X Factor 2015 Week 1: No Stone Unturned

Earlier in the week we learned the show had ditched the Hallowe’en theme in favour of a “This Is Me” theme. It turned out to be more a case of producers saying “This Is You”, as the VTs showed us the acts turning up to be informed by their vocal coach of what their song choice was going to be.

First up was Lauren Murray, in the Hannah Barrett Beta Girl First Show Memorial Slot. There were a couple of mentions of “pop star” in her VT, which meant that the slightly low-rent staging with colour vomit backdrop was a bit of a disappointment. Still, judges’ comments praised her “amazing vocal”, she came across as likeable as ever, and Ben Haenow namechecked her as his favourite at the end of the show. As with Hannah, putting her in the Strictly crossover slot felt like more of a test of her popularity than an immediate assassination attempt.

Simon’s first words on introducing Max Stone were an eye-rolling “now I’ve got to follow that”, which was the first indication that producers seem keen on Stone sinking without trace in this competition.

In his VT, we saw a producer being comically frustrated with Max looking down so much while performing that they couldn’t film his face, and when he earnestly mused to his choreographer about whether to show the crowd he’s enjoying it, she witheringly replied “I don’t think you need to overthink…smiling.” Simon said, “You should be a bit weird, Max.”

Max then performed a reggae version of ‘Someone Like You’ with a sunset backdrop featuring waves washing up against the shore. It all felt very Steph Nala. Lukewarm judges comments followed, with a distracting argument about doing reggae Adele. Caroline proved herself the new Dermot by saying, “It’s usually a song that makes us cry, but you had us dancing in the wings.” His own mentor Simon said, “I can’t escape you.” It was a textbook hatchet job.

That said, Cowell’s “can’t escape” comment was in the context of claiming to have been persuaded by public support to bring him back from the brink in both six-chair and judges’ houses; there was praise for his vocals; and it’s not impossible that Max’s performance ineptitude may have won him some degree of sympathy. He’ll need it.

Alien Uncovered were the first act to object to the song they had been given and give the ‘This Is Me’ theme some credence by being shown as making their own decision. They were also shown getting involved in a creative meeting, where they addressed concerns they would be seen as “hard-faced”. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is a “don’t think of an elephant” moment – as soon as the word “hard-faced” is used, that’s immediately how you see them.

Their staging reminded us of Tamera Foster’s week 1 effort ‘Ain’t Nobody’ with the safety fences placing them firmly in the urban niche and their name spelled out on punchbags. It was a big production, the spotlights wandered around a little too much, but most importantly there was plenty of vocal help in the backing track. Simon said, “that was so good” and reminded us they are British, which Cheryl reinforced by saying “British, which we’re very proud of”. Way to go Cheryl, your other two acts aren’t.

Kiera’s VT was a little bland, her staging even moreso, with its colour vomit rain backdrop amid a general sense of darkness. The arrangement started off in a funereal manner, before a distracting beat kicked in, and the laser lights started up. Her signature hair had been pulled back, not only taking away part of her visual identity but also making her look like that previous gamma girl, Jade Ellis.

Simon said: “I’m going to need you to do something better than that. You can’t compete with some of the bigger vocalists in the competition”. There was a possible get out with talk of a Fleur East-style performance breakout and a “you have to completely rethink who you are”, but you can’t have your vocals damned so comprehensively and expect to go far in this competition. The extent to which the Merseyside vote turns out for Kiera may make the difference for her tonight.

Anton’s VT carried on the theme of his career in the shadows as a backing singer, so it was appropriate that he was nicely in the spotlight for his simple staging. There was clearly an attempt to make a moment out of his performance. The judges suggested he’d be a hit in the phone vote with words like Rita’s “you’ve created this bond with the public”. The word “deserving” was used twice.

Che had a good VT focusing on his gratitude and strong vocals – there were parallels with Max’s VT in the worries about his performance ability, but we saw Che cheerfully saying he wanted to make sure people knew how much he was enjoying being on stage rather than overthinking it as Max did. Staging was also helpful, with his name in gold letters.

The judges were highly enthusiastic about his performance, with his mentor Nick amusingly getting props from Rita for the mashup idea which had actually been used for Jahmene Douglas in 2012. Cheryl called his vocals the best, and Simon also praised them before making a strange reference to his two dogs, Squiddly and Diddly, that reminded us of his similarly puzzling “Donuts” speech to Andrea Faustini last year.

Like many of the VTs trying to help an act this week, Mason was shown having input into the creative process. He was also working hard and being constructive to show us just what a nice guy he is despite his previous outburst, a fact hilariously reiterated by song title “Sorry” flashing up in various languages on the backdrop. We found the staging a bit alienating, with Mason looking isolated at times, but judges continued the theme of all is forgiven and Simon revelled in his display of magnanimity.

Reggie n Bollie’s VT focused on the transformation created by getting through to the lives, and their fun approach. The production was decent enough, with Chris Maloney’s giant technicolour hifi getting another outing, though the boys sounded a little out of their depth. But Simon made clear he wanted them around a bit longer: “Now I get it. I think you’re fun, you’re relevant. You’re really nice people. I think this competition needs you. I think the public are going to take you to their hearts.”

This was followed by Olly saying: “Is the best yet to come?” Caroline answered: “Find out when Louisa Johnson steps up on the stage.” Her VT suggested all her confidence issues had melted away, but didn’t showcase a great deal more personality than we’d seen so far – or, indeed, depth of musical knowledge.

Predictably enough, Louisa got the Ella Henderson week 1 Plan A staging, four-judge standing ovation and numerous star references among the judges. Will the pimping have the desired effect, or will some voters be turned off by both Nick and Simon making a point of referencing her desire to win the competition?

Bupsi’s VT suggested she wasn’t working hard enough, and the camerawork often failed to feature her at all. Reaction in the studio felt flat and the judges were pretty damning, repeatedly saying she hadn’t been “nasteh” enough – implicitly raising the question of what purpose she is serving in the competition. Her mentor Simon said: “You were nervous, slightly intimidated.”

There was precious little encouragement here that producers have any interest in keeping Bupsi around for long, so it was surprising that Bupsi’s elimination odds drifted. Admittedly she performed later in the show than her main apparent rivals for elimination, but this needs to be seen in the context of her being in a big-name sandwich between the pre-show first and second favourites.

Bupsi can feel a little aggrieved with her negative comments in that her vocals were impressive at times, far more so than Fourth Impact’s, who were up next – despite the panel trying to convince us that they sounded “fantastic”. Their drift in the outright market suggested otherwise, and in terms of the longer-term prospects in the show arguably the most significant moment of the evening for the Filipino quartet had already come with the bigging up of Alien’s Britishness.

Monica got the standard wildcard VT, saying she never expected to get a phone call from Rita – not even when an X Factor cameraman turned up to film you waiting for your phone to ring? Once we’d got this guff out of the way, Monica put up one of the best performances of the night, aided by a fantastic golden sun backdrop.

She got a four-judge standing ovation, then Cheryl and Nick both called her “a competitor” to shrug off that wildcard tag. It will be interesting to see if producers continue to help her, or if this proves to have been her moment in the sun.

Seann was given the pimp slot, and also seen making his own decisions about some aspects of his performance in his VT. However, he was warned not to go down the theatrical showtunes route for his rendition of ‘Life On Mars’, and – despite fantastic stairway staging – it felt like that’s exactly what he did. Indeed, immediately after the vocal coach asking Seann to be “soulful” rather than “theatrical”, we were shown Seann saying he was being taken out of his “comfort zone”.

Judges were enthusiastic, although only mentor Nick stood at the end – and Simon wheeled out that word “cabaret” again, which had been muttered by Nick to Mark Ronson after his judges’ houses performance. This was not the most promising of pimp slots for Seann’s chances of winning the competition, as reflected in his drift in the outright market on Betfair.

It hasn’t been confirmed yet whether we’ll have a single or a double elimination tomorrow – a single therefore needs to be assumed, though the 2010 singoff between Mary Byrne and Cher reminds us never to assume we know how results shows will unfold, and perhaps producers will see how the vote is looking before Sunday’s show.

Based on their treatment tonight, producers seem to be hoping to get at least one of Bupsi or Max into the bottom two. If they’re in there together, it would be hard to call with confidence – although Bupsi may be saved on the basis of being the least likely to bounce. Kiera looks also to be on the disposable list but the regional vote may keep her safe, while producers seemed keener to keep Reggie N Bollie around. It would be difficult to discount Mason or Alien Uncovered from singoff consideration, but hard to imagine either going unless they face each other.

How did you see tonight? Do let us know below.

141 comments to X Factor 2015 Week 1: No Stone Unturned

  • Tim B

    Bottom two and Bottom two combo markets are now available on Betfair exchange. I thought a single elimination *was* confirmed at the end of the show, unless I’m mistaken.

  • Jack

    Wow, don’t think I can disagree with a word there. It very much felt as though Max was being lined up for the chop, but if Kiera lands there I think she’s a gonner so to cut down that girls category.

    Thoughts:

    + I thought people overreacted to Lauren’s running spot order. She did get colour vomit but the high praise, decent vocals coupled with Nick highlighting her as a standout later and Simon saying he had to follow her suggests a testing of her support. I’d be shocked to see her in the B2.
    + Similarly, don’t think Louisa has this wrapped up just because of a decent vocal and high pimping. It had Ella Henderson written all over it and it was again a slowed down alteration to a well-known song. We all know what happened to her.
    + Seems like I got the novelty act wrong – RnB seem to be preferred and Bupsi would be fortunate to avoid the sing-off. I have some hope that the running order may save Bupsi though, but the judges saying the nastiness wasn’t there was a big negative.
    + Though they’ll both be safe this week, long term I’m worried for Fourth Impact and SSM in particular. FI’s vocals were sub-par and the direction the show seems to have for Seann is extremely worrying.
    + What’s the plan for Monica? Beta Girl or quietly dispatched in a few weeks? I think that may well be decided by how well she performs comparatively to Lauren tonight.
    + Finally I thought Che was terrific, potentially the best of the night. I wasn’t convinced producers wanted him to win and I’m still not but if he shines like that in future, he’s a contender.

    Overall I think Max is definite bottom two and likely to be joined by Bupsi but Kiera could yet slip in there. I think Kiera goes against either to cut down the girls; otherwise Bupsi is saved v Max.

    • AnnaC

      The praise for Lauren was very much about how she had now acheived her ambitions (and the VT showed that as well). This, coupled with the ‘being a mess – getting cleaned up’ VT and the staging is what made as though they were throwing her under the bus.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Agreed. It sounded as if singing a Whitney song was all she had ever aspired to and now her life was complete. They made her look and sound like someone doing a karaoke on a summer holiday, not like an aspiring professional recording artist.

  • I dont think I have ever seen a Nuking quite like the one Kiera got tonight… Please allow to copy a post I’ve just done to a friends facebook status Apologies to those who can clearly see the majority of stuff i highlight here, but this covers it and below is how I have presented it to general X Factor viewer, not the geniuses on here 😉

    Kiera Weathers, lovely girl, nice big hair one thing she can do is emotional performances, see her 6chr edit.. absolute brilliant performance and edit was outstanding.

    One of best vocalists in the competition a clear danger to Louisa, if given the same treatment

    However the stitch up they would prefer Louisa to win, so they have to “kill off” the dangers to her audience. Kiera being one of them.

    How have they done this? Well firstly they put Kiera on in early slot, not favourable as less viewers than towards the end and by time lines open some can forget her and acts most recent in the viewers minds gets the votes.

    So VT starts she is shown struggling to get emotion into her performances? What? Surely not the Kiera we saw at the auditions? But yeah, that Kiera is struggling to get emotion into the song – Loses votes from viewers who liked Kiera for her emotion

    We then see performance begin, her lovely hair is gone (tied back) and we then see Kiera dancing around a pole. I mean it doesnt bother me, but the majority of the audience sees a girl dancing around a pole, gives a bad image that they wont like frown emoticon I dare say the word stripper frown emoticon Keep in mind this is NOT my view of Kiera, I’m simply writing how i think the producers have presented her to the audience. I love Kiera and thought she was a huge contender to win.

    Look at how Kiera was dressed and compare it to Louisa, Louisa wearing a classy dress, not revealing much, Kiera was however made to wear something slightly more revealing. Girls dont like girls, girls see that as a threat – Loses votes.

    On top of that, her normally great vocal were drowned out by an uptempo beat. Its easier to connect with someone doing emotional, slow-tempo songs.

    And finally the biggest kick in teeth, the cleverest of all. They brought back Monica, who first lost a place to Kiera. Naturally people now compare Kiera to Monica. Monica VT had her saying how upset she was not to make the lives, showing Kiera being announced instead. The same Kiera who had been presented to us in a negative way earlier in the show. Then Monica comes out wows with an emotional slow song and then gets praise from the judges!

    If the viewer was undecided who to like Kiera or Monica, the subliminal messages presented to the viewer, should of pushed them in the direction of Monica – more votes lost.

    I’m probably missing out a few other things that have resulted in her being Stitched Up.

    I stress my view of Kiera is that if she auditioned any other year, she would of won and been presented how she really is, much better than the light shown to audience today! Its just shame that the producers have their favorite… and its Louisa.

  • Tim B

    I fancy Max to dodge the Bottom Two. Bupsi is an absolute cert – I don’t know if people realised, but she was the first of three acts in a segment (before an ad break), she is unvotable enough as it is, her performance was below average and her treatment was very poor. Kiera could well be in there. Wouldn’t be surprised at Alien Uncovered either – slot number 3 + a highly aggressive performance + slut drops should put them well in the danger zone. Mason Noise could also be down there, so I very much agree with a lot of this article. But I would expect him to be safe.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’d love to have something insightful to contribute but I got nothing.

  • Lia

    Hubby’s comment on Louisa: “she’s young, beautiful and has a great voice, so why the hell is she singing a dirge.”
    Spot on!

    • Tim B

      Yes, exactly. They John Lewis/Ella Henderson’d her, which was probably unnecessary. I would put good money on Anton topping the vote this week, if I could.

  • Curtis

    Well I think they made a good start with trying to get Louisa to the win. She performed well, showcased a different side to her vocals, but it felt like she was holding something back. There’ll be more to come from her, and that’s good, because there’s no sense peaking in week 1. The only thing I think was an error was the 4 judge standing ovation. They should have saved that for a break-out performance by her later down the line.

    I don’t think tonight’s performance was nearly as much of a negative for Fourth Impact as suggested here. I thought their vocals were generally strong – except for the many, many gaffes that I think will have completely slipped by the majority of their demo. It was visually fantastic, and there’s no better place to start than that. I feel very confident after tonight that they will be the top placing group.

    The other thing to note is that Che was very, very good. It’s clear when a guy is seriously enjoying his time on the stage, and that’s what we saw there, and of course every note was hit.

    Those are the potential winners for me, with Anton and Seann as possible finalists but not winners. As for elimination, I’m quite scared to bet because we don’t know whether it’s double or single. I think I might hope that we get a Max/Bupsi sing-off, and bet on Max to go.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I know I’ve made a big deal about FI’s clothes but they looked like 9 year old girls who live in a cartoon. It didn’t suit the dance moves or the vocal imo. The performance was slick but for me it grated with the look and felt a little weird.

      Just adding some colour, a red bow or belt or socks or something would have made a difference. As it was, I didn’t like it. It looked like they’d been dressed for an end of term show not a national tv thing.

  • PurpleK

    I had the misfortune to watch this show tonight (this was the first show of the year I’ve seen), and it could not be more obvious that Louisa is Plan A, with that big grandiose arrangement, the golden backdrop plus Sanna light cage.

    Btw, I really hated that arrangement of God Only Knows, it’s supposed to be a sweet dreamy pop song and they turned it into this belting Mariah-esque number, yuck. But not as much as Reggae Adele, which reduced me to a massive swearing fit after it started. Way to strip away any emotion and intimacy from the original, Syco!

  • Ouch! That was a textbook nuking of Keira.

  • Martin

    I actually thought 4th Impact did alright – they’re there for the kids (hence all white outfits, tutus, enormous bow’s – singing a Disney star song) whilst Alien are for the teenagers. Whether there are any of them watching, and more importantly voting, is a different matter. 4th Impact arguabley have more crossover appeal.

    My favourite low key moment of the night was Keira’s off hand comment – “all I seem to do is cry in this competition”. Alas, she’s singing a song called “Crying For No Reason”. Means little in the scheme of things but it still made me smile.

    Monica was giving me Ruth Lorenzo vibes tonight. It’s irritating me that we didn’t get a clue as to what they’re doing with her and Lauren – to me it seems obvious that if they want Monica to go far in the competition she will have to be dragged through sing offs, but she has a wealth of sob story to keep her in complimentary vt’s until next years series (which she’ll probably be brought back for) and she can sing very well. I just wish they’d have taken her earrings off her in the makeover. Lauren is a warm character who would be a feel good finalist, whereas Monica would be a harder sell IMO but I’m sure they’ll decide after they see voting numbers.

  • Henry VIII

    Can’t say I disagree with anything Daniel says. It’s a very weird program when you think about it – people like Kiera fight through the audition process, impress along the way with lots of praise, become one of 13 finalists out of 10s of 1000s, only to be told they’re rubbish in the first live show.

    Monica and Lauren seemed very strong to me which is interesting because, although they’re all reasonably different from each other, they’re the closest competition to Louisa. I don’t think TPTB would mind someone like Anton winning because, uncommercial as he is, he’s a feel good winner but also doesn’t effect Louisa at all if he beats her. Che was picked for the Lives imo because they don’t want another Boy winning and he’s not very likable and won’t be a dislodgeable heart-throb that either Josh, Simon or Ben could have become.

  • The maestro

    The treatment on Kiera last night was nothing short off a disgrace I agree with everything jscouser has highlighted and they wonder why they have lost millions ov viewers over the years plan A Louisa not win because she hasn’t got the like ability factor bupsi and max are certain for bottom 2 tonight but after last night I’m not arsed what happens anymore probably the same as a lot ov viewers

    • eurovicious

      Bingo… every year I blow my top because of a relatable, talented young contestant from northwest England being unfairly character-assassinated by the programme – last year Paul, the year before Abi, Chris in 2012, Misha in 2011 and now Kiera this year. Not to mention what they tried to do to Cory Spedding. They literally pick a contestant from the northwest to destroy without good reason every year.

  • stoney

    Louisa leading the i tunes sales. A nice start to the series for plan A

    • Donald

      Probably has a similar value to Fleur on iTunes last year with UpTown Funk when it came to actual votes. Was so polarized and clear that iTunes means absolutely nothing in actual facts re votes.

      They tried to get a 17 year old to appeal to older audience with an old song choice, they are clutching at straws already. Standing ovation was total overkill, I know you on but be careful. Long way to go, don’t let heart rule head just yet 🙂

  • Watched live last night for the first (and probably last) time in years. What a joyless slog. Still, fwiw, my thoughts.

    Lauren – *very* negative VT. Bad hair, bad fake tan, bad clothes. Limiting her ambition to singing Whitney. The mainly pink staging didn’t help, but then great comments. Seems TPTB are protecting Louisa heavily. If Lauren polls well after that, she could be a threat.

    Max – week one and out, surely? Very negative VT, the song arrangement was horrible, and I saw the backdrop as Max burning.

    Alien Uncovered – first after the Strictly overlap. It all seemed very AU to me; the VT, changing song, the staging. Might be too edgy for the average XF viewer, but good on them for being true to themselves.

    Kiera – nuked. And not great. About the Fleur comparisons (not helpful, Kiera will always be second best), Fleur’s hair always looked fabulous. IIRC, Kiera’s hair was beautiful, but gradually got rougher as the weeks have gone one, until it’s ditched in favour of a really unflattering look.

    Anton – given a moment, but plenty of future take-down ammo for later weeks.

    Che – all very positive, but I found the vocal acrobatics off-putting. I still don’t see him as desired winner.

    Mason – enough with the Sorry already. I get they needed to bring him back into the fold, but he’s been emasculated.

    Reggie n Bollie – seemed to be set up for a good few weeks’ run.

    Louisa – polished, proficient, praised to high heaven, but I was bored. Could be this year’s Ella, if they’re not careful.

    Bupsi – the VT was so negative. Song choice not great. I enjoyed it in parts, but there was no spark. Must be in trouble.

    Fourth Impact – I don’t care how much producer love they get, if this is the best they can do, they’ll be out soon.

    Monica – really positive overall (and another blow to Kiera), but This Is Me? Unlikely.

    Sean – it looked like a pimping and it sounded like a pimping, but for me it was all a bit underwhelming. I think, as with Anton, they’re lining up take-down strategies.

    Assuming one elimination, I’d say Kiera last to be called safe (after a commercial break) Max and Bupsi bottom two, Max out. If there’s going to be a shock in b2, I’d say FI are most at risk.

  • Piresistable

    I reckon Max might be safe tonight. The other male soloists are quite different to him and I think he’ll go down well with the X Factor voter.

  • stoney

    Decided to jump on bupsi definate value with the 5/2 on offer. Much more appetising than the earlier prices

  • eurovicious

    Max to go. No-one likes reggae Adele.

  • Linda

    Watching back now, that was a terrible first live show. TPTB seem to be out to trash everyone except Louisa. Horrible MIDI-tinged arrangements (despite string section), Ibiza-chillout visuals, on Halloween? Agree with another poster that treatment of Seann was very strange. He looked and sounded ridiculous, a parody of who is actually is. I felt offended on his behalf. He seemed to realise this and just threw caution to the wind. They have it in for him now and I’m not sure why. The arrangement of the Katy B song was atrocious, Kiera did a great job despite the comments. The arrangement of Louisa’s song had Christmas bells and whistles in there, telling us she’s Syco’s Christmas gift to the public. Bupsi to go tonight.

    • R

      I agree that they seemed to have it in for most of the contestants.
      My theory is generally that if you have the Matt Cardle/Ben Whonow type in the contest, they will be easy to push to the win, so the nuking of other contestants doesn’t need to be as blatant.
      When they are trying to push a female to win, it’s a harder task to win over the voters, so they need to nuke all the other contestants more blatantly & for longer. Eg as with the years Little Mix & Sam Bailey won.

      If Louisa (or Monica) is the favoured winner, we will have a series where all the other contestants are picked off. We’ll also probably have a Cowell headline about how disappointed he is with the contestants this year (again).

  • Phil

    Facebook likes for XF posts following their performances suggest Keira and Bupsi have the least support, closely followed by Alien Uncovered and Max. Reggie & Bollie surprisingly high, Che on the low side. Fourth Impact topping the likes.

  • Alan

    Yes Im on Bupsi too. As much as they might want to save her in a sing-off I cant see how they can credibly get the judges to save her over anyone else.

    • Martinmillsdj

      Ah it’s be easy, Simon has already owned up to buggering her song up and there would be some credibility as she got generally positive comments about her vocal. It would depend who she was against, but I think she’d be saved against Max or Keira.

      Oh I’ve messed my name up, how annoying.

    • stoney

      Depends how she polls in the voting. If shes second bottom then she might escape on deadlock. Simon messing her song up is irrelevant to the situation as he’s her mentor anyway so would choose to save her unless up against max in which he’s likely to abstain

      • Martin

        I just mean it would give a bit more credibility if they did get have to save her on a majority vote, she deserves a second chance etc. because she wasn’t given a fair shot. I think she’ll be saved, I’m on Max to go.

  • Alex

    I’m torn as to whether I back Keira for the elimination or not. I think she’ll go if she winds up in the bottom two, but I’m worried that she’ll just survive it ahead of Max and Bupsi.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I also hated the way they consistently mocked Lauren’s accent. Oh how cute. An estuary person has wandered on to our show. Let us mock it.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One thought, given short run and the number of double elims they are probably making sure enough contestants are deramped in preparation for discard (to protect the favoured) over the next few weeks.

  • Saw last night’s show, here’s what I thought, bearing in mind I haven’t really been watching this series up until now.

    Lauren – I can’t see how all that stuff said about her personal choice of styling (“looks a mess”, “much needed makeover”) will have done her much good. The giant glittery scissors and comb pink hairdressers staging got in the way too.

    Max – Thought he was the worst of the night, but to be fair a cod-reggae version of Adele is a bad idea all round. His main problem is he’s quite dull. I think they’ll vote him off against almost anyone.

    Alien Uncovered – I think that’s about as good as a “an act wants to change the song choice” bit can be. They said they didn’t dislike the song, but wanted one that was more “them”. So the message is they’re not difficult to work with, but know their own identity, which was the theme this week.

    Kiera – A lot’s already been said, but I don’t think the song choice suited her at all. She seems quite nice and cheery, ‘Crying For No Reason’ is a tearful song, and Katy B has always had a kind of rawness to her.

    Anton – Felt very dated. I find him endearing though.

    Che – I really liked it, in fact it was probably my favourite performance.

    Mason Noise – I don’t think it bodes well that it was all based around “public redempion”. It suggests more they have no further use for him than they’re now taking him seriously.

    Reggie n’Bollie – I enjoyed this performance, and I thought that just because they’re a fun act doesn’t mean they have to be a novelty/joke act. I think Nick Grimshaw said something along those lines too?

    Louisa – Sounded like it was a cover of that BBC Music/Children In Need cover from last year. She was quite good I guess, but favourable treatment was obvious.

    Bupsi – She has a big personality, and it was all glossed over and blanded out by the song choice. Like Mason, it did have a bit of a “served their purpose” feel to ii.

    4th Impact – I quite liked it, but like a lot of X Factor groups there seems to be uncertainty to which direction to go in.

    Monica – She has a great voice.

    Sean Miley Moore – He’s talented, I think he’ll do well, though how well is another matter.

  • stoney

    Oh dear 5.4 million average viewers for last nights show. Can’t remember it ever being this low. Could the live judges house show turn out be the nail in the coffin?

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’m wondering whether I’ll bother again. Having got quite excited about it despite the rubbish of JH, I was expecting better. I hoped that they would all be given a chance to play to their strengths. How stupid am I?

      Mind you, as I said on another thread I made a stupid mistake when I allowed myself to become a Lauren fan. That sort of thing can only lead to disappointment.

      • Phil

        I was quite excited at the prospect of them changing things up this year, but it seems they either got cold feet on the planned changes (the scoring, the guest judges, losing the big voice man etc) or they were never going to happen anyway.

        For the last few years, the show has felt automated – Dermot says this, this music plays, these fireworks appear, the judges walk on through the big door, Dermot says something else, etc etc. Every single week the same. They need to be brave and do things differently.

        (I am fully aware about the lack of Dermot btw!)

        • stoney

          The problem is this. Every single change they have made this series has been an absolute disaster. Olly and Caroline bought in for Demot huge fail. Grimmy in for louis huge fail. Live judges houses gigantic fail. Even the 6 year challenge which although not new this year is still a likely turn off for viewers. The list can go on. I fully understand why they have bottled it on further changes. They should have seen sense sooner.

          • Alan

            Lets face it the format has had it’s day. They said they were going to shake it up but they’ve only made cosmetic changes really. Pop Idol, Pop Stars – The Rivals, American Idol, The Voice, X Factor. Over a decade now of essentially the same thing, re-cycled and done to death.

            They need to make drastic changes to have any chance of saving it but as you’ve eluded to anything they try meets with negativity so they’re caught between a rock and a had place. It’s a wonder BGT still does well in the ratings as that’s essentially the same old rubbish re-cycled over and over too.

  • The maestro

    5.4 million lmfao like I said earlier the public have woken up and smelt the coffee

  • As a show I quite enjoyed it, that said I’ve only kept watching the last few years to watch the manipulations and machinations, so on that level at least it delivered.

    Now that the pre-live predictions are closed, a couple of interesting observations have emerged…

    As far as the groups predictions are concerned, there is little to separate Louisa, Che, Seann, 4th Impact, Anton and Lauren as the alpha group.
    Alien, Monica, Mason, Kiera and even Max form a smaller beta group, and Reggie and Bollie, and Bupsie are regarded pure cannon fodder.
    The groupings are much clearer than our predictions from last year, however a similar shape emerged in 2013 – that said Luke Friend did manage to completely confound us that series, and as did Fleur last year, both of whom did better than the error bars of our predictions.
    I guess the million dollar question is who is this year’s Fleur or Luke, if anyone? i.e. who to back for a surprise top 3 place at suitably long odds?

    On a slightly different note, last year our crowdsourced prediction beat every one of us, with the actual winner being Donald. If the finishing order is by some fluke identical to our collective insight, then this year’s winner will be Dean F, however Donald would be in second last place, so an upset is in order one way or another!

    Until we get the first eviction tonight, I’ll leave the sheet with the hypothetical results in, but once we have the first real data I’ll switch to that.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19hatUczTYPQekSDMAy92jiCQ7j29m-FCLXTb1s8TbP8/edit?usp=sharing

    • Lia

      My predictions suck, even on a hypothetical level… Hahahaha

    • Donald

      Hi Mech,

      show seriously delivered on the manipulations and machinations,

      you do great fab job, be interesting to see what pans out. “God Only Knows” 🙂

    • Snowfall

      I love that you do this! It’s so interesting to see how it all works out.

      Mind you, I’ve already changed my mind about several of my predictions after last night, but I’m sure I’m not the only one!

  • Alex

    The ironic thing is the one idea that probably would have boosted ratings and created some interest (guest judges) have been apparently canned.

    To be honest the show is just dated. The general public are slowly starting to wise on to how manipulated the show is, not enough talent apply for the show anymore due to it’s negative reputation and the young audience that the show have lived upon for years have grown up and moved on a couple of seasons ago. That period where Simon left to do US X Factor started the decline and he’s not been able to arrest it since he returned.

  • Henry VIII

    Alex gives the right reasons for the decline imo. Nothing to do with the minor changes they’ve brought in, which I actually like – especially sacking Dermot.

    Over the years people have simply got bored of the manipulations and lack of talent. There is talent that can be nurtured but Cowell decides either to undermine it or not include it in the first place so as not to compete with his TCO.

    Betting on it is fun though. That’s the point.

  • Donald

    The treatment of Lauren and Kiera last night was really terrible and I must admit that while I tolerate most of their manipulation games what they did to Kiera is really an all time low with Lauren treatment not far behind. and Sean was seriusly wripped to shreds as well. maybe it is because they got seven weeks not twelve to cull the “not wanted in final”.

    I won’t go into detail but hopefully Daniel or Andrew might revisit during the weekly review and will add some thoughts then.

    A top US PR once said to me “he destroys lives” I’ll leave it at that except to say how dare they bully young fab singers to that level. i hope they read this and all.

    No wonder viewers down. New producers on show etc. The “bloated” run up as Jessica so well described has really done damage.

    One thing on viewers figures though, it was the first night back to normal slot after serious Rugby disruption. Viewer habits have changed past few weeks with rugby.

    Not sure who going home, Sean could be in danger of bottom two.. small stakes night.

    My take away giggle from last night Cheryl FV to 4th Impact You must learn to stop thanking us to which they gave the beautiful reply “Thank You”

    in a sing off Simon has left door open to save Bupsi with comments if he needs to.

    “God Only Knows” what they’ll do tonight !

    Deadlock??

    Great fun and games and we all trying to gamble this stuff..

    I love upsets.. 🙂

    • Henry VIII

      How were Lauren and Sean treated badly? They seemed to give them a lot of say in their productions and gave them both great praise.

      They didn’t give them the star productions they gave Louisa and Monica but that’s a long way from treating them badly.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I thought their treatment was intended to limit their support and prepare them for ejection. Lauren got an end of journey narrative and Seann was depicted as a cabart / musical artist.

        Overall, despite positive comments about their singing, I thought they were both deramped.

        • Jack

          Just a general comment about people who saw Lauren’s treatment as extremely negative. I 100% agree that colour vomit wasn’t good and there was an end of journey comment by Cheryl, but overall I don’t see how it was negative. Fantastic performance, journey from everywoman to star continued in the VT and Cheryl aside comments could hardly have been better. It wasn’t a full on Louisa pimping but it certainly wasn’t an assassination or horrible treatment by any means. Genuinely would be staggered if she was in the B2.

          • Jessica Hamby

            End of journey comments from her own mentor too. She shouldn’t b2 this week but personally I think she was pigeonholed and the song was dated (even though earlier in the week I was singing it’s praises). The overall impression I was left with was that she was a bit of low-rent, cheap and cheerful, fun but disposeable fluff.

            There’s a place for that but I think there’s a lot more to her than that. Most of all, that is not the image.of a winner or even a finalist.

          • Alan

            She was the ONLY person to sing while Strictly was on and the VT basically accused her of looking like a sack of shit. Hardly positive treatment.

        • Fudd

          I thought Lauren’s treatment was more of a holding pattern – plenty of verbal praise whilst holding her back via other means (performing in the Strictly clash, giving her an end of the journey feel which can be turned around, colour vomit) which means that they can do an about face if required.

          Keira’s treatment was more of an attempt to get her in the bottom two but they’ve got a few players for that role – they really shouldn’t get a bottom two they would rather not have after last night’s effort.

  • Fudd

    Was the so-called ‘nuking’ of Lauren really that bad, especially compared to previous years. It was nothing on the Maloney takedown of 2012 which was completely relentless and felt very uncomfortable. The whole edit for Bupsi, Max and Keira were far worse and, even then, not unbearable to watch unlike the aforementioned Maloney.

      • Fudd

        It really wasn’t. Yes, I can accept people saying it was a de-ramp of sorts – because I agree to that extent – but not a complete nuking. A nuking would suggest they were trying to get her in the bottom two and there were clearer targets – Bupsi, Max, Kiera… I would wager even Mason who already started on the back foot and was hardly helped with being isolated on stage, a bland song reminding everyone of the Six Chair Challenge and with the song title in red at the back.

  • Alex

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the big suits at ITV are taking the option of stealing The Voice franchise from BBC a whole lot more seriously after last night’s ratings.

    Anyway, regarding tonight, a bottom two market has been opened. I’m still leaning towards Keira for the elimination but realistically it could be anyone of her, Max or Bupsi. A small stakes night for sure.

  • Kenneth Chow

    Just imagine if both Kiera and Bupsi avoid the bottom 2 or if Bupsi is in the bottom 2 with anyone but Kiera and they save her for the giggles…THE HORROR! !!

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think they might save Bupsi over Max.

  • 360

    One slight thing I have to add here. I didn’t see the show last night, so I watched some of it on my phone this morning. On the youtube mobile website or the app, I can’t remember which I used, all of the acts came up in order except Buspi, Mason, and Anton. They didn’t appear in the ‘suggested other videos’ section and I had to search for them separately.

    Now, I don’t know if that’s just coincidence or something to do with running order or if it could be a way they’re trying to limit view-again exposure, but it’s just something I found interesting.

    In other news, I actually thought Kiera did alright. To be fair I didn’t see judges’ comments. It is at least a known song, and one benefit could be that because of Kiera’s low exposure so far, people starting watching at the lives wouldn’t know that her appearance used to be different and that she’s had a change.

    I actually had alarm bells about Louisa. It was VERY John Lewis, which I think someone else said. We love John Lewis songs, but as backing music to a very specific context, not to watch onstage. She’ll be through fine, but will she be able to expand her USP and gain fans? I’m confident she’ll be an Ella rather than an Alexandra. The judges comments were overkill and a) suggested that she needs support at this stage to try and lead from the front, but also b) raised the point that if they’re showing such blatant support now, what more can they do for her later in the competition?

    I thought Lauren performed well but thought her frock was not a great look. If it had just been a jumpsuit it would have looked so much better.

    Max tried hard. I really enjoyed Reggie and Bollie. Alien were a hard sell. Fourth Impact had some vocal wobbles – we might see them struggle with pronunciaton later on too – but otherwise, very impressed, they easily have Ariana Grande’s range and power. More of the same should see them strong.

    Che impressed me. A great voice, and I’m still expecting him to win, but not as the chosen one, as the switch to Plan C James Arthur act after Ell-Louisa crashes out. Seann was bizarre and tried hard to escape a Kitty-Waisselling-Storm Lee style update.

    All in all they’ve made some strange choices this year. After a few years of weak contestants and trying hard to cast characters, seemingly because without personality, as characters they would at least be reconizable, they seem to be doing the same with their strong contestants who actually have enough personality and style to exist on their own merits. I fully expect more pigeonholing and a series where they attempt to nobble everyone early on. Its a strange series, but I’m expecting a hybrid of Janet Devlin/James Arthur’s years, complete with attempts to turn these people into expies of people we’ve seen before.

    Perhaps in the hopes that with so few viewers they won’t notice. 5 million is really laughable – at least for the series it presents itself to be. I can almost see it getting canned this year because it doesn’t make its money back, considering production costs and cost of paying their guest performers every week.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Simon’s comments to Keira were very damaging. Essentially he said that she was not a good enough singer. She was followed by Anton.

      I think tptb will have an easy night of it unless b2 is Mason and Alien, in which case I think Mason will go.

  • Ferret

    huge drift in the odds on Bfair for Max — insiders playing i feel – Bupsi and Kiera bottom two then?

  • Fudd

    Double elimination confirmed.

    I guess that suggests that the targets are safely at the bottom.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Seems very sneaky to do that without warning us in advance. When people have 5 free votes, knowing in advance could change the way they use them.

      • Fudd

        I have no idea what production are playing at this year. They’re making it up as they go along and it’s showing.

        To think back at how the semi-final sing off was so smoothly introduced in 2010 at the last moment to this…

    • Piresistable

      They must be happy with whoever is bottom of the vote.

  • Ferret

    B’stards – DOUBLE at last minute

    so its all about who finished bottom of the public vote then (for 1st elim) – judges potential saves does not come into it.

    that kills Bupsi probably (I think she would have been saved in a single)

  • Alex

    Glad I left things alone for the time being. Guessing someone they want gone is perched third last in the votes, probably Keira or Max.

  • Fudd

    Of course they could twist the Double Elimination and have the judges choose to save one from three. Anything goes this year, seemingly.

  • Bar stewards.

    Odds suggest Bupsi is a goner automatically. What happens to the Bottom Two market on exchange?

    • Ferret

      typically it will be the one they announce first — i.e. the bottom (with the other two going into a sing off) … but if they have a three way sing off then i guess dead heat rules apply

    • Technically we could still find out the “Bottom two” if the sing off is decided by deadlock, but I’m not sure if they’ll void it.

    • Ferret

      sorry James – didnt see you referenced the bottom TWO market – i am not sure at all tbh, possibly betfair are not either as they have suspended betting early

  • stoney

    Sweet looks like bupsi is toast at the bottom of the vote then 🙂

  • mb79493

    Bupsi gone, Mason saved over Keira, methinks.

  • Fudd

    Ben said Lauren when asked about the winner.
    Little Mix said Louisa whilst they loved Anton.

    Though it might be too early to start reading into this. 😀

  • Alan

    Little Mix name-checking Louisa. Does anyone else think Ben maybe was meant to say Louisa rather than Lauren last night? He didn’t seem too sure did he and originally tried to avoid answering.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I’m going to have to watch the group song again, but on first viewing, it seemed like another pimping for Louisa. Anton seemed very poor.

    Little Mix also name checking Louisa…. although they did also say they really lovebAnton (didn’t many guests say they loved Andrea last year – in an “Aaww. He’s adorable” kind of way?)

  • Ferret

    am wondering if Mason has come second OR third bottom – he has shrunk in the odds to go – not massively (as he almost certainly has not finished bottom) but enough to suggest he is struggling for votes — could he be the target…or the save!. I definitely agree that the target has finished third bottom – would be amazed if deadlock applies for 2nd elimination tonight (unless second and third last flip flop during show)

  • SO…2 have to go. That was cleverly snook in. Ladbrokes won’t let me deposit or bet again on Max. Hmmmm?

  • Fudd

    Caroline said the public would decide the first to go so I think it’s the usual process of bottom eliminated then the sing off.

  • Fudd

    Save Order:
    Che
    Reggie & Bollie
    Louisa
    Seann
    Max
    Lauren
    Anton
    Mason
    4th Impact
    Monica

    Bottom three: Alien Uncovered, Bupsi and Kiera

    Eliminated: Bupsi

    Alien Uncovered to be saved over Kiera then?

  • Easy money. Keira a dead girl walking now surely?

  • Jack

    Betfair taking forever to get a market up

  • Linda

    They’ll save Alien over Kiera.

  • Betfred have a market up but no liquidity on Kiera.

  • Chatterbox5200

    No market available for the sing off!

  • Fudd

    Gold background for Alien… Blue for Keira…

  • mb79493

    If Kiera goes my original prediction holds true. PULL THROUGH.

  • Fudd

    OK… maybe it’s just as well a market wasn’t open on the Sing Off!

  • 360

    I suppose their thought is, if no-one’s watching and voting is free, who’s going to kick up a fuss if we change the rules on them?

    Sinking ship.

  • Snowfall

    Didn’t expect that!

    Cowell could at least have got Alien Uncovered’s name right…

    Seemed a real shame AU ended up in the bottom three, I thought they were really good last night.

  • Alex

    God thank god I didn’t touch that shambles. Hope you all had profitable nights. I wonder if that result perhaps extends Reggie and Bollie’s stay in the competition for a couple more weeks?

  • Shit the bed! They were 4/1 on Fred!

  • stoney

    Changes there name and can’t even get it right haha good old cowell. Well i think a few people breathing a huge sigh of relief there was no sign off market then.
    Also when the hell has the sing off EVER mattered. Unbelievable stuff all round from cowell in that speech

  • Curtis

    I hope no one has lost a lot of money on that. I’m honestly not that surprised, I think the show have shown little love for Alien. Do It Like A Dude was hardly an appropriate song for an act they cared about. I wasn’t brave enough to bet on Alien to go though, even at the great odds available!

  • Jessica Hamby

    Alien Nation? I think he’s been watching too many movies.

    Thank God there was no market up. Saved y’all some money.

    Oh well. There goes my each way. Y’all told me and I didn’t listen!!!!

    Interesting too that Simon gave his decision and added “but I’m not happy about it”. It’s like he can’t resist throwing a slap Keira’s way even though she was clearly the better singer.

  • Linda

    Shocked at Alien going and they’ll be a loss to the show. I thought they were highly professional, particularly at JH.

  • 360

    mm, I’m feeling vindicated given that I had first two out to be the gamma group and the joke act. Just not quite who I thought they would be!

    Maybe we should have all done our predictions by each act’s ‘role’ rather than their name!

  • annie

    in my pre-live shows prediction I said first eliminated will be alien. almost got it right.
    still I am very much surprised after last evenings shanenigans…

  • I didn’t see it coming, and neither did anyone else looking at the markets where bookies did get them up. Although AI’s singoff was utterly dire, it just seems very odd that they saved somebody who was thrown so far under the bus last night. They obviously feel that they can suppress a bounce.

    They won’t be happy with Max avoiding the singoff. Major deramp for him next week. Bupsi’s elimination was no surprise whatsoever.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think saving Alien would have thrown the last shreds and tatters of the shows credibility to the wind. She was so much better in the sing-off that his comments for Keira yesterday make him look like a fool.

  • Jessica Hamby

    *tuts*

    *shakes head*

    No one likes a smart arse you know.

  • Called the Bottom Three correctly but I did NOT see them saving Kiera over “Alien Nation”. Are we going to have a series where the sing off results are fairer?

    • stoney

      I very much doubt it. I just don’t think they cared for alien nation enough. So little he forgot the name he gave them. I fully expect someone to save someone in a sing off based on ‘potential’ before the series ends

  • Ben Cook

    Simon was clearly meant to send Kiera home but realised after that dreadful performance by Alien Whatever he couldn’t justify saving them.

    • stoney

      Thats never stopped him before. Cher llyod. Katie waissel, endless times. The likely story is alien were polling below keira so it was pointless sending it to deadlock and therefore they decided to judge it on a sing off for once

  • Jessica Hamby

    I liked Alien but at the same time I’m glad that the nationality tactic backfired. It stank.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Anyone else watching the girls and boys on xtra factor. Louisa seems restless to the point of irritation when the attention is not on her.

  • Rose

    I actually thought that Nick possibly stepped out of line tonight in voting for Kiera after the sing-off. I think that maybe he was supposed to vote for Alien Uncovered because Cowell actually looked quite flustered immediately after hearing Grimshaw’s vote. At that point, I then assumed Cowell would send it to deadlock but presumably Alien Uncovered were second last in the vote and unsaveable by sending it to deadlock. Alien Uncovered are a hard sell to the X Factor voters in general but they are actually so much better than most X Factor bands are at this stage of the competition and I thought they would stick around for a while. I didn’t see this result as one the producers wanted – at least not losing Alien Uncovered.

    • Pete

      I must admit that thought crossed my mind too, about Nick. Not exactly a great start to his career as a judge if he’s gone that badly off script on the first results show.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Funny as well to see Simon asked what he would like to say to Bupsi. “Anton just headbutted me”.

    Reminds me of JH when he was asked what he would like to say to the eliminated acts and he said ” I’m really knackered”.

    I wonder if perhaps he’s one of those people that, you know, lacks empathy.

  • Rose

    Is it possible that Nick only came on board if he was given the freedom was to vote with his heart rather than towing the producer’s line? Sounds a bit unlikely but maybe they really are trying to get the show to look less manipulated and more authentic. Or else they weren’t too bothered losing Alien Whatever Their Name Is seeing how unpopular they were with the voters after a really good performance on the show. I mean, you can’t make people like them. And it would have been horrendous to see the producers trying to dial down who they are as performers if they had stayed in.

  • stoney

    Louisa is now a best priced 11/8 for the win. I can’t remember anyone being so short at this stage of the competition. Must admit although I’m rooting for her i wouldn’t touch that price with a barge pole

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