X Factor 2014 Week 8 Post Mortem: Elimin8d

That was a Stereo Kick in the teeth. I took a significant four-figure loss tonight, but it could have been much worse – while all the signals of the last three weeks pointed to producers having more interest in the Kicks than in Lauren, I didn’t go in as big as I might have done. I was somewhat cautious that we might have a repeat of the semi-final singoff scenario from last year, when one possible explanation for Rough Copy’s surprising exit was that producers felt it would have been embarrassing to save them given they were last by such a long distance. It will be interesting to see whether this is also the case when the results are published after the final.

Congratulations to those in the comments who called it correctly – and, indeed, to those who expected Lauren to go but bottled out of getting financially involved.

Three questions now present themselves.

1. Dermot noted that one act missed the singoff by only 800 votes, after the result changed four times during the show. So who was third from bottom?

2. The day saw two notable market shifts. Lauren drifted for elimination – I was surprised to be matched as high as 1.79 on Betfair before the show – and Ben overtook Fleur in outright favouritism. I’m usually very wary of crediting Sunday market moves to insider information, as they are so often awry – remember the plunge on Stevi to go a couple of weeks ago. But it is interesting to wonder, given what Dermot said, whether it’s conceivable that the first move represented someone with some information about how close the vote for second-bottom was – and, if that’s the case, does it imply anything about the plunge in the outright on Ben?

3. Producers worked with the grain of Andrea’s sympathy bounce this week. Do you think they’ll continue to treat him kindly next week and try to neutralise Lauren’s expected bounce, or work with the grain of Lauren’s bounce and Andrea’s comedown?

As ever, do keep the conversation going below.

112 comments to X Factor 2014 Week 8 Post Mortem: Elimin8d

  • What were the Betfair odds just before the announcement? Was the first time I’ve been surprised in a result for some time. Glad I didn’t blow any money on it!

  • Dean F

    They have given Lauren a chance and I’m really surprised at that but we do know this year more than ever the voting is so close

  • Piresistable

    What do people think about the order in which they went to the judges? Mel didn’t need to save the boys tonight, but I wonder if they had her save them knowing that they were bottom of the public vote. That way Simon could go either way with his vote depending upon how the sing off went.

  • Major kudos to those who put their balls on the line and called the SK elimination – and I have to admit for me, it was a genuine roll of the dice rather than considered thinking – but equally massive commiserations to the many people who I’m sure have taken a hit tonight. Don’t blame anybody who bottled it at the sing off.

    The way I see it now is they’ll let Lauren bounce to the final. I can’t see, after what was a massive surprise result tonight, that they will let Cheryl go to Wembley in her first year back – and, of course, her first arena final – without an act.

    There’s also the slightly dark thinking that Mel going to Wembley act-less would be just deserts for her excessive time spent off-script this series.

    I am predicting Andrea to go next weekend with much producer help. Lauren 3rd, Fleur 2nd, Ben to Win. I’ve explained my thinking on Ben’s win in the previous blog’s thread.

    • Fudd

      Not much reward for Louis’ eternal loyalty though – dumped at the Quarter Final stage. I guess that’s why he was awarded second (and third though feel that was by accident rather than design) last year.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Do you think Louis cares? I don’t. He knows its not a real competition.

        • Fudd

          He has exposure and a pay check – I’m sure he’s fine. 😀

          Though I don’t think they intended to lose Only the Young last week so he’s been unfortunate in that regard.

          • Jessica Hamby

            There isn’t a competition between the judges. They are not “his” acts. I think you misunderstand the nature of the show.

          • Fudd

            I understand fully. I was replying slightly tongue-in-cheek to James’ comment about Cheryl having an act in an arena final for her return. Unfortunately I don’t think I explained myself properly in the beginning, hence the confusion. I think I need to shut up and just read.

          • Of course it’s irrelevant. I’m just thinking about Princess Cheryl here and how that would look.

  • Arthur

    I was convinced Lauren was going tonight, but after the singoff began, I bottled it – so phew. Commiserations to everyone who was braver than I. I think it definitely was the plan for Lauren to leave tonight, but after the quality of the singoff – there was no way for the TPTB to save SK & save even a little bit of face. It would’ve been contemptible even by their standards.

    So the question is – who do they want to take to the finals? Fleur & Ben are a given, IMO. So who will pose a greater threat to their chosen 2? Will they continue to pursue the takedown of Lauren, or will they go after Andrea? I think Andrea poses a greater threat, so I’m inclined to agree with James Martin, and think we’re in for a Devlin-ing of Andrea next weekend…

  • Scott

    First of all, sorry to hear you took a bad hit Daniel. It seemed so clear pre-show and even during the show Lauren was going but I had a nagging doubt – that, combined with the low odds and my low stakes, halted me. I did eventually put some money on Lauren but not much, along with a speculative stake on Lauren and Ben in the bottom two.

    Then I saw gold lighting for Lauren’s sing-off and an excellent performance. Then saw Stereo Kicks with dark lighting and a very, very shaky start. And Richard Betsfactor’s alert over Tamera – they want a good show in the final – came to mind. The show has to retain some sort of credibility, and they can only do so much for an act before it becomes ridiculous. And I cashed out. All said with hindsight, mind, it could so easily have gone the other way.

    It’s not fallen too unkindly for producers, as they’ve got this to work with:
    * Fleur – Plan A – Tamera (but can remember her words)
    * Lauren – Nicholas McDonald
    * Ben – Luke Friend (pigeonholed into the rock genre)
    * Andrea – Liable to be nuked next weekend.

  • Curtis

    I didn’t see the 800 votes bit. It was Fleur. I’m 95% it was Fleur.

    As with that semi-final sing-off last year, I was worried you might have taken a big hit Daniel. The good news is it was only 4 figures and not 5! There was just something off about the sing-off compared to what was expected – maybe the gold lighting for Lauren’s sing-off performance, or just the fact it was so dramatically superior.

    I think that Andrea is going to have the guns pointed at him next week for a Fleur-Ben-Lauren final. Lauren might get the pimp slot that she’s due. If I’m right that Fleur was the one who just narrowly missed out on the bottom 2 this week, they may well just allow her to fall into a semi-final sing-off with Andrea and look to bounce her to the win.

  • anon

    Think the plan was for Lauren to go but the performances in the sing off scuppered the plan. If SK had have finished second bottom theyd still be in the competition. Finishing last meant they went home…..

  • Scott

    It strikes me that the semi-final is a bit late to try to bounce someone to the final. Surely people would think: “Well she finished bottom last week, she’s got no chance of winning?”

    • Curtis

      I think that depends how much you pimp them in the final. I’m pretty sure Fleur is going to get one hell of a pimping in the final.

    • Tabitha

      It definitely felt like Luke Friend hadn’t a hope in hell when he was in the bottom two in the semi-final last year, yet when the voting figures were published it turned out that he was really pretty close to Nicholas McDonald for second. I do wonder if that diminished his vote in the final, although probably not to the extent that he was third by…

      I know it’s only the quarter-final this week but I wondered if that was why they had Dermot make such a point of stressing that it was so close between 3rd and 4th in the voting tonight, being saved by deadlock and only being in the bottom two by such a tiny margin in such a huge vote surely diminishes the stigma of being in the bottom two quite a lot.

  • EM

    Sorry to hear about your loss Daniel.

    I must admit my bet on the Kicks was motivated more by the fact Lauren’s odds didn’t appeal to me but I did have the thought that if I were running the ship I’d give up on the Kicks at this point – when the public tell you three times that something isn’t working then it really isn’t working.

    I guess the other learn is that Lauren’s support wasn’t as large as some had thought (and I myself had wondered about) and that Ben and Fleur are the only acts left to have never hit bottom two which means they have a good level of committed support. Especially after what wasn’t Ben’s greatest week in the whole.

    • EM

      Also can anyone who used a term like “they’re deramping Stereo Kicks so they can bouce them to the final” please make themselves known?!?!?

      I really don’t believe sabotaging an act in order to progress them is a strategy the show has ever used or would adopt now.

      • That theory gets touted on here daily

      • Curtis

        Some suspect they did that with Ella Henderson the week that she ended up getting eliminated (because James Arthur slipped into the bottom 2 also). Similar tactics were almost certainly used with Cher Lloyd in her series. I haven’t forgotten the spiral staircase.

        These are just examples off the top of my head. I think it’s a strategy they have used, and will use where they see fit. I never felt they did it with Stereo Kicks last night – I think last night was supposed to be a pimping for them. They just screwed it up.

        I still think they may opt to do it next week with Fleur. I mean, in light of James Arthur, we know winners can be built from sympathy bounces, and so do the producers.

        • Not 1 week before the final. I don’t see this as a positive thing at all.

          • Curtis

            Well they don’t usually have a sing-off 1 week before the final. They’ve only done this twice as far as I know. One was the bizarre Luke vs Rough Copy sing-off. The other was Mary vs Cher, which I think we all know was specifically done to get Cher in the final ahead of Mary. (and that year I think the producers had already given up on stopping Cardle from winning)

        • EM

          Curtis are you saying that they deliberately gave Ella and Cher bad treatment in order to make them more famous?

          Or is that a supposition that could also be explained by the fact they weren’t that good, the public didn’t like them much but the show saw a commercial future for them and saved them a few times and created sympathy to help their vote the next week?

          Genuinely interested to see any examples to bring this to life.

          • Curtis

            I’m saying the show deliberately gave Ella and Cher bad treatment in certain weeks – not to make them more famous, but simply to nudge them into the bottom 2, save them, and try to motivate their fanbase to vote more. Of course they were probably not playing for the win with either of those, but we learned from that Ella-James Arthur sing-off that this is a viable way of taking a candidate whose vote has never really been great, and pushing them to unassailable winner.

            I admit it would be a risk to do this with Fleur only a week before the final, but let’s suppose the scenario that Ben has comfortably won the last few weeks of voting, despite Fleur’s heavy pimping. If they really want Fleur to win, perhaps they’re going to have to take this kind of gamble.

      • fused

        I think them intentionally trying to get an act in the bottom 2 to benefit them is way too far fetched. Once they’re in the bottom 2, they’re kind of seem as damaged goods, possibly even more so by the public. James Arthur and I guess Olly Murs are the exceptions, not the rule.

        I can certainly buy that they saved Cher against Paije and Mary because while she was less Middle England friendly than they were, she had a lot more potential as a pop star. I can just about get the “they had a sing-off in the semi-final especially to get Cher into the final” idea. I can even suspect that they had a double elimination the week after she first landed in the bottom 2 thinking that as Cher was likely to get a sympathy bounce she wouldn’t be in danger, but I really don’t buy them going out of their way to make her land in the bottom 2. I think if they want a contestant to stay in the competition, they wouldn’t want to risk losing them.

    • Fudd

      The only one I can arguably think of is JLS in series 5. I think they could see the commercial potential early on but after a promising start they started to flounder, dropping to 5th in week 6, only a couple of percent away from the bottom two. Instead of pimping, they (arguably) elected to drop them in the bottom two – with the song argument between Dannii and Louis – and they didn’t finish lower than 2nd after then. But it’s arguable whether that was accident or design.

      As for Stereo Kicks, mea culpa, I did wonder whether they tried an early bounce because of Cheryl’s comments in week two after a disastrous week one in the vote (I’m not sure if you’ll have the same support as One Direction…) but I think she just mucked up her script.

      Certainly I don’t think their treatment throughout has cried out Plan A.

  • Dean F

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Andrea topped the vote this week

    • Arthur

      I think Ben did, to be honest. I think Ben is just casually flying along under the radar – picking up votes left, right & centre. Very Cardle-esque, without much fanfare. Yes, I know Cardle was bookies favourite from the beginning, but Ben is a slow-burner that is catching fire at exactly the right time, IMO.

  • I think it becomes even clearer after tonight that Fleur is plan A. They have opened back up the competition this weekend and eased off on the ott Fleur pimping but I fully expect next weekend to be back on the full plan A push towards the final. I don’t agree with people saying they will want her to finish in the bottom 2 to give her a vote surge in the Final.

  • Lenny

    Ugh……invested all of my winnings on a Lauren-SK Bottom 2 result on Lauren to go…..at least my “Louis to lose all acts first” bet now comes in.

    • Paolobow

      Same as that Lenny – won plenty on laying Andrea B2 and backing Lauren SK B2 and blew it all! Could have got out at c. 1.1 too. Oh well could have been worse for sure.

  • Caro

    As Simon said yesterday to the Daily Star:
    “Asked who he thought would be in the final Cowell continued: “I think it’ll be Fleur, Ben and Lauren.
    “I’d like to see Stereo Kicks there.
    “It would be a great final, but Lauren has the young girls voting for her.”

    • Face

      on that point… wonder who will benefit from SK votes transfer… it seems obvious that Lauren will have a similar demo… as Simon commented on (tween and teen girls)… but as she was in the sing-off with them, might that alienate her to SK voters??

      if so which of the other 3 will see the benefit?

      • Arthur

        Well, for what it’s worth, my missus was a OTY fan. She wasn’t really interested in voting after they left the competition, but BECAUSE she had the free app voting, she said: “Oh, I might as well give my free votes to Ben from now on. He’s the only other act I like.” Just a little indication of how significant the free voting is: People who wouldn’t have bothered in previous years, now think ‘what the hell, they’re there and free, might as well use them’.

        • Face

          exactly what I mean 🙂
          with 5 free votes… I am assuming most everyone decides to keep using them… even after their fave act goes…
          SK just said on Xtra Factor that they want Ben to win… I think it was the first time they uttered something in complete harmony… will their fans listen to that?

          • Arthur

            Well – I know my missus is a very small focus group (!) – but this is in line with my theory that Ben is strolling along, picking up votes from everywhere – as their faves drop out. He might not have been red-hot fave from the beginning a la Cardle, but – especially with the free app in play – he’s the red hot not-so-dark horse, in my opinion…

          • Fudd

            If that’s the case I’m awaiting Ben’s performance of Candy with interest.

          • Arthur

            I think my missus is too… 😉

  • I’m shocked that they decided to save Lauren after so blatantly targeting her this week. I lost a four figure amount on the sing-off as well, but on the bright side, I’m certain it was Fleur only 800 votes away from the Bottom Two, which doesn’t bode well for her chances of winning. Indeed, with a Ben, Fleur and Lauren final it would be difficult to envisage anyone other than Ben winning, and I think he will have topped the vote this week by a mile. I feel a little sick at the result and I’m no longer on a 5-figure profit for the series. Will just have to aim to get back up there again with the last two weeks :).

    • EM

      Tim, intererting point. Even if the “end of journey” VT was questionable her first staging and running order slot didn’t imply they wanted her around much longer.

      Stereo Kicks were given every help and still came up short, in fact stone cold last. I wonder if they made a last minute decision to abandon them and give them up as a bad idea.

  • Sagand

    The effort put into making Fleur the destination of Lauren transfer vote is wasted if they’re both going to be in the final.

    • Vote transfer in the final will be massive if they reset the free votes for the second night. I wonder if they will aim to get lauren bottom of the vote next week to set up a fleur/ben/andrea final. That for me would represent fleurs best chance of winning

  • Dean F

    I actually missed the show tonight, just watching on youtube the sing off performances, they really had to save Lauren after that sing off wow, her best performance for a long long time, maybe of the whole series for her.

  • Scott

    One possible route – with Fleur and Lauren being so closely associated (in the VTs, Fleur hugging Lauren as they was saved in a tweet tonight) they can present Fleur as the finished popstar and Lauren as the not-quite-there option, in the same way as they did with Sam and Nicholas.

    As for the sing-off – had they wanted to push Stereo Kicks I’m sure they could have given Lauren a dud song and bad lighting. She was in gold, they were in dark blue with a song with an incredibly low note they couldn’t reach. They will have gone into the sing-off knowing what they wanted. They just couldn’t credibly do any more for Stereo Kicks and they knew it.

  • Dean F

    Ben has surprisingly gone into favouritism for the first time in the series. Considering Fleur didn’t hit bottom two, it is a surprise for me he has overtaken Fleur. Does Lauren staying instead of SK have anything to do with this? (Vote transfer from SK could go more to Ben than Fleur)

  • George

    I wouldn’t read too much into the 800 vote thing. We don’t know how far away 1st and 2nd were, I can’t imagine it was by much. Which really doesn’t rule out a huge Lauren bounce to the win. If the producers wanted it of course, which I doubt they do.

  • Donald

    Needed a drink after that. Sometimes a bit of a break and luck needed. I said earlier in the day that Lauren was worth laying at the odds as they did not seem to have done her real damage. Sweated though, was going to lay off during sing off but stuck in as she was singing well. If Stevie had survived last weekend wouldn’t have been laying Lauren this afternoon. At the odds I felt it was well worth a go and I have supported Lauren all the way and do have belief in her.

    If they let her shine as sing off proved tonight she is a little star. I have always said Simon is not a stupid A&R man and when push was at shove tonight he actually did the right thing. He would have known who was bottom.

    Last night TPTB seemed to get off track reasons unclear, maybe Mel B causing fuss after last week.

    It is all still to play for. No one is shoe in for victory yet.

    A close final means more excitement and viewers. Not for the faint hearted. I don’t like to see anyone loosing on here so commiserations to those who did.

  • Dan

    Bugger. I had SK at 43 and could have laid them off at 10 yesterday afternoon. That would have covered my losses so far and given me a bit of a profit. Haven’t lost as much as you Daniel but for what it’s worth, I feel your pain.

    The only thing that might get me to break even is if the Ben to win at 6.4 comes off.

  • Fudd

    A big question for me: Has Mel B gone rogue or is she still following a script? If the former, how might that effect how the show progresses from here? And, if the latter, what is the script saying?

    The comments towards Fleur especially yesterday were quite de-motivating which seems to go against what TPTB want.

  • They abandoned SK late last night after they knew ‘Run’. I managed to turn a four figure potential loss on the elimination to a double figure one by laying Lauren at 1.15 but my hard fought outright position on SK is down the drain. Still a good book overall but now need to waste profit buying Lauren 🙁

  • Lia

    Little Prix had their chance and blew it. Badly! When they ended dead last TPTB finally decided to let go. If Syco wants to sign them, he will. There has been a successful run at promoting acts that don’t win or even reach the final. Tonight was about Ella and Union J, who may not have reached 1D heights but are making a decent career out of 4th place finish.

    Tamera next to come. Glad to see she’s lost the Beyonce cover hair and is back at her prettiest as a brunette IMO.

    By the way, I have a very angry 8 year old at home. She is very annoyed Lauren stayed and now the kicks are gone will share her votes between Ben and Fleur.

  • Jon

    Crazy wkd. I swerved the betting as I thought an argument could be made for anyone to be bottom 2. I feel for anyone who lost on that singoff. Have to say, I didn’t see the Cowell SK vote coming! The only time I have been shocked this series, and it did feel like a genuine last minute decision (Cowell hinted at that in Xtra Factor, altho I am prob just being a sucker!).

    As a Lauren backer I am pleased she survived, although the fact that she hit the bottom 2 shows the weakness in her vote (that I desperately hoped didn’t exist lol). 3rd her best hope I’d say.

    So many mixed messages this wkd it was difficult to understand the producers thinking (did anyone see Andrea’s treatment coming?!). The only clear theme was the attempt to engineer Lauren’s soft landing out the door! Will be interesting to see if they work with her bounce or not, and consequently how Andrea is treated.

    My gut feeling is Ben is running away with this, and I’m not sure there is much anyone can do about that. Simon did appear to be belatedly backing him over Fleur this week, but I’m not sure if this is significant or not. It does feel like Ben could be ramped up a gear if required, but he may just win without getting out of 2nd.

  • David Cook

    At least we got the correct result tonight. Last night Stereo Kicks proved that eight weeks into the competition that they had barely (indeed if at all) improved on the arena audition. Presumably it was set up as a moment to shine and they fell flat on their faces. I think the bottom line is that you can’t polish a turd. It’ll be interesting to see if they get any sort of deal, and in what form after this.
    I suspect that the reason that they didn’t bother to save them this week is that they’ll probably need another sing off next week to get the final line up which they want, if the voting is as close as is being suggested. I really doubt they’ll want Andrea anywhere near the final, so they need to get rid next week, even if they can only get him second bottom. With the other three they can eliminate Andrea just on judges votes – no way could they do that if it was against Stereo Kicks. In any case there’s obviously a much better chance of getting Lauren above Andrea in the vote

  • Nugg

    Lost my £50 @ 9/2 on Mel to be first judge to lose all acts, but then when I saw the sing off prices thought that SK were overpriced at 9/2 to go so had £50 on that.

    As SK were in the bottom 2 for a third time and it was Laurens first time there, largely due to sickness, I just beleived it was a bit closer than the books had priced it, I would still have made Lauren a slight favourite to go but not as short as she was.

    Her sing off song was far better than SK , that is unquestionable.

    Also it would seem far more acceptable to leave Louis with no acts left and 4 shows to go rather than Cheryl.

  • They’re gonna paint Andrea in Italian tricolore and make him sing Volare while eating a Cornetto with every orifice next week, aren’t they? Then his second song will be an emotional diva-ballad version of Italian eurodance classic Blue Da Ba Dee, which he’ll perform painted blue, of course. (Cheryl will say “What have they done to you? You look a bit like a smurf” and Simon will giggle and say he “blue” his chances.)

    The irony is, in terms of vocal skill, I’d rank the present four Andrea > Lauren > Fleur > Ben, yet the order they’re widely expected to finish in is the exact opposite. Innuendos aside, I’ve never liked Ben or voted for him (unlike the other 3), he’s a poor man’s Joseph Whelan – and if he is walking it (8 weeks without being B2 means he must be doing well), it exemplifies why they never let Whelan through. Ben isn’t even as good a singer or artist as James Arthur, who for all my dislike of him does have a better voice and greater musicality. There’s a bad vibe I get off Ben, something slightly unpleasant, mardy, even thuggish about him. (Will he be the next James Arthur 2 years from now?) And by continental European standards he isn’t even that good-looking, the women off this country are hard-up if he counts as a pin-up (Matt Cardle and Olly were much nicer…)

    Simon saying to the press that he doesn’t think Andrea will be in the final, and that “It could be a really good final [with Stereo Kicks instead of Lauren], but Lauren has the young girls voting for her” is harsh and remarkably transparent.

    I also think Lauren may have gone tonight if Octospaff had smashed the singoff – Simon’s decision was genuine and Mel B was told to vote for SK so the final decision was left in his hands. They couldn’t justify a third singoff save after that performance. Week 8 is a perfectly acceptable point for them to drop their commercial pick if things just aren’t working out, as with Tamera last year.

    • Jon

      Have to say, I hear Ben is a very nice guy. He is extremely popular with the other contestants and their families. I believe every single person who has left has said they want him to win!

    • Jessica Hamby

      I have sid elsewhere I think he’s an average singer. He doesn’t do nuance at all.

      I don’t get a bad vibe from him but his disingenuous, wide-eyed, “did I do something good?” expression at the end of every performance stopped being endearing to me a while ago. With his round head and big eyes he looks like a baby that’s been surprised by one of its own farts.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Also Storm Lee, from I think season 2, was a class act vocally. Iirc they dyed his hair pink and made him look like an eejit and he had to sing We Built This City On Rock And Roll. It was awful, he looked like a muppet and off he went. Very similar to what they did with Blonde Electric in fact, a dumb look and a song that stopped them from showing off vocal ability.

      I wonder, if Ben has been doing as well as some people think, when it started to become clear in the voting. And why on earth would tptb want him as a winner rather than Andrea?

    • EM

      The thing is EV the whole thing is so far removed from a singing or beauty contest none of the natural abilities matter.

      First and foremost it’s a likability contest then there is a “performing above your station” aspect followed by an overcoming adversity factor and the modicum of talent tick-box.

      Its interesting to look at some of the shows biggest contestants and see how they were pigeon holed into “once had a humble job isn’t it amazing they can actually sing?”. Cardle, Arthur, Bailey, Douglas etc etc etc. It really helps and, in case you hadn’t noticed (they’ve kept it quiet), Ben used to be a van driver.

      Apart from once horrible VT Ben has played the likable part well and has been given help in that department by be portrayed as the big brother figure during the show’s run.

      He’s not had any massive overcoming adversity help bar the mentions of how he’s just been struggling to get a break.

      As for talent and looks it’s all subjective but for me he has more stage precence than most.

  • Nugg

    Something which puzzled me about SK’s performances last night.
    Both were done without any dancers and very little production…..had there been some kind of fallout between SK and Brian Friedman backstage?, did the dancers refuse to work with them ? It is kinda unheard of for a boyband to perform 2 songs on XF with zero production. If there was a fall out then obviously this wouldn’t have helped there chances of survival tonight.

    • Fudd

      The production for Just The Way You Are was meant to have female dancers, seemingly from the rehearsal photos for the guys to ‘flirt’ with while singing, but they were taken away at the last minute.

      • Nugg

        Yeah I know Fudd, but no one really said why ??

        • Sagand

          Brian said on Xtra factor Louis didn’t like it. I would guess it would all look a bit sleazy especially given what the tabloids have written about them.

          • Fudd

            Which makes me wonder what were they thinking of in the first place with that.

            Something hasn’t sat well with me in regards to Stereo Kicks’ treatment from the moment they were put together. They were either a Plan B/Plan C who never really took off or the production team dropped the ball from the start.

        • Luke

          It was said on Xtra Factor that Louis pulled the dancers.

  • EM

    So often we list all the ways an act was nuked, it’s worth looking at all the ways Stereo Kicks were helped on the Saturday show which gives some light as to why they went, despite a lot of help they were plumb last.

    1. Song choices – two very popular songs that should have been effective and relatively easy to sing. Also given a song they’d done before to acclaim.

    2. Pimp slot – Even though running order may not be as important this year they were well clear of the Strictly overlap, any potential memory holing and last to perform can easily be seen as the stars of the show.

    3. VTs – reminders of the nicknames, building our knowledge of the individuals. Boys that love their mums. Boys having a laugh as a group. Boys with a fan base. Boys Tulisa took the time to go and see. Boys who were coached on how to be winners “like Little Mix”

    4. Staging – nothing extra special but no distractions, no red and black, no fire, no weird visuals.

    5. Performance – this was changed because the original wasn’t working. If they’d been in the firing line they’d have been told to persevere with it. (Or, as thought likely earlier in the series, moved earlier in the order)

    6. Performance – they stuck to what works with them, lots of solos in the verse building to a chorus of harmonies.

    7. Comments – almost text book. Blatantly better comments than the performances deserved and Cowell set them up for the big one with Run, obviously supposed to be their moment.

    So why did they go? The clue could be in the fuss made about 800 votes in it between 3rd and 4th. The fact that was the stat mentioned suggests last place didn’t change, they were very far off being safe. When they totally underwhelmed at taking their chance and the audience didn’t bite despite everything being teed up for them then the decision was made to get rid.

    Another interesting point is for the first time I can remember we have a live voting stat about an act. Lauren was 800 votes behind third place person and there were 3.25m votes. Some maths genius can scope out a few models for what that means in terms of what might happen next week surely?

    • Fudd

      Stereo Kicks weren’t in the pimp slot; Fleur and Andrea followed them in both rounds.

      The first VT was a mess, I cringed throughout it. Eight wet-behind-the-ear boys still under mummy’s thumb incapable of looking after themselves and ‘helpfully’ being tagged with the name ‘Gross Kicks’ (along with others). The flirting towards one of the mother’s also took them away from their core demographic of teen girls. The only way they could have made that worse is if they made a move on Dermot. I have to admit I can’t recall the second.

      As commented on yesterday by Daniel, why have ‘Just the Way You Are’ highlighted above their heads rather than their name? The start to ‘Run’ was very dark (akin to tonight’s sing off) with each singer highlighted in turn before they ended up… standing in a line, despite the criticism from Mel for doing just that still relatively fresh in people’s minds. Surely they could have been a bit more inventive with Just The Way You Are, even with 24 hours notice?

      I actually thought Just The Way You Are was unduly criticised – Louis’ defence of the staging was the ‘vocals were good, though’, hardly voter friendly stuff. Obviously it was to set up a moment that never came, and the viewers saw through Mel’s bluff.

      Simon and The Powers That Be must have been nervous about Stereo Kicks’ future after they blundered with Run and prepared to send them home if required. But I wouldn’t call yesterday’s treatment helpful before that and if they wanted to help them you’d think they would have given them a kinder hand in round one, just in case anything went wrong later on.

    • EM

      As Fudd kindly pointed out remove the pimp slot comment (must be an age thing) but add in Mel B’s fickle daughter who was back proving how popular the Kicks were after sometime batting for the other side.

      • Fudd

        I had to check myself before posting – I’d forgotten Fleur had followed them as well; I thought it was just Andrea.

        I wonder if Mel’s daughter knew who she was supporting week to week? 😀

    • Donald

      SK never really got going properly, struggled through the live shows, saved, pimped etc. Fleur is the opposite and has grown to at least fit reasonably comfortably within the pimping.

      Lauren only 800 votes off with two okayish songs and very little help for weeks on end now.

      Would love to know what really influences the voting during those vital 20 minutes on a Sunday night.

      Mel B comments got a serious edit as did few other comments.

      Ben not much help to be top two and Fleur pimped there, Andrea bounced with TPTB not going in for the kill, Lauren was 800 votes off in 3.25 m votes. Tiny margins. Who was only 800 ahead is the big big question though, If we take that SK were bottom anyway and that they would not have minded Andrea being there maybe it was Fleur hence no five minute warning only locked it down the minute she was safe in case it swung back again. Not maths but a plausible possibility. Song choice going to be very important next weekend.

      • EM

        Fascinating isn’t it – if the voting went like this

        1. 1.2 million votes
        2. 800,000 votes
        3. 500,800 votes
        4. Lauren 500,000 votes
        5. Stereo Kicks 250,000 votes

        It really is all to play for still

        • Donald

          Indeed, don’t think there is a real runaway, average vote 650,000, put 4th on average, put Stereo Kicks say 30% below average and then divide out that 30% amongst the top three. Then counter in fact of 5 free app votes and what % all votes going one act. Will look at phone polls this week past few years tomorrow and try come up with some more detailed figures based on previous years figures and analysis. Will pass away flight time in the morning. best get to bed or will never get up in time.

  • As much as I don’t believe Fleur is legit third from the bottom, it’s most likely her. Ben is more inoffensive and Andrea must have bounced like a rubber ball.

    I hope to see Fleur and Lauren in the final. OTY too but that can’t be arranged anymore.

  • EM

    Last comment of the night.

    At times like this it’s good to think of others, especially someone who has consistently backed the loser, someone who has declared love in a very public way, been proved foolish, bravely declares a new allegence and has once again been proved wrong. Someone who must now be feeling confused, humiliated and lonely.

    Pray for Mel B’s daughter #prayformelbsdaughter

    • Fudd

      The three horsemen of The X Factor apocalypse:
      1) The Walton-Akister Memorial Makeup-Chair-Next-to-Ben-Haenow of Doom
      2) The Three-Tier Cake Tray of Incipient Surfeit
      3) The support of Mel B’s daughter/s

  • Stu

    The question is; do the producers really want a Ben win?

    If not, will they try to make Lauren bounce as much as she can? She’s not had the best treatment but she’s never really been targeted either. I’d say she’s a more commercial act than Ben. She can be moulded into any kind of popstar Syco want. Ben would just be another Matt Cardle surely?

    I do think Simon saved Lauren because she has more chance of bouncing over Andrea next week whereas if Stereo Kicks were saved, they could’ve easily landed bottom of the vote next week.

    To answer the question in Daniel’s review, they won’t treat Andrea favourably next week. Simon doesn’t want him there full stop. He was probably biting his tongue when praising Andrea last night plus he refusing to give him a standing ovation despite a great performance. Let’s also not forget the face he pulled when Andrea was announced as safe. I bet he wished the camera didn’t catch his facial expression. I think the plan for next week will be to bounce Lauren as much as they can (pimp slot?) in order to get her above Andrea, engineer his comedown and if there is a sing-off maybe it’ll be him vs Fleur with her bouncing during the final. Although the problem with this is that is Ben would be the only remaining act to never land in the bottom two. Surely keeping both Fleur and Ben safe next week is the producers’ priority?

    As for the third place act who was 800 votes away from the bottom two, I’m confident that was Fleur. She didn’t have a WOW performance (compared to her other performances) and Ben and Andrea were constantly name-checked as the stand-outs.

  • Scott

    One other point – the sing-off song and staging for Stereo Kicks was really unhelpful. I assume that isn’t all arranged overnight and that they would have had this song prepared some way in advance. Does that infer if true that producers were happy to ditch them if they finished bottom two early doors this week?

  • Alen

    I really do think it was the plan to let Lauren go but Simon changed his mind last minute after her perfect sing-off.

    Plus I think it was tactical. SK have been in the bottom2 3 times, another bounce is unlikely. Lauren could bounce while Andrea could come down from his bounce.

    IF Fleur was third last night I guess she’ll get the second pimp slot and Lauren the first one to bounce over Andrea.

    In the final it would be easy to deramp Lauren. And I don’t think they even care if Ben or Fleur wins as long as it’s one of them tbh.

  • I think Ben topped the vote without question and I wish I covered him for the win. There’s no value in it now. If as speculated fleur was the one who narrowly missed the bottom 2 we can expect the mother of all pimpings for her this weekend.

  • Heisenberg

    Very well done or commiserations to all, depending on how you fared this weekend.

    I made a very bad call before Saturday’s show concerning Stereo Kicks. Apologies to anyone who may have been influenced by it. Earlier in the week I had taken on the SK vs Andrea match bet at 13/8 and, after buying into the feeling of momentum as well as the positive song choices, I took a back-to-lay approach in the outright at 9/1, believing they would progress and be much shorter odds by today. I’m back to level for the series and that’s where I’ll leave it.

    From a neutral persecutive, I would love to see Andrea make the final – he’s been great entertainment value so far. As for Lauren, if only she shared Andrea’s nationality – we’d be hearing Louis call her Little Italy every week – let her return home to her family already! They don’t have ‘strep throat’ at the Langham Hotel.

    • Jessica Hamby

      If Ben doesn’t win I’m sat on a tasty profit but if, as the majority here seem to think, he wins then I’m on a negligible profit.

      Oh well!!!!

      Like you I think I’ll leave it here. I’m glad I didn’t go in last night and I’ve had a hell of a ride but from now on I think I’m going to limit my bets to a £2 maximum. That way I’ll have an interest but it won’t actually matter to me.

      Maybe next year, in the early stages, if there are easy pickings, I might change my mind but otherwise I’ll leave it to braver hearts than mine.

  • fused

    I liked one of Lauren’s performances for the first time this week, I thought her ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ was very nice. It would have looked ridiculous if they saved Stereo Kicks instead of her after that sing-off. Not that looking ridiculous has ever stopped them, but there are limits, and despite every effort, Stereo Kicks were just not “happening”. I think the fact they were still trying to give them nicknames and some sort of identity at this stage in the game speaks volumes. Their exit was long overdue really, they’ve been crap throughout.

    I actually think it’s not that bad a top 4 now Stereo Kicks have gone, all 4 of them are OK. The only problem is none of them stand out. By that I mean I don’t think there’s any obvious frontrunner among them, or any one that has a clearly larger fanbase, when most years there is.

    Everyone will have their personal favourites among them of course. Mine’s Fleur, and my second favourite is Ben, so I am pleased that they’ve managed to go the longest without being in the bottom 2, I never really expected that.

  • I have a new theory for the change of heart.

    Simon needed to save money and saw an easy way to halve the catering budget.

    (Either that or the money saved needs to be spent on cake this weekend.)

  • Dean F

    I have a slight belief as to why Mel B was told to choose SK to stay. It gives more drama of course, it gives publicuty as SK could be seen as tactical voting and it also gives Cheryl the chance to send Andrea home next week as a kind of payback if we assume Andrea was clear of the danger zone and whoever was only 800 votes ahead of Lauren could be the B2 next week.

  • Dean F

    What was intriguing in the VTs is when the fans got to say who they voted for we saw what demographics they are aimed at e.g Lauren had a bunch of kids and young teens on Skype (strange as I think older viewers would like her too to an extent), Ben had the 20s to 40s women which IMO is the age range that votes the most etc etc.

    • It blows my “delighting the demo” theory out of the water though. I believed that this year, teens were more likely to vote with a free mobile app. In the past they’d have either had to get the rents permission to use a house phone, or they’d have had to blow a ton of top-up on a premium rate call. It appears that wasn’t the case. I just naively assumed she’d have 12-17 year old girls on her side.

  • David Cook

    I think that going to deadlock last night sets up things nicely for a sing off next week. It may have been easy for Mel just to save Lauren, but by going to deadlock it proved Lauren was second bottom and within 800 votes of safety. That gives an incentive for Lauren fans to vote knowing they have a good chance of getting her into the final. They’ll be hoping to get Andrea bottom, in which case no doubt it’ll go to deadlock again just to make it look fair. If Andrea is second bottom I think they’ll just eliminate Andrea on judges votes. Mel would save Andrea in any case, but Simon’s already set the scene for him favoring Lauren. Louis of course ‘will do the right thing’.

  • I have a theory that if TPTB decide to have a singoff, they could take a huge gamble and try and engineer a Ben vs Fleur b2 to give the illusion of a close contest and go into the final on a perceived level playing field to make things interesting. Of course it could go wrong and we could end up with an obvious winner after next week

  • Henry VIII

    I lost money on that sing-off. Cowell has become responsible in his dotage. Gone are the days when Katie Waissel fell to the ground, said “you know what sod it”, and started laughing, all during her sing-off, and was then saved.

    I don’t think the 1.79 drift was evidence of insiders. I thought Lauren might escape B2 and now we know she almost did. Unfortunately I also thought that if she was B2 against SK she was out.

    Here btw is the Katie classic:

    • Dean F

      Haha that was brilliant, I remember that

      I was half thinking that last night Simon maybe did base it on that singoff and felt Lauren gave a performance of a life time, but maybe not when you are watching something like that

      That said, this year maybe aside from Jake and Paul when Simon and TPTB were at their best for what seemed to be 2 awkwards acts for them who they didn’t want on tour, the whole nuking has not been that bad of contestants this year. Its all been rather nice and to be honest I have found it a better show for that. Much better than last year IMHO.

  • Scott

    As with any shock like this I find myself questioning my assumptions on the show, and of the role the producers felt Stereo Kicks would play. Thankfully, having seen Lauren’s sing-off performance and the start of Stereo Kicks I figured something was up (gold lighting vs dark lighting and shoddy start) and cashed out. But there was a huge temptation to pile on Lauren going out beforehand as it seemed so certain.

    So I find myself asking what producers’ intentions were this week? Were they hoping to push them through and late on realised it wasn’t going to fly and withdrew their support, was the decision clear from the start of the week or were they never convinced Stereo Kicks were a prospect for the final?

    Certainly on the night it was the right choice to kick them out, in the same respect as getting rid of Rough Copy and Tamera. They need the final to be a good show and to have dependable acts who can deliver. Lauren had a couple of wobbly weeks but that sing-off showed she can. Ben and Fleur are great performers for different reasons. Andrea of course would be perfectly capable of singing them all out of the water but is not in producers’ favours. But whichever way it goes now, you have four acts who can deliver a solid primetime Saturday night ITV show just before Christmas when the viewing figures and ad rates are at their highest.

    Stereo Kicks were given a long push and if they want to persist with it they can relaunch them some way down the line. But they just weren’t delivering and were the weakest act by some way, as Saturday and Sunday proved.

  • Nissl

    I’ve skipped most of the lives this year due a lack of strong interest in any of the contestants (though Fleur seems to have really come on from the clips I’ve been checking) and the cost of watching a UK show in real time and decent quality from abroad.

    With that caveat… my thought is that SK may have just consistently polled and sold worse than acts like Rough Copy, Union J, and (from USXF) Restless Road and Emblem 3. None of those acts have proven very valuable to Cowell, certainly not as valuable as the total benefit he gets from maintaining XF ratings as much as possible. Add in that he already has Collabro on the books for this year, and Cowell may have been content to let this one go in favor of trying a more unique formulation the next time around.

    • Henry VIII

      Nissl when I’m abroad I use filmon.com. It’s poor quality and with not enough bandwidth for all its viewers.

      You indicate you can pay somewhere to watch UK TV abroad with decent quality?

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