X Factor 2014 Week 8: Lauren beyond recall?

We started tonight with Ben Haenow and ‘Come Together’. His VT took him back home where the streets seemed rather empty at times, especially at the local bus stop with one friend talking to an anonymous car driver, although we did get to honk the Nan klaxon too. Ben received plenty of fire in his staging, including the sparks from the angle grinders used by the sexually suggestive backing dancers. Judges’ comments were positive though not motivating.

Lauren’s first VT was very ‘This Is Your Life’ with the emotional backstory of her parents’ split eliciting some dignified tears from the 17-year-old. The staging for ‘Clarity’ involved some of her friends plus her brother throwing shapes around her. Mel said she looked uncomfortable with the distracting dancers, a theme Dermot returned to. Cheryl reminded viewers how ill her charge had been just yesterday. Overall some mixed messages then, with off-putting staging and another early slot offset by reasons to be sympathetic.

Stereo Kicks’ VT reiterated the nicknames given to them last week mixed in with some Mum bonding. They didn’t start off in a line for ‘Just The Way You Are’ though ended up stood in one for the second part of the song. Mel felt that the track “overpowered” them, and Cheryl pointed out the shortcomings of the routine. Simon claimed it was another last-minute change in staging, criticising this particular song choice instead and teeing up a moment for their second number.

Fleur’s first VT featured childhood reminiscences with her sister, the local vicar, and another supportive, anonymous car driver. She received fabulous staging with a fan motif for ‘A Fool In Love’, which allowed her to work the stage with confidence. Louis joined Simon in a standing ovation, though Mel and Cheryl criticised the song choice for not being well known enough.

There wasn’t any cake in Andrea’s first VT. Indeed, he was in a Union Jack onesie with his entourage of parents and mentor. The production was golden for ‘Chandelier’ and felt helpful enough. Judges comments were flattering too, although Simon chose to give the first half to Ben instead. Louis and Mel agreed after the break. It didn’t feel as clearcut to us.

Lauren was at the posh Langham Hotel with Cheryl in her second VT before returning to school in scenes usually reserved for the final. A cosmic backdrop, white outfit and some nice swirly camera shots featured in a pleasant production for ‘Don’t You Worry Child’. “Little popstar,” said Louis; although Simon repeated the reverse psychology approach he used on Only The Young last week by claiming that this performance may have saved her.

Ben’s fans revealed themselves in his second VT, and he had a much better production for ‘Thinking Out Loud’. Louis said: “You’re the one to beat in this competition.” Mel and Cheryl then controversially pigeonholed him as a rock singer, which was the same script as weeks 6-7, before Simon explicitly called for his fans to vote.

Stereo Kicks’ second VT featured a little bit of the fan hysteria that Cheryl had suggested was lacking back in the day. Exemplary golden, starry staging tried to tee up a big moment for the boys, which Mel suggested happened for ‘Run’. It was amusing to hear that her 15-year-old daughter had switched back her allegiance.

Fleur continued on her trip down memory lane with a return to her former school in her second VT. Looking striking again in a peacock dress as she tackled Alicia Keys, Mel was the only one to strike a negative note, suggesting Fleur “strained” in the higher register. The rest of the judges told us how much she deserved to go further in the competition and generally appealed for votes.

Andrea rounded off the show with another VT that didn’t prominently feature his Italian-ness nor cake (though we were reminded of the “diva” label). To compensate for this, Andrea chose to sing the first verse of ‘Hero’ in Italian whilst trapped in a cage of light. To be fair, there was some nice golden lighting, the cage opened up and he got a three-judge standing ovation. The general sense was that producers had decided to work with the bounce.

Was that how you read the show? Lauren is now the odds-on favourite for elimination. Do you expect her to be eliminated if she does land in the bottom two, and who is most likely to join her if she is there? Do keep your thoughts coming below.

143 comments to X Factor 2014 Week 8: Lauren beyond recall?

  • Curtis

    You’d have thought Lauren and SK would be the bottom 2, with Lauren to go. However, this is an interesting tester for both Ben and Fleur’s strength of vote I think. Both of them have had better weeks, could one of them slip into the bottom 2?

  • Phil

    I’m saying Ben v Lauren, with SK a possibility too. Ben and Lauren were both, in my opinion anyway, utterly forgettable and flat. And I normally have a LOT of love for Ben.

    As an aside, I’m not sure the old-fashioned “damning with faint praise” thing applies this year like it has previously. With the free votes this year, I use all 5 every week. I don’t have to be “motivated” to pick up the phone, as I’m not forking anything out. If Fleur has had an off week, I’ll still throw her at least some of my votes, if not all of them. Just thought that was worth a mention.

  • Natasha

    It’s a tough one as not on of them tonight stood out for me performance wise. Lauren is a definate for bottom 2 but honestly can’t say who would join her

  • Keen Observer

    Ben had terrible staging but from his slots it’s hard to imagine him having a better week. They may not have wanted to give him a moment as it could make him unstoppable; it still feels as though there could be some scope for getting Fleur ahead of him. Mel’s criticism only helped Ben – would be very surprised if he didn’t top the vote this week.

    Lauren vs SK B2 looks very likely, the group especially had a tough week and it seems as though next week will be all about bouncing them above Andrea.

  • Donald

    Not a great show at all. The wheels seem to come off the focus and discipline of TBTP. Mel B was certainly off script. Simon digging out SK after Run was laughable really.

    Many mixed messages, most of show was forgettable. True test of who pulling the votes in tonight and Mel B fought tooth and nail all night.

    Have my weeks elimination bets on Andrea so waiting until sing off. I still reckon Lauren and Ben may still be polling well and they getting a bit desperate to catch up with them. Both on early etc. Lauren second song will have done her no harm at all and production was good. The show was a bit messed up to identify a real real de-ramp. Maybe they are trying to bounce their obvious Plan A’s to the final even if that means either are in bottom two. At end of day SK and Andrea been bottom two already. Hard to predict but after show like that nothing would surprise me.

  • Lia

    Did you know that Lauren was ill?

    Andrea singing chandelier was pathetic. Sia sings it full on power, like an explosion. That was just meh. How I wish he’d got heartless cos hero was just boring.

    Did you know Lauren was ill? She was!

    Ben was in trouble by singing a song that Ed Sheeran had just performed on the show. It wasn’t that bad if a bit vanilla. Come together was better but I like it more gritty.

    Ah, almost forgot to say Lauren was ill…

    Fleur was good, consistent and entertaining and in a show of turkeys, she was a peacock!

    By the way, Lauren was ill. It wasn’t appropriate to mention in her VT…

    Lauren’s Clarity was awkward. She suddenly disappeared from the image and the show focused on hef brother again. Uncomfortable. Don’t you worry child was better if very Kye Sonnes bland. I agree they want her bottom and she’ll probably leave straight to a hospital because she’s ill. Did I mention that?

    • Lia

      Finally, SKs Run was better at bootcamp. More people shared the solos and there was no mess up in the end. Just the way you are is too gooey for my taste. But Lauren was ill, did you know?

  • Andy

    I’m struggling to see how SK can avoid bottom 2 but I have no idea who is likely to join them, Lauren done a great job with song 2. Put all my DWTS winnings on a Andrea eviction and he gets a helping hand. Great.

  • Jif

    First time commentator long time reader. Think Lauren is doomed.
    The cringey brother AGAIN
    The spain mention
    The contestant to suffer to move Ben into second for Song 2
    The ‘too modern’ song choices for your average xfactor viewer

    I really honestly thought we were looking at the first girl win since Burke with this girl. We are watching them nuke her like Eoghan Quigg they have turned a cool chilled out young woman into a toddler. Everyone is being nuked for SK and Fleur but it is such a pity that it has come at her expense I really saw something special in the early rounds.

    Fleur is not there vocally which is a shame, SK should never have been 8, I don’t know when they (Cheryl + Mel) begun calling Ben a ‘rock vocalist’ but in the early rounds I never saw him in that genre *shrugs* oh and Andrea was in his default mode which for me means good singer but they dont want him.

    If Fleur wins it then its Little Mix again every single one of the sods nuked to high heaven, put into boxes and given labels that they couldnt escape and everyone else given boring predictable song choices to allow a average vocalist to ‘shine’

    As viewer I am thisclose to being done but also perhaps as a punter. Its becoming a very uncomforable watch

  • Alen

    Ben and Fleur both got “you need to be in the final” judges comments this evening. Stereo Kicks got “win” mentioned in both their VTs.

    While Lauren is a little pop star and Andrea deserved a place in this competition.

    One Stereo Kick flirting with a mom though seemed odd? Guess it was just to call him the cheeky one but it was still weird.

    Was a bottom2 confirmed? I missed the very begining.

    • Daniel

      Hi Alen, worth pointing out that no confirmation was made on the show of a bottom 2, and my assumption is based on Heisenberg helpfully pointing out that the website suggested there would be a singoff. I always like to hear the words out of Dermot’s mouth after what happened in 2010 to poor Tesco Mary though!

      • Dan

        I always like to hear the words out of Dermot’s mouth after what happened in 2010 to poor Tesco Mary though!

        That was just to shoehorn an unpopular act (Cher Lloyd) through to the final though. 2010 set the precedent for sing-offs in the quarters and 2013 for the semi finals and I can’t ever imagine the show giving up those powers unless it was somehow favourable to them. What this does mean is that TPTB can guarantee their top three…

  • Sagand

    Really odd week, no-one was amazing or that bad.

    Ben almost had a complete switch from beautiful staging and poor judge’s comments last week. The first performance had fire and distractions galore, the second elements of red and black and random boxes that kind of made him look like a busker. Whereas the judge’s comments were good, even the negative from Mel ended in prolonged booing, showing the audience clearly disagreed. I’d say only him and Stereo Kicks had songs that the vast majority of people know well, which can only help.

    Lauren first performance was messy, both visually and vocally. The second was better, but the question remains if you like an EDM song will you like it in that style? And if you didn’t know the song will you vote? There was also the ‘we remember you at your first audition’ was a little bit end of journey.

    If their plan for Stereo Kicks was to set up with the first performance and wow with the second it didn’t work at all. The songs might have been demo pleasing but is the demo enough at this stage? I certainly see it having grown enough from being twelfth and ninth to get into the top three this week.

    Comparing Fleur this week to Fleur in the last three weeks and today’s Fleur doesn’t even come close. The first performance was fine but I feel if you weren’t a Fleur fan before it wouldn’t have been after. The second felt very static, the plinth, the piano and strings, the styling and the peacock feathers all added to together to make me think lounge singer. (To be fair, I find Fleur a bit smug so this might just be my bias)

    If you hadn’t seen the show before tonight you might have thought Andrea was the chosen one. Pimp slot, classy production for both songs, praise from judges. There was lots of reminders that he was in the bottom two last week so no complacency issue. The only criticism I have is ‘Chandelier’ was really high and that was a little screechy, even the Italian bit in hero worked for me. I was a bounce believer before it started and I’d be really shocked to see him go now.

    My thoughts are Ben and Fleur are still enough ahead to be safe and Andrea with a bounce and help seems to be safe too. Leaving Lauren and SK to singoff, with Lauren going home. (This was also what I thought before the show began so this may all be a product of confirmation bias.)

  • Stu

    I can’t see Ben being in the sing-off. Not only is he going to get the “he’s fit” vote as well as the older female vote, he got a standing ovation, he got an explicit vote plea, he was name-checked as a finalist and Mel’s criticism got a lot of prolonged booing. If he ends up in the sing-off after all of that, I’d be shocked. I didn’t see a deramp at all.

    The producers were definitely working with a bounce for Andrea. He also got standing ovations from every judge bar Simon (him refusing to compliment Andrea was so blatant it was funny). Plus the pimp slot. Again, I’d be shocked if he was in the bottom two.

    Then that leaves Stereo Kicks, Fleur and Lauren – all of them I can see landing in the bottom two.

    Another late slot for Fleur suggests she’s not polling well. Although the criticism from Mel (and to a lesser extent Cheryl) and the lack of voting pleas suggests that maybe she polled really well last week so she’s not in any danger. I don’t think her second performance (the one that matters most) was anything other than average. I always thought Family Portrait would’ve been better and after that performance I still hold that view. Her first performance was great but with Simon saying the first round goes to Ben makes me think her first performance will be overlooked.

    I think Stereo Kicks will have just scraped the bottom two this week. I am of the opinion that they are gaining momentum week after week and despite a slow start, their social media support has been growing faster than anyone else’s. Despite average performances on a whole, they still received standing ovations for Run and I think the feedback for their second performance will be enough to see them safe this week.

    Lauren… well I don’t think much else can be said. I’d be shocked if she didn’t land in the bottom two. I can’t see her staying against anyone except Andrea – who should be safe this week.

    I’m going to call a Lauren vs Fleur bottom two – with Fleur bouncing into the final. Maybe Fleur’s vote can only be improved by an “unfair” bottom two appearance which will urge her fans to vote and for casual viewers to feel sympathetic towards her (like James Arthur). After all, without James’ bottom two appearance, he definitely wouldn’t have won. If Fleur is in the bottom two this week, I’d assume this theory is right. If she isn’t, maybe her support is comfortable enough for her to be criticised.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’m staying out of this. I can’t call it at all. I thought Fleur did well but even Andrea had some dosgy vocals but if he does hit b2 it’s going to be tough to elim him against anyone without deadlock.

    I think SK wede meant to have a moment but they f*cked up. Massively. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them b2 but imo it could be anyone.

    Personally I think Ben has problems. All the classic signs are there but it could be wishful thinking on my part. I have a 2 week old wager on Cheryl to be first to lose all her acts but I make more from Ben.

    I’m not going to try to call this.

  • Scott

    Lauren’s a goner. Surely. Two extremely current songs that won’t be known to most older viewers (who make up the majority of the audience at this stage, surely?
    First song – complicated family situation. Colour vomit. Distracting dancers. The brother – again.
    Second song – on the surface much kinder, a good performance. Pre-VT however going back to school: “It makes me want to come back to school”, performing in front of her peers – roll end credits and shove the word “fin” on screen. Louis referring to the perfect “little” pop star, Mel B praising the song choice and outfit, Simon saying she was off-colour, referring to any praise in the past tense, and then adding the reverse psychology gold of “I think that song may have saved you”. Looking at Lauren’s face on stage it looked like she knew the deal.

    * Ben – I think they’re happy pigeonholing him as a rock singer, knowing that has relatively niche appeal. If he was in the final then I’m sure they could hand him the wrong track and give Stereo Kicks/Fleur the right one and steer it the way they want. I think it was intended as a deramp this week – they set him on fire at least once, never mind twice, dark red and black staging and so on. Mel B may have gone a little over the score in criticism, causing a near riot in the crowd and possibly motivating voters a little more than producers would have intended. But I don’t think they urgently want him out.

    * Stereo Kicks – Hard to argue against their treatment – gold staging, fan hysteria, repetition of the nicknames for the band – producers are doing their utmost to push them. During Run I actually wondered if producers thought they could engineer a win for them for the first time. Producers can’t lose now – bottom two, save them, bounce into the final. Safe – as you were.

    * Andrea – Ultra-modern song choice for the first one, cliched ballad for the second. Reminder of the fact it’s a cliche all the way through the VT. Singing it in Italian – my Eurovision theory is that alienates you from the performer. Treatment generally ok though, multiple judge standing ovation. I think producers are ok either way this week – they’d probably be happy with Lauren this week, then Andrea next week, if they could execute it.

    * Fleur – Odd. I didn’t know the first song – I know now how the older audience feels with Swedish House Mafia. Positive visit back to the school – with awe-struck pupils allowing her to seem humble, meeting a vicar to win the middle England vote. But a plinth. And the first song? I suspect a James Arthur-style bounce wouldn’t be entirely unwelcome.

  • Gavster

    Just a quick note on who’s actually selling records this week:

    Stereo Kicks are the only act to have both of their songs in the chart: #66 & #97. Plus, they’re the only act to break the top-100.

    Others include:

    Andrea – #135
    Ben – #139
    Lauren – #179

    I’d like to think that with people downloading a song, they also vote via the app.

    Fleur hasn’t made the i-tunes chart this week.

    • EM

      iTunes chart position hasn’t even nearly been close to matching voting most weeks.

      • Gavster

        Well I look at other stats too, but considering the show wants someone who can sell records, I’m still not sure how Fleur can be the price she is when she can’t even break into the top 200 with two songs.

        • EM

          That’s a different discussion. I was warning you that app votes and iTunes are not as interlinked as you are imagining.

          • Gavster

            No, but used together they suggest Fleur isn’t delivering the goods.

            I return to last week’s point that Fleur’s demographic should be the Facebook/Youtube/i-Tunes generation – why then are her stats so poor?

          • Dean

            It is indeed surprising/intriguing Gav

          • EM

            Thanks for clarifying and adding to your original point.

            I’ve no idea what Fleur’s demographic is but I’ve heard 6 to 60 year olds rave about her.

            Social media numbers mean next to nothing in the real world. Even the bottom act tonight will have had more votes than people who bought the number one record.

            Actors with large followings release flop films. Music stars that delete their Twitter accounts still have hits.

            A friend did some work for someone with a million followers. The result of one tweet to a million followers? 700 hits.

            End of sermon!

      • Overload generation were one of the highest saleswise the week they went out.

        • Gavster

          But were the rest of their social stats as high?

          We’re down to the final 5 acts, so I think an artist’s social media presence is a good reflection of their standing in the contest. I’m not for one minute suggesting that SK are mega-popular, I’m just pointing that their plan A should be doing better than she is.

          Everyone was eulogising the Facebook stats during the early weeks. Now it’s questioning Fleur, everyone’s ignoring the elephant in the room.

          i-tunes sales predicted the Eurovision top-3

          • They had the most twitter followers out of all the contestants. 250 thousand if I remember rightly. I’ve explain why the Facebook likes have gone to pot. The same has happened this week. They have used another 4 photo strategy for each act. Lauren is polling best but is massive odds on to go. There lies the answer

          • I think that should put to bed any correlation between itune sales and popularity on the x factor

          • Gavster

            Not necessarily. Fleur is being touted as the act who narrowly missed the bottom 2 by 800 votes. Time will tell whether that assumption is correct.

            SK’s stats on social media were low. Only i-Tunes had them doing well.

            It can never be an exact science, but social media is a useful snapshot of people’s opinion.

      • Donald

        EM’s friend did well with 700 hits out of 1 Million followers, I have seen worse! And as for Facebook reach even worse at times. iTunes sales are not a bad guide, big difference between a paying customer and social media. Some artists do well on iTunes but like all things music sales racking and homepage are key. Eurovision had great campaign going across iTunes all markets this year, X -Factor not remotely at same level.

  • Dean F

    Lol they could at least make the running order seem half fair. Lauren is toast I’m afraid

  • EM

    That was a tough show to get my head around. I think many on here are looking too hard for meanings in the VTs that just aren’t there, they need to be taken in the whole not broken down into scenes.

    At the final five stage I notice a real change in the producers tactics, at times it looks as if they’ve just gone even handed and want to give every act a leg up but I’d guess it’s actually they have five acts who could have a commercial future so they don’t want to put too much of a damper on.

    Act by act…

    Lauren underwhelmed and she continues to do so. She doesn’t come across as likeable and I picked up many time to go home vibes around her.

    Ben’s VTs were fine but major flags on production – fire, distraction… Even sitting on what appeared to be his luggage packed and ready for his exit! His comments continued to be mixed but the studio reaction says not everyone is buying it.

    The Kicks underwhelmed too but were given every single chance to shine. Not going home, that’s for sure.

    Fleur and Ben seem to be in competition for who can go back home most often this series. The strange contrast is Ben and Fleur look like made-over pop stars going back… Lauren looks like she’s back where she belongs. Fleur again showed she’s head and shoulders above the others in terms of a whole package on stage, she makes Lauren, the Kick and Andrea look quite amateur in comparison.

    Andrea was kept in his comfort zone but they supported him much more than I expected them to. Still trying to make him look like a weirdo and an Italian one to boot.

    Overall I’d say Lauren is *just* my favourite to go but I can’t ignore the red flags around Ben. Any of the five could be bottom two and not cause me too much of a surprise, assuming there is a bottom two.

    The question is how are the public voting?

  • Martin

    What an odd show this week. I thought everybody apart from Andrea and Lauren’s second performance was dull as hell.

    I did think lauren had a touch of end of journey to her. Her first performance styling was a mixture of her first audition outfit and her ‘Happy’ outfit – both reminding viewers of how they loved her previously, only for her to come out looking mature and grown up for the second time and comments taking us back to her first audition. No voting appeals, but the school vt was helpful and singing the Swedish house mafia song was made out to be all she had ever wanted, and she did it beautifully. Out of all of them it was the most negative treatment but it was far from a nuking.

  • Such a confusing show. Really mixed messages with Ben. Awful staging and some negative comments, but then some really positive comments as well and great songs. He must be polling better than Fleur and whilst they’d be happy to see him as a finalist they don’t want him to win. Any other logical explanation?

    I thought they’d be out to get Lauren a bit more. Whilst Clarity is a bit of a random choice, it was actually pretty good. Also spotted some stars on stage with her.

    Up to a couple of weeks ago I was wondering why they hadn’t given up on Stereo Kicks yet, but I’ve changed my mind. I’m starting to think they could have a future. I could probably name almot all of them all now. James, Barclay, Charlie, Reece, Tom… oh, well 5 out of 8 isn’t bad.

    Another very strong performance by Fleur, though she continues to underwhelm vocally. I thought much the same about Alexandra Burke though, until Listen and Hallelujah. She’s still my favourite though. She’s a popstar.

    I wondered whether they’re no longer worried about Andrea. Perhaps they’re not too fussed if he does sneak into the final now because he isn’t popular enough to win? But if he does well this week the knives will be out next week.

  • Boki

    “There will be a nail-biting sing-off before another X Factor dream comes to an end.”

    This sentence is used in the press release for next week also, it looks like a default text from all releases until the final.

  • Natasha

    Regarding facebook likes on contestants performance pictures.

    Has the the amount of ‘likes’ each act has gotten each week still accurate as to who has landed in the bottom 2/3 over the last couple of weeks?

    I deactivated my account so haven’t been able to keep an eye on it, although I remember at the beginning of the live shows the amount of ‘likes’ was accurate as to who landed in the bottom

    • Josh

      It predicted the right Bottom 3 last week (though in a different order, with Andrea at the bottom, followed by OTY and Stevi).

      For the two weeks before that its been more hit and miss (Week 6’s likes had Andrea/Stevi in the B2, instead of Jay/Stevi and Week 5’s likes had Jay/OTY instead of Paul/Jay).

      • Natasha

        Thanks Josh 🙂 it’s still been more or less quite reliable then

        • Josh

          Yes, it’ll be interesting to see how accurate the rest of the rankings each are, when the real voting stats come out. I might do a side-by-side comparison or something.

          Overall, so far its predicted 14/18 of the B2 acts correctly. The other two incorrect instances were in Week 2 and Week 4, where the facebook likes said Fleur and Andrea would be in the B2 respectively but SK landed there both times instead. From that perspective, it doesn’t bode well for SK tonight, since they are genuinely in the B2 likes this time.

  • Curtis

    Tempted on a little pop on Fleur B2. I’ve got a real feeling about it today – though I enjoyed both her performances yesterday, I’m not sure they were stand-out enough. I’ve got a feeling that she has a smaller fanbase than the other acts.

    Maybe, just maybe, the producers were actually setting her up for the bottom 2 so they could bounce her to the win? The only thing that doesn’t quite agree with that is that you’d think they’d give her the bad slot in the running order she’s been due, rather than another late slot.

    • Boki

      Maybe they are setting b2 by giving her such uninspiring song choices, so no need for serious deramp, ‘it’s not her fault’.

      The other possibility is that she polled great last week and they think she’s safe enough so took a break from mega pimping and saving it for the final two weeks.

      Whatever it was, based on the song choices only, I see some value in Lauren/Fleur b2 combo (currently 8.5 Skybet) since I believe Lauren will be there.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Just watched the opening moments of last night’s show and there’s no doubt that while talking to Lauren Cheryl is edited to say “the fight’s stronger than ever. I wanna go home.”

  • Stu

    Lauren’s 1/4 favourite to land in the bottom two with a lot of the bookies. There’s surely no way she can escape?

    I’m still thinking a Fleur vs Lauren sing-off is going to happen but Stereo Kicks’ odds are alarming too.

  • That was hard to call. Really hard to call! Everyone delighted the demo.

    A hint of Red and Black for Ben’s second song followed by lukewarm comments for what should have been a “moment” and a huge amount of fire in his first, along with early slots, however, is setting off alarm bells in my head.

    Colour Vomit in Lauren’s first song, despite it being the biggest demo-delighting song choice for me. But, let’s remember with free voting on the app teens now have more accessible voting available to them. They no longer have to max out their PAYG credit on a phone call! And to go on about Don’t You Worry Child being a big Prom party only to come out and John Lewis it just seems, well, contradictory if not a bit bizarre. It just played as a slightly shit version of Flashdance (John Lewis Mix) from 80s week.

    I was wrong about Andrea’s night of the thousand knives, however there was something about the performance of Chandelier especially that felt out of place when looking at the entire programme. He was also given the pimp slots. I think he could bounce, but then I look at the funeral pyre lighting effect at the end of Hero.

    Fleur nailed it for me, possibly going as far to memory hole Stereo Kicks in Round 2. They tried to pimp SK, but there was nothing special from them tonight. Nothing did it for me.

    Finally, worth noting that Fleur was the first act to have a song “chosen” by a celebrity not associated with the show.

    Bottom two could be anybody, frankly. I actually think Ben could be in there tonight.

    • The oNot other act that I can see in trouble are Stereo Kicks. Another B2 will bounce them to the final, but if they’re de facto bottom of the vote, can producers credibly save Der Kicks against anyone apart, possibly, from Andrea?

  • Donald

    Going to let my Andrea bets run as are, it is a lottery tonight and at the price tempted to lay Lauren, they didn’t really do any major damage to her last night and she has yet to hit bottom three. I know she not getting much help to stay there but with Fleur and SK being pimped as they have been to get in the final or to be kept in the competition, Andrea on a bounce that may not work and Ben not having a great night Lauren not looking as vulnerable as she should be to be the price that she is to go. Fleur did not have a great night for a very short favourite to win the whole thing. Andrea and SK bottom two and Andrea home. I think Andrea fans deflated now and will not just bother to raise too much of an effort to vote compared to the other remaining acts.

    Looking forward to seeing Ella perform tonight.

    If Lauren goes tonight so be it, but it not a certainty yet, if she does she goes without one pimp slot, Cheryl hardly that quiet behind the scenes.

  • Stu

    I’m genuinely shocked people on here believe Ben is in any danger of being in the bottom two. Voting plea aside, I haven’t seen any evidence suggesting he’d land there – he probably has the strongest fan base out of everyone left. I’d be shocked if Stereo Kicks, Lauren and Fleur beat Ben in the vote this week.

    • Stu

      Just to add, he’s also the only one whose odds are shortening in the win market (joint favourite with Fleur with Bwin) and is the clear outsider to land in the bottom two.

    • No chance is ben anywhere near bottom tonight. Have a feeling he might have topped the vote but only marginally

    • I saw signs of a dreamp. I didn’t get the impression anyone else was deramped. Forn suggested Andrea would go under the bus and he didn’t.

      • Stu

        I think the producers had no other choice but to work with an Andrea bounce. If the show went all “Akister” on him, it would encourage his fans to vote in masses. Making it seem like he’s back to being a frontrunner again will damage his vote next week (or at least that’s probably how the producers think). I think the producers could have cocked-up this week though – the praise was a bit too much from all of the judges if the producers don’t want him bouncing James Arthur style.

    • Curtis

      Ben will probably not land in bottom 2, but I wouldn’t be so sure on anyone. I imagine that the gap between the 5 of them is going to be very slim tonight. I’m expecting the leader’s vote to be probably not much more than 25%

  • Woofie

    Going to be interesting to see what happens tonight.

    I think the TBTP could be nervous this week about the outcome. SK’s Run fell flat. James Graham was also ill this week and it showed. He looked very uncomfortable and you can see it his face despite the praising from the Judges. I also think it impacted on the other group members’ confidence, he so pivotal in that group, which is of course why they can’t mention it. This will be a test of their support and how much TBTP what to keep them in.

  • I said during the week that 6/4 for lauren to go next were great odds. They certainly look good now. She is toast

  • Sagand

    Ben has moved to favourite to win on Betfair. I wouldn’t surprise me if he does a Matt Cardle and has topped the vote since week 2.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’m puzzled by the Harbow-Cardle comparisons. Haenow could never manage anything like Cardle’s First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. When he tried, with Man In The Mirror, it was just a bit meh.

    Imo Mel’s critique of his voice is correct. He sings at the same level and in pretty much the same way from start to finish. The sound is nice but there’s no sophistication or subtlety to it. I don’t believe he’s the week on week leader nor that he’s a huge danger to Fleur or SK. He’s pretty but vocally he’s very ordinary.

  • David

    If Ben wins I will be having an M&S turkey for Christmas this year. If not it will be Bernard Matthew’s turkey slices.

  • Bookie basher

    Can’t believe some people on here believe Ben could be in the bottom 2 he won last night vote by a mile he’s gone from 4-1 to 6-4 money talks he,ll be Evs or shorter come next sat night I think he’s a cert and I agree with sagand I think he’s topped the vote most weeks

  • Martin

    I think it was somebody here who nailed it a few weeks back when they said that Ben is the most likely to pick up ‘floating votes’ – the one or two leftover votes after people have used the bulk of them on their favourite. There’s also the possibility that he’s the most accessible. He’s young enough for the younger girl to fancy, old enough for the older voters to fancy, he’s the anti-Andrea style of singing, he seems like a nice guy, he sings songs that male viewers wouldn’t be ashamed to admit they liked…
    I actually think he has less commercial appeal than Andrea but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him doing a lot better votes wise than some expect.

    • There have already been clues that tptb are gonna derail him from winning the show. I think as long as they get lauren and Andrea out before the final they will bring him down with naff song choices in the final. Or they could have decided he is unstoppable. Although I don’t very much they fancy him as the winner. If cardle flopped ben has no chance being successful after the show.

      • Martin

        I agree. He hasn’t had as much of an easy ride as matt did – he’s been dampened since Man In The Mirror. It seems like they’d prefer him not to win, but they need to be careful. He’s probably been top or near, so any harsh treatment would provoke a sympathy reaction. All they can do is pimp the others and hope that the voters forget him.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Woah!!! Fleur is smokin’ hot in that black catsuit.

  • Lauren on the drift for next elimination

  • Also I didn’t see a 5 minute warning. Might have missed it though

  • Is it often at this end of the competition that an act has gone B2 from the pimp slot?

  • Fudd

    Reveal order:
    Andrea
    Fleur
    Ben

    Lauren v Stereo Kicks. Lauren home, surely?

  • Not gonna liei was worried then. Lauren goes then. Good night for me

  • Burned on the Andrea exit. No value in Lauren to go, looks like I’m sitting it out.

  • Lenny

    Bounce SK to the final, get rid of Andrea next week….assuming Lauren goes. She has to, doesn’t she. Very profitable night for me if she does.

  • Dean F

    Can they really bounce SK to top 2? it will look ridiculous having to save SK 4 times to ensure they reach the final

    • Fudd

      The thing about Stereo Kicks is they could have helped them out far more than they have throughout the series. We didn’t know any of them (except Barclay and James) until midway through the lives. They didn’t have a name heading into week one. They’ve had last minute changes (ostensibly blamed on Louis) both song-wise and choreographically. It’s been a mess, to be a honest. If they were Plan A the powers that be have cocked up well and truly – but I’ve never been 100% sure that they’ve been Plan A.

  • So only 800 votes seperated 1 act from falling into bottom 2. Guess that’s why we wasn’t given a 5 minute warning

  • They can’t save SK a fourth time. Can they?

  • Dean F

    I think Lauren wasn’t bottom (just guessing)

  • Dean F

    3 votes to 1 it’s obvious Simon will keep SK just need Mel to say she’s keeping them in for her daughter

  • Arthur

    How can they save the Kicks AGAIN over Lauren – first time in the bottom 2? I’m not saying they won’t, but I’m curious as to how they’re going to spin it!

  • That was actually quite good. The swansong?

  • Backed the Kicks to go last minute. Wish me luck.

  • Curtis

    I’ve bottled it. Could’ve got decent odds on Lauren to go in the sing-off but I was gutless.

  • Fudd

    So they’re going to have to deadlock it to save Lauren then.

  • Phew. I need a new pair of pants.

    • Arthur

      Congrats! Braver than me…!

      • Not that brave. Went in during the intro of SK’s song. Had I gone before the singoff I’d be a considerably richer man right now!

        • Arthur

          Had I gone before the singoff, I’d be considerably poorer. Was convinced of Lauren’s exit over everyone except Andrea until I actually heard the singoff. No way they could have saved SK AGAIN over that, and retain any credibility – no matter which way they tried to spin it.

          • They were 5/1 before the singoff but I just sat watching Lauren’s odds drift during her song and decided “fuck it, I’m going in.”

            When it became obvious it was going to deadlock I shat my pants; I only saw a deadlock happening in order to save the Kicks, since then of course TPTB could have argued the toss that the public made the call.

            I’m guessing there are more than a few burned wallets on here tonight. Commiserations to all.

            Lauren bounced to the final; surely Andrea now gets Janet Devlined?

  • Damn that cost me2 bets in one hit 🙁

  • Arthur

    Wow. I’m glad I bottled it there. Thought Lauren was a goner this week, but…. phew….

  • Donald

    Get IN! I sure sweated but my lay worked.

  • EM

    Guess who put something on the Kicks just for fun… Phew

  • Jessica Hamby

    Well I’m glad I didn’t get involved in that one but my 50/1 has gone.

    🙁

    Good for Stoney though.

  • Curtis

    I’m sorry to guys who lost here. My lack of betting feels like some kind of victory.

    • Arthur

      Mine too! I feel a bit cowardly… But congrats to everyone who was brave enough after that sing-off. I sure wasn’t. But at least my bet to win is still chugging along. C’mon Ben! 😉

  • Piresistable

    For once there was some justice on the show. There comes a point where the show needs to be credible and while she may not be anything special, Lauren’s far more credible than a boyband that’s been rescued several times to make it this far in the competition.

  • Biffy Beans

    The judges deliberations looked for all the world like a last-second change of plan. If Blazing Squad – sorry Stereo Kicks – had sang in any way competently they could have just about credibly saved them. But given how awful their performance was, and armed with the knowledge that they were rock bottom, they had no choice but to cut them loose.

    • Arthur

      Absolutely. I think Lauren was the target to go this weekend, but the singoff scuppered that completely. There’s just no way they could swing that without SEVERE finger-pointing….

  • Curtis

    Incidentally that was Lauren’s best performance of the series by an absolute mile. I didn’t know she could sing until then.

    I wonder if Mel’s annoyance with Dermot for coming to her when he did was real or fake. It sorta seemed real.

    • EM

      Yeah it felt real, they didn’t show any of Mel’s bigger comments from last night on the re-caps suggesting she’s gone off script somewhat

      • Although she’s got two other SyCo productions to her name – America’s Got Talent and X Factor Australia – I’ve had the distinct impression she’s gone rogue on several occasions this year. Wouldn’t be surprised if she’s gone next year to pave the way for Tulisa’s return. Betsfactor fans especially will remember that she played a blinder in her first final.

        • lolhart

          I believe that Syco aren’t really involved in X-Factor Australia. The Australian acts don’t sign to Syco, but Sony Australia and they seem to call the shots, including behind the scenes.

  • Piresistable

    Oh and funny that Mel had to do some unnecessary dirty work and Simon is the saviour again!

    • Arthur

      A lot of it could be pantomime, but he’s being pretty cold towards Mel on the Xtra Factor at the moment. I don’t think there’s any love lost there, IMO…

  • Scott

    Phew. Limited losses tonight. Had a speculative £2 punt on Lauren and Ben in the bottom two. Will be gutted if Ben was 800 votes ahead, suspect it was Fleur though.

    Had some cash on Lauren to go prior to the sing-off. Then saw gold lighting and a great performance from Lauren. Then saw dark lighting and Stereo Kicks sounding bloody awful. Remembered Richard Betsfactor’s line about the show wanting rid of Tamera after she forgot her words one week – “They want the final to be good”. Decided they couldn’t rely on them in the final and cashed out.

    Basically, what Piresistable said – “there comes a point where the show needs to be credible”. It was a weird week all round and I was never going to be heavily into it.

    You’ve essentially got an act pigeonholed into the rock genre (Ben – or possibly Luke Friend), Lauren (Nicholas McDonald) and Andrea. If they target Andrea they can have him gone next week. If they don’t I’ll be intrigued as to their true intentions – would he make a feel-good winner? Do the producers think they’ve got a long-term recording artist among this pack? Would Fleur benefit from being taken away and relaunched some time down the line? Or do they think she against Ben and Lauren would be the clear talent and would benefit from the launchpad?

    • I’m going to stick my neck out and call this.

      SEMI-FINAL: Andrea gets the Janet Devlin treatment I predicted for him this week. The red gels are being installed in Fountain Studios as we speak.

      FINAL: Lauren bounces to 3rd, Fleur 2nd, Ben 1st. I’m now convinced it’s not in Fleur’s best interests to win, and the Olly Murs/1D/JLS route will benefit her and SyCo more in the long run. Bear in mind the Christmas Number One isn’t going to be a massive deal this year with Band Aid 30. Seems a good year to have an expendable winner.

  • Stu

    I think they saved Lauren because she has the best chance out of her and Stereo Kicks to bounce ahead of Andrea into the final. If there’s a sing-off next week, it’ll probably be Fleur vs Andrea with Andrea leaving and Andrea bouncing during the final.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Poor Daniel’s probably retyping has Sunday sumnary right now.

  • DannyCraig

    Well that was perfect for me. Hopefully bounce Lauren into the final ahead of Andrea, whereby she’ll finish third behind Ben (1st) & Fleur (2nd).

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