X Factor Week 3: The Great British Jake-Off?

It was Jake’s turn under the Strictly bus tonight. After a VT which should have delighted his presumed female demo, featuring as it did a playful chastising from Mel for getting his kit off for Cosmo, it all went downhill. Jake’s staging appeared to show him with crosshairs on his torso, and the cutaway shot to his mentor showed her supping a cup of tea. But it was the ouch moment in the key change that did the most damage and ensured that criticism of his vocals seemed justified. The criticism was relatively muted from Louis and Cheryl, and leavened with praise for his personality – as you would expect when the aim is to demotivate votes; although Simon may just have overcooked things very slightly by saying it was “unlikely” Jake would be here next week.

Dermot twisted the knife, as he does so smoothly, asking Jake “it is a singing contest, though, do you think you’re in danger after that?” Jake is very likeable, and that is presumably what has seen him through so far. But will that be enough for a third week running?

Only The Young’s VT had promised us an under-rehearsed performance, and it did feel flat. Judges staged a distracting argument, with Mel teasing Louis about his grasp of popular culture, and comments were lukewarm. It looked like Only The Young are one of the intended backups tonight if Jake’s fans ride to his rescue again.

Jay got an immensely positive VT, sounding the daughter klaxon and giving him the chance to talk about his military background. This was a memory-holing for the first two acts, and an intended major pimpage again for the Welshman – except for Cheryl, whose criticism of Jay for the second week running suggests that this is a “winning over Cheryl” journey.

‘Skyfall’ is the song that unexpectedly landed Hannah in the bottom two at this stage last year – also from trap three in the running order – after fire-heavy staging. Jay also had a fire theme, but it felt more appropriately Bond-y whereas Hannah’s camera angles had made it look like she was being burned at the stake.

Up next, Andrea’s barnstorming ‘Listen’ continued the memoryholing of Jake and Only The Young. As our commenters astutely noted, you could certainly make a case for there being subtle hints of unhelpfulness in his treatment – notably Simon choosing to praise him by means of an incomprehensible comment about donuts – but performance-wise at least, this would have delighted fans of the Italian bear.

Lola’s intended journey continued with a testimonial from her boyfriend, a makeover VT as ‘Pretty Woman’ played in the backround, and lyrical reinforcement from the song choice. The fire curtain confirmed that this was supposed to be her moment, and was the kind of staging you’d expect in the pimp slot not this early in the running order, but her nerves and vocals let her down badly, bringing back memories of the bootcamp fiasco. Simon made excuses for her and this could just about still be incorporated into her journey, but the show must be losing patience with her now. She can’t have many chances left.

Paul is also on a journey, in his case attempting to prove that he isn’t boring and can perform, with an uptempo number and big production. He continues to have both vocals and likeability on his side, and the suspicion remains that producers are treating him so positively as a way to draw votes away from Andrea.

Lauren’s VT couldn’t have been more positive, clearly setting her up to appeal to the preteen demographic. Comments were more mixed and a second viewing will help disentangle what this portends for the win market.

Mel’s comments to Jack, implying that he is a pain to work with, were very interesting; given that the show gives every impression of liking its acts to be compliant, they suggest he may not be long for this world. In his VT he continues to come across as personable but a little bit dull, and his voice wasn’t really big enough to do justice to ‘Eye of the Tiger’, as Louis called attention to with his “bored” comments. There wasn’t much motivation in the comments for Jack’s fans to vote, although he did survive being under the Strictly bus last week.

Mel’s comments were also front and centre for the next act, Fleur, as it became apparent that last week’s accusation of cheating was a ruse to get us sympathising with her this time around. She had her name up in lights, and belying the sexually suggestive nature of her lyrics, her outfit was a lot less slutty. How well she’s polling still has to be up for some debate but the positivity in judges’ comments shows that producers are doing their utmost for her, and she comes across as likeable and humble.

After two weeks of the judges being warmly in on the Stevi joke, this week comments seemed to suggest a shift in emphasis to setting up Stevi as the act the show wants out but the public is – annoyingly! – keeping in. Louis commented that the joke is wearing thin, Cheryl also referenced Stevi going home, and Simon pointedly told us “we don’t control the show, the public control the show”.

It’s a page from the well-worn Jedward/Wagner playbook, but is it going to work this time? Simon mentoring Stevi is a new ingredient in the mix, diluting the power of the “annoy Simon” vote, and the fact that they’re going down this route with Stevi – and put him on so late in the show, 10th of the 12 – suggests that he may be only just clearing the danger zone. Producers won’t want to lose their second big talking point of the season after Chloe-Jasmine’s departure last week, but if Stevi does hit the singoff, how can they go about justifying a save? If it’s against Jake they could just about say that both have less-than-great vocals and pull the “I’m going to vote for the act I think the public want to see again” line, but that may be harder against Jack or Only The Young.

Producers did all they could to give Operation Reboot Stereo Kicks a chance of success, hitting the theme of group togetherness, giving the audience Andrea’s lamps from ‘Earth Song’ to wave, and having Simon take their side against Louis. It should be enough to ensure they bounce this week, at least.

Ben closed the show with a VT that sailed close to the edge of making him look over-competitive, and never looked especially happy during a performance Simon accurately described as impressive yet soundalike. As with Lauren, and Andrea, a second viewing will be required here to read the runes for the win market.

The question for tonight, though, is who’s leaving tomorrow? Jake is clearly a worthy favourite, but plenty short enough at evens given that Only The Young and Jack – both trading around the 9/2 mark – also both appeared to have been in the crosshairs, and some suspicion that Stevi (7/1) may be skating on thin ice. The market goes 25/1 bar those four. It’s not one I’m tempted to get too involved in. How about you?

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127 comments to X Factor Week 3: The Great British Jake-Off?

  • Scott

    Not touching this week with a bargepole. There were way too many mixed messages and you could make a case for the producers being happy to see the back of any of five or six acts to retain the likes of Stereo Kicks and Fleur.

  • Curtis

    I got on Jake as soon as I saw he was in the death slot. I’m happy with the 2/1 I got on him, but evens is certainly not inspiring. I’ve hedged on OTY and I’m considering getting some kind of hedge on Jack as well. I trust the producers enough to believe that Stevi will survive. I need to keep some margin for a nice profit on Jake!

  • Fudd

    I wasn’t overly shocked at the targeting of Jack, Jake and Only the Young but the reaction towards Stevie seemed a bit heavy; especially as Simon potentially motivated Jake’s fans to vote for him by saying he doubted that he would be here next week. For Louis to pointedly say ‘it’s time to go home’ seemed slightly over the top when comparing to the usual ‘ramping’ techniques where the judges blast an act without bringing up the possibility of them leaving the competition.

  • EM

    If Stevi is bottom two but polls second bottom going to deadlock is relatively simple with Simon voting for his act and Cheryl sticking with the guy she put back in the competition and the guy who has fun.

  • Donald

    Said earlier that they would have to start going for a few to give SK some chance and that what they did.

    Very mixed bag tonight and thought the show dragged towards the end. It was over before last three in terms of audience attention in real numbers.

    Thought Ben VT was far from great, introducing girlfriend etc. odd and while he sang pretty well no emotion came across.

    They had a serious go at Jake, but will it work, they have been known to miss their target but surely not after that.

    When a show drags anything can happen so small stakes weekend for me until it down to two tomorrow night.

  • stevi is my nightmare result – am very well placed on jack, jake and OTY – all of which i think they would keep Stevi in over.

  • Maarten

    What’s up with the selective uploading by the X Factor, with Ben & JJ’s vids having the VT but others being just the performance?

  • Face

    my main takeaway from tonight.. maybe Ben has been leading the vote, and not Andrea…
    hence the large de-pimping Ben got from his own mentor, Simon… who is also the exec producer of the television show & head of the record label who signs the winner… and someone who gave him a standing O last week…
    it now seems (to me) that it’s clear that Ben is this years Matt Cardle… in the voting sense… hence why Paul & Jay are getting positive feedback

  • Fudd

    So they wanted to rip Jack’s shirt open for the Eye of the Tiger performance and he said no… I’m guessing if they’d got their own way it might have detracted from Jake more with Jack showing his body off.

  • Fudd

    It’s a single elimination tomorrow; I think we all knew that but it was just confirmed on The Xtra Factor in case we weren’t.

  • Face

    2 hours after the show end, and on UK iTunes…

    the big winners appear to be TPTB / Otco-boys… but Lauren has multiple in top 100…

    #25 Stereo Kicks – LIB/HJ
    #32 Lauren – LIG (also at #64 with Happy & #72 What a feeling)
    #41 Andrea – Listen (also # 171 Earth Song & #183 OMIT)
    #51 Ben – Asteroid Song (# 113 Jealous Guy)
    #95 Paul – Try a little…
    #105 Jay – Skyfall (# 50 I’m Gonna Be)
    # 116 OTY – Boom Clap (#195 Come on Eileen)
    # 137 Jack – Eye of the tiger
    # 150 Fleur – Lady Marmalade (#161 All about that bass)

    so, no Stevi, Lola and Jake in the top 200… for what it’s worth

  • London8

    Did anyone notice Ben Haenow run to the judges after his interview with (Dermot) potentially after someone telling him to do so in his earpiece? A later shot showed him talking to Mel and Cheryl…

    • Jessica Hamby

      I didn’t but to tell the truth I found the whole show a bit of a bore today and was only watching with half an eye. Do you think it significant? If so, what does it signify? I’m not a Ben fan and my own view is that he’s just making up the numbers but perhaps others feel differently.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Also is there any evidence he was told something in his earpiece? He’s safe and he’s not going to win so I doubt it affects my strategy.

  • Jack

    Anyone else catch the reference in Jack’s VT to the front runners? He said he wanted to do performances on the level of people like Lauren and Ben. I found that very interesting.
    Agree that Jake should be gone this week, they need to eliminate one of the Cardle Clones before the show gets too male top-heavy.

  • I see fire inside the mountain. Something tells me Jay will be in the bottom two.

  • Nugg

    A few things became clear to me this week,

    1) Andrea will not win, he is the worst value favourite I have seen for some time. There were definate signs that his own mentor Mel is not fully behind him and it appears he is very cleverly being allowed to fizzle out.

    2) The plan for a journey with Lola has been clear for sometime, and as predicted the makeover is starting to happen, but is her voice strong enough to carry her through? I think if she avoids bottom 2 this week we can see the journey continue and further improvement.

    3) They haven’t quite given up on SK, but I am not sure the efforts will be enough to carry them through for more than a few more weeks.

    4) They are not pushing OTY hard, I guess they are simply not good enough to win.

    5) Although Jake was kinda slaughtered with running order , song choice, staging and performance, he cannot last long but they are taking no chances and he is only one of a few acts that the producers would be willing to see go this week.
    I guess the idea would be to get one of the disposables in the bottom 2 and regain some control over the elimination this week.

    Let me know if you agree

  • Facebook has Jake, Jack, and OTY as the lowest (although OTY’s Facebook photo was taken down due to bad comments)

    • Jessica Hamby

      What was the nature of the comments? Abusive about the band / performance or sexual remarks directed at Betsy? I loved her “meow” t-shirt yesterday and I thought she looked amazing. I can imagine the keyboard warriors gurning and dribbling over her and posting all kinds of stuff you wouldn’t want to read.

  • My thoughts… They couldn’t have done more for Stereo Kicks, could they, whilst Only The Young got chucked well and truly under both the X Factor bus and that of Strictly’s. Meanwhile, fire for Jay but timed to come off the back of Strictly. The journey storyline in full flow for Lola. Jack was poor, and heavily Red and Blacked. Fleur will get a sympathy bounce. If Stevi goes into the singoff, he will be saved. Lauren firmly remains Alpha Girl. Jake just has every “preppy boy” stereotype going, and can’t sing.

    I think it’s very dangerous to try and nuke OTY until it’s proven SK can bounce back, but that appears to be what’s happened!

    Jake, Jack and OTY are in trouble. Personally, I think OTY will be saved by “delighting the demo” for the first time in the lives. A Jake and Jack singoff seems the most likely scenario but I couldn’t be sure who would depart in that scenario.

    • Fudd

      I think they might be looking to bottom two bounce Only the Young to try and give them some momentum against the Cardles and whoever survives between Jack or Jake. As said earlier in the week I don’t think they’ll want both Jake and Jack in the bottom two as the survivor will get a hard to handle bounce which could cause a few issues for Stereo Kicks. I don’t think the remaining groups really share voters.

      Place Only the Young in the bottom two now against Jake or Jack, save them, give them Monster Mash (I can’t post a link on my phone but check out YouTube) next week with decent staging while continuing the de-ramp of Ben and Jake/Jack and they should be able to keep both groups in the competition for a bit longer.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Seems a remarkably elaborate way of doing things. Why not just praise them, keep giving them good songs with better sound and decent choreography.

        Saving them by putting them in the bottom two and making them sing Monster?Mash could be a risky strategy.

        My personal opinion is that this week is another big deramp but the feal targets are Jake and Jack. I’m not sure who they would save out of those tso. Jake is a dead man walking so saving him would be neither here nor there, he last at best two more weeks. Jack could go as punishment cor disobedience or saved as the better musician. Stevi, OTY and anyone else are all back up targets in case they miss.

        • Fudd

          If Only the Young are struggling in the vote they might have decided to temporarily de-ramp them in order to give them a bounce over desperately trying to boost them. Risky but production may have decided they have nothing to lose.

          Who else would they want in the bottom two with Jake? Stereo Kicks, Lauren, Fleur and Lola feel like the chosen ones at this point and they probably don’t want to bounce Andrea, Ben or Jack though the latter was dragged down to help out the eight piece. This leaves Jay, Stevie, Paul and Only the Young. Paul is being ramped to deflect from Andrea, they probably don’t want Stevie to be at risk quite yet, other than the comments from Cheryl Jay got a favourable reception from the panel which leaves Only the Young as the most logical target.

          • EM

            I’m with Jessica, Fudd. With so many ways of boosting an act or derailing another it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to damage an act in the hope it strengthens them later. You risk doing them permanent damage much more than giving them permanent advantage

          • Fudd

            Replying to EM – I seem to remember JLS being butchered in Take That week and being dragged into the bottom two only for them to finish second as it galvanised their vote. Now, I don’t expect Only the Young to ride a wave a la Danyl Johnson if they’re pushed into the bottom two now but the powers at be may hope it at least allows them to jump Jack and a couple of the Cardles over the next couple of weeks – possibly with a redemption arc. I don’t think they’ll want to give them a permanent advantage; just enough to help them through a sticky spell so the powers that be can eradicate a few what they perceive to be ‘weaker’ acts.

            I could be reading too deeply into it but if there’s any act they’ll want to give a bottom two bounce to without giving them a permanent advantage because of it, Only the Young seem the obvious ones.

          • EM

            No Fudd I think that makes sense. Kind of what I think they did with SK last week, break them down to create a story line around them and get some interest going.

            Just speculating but if their early polling wasn’t great then they could be thrown sink-or-swim to generate some talkability for the show. If they pull it together and do well then the show wins, if they still do badly then the show hasn’t lost much.

            I don’t think however the producers ever use “the bounce” to help acts go further through the contest.

          • Fudd

            I’d still maintain the producers used the bounce to help JLS out. I think the whole Rule the World argument (very distracting) and upset Dannii plus a bland replacement number with Louis acting horribly put a few people off voting for them and they weren’t in a great position in prior weeks. The drop to the bottom two resulted in a bounce to second.

  • And still people underestimate the best performer of the night. Make no mistake about this her popularity is growing and fluer is creeping up the inside Lane

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think she’s being set up for her “breakthrough” performance in a few weeks. She has a lovely voice and can really interpret a song. She’s has a performance of Kissing You by Des’ree on youtube and it’s gorgeous, and that is a difgicult song to pull off.

      I cannot for the life of me think why JJ or James would be above her in the pecking order. JJ has a bit more to offer than Ben but neither have anything like Fleur’s potential.

      Also she is one of the few who can moce and sing at the same time. Most of the rest are like statues so unless the vocal is extraordinary then become dull as a spectacle.

      • Her popularity on this site definitely doesn’t reflect all the polls I’ve come across where she is always in the top 3. I know weve never had an urban act win before but in the last few years we have had a white women, act that hit the bottom 2, and group win the x factor so trends are being broken every year. And again I point to app voting which is bound to make a difference

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’ve repeated my reservations about Lola since those first (imo daft) suggestions that she was somehow the girls’ alpha despite being a wildcard. Lola can’t take pressure, she’s a choker, and she actually piles pressure on herself. She’s a drama queen and makes every tiny thing more significant than it is. Even her makeover was a thing to be nervous about (although looking at how ugly they made Blonde Electra I suppose she had a point, just not the one she was making). Having said that think she’s safe for a few weeks yet.

      I agree with you about Andrea and said so in my comments in show. It’s not just what tptb do, it’s whether or not the public play ball. I’m not sure they will with Andrea, or at least not enough of them. His ovation went on for ages and I contend that a lot of his comments will be perceived by his fans as unfair.

      I think OTY were current enough to be safe, although it sounded like the mix was sabotaged to make them sound worse than they are. They should have delighted the demo with Boom Clap.

      It’s dangerous to play with fire and I think it could be JJ and Jack in the bottom 2 (after the weird stories of a fallout with Mel during the panel’s comments plus unhelpful staging).

  • Gamblebot

    Project: Stereo Kicks is still going. The narrative is not quite what was stated on Sofabet a few days ago (where Louis decides to remove Reece and Potato Head but the others object), but it had the same spirit and TPTB made sure that the message “we still believe in them; you should too” came across.

    Nuking Jake and Jack at the same time is dangerous because [1] they have something between their legs, [2] XF featured them naked this week (who cares about the song, those bits delight the demo). I’d say OTY are more in trouble because they’re not getting new fans with the quiffed boy whining all the time and the lady singers are weaker but they’re leading the group vocally.

    The Overs are all getting a mix of good and bad, although Fleur’s “bad” is being heavily branded as unfair. I’m still not getting clear signals on the hierarchy.

    Lola is being set up for a journey but with the new look not aligned with a newer, more confident performance, I wouldn’t be shocked if she ends up in the bottom.

    I’m surprised no one picked up on how dangerous Andrea can be. He didn’t get a superstar slot, but the audience was the LOUDEST for him, he’s getting the most social media likes, and despite not having the most commercial thing going, he’s doing very well on iTunes.

    Stevi is being pushed as a villain, but with Simon as his mentor, could it be harder than usual to knock him down?

    Ranking them in terms of being in trouble with votes, I’d say it’s like
    (most in trouble)
    Only the Young
    Jake
    Jack
    Lola
    Jay
    Paul
    Stevi
    Fleur
    Stereo Kicks
    Ben
    Lauren
    Andrea
    (least in trouble)

    Note that this isn’t my predicted vote rank (i.e., I don’t expect Stevi to have more votes than Paul, but I think he is less likely to sink into the bottom 2).

  • Alen

    Was Mel B unhappy with Jack or the Producers? She said something was changed that she couldnt influence. That made it sound like the producers but the rest sounded like a problem with Jack himself?

    They were def trying to bring down Jake and Jack but why show both of them naked in the VT? I agree though that they were mostly just trying to save Stereo Kicks this week.

    Ben was boooring, he didnt show any emotion and didnt move at all. Im surprised Simon called him out like that. Maybe hes doing too good?

    Im just glad Simon called Fleur a recording artist, she got a lot of love last night.

    • Dean

      Fleur is definitely being pimped up, but I feel she is not voting that high, maybe about midfield (maybe especially after last weeks cheating scandal) and that is the reason for the hype this week and another later slot. I think its clever that both Jay and Ben have been given pimp slots the last 2 weeks but had some negative comments from the judges. This leads me to think that Fleur really is the alpha over and she will get her pimp slot later in the competition when there are less acts. Still not sure she can win the show, but she is definitely being signalled for the final.

      • I’m pretty sure if she was struggling vote wise they would have cut the rap out by now

        • Dean

          I wouldn’t say struggling, but I doubt shes at the top 3, prob 5 or 6 right now. James Arthur and many others won from a similar position. However they are keeping Fleur at the later stages of the show and aside from Mel B’s cheating storm last week they are generally being positive, this week especially. For me it means they still need to push her to get votes, but that she is still comfortably enough away from the danger zone.

          For Fleur to win it would need to be a week by week gradual process of winning votes from others. I would be surprised if when the voting percentages come out at the end of the series if Fleur is in the top 3 in Week 1 or 2

      • Vote transfer is also going to be a lot different this year as once a viewers favourite is eliminated the viewer is much more likely to vote for another act while its free to vote

    • Mel struck me as being off script there.

  • I would also suggest that ben and fleur should be swapped in the odds. Can’t believe she is still available at 3s for top over

    • Dean

      Ben is a likeable guy, but was it just me or did his likeability go to a bit of an attitude yesterday? Obviously the show wanted to make us believe this anyway. Ben for me has no chance of winning it now,

      • Jessica Hamby

        Clever the way they did it. I’m sure they also had Louis saying his acts thought Ben was the nicest guy in the house.

        • Dean

          Ben in Week 1 or 2 seemed like that older brother you have always wanted. This week not so much, seemed quite arrogant and cocky. Personally I think they made it seem this way rather than him actually being like this. They also gave him a much worse hairstyle with that little quiff

      • Face

        I suspect that was the whole point… all part of the de-ramp…

  • Jessica Hamby

    One funny thing about last night, Stevi Richie wasn’t the worst performance. Surely Lola and Jake were worse.

    • Face

      Lola and Jake were both indeed terrible…

      but my issue with Stevi, is that he is a very poor version of a novelty act… he isn’t wacky or unique and doesn’t have an OTT personality… like Wagner, Chico, Jedward, Rylan…

      to me he is just an average guy who can’t really sing or dance… so isn’t actually that entertaining/interesting to watch…which at least the other novelty acts were

      after 3 weeks I am bored of him already… and I am sure I am not the only one…

      • Dean

        Yeah its surprising the novelty act like this still works. I think Wagner would have been the last of his kind. Rylan was something different altogether as he was wacky, loveable, weird, funny… Like you I feel Stevi is just like an actor playing the role, he is not really that fun to watch. I would be surprised if he doesn’t hit B2 either this or next week. Another late running order slot etc. meaning they are doing their utmost to keep him just above b2, but for how long can it work? He certainly isn’t Wagner or Rylan

        • eurovicious

          For what it’s worth, I enjoy Stevi much more than I did Rylan because he’s not some preening drama-queen wannabe, he’s an ordinary fun bloke up there living the dream, and certainly this week (if less so the past two) he really entertained and the joy on stage was infectious. In a year where, like Rylan’s year, most the rest of the field is “stand and sing” types, he may go far. I don’t see him in danger this week.

          • EM

            Plus one. It’s a small sample size but those I watched with loved his performance as entertainment and think the show would be worse without him, just a succession of earnest singers.

            He fills the same sole as Rylan or Wagner but plays the part differently. The show needs him to have a deadlock save over a proper singer to lift the ratings imo

  • General Hogbuffer

    If anyone wants to see public hypnosis working on a grand scale just hop over and read the SK thread on DigitalSpy. Fangirlies wetting themselves about how amazing their performance was and how they had such a breakthrough. From what I saw last night, 3 major things were different:
    1) the staging was actually considered, not just 4 starting, 4 coming on later with a flat light throughout.
    2) the judges were positive to the point of hyperbole
    3) screaming girls had been positioned in the audience at last

    The actual singing was just as mediocre and basic as before. I was actually offended by how obvious and shameless the manipulation was, but maybe I am underestimating the gullibility of the main audience…

    Interesting how Jake got flack from Mel B for doing the naked shoot, and then Jack (who did the same shoot that was organised by the production team anyway) got criticised for NOT taking his shirt off in the show. Double standards, anyone ?

  • Face

    i think some of TPTB plans became clearer after this week…

    Lauren now appears to be Plan A… but they are still heavily invested in Stereo Kicks…

    so by default the derailing of the 2 boys who may ‘steal votes’ away from Stereo Kicks… Jake and Jack… was cranked up a couple of gears… and to make sure they get SK a post B2 bounce, they also threw OTY under the bus…

    I think they have decided they want to Fleur around… if only as she can sing, dance and gives watchable performances… not sure if she is yet the Alpha Over… but like many here, I see her as the most complete pop star package…

    speaking of the Overs… the battle if the Cardles is getting interesting… I don’t get the Jay love… he is too old to be an actual pop star… isnt a brilliant singer or performer… and most damning (imo)… comes across as disingenuous and dull at the same time (how is that possible?!’)… maybe they see him as the Cardle that will be easiest to dispose of during the later stages of the competition?

    I suspect Ben has been polling well… hence the de-pimping last night… but done as ‘constructive feedback’… a bit similar to what they are doing with Andrea… and his containment is currently very linked to bigging up Paul… who I still think is this years Craig Colton… and like him, I expect Paul to exit around #7, once he’s served his purpose…

    They still are trying to progress Lola… with her shy duck into swan / make-over story arc… but, like Tamera last year… her nerves and sub standard performances aren’t helping… she is my pick for a ‘shock’ bottom 2 sometime soon…

  • Dean

    Odds to win show

    Andrea 13/8 (bad price the way these last 2 weeks went IMO)
    Lauren 7/2 (surprised at the drift, I think they set her narrative up for a wow Halloween performance)
    Ben Haenow 6/1 (Wouldn’t back this)
    Fleur East 12/1 (Good odds as she is building momentum)
    Paul Akister 16/1 (Just a midfield runner for me)
    Jay James 16/1 (Same as above)
    Lola Saunders 20/1 (Journey continues, still interesting at ew if she improves, not a popstar for me though)
    Stereo Kicks 22/1 (Still a great ew bet don’t you think?)
    OTY 40/1 (Disposable)
    Jack Walton 66/1 (as above)
    Stevi Ritchie 100/1 (LoL)
    Jake Quickenden 200/1 (Would do well to survive the week)

    At this stage I can see really only Lauren or Fleur building the momentum to win this show now. Andrea probably still just about worthy fave given the fanbase he already has, but I feel they are slowly on the deramp with him. He may end up being an unlucky runner up for me like Jahmene.

    • Like your thinking with Lauren. Halloween week is widely cited as the game changer for Little Mix’s cover of ET in 2011, (although I disagree completely and regard their “moment” as Don’t Let Go) which is where Janet’s deramping began in earnest.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Apols for OT post but…

    OTY are my new personal favourites simply for the line “if it’s not punny it’s not funny”.

  • Having slept on it, I’m going in for a Jake & OTY bottom two. Not calling an elimination this week until the singoff. Can anyone advise me which bookies managed to get a singoff market up last night. BetFred didn’t.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I love the line from Simon Cowell after Stevi’s performance….. “We don’t control the show, the public control the show!”

  • Caro

    There seemed to be a real effort to make Fleur less overtly sexual and more appealing. Even though she had a very sexual song she wasn’t flashing the flesh, and check out how her backing dancers were dressed in a very similar way to ‘The Nation’s Sweetheart’ in her Fight for this Love video:
    http://www.virginmedia.com/music/pictures/profiles/cheryl-cole-fight-for-this-love.php

    I also thought it was interesting how many close ups of Andrea’s tonsils we had – possibly meant to be part of the deramp? We had been reminded repeatedly about the faces he pulls and it looks as though the camera shots were meant to highlight that, except that Andrea had taken the comments on board and was clearly mindful of his facial expressions. And instead of ‘I love Britain’ we had him wearing a classic Versace design shirt. Very Italian!!

    I agree with everyone finding JJ annoying. He really irritates me.

    Jake and Jack in trouble, and also Lola, whose makeover seemed to end up as a make-under with an M&S leather skirt and black T-shirt.

    PS. The octoband – ‘a capella’ is singing without instrumental sound… which is not what they were doing.

  • Martin

    I watched it drunk so my memory may be hazy. Jake was awful, deserves to be bottom two and that is clearly the producer intention. OTY performed weakly and their vt was whiney. Id agree they’re the fall guys.

    Not much else to mention really. lola fluffed up what was meant to be her moment but they still laid it on thick with her. That performance was pretty much the same as one that Stacy Solomon did in her year, but lola sounded shaky but the message about her journey and her self confidence would not have been clearer.

    Did anyone else notice Andrea identifying paul and lauren as his main competition? Seems like an odd choice in paul, somebody here mentioned that tptb may be trying to line paul up as Andreas replacement and I’d agree. Although I’m not sure why. Maybe because if they can get paul to edge out Andrea he stands less chance of winning?! Strange.

    Again, fleur is a strange case. I’ve slated her for bottom 2 the last two weeks but this week they could have gone hell for leather with the ‘steal your boyfriend’ isms but didn’t. I just don’t like her.

    Jack is also in trouble. His performance was flat and mel’s comments were dodgy. I find his performances very dated, almost like backstreet boys versions of whatever he sings. Surprised he’s lasted tbh.

    SK were pimped to high heaven – a different stage style and the song wasn’t as disasterous as id expected and the comments were overblown.

    I’d guess at jake or jack being bottom two with OTY. Whichever boy is there will go. I think one of the overs could be a shock bottom two candidate though.

  • Have we had a discussion on here at any point of the significance of the SCD overlap when X Factor is repeated on ITV and ITV2 (and the +1 channels of both) the next day as well as watchable online (songs on Youtube, show on ITV Player)?

    I think Fleur might be in danger (although seeing as we still have 12 acts, perhaps equally or more likely is that she’ll come 9th/10th in this week’s vote and thus remain safe) for a number of reasons, the fact she rapped and the fact her vocal went to pot during the Xtina section – which really showed her limitations – being the least of them. Unlike the previous two weeks’ performances it was sexually threatening/aggressive rather than fun, and the number of times we heard the word “cheating” repeated by different people in the VT and judges’ comments was huge. Obviously it’s completely baseless, but the more times you try and refute something by repeating the original accusation in some form, the more it sticks in people’s basic psychology. The more a character’s narrative becomes dominated by people saying “it’s not cheating”, “Mel accused me of cheating”, “She wasn’t cheating” etc. – as Fleur’s did this week – the more the word is hammered home, the more your brain just hears “cheating”. In terms of rhetoric and effect it could become bullygate 2014. The week Misha B first came bottom in 2011 (week 4, Halloween) her segment opened with a very sympathetic VT which was all about refuting the previous week’s allegation but which merely served to anchor it by flashing the word “BULLY” up onscreen a bunch of times and having Misha repeat the word “bully” and say “I haven’t bullied on the show”. The rest of her segment also bore parallels to Fleur’s this week – a visually and tonally not dissimilar performance, dominated by red and a sexually threatening vibe, followed by praise from the judges for her performance and for bouncing back from the previous weeks’ comments.

    I don’t think Jay James memory-holed the first two because he slaughtered Skyfall (something many on Twitter are saying) and his limitations were very exposed. I think OTY are gonna go further than people expect because of their basic likability and competence – and the fact there’s a gap in the market for their kind of act – and I think Jake may well also be safe. When all of the first three acts (Jake, OTY, Jay) give relatively mediocre performances but the first two get criticism or lukewarm treatment while the third gets glowing praise despite clearly evident inadequacies, the disconnect between what audiences hear and see for themselves and what the judges say becomes obvious.

    Only truly enjoyed Paul and Stevi, Stevi I actually enjoyed more than anyone. It was a lot of fun. Lauren was fine, Lola wasn’t – totally out of tune for all but the start of the song and they went overboard on her makeover, she looked like one of 2 Shoes. She seemed to realise it’d gone wrong though and I find it hard to guess what degree of sympathy vote she may or may not get.

    They’re giving Faustini very big songs for this stage in the contest, I do think they’re trying to peak him early then wind him down while solid, likeable, quietly competent acts like Paul and Lauren slow-burn and keep delivering the goods without the face-pulling (this week reaching dental examination level – he has fewer fillings than me, presumably because they don’t have Dairy Milk in Italy) and the diva drama. I think Jack was solid all in all.

  • The cheatdown (parentheses mine):

    VT:
    Mel: “a little bit cheating”
    Fleur: “Cheating? That’s just the worst thing (that I could hear)”
    Simon: “(You’re making the audience think that) this girl is cheating and it’s really unfair”
    Simon: “I don’t like someone accusing someone of cheating”
    Headline: X Factor ‘cheat’ storm
    Fleur: “I’m not cheating in any way”

    Judges’ comments:
    Simon: “Mel hurt you last week with the ‘cheating’ line, which you weren’t ‘cheating'” (note how he emphasises the word both times, and how the second repetition is unnecessary to the point of actually making the sentence ungrammatical)

    Note also the emphasis on her being the “most improved”, and Fleur thanking everyone who voted for her. Dermot: “You’ve won Mel over this week, you’ve gotta be happy”. Getting a lot of “journey completed” vibes from all this.

    • Jessica Hamby

      So who are you seeing in the final? Lauren? Stereo Kicks? Ben? Andrea? JJ?

      Assuming there are four, I think Lauren and Andrea will be there but who will join them? I’ve been thinking Fleur but you make some good points. I do think the staging, with her name in massive lights dominating the stage suggests more than a completed journey. I still think it’s a positive ramp. Having said that, plan a at the moment still appears to be Lauren with Stereo Kicks also definitely wanted in the final. I guess their end place depends on whether they can improve sufficiently in the limited time available.

      • Fudd

        The most logical thing to do would be an act from each category in the final which would presumably result in Lauren, Andrea, Stereo Kicks and Fleur making it – though they may ramp Paul ahead of Andrea. Long way to go yet but that’s how Isee it for the moment.

        • Face

          that’s assuming Fleur can outlive all the Cardles…

          With the new app free voting, I cant help but think as acts leave… the majority of people who voted for them will probably just vote for other acts…

          so I cant help but think that the strategy of having so many Cardles may back fire on TPTB…

          my thinking is… as some of the males start to leave (most likely to initially be Jake, Paul, Jack) their voters are just as likely to switch to Jay and/or Ben… as much as they would to Andrea (from Paul) and SK (from Jack)…

          So whoever is the last Cardle standing out of Ben and Jay will possibly get a great big chunk of voters…

          So I still think a Cardle will be in the final four…

          • Face

            LOL’ing at all my ‘can’t help but thinks’… sorry!

          • eurovicious

            I don’t think Ben or Fleur (or Jay) is good enough for the final. I see the older guys leaving before the younger ones.

          • You keep mentioning so many cardles. Yet I fail to see anyone who can pull off a first time or nights in white satin type wow performance.

          • Jessica Hamby

            This is a strong point. JJ’s 500 miles was nowhere near as good as Cardle’s First Time. I agree that Fleur needs a special performance to move up the pecking order. I do think she’s got more to give vocally though.

          • Martin

            Surely that’s the point of the multi-Cardle casting? If we are assuming that the show was cast around their mistakes in 2010, Cardle was the one that foiled their plans so by putting in several of this sort of artist but none of them on the same level as the original, in theory it wouldn’t be as difficult for them to get their result. Which, as it happens, probably won’t be happening – all the Cardle’s or not.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Congrats to those who called it. I will watch on catch up.

          • Face

            Stoney, I’m not suggesting these guys can sing as well as The actual Matt Cardle, but they’ve all been cast to appeal to re voting demographic that took him to the win.

    • Martin

      I agree with the cheating theory but I’m not sure that proving mel wrong is her ‘journey’ to be put to an end. If they want to extinguish fleur there will be easier ways to nail her.

      Id also suggest that we’ll get Ben in the final and not Fleur. At least one of the cardle-lites will make it and he seems like the most likely considering his deramp this week.i just don’t think fleur is good enough and knowing the audience I can’t see her making it over ben, lauren or Andrea. If, for whatever reason we lose Stereo Kicks pre-final then she may sneak in.

  • I dearly wish that announcer Paul Dickson could actually get my friend PAUL AKISTER’s name right (especially when it is written in GIANT LETTERS at the rear of the stage). Sheeeesh!!

    http://youtu.be/F15OYrCcAKE?list=PLLJQHjmJHb1pc4iDV3JxBJ57q_ev6I5VI

    “Dicko, if you ever get to read this there is only ONE “A” in his surname and YOU are supposed to be a well paid professional who is supposed to get your one little job in the show right first time”.

    Rant over, I quite like the ‘first announced safe’ market. Surprisingly, Fleur has had it twice now to pimp her up with that ‘subliminal positive message’ that she is ‘favoured’ and I am just wondering if this week it is SK’s turn to help their bounce.

  • Blake

    Re: Stevi, I think that his comment last week about making it to Halloween was a ploy to try and get him through to next week, and then he’ll have completed his journey, and will be disposed of.

    Also, as a new visitor to the site, would anyone be able to explain some things that seem to crop up a bit. Having red and black staging as a negative, and stars as a positive, etc? Plus what other key things are there to look out for with the staging? Thanks!

  • David Cook

    If TPTB are serious about pushing Stereo Kicks they will presumably want rid of both Jake and Jack as soon as possible. In that respect it might be better if only one of them falls into B2 this week, with the other third bottom. This will avoid the possibility of a bounce so increasing the chances of getting rid of both during consecutive weeks. I get the feeling that they may have misjudged it slightly bringing back Jack as the wildcard, and that he is picking up more votes than they anticipated. That may be why they avoided going at him too hard this week, if they want rid of him next week.

    • Donald

      Jack is a very strange one in my books, cannot figure it out. The new body poses may have been to attack Jake market this week and then put it away.

      He was also Simon wildcard pick which may have it’s own politics.

      Ed Sheeran is on tonight be interesting if he picks a favourite or even better is Ryan Tedder from One Republic if he picks one. Looking forward to seeing One Republic on the show tonight, great band and Ryan Tedder is so talented.

      Jack with a guitar and an Ed Sheeran song could be an easy game changer for TPTB.

      Let’s see what happens tonight first but I have become wary of what their game is with Jack. Maybe if he survives bottom two again tonight Daniel or Andrew will look at it in more detail.

  • Phil

    I wonder if it’s a sign that, in the intro to tonight’s show, Dermot said the usual line about two acts facing the sing-off. As he said this, although all acts were on the screens in the background, Jack and Jay were the only two you could see, quite prominently as well.

  • Blake

    Things I noticed in the group song- Andrea opening with Paul coming straight afterwards. Trying to force comparison between the two of them?
    Also, Fleur was sandwiched between Jay James, who was terrible and Stevi, who was terrible. Really emphasised that she’s a star.

  • stoney

    been topping up on jake right through the day, in too deep now, no turning back, surely he cant evade the bottom 2 this time

    • Same, in balls deep tonight having bet on both a Jake exit and a singoff combo with OTY. Interesting comments from Simon about Lola there. Can’t see her going B2 this week though with her pimping and Cry VT.

      • They all pretty much said jake is in trouble after the phone lines closed which is worrying. Hope there not setting it up for a shock. And I bet Dermott announces another break in right at the end again

      • Fudd

        Arguably Simon noticed a lot of criticism being aimed at the judges about going easy on Lola so he quickly came up with the age old ‘it sounded different in the studio’ so as not to put people off voting for Lola in the future because she’s a judges favourite.

  • Fudd

    Tonight’s save order:
    Fleur
    Stereo Kicks
    Lauren
    Ben
    Andrea
    Lola
    Jay
    Paul
    Stevie
    Jack

    Exactly how they planned it, in my opinion. They weren’t going to slip up twice in a row…

  • Phil

    This can only go one way.

    Can’t it?

  • Jack’s got fans then. Survived a red and blacking and judges telling the public he was bad. They’ve got work to do taking him down.

  • Scott

    Last night’s show was basically sacrificed to save Stereo Kicks then. At least we know the producers are back on the ball, makes it easier to bet.

  • Dean

    OTY trying to get eliminated I thought that was terrible. Lucky it’s already pre decided

  • Nugg

    Well called Andrew and Sofabet, was that not the worst pair of sing offs in the entire history of XF though !!!

  • What are the chances of shit happening (i.e., TPTB just missing their targets) and all groups wiping out prematurely? Last time an entire category has been in the bottom 2/3 at least once this early was… never.

  • Donald

    Well done to all, well called, James and Stoney nailed it, fair play. Lots to reflect on.

    Simon kept the knife in to OTY even on the save.. This Jack stuff is getting bit serious…

    • Fudd

      I don’t think the Jack issue is as big as some think. They didn’t overly gun for him this week; he had a slightly uptempo number, Mel came across as overly harsh and they had a flash of him stripping off without him being punished for it. Yes, it wasn’t exactly favourable – they were lining him up as cover in case they mucked up the targeting of Jake – but it wasn’t an all out nuke.

      I think that’s coming up next week.

    • Cheers mate! Like I say was in balls deep so a very profitable night for me. Plenty of bookies got a singoff market up this week but the prices for Jake were so short it didn’t justify putting any extra wonga on.

      Lots to analyse through the week. If there’s a B2 market up then it Lola might just be worth a cheeky note or two.

  • Not sure what to make of the constant fleur first called safe policy is. For any one suggesting she is polling low I don’t believe that for a second. Shes very popular

  • Nugg

    Facebook and twitter awash with comments saying should have sent them both home, if ever performances justified an emergency double elimination that was it. It must have been almost embarassing for judges to save OTY , thats why there was so little comment after the sing off.

    • I must admit i was a little worried during the performance. They were actually worse than jake

      • Nugg

        I agree , thought it was a foregone conclusion when the bottom two were announced (as it turned out to be), but OTY were dire, not just a little bit bad, but truely unbearable, I did think they might have trouble justifying a save, NO deadlock so obviously OTY were bottom of the public vote, surely no bounce after that ?? Reckon they could go next week

  • Dean

    Not sure of an OTY bounce to be honest.

  • Blake

    It’ll be so interesting to see if the producers get behind them next week, or whether they’re thrown under the bus like Steph was. I suppose it all depends on whether Stereo Kicks did well this week in the votes.

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