X Factor 2014: How producers sank their fangs into Jack Walton

It’s a while since we’ve done an article-length cap-doffing to producers for an assassination well executed, so let’s put that right with a case study into the ways they ensured Hallowe’en would be a fright night for Jack Walton. It’s always interesting to pick over the bones of an unambiguous and successful attack, to see what we can learn for future reference.

To start with, a reminder of why punters had made Jack the pre-show favourite for elimination. Essentially, there were two reasons. Firstly, as a teenage boy, he was always going to be fishing in the same pool of voters as Stereo Kicks, so for as long as producers remained invested in the boyband, they were unlikely to want to give Jack much help – and that had showed in his treatment in the first three weeks.

Secondly, last week Jack had reportedly irked the powers that be by refusing to rip his shirt open at the end of ‘Eye of the Tiger’. It’s one of those damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situations. Credit to the Leeds lad for believing, rightly in our view, that it would have made him look a bit daft, and for having the gumption to stand up for himself. But then, having a mind of your own doesn’t tend to be a path to success on this show (see Devlin, Janet).

With the twist of a double elimination, producers increased by 50% their chances of getting Jack into firing range. But they needed only the first bullet. How did they do it? Here’s what we spotted on a rewatch.

1. Dermot throws to Mel by saying the act she’s about to introduce is “hoping to survive the weekend”. Not to win the show, just to survive the weekend. Way to frame, Dermot.

2. Mel introduces him as “my northern boy”. For comparison, Simon had just introduced Fleur as “sensational”.

3. The VT starts by reminding us of last week’s comments. Louis was bored, Cheryl thinks he needs to work on his performance, Simon says it was like he didn’t want to be at the party. Cheryl, walking a backstage corridor, hits the performance theme again.

4. In make-up, Jack tells Ben he’s used to “small venues”. Hold that thought. He complains that people now expect him to “move around like flipping Beyonce”. So, having just been told he needs to work on his performance, we immediately see him complaining about the expectation and implying he’s incapable of it.

5. By happy coincidence, the act he is telling this to – Ben – had just a few songs earlier won praise for successfully working on his performance.

6. Mel and Jack remind us that he was good in his first audition. The strong implication: he’s been shit ever since.

7. Having been told by Mel to connect with the lyrics of ‘Bleeding Love’, Jack confides to Ben that he has experience of “being in love with someone and people not agreeing with it.” Ben gazes supportively into the middle distance.

jack_ben

8. In a mocking tone, Mel tells him: “You’ve given them the cutesy, the guitar, the little smile, happy”, effectively belittling and dismissing his entire schtick so far.

9. She instructs him to give viewers “pain”. Is that wise?

10. Mel tells Jack “I don’t want you to leave on Saturday”. We believe that VTs are often edited so that they close on a thought that producers want to plant in viewers’ minds (Abi Alton’s “I hope I don’t hit any bum notes” being a classic of the genre). The thought planted here: leave on Saturday, leave on Saturday, leave on Saturday.

11. Jack is shorn of his trademark guitar. He appears to be dressed as an 18th century fop.

12. The song is too big for his vocals. There’s no big production: just him, alone on stage. For the second consecutive week, he has red-and-black staging, with prominent red spotlights that look like a ‘Stop’ traffic light. It starts to rain blood on the big screen behind him, where Jack occasionally appears topless.

13. Now, hold on, mid-song there is someone else on stage! Sauntering nonchalantly towards him. How odd. Has she just evaded security?

jack_vampire

14. Ah, she’s a vampire. Jack gamely ignores her as she takes a bite out of him. The message being visually communicated: “I know I’m being murdered here, but that’s fine, I don’t mind”. And we’ve been utterly distracted from his singing. It’s all about the vampire and the bite.

jack_bite

15. Louis: “Jack, it’s week four, things are getting serious now… I think you’re a small room performer. I can see you with your guitar, playing to small rooms… I think you get a little bit lost on the big stage”. Small room, small rooms. And it seems fair, because Jack’s “small venue” comment in his VT has mentally prepared people for it.

16. Cheryl: “Jack, you know I really like you… I don’t know what it is, but tonight something felt uncomfortable to watch”. Textbook non-vote-motivating criticism – preceded by praise, nonspecific so he can’t defend himself.

17. Simon: “From where you started, you know, cool, playing the guitar, you’re now dressed like that, being eaten like a vampire… I don’t think this is you”. Again, Jack’s VT – with the reminder of his audition – had prepared the ground for this. Simon continues: “I think you kind of compromised yourself along the way”. Ha! Week 3 – Jack reportedly earns the ire of producers for not selling out. Week 4 – Jack is criticised for selling out. You have to admire the chutzpah.

18. Mel: “I’m obviously going to disagree with everyone”. Translation: “I’m expressing this minority opinion only out of loyalty”.

19: Mel continues: “You gave me what I asked you, which was pain”. Again: is this a good thing?

20. Mel: “I want everybody northern to pick up the phone and vote for you”. Explicit vote shoutouts are usually a good thing, but there’s a longstanding debate about whether explicitly regional shoutouts are more of a help or a hindrance. Arguably, by implication Mel is saying she doesn’t want anyone southern to vote. Also, regional loyalty is a complex thing: while “northern” may be an accurate descriptor for a significant number of people, it’s nonetheless not an especially cohesive identity. How many people self-identify as “northern”, as opposed to Mancunian, Lancastrian, Geordie, Yorkshire, etc.?

21. Dermot: “It’s not his fault he’s dressed like Dick Turpin”. On top of adding to the general sense of ridicule, Dick Turpin was famously a northerner who was hanged hanged in the north.

22. Jack: “When people suggest something to do, to wear, I go with it… but maybe I should have had a bigger voice in what I want to do”. Oh, Jack: damned when you did, damned when you didn’t.

Are we reading too much into any of these? And what did we miss? Do let us know below.

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95 comments to X Factor 2014: How producers sank their fangs into Jack Walton

  • uncalquera

    I think Jack was very (too?) aware he was a dead man walking. The point is, when did he notice? The previous Saturday? Did he have a nagging thought even as early as week 2?

    I think he is quite transparent in what has to do with his emotions, and the only postperformance interview showing some kind of excitement was his week 1… after that, he showed… don’t know, resignation? Is this sensation of hopelessness another of the tricks producers use to influence audience perception of an act? (~if they seem despondent, why should anyone vote for them?)

    PS: per Wikipedia, Turpin was from Essex.

  • Dean

    Yes Jack was an easy hook line and sinker looking back at it. So far the only bad week for TPTB was week 2 when Chloe and SK landing in the sing off. Apart from that they have cut everyone out cleanly.

    Looking back it seems quite clear the intention was to get out Jack and Jake in week 2 and 3 in whichever order fitted (probably Jake in week 2, then Jack week 3), they were probably unlucky to land with the bottom 2 they did in week 2 as its likely Chloe would have been saved against Jake. Though would they have done the double elim. if Chloe was still there in week 4 with a possibility of coming bottom of the vote? Not sure.

  • EM

    I think you could add running order in there Andrew. He got a real middling position which just can’t be good when it’s a flash vote with lines open from the beginning.

    That Dermot question is a beaut – translation, you look a dick and you’re not man enough to do anything about it.

    Dermot’s position is powerful. He’s seen as the impartial voice of authority through the show. There to guide us through proceedings and hug people when they feel down. You just don’t expect him to have the knife in his hand.

    Finally there was a revealing bit in the judges comments of Stevi. Louis was trying to pipe up and say something during one of the other judge’s comments and Simon Cowell quiet forcibly got his attention and told him to be quiet. He did, very quickly. Shows who’s boss and also (speculation) Cowell realised it would be a judges argument distraction from all the Stevi-love going on.

  • Alen

    The voting order is interesting too. Fleur was before him and there was a commercial break after him, right? So Fleur got praised and set the standard, then the judges made all those “don’t bother voting”-comments and with the commercial he was already forgotten by the next act.

    I agree with the rest, it was very obvious to me that he would go after that performance. I especially like how the judges comments mirrored everything from the VT before! Very clever.

  • Heisenberg

    Great work Andrew, just a couple of extra observations…

    During Jack’s rehearsal in the VT there was a large microphone skull (see here: http://goo.gl/BbmAiT) which I suspect was removed once they tested the sultry vampire attack – clearly they were going for maximum impact and didn’t want any visual obstruction.

    Also, I’m pleased you mentioned Jack’s chat with Ben on the sofa – I certainly empathised with Ben’s facial expressions here, the sequence played out just like my own living room when my wife talks to me during X Factor. Really, it’s uncanny.

    • Caro

      Yes I loved the chat on the sofa too…. Ben: I don’t want to appear rude but I am really not interested……

      • Face

        I suspect after he asked to switch songs… and got mixed judges feedback… he is balancing the ‘being a supportive mate’ while having been there done that… and knowing there’s nothing he can do to change the situation for Jack…
        Ben probably also knows that as he is +10 years older than Jack… that if he doesn’t play the game with TPTB… he wont get another shot at a recording deal… so doesn’t want to be seen to rock the boat

        • Caro

          Exactly… he was torn between trying to seem supportive while actually his body language was saying ‘don’t implicate me in your whinging at TPTB’.
          It helped Jack come across as immature and not ready for bigger things.

      • Colorbox

        I wonder if this was staged in the sense that Ben is playing the game on board with producers. In the Paul’s VT there is a similar scene with Jay and Paul btw.

  • David Cook

    On the face of it Jack was looking for votes from the same demo as Stereo Kicks. They eliminated Jack, and must have assumed Stereo Kicks would pick up additional votes in the second round of free app votes. But it clearly didn’t work out like that. The voting statistics for this are going to be interesting when they’re released.

    • Naturally tptb would have assumed stereokicks would benefit most from jacks departure, as that’s now proven to be untrue i would say it was infact Ben who did.
      Its easy for us to assume these things and get it wrong, I remember the same thing happening in the final last year with luke friends votes going the way of sam bailey which no one saw coming.

    • Alen

      Didn’t Dermot also say at the beginning of Sunday’s show that it was a very close race for the votes? I don’t think he was lying and they were hoping Stereo Kicks would still avoid Bottom2.

      • Yeah he did. 2 million votes he said as well if remember rightly. Id bet 90% of them are through the app. Which is why the face book likes keep calling the bottom act

      • Two judges (Louis and Simon) praised SK to Dermot on Sunday at the start – before votes closed. I wondered then if they were in trouble

        • Dean

          It was close at the bottom so who else do we think was close? Paul? Jay? Fleur after being backed in along with SK? Andrea with his lack of FB likes?

          • David Cook

            What might be interesting is when they announce the tour. It’s usually top 8 so anyone who makes it through this next week makes it to the tour. It’s so close they can push anyone through who they want. Stevi, Stereo Kicks and OTY would all probably be saved if required. Who is most disposable in this respect. It’s looking like Paul to me. B2 this week and he’s gone.

  • tpfkar

    Thanks for this – I didn’t see the performance live, but you make it look very clear cut here.

    I wonder if being associated with Ben will indicate future targets. If TPTB are looking to push transfers in Ben’s direction, it makes sense for Ben to get matey with each act just before they are gone. Speculative but might be a warning flag.

    • Caro

      Ben was pictured in the papers being supportive to Lola over the weekend on more than one occasion (with caveats to say they were ‘just friends’)

    • Babit

      It makes sense because they were pushing the “bromance” between Ben and Jake in the Xtra Factor before Jake got the boot (just like Matt Cardle and Aiden Grimshaw, and to a lesser extent James Arthur and Rylan), and then Jack and Ben got all buddy-buddy in Jack’s VT.
      Obviously, it doesn’t prove anything, nor will surely be effective considering the free votes (most of Jack’s voting demographic were splitting the votes anyways, so they’ll probably stick to those other acts they were already giving their votes to – usually Fleur, SK, OTY, Lauren etc), but it is interesting to keep an eye on it. Maybe we’ll have Paul and Ben bonding next week?

  • Curtis

    Very good article – the producers clearly did not like Jack!

    In response to:
    10) Tamera’s “Diamonds are Forever” had a fun one of these, though possibly unintentional. Nicole Scherzinger closing the VT saying “I just need her to remember her lyrics”

    20) I think the last point you make here is right. I think regional shout-outs help when you’re going for a group with strong identity. “I want everyone in Liverpool to vote for Rebecca Ferguson!” is a very beneficial shout-out. Everyone northern? If anything that just seems to exclude southerners unnecessarily.

  • lolhart

    I normally avoid Digitalspy, but someone posted tweets by one of the X-Factor producers stating that the X-Factor was an entertainment show and singer-songwriters should go to the “boring” The Voice. I thought it was interesting given that Jack wanted to be seen as a singer-songwriter type.

  • Heisenberg

    Part of the installation process of the X Factor app is to grant permissions allowing access to identity and location data. On an android phone the exact phrasing is as follows:

    “Identity: Uses one or more of accounts on the device, profile data.”

    “Location: Uses the devices location”

    The ‘identity’ wording is deliberately unspecific and in theory allows the app to access user profile data associated with all accounts active on the device which could include Google, Facebook, Twitter.

    Of course, the marketing of the app is very clever in the way it supposedly offers free votes, when in fact you are paying a price by disclosing personal information which will then be sold to third party companies for targeted advertising, including location based advertising. Very big business.

    We can only speculate how this app user data can serve producer intentions but at the very least we should assume that details such as age, sex and location are at their disposal. It is also very possible that more comprehensive social data is available which, if they have people working on it, can reveal interests, tastes, purchasing habits etc.

    Daniel has already suggested (http://goo.gl/y8VdXs) that there may be over 1 million app votes every week, so the significance of user data is significant.

    Taking this week’s treatment of Jack as an example – TPTB’s data analysis may well have shown a steady decline in southern-based app votes since week 1, leading to this week’s big push on his northern roots and further dampening the southern voting incentive.

    I’m only scratching the surface with this but perhaps app voting provides the show with more power than we know and manipulative tactics are already in play that even the Sofabet community haven’t yet cracked!

    • Heisenberg

      “…so the significance of user data is significant” Ha.

    • uncalquera

      Playing Devil’s advocate, I don’t think producers have access to so much data having to do with purchasing habits and tastes… Google makes its living out of precisely that kind of data, and they wouldn’t share that with anyone, methinks.

      What they most probably do know is the geographical distribution of the votes, which after all isn’t that new as they could also have that kind of information with telephone numbers before.

    • EM

      Have been echoing your thoughts exactly.

      Apart from names and exact addresses every vote will have info attached to it like sex age area and it’s highly likely they will see which acts are getting 5 votes from one person (high passion) and which acts appear second choice (low passion) and perhaps even whether, for example, Andreas week one voters are still voting for him or if Stereo Kicks are picking up new fans.

      The almost quote The Wire “just got real”

      • Heisenberg

        Excellent comments re voting patterns EM, that hadn’t occurred to me. Vote transfer monitoring – they have all the power now.

      • Donald

        Exactly, they will have that app analytics turned inside out. Surprising it not working for SK and OLTY.. maybe the demo have 1D and 5SOS just like my nieces and that’s it. For what it worth my nieces like Ben, Fleur sometimes and Lauren.

        That app build is not in house build team at ITV or Syco either.

  • Natasha

    Not sure if anyone has posted this here already but this weeks theme has been changed to Queen v Michael Jackson. They have done this specifically to target their next victim but who?

    • Blake

      It’s not a great theme for Fleur, but I don’t see why they’d be targeting her, so other than it possibly being a good theme for Ben, Only The Young, and Stevi, it doesn’t say too much to me. I wonder why they only changed it last night though, perhaps just for the publicity.

      • Martin

        Fleur will most likely have to sing a Queen song which wouldn’t play to her strengths. Although the theme is pretty irrelevant these days, the producers seem to just do what they like regardless. Key songs I’d suggest are ‘The Show Must Go On’, ‘Man in the Mirror’ for the favoured acts, potentially ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ (I’m pegging OTY for the latter Glee’d up version). With Lauren and Fleur having already done MJ they’ll be doing Queen I’d think. I’d also keep an eye out for whoever gets ‘Dont Stop Me Now’ – it’s a messy song that’s difficult to get right and doesn’t have a great track record for decent performances on the show.

        • Caro

          Stevi sang ‘Don’t stop me now’ in his arena audition. Not sure whether that means it wouldn’t be picked again.

          • Martin

            There has been a lot of song-swapping this series. Lauren did ‘Man in the Mirror’ at boot camp didn’t she? I’m sure it will be wheeled out again this week, it’s one of MJ’s most popular songs.

        • Face

          interesting… as I imagine a theme like this gets to show TPTB faves… as they will get to play to their strengths…

          so I can see Lauren doing Man in the Mirror again… and Fleur doing another big MJ production number… Ben getting a Queen classic to rock out etc…

          while TPTB targets will be pushed out of their comfort zone… i.e. Paul getting a dancey MJ song etc…

        • Curtis

          Stacey Solomon did well off the back of “Who Wants To Live Forever” a few years ago, and it’s something that they might give to Lauren to help her out. Of course, Kitty did it too with less success but that was because:
          a) It wasn’t so good or so praised by the judges
          b) She was Kitty

          Andrea is someone who has also done MJ. If he’s given a song like “Radio Ga Ga” or “Don’t Stop Me Now” then we know the deramping will be continuing in a big way!

          • Maarten

            I think song choice will be key for their intentions – it’d be risky giving Fleur a big MJ production again after her lukewarm reception last weekend. It’s a difficult one for her this weekend – thinking of a Queen song that would benefit her is difficult too.

            I forgot ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ – it would actually be perfect for Lauren. I think it’s too early to be reprising a song personally, but not unheard of.

            I think OTY’s song choice will be telling. I can see them suiting ‘I Want You Back’ (although it did no favours to that boy/girl hip hop act whose name I forget, or Janet) or maybe even ‘Radio Ga Ga’ although I can’t see them being kept around too much longer. I’d imagine we’ll get SK doing ‘We Will Rock You’

          • Martin

            Oops had a typo error with the name there. Also my Lauren comment and the repeating a song comment are two seperate points made poorly in conjunction with each other haha.

      • Fudd

        I was trying to pick a song for Stereo Kicks using the Disco theme and it was nigh on impossible. Queen or Michael Jackson? Much easier. I can just see them doing either We Will Rock You or Radio GaGa.

        I wonder if the target will be handed Another One Bites the Dust?

        • Martin

          I forgot that one – dangerously, it would quite suit Paul’s voice. I think the song would do the damage itself, he wouldn’t even need harsh comments. As somebody else mentioed, a nice end-of-journey style package would see him off, I think.

  • Heisenberg

    Unrelated this, but it makes me feel much better:

    http://goo.gl/IHseO5

  • Jessica Hamby

    I thnk the acts who are most lilely to struggle with the theme are Lauren and Stereo Kicks. Obv OTY will want MJ, not Queen but Andrea can sing anything and JJ will play to his niche with either artist. In fact it will probably be good for him to go uptempo as long as he doesn’t try to be profound.

    • Donald

      Easy, get Lauren to sing ‘Ben’ and SK We Will Rock You ala FIVE and Queen. FIVE were a Simon signed act to pacify the guy who put the Spice Girls together originally! (the dark world of pop music 😉

  • Donald

    Great article Andrew, Dermot is the centre of take downs, notice his comment about Andrea and gold dust last night.

    So we have Queen next week after all.. this Adam Lambert type hunch was right… Could feel they were headed that way.

    On Factor last night afro wigs were mentioned, they’d never go down that road with Andrea? Bet he gets MJ song.

    Paul and Ben likely Queen songs, wonder will they pull the FIVE (Simon camp) stunt for SK with We Will Rock you. Praise Ben and SK and do a number on Paul if they really want him out.

    Song choice will give an indicator early at least.

    Did anyone notice On Xtra Factor the fact that SK all wear big white cardboards hung from their necks with their names on them for rehearsal so they can remember who they are for talkback to them on stage. They showed two clips of it last night.

    • Face

      LOL… that’s hilarious… re: SK having their names around their necks… so even the production team don’t know who they are as individuals!!!!!
      shame their isn’t 7 of them… it would be as simple as grumpy, sneezy etc…

      • Donald

        I thought it was hilarious also that the production team had to do that, wonder why they actually showed it !! big lettering on big cards hanging round their necks, mad stuff..

        Yes pity if was 7 I was going to call them Snow White’s Delights.

    • Babit

      I think every group has the name-tag in their chests in rehearsals. I have noticed it on the previous editions of the show, it’s not specific to SK. Even with 1D you could see it sometimes, so I wouldn’t look too much into it. I guess it’s just for organization, lights, whatever…

    • Lia

      They brought that from XF USA where they did that to all group members. Brian spent 3 years there so…

  • EM

    I think you’re all being a bit literal with the theme, this is X Factor, would you be surprised to see Fleur do a song by Beyoncé because she’s the Queen of pop or Jay James do a Tom Jones song because he once played in Vegas like Michael Jackson

  • Stu

    It’s definitely looking to be either Only The Young or Paul going home this week. Only The Young will definitely land in the bottom two and, if the producers play their cards right, Paul will be joining them.

    But how long until one of the Overs are thrown under the bus? It’s definitely out of Jay and Stevi to be thrown. I guess after last week’s “accceptance”, a more light-hearted performance followed by mild praise could see him finally exit the show. Surely his time is up as we head into the final half of the live shows.

    However a Stevi vs Paul sing off would be hilarious with Simon voting for “fun over boring”, Cheryl saving her “fun” wildcard and Louis echoing Simon’s points. I really don’t know whether Paul was actually one away from the bottom two last week or not. If he somehow dodges the bottom two, and it’s OTY vs Stevi, I don’t know who’d go. I’m leaning more towards Stevi since it’d be ridiculous Simon having half of the remaining 8 acts.

    • Stu

      I realise I’ve just contradicted myself re: OTY/Stevi going. I can actually see OTY being safe if they fall into the bottom two with either Stevi or Paul who are, in my opinion, the most likely to be joining them. Anyone else and they’d be gone.

    • Nugg

      My View would be Simon to lose one of his guys this week, losing only the young would not only leave Simon with half the acts in the competition , it would also lease the male to female balance on the show as 14:2 …..not the sort of balance TPTB would want I suspect

    • Boki

      But what if OTY is perceived as the reason SK is not doing good? In that case OTY could be gone to make some space for SK (apparently Jake/Jack gone didn’t help them).

      • David Cook

        Surely the reason SK aren’t doing well is because they’re crap. It’s got nothing to OTY. They got rid of Overload, who were only brought back to boost them anyway. They’ve got rid of Jake and Jack and they still can’t keep out of the bottom two. The only way SK would win this is if they had sing off’s as far as the winner (I wonder if Simon’s thought of that).

        • Boki

          I still think SK suffered last week (partially) due to strong OTY performance/bounce. If someone on TPTB gets the same idea OTY could be toast as the last try.

          • David Cook

            I can see your point, getting rid of OTY would probably give a small boost to SK, but in the larger scheme of things what would be the point. We haven’t seen the voting statistics, but I think it’s probably clear to TPTB that the game’s up for SK, because they’re just not good enough. Other than OTY I don’t see any other remaining act where a large share of their votes are likely to transfer to SK.

          • Boki

            I agree that there is no point of dragging SK further just don’t want to discount the possibility that TPTB think differently because they have seen the voting stats.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I have to say I think a lot of the thoughts about who votes will transfer to seem like, well, utter bollocks.

            You can’t possibly know. Why should a fan of OTY automatically have SK as their secind favourite.

            Because they like groups?

            That’s just stupid.

  • Dean

    Sorry to go OT here and talk about the win market again, but I thought it was mesmerisingly simple how TPTB managed to change the sweet nervous Lola shtick into now the sweet little Lauren needs our sympathy. They was actually going on about Lauren as if she had been a bundle of nerves until this week and spoke about Lola as if she had this new found confidence (after an awful performance)

    Just rewatched her week 1 and Lauren works the stage and camera rather brilliantly. Even this week her camera awareness is already like a born performer. She is no Lola and doesn’t need our sympathy. She is hardly a Fleur when it comes to dancing, but she isn’t terrible either.

    Find it brilliant how simple it was to transfer that to Lauren though, maybe looking for a transfer in votes from Lola to Lauren too? The Lola journey has become a Lauren journey somewhat, even if not on such a level we thought Lola could have gone on.

  • Natasha

    With regards to this weeks elimination, am I right in saying that who ever goes out this weekend misses out on the tour? If that is the case and if the bottom 2 is down to Paul and OTY, surely they would want OTY on tour rather than Paul to add a bit of variety?

    • Martin

      I don’t think there are any specific rules with regards to the tour, are there? If two more tour-friendly acts were to land bottom two this week I’m sure they could do something to get the eliminated act onto the tour. Quite why they’d believe people would buy tickets to see an act who was eliminated so early on but not vote for them is another matter, but it’s their tour at the end of the day, they can do what they want?!

      I am agreeing that at this point they need to balance out the ratings/talent scale. OTY, Fleur and Stevi could do with being kept around to brighten things up. I’d also agree that one of the overs needs the hook – Jay seems like the obvious choice but they’ll have to reign him in slowly if they want to take him down. His arrangements seem to be selling well on iTunes and with it being rememberance day this week there’s ample opportunity to push him.

      • They adjust the tour numbers when ever they fancy. I think they will definitely look to lose an over. And for me stevi now looks the most disposable. So I’ve taken the 9/2 for him to go this weekend.

      • EM

        Spot on, despite common belief there are no rules on the tour. However (correct me if I’m wrong) weren’t the Stereo Kicks one of the highest placed performances on iTunes? And yet 2nd bottom of the vote on Sunday which suggest little correlation between commercial viability and voting on X Factor.

        • Martin

          I only looked at iTunes early on Sunday morning, but I think Stereo Kicks were in the top 20 at that time, yes. I think a lot of trust has been put in iTunes sales this year, as well as Facebook likes. For other acts/weeks have they been more reliable?

          • Boki

            Highest positions on iTunes:

            SK
            Roar 83 12-Oct-14
            Boys of the Summer 87 19-Oct-14
            Let It Be / Hey Jude 14 26-Oct-14
            Everybody 53 2-Nov-14

            OTY
            Jailhouse Rock / Twist 67 12-Oct-14
            Come On Eileen 58 19-Oct-14
            Boom Clap 94 26-Oct-14
            Monster Mash 36 2-Nov-14

            JJ
            Changing 82 12-Oct-14
            I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) 7 19-Oct-14
            Mad World 40 2-Nov-14

            Lauren
            Happy / Teardrop 13 12-Oct-14
            What a Feeling 12 19-Oct-14
            Let It Go 25 26-Oct-14
            Dark Horse 79 2-Nov-14

            Fleur
            All About That Bass 40 12-Oct-14
            It’s a Shame 92 19-Oct-14

            Andrea
            Earth Song 30 12-Oct-14
            One Moment In Time 65 19-Oct-14
            Listen 44 26-Oct-14

            Ben
            Bridge Over Troubled Water 48 12-Oct-14
            Jealous Guy 17 19-Oct-14
            I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing 55 26-Oct-14
            Highway To Hell 65 2-Nov-14

            Paul
            Ghost 64 12-Oct-14
            If You Don’t Know Me By Now 53 19-Oct-14
            Try a Little Tenderness 73 26-Oct-14

            Lola
            Imagine 62 19-Oct-14

            Jack
            Only Girl In the World 45 12-Oct-14
            Straight Up 84 19-Oct-14

            Jake
            Mile High 27 29-Nov-12
            Walk Away 97 25-Feb-13

          • Boki

            The info is from
            http://www.itunescharts.net/uk/charts/songs/current/
            and if you do a search for each artist you get the peak positions. So it seems Lola had only one song in top100, Fleur two etc.

          • EM

            Great find cheer Boki

  • While Jack and Lola were clearly de-ramped this week, with the least and oddest production, unhelpful slots/comments etc, isn’t there also an argument that they were the weakest acts left in the competition? TPTB certainly helped move them along, but I wouldn’t see this as a defining example of how they manipulate votes.

    As for next week, it seems like Paul is the main target now and they’ve chosen a pretty easy theme for sabotaging any act as there are plenty of difficult Queen and Michael Jackson numbers.

    I also think they will continue to protect the Overs, as I can see there being a fuss made about the “God of X Factor” still having all his acts as we enter the later stages – a great ego boost for Cowell, and a way of reasserting him as the main ‘expert’ judge.

    • EM

      Agree with you on the overs Steve but for different reasons. There really hasn’t been much crowing about Simon still having all his acts has there? (or have I missed it?). He doesn’t seem to be playing the arrogant best mentor card which would no doubt inspire some tactical voting to take him down a peg or two.

      • Maybe it is something more subtle then, that rather than the overt “Simon is great” message, it is more that viewers will see he has all his acts, and so has more weight to his arguments as the one judge who knows what he is doing. He has certainly downplayed the nasty judge elements and been more of the judge who speaks his mind, which is slightly different.

  • Heisenberg

    This is the precedent keeping Simon Cowell awake at night:

    http://goo.gl/JwYfGZ

  • tpfkar

    Boki – thanks for the itunes figures. This is a goldmine of information a little like Toby’s twitter stats from a while back. Ignore the figures and look for the trends, and you see the following:

    -STEREO KICKS week 1 about the same as week 2. Likely they only just avoided B3 in the first week. That gives a new perspective on Cheryl’s “hysteria” comments.
    -LAUREN FLEUR and PAUL are going backwards fast
    -JJ and ANDREA have big variation. Suggests their fans are motivated more strongly by performance. i.e. they will be easier to de-ramp when wanted

    • Martin

      Was just going to post similar – thanks a lot Boki. It’s interesting to look at the eliminated acts iTunes figures. Overload did pretty well from the looks of things the week they went. Steph and Chloe nowhere to be seen in week two?

      Interesting that Fleur has disappeared in the last two weeks. It does seem as though the two things that are proving successful are 1) a strong vocal performance (Andrea, Ben?) 2) a new/different arrangement of a song (Lauren, JJ).

  • General Hogbuffer

    Here’s a completely unrelated thought that came to me last night: Queen are reportedly scheduled to guest in a few weeks, so I would say it’s a fair assumption that Queen Week was meant to be then. To pull it forward must have a good reason, and I can think of the following:
    1) they are desperate to get rid of someone, and both disco and big band may not have done the trick. Unlikely, since I think Disco could have killed virtually anyone off (maybe except for Stevi…)
    2) they are planing certain numbers ahead, so a massive production is lined up for a certain act, and they are worried that act may not survive long enough. Let’s see what the production will be for Stereo Kicks’ “we will rock you”…
    3) more generally, somebody will given the chance for a “moment”, and that wasn’t possible with Disco. Could have still worked with Bigband, though.

    I am actually very underwhelmed with the themes this year, are they just going through the motions here ? I get the restrictions about having songs licensed for performances, but surely they could cast their net a little bit wider ?

    • babit

      I think I have honestly seen more controversial stories about Jake Simms than Chloe e Stevi that were supposed to be the headline grabbers.
      I don’t think it will do any good to the band’s image that is already kinda bad (2 sing offs, little-to-none individual personality, a band member that has his member on the internet, tweets about drugs and takes girls to motels etc etc). And slagging Betsy was definitely a stupid move, makes him sound butthurt because he got rejected, but who knows, may also make Betsy look arrogant and it’s not good if OTY are trying to please a younger audience that consists of mostly girls.

      • Martin

        That is a horrendous article, no two ways about it. Not surprised about Jake, he seems like a one-man destruction machine for SK at this point. I wonder if a “golden rule” could be broken by him?!

        Although if nothing else, he’s getting headlines for the show and as Simon said to Chloe – the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity.

      • George

        I don’t think Betsy comes out of it looking particularly arrogant, up until now nothing has been said about it so it’s not like viewers already have that opinion planted in their heads or anything. It just seems very random for them to suddenly lash out at her.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Every female past puberty knows what tbis means. Jake is that guy who turns nasty if you don’t sleep with him. The whole article seems a bit sleazy and gloating and getting a girl to pay for the hotel isn’t going to win any fans but the remarks about Betsy will quietly put a lot of people off. You don’t have to be anywhere near as pretty as Bets to have had to deal with that kind of thing.

          One thing about Harry Styles, he may be a serial shagger but you never hear or read him saying anything detrimental about a woman. This lot are idiots.

        • Jessica Hamby

          What gender do they expect the majority of their fans to come from ffs. Tprb have lost the plot on this lot. They’re lucky it’s Tuesday and not Saturday morning in The Sun. I’ll be looling for b2 signs on Saturday. They may think at least it’s publicity but I think a lot of the quiet, lonely girls who invest hoyrs in dreams about boys will read this and run a mile. It’s like these guys don’t like women.

          Massive Ooops!

  • babit

    Doesn’t the sympathy bounce have a history of not working very well for the second time? The producers will have A LOT of work to make it happen to SK, and even so they’ll probably end up in the b2 the week after that.

    • Curtis

      It doesn’t work as well the second time as the first, but it’s still usually enough to bounce an act clear from trouble. I imagine SK will be safe next week, but then again, I thought they’d done enough to be safe this week so what do I know.

  • Caro

    Here we go…start of a Stevi backlash?
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/tv/x-factor/408603/X-Factor-Stevi-Ritchie-professional-singer-actor-23-years-experience
    Plus there’s all sorts of other stuff in the Star today: Chloe is ‘in love with Stevi’ (good lord!) and Cheryl doesn’t like the free voting app because ‘fans are using these as a knee-jerk reaction if they think an act is in trouble rather than using them to vote for someone they want to win.’ Errr, yes.

  • Cath

    The Italian deramp of Italian Andrea continues; looks like his Italian VT this week will show him back in Italy, Rome. (If I knew how to link to tweets, I’d share the pic and tweet, but it starts ‘This week it’s all about ROME.’)

  • Alison cassells

    The stevi story was all over digital spy on week 1 of lives. Funny it’s taken this long to hit the press. Not a coincidence I think. Deramp coming ..

  • I do not get the Jack sabotage. Clearly he was the most marketable of the lot. He made interesting choices with what he was given. He sang in tune, something 80% of the other acts have yet to do. Sad, really as he was about the only one that was at least interesting, not some big note power balladeer that we have seen 10000 times before. IF Oty made the guys the lead singers, I think they could go far. The girls are always out of tune, but when the guys take over the lead, it sounds much much better.

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