X Factor 2015 Week 1 Review: Louisa John(Lewis)son

Louisa looked stunning on Saturday night, with staging to match. The golden cosmic backdrop was textbook. We were particularly impressed with a panning overhead shot, with Louisa the star, light emanating from her. Way to go on the contrast principle too, putting her in between Reggie n Bollie and Bupsi.

Louisa-John(Lewis)son-star

But there’s still a sense of them not really knowing what to do with her in the VTs. Let’s remind ourselves that nerves have been portrayed as a problem throughout the audition stages, especially at her first arena tryout. Rita put that to bed in last Saturday’s VT by admitting, “I feel like you’re kinda more like confident than I thought you were going to be.”

Louisa explains she’s confident because of the song she has been given: “it’s me”. More on that in a second, because Rita is still busy mangling her sentences during their slightly confusing conversation on the sofa: “Though you are the baby, I think your soul is the baby of the show.” Louisa replies, “I mean, I’ve always felt like I was older.” So, in short: Louisa has nerves, but is confident; Louisa is only 17 and the baby, but is a wise head. Sorted.

Louisa-John(Lewis)son-louisa-rita

We can also add: Louisa doesn’t know the song; the song is her. The VT tries to suggest it shows her professionalism to manage to learn the shortened version of a pretty simple number, an achievement later referenced by her mentor in comments (“I love that you learnt the song”). Plus doing something different with the arrangement; John Lewis-ing it, it turns out, which gave us flashbacks to Ella Henderson, a similarly short-priced favourite. Oh, and the VT then gives us some vocal rest drama to finish things off.

Overall, it felt like producers threw lots of storylines at Louisa’s VT in the hope that one of them would stick. In the process nothing did, partly because they contradicted themselves on more than one occasion. Then, in comments after the song, Simon tried a new tack with “you are competitive… you want to win”, something repeated by Grimmy. Are they sure this is going to endear her to the voting public?

Admittedly, normal viewers are not analysing it in this kind of detail. But we’ve been wondering how we’ll be persuaded to relate to Louisa, who as a 17 year old lacks the life experience to sell the lyrics of a song like ‘God Only Knows’ no matter how well she’s able to sing it, and week 1 didn’t make the picture any clearer.

Bupsi on Benefits Street

The moment that did for Bupsi came from her vocal coach early in her VT. “Seriously, you’ve got to show up to these sessions prepared”, Annabel says, after Bupsi has struggled with a note. What comes next is the crucial bit: “You thought you were on holiday, didn’t you? You got your pool, you got your gym, you got your big house.”

This ever so conveniently fits in with the earlier montage of Bupsi marvelling at the gym, the pool, and big house in separate shots. We don’t even see Annabel delivering this cutting tirade, which seems strangely detailed for a Monday afternoon rehearsal when the contestants only moved in that morning. Are we cynical enough to wonder if the audio might have been edited in later?

Whether it has or not, the implication is that Bupsi is living the Life of Riley. “I’ve not been here more than five minutes, I think I’m getting used to this. Just don’t tell my Mum.” An innocent remark from Bupsi, but in this context, she’s portrayed akin to an undeserving Lottery winner, or even worse, the kind of freeloader you see on those Channel 5 benefits documentaries.

Bupsi is shown being “disappointed in herself” after Annabel’s criticism, and her “rough start” is also referenced by Simon later in the VT. By the time Bupsi gets to the stage with her little-known song, she might as well cry out, “Et Tu Annabel?”

Diddly what?

Cowell to Louisa: “A star is born”; Cowell to Ché: “Like a talking dog.” That’s quite the contrast in reactions to arguably the two standout vocal performances of the night. So what was Simon on about?

It reminded us of his infamous line to Andrea last year, “like eating six donuts”. On one level, we assume the intention is simply to puncture a high, to change the conversation from “wasn’t that great” to “what’s Simon smoking?” But we suspected last year that there was more to the donuts comment, playing to a running theme of associating Andrea with a sickly excess of food. So we feel like we should at least consider whether there could have been planned hidden layers in this latest episode of apparently off-the-cuff WTFery.

Here’s what Simon said: “The funny thing about you is, I’ve got two Yorkshire terriers called Squiddly and Diddly, and it was kind of like imagining them talking to me one day, that was the reaction I got when you just did that, I just didn’t expect it from you, because you don’t look like you sound”. Turning to the panel, he explains “my dogs talking to me would be surprising, that was surprising”.

Louisa-John(Lewis)son-diddly

Answers on a postcard, please, as to what murky subliminals might be at play here. Most obviously: Ché is a dog? (Chester-man… Chester is among the top 100 dogs names, according to Rover.com, just between Prince and Brutus). That could work either way in viewers’ subconscious. Some will associate dogs with concepts like low-status, slobbery, messy, lazy and annoyingly loud – and on that last point, we know from social media that Ché’s snoring is a running joke with the other boys; could this become the theme? For many others, however, the connotations will be things like loveable, loyal, eager-to-please, man’s best friend.

What else might it be? Talking dogs are against the natural order… and so is the idea of Ché beating Louisa? If your dog talks to you, you assume you must have imagined it and it wasn’t really real… so if you were impressed by Ché’s vocal, please doubt yourself now?

Before we disappear down the rabbit hole, we hasten to add that in general Ché’s treatment struck us as thoroughly positive. His VT portrayed him as humble, grateful, cheerful and likeable. The staging was great – his name up in gold, and a brighter spotlight on him than the backing singers. You could debate the “can’t dance” meme, but if anything it simply reminds viewers how good his vocals are.

Louisa-John(Lewis)son-che

It’s also worth rewatching Ché’s and Max’s VTs side-by-side to see how very differently they came across: where Max is shown exasperating the choreographers and earnestly wondering “do you think I should show them on my face that I’m enjoying it?”, Ché is shown being eager to learn from the choreographers and simply says “I want people to know I’m having fun”.

In context, then, Squiddly and Diddly were either planting a seed that may or may not be tended in future, or simply didn’t mean anything at all. But it’s fun to try on the tinfoil hats for size every now and then.

Takedown or setup for Anton?

Last week’s Popbitch contained a cryptic snippet about the X Factor producers having the “ammo” to “bring down” Anton Stephans if the immensely likeable backing singer proved popular enough in the phone vote to threaten the chosen one.

Was some of that ammo fired in Monday’s edition of The Sun? The paper is thought of as having a close relationship with the show and has previously reported claims such as Wagner’s alleged drug-taking and Johnny Robinson’s alleged benefits cheating when those acts were flying too close to, er, the sun.

Headlined “Anton isn’t adopted… he’s talking rubbish. EXCLUSIVE: Dad’s fury at fake sob story by X Factor fantasist”, Monday’s story paints Anton as a Walter Mitty figure, quoting “a source close to” his dad as denying Anton’s backstory that he was placed in foster care as a child.

Louisa-John(Lewis)son-anton

Who knows what the truth is, but if there’s anything at all in the claims of factitious behaviour then it suggests Anton has deep-rooted issues that make us hope he’s getting the support he needs behind the scenes. And whatever those issues might be, it seems possible they’d actually increase public sympathy if they become known. But that’s without knowing what else is in the ammo store.

We should also consider the possibility that the story could be portending an emotional VT and a song choice picking up on last week’s ‘Dance With My Father’. Among the tracks in Anton’s YouTube catalogue? Not My Father’s Son.

Regional vote fillip?

Time was when being from Merseyside would practically guarantee you a place in the X Factor final: Chris Maloney, Marcus Collins, Rebecca Ferguson, Ray Quinn… while Craig Colton, of incredible shrinking hometown fame, is the exception that proves the rule. Kiera suggests those days are over. Is this to do with Kiera herself, or has free app voting reduced the power of regional votes?

Louisa-John(Lewis)son-4th-impact

Meanwhile it’s reported that Filipinos can vote on the app. Given that 4th Impact are suspiciously far ahead in the TellyMix poll, how seriously should punters take this? It’s worth bearing in mind, though our instinct is to be sceptical. Looking at the raw vote totals on TellyMix, a maximum of a couple of thousand votes could be from overseas; will there really be a significantly bigger pool of Filipinos who are voting by the app but not also bothering to express support in forums like TellyMix? And as EM points out in the comments, the show’s T&Cs allow them to disregard votes if there are “reasonable grounds to suspect” they come from abroad; the question is how easy it is to tell.

It’s also possible that this kind of story could be used to motivate votes for British acts. It surely wasn’t accidental that Alien Uncovered were called “British” twice by Cowell and “British, which we’re very proud of” by Cheryl, with a “you know where you’re from” thrown in by Rita, after a “more British” reference in their VT. Much good it did them, though they’re not exactly a natural act to motivate the UKIP vote for. Interestingly, Ché also elicited a “Britain has so much talent” from Cowell. Will such patriotic musings become a running theme?

As ever, do keep the conversation going below.

X Factor images ©SYCO/THAMES TV/PA

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118 comments to X Factor 2015 Week 1 Review: Louisa John(Lewis)son

  • AnnaC

    If I were a music industry moghul looking to make money from the X-Factor then I would want to see 4th Impact in the final. Nowadays the big money opportunities come from live performances and merchandising rather than sales of recorded music. In fact, for all the talk about ‘finding a recording artiste’ recordings are now loss leaders to sell merchandise and tour tickets. 4th Impact could appeal strongly to pre-teen girls; the group most likely to buy merchandise (or have it bought for them). 4th Impact also has the most merchandising potential: dolls, clothing, duvet covers, pencil cases… As several acts, not least One Direction, have proved, winning is not essential to X-Factor success but it is important to be in the final three. On Saturday we saw 4th Impact aimed clearly at the pre-teen merchandise market and I expect to see that continue.

  • Chris Bellis

    Excellent analysis. Worthy of an Oxford PPP. Best read I’ve had for ages. With reference to the out of country voting I helped my niece’s boyfriend’s progressive rock band in Italy win an award a couple of years ago, merely by using a batch script and a virtual proxy. It’s quite easy to do, and I doubt that X-Factor are wise to that sort of shenanigans. Of course I wouldn’t use that knowledge for personal gain.

  • Martin

    Another strong article – I hadn’t considered the Squiddly and Diddly comment too carefully however as it happens, Nick Grimshaw has a dog, conveniently named “Pig”. If this continues, any sightings of Pig in Che’s VT may feed into your “lazy, slobbery, messy” theory, subliminally or not. And let’s be honest, without being disrespectful, with Che’s looks those sorts of connotations could be harmful to him in the same way that the donuts thing was harmful to Andrea.

  • EM

    OK here comes my take on the dogs comment. This is based on my reading of the donut comment last year (which came just ahead of Andrea’s vote share falling so may just have had the desired effect).

    My theory from last year was based on planting subliminal thoughts into voters minds. It was a very visual image (always the best and easiest to implant) and talking dogs works well as it creates a visual image easily (dogs moving their mouths in speech) the audio imagining is less easy (what does a talking dog sound like).

    The whole text seems to want to stress the incongruity the Che doesn’t look like a great singer/star.

    Normally trying to stress incongruity isn’t good. In this case given the staging it may be an attempt to strengthen his position – how surprising is it that a guy who looks like this sounds this good?

    “Starry” name in lights staging would increase that perception.

  • Caro

    Dogs seem to be a bit of a thing this year, with both Grimmy’s and Rita’s dogs featuring.and a comment in at least one Mail (I think) article about how the new judges have bonded with Simon over their love of dogs.
    Anton’s dog Honey has also featured, of course. Honey apparently ‘saw him through dark days’ http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/x-factor-hopeful-anton-stephans-6389841
    We know that the British public love dogs on ‘talent’ shows (well BGT) and we know how much Simon loves dogs and dog acts, but as pointed out, this could also be turned to a negative.
    Intriguing…

  • I think the dogs were secondary. The main message was “Ha ha you look such a mess it’s a surprise that you can actually sing. International popstars don’t look like that, get real you arrogant joke.”

  • I don’t think Kiera was associated with Liverpool, she doesn’t have the accent.

    Bad news for Anton but I wouldn’t be surprised at a pimping come back week for him on Saturday just to show the gullible that Syco are behind him.

    • David Cook

      Maybe Kiera wasn’t associated with Liverpool because they kept telling us she was from St Helens. Small town – not much of a vote boost there. If they’d wanted to make a point for regional voting I’m sure they could have said Merseyside.
      How much of a turn around is it between the audition when SC says ‘I love everything about you’, to bootcamp when he says he doesn’t like her voice.

      • Stu

        I’m really shocked about the assassination of Kiera. I guess, in hindsight, she was always going to be a threat to Louisa, but why would they give her an audition show pimp slot only to throw her under the bus from bootcamp onwards (bar 6CC). Singing Katy B during “This Is Me” week was also a bit “WTF”.

        • Abi Alton has the same questions as u!

        • Alan

          How many audition shows did they have? Was it 8? That’s 8 pimp slots to dish out then isn’t it? They can’t all be Plan A can they? They cant have Louisa in the pimp slot in every show so therefore people who they’re not that bothered about are going to end up getting them.

          They’re also making a TV program and Kiera had a genuinely good sob story from which to create a feelgood moment. So in her case the pimp slot was simply a good way of creating a happy ending to that particular episode. Not necessarily an indication that they wanted her to do especially well in the overall competition.

          • Luke

            There were 7 audition shows:
            Louisa Johnson
            Josh Daniels (eliminated)
            Bupsi (eliminated)
            Anton Stephens
            Monica Michael
            Kiera Weathers
            Sherilyn (eliminated)

            Not an unreasonable assumption to expect the show might have an interest in Kiera.

          • Alan

            No not unreasonable but at the same time they had no special interest in Josh or Sherilyn either so not that shocking really.

          • Don’t discount the very favorable edit they gave Kiera at 6chair, including comments on Xtra Factor if anyone watched that. I think it was the best of everyone at 6 chair….

            Turned out to be expensive backing her 10.0-20.0!

          • Martin

            Personally, I didn’t see the edit as that favourable. I didn’t see Xtra Factor so this is discounting that but they allowed Keira to be seen making some aggressive comments prior to her performance, as well as generally looking unsupportive and frustrated when other contestants performed well (along with Monica), apart from once when she was randomly enthusiastically clapping after Lauren performed.

            I know it’s all in the spirit of the six chair challenge and it’s a competitive environment, but after her battles at the group task in bootcamp (which I did initially argue was favourable, but I think looking back, it was the first step in reducing her likeability), and then Simon’s “I don’t like her voice” comment in the second round, she’s had that slight negative treatment dripped in at every stage.

            Contrast that to Louisa, who at six chair challenge was shown saying that she was going to go out there and do the best she could etc. and then politely clapping along with the other contestants. I don’t think they had to go in as hard with Keira as they did on Saturday – her judges comments were arguably the worst of the whole night and she didn’t deserve them. The fact that they didn’t motivate enough sympathy to keep her out of the bottom two may be an indicator that she won’t bounce, but obviously that’s dependent on treatment this Saturday.

  • Nerdos

    In last year’s BGT there was a popular contestant from Gibraltar, and everyone around these parts voted for him.Despite the votes appearing to be registered, ITV later confirmed that none of the votes counted.

  • Ordinarily, I’d consider being compared to a dog, talking or otherwise, as a put down. However, Simon LOVES those dogs. In his mind, anything having to do with them is complimentary.

  • David Cook

    My take on the dog remark was that it was simply a very roundabout way of filling in a couple of minutes whilst managing to repeat exactly what he’d already said at bootcamp – Che sings much better than you expect based on his appearance. It basically disguised the fact that he wasn’t really saying anything of any consequence.

  • Curtis

    That Squiddly and Diddly comment was straight out of the deramp textbook. Note the move in focus immediately went from Ché’s excellent performance to Simon’s bizarre and meandering comment.

    What I take from the first show is that they would like Ché to finish 2nd or 3rd, but certainly not 1st. They’ve been burned too many times with male winners. I think Fourth Impact will get signed pretty much whatever, so they’ll just want them deep into the competition, but they see Louisa as the best choice for a winner.

    • Martin

      Last years donut deramp has become the dog deramp. I can’t wait to see the pug cushions wheeled out from Andrea’s VT last year into Che’s bedroom.

      In seriousness, Simon has made these random comments before and prior to the donuts thing, I don’t ever remember any examples when it means anything else so it may well just be a diversion tactic, but I do think you’re right that they’d be happy for him to be in the final, just not win.

      • Curtis

        Yeah, Simon does make those type of comments. I’m not a big believer in any particularly special meaning to whether it’s dogs or donuts, I just think as you say it’s a diversion tactic. He wouldn’t do it to someone who he was looking to help I don’t think, so it indicates to me that he wants to ensure Ché is kept under check.

  • Dean F

    Just watched the show today as was away on Holiday. Gutted I missed the chance to bet on Bupsi. Was always looking likely and her non existent performance sealed the deal. Max may have escaped this week but he is next in line

  • Martin

    “reinvention” is the theme this week, according to Nick on Xtra Factor. The contestants will be putting their own spin on a song.

    It’s also a double elimination.

  • stoney

    Billie jean for louisa, interesting didn’t do Amelia any favours singing that.

    • Martin

      Who wants to bet it’s the version Austin and Amelia performed? I’m sure Austin landed bottom two the week he did it and Amelia was kicked out, too. A bad omen of a song!

      • Stu

        IIRC Austin was actually in the bottom two for the first time in week 4 – he presumably performed it during Michael Jackson week which was week two. Amelia may have been eliminated but that was by the producers/Kelly, not the public. I’m sure she would’ve stayed if it was down to the public.

        • Martin

          Ah my bad, it was a long time ago! I think it’s more that I’m not fond of that version to be honest, it seems a curious choice for Louisa on such an open week.

    • Lia

      She may do the Chris Cornell version that David Cook did on American Idol. It was brilliant for him.

  • Martin

    4th Impact singing “Sound of the Underground” and it sounds like it’s being mashed up with something else from what they’re going on about.

    Mason doing that “Teardrops”‘song that Rebecca Ferguson did, can’t remember who sings it.

  • stoney

    Yeah but i would imagine he will be covering one of the more recent versions

  • stoney

    Poor old Anton being given a song he struggled with at bootcamp. He sounded terrible singing that song and forgot the words. Must have smashed it in last weeks vote

    • Martin

      I’m confused with Anton – during his interview he said that he was singing a song that he struggled with once before as he forgot the words, clearly suggesting ‘All About That Bass’ (in which case, manly lols to be had at the expense of Anton this week). But as he sang at the end, he was singing ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J and all her mates. There’s also an article on digitalspy saying that Reggie ‘n Bollie are doing a song by Slash?! I thought they said ‘Dangerous Love’ meaning the Fuse ODG song, which makes sense as they were in a video on Cheryl’s Instagram dancing to it.

      • Hi Martin, Anton also stated he was doing a medley, so for now I am assuming it’s a mashup of Bang Bang and All About That Bass.

        I think it’s likely RnB are doing Dangerous Love, and got the name wrong on air – they said Dangerous Beautiful. We will know for sure when the full list is published tomorrow.

      • Tim B

        I would be shocked if Reggie N Bollie are performing Beautiful Dangerous by Slash ft. Fergie. It would almost certainly do the job of getting them eliminated, but it also wasn’t a hit and it really isn’t suitable for the X Factor audience.

        • Linda

          Tellymix reporting it’s Beautiful Dangerous by Slash and Fergie. RnB to go this week and sticking my neck out saying Seann down there in the bottom three with ’em. PS Anyone notice on Sunday’s Xtra Factor, Che was wearing one of Nick Grimshaw’s TopMan shirts?

          • Martin

            If it is that Slash/ Fergie song it may just be the biggest bus I’ve ever seen, somehow I really can’t see it. I hope not, I think the show could do with them around a bit longer.

            It’s hard to guess at this point – Keira has confirmed that she’s doing ‘Return of the Mack’ which may suggest they’re working with a bounce.

            A nice nod to Che’s snoring in a VT on Xtra factor too!

          • stoney

            I don’t see it either. There is no reason whatsoever that I could see them wanting to lose these guys so early in the competition.

  • max gotta be in trouble with that song?

  • EM

    For what it’s worth Popbitch say today that studio gossip is Anton won the vote last weekend

    • Linda

      If that’s the case then good on the public. He’s the most assured and moving performer up there. And he won’t be as easy to detonate as Maloney.

  • Curtis

    I really like the theme – reinvention is a fun and new idea, an interesting follow up to “this is me”, and is bound to be make for some great telly.

    Of course, another bonus for the producers with this theme is that they can give acts they want to deramp inappropriate songs without it seeming unfair. Anton singing All About That Bass obviously stands out, but I think the best thing to do is to watch it on the night and see how it unfolds. We could learn a lot about producer intentions.

  • Nissl

    I just caught up on some of the performances from bootcamp through week 1. Sorry guys, looks like that’s about my level of interest in XF these days. I still love the idea of panning for nuggets of pop gold but the machinations and extended time commitment have grown tiresome.

    I see Louisa’s potential much more clearly now after seeing how deeply she threw herself into her JH performance, and it’s made me interested in at least casually following the season. The first, easier problem for her to work on is that she hasn’t been nearly as comfortable letting go in any of the stage performances. Maybe she comes off poised and confident, but I think there’s a bit of a defensive wall up and she’s holding back to make sure she does everything right and puts on a good show. That’s the narrative needle I think the show needs to thread.

    The other problem she must solve, as I see it, is that there’s not a lot of emotional connection there. Even when she does really let go, all I get out as a viewer is that she really enjoys throwing herself into these big soul numbers. What else does she want the audience to feel? Can she let those songs make *her* feel? She’s not going to become an engaging stage performer in 6 weeks, so she needs to be doing more to draw the viewer in. Plenty of her current limitations can just be chalked up to age, but she’s also not going to magically become 22 before Christmas either.

    Fourth Impact are the other act the show may be interested in signing now that the public have passed on Alien UC. I’ve seen some comments that they were a lot less polished vocally on Problem, so as a girlband aficionado I want to mention that I’ve seen that song absolutely devour some other reality show girlbands. Ariana Grande has a massive voice, and even she had problems (heh) getting on top of that song live during her promo last year. My commercial hesitation with them is that I’m not sure there are any real stars in the group. Also, while they are extremely sweet, I’m not finding an emotional “in” yet. Perhaps the problem is that their unease with the language makes me want to skip past their interviews. I dunno.

  • Boki

    Betfair has opened 4th elim, bottom 3 and 2 to go markets.

  • Chris

    Noone’s really talked about the tour yet. First order of business on the live shows is whittling away the people who are least likely to cause people to buy tour tickets. Of course there’s an aspect of planting some seeds for later storylines, but right now there are 11 acts and 7, maybe 8 tour slots.

    Figure out who they don’t want on the tour and you’ve found the acts who wont be getting a good edit this week or next.

  • Dean F

    I don’t want to sound too obvious but I’m separating who TPTB want beyond this week and who is disposable.

    Who they want to go further
    Louisa obviously plan A right now
    Anton who maybe soon could begin to get Chris Maloney kind of deramp if he is winning the polls. Could make fun viewing.
    Che obviously the best male vocalist. He will be staying around.
    Seann. Not his time to go yet and they will need him around for a kind of entertainment amongst the dirge
    Lauren despite her number 1 slot for me is a back up to Louisa if things go wrong. Maybe put in slot 1 just to cool some of the good vibe towards her but I’m sure she’s beta girl
    4th Impact for obvious reasons and the star group.

    That leaves 5 they want to go. But I will start with cutting it to 4 as I feel Keira will get a redemption week here to be cut easily in week 3.

    So Max Stone for me is the obvious target to go next. He doesn’t add much to the show or spectacle

    3 way for sing off with RnB, Monica and Mason with Monica or Mason preferred to go. Think Monica had her week last week but I doubt she flew so high. Easily cut this week.

    • If you look at the treatment of Monica throughout, and before it started, she’s their Beta, maybe even equal Alpha ie they’ll try to push them both as far as poss. The risk with Monica, as regards price, is that they’ll have her doing more edgy stuff, as they’ll be thinking about placing her in the market after XF. They deffo want her though.

    • Curtis

      I don’t think Lauren was sent out in the opening slot to deramp her at all last week. i think it was more the Paul Akister singing Ghost first thing last year – open the season with a big voice singing a fun song. It actually worked very well for Paul, who had his best week in the vote that week.

      • Alan

        But like Paul Akister she has zero commercial potential and is entirely disposable. For me Lauen is there to give the singing competition some authenticity. She can sing and is likeable. She got good comments for her singing but nothing else. Her VT implied that she looked like a sack of shit and then they gave her makeover that made her look like a granny. I’m pretty sure they’ll want to manage her out in a similar timeframe to Paul.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I think this is utter nonsense. Especially given that more money is made from gigs and merchandising than records, imo Lauren is miles more marketable than Louisa. Louisa is just a robot – she has nothing special apart from that she looks good. She has nothing to say and her performances, while polished, are bland and two dimensional.

          Louisa would be nothing but a puppet and her voice is not noticeably better than Lauren’s either.

          The one thing all the big female artists of today have in common is that they have personality to burn. Gaga, Perry, Beyonce, Rhianna, Swift, Cyrus – they’re not afraid to be someone and if necessary to offend someone. Louisa is a zombie in comparison.

          I suppose the only thing in her favour is that Cowell acts tend to be dead from the neck up. 1 Dimension and Little Mix are all vacuous, thought-free zones and Leona Lewis was so quiet and shy that if she wasn’t singing she might as well have been kept in a cupboard under the stairs.

          • Dean F

            Louisa is definitely more commercial and has the better voice. She is the shining light of this competition whether she wins or not

            But I also take offence to your character assassination of her. Because she is not as ditsy and clumsy as Lauren does not mean she is ‘bland’. It is actually quite noticeable how popular she is amongst the other contestants which means she is most likely actually a likeable young person. Obviously she is young and does not have a real sob story, but that does not make a person bland.

            As for the original post from Alan, it is definitely true Lauren was made to dress like a granny. I hope her makeover is not continually like that. She after all is also a young woman and hopefully she doesn’t look like Sam Bailey tonight.

          • Jessica Hamby

            It’s my opinion. I think she’s dull.

            As for how much contestants like each other, in my opinion we have no way of knowing. Some smiles and hugs are just for the camera and reality tv relationships are mostly shallow and artificial. If we go by what we’ve seen everybody is wonderful.

  • Dean F

    I should add a 3 way battle to be 1 of the 2 in the sing off not that there would be 3 in the sing off

  • Jack

    I didn’t see Xtra Factor. Has anyone got a list of songs?

  • Dean F

    By the way I would really like to see Mason around a bit longer, I actually enjoyed his week 1 performance too. Would be great for the show if he were to get saved in a sing off this week too 🙂

    • Dean F

      YT views from week 1 if anyone cares. I know this is not the be all and end all of the middle England vote

      4th Impact 3,210,000 – obviously figures distorted
      Mason Noise 723,000
      Louisa Johnson 693,000
      Alien 582,000 – And eliminated
      Reggie n Bollie 529,000
      Monica Michael 473,000
      Max Stone 413,000
      Che Chesterman 410,000
      Lauren Murray 405,000
      Seann Miley Moore 402,000
      Keira Weathers 288,000
      Anton Stephans 282,000
      Bupsi 193,000

  • 360

    Song choices (from ITV.com) here for everyone’s convenience:

    The Boys
    Seann Miley Moore: California Dreamin’ – Mamas & Papas
    Ché Chesterman: You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
    Mason Noise: Teardrops – Womack & Womack

    The Girls
    Lauren Murray: Hold Back The River – James Bay
    Louisa Johnson: Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
    Kiera Weathers: Return Of The Mack – Mark Morrison
    Monica Michael: Crazy In Love – Beyoncè

    The Overs
    Anton Stephans: All About That Bass / Bang Bang – Meghan Trainor / Jessie J
    Max Stone: Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole / Louis Armstrong

    The Groups
    Reggie ‘N’ Bollie: What Makes You Beautiful / Cheerleader – One Direction / OMI
    4th Impact: Sound Of The Underground / Boom Clap – Girls Aloud / Charli XCX

    From that I would call Max and Kiera as immediate danger zone with an outside on Anton if he’s struggled with that song before. I’m expecting Anton’s comments to be all about criticising song choice in an effort to depress his vote for an attempt at a kill next week.

    Not familiar with Mason’s song from the name either, but having had a quick listen to it… this may be going down the rabbit hole a bit, but might it be a test of their audience make-up? The sound of it is quite retro, but that kind of ‘sounding-like-retro’ sound is in right now and might appeal to the 18-24 demo.

    Maybe I’m expecting a bottom 2 this week as well then – do we know yet if it’s a 2 or a 3 or are they leaving it up to last minute again? That is, to my eyes, Lauren, Louisa and Monica all look pretty solid, as do the groups, Seann and Che, and I don’t reckon they have enough on Anton or Mason to knock them for sure into 3rd bottom yet.

    • Lia

      Totally expected Max’s Over the Rainbow to be Big Iz’s version.
      I think Monica will either do the 50 Shades of Grey version or the Sofia Karlberg version (my favourite). Potential to be great.
      Louisa may do the slowed down Billie Jean. As other people pointed out Amelia Lily’s version didn’t do her any favours, even though it didn’t go to public vote. Kelly Rowland chose to eliminate her then.
      I’m not a fan of mash-ups nad there seems to be an overload… I really think Sound of the Underground/Boom clap is the weirdest on paper. Maybe it’s just me…

    • Fudd

      My issue is I don’t get how some of these can fit into a Reinvention theme. For example, Lauren’s best chance with Hold Back The River is to sing the original; same with Reggie & Bollie with Cheerleader, 4th Impact with Sound of the Underground and Che with You Can’t Hurry Love. Are they going to consider Phil Collins’ version of the latter as a ‘reinvention’???

      I think I found Kiera’s version of Return of The Mack on YouTube:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7lNU4IPYlk&=

      Lyrics wise it has bounceback written over it (especially ‘Cos what you did is wrong/ and all the nasty things you done/ so listen carefully/ while I sing my comeback song’) so I have the feeling the producers are going to be working with the bounce rather than against it.

      One song choice that stood out to me is Boom Clap for 4th Impact – it hardly worked well for Only the Young. I know it might only be a very small part of the Sound of the Underground mash up but interesting they’ve still gone for it. Again, reinvention?

      Mason seemed to be singing Teardrops as a straight cover before he was interrupted by Che on Thursday. I wonder if they’ll just give him an acoustic cover with maybe a hastily written rap to reinvent it?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMXQQ7TCJLE&=

      Do we need a reggae version of What A Wonderful World?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX-y_rNXpNQ&=

      I’m going to call it that Max will be safe this week. Not that my predictions means anything; I had Alien Uncovered finishing third in my Top 13 predictions…

  • Martin

    It’s a double. Treatment dependent – I’m a bit wary of betting on Max to be bottom, Jack was the sole WGWG last year and it took them a few weeks and a few doubles to get him out the way last year – I do think they’ll keep trying to depress his vote though. Monica was said to be doing a ‘sexy’ version of Crazy in Love on Xtra factor last night, she’s not got the wildcard boost this week and I don’t think that she’s a vote magnet so I’d suggest her being down there. Mason is quite commercial, so I think they’ll try and do him every favour but again, he’s not a vote magnet either. With it being ‘Reinvention’ week, I’m not exactly sure what Lauren can do with ‘Hold Back The River’ but she is likeable and can sing. Keira’s bounce could be repressed, but ‘Return of the Mack’ has a triumphant feel around it, and of the non-priority acts that leaves Reggie n Bollie vulnerable, but again their song choice is one they’ve already done mashed up with one of Syco’s biggest hits. There was a mashup of the two songs played on Radio One over the summer and it was actually really good, i imagine that’s what they’ll perform but I think the show needs them at the minute. And don’t even get me started on Anton. His vocal was appalling on Xtra Factor – the knives will be out for him if he did top the vote and giving him a song he was shit at during boot camp isn’t promising. If they can get him into the bottom two this week TPTB deserve a medal.

    I have no conclusion, sorry for the ramble.

    • Jessica Hamby

      California Dreaming is a strange choice for Seann. It’s old and not particularly popular – certainly not compared with Somewhere Over The Rainbow / Wonderful World or You Can’t Hurry Love (which was also a hit for Phil Collins in the 80s). It wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see him down amongst the bottom three or even bottom of the poll.

      I also wonder how well known Mason’s song is amongst the younger viewers. I suspect not particularly.

      Return of the Mack is vocally quite bland and dull. I wonder if Keira has got what it takes to perform it. I’m not sure she has. Of course it’s supposed to be reinvented so it may be radically different from the original. It will need to be because otherwise I think she is in big trouble.

      • Tim B

        Odds of 90.0 for Seann to be eliminated next suggest that it would be entirely surprising! California Dreamin’ is a classic song that should go down well with the 40-60 year old females who are the main voting demographic on this show. Similarly, Ché has been given a classic song by The Supremes, whereas Anton has been given the shocking mash up (for him) of Bang Bang/All About That Bass, which won’t delight his old fogey demo in the slightest. I therefore think the producers’ strategy is for Seann and Ché to be the main beneficiaries of Anton’s potential fall from top spot this week.

        • stoney

          Seann isn’t going anywhere for a good few weeks yet. I think it’s fairly safe to say he isn’t winning either

          • Tim B

            I’m not ruling him out yet. I think the market has overreacted to the that fact he enjoyed dressing up for Halloween. He is competitive and no doubt has a lot more sides of himself to show (in a good way). I think the audience will look forward to seeing what he’s going to come out with each week.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Is there anything which shows that 40-60 year old females are the main voters on the show? I haven’t seen it.

          • Tim B

            The source is YouGov, who have done comprehensive studies of the voting demographics. Also you only need to look at most of the winners (and losers. See: Alien Nation) and finalists of the show to realise that they are correct.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Thanks. I haven’t seen the You gov info.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I feel I should point out that the song was released in 1965 so even the 60 year olds would have been only 10 at the time and might not have paid much attention to it when it actually came out. I know it’s been re-released since but as far as I know the Mamas & Papas version is still the most famous. Personally I think calling it a classic is giving it way too much credit. It may well be a stunning reinvention and of course there are reasons why he could be safe – however I see him as low as 16-1 on Oddschecker (and only as high as 33-1).

          My record of x factor predictions is appalling so I’m sure you are right but I will still watch his performance with interest. If there is to be a shock b3 this weekend, then right now (without the benefit of VTs, performances and comments) he is where I would look for them.

          • Lia

            Jess, there was a dance version released in 2004 by The Royal Gigolos. I remember it playing on the radio. While looking for it, I came across a version by Sia that I’d never heard. Curious, I decided to have a listen and boom: it screams Sean!

          • Jessica Hamby

            Hi Lia. That is just right for Seann. I agree. If he does it like that he’ll probably be safe but could be criticised for singing like he’s in a musical again.

      • Linda

        Just read the comments here, completely agree with you Jessica. Seann is in trouble this weekend. Also Mason, Max, Kiera. I think Anton will still pull through, as should RnB. If I had to put money on it, Seann and Mason.

  • Alan

    I’m on Max for the next elimination. 13/2 seems like a decent price. I think Kiera will get much more sympathetic treatment now they know her vote is in check. I’m not even sure they’ll need to do much to get rid of him really. The song and his total lack of charisma, coupled with bland vtand comments will probably be enough.

    • Dean F

      13/2 is a really big price for him given his next song choice and that I do not actually know who is really voting for him. He may land in B3 and not be next eliminated, but the price is big enough and I can see him getting a big hit sandwich this week in between perhaps Louisa/4th Impact and Che, with Che showing how good he is in comparison

  • Boki

    I’m confused a bit with Lauren’s song choice. It’s not a belter as first reported, just like Anton she didn’t get a “classic” but a current one.

    • Dean F

      I thought Monica could be in the line, but maybe Lauren is the disposable one, or at least they may want to be starting to put calm the vote down so they can get rid in a week or two.

      To be seen, but I do not think she will go this week either way.

      • Henry VIII

        Kiera’s more disposable than Lauren isn’t she? It’s the only song choice that’s dreadful for this audience.

        • Boki

          Oh, no doubt Kiera is the first in line, was just trying to think ahead, while eliminating current target they are normally preparing the new one.

          • Dean F

            Yes I did wonder if Keira could get redemption. But she could be steph Nalad. Either way I’m thinking ahead to whether Lauren or Monica is the next disposable girl. I said different yesterday but today I do feel Keira will be surpressed and in the B3 minimum. Still think Max to go though straight off is a big price

        • Alan

          I think Im way out of touch on the singing element of this show as I thought “Hold Back The RIver” was probably the best song on the list. It’s a popular song and and I can see Lauren singing it really well. She’s young and it’s a modern song. To me that’s a good fit.

          That said I really dont see why the producers would differeniate bewtween Lauren and Kiera especially. Lauren probably makes better TV as she is likeable and can sing feelgood songs. Ive never really understood what Kiera offers beyond that original sob story. Cowell wouldnt want either of them anywhere near a recording contract so for me they’re both disposable.

  • Lia

    A bit off topic, but:
    Gotta love the Xtra Factor! Just caught up with last weeks Thursday episode. When Fouth Impact were being interviewed, they had this big moment planned to bring their mom in as a surprise. Then Rochelle started talking about how they spent so much money flying back and forth from the Philipines. When she starts to mention mum, one of them cuts off and says in fairness “it’s not our money. It’s our managers money”. I almost pissed myself.
    Also it was on Xtra Factor a couple of weeks ago that we found out Kiera has a father who is very much present in her life. Where was he when the sob story was at full power?

    • Jessica Hamby

      Haha! They say I’m harsh and you’re complaining because the poor girl only lost one of her parents!!!!

      (To be clear: My haha is NOT at Keira or her situation.)

      • Martin

        oh goodness me! To be fair I think Lia may be referring to how heavy handed they were with Keira being so close with her nan etc. It created the assumption that neither were present in her life. But I do see what you’re saying. I love this place!

        • Lia

          Yes, Martin. That was my point, but no offense from Jess. It’s a sad story but as XF sob stories go it kinda lost its effect.
          They were very heavy handed in Kiera’s first audition: I lost my mum, didn’t know what to do, my nan saved me… Then she interviews talking about her dad and how he claims to be related to the guy who played Apollo in the Rocky movies and cheerfully describes how they tease him because he has no contact with him and is unable to prove it. They woudn’t be able to milk it any more so dropped to gama and then omega…

          • Jessica Hamby

            Thanks Lia. I meant it jokingly and I thought you’d take it the right way.

            I agree about the sad stories. I feel for Monica too over losing her brother but after a while the songs and the repetition feels a bit mawkish and I get hardened to it. I liked her a lot more last week when she just sang. I get why people like her now. Before I just felt like I was being manipulated and it annoyed me.

  • As a heavy 4th Impact backer, I’d rather they didn’t have ‘Boom Clap’ after what that song did to Only The Young last year. But I’m interested to see what they do with it. Sound Of The Underground on its own would’ve been just fine imo.

  • Plinkiplonk

    One thing to keep in mind: the theme for the week is: “Take a classic song and make it your own”. The reality is “Take this song that we are giving you and perform it in an arrangement that we have found on YouTube / seen in another of Simon’s shows / heard someone do on LiveLounge / etc.” So I expect Anton’s comments to be a bitchfest about the songchoice and how it cannot be called a classic, regardless of how well he does it, and Max could well do another reggae-fied version of OTR, followed by ‘one trick pony’ accusations.
    I think this week leaves it wide open for manipulation; even a song that looks strong on paper could be turned into a total sabotage with the right (i.e. wrong) arrangement. I’d say Max is toast…

  • David

    Many people think Max is toast but for me he is the act that will exceed people’s expectations this year. From what we’ve seen in the show so far he probably has more core support than several of the other acts at this point in the competition.

  • Edie M

    I’m unsure about Max- he’s so uncharismatic but a typical vote magnet. In hindsight it was pretty obvious that Alien would be the early in the running order act in the bottom last week alongside Kiera and Bupsi. So frustrating that when watching the re-run on Sunday afternoon last week, I heard the ITV announcer say tune in tonight for ‘eliminationS’ but I thought it must have been a mistake.

  • Martin

    I do think Max is occupying his niche on his own – unless they’re trying to alienate that niche by giving him awful reggae versions of songs (typically I think his fans would be the Gary Barlow sort who love a ‘real musician’) and also by having Reggie n Bollie doing more fun reggae songs later on in the running order. I do think he’ll be tougher to get shot of though, just like Jack Walton was.

    Before seeing the show I’m thinking Keira will be Steph Nala’d, with Monica, Mason and Reggie and Bollie all at risk of bottom two. I’m tempted to put a small bet on Anton going, judging by the train wreck that tonight will be for him.

    • Sagand

      It’s worth pointing out that Jack Walton went out in the week where there were 11 contestants and a double elimination, the same as this week. The more contestants there are the lower the vote share needed to be safe is.

      He might not finish last but I don’t see him getting enough of the vote to beat three others.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Off topic but for me Melvin Odoom is the real winner this year. Absolute star.

  • Lia

    Is there a market for guessing which version they will do? We could make a fortune with that!!!!!

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