X Factor 2015: Judges’ Houses ‘Boys’ – It’s Grimmy Up North

We really enjoyed Mason Noise making some noise about the X Factor editing process. Apparently he watches the show like a Sofabet reader: if you’re granted only 47 seconds of airtime in the audition show, you’re not likely to get the producer support needed to go far in the competition, so why not make a bit of an impression on your way out?

Tom Bleasby, who was humiliated by Cowell’s praise for Simon Lynch before Grimmy’s mind-change created the impression that he was scraping through in sixth of the six, also seems to have realised the odds were stacked against him. He pulled out rather than head to Manchester for Grimmy’s judges’ houses. And now The Sun is reporting that Mason may be coming back! More on that intriguing possibility below.

As we did with the girls last week, here’s our provisional assessment of the pre-judges’ houses lie of the land with the boys. A reminder that this ranking only indicates our estimate of producers’ priorities at this stage. These priorities can change very quickly, and we’re not suggesting it reflects each act’s potential popularity with the voting public.

Suggested Alpha: Seann Miley Moore
Current Odds: 6/1

grimmy-up-north-boys-seann

From the start, producers’ plans of a starring role for Seann Miley Moore have been clear. The Australian featured in the opening weekend with an introductory VT like one of those Hollywood films that explain the whole plot in the first few minutes. The exposition was of an outsider looking for acceptance. His overturning of gender norms and powerful voice means he’s of great value to the show: a talented talking point.

Nothing we’ve seen since has changed our minds. He got the pimp slot for the closing arena audition montage; his boot camp role was smaller but still full of praise; and his six chair challenge performance was forceful. He’s the only act with a trademark look, settling into the kimono and baseball cap combination. We expect him to not only make the lives, but be given high billing there. Nonetheless, he hasn’t had the category to himself of late…

Suggested Beta: Ché Chesterman
Current Odds: 6/1

grimmy-up-north-boys-che

We’ve had Ché on our radar from his arena audition too, where we jokingly compared his appearance to a Crimestoppers suspect. The point we were making was that he had “makeover” written all over him, just as Sam Bailey did when she turned up for her room audition having made surprisingly little effort over her appearance for the cameras. Ben Haenow took the whole of the audition phase to get rid of his dodgy facial hair.

Ché’s soulful and wide-ranging vocal has been given a more extensive airing since. Boot camp was the first half of his breakthrough, with judges and presenters openly gushing; his six chair challenge pimp slot and four-judge standing ovation cemented it. He now challenges Seann for second favouritism in the Betfair outright market. We think Seann is probably just alpha at this stage – we haven’t yet been asked to invest emotionally in Ché’s story the way we have with Seann’s. But we wouldn’t be surprised to see Ché taking over, if Seann’s journey to acceptance goes awry.

Suggested Gamma: Simon Lynch
Current Odds: 28/1

grimmy-up-north-simon

As with the girls category, the most difficult decision was deciding on the gamma, who crucially gets a place on the live shows. There are arguments for any of Simon, Ben and Josh. Simon marginally gets the call over Ben, because he best fills the mould of cute unthreatening boy to encourage pre-teen and teen girls to get into the show.

Simon has had a higher billing than Ben from the arena auditions, where we first heard his attempt at a Cardle-esque falsetto. That didn’t go so well for him for the second phase of boot camp. But the praise was fulsome again at the six chair challenge. Here the panel started the process of belittling Tom Bleasby, sitting alone among the chairs, listening as the judges thanked Simon for raising the level far higher than seen so far. In truth, we find Simon’s vocal far from exciting, but it would be unusual not to see someone of his ilk in the lives.

Suggested Delta: Ben Clark
Current Odds: 25/1

grimmy-up-north-ben

Ben was given short shrift at the arena audition stage, and at boot camp we only really noted Rita’s enthusiasm and his physical likeness to Kye Sones. But if there was a surprise package at the six chair challenge, it was his nuanced performance of ‘All I Want’. Simon Cowell seemed to genuinely feel the same way.

If Simon Lynch is slightly more obvious in the unthreatening boy mould, Ben isn’t a million miles from it. He brings something a little more rocky too – which we often get from one of the male acts – think Jamie Archer or Ben Haenow. We reckon this Ben has put himself in with every chance, and if he can keep his momentum going, wouldn’t be a shock inclusion in the live shows.

Suggested Omega: Josh Daniel
Current Odds: 33/1

grimmy-up-north-josh

With the pimp slot in the second arena audition show, and a moving back story of bereavement that caused Cowell to tear up at his own, Josh Daniel’s X Factor hopes looked promising. But there was a sense that the many YouTube hits this clip received were mostly about Cowell’s reaction, rather than a groundswell for the Teessider.

Since then, Josh has felt more like wallpaper than a serious contender, and his odds have drifted accordingly. He openly expressed a feeling of intimidation about Che’s vocals at the six chair challenge in a way that made him look surplus to requirements. Yet the Xtra Factor did visit him at home last Sunday. And he’s a likeable enough person with a likeable enough voice. But we think that may still see him fall short of the live shows.

Possible Pantomime Villain: Mason Noise
Current Odds: 100/1

We haven’t had official confirmation yet whether or not producers will bring back someone else as a replacement for Tom. And it may well be that The Sun article linked to above indicates nothing more than producers having a bit of fun, and taking advantage of an opportunity to get the show some cheap headlines which will ultimately come to nothing. Our first instinct on hearing about Tom’s withdrawal was that the show would be wise not to put any replacement for Tom into the lives, for risk of creating a Maloney-type situation.

At first glance it would seem especially crazy to bring back Mason, who has shown himself aware of the machinations of the show and willing to expose them. Who knows what he might blurt out in a live interview with Caroline and Olly?

But on reflection, perhaps it’s not such a crazy idea after all. Ratings are down, the franchise is dying a death. Mason is a headline-worthy character. Why not? You can imagine the fun created each week as a thunder-faced Cowell claims “I don’t like you being on the show, Mason, but the public keep voting you in”. It’ll be Wagner all over again.

What do you think? Do keep the conversation going below with your thoughts on this category, and anything else.

X Factor images ©SYCO/THAMES TV/PA

92 comments to X Factor 2015: Judges’ Houses ‘Boys’ – It’s Grimmy Up North

  • Jessica Hamby

    Excellent. Too good an opportunity to miss. Bad luck for Ben, Simon and Josh but great for the show (and tbh none of them are particularly entertaining). As long as he doesn’t turn out to be a complete arsehole he’s nailed on for the tour imo. There will be people who tune in just to see Mason (although there will also be people who say this was the plan from the start – faod I don’t believe it was).

    Love the Mason / Sharon picture at the top of the article.

  • Chris Bellis

    This Mason thing is a bit like the franchise that eats itself. Like the knowing references you get in Hollywood sequels – the ones that appeal to die-hard fans but not to the general audience. No good will come of it, mark my words. Whenever a series becomes too self-referential it is going down the toilet.

  • Martin

    Ratings wise, it’s a dream but did they learn nothing from Frankie Cocozza? If they risk Mason at the live shows, I do think he’ll be hard to shift. Is it too early to bet on another “golden rule” being broken?!

  • Stu

    I must literally be the only one who believes Josh has a fairly strong chance of making the live shows!

    It may seem like an outside shot to some, but I’m thinking Seann / Josh / Mason for the lives: Seann is a dead-cert, Josh has shown more versatility than the others (ballads with an up-tempo performance) plus the producers can control his vote due to the partial criticism he has received and Mason fills the Rage Against The Machine role.

    If Simon Lynch is put through to the lives, unlike Josh, he will most likely hoover up all of the vote and neither Seann, 4th Power or Louisa will get a look in without some very brutal nuking (which won’t really look right in a series that is supposed to be a lot lighter in tone compared to last year). And I think the same can be said for Che who is getting more and more hyped but I don’t believe for one minute Cowell would want him as an ideal winner.

    • Martin

      I think, if Mason hadn’t have reared his head (I didn’t think for a second they’d actually bring him back, I thought they’d want to protect the brand but hey ho) then Simon Lynch and Josh would be fighting for that last place. I think there’s an element of “crowd pleasing” with these things – I think it would be quite easy to nuke any of these acts. After their job on poor Andrea last year, I truly believe they could drag anybody down.

      Unfortunately, this means that the final three seems to be more clear cut in Seann, Che and Mason Noize now. I don’t actually think that Mason was viewing this from the same perspective as us – not fully anyway. I get the sense it was more from a place where his ego was bruised.

      • Martin

        Sorry for the double post – I think Cowell may be more open to having Che on his roster than we may thing. Cheryl already anchored him to ed sheeran in his first audition and he’s the perfect ugly duckling male contestant. I don’t think he’s their ideal winner but he’s the right age to be commercially viable, but he’d put out a good soul r&b album from what we’ve heard of him.

  • Tim B

    If Mason Noise gets through to live shows, he’d be a very hard sell at the business end of the competition. You cannot win this show without doing ballads and appealing to the 40-60 female demographic, neither of which he will manage.

    Lots of people seem to have their own crystal balls this year regarding the Boys category. The only one we know is going through is Seann. Nick’s reputation as a judge is already pretty poor. Will he really want to exacerbate that even more by ‘choosing’ Mason?

    • Jessica Hamby

      There’s a certain cachet about being the one they love to hate. I doubt he’ll go far, but he it would certainly be possible to get him to the third, maybe even fourth show.

      Personally I think Che has to go to the lives along with Seann, but I thought Paul Akister would go the year they chose Luke Friend and the kid from stage school who couldn’t really sing. The show will be poorer without Che imo. That’s not a crystal ball, just an opinion.

      If they do dump Mason after JH they’ll have to wheel him on strapped to a trolley like Hannibal Lecter when they tell him.

  • Martin

    Is there a possibility that Mason is come back for further humiliation at judges houses? With all this outrage now about him being reinstated, it wouldn’t be an unusual Cowellian plan to bring him back, only to be slaughtered at JH with absymal comments and Grimmy telling him in no uncertain terms there is no way in a million years he’d consider putting him on the live shows, even if he was the last contestant on earth.

    Maybe I’m wishful thinking here, and the more I write this, the more unlikely it seems.

    • Stu

      I did wonder this too Martin. It’d be quite brutal yet believable that TPTB would want to punish Mason for daring to speak up about the show. But I do think he’s too headline-worthy to dispose of.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t think they care that much. It’s about business and ratings. If they think there’s mileage in keeping him in (assuming he’s not a totally loose cannon or a Frankie Cocozza and damaging the show) they’ll keep him in. If they think the public wants to see him punished they’ll punish him.

  • To the punster in chief: I humbly request that you change the name of this thread to “Bring In Da Funk, Bring In Da Noise”.

  • Alan

    I pray to God that Mason doesnt go through to the lives just so that Cowell can act all offended at his participation. Even the most gullible idiots are going to realise that Cowell must have been instrumental in bringing him back surely?. Cowell even referred to it as “my show” when he clashed with the guy.

    • Piresistable

      I found that particularly odd. We all know that Cowell calls the shots, but was it really wise for him to state it explicitly? I think I’m right in saying that at no point during the exchange did we hear what Grimshaw thought of Mason and it’s placed him in quite an awkward position because everyone will be assuming that he’s been forced into bringing him back.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I get the impression most people think the show is even more manipulated that we do. I’ve read loads of stuff claiming that the whole thing was planned. Tom dropping out is supposed to be part of the plan. The number of comments I’ve seen saying “fix” is eyepopping.

      • Martin

        I don’t think all this was fixed – I genuinely do think that Mason kicking off was genuine and if TPTB would have known Tom Bleasby was going to leave, he’d never have been given a seat in the first place, they haven’t had much time for him otherwise. I get the sense that Tom decided soon after the six chairs that he wanted to leave, he was talked into not saying anything until after the episode aired and that gave them time to talk Mason round and make sure he’s not the loose cannon everybody thinks he is. It seems odd that Mason was prepared to mouth off on the show, but hasn’t gone to press or spoke to the media or anything.

        • Tommy Sauce

          Might have missed something here but Chair Challenge is not live – it’s edited. So if TPTB didn’t want Mason’s outburst to air, it wouldn’t have aired, surely?

          The fact they chose to include it in the cut indicates that it’s either part of a long-term plan which has existed since early in the process, or it was a genuine outburst they thought could be leveraged to their advantage.

          • Snowfall

            But it was all over the papers and uploaded on youtube long before the episode was shown, it would have looked worse/as though TPTB were trying to airbrush it out if they hadn’t shown it.

  • Linda

    Good but unintended gag from Cowell allowing a guy named Mason leapfrog over lads who actually had seats and head straight to the Judges Houses.

  • Fudd

    I knew the show was being more open in regards to it’s inner workings this year but, good grief, they’ve just opened the book and allowed everyone to read. What the heck are they thinking?

    I bet production were cursing when Mason shouted his mouth off; as said above I don’t think that was planned and they were looking to give Mason slow exposure into the main show (unlike Frankie who had a lot from the off) – maybe because they hoped he’d burn bright but quickly; maybe because they were aware he was a polarising character and didn’t want people to loathe him too early.

    Now… they’ve got to put him through to the lives surely? What’s the point of all these headlines if they’re going to let him slink off at Judges Houses – albeit people may tune in to the Judges Houses reveal to see if he shoots his mouth off live.

    Seann is surely still Alpha Male for the reasons said. Then goodness knows – Simon, Josh, Ben and Che have strengths and weaknesses. I wouldn’t say any of them have the performance factor though feel Josh may have potential at that level given the chance. I’m glad I’m not the only one to see the similarity between Ben and Kye and, despite the push in relation to his looks I wonder if production are thinking the same? Speaking of previous contestants – Simon and Aidan Grimshaw? Though Simon hasn’t got the ‘psycho’ performance down. Che has the voice but seemed to lack confidence up to Six Chair Challenge – can he put the performances in week in week out?

  • Phil

    Pretty sure the only reason they’ve brought Mason back is to get viewers for the live judges’ houses – will he do the same again etc. There’s no way they can justify sacrificing one of the other to get him into the live shows – unless it’s a wildcard thing involving Louis (which I don’t believe will happen btw).

  • Stu

    I’m beginning to be unsure about the idea of Simon hoovering up the vote if he gets through to the lives. As I’ve said previously, he doesn’t strike me as particularly likeable – he actually seems quite up himself to be honest. But then maybe his looks will see him through regardless. I still think it’d be mad of the producers to put him through due to the unpredictability of his popularity.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Watching Mason Noise again the whole thing looks hideously contrived. Having said that he always tries to put on a show rather than just standing there. It will be interesting to see if Tom Bleasby does put out a record in the US to follow up his Ellen appearance and if so, who his management is and which label it’s on.

    Interesting how the subject of nationality comes up. It’s always Simon who mentions it.

    I would love to see Seann, Che and Mason as the boys and no balladeer in a pullover this year. Whether tptb have got the balls to do that or not I don’t know. I hope so. If they take a middle-of-the-road kid then imo on current form it has to be Ben. He blew Simon and Josh away.

  • Jessica Hamby

    A thought on Simon’s new found enthusiasm for gospel… The Christian rock and pop market is huge and successful acts can sell millions of records and generate huge incomes. Most big record labels have Christian divisions. Scowel is not above wanting a slice of that pie and introducing an act to the record buying public via the show is a cheap and easy way to give them a leg up. If they don’t make the live shows, preferably with a controversial JH, it could work just as well for them as if they do. They can be sold as having been persecuted! 😉

  • Stu

    Spoilers are out for this weekend’s show – including song choices and performance order:

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/s103/the-x-factor/news/a674243/the-x-factor-2015-spoilers-what-are-the-overs-singing-in-the-six-chair-challenge.html#~prqtXyesdJkt49

    Looks like Ebru is closing the 6CC round this year. I did say a few weeks back that she apparently knocked it out of the park so I wonder whether we’ll get the “Fleur-esque” comments from Simon of “I didn’t take any notice of you until now”, “that was a *moment*” etc. Ebru is the most marketable of Simon’s final 6 Overs so, as ridiculous and bold as this may sound, I’m going to stick my neck out and say she’ll become the Alpha Over at some point throughout this series.

    I could be completely wrong though since Jennifer/Anton/Bupsi seem like the obvious three to go through but for some reason I think Ebru will fill one of the places. Does the show really need Bupsi now that they could have Mason for headlines and entertainment?

    • Jessica Hamby

      Joke acts are most important when the others are only singers, mainly doing ballads, and can’t dance. This year we’ve got 4th Impact, Alien, Menn On Point, First Kings and Mason. Admittedly not all of them can go through but there are more complete acts than usual – plus Seann and Louisa may have a few as yet unrevealed skills given their backgrounds. Havva can also move, although it was a bit school talent show.

      • Martin

        It seems that each category has an act that could be considered a controversial pick. Mason (Seann maybe not controversial but also serves this purpose) for the boys, bupsi in the overs, men on points groups and it could be argued that Monica would be a talking point for the girls, less obviously so. I’m not sure how likely it is that Men on Point or Monica will be going through, I’ll reserve judgement on the overs and Bupsi until after tonight but the need for the token “can’t sing” act this year isn’t as great as it has been.

        I’ve also seen a spoiler that Simon calls Anton out on his creepy faces tonight. Similar tactics as he did for Andrea.

  • Alan

    Ive never bought into the idea that Jennifer was going to be anything other than completely disposable. She has got zero chance of winning and is hardly going to fill the void left by 1D. The overs category is ridiculously weak tho from the little I have seen.

    • Martin

      I’ve always thought that Jennifer is a safe bet who will do a good performance each week, who can be cut loose when she’s completed her function, so to speak. In the same way that Mary Byrne did.

      • Jessica Hamby

        And if post-show success is important, don’t forget the market for the God botherers. It’s huge.

        • Alan

          If I was Cowell I would stick to what I know – middle of the road pop where I can call on known song-writers, producers, video directors and stylists. All the people that have helped him earn a fortune from 1D. And I’d be throwing my weight behind Louisa.

          • Jessica Hamby

            That’s a daft strategy imo. It’s all sales. Doesn’t matter if it’s paperclips or sportscars. If he needs to bring talent in, he can.

          • Jessica Hamby

            For instance Sony, whom I believe Syco work with, have a division called Provident which specialises in producing and marketing Christian music including gospel. I’m sure if he needed to draft in expertise it would be made available to him.

      • Stu

        Mary Byrne ran away with the vote at the beginning though and it took a great number of weeks to lower her into the danger zone. Although, in her favour, she had the Tesco backstory.

  • Martin

    I still think “Cheryl” is going to lump Bekln and Silver Tone together at judges houses. That they’ve both been lumped together outside of their category, their link emphasised yet again seems more than just a build up to a face off at JH.

  • Jessica Hamby

    This artificial drama is really irritating. There’s only one seat occupied and Simon’s sat there cogitating like he’s got to make the Judgement of Solomon.

    The one thing that seems certain is that he doesn’t want an ‘over’ to win it this year.

  • Alan

    Am I the only one that finds this Anton “character” a complete @#&%?

  • Jessica Hamby

    FUCK ME!!! Anton just moved about a million places up in the ranking. They have to take him to lives or the last shreds of the shows credibility just fly away and with his backstory, passion and sincerity supplemented by his intelligence and experience he is DANGEROUS.

    One thing is for sure, Che is NOT the best soul singer in the competition.

    • Henry VIII

      I thought the same. It seems they want quality this year, I can’t imagine them giving Anton such a great and emotional edit only to dump him at JH.

      • Jessica Hamby

        And the vocal was superb, passion and control. I would think that right now the overs are Anton, Jennifer and AN Other.

        Aaah. Now he has a possible alternative to Anton. Not his vocal equal but a good singer and a character the viewers would be sympathetic towards.

        • Fudd

          I think we can rule Max out; otherwise I’m not sure who the ‘Other’ will be. Bupsi has certainly been given more airtime than the others and is potentially an ‘entertainer’. But Ebru got the pimp slot tonight… albeit with some critical comments from Simon.

        • Linda

          After last night Anton has to be a shoe-in for the lives although The Sun seems to have started a hatchet job this morning. Jennifer was incredible but her role will be workmanlike as I’m sure they don’t want an over winning this year. Max and Bupsi I think are out. I suspect Cowell will want to put Ebru through though she will eat into the Louisa vote. If Chloe Paige is going through then Ebru unnecessary. If Kiera Weathers doesn’t go through then Kerrie Anne has a shot. IMHO Jennifer is the only safe call here.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Oh Jenny. That pink lipstick. Just no.

    But then again that vocal was RIGHTEOUS.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Interesting. Although it started poorly, the ‘overs’ section of that show is the one I’ve enjoyed the most so far this year – a lot of good performances and two that were genuinely outstanding.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Anyone see the extended ‘sleepover’ section with Alien on Xtra Factor? The only group that got one, with lots of personal info and individual identification. They weren’t great on it but it was a clear effort to soften the image.

  • Lia

    I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s show: Simon being his grumpiest self, making a Louis Walsh of his 6 chair challenge and Anton’s botox comment was priceless!!! I hope he goes through and keeps shooting those, a bit Johnny Robinson like but with one hell of a voice!

    • Jessica Hamby

      Simon being miserable and obnoxious definitely helped. I enjoyed it a lot too. Bit of a relief because I was getting to the point of giving up.

  • Martin

    Oh I hated last nights show – I needed a long lie down in a dark room afterwards. I appreciate Jennifer and Anton’s talent, they just aren’t for me. I’d imagine them both going through, along with Ebru at this point, but as Linda says, she’s slim, blonde and attractive – Louisa don’t need that sort of competition.

    Everybody else just sort of passed me by. Even Bupsi wasn’t that interesting. Most of the other acts I found myself wondering who they even were. If there’s anything we can learn from last night, it’s that Simon doesn’t want an over to win. His brutal kill of that poor girl up first was hilarious.

    • Linda

      Bored this Monday afternoon and did a bit of googling on Ebru – she’s been a backing singer for Sam Smith and Bruno Mars and was a backing singer for Jessie Js team at The Voice final in 2013! Has any of this been highlighted yet?

      • Ferret

        also when did she change her name from Ebru Gúrsoy to Ebru Ellis? And why the name change? To make her more accessible to uk audiences? Must mean she is in the lives?

        • Jessica Hamby

          She may have got married and taken her husband’s name. she may have anglicised it for work reasons, she may have changed it to escape a bad credit history. It may be totally unrelated to the show.

          • Ferret

            She entered the show as Ebru Gursoy (her professional name for all intents and purposes – as biographed on her linkedin page https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/ebru-gursoy/81/11b/bb) but has decided to be known now as Ebru Ellis – only reason I can think is that TPTB wish to disguise her past? That suggests she has a future in the show – at least for a week or two!

          • Jessica Hamby

            Sure. We’ll find out soon enough but Blonde Electric changed their name and look how that turned out. Or, as I said elsewhere, she may have got married. Personally I’m not inclined to ascribe significant tptb backing to her because of it but as I have said before, I thought Ben Haenow was a no-hoper and look how THAT turned out.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Totally brutal, wasn’t it. Poor girl looked as if she was in shock.

      The thing is, I’ve realised I want something to be outraged by. It’s all very well saying how cruel the show is, but given the inexperience and poor quality of most of the auditionees, it would be boring as hell if they were nice all the time.

      • Martin

        Oh exactly – she was shockingly bad. I particularly enjoyed Cheryl calling her dated for performing as if she’d just watched an old Girls Aloud tour DVD. Whilst wearing an outfit to match.

        This series has been very blasé with its critique. I mean, I know it’s not the most technical of shows but we’ve barely had anything of value this year in particular. It was nice to see Simon with his balls back in tact.

  • Stu

    Anton is definitely a shoe-in for the live shows. The show would suffer a massive backlash if he’s eliminated by Simon since the entire audience have been given the chance to emotionally invest in him. I also can’t see Jennifer being eliminated at JH next week either. But Jennifer and Anton are both Soul/Gospel singers – will they split the vote in the lives?

    Also, am I the only one who can see both Silver Tone and BEKLN being eliminated at Judges’ Houses? I find it difficult to digest the idea of either 4th Power or Alien not making it through to the lives. Naturally, this leaves room for a boyband and I think Cheryl clearly prefers the all-singing-all-dancing The First Kings to the two gospel groups (it seems like Simon is the one pushing for both rather than any of the other judges). Plus, with Anton and Jennifer looking likely to go through in the Overs, do we need yet another Soul/Gospel act?

    • Jessica Hamby

      I agree about 4th Impact and Alien but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Menn On Point go through. They can put on a great live show. If they get knocked out early it’ll be no big loss but if they catch on then they’re in Simon’s pocket. Win-win.

      The First Kings just feel very dated to me, with their co-ordinated outfits and choreographed dance routines. The current trend is for things to be a bit messier, less regimented. They’re 10 years in the past.

      • Stu

        Oh yes I forgot about Menn On Point. It would probably be wise for Cheryl to put them through too. Their singing is pretty poor but they’re extremely energetic and likeable plus they are right up Cheryl’s street. Cheryl did say she thought TFK’s choreography was current though. She seems to be the biggest fan of them out of all of the judges. It depends how much power she has this year. In the past it’s been clear that Simon overlooks all of the castings but is Cheryl’s “executive producer” tag more than just a little pretty (egotistical) title? When Cheryl was deliberating over which act to swap from their seat in favour of one of the gospel groups, it looked like her finger/pen was pointing to the very top of the list and Rita said something along the lines of “are you mad?”. That makes me think MOP weren’t as safe as maybe you’d expect.

        • Jessica Hamby

          They’re not current at all. She called it at boot camp. She’s either bullshitting now to set them up for a tearful, shocking (to them) fall or she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. That’s what I felt anyway. If they go through it will be as gamma group and I really don’t see much of a future for them in the live shows.

          I assume tptb will get behind Alien for the first show or two at least. I do wonder if they can win X Factor voters over though. I think they may struggle (although personally I enjoy their performances and their look and style). Assuming they are set up as beta group they could still go early.

          • Lia

            I think Cheryl said something like “the moves are current but the formations are dated”… whatever! To me they are not interesting enough.

      • Martin

        The First Kings are horrific in every way. As you say, they’re dated, they’re cheesy and they’re far too co-ordinated. We’ve seen them before in pretty much every urban boyband they try and force on us (Emblem 3 or whatever they were called, Nu Vibe etc), I don’t see them breaking the mould. The advantage is that these sorts of boyband (JLS and Rough Copy being the anomalies and even those two acts troubled the bottom two) seem to be easily disposable. Also, it appears that at least three of them are gay, does that not alienate the boyband demo a bit?!

        I have said that I can see a frankenband in Silver Tone and BEKLN, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see neither of them make it to be perfectly honest, neither are that exciting and I can certainly live without them.

        Menn on Point are funny, they’re like two Fuse ODG’s – he seems to have disappeared and I’d love to see what they’d do each week.

  • Lia

    I was revisiting some blogs I used to read and came across this very interesting article. It’s said to be writen by a “judge” (casting one) who worked for both American Idol and XFactor USA. It confirms a lot of the things we discuss here and makes some interesting points, including for storylines and producer cock ups, also why some contestants may lose favour. Enjoy!

    http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-1764-i-was-reality-tv-judge-5-secrets-i-shouldnt-tell-you.html

    • Jessica Hamby

      This is great Lia. Thanks. Seeing the edited and then the uncut version of the Don Philips audition is just jaw dropping. All the information is useful.

    • Jessica Hamby

      New Kings Order is a dreadful name. It reminds me of a hideous misogynist website called Return Of Kings. Bekln Mile isn’t much better but then I was never particularly taken with Bekln. The missing vowel grates on me. Alien Uncovered is a bit of a mouthful too. Why uncovered? It doesn’t add anything. I like the first names for Menn On Point though.

      Fourth Power never struck me as a good name and Fourth Impact isn’t that different. If you’ve got to bring four into it they would have been better off with Four Phillipino Chicks -nowt wrong with a bit of humour. I liked Silvertone’s new name but I’ve already forgotten it.

      • Martin

        what on earth does Bekln Mile even mean? Is it a play on words I’m missing?

        Apart from Menn On Point, all the new names are horrible. Is this being done because Fourth Impact had to change, or genuinely because of “copyright reasons”?

  • Martin

    Just having a browse this lunchtime, stumbled across this tellymix poll.

    http://www.tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/236156-poll-x-factor-2015-top-24-whos-your-favourite-vote-here.html

    I know it’s a limited audience, but to me it’s one of the only guages we’ve had of public opinion so far. A few things I’m surprised at – Seann Miley Moore being so low, Alien so high and that Simon Lynch is also so high.

    • David Cook

      I’m not sure how much you can read into Tellymix polls, because they never seem to be representative of the general audience. You would expect 4th Impact and Louisa to do relatively well, although the share of the vote does look impressive. Last year OTY were always far higher in the polls than they were doing in the real vote – it might be similar with Alien here. The one that really does stand out is Seann – if he can’t do well in a TM poll he stands no chance at all with a vote that is generally older and more conservative than the TM profile.

      • Martin

        I know it’s a select audience, but I think it raises a few potentially interesting points. I thought Alien would appeal to quite literally nobody!

        I think online polls are generally quite “off” – you never can read too much into them, but considering the change in this years format, it gives us a (very sheltered) view of public opinion so far.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Someone else suggested Alien would do well. I disagreed. I’m beginning to change my kind. They look like a good value outside bet. Mind you, Fourth Power are a formidable obstacle. Alien can’t win unless FI go out, can they?

    • 360

      I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Seann Miley Moore will be the Misha B of this series – complete with the judges’ intial love, style and individuality, followed by a surprisingly early bottom 2 appearance resulting in a switch to cliche classics, more conservative clothes, and dreary ballads, and culminating with him being dragged to 4th place.

  • I’m gonna put it out there.

    The producers want their very own “Conchita moment” from Seann. I look at how this tactic cleaned up in Copenhagen and wonder, just wonder, if they’re going to go for the same approach for publicity? Cowell knows that he needs the show on the front of the red tops and a cross-dressing winner will guarantee that.

    Only thing is of course Eurovision has a hugely notable gay following. X Factor’s more a teen girls show, isn’t it?

    • Stu

      I somewhat agree. I just don’t know if the voting public will take him to victory. He’s likeable and has a great voice though and that is the usual criteria for an XF winner. I think him deliberately being called last on Sunday will set him up for a “moment” in the live shows – the producers pretending that his place on the show was at one point uncertain allows a journey to glory rather than his place on the show being guaranteed from his first audition (obviously it was but the producers don’t want the viewers to know that). That’s another reason why I don’t think Louisa will go all the way. She’s been too blatantly favoured (first audition pimp slot, standing ovation at 6CC, last group bootcamp performance, first to be called as a finalist) so it disallows a journey.

      • Tim B

        In addition to advantages you have described, Seann is also vulnerable and the act who best connects emotionally to a song. He has been clearly set up for a journey towards acceptance as well, whereas I can’t really see an obvious narrative for many of the others. Mason Noise potentially has a journey towards redemption and likeability though.

  • Joe

    Completely agree with James on this. Was happy to back Seann after his first audition for the very reason he would grab headlines and it would tap into the public conscience that X factor embraces all. It’s good for the brand. I will hopefully get a good run for my money.

    I don’t think anyone will run away with it this year as there are quite a few strong contenders, the winner will need strong backing from tptb which may not happen until a couple of weeks in once they gauge public reaction.

  • Martin

    The thing is with Seann, I don’t think he’s doing it particularly well. The thing that sticks in my mind with him is when he said, at his solo bootcamp audition, “this is my gift to you” – it was incredibly self indulgent. There’s a few other things I’ve noticed that suggest to me he’s not particularly likeable – he was incredibly standoffish, pulling faces etc. when Mason was brought back in the VT saturday. I know it’s part of his character and it’s extravagant and all that but I don’t actually think it will endear voters. I think he’ll have an uphill struggle – his voice is fantastic, I have no doubt that he’s a performer, he can emotionally connect with each and every song he’s given and he is striking and memorable – I do think he needs to work on his modesty a bit. I’m not sure whether he’s “earned” his faaaabulous enough yet.

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