X Factor Week 9 Elimination: The semi conundrum

With last week’s quarter-final bringing a few twists – Andrea returning from zero to hero, Lauren being saved over Stereo Kicks – there’s an intriguing amount of uncertainty about this weekend’s events. Crucially, I’ll be waiting for Dermot to confirm whether there’s a repeat of the 2013 innovation of a singoff at this final-four stage.

The surprise among the song choice revelations yesterday was Fleur East doing ‘Uptown Funk’, a tune not yet released in the UK. As EM noted in our discussion thread, this feels like a risk – especially as this stage of the competition – though on the plus side, as Stoney pointed out, her uptempo tunes stand out in an otherwise ballad-heavy programme of songs we’ve heard many times before.

Lauren is a shade odds-on in the elimination market after her fourth of five placing last week. At the last four stage, it had been the case that every year since records began (2008), the act polling bottom among the remaining contestants the previous week failed to rise above any rivals – until last year. Luke Friend bounced well above Rough Copy having finished just behind them in week 8, and survived in their singoff duel.

We know that Lauren was behind the third-placed act by only the smallest of margins last week, which means a Luke Friend scenario is not out of the question. If there is a singoff tomorrow, Lauren needs to come in the top two to avoid it, which would overturn the trends. Her song choices of the Girls Aloud version of ‘Stay Another Day’ and ‘Story of My Life’ don’t particularly inspire, but it feels like her fortunes hinge on the treatment of Andrea, second favourite in the elimination market.

I took some of the 11/4 on offer for Andrea to go earlier in the week just because it felt like a pricing error; he is now 7/4. A bottom two appearance in week 7 tells us that producers have already brought the initial public favourite below this weekend’s rivals, before they appeared to work with the grain of the bounce in week 8.

Quite what producers do with him this week is open to question after the gold paint, donut deramp and three pimp slots. Many of our commenters, though not all, are of the opinion that they will want to put the brakes on the momentum of last week’s bounce. That makes sense, though it was surprising that producers helped him out as much as they did last week. His song choices are ‘O Holy Night’ – which was the Christmas song given to runners-up Andy Abrahams and Rhydian in their respective finals – and the far more contemporary ‘Wrecking Ball’, which could go either way.

The consensus seems to be that the most consistently pimped act, Fleur East, was the one who just escaped the bottom two last week, though this is no guarantee it was her. If so, that presents producers with a dilemma. I think they really would like her to win, despite the often better commercial record of placed finishers in the contest. The question is: are the public buying it? No act since tallies started in 2008 has won having finished third at the final five stage – indeed the only eventual winners to be beaten at this point were Little Mix, who were not far behind a bouncing Amelia Lily before returning to the top of the phone vote in the semi-final.

If producers are hoping to get Fleur to the top in this year’s semi, which I would’ve guessed so, the choice of previously-unreleased ‘Uptown Funk’ is a surprising way to go about it. The song won’t be known by the vast majority of the audience, and doesn’t show off a compelling melody nor need for stellar vocals. However, it’s all-round performance that Fleur excels in, and it does at least offer the opportunity of another big, upbeat production. She will also sing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. Tackling Mariah Carey is a challenge, but it is the most popular festive song of the last 20 years.

Ben has a more predictable set of songs, especially once you check out what another rock vocalist, Josh Kracjik, covered in X Factor’s first US season: ‘Hallelujah’ at the semi-final stage and ‘Please Come Home For Christmas’ in the final (Ben performed Josh’s other semi-final song, ‘Come Together’, last week). I tend to find predictability more reassuring at this late stage, though production and staging can always make a difference. Ben is the deserving outsider in the elimination market before the show.

At current prices, I don’t have strong views on this week’s elimination betting before we have seen the semi. Having backed Andrea at bigger odds earlier in the week, my current plan is to build a rounded book, reflecting the caution and intrigue producers have instilled in punters after last week. Let us know your continuing thoughts below.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

102 comments to X Factor Week 9 Elimination: The semi conundrum

  • darylll

    Its a fight between fleur,Lauren and Andrea as Ben will top the votes and be pulling away from the rest in my opinion

  • i agree – i reallyt do not know which way they are going to play it,,,, have backed Andrea and Lauren at long odds this week so that I can lay whichever one appears to get pimped (if either do) while Ben/Fleur remain my main profitmakers (although i have eased up on Fleur this week in favour of Ben)

    I still feel that if they allow Andrea into the final he could end up winning it through floating voters who have not been avid watchers all season. This must be a big risk for them and is why – if they are still “anti andrea” I feel a sing off is mandatory for TPTB that week.

    If they have no sing-off then my conclusion is that – at this stage – they have stopped minding who actually wins and are giving everyone their heads …. i simply do not believe they can guarantee getting their target bottom this week … bottom two YES , plumb bottom, NO

    What does this mean?

    For me … ahead of the staging ….

    Sing-off … Lay Andrea in the outrights … Top up on Fleur (they will not let her go in a sign off)

    No Sing-off … Lay Fleur in the outrights (or back her to go – she is overpriced there) and keep Andrea very much “on side” in the outrights.

  • AlisonR

    I think it’s too close to call. Will watch closely to see who is most pimped.

  • Stu

    Surely the one thing producers want the most from this weekend is Fleur in the final? A final of Ben/Lauren/Andrea doesn’t offer much Saturday Night entertainment if it is ballad after ballad. Going with this idea, I’m sure a sing-off will be put in place. Even if she finished far behind the others in the vote (like Rough Copy) she could justifiably be saved 3-1 considering she’s never been in the sing-off and her likely competitors, Andrea and Lauren, have both had one previous appearance.

    If there is no sing-off, I’m inclined to believe that Andrea was the one who just scraped past the bottom two last week. Has anyone actually questioned the reasoning behind Dermot telling the audience about how close the voting was? Surely casual viewers would’ve assumed the contestant just scraping through was Andrea due to his bottom two appearance last week?

    Anyway, I would be really shocked to see either of the Overs go this weekend. I think Ben is definitely pulling away from the back (unless producers took their eye of the ball and Andrea did an “Amelia Lily” last week) and even at this late stage, would producers risk losing Fleur before the final?

  • Donald

    I am travelling while show on tonight but will catch up on it later. All too close to call especially with only 800 votes in it last week between third and fourth and we know Lauren achieved that with okayish songs and not great slots so whoever was 800 ahead of her far from safe. Wonder with a 1D song tonight is there a switch from SK followers to try get them to Lauren.

    Good interesting semi final ahead tonight. Being on both Lauren and Ben at good odds at least guaranteed one in the final and I really hope Stoney gets there also. Good luck to all this weekend.

    Wrecking Ball is seriously anticipated in my books… what will they do?

    • Thanks mate I’m in spain for my dads 70th party tonight so won’t be able to watch the show. But I’ll be keeping tabs on the internet. Pretty certain they won’t allow Fleur to go this weekend. Then hopefully Andrea goes this weekend andi can use the winnings to cover myself for the final. All depends how this weekend goes.

      • Donald

        Enjoy the party, happy birthday to Dad. Hopefully works out like that.. I intend to cover myself for the final also but waiting to see how tonight goes first, Hope the old wrecking ball does the trick tonight, it will be priceless if they put him swinging. Mel B seems to be batting hard though.

  • Face

    i think Fleur may no longer be doing Uptown Funk…

    just been on UK iTunes… as many of you will know the songs are available for pre-order (you cant preview/listen till about 7pm)…

    interestingly for 7 of the 8 songs it shows (as it normally does) the cover picture, title of song and artist name… i.e. pic of Lauren looking girly in pink, with her name in large font for ‘Story of my life’… same deal for her other song, both Ben’s, both Andrea’s and Fleur’s ‘All I want for Christmas’…

    however no sign of ‘uptown funk’… instead, we get a pic of the XF logo, Fleur’s name and rather than the song title we get ‘Saturday 6th December – Second Performance’…
    assume it means the song has been changed last minute?!

    • Stu

      It’s possible. Didn’t Brian Friedman say Simon hated Fleur’s rehearsal? Changing a song a day before the semi-final is extremely risky (although the conspiracy theorist in me wonders whether this will be an excuse for pleading with viewers to vote for her because she’s far from safe). Or just maybe the studio recording of her track hasn’t been mastered yet!

    • Josh

      It’s finally being updated to ‘Uptown Funk’ now, with a 30 second preview too.

  • It does seem an odd decision to do Uptown Funk before it’s a hit – but it is instantly catchy and is going to be the biggest hit of the next few months. If Fleur does it well, it will sound new and exciting.

  • General Hogbuffer

    Will be interesting to see how they play this. If they honestly are not bothered who will make the final then I would say there is no sing off. Also, if Fleur is polling well enough guaranteed NOT to come last I think there may be no sing off, as a bottom 2 save would damage her at this late stage I think. But otherwise I think they will do a sing off and save Fleur over anyone if needed – outright if she’s last and deadlock if she’s 3rd.

  • Martin

    There’s a video of the contestants singing a version of the 12 days of Christmas rewritten to fit in with mr Kiplings sponsor. I’d link but my phone is playing up. I found it on digtal spy.

    • Face

      just viewed it… I am sure it’s supposed to be a positive endearing thing…. however… it’s hilariously awful… they all look like rank amateurs and sound out of tune!!

  • massive drift in the odds from Lauren this afternoon 9.4 out to 14.5 ….suggests she might not have a favorable running order? …. corresponds with Fleur coming in from 3.0 to 2.75

  • Dean F

    If Fleur has a more favourable running order than Lauren tonight that would be a better position since week 4.

  • Natasha

    Really looking forward to see how tonight’s show goes and am eagerly awaiting to see what they do with wrecking ball!

  • Keen Observer

    If Fleur is on last I think it makes it even more likely that she only just escaped B2 last week. 7/4 for the win seems very short taking that into consideration.

    • Or they decided to ease off last weekend for a full on pimping tonight and for the final to ensure the win. James Arthur had full on pimping in the latter stages despite never being in danger of slipping back into b2

  • Just looking at the song choices, my advance guess would be they want Lauren out (everyone else including Andrea has good, really suitable songs, she doesn’t) and there thus won’t be a singoff.

    Why don’t they make Christmas songs as good as All I Want For Christmas Is You anymore?

  • Lenny

    Singoff just confirmed. Indicates to me that they have a target. My gut says it’s Andrea, but I’m not betting until this is over tonight.

  • Curtis

    The hell is this? Andrea in the pimp slot again?

  • Josh

    Woah, second Andrea pimp slot in a row?! Are we having another Sam bailey reluctant backing?

  • tpfkar

    Not a clue for tonight – I’ve got so much wrong so far. But sing-off confirmed, and Fleur under strictly bus…

  • DannyCraig

    Fleur up first. I think she might be in danger to be in the b2

  • DannyCraig

    I’m hoping it’s because they want a fleur vs andrea b2 this week

  • Fudd

    Fleur first but the start of the show is very padded so the main part of Strictly has finished before she performs… though the BBC’s promise of a Christmas trailer post show may delay some crossover.

  • Jon

    That weren’t a great song for Fleur in my opinion. Exposes her lack of range…

  • DannyCraig

    Fleur @ 8/1 to be next eliminated looks big after that staging / under the strictly bus…

  • Curtis

    Oh my God! She’s being red and blacked. The song is exposing her vocals. What is this?

  • Fudd

    The random drumbeat from Paul’s Don’t Stop Me Now has returned in All I Want For Christmas.

  • Dean F

    My guess is Ben and Andrea may swap in 2nd half and Ben gets pimp

  • Fudd

    Cheryl and Dermot mentioning ‘bribery’ after the story about bias towards Fleur today???

  • Curtis

    Well, popped a little bit on Fleur to go. 8/1 definitely too big after that.

    • Fudd

      I can’t see them letting Fleur go but I think bottom two is a distinct possibility.

      • Curtis

        They probably won’t, however they used every trick in the book there. Sub-optimal song choice, red and black, lukewarm judge’s comments with distracting arguments, death slot during Strictly overlap. Maybe their plans have changed? 8/1 definitely seemed long.

  • Lots of negativity here for fleur yet Ben drifts below her in best odds

  • Jon

    Another poor song choice…

  • Natasha

    That dress did not do fleur any favours. A slutty red PVC dress!!! Lauren was off at there end there.

    Fleur v Lauren B2 tomorrow is plausible

  • Curtis

    Lauren’s second song gets the Simon Cowell wink of approval. We’ll see.

  • Fudd

    Mel: You haven’t had your moment; I’m waiting for your peak…

    Set up for Story of My Life? Most of the comments were de-motivating again; she got lost in the staging and vocally she was below par.

    Was Simon’s ‘Fleur/Lauren’ blunder deliberate or accidental? I don’t believe anything is real with this show anymore!

  • Fudd

    Lauren gets a letter from her grandparents. Fleur gets a visit from her dad. Ben gets the whole family.

  • Fudd

    Fleur: I want to get to the final.
    Lauren: I don’t want to be in the bottom two again.
    Ben: I want to win.

    Different objectives there.

  • Curtis

    This show is incredibly middling so far. Very disappointing because I love Christmas songs! What’s going on?

    • Fudd

      All I Want For Christmas was given the Don’t Stoip Me Now Random Drumbeat and that’s the only uptempo number we’ve had. Stay Another Day is about the vocal harmony which you can’t do as a soloist and Please Come Home for Christmas, while a good song, is hardly a foot-tapper.

      It’s close to ballad central again.

  • Stu

    Am I the only one who didn’t see it as negative for Fleur? Maybe I’m being blind. She wasn’t pimped at all but I didn’t see her being thrown under the bus. Two standing ovations and Simon saying she has a cracker coming up. I do think bottom two is likely though – especially with Andrea getting either the pimp slot or at least a late slot.

    • Phil

      I agree that it wasn’t as bad as people seem to think. It’s almost like people are looking for negatives. I thought she was good, her vocals were surprisingly good (especially the high notes where she has struggled in the past) and the whole staging was fun.

      Lauren was boring – complete memory hole.

  • Josh

    Glowing feedback there, possibly memory-holing Lauren?

  • Face

    Louis appeals for votes for Ben… Mel loved it too… Chazza calls him Mr Nice… Simon says he is like Olly
    Have TPTB decided that he is unstoppable and are now firmly on the Ben bus…

  • Stu

    Is Fleur being on first a sign of confidence from the producers? Maybe I’m not being completely objective with my thinking but I don’t see why producers wouldn’t want Fleur in the final. I wonder how much the order will change in the second half. Lauren-Fleur-Andrea-Ben?

  • DannyCraig

    He’s Italian, and he eats food. Haven’t seen this VT before…..

  • Lenny

    Andrea’s VT focusing on food and includes him making pig noises? Not a good sign for him.

  • Fudd

    And Ben’s Italian Nonna is spoken to before the Italian Andrea makes an appearance.

  • Stu

    Fleur has so far be shown in Lauren’s VT hugging her when she was crying after the sing-off and in Andrea’s VT joking around with him.

    I don’t think she’s fallen out of favour with the producers.

  • Natasha

    Everything about Andrea and his performance was extremely positive (apart from the VT) First round goes to him hands down

    • Fudd

      “You didn’t eat the pug?”

      That’s even more random than the donuts comments!

      That struck me as ‘give Andrea a hand but keep an eye on the bounce’.

  • Dean F

    Round 1 looks like they are saying bye to Lauren. Round 2 to come

  • Stu

    Ranked in favouritism after first round:

    1. Ben
    2. Andrea (VT was negative)
    3. Fleur
    4. Lauren

  • Curtis

    Lauren and Fleur doing a swap for the second round. Poor Lauren, she cannot get a running order break.

  • Keen Observer

    I think they know Fleur may be bottom two here and are trying to get Andrea ahead of Lauren so they avoid Andrea vs Fleur B2. Just a thought. Feels like Ben may be miles clear.

  • Dean F

    Lauren for 3rd week running goes first at some point in the running order. Exactly same as last week. 2nd then 1st. She has to be a goner.

  • Curtis

    Is it a rule that Lauren performances have to have obnoxious backing vocals now?

  • Fudd

    Lauren singing the lyrics “And I’ll be gone, gone tonight…”

    They’re targeting her, surely?

  • Stu

    Lauren getting the video in the background of someone who has already won/been eliminated = no need to vote for her anymore.

  • Dean F

    Non vote motivating comments for Lauren. Great staging on both songs though but did have an end feel to it.

  • Curtis

    So she’s gone.

  • Fudd

    Simon says Lauren doesn’t show enough emotion then we have Fleur blubbling in a VT.

  • Curtis

    Have I just bet on Fleur to be eliminated and Fleur to win the whole competition in the same night? You’d better believe it!

  • Dean F

    That was what you call a set up for that performance.

  • Phil

    That was incredible. She can’t be going anywhere after that.

  • Stu

    If Fleur leaves on the back of that performance, I’ll eat my house.

  • Ben Cook

    I think that may have just won it for Fleur. I already know the song quite well though..

  • Fudd

    I actually want to go back and watch Fleur’s performance again right now and I don’t like the song. Has that given her enough impetus to overall Ben? Well he has Hallelujah in the pimp slot so…

  • Fudd

    And we have FLEUR, who has seemingly either appeared in everyone else’s VT or been mentioned by the judges prior/post everyone else’s performance, sitting with Andrea having a friendly chat.

    They haven’t sat Andrea on a wrecking ball then? Shame. 😀

  • Ben Cook

    Andrea’s had his best night in ages. He is still in the game. Great semi-final actually. Lauren has got to be toast. Not even worth doing a sing-off.

  • General Hogbuffer

    I think it’s clear that Lauren will go. The first song was memory holed by Ben, the second had a not-so-subtle end of journey vibe with the best bits clip in the back ground. And both songs were in the wrong key for her, so she was shite in the lower register.

    And while I agree that Fleur may have just won the competition, I don’t believe for one second all that disingenious ‘we changed it at the last minute, we didn’t even know the song’ spiel. As we have heard, someone on the Voice US sung it, don’t tell me they weren’t aware of that…

  • Stu

    Lauren looks more or less a certainty to be in the sing-off but I really have no idea who will join her out of Fleur and Andrea. Andrea has been bottom two before and had an unfavourable VT and some subtly negative comments but pulled out some great performances. Fleur was praised for having one of the top 3 best talent show performances ever but was in an earlier slot and had no vocal moments in her second song…

  • Alan

    Tonight was all about showing Fleur as a pop star. Ben is the runaway winner.

  • Jon

    Agree that Lauren is toast and a sing off is pointless. Very interesting to see who she ends up facing off. Looks like they are pushing Fleur, but will it be enough?

  • Fudd

    Of course, what tonight means is Fleur can perform in the pimp slot next week without accusations of bias.

  • Curtis

    The sing-off will be Lauren and Andrea. 99% that Fleur did enough with that second performance.

  • Stu

    I wonder if the “James Arthur situation” could finally happen this week. If Fleur ends up in the bottom two, will we see Simon banging on the judges desk telling viewers to vote for the talent?

  • Dean F

    Is there a chance they’d save Lauren instead of Andrea if that is indeed the B2. I believe the surpress of Lauren was to ensure she doesn’t bounce above Fleur

  • Fudd

    I notice it’s back to 16 or over next year rather than this year’s 14. Makes me wonder why they changed it. For Charlie in Stereo Kicks???

  • There’s a singoff? My guess would be they’re using it to try and bounce Fleur over Andrea next week. Otherwise they could just let Lauren go without a singoff. Given how close she was to (presumably) Fleur last week, they must not be confident enough to simply eliminate the person who comes 4th this week.

    Fleur in everyone’s VT and being mega-pimped with (essentially) her own song, defining it the way Misha B defined Jessie J’s Who Are You by making it her own (and singing it better) a few days before it was released. Louis went a bit overboard with his praise. Andrea being homesick and served a pug for Christmas dinner. Lauren getting journey’s-ended and rocking Yulia Tymoshenko hair. Lots to pore over, most of which I’ve already forgotten again. Obviously this is Ben’s to lose. No doubt some will question the authenticity of him going totes emosh on us at the end, but it was real. Don’t cry Ben, I’ll make it better.

  • Martin

    I hate to say it because I’ve spent the whole competition disliking her but dammit Fleur just did the performance of the series with ‘Uptown Funk’ tonight. There’s a lot that could turn people off of voting for it but surely a performance like that will see her safely through?!

    Agreeing with the consensus that lauren is gone. If it wasn’t for Mel’s comment about her lack of a moment that would be journey complete for lauren – she was out of her depth and it’s best for her to go, I think.

    Andrea’s ‘wrecking ball’ was amazing – my personal favourite of his so far – I will be gutted if he goes. Ben is boring to me now – they laid it on with the charity and family shtick but his pimp slot felt flat. If he is running away with the vote as people expect, it is a funny way to treat him. I’d take a small bet in him being bottom two, couldn’t say it with confidence though.

  • George

    Fleur is #32 on iTunes already. I feel like she won the show tonight.

 Leave a reply...