X Factor 2014 Final: Second Watch Sunday

What show did we watch last night, then? Was it the show in which producers are desperately trying to get Fleur to the victory? Or was it the show in which producers, reconciled to a Ben win, did everything they could to position Fleur for a postshow career and make sure she stayed above Andrea? We’ll find out tonight. In the meantime, here are some things that struck us on a second watch.

1. Go hard or go home

MB79493: “Her staging looked more to me like Soviet-era propaganda”. EM: “Classic mistep by the show there. A Ms Dynamic-esque slice of staging followed by utterly supportive comments.” Eurovicious: “If she’s gonna come second regardless, there’s no point saddling her with safer material when they can use tonight and tomorrow to establish her brand really strongly”. JessikaK: “General consensus from everyone in my house is… What on earth was that all about!?”

How to make confident non-white acts palatable for an ITV-watching Middle England audience has been a question much debated by Sofabet commenters over the years, notably in relation to Rough Copy in 2013 and Misha B in 2011. We can’t remember anybody suggesting “give them a rap song with high-concept staging based around the theme of an inner city riot, to the repeated refrain of ‘the city can’t hold us’ and with a fire backdrop, then interview their grandad from Ghana to the sound of bongo drums”.

fleur-champions

Removing our betting hats for a moment, it has always seemed depressing when a talented, edgy act like Misha B has had to be blandly styled and made to sing middle-of-the-road ballads to progress in the competition. If app voting has changed the voting demographic so much that this is the kind of performance that now wins the X Factor, you have to say it’s fantastic news for the franchise.

2. Buona fortuna, Andrea

HenryVIII: “But what strikes me is that it’s all this manipulation without having established a decent goal. Fleur has too weak a voice and Ben is Brookstein Mk V. I think they’d have been better off with Andrea winning, or Lauren, or even OTY. They’re a bit like a dying communist state with all the sinister machinery turning away but to no purpose.”

Keeping our betting hats off, let’s take a moment to bid farewell to Andrea. We always try hard to separate our analysis of the way an act is portrayed by the show from our reactions to the real person behind the portrayal, as far as this is possible to discern. And on a personal level, we’ve had a soft spot for Andrea since his room audition.

He’s been pretty shabbily treated – in HenryVIII’s words, they have portrayed him as a “gluttonous fool” – but at least he’s got plenty of exposure, which he can use as the basis for building a career. And ultimately, win or lose, this is all anyone can hope for when they enter the competition. More importantly, he appears to have a wonderful family. Good luck, Andrea!

andrea-family

3. Schoolboy errors?

“I can’t believe there are so many people here”, said Fleur as she arrived at Walthamstow Assembly Hall. Well, anything’s better than school, right? There were a couple of curious decisions in Fleur’s homecoming. It was noticeable that her audience seemed to consist entirely of uniformed kids, presumably bussed in from their classrooms.

fleur-schoolchildrenAlso, the size of the crowds. The establishing shot of Fleur’s crowd consisted largely of swathes of empty space – a rare apparent mis-step from producers who are usually highly alert to this kind of thing.

fleur-homecoming

In contrast, there was never a moment in Ben’s VT when the crowds looked anything less than impressive – and they had evidently turned up of their own volition, not indoors but braving the winter cold.

ben-crowd

Indeed, on a second watch we thought Ben’s homecoming VT was pretty much textbook. Taking his mum away from her work at Sainsbury’s tied into the theme of last week’s VTs, with Ben hoping to give his family a better life; and there were testimonials from a wide age range of female demographics, from girls to pensioners.

4. The warm, golden glow of…?

For all that Ben has been receiving mixed messages in comments of late, he has pretty consistently been bathed in golden light on stage. That continued, both in ‘Demons’ and in the “Sheeran-Haenow bromance”, as Dermot termed it.

ben-demons

ben-ed-gold

Ben’s line of introduction that Ed was “the most incredible man in the world” may have been a step too far, but there was an ease about the duet which seemed genuine. To cap it all, their hug was nicely framed by cameras.

ben-ed-hug

5. Who’s the star, again?

Fudd: “For the first time… I think ever… the ‘star’ sings before the contestant. And the ‘star’ introduces Fleur. I’m almost in tears laughing at the bias now.” Biffy Beans: “This is the new benchmark for obvious, blatant favouritism.” Donald: “If it was horse racing TPTB would be getting a lengthy ban for the use of the whip”.

We could have come up with a list of ways that Fleur was shown favouritism last night, but our commenters did the job for us. The example that amused us most was the turnaround of usual duet etiquette whereby it was the established singer, Labrinth, who introduced the contestant instead of the other way round. Inspired or too blatant?

fleur-entrance

We will reiterate that neither Ben nor even Andrea were treated as badly as the likes of Marcus or Jahmene. As we have said, there was a lot of positivity around Ben’s VTs and staging. His comments, too, seemed fine to us on a second listen – mentions of the X Factor being all about people like him; Tulisa saying he could go all the way; Cheryl saying “listen to the reaction you just got”; and Simon remarking on how he’d “grown” from his “shy, awkward” first audition but remained “genuine” and a “family guy”. The second VT, with Ben tearing up as Simon praised him, was a warmly feelgood moment, too.

In short, while surely nobody can doubt that producers have the higher hopes for Fleur’s post-show career and would much prefer her to win it, we couldn’t see anything in Ben’s treatment that would be franchise-damaging if he were to take the prize. The crucial question now is: will that continue on Sunday, now that it’s a two-horse race and producers know the current state of the vote?

6. The X Factor Final, starring Sofabet

Earlier in the week, Sofabet turned roving reporter as Fleur arrived at the MTV studios.

And so, finally, to the highlight of Saturday night’s show! Frame-by-frame analysis revealed a starring role for Daniel in Fleur’s VT.

daniel-fleurs-busWhat are your thoughts as we go into the final Sunday? Do keep the conversation going below.

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210 comments to X Factor 2014 Final: Second Watch Sunday

  • Ben Cook

    One small thing I noticed last night was that Ben’s “Demons” sounded very short compared to Fleur’s “Can’t Hold Us”. iTunes confirms Fleur’s was 27 seconds longer (but to me felt even longer than that). There doesn’t usually tend to be more than about 10 seconds difference in the contestants’ performances.

    Always baffles me that in a two hour show full of padding they can’t just let them do full songs! Seems daft that they let the “greatest hits” contestants sing for what felt like hours, yet the finalists only get to do 2 minute songs.

    I agree that “Can’t Hold Us” felt like setting Fleur up for a career rather than a victory. When she started rapping I gasped “what are you DOING?!” but I thought after that it was great.

    I don’t agree with the people comparing Ben to previous male winners and that it’s obvious he won’t sell records. I think he’s got a good shot of doing well with the right song. Matt Cardle was let down by a poor lead single, as was James Arthur (plus the other stuff). They both could’ve done well with the right material, that’s mostly what it comes down to in the end. They’ll give it a shot with Ben, and they’d probably sign him even if they didn’t have to.

    • James Arthur did really well in Europe (and continues to), whereas I don’t think Cardle was ever really launched outside the UK. I don’t see Ben being launched in Europe the way Olly, Rebecca and James Arthur were.

  • Isn’t it great to admit you’re not that sure….! I have always believed that they most likely wanted Fleur to win. Cash wise I stuck a load down on Ben as well, as “insurance”, and in the last couple of weeks I’ve been moving my win-weighting closer to Ben, but with Fleur still as the Jackpot winner – say 60/40. However, last night made me question that massively. I counted at least half a dozen monumental gaffes from a usually top notch production team.

    These were either tired, “we’ve four hours of this garbage to turn around in six days” errors, or they were deliberate; they’ve decided “you know what, we’ve proved the concept with Fleur, let’s get a second star out of this year” and bill them as fantastic “double star alumni”.

    My question is, have they decided that Ben is the winner, that they can’t stop him and they may as well run with it or are they just making lethargic mistakes? They say statistically you’re most likely to crash your car (or branded coach) in the final mile before home – I think they went too far last Sunday and haven’t been able to recover. That said, maybe they’ll turn it around tonight. Fleur doing the winners song second, Man in the Mirror didn’t strike me as terrific, Uptown Funk is #1 and #27, she’s on last etc.

    I’ve no idea at the moment – but I think it’s Ben’s to lose!

    Secondly, I have seen a large amount of confirmation bias on these boards in recent weeks. I do a lot of investing as well as my recent dabble into TV betting… I’m am gradually learning some important lessons that carry through to TV betting. Could I be so bold as to just mention one lesson I feel might be helpful? There’s being right and there’s making money. Forget being right – change your mind. Change it twice, three times, four times. Admit you’re not sure. Cut your losses. Revel in the fact you were wrong three times before you got the right answer. When we take a position we want to be right – we want to protect our ego. Don’t. Be wrong. Look silly. Make money.

    Some of the discussion has been too partisan for my tastes. If I had my way we’d have to end every post with a predicted percentage chance of winning for each contestant, so that we have to nuance everything and not be so binary! Obviously that was never the Betsfactor way, as noisy self congratulation was a key component of the world’s greatest multimedia brand – but I was never SURE (gambleaware.co.uk!) and nor should you be! Nuance is better and Nuance is Sofabet

    Just my £2 worth.

    Thanks as ever to Daniel and Andrew for a fantastic season and some superb analysis.

    Have a great Christmas.

    Richard B72 F28*

    *Subject to hourly changes.

    • Curtis

      Great post, and I don’t disagree that the producers did seem to make a few unusual blunders if they really are going for Fleur to win. I still feel like if they really had switched horses they’d have been more obvious about it. Also why give Ben one of his lesser performances with MitM if not because they’re backing Fleur to win.

      The treatment on tonight’s show will be perhaps revealing. For example, suppose they flipped the running order and had Fleur first – that would be a pretty clear guarantee that Ben is going to win (and I’m read to lump on him very quickly if I notice something like that)

      Curtis F60 B40

      Conflict of interest declaration: Very green on Fleur, mildly red on Ben.

    • Donald

      You make a few great points there Richard, that for sure.

  • If they really wanted Fleur to win, they should have made Ben’s winner’s single this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JYODk10BMo

  • Panos

    I think the only way Fleur gets to win is if the free app voting has changed the voting demographic in a massive way.

  • AlisonR

    I didn’t enjoy either of Fleur’s performances last night (whereas I have enjoyed most of her performances throughout the series right from “It’s a Shame”, which was the only one to earworm round my head that week). Ben’s first performance also underwhelmed, though his Ed Sheeran duet was better and the mention of him getting Ed to #1 will have done him no harm whatsoever. Andrea did as well as he could on both performances and I even thought he may have done enough to stay a second night. Not to be. As well as the nuking signs you mentioned, I spotted two more – Cowell’s mention of having to save him last week, and Dermot’s aside after the Ella duet – “nice of you to pick something not from the 80s” or similar. Even Tulisa stuck to the script with bland comments and “diva”.

    Fleur’s pimping was shameless with the bus in Ben’s VT, Louis saying “Fleur, Fleur, Fleur” etc

    I still think it’s a close call. One thing I am looking forward to (assuming they did it this year as I missed that episode) is on Xtra factor when they reveal the envelopes – the judges predictions at the JH stages of who would go onto win. It will be very telling if Fleur was the plan all along (as SB was last year). I rather think there may be some SK predictions there though.

  • markwalsh

    Good report Daniel.fleur had a big week 9 and I thought she would get some songs which suited her by this time she was a very short price (was these due to fact fleur was beening pimped all though the week saying sorry to the artist of the song on radio.)fleur had a bandwagon of people behind her from the song she song in week 9 (does that make her a odds on shot I let people debate that was it value betting odds on with fleur just having 1 good song which was catcher number _)the show was pimping fleur here there everywhere all week.we hardly heard from Andrea and Ben all week(hence Ben drifting to 11\4 .I ask readers was this value?with the show and fleur been pimp all over the place)_then came Saturday and a leak from a paper that Ben had 50% of vote in semi final and that 11\4 became 4/5 within 10 mins(the paper has got it right all there time before)then came the show been started to drift alarming on betfair after he song his first song went to new 3.0 on bet (fleur had gone to as low as 1.60 on betfair)then the show give fleur a song which was a rapping song which by the time she finished she had gone back out from 1.6 to 2.20 (Ben had gone to around 2.0) as stoney wrote on here today it was a mess ( stoney back fleur at big price)the 2nd song should have been a killer song for fleur to get back on track .seeing a well know artist introduce fleur was a bit OTT .all we could here was the artist voice with fleur voice really struggled to cope with the song.(by this time bens odds and andrea odds had come down.been back to around 1.60 and Andrea to around 9.00,fleur odds had gone put to around 2.60 on betfair(was this still value for fleur after the songs she sang)as week speak Ben trades at 1.51 and fleur at 2.92(is Ben odds still value or has fleur price gone to big.of last night songs I know who sang the best (do we all believe what star says and back ben even more the so called thing or is fleur price to big and all the fuss made out of her this week plus the people on bandwagon from Saturday get fleur over line(or have the show damage fleur be showing to much favoutisum to fleur on last night show.

  • Panos

    P.S. I could not agree with Richard’s advice more even if I tried to. Thank you for that post Richard. That’s a very very very fundamental rule of betting Richard, which most people fail, since by default human nature has provided people with big egos. I’d take a profit and lessons learnt over losing but being proven “true to my initial opinions” any day.

  • Donald

    Great stuff as always Andrew and Daniel’s staring role was great.

    I have read all the comments from this morning on previous thread. The big big unknown all season once the lives started was the app votes. I have now watched last night show.again.

    They seemed to play that down last night big time. Remember when Dermot came out and said how many million votes cast etc. early n the series to a few weeks ago when all the fuss about 800 votes in it few weeks ago and how many times the order at the bottom.

    They could easily have done that last night with Andrea going and Dermot saying they are neck and neck for tomorrow with a big announcement of how many voted tonight etc. NOT ONE BIT OF IT! That is rather strange as if it would have helped Fleur I am sure they would have been at it. Very very hard to figure out and we have on previous data. I think they were trying to dampen overall vote last night, even the way the strolled through it on screen with Dermot.

    As someone said on previous comments we are here to bet and not let heart rule head, That is a skill in gambling.

    Great to wish Andrea goodbye Andrew, I liked him too, I have worked with some Italian musicians who are so so talented and so wonderful to work with, Andrea came across the same, He wasn’t carrying any of my money except a few lays early on as we all know how TPTB operate.

    So back to the two left, gambling hat on, Ben was my bet as he ticked allot of boxes and was value and I loved Lauren tone in her voice so I did both and I know it important to get on early. I put them in that order in my pre lives selection with SK “reluctantly” as winners because of TPTB etc none of my £’s were on them either except for top group and Louis fo. Once the wheels came off SK TPTB switched to Fleur, from Simon great idea to Simon mate artist and boy have they tried but in fairness to Fleur she has done the gig, she is decent artist just those we compare her to within where they placing her are the best in the planet but she can hold her own and like 1D could do amazing and she is happy to be packaged that way so fair play to her. Not everyone can be Beyoncé, Tina Turner but as a package she not far off.

    Lauren never got winners treatment.

    So I have got to finish line and so has Stoney who deserves the win also. Anyone on at big odds deserves the win. I am glad Stoney covered his bet, I have also. . I have had strange week but in a normal week it would have been so easy for Stoney and I to cover one another at the odds we on at instead of laying off at short odds. That the way the week worked out, dam in one way, we could have been on the bus Stoney! I was saving that… at least Daniel got there 😉

    Who will win, hard to know, advantage Ben today, last Sunday it was advantage Fleur, then the voting leak, I think SK votes went to Ben and there is no doubt Ben has all the 1D mob as well, you can spot them on Twitter, I saw one late last night all her votes to Ben.

    I have never posted links to another site but I did notice Daniel tweet to The Bitch Factor. I found one this year just like I found Sofabet, no gambling but I like this girl, not a gambler but I do know her Dad competed in the Eurovision now Daniel. amazing co-incidence. I have not mentioned Sofabet on line to her all series.

    She was missing last night but back on radar today, so no reaction to last night yet. a pity…

    Good luck to all tonight, at least those that were on both early not losing now, probably the most sensible result, Common sense has prevailed with all of us. That the value of Sofabet. I stuck in and batted for Lauren all the way just like Stoney with Fleur and went so close to loosing a serious chunk of dough, I would have liked to see Lauren win but who you want to win and gambling are miles apart and Ben ticked the most boxes. Be a nice win if he wins, but will I but the Xmas record, for the charity I will. We here to win and not loose and be focused on that and have fun with a bit of devilment here and there along the way, that has definitely been had on here this season 😉

    Results tonight of the series will be interesting. Good luck to Stoney and I mean that sincerely, great commentator, great fun, and at least some one will actually have it away tonight on here and no one loosing now.

    Great old spot! Who is going to Vienna? 😉 Stoney if Ben wins I’ll pay 😉

    Who does Boki think wins and Nugg?

    I am placing NO MORE BETS ON X -Factor 2014. Enough is enough, and I have hard strange week. Lauren elim v SK frightened the s.. out of me. LOL ! But will comment this afternoon and through the show tonight etc.

    Are both winners singles on iTunes yet?? Keep looking!

    • My biggest regret is not covering at 11/4 yesterday. I was at work so couldn’t concentrate fully on the market. Or react in time to the star story. Even going into the start of yesterday’s final I still believed Fleur would win and topped up at 13/8.
      By the end of the show I was unsure. They got it all wrong with Fleur. The 1st song on the saturday night is crucial in getting a march towards the win. Previous years non fancied contestants have been derailed with a terrible first song choice. I was watching Fleur from the pimp spot wishing it was great. It was barely ok.
      I slept on it and woke up thinking Ben is going to win this. It’s the first time I’ve ever thought it since week 1 when I backed Fleur. That becomes the time I move money around. I won’t cover until I have to. I love the buzz and for me the buzz has gone for tonight. I still have Fleur as my best result but even if she wins ill still be regretting laying off the money on the final day.
      If Ben wins ill be the same as the previous 3 x Factors. Missing out on a tidy sum by a whisker.

      Still theres always Caroline Flack

      • Boki

        It’s a shame you are wasting your talent stoney, you shouldn’t regret but change your tactics and collect medium win each time rather than narrowly miss the big win every time. I couldn’t put this more politely and this is the last time I address this issue, not even sure why I’m wasting time because you will never change…

      • Donald.

        I saw you said you were up early, they tried to build on last week for Fleur and got it wrong, big difference to last night and Fountain.

        I like the buzz also, Lauren was buzz for me until she went, I had some very anxious moments with Little Mix but they got them there in the end. it is different when you close but money is money. I could have held out on Ben but more than half a loaf is better than no bread.

        It is hard to call yet, allot can happen tonight, the advantage has swung to both in the last two shows. Closest in years looking in, wonder what it like looking out at TPTB end.

        The winners song could yet be the deciding moment. Some people questioning Fleur doing Uptown again, it went no.1 on iTunes straight out of the box, of course do it again.

        Ben song choice tonight is no great shakes anyway.

        Last night show under performed overall.

        This Mel B stuff today is some carry on. Look at all the Andrea punters the bookies had for breakfast dinner and supper early doors.
        I don’t do Strictly,

        • I rarely watch strictly but fancied caroline at odds of 7/1 and have been keeping an eye on her performances on play back. She has been gaining week by week and as the favourites have been dropping like flies she is now the odds on favourie. I will certainly be covering a frankie win as she is imo the only danger. If anyone else who follows strictly can offer any advise I’m happy to listen. I have a few grand to play with on the caroline win.

    • Boki

      Donald, I was absent whole day today, it’s getting difficult with family obligations while this year needs 24/7 coverage (yesterday got early to catch the Sun poll but was too late to notice the unexpected Star leak). Before the leak I thought Fleur will win (with max tptb help of course), after the leak I was confused, after yesterday’s show think she can hardly catch up on Ben on Sunday. But who cares what I think (even I don’t lol) since I got too many things wrong this year. What was important is that my big Italian red was gone yesterday and I’m keeping 50/50 green before the last show and I’m happy with that, amount would be higher if I was in time to catch Ben’s plunge but it could have been worse… look forward to the percentages.

      • Donald

        It does take time to monitor now, I find it a stretch at times also.

        Andrea was a red for me too, I was 100% green Ben and Lauren up to last weekend and Fleur 100% not touched but was on Ben early enough to trade to 80% Ben 20% Fleur green at ease and have held station at that, if Fleur was having awesome night last night I was ready to split but have held. As Stoney said it is real hard laying off good money got on at great odds. Play out the hand once show starts, I think trading further before tonight show now is madness where I at. I have my Andrea winnings from last night in the bin. I had Andrea layed with Ben and Lauren well backed week one. A man can’t do much more really and Stoney has the other one. They sure made pizza of this years favourite didn’t they. Andrea was stoney baked, I thought Daniel or Andrew might have led with that headline last night. Good to hear from you Boki.

    • EM

      Donald – on your original point they can’t say the vote is neck and neck to get more votes unless it actually is – TV shows have got in trouble for doing this before.

  • anon

    The puzzle for me is why the producers gave Ben Ed Sheeran – I think he got by far the best deal with the duets.

    • Curtis

      By name alone perhaps – but giving Fleur “Beneath Your Beautiful” gave her a great opportunity to have a “moment” I think. She didn’t seize it, but I can see what the producers were trying to do.

  • Donald

    I am on mobile now, but check out this guys last tweet! https://twitter.com/ShanePearce someone retweet onto timeline an account I have access to.

  • The market is so close today. It looked like Ben was gonna start pulling away but the way things are I think they will be joint favourite by the time the 1st songs are done

    • mark

      To much of a gap in the betting now stoney.I can not see Fleur odds drop.they had last night to make her a star on that first song and what did they do .made a right pigs ear of it.the 2nd time Fleur sings uptown beat again it will not have the same affect as first time,hey I can not blame you stoney for not laying off Fleur till today and your honest comments about fleurs first song which you said was a mess,at least you Have back Benso you will see a return

      • Im comfortable with my position now knowing ill not end with a loss. But looking at the odds now I wish id have waited bit longer. Like I originally said after the first song

    • George

      Fleur is starting to shorten a bit now. At this time of day I always look at the odds because of the possibility that someone has insider knowledge on the voting, but it’s always had a pretty iffy track record.

  • I’m in profit whatever happens so I’m good. Hong for a Ben win and I get the impression we may see a backlash from the public to very blatant pimping – even by their standards.

  • Maybe worth another top up on Fleur now, I am anticipating a major crash in her price after Uptown Funk.

    • Curtis

      And I’m waiting for that exact moment to bet on Ben and hedge!

      Fleur’s coming in now. Still pretty sure we have the closest X Factor final ever on our hands here.

    • I had a pretty large back of Fleur this morning because I know her odds will crash at least a bit after Uptown Funk. But I think that Ben will still win easily, he should be miles ahead after last night and I think he’ll get a substantial vote transfer from Andrea’s fans.

      • Out of interest, has everyone used their refreshed free app votes yet? Personally I voted again as soon as the show finished but I’d like to know if many other people do this, or do most people save them until the following night? And anecdotal evidence about families etc. could be useful.

        • Curtis

          I’ve used mine – I think knowing what people’s families are doing is more useful because we’re all a bit more obsessed with this than the average Joe!

          • Yeah exactly, but if people are using their free app votes straight away then I would put that even more in Ben’s favour. It’s the final, most people have probably made up their minds by now.

          • George

            I’ve used mine too. My mum though who I’ve watched the show with for the past few weeks probably won’t vote until after the winner’s songs.

        • Donald

          My nieces couldn’t wait to get them after seeing Ed Sheeran, all the votes there and then gone, they’ll be on the phone now tonight. On Twitter allot of posts last night showing all votes done.

          My nieces comment on Fleur first song was Eurovision and they downloaded Uptown Funk straight away last week but voted for Ben and Lauren and downloaded none of them. How TPTB got it so wrong with Fleur last night is hard to fathom.

      • I’ve done the same, and am guessing the same regarding the final outcome. What I’m not sure about though, if the Andrea vote transfer… to me it seems like he might share more of Fleur’s demographic than Ben’s?

  • Fudd

    They’ve found Mel B – she’s back on the panel tonight.
    http://www.itv.com/xfactor/news/mel-b-back-final

    • Dean F

      Lol strange that after her sister kicking up a fuss and all

    • Donald

      You could not make some of this stuff up, hilarious.

      • Them 24 hour bugs are powerful. Maybe she’s agreed to continue the hatchet job on Ben?

        • Fudd

          Maybe she couldn’t bring herself to follow script and omit to mention the amount of backing vocal during Can’t Hold Us? 😀

          Watching back I loved Fleur’s performance but I missed the amount of fire on the backing screens – and the fact that they sent her up in smoke at one point. Basically the song and staging, as stated in the article, had practically EVERYTHING which symbolised a de-ramp in it.

        • That’s interesting. I was hoping for Tulisa to hang around to see who she backs. She’s rebooting her career after the Fake Sheikh incident and she must be eyeing up a return to the panel, and I expected her to be ruthlessly on-script to impress Simon.

          I really hope Tulisa comes back full time next year. I liked her on the show, and the Vote Little Mix speech (see Betsfactor) hasn’t yet been topped.

  • Paolobow

    Almost there now.

    I still don’t think that leak was accurate yesterday. As such my prediction is Uptown Funk will be the game changer with Fleur winning fairly comfortably.

    B 35 F 65

    Good luck

  • mark

    Who sings first tonight?

  • Fudd

    Same as yesterday I would have thought, so Ben first and Fleur second.

  • Paolobow

    FTR just placed following for weekly winners with bwin:

    Week 4 Fleur 20/1, OTY 4/1

    5 Andrea 7/4

    6 Fleur 3/1

    7 Fleur 3/1

    8 Andrea 12/1

    Semi Fleur 7/4

  • Getting encouraged but the market move. Usually reflects the way the voting is going. Must be neck and neck. Really hope she can do it

    • Gavster

      Similar thing happened last night. I think it’s more likely that people are returning home form their day’s Xmas shopping and getting stuck into whatever odds are around. Many will also be reacting to the Dspy poll, which will be skewed to a limited demographic.

      If the money was smart, you’d see greater shifts and larger amounts of money changing hands.

      • Most finals at this point have a 1/3 shot top odds. Think sam bailey was shorter than that. Its definitely all to play for. As we knew all along Fleur plays her ace card tonight with talk of a nose dive in the performance. Game on

        • Phil

          I’m currently B 30 F 70. I think it’s all to play for. A great performance and the win is Fleur’s as people will be motivated to vote. Ben will have votes regardless so his supporters don’t need the motivation as much.

      • mark

        If you think the fairly star report is right as Daniel says Ben wins by a land slide

  • Curtis

    This is literally the first final Sunday since I’ve been watching seriously (Series 5) that the winner hasn’t been obvious already. It seems crazy to me to think that this will be a landslide – and therefore crazy to even entertain the Daily Star report.

    • Fudd

      The only thing that makes me think the Star report is correct is the Can’t Hold Us staging last night. It had a feel of ‘who cares, this is what she’ll be’ – would they have taken that risk if she was in with a chance?

      Unless the Star got their wires crossed and actually Fleur pulled in 50% of the votes last week so the producers felt they have some room to maneuver.

  • Stu

    Fleur is now evens with Skybet and Ladbrokes. If the vote is as close as the bookies are making out, I think Uptown Funk has a chance of saving Fleur. I think it’s too late now. If they had the “song of the series” last night, the result could’ve been what the producers wanted.

    • Curtis

      Interesting fact – 65% of votes last year took place after the elimination of Luke Friend in 3rd place – this is easy to calculate due to the voting percentages. Now of course, an amount of those could have been and would have been overnight, but surely we can assume the lion’s share took place during the actual Sunday final show itself. With that said, I think there’s time to turn it around. Of course that really depends on how big the deficit is (if it’s a deficit at all)

      • Stu

        If Fleur’s Uptown Funk goes to plan tonight (I’m not counting on it) there should be a chance she can turn it around. Even app-voters could be persuaded to pick up the phone and vote if she pulls it off again. I still can’t see Ben not winning though.

        Totesport, Betfred, Ladbrokes:

        Ben – 10/11
        Fleur 10/11

        Literally neck-and-neck.

  • Fleur odds tumbling on Betfair right now.

  • stoney

    What an exciting final, fleur will be favourite soon enough

    • George

      Has there even been a final with so much switching around in the odds?

      • stoney

        no, the market knows the winner by now, it hasnt got a clue atm

        • Fudd

          Sam Bailey had won 2013 in week one; James Arthur’s victory was clear from the Saturday final staging; everyone was de-ramped for Little Mix with, again, the Saturday staging indicating who was the favoured act; Matt Cardle never looked back after Nights in White Satin… my memory is hazy for series 6. I had to laugh in series 5 when Alexandra got Beyonce but JLS and Eoghan got a dated boyband each to perform with in their duets.

  • Question for Fleur backers

    Where do you think the votes that went to
    Jack
    Jake
    Jay
    Andrea
    Stereo kicks
    Stevie Ritchie

    Generally transferred to?

    I actually believe the star leak because I don’t think the number of votes hasn’t increased massively throughout the series. I would say they’ve been getting between 3.5 and 4 million votes for the last few weeks (adjusted for double Elims)

    Fleur would need to pick up votes from new viewers, but the number of viewers has been going down or transfer votes from others

    • stoney

      i believe they went to the act they liked best on the night, do people over the age of 18 seriously only vote for someone if they find him good looking? For example i dont see Andrea fans voting for Ben tonight just because hes attractive, i see them watching the show and deciding where to put their free votes accordingly

      • stoney

        plus if your theory stood up stereo kicks would have hoovered up all them votes and progressed further in the competition

        • Stereo Kicks weren’t fancied my women in their Mid 20s though (for example)

          Just from people I spoke to through the series, they like Acts like Jake and then they liked Ben.

          I personally think too much is made about the teen vote, I think X factor is becoming a show more for older generations, the people who watched it in their teens are still watching it now. That could go someway to explaining why teen girls record on the show is getting worse, but the overs category, has won for two years in a row

          • mb79493

            My friend has gone from obsessive thirsting over Jack to obsessive thirsting over Ben, and never once did they find SK attractive. Just a thought.

    • EM

      Cherry me old fruit – do you believe votes go more or less en-masse from one act to another when the first act goes?

      There’s little to prove or disprove that but sure more realistic that the votes from an eliminated act will be spread through the remaining act with a distribution broadly in line with the vote pattern already?

      • I agree with that EM… But that should in theory give a snowball effect for the leading act… If they pick up say 5% more form the 1st act to go, than their closest challenger… Then they keep picking up 5% extra from the subsequent leavers, it would build a lead

        Never looked at the numbers in that much detail tbh, I might spend a couple of days going through this series to see if there is a pattern

        • EM

          Sounds interesting and useful, please share if you find anything! I’ve looked before and most of what I’ve found goes with what you say except those marmite acts that don’t seem to pick up votes. However without vote numbers and only percentages to work with it’s hard to be sure.

          Will the app change things? I expect so.

    • Curtis

      I’ve never seen a year where I felt the result was principally determined by vote transfer. We all thought that Luke Friend was retained in the final last year to split the boys’ vote. It turned out that Luke Friend’s votes “transferred” to Sam Bailey.

      Basically I think the concept of vote transfer is overhyped.

      • stoney

        Yes people assuming where votes will go is very hit and miss, one thing is for absolute certain, the 5 free votes almost certainly transfer someone with viewers still watching the show, where as in previous years it was highly unlikely viewers would still be paying to vote once their favourite left the competition

  • I’ll repeat again, I’m expecting a massive swing during Uptown Funk. She has to pull this out of the bag. A heavily aggressive, urban track with rapping and red-and-black is not the sort of thing I’d expect producers to award to The Chosen One.

    If you ask me, I think she’s peaked a week too early. Had they premiered Uptown Funk last night, I think she’d be home and hosed.

    2:10 to WIN – B 55 F 45

  • BREAKING @ 19:51 : FLEUR NOW FAVOURITE

  • Stu

    Does anyone know the odds activity in previous finals during the Sunday? Did each eventual winner’s odds shorten a lot just before the Sunday show? I

  • mb79493

    I’m going with Ben but this final has messed with my mind in a way I haven’t been so uncertain since I was a kid watching S1. Even with S4 I was certain, even if I was completely wrong.

    Oooeer. Good luck y’all.

  • Stu

    It’s also interesting how Ben’s odds plummeted at a shocking pace once the Daily Star story “leaked” and despite the general consensus on here being he did the best out of him and Fleur, it’s odd how his odds are rising again while Fleur’s are now dropping. The optimist in me hopes it’s due to insider knowledge on how the vote is going but I don’t have a clue. It’s Ben’s to lose.

  • Jessica Hamby

    After last night’s tedeathon I’ll be watching SPOTY with Mr Hamby so will keep an eye on comments for updates and occasionally flip over to see if anything interesting is happening. Four competitive songs in 2 hours is a poor investment of time when on the whole the show is awfully dull.

    Ben:50, Fleur:50

    Declaration of interest: Ben is pale green, Fleur is The Emerald Forest

  • mark

    Ben odds drop Fleur on drift

  • Piresistable

    So much for Mel B being at death’s door.

  • Dean F

    Left side of Mel B face definitely bruised but covered up

  • mark

    Betfair 1.72 Fleur 2.32 and dropping fast bens odds

  • mark

    Ben on betfairv price drop

  • Curtis

    Fleur does a rap during the group song? What does this mean for her chances? Umm, probably nothing, but just saying.

  • mb79493

    I *think* Fleur just slightly drifted. Anyone wanting to top up on her should do it immediately, UF has to be soon.

  • Donald

    Did anyone notice that app switch between 01 and 03 from start? Ben and Fleur

  • Curtis

    Fleur retains the later slot – if they decided to change that then I think we could have safely assumed the final was Ben’s.

  • Dean F

    The odds are changing at such a rate it’s hard to keep up

  • Fudd

    The fact they’re not wheeling Uptown Funk out early makes me thing they’ve either settled or happy with whatever result they’ve got.

  • Fleur pimping in overdrive ready for her next performance. This is on. Ben is in trouble

  • Curtis

    So Simon essentially declares that Fleur is his favourite, as if he hadn’t made that clear enough already!

  • Fudd

    I notice they added a backing beat to keep the crowd in time with the clapping at the start of Man in the Mirror this time.

  • Curtis

    Oh my word the words behind Ben! “Despair”, “Bullying”…oh, well at least they changed by the end!

    • Chatterbox5200

      I’m not sure how it came across onTV – I’m in the audience – but couldn’t help laughing as those words appeared on the screen. The bias towards Fleur is laughable, although Ben seems more popular with the crowd.

  • Lets all be honest uptown funk is gonna tear this performance to pieces

  • Cath

    Love how the words behind Ben finished with ‘fulfilled’ and ‘change’. So Ben has changed his life and has been fulfilled – end of a journey for sure!

    • Dean F

      Does end of journey motifs really work in the final though? As this is the end of their XF journey whatever happens

      • Cath

        Ok, perhaps not so much ‘end of journey’ but rather that the change to his life has been fulfilled (whether he wins or not). Possibly reading too much into it, but made me smile nonetheless.

  • darylll

    Ben is going to win

  • JessikaK

    Uptown Funk doesn’t have the same impact second time round imo…

  • Dean F

    The impact doesn’t feel the same this time round or is it just me?

  • chrisr

    Just hopped on to Ben at 2.12 mid uptown funk.

  • mark

    Wow Fleur 1.80 on betfair to 2.10

  • mark

    2.18 Fleur now make of that what you want

  • Dean F

    Simon upping the anti and the desperation has now resulted in Simon completely ignoring Ben as his own act it seems. Makes me think the percentages show Fleur is only just behind and he wants her to win badly

  • mark

    Ben 1.80 Fleur 2.28

  • Fudd

    Louis asked for people to vote for Ben but not vote for Fleur. And Mel says she heard Fleur’s voice was tired. Maybe to take the favourtism sting out of Simon’s comments?

  • Stu

    Uptown Funk is having a reverse effect for Fleur despite the best comments she could have possibly got. Mel’s comment was a bit sly though. I think Ben is going to get a lot of votes from people who thought Simon’s comments were unfair.

    • Fudd

      I bet they wish they’d kept Tulisa now!

      I preferred that version of Uptown Funk to last week but with the rap/dance performances it seems to take me more than one viewing let it ‘bed in’.

  • mark

    After that song by Fleur ben is 1.70 and Fleur is 2.40

  • mark

    Betfair settled now ben 1.68 fleur is 2.52

  • Curtis

    I was too hesitant to hedge. I doubt Ben will drift again, so I’m just going to have to hope now.

    B60 F40

  • Donald

    Still haven’t changed my position, sitting it out at the minute. two songs to go. all down to this performance and comments.

  • Curtis

    Winner’s staging for Ben.

  • Fudd

    Slightly off topic, but they have changed it from ‘only die once’ to ‘only lived once’.

  • Arthur

    Ben’s got this.

  • Donald

    Few weeks ago Simon pulled a leather jacket off Ben after rehearsals, this weekend all leather jackets.

  • Dean F

    Approval from Mel B = surely either already won or already lost. Great crowd reaction. Think Ben has it won personally

    • Fudd

      Unless… they’re in a comfortable position and are pulling back from the favouritism tag. ‘Look, we picked the winning song more for Ben than Fleur’ etc. etc.

      You’re probably right but there are two sides to every coin. In this case they’re either validating Ben or balancing the scales with the ‘favouritism’ angle.

  • Comments to me says bens won this

  • Arthur

    That crowd reaction is mental….

  • Still VERY close with bookies

  • mb79493

    I think Ben’s won.

  • Joe

    Game over. It’s been a very close final but the emotional story for Ben cuts through tonight so despite all the pimping that Fleur has had, that winner’s single, comments and crowd chanting his name sees him over the line. Or does it?

    There seems to be an acceptance tonight that wasn’t there yesterday that praises Ben.

  • JessikaK

    The winner’s song suits Ben much more imo.

  • mb79493

    ‘And our winner’s brother Alex’

    Subtle there, The X Factor.

  • Arthur

    This is falling a bit flat for Fleur. The song suited Ben much more, and the energy in the arena doesn’t seem to be there for her…

  • Jessica Hamby

    Just saw the sisterly kiss. Hilarious, particularly the way it made the vocal backing track so obvious.

    Those women are the real stars.

  • Arthur

    Wow. She doesn’t look happy AT ALL….

  • mark

    5\2 for Fleur after song ben 1.37 get on ben now

  • Curtis

    It was a very disappointing choice by the producers to choose a ballad as Fleur’s winner’s song, and by choosing the same song as Ben, well yes, the comparison between the voices was going to be pretty clear. Silly silly silly.

  • Stu

    Ben has won. Look at the odds.

  • Curtis

    And very end of the journey comments by the judges. Unfortunately I think the game is up – and if it was ever close, the producers blew it.

  • Fudd

    Game over going by the judges comments. I’m going to vote for Fleur but it means nothing now.

  • mark

    1.27 and getting shorter. stoney a good lay on Fleur at the right time mate today got some on ben stoney aswell.

  • Curtis

    The odds on Fleur are getting silly mind.

  • mark

    Paddy power 1\4 ben Fleur 11/4

  • I’m taking an extra fiver on Fleur just in case but without a doubt Ben’s won this.

  • mark

    1\6 ben Fleur 7/2 with paddy power

  • mb79493

    Well, I lost faith but my Week 4 prediction holds true again by the looks of it. Never underestimate Week 4, the moment when Ben, Sam Bailey, Little Mix and countless others showed their potential.

  • Ben Cook

    Bet 365 just had Fleur on 8/1!

  • mark

    The class act up Mr Sam I know I can sing smith brilliant

  • Donald

    I am holding station, if I was neutral I would say Ben based on show tonight so absolutely no point changing.

  • Dean F

    Will we see how close Andrea was to 2nd in votes on Saturday because I can guarantee they didn’t give him Sam Smith as a duet partner as they feared he could get to Sunday

  • Face

    MrCelebUK
    ‏@MrCelebUK

    5m5 minutes ago

    #XFACTOR: No wedding ring, bruised cheek, husband who beat his ex lover, feel free to draw your own conclusions #MelB

  • BETTING ENDS! Good luck everyone!

  • Fudd

    On Friday there was huge confidence in Fleur winning. Within 48 hours it’s turned into a one horse race with only Ben involved.

    Did we misread the situation? Where did all go wrong (especially if the 50% share is true)? Or is the show about to deliver one last sting in the tail…?

  • Blake

    Ben’s clearly got this wrapped up tonight. Massive shame. But the producers messed up big time last night if Fleur ever had a chance at the win.

  • mb79493

    #TeamBen

    Let’s watch.

  • Jon

    I think the first mistake was the coach last week. Blatant favouritism that anyone watching the show picked up on.

    • JessikaK

      I agree that the favouritism put a lot of casual voters off Fleur – even people who wouldn’t normally pick up on that sort of thing noticed it this year.

  • Arthur

    Commiserations Stoney x

  • Curtis

    And there it is! Well done to those who make money off that! I’ll try and not let it overshadow what has actually been a successful series for myself! Still lots of profit, but just less than I hoped.

    • Curtis

      And now the question becomes about whether the Star was right. The only thing to be said is that if they really thought Fleur could win this weekend, they did a terrible job of making it happen.

  • mark

    Well done ben best singer by far

  • What a bummer. Look forward to the % results. Well done to all who made good profit off this result

  • Didn’t see that coming 48 hours ago! Congratulations to anyone who had him on the nose, and massive commiserations to Stoney.

    Still got the stats to come, and plenty to discuss in the next 24 hours – especially with the Daily Star leak which triggered such a huge shift in the odds.

  • tpfkar

    Well done Ben. Good winner, and it shows that there is only so far that the voting public can be pushed. Can’t wait for the vote reveal- it may be that Ben had it won a month ago if the Daily Star is on the money.

    No regrets about hedging with Fleur; it really looked like she could have won it until this evening.

  • DannyCraig

    Job well done. UL Stoney, glad you laid some off. Christmas number for 1 for Ben, recording career for Fleur. See you all for Eurovision / BGT. Thanks for an amazing series everybody. Your discussion & analysis kept me disciplined throughout the show. Best website ever 🙂

  • Curtis

    Lesson learned – when things look good (like midweek this week), hedge, hedge, hedge!

  • Daily Star continue their 100% record I guess

    Excellent series for me… Out right book a winner

    And winning elimination weeks apart from when Stereo Kicks went

  • Voting figures released:

    http://www.itv.com/xfactor

    Ben topped the vote every week from week 4. Andrea topped the three weeks before that.

    As suspected, Fleur was the artist 800 votes off being in the bottom two in week 8.

  • decent four figure profit for me and arund 20% ROI and (given that i always ensure profit by backing/laying constantly) I am happy with that … and i made a similar amount of profit from elimination betting over the past few weeks.

    My three mistakes – laying off on Andrea too early – could have saved around £600 had i waited another 3 weeks

    – backing to lay Fleur just before Uptown Funk and then watching aghast as she struggled with it this time and the odds drifted – another £500 down the toilet there.

    – Switching from SK to OTY thinking TPTB could not resurrect them one more time – that on probably cost me nigh on four figures

    So plenty of lessons still to learn …. it’s been another great rollercoaster .. shame it’s nine months until it all starts again!!!

    • My stakes were somewhat smaller, but my ROI was a staggering 905%. The starting bank, however, was a two-figure sum – this has been more “a bit of sport” for my first year of betting, following a successful Eurovision calling Austria at 25/1 ahead of the second semi. I’ve got some nice beer money for Christmas, put it that way.

      Following said Eurovision windfall, I decided to use the blatant manipulation as a new point of view to watch the show from and it meant I had some investment in it to make it exciting again – in many ways, in much the same way as I started betting on the World Cup games once England went out in order to still have some stakes and tension about the whole thing.

      I’ll certainly be putting a bit away each week between now and May and intend to go in a bit more seriously on Eurovision.

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