X Factor 2015 Boot Camp Week 2: Will Che Go Far(-a)?

“Nerves … nervous … nerves.” The second stage of bootcamp was thematically monotonous. It’s quite an episode of X Factor that makes you miss a maudlin sob story or two. And don’t get me started on the song choices.

che-chesterman-guevara-main

In terms of airtime, this phase cemented the apparent alpha status of Louisa Johnson, 4th Power and Seann Miley Moore in their categories, though the latter now faces stiffer competition after Che Chesterman’s standout performance of ‘A Song For You’. Let’s start with the boys then, reminding readers that the analysis below covers the acts regarded by spoilers as having passed the six chair challenge which begins airing next week.

Seann Miley Moore appeared just before the first commercial break to give an emotional rendition of ‘A Song For You’. His extended intro VT encouraged us to invest in his journey to acceptance as a performer, a person, and indeed a Brit. Cowell commented afterwards: “I felt like I was at one of his concerts,” which should be on the X Factor bingo card, and always denotes high favour. “Think like a winner,” Simon went on to add. I’m already imagining Seann getting starry subliminals in the live shows.

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Che’s treatment last night focused on his vocal abilities but still gave him questions to answer. An impressive range was shown in his interpretation of ‘A Song For You’, with most judges and presenters gushing in their praise.

However, Simon Cowell’s comments were less effusive: “Great singer, no personality, no presence … Imagine a Kinder Egg and what comes out is a fully-grown chicken” (to which Rita agreed). This reminded me of Che’s own audition comment that he was hoping to bring back “old-school soul”. The show has one of two options: play up this earnestness as an apparent weakness, or take him on a “journey” in which these things are developed. Either way, if he makes it to the live shows, I reckon the facial bum fluff will be gone by Week 3 if Ben Haenow is any guide.

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The other boys didn’t get the same kind of look-in. We commented after Simon Lynch’s arena audition that his falsetto wasn’t a Matt Cardle gamechanger, and that seemed definitively answered when he tackled the latter’s breakout number, ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. Presenter Olly Murs mirrored Simon’s own pre-performance misgivings of the difficult song choice.

Fellow pretty boy Josh Daniel had a noticeably shorter segment. Cheryl did at least say, “he’s one of the best in this category”, though Simon’s “really?” rather poured cold water on that. Still, Josh can console himself that he didn’t suffer Tom Bleasby’s fate of relegation to Xtra Factor. Rounding off the category, Ben Clark appears a gamma at best even if making it to the live shows. He’s getting the most love from Rita Ora, who said, “I love Ben … He’s raw, rocky and real.” This show tried to tell us something similar about Kye Sones.

The girls was the only category to see all six feature on the main show, reinforcing its claims to being the most competitive. Louisa Johnson continues to get the putative Plan A edit. Her extensive VT focused on those ubiquitous nerves, so she’s still lacking a decent backstory, but her soulful voice is standing out.

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Winning over the public often requires female contestants to be rather docile. Cheryl ran with the Louisa-as-unthreatening memo by describing her as “so cute”, whilst Rita – her mentor if through to the lives – played the “I’m dying to work with her” card.

Kiera Weathers’ boot camp experience hasn’t been the happiest after her very promising arena audition. She gave the standard “nerves” line, but reiterated it by not looking and sounding as comfortable as before. There was a minor quibble about song choice before Simon casually and quietly remarked, “I don’t like her voice.” It was as shocking – if far quicker so that you could have missed it – than Cowell’s Jay James takedown at judges’ houses last year. As with Che, the question going forward is: redemption or growing doubts on a theme?

Elsewhere in the category, Monica Michael continues to garner plenty of screentime that will lead to either Melanie McCabe-style heartbreak or Paul Akister-style resurrection-before-assassination. Chloe Paige got far less airtime but would possibly be the one to benefit were Monica to be denied yet again.

Things went less well for Lauren Murray and especially Havva Rebke. The latter was montaged and disappointing. They might as well send her to the Alps for judges’ houses, because she’s got a mountain to climb to get to the live shows in this category.

The groups are still all about 4th Power, who as before were given a feelgood aura. Unsurprisingly, like Seann they are loving everything about the UK so far. I find their vocals a bit shouty in places, but there’s no doubting their commitment to a performance. Whilst Simon wasn’t quite as impressed as for their previous auditions, he did press the “I’d love to work for them” buzzer.

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Their competition in the category didn’t have such a good time of it. Alien’s vocals remain a problem – as Nick and Simon pointed out. The First Kings were accused of harking back to the Backstreet Boys, dance routines and all. Similar doubts about being dated and from the 90s were used to place District 3 behind alpha boyband Union J back in 2012. Given their first audition was all about the stage show, this was not encouraging.

Meanwhile, Simon remains focused on Silver Tone taking it back to their gospel roots, like that’s a recipe for X Factor success. Their backstory of “we do different jobs” was as uninspired as it gets. Menn On Point appeared on Xtra Factor, and the only sighting of Bekln saw them commenting backstage about other performances, whilst their’s didn’t make the edit at all. Harsh.

Moving onto the Overs, Simon was also urging Jennifer Philips to be “more gospel-ly”, but her strong vocals were at least praised as “amazing”. Anton Stephans is the kind of larger-than-life character that would be ideal for the live shows, as Simon admitted when saying, “I find him kind of fascinating.” However, the longstanding session singer strayed at times into pub singer affectations for his version of ‘A Song For You’.

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Ebru was montaged, and disappointed with her own performance on this occasion, whilst Bupsi’s fate rests on whether Simon goes on personal inclination or singing ability in his category, having said about her: “I love her to death, I just think there are better singers.” Meanwhile, Max Stone and Kerri-Anne Phillips didn’t get their performances shown at all.

Let us know your thoughts on all yesterday’s performances and this week’s breaking news below.

X Factor images ©SYCO/THAMES TV/PA

79 comments to X Factor 2015 Boot Camp Week 2: Will Che Go Far(-a)?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Worst. Title. Pun. Evah.

    (I actually sniggered like Mutley.)

  • Jessica Hamby

    I wonder if for some acts a spot on the main show is actually a sign that they will be eliminated at JH rather than a sign of favour. After all, the audience needs to have some investment in them to get the maximum emotional response. If, for example, Men On Point go home it won’t be a big deal. Silvertone, with their ups and downs already having been featured in two episodes and a cast iron guarantee of weeping, will be exactly what the show requires. Meanwhile, for Men On Point to get a place will be something of a minnow succeeding against the odds, coming out of nowhere and providing the sort of triumph over adversity storyline that leads into Fix You.

    I suppose that’s pretty much the point you’re making about Monica.

    • Jessica Hamby

      As for Che, if he goes through this year I think he’ll be assassinated by being called boring and dated just like Paul Akister (which is why I think he would be better off getting a bit more life experience and getting up to date – tribute acts are easily deramped except (see Sam Bailey) when the rest are awful).

  • Lia

    Facial bum bluff?????? Hahahahaha
    I agree Che is a great singer… next! His (lack of) personality puts me off and I’m sure will do other viewers too.

  • anonamemous

    The groups are still all about 4th Power, who as before were given a feelgood aura. Unsurprisingly, like Seann they are loving everything about the UK so far.

    unsurprisingly
    https://instagram.com/p/8DjjBlxrgU/

    hope filipino/asian community support him too

  • Dean F

    Hello again guys I am back for another series of this show. I still find it gripping from a betting perspective if not an entertainment one. Love reading the views on here so looking forward to the whole series and how it plays out.

    No real tips yet as to not get fingers burnt however my predictions on top 3 in each category

    Girls

    Louise
    kiera
    Lauren

    Boys

    Seann
    Che
    Josh

    Groups

    4th Power
    Alien
    TFK

    Overs

    Jennifer
    Anton
    Bupsi

  • Martin

    I must admit, I do struggle to see the sort of direction they’d go in with Josh, he doesn’t seem to have much of an identity as far as the show goes. At least with Seann, Simon and Che we can see some sort of direction for them – I still struggle to remember Josh as anything apart from the guy that made Simon Cowell cry. At least with Ben, Rita has some sort of liking for him, so the boys seems the most wide open category for me. Seann is the only guarantee as far as I can see.

    Groups, I still think there’s something going on with this sudden love of gospel on the show. If one of Bekln or Silvertone didn’t go through (or an amalgamation of the two) along with Jennifer Phillips in the overs, I would be surprised. Obviously 4th Power/Impact are the alpha – I don’t think the show would be wise to introduce a second girl band in Alien when they have such difficulty with groups in the past. I think the smarter choice would be to put First Kings through and treat them like Nu Vibe.

    I think the overs is the most clear cut in terms of a top three – Jennifer Phillip, Anton and Bupsi. A valid point in past comments means that Simon will probably want one in the final which is promising for Jennifer (and could be the reason for his sudden love of gospel music), but Anton will need to be kept a lid on or he could do a Maloney and Bupsi I see as the novelty act.

    Girls, I feel sorry for anybody who isn’t Louisa. Keira’s edit wasn’t so favourable this weekend, and whoever goes in as the third out of Monica and Chloe won’t get the chance to do anything of value anyway. If I were in charge, I’d send Monica through and, as somebody else mentioned, have her as a love-to-hate figure to boost a few headlines.

    • David Cook

      I think Josh will be one of those acts where the audition turns out to be the highlight of their XF career (see also The Voice – Anna McLuckie). They’ve already started the comments “good – but not as good as the audition” which will have reinforced what many people thought anyway. In the minds of the viewers if your going backwards your going out. He might still make the live shows, as I’m sure they’ll be able to control the vote. This could be a safer option than putting Simon through – I doubt they want a second rate Matt Cardle snapping up the votes this year. Seann, Josh and Che would seem to be a safe line up for the Boys.

      • Martin

        They’ve still got to make the show interesting though – Josh would be wallpaper, where at least Che and Simon have an identity, even if not the most exciting ones. Maybe that’s just personal opinion but I can’t see anybody being a “fan” of Josh’s, where I can with the others in that category. Then again, maybe that’s what they want. Simon and Che could easily run away with the vote, as the boys often do.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I think some acts are intended as fodder for the first couple of shows. Josh might be good for that. I find it hard to see Simon doing a Cardle because the other competitors are stronger singers than he is. Che has a great voice but it does have flaws, his look is not great, the music he does is a bit dated and he doesn’t have the same emotional resonance of 4th Power or Seann so I don’t see him running away with it.

          Would tptb be happy for Seann to win it? I don’t think they’d mind but I think they’d prefer Louisa or Fourth Power.

          • Martin

            I’m not sure that 4th Power or Seann will pull in enough votes to win to be honest. It depends how they play it, it could be done but Che has a bit of the Ed Sheeran’s about him in and would have the underdog “look” about him which people always seem to want to root for. Simon, I’m not sure, I’m head over heels in love with him so I shouldn’t really comment but he’s inoffensive and sings nicely and that always pulls in the votes.

          • David Cook

            I think that if they managed to get Louisa, Seann and 4th Impact as a final three, then the natural conservatism of the XF voters would see Louisa through to win. It might be more difficult to ensure that these are the final three, when traditionally none of them might exactly be considered as vote magnets in the way that a Matt Cardle or Ben Haenow might be. That may be why they’re putting so much effort into pushing them at this stage.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Well they’ve already highlighted the area they will use to deramp him (Che) so I don’t think they intend to allow him the chance to get momentum.

        • David Cook

          Interesting. They haven’t bothered to make it interesting for the past 11 series so I don’t see why they should be starting to worry about that now.

          PS – I do know what you mean.

        • Jessica Hamby

          It’s interesting looking back at Matt Cardle’s year. Tesco Mary, Rebecca Ferguson, Cher Lloyd and 1D were his big. competitors. He was first every week apart from week 1 which Tesco Mary won. One week Cher was less than 1% behind and on another seek Katie Waissel was less than 1.5% behind otherwise he pretty much ruled it.

          Storm Lee, who was a good singer, was monstered in the first show and ejected in the second.

          Was Cardle the plan from the off or did tptb get behind someone the public didn’t want (Cher?) or who weren’t good enough (1D?)?

          One thing about this year is that the apparent alphas in each category are good singers with appealing personalities.

          Also an unrelated question: does anyone have a theory as to why they didn’t want Andrea to win last year?

          • Alan

            Andrea was never really going to be a commercial proposition was he? Although he did sign for Syco and had an album out earlier this year. I cant imagine it did very well. But then again I cant imagine Ben Whereishenow will be very successful either.

            Andrea could sing and made good TV therefore was pushed early on then de-ramped. He re-inforced the idea that it’s a singing competition and got people talking about the show. Job done.

            I think that Seann may well fall into exactly the same category. He may well go on to be a huge star. In musical theatre or as a (TV) personality. But as a recording artist on Cowell’s label? I’m really not sure that I see it. He’s the novelty act with the added bonus that he can sing.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Just seen Che’s comment on the picture.

    Che. Do yourself a favour and don’t read this site. That goes for any other contestants too.

    • Martin

      I’ve always wanted to know if any of the contestants have seen this site. One of the contestants followed me on twitter over the weekend and it’s taking all my strength not to DM them a load of questions.

  • Jessica Hamby

    While we’re waiting for the show to catch up with the spoilers, here’s the Storm Lee takedown I was referring to. It’s a monstering of quite epic proportions and a good reminder of what the show can do to a contestant. There’s so much in it you’ll probably need to watch it several times to see it all.

    Apart from Storm’s makeover my favourite bits are Cheryl’s comments (a knife slid silently between the ribs) and the song itself (pretty much guaranteed to alienate any rockers watching (Storm’s natural demo)).

    Hilariously, at the audition stage Simon told him that it was time to concentrate on “just singing” to the point he wanted him to lose the Storm and just be Lee because Storm sounded “silly”.

    Incredibly he survived this week (week 1) and was dumped on week 2.

    This is truly glorious.

    http://youtu.be/zbweVSfwuSs

    • Martin

      I remember the “Lose the Storm” thing, I conveniently forgot all about his live show treatment though – that’s quite something, particularly for week one. My favourite thing is his rainbow facepaint. You can almost see the gun pressed against his head.

      To think, they could have done this to Ben Haenow last year and saved themselves a bit of trouble.

      • Jessica Hamby

        The facepaint mask, red and black, the podium, the dancers, the judges during the performance, and then there’s the VT beforehand and the comments afterwards. Simon was so horrible that he may have got a tiny sympathy vote to carry him through to the next week but it was only a fraction of 1% difference. The oh yeah the singing wasn’t bad throwaway at the end was the cherry on the top. Poor guy might as well have been taken down an alley and given a good shoeing.

        I wonder if we might see a bit more of that this year, to keep things under control in a short season. It’s weird as hell but spectacularly entertaining and given double eliminations a couple of performances like this with vote damping comments could be on the cards.

        Pure speculation at this point of course. I just love this clip so much because it has everything we talk about in it and you can see it working. Poor lad talks about being carried out to an ambulance on a stretcher – you can just imagine the set up question to get that – it is a kitchen sinking and a half.

  • kermit_the_frog

    I think that everyone is hitting the nail on the head regarding the Boys category without realising it – in The X-Factor (and any other show, if voting results for Dancing On Ice and I’m A Celebrity are taken into account) the voters tend to gravitate to an act in Week 1, who generally takes the lion’s share. Presuming that they don’t alienate everyone during the show, they win. Matt Cardle, Ben Haenow, Joe McElderry, Saint Nick, Janet Devlin, Diana Vickers – vote hoovers.

    Some are derailed easily, but one thing I can assure you of is that when we get an unusual/interesting (or for those betting, bad as they’re not fully endorsed by the show from the beginning) winner such as Alexandra Burke or Little Mix? It’s because the white males are not natural vote grabbers. Both won in years when the boys category had vocal deficiencies, were brittle and unloveable, were non-white or ‘gay’. If Simon is chosen, they’ll out him in Week Two and focus on it as his narrative. If Che is chosen, his VTs will all focus on his self-unaware, ‘aggressive’ attitude. Josh is the act they’re worried about, in my opinion, and so the act most at risk of being eliminated. He’s not white, yet is handsome and will be singing contemporary songs – he’d be my spoiler for the win.

    On a side-note, while Little Mix won largely because their competition failed (were eroded by the show) one by one and were effectively Plan A toward the end, Alexandra is my favourite as she wrestled that title against all odds.

    If you’re being thrown under the bus, make sure you’re armed with everything to derail it. And she was.

    It is possible, people.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I didn’t watch any of that series. What did Alexandra do or what happened that stopped her from being deramped? How did it occur?

      May I add I love the idea of derailing a bus. 🙂

      • Kermit_The_Frog

        Ha ha ha! I was struggling for a verb that would cause a bus to veer from its course!

        Alexandra was gamma girl from the off – she had a certain amount of screen time due to making judges houses a few years previous, but compared to Diana Vickers and Laura White she was ready to be cast aside early on. She was the first girl on in the first episode and was singing (upbeat) Whitney Houston. A recipe for bottom two. For the rest of the series she was typically the first girl to sing but somehow avoided the bottom two throughout (yet was never a real vote magnet, in early weeks she barely escaped). By the end of the series, it was clear that Diana wouldn’t make the final (even though the winner’s single, Hallelujah, was evidently chosen for her) and I remember that the deramp was aimed at the vote magnet – Eoghan Quigg, who was barely vocally capable but looked about 12 years of age (the original Saint Nick).

        During the final, I think that TPTB were happy with either JLS (who had been severely mismanaged throughout by producers – given saccharine ballads in case they were viewed as ‘too urban’ by viewers when in fact the song choices damaged their vote, unintentionally. Luckily their mentor was Louis, so he was a convenient fall-guy and took the blame for any ‘outdated’ song selections) or Alexandra. Anyone but Eoghan.

        She sang with Beyonce (a happy coincidence in my eyes – as a major signing, she chose the female soloist as her partner rather than the male group) and absolutely nailed the unsuitable winner’s single.

        Looking at the voting patterns, Alexandra never really had a vote to deramp. Just coped admirably with whatever was thrown at her – singing, dancing, generally being better than the other contestants. I do think it helped that another black female (Rachel Hylton) was pimped prior to live shows and took the role of ‘confident black woman’ so that Alexandra slipped by almost unnoticed for weeks on end.

        Interestingly, she still has the best-selling (and best-regarded?) winner’s single.

        Pretty much a Fleue East trajectory, without the same producer help and with a far superior voice. And without a traditional ‘handsome white male who sings in tune’ to block her at the end.

  • Kermit_The_Frog

    Just to add – Diana was both Plan A and the public’s favourite – yet, a few weeks into the live shows, she was ill, lost her voice and missed a show, only to be exposed by a newspaper as screaming at a bonfire party during this period (the witch allegories are clumsily painful even now).

    Whether she was ‘difficult’ and this was her punishment, I don’t know, but it ruined her vote share when she returned.

    Eoghan took up the mantle and claimed the lion’s share of votes.

    I recall that Alexandra topped the vote in only one week – the final.

  • annie

    Hello everyone,
    I haven’t been following the show as religiously as I did couple of years ago, but I do catch up with the ongoings and can I just say that I feel 4th power will go on the Stereo Kicks rails, meaning they are heavily pimped, alpha group by a mile and with certain desire to sign them after the show, but I just don’t think they will do. They are brilliant, true, very much professional and cute(sy) but they are terribly annoying and I think they will last much less then expected, I am almost certain they don’t have to worry about a winner’s single for them as it won’t be he case, they won’t make it that far. They are annoying. and not even boys. and foreign.

    • Martin

      “not even boys” – fantastic.
      They are a risky bet, I think. It’s hard to compare them to anything previously as Little Mix are all we have and they’re a different kettle of fish in terms of image and sound. I do wonder who would actually vote for them, maybe young young girls?! For all that said, they are cute and feel good – if they can deliver solid performances each week they might actually pull in the votes. Personally, I think Louisa is a safe bet, and I’m going to wait until the final 12 is confirmed but if Simon Lynch is through, I’d pile in. He’s a cross of Joe McElderry and Matt Cardle.

      • annie

        Little Mix were lucky. They were good and all, but above everything else they were lucky to be in the year they were in, when all contenders failed for one reason or another. A very lucky alignment of stars.

        I was trying to understand why 4th power annoy me so much.

        As brilliant singers and as aesthetic and cute they are I feel such a lack of true connection between them and the songs they sing. I think this dissjoint comes partly from the fact that english isnt their mother tongue and they essentialy come from a very different cultural background, so they essentially act out these (mostly powerfull and) dramatic songs with an overdose of overreaction. This gives them a slightly fake feel to me, that is annoying. I think there will be others in the great british voting public who will feel the same.

        What speaks in their favour though is that the k-pop market (which I have very superficial knowledge of). It is growing in popularity amongst the youngsters, isnt it? despite the fact that all of the above that I enumerated about making 4thP annoying to me is valid for the whole kpop.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I was reading old posts last night and one thing that struck me was how often those featured in the first show and dubbed as favourites didn’t win.

    Did James A, Sam B or Ben H feature in the first show of their respective series? I doubt it. I know Fleur didn’t although I think Andrea did. Nick might have but I don’t think Luke did. Only a couple of Little Mix were in the audition shows and they were not heavily featured.

    Hmmm….

    • Tim B

      Yes, Sam B had the pimp slot in the first show, and opened the second show. Luke was in the first episode as well and opened the series. None of James A, Ben H or Nick were in the first show but still received very favourable coverage regardless.

      The “winner from the first show” thing is slightly more of a BGT trend as acts like Attraction, Spelbound, Collabro and Diversity (I think) all featured in the first audition show and won it.

      The likes of Janet Devlin and Ella Henderson were probably pencilled in to win their respective series before things started going wrong. In the equivalent slot this year was Louisa Johnson, so it’ll be very interesting to see how far she goes.

    • Martin

      That’s why I’m holding out until we know who is through to the live shows. It’s easy for us to sit here and say Seann, Louisa and 4th Power are going to be the top three as they’re the most favoured acts but whether the votes will reflect that is a different matter. As you say, Fleur and Ben probably weren’t supposed to be the final two last year – this year has given the producers a little more breathing space on the run up to the lives and that could give them an advantage with their chosen three. Who’s to say if, for arguments sake, Che Chesterman or Anton polled first or second after the first show they wouldn’t be forced to change the plans? It rarely goes to plan most years, and with the format changes this year, they’d only have five weeks to get their desired outcome.

      • Fudd

        They may be favoured but I can’t see either Seann or 4th Impact making the top three. They’re too niche; they’ll split the audience too much.

        Seann is almost a Kitty mark II. He’s an over-the-top but has a decent voice so if they turn down his edges and keep him the right side of MOR (which they might be able to do with a ballad-fest) he might have a chance… but would they really turn down the entertainment factor for that? And in terms of album sales I doubt they’d get any more out of him than Andrea – though I imagine his concerts would sell better! If marketed properly I felt Kitty was the most commercial act of Series 9, after Little Mix, The Risk and Misha B, but they never bothered to pursue it.

        4th Impact will have serious issues connecting with the public. They’ll be able to put on a show but I don’t think they’ll go on a similar journey to Little Mix. In a way I think flying under the radar actually helped the girl band with the public because it allowed themselves to find the gap in the market organically and gave the producers time to ensure they fit that gap (so much time that they appeared to deem them surplus to requirements in week two). 4th Impact already have a place, they have been given press attention though I sense that even those who don’t read the papers smell a rat in their story (“we flew over here especially” – from the Philippines? To star in an ailing UK singing show? Off your own back? Sod off!), and do worth well together but I just cannot see the connection will be there. I think they’ll be pimped to reach around week four and then let go with a sigh.

  • Alan

    Che will never be their Plan A. Not in a million years. If he polls well they will go all out to deramp him.

    I cant help thinking that in Seann and 4th Power they have acts that will make great and worthy finalists but wont represent a threat to Louisa who I think is their undoubted Plan A.

    That is probably being way too presumptous though and really it is way too early to guess producer intentions. At this stage i think they are really driven by making good TV. As another commenter said whos to say that acts arent getting airtime now just so that it’ll make their rejection at judges houses all the more dramatic.

  • stoney

    Also according to his twitter account che sends to be doing a lot of local gigs. Which I’m pretty sure is an indication he is not making the live shows. I thought they were tied down to x factor in the lead up to the live show. May be wrong though

    • Fudd

      Has Judges Houses been filmed yet? It seems to have gone very quiet in that regard except for the news being released that it’s not going to be live. But if Che is in the top six I don’t think he’ll know his fate for sure.

  • Sorry to jump kind-of off topic, but I just wanted to share my own blog about my thoughts following the BBC’s Eurovision plans for Stockholm 2016 being unveiled.

    https://djjamesmartin.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/power-to-the-people/

  • Tim B

    I reckon 4th Power will be perfect to open the live shows with a BANG (BANG). Uptempo song, big choreography and stage production. Then acts 2-4 can be thrown under the bus with varying levels of manipulation. That’s what I’d do, anyway.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Follow them with Alien, weirded up to the max and singing an r&b remix of The Carpenters. Job’s a good ‘un. 🙂

    • David Cook

      I don’t think that they’ll do this if the start overlaps with SCD. The last few years none of the really favored acts has opened the first show.

  • EM

    A thought as we’re talking about the first live show – if I’m running a show with ratings on the slide that hasn’t been getting the traction it’s used to due to the Rugby World Cup I’d go for a maximum PR value “shock” elimination in weekend one.

    • Chris

      Kicking out an act people like and leaving in those that people don’t might get tabloid headlines but does it really encourage anyone to watch the week after? Surely to increase ratings, you need to give people something to look forward to.

      Grimmy out, Charlie Sheen in .. now that would be worth watching!

      • EM

        Hence “shock” in quotes – build up a couple of acts who can sing well as “favourites” through judges comments – then set them up to fail through running order/song/staging/comments and stand back when one goes and “lesser talented” acts sail through

    • Martin

      I’d agree. Something similar to the 2013 first live show with at least two “big hitters” on first with a sing off like the first of 2012.

      With Cheryl’s new producer status, and hopefully Grimmy and Rita’s influence on song choice/themes the shows will be a bit more refreshing. Difficult for us, but entertaining nonetheless. Ratings are key – are the live shows spread across the weekend as usual or are they relegated to a Sunday because of the Rugby?

      • Fudd

        By the time we hit the live we’ll be back to the Saturday/Sunday split; it returns for Judges Houses.

        The first live show will be on Halloween which begs the question – will they stick to a more generic theme for opening week or go for Halloween, despite it being the opening show? Personally I’d go for the latter. Otherwise the show could come across very flat, especially when compared to the Halloween-fest which Strictly is going to be.

    • Jessica Hamby

      For ratings they need an act people talk about and others tune in to see, like Andrea was for a while or like happened with Fleur’s Uptown Funk. Otherwise they need a Wagner or Blonde Electra kissing each other (and staying in to do the same thing the following week).

      • David Cook

        Is this Sean’s role this year? It might be a different style, but like Andrea he’s the novelty act who can sing.

        • Martin

          Just re: Chris “kicking out an act people like” – would them being in a bottom two/three constitute people tuning out the week after? If they aren’t pulling in the votes, it may be worth the sacrifice.

          I think Seann and Bupsi are our “spectacle” acts this year. Along with 4th Power, they seem the most likely to put on a show and I’m sure more competent singers will be sacrificed to make sure they stick around to the latter half of the show. I’m also noticing is a lack of “love to hate” character – the most obvious candidate is Seann again, it depends how he is edited but I think we’ve seen hints that Monica could be lined up for that.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I’m probably talking out of my hat but I still think Alien have a part to play. The reason is that although they’ve had airtime there’s no emotional engagement to make booting them off worthwhile. Noone will care if they get bounced at JH. Most will wonder why they were there in the first place.

            Men On Point could also come in as a novelty act with a bit of talent. I can see The First Kings and Silvertone both getting bumped at JH and Men On Point and Alien going through.

            If they decide to keep Alien they can have a sort of Conway Sisters, love to hate role or they can be bumped first show. Men On Point will ensure there is always at least one uptempo song in each show.

            Far fetched? Maybe, but Men On Point have a lot of gigging experience so will be solid and Alien are all dancers so can put on a show with plenty of slut dropping and twerking for people to get outraged about. In comparison Silvertone and The First Kings don’t have anything to offer that we haven’t already seen a dozen times.

            And while those two are soaking up media attention the acts like Louisa, 4th Impact and the eventual winning boy can quietly make their progress through the early rounds.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Sorry but I think deliberately b2ing an act people like is an utterly stupid idea. The only people who would be inspired to tune in and vote for them would be people who are already emotionally invested in them and therefore are already watching the show.

            Also, what if you miss and they end up bottom in a double elim? You’ll weaken their support base anyway. People tend to disassociate with losers in the same way that winners have their own momentum.

            I think y’all are going down the rabbit hole with this one.

          • Fudd

            And it has to be remembered that, although they managed to make something from it, one of the last things they wanted in 2012 was a bottom two of Carolynne and Rylan. It did the show no good in the long run – the controversy had already been done before to better effect with Laura v Jedward and Richard Holloway being spotted speaking to Louis prior to the decision was the icing on the cake, even though I can’t help feeling they wanted that to be seen.

            Their key aim this year will be to keep their commercial interests and the novelty acts with mileage away from the bottom two/three in the first two to three weeks. In terms of the commercial acts it will be interesting to see if week 4 becomes the new week 7, in that they may try and down a struggling favourite there to bounce them into the final a la JLS/Olly/James (not they intended to down James at that point).

          • Martin

            Jess, I think you’re right. The point I was trying to make (badly, reading back) is that if an act falls into the bottom two/three in the first week, do people actually like them? If they want controversy and a talking point for the first show, I think the best way to go about it is bottom two a “novelty” act (or someone who is a bit shit on the first show) and have them go through against someone who can actually sing in the same way that Carolyne Poole lost out to Rylan. Clearly nobody was really fond of Carolyne and they didn’t bother to vote, but it was still a talking point (helped of course by Gary having a strop) and I don’t think anybody would have not watched the following week because she left.

            I think Alien would be a good talking point, though. If they carry on with their horrendous arrangements, slutty dancing, rolled-through-primark dress sense and ropey vocals I reckon the show could keep them around for the purpose above. Between them and Bupsi, anyway.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Season two. Conway Sisters v Maria Lawson (who had topped the poll the previous week). Louis voted off his own act.

          • Jessica Hamby

            http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/x-factor-exclusive-cowell-admits-conway-565149

            It was awful, uncomfortable and hilarious all at once. Maria could (probably would) have beaten Shane Warne. They took her down by giving her Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones. Her performance of it is on Youtube and she was great but no one knew the song (it’s not that great). she still got twice as many votes as the Conways but she was b2 and they got rid of her. She was an Over, Louis was her mentor but he knew what had to be done and voted his own act off the show.

        • Fudd

          The week after Maria’s departure was painful viewing. Both Simon and Sharon made asides at Louis at every opportunity (Sharon’s critique of the Conway’s performance was ‘Louis, imagine if Maria was up there…’ which probably got them a sympathy vote alongside a sympathy bounce) and he was doused in the famous water throwing incident during the episode.

          I do wonder whether Louis went off script in saving the Conways; Simon eliminated them at the first opportunity even though they were his act (against Chico of all acts). Though the fact that both Simon and Sharon backed down as soon as Louis threatened to quit suggests it was all staged… but it could also suggest that they knew they went too far.

  • Fudd

    Just looking at the rumoured list of the Judges Houses qualifiers and where they’re from:

    BOYS
    Ben – Bedworth (Midlands)
    Che – Essex
    Josh – Durham
    Tom – Leeds
    Seann – Australia
    Simon – Isle of Man

    GIRLS
    Chloe – Brighton
    Havva – Enfield
    Kiera – St. Helens
    Lauren – London
    Louisa – Essex
    Monica – London

    OVERS
    Anton – London
    Bupsi – Leeds
    Ebru – London
    Jennifer – London
    Kerri-Anne – Teeside
    Max – London

    GROUPS
    4th Power – The Philippines
    Alien – London
    Bekln – London
    Menn on Point – Ghana
    The First Kings – London (according to Twitter anyway)
    Silvertone – London

    What strikes me is a lack of regional fan bases away from Kiera (if they decide to change St. Helens to Liverpool). There are no Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish contestants which is the same as last year. London has it’s fair share and they may zero in on areas of the capital, plus Louisa may get an Essex push. Otherwise…

  • Kermit_The_Frog

    Jessica – you’re misremembering Series 2.

    Maria was in Sharon’s category (together with 2nd place Andy and 4th place Brenda). The fact that she had three black soul singers itself speaks volumes about how much producer influence there was with Sharon (probably none). Sharon’s problem was that both Brenda and Maria were fishing in the same song pool (and the same vote pool). Brenda was a public favourite (unlike Maria, she had presumably guessed that it wasn’t strictly a singing competition and was losing around 1-2lbs a week, which gave a bit of an ultimate narrative – the further she progressed, the thinner and more glamorous she became).

    Sharon definitely chose Brown Sugar (stupid decision) to push Maria into a ‘rock’ lane (not a stupid decision) but the song wasn’t vocally big enough.

    The bottom two was pretty organic – Louis dumped Maria either to please Simon (whose act was the Conways), to slight Sharon (or remove a competitor for Shayne) or to make good television.

    Sharon was genuinely devastated and kept apologising as the song selection was her fault.

    Oh, back when it was so much more innocent…

  • Jessica Hamby

    Apols. Thanks for correction.

    The Conways were definitely a love to hate band and created a lot of noise around the show though. Iirc (and it looks like I probably don’t) there was a massive reaction against them and they split the band up after the show.

    Oh God. Was it Simon who voted against his own act the next week, when the Conways got binned?

    • Fudd

      I think they rode the sympathy bounce then came off it when Simon saved them over Chico, meaning Louis wasn’t required to vote. The one and only time a mentor has voted against their own act when they didn’t need to.

      • Fudd

        Sorry, that should read ‘saved Chico over them’.

        • Fudd

          Sorry, I’m taking up space here – the Conways were in the bottom two the following week but Sharon saved them over Nicholas. Then Simon saved Chico over them in week 7.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Don’t apologise. What with the spoilers and all there’s not much to speculate about. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m going a bit crazy here.

            Here’s a nice bit of trance to chill y’all out in the meantime. I’m loving this tune right now.

  • Jessica Hamby

    It’ll never happen BUT if I wanted Alien to go past the first few rounds I’d give them this.

    http://youtu.be/XR6PtBsVsAc

    And then do a Hannah on the next act and cover them in flames, obv.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Monica looks like she’s being set up for a brutal JH dumping. Did anyone else think it was “not great, it was fantastic”? Maybe I’m missing it.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Louisa loves the stage. She was the only one so far who didn’t seem overwhelmed by it all. She didn’t get the “you have 2 minutes to change your life” comments to wind her up but she didn’t let the occasion get to her. She embraced it. Very vood portent for live shows. Doubt she’ll be forgetting her words.

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