Ben Haenow wins the X Factor

In winning the X Factor from slot one in the running order, Ben has answered the question we posed about him a couple of weeks ago – it turns out he was more of a Matt Cardle than a Marcus Collins. I mentioned in my preview that I went into the weekend standing to win significantly more on Ben than Fleur, and I couldn’t resist going in further on Ben when comments to his winner’s single were along the lines of “that song was made for you, you can have a hit with that”, while for Fleur they were more “congratulations on getting to the final, whatever happens you’re a star”. Sofabet commenters read the runes correctly, too, as indeed did punters in general, as Ben rapidly shortened to as low as 1.15 on Betfair.

Now the wait begins for what, for many of us, is the highlight of the series – the revelation of the week-on-week percentages. In previous years the Xtra Factor has revealed the top two each week, together with opening envelopes revealing judges’ pre-lives predictions for who would win. The full stats have tended to appear on the website late at night.

How was tonight for you? Do keep the conversation going below.

175 comments to Ben Haenow wins the X Factor

  • Congrats Daniel and every1 on Ben! As you know, Ben was my favorite from the auditions, I do love my rockers. Well deserved win…BUT…that dream of mine of him singing HEY NOW HEY NOW DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER on his elimination week will never happen hahaha 😛

  • Dean F

    Congrats to Ben and all on sofabet who had a profitable season. I believe now that Ben had topped the vote for most weeks probably since about week 4. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lauren topped a couple weeks earlier in the show mind you and Andrea probably topped week 1.

  • mb79493

    This has been an uncomfortable series in terms of the manipulation, far more heavy handed, even by their standards.

    • Fudd

      It’s interesting because they seem to have been pimping on both counts rather than pimping one and de-ramping the other like usual. Presumably because Ben was clear winner but they want to promote Fleur.

      I thought the show had a feelgood factor about it with pimping over de-ramping – it’s been much nicer than previous years (such as the bus running over all and sundry in series 8) but, at the same time, the manipulation has been laid on very thickly. Probably too thickly.

      • Dean F

        Yes me too, I felt this show never really killed anyone maybe aside Jack and Paul, but they were typical kills rather than full on assault. Yes it used all its usual deramping techniques, but it was a lot more subtle. There was certainly no Janet Devlin this series and that is even taking into consideration Lauren having such a bad running order, but aside from week 6 always got fairly good comments and they have done enough for her to set up a post show career of sorts.

    • KaraokeSauron

      Fully agree… The manipulation and shameless product placement ruined this series for me. I have to blame Cowell for both; Barlow was unfairly maligned but managed to keep the emphasis on music over chicanery.

      Some of the antics this year turned my stomach, tbh.

      • Dean F

        I agree manipulation especially in the semis/final was OTT, but then I guess its hard to think TPTB doing anything else.

        This year was the first year for a long time they did not get their plan A over the line, and well that is why the manipulation was a bit nauseating at times for Fleur.

  • Curtis

    I can’t wait to see the week-on-week percentages. In particular of course, was the Daily Star right or not? I still say emphatically not, but we’ll see! I’ve been nothing but wrong lately!

    I wish I’d have been quicker to react tonight and hedged. I wish I had also hedged midweek when I could have done so cheaply. This is what I’ve learned from this week.

    I’ll walk away with the biggest profit I’ve ever made from an X Factor series happy, but given that all of that was made in the first 5 weeks, it feels like it could have been so much more!

  • Chris Bellis

    Got a pleasant return after a bet on Betfair just above evens. Saw it coming (far too late) after the first two performances. but at least I’m £250 up, which is handy at Christmas. The odds were still on Fleur to win after the first two performances and yet judges’ feedback showed Ben was sure to win. Congratulations to all those who backed these two early on. Personally I never felt confident until the very last minute – I think TPTB changed direction too often.

  • Mech

    And congratulations to Donald who comprehensively won the predictions (by my measures at least!)

    Commenter, Position, Score (Lower is better)
    Donald 1 36
    Kenneth Chow 2 44
    Jessica Hamby 2 44
    David Cook 2 44
    Dan 5 48
    Cath 6 50
    Dean 7 52
    Stu B 7 52
    KaraokeSauron 9 54
    Daniel 9 54
    Alen 9 54
    Neeve 12 56
    Marc 12 56
    Chatterbox5200 14 58
    Ben Cook 14 58
    Nissl 14 58
    Thé Ferret 14 58
    TimB 18 60
    Liam 18 60
    Panos 20 62
    qwerty1234 21 64
    Gamblebot 21 64
    Phil 23 70
    tpfkar 23 70
    Word Maker 23 70
    Seductive Barry 26 72
    R 26 72
    Uncalquera 26 72
    Tabitha 26 72
    Fork’N’Fish 30 74
    Andy 30 74
    Luke 30 74
    Heisenberg 33 76
    Geoff 33 76
    Santa Giles 33 76
    JScouser 33 76
    Fudd 37 78
    Mech 38 88

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnuY0QdO5h1gdDhOYzkxeWNTQnNpYjVKZUxXY2ppTlE&usp=sharing

    Kudos too everyone from Panos upwards who beat random chance, overall there were rather a lot of us who didn’t cover ourselves in glory this year though – especially as my chosen method of reversing my order of preference clearly didn’t work out at all.
    The wisdom of the crowd beat us all though with a score of 31 – we’re still stronger together!

    • Dean F

      I came 7th which isn’t terrible at all

    • Tabitha

      Thanks so much for doing this, even though I did terribly! I have a strange mixture of fairly accurate and wildly, appallingly inaccurate, but I’m pleased I called Ben to win from the start at least.

      Thanks for all your work doing this 🙂

    • tpfkar

      Great job Mech, thank you. I had totally forgotten predicting Ben to win the thing in the predictions.

      Any chance you could provide a list of posters who have called the winner correctly in the predictions for the last 2 years? 😀

    • Fudd

      I forgot I said Ben would win. I really screwed up the mid-table, though.

    • Donald

      Thanks Mech, as Daniel says it’s a bit of fun but it does focus the mind. I reluctantly put SK at 1 but they way TPTB were playing it at the time it looked that regardless they would drag try drag them there. Public weren’t having it though.. Again thanks.

  • Dean F

    Also it is amazing that Ben never really went that short either at any point during the 10 weeks. He was always a fairly good price, especially if the daily star leak is true in regards to percentages.

    I did say in week 6/7 that Ben was being deramped (despite good staging) because I felt he was topping the vote. However they never full on threw him under a bus at any point and that is probably because he was always going to be an acceptable winner. Where as at the time I felt enough subtle deramps is all they needed as he was close enough to be pulled back to get Fleur over the line

  • Danzaa

    I rarely comment here but read frequently.

    Just want to congratulate both you and Andrew on yet another series of fantastically insightful articles.

  • EM

    Happy to have put money on Ben pre lives but also had Fleur to win in the mix so not a massive win for me (should never have listened to Richard Bets”factor”!).

    I couldn’t help thinking Fleur looked happier with second… She probably reads Sofabet!

    • Blake

      I think she was relieved the whole thing was over to be honest!

    • Ha EM 🙂 Well, if you have private phone chats, I can be very persuasive! My mind drifted over the last couple of weeks! Uptown Funk brought me back to Fleur but there were too many things this weekend that seemed either stupid mistakes or they’d given up. I still believe they’d have preferred Fleur… but I mean, rap in the final!? Gold lighting in the duets for Ben, and darker stuff for A & F. Two VT’s that would have helped the “fix” lobby… Nowhere near enough tears… There were plenty more.

      I practised what I preached in my post here earlier today and was 60/40 F/B and just U turned! I’m not very experienced in “trading”, but I used my Fleur green to profitable effect!

      Congrats to Daniel and Andrew again. Does any one know of a decent site talking about “trading” on Betfair? I think that’s the next thing I need to learn about. I still don’t think I fully “get” it!

      • Luke

        When most people on here talk about trading on Betfair it’s what you’re doing already, i.e. changing your opinion; or backing people with a view to laying off when they hit a certain price (expecting favourable treatment for a few weeks but not for them to win), or after a certain moment in time (i.e. backing a contestant during a positive VT that the market hasn’t reacted to, with the expectation of a good performance & comments that the market won’t miss).

        There is also “cold trading” where people follow the price trends in the market rather than the actual goings on, which a portion of today’s activity would have been, but I’m no expert on that.

        Vice versa backing/laying applies to all the above.

      • Andy

        Just play with very small stakes until you fully understand it, it comes together quickly.
        Beware if you win on a regular basis that premium rate charges will apply which are almost impossible to understand.
        On a £100 win recently I ended up with £28 in total commission charges.

  • Sagand

    I think the app backfired big time. I think they wanted to make the voter younger but instead gave the moderate masses too many votes.

  • Congrats everyone, and thanks again to Daniel & Andrew for the great coverage!

  • Jack

    http://www.itv.com/xfactor/vote/xfactor-voting-percentages-final-2014

    Voting stats are up already!

    Andrea won first three weeks and Ben won the rest.

  • Arthur

    Wow. Ben was walking it. So much for the ‘massive’ Uptown Funk.

  • Donald

    Well that was 2014 congrats to all Ben backers, with all their pimping they failed to get either of their two Plan A’ over the line. Only for a bet and Sofabet I wouldn’t bother with it. Great result and series for me and so glad Stoney laid off in the end. Looking forward to see the weekly results.

  • EM

    Fleur was the 800 votes ahead person in week 8

  • On the whole, an excellent series. Some of the manipulation has been very blatant, but it has been ever thus I think. Certainly it’s been better for the return of Simon but I wouldn’t miss Cheryl whose crown has massively slipped these days, her return had all the impact of a wet fart. If it’s true they’re going to have an odd number of judges to avoid the cop-out of deadlock, then a Simon/Tulisa/Louis panel would be excellent.

    The final was excellent, and as good as anything Eurovision has done recently.

  • David Cook

    Biggest surprise of the night was that there was something pimped more than Fleur – ‘Simon’s’ pimp my ride Mini.

  • Dean F

    Interesting to note that twice they could have got rid of Andrea on deadlock this series. Always marked as a finalist then. Surprising that they took Andrea over Lauren even more now…

    Week 4 undone Lauren as a potential winner and she never truly got back into the game.

    Noticeable that the voting seemed close enough up until week 9 when Ben started running away with it

  • Jack

    Well, Stevi outpolled Andrea in Week 7, so they could well have gone for the massive shock if they really wanted to. I think Lauren was hard done by – She was always consistently near the top and had she not been shafted with poor song choice and horrendous slots, she could have done better. One thing to note for me is that OTY were just clearing the B2 – Monster Mash wasn’t as much of a game changer as people thought.

    • Dean F

      Yeah looking at those stats they clearly never wanted a Lauren win after week 4’s debacle it seems. With help she would have been a lot closer to Ben than Fleur ever was.

  • EM

    And Lauren beat Andrea in the semi final

  • Fudd

    Mel predicted ANDREA
    Cheryl predicted LAUREN or STEREO KICKS
    Louis predicted STERO KICKS or KERIANNE (?!)
    Simon predicted JAY or STEREO KICKS

    Neither Ben or Fleur in sight.

  • Dean F

    Week 4 Paul finished above the eventual runner up in the voting… a week later he is eliminated, the wonders of these voting stats 😀

  • Annoying that lauren should have made the final I had good money coming back if Andrea left that week.
    And as predicted the 50% was way off the mark and the voting positions were revealed cos Ben was catchable. But tptb messed up big time. Sods law if I was on Ben they would have got the job done no doubt.

  • Jack

    Blimey, Paul was absolutely shafted wasn’t he? He started off really well and he was only eliminated on the only week he did poorly. Feel for him without a doubt.

  • Initial observations on the stats.

    1. OTY and Lola were never in contention.
    2. Relight My Fire had the desired effect of de-railing Andrea.
    3. Fleur was just bobbing along until Bang Bang
    4. Amazingly, Fleur didn’t top Uptown Funk week.
    5. Stereo Kicks never really got going.

  • EM

    Big sympathy bounces in there too apart from those we know that didn’t happen

  • Curtis

    The voting stats are absolutely fascinating. The vote was spread a lot thinner than it often is (until the final weeks where Ben stormed it). Week 4 in particular was won by Ben with a percentage of only 12.2%. That’s just unheard of.

    I think if the producers wanted Fleur to win they blew it in 2 ways:

    1) Too harsh criticism on Ben for his performance of “Thinking Out Loud” in week 8. You remember the studio reaction to Mel B’s criticism? I think the voters reacted similarly.

    2) Giving Ben the Week 9 pimp slot rather than Fleur. Why on earth did they do that? Weird blunder. Uptown Funk would have worked better from the pimp slot. The critique of “Hallelujah” was probably too much from Mel B too.

    Oh, and Fleur was the one that was only a few hundred votes from the bottom 2, but I think we knew that really.

    • Curtis

      Oh, and contrary to what we thought, Andrea was saved against the grain of the public vote each time. I think they just saw him as the third finalist.

  • EM

    Last ever voting thought week 9 proves iTunes sales have no relation to voting ever

  • lolhart

    Stereo Kicks really did have to get dragged along. They got a bounce the week they did the Beatles medley, but came nowhere near topping the vote.

  • Also worth noting Stevi polled third on Music Of The Night week.

  • George

    That 5.3% for OTY is severely misleading considering they were eliminated on the Saturday. Wish they released the results at the vote freeze. Can’t imagine they were that far behind.

  • Possible that The Star mis understood the voting leak?

    And said 50% of the vote, instead of 50% more than Fleur

  • Dean F

    Stereo Kicks and OTY were both being dragged along to their respective weeks.

  • Stu

    So Fleur was didn’t top a single week – not even Week 9! Also proof that the Daily Star leak was ultimately fake and was an attempt to make Ben fans complacent. No wonder the winner’s single was Something I Need in hindsight. The producers knew at that stage Fleur wasn’t going to win. For her to go from 5th place in the first half of the competition to a comfortable runner-up is good work done by the producers. They definitely settled for a Ben win since he was the only possible one who could stop Andrea. They could’ve pushed Lauren though…

    Paul went 3rd – 3rd – 4th – 5th – 9th… That comment from Simon killed him stone dead even though the percentages were always quite close in the bottom half.

    • Just looking at this now and yeah, it really really sucks for Paul, more than I was expecting. 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th and out. With the right treatment he absolutely could have been singing that winner’s song instead of Ben tonight (and much better too).

  • A major surprise for me is that the market had no idea into these voting percentages cos Ben was massive at 11/4 on Friday having won that many weeks on the bounce. Hindsight such a wonderful thing

  • Phil

    I think the comments that they messed up by overhyping Fleur have maybe been proven way off the mark by the voting figures. They went into this weekend knowing full well who was going to win.

    It’s a shame – the wrong person won in terms of what the show needs. It needed a current credible artist to win to therefore give the show some credibility. That’s not Ben.

    As has been said by others, this weekend was as much about launching Fleur’s career as it was about finding a winner. Mixed messages therefore for us.

  • mb79493

    That voting was close as hell. Wow.

  • Dean F

    What the heck happened between week 6/7 to week 8.

    Looking at the percentages in week 7 if TPTB did a better job they could have easily gotten their plan A over the line. I think Curtis above was right. Some big mistakes made in production made in week 8 which made Ben’s voters stand up and be counted. Maybe started pushing Fleur too much on people by that stage? Also maybe a mistake they did not get rid of Andrea in week 7. If Stevi stayed he would have ultimately left rather easily in week 8 and Fleur’s percentages would have been better.

    Also week 8 pimp slot to Andrea was a mistake for that reason, could have gone to Fleur. Week 8 was the week Fleur lost this show.

    • Curtis

      This was exactly why I flagged up the points I did. Fleur had a chance of winning in Week 7. Somehow they really messed it up the following 3 weeks as Ben’s gap simply grew wider and wider.

  • mb79493

    When were the votes cast? Bootcamp right? How did they all call them Stereo Kicks? Big fuck up there.

  • George

    What I don’t understand is why they didn’t push Lauren. She was very strong for the first few weeks and would have put up a much better fight than Fleur, who wouldn’t really have been damaged by coming third instead of second.

    Maybe they just saw Andrea as a finalist.

    • Dean F

      Truth is Lauren was getting in the way of their true plan A as by then they had made that decision… but again, not sure why they bothered saving her in week 8 if this was the case…

  • Jessica Hamby

    Oh well. I can’t buy a motorbike but I can take Mr Hamby to Hawksmoor for a steak dinner or two. Shame I’m a vegetarian.

    OT: did anyone else notice BE saying f*** you before their kiss? I see it more as sticking two fingers up to the show rather than being a loose cannon.

  • Boki

    I wouldn’t call the leak false because the info Ben topped the vote was something that no one expected. They exaggerated the percentage indeed but still valuable info.

  • Donald

    Lauren should have been in the final,, and when you see what they did to her throughout the series and her votes just shows what you dealing with. Imagine If they backed her like Fleur..

    Far from complaining with the result and my winnings but I was on both Ben and Lauren.

    • Dean F

      Easy enough to know why Lauren was not put into the final, because she would have been a more genuine threat to Fleur getting to the top 2 than Andrea ultimately was. Even if they did successfully stop a Lauren bounce in week 9 thanks to poor songs and on first again I think they were more confident of ensuring Andrea did not pick up floating votes than Lauren.

  • mb79493

    Surprised Ben benefitted more from Andrea leaving than Fleur.

  • EM

    Fleur’s closest polling song to Ben were actually Bang Bang or I’m Every Woman – he trounced her soundly when she did Uptown Funk so despite all the cries of battle bus bias it may just be they were quite happy with her in second

    • mb79493

      I think a catch was still feasible, but then why didn’t they even make a serious attempt at decamping Ben in the final?

      • EM

        Of the three eventual finalists in week 9 Ben had 45% of the vote and Fleur 30%. Given Ben has been solidly number one for weeks that may well not be a feasible catch.

        So they may well have thought that it’s better to set her up as an artist in the final.

        Looking at the figures it may just be Fleur was never plan A and they let her rise to the top when the other solo females
        Lauren and Lola let them down

        • Dean F

          Would be harsh to say Lauren let them down, when she was still voting consistently well when stuck with poorer song choices than most and bad running order…

          unless of course you meant from a production point of view in week 4 Lauren let them down.

          It is clear on hindsight that if they pushed Lauren more from week 5 onwards she would no doubt have got close to winning this, but they obviously pushed her out the way to make room for Fleur, and ultimately it is these things we have to try read before putting bets on.

          My main bet was on Lauren after week 1s Happy, but it did not work out.

        • lolhart

          The public really never took to Lola. It’s interesting because before the live shows all the ingredients were in place for her to be the last girl standing.

          • Fudd

            They tried to give her a moment of sorts with When You Believe in week three. She lost the tune completely, ended up with less votes as a percentage than week two and was shown the door in week four.

    • Fudd

      There was no way they could give Fleur Bang Bang again; maybe they should have tried with I’m Every Woman but that would have been a giveaway sign that Uptown Funk did not result in Fleur hitting top spot… though on the other hand, maybe that’s what she needed?

  • Jack

    Seems as though Ben benefited massively from SK’s elimination. Maybe SK tweeting their fans to vote really did have an effect?

  • Jessica Hamby

    All this confirms that it’s a lot easier predicting eliminees and sing-off results than it is predicting the winner.

  • Fudd

    Favourite songs of the series:

    BEN
    Bridge Over Troubled Water (4/16; 8.7%)
    Jealous Guy (4/14; 9.1%)
    I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing (3/12; 10.1%)
    Highway to Hell (1/11; 12.2%)
    MAN IN THE MIRROR (1/9; 14.8%)
    Cry Me A River (1/8; 16.4%)
    I Will Always Love You (1/7; 19.4%)
    Come Together/Thinking Out Loud (1/5; 26.4%)
    Please Come Home for Christmas/Hallelujah (1/4; 36.5%)

    FLEUR
    All About That Bass (5/16; 6.0%)
    It’s A Shame (My Sister) (7/14; 6.0%)
    Lady Marmalade (5/12; 9.3%)
    Thriller (6/11; 9.4%)
    Will You Be There (5/9; 10.8%)
    Bang Bang (2/8; 14.0%)
    I’m Every Woman (2/7; 16.1%)
    A Fool in Love/If I Ain’t Got You (3/5; 17.9%)
    All I Want For Christmas Is You/UPTOWN FUNK (2/4; 24.3%)

    As others have said they really messed up in Week 8. Fleur closed the gap in week 6 and was in touching distance in week 7 and then they probably pushed too hard.

    If they were giving Ben an easy ride they would have probably given him Highway to Hell over Man in the Mirror as that was the song which claimed him top spot which he never let go of.

  • Help!

    Congratulations to Ben Haenow and everyone here who has made a profit on his win. I haven’t commented here since 2012 but I’ve thought about a cheeky fiver on Lauren Platt, and yet the curse of the teenage girl lives on. The voting results are fascinating to look at, especially the trajectories of the eventual top 4.

    Lauren could’ve Jahmene-ed her way through the competition had producers kept her treatment consistently positive through the end. I’m a bit baffled as to how the producers didn’t take advantage of this. Lauren’s certainly polled better than Ella, Tamera, and Hannah. Perhaps her constancy in the voting, even with dreadful spots, may have spooked producers. It’s likely that a stronger Lauren could’ve lead Fleur to a premature elimination. (Imagine Fleur falling into bottom two with Uptown Funk, which very nearly happened as she was only around 4% off.)

    Fleur’s weakness doesn’t surprise me, though the gap between her and Ben is a bit dizzying to see. It feels like a strange and messy mix of The X Factor’s peak years, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Three soloists, the ditsy (in the loosest sense of the word) yet powerfully voiced finalist eliminated in, the performer losing out in second, and the winner running away with the vote at a very disquieting margin. Perhaps the puzzle piece that doesn’t fit is the lack of a group within the final three, but Stereo Kicks and Only The Young were hardly inspiring. Our winner also ran away with the vote just like Cardle did.

    I’m quite curious to see how SyCo will handle Fleur East. I can imagine the narrative of multiple recording deals being spewed, but Fleur will ultimately ‘choose’ SyCo in the end. I’ll keep an eye out on Fleur, since the post-show trajectory of each contestant that the show earmarks as favorites is just as thrilling as the show itself. It would be wise for Cowell to have Fleur to focus her efforts in the UK, Europe, and Oceania.

    To what extent will Cowell go through to make Fleur East happen is a question I’m hoping to have answered next year or even two years from now. I’m going to assume he will go to great lengths, depending on how her record deal deal is stipulated. Considering everything, Cowell’s in for a nigh-impossible challenge, especially if he wants Fleur to break America.

    • Fleur has a career regardless. Simon made 1D happen and he’ll make Fleur happen. I think it’s the old adage about commercial acts being hard to “sell” to the voting demo. She got Top 5 with Uptown Funk and even held her position in the Top 40 relatively well even when the original was rush-released. Yet she didn’t top the poll that week.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I’m inclined to agree. Marketing power is a huge help. As long as he picks the right songs she’ll do fine.

        I’m still surprised by Ben’s popularity though. I think his voice is unpleasantly whiny in its timbre. I dislike listening to him sing.

        • Without his looks, without his class and geographical background, without his whiteness and without his relative youth for an Over, he wouldn’t have been singing that winner’s song tonight. The default relatable white male/ordinary bloke next door very often wins these things ever since Craig in BB1, closeted Will on Pop Idol and Steve Brookstein on X Factor. I don’t like Ben as a singer either, but when the best two singers in the final four go out 3rd and 4th, it’s clear that’s not what people are voting for. The bunch of apeths. This is why democracy doesn’t work.

          The handsome hetero white van man who gives good tears, is endlessly surprised and humble, whose mum works in a supermarket and who you could imagine going for a pint with (“Lovely head on that”, I say to him in my imagination, as I sip the Guinness he brought me then push his stool in) beats the tubby foreign woofter and the rapping black girl. It’s the X Factor final for our UKIP-addled era, y’all. All hail King Nige and Prince Ben – awooga!

          • Jessica Hamby

            I hadn’t thought of it that way. That’s very sad but probably true.

            I can’t stand that stupid, disingenuous, wide-eyed “who me? Is the clapping for me?” look on his face after every performance either. He looks like a startled goose.

            I could give him something to look startled about. But I can tell you know he wouldn’t go home feeling proud of himself. Or telling his nonna about it.

          • I think you could be right about the whole UKIP thing – I feel we’re on the cusp of major social and political change in this country right now, and without sounding like a member of the KKK, Middle England seems to be making a concerted effort to take its’ country back. There, I said it.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Well if middle england thinks Nigel Farage, the public school and investment banking alumnus is going to be giving anything to anybody apart from those who already have infonitely more than they could ever possibly need, middle england is in for one hell of a shock.

            I don’t think this has anything to do with that though. Craig, Will Young et al happened long before the financial crisis which has precipitated the rise of UKIP, and let’s face it, if people had money in their pockets and financial / job security they wouldn’t give a toss. The zeitgeist isn’t about “taking a country back”. It’s about feeling financially fucked and being too stupid to notice who’s fucking you.

          • Nothing wrong with being an investment banking alumnus 😉

          • Jessica Hamby

            I am “familiar” with the City myself. 😉

            Which is why I wouldn’t trust one of those cunts to look out for anyone except themselves..

          • Not at all. Isn’t that kind of what we do, especially with exchange betting – it’s not that different to playing the stock market.

          • Jessica Hamby

            If ypu ever find a way to drop a bank the size of Lehman’s through exchange betting you let me know. Until then the relationship is about as tenuous as schoolkid physics and atomic weapons research.

          • I think you’re very much on the right track here eurovicious, but perhaps taking it too far with the UKIP parallel. Likeability has always won competitions like these, even when all contestants have been white and hetero. That’s why Andrea was dominating the vote in the beginning, despite his Italianness: they still hadn’t murdered his likeability with bulimic associations and whatnot (to be fair, he would probably always have become somewhat of a one-trick pony). And regardless of dancing skills, singing skills, iTunes positions, gender or skin color: Fleur never ticked even nearly as many likeability boxes as Ben.

          • My UKIP comment is only half-serious, as I’m sure most of you get – I’m just riffing off the zeitgeist in the wake of the “white van man” incident, given Ben’s status as such.

            I agree with Jess on Ben’s “Did I do something good? Is it me?” face. It’s like a dog being surprised by its own farts. It does come over as a little disingenious, there’s no shame in taking pride in something you’re good at. I expect to see relief and happiness when someone gets through, but not surprise unless they’ve struggled previously, they know they had a bad week or have recently been in the B2.

            Jess, I totally agree on UKIP, and squall, I agree on Andrea – I think he would have finished 3rd/2nd without the (mild) deramping, as despite his vocal prowess, his shtick was never gonna be to everyone’s taste. From week 5 they were happy to let him excel with songs very well suited to him, including in a pimp slot in week 5 and in a shared pimp slot in week 8, knowing that he was secure in his niche and wouldn’t top the vote again.

            Re: previous comments about manipulation etc this series – I’d like to add my voice to those who found this series much less negative than those in the Barlow era. I only started watching properly in 2011, and the treatment of Misha B, Chris Maloney and Abi respectively appalled me. I think there’s an article on this site somewhere about how in 2010 almost all contestant were treated positively, and easing people out was done more by putting them on first then pimping everyone else than it was about bullying or character assassination. Abi bullied into tears, Misha B being character-assassinated by Tulisa and Louis live on national television, and the unprecedented treatment of Chris Maloney (especially by Tulisa) were historic low points for the franchise, as was Sam Callahan’s awkward shoehorning into the role of villain last year and his treatment with the backing track etc. Andrea’s comparatively mild deramping this year wasn’t comparable to (for instance) Maloney’s and I was largely fine with Andrea’s treatment. There’s an interview with his family in the Daily Mail and all they talk about is how much he likes to eat, so it’s not even like the show invented that. And while I wasn’t best pleased at how Paul was maneouvred out this year, it’s fair to say he wasn’t the most dynamic of performers and wasn’t working with the cameras or making eye contact, which is important for a TV show. I love him but I was willing him to improve in that area. He had 5 good performances in the live shows. As I see it, the weapons they used in 2011-2013 were very inept, betrayed panic, were far too transparent to viewers, left a really bad taste in the mouth and damaged the show, whereas in -2010 and 2014-, the show was steered far more skilfully, flexibly and subtly. I’m glad we seem to have moved on from the Barlow era ethos of crudely destroying people via every means possible, rather than easing them out gently when the time comes.

            When Ed Miliband sees Ben Haenow, he thinks “Respect”. When I see Ben Haenow, I think [CENSORED].

  • David Cook

    I wonder if TPTB thought that in order to stand a chance Fleur would need to appeal to a wider section of the audience – hence Tina Turner and Alicia Keys in week 8. It idea might have worked, but it was these songs which really least suited her vocals so possibly backfired.

  • I don’t expect people to post actual figures here, but how did we all do percentage wise compared to your starting bank? ie. if you doubled your money you had a 200% win.

    I had a 905% return on my starting bank.

  • Kered

    Profit this series thanks to Daily Star voting leak 3 separate 50p bets on Ben this week.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One thing that still puzzles me…

    Why is Ben a preferable winner to Andrea? They could have given it to Andrea just as easily as Ben. Scowell certainly didn’t take to him, but why?

  • Kered

    Did Fleur each way several weeks ago at 9/1 and another 70p on Saturday after the drift had three Ben bets at 12/5 9/4 then 10/11

  • Kered

    Other winning bets this series at 6/1 Jay elimination and 9/2 Sk elimination and Paul at 5/6 small series profit in the end but only due to the voting Leak.

  • Kered

    Several weeks ago thought Lauren or Fleur would win chose Fleur as 9/1 looked big couldn’t see Ben winning until the final five. Lauren surely would have come second with better slots and song choices?

  • David Cook

    What we’ve probably learnt is that free voting made little difference to the pattern of voting in the way that tptb were hoping. The same overall demo probably voted as before but using free votes rather than paying. The main difference may e that once people had voted they were still keen to use the free votes even when thier favored act was eliminated – but this too probably worked against thier intentions.

    • Woofie

      I agree and probably explains the distribution in the voting. Would love to know what the phone and app votes were. Should they show the phone votes separately for legal reasons as the public paid for those?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Last thought before bed.

    Given the scale of tptb’s fuck up on week 8, perhaps they’re nowhere near as smart as we credit them.

    The voting figures give the impression they’re relying an awful lot on blag, bluster and plain dumb luck. It’s more ‘hit and hope’ than a well oiled machine.

    No wonder they sometimes appear to nick ideas from sofabet. They probably do.

    I wouldn’t be surprised now if the donut deramp had nothing to do with associating Andrea with an excess of stodgy unhealthy food and was all about poking fun at the fat bloke. Or maybe Cheryl’s so crass she thought 5 cake trays for four people was classy and tptb copied her because they thought so too.

    Or maybe I’m just annoyed because I laid Ben early on secure in the knowledge that there was no way the public could vote for that and then had to white knuckle it through a series of elims and deadlocks with uncomfortably large sums to cover my suddenly apparent vulnerability and all for a relative pittance.

    Nah. Can’t be that last one. :-S

    • Curtis

      Week 8 was baffling. The interesting contrast that week is that both Ben and Fleur got criticism – but whilst Ben’s criticism did come off as strange and unwarranted, certainly to the public, the criticism of Fleur seemed to be felt as justified. You can see that in the studio reaction – the audience reaction to Ben’s criticism is very loud, whereas for Fleur it was not.

      Criticism perceived as unjustified motivates votes, justified criticism does the opposite – that’s Sofabet 101. So what were they thinking criticising Fleur to begin with? And why give her such subpar song choices? And why not damn Ben with faint praise of his second performance, rather than unnecessary criticism.

    • Donald

      Hi Jessica, never never knew you laid Ben early doors, you back outsiders early and you only ever lay favourites or close to favourite. Forget about judges or what you thought early doors, you were close in your predictions.

      You must never blame TPTB, you must live and learn not to put on the wrong bet at the wrong time, and the perfect bet at the perfect time, that is what makes Sofabet so so amazing but it is never certain in you putting it on.

      I will do more analysis tomorrow, I’ve just had my vino to chill after a nervous day, will i lay off or not, and to salute Lauren, and all on Sofabet.. they fooled us all with Uptown… I laid off 20% of my Ben bet… and Stoney almost didn’t cover. fine margins.

      We’ll try help get you that new bike one day 😉 you are well capable of getting it. and you do deserve it.

      How was Celeb out of here?

      • Jessica Hamby

        Thanks for the nice thoughts Donald. This is my first time betting on x factor and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I doubt I’ll be betting much again. If I do it will be small stakes on outsiders. To tell the truth I really don’t like the show much at all. Even without the way it seems to treat so many contestants so badly (after all, by now you can argue that they should all know what to expect) I find it incredibly boring as a spectacle. I was so bored by Saturday that I hardly watched Sunday.

        I might dabble in eurovision since I like watching that, but tiny stakes for a giggle, not to make money.

        As for a bike, at this time of year it’s not a big deal. I’ll get one when I’m ready.

        • Jessica Hamby

          For completeness I also laid Lola early on. Lola was very good to me :).

          Nothing from I’m A Celeb. I only staked £2 on Edwina at 80/1 so no big deal. I didn’t watch all of the final, can’t remember why not. I didn’t expect Carl to win though so I’m glad I wasn’t involved. I would have been on Jake.

  • Sagand

    By my maths Fleur polled 35.3% after Andrea was eliminated compared to 32.7% before. So almost all his vote went to Ben which explains the deadlock saves and pimping after the bottom 2 if TPTB wanted to keep it competitive.

  • Heisenberg

    Congratulations to Ben Haenow and everyone here on Sofabet who made a profit this series.

    Let’s not forget the other big winner tonight!

    http://goo.gl/qUw0Mc

  • Congratulations to Ben and anyone who backed him. Fleur did not let me down though, as my one and only reserved bet this year was on her for the final at an early 40/1 e/way on her for a humble £120 profit.

    Not a fortune, but it was at least enough to let me guiltlessly grace our family Christmas day dinner with a few bottles of the more decent Vinos to celebrate (and that I would not normally stretch too).

    This is also not forgetting a bigger and better hamper to the local food bank this year (lest we forget those worse off than ourselves this Christmas) and I hope some winners out there do the same.
    Have a very merry Christmas everyone!!

    • Tim B

      That’s a good idea…how can I do that?

      • Hi Tim B. A lovely intention. Just go buy some food (and also other needed goods like nappies and baby stuff) from a local supermarket (eg. Tesco, Asda etc) and they usually have a donation place near the door. Otherwise, just google your local homeless shelter or ‘food bank’ donation center. There is no better feeling in the world than going there personally to deliver and actually seeing the selfless volunteers who give up their time, even on Christmas day. Good on you Tim!!

  • Curtis

    Having rewatched tonight’s performances, it struck me just how awesome Fleur’s Uptown Funk was. To me, that is possibly the best performance I have ever seen on the X Factor. I mean, maybe it’s cliché to say, but it looked like something done by a seasoned professional, rather than a reality show contestant.

    However, the voting percentages remind us of something. “Urban” or “edgy” acts simply don’t win – Misha B, Fleur, Cher Lloyd, etc. I always tried to justify my feelings that Fleur will win because Little Mix managed to win defying expectations, but Little Mix did that by taking themselves away from any kind of urban image. Sure, they started with Nicki Minaj, but they ended with Silent Night.

    The X Factor audience aren’t prepared to back anything more edgy than Marvin Gaye, even with free app voting. I think tonight has been a stark reminder of that for me.

    • Curtis

      And with ballads being key to one’s success, it does seem that it’s necessary to have a better vocal than Fleur to win also. Again, I considered Little Mix a counterexample to this before, but then again, Perrie in that group really is a great vocalist, and was able to carry them through a ballad like, again, Silent Night. Fleur on the other hand was clearly very exposed by ballads.

  • I get the feeling they felt guilty for sabotaging Andrea who would have won this show had it been a fair contest. And in return helped him into the final. I think they missed a trick not letting him go out to stevie on deadlock. I think if many of us knew that voting % we would have thrown everything at deadlock being called!

  • EM

    After looking through the polling I’m stuck on my original thoughts on how the show works. They go into the series with several favoured acts and look to get as many as possible into the last five.

    Those favoured acts are then given the songs and staging to give them every opportunity to do well with the public vote while the show has the distraction of joke acts and cannon fodder to deal with.

    They are flexible enough to change course depending on how the public react and the artists perform. Ready to jettison and change horses if an act is stroppy (Paul?) doesn’t cope (Lola) or doesn’t poll well. They allow a leader their head while keeping the grip tight (Ben) whilst keeping all the help going to those they want at the business end ( Fleur, Lauren).

    And as for the winners magic formula it’s down to three thing. An ability to sing (not powerful voice or originality just be able to hold a tune), likeability (smiles not moans, politeness and gratefulness) and a strong rags to riches back story (van driver, painter, prison warden).

    In retrospect Fleur lacked that backstory dimension. She wasn’t a cleaner or a waitress or a policewoman turned good, she was obviously a professional but struggling singer

    • Jessica Hamby

      At least in Sam Bailey’s and Matt Cardle’s cases you can argue they were the best in their respective series. That definitely wasn’t the case with Ben.

      This year the overall quality was better than last year, in that more acts could sing in tune and make a reasonable noise when doing it, but would Ben have beaten Sam or even Nicholas?

      Stoll, at least there was no Rough Copy or Sam Callaghan and no Luke Friend in the fina.

      • eurovicious

        Agree, Sam and Nick were an extremely deserved top two, both of them sing rings round Ben and Fleur. And it goes wihout saying that Misha B (I miss you Misha, please come back and save us) has more vocal skill in her massive nail than Fleur does in her whole body. Fleur is style over substance.

  • Just taking another look at the voting %, It’s early so I might be wrong but… everytime a male went Ben hoovered up a larger % of their votes, which goes back to what I was saying about vote transfers continuously improving his position each week.

    He basically took between 25% and 90% of Jack, Jake, Jays, Pauls and Andreas votes after they left. That continual increasing just snowballed and pushed him.

    Even on the week that Fleur sung Uptown Funk, the performance which saw her cut to 1.4x in the markets, he increased his lead over her. Who left the week before? Stereo Kicks, I would guess that a large number of their supporters transferred their votes to Ben

    • Yes it does appear you may have been right about that. But others also said the same thing was happening week by week. I wonder if Fleur would have beat him in a straight phone vote. Will be interesting to see if the free votes return for the next series. Id be surprised if they do.

      • whatever happened you made an excellent call on Fleur.. I think I read that you greened up. However I have to commend you for sticking to your guns fro so long, you though the price was wrong and didn’t want to lay off at something that wasn’t value. I would have done exactly the same if I was in your position on Saturday morning.

        With regards to Fleur v Ben, I don’t think she ever had a chance of beating Ben. She revived a lot of pimping, however the counter of that is Ben was helped by the takedown of the boys. The main reason I don’t think that Fleur could beat Ben is simply that Ben was more likeable and gained that early traction form being liked.

        Almost everyone I spoke to listed Ben in their top 3 from the start and last night a friend of mine who is into all that urban type music said she hoped Ben would win.

        Personally I think they should keep the free votes fro next year, I really think it helped the show intricate with the viewer more. TBH if there weren’t any free votes then i think Ben would have won even easier, as I can’t see that many phoning up to vote for Fleur.

        It would be good if we could get an idea of the demographic of viewers, as I have the suspicion that it’s now a show watched by an older generation compared to teens. If that’s true then tptb need to think of ways to attract younger viewers and get them to interact, social media and free voting are key to that imo

        • Just on the note of book balancing etc

          I went into the final breaking even on Fleur with Ben as my green, when Ben was drifting above 2.00 I should have been topping up as I always thought he was a genuine 1.66 shot

          However the fear of losing months of hard work just before the festive period, played on my mind… Something it wouldn’t have done ten years ago

          Downside of getting older 🙁

          • I did exactly the same thing, with the difference that I pre-show felt that fair value odds for Ben was about 1.33 (75% chance to win). Given that, you’d expect me to go well into red for Fleur when they were both available at evens. But no, I never went further than B85/F15, i.e. still keeping a green on her too.

            I think this is kind of acceptable practice though. Sure, it’s suboptimal from a pure $EV perspective, but not from the perspective of subjective well-being, given the asymmetric marginal utility of adding/removing green to the two outcomes at that point.

    • EM

      You need to make a fair few assumptions to make that stack up.

      Firstly it would need the same people voting each week. As the number of votes cast increased markedly in the last few weeks that might not be the case.

      Secondly you need to assume VTs, staging, performance, song choice and more don’t affect any voting. It needs people to be tribal and only vote one way each week.

      I’m not for a second saying that it didn’t happen as you say and that the app vote hasn’t increased transference due to giving out free votes every week. But work backwards and if Ben was “the best” act of the season then it stands to reason that he’d be first choice vote for some and second choice for others becoming first choice when acts depart. Did he pick up votes because he was popular or because people are tribal?

      I also noted during the season whether by accident or design Ben seemed to be put, by song choice, right into other acts lanes for example I Will Always Love You

    • Sagand

      I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. The audience as a whole voted Ben the winner, as the audience as a whole voted Sam Bailey and Little Mix the winners. You can argue that Ben’s vote percentage started artificially low as the male favouring voters were split seven ways, but the audience overall won’t have changed that much year to year.

  • Scott

    First of all, thanks to the guys at Sofabet for an excellent season. Also good to see Richard Betsfactor make the odd comeback – more next year please. 🙂

    Now let’s question some assumptions, including mine.

    First of all, the idea that producers were desperate for Fleur to win the thing. It’s fair to say they were interested in her but, as pointed out in the Sofabet article, you would generally tone her down for middle England if you wanted her to win The X Factor. That may, however, have toned her down too much for her target audience when she leaves the show and bids for chart stardom. I have a feeling that, when they saw Ben pulling away, they decided just to let Fleur be Fleur and use the show to give her the best possible chance of building a career from it, while also giving the show some credibility, rather than comprehensively nuking Ben and hurting the franchise. The tweet from The X Factor bingo, a link-in with Mecca Bingo offering a Mecca chat with the winner, was cheesy in the extreme. Can you imagine Fleur having to do that? There goes the Radio 1 audience.

    Secondly, the idea that producers wanted Andrea out at all costs. I reckon that, as they had his vote under control and knew what buttons to press to stop him winning, they thought he would add to the final – which they want to be a good show. I refer back to why they couldn’t risk Tamera in the final – and Betsfactor was spot on about that one. I think it aligns with Nicholas McDonald – they wanted a good performer with a good voice in the final who they knew they could drag down and make sure didn’t win. Lauren could pull it out the bag when she had to but Andrea was “consistent” (to use the often-uttered word which seems like a compliment but puts paid to any thoughts of a journey).

    With Ben, they had another good singer who ticked another demographic box. It’s hard to see how, with his style, he’s remotely relevant to the pop scene as it stands, but a push as a Radio 2 style act may suit him. He’s not going to be as damaged by the whole cheesy Mecca/X Factor tie-in single as Fleur, who can now be taken away and worked on. (As a side note, my kingdom for what was said in that little chat between Simon and Ben in week 3)

    So they got themselves three good finalists to put on a cracking show. Betsfactor made the point that the franchise comes first and they succeeded in that. I’m intrigued by the vote leak. Maybe they did think they could get the vote a bit closer. I’d be tempted to suggest they did it so the damage, if there was any, of a more old-fashioned act winning over someone who many people saw as a new fresh direction for the franchise had less impact on the night (as many would have known by then), although it could also have been a vote dampener to make things closer than they otherwise would have been. By normal logic hiding this information would have had much more of a shock factor, given many were understandably convinced Fleur would win, but it could have impacted badly on the show. Personally, I’m grateful they did it as I can happily walk away from this year with a profit, rather than being tempted by Fleur odds.

    Another couple of things – I suspected Stevi had more votes than Andrea in the week he was voted out. Made that bet well worth taking at insane odds even though I always suspected the plan was for Andrea to make the final. I also never got why people thought Only The Young would get near victory. The whole two girl two boy act is very cheesy and nineties, although I suppose the children’s entertainer route could have produced something. Not a winner though, surely.

    Anyway, great company everyone, congrats to those who cashed in.

  • Neeve

    Just want to say thanks and well done to all at sofabet for another fantastic series of articles.

    I came away from this series without a penny won but I bet very very small stakes just to keep an interest so no harm done!

    Just one quick point: now that we know it was Fleur who polled just 800 points off bottom in week 8, does anyone think the result could have been different if she had fallen into b2? Could a sympathy vote coupled with the first uptown funk performance in week 9 have bounced her above Ben and all the way to a win? Most average/ casual viewers thought she was walking it, I watched with 3 friends last night (none of us voting) and all 3 were convinced she was going to win and thought I was crazy predicting Ben. (They dont know about sofabet!) Had she been a shock b2 late on like James Arthur maybe she’d have picked up more votes near the finish line. It’s all irrelevant now I know but just something that struck me!

    Also another thought I had re: Fleur. Is it possible that uptown funk was being planned as her new song for the final but late last week it was brought forward just to actually get her there?

    • Curtis

      I don’t think it would have harmed Fleur’s chances to fall into the bottom 2 in Week 8, but better still would have been to sing Uptown Funk from the pimp slot in that week, because that was the week where Ben got away. I think what actually happened in Week 8 was basically worst case scenario for a Fleur win anyway, short of her being eliminated!

    • UnCalquera

      The problem I see with that is that if Fleur were to fall in the bottom 2 that week, then Lauren’s elimination the following week would have been less acceptable, as she would only have fallen that time into bottom 2 (against Andrea who had already fallen).

  • First time poster. Have enjoyed reading all these comments and articles over the past weeks and months.
    What strikes me as unusual is that without the Daily Star leak, could we have seen a situation where Fleur was still the huge favourite she was pre-Star leak?
    When was the last time (if ever) Dermot had the winning envelope in his hand and the market had called it wrong?
    Also, looking at the voting statistics, Fleur strikes me as a bit of an Olly Murs. Consistently decent without ever really threatening to win and almost just ending up second by default with Simon more interested in their post X factor career than he is of the winners

  • Lenny

    Thanks everyone at Sofabet for another series. Been reading for a couple of years but never commented or bet before. Made an OK profit, slightly over doubled my starting stake by betting small. Biggest win was on Ben for top male while Andrea was still a massive favourite, biggest blunder was a big (by my standards) on Lauren to go over Stereo Kicks. See you all next year.

  • fused

    Thanks to Sofabet for some great articles, it has been a massive part of viewing this series of The X Factor for me. I didn’t comment on them so I’ll say now that I particularly liked the pictures in the articles about the final three (Ben’s rock star van, My Fleur Lady and Andrea as Jaws). I’ve been reading for a few years, but only started commenting here about the X Factor from this series. I’m not sure if my comments added much, I’ve got nothing on how well the regulars here make observations and reading how this show will go, but I’ve enjoyed commenting all the same.

  • Don’t forget Eurovision is about to get started after Christmas, which will make for some interesting gambling opportunities through the winter and early Spring.

  • Joe

    Have been reading this site for the past few years and once again thoroughly enjoyed reading all the analysis. It is such an enjoyable read and thanks to everyone or their great insight.

    As has been mentioned I agree that Stereo Kicks were their plan A but they never took off. Andrea was taken down from the start but once he was under control they could relax knowing he wouldn’t cause any damage in the final. I do believe that they thought the vote would be split between Jay, Paul and Ben leaving their 8 piece band to rise up but all it did was allow Ben to strengthen as the others left. I think they switched horses to Fleur but the harsh comments to Ben allowed him to pull away in week 8. Uptown Funk was used just to ensure she actually got the final, so the repeat of it a week later didn’t have the same effect. Rap, red and black and fire for Fleur to me says they were resigned to the fact that Ben couldnt be caught so Fleur was shown as the artist they want her to be.

    Lost a few quid over the series but only bet small. My bet on Stevie Ritchie top 3 was a bit too ambitious but then again he had more votes than Andrea when he was voted off to finish 6th, if they had kept him then who knows!

    Well done everyone, thanks to Daniel as always. Plus Richard from Betsfactor please can we have more from you next year too.

    • EM

      Joe Fleur’s final treatment is intriguing. As you correctly say she didn’t have much hope of winning but there were many signs the pimped Ben and depressed Fleur regardless. Why bother?

      Was it just to be sure it went the way they wanted? If so that means Ben was the chosen one? Or was it to ensure Fleur didn’t win and was away from the stigma and pressure of being the winner?

      From Uptown Funk week 9 on they really seemed to have pushed her as a credible star with urban roots and the while package. My guess would be they fancied using her last week as a marketing campaign for her future career rather than to win the show.

  • Caro

    Several commentators remarked on Ben being popular with middle-aged women and I fessed-up earlier to being of that demo. Happily for me this meant that who I liked and who I bet on coincided and I came away with a win.
    I put money on Ben partly because when I looked at the XF Facebook page, every time comparable posts were posted Ben’s got far and away the most likes (e.g. 23k as opposed to Fleur on 7k). I know we don’t know if there is a correlation between this and votes, but it seemed worth a punt.
    Also because another commentator had pointed out with regard to I’m a celeb, that the younger candidates got voted out at the weekend because their voters were out enjoying themselves rather than staying in. It’s the ‘middle aged women’ (and men) who are at home on Saturday night.
    Ben fits the mould of the traditional X Factor winner, as others have pointed out, and (anecdotally, sorry) many of my friends and family thought that Fleur was being given an unfair advantage, which might also have spurred the traditional voter to stick with Ben.
    I look forward to buying Ben’s album…. 🙂

  • Stu

    My thoughts after looking at the votes (some of this might have already been covered above):

    – The handsome middle-of-the-road rock-type every-bloke wins (the competition and the majority of the weeks).

    – Once again the urban female struggled in the vote considering all of the pimping she got. She only came 2nd in the vote when she either got the pimp slot (wk6, wk10), had a softened image (wk 7) or had Uptown Funk (wk 9, wk10). She reminds me of Olly Murs and Marcus Collins who never once topped the vote in their series.

    – The closeness of the vote in week 6 probably made the producers think they could get Andrea to the bottom of the vote in week 7 and therefore have a massive shock elimination but instead it backfired and OTY finished far lower than everyone else.

    • EM

      To be fair to the Great British voting public Fleur’s vote actually seemed to be worse when she did less urban stuff like “Will You Be There”, the Tina Turner/Alicia Keyes week and on Sunday in the final with the Something I Need song but she does have the Olly Murs thing happening on the vote as you say.

      I also remember see here (I can’t remember from whom) that the Brits weren’t like the Americans and wouldn’t go for the rock singer types like Ben.

      For those reasons I think it’s dangerous to make judgements based on musical genres alone.

    • Lenny

      They could still have had a shock elimination that week – Andrea finished below Stevi in the vote and if they had used Louis last to do the “I can’t decide, I’ll take it to Deadlock and let the public choose” thing they could have been rid of Andrea and caused outcry by saving Stevi again.

      The fact that Andrea was the only person saved in a singoff all series when having fewer votes than the other contestant (and did it twice) suggests they wanted to keep him in.

  • Stu

    Also, for what it’s worth Stoney, I think if Fleur was 800 votes short in week 8 and landed in the bottom two, inevitably saved and THEN did Uptown Funk with a due bounce, she *might* have had the momentum needed to top Ben.

  • Keen Observer

    In terms of getting Fleur to victory, the biggest mistake looks like giving Ben Thinking Out Loud in week 8, as she did well in weeks 6&7. How close the bottom 3 were in the semi probably the most interesting voting stat. Punters totally bought into the hype around Fleur and got it so wrong.

    The pre live show prices seem fairly solid, clearly Andrea was too short (who was backing him?!) but after the voting he looks a worthy favourite, with Ben & Lauren deservedly short as well. SK clearly were far too short in the betting week 1. Although Fleur traded at 2/5, it is hard to imagine things could possibly play out any more favourable for her and she still didn’t win. In a reprice she would still have to be 20/1 or more.

  • tpfkar

    A few thoughts for the morning after. Seems a good time to raise a glass to Daniel and Andrew and thank them for keeping the site so active. And topped off with a starring role in the X Factor final itself, reckon we can manage a sofabet flashmob next year?

    1. How did Ben get such a lead with so little buzz? They made it look like the closest final ever, the odds switched between the top two, many posters on here thought that Fleur would do it (or at least were scared enough to cover.) Instead, Ben walked it and had done for a month; Lauren was his only real competition. It could easily have been a damp squib of a final, which goes some way to explaining the lack of Daily Star leaks ahead of time. I agree with the posters saying that the X Factor audience and voters are getting older,and less edgy.

    2. We misread the ‘deramp Andrea’ signals, and that now explains the week 8 pimp slot. Have they ever given so much support to an act (3 pimp slots, twice saved when bottom of the vote) when they desperately didn’t want them to win? They felt they needed him for the final, but didn’t let him charm and shine as he can, even though he was nowhere near Fleur.

    3. Stereo Kicks were Plan A. Look how many of the judges went for them in their predictions (Mel B being the exception – a sign that she was being over-competitive with her own category?) Yet they never got out of 2nd gear. Even with such good VTs mid-series, they never looked like surging. The X Factor has proved far stronger in dampening buzzes than creating them.

    4. Lauren and Paul will feel hard done by having seen the figures today.

    5. We should have read the signs in Fleur’s first final performance better; this was about launching a career as that performance would never get votes in the final. Also all the Saturday night comments about making it to the end rather than winning.

    • AlisonR

      They just got it all wrong on SK. We didn’t even know the names of most of them till about a week before they left (I’m not sure I know them all even now). The nicknames thing was too little too late. Doing this at the start might have given more audience buy-in

  • Caro

    I just want to add my thanks to Daniel and Andrew and the Sofabet community for a fabulous few months.
    I find this site highly addictive… My friends say I am obsessed.
    Thanks too, to Heisenberg for the great photos, and to Eurovicious for some side-splittingly funny comments about Ben and his sausage (as it were…..).

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