numbers? Well they will be on November 16th 1D on that night live.. announced this AM. good timing hey.

      Going to be interesting to see how the week pans out.

      Movie week next week. Hope we get some real decent song choices for few of the acts. Ghostbusters for SK would be a giggle.

      The weekend has changed the gambling dynamic a bit but all bets still running at least..

      Lesson learned, don’t ignore the smallest thing out of place from TPTB.

      • EM

        Hi Donald,

        Thanks for the reply. I think you’re making a massive assumption that X Factor arranged for some coverage on ITV local news to boost votes for Stereo Kicks. Equally likely, if not more so, are the the news decided to run it as a local angle on a national story or ITV ordered some coverage to boost flagging ratings.

        Don’t suppose One Direction will add that many viewing figures to X Factor when they play live either. They didn’t last time.

        • Donald

          Hi EM,

          you welcome, they might have though but last two possible also, was just an odd piece.

          The audience for 1D etc. have their Xmas DVD of the tour new album to look forward to.

          The exact demographic and voting seems to be harder to pin down or attract to a specific act past few years for producers.

      • “unbroken ponies” LOL. I know a few people round here who’d break them in…

    • R

      Very true that this could have been a deliberate take down for a rebuild storyline.

      When the group was first announced pre-audition shows, I found it very strange that they the being described as “the group to take over from 1d”, but the subsequent mass pimping did make me think they were being pushed as Plan A.

      If TPTB really want them to fly they have the chance spend extra time on their VT discussing the shock and any changes. This will also help re-introduce the members.

      If TPTB want to make OTY the new alpha group I want to see them do Mama Mia. This song would be fun, hit the demographics and remind everyone about the biggest 2 boy/2 girl band in history.

  • Martin

    I think the best thing for any sort of recovery (if the producers could engineer it) would be for Stereo Kicks to decide to call it a day. We get a dramatic VT with tears, emotions – properly ham it up and the members go their seperate ways.
    Or so we think. Some of the members realise that they’ve made a mistake. They’ve thrown away their dream. Cue, a new four piece Stereo Kicks, coincidentally with the three best looking ones and the best singer.

  • Jessica Hamby

    They certainly don’t need SK to succeed. There’s a lot of talent in this year’s show that coulx go on to sell records.

    Lauren is mature beyond her years, talented, smart enough to do what she’s told, can appeal to men and women.

    Andrea will certainly hit the mothers’ day market and a tour or two may be lucrative.

    Jj may be marmite but those who don’t like him don’t matter. Loads of downloads from Saturday’s performance, potential cross generational appeal, can also sing blues and brings something a bit different to the market.

    Fleur can sing, dance and rap, learns the routines easily, looks fantastic. As ready mase a pop star as you’ll ever see. MOBO tunes may not be big in x factor but the global market is huge. She could be the biggest of the lot.

    And then you’ve got OTY, Lola, Paul and Ben as well, all of whom have possibilities.

    They don’t need stereo kicks.

    • Jessica Hamby

      A further thought… if rumours of arguements in the band are true, and if the senior (older and more experienced) members like Barclay are chasing women nstead of working and building relationships within the band, why should tptb waste their time trying to hold it together. Just a thought, obv, but it’s not as if tptb need sk.

      And these things are flexible. SK may or may not have been plan a, I would suggest they were hoping for a final spot, but if it’s clear they’re not working and you’ve got acts like Fleur coming out of the woodwork who require much less work and have massive potential, why waste your time? It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve switched.

      One other thought… how far do you think Luke Frirnd or Rough Copy (3 and 4 last year) would get this year?

    • I agree with all of this, but we’ve seen the show treat all kinds of great acts as low-priority while trying to get their pre-chosen Plan A (and plan B) over the line in previous years.

  • Fudd

    Has Plan A ever been Stereo Kicks? I’ve wondered this from the start but there hasn’t been the same drive behind them in termsof identification. I can’t buy that the show’s lack of care is simply them taking their eye off the ball. No, they didn’t want them in the bottom two this early – unless they’re following a pre-planned script about a split – but they don’t appear to have really paid them much attention otherwise.

  • Ben Cook

    I cannot imagine any of them going of their own accord and I think deciding to withdraw from the competition because they were bottom 3 is a bit melodramatic. And they can’t really kick anyone out.

    Really there’s no point in trimming them down because the only thing that was different about them in the first place was that there were eight of them. And as an eight piece they don’t work. They’re not exceptionally pretty or talented. Whatever combination they’re not even the next Union J, let alone One Direction.

    TPTB don’t need any crisis meetings. They’ve got some great acts left in the competition to focus on.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One question. If it was a takedown why are they still here? Chloe sang poorly but that hasn’t stopped these decisions in the past.

    VT and staging weee unhelpful but why are they still there?

    • Martin

      I don’t think the producers would drop their Plan A this quickly. Granted they probably won’t be Plan A from now on, but I believe that they were previously and they wouldn’t have sacrificed a planted act who was pulling in the headlines if they were planning on taking them down afterwards.

      I think they will try and find some sort of positive from this – whether it be hacking the group down or whatever. They’ll give them another two weeks at most I think, if they don’t fly they’ll be binned off.

    • EM

      I’m just supposing here but to get people passionate about them. Whether or not there is a cull of the numbers in the band…

      … hysteria when they perform
      … VT of sad boys can’t believe they came bottom 3
      … to show their steel when they come out fighting

      Or it’s to create a narrative that gets column inches – watch those papers.

      Right now the one thing the show needs is viewers, you get them these days with controversy and real-life storylines.

      And baking

  • David Cook

    It is possible that the take down was planned to give them an opportunity to restructure the group. If they were finishing 4th or 5th bottom they would sill be doing very badly, but the public wouldn’t know which would make it difficult to justify making changes such as reducing the numbers.
    Given that they asked for names not including references to number 8 it’s also possible that they’ve had in mind that numbers may be reduced all along.

  • Martin

    I’ve still got the feeling that this bottom two appearance was unscripted. I think they may have done quite well in the vote last week – if they hadn’t, more would have been done to boost them in week two. The producers took their eye off the ball this week and have paid the price this week. I’m not sure about a restructure of the group – logistically it could work in a number of guises but realistically they probably couldn’t pull it off.

    I think EM, you have it spot on with the emotional VT etc. I don’t think it was pre-planned but I think they’ll try and build them up with the “acoustic harmony” performance Mel challenged them to, a big emotional VT about how they will come back fighting etc etc etc. and we’ll have naught but positive comments. Even Cheryl will endorse them about how she “finally gets it”. She may even thoroughly enjoy it.

  • General Hogbuffer

    I really don’t know what’s going on, tbh. On the one hand, they have been pimped pre-lives like the second coming, and what was the point of bringing back Overload (and not even from JH !!!) and then ditch them immediately if not to highlight SK’s superiority ? I even think Kermit’s comments were meant to provoke a voting spike, to push the hysterical fangirlies into multi voting just to prove that, yes, SK do indeed have fans just as deranged as OD.

    On the other hand, I never bought into the 8 piece being the final version. Having 8 members is your ONE distinguishing feature, the one everyone talks about, but your name cannot possibly include a reference to that ? I wonder why…

    I cannot see a legal issue with splitting them into two bands (Stereo Four and 4 Kicks, you’ve heard it here first…) and have a special sing-off between them. It will create what they need most now – column inches.

    Maybe all of this is just a very convoluted plot to prove how amazing One Dimension really are, no-one can come close, bla bla bla ?

    • uncalquera

      The “1D are still the real thing” plot: http://sofabet.com/2014/10/02/x-factor-2014-judges-houses-preview/#comment-41279 What is nagging me now is that if this were the case… what was the role of Overload in it?

      • Jessica Hamby

        This seems overelaborate to me. Apart from anything else it depends on the assumption that 1D’s fans will be affected by a new boyband’s failure. They won’t. It doesn’t make sense.

        The simplest explanation is that they tried making a new boyband and it just didn’t work out. Don’t forget there are weeks between JH and live shows and so tptb will have a good idea of how it’s working out. Verdict? Not great but we’re going with it and we’ll see what happens.

        • UnCalquera

          As I recognised in the second post there, Ockham wouldn’t be proud, but… we have seen worse, haven’t we?

          • Jessica Hamby

            Honestly I don’t think we have. It makes no sense. 1D fans don’t need anything proved to them. Foreign fans aren’t even going to know about SK. 1D are not in any way thteatened by SK. There’s no financial incentive for it. There’s no rationale behind it at all.

            Dude, I sometimes think I’ve gone down the rabbit hole with my conspiracy theories and I have to remind myself the reason for all this is to predict the result and win a bet but the idea that x factor UK would spend time, money and energy creating a boyband and then destroy it believing that the process would somehow influence the popularity of 1 Direction… well if I’m down the rabbit hole then you’re taking tea with the dormouse and the Mad Hatter.

            Off with your frikkin head!

          • uncalquera

            No need to get disrespectful, if I am not able to come here and share whichever conspiracy theory that pops in my head about the X Factor, no matter how contrived it is, then where? 🙂

          • Jessica Hamby

            I expect my ideas to be challenged if I post them here. You should too.

  • David Cook

    Clearly Overload were only put back in so that a comparison could be made in favour of SK. This didn’t exactly work out as in truth there was little to choose between them. However it appears that the wildcards were advised on 20 September (according to a newspaper article about Lola) – 3 weeks before start of live shows. So maybe the decision to take Overload was made before it was really clear that SK weren’t gelling.

    • Jessica Hamby

      In a contest to determine who has the least gorm I would suggest an honourable draw, with maybe SK edging it.

      The other funny thing – I always assumed the 14 year old was the tiny, scrawny one. Turns out not so much. The 14 year old is huge and has a head like a giant potato.

      Surely SK must be a great bet for elimination.

      Although… wouldn’t it be great if they get saved for the next few weeks. It’d drive people crazy.

  • (obviously sanctioned) tweet from Stereo Kicks account yesterday ….

    “Ok, about the ‘8 members to six’ story… This is not true

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