We didn’t address Lauren in our regular midweek review post, largely because we had very little to add to a fantastic analysis of the family dynamics on display in last week’s show by Heisenberg in the comments. In case you missed it:
At this moment I sense a definite end to Lauren’s journey. In fact, her journey ended in big band week when we saw clear evidence of vote transfer tactics from TPTB by featuring Fleur as big sister in Lauren’s VT. We saw Fleur represented as a role model and guardian to Lauren – someone who cares and provides for her, offers advice, makes cups of tea and meets her family (house visitor and World Championship Street Dancer, Lewis).
The family theme has become more prominent with Lauren recently, especially this saturday with Lewis on stage and the full Platt clan looking on from the audience. Also, the word ‘tiny’ was used more than once with Lauren which not only suggests vulnerability and weakness but also distances her in viewers’ minds from the grand spectacle of a big arena final.
It was no coincidence that Fleur also had a strong family theme this week, but there was a definite contrast.
Lauren ‘tiny’ Platt was joined on stage by someone even smaller than herself, who arguably overshadowed her in both performance and interview. Grouping Lauren with her younger brother helps to remind us that she’s still a child, a small fish out of water – not voting for her is actually a feel-good decision because she will ultimately be returned to the warm and protective bosom of her family.
Fleur, on the other hand, is the mature and capable driving force of her family. The feeling we get is that they are inspired by her, respect her and look up to her – similar to her earlier portrayal as guardian to Lauren.
With Only The Young now out of the equation, it’s very likely that much of Lauren’s vote will transfer to Fleur after she leaves the competition. The big sister VT and this week’s joint family appearances are good indicators and I fully expect these transfer tactics to continue into next week. The question is, how strong is Fleur’s vote? The answer will determine if Lauren goes this week or in the semi-final – if she wasn’t well clear of Andrea, which I suspect to be the case, then Lauren may be sacrificed this week to ensure Fleur’s safe passage to the final.
If instead they choose to shoot down Andrea this week, they’ll need Fleur to out-poll Lauren in the semi-final which I suspect she hasn’t done so far this series.
Either way, with Lauren dispatched before the final and Fleur making it, her chances are significantly improved with a successful and significant vote transfer and the backing of Cheryl.
Our suspicion would be that Fleur is already out-polling Lauren, but as Heisenberg says, either way the argument stands.
One further thought about the inclusion of Lauren’s brother in her performance is that it served to legitimise the inspired use of Fleur’s family in hers. We’re used to heartwarming family VTs, and telegenic children running on at the end of successful auditions, but this is the first time we can remember someone’s family standing on stage with them in the live shows. It felt like a big plus for Fleur, and setting the precedent with Lauren cleverly made sure it didn’t stand out as special treatment.
When will we go to the public vote only?
In the comments to the last post, Donald raises an interesting question: when will we go to the public vote only this year? It seems to be generally assumed that we’ll have a singoff this week, but there are precedents for doing away with the singoff at this point in the series – five acts in week 8. That happened in series 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the X Factor.
We can’t help wondering if this year the show’s best interests might be served by going back to this method, if two widely (though by no means universally) shared guesses in the comments are true:
- that producers’ preferred final consists of Ben, Fleur and Stereo Kicks; and
- that Lauren isn’t polling particularly well.
Let’s run with those assumptions for the sake of argument. It would maintain more suspense going into the final to have none of those three be tainted by a singoff survival between now and then. You would then have two of the three acts in the final never having hit the singoff at all, and Stereo Kicks having put their early singoffs behind them.
Several commenters have speculated that a singoff save this weekend might help bounce Stereo Kicks into the final – but having done such an impressive rebuilding job on the Kicks over the last three weeks, producers would surely rather not puncture their sense of momentum if at all possible. Getting them to the final without another singoff appearance would build a narrative that they have successfully turned a corner after an understandably rocky beginning as the eight of them took time to gel.
If producers are also thinking along these lines, then holding a singoff this weekend would mean they’d want to try to navigate both Lauren and Andrea into the bottom two positions – a bigger challenge than getting one of them plum last. Having a singoff between those two acts would also give them a bounce to suppress in the semi-final; and while admittedly that’s looked an easier job this season than in previous years, still the data set is limited and it’s a complication they might prefer to do without.
Dropping the singoff at this stage means they could go all out on Lauren this week (again, if she’s not polling well, which we reiterate is complete guesswork – for all any of us know, she might have topped every poll since week 1), while not worrying too much about suppressing Andrea’s bounce. Then in week 9, they can work with the grain of Andrea’s comedown from the bounce to manouevre him to the bottom of the vote.
The listing on the ITV website for Sunday’s show doesn’t explicitly promise a singoff, saying only
Dermot O’Leary hosts as the singing competition’s next elimination is announced. The tension will become almost unbearable for the remaining acts as they learn their fate. Who will be going home tonight? There will also be performances from top guest stars.
It’s also worth noting that the decision on whether to hold a singoff may depend on how many guest stars they can conjure up, as some commenters suspect that the need to fill airtime was the explanation for the otherwise puzzlingly-pointless unprecedented final-four singoff between Luke Friend and Rough Copy last year.
Is this something you’d consider if you were producers? Or do you suspect one of the two assumptions is wrong, and Lauren is either polling well or wanted in the final? Do keep the conversation going below.