X Factor 2014: Andrea’s Journey – from Pug Lover to Pug Eater

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s Faustini. Here at Sofabet we’re often accused of overanalysing the X Factor, but actually we suspect there’s probably a lot we don’t spot. This year we think we’ve noticed a new tactic. We think producers have been subliminally associating Andrea with the idea of a sickly excess of food.

We first noticed it with Simon’s “listening to you makes me feel like I’ve eaten six donuts” comments in week 3. Its latest manifestation was Simon’s comment to Andrea last Saturday, picking up on the scene in his VT in which Dermot had handed Andrea a pug in a pizza restaurant. “You didn’t eat the pug, did you?”

pugs-version-02

[All illustrations courtesy of Sofabet commenter Heisenberg]

“Like pugs, definitely” was the phrase with which Andrea had first endeared himself to the British public in his room audition, as comedy Italian tune ‘That’s Amore’ – a recurring auditory motif in Andrea’s journey – played in the background. Brandishing a Mel B doll from his boyhood Spice Girls fan days, Andrea was portrayed as eccentric, setting up the staple payoff of astonished expressions from the judges when it turned out he could actually sing.

At this stage, Andrea’s intended role in the competition seemed clear enough: a novelty act with the added benefit of being able to hold a tune. Our suspicion is that producers were surprised by the warmth of the audience reaction he got in the arena auditions and moved him up the pecking order, relegating Paul Akister – described in the arena rounds by Louis as “the best boy we’ve got” – to the beta in his category.

The rest of the audition stages focused on his ability to elicit tears from the female judges. Cheryl and Mel were beside themselves at bootcamp during Andrea’s ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength’, and the endearing Italian did exactly the same to Mel and Emma Bunton at judges’ houses with ‘And I Am Telling You’. Andrea had charmingly VTed at judges’ houses that in comparison to the handsome other boys, he felt like “the male version of Bridget Jones”.

bridget-faustini

Andrea was the breakout star and most talked about act when the live shows came around, at which point he had been propelled from double-figure odds to short-priced favouritism. This was a position he cemented with a pimp slot rendition of ‘Earth Song’ in the first live show.

We have to assume he topped the vote – the statistics are released after the final – as in week 2, producers began the task of dragging him down. One way of doing this was to pigeonhole him singing “diva” songs from the likes of Whitney Houston, and use that word liberally about his performances. But that was only one of the more obvious tactics.

Simon commented after ‘One Moment In Time’ that Andrea pulls funny faces while he sings, a theme that would be repeated in the weeks to come. Another recurring buzzword around Andrea in the live shows has been “bear”. The first time we remember him being called a “big Italian bear” is by Jake Quickenden at judges’ houses, and it was clearly meant entirely affectionately. But it’s interesting to wonder why it evidently made its way onto producers’ Andrea buzzword playlist – connotations, perhaps, around a certain kind of male sexuality, rotund physique and/or voracious appetite?

Andrea’s week 2 VT had shown him eating fish and chips, and jokingly comparing it negatively to pasta. If we’re right to think that producers have been using food as a subliminal message around Andrea, it’s interesting to wonder when the idea occurred to them.

Simon’s comments in week 3, after Andrea’s ‘Listen’, included this line: “the thing about you is, and I kind of mean this as a compliment, is that when I want to eat five donuts, after listening to you it’s like I’ve eaten six”. Here’s how we parsed that at the time:

On one level, the purpose of the obscure donuts comment is to puncture the mood without seeming harsh, by moving people from basking in Andrea’s performance to wondering what on earth Simon’s on about. You can read more into it if you’re so inclined. How would you feel after eating six donuts? A bit queasy. It’s too much; hard to digest. Donuts are sweet and tempting, but deep down we know they’re not good for us. We could go on, but suffice to say we suspect this wasn’t just something Simon blurted out as it popped into his head.

Sofabet commenter EM developed the theme, adding:

The doughnuts comment was more akin to aversion therapy. Part of hypnosis to stop smoking is to plant suggestions that cigarettes taste terrible. Next time you try a cig it makes you feel sick. Next time you hear Andrea theres every chance some people will feel queasy because the suggestion is planted that he’s like eating six doughnuts. Very clever, maybe even cruel.

Week 4’s VT showed Andrea visiting an Italian deli in London and shovelling pasta into his mouth (this was also the week they gave him horns and a pig’s tail and painted him gold). In week 5, he went home to Rome where his mum prepared a feast for him, as subtitles informed us “you’ve lost too much weight”; we also saw a shopkeeper handing him a plate of pizza with the words “this food is to support you”. Week 6 had him touring London on a double-decker with Mel as he tucked into a heavily-laden three-tier cake tray.

sickly-excess

Is it fanciful to suggest that all this was intended to provoke this kind of reaction, from comments to an article about Andrea on the Daily Mail website between weeks 6 and 7?

andrea-sick

It was between weeks 6 and 7 that we published an article calling attention to the food theme for Andrea – with a hat-tip to Sofabet commenter Jess, we christened it the “donut deramp”.

That week, we also posted a piece discussing what producers were trying to achieve in seemingly going out of their way to remind us of Andrea’s Italian-ness at every opportunity. Indeed, as Sofabet commenter Caro pointed out, the Italian references have fitted a broader theme of him being a bit exotic, “the other”, not quite one of us – you could look at the “bear” buzzword that way, too, and Simon’s “the alien factor” comment.

To sum up our argument on the Italian theme: we think the aim is to hammer home that Andrea is a foreigner, while assuring us that British people have taken him to their hearts. This will allow producers to suggest, in the final, that the emotionally-satisfying end to Andrea’s journey – the acceptance of an outsider in a new homeland – has already been achieved; his narrative does not demand that he win it, and thus there is no further need for his fans to vote.

With gloriously impeccable timing, the show brought the food and Italian themes together in week 7’s VT, as Andrea was sent to the Italian embassy and filmed salivating over a cake. That was the week Andrea landed in the bottom two for the first time – a remarkably brisk and effective takedown, considering just a few weeks previously the debate in the Sofabet comments had been about whether his likeable personality and vocal prowess made him bulletproof.

Week 8 saw Andrea kindly treated, as producers worked with the grain of the sympathy bounce that singoff survivors traditionally get in the following week’s vote. For the first time since week 1, his VTs did not feature him eating (unless you count just a little nibble from a bowl at Mel’s slumber party).

The donut deramp returned with a vengeance last week, however, as Andrea took his fellow finalists and Dermot to a Ristorante Pizzeria and helpfully VTed that “in Italy, we eat a lot of food”, as ‘That’s Amore’ played yet again. A female voice off-camera was heard asking him if he’d ever heard of the dish “pigs in blankets”, which prompted him to snort like a pig to clarify he’d understood correctly.

Andrea mentioned that he was feeling homesick at Christmas, and thanked the others for making him feel at home; Dermot pulled an “awww” face, and tapped his heart with his fist. Oh, Dermot – as if you aren’t complicit in how producers manipulate the public perception of acts they don’t want to win. Could you not have had the grace to look just a little bit embarrassed?

We love Dermot, so we’re going to cut him some slack and assume he wasn’t aware that when he handed Andrea a pug in the restaurant, he was setting up Simon’s line “just one question that was worrying me, you didn’t eat the pug did you?”. Andrea frowns, not understanding. Simon repeats the question, adding “it looked like it was going to be dinner”. Looking nonplussed, Andrea replies “oh, no, no”. As the camera shows all four judges, with Mel beginning her comments, we see Simon share a look with Louis, and smirk.

dirty-faustini

How have you read Andrea’s journey, and do you think he has a chance of finishing anything other than third? Do let us know below.

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294 comments to X Factor 2014: Andrea’s Journey – from Pug Lover to Pug Eater

  • EM

    I think they’ve got Andrea’s vote under control as long as they continue his tactics.

    The sure sign will be how they top the Ben sausage and the inevitable Fleur pizza in the audience segments. It’s Andrea and food so they need to go big – his face made of profiteroles? A pug shaped gateaux? Mel B made of meatballs?

  • Dean F

    As said, I think Andrea’s vote has been under control since around week 4, that is why they gave him the pimp slot in week 5 with the knowledge they can bring him back down. If I remember correctly his week 4 performance did not get much positive attention on social media either and it seemed his cart’s wheels were already falling apart.

    Since then they have been happy to take him along for the ride because as you correctly stated way back in September time, Andrea is a novelty that can sing, and well, that is a benefit for the show. He may sound samey everytime he sings (thanks to the choices of song indeed) but his VTs are normally quite classic for me.

    • Curtis

      I wonder if they had his vote more than “under control” by week 4. Maybe he was actually close to the bottom 2, and they didn’t want him to fall in there that early so they gave him the week 5 pimp slot, rather than one of their more favoured acts (e.g. one of the groups).

      The fact they’ve saved Andrea twice to get him into the final suggests that he may always have been one of their intended finalists, and a Week 5 B2 wouldn’t have helped with that. The deramping tactics they’ve used, such as the “donut deramp”, were there just to make sure he never built up any momentum towards a possible win.

  • Martin

    Excellent article. The “donut deremp” has been a highlight for me this year, I have no idea whether it was intentional to hit Andrea with this at first but the fact that somebody has dreamed it up and ran with it, and it worked (!!) is hilarious. It was hard to imagine after his bootcamp performance that he would be going into the final with two singoffs under his belt so hats off to tptb with their job on Andrea this year.

    If he finishes any higher than third I will be amazed. It is a shame, because he still is a genuinely nice guy and I have enjoyed most of his performances. I hope that he does at least manage to leapfrog Ben into second. If he does that could be dangerous for tptb, those few extra performances and a winners single on Sunday could be dangerous for Fleur (if she is the other finalist at this point).

  • tpfkar

    We said we thought Ben was smart, aware of how the show works, and under no illusions about the favouritism of Fleur.

    Andrea seems the opposite, happy to do whatever the show ask him to (eating, mostly) and oblivious to the hatchet job he has faced.

    He’s a great entertainer, and a shame that TPTB have chosen to take him down as they have. But it’s hard to see beyond 3rd place sadly.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think Andrea’s well aware that he’s not wanted as a winner on the show. His dreams were laid aside at the latest on Halloween week. He’s no dummy although he may well have perfected the art of hiding a dummy’s face.

      For me the sad thing is that he dresses (or at least is styled) like an eccentric middle-aged man and acts like a camp child. If only he could dress younger and act older he’d probably be more to tptb’s taste (although I suspect they’d still pigeohole him as weird and the best he could expect would be something like the Raigne treatment).

      • David Cook

        The Raign Treatment. Apparently Simon doesn’t like acts who use the show as a stepping stone. No problem with using the constants as stepping stones for the favored acts though. And they certainly marched right over Raign.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Scowell thinks he should control everything and everybody that comes into his purview. Hardly news.

          As it happens, Raign had at least one single out before she appeared on the show and has had music out subsequently. If the producers of the show had more courage and imagination they could have done something with her, although that something probably would have been to take all the energy and excitement out of her music.

          Cowell really is a contemptible little turd, isn’t he. He appears to believe that it really is one way traffic. The show can use the contestants but the contestants aren’t allowed to get anything back (unless, of course, he decrees it). Fuck him.

          • Chris Bellis

            No need to be so polite Jessica! SC has played a part in ruining Saturday nights across the world. When I’m in my chair in Bulgaria watching some Roma wannabe singing a Whitney song, I think of the rich tradition of Bulgarian music being flushed down the toilet. And I blame that shithouse.

          • David Cook

            “Take a seat Raign. Don’t bother to get too comfy as there’s zero chance of you getting through. We just need you to sit there for a couple of minutes so that we have a bit of drama when the chosen one takes your place. Never mind it’s all good television.”

  • mark

    3 best singers in x-factor are andrea ben paul. fluer well overrated she was dancing last week to uptown beat and she was running out of breathe from dancing which caused her voice to sound even worse. listen to her coming down stairs from the chair in uptown beat she breathing really heavy.

  • Heisenberg

    A brilliant read. I hope they send Andrea off with at least some dignity this weekend. However, intentions seem clear and I fear his treatment will be merciless – was last week’s VT a clue? Would they really take such extreme measures in order to disengage his loyal cuddly bear fanbase, and if so could it backfire?

    http://goo.gl/urSl0f

    As expected, Fleur’s homecoming was reminiscent of Jennifer Lawrence on the red carpet at Leicester Square’s Hunger Games premiere. It’s a cruel irony that Andrea’s homecoming did actually take place in Leicester Square, but sadly for him it was in a small Italian market stall assisted by Dermotelli O’Leary and a Spice Girls tribute act.

  • David Cook

    I think it’s worth considering how TPTB saw Andrea fitting in as part of the overall scheme of things. We probably have to assume that Andrea probably was a contestant who turned up for an audition without any prior knowledge from TPTB. The impression from the first room audition was very much of being something of a joke act who could sing. It was only as we moved through the audition process that it became much clear that Andrea was actually a very serious act, with probably the best technical singing ability of all the finalists. At this stage it seemed that Paul – who had almost certainly been invited back – was the alpha boy. After the first live show this had been turned on it’s head to the extent that it seemed Andrea may be running away with the whole competition. Was Andrea deliberately pimped early on to detract from Paul, another contestant with a strong vocal, because they didn’t want him to build up too much support? As others have said usually it’s the contestants with the strongest voices who go on to win. So did TPTB perhaps allow things to slip away from them, and were taken by surprise at how well Andrea was doing, or were they happy with an early lead for Andrea because they were always confident that they would be able to reel him in? Whatever the answer I’m certain they never intended for him to be in with a serious chance of winning.

  • Chris Bellis

    They had a really good go at de-ramping him at Halloween, when they dressed him up like a creepy medieval Italian puppet. They also had him say that Halloween wasn’t a big thing in Italy. I was in that country at the time, and noted that it was a national holiday where people visit their relatives’ and friends’ graves. Everyone was dressed up as various types of ghost on the night before, just as in UK. In fact I’d say it was a bigger event. I’m just saying this to show how malleable he is – he’ll play along with the ba**ards, even when their intention is to shaft him. They’ll try anything – even, when the Italian label has been counter-productive, producing a nonna for Ben. I hope it backfires on them and Andrea wins. But he won’t. I’ll certainly be paying close attention to Stoney next time.

  • jay

    Looking at the pictures from fleurs homecoming I felt it was quite underwhelming compared to Bens. The report suggested that it was 300 people but the majority of that looks like uniformed school kids. From the video if you take out all the journalists and their lights and cameras going off you left with a crowd 5 or 6 deep in a fairly small cordon.

  • So looks as though best song from series to be performed at final will be uptown funk for fleur. Man in mirror for Ben. Earth song Andrea. Are they trying to get rid of ben on the Saturday?

  • JessikaK

    I’m pretty new to this, so I don’t know how much stock you guys put into stories published in the more gossipy parts of the press, but Mel B was absent from the announcement about what songs the finalists are singing (all the other mentors were there), after apparently coming down with a mystery illness – “no one knows where she is” and Andrea is apparently “confused and worried” and “clueless as to what he will be doing in the final” – and has “no idea what is going on”.

    http://www.heatworld.com/2014/12/andrea-faustini-left-clueless-before-x-factor-final-as-mentor-mel-b-is-struck-down-with-illness#.VInywvmsWwQ

    I am wondering this is part of the plan to de-ramp him? Of course, it could also just be made up. If it is deliberate, then I’ve got to say, it’s pretty below the belt.

  • Stu

    Ben and Andrea both reprising Michael Jackson songs that aren’t too dissimilar to each other while Fleur gets the biggest song around at the moment? Brilliant work from the producers.

  • Winner’s singles just announced:

    Andrea Faustini – I Didn’t Know My Own Strength, by Whitney Houston
    Ben Haenow – Something I Need, by OneRepublic
    Fleur East – Something I Need, by OneRepublic

    I like, ‘Something I Need’, I know it from Body Pump class 😀

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/fleur-east-fellow-x-factor-4794052#ICID=sharebar_twitter

    • Team Ben have got to be happy with these choices. If he were up against Fleur in the final two, I’d give him a fighting chance of winning. Up against Andrea though and I’d be very worried with that Whitney song, it’s extremely emotional.

      • Jessica Hamby

        They simply cannot let Andrea get to the final two with that song. His preformance at the audition stages was fantastic. In the final he’d blow anyone, even Fleur with a cast of thousands, away.

        • JessikaK

          The de-ramp of Andrea in the press is in full swing this morning – lots of articles saying that Andrea’s father has said that he can’t win because British people won’t vote for him as they are “too nationalistic” (ingenious way to counter the negative comments after Simon’s “British votes for British contestants” plea!), plus lots of articles saying that Andrea is “lost”, “floundering”, “confused” and “nervous” due to Mel B’s continuing absence – all pounding home the ‘awkward little boy who isn’t tough enough to make it in the industry’ imagery.

          • Jessica Hamby

            It’d be funny if it wasn’t so cruel. He clearly has a steely core or he wouldn’t have come so far. He’s only 21, he won an italian tv talent show when he was a teenager and he’s come to a foreign country to put himself and his talent to the test.

            On top of that there are his personal issues which he deals with every day.

            There’s a reason why people cry when he sings “I didn’t know my own strength”, and it aint because he’s fragile.

          • JessikaK

            Couldn’t agree more Jess – it’s uncomfortable watch 🙁

    • JessikaK

      I wonder why Fleur and Ben have the same song, whereas Andrea has a different one? I would think it would be more interesting to have two different songs on the Sunday, although I guess they might be setting up a direct comparison between Fleur and Ben? Odd song choice for Fleur too imo…

      • The winner is home and hosed well before they get to the final song on the sunday. It’s the first song on Saturday that is the most crucial one along with the duet.

      • Boki

        It looks like they are indeed setting up Fleur vs Ben on Sunday – same song and both never bottom 2 means exciting final. Btw just watched the OneRepublic clip, there is a black choir a the last chorus – guess who will get one…

    • Face

      interesting song choice…

      as one of the main lyrics repeated over and over are… “and if I only die once, I wanna die with you”… hardly your standard XF winners song fayre…

      though Cardle doing Biffy Clyro seemed a stretch back in 2010…

      I suspect all the ‘die’s may be changed to live…

  • Bens MITM selection has the feel of nick mcdonalds arms of an angel feel to it, in the sense it was a decent enough performance but not likely to have been his best polling performance.

  • Dean F

    I know we do predicting before the show the 1-16, I am now gonna have a stab at predicting the voting order from week 4 onwards. You will see below I do not believe Fleur has taken 1st spot until this week.

    week 4

    1. Lauren Platt
    2. OTY
    3. Ben Haenow
    4. Stevi Ritchie
    5. Fleur East
    6. Paul Akister
    7. Andrea Faustini
    8. Jay James
    9. Stereo Kicks
    10. Lola Saunders (elim)
    11. Jack Walton (elim)

    week 5

    1. Lauren Platt
    2. Andrea Faustini
    3. Ben Haenow
    4. Stereo Kicks
    5. Fleur East
    6. OTY
    7. Stevi Ritchie
    8. Jay James
    9. Paul Akister

    week 6

    1. Ben Haenow
    2. Fleur East
    3. Lauren Platt
    4. Andrea Faustini
    5. Stereo Kicks
    6. OTY
    7. Stevi Ritchie
    8. Jay James

    week 7

    1. Ben Haenow
    2. Fleur East
    3. Lauren Platt
    4. Stereo Kicks
    5. Andrea Faustini
    6. Stevi Ritchie
    7. OTY

    week 8

    1. Ben Haenow
    2. Andrea Faustini
    3. Fleur East
    4. Lauren Platt
    5. Stereo Kicks

    week 9

    1. Fleur East
    2. Ben Haenow
    3. Andrea Faustini
    4. Lauren Platt

  • I would say fleur definitely topped the Whitney week. And looking at the supposed song leaks won last weeks show by a landslide. As there doesn’t seem to be any major ‘candy’ type song choices. But as ive previously said the first 2 song choices are the most crucial and interestingly we are being made to wait for them the longest.

    • Gavster

      BWIN have odds for who topped the vote for that week, so if you think Fleur topped it, get your money down.

      • Ill have a look Thanks. How’s the social media stats looking this week?

        • Gavster

          The rate of tweets can be erratic, but it tends to have Ben ahead. Likewise, social media has Ben ahead, but polls favour Fleur. The anti-fix reaction would be more of a concern and it’s something the show needs to be wary of at the weekend.

          • Jessica Hamby

            On that, given the number of people who seem to think that the show is manipulated (not us, but the mainstream who’ve never heard of sofabet), do you think the show could be damaged terminally?

            If enough people think it is a fix to sway the vote surely it can only get worse, not better, over the next few years.

          • We get fix claims every single year. It’s never bothered them before. A Ben win would signal the end of the shows credibility anyway

          • It didnt help One Direciton.

  • Cooper17

    My guess is that Ben’s duet must be a big rock song – based on the first song (MITM).

    So if the duet is a rock song, they needed a ballad. If we see his ballads, MITM is the obvious choice.

    bridge over trouble – not good for the final
    jealous guy – it was great but too “small” for a big stage
    dont want to miss a thing – didnt do any good for him
    big band – not for the final
    whitney – ok, but who would do it in the final
    hallelujah – overused, no final material
    ed sheeran song – as ed might be his duet partner – it was an obvious no

    that leaves us with MITM – which was really good and i am sure he wont do acapella again. and it is much better of a song in terms of staging (than jealous guy f.i.)

  • Boki

    Maybe it’s worth remembering that initially a lot of people thought that Maloney got a nice and suitable song choice to sing with his mentor Gary. What made the difference was the staging, styling etc.

    • Good news for Ben. If there is a deramp by song choice going on here, I for one fail to see it completely.

    • Phil

      The Macklemore song for Fleur will be epic.

      • Gavster

        The worry for Fleur is that while the Macklemore song is lively, it isn’t exactly middle-England. The aggressive, heavy rapping will be a hard sell for Saturday night viewers.

        The staging should be explosive and I’m certain Fleur will delight her demo, but I would be concerned given the other Macklemore songs she could have performed. Same Love and Neon Cathedral may have appealed to a wider demographic, while giving Fleur another breakout moment and an opportunity to mix rap and ballad.

        Macklemore aren’t exactly well known over here with The Heist only reaching 20 on the album chart. That was probably on the back of their Grammy win too!

        Going back to past rappers, Cher and Misha B, their best weeks were when they either slowed it down, or gave a solid performance without rapping; giving mums and grannies exactly what they wanted to hear.

        • End of the day if her previous rapping performances struggled in the voting she wouldn’t be reaping in the final

          • Luke

            I have three alternatives for that:
            1) They don’t believe she can win and are trying to build her credibility with a song that she should perform very well, and could be similar to her post show career.
            2) She smashed the vote last week and they think that she can do a rap song for aforementioned reasons and still win even if people don’t vote for that particular song
            3) They think that her best chance of winning is getting new, free app voters, who are only tuning in for the final, and these are likely to be younger people who will know and love the song. This gives the highest chance that those people will install and vote (more so than a ballad, which she would lose to Ben on no doubt).

            I’ll be very surprised if she did well with the rap performances earlier in the series.

  • Boki

    and still no info about duets 🙁

  • Stu

    Fleur is doing Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis… I guess last week taught everyone to not judge a song choice’s suitability until you’ve seen the performance but this doesn’t exactly scream “vote for me”. But I guess, as it’s always been with Fleur, the performance could make a whole load of difference.

    Also, the general consensus is that Fleur did best in the vote in weeks 7 and 9. If this is true, it’s odd she’s allowed to do a song which features a lot of rapping – wouldn’t this be a turn off for the older demographic who presumably make up a large percentage of the final’s audience? Or maybe she did far better in the vote in weeks 2, 3 and 6.

  • Blake

    Fleur’s performance is going to be huge. That is such a great choice for her.

    Also, I’m pretty sure they could have some pretty odd staging for Ben with Demons (Maloney’s eyes even!), plus it’s hardly a song that his demo will be aware of, even if it will suit him.

  • Market seems to be moving against Fleur today. Was around 1.38 Betfair yesterday, currently 1.45. Perhaps related to song choices etc…

  • Keen Observer

    Important not to get obsessed with them trying to get Fleur over the line, it’s not exactly a year where there’s the possibility of a disaster winner, a la Maloney. They’ve basically already achieved their aim with Fleur, getting her to the final and with massive exposure with the Uptown Funk performance. It’s a great platform to launch a career wherever she finishes. The final is more about putting on show, emphasising the strength of the brand.

    • Stu

      I disagree. A commercially successful winner is the best way to strengthen the brand. What’s the point in it all if the winner always proves to not be the real star? A history of winners being Leona / Rhydian / Alexandra / Olly / One Direction / Little Mix / Ella Henderson or James Arthur / Rough Copy would make the brand far more credible than the list of previous winners we have. The producers won’t stop trying to get what they want until the lines are closed for the final time. Look at 2011 for example – Marcus wouldn’t have been a disaster of a winner but the producers still pushed for the more commercial option.

      • Keen Observer

        I think getting LM over the line was important to show a group can win. An over hadn’t won since series 1 so it was good to get SM to victory in a very weak year. A feel good winner as well post James Arthur.. I don’t think 1D, Murs, JLS etc not winning really damages the brand at all, despite agreeing with you in a perfect world the winners would be the most commercially successful acts.

      • I’d agree with Stu here. In Sweden, there is this joke about Idol that it’s better to place 2nd than to win, since the winner never does well commercially. While this imo is largely to selective perception, it’s still hardly good for the brand that people see it that way, and the same should go for X Factor UK.

        That being said, if it’s even reasonably close between Ben and Fleur, it may still not be worth it to come out with guns blazing against Ben. If they’re unlucky, they’d end up with a winner that didn’t even have a very good show in the finals – hardly good for the brand or viewer numbers. And even if they’re lucky and Fleur wins, they’d still have damaged the one-year cash cow that Ben is likely to be for them.

      • Fleur performing Uptown Funk was touted as “the moment that X Factor became relevant again”. She has been put forward as almost saving the show – something new and fresh that will mean that people will want to tune in again next year and which will help Simon to sell his new version of X Factor (in whatever format it ends up being) to America in the next couple of months. I think there will be a very strong push for her to win, so that winning the X Factor is associated with being cool and relevant again.

        Its difficult to see how they can guarantee that win without trying to de-rail Ben. If Ben went out tomorrow, Fleur would be pretty much guaranteed a win overall. I guess it all depends on how close the voting percentages have been between the three finalists and whether they feel they can take the risk of trying to de-rail Ben, only for him to win anyway.

  • David

    Are Fleur backers getting worried yet? She may have the momentum but in the final she will be showcasing her skills as a performer, not as a singer, her Macklemore song is 75% rapping, Uptown Funk does not show her singing voice off either.

  • mark

    ben andrea are miles better singers than fluer.people need to open there ears and listen proper .

  • EM

    Anyone trying to read the runes of song choices should forget it.

    Every single one of those songs can go either way depending on the performance.

  • jay

    I think a proposal on saturday could be a real game changer. Gangster rap versus romantic proposal. I wonder which one middle England prefers on a saturday night?

    • The same ‘middle england’ that voted James arthur to thrash jahmene and maloney?

      • Dean F

        Im with ya stoney and hope you win, but I must admit James Arthur was a much better vocalist than Fleur and James despite being a good performer was also a very good guitarist where as Fleur is about the dance moves.

      • Gavster

        James Arthur didn’t rap in the final. In fact, most of his music post-breakout was soul and rock/pop.

        • Has rapping stopped acts topping polls on bgt? With the correct staging/performance it won’t be a problem

          • Gavster

            That the ‘if’ most of us are pointing out. However, rapping on XF hasn’t got a great past. Just saying.

            BGT is somewhat different, as the semi-finals are deliberately loaded to favour just two or three acts. BAM winning their head was not a surprise given the bullying backstory and the fact it was two kids.

          • Gavster

            Apologies for spelling. On phone.

  • Fudd

    If Ben proposes without permission from the Powers That Be I think he will be Brookstein’d. As it is, I think Simon will still want to work with him; is it worth risking his career over winning a television contest?

  • jay

    A singing contest?!?! Who said anything about a singing contest? Not many would vote for Fleur if it was a singing contest………

  • Stu

    Surely proposing could backfire on Ben? It would make him look desperate for votes if he decided to do it on air. Also, him and his partner becoming engaged may encourage casual fans of his performances to think that he doesn’t need to win now since he’s all loved up.

    Having said that, I think Ben has this in the bag. He fits the style of winner the show usually has. It depends on how many fans Fleur gained after her Uptown Funk performance and if the ones who voted for her last week will vote for her again this week.

    • JessikaK

      I agree – I think it could be pretty cringeworthy if he proposed and go against him, in the same way that people don’t like the sob story VTs. It also gives the message that he is no longer available to any women who might be voting for him because they find him attractive.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I wonder if all this speculation about what “middle england” likes is a red herring. Never mind that middle england is more likely to be watching Strictly, someone in her 40s now will have grown up with all sorts of music from rap to punk and beyond. People who loved Public Enemy or Judy Tzuke or Guns and Roses or who went raving in fields in 1995 don’t automatically turn into Lionel Ritchie fans 20 years later.

  • Andre

    Somewhat astonished by the regular comments claiming Fleur is the weakest singer. I was a pro musician for fourteen years and if you attempted to market Ben or Andrea in the U.S. for example it would be a TOTAL embarrassment. Fleur however would not.

    • EM

      Sheep effect on this one Andre I think. One person says she’s not the best vocalist in the world ever and others translate it into her being a weak vocalist.

      Mix that in with the people who think it’s a singing competition and you have a dangerous mixture!

      Glad I’m not the only one that noticed

      • Jessica Hamby

        To my ears Ben is the worst of the 3 by a long way. Fleur isn’t a big diva style belter but she’s got plenty of good performances up on youtube and I don’t think the world needs another Beyonce.

        And I’m glad we won’t have another performance of bloody Listen this year. I hate that song.

  • Looking at rehearsal pictures on DS 1 contestant looks to be getting gold staging and another looks like red and black. Ben is getting frosty blue

  • mark

    Andre you really need to take you ear moths fluer is by far the weakest .listen to her coming down from the chair in uptown beat she’s running out of breathe and when she try to sing and dance as well.she is no way in Andrea or bens league .you might be a ex pro musician but like me and others who buy the CDs are trying to say she’s by far the weakest voice.we might as well let Stevie though at least. Knows not try to dance and sing at same time

  • Donald

    Hi all, saw end of Saturday and results on Sunday but a very good friend passed away on Monday after very short illness. Was a great guy and often gave few bits of good info that got posted on here over the past few years, So I haven’t been on here all week. I will catch up as best I can tonight and tomorrow and will contribute as best I can for the final. It looks a one horse race now though but I haven’t read the weeks posts yet.

    I took advice on here re Lauren last Saturday and covered and backed Fleur after saw performance. Nothing crazy but cover on Ben and some profit.

    Daniel been the roaming reported during the week I see at first glance, good stuff.

    Stoney almost past the finish line, hope it gets there for him. Anyone on at the big odds and gets it in can only be applauded and great to see.

    • EM

      Sorry to hear that Donald.

      Glad to hear of your success and agree my fingers all crossed that stoney’s win comes in.

      • Donald

        Thanks EM.

        Yeah just covered Lauren so break even there in the end and had decent good profit on her staying in week before. Lucky break that was. it has been decent series overall for me, you get used to it. You need a few value ones getting towards the end on the book and trade then and nail two or three eliminations on the way.

        Come on Stoney for sure, I had it with Little Mix so really hope it happens and he has been close a few years so more than deserved. The big moment finally came last week ! You got to hand it to them. Will it work in an arena? should really we hope how.

        I just listened to the Podcast (they have been good past few weeks)

        will be intriguing to see the votes on Monday..

    • Fudd

      I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Donald. 🙁

      I have fingers crossed for Fleur – partly because I think she’s the most entertaining and commercially viable artist (I have been brainwashed) and secondly I hope it comes through for stoney.

  • Thanks guys. Sorry to hear about your loss Donald. Puts things into perspective.
    Ive got money in place ready to cover but literally the only way I’m going to do so is if Ben is leading the youguv poll which I doubt very much he will be.
    Id prefer it if she wasn’t rapping if I’m honest, but I have to trust tptb as I have done from the very start that they will get the job done and get her past the finish line. Whatever happens they have given the final a fair footing to begin with and its going to be a very good contest. Excited and nervous, glad I start work at the crack of dawn tomorrow cos I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway

    • Boki

      Since you get up so early tomorrow, would you be so kind to post Sun’s figures here so the poor punter souls outside the UK can see them in time too 🙂

      • Of course. If I remember rightly there was a leak last year which told us we were in for a surprise. The surprise was that nick mcdonald was polling 3rd. But the youguv poll couldn’t call the scottish multivoters.

  • EM

    Looks like someone else will have to tell Ben he’s too samey in the final https://twitter.com/suttonnick/status/543515079598428161

  • The PUGS graphic, in combination with the headline, really made me laugh. Heisenberg – brilliant 🙂

  • Possibility that they may parachute Tulisa back in tonight if Mel B can’t make it?

  • http://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/206092-x-factor-2014-spoilers-fleur-east-promises-bigger-and-better-uptown-funk-performance.html

    According to this article song of the series will be done tonight. Fits the agenda more to have Fleurs biggest performance/vote winner on the saturday night.

    • According to the same article, Ben Haenow will be performing Earth Song, and Andrea Faustini “has opted to repeat Man in the Mirror”.

    • Sagand

      I don’t see where in that article it says that. Even if it does I think it’s just speculation it doesn’t make much sense logistically. They need four performances to fill the time, so far they have new song/ song of the series / winners song and duets are mentioned on the itv website / facebook event. They aren’t going to mess around the dueters not knowing if they are needed Sunday and will want to open with new content. Most likely they stick with the structure of every other year.

  • Seems the odds rush for Ben didn’t materialise after all. Still widely available at 11/4 with Fleur top price 4/11. Well done if anyone got a last minute lump matched on bet fairs 4/9 yesterday. You won’t see that again

  • Fleur leads the youguv poll comfortably
    Fleur 38
    Ben 24
    Andres 15

    There is however 23 % up for grabs with dont know.
    Looking at them results I can see why they have taken a gamble with a rap performance.
    No cover bet needed. Good luck ben backers

  • mark

    stoney 23% is a lot .fleur will not win the xfactor

  • mark

    stoney you have money on outcome so you will be bias.i have not got money on the outcome.and fluer is by the worst singer out of the 3 by far andrea best followed by ben then fleur well behind

  • X factor viewers realise the last thing the show needs is another lame ass winner we’ll have forgotten by the next series

    • Hmmmm this is one i don’t believe.

    • This doesn’t seem very credible to me, but what’s their track record? Do they usually publish a leak, and if so, has it been correct?

      • They are usually very reliable. However we have never had a leak on final day. I believe if this was true it would have been leaked way before now. I think this is a shake up to make viewers think there is a competition on and to warn fleur voters against thinking it’s a done deal

    • Boki

      Very strange this. Released figures make little sense but given DS credibility in the past market seems to pick it up fast.

      • There is no way in this world that youguv, digital spy and telemix polls are all this far off the mark. Do people seriously believe ben polled double votes over fleur last week?

        • Personally, I would take the tellymix poll with a pinch of salt. Stereo Kicks were well ahead in that poll the week they were eliminated. Digital Spy users tend to pick a favourite act and stick with them through thick and thin. Only the Young, for example, were very often ahead of everyone else on DS polls and were eliminated whilst they were in second place on the DS poll. Yougov does seem more reliable in general, but they sampled only a very small number this time around.

          Looking at the X Factor facebook page, both Ben and Andrea seem to have a lot more support than Fleur. Just basing this off comments, not numbers, but it’s still worth noting. There’s also a sense, reading the comments, that many viewers see Fleur as having been favoured throughout the series and this is getting people’s backs up rather a lot.

  • Dean F

    Do we believe daily star and lump on? Hmm

  • Heisenberg

    The staging for one of Ben’s songs tonight doesn’t suggest ‘favourite’ to me:

    http://goo.gl/ZwvsOK

    • Dean F

      But it does suggest hatchet job showing they are scared of Ben

      • Jessica Hamby

        It doesn’t give any clear indication of “scared of Ben” or not “scared of Ben”. All it does is confirm what we already know, that Ben is not the producers’ chosen one.

        They did hatchet jobs on Jack, Jake, Steph etc but noone’s suggesting they were scared of those contestants, are they?

        I don’t think staging can be taken as a clear guide to anything except producers’ intentions. Infer all you like about voting figures but there is no solid basis for any such inference in Ben’s staging. They could be terrified, they could be nailing down the lid of his coffin. From the staging you can’t tell.

        • Luke

          In the final they try and put on a good show that people enjoy if they can do so and also have the final result that they want, so I think that you can fairly infer that they want to depress his vote, making them “scared”.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Really? So how do you tell the difference between an attempt to depress the vote of a someone challenging for the win ad an attempt to keep a low vote low?

            Please explain because I don’t see how you can.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Also, for a show to be entertaining it needs light and shade, varieties of pace and rhythm. Given that Fleur is the chosen one you’d hardly expect them to give the emotional peaks to her opponent, however he’s doing.

          • Luke

            It’s quite easy to work out what amount of the vote is possible to influence, then you can work out whether producers would detract from the show or not to try to reduce that vote.

            If Ben had 50% of the vote last week, why would you damage your show when the final result will be the same whatever you do?

  • David

    WTF just happened on betfair. Huge drift for Fleur and shortening of Ben

  • Seems like taking 11/4 Ben yesterday wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Evens shortly?

  • Ronald

    Can’t help but think back to Simon Cowell’s “you did it” comment to Fleur when she was announced as first through to final. Seemed like a genuine achievement and perhaps suggests she may have been the one just 800 votes above water the previous week. If Ben is hacking up as The Star reports then naturally the voting towards the bottom will be tighter. Is the massive ramping of Fleur purely to ensure she told Andrea? Also, winner’s song that ‘appears’ to suit Ben more could also be something of an indication. Just thinking out loud here.

  • David

    New favourite in the space of 10 minutes. Did someone just go ape shit after reading the Daily Star leak

  • Well done on taking 11/4 seems a good price now.
    However for Fleur to be miles ahead in all the main polls and yet polling so far behind ben isn’t possible. I’m not buying it

    • The poll asks who they want to win…

      Who somebody wants to win doesn’t mean they will use all their votes on that act

      For example Andrea fans may back him with 4 votes and give 1 to Ben

      Ben may get 4 votes from his fans with 1 going to Fleur

      Fleur fans may vote 4 times for her and once for Ben

      Therefore giving the below

      Ben 6 votes
      Fleur 4 votes
      Andrea 5 votes

      Obviously a very small sample of three people voting…. But spread that out over 1 million people and add in some variance and it doesn’t seem that unlikely to me

      • Does it? From what I can see it rather looks like it asked who they thought would win. In other words, pretty useless – obviously that will be the one with most exposure (and this also explains the high share of “I don’t know”). I preference poll would have been much more indicative.

  • David

    This is the biggest and faster swing I’ve ever seen, WTF is going on.

  • Im topping up on fleur if this continues

  • Henry VIII

    Stoney what was that poll that is so out of line with the leaked votes (if the leak is true)? You said YouGov, then you said you didn’t know. It was obviously a major poll if 2000 people were surveyed.

  • Cheers stoney. I would still prefer Fleur to win. So hope she can win it for you and the others on at a big price. However this is an extraordinary market swing which is rather ominous to say the least.

  • Stu

    I’m actually gobsmacked! What the hell?! While I strongly believe Ben is going to walk away with the title, I find it difficult to believe Fleur only got 22% of the vote last week? I mean – she’s completely obliterated the competition in terms of Youtube views last week, topped iTunes and getting a lot of media coverage on the Sunday. But then the Daily Star is always reliable.

    But this is the first time a leak has been published on the day of the final. Do producers assume the public think it’s a done deal and Fleur is going to win so wanted to shake things up? One thing’s for sure – it is going to make tonight and tomorrow’s shows a lot more tense.

  • Gavster

    The website polls are unreliable, as they focus on a limited demographic.

    The YouGov poll is interesting because it contradicts YouGov’s own research into a typical X Factor voter – it’s a great illustrated guide and a must read!

    The Daily Star voting leaks have been reliable up to now, and if Fleur didn’t top the vote last week, she’s not winning this show.

  • Henry VIII

    Stoney where did this come from? You said you were sent it at work, you must have asked them what it was.

    stoney
    December 13, 2014 at 7:15 am
    Fleur leads the youguv poll comfortably
    Fleur 38
    Ben 24
    Andres 15

  • markwalsh

    Price gone on Ben now lucky ones would have got 11\4 this morning

  • markwalsh

    Fleur had one good song last week which was not sang that well when she was dancing she was out of breathe ,1 song does not make a star .like I have said Andrea then Ben followedby fleur .if anyone on here thinks fleur is better than Andreaand ben they must be smoking so strange stuff

    • Dean F

      Hi Mark. Welcome here. Just a word of caution this is a site more or less to find ways to win money. If you are telling us that Fleur has no chance because she’s just not that good well then fair enough we all have opinions, but be a little more respectful about it. Not sure what Fleur has done to ya

      Anyway as stoney said all along whether Ben wins or not there is no doubt the real plan A is Fleur

  • markwalsh

    You gov not done a poll yet check on you gov website nothing on yet.all this hype from just 1 song I agree fleur had the x factor when she dancers.the right person would be Andrea to win I just wish he was English

  • Dean F

    I believe a problem for Fleur is that XFs barage of help to get her over the line could become Her undoing. My sister (mid 30) and mother (early 60s) who are not very known to the whole producer favouritism etc over the years are even saying they feel the show is fixed because they are just making it too blatant they want Fleur to win

    Small sample size obviously but I think many sense this.

  • Boki

    Last year YouGov didn’t publish any data on their website, yet it was somehow clear that Sun published their results which ended in Daniel’s article.
    Daniel, can you please clarify what’s going on here?

    • Daniel

      Hi Boki, I don’t think this is a YouGov poll. Their name is not mentioned, and the article says it’s a Sun poll. I know that earlier this week, YouGov felt it was unlikely they would be doing a poll.

  • The figures in the voting leak make sense to me. I’ve been a big follower of momentum in Facebook comments (not likes) and Ben is always miles ahead. Andrea also gets a surprising amount of love, although if you click on some profiles you can see that plenty of his fans are from places like Brazil and Italy. Fleur barely gets any “to win” comments, I’d say less than 10%. And we know she was only 800 votes from the sing off last week. It’s a shame for her that she wasn’t in it actually, as then she would’ve had an opportunity for a James Arthur bounce. Obviously the leak has come out today because Ben is the “wrong” leader in the vote, but if he really is that far ahead then there’s not much they can do.

    Also, Louis’s comments in week 8 “You’re the one to beat” and week 9 “We’re looking for a recording voice, and that’s you” to me were setting the audience up for his likely win. Also, his hyperbole towards Fleur has all been about her making the final. He hasn’t once implied that she could win, although I’m guessing that he will this weekend to make it seem like a more exciting result etc.

    • Do we really _know_ Fleur was 800 votes off the bottom2 the other week though? Feels a bit like circular reasoning justifying these leaked figures’ authenticity with another assumption?

      (Not saying I don’t think she was, but you get my point.)

  • markwalsh

    Dean f I can see what the show bosses where trying to do last week with vote fleur bus .why not have all 3 buses lined up.all I have said about fleur is she is the weakest singer off the 3 by far,I am not being disrespectful.

  • If this leak came out last Monday I would have covered. I just don’t get why today. Oh well its only money

  • markwalsh

    Stoney I feel for you .that bus with fleur begging for votes put me right of.and my wife voted for fleur last week because she like the song like I did but the begging for votes on side of bus put her of for voting for fleur again

  • Marc

    I’ve been a Fleur back from fairly early on too so a bit gutted with the leak today – with the YouGov now not actually being a YouGov poll I feel that’s the best evidence we have to go on and it’s looking fairly dire.

    I backed Ben (and errrrrr Lola) back at Top 16, and put on Andrea as a cover to break even. I backed Fleur as a bit of a ‘wildcard’ bet (basically to make it more exciting as she is my ‘real’ favourite and Lola seemed to be crashing and burning) around about Week 2-3 when she was 16/1 so would obviously still be delighted to see a win but I’m not anticipating it now. Topped up on Andrea a tiny bit yesterday when he was 20/1 so either way I’ve got a decent earner tomorrow night, just significantly more from Fleur! 🙁

    I don’t actually think tricks in the final make that much difference unless it’s very very close as with Marcus/Little Mix, but I do think Ben’s Imagine Dragons song is a shocker of a choice, very dreary and pretty unknown. MITM is also a surprise and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was similar to the time when Marcus reprised a fairly relatively low-voting round song in order to ensure he came below Little Mix. I don’t think any of this will make much difference though! I’m clinging on to the fact that potentially a lot more casual voters who tune in for the final will have had some exposure to Uptown Funk in the last week and vote accordingly, but feel that’s reaching slightly…

    So count me in the camp that still thinks TPTB will push for a Fleur win hugely – thought I don’t think it will happen, I can’t wait to see how it pans out. Had a great first year posting a little bit on here and am happy with my earnings – roll on Sunday night when the weekly results come out and the real fun begins 😀

  • DannyCraig

    From the Radio Times. Not sure if this is a massive timeline moment but hadn’t heard the Madonna rumour for Fleur recently. Could be a gamechanger if true!

    “The line-up of guest artists rumoured to be performing includes Madonna, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, but this is never confirmed until just before transmission. In any case, one more act has to say goodbye tonight”

    • Fudd

      The last I’d heard Madonna had turned the offer down.

      Not sure what to make of that leak. I have the feeling it’s an attempt to depress Ben’s vote in that he’s so far ahead that people don’t need to pick up the phone. But are they that desperate for Fleur to win that they’re willing to present it as a one horse race?

  • The great thing about this morning is that the massive fluctuation in odds has allowed me to top on on both Fleur and Ben – as i was far too exposed to Andrea (having backed him to lay at 25/1 and 28/1 but not seeing him drop to the 8/1 or 9/1 that I was waiting for) …. Book now looks even better (unless of course Andrea wins and i’ll have then just thrown away £2k of profit!)

    For those still without an interest in the final – Fleur is too large at 2.8 right now and worth a modest punt. (i’m topping up on Betfair everytime she hits 3 as I expect her to shorten during the program)

  • mark

    a poll was done on this morning on Monday and ben was in the lead and that was after the uptown funk song.the poll was put on this website .

  • tpfkar

    I can’t believe that 52% of the vote claim. Too high to be plausible. Ben has probably won every vote with at least 40% if it’s true, as last weekend was much stronger for Fleur. There hasn’t been that level of buzz around him.

    If the poll is properly weighted, 2088 is a huge sample size. On political polls, a sample of 1000 gives a 95% chance that the correct figures are within 2.2%. I’ve never been convinced that yougov measure multi and split voting well, much harder than a typical political poll.

    Mel’s absence does invite conspiracy theories, but you can read it either way: either they don’t want anyone to be negative about Ben who is going to win, or they think someone else could be more effective in swinging votes for Fleur.

    Good luck everyone – my money’s on stoney for the win

  • mark

    what was the voting figures which was done on this morning on Monday can so one find them and put them back up please

    • Stu

      With all due respect, it comes across that you’re being biased against Fleur. There’s plenty of online polls this week where Fleur has been leading (with a far bigger margin than the one you’ve posted). Also bear in mind that the Uptown Funk performance would have only come to a lot of people’s attention after Sunday’s show since the press only started jumping on the story of Fleur topping iTunes and becoming favourite again after the result show. I still firmly believe that Ben will win but it is definitely the most open final ever.

  • David

    Just layed all my Ben money for a nice profit. Even though he is now odds on I cannot ignore that Fleur is topping nearly all online polls. Makes no sense to take a risk when a good profit is on the plate. Going to enjoy the final now. An Andrea win would yeild more monies, if he gets to the final two I will lay his ass, although he will give himself a real chance with his winners song which is far superior.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t think they can allow Andrea to reach the final 2 with that song. It’ll hit the viewers right between the eyes. His performance at bootcamp was tremendous and the heightened emotion and adrenaline of the final, plus the suitability of the lyric after two sing-offs, wpuld make him a shoo-in.

      Just in case you’ve forgotten:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrAMZmCAG4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

      If they don’t want him to win that cannot be allowed as his last song.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Or to put it another way, if Andrea gets through tonight I’m backing him tomorrow. In fact I’m going to put £2 on him now while the odds are high, although it’s as lost as a lottery ticket.

    • JessikaK

      I had the same thought Jess, so I backed Andrea to win yesterday at 12/1. I think it might have been close in the voting between Fleur and Andrea the last few weeks, and if he gets through to Sunday, he might be in with a chance. I have to say, I am not particularly optimistic that this will actually happen though 😉

  • Blake

    If you look back at the voting figures from every semi-final that’s gone before, nobody has got close to 50% of the vote. I just don’t think that can be correct. They’ve been trying to market it as the ‘closest final ever’ so it makes no sense to release those figures unless it’s going to benefit them in some way, AKA helping to dampen Ben’s vote and get a Fleur win.

  • mb79493

    These leaks never happen without reason, these leaks always show someone the show doesn’t like winning (Maloney, the 2 weeks Nicholas won). The figures look believable to me.

    Voting is probably volatile this year, but can Fleur in one week? A cover bet may be advised in my opinion.

  • WTF happened this morning? Huge swing in the market, but I took Ben at 6/1 weeks ago, so naturally I’ve gone and topped up on Fleur to cover myself whilst she’s crashed. Combined with a straight forecast 1. Fleur 2. Ben, providing Andrea doesn’t win, I’m in the money.

    Expecting Fleur to shorten again by the start of transmission.

    I’ll take the opportunity now to wish Stoney the very best of luck this weekend. If she brings it home then that is up there with Richard Betsfactor’s call on Little Mix at 75/1 in 2011.

  • Stu

    If that voting leak is true, it’s game over for Fleur. If she can’t top the vote (or even come close to Ben) after a performance like Uptown Funk then she never will be able to. I wonder how many fans Fleur gained over the week though due to the media circus surrounding her.

  • X Factor sources have confirmed that Tulisa is standing in for Mel B tonight, by the way. Could go either way for Andrea, but I get the impression that she’ll be keen to make a full-time return next year now she’s cleared her name, and consequently she’ll be following the script to the letter.

    Has Mel B walked do we think, disgruntled at The Plan to have Andrea third?

    If Andrea goes tonight and Tulisa stays into Sunday, watch heavily as to who she throws her weight behind.

    • JessikaK

      Yes, I do think that Mel has either walked or been sacked for refusing to tow the line – in previous years we have had judges banging the table asking for votes for acts other than their own. I don’t believe she would do that. Tulisa has already said in the press that she wants Fleur to win and she will definitely follow the script – she wants a job next year!

  • At worst ben topped last weeks vote by a couple of %and in order to stop him winning they have decided to drop this bombshell in on the day of the final to stop viewers not bothering to watch/vote. If ben was that far in front he wouldn’t be singing demo pleasing songs. And if he wasnt catch able they wouldn’t bother dropping a voting leak in on the day of the final what would be the point?
    Now give me this 2/1 goddamit

  • EM

    The Daily Star has had no reliable X Factor vote leaks since Max Clifford got arrested. Make of that what you will.

  • Funnies market reaction today has to be Andrea shortening after the leak (which the market has otherwise largely priced in) showing him having no chance 🙂

    Just goes to show that betting markets aren’t really rational.

  • @ stoney

    You’re saying that you’re waiting for 2/1 on Fleur to go in again

    That logic suggests you feel the current price is correct

    However if you believe Fluer is way ahead in all the polls you mentioned, surely you make her a 4/6 shot max…

    So why not just top up again if you think 15/8 is giving you 34% of theoretical value?

    That’s like being offered heads in a coin toss at 9/2

  • Dermot said “Over four million votes were cast” at week 9 So if we assume the voting leak is true;

    Ben at 50% = 2,000,000 votes.
    Fleur at 22% = 880,000 votes
    Andrea at 16% = 640,000 votes
    Lauren at 12% = 480,000 votes

    Anyone want to have a go at working out the votes from week 8? I think we have to assume the order was 1. Ben, 2. Andrea, 3. Fleur 4. Lauren 5. Stereo Kicks.

  • David

    I commend you Stoney for holding your nerve but at least try and balance your book so that you do not end up making a loss should she not win. Breaking even if she loses and reducing your overall profit if she wins is the wise thing to do here. It’s upto you at the end of the day but I’d hate to see you make a loss, especially with the mention of additional top ups. Very brave indeed.

    • Too late I’m at the point of no return. I’m not lumping on 4/7 against the finals plan A

      • Jessica Hamby

        Quite right. Ben’s doing Man In The Mirror ffs. He’s not even going to win the MJ duel with Andrea with that.

        • mark

          he sang that song acapella no music from start man in mirror,.which shows a really star

          • Jessica Hamby

            That comment reveals how little you know about singing, singers and performance. He will have had a click track to keep him in time and chords to keep him in tune playing in his earphones. A well trained gibbon could have done it.

            I get that for some reason you support him but to be honest your arguments are convincing me that he’s a dead duck. It’s all going a bit Shakespearian. “Methink he doth protest too much”.

          • EM

            Where Ben is concerned the judges have been careful to never criticise the person only the ideas,

            If everyone here adopted the same emotional maturity what a wonderful world it would be.

          • Jessica Hamby

            The world would be a better place if we were like the judges on the x factor panel?

            I disagree.

  • Fleur seems to coming down in price now. Don’t think I’ll get the 2/1

  • Curtis

    Come on guys – we’re all smart enough to know that Ben did not bag 50% of the vote last week. That would be unprecedented – and what about last week suggests that Ben would get such an unprecedented vote? Most of us here believed Fleur had won the vote.

    Trust your instincts guys – this is almost certainly a fake leak in response to Fleur being heavy favourite.

  • mark

    the voting from this morning from Monday I would say was about right 44% ben 37% fleur .don’t forget this was fleurs best week by far week 9. ben will win with fleur 2nd .

    • Jessica Hamby

      Ben quacks like a duck. He will be damned with faint praise. He will be dressed in black, the stage will be black and the lighting will be low while Tulisa and Cheryl tell him how much it all suits him. The crowd will start clapping out of time over his a cappella intro to MITM, spoiling the feel and giving the impression that it should be uptempo and exciting, which it isn’t. Even if those figures are correct, and there’s as many reasons to disbelieve as to believe them, Ben will suffer death by a thousand cuts tonight.

      They haven’t invested all this time and money to give an xmas #2 to a third rate pub rock singer with a vacant grin and an empty head.

      They’re going to put him in the sink, tie it to the bus and throw the lot in the canal.

      He’s got no chance.

  • David

    I think Ben’s song Demons is a great choice for him, it’s hugely popular and will allow him to convey emotion, it is a song that takles you on a journey and there are also some high notes, I think he will smash that song tonight.

    Just for information – Lettuce of BGT played Demons in her first audition medley.

  • http://m.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/s103/the-x-factor/news/a616399/the-x-factor-final-readers-back-fleur-east-to-beat-ben-and-andrea.html

    So fleur polls 58% of a nearly 40000 strong poll and could only get 22% of last weeks vote.

    Will we be getting a new sofabet post before the final. Think we need oneto reset the comments board

  • Boki

    It seems Andrea gets r&b as expected.
    http://t.co/Xiw89Cvpmd

  • JessikaK

    Article with Fleur saying she wants to change the perception of X Factor winners and the perception that it is better to come second or third. This coupled with several interviews today with Simon stating that X Factor 2015 is going to be more relevant and less boring. According to the article, if Fleur’s boyfriend proposes, she will say yes – and as Ben is also apparently thinking of proposing on the show, can they fit two marriage proposals into the running order? And will Ben’s proposal be done in a single red spotlight, with Fleur’s proposal bathed in golden light? LOL :). I really think we are in for a Ben de-rail tonight in the hope of pushing her over the line. I bet they are wishing they hadn’t done quite such a good hatchet job on Andrea now! http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/x-factor-final-2014-fleur-4801240

  • There is certainly some uncertainty over these leaks. Apart from the mad rush at 10am this morning which had ben odds on by 11am the market has remained the same. Certainly not in the same bracket as fleur who was as short as 1/3 just before 10am

  • Phil

    Just putting it out there that I think the inclusion of Tulisa into the mix tonight could be a negative for Fleur. Remember Tulisa’s *thing* of it not being cool to rap someone else’s lyrics? Can’t Hold Us has a lot of rap in it.

    However, I also agree with the comments that she will be keen to stick to the script in the hope of a job next year, so will she go against something she so strongly believed in previously?

    Btw – my brothers wife thought the 5 free app votes were to last the whole series and not 5 for each week. She was saving them for the final, but decided to use 2 for Fleur last week before I explained it to her. I wonder if she’s a one off or if this is a thing other people think too?

  • Alen

    is mel b really sick or is she just angry about how they treated andrea (leading up to the finale)? oh well

  • Sagand

    What information do we have about the sun poll? Was it in any way weighted to demographics or was it just another online poll?

  • markwalsh

    The dairly star said they have seen the voting polls for last week nothing about other weeks before, people jumped on to her going to number 1 on iTunes .we will find out tomz what was the voting for last Saturday.the pasper was right about it last time with Chris last year .to me Ithink the iinfothe star is bang on .but I wait to. See

  • Arthur

    Wow, this is quite staggering. I would say ‘unbelievable’, but the Star DOES have form with accurate leaks. I remember when they leaked that Maloney was topping the vote a number of weeks, and it was greeted with incredulity. Interesting….

  • mb79493

    I still believe Ben will win.

    -MITM, for me personally as well as people I know, is considered one of his better moments, and would be far more suitable in a final performance than Fleur’s song, in my opinion.
    -At this point people are going to be voting for people who can sing well, which I doubt Fleur will benefit from – Ben is decent enough to get a vote for that.
    -Fleur has a big bandwagon around her, I doubt she has the same hardcore fanbase such as Ben to give her all five votes.
    -People probably think Fleur is a guaranteed winner (some on here clearly do), that will work against her.
    -I’ve seen lot’s of people say it’s a fix and that she comes across badly – yet again, works against her.
    -Fleur has played her entire hand, whereas Ben could pull out a proposal.
    -Tears from Fleur are less likely to provoke votes than Ben, and to a larger extent Andrea.
    -Fleur’s song choices read more as ‘setting up for a career’ than ‘gain votes for the win’.

    I’m worried some of y’all are putting personal feeling before anything else. I don’t like any of these acts – I may prefer Fleur a bit – but I find her winning to be unlikely. Don’t say you weren’t warned is all I can say.

    Remember y’all, these are all talented people in their own way, don’t be unnecessarily scathing towards them.

    😀

    • Jessica Hamby

      He still quacks lile a duck. Did you hear Adam Lambert with Queen? That’s what a top rock singer sounds like. Ben wouldn’t be able to do that in 1,000 years if he practised every day. If he wins his career will effectively be over before the 2015 auditions are shown on tv, and that is something tptb are absolutely desperate to avoid.

      I think tptb will do everything they can to push Fleur over the line.

      Stoney for the win!!!

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