X Factor 2015: Judges’ Houses ‘Girls’ – LA Confidential

Unsurprisingly, the much-hyped girls were first out of the blocks for the six chair challenge last weekend, and those selected have been rewarded with a trip to Los Angeles to perform for mentor Rita Ora. Rather than merely hark back to each successful performance, we thought we’d look forward to judges’ houses by ranking the chances of the remaining six based on coverage so far.

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Had we tried this last year, we would’ve been fooled by some of what followed. Jay James went from looking like Plan A for the whole competition to walking wounded in the Overs category, whilst his compatriot Fleur East went from barely-seen also-ran to new best thing. Bearing that in mind, let’s have a go at guessing the lie of the land in producers’ minds before we have any idea what the girls’ LA story will bring.

Suggested Alpha: Louisa Johnson
Current Odds: 5/2 favourite

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No surprise here – our most recent article explained why we think Louisa is Plan A for the whole series. She wasn’t given the pimp slot at the six chair challenge, as she had been at the audition stage and the first phase at bootcamp. But the standing ovation from three judges (not to mention the audience and her rivals), cemented her place as the producers’ and bookmakers’ favourite. Rita gushed over mentoring her shortly afterwards on Xtra Factor.

We’ve already mentioned in that previous article a need for producers to develop a back story or sense of “journey” for the Essex lass. Last Sunday, she used the same line we heard at boot camp, about “not fitting in” at school. We could do with more variety in song choice too, beyond the vocally full-on numbers showcased so far, to prove she can add finesse and nuance to power. We would also suggest songs more contemporary and relevant than the likes of ‘And I’m Telling You’ – the only version of which you need to see is the original: here (from 3:12).

Suggested Beta: Kiera Weathers
Current Odds: 6/1

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Kiera seems easily the most likely back-up to Louisa in this category. We were encouraged to emotionally invest in her from her arena audition pimp slot with the back story of her mother’s death, a subject returned to with emotional resonance in the six chair challenge. She let her emotions get the better of her vocals for ‘I Will Always Love You’ on Sunday, but it also encouraged viewers to feel her pain.

There’s plenty else going for her, as her current odds indicate. Her journey from Labour Club barmaid to potential stardom has only really been explored away from the main show, on Lorraine and last Sunday’s Xtra Factor. Her St Helens hometown gives her strong regional identity and support (unlike anyone else in the category). She’s offered a wider variety of song choice than Louisa so far. This all gives producers plenty of options.

But she’s not quite been given the total positivity afforded Louisa. Most notably, Simon’s aside that, “I don’t like her voice”, put a dampener on her second boot camp audition. Cowell has otherwise been highly encouraging, so that currently looks like a blip. But it would never have been used against an initial Plan A, like Louisa.

Suggested Gamma: Chloe Paige
Current Odds: 40/1

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The most difficult decision was our guess of producers’ third choice in this category, who thus gets a run at the live shows. We think it’s a toss-up between Chloe and Lauren. The latter is a shorter price after her six chair challenge pimp slot last weekend, but Chloe just gets the nod on the basis that she fits the bill of the show’s traditional gamma girl. Think Jade Ellis or Sophie Habibis – an attractive female with an interesting tone to her voice that will find a few fans, but lacks the pizzazz to be a producers’ priority.

Actually, Chloe came across as really funny and smart when interviewed in her home environment on last Sunday’s Xtra Factor. We had initially been introduced to her family, market trader job, and the wit that goes with it in the first weekend of arena auditions. She made a relatively brief appearance during the first phase of boot camp (though it was full of praise), overcame a sore throat during the second phase, before her a cappella version of ‘Amazing Grace’ last Sunday. The latter indicated she might bring something slightly different to the category than Lauren.

Nonetheless, the usual fate of the gamma girl is to be given a half-chance to shine in one of the first two weeks, before being disposed of around week 4 if they don’t take off.

Suggested Delta: Lauren Murray
Current Odds: 28/1

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Lauren has had a slightly bigger billing than Chloe throughout the audition process, and it would be no surprise to see her as the third girl in the lives. Bookmakers’ odds suggest it will be so. But producers build up certain contestants to accentuate the heartbreak of a judges’ houses rejection, most memorably with Gamu. It’s also worth speculating that Lauren’s powerful voice has her more obviously stepping onto the territory of Plan A Louisa Johnson, which may count against her.

Lauren’s arena audition back story reminded us of Kerrianne Covell, the most controversial judges’ houses’ rejectee among the girls in 2014. In that first segment of the first audition show, like Kerrianne, she revealed taking a day off work to attend. Since then, Lauren’s journey – like Kerrianne’s – has had viewers rooting for her: she was too nice to ask for more lines in the group boot camp performance; then lost momentum by fluffing her lines in her individual audition. Last Sunday her odds shortened thanks to her pimp slot in the six chair challenge. Who was given the same position last year? You guessed it – Kerrianne Covell.

Suggested Omega: Monica Michael
Current Odds: 66/1

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In 2013, that six chair challenge pimp slot was given to Melanie McCabe, which brings us onto Monica Michael. Because as that McCabe link foretells, if there’s one thing even more heartbreaking than a Covell-style build-them-up during auditions to knock-them-down at judges’ houses, it’s the agonising rejection of a returning auditionee. We think Monica Michael will follow the fate of Jade Richards and Melanie McCabe: so near and yet so far – again.

Monica is a big character whose rejection at the six chair challenge was given high profile last year and this time, with Cheryl calling it “her biggest regret”. Like Melanie, Monica has promised this will be her last run at the show if rejected. Her fulsome coverage, against rival Princess Diamond at boot camp, and triumph at the six chair challenge, only sets up the greater tragedy for the Greek-Cypriot north Londoner. Which is ideal in sparking headlines for the brand, just as the live shows approach.

Suggested Zeta: Havva Rebke
Current Odds: 50/1

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Havva has received less screentime during the audition process than any of her rivals. And what screentime she’s had indicates she’ll be out of her depth in the live shows. Still, that didn’t stop producers putting through Steph Nala last year, helping to create controversy, and an easily disposable gamma girl. But Steph already had form with Syco, having got to the final of Britain’s Got Talent as part of The Luminites. Havva doesn’t even have that going for her. We don’t totally discount lightning striking twice, but we’d still be very surprised.

Agree or disagree? Let us know your ranking and further thoughts below.

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133 comments to X Factor 2015: Judges’ Houses ‘Girls’ – LA Confidential

  • Tim B

    The question of who gets the third spot in the girls category has been puzzling me also. Personally I would be looking to cast for variety and so Monica (or maybe even Havva) would be my choice. I think the way they’re announcing the results live on Sunday means we should potentially be prepared for a shock across each of the four categories.

  • Trevor A

    I think Kiera is the sitting duck here, her voice struggled in the 6 chair challenge and people might see her as another Fleur, i’d be extremely disappointed if Lauren didn’t make the 3, she has a story to tell

  • Martin

    Yeah the third slot, after Louisa and Keira, is the most questionable. The similarities between both Laura and Kerri-Anne and Monica and Melanie in previous years are alarming – I’d expect one of them to be the ones to make it through over Chloe, but the proof may be in the patterns of previous years.

  • fiveleaves

    I’d be very surprised if Havva doesn’t make the lives

  • Alan

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Keira doesn’t make it. Its only that week 2 pimp slot that suggests otherwise to me.

    She seems completely disposable and I can’t see that she has any real chance of winning or having a successful post-show career. If her not going through gives Louisa a better chance I would expect TPTB to ditch her.

    If I had to choose I would go Louisa, Chloe, Monica. The latter two should be easy to manage away during the lives.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Apart from Louisa I have no idea who’s going and who is staying. I can find reasons for any of them to go or stay and Lauren, being of uncertain temperament, could force them into a decision with a bad performance.

    I think with such a short season and lots of double eliminations it makes sense to have a few acts you can easily b2 because they’re not as good as the others – a good reason to put Havva through.

    I think Monica, Keira and Havva will get knocked back. Rejection for Monica and Keira will provide maximum emotional impact but Chloe and Lauren are bith extremely likeable and will counterbalance that with a maximum feelgood factor. Havva has not been shown enough to upset the audience but she will provide good cry. A bonus from those choices is Lauren’s unpredictability. She could freeze or forget her words in the live shows which would add to the drama.

    As I say, I can justify any 2 from the 5 so this is said with a million caveats and no money down.

  • Linda

    For some reason I’m pretty sure Havva will go through – her vocals are poor but she’s different in terms of vocal style and performance than the others. They’ll handle her like Cher Lloyd. Louisa has immense vocal agility but her performances are very contrived. She has no stage presence and comes across as stage schooly. I’m going out on a limb here and saying Louisa is in danger. This would give the show the ample controversy it needs. I don’t rate Lauren at all either – she is far too overhyped for her ability. I think we’re looking at a final three of Chloe, Monica and Havva.

  • Cath

    On a slight side note….. it seems that the death slot / pimp slot is acknowledged in other spheres too. The quote below is from a BBC news article about a brass band:

    “Getting an earlyslot is disastrous, Childs explains – very few bands have ever gone on to win after playing at the start of the day. “

  • Martin

    I don’t think they’d kick Louisa out at judges house – someone like Lauren who has had a lot time dedicated to her, yes that would be a bit of a controversy but it seems to me like a lot of effort has gone into making sure we like Louisa, I think it’s highly unlikely that they’d invest in her so much and then bin her off at JH.

    With that in mind, I’d question them putting Chloe through alongside her. I’d say she was the most similar to Louisa in terms of looks, age, singing style – if they wanted a competent girl to go through as gamma, either Monica or Havva would be their best choices. If I were casting, I’d be looking at the other categories and what we are missing is someone with a bit of attitude who can be outspoken. I’d be looking to Monica for that – with Bupsi probably going through as an over, they may see them as a similar profile but I think Monica will be good to generate headlines over the live shows rather than dropping at judges houses – from what I can see, nobody really rates her anyway and we know she can do attitude after the Princess Diamond nonsense.

    I’m seeing that this weekend we have the boys category and the groups. Surprises me they’re choosing to give the overs a whole two hour show rather than the groups, but also works with the idea that the boys aren’t being favoured this year.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Are you sure the whole show is groups? I thought it was half groups and half results.

      • We don’t know for sure but I suspect there will be a cliff-hanger like in previous years

        • Martin

          It seems you’re both right, it’s all the boys and part of the girls. Although most of the groups we’ve seen are on tonight apart from Beklyn and Silver Tone as far as I can see.

        • Martin

          It seems you’re both right, it’s all the boys and part of the groups. Although most of the groups we’ve seen are on tonight apart from Beklyn and Silver Tone as far as I can see.

          EDIT: I’ve made a right hash of this one, was trying to edit the girls error in the first post and have somehow managed to post the whole thing again, apologies!

  • David Cook

    I’m in agreement with Jessica – other than Louisa it could be any two from the remaining five. But the same can be said for all of the categories. From the rumoured 24, I think we can be certain that Louisa, Seann and 4 Impact are going through. Of the others I’m pretty sure we’ll not be seeing Tom Beasby or Max Stone in the live shows. Other than that I think any of the remaining acts could make it. In the end it will come down to getting a balance of acts across the four categories. This year’s format of completing JH’s and announcing the results in a single show at a later date would seem to make this easier to manage.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’ve a feeling Alien are going through. I can’t see why else they’ve had so much screen time. They’re not up to much imo but are good visually and, as I’ve said before, are perfect early exit fodder. Some have said they are too simar to 4th Impact but I don’t see that. They’re both girl bands but dress, dance style, music style and vocal ability are all different.

      • Alan

        I agree with this. I haven’t seen any of the shows they’ve featured in but have read enough about them to know that they add variety and have got cannon fodder written all over them. They will be used to highlight all the things that 4th Impact do well.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Also, looking at forums etc, almost every act has some fans. Hardly anyone likes Alien. Perfect for tptb. Guaranteed to go first show.

  • Boki

    For those who can get on Bwin there is a “To make the live show” market, hopefully the others will follow.

  • I suspect Kiera will make it but she hasn’t impressed me since her first audition. And do SyCo need another girl like her in their portfolio when they have Fleur and Tamera?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they put Monica and Havva through just as they would be less of a threat to Louisa.

  • stoney

    Simon lynch has put himself back in contention with tonight’s performance, I’ve always said he would be a huge danger and they would be wise to ditch him before the lives but tonight’s treatment was favourable

  • Fudd

    Seann is going to stick out like a sore thumb amongst this lot.

  • Martin

    Seann’s “unemployed” tag is bothering me. Three times that’s come up now – surely, if they were truly behind him they’d just put “singer”?!

    Simon Lynch was fantastic tonight – nice reminder of him straight after the break after he performed. Will be watching for how they treat Josh and Che

    • Jessica Hamby

      In the current climate, tagging him as unemployed is very damaging imo.

      Just starting watching on catch up so an hour behind you guys.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Personally not impressed by Simon Lynch. He doesn’t sound like a pop singer to me. Having said that, he’s the stuff X factor winners are made of.

      On a side note, why are all the men so unmanly. They’re all whinging about nerves and to me there’s something a bit offputting about it. I’m looking forward to Che Chesterman and Mason Noise just to waft away the oestrogen.

      • Martin

        I think, career wise, he’s a disaster. Somewhere between Joe Mcelderry and Matt Cardle, but he’d pull in the votes. He’s had very favourable treatment tonight – good comments, a decent performance, a reminder of how good he was after the break and at the end, when nick greeted his category, he was the only one Nick acknowledged and called him phenomenal.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Seann. Fwoar. Yes please.

  • stoney

    Lol @ Mason noise absolutely brilliant. Can’t believe they showed that though. He was basically outing the manipulation

  • Alan

    Someone should sign the dude up.

  • Joe

    My thoughts exactly Stoney, they were in effect allowing everyone to see what really goes on. This is a series where they keep revealing little small bits of detail to see how the show is constructed. They are wanting to show us they are being more ‘real’ this year.

    Simon seems to be weakening a lot of the acts this year with his comments. Louisa and Seann have received standing ovations from judges and remaining contestants so far which further confirms their longevity in the programme.

  • Alan

    I don’t agree with this idea that they want ppl to see how the show is constructed. What would be to gain from that?

  • aLAN

    Jesus wept. It gets more contrived by the second. Are there really ppl out there that think this isn’t all planned? It defies belief.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to punch anyone as much as I want to punch Tom Bleasby. His posture looks like a cartoon old man, his face look like his features are squashed against a window and his voice is giving me a headache. As for that bloody vibrato…, sheep with it’s testicles in a vice.

    Fed up with all the overemoting boys so far. They’ve got to get better than this.

  • Fudd

    It might be nothing but I see they’ve disposed of Che’s baseball cap.

  • stoney

    Che is the best vocalist by far this year. Could he do a Sam Bailey?

    • Alan

      Ive definately changed my mind about Cowell not wanting him anywhere near a recording contract. I don’t think he would necessarily be the commercial disaster I originally thought. Not Plan A material but could be pushed if it stopped a more disastrous proposition winning.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Haven’t heard him yet but there are a lot of wannabe crooners there, all singing in a similar style. Che, Sean and Simon would give a bit of variety.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think Mason Noise came over as a bit of a dick. I’m still not sure what point he thought he was making.

    • stoney

      He was making the point anyone who follows the show and knows how it work thinks. The only difference is he had the balls to stand on the stage and say it. We all know who is being favoured in these type of shows but i think it’s refreshing for someone to stand up and say it. Id love to have seen him do it from the death slot in a live show or Britain’s got talent that would have been even better

  • Jessica Hamby

    I didn’t get that from what he said Stoney. The edit didn’t help but it seemed a bit petulant to me.

    • stoney

      He said he’s seen the audition shows and his edit was cut down to 47 seconds (very precise) while others (chosen ones) had 10 minute slots. It was quite clear what point he was making and he was bang on the money. I didn’t like him up until that point.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Not everyone gets on the telly. That was his chance to prove them wrong. Don’t sign a deal with the devil and then complain about the terms. He could have nicked a seat.

        • Fudd

          He should have thought back to Fleur last year. She got a very rough ride in terms of edit up to Judges Houses yet finished second.

        • Alan

          Isnt he the guy whose comments on Twitter from a previous year were all over the papers? Slagging off Cheryl’s singing or something. He knew he was screwed so went out with a bang. Fair play to him.

          Could you see the likes of Chris Brown or Kanye up there crawling up Cowell’s backside? Pop stars are supposed to have attitude and behave badly aren’t they? Some of them at least. They cant all be mummies boys like 1D.

          That said why go on it in the first place? Surely he would have worked out it wasn’t really for him.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I thought Ben was better than Simon tonight.

    • Fudd

      There’s something about Ben’s voice which they can work with. They need to restyle him, though, and I can’t help looking at him and thinking ‘Kye Sones’.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Bizarre comment about doing british music from Simon to Alien. Wtf?

    • Fudd

      To differentiate them from 4th Impact/Power maybe? Singing British songs will severely limit their options going forward as their style is more based around American acts.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I thought it was a nonsense comment, maybe intended as a deramp for Seann / 4th Impact, maybe for Alien, maybe both. I don’t think it was about song choice.

        • Fudd

          It did seem strange and a bit left field. He wouldn’t have said it for no reason; it’s just discerning what he wants.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Beware of falling into the Alex Ferguson trap. He said his reputation for mind games was such that after a while even innocuous remarks were analysed by and undermined his opponents. Once he phoned a manager at another club to ask for some tickets to scout an upcoming match and 5 minutes later the manager called back to ask him what he really meant.

            One thing we need to remember is that tptb aren’t usually very subtle and that the messages they want us to pick up are repeated many times (Andrea eating, for example). This, so far, was a one off. Seemed incongruous to me since almost all the acts were doing songs by american artists (which is why I mention it), but came across as a negative all the same.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Also worth remembering that he called them the most commercial act in the competition. I still expect them to reach the live shows and they’re probably my favourite act in the competition but I don’t expect them to win it.

      I love Fourth Impact’s stage presence, and their vocals and moves are exciting. Something about them jars with me though. I wonder how accurate their given ages are. Sometimes I think they’re 29-35 rather than the 19-25 that they claim.

  • Alan

    Cowell feels the need to share his “wisdom” after every act doesn’t he? Whether he’s actually got anything relevant to say or not. He clearly didn’t on this occasion.

  • Linda

    The interesting thing tonight for me wasn’t the contestants but rather the diminution of Grimshaw. From the off this evening he was being alluded to as the paddy-last, billy-no-mates of the judges. Ollie Marland and Brodie Kelly would wipe the floor in terms of phone votes as against Louisa so they had to go. It will backfire as Louisa won’t draw flies from the public at the lives. From the boys we’re now looking at Seann (who can carry the show each week), Josh and Tom.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I can’t remembe Brodie. Ollie Marland had the Joe McEldery good looks but I found his performance bland. He might have won but he’d be a terrible winner for the show’s credibility. I think Josh falls into a group of similar singers (a Manilow of Cardles?) but don’t think he’s the best of them. I thought Ben gve himself a great chance of making the lives because he really interpreted the song and gave a lot of nuance to his performance. Tom annoys the bejesus out of me. He moves like the pensioner in Up even though he’s only 21. He dresses like a man in late middle age and he takes himself much too seriously.

      Having said that all the boys were doing ballads and slowed down songs, even Seann’s diva efforg was a power ballad. They were all a bit dirgey as far as I’m concerned.

    • Jessica Hamby

      To be honest I keep expecting Tom to stop mid-performance to confess that he’s actually Peter Kay and he’s been taking the piss for the last two months.

  • One small observation. Seann, who was told to “Think like a winner” two weeks ago was styled in winner’s gold tonight, whereas the others were wearing bland casual outfits.

  • Linda

    You may be onto something here. There is a push (wholly uninitiated by the public) towards “gender fluidity” and no doubt this show will play its part. Can we now view Seann as Plan B? 4th Power finished tonight IMHO, even if they make the lives.

  • Joe

    Happy to have backed Seann after his first audition and will stick with him. I noticed gold outfit as well which was a further vote of confidence. I also agree Louisa has also achieved a lot of producer support and may well be the preferred choice in terms of commercial success, but Seann is certainly a back up.

    It also supports LBGT which is very topical right now, which to be honest was the very reason I backed him for the win as this is good for the X FACTOR brand.

    My only downside which may put people off is that he came across as somewhat arrogant last night. However with him being in Grimmy’s category a lot of his listeners will surely vote for his acts.

  • Ben Cook

    I see Che is shortening. I didn’t rate his chances much before but he was amazing last night. I can see them giving him a bit of a makeover and doing really well in the finals.

  • David Cook

    The main thing that came out of last night for me was that Louisa’s odds look too short at this stage. She may well be TPTB plan A but there is definately competition from the boy’s, and it may not be that easy to get her across the line. The issue is where the strongest competition is coming from, and whether there is a plan B if Louisa doesn’t take off.
    Seann and 4th Impact are nailed on for the live shows and both will get support. Seann can sing and perform – although to me with the strutting and posturing, I’m starting to see him as a sort of second rate Freddie Mercury – and I can’t think that that’s a good thing. 4th Impact were slick and professional, almost too much so. I still think both will progress well through the live shows, but fall short at the end. It’s possible that either of the acts could top the vote – certainly in the early weeks, but I still can’t see them gathering that 60% plus share of the vote that the winner usually manages in the final.
    The threat may well come from one of the other male act’s, although it’s far from clear who’s going through. Based on last night it’s going to be difficult not to see Che progressing. He’s potentially got more of a story as someone who develops through the series. Louisa can sing, but it comes across as a performance of singing technique rather than someone who connects with the song. At the moment her personality comes across as a bit too cool – there’s nothing to dislike but equally nothing really to like. If Che comes out of his shell, he could be someone who people can warm to far more than Louisa. There’s still a long way to go yet and I’m not sure which way a Louisa – Che final two would go.
    That potentially leaves the remaining three fighting for just one place. TPTB are going to have to choose carefully because I think all have the potential to poll well. Personally I liked Ben last night – he was a male singer who actually sang like a male singer – which made him stand out amongst the divas and warblers. Josh was okay – not great, and Simon was still nailing him with the ‘not as good as the audition’ line. I found myself agreeing with the comment that Simon Lynch fell half way between Joe Mceldery and Matt Cardle. He’s also got about half the singing talent of either, and yet he could still pick votes if they put him through.

  • Martin

    Che is getting the ultimate X Factor “journey” at the moment. He’s got his confidence, how all he needs is a personality (if they even choose to revisit that one comment at his first audition). If you think about the most successful male popstars now, they don’t really have that “look” that was important a few years back. Ed Sheeran is the biggest male popstar we have, and he looks like his mother still cuts his hair and buys his clothes. Even after last night I didn’t rate Che’s chances, but the more I think about it, the more I see him going into the lives as beta in the boys category.

    That leaves Josh and Simon fighting for gamma, IMO. I think we’d see more drama from Josh being given the hook at JH personally, but I’m struggling to even recall any of his performances apart from his first. Last nights comments reinforced that his first audition was his best. With Simon Lynch’s positive treatment, I can see him being the third boy through.

    • Jessica Hamby

      You don’t think Ben has a chance?

      • Martin

        You mean Ben, the dark haired cute twentysomething rock singer with puppy dog brown eyes?

        No, seriously – firstly, he is a bit similar to Ben Haenow and I’m not sure they’d let him loose on the lives. His treatment has been a bit “lacking” so far which is why I don’t think he’ll make it.

        • Jessica Hamby

          On last night’s performances I would take him above Simon, Josh or Tom. My boy picks would be Seann, Che and Ben and while the other two would grab the headlines and the early attention I’d expect Ben to go on and win the thing.

  • stoney

    Yes i thought this also. Can’t see the producers having much to do with outfits at bootcamp stage

  • David Cook

    For me it’s the affectation on every single syllable of every single word. It drives me mad listening to it. Please – just sing the words.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Yes. That too.

      I wrote out a whole post but I’ve decided not to submit it. It would feel mean. Suffice to say he is not my cup of tea.

      • David Cook

        I think that’s right.

        There are points however where I think that the lack of valid criticism on the show is letting people down as well. Other than a few really appalling acts, most people are told how great they are – right up to the point they’re booted off. In reality most of the acts could do with some good constructive criticism. From what we see far to many acts are guilty of over singing, over emoting or simply trying to squeeze in so many bits of technique that the songs themselves are getting lost. And no that isn’t making a song your own.

        It might just be the edit, but Nick seems to be particularly vacuous in this respect. How many times last night did we see him simple reiterating the comments already made by the Cheryl or Rita, which themselves were often bordering on Louisisms.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Agreed.

          Neither “I don’t like her voice” nor “the singing needs work” is particularly useful but Simon pronounces that sort of thing as if it’s wisdom.

          Shame, but that’s the nature of the show.

  • Lots of Seann press coverage today, as he was on This Morning. You’d have thought they’d have booked Che after such a breakthrough performance? Is he even guaranteed for the live shows?

  • Martin

    Just saw that Tom Bleasby has withdrawn himself from the show!

    • Lia

      He’s saying he felt he wasn’t ready and not 100% vocally. Yeah, right!

    • Linda

      I liked him and hope he does well in another forum.

      Can’t work out who’s going to take the 3 seats. Seann for sure, but beyond that we could be in for quite a shock. I think they’ll probably keep Josh. Simon or Ben would poll better than Che (looks and personality wise), so it’s a question of how determined they are to get Louisa over the finish line within the space of seven shows. If that’s the case they’ll go with Che. I don’t think any of the boys are pop star material and that includes Seann.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I think a good show is more important than a chosen winner. Louisa or Seann or Alien of whoever can do well regardless of who wins. Winning may help, but it’s not that important.

        Simon is criticising everyone this year, apart from maybe Louisa, which makes me think tptb are more open to public opinion than we are used to. I think the competition is very open.

  • I have a theory about Tom Bleasby I’d like to share with you.

    Watch his appearance on the Ellen show last week where he sang live with Jessie J. Pay special attention to the way he talks about the Smule app during his interview with Ellen. Also, count the number of times X Factor is mentioned.

    Perhaps Smule had already made Tom an offer he (and/or his management) couldn’t refuse, and agreed not to announce his departure until after the six chair challenge episode had been broadcast.

    If so, great decision – good for you Tom.

    • Forever grateful for sparing us 🙂

      • Jessica Hamby

        Agreed. A one trick pony with a distinctly unimpressive trick. Would have been sent to the glue factory at judges houses anyway.

        He’s wibbling on about not being vocally ready in the press. He has a Twitter account run by a management company. I think this was a strategic move. If he wants to milk his 15 minutes from his Ellen appearence he needs to get a move on, not get dumped at JH or fanny about with the live shows.

        He needs to bang an album out before xmas and get himself invited back on Ellen to flog it. The boy who learned to sing in his bedroom, appeared on Ellen after she saw a tweet and quit x factor from nerves is a story with legs. Fat sheep-impersonator ditched at Judges Houses is not.

    • Lia

      He said in his audition he had already got noticed for his duet with Jessie J so I didn’t quite get why he was there.

      And if it was this smule app that saved us from this hell, I love it and will be forever grateful.

    • David Cook

      This would make sense. From the spoilers on DSF we know that not only did he loose his seat and then get brought back but later Simon appeared to take Nick to task for doing this. So he would have known that his chances of progressing were slim – non existent.
      It also appears that the acts that progress to JH are then precluded from carrying out their own publicity and releasing material – which he can escape by not taking part. So as Jessica has so succinctly put it he’s probably made the best decision to benefit form the publicity he’s getting while he can.
      Meanwhile Simon’s presumably remonstrating with himself for making the idiotic decision to bring back Max Stone.

  • Stu

    I really do think Josh and Alien will make it to the live shows if we consider what their mentors said to them on Sunday.

    Nick to Josh: “Josh you have got everything that I want in a boy to mentor. Absolutely everything because it’s there already – it’s within you.”

    Cheryl to Alien: “You were actually one of the reasons I was so excited to get this category. This is my easiest, easiest seat of the day. You’re not even ready for what I’ve got for you guys”

    To me that doesn’t sound like either will be disposed of in the JH round and the fact that their mentors are clearly passionate about them makes me think that, if they do get through to the lives, they’ll be their mentor’s priorities (along with 4th Power and Seann).

    I know there’s a lot of talk on here about Alien being perfect cannon fodder but I wouldn’t write them off just yet. Simon, while at times is critical of their vocals (bear in mind Little Mix were constantly criticised for their vocals even when they were the producers’ favourites), has explicitly said that they are one of the best groups in the competition in regards to being commercially viable. Some stand-out song choices, tight choreography, likeable VTs and a back story could do wonders for them. I don’t think they’re either Plan A, B or C but they’re (a) entertaining (b) exciting and fresh for XF (c) commercially viable and (d) not a threat to the Plan A in terms of hoovering up the public vote. Building a fan base, finishing 4th/5th and getting signed to Syco could be the plan. Maybe I’m alone in this but there are often surprise successes that emerge during each series and I think Alien might be just that this year.

    • Phil

      Problem is, Alien are about 5 years out of date, and there is little exciting about them. They might make the lives but they won’t last long.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Interesting speculation.

      With Alien my questions would be: 1 can they appeal to the x factor audience; and 2 who would pick up fewer votes?

      I expect them to reach the live shows along with 4th Impact but at the moment I think fourth or fifth in the competition is a big ask. If they work hard and put in some strong performances I can see a future for them after the show.

      I think to get Alien as high as you suggest they will need to include some disposable acts to give them time to build a following and maybe nuke a couple of people too.

      I find it hard to choose between Simon, Josh and Ben. I can’t see why Josh would be the obvious choice of the three of them. After Sunday I think Seann and Che have to go to the lives which leaves one place. I think Ben made himself a strong contender on Sunday and if he performs as well at JH he may well take the spot but honestly I don’t think it’s possible to pick between them at the moment.

      • Stu

        I think the producers (if they wanted to) could play on their name Alien with them declaring in their VTs that they never fitted in during school and felt like misfits. That would endear them to the young female viewers who may feel threatened by their on-stage confidence. Well I think the Overs will all struggle in the vote (whichever three go through). I don’t think Jennifer will do as maybe some anticipate. If Ben goes through, he’ll be another Kye Sones. The Girls are all unpredictable in terms of how the public will take to them. Lauren reminds me of Laura White in terms of look and sound (both sang Somebody Else’s Guy…hmmm…), Monica isn’t exactly the sweet and humble Leona-type, Louisa could burn out quickly due to song choice (I just get a strong feeling about this).

        Fleur basically went into the live shows with a very small fanbase and minor airtime compared to a lot of the other acts. All she had was one strong JH performance. She delivered on the first live show (with major production) and finished 4th (IIRC) in the week 1 vote. That is despite her being a sexy urban female, with not the strongest voice and a bit of pre-lives criticism from Simon (“I don’t remember you”) but she made up for it in showmanship – Alien are similar in this sense (minor criticism, not the strongest vocalists, confident image but can perform) but what they have on their side is more airtime and who knows if they will have a moment at JH… it could be a hot mess, but it could also be a breakthrough. Okay I’m just babbling now!

        Josh is the most commercial choice out of himself, Simon and Ben so it’d be safer for him to go through. Plus he’s received more criticism than Simon so far so it may be easier to nuke him in the lives if the producers wanted to.

        • Lia

          Except that is the storyline being used for Louisa. Basically all we know about her is that she didn’t fit in at school. Continuing on Louisa, I believe her main problem is that her look does’t match what she sings. This was pointed out to me by my husband, who’s a very cynical viewer, even though he doesn’t read any blogs where manipulations are discussed. He quickly picks up who is being favoured by TPTB and who is disposable. He picked every 6 chair challenge swap up to now, apart from one, so I always pay attention to whatever crazy thoughts he blurts out.

          • David Cook

            This is indeed the conundrum of XF. What sort of act is Louisa? We don’t know other than what she’s sung so far isn’t exactly current. Not for an act that they appear to be setting up for a post show career. Perhaps they’ll change it for the live shows and give her somthing current. Then people can rave about her on DSF and she’ll top the tellymix poll every week. And then she’ll get beaten in the final by this year’s version of Ben because that’s what the majority of the viewers actually prefer.

          • Linda

            Louisa’s second bootcamp performance where she sang Sam Smith gave us an insight here. I was surprised at how thin and nasally her voice was in the midrange and emotionally she was vacant. She kicked in to the customary shouting to cover this up. Her nearest comparator as this site has said is Ella Henderson but I don’t think she’s a patch on Ella in terms of marketability and versatility.

          • Jessica Hamby

            X factor doesn’t do current. I suspect it’s a bit like Big Brother and the bulk of its audience are in their 30s and 40s and have been watching for many years.

            I think Che has a similar problem. He’s sticking with Marvin and Motown which is fine but unless he wants to be in a tribute band or sing at weddings there’s no career there.

          • Linda

            Keep us posted on the hubby’s predictions, he sounds great! AFAIK the show is limited to an extent by what acts are permitted to sing. The show has a list of songs from which contestants can sing which have been precleared by publishers. Much of them are viewed at thid stage as quaint and “cruise ship” through overuse. Part of Lauren’s success at 6CC was simply because she sang a Jessie Ware song. It suddenly made everyone involved feel a little more hip than they actually are and they rewarded her for it.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I agree that it is still quite open at the moment and that the overs looks like a weak category this year. That said, apart from a favourable first audition vt I don’t see any particular signs of producer favour for Alien. They have a distinctive look but as yet no personalities, nothing like carpet fitter, van driver, prison officer, bullied fat lass or lonely bedsit dreamer.

          I’m pretty sure I saw one of them flash her knickers when she did a slut drop on Sunday. I’m really not sure the x factor audience wants that.

          It’s not my intention to put you off by the way. I’m certainly no expert and couldn’t have been more wrong about Ben Haenow. For all I know Alien does have enough of a following to reach the semi final.

          I don’t think any of Josh, Simon or Ben are particularly commercial. They’re nice enough singers but unless one of them writes great songs none of them will make a second album with Syco imo. The reason I was impressed by Ben was because he did, as one of the judges said, tell a story with his performance. That is a rare talent and makes him a bit more interesting to me than the others. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of them won. Competent, forgettable males usually win.

          • Stu

            Oh don’t worry I know you’re not trying to put me off. You raise some great points. I guess my general point was I don’t want to write them off just yet.

            I have a theory as to why I think Josh could be more commercial than the other two boys post-show but I’m aware that discussions about race are a bit “taboo” online. In short, I think black artists are seen as more current and cool in today’s music industry. From my point of view, there are far more successful black male popstars than there are white ones. Just a theory though.

          • Martin

            I wouldn’t say it was a taboo – there is a market for that sort of artist – Chris Brown, Jason Derulo, Labrinth, The Weeknd etc. The X Factor hasn’t had anybody like that so far, which is quite baffling really. Josh doesn’t strike me as that sort of act, but if that were their angle it would add a bit of variety. And the Che can fill the other Ed Sheeran-alike space.

          • Stu

            It’s just that places like DS can’t seem to talk about race or even mention the world “black” without someone screaming “RACIST” – and on the flip-side, there are a lot of posters who deny that race plays a part in a contestant’s popularity. But back to my original point, would Men On Point be deemed cool if it was a pair of white guys? I’m not so sure. Josh actually performed a Jason Derulo track during his solo bootcamp performance and it was pretty good. They could market him as a Frank Ocean alt-R&B type. But then I don’t know if the producers have that much imagination. He could be stuck singing Emeli Sande.

          • eurovicious

            Diversity is important. I for one am devastated that the only Vogon contestant has quit the Boys category.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Also the comment “You’re not even ready for what I’ve got for you guys,” could mean anything. It could mean big budgets and high production values, it could mean a Blonde Electra or a Storm Lee under the guise of taking them out of their comfort zone. The only comment about their performance that I remember was Simon saying the singing needed to be better. The rest was flannel.

  • Chris

    My million-to-one shot theory for the live shows.

    Reading the media rumours and noting just how much money has been traded on particular acts at 1000 on betfair :

    Louis to come back as 5th judge for the live shows. Louis gets to wildcard one act from each category. Louis picks Hannah, Charli, Mason and Rumour Has it. First live show kicks out 4 of the 16 acts. Charli wins the show.

  • Tim B

    Applause Store are offering tickets to X Factor live shows on both the Saturday and Sunday of Judges’ Houses. That leads me to believe that we will get two categories performing, with results, on each of the two nights.

  • Martin

    it seems that they are playing it massively safe with Louisa. In terms of modern songs, Sam Smith is hardly the most interesting of choices for her to sing. As Jess has previously pointed out, tptb should be more concerned with ratings and Louisa, whilst not that interesting, will be a reliable performer week in week out and people still think this is a singing contest – I think that’s her place, rather than some sort of career afterwards.

    I think Alien look too intimidating for voters to warm to them. I actually think they are more relevant that 4th Power in terms of today’s music market, but unless they are given a chance to be actually decent in the first few shows, like Little Mix were, I still think they’re destined for a week two exit.

    • Henry VIII

      Louisa doesn’t connect with what she’s singing does she? A much less interesting singer than the other girls they’ve tried to push. But maybe more in the teenie idol mould than the other girls. It will be interesting to see how far they can push her.

      • Martin

        It seems with Louisa, it’s more a case of “look what I can do” than any sort of artistry. I mean, what sort of 17 year old can connect with the message of “And I’m Telling You”?! Plus, in her VT at SCC she came across as ‘quite vacant’ to put it nicely. I think her job is to stand there and sing, and do it well. By giving her these tired songs that we hear every year, it gives them a safe bet each show. Boring maybe, but they need reliable performers.

      • Stu

        I don’t think “teen idol” type female contestants work on XF. Look at Lauren last year… I actually think Louisa and Lauren are very similar – both white teenage girls with strong voices in one sense but lack any kind of emotion or character vocally. I still think Louisa is too dull and ordinary to win. Dull and ordinary males can win because of their apparent sexiness. Girls need something a bit exciting to win (Alexandra had Beyonce, Leona had an out-of-this-world voice).

        • Jessica Hamby

          Fourth Impact seem to manage to be sexy without being in yer face. They switch it on when performing and giggle and swoon either side of it. I’ve not seen any other x factor act (male or female) do that.

          • Stu

            I agree. I think that will work in their favour. Sexy for the guys, cute for the girls. By the way, are Fourth Impact the first completely Asian act looking to do well on XF? They might be a first for the show.

        • Henry VIII

          Re “teen idol” I was thinking that maybe why they seem so desperate to push her, dreaming of a new young Britney, Taylor, Ariana etc.

  • Alan

    I think Louisa is very marketable. Stick thin, young, will scrub up well, I think she has everything an A & R man would be looking for. The fact she can sing is the icing on the cake.

    U can see her writhing around scantily clad in videos now. Just like Miley, rhianna and Katy Perry.

    Image is half the battle if not more. Cowell will be well aware of that from the million 1D have made him.

    Alien will get a fair crack and supported if they have any decent following. I just think that if they dont they will be easy to throw under the bus with bad productions and comments.

    • Henry VIII

      A lot more than a million.

      • Alan

        Absolutely. Millions. It took about 10 minutes to write that on my phone and I cudnt be bothered to correct it.

        They wouldn’t get Louisa doing sexy videos straight away obviously, she’ll do a nice wholesome album to start with in keeping with the brand.

        The clothes will come off further down the line to maintain career longevity and no doubt as she “discovers herself”. It’s not something they were able to do with Leona or Alexandra really.

        The point I’m making is that with Louisa and the right sort of marketing there is the potential for multiple albums, multiple image changes, success in the US and a nice way of filling the £ / $ void left by 1D.

        I don’t really see that they have that sort of potential with anyone else in the competition.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I think it depends on more than just being provocative. She needs a distinct identity. Forgive the x factor cliche but she needs to know who she is as an artist. The mega sellers that you’re talking about – Miley, Katie and Rhianna – have distinct styles. When you hear a Miley track you know it. It will be interesting to see if she has a path she wants to go down or is led down.

        • I am not sure who is going to win but it aint going to be Louisa

  • annie

    So what happened to the article re the boys? Cant make up you mind ? Or waiting to find out who will replace Tom?

  • Lia

    Hubby alert! We’ve just watched Xtra factor (recorded from Sunday) and his theory is that Simon Lynch will have an affair with Grimmy. That was after I noticed he was looking very… gay ( nothing against it, please, don’t judge me, but that kind of kills the teenage/cougar heartthrob image fairly quickly). Hubby says he noticed it “ages ago”. Maybe Simon wouldn’t be such a threat to Louisa as initially thought and TPTB might play him as a Marcus Collins.
    Also, I broke the news to him Tom Bleasby quit (he said thank God and then suggested they get Mason back). AMAZING!!!

    • Martin

      Simon Lynch is gay, and both him and Nick will be having affairs with me thank you very much.

      In all seriousness, the boys category is wide open. Whoever replaces Tom isn’t in a great position anyway – Simon isn’t there to be the teen heart throb IMO, he’s the charming young man your nan votes for ala Nicholas McDonald/Joe McElderry.

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