X Factor 2014 Week 5 Post Mortem: Akis Off

Eliminatus! And with a wave of the magic wand, producers despatched Paul Akister. That’s the third week in a row they’ve targeted one of Mel’s boys – Jake two weeks ago, Jack last week – and cleanly hit their target.

It’s easy to sympathise with Paul, who would have gone a fair bit further if this were a singing competition. But at least he had three weeks of kind treatment before producers turned their fire on him, which is three weeks more than Jake got. As we keep saying, anyone going into the show should realise by now what a Faustian bargain it is – you gain national television exposure, for the price of giving up control over how you’re portrayed and thus – to a large extent – how well you poll.  You might be lucky and get to complete a heartwarming journey of personal growth. Or you might be called a dementor.

For the second week in a row it was a singoff I felt comfortable getting involved in, especially being able to get some reasonable prices on Paul on Betfair – he opened as high as 1.45.

Next week it’s Big Band week, and we know what that means – ‘That’s Life’. This number has now been sung on three big band weeks, and on each occasion the act lumbered with it (Scott Bruton, Miss Frank and last year Abi Alton) has departed. It’s a song about phlegmatically accepting cruel fate, which concludes with the line “I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die, my, my”.

Who will be given it? And who will be filmed having their makeup done next to Ben Haenow? As ever, do let us know below.

119 comments to X Factor 2014 Week 5 Post Mortem: Akis Off

  • Curtis

    Well next week is initially hard to call. Might it be Stevi’s time? Honestly, they’d probably like to get Jay, but he is going to bounce. It’ll be the groups who are in jeopardy. Maybe it’s time for the producers to give up on lost causes SK and focus their attention on OTY. Or they’ll try and flog a dead horse in SK and both groups could end up B2.

  • Ben M

    Jay, Only The Young and Stevie will be killed off within the next three weeks in any order, really) to keep the Stereo Kicks movement going.

    There isn’t necessarily a voting overlap in the demo for Stereo Kicks versus these three acts, but a case can be made that the producers have a better chance of navigating these three acts into a sing off than making Stereo Kicks actually happen. I expect these three acts to all be de-ramped while Stereo Kicks continue to get late slots.

    I expect next week:
    1. Jay will open the show/will be in the death slot. Memory-holed. An over eventually has to go, he’s the lowest priority.
    2. Stevie will be on early, it’ll take 2 weeks to deramp him, may as well start early.
    3. Stereo Kicks will be given the pimp slot, following what’ll probably be a poor performance/performance that gets bad feedback.
    4. Stereo Kicks will get amazing feedback to continue this ‘look, they’re improving’ narrative

    This all feels too formulaic. I hope I’m wrong and Stereo Kicks & Only The Young both come down from those sympathy bounces.

  • EM

    I got Paul at 1.5+ during the judges deliberation, happy days.

    OTY should be in the crosshairs next week if the last to be announced safe rule holds another week

  • Well done to those who called the Bottom Two combo. To be honest, that sing off market was free money. As I’ve said in the show review, one of Our Boys being sent home on Remembrance Sunday was NEVER gonna happen. Consequently, I did throw a lot of money on the singoff, meaning a twitchy arse for a few minutes, but the producers came good once again.

    Seriously predictable year but that makes it good for betting.

    As always, congratulations to all who had a profitable weekend.

    Looking forward to next week as we get a live orchestra which I think lifts everything up a gear.

    Lots of disgusted people on Social Media at the result nonetheless, which sets Jay up quite nicely for the makeup chair.

    The other question is How Do You Solve A Problem Like Lauren? That was the second weak performance on the trot from Alpha Girl. I’m seriously beginning to doubt whether she can win this, even though that’s blatantly what the producers want. I can see a pimp slot next week and a huge producer push.

  • Martin

    I’d imagine a group-off next week, maybe Stevi in there. Though I thought that this week, but with Jay coming off a bounce the following week it makes more sense to call time on Stevi next weekend. And it’s about the only way that they could save SK without it getting even sillier.

    Could we also see Fleur doing a reprise of ‘Bang Bang’ this week? It’s very brassy, and I’d like to think we will see a little bit of imagination with the song choices. Nobody needs to see another version of ‘Mack the Knife’.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Great article.

    Personally I think it’s Stevi’s time. Last night Simon said “that’s the performance you’ll be remembered for”. That suggested to me he knows there aren’t any more big productions coming up.

    SK will be coming down off a bounce and tptb don’t want to lose them or OTY yet. Surely Stevi is more dispensible than either of them.

    Jay seems pretty disposable too but a bounce should see him safe next week. If OTY did poll b3 then they could be in danger too, obviously.

  • Fudd

    Only the Young were revealed as the last saved act – in the previous few weeks the last reveal has been the next target. Will they repeat this in Big Band Week?

  • Curtis

    I’ve just got a feeling that the producers are going to switch allegiances on the groups and swap to OTY. Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve said this, and up until now I’ve been horrendously wrong about it, but I just feel like OTY have so much more potential than SK and do have a market if given the right material, and the producers are maybe wising up to that. The judges certainly gave OTY positive comments that could easily have harmed SK’s bounce.

    If SK get given “That’s Life” this week we know I’m right. If OTY get it we know I’m wrong!

  • Stu

    Stevi’s odds in the elimination market look tempting. An Over is due to leave next weekend and I’m sure Ben and Fleur will continue to be pimped while Jay will surely bounce. They’ve got Stevi on the tour so job completed? Also there’s already a slight backlash online about Paul’s unfair treatment so will the producers want to rectify it by dumping the joke act? He’s been given favourable performance slots constantly so he can’t be doing that well in the vote.

    I’m expecting Stevi gone next weekend (against SK) with Jay the week 7 eliminee. I think the producers are going to try to get Stereo Kicks in the sing-off with Stevi since Stevi is the one act it won’t look silly sending home against them despite their third sing-off. Then they’ll bounce in week 7 bringing them to week 8.

  • EM

    If I were running the ship I wouldn’t be getting rid of Stevi yet. Strictly is getting mass attention with Judy Murray holding on while more able dancers go. Another “proper” act leaving while Stevi stays would go generating the same kind of controversy and column inches.

    Purely from a line up point of view if there’s no Stevi it’s a very one dimensional show

    • Martin

      No nor me. To keep things entertaining I think they need him, as well as OTY and Fleur. Coz yknow, they move a bit. Outside of those, the only other ‘disposable’ act is Jay who will be due a bounce. Could they work against it that much to get him out this week?

      Otherwise, Stereo Kicks are the only other option. Would they call time on them now? I guess it depends on how they’ve been polling. If it is consistently bad, is there any point dragging them any further?

  • Jessica Hamby

    I wonder if they still think they can get SK into the final.

    Jay, Stevi and OTY are the “deadwood” now. Are SK also in that category for tptb? If not, who from Lauren, Ben, Fleur and Andrea would the most want to get ris of?

  • Jessica Hamby

    I wonder what happened with Paul. Was it just a matter of performance? I find that hard to believe. He is so obviously better than Jay it was almost embarassing to hear them on the same stage.

    • Face

      if I recall rightly… Sam C from last year was ‘promised’ a tour slot… maybe Jay was given similar commitment… therefore Paul had to go… I also felt he added nothing to the show… good singer… but dull, dull, dull… and other similar acts to appease most of his voters (Andrea, Ben, Jay all swam in a similar lane)…
      Cowell has never been a fan or the dull singers… he used to make that comment all the time on AI…

  • Nugg

    My biggest bet for 3 years on XF tonight, found it hard to watch , was bricking it but it paid off…
    Surely Stevie has served his purpose now and if he is in bottom 2 next week my view is he will be out

  • Jon

    Well my b2 bet went down but my match bet was the big one. Not sure why I didn’t bet the house on Ben v Paul! 4/11 was crazy. I think next week may prove trickier, but we shall see.

  • Dean

    Was a really good singoff, feel sorry for Paul because this is what he can do if they decided to give him better songs that suit him. Him crying at the end was quite heartbreaking really, felt sorry for the lad.

    I think OTY is there next target if them being called last is anything to go by. They will probably try and sneak Stevi through another week.

  • Vülker

    I’m rewatching OTY’s and SK’s VTs, Performances and Comments:

    VT:
    OTY – upbeat, great vibes from last week, Louis makes a comedic appearance, they’re singing in the house ‘all the time’, catchphrase: “Only The Fun”.
    SK – In the midst of the family time football match Louis says “if you don’t give a good performance: RED CARD!”, Simon gives the news about the tour, general feeling “We’re one performance away from the top.”, “We want to be on this tour.”, “There’s so much at stake, we just want to sing our hearts out and get on this tour.”

    Performance:
    OTY – Bright, colourful, upbeat, playful, young and fresh.

    SK – Stage invader. No one pays attention to the (very static) performance.

    Comments:
    OTY – Mel B says “that was a fun, lively, happy performance”, “I’m a little bit in love with you”, “you’re whole vibe as a group is just spot on” Cheryl says “the chemistry between you is so GENUINE”, “you’re finding you’re niche”, “kids want to see them in concert”, “so much fun”. Simon says after busting a move “you are back in the competition”, “there is a gap in the market for a group like you”, “you are the ones making the decisions now”, inserts joke about how old Louis is everybody laughs, “it’s fun…”, “this show wouldn’t be the same without you”, “we need people at home to vote for you”, “something’s happening in the air about you guys, I think you’re popping”

    SK – Mel B says (twice!) “This is exactly want I wanted you to do from day one: you did it!”. Cheryl goes they’re great for not reacting to the invader. Simon says they bounced back from last week, “I hope the public keep you in.” Louis says “I don’t want to lose them, I want them to make the tour so I need votes…”

    On comparison, OTY are rising from the midst of their ashes while SK have just completed their journey and have (now) achieved their goal of making the tour. Add Simon saying he would steal OTY to his own category and I say it’s pretty clear who TPTB are backing.

    • Chatterbox5200

      Great re-cap. I did note that the focus towards Stereo Kicks (and from them themselves) was all about getting them on the tour, rather than thinking they can win, or even get to the final. Now that the goal has been achieved, will the TPTB switch, and put their weight behind OTY?

      • MW

        It was always going to have been crazy for them not to have had both SK and OTY on the tour, so mission accomplished on that front. (I can only imagine that Jay James is there so everyone can get a toilet break…).

        But now that’s achieved, from the point of view of having an entertaining television show, they would surely be crazy not to push for OTY to stay around for a while yet. They’re one of the only acts who actually seem to be able to convincingly pull off the bigger, more vibrant performances that are essential to keep the show from getting boring.

        I don’t see that SK offer much in the show in comparison – their performances are generally fairly tepid (regardless of what you think of their vocals and general appeal as a group). And I suspect there’s at least a fair number of voters are shared between the two of them, so keeping both around probably isn’t going to be a goer.

        Having said that, a lot depends on how desperate they are to make SK happen, even in the face of general indifference – if it’s a case of SK at all costs, then OTY will have to be ditched asap

  • It wasn’t a sing off I felt comfortable getting involved in. I hoped Paul was bottom but Jay seemed just as targeted as Paul last night, to me anyway. Also, thought there was a chance Jay could’ve been bottom of the vote and the judges seemed to prefer Paul to Jay, going from previous comments.

  • Would now make sense to nuke Little Prix. SyCo can then rework the lineup how they want without pissing the viewers off.

    The other thing in my mind is that we may see a “Steal an act” twist. There’s been lots of “If we could” chat about it. It would be great talkability amd a great way to move Stevi over to Louis, give OTY a Simon reboot etc.

    • I did think this was a realistic opportunity when all judsges had at least two acts left, but only problem with a switch now is that Cheryl loses Lauren and Mel Andrea! …. unless they only switch Simon/Louis acts – which would appear a little farcical??

  • Jessica Hamby

    Well congratulations to all who won tonight.

    It was a classic takedown of a good singer and in some ways it seemed quite cruel but they signposted it for us nice and clearly so while I feel a bit sorry for Paul I can’t get upset or outraged about it.

    I think I’ll wait and see what the week, and the Saturday show, bring before I commit myself to anyone for the next elim.

    G’night y’all.

    • Jon

      That Xtra Factor interview was excruciating. Feel sorry for the guy but I guess that’s the game.

      • Jessica Hamby

        It’s what happens when you sell your soul to the devil.

        Did you see the state of 1D? Now there were five louche, jaundiced gentlemen. One Dimension indeed.

        • MW

          I was genuinely shocked by 1D – they looked absolutely awful!

          Much as I felt sorry for Paul, he never really offered much that suggested that he would get more than a early mid-season finish, so while there was certainly a bit of helping him on his way, he was never going to make it much further in any case.

          • Jessica Hamby

            1D had a lot of make up on but it didn’t help. If anything it made them look worse. They certainly didn’t look like they were enjoying themselves up there.

            Perhaps that’s why they want Little Prix to happen – the 1D journey’s coming to an end. One more album and tour, another 10 mil each and they never have to worry about money (or talk to each other) again.

  • I’m guessing that it will be OTY and Stevi in the bottom 2 next week

  • Scott

    Good work everyone, a tidy little win there from Paul’s departure takes me into profit for the series. The minute I saw it I knew he was in desperate trouble – every little trick that could be pulled was pulled, and combined with last week’s takedown it was unsurvivable. It was the least middle England friendly performance I’ve seen since Rough Copy’s red and black spectacular from the last series.

    I do feel sorry for the guy. It’s a recurring theme – if you’re on this show you’re at the whim of the producers. I do feel a bit less guilty watching the live shows than the rehearsals though as there’s always a way of getting a career from that level of exposure.

    Only the fact it was Jay in the sing-off prevented me from piling in. Had it been anyone else at all it would have been obvious, but there was a level of doubt as his treatment wasn’t the best either. My speculative couple of quid on him to win are up the spout I reckon, the show will now throw a lot behind Ben.

    Gameplan for next week is to find out who’s doing That’s Life and get some early money on that. I’m still confused as to who is voting for Only The Young and have to believe they’re not far away from the relegation zone. A lot I suspect depends on the producers intentions with Stereo Kicks, and whether Stevi’s time is nearly up. (that’ll be an easy one to predict – the full Wagner ballad and stripped back treatment with mild praise and he’s out).

  • Henry VIII

    What are motivations for favouritism for remaining acts? An act getting favoured in the past is no reason, on its own, for continued favouritism. I can only think of reasons for two acts.

    SK – for post show money and post show ambassadorship ie they are the most commercial – need for them to do as well as possible

    Andrea – to be able to entice future foreign talent to come to the UK XF and maybe other international exchanges across the worldwide XF shows. They’ve started this with Britain’s Got Talent. – need for him to win

    Theories for other acts seem redundant.

    Fleur and Lauren – to balance show and tour when the show was very male heavy – achieved

    OTY – to push ahead of Paul to get them on tour for the young tour customers – achieved

    Jay has had amazing favouritism in the past. Even his 2nd slot may have been to bury Paul with his remembrance VT or maybe bounce him along from B2. I don’t know why or what’s next for him. Does Cowell really want to give him a deal?

    • MW

      Not sure I agree with your analysis, Henry:

      *SK* – In a world already flooded by boybands, and given their distinct failure to take off so far, I don’t think they have all that much long term commercial appeal. There’s no indication they have any crossover reach outside their main target market (unlike, say, 1D). Getting them on the tour seems to have been the main aim, so mission accomplished there, but not convinced there is much reason to push them more.

      *Andrea* – Likely to win regardless of what is done. X Factor has always attracted foreign talent (eg. Ruth Lorenzo), so there’s not much need to push that aspect. Ultimately they don’t want overly undermined finalists, so they may as well get behind him.

      *Lauren* – Clear commercial potential with a key market (tween and teen girls) but with crossover appeal, and the ability to develop long term. Vocally strong to balance some of the more performance-based acts. And it’s important to keep a young solo act around.

      *Fleur* – Clearly talented, and with a bit of commercial potential. She’s the sort of possible finalist who they want to keep around to deliver more upbeat performances. Also to stop the show looking completely lacking in diversity.

      *OTY* – Simon’s made clear in the last two weeks that he sees real commercial potential in this bunch (I can imagine the dolls already…). They also seem to have the crossover appeal with pop music fans more generally that SK distinctly lacks (if you look around, the level of support for them in some places is surprisingly high). Apart from that, they deliver the sort of upbeat and competent performances that are essential to stop the show becoming boring.

      *Jay* – Agree with you on this one. His continued support is mystifying. I can’t imagine that Simon seriously wants to give him a deal, especially given they’ve already got better Mother’s Day artists in the competition.

      *Stevi* – His time is probably drawing to a close in the next couple of weeks.

      • Henry VIII

        MW you’ve unintentionally made my point about Andrea. Ruth Lorenzo did poorly so acted as a disincentive to foreign talent. If Andrea wins he acts as an incentive.

        When I say talent I mean quality, Andrea being the only one this year to fulfill that this year.

        In the days of Ruth XF had strong viewer numbers and local talent applying. XF wouldn’t have cared about her nationality.

        Now XF has declining viewers and local talent ignoring them. To be able to attract foreign talent to bolster a struggling show is an important point that hasn’t been discussed here.

  • EM

    Stereo Kicks

    Reasons the producers won’t want them around anymore:
    The public haven’t taken to them
    They’re not that good
    Eight members equals eight times bad press
    They appear to be toxic in terms of sex and drugs stories (just sleazy not “glamorous”)

    Reasons the producers would want them around
    They’re the only act getting real press coverage for the show
    They love a good boyband

    I also think saying they’ll get behind OTY and ditch SKs is too simplistic, it’s not a binary choice. If they feel Ben, Fleur and Lauren offer the best commercial chances and a credible winner (not unreasonable) they’ll pile in on them.

    My reading of the weekend is

    Disposable: Jay, OTY, Stevi

    Push as far as possible: Ben, Stereo Kicks, Fleur, Lauren

    We don’t like him but he’s proving popular so let’s not be unkind (Mary Byrne memorial position): Andrea

  • Another week done, another profit made my most of the betting community…

    4 weeks out of 5 now that the act to precede Jay James has landed in the Bottom Two (only week it didn’t happen was when he went last)

    Resigned myself to the fact he won’t be winning now, but surely he stay a few more weeks. I personally hope he does so that I can use the word emoting more often (thanks Jessica Hamby for adding that word to my vocab)

  • yup – another decent profit – its been too easy so far! Unfortunately had to halve my profit on Paul though due to some relatively late hedging on JJ as show time approached… I stayed out of the sing off because I genuinely felt TPTB could not care which one went and Paul was too short at 1.45 or less.

    Next week will be v.interesting.

    They still have not had the Stevi “shock” save yet – ideally they would probably want that against Jay – so they will need to neutralise his bounce.

    I feel Stevi *must* be bottom 2 this week – who would they save over him? Big four only? I reckon there will be money to be made on the sing off as bookies will surely make Stevi favourite to go?

    Still uncertain who they want out of SK and OTY. Simon praised OTY but they also pulled the invasion stunt to boost SK votes? Was that just to get SK on tour? If so then why announce OTY third last and – in effect – weaken them?

    Big week next week for Lauren – she needs to pull out all the stops to show she is a potential winner, or the bus could be coming along as she also could be a shock exist (not this week against Stevi though.

    Exits coming along …….

    Week Six: Group (vs Stevi)
    Week Seven: Jay (vs Group)
    Week Eight: Stevi (vs Lauren)
    Week Nine: Remaining Group or Lauren (or both if double)

    Final: Andrea, Fleur, Ben

  • fused

    We all know how manipulated this show is, but the Sunday results show was very uncomfortable to watch.

    As for why they wanted to get rid of Paul, he is a good singer, but as an act, he’s a bit dull and dated. A “lovely young man” who has a good voice and sings mainly old songs is usually popular in the X Factor public vote, but chances of them becoming a successful current pop star are pretty much nil. Also, I think they’ve been trying to get rid of most of the Boys category, and they’ve succeeded. I don’t know what the ‘plan’ was for the Boys category this year, but I think it was badly cast. They were all too bland and indistinguishable apart from Andrea.

    In fact, I think that was a bit of a problem with the final 16. It’s got better now, but at the start of this series a lot of the contestants blurred into one. We had Jack, Jake, Jay James, and the two main Girls were a dark haired girl named Lauren and a dark haired girl named Lola. The Final 8 doesn’t look too bad in terms of variety (though quality is a different matter), so in that respect I suppose TPTB have got what they wanted.

    I think we might see the two groups in the bottom 2 next week. Jay will probably bounce, and the groups have been in the bottom 2 already. I suppose it depends on how determined they are to drag Stereo Kicks through. I’d like to think they will keep OTY, but while the judges comments about them were very positive this week, a lot of it was along the lines of “We want them to make the tour”. But I personally think they should stay as long as they can, because they are usually one of the most entertaining.

    I think Jay and Stevi are probably considered expendable to be honest. Simon has to lose an act soon, if nothing else than because HALF of the Final 8 are in his category. Jay has already been in the bottom 2, so is damaged by that, and they can’t have been that bothered about keeping him if they had him perform second in the live show. As for Stevi, is he all that necessary any more? He’s not even really took off as a joke act, I think people mainly just shrug and accept the fact he’s there and why. I certainly think TPTB would want Ben and Fleur to progress further in the competition than Jay and Stevi.

  • General Hogbuffer

    Not sure what to think of it, now that the easily discernible targets have left…
    It’s pathetic how they are still trying to make SK happen; the comments after that mediocre wailing were laughable if this wasn’t the X Factor. I totally would not rule out the invader being set up to generate some interest. For one, the judges comments were far too slick on that front, and also we had a very conveniently wide camera angle when he was tackled, could easily have been lost otherwise…

    As for Stevi, I think if they can get him B2 without being last in the votes that would probably be the preferred outcome, as that would enable them to use deadlock and claim that it was the public who saved him, not the judges.

  • Dean

    From last night I had to laugh when Simon Cowell said ‘I am really surprised you two are in the bottom’… err yeah right

    This week I also believe Stevi will land in the B2 at last, and most possibly against 1 of the groups. If so would be a great follow on from a controversial night last night to go really overboard and ditch 1 of the groups for Stevi. For that to happen they will need to do their utmost to ensure a group is last in the votes and bring it to deadlock.

    • fused

      See that’s the thing, I don’t think many people would care! Stereo Kicks aren’t popular and are seen as being favoured anyway, who’s going to give a damn if they go against Stevi? Much as I like OTY, they’re clearly not massively popular either. I’ve not seen much outrage or much joy about Stevi’s continued presence, nothing like Jedward, Wagner or Rylan, (even though I didn’t watch series 9 I heard people talking about him). I wouldn’t be surprised if Stevi lands in the bottom 2, that they just let him go. If they did save him, rather than being controversial, I think there’d mainly be a lot of groaning about how desperate, predictable and past-it the show is. But maybe I’m overestimating the show and the public.

      • Dean

        I don’t know, I think Stevi actually is a likeable guy and a bit like Rylan towards the end there are viewers who have taken to him, but I do feel there would be a certain amount of controversy with Stevi surviving a singoff.

    • Jessica Hamby

      They dressed Paul in black and made him sing with the lights off, then told him he wasn’t enough fun.

      That’s more like Monty Python than x factor but somehow they get away with it every time.

  • Dean

    In terms of the win market, I am a bit worried for my Lauren bet now. I believe she will be in and around the final, but celebrity appeal isn’t going to her (Sam Smith said Andrea and 1D who in the papers said Lauren, last night said Ben) and even Simon Cowell when rounding up the previous night on Xtra Factor said Ben, Fleur and Andrea sang brilliantly (basically all Lauren’s rivals). I didn’t watch all of Xtra Factor though so not sure what else was said on that, but for Lauren to have any chance she needs a real breakout performance this week.

    Only good thing is the kind staging, good song choices and very good judges comments they continue to give her showing that they want her in the final. My only upside to all of this is they felt confident enough to put her in slot 3 to pretty much memory hole Paul and Jay.

  • David Cook

    We didn’t see either show live this week. I’d placed my bets on Paul to go (with a bit of cover on SK and OTY) early in the week and left well alone after that. Even having seen the show I just couldn’t see JJ going this week. It worked out like that, but JJ was clearly a lot nearer the trap door than I thought.
    This week, as everyone has said, seems much more difficult to pick. The watershed of who makes the tour has been reached, but they still need a balance of acts to keep the show entertaining (or as entertaining as this tired format can be). To me the deadest of the deadwood remaining now looks like JJ. If it wasn’t for the B2 bounce I would say he was gone this week. As it is OTY, SK and Stevi are obviously all in the mix with him– I think TPTB would like Stevi v JJ this week if they can engineer it. This week I think it will be song choice and performance that determines who goes. On Sunday JJ looked like a man beaten – ‘That’s Life’ next week perhaps.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Assuming his voice is ok JJ should be alright this weekend imo. The bounce and the fact that he’ll look great in a tux should carry him through.

      The week after is a different matter. He’ll need another 500 miles or something like that to delight his demo. Will he be allowed it?

  • Stu

    This is the finishing order I predicted on DS:

    Week 6 sing-off: Stevi vs Only The Young (SK will get pimp slot)
    8th: Only The Young

    Week 7 sing off: Stereo Kicks vs Jay
    7th: Jay

    Week 8 sing-off: Stevi vs Fleur
    6th: Stevi

    5th: Stereo Kicks
    4th: Fleur
    3rd: Andrea
    2nd: Lauren
    WINNER: BEN

    • Jessica Hamby

      Can’t see Lauren beating Andrea.

      I think Ben and Andrea will battle it out for top spot. Ben has a bit of a following for his stage presence and charming personality but Andrea is clearly the stronger singer and also charming.

      I wonder how they will compare when they have to sing one after the other (as JJ had to against Paul on Sunday and was so obviously wanting). The differences in quality are less obvious when each performance is separated by a VT, and advert break and panel comments. When they are adjacent it’s much easier to make a comparison.

      Perfomance v Voice. Who’s going to win?

      Who’s got the X-Factor?

      • David Cook

        I think that the theme should really help Andrea this week, with another big vocal performance. Technically he’s clearly the best, and I think whatever he sings he’ll get the timing right – so often on BB week that’s the part acts fail to grasp (remember Luke murdering Moondance last year). It’ll be difficult to peg him back this week even if they wanted to.
        To keep Ben in it I think they need to go with a different kind of performance compared to Andrea. I’m not sure how it would go down with the voting public but I do think Ben could nail something like ‘Me and Mrs Jones’ – stripped back gravelly vocal – JJ’s tux – that sort of thing.
        I agree JJ should be OK this week – unless TPTB really target him hard but we won’t know that until we see the show (unless of course we do see ‘That’s Life’ on Friday).

        • Jessica Hamby

          If I was Ben I’d be temted to go with something more uptempo, where he could move around like a Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra. That’s something Andrea can’t really do, not with grace or style anyway. That’s Ben’s distinguishing characteristic – that’s his x-factor.

          Mind you, it’s one thing to move like Freddie, it’s another to move lilke Frank and give a good performance of his songs too.

          I wonder. Can Ben the van driver find his inner lounge lizard?

  • Curtis

    I think it would take a hell of a lot for SK to avoid the bottom 2 next week. They are simply not popular, and coming down from a bounce. All the focus on them was “We need to get through to next week to make the tour”. Well, job done, but if the producers know what’s good for them, this is the end of the road.

    • Stu

      There’s a part of me that thinks Stereo Kicks – not OTY – narrowly escaped the bottom two, hence the reason why the voting lines closed earlier than usual. Saving Stereo Kicks over Paul would caused a huge storm of controversy (and not the good kind). It spared the Kicks embarrassment of falling into the bottom two for the second consecutive week despite over-the-top praise of their performance. Is this just wishful thinking? Probably.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I thinnk it would be a mistake to write off tptb’s support for Stereo Kicks quite yet. They were called first on Sunday. That position could have gone to Lauren or Ben or Fleur. Even though it’s “no particular order” it still has a sort of subconcious implication that they’re the most popular.

        I know Simon said he would take Only The Young but what they say one week is happily contradicted by what they say the next.

        Having said all that I don’t think they’re popular and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them go b2 but it also wouldn’t surprise me to see them saved against OTY. I honestly wouldn’t like to say how that one would go. Anyone for deadlock? In which case I’d be keeping my money in my pocket.

        • lolhart

          Another way of looking an act being called last is it implies they were close to the bottom and so if you like them you need to vote for them next week, or they will actually be in the bottom. An act being called first meanwhile could be construed as they are safe and so you don’t need to worry. I know when I was more naïve about the mechanics of the show, I fell into this way of thinking for the acts that I liked. I guess it has a different effect depending on the person and Jessica’s perspective can be equally true.

          TPTB treatment of OTY and Stereo Kicks is the least transparent at the moment. It’s obvious that neither is very popular and so it comes down to which one Syco is more likely to sign. I could see either getting a development deal with Stereo Kicks being trimmed down and getting rid of the bad apples like the one who raps. On the other hand, Syco doesn’t have a mixed group on its books and Simon did try and make Same Difference happen.

        • Stu

          Isn’t the previous week’s sing-off survivor usually called safe first the week after?

          And regarding Simon wanting to steal OTY I think he said that to (a) drum up more support for OTY and (b) not seem to favour Stereo Kicks so blatantly before their cynical stage-invaded performance.

  • George

    Stereo Kicks are just not popular. To me the idea that they have any chance of being commercially successful post-show is ludicrous (unless you consider Union J commercially successful) and it’ll be baffling to me if they keep backing them now they’ve got them on the tour. Only The Young would be a bigger money spinner for them long term and the fact they survived despite coming down from a bounce shows that they are steadily increasing their fanbase.

  • tpfjar

    Fair play to the Producers, they have a fearsome strike rate this series. Woe betide any contestant who steps out of line – they can get rid of you in a flash.

    There’s now an obvious final 4: Ben, Fleur, Lauren, Andrea. Unless we really are in for a series without surprises, one of them will have to miss out. My reading is that Ben and Andrea are topping the vote (but where are those Daily Star spoilers?) and that Fleur is ahead of Lauren. Value on a Lauren B2 before long – and even if it put Cheryl out, it would give them the shock exit they’ve lacked.

    Stereo Kicks seem likely to be bottom 2 this weekend; a squatter on stage is more interesting than anything they’ve done themselves. I know a few commenters think they’d drag Stevi down to save SK but I see Stevi as having a couple of weeks more in him. That leaves OTY as the obvious partner in the bottom 2 (and Lauren as the less obvious partner.) So time for the producers to put their cards on the table over which group to run with: I couldn’t call that now they’ve both made the tour.

    • Stu

      I really can’t see Cheryl being out before the final. It’d make her mentoring skills look ridiculous. It’s fine if Louis loses all his acts before the final because he’s a joke judge, Dannii lost all her acts before the final in 2008 during her most unpopular year, Tulisa lost all her acts during her most unpopular year. I’m sure when Cheryl agreed to return, she said she wanted the Girls category and an act in the final. Therefore a final placing for Lauren is near enough certain in my book – even if they have to drag her there.

      The question is – will it be a 4 horse race in the final or will there be another double elimination? Hopefully it’s a 4-act final.

      • lolhart

        I don’t really think Simon or TPTB are too worried about Cheryl’s feelings, especially as her return hasn’t led to the ratings boost they wanted. To be honest, I don’t think a lot of people thought the girls category would pan out the way it did. Steph was always fodder, but I think TPTB were hoping to get more mileage out of Chloe and Lola? Do Syco really want to sign Lauren? She doesn’t really have the looks or voice to be a UK Ariana Grande or the feisty personality to be a Demi Lovato.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One interesting thing….

    None of us have been talking about Fleur (I know EM, you’ve given up trying!) but I’ve had “Hold me like the river Jordan” running around my head for two days now. Is that because of a great song or a great performance?

    Personally I would place her third behind Ben and Andrea (and I fear Andrea may end up second but hey-ho! I won’t be out of pocket and it’s going to be an exciting ride).

    • Stu

      On a personal level, I’m backing Fleur. She’s the nearest to having the “X Factor” in my book. The problem is that while she’s vocally solid, she isn’t a powerhouse. Also, going back to the race topic again – I’m sure there’s many people who compare many mixed-race/black female soloists just because of their race. Alexandra got compared to Leona during her year a lot despite being completely different artists to each other. I’m wondering whether many expect Fleur to be a belter and follow in the footsteps of the stereotypical non-white female contestant. If she’s not as vocally strong as Alexandra and Leona, is she seen as simply not good enough while Lauren, who again isn’t as strong as the aforementioned two, wouldn’t get compared herself (despite singing I’ll Be There on Saturday and being more of a singer)?

      • Jessica Hamby

        I think that’s a really good point. I think some of the criticism she’s receiving is because she’s not a “belter” in the Whitney / Beyonce mold.

        Shame because she is very talented. I loved her “Bang Bang”. I wonder if they can find anything more like that for her to do.

        • Stu

          It’s a shame (no pun intended) because she’s a polished performer who is not intimidated by the stage unlike say Lauren, Lola etc. It’d take a miracle for her to win simply because I don’t think she can have a “vocal moment” like Little Mix had with Don’t Let Go, or Alexandra had with Listen or Matt had with The First Time… Especially up against Andrea – unless he is deramped smoothly and exits in 5th place.

          It’s annoying not knowing the producers’ intentions with him. Are they doing a “Sam Bailey” or was this week a one-off in order to get Paul out?

    • EM

      I like her but I’m not sure the public will play ball with more ear-catching singers in the contest.

      One thing to notice is they’ve cut out her rapping in the past two weeks.

  • Dean

    Monday evening odds

    Outright

    Andrea Faustini 5/4 (Stanjames)
    Ben Haenow 4/1 (various)
    Lauren Platt 11/2 (various)
    Fleur East 11/2 (Ladbrokes)
    Stereo Kicks 40/1 (Various)
    Jay James 40/1 (Coral)
    Only The Young 50/1 (Sportingbet, Coral)
    Stevi Ritchie 66/1 (Various)

    As expected Ben moved into 2nd favouritism after his better last 2 weeks than Lauren, but still time for Lauren and Fleur to have a chance to win it. Andrea still clear fave, but I wouldn’t take that price despite his latest pimp slot. Pretty much a 4 horse race now. Lauren needs a big weekend otherwise she could drift further, Fleur’s odds will remain around the same unless she gives us a true moment. Ben seems to be picking up a lot of floating votes now IMO

    • Dean

      Next elimination

      Only The Young 2/1 (Ladbrokes, Skybet)
      Stevi Ritchie 3/1 (Betfred, Bwin)
      Stereo Kicks 10/3 (Sportingbet)
      Jay James 5/1 (various)
      Fleur East 33/1 (Various)
      Lauren Platt 66/1 (Bet365, boylesports)
      Ben Haenow 80/1 (sportingbet)
      Andrea Faustini 100/1 (Various)

      OK so at the moment the act who has been favourite to go next from the Monday onwards has usually gone. Target OTY then? I am unsure, although they did get called safe last which is not a good thing. Right now I would not touch this until we see song choices etc. Do we ignore the bounce of Jay? I think SK are an interesting price. If they go B2 they couldn’t save them a third time, could they? SK might start becoming what Chloe Jasmine was meant to be (a kind of villain act to some as they feel they should go). Only person SK could undeniably stay over is Stevi Ritchie and not get a bit of stick IMO

  • Dean

    Sorry for another post, but also well done to OTY who managed to survive (probably only just?) from the come down off their bounce the previous week. I really feel their week 4 performance gave them a good few more fans that are giving them at least 1 vote of their 5 on the app. The problem for them though is it will take something special for them to survive a 2nd week in a row from a bounce come down and we know that if TPTB target them they could probably get the job done with relative ease.

    This weekend we will really see which group they favour. If they are targeting OTY I believe it is because they want to either keep SK just above the bottom 2 or for SK to be saved against them.

  • Scott

    Only The Young are the obvious choice for me this coming Saturday. If they are handed That’s Life or, at the opposite end of the scale, something very modern off the Radio 1 playlist then they should be in trouble. Their one appearance in the bottom two was with Boom Clap.

    Having said that, I really struggle with OTY. I have no idea who they’re meant to be aimed at. If the niche is children’s entertainers then I can’t see many kids picking up the phone on a Saturday night. It seems more older people liking innocent looking youngsters performing old classics. That would tally with the Boom Clap failure, and would leave open an opportunity to ditch them. But it’s the one act where I can’t tell the producers’ intentions. Have there simply been acts that had to go sooner, which means they’ve survived longer than planned?

    Stereo Kicks do appear to be struggling but the producers appear to be doing everything possible to keep them in. An OTY vs Stereo Kicks bottom two would allow them to credibly keep Stereo Kicks in (OTY are a better act but not sensational), allowing them to spring the Stevi vs Jay shock the following week.

    I wonder if the slightly controversial and shocking (to those who don’t look here or at the bookies’ odds) result on Sunday may affect Jay’s bounce, and whether that would bring him back into the bottom two in a week or two weeks. I also wouldn’t rule out Lauren being used as the sacrifical lamb against Stevi if she has another poor week. TPTB don’t give too many second chances (see Tamera).

    • Curtis

      I think OTY are largely fishing in the same pool as Stereo Kicks for votes, based on my observations of Twitter. Remember as well with your comment about “kids” that app voting is now a thing, and kids could easily be doing that. They may have some small degree of support from older people, but I very much doubt it’s the majority of their base.

      I don’t think it was song choice that was a problem for OTY with Boom Clap, but rather that it was simply their worst performance (outside of the sing-off!) and was early in the show.

      I agree with you that I’m not sure about the producers’ intentions for OTY. I think things will be made crystal clear this weekend. In my opinion I think they will either dispose of them immediately and clinically, or they will promote them to alpha group status and possibly ditch SK. I think the producers will realise that the groups are stealing votes from each other, and if they want either one of them to do well without being saved again and again by the judges, they need to get rid of the other.

  • David Cook

    This week you can’t really ignore the theme – your getting a big band and you’ve got to work with them. This favors some of the acts more than others.
    Andrea should do well, as should Ben and JJ if they choose the right songs.
    Presumably Stevi will be giving us his best crooner impersonation – I doubt that can be a good thing.
    Of the two groups I think OTY may actually do better – because they are capable of coming up with a slick song / dance routine. Last year Rough Copy did quite well in the vote despite pretty poor vocals but they put on a good performance.
    But what about SK – are they just going to stand in a line again – and what on earth are they going to sing.
    That leaves Lauren and Fleur, and I think it’s more difficult, though certainly not impossible for them to do well. Neither are power houses, so the musical arrangement needs to be careful not to swallow them up. At the same time they need to avoid anything to wishy washy, particularly for Lauren (please not Moon River). Perhaps the chance of a ‘moment’ when it’s least expected.

  • MW

    I get the impression OTY are aiming for a fairly young core support (probably mostly early teenagers though, rather than kids), but with strong crossover appeal among older pop fans. (You can imagine them going down an absolute storm at the post-show G-A-Y performance, for instance).

    It’s an approach which has worked before. But it’s not the easiest niche to target compared to a straightforward boyband, which could be one reason TPTB may still be more comfortable with SK.

    (I don’t really see them as children’s entertainers though – they’re a bit too stylish for that.)

  • Heisenberg

    Happy with this weekend – had backed JJ to go at 20/1 and managed to cashout in the nick of time for a decent profit last night. Well done to everyone who called it.

    Here’s the updated visual landscape:
    http://goo.gl/jCHDhW

    And, as far as Paul’s concerned, I guess we’ll never know:

  • Donald

    TPTB will be pleased, they managed to get their target again and keep SK and OTY out of the bottom two. Even if it took a stunt like Saturday night with SK, closing lines in a flash last night and having the maestro Louis to wrap it all up and take to deadlock without batting an eyelid that is what was done.

    Simon being back makes all the difference and as was said on Xtra Factor he even made a late change to Ben styling on Saturday and did not allow a leather Michael Jackson style leather jacket to be worn.

    Did anybody notice how subdued Cheryl was on Xtra Factor last night especially when first sat down? Thought it was strange and far from her normal self. Would she have known the votes? Surprising since had just gone number one in charts etc. Just an observation that made me wonder why Cheryl like that.

    Having has such a good weekend TPTB will gain confidence and it will probably be well visible who they going for with song choice, running order etc.

    With Jay on the bounce, if they throw allot behind SK (more stools and harmonies), and with OTY having avoided the come down from bounce this week they may ramp them up also leaving a potential shock on the cards. Big prices around so maybe time to build an early book as cover to go to real work this coming weekend.

    On the win market Ben Is gathering momentum, Lauren needs a real good week soon has slipped a bit this week. I think they will keep chipping away at Andrea de-ramp as their confidence will be up after this weekend. He sang out of the park on Saturday but long way to go still. We know what the TPTB are like. Lauren didn’t have a great slot either.

    Fleur I don’t know, I like her but she not Beyoncé or an edgy young Tina Turner, Seems too safe middle ground to me at the minute to really challenge.

    Few final thoughts for now, where did Jacks votes go? and where will Paul votes go ?

    Good season on Sofabet, great articles, great analysis and great comments with variety and allot of thought, fun and humour

    The one big mystery is has the app made their job easier to target etc. as the numbers left decrease? Covering a few outsiders at big prices for weekend elimination helps to reduce risk for this weekend and then whittle down who they going for.

    And my only bit of info so far is a quote “Stevie is supposed to be flyin” The mind boggles on that one though but info been right a few times with little things once the lives are up and running.

  • Dean

    BTW are we sure that TPTB really wanted Jay in the sing off this week? Watching his performance over he was given quite an epic song, staging, was allowed to come from the back to the stage, was remembrance day for someone who has been in the army. The only negativity was slot 2, the VT about his record deal and some of the comments which for me were to give him some sympathy votes too.

    That said He probably was at least a back up for B2, but my opinion is they would have targeted him next week having softened him this week. I think they probably expected OTY in B2 and may have preferred that.

    • Curtis

      I think they were fine with either JJ or OTY for that second B2 slot. They probably expected OTY to be honest. The most important things for them were that it wasn’t SK or Stevi, and that Paul was definitely in it.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Sunday’s result may have a detrimental effect on J. The survivor of an unfair save can be blamed by voters for the result and punished by not being voted for.

  • EM

    A couple of interesting format changes this Sunday with the lines closing before the second live act and Dermot rather than the judges introducing the sing-offs.

    From a why point of view I think the vote change was about ratings – holding viewers longer for One Direction and the final bottom two announcement.

    It is possible they waited for the result they wanted and closed the lines when they saw it but if the result was that fluid then it’s fortunate it came as a time when Dermot was on stage and not half way through when One Direction were singing.

    The percentages at the end of the series will reveal a lot on that one.

    Dermot introducing the sing offs? Probably just slicker, the judges are usually pretty rubbish at it.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Can’t see who introduces the sing-off making any difference. It’s out of voters’ hands by then.

      • EM

        But the betting is still open and on the exchanges the minutae of the sing-off provides fluctuations in price.

        A judges comment of “he really doesn’t deserve to be here” instead of a “singing for survival” can be profitable.

        Similarly if the favourite nails a chorus it’s not uncommon for their odds to go up at that point (or vice versa as when Jay started wailing on Sunday)

        • Jessica Hamby

          Fair point. But Dermkott will go to script.

          OT: the one thing that did leave me incredulous about the way they put Paul to sword was Dermott’s attempted interview at the end when the poor lad was weeping on Mel’s shoulder. Even Mel told him to leave it and so he started asking her questions instead.

          The rest of the process, unpleasant as it was in many ways, was so predictable it was almost cliché. (i)That(/i) I was shocked by.

          • EM

            It was a very uncomfortable watch on Sunday. It’s easy to read too much into it but it’s possible Paul was upset more by his treatment than the result, although as someone going through the process for the second time he could just be upset that again he came up short. Whatever an uncomfortable watch.

            The show was running under time on Sunday. If neither Mel or Paul had spoken to Dermot he would have had a hell of a lot of filling to do, that’s probably why he pushed it a bit as well as needing a reaction.

    • Martin

      The only reason I could think of for Dermot doing that is to save time – if you say it was running under time it seems quite puzzling. Would it have been anything to do with the 1D segment being shoehorned in for continuity?!

      It was an uncomfortable watch during the judges making their “decision”. Paul was standing there looking at the ceiling (or with his eyes closed) like he knew what was coming, but when it actually did I think there was a bit of disbelief from him. Wheras Jack looked releived last week to be out of the “trap”, Paul looked genuinely upset. It’s hard not to feel sorry for someone in that position, however inevitable it seems.

      • EM

        Sorry Martin – by running under time I should have said running to time – but if Mel and Paul had refused to speak Dermot didn’t have the flexibility to end the show early (which he would have if the show was running a bit over) so was faced with padding for a long time (which he did anyway with an extended Xtra plug) or force some speech out of them.

    • I thought the sole purpose of this was for TV.

      Having the suspense of who is the last act safe, drag on for 5 minutes is better for ratings, people on twitter tweeting who “has to be safe” etc gets everyone’s attention then more viewers will tune in to watch.

      I hope it continues, from a bettingng perspective it adds another opportunity for punters too have a bet when 3 are remaining too.

      • Martin

        I enjoyed the suspense with the three acts, it was entertaining if nothing else. I was referring to the lack of judges introducing the acts in the previous post, sorry if that was unclear.

        I’d guess they’re trying out new things to try and freshen the format up.

  • Jessica Hamby

    OT:

    I see some people doing italic or bold text. How do you do that?

  • annie onymous

    I think you should all check Twitter… Stereo Kicks consistently get the most mentions across the board AND the most positive mentions. Their target demographic doesn’t have the pocket money to vote consistently, but they are a much more popular act than most of the remaining in terms of the demographic that WILL, and does, by merchandise, magazines, and tour tickets. One Direction are getting old, they are overworked, and Simon wants a new boy band — or two. OTY have a very limited range of appeal. Teenage girls like Ben Haenow and SK, but none of the other acts left.

    • uncalquera

      I didn’t have that impression reading live tweets during the stage invasion stunt at all…

      • annie onymous

        Read outside of show times. There was recently a report by Ladbrokes that placed SK at the top in # of mentions and positive mentions, and that was before the stage invasion.

        For what it’s worth, while the producers and Simon might have planned that, the looks of shock on the SK boys’ faces were real. They can’t act that well.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It doesn’t cost anything to vote. You get five free on the app.

      As far as tickets go, it’s parents who pay for the concert tickets and all the rest of the stuff.

      I was just talking to a work colleague who went with her 11 year old daughter (and friends and their kids) to see 1 Direction last year and is going to the Jingle Bell Ball in a similar group this year. She said she quite likes Stereo Kicks but she wouldn’t go and see them. (For the record I am not currently a fan.)

      Teenage girls may well like SK but it’s not only teenage girls who watch the show.

      Are you suggesting that SK are going to win?

      • annie onymous

        No, but that it’s silly to count them out of the running when Simon knows how to spin money out of a boy band. One Direction were horrendous on their live shows, but they’ve obviously pulled it out of the bag.

        • Jessica Hamby

          If SK win I’m in f!cking clover. I’ll be quite happy if they do, even if they are, in my opinion, a bunch of misogynist pricks.

          I’m not sure you’re really reading the room here.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Just to be clear, you do realise this is a betting website, not a fan site. There are many more ways of betting on the show than just picking the winner, although the odds on Little Pricks are probably quite tasty at the moment (haven’t looked today).

        • Stu

          Annie this isn’t the Stereo Kicks appreciation forum. And there’s around about a 0.2% chance of Stereo Kicks winning now. There’s just not the interest there. Even after their apparent “breakout” performance of Hey Jude/Let It Be they still landed in the bottom two the following week despite constant favourable performing slots. The best they can hope for is Union J-type success on the show and post-show but they’re even less credible than UJ. I doubt radio would playlist their debut single.

  • EM

    “I like Sofabet because it doesn’t have the crazy conspiracy theories of Digital Spy and the comments and interaction are warm and friendly but stimulating”

    Comment from someone I know well. Just thought I’d post it.

  • David Cook

    Here’s an interesting statistic for you – maybe not but I’m going to say it anyway. Since voting results were first published in 2006 there have been 8 series. The lowest position any of those winning acts has been in was 7th (Alexandra Burke 7/11 week 2). Little Mix and James Arthur had 6th places (LM 6/11 week 4, JA 6th weeks 1, 2 and 3). No other winning act has been lower than 4th.
    Records may be there to be broken, but I would suggest for SK to recover from 12/14 and 9/10 would be tricky to say the least.

    • David Cook

      And here’s another – in ten series of XF only one winner has ever been involved in the sing off – James Arthur (once – week 7).
      Can SK be the first act to win after being involved in two sing-offs. I feel that it’s a touch unlikely.

  • Scott

    The good news for those on here who hate Stereo Kicks is that I can’t see any scenario in which they can win. They’ve already been bottom two very early doors, there are clear-cut performance issues and doubts about the size of the band. Beyond all that, the demographic they target simply isn’t watching The X Factor in the numbers they used to, and even if they were they’re not going to have the cash to phone in repeatedly (though the app will alleviate that to some degree).

    What the producers may be aiming for is a One Direction-style third or fourth place platform from which they can take the band away, deal with any problems and relaunch them some way down the line. It’s in their interests both in terms of selling a product and boosting the brand (another X Factor success story performing on the show tonight, it’s…)

    Turning to this weekend, I’m struggling to see past Stevi and Only the Young for the bottom two. Only The Young must be the most disposable act left. Stevi could be used for a shock factor (though Simon’s comments after Saturday of “that’s the performance you’ll be remembered for” was a red flag), Jay is coming off a bounce, Andrea and Ben are surely miles ahead, Fleur can perform so even if she landed in the bottom two she’d be safe.

    This leaves Lauren. There remains a slight niggling doubt in my head over her. She’s had a couple of weaker performances and the show is notoriously unforgiving. Could she drop into the bottom two and be kicked out to cause utter outrage as Stevi is saved? I don’t think it’ll happen, I’m just raising it as a prospect.

    I’ll be keeping a very close eye on the song choice this week, especially given the hit rate of That’s Life, and on these three performances.

    • Jessica Hamby

      In terms of performance and momentum Lauren does seem the weakest of the Big Four at the moment. Whether tptb see it that way is, of course, another matter. Their intentions may be quite different.

      I wonder, if their intentions are still to push SK into the final, who they would most like to drop to get them there. Do they really still want to get rid of Andrea? One would think that would be foolish from a ratings point of view. But if not him, then who? Ben seems to be Andrea’s biggest challenger and would make it a contest if not a “surprise victory”. Fleur brings the dance and the moves. Lauren brings the sweet teenage storyline. Imo Lauren is also the most disposable but if they have future commercial plans they may not agree.

      Still, I suppose all will become clear as the shows progress.

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