X Factor 2015 Week 3 Review: Blue Man Anton

Anton Stephans was the latest brought down quickly from a strong week 1 performance, if we trust the Daily Star leak. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the traditionally reliable source got it wrong in last year’s final, with one suggestion that it only had the phone vote figures to hand, and not the app votes. For all we know, the same could apply to its reporting that Anton received 23% in that first week poll.

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It’s also worth remembering that with double elimination piling on top of double elimination, the show is eating its young (and not so young) far more rapidly this year. Still, like Seann in week 2, we hadn’t anticipated Anton in the singoff, and it’s worth looking at his treatment with a huge dollop of hindsight to understand how it happened.

We recognised at the time that the VT was damaging, with its theme of Anton as a musical theatre performer carried into the staging and judges comments. That’s a big negative in a show whose professed aim is looking for a pop star. They’d used the same criticism on Seann Miley Moore the week before, to devastating effect. Now they were pushing Anton into Seann’s box.

Perhaps worse for Anton, it undercut his previous sympathetic portrayal as a backing singer who through bad luck or whatever other reason, hadn’t yet got his break. That’s a staple story among the Overs category, but it resonates – as indicated by the popularity of recent music documentary, the marvellous ‘Twenty Feet From Stardom‘. Last weekend’s VT suggested that Anton, contrary to what he’d previously said, had experienced the spotlight. Over and over again in fact, singing to audiences in West End theatres.

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The VT ended with Anton setting an unfortunately high bar for himself. “I want it to be the standout vocal performance of the whole night.” Simon concurs, adding: “This could be a real moment for him.” The judges love using the word “moment” this series: Rita had used it twice at the end of Louisa’s VT (Nick used it four times, like he was mocking the buzzword, after Louisa’s week 1 performance). But this time it set Anton up for a fall.

The most unusual and interesting aspect of Anton’s performance was the lighting. The blue of Anton’s jacket and blue spotlights are the only colours visible in an otherwise monochrome set. Some kind of filter or effect was at work throughout the whole song. When Anton finishes, we briefly see the ‘real life’ staging. The stage lights are a yellow that’s been desaturated during the performance, whilst all the background graphics are black and white, and the backing singers are dressed in black.

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We can’t remember such an effect being used on the show before. It’s been seen once or twice at Eurovision (most obviously in the Swedish 2008 performance) but when it has, only for the first first verse, so that the return to a normal palette creates a visual moment. Anton got no such respite.

What was the overall impact of the filtering? You could argue the effect was designed to strip away any warmth he could convey through performance. There was a visual coldness, and a detachment created by the isolation of Anton’s blue jacket. We felt it was polar opposite of the golden glow of winner’s staging.

If week 2 had set him up to make him look ridiculous, the aplomb with which Anton threw himself into the task still had a warmth about it, as did the ridiculous staging with plenty of warm colours. Last Saturday, his emotional connection to the audience was completely drained away by the lighting.

Lauren vs Louisa

Just what was going on with Lauren this week? Initial reports that she’d be given ‘Licence To Kill’, which did for Craig Colton, suggested the start of a deramping for Louisa’s benefit after last week’s pimp slot performance. Instead, she was sent out in the penultimate slot with last-minute replacement, Ariana Grande’s ‘One Last Time’, an excellent, contemporary song with a strong emotional connection that hasn’t been overheard in these competitions – unlike say, Anton’s ‘I Have Nothing’.

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Meanwhile, golden girl Louisa was sent out third with the Romeo + Juliet, John Lewis-ed version of ‘Everybody’s Free’. The thought of a running order switch did cross my mind, given that Monica followed Louisa with the other “I’ve had to change my song” storyline. But it felt logical to put the show’s most hyped act after one target (Max) and before another. So perhaps not.

Still, having been surprised at Lauren’s inclusion in the live shows because she’s got a big voice like apparent Plan A Louisa, and a warm, relatable persona that could see her preferred among voters – here she was in week 3 continuing to steal the limelight over her now only remaining rival in the same category.

Compare their respective homecoming VTs: Louisa promises to work hard before in fact returning to slouch on her Mum’s sofa, where they watch a recording of her theatre school attempt at Leona Lewis, aged 8; Lauren returns to a hero’s welcome throughout her home town, where we see her being popular and warm with a wide range of people.

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There were clearly supposed to be plenty of positives for Louisa this week. Again, there was her implied contribution to the creative process, she looked stunning in angelic white, and the judges went overboard in their praise. When Louisa’s tears arrived, the camera provided a lingering close-up, and Rita later joined the pity party.

But we can’t help but think that there are some mis-steps from producers in the way they’re presenting her. Occasionally they make her look too entitled. Take the large, pre-created images of Louisa for her staging last Saturday. We’re used to backdrops with large live shots of the performer, as indeed Lauren got. But here something pre-ordained has been created for Louisa, and whilst its aura was heavenly, she also looked like she was posing for a catalogue.

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As last week, Cowell reiterated that she wanted to win: “You don’t want to be second or third, and be on telly.” The danger of these comments is that it portrays her as competitive, sharp-elbowed and stage-schooley – we were amazed her VT openly used the term “theatre school”. Cowell also added something strange when he said: “This is the song you’ll be remembered for.” It struck as us as oddly premature about an act who presumably has plenty more to give in the competition.

Compare these to the comments for Lauren. Simon referenced Fleur and Ben when saying “it feels like the competition has started”. Even more eye-opening was Nick’s reflection that “you’re definitely my favourite girl in the competition”, as well as saying she has a “Great British” similarity to Adele and Amy Winehouse. Grimmy’s first quote was repeated on Sunday night’s recap, to remind us that Nick prefers Lauren to Louisa. We can’t remember a supposed Plan A being undermined so early by such a direct comparison before.

And to cap it all, Lauren eclipsed Louisa in iTunes downloads, just managing the top ten, also ahead of the original version which returned to the charts. We saw with Fleur’s ‘Uptown Funk’ that iTunes success isn’t necessarily indicative of phone vote popularity, but it will give producers another morsel to chew on as they cogitate over the remaining girls.

It feels that their respective treatment this Saturday will be crucial. After all, there are only four weekends of live shows remaining. If producers do intend to get Louisa over the line, they need to shore up her support rather than let it leak away to her female rival. It’s still very possible that ‘Licence To Kill’ heralded a deramping for Lauren that’s merely been delayed a week by events. But in true James Bond style, the clock is ticking down.

Olly’s Bad Day At The Office

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Poor Olly. We chuckled on Saturday as he’d asked if a seat could be found for Fourth Impact’s Celina, when four were centre stage from their performance. And his weekend was about to get worse during the following evening’s singoff. It was a relatively simple set of judges’ decisions too. Nick had voted to send Monica home; Rita and Cheryl had voted to send Anton home. 2-1 advantage to Monica but with Anton’s mentor Simon remaining to cast his vote.

Olly already had it wrong at this point – thinking Anton had the 2-1 advantage, because he said: “If you choose to send Monica home, then she will leave the competition immediately. If you choose to go with Anton [sending him home], we will go to the public vote and deadlock.”

Whilst Simon deliberated, producers obviously shouted into Olly’s earpiece that he had made a mistake. The presenter heard he was wrong in some way but stuck with his miscalculation, because once Simon predictably decided to send Monica home and level the scores up, he said: “So just to clarify, I did say we’d go to deadlock but unfortunately Monica, you are going home.”

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It was at this point that Simon and Caroline said “no”, and Caroline explained that it was deadlock instead. Olly began apologising in as many ways to as he could think of: “Sorry. Ok, sorry I got that wrong. Sorry. My fault. Sorry, I apologise for that. Sorry Monica, I do apologise… I do apologise.”

With Caroline taking over the reins, the pair of them became hidden behind Anton and Monica, who were holding hands to support each other. Poor Caroline had to peek in between these two figures to the camera before announcing that Monica was indeed going home. To reinforce the sense of shambles, Rita and Simon took the unusual step of joining Monica on stage for her valedictory speech, like a pair of teachers at a pupil-led school assembly that had gone to pot.

Some have wondered if Olly accidentally gave the game away that the presenters already knew Monica would be leaving after deadlock. The simpler explanation is that Olly simply miscounted who’d voted for who, then misunderstood producers’ hurried attempts to correct him while Simon was speaking. It’s easy to mock but presenting live TV is hard, and it only reinforces how good Dermot was at his job.

Still, you can bet that come the final, Caroline will be left to announce the winner.

X Factor images ©SYCO/THAMES TV/PA

229 comments to X Factor 2015 Week 3 Review: Blue Man Anton

  • “X Factor 2015 bang bang bang” surely the best exit ever

    There’s news of Lauren hating life in the XF house. Any stats on the acts who have said something like that?

  • David

    That’s a great screenshot of Louisa’s creased up crying face. Rita’s tears were fake as anything, they are trying to covey that Louisa has been on a journey but in reality shes probably been on the shortest journey of them all.

    The saturated filter darkened the screen and you could not see Anton’s facial expressions properly, if anything it looked quite scary seeing flashes of big teeth and intense demonic eyeballs.

  • Apleximus

    That still from Louisa’s most recent performance reminds me a lot of the fiery backdrop that did for Janet Devlin, the week she was eliminated.

    • Dean F

      I would say Louisa looks a tad more angelic than Janets back drop

      Lauren I saw has a ‘fighting depression’ article in the Sun which for me is a positive for her and continues her journey

      Either Lauren has taken on plan A or TPTB are desperate to push her as far as possible to keep her in the game and get to semis at least

      I would still say Louisa is favorite but I do feel if she’s on early this week TPTB are not thinking of her as the winner

      • Jessica Hamby

        Song choice will be key. The theme is vague enough to provide the opportunity for pretty much anything. It’s harder to find a song that isn’t about love and heartbreak than one that is.

    • R

      Looking at the Louisa & Janet images side by side, there are a lot of similarities:

      http://betsfactor.com/2011/11/27/janet-devlin-out-x-factor-reasons-wh/

  • Edie M

    This Mirror piece doesn’t bode well for Lauren:http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/lauren-murray-says-x-factor-6851519. Can’t see Cowell liking her saying most of these things, a bit too close to the truth.

    • Martin

      Ouch. Me reading that, it comes across fine – I hear it in Lauren’s chirpy tones and she’s having a laugh and a joke and of course, we all know this sort of thing goes on. Whether the powers that be will appreciate her saying these things in an interview is another thing. But would they have OK’ed it if they were that concerned? Describing the atmosphere as a prison isn’t a great sign.

      • Edie M

        Unless they’re giving her enough rope to hang herself? Really not sure what’s happening at this point. I initially thought Lauren was just alright, but I find myself liking her more & more and these stories (incl. the mental health one) just work to make her seem more 3D to me (and contrast to the 1D Louisa). I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way.

  • Linda

    Interesting discrepancy on Tellymix this morning. On the one hand we’ve Lauren referring to the house as a prison, contrasting with what she said last week that “you are allowed to go home, it’s not a prison”. http://www.tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/240213-lauren-murray-has-quit-x-factors-big-brother-prison.htm That’s bookended by this Louisa story just released: http://www.tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/240224-x-factors-louisa-johnson-declares-i-want-to-win.html

    The events of last Friday threw a spanner in the works to deramp Lauren Saturday night, so they’re throwing the kitchen sink at it now. I don’t think it will work.

    • Martin

      I do think this is being used to dampen Lauren. If the public think she’s suffered with mental health problems, and she’s complaining that the atmosphere is uncomfortable for her, so much so that she’s had to move out of the house, is it really fair to vote for her and keep her in such an unhealthy environment?

      This could leave a bit of a bad taste in your mouth. Damn you Lauren for being so excellent at what you’ve been asked to do so far. Now we’ll use your illness against you.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Thanks Linda. The compare and contrast Lauren / Louisa stories are fascinating. I wonder if it will work. My gut feeling is that it won’t and that it may actually backfire. People are wise to this now, story planting, words taken out of context etc.

      Obviously they are not confident of Louisa winning at the moment. This is nasty.

      • Martin

        The thing is, taking Louisa and Lauren out of the equation and perhaps assigning these stories to other individuals. An act has depression – surely a massive sympathy vote due? An act voices how competitive they are, and speaks out about how much they want to win – a bit alienating to voters?

        I have a feeling that the “I want to win” line from Louisa is to counter the “she’s already getting signed, whatever the result” story which seems to be out there at present, to try and encourage voters. I don’t think this is a particularly clever way of going about it, though. And the Lauren story is just a bit distasteful really. I’ve a mind to give her all five of my votes this weekend as some sort of protest.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Another thing about the Lauren story is that she talks openly about being under the spotlight – get the camera out I’m crying – they don’t care if Che drowns as long as the get the pics of him in the pool etc.

          Tptb may not like that attitude but the public will agree with her. They believe that is exactly what reality tv is about. It’s actually refreshing to hear someone say that rather than toe the party line and lick the corporate bum.

          On digital spy someone posted that Lauren is the only contestant left who was not scouted. I haven’t seen that anywhere else so I doubt it is public knowledge, but it sort of shows in her attitude.

  • Martin

    A few things from Louisa’s treatment this weekend which could be interpreted either way. Firstly, I thought her overall staging was fantastic. It was colourful, in contrast to Anton’s colour-drained filter. That sort of effect was used quite a lot on now defunct music show Popworld, and later when artists would perform on T4 of a Sunday morning. Neither of those things now exist, although I’m not sure that connection is entirely relevant. I digress. I felt Louisa’s performance had a lovely “sleepover” type feel – she was lying down on a bed on the backdrop, , with what looked liked giant bedsheets hanging from the ceiling, wearing what could be interpreted as “fancy pyjamas”. It was cute. The rainbow lighting fit in with the “feel good” message of the song. It was innocent to older viewers, and relate able to younger ones. Childish, but tastefully?! I do agree that it does look like Janet Devlin’s smoke staging though, as another commenter mentioned.

    Her VT, in my opinion, was all to highlight her age. She was only 8 when Leona was a success?!?! Simon also picked up on this in the comments. She was being fussed over by her mother. She’s only just left school. Whether this creates the illusion that she is talented beyond her years, or just leave older viewers feeling a bit ancient is another matter.

    • Jessica Hamby

      She came across to me like one of those hard faced Essex girls who is old beyond her years. She even had her boots on on the sofa with her mum. Staged as hell. Not only did the boots destroy the illusion of casual intimacy, they made the whole thing downright inauthentic. NO mother lets you put your shoes up in the sofa.

      It was obviously not natural for either of them to be like that.

  • Regarding Louisa vs Lauren, I think it’s important to point out that Executive Producers Simon and Cheryl have not stood for any of Lauren’s performances since the live shows started. This suggests to me that Louisa is still the clear Alpha, at this time at least. Also, is anyone else aware that Lauren is 25 years old (I thought she was about 21!). She’d almost be an Over by the time her Winner’s album was released. In contrast, Louisa is “only 17” and the vast majority of the world’s international mega stars were releasing music when they were still teenagers. If I were them, I’d settle for Louisa getting a spot in the final and not winning, rather than pushing the potentially more voteable Lauren for the win, only for people to be not that bothered when her album finally came out. Therefore I think Louisa is a much safer pop star proposition, and I don’t think SYCO will be looking to sign Lauren.

    • Tim B

      Correction! The Mirror article says she’s already 26. Oh dear!

      • annie

        Even before I started warming up to her for some reason I was under the impression that Simon really likes her…
        That being said good obesrvations re. standing O! your points are very much valid.
        Maybe he does, Simon, the person that is, but Simon the Syco Exes not so much, and thinks of her as a Young Sam B rather than an old Kelly C. *sigh*.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Fleur was older than Lauren when she got a contract. The winner gets a contract as the prize for winning, others are discretionary. It has already been reported that Louisa will be given a contract regardless of where she finishes. Fleur was clearly favoured by tptb and still didn’t win.

      I agree that Louisa is favoured by tptb, however it is the voters who will decide.

  • Rose

    I have been wondering if Lauren has a bit more freedom to comment publicly, as she isn’t in the X Factor house 24/7. However, whatever the answer to this is, I don’t think it’s good publicity for her at all. I think most people consider the X Factor contestants very fortunate to be where they are and there probably isn’t a lot of empathy out there for the more normal singers who may feel imprisoned or overwhelmed by the lack of privacy. Also, for people in the public eye, there is often a fine line to tread between being viewed as emotionally sensitive and being viewed as disturbed. I think the mention of anti-depressants, exposing the medicalisation of her distress, is likely to put some people off, making it seem somehow worse than it actually is. Perhaps we have reached the stage where we, as a society, don’t view mental illness as a weakness rather than an actual disease, but I really don’t think we are there yet.
    I don’t see it being enough to get her to the bottom of the vote this week – and I can only see “next elimination” options on Oddschecker. But I think we may see her deramped on the show on Saturday and slipping into the bottom three as a result. It would be a real shame. She is a genuinely good singer with rich tones in her voice, and she scrubs up well (the photo of her with her hair up gave her elegance which I hadn’t seen before), but my instinct is that things are not looking good for her.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’ll be a hatchet job of epic proportions this weekend.

    • Martin

      Looking at all the evidence from these stories, it seems that way. In that case, why was Nick allowed to say that Lauren was his favourite girl last week, and furthermore, why was it repeated in the recap on Sunday’s show?

      • annie

        I think it was spontanous outburst on NIcks behalf, not planned or anything…and since she did so well they thought it was a good twist to the narrative of the season. They must be sure they can controll her vote.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Or they’re just going to give it a damn good try and see what happens. If it’s not Louisa I don’t think they have that much of a preference.

          As I said elsewhere, if Louisa was already clear thse stories would not be necessary.

    • annie

      The stories began innocently and endearingly enough: young girl devastated by father´s death, tragic teenage years but a wonderfull example of how even after the darkest of times there is light and laughter and succes at the end of the tunnel.

      But the details they add twist the mood into a different direction. Now her dad was a drug dealer that died when he got out of prison.

      Cue hatchet job on Saturday.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Haven’t seen that about her dad. I saw that the Daily Mail story had been edited to become much more sinister.

        This is shameful. That “gaslighting” link really isn’t the rabbit hole at all.

        I’m working over the weekend and I won’t be able to see either show. I’m glad about that.

        Lauren – if you read this I *heart* you and I will be sending you all the love and support at my disposal.

  • Linda

    Interesting how there’s been no vote leaks since week 1. I’m convinced Anton topped the poll in week 2 also despite being B3 last Sun. I suspect the Louisa and Che votes are floundering. Last Sat was a misfire for Louisa, it was intended to be a moment as Jessica has said but it didn’t quite hit the target, it felt disingenuous. Another one of those this week and her vote will collapse.

    • Stu

      I don’t know if they would’ve let Anton survive the sing-off last weekend if he topped the vote the week before despite an absolutely disastrous performance. I actually think Louisa might have topped the vote in week 2. I don’t see her tears and the OTT judges’ comments in week 3 as desperate (like some have said), I see it as building momentum. If she was struggling in the vote, would they really want to risk her going out third to perform?

  • Stu

    I can really see a bottom three of 4th Impact, Reggie n Bollie & Mason Noise this weekend – with Mason at the bottom of the vote.

    I think RnB’s time is up since it’s getting towards the business end of the competition and I’m still not confident about 4th Impact’s vote. I completely overestimated the public taking to Seann and Alien, will the voting public take to a Filipino girl-group? I like to think so but them being called safe last at the weekend makes me think otherwise…

    • Boki

      I know I sound like a broken record but we still don’t know if it’s a double or not, aren’t we? So to b2 or to b3, that is the question…

    • The obvious act to announce last would have been Mason, but they announced him first for the shock value, so I’m hoping there was no particular producer agenda behind the decision and they were just playing with us. I highly doubt that an act dubbed “One of the best things we’ve ever seen on the show” last week by Simon, would get de-ramped this week, but you never know.

      4th Impact are allegedly doing a ballad this week anyway, for “Love and Heartbreak” week.

      http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/the-x-factor/news/a774014/the-x-factor-2015s-4th-impact-we-want-to-survive-this-week-so-we-can-sing-a-ballad/

      • Jessica Hamby

        Oh come on Tim! Are you really that naive? He’ll call an act the best thing he’s ever seen one week and cuss it the next if it suits him. If FI are a threat to Louisa they’ll get hammered, especially if there is a chance of significant vote transfer.

        Every act gets dubbed a potential superstar or the best thing since whenever until they’re no longer required. You’d hardly expect people to tune in if even the judges were saying “you’re average and you’ll never make it but you’re the best we’ve got so I’m putting you through”.

        • I said “but you never know”, implying that I’m open to the possibility.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I’d argue you do know. You personally. He’s done it many times before and there’s no reason that we have become aware of for him to change.

            Look at the treatment of Monica from week 1 to week 2.

            Nuff said.

      • Stu

        I agree Tim. It would be a strange turnaround to deramp FI. I still can’t work out whether them being called safe was (a) to negatively affect their vote because they did very well after Celinagate, (b) to hint that they’re polling low and therefore need to encourage more voters or (c) just for fairness since they surely can’t keep calling the same act safe last week after week.

        I still don’t believe the producers would be happy with a Che win – nor a Lauren win. I think the producer support for them so far is to keep them above the danger zone. I also believe Lauren is going to become a target very soon. They certainly don’t want an Anton win and the treatment of RnB last weekend also suggests they don’t want them to win. Getting Mason over the line would be a difficult task even if they did want him to win, which I doubt they do since he was put on first to perform the week after he landed in the sing-off.

        That leaves Fourth Impact as the only alternative to Louisa winning. I know I’ve made it no secret that as a viewer I’m a fan of Fourth Impact but they’re the obvious alternative “commercial” winner to Louisa. I personally think all of the remaining acts (maybe bar Anton) could be successful stars but Syco (the label) aren’t known for their innovative and creative methods when launching and marketing their stars hence why a lot of the signed acts from XF disappear. That being said, I think they are fully aware that they won’t be able to turn Lauren and Che into stars post-show.

        This coming week is the week I’m looking forward to the most. I’m interested in seeing the treatment for both Louisa and Lauren. I’m fulling expecting Louisa to get the pimp slot. I also am intrigued to see if Fourth Impact are doing a ballad and, if they are, whether it’ll be a “moment” for them. If Che did a bit too well in the voting with last week’s pimp slot, I think he’ll be screwed over this week and it’ll be obvious. I also expect the producers to work with Anton’s expected bounce – but not too much.

        Oops apologies for the long reply. I just went a bit overboard. 😀

  • Jessica Hamby

    They’ve gone into overdrive.

    Click in the link below and it goes to three stories, one about Lauren and “prison” (so set her free people), one about FI being overworked (so let them go home and get some rest) and one revealing the X Factor winner’s song (illustrated with a publicity photo of Louisa).

    http://www.tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor

    We’ve reached the.point where I turn puce. I think I need to step away from the computer for a while.

  • Curtis

    When it comes to Olly’s mistake, I invoke Hanlon’s razor – “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

    I think the Louisa/Lauren situation is most peculiar indeed. I think watch either of those performances at the weekend in isolation, and you’d say that they both were that of the alpha girl. That’s no surprise when it comes to Louisa, but quite a surprise with Lauren. Grimmy calling her his favourite girl was the real eyebrow-raising moment, and as you said, this was repeated on the Sunday show, meaning that it was very likely on script.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Lauren was initially being set up for a deramp – note Cheryl’s comment that she preferred the performance on the night to what she was originally going to sing. So then the question becomes was the change in tack a temporary thing caused by the song change, or a more permanent attitude change with regards to Lauren? All I can think is that a Louisa/Lauren rivalry could be quite an interesting story for the show, and if both are relatively healthy in the voting then maybe they can engineer it. Could explain Grimmy’s comment too, as it wouldn’t be much of a rivalry if all 4 judges clearly preferred Louisa.

    Or they could turn on Lauren next week and have her eliminated by the end of Week 5. Based on past form, that’s probably more likely!

    • Jessica Hamby

      A harsh attack on sweet Lauren would probably provoke a massive sympathy backlash. I think their plan is character assassination via the newspaper stories so that there is little or no sympathy.

      Destructive VT, bad song, harsh comments. Job done.

      That is surely the intention anyway. We’ll find out tomorrow. If that’s the plan I’ve a feeling that it might backfire.

      • Linda

        No matter how much they make them walk the plank this week I think Lauren, Anton and Mason Noise will survive the next round. I called Lauren for B3 last week before the change but I suspect there’s still enough goodwill there from last’s week pimp slot to carry her through this week. Louisa next in the pimp slot. B3 – Reggie and Bollie, Che, 4th Impact. RnB first to go, then deadlock. I realise this is a bold call.

        • Jessica Hamby

          You’ve been calling Che all week. Can’t argue with your consistency. He’s 50-1 to be next out, FI are 9-1 and R&B are 9-2. I can’t see any b3 odds on Bwin. Can someone look them up on betfair?

          That would be an extraordinary b3.

          I have to ask, what is it about Che that makes you say that?

          • Linda

            Haha I won’t say it again and apologies for that. But to answer your question I think his one trick (which admittedly is pretty good) of singing old soul standards rooted to the spot has to suffer from the law of diminishing returns. He had the pimp slot last week so in the week deemed “Love and Heartbreak” we’ll get the same-old-same-old but earlier in the show. However that theme gives Anton and Mason Noise a chance to shine if they really get their teeth in before Saturday. Cowell will want Anton at least fourth or fifth so I don’t think he’s in danger of going this week. If there are any Max transfers floating around, I suspect they’ll move to Mason rather than Che, particularly if we get a performance from Mason akin to that delivered at Judges Houses. Monica’s vote that’s transferable will split between Lauren in the majority and Mason (I don’t think Louisa will benefit). In light of all that I think we’ll see Che by default fall into B3 with shock and astonishment all round. I don’t think he’ll leave this week but he’ll be down there. I think RnB will be out first after that it’s in the lap of the gods.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I wasn’t complaining. I was impressed by your consistency. It’s a valid point of view.

            I’m going to wait until I see what songs are coming before I make any decisions. They killed Max by failing to delight his demo, did the same to Anton (along with other tricks but does anyone really want to hear than song again) and could do the same to others this weekend.

            Want to get R&B out? Give them a ballad. Want to get Lauren out? Give her Skyfall. Want to get Mason out? Give him Elton John or If I Were A Boy.

            I think tomorrow will make the targets a lot clearer. Also,watch to see if R&B are dressed in their signature jackets and backwards caps. If not I think it’s a sign they’ll be in a bit of bother.

  • stoney

    I can’t believe people are seriously debating who is the chosen one. Louisa hasn’t had half the pimping Tamera had last year. This suggests everything is going swimmingly but I do expect tptb to turn it up a notch or 2 over the next few weeks

    • Jessica Hamby

      [pedantry]Tamera’s pimping last year was conspicuous by its absence.[/pedantry]

      😉

    • Jessica Hamby

      Also, going back to basics and looking at Louisa’s staging and styling for her performances and comparing it with Lauren’s it is obvious who the alpha girl is.

      Personally I think arguments about who can or can’t be a pop star are irrelevant. X factor would have Adele as a gamma girl. If Lady Gaga had auditioned she’d have been treated like Blonde Electra and been out first week.

      Just look at the way their performances are presented and it’s obvious. Right now the Louisa is the favoured one. Everyone else is being deramped or given mediocre, unconvincing support. Whether or not that means she’ll win is another matter.

      It’s easy to assume things are going according to plan but I give you one word of warning. Fleur.

  • The maestro

    Tamera ???She wasnt in it last year fleaur east got all the pimping and never got anywhere near ben in anycase ive said this before when has plan a ever won apart from leona and shayne ward the public vote who they want to vote for and to win the xfactor you have to be likeable i dont see that in louisa shes 17 and looks and acts 21she has no journey to go on she will not win lauren murray is the value at 4s

  • The juan

    Interesting comments and interesting to note that fourth impact smashed the digital spy pole by taking over 50% of the vote……

  • The juan

    Definitely taken with a pinch of salt, still worth noting. All it takes is a +44 before the number to make/register a telephone vote… Song choices are going to be crucial this week and i honestly think all will be revealed.

    Lauren is still my number one. There is a nagging thought in my head regarding an outsider though and the winners song (forever young).

    How would the song be treated?
    Ballad
    “John lewis(ed)”
    Along the lines of faith Evans/puff daddy (I’ll be missing you)
    A sort of Sam Bailey feel good
    A classic track
    A glee type production with a happiness (lots of fooling around in the snow and matching Christmas jumpers)

    If we can answer that one, we could be going somewhere? 😉

    • Jessica Hamby

      You’re getting ahead of yourself. First and foremost it’s the franchise, then the ratings, then sales.

      The Winner’s single is not a consideration at this point. They can even change it if they want to. It’s like thinking about the tour. They don’t care that much about who is in seventh for the tour line up. The people who buy tickets for the X Factor tour will buy tickets anyway, whether it’s Lauren, Alien, Monica, Max or Reggie & Bollie. The people who don’t go see the X Factor tour won’t be persuaded whoever is on it.

  • Boki

    I’m not sure about this but I had an impression that they announced “more than 2 million votes” last Sunday as something out of ordinary. Is that true, can anyone remember that they was giving us figures (and such big ones) so early in the competition?
    If true that can be a consequence of app usage, some people probably realized they can use multiple devices, but could the foreign votes also contribute to it? Last week for example I sent 10 votes to Mason, app confirmed it while I have no idea of course what happens further.
    It’s easy to imagine that producers just allow those “vpn votes” in case it benefits them (e.g. wanting FI to progress). Also they could pull the plug in the opposite case. I wonder how many people from abroad are actually voting…

    • Stu

      Is there actually an official rule that votes must be cast from inside the UK?

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think the vote is independent of the show or scrutinised or something. Voting irregularities or inconsistencies of the kind you suggest would severely damage the show, Syco any artist who won as a result of them, just about everyone involved. The danger of such manipulation coming out is too great.

      I think it’s highly doubtful that they’re playing fast and loose with the count. A story like that is worth thousands, even tens of thousands. Also, Scowell has shows in the US. I don’t know if the voting is paid for over there but even if not, suggestions of fraud over here could potentially open him up to all kinds of scrutiny over there. He aint taking those sorts of risks.

  • The juan

    Jess, I’m taking about the presumed vibe and feel for the winners single (Christmas number one) which may be aimed for this year.

    Yes, they can bend it anyway, but, which way would be preferred out of the suggestions?

    On the foreign vote…. Not sure about outside uk voting but vpns etc and other methods are quite easy to overcome.
    Another active consideration is the student (university) vote… There is a huge proportion of this vote that is oriental…this could have a ‘fourth impact’ on the result?(couldn’t resist that, but there is truth)

    • Jessica Hamby

      I understand that Juan.

      I just don’t think it matters very much.

      They have to prioritise. Xmas single comes way down the list. They can deal with that when the time comes, when they have some idea of who might sing it.

    • Martin

      “Forever Young” is anonymous enough that any X Factor act could cover it and it sound passable. Even Jay Z has had a crack at it. You only have to look at Little Mix singing “Cannonball” which may have seemed wildly unsuitable at the time.

      • Stu

        I was just going to mention Little Mix and Cannonball. That’s proof enough that it doesn’t matter what the winner’s single is. It can be neutralised to fit any of the acts left – even Mason and FI.

      • Ben Cook

        You’re thinking of the wrong Forever Young. That was Alphaville. However, what you say is still true. Judging by Jahmene’s version of the Bob Dylan song, I think it’d work well for pretty much any of the finalists.

  • Jessica Hamby

    We have colour vomit, red and black, fire, subliminals. What do we call what they did to Anton? Is there a nice pithy phrase for the washed out, black and white effect they gave him? Can we call it monochromed or something.

    • Martin

      filtered?!

      With how effective it seemed to be i wouldn’t be surprised to see it used again. Maybe with a red colour instead of the blue, a whole new way of red and black.

  • stoney

    I think its worth noting that most early young female favourites have started drifting by now and would continue to do so until elimination. Louisas odds are getting shorter by the week and she is on course to be odds on after this weekend.

    • Dean F

      If she gets the pimp slot and nails it she will be a very short price at odds-on by Sunday for sure. Still the whole treatment of Lauren and how positive the comments were last week gives me that inkling of doubt. Running order could be key here. If Louisa is on early again I would not know what TPTB are playing at, and I never believe in acts being ‘due’ a pimp slot as we have seen in previous series. Still my prediction is she will get that this weekend.

  • Stu

    I fully expect a running order of:

    1. Reggie n Bollie
    2. Lauren
    3. Che / Anton
    4. Mason
    5. Anton / Che
    6. Fourth Impact
    7. Louisa

  • annie

    Lauren´s being Sam Baileyd.
    Per digital spy her song choice is Mariah Carey (we belong together…) 🙁
    So long non-karaoke, fairly contemporary, relevant song choices.
    At least it´s not My all or Without you.

    • Kermit_The_Frog

      If this song choice is true, I can see why they selected it – no real chorus, not one of Mariah’s best-remembered songs in the UK, little potential to ‘wow’ the audience, lots of opportunity to fail in a vocally difficult song.

      HOWEVER

      To me, it is somewhat relevant – 90s/00s R&B hit, a genre that Lauren seems fond of (remember Brownstone in the auditions?) and well-remembered by lots of ‘mums and dads’ – those of us in our 30s were out grinding in clubs when these songs were released, not listening to Whitney ballad cassettes on the school-run.

      If she’s on very early in the show (which we can assume she will be), she’ll need to be memory-holed to destroy her vote. Though I see flashes of Alexandra Burke in Lauren – if she could make Week One work and avoid the bottom 3, she’ll have no trouble from this week onwards.

      Mason, Che and 4th Impact
      My pre-show Bottom 3 prediction

      • Jessica Hamby

        I’d never heard it until just now, or if I had I certainly didn’t remember it. It’s a dreadful, dull, forgettable song which is why it never gets played on the radio. They’ll try and do a Max on her with polite, bland comments and dull, nothing staging. They may add red and black and/or wash out the colours as with Anton. Then a quick flush down the memory hole.

        She’ll have to sing like an angel to make this work.

        Much as I love Lauren, and I think by now y’all know I do, I think I should point out that she is currently 33-1 for next elimination at Skybet. If this is the song she’s singing……

        :-/

  • Kermit_The_Frog

    I think that reports of Lauren’s illness will 100% help her – she shows no signs of being unhappy in the process, particularly on live shows and is already ‘relatable’ to the audience.

    The fact that so many on here (cynic-nation) are warming to her is testament to this.

    That said, reports of Lauren’s illness also betray that the show (or, more importantly, SyCo) don’t want a Lauren win. They will potentially be unable to subject someone fighting an illness to the intense hours and workload forced upon everyone else. And if they drop her, the fact that she’s ill could potentially cause a backlash against them and the show.

    If it’s not apparent, I’ll be voting for Lauren this week – lots of popstars have succeeded without being worked too hard, maybe SyCo should try a “less is more” approach, like they did with Leona all those years ago…

  • Caro

    “Take the large, pre-created images of Louisa” – these struck me as very significant. I don’t like the large live shots we’ve been getting (those ‘best bit’ montages in the sing-offs are particularly annoying/distracting), but the images of Louisa were the type of photos of established stars you get in magazines. This tactical use of images on the backdrop reminded me of the famous Luke Friend deramp where he was seen cavorting with an older woman, only of course in Louisa’s case the images are being used positively, to reinforce the idea of Louisa as a successful artist.

  • Caro

    “What was the overall impact of the filtering?” I’d say it definitely stripped away the warmth. Close up Anton looks like a cardboard cut-out with that blue jacket against the flat light, and the effect of those roving searchlights in the background (apart from making me think of the Blitz – but that’s probably just me) was to deflect the gaze from him to up and away… note also that the camera pans slowly sideways, which combined with the slowly waving lights made my gaze repeatedly drift away from him.

  • Stu

    Am I the only one who isn’t reading too much into Louisa’s backdrop image? It was Movie Week and she sang a song from Romeo + Juliet. Surely the image of her was just an imitation of the angelic and innocent Juliet? I’d say the fact that she sang a song from Romeo + Juliet was a tactical decision due to obvious reasons. But I personally think there’s nothing more to the backdrop image of her than just it relating to the film.

  • The juan

    Just in case anybody missed this when it came out about a fortnight ago http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/x-factors-4th-impact-say-6663301

    Went a little unspoken and celina’s illness is an interesting reminder *nudge*

  • Ben Cook

    I don’t really see much evidence of “deramping” of Lauren. I don’t think the original choice of song was a bad choice – it was everything other than that song that killed off whatsherface. And the VT was pretty positive.

    I can see Syco wanting to sign both Louisa and Lauren this year. Even if they’d prefer Louisa to win, I don’t think Lauren winning would be a disaster, and it’d be daft to sabotage her if they are interested in her. It can’t all just be about getting one person over the line.

    • Edie M

      It seems deramping is perhaps too strong a word in terms of what they’re actually doing to her on the weekly shows, that is more like a dampening tp try and keep her vote in check & to not seem too harsh to such a likeable person. But the stories that have appeared in the papers this week, and the increasingly negative way in which they’ve been framed really does feel like a deramping.

  • Keen Observer

    Quite possible they intended to deramp Lauren last week but then they had to change song last minute, and it became more important to get something sorted quickly with VT/staging etc that wouldn’t negatively affect the show. In the end she smashed it and this may well have changed producer intentions towards her this week.

    You need genuine contests like Louisa vs Lauren to make viewers interested and watch the show. Could be very foolish to start deramping her now after a great performance. As long as they have a Louisa/Lauren/Che/4I semi you’re going to have a couple of really interesting weeks.

  • Dave S

    I am an old cynic but I have to ask anyway – was there actually anything wrong with Celina last week or was it all staged for the sympathy vote? The whole thing looked completely fake to me as she wobbled around (conveniently after finishing the song) and Simon developed a hitherto unseen ability to worry about people. It might have worked a bit better but she had to wobble around for ages while Olly worked out where the chairs had gone (they’re behind you!!) I do get so fed up of these healthy young people catching every virus going – Max was whining on about it too. Instant elimination for anyone attempting the viral vote I say.

    • Martin

      I thought this. Convenient that she managed to stay conscious long enough to hear their overwhelmingly positive comments.

      I do think that, if it were planned, they’d have hammed it up a bit more in the VT though. I get the sense that it was a last minute “we might as well throw this in if she’s feeling a bit shit” sort of set up, rather than a calculated attempt at sympathy for the week. The performance was decent enough, it didn’t need that extra push.

  • EM

    Interesting there’s a lot of assumption that Lousia and Lauren is an either-or situation and everything is being looked at to work out who is the favoured girl.

    If the answer is both certain things make more sense.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Have you listened to the song she’s supposed to be singing?

      Someone on Digital Spy has suggested she is doing We Belong Together by Maria Carey. Apparently the source is the x factor facebook page. Perhaps someone with Facebook can check.

      It’s a rubbish song. No chorus, nothing memorable, worst kind of passionless, tedious 90s r&b drivel. It is not a song for someone they want to see next week.

      • fiveleaves

        You talk some tripe Jessica. Excuse my French
        It’s the most watched Mariah Carey song on youtube. Was #2 here and #1 in the states for weeks. A song that relaunched her career.
        It has a very modern feel for a Mariah song and looks like a great choice for Lauren

        • Martin

          LOL

          To be honest, I think the song is a bit of a turd. Chart success of a song means nothing on X Factor. “Boom Clap” and “Chandelier” were two of the biggest pop songs of 2014 and they both landed the contestants which sang them in the bottom two last year. “Don’t Stop Me Now” is one of the nations favourite Queen songs, yet it repeatedly gets performed on this show, and repeatedly it’s singer ends up in the bottom two.

          “We Belong Together” hasn’t been performed on a live show before so we have nothing to go on. In my opinion, it’s a difficult mid-tempo number, which is very whispery and low key for a lot of the song. It’s not until near the end when it picks up, and even then Mariah is singing in all sorts of octaves Lauren could only dream of reaching. The pro’s, IMO, are that it has a cute message and it’s from the last 15 year so may appear “modern” to a young audience. For Lauren’s sake, I hope they mess with the watery R&B arrangement, and make it a bit more contemporary which may play to her strengths – a bit of imaginative production could benefit her, but I won’t hold my breath.

        • annie

          I agree, partially that is.
          If it had to be Mariah then it is one of the better (best?) choices.

          But Mariah with whatever song is a huge ungratefull risk.
          Firstly just the fact. a talent show contestant singing Mariah, is a bit of cliche in the perception of the general audience.
          Secondly she does have a huge range and brilliant voice, so all her songs give plenty of opportunity to screw up.

          These past two weeks linked Lauren to in-fashion contemporary music, whilst this, on paper at least, makes her a bit dated, old fashioned.

          Let´s wait and see the performance though. In my mind it was a much worse song than I felt when listening to it just now. It does have some groove and I sense that cropping it down to XF lenght will do it good, asI feel it´s big problem is that it is too repetitive and turns into meeeow fest.

          • fiveleaves

            I’m no expert when it comes to these songs. It’s not my cup of tea. Neither was last weeks choice and she did amazingly with it.
            I’m sure Lauren knows the song well and will do an excellent job with it.
            A very positive article from the official site after what I consider to be some excellent publicity for her this week. Lauren and Louisa have been all over the media.
            Anyone seen Che?

          • Jessica Hamby

            You think it’s better than Always Be My Baby or Hero?

            I don’t. As far as I can tell it has neither melody nor chorus. I hope I’m wrong. I love Lauren. I think this is as bad as Max’s Springsteen song and figleaf.

            I cannot see how this appeals to the x factor demo at all and it is 10 years old. I don’t consider that modern.

          • annie

            Hero would have been the ultimate killer. So overdone its ultimate nausea.
            ABMYB much cheesier as well.

          • Stu

            Jess I think We Belong Together is a promising song choice for Lauren. Lets remember that the song is going to be cut to 2-3 minutes – so I assume it will be first verse – bridge – chorus – bridge – climax chorus. The run of notes right at the end of the song could be amazing if Lauren gets it right. Plus there’s the sustained note at the end and XF viewers love that kind of thing. 😉

          • Jessica Hamby

            Maybe cheesy Annie but rarely done on the X Factor as far as I remember.

            Anyway, we’ll just have to see. I love Lauren to bits and I hope she wins the bloody thing. My fear is that his song does not delight her demo. She has established herself doing big songs with strong melodies and clear choruses. They’ve all been songs you can sing along to. Her last two weeks have been very popular, well known, contemporary songs. I don’t think this fits that category.

            There is so much lyrical content that it’s hardly a song at all in my opinion. I listened to it and I couldn’t remember any part of it clearly when it ended.

            Beware of confirmation bias. Sometimes you want a certain thing to happen so much that you only allow yourself to see the things that support your desire. I wonder if that is the case here.

            Anyway I hope you are right and I am wrong. I’m not going to make the same mistake I did when I called Seann though.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Incidentally, the 33-1 on Skybet has now gone. The best you can find is 18.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I just have to add this particular gem from figleaves.

            It has all the sincerity of La Osbourne talking about Abi Alton’s shoes.

            It has a very modern feel for a Mariah song

            if that’s what someone who claims it is a good choice is saying……. 🙁

      • Ben Cook

        We Belong Together is actually a good choice for Lauren. R&B ballads is what she does best.

  • EM

    https://www.facebook.com/TheXFactor/posts/10153233684018302

    One to disprove the theory that the tour line up depends on voting or influences eliminations

  • Martin

    Anyone watching Xtra Factor? Louisa is doing ‘Let It Go’ by James Bay.

    In other news, Lauren Murray is adorable and I’m in danger of letting personal opinion clouding my view.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Sadly I’m on a mad work schedule this week so can’t watch.

      As far as Lauren being adorable goes, see above.

      Beware of confirmation bias. Sometimes you want a certain thing to happen so much that you only allow yourself to see the things that support your desire. I wonder if that is the case here.

      • Martin

        I know. I feel I’ve questioned more this year than previously – if lauren gets thrown to the wolves in Saturday’s show I’ll be putting money down, I did see that 33/1 earlier and considered it but I was at work and didn’t get chance.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Also, if anything interesting comes up in Xtra factor, pls post. As I say I can’t watch it. One thing that interests me – are Reggie & Bollie wearing their red and blue jackets and hats?

      • Martin

        Haven’t really seen much of them yet, I will be sure to keep you updated. Their segment is on now and they’re wearing all black white and grey. No colour in sight. They’re singing “Dangerous Love”‘ and “Shut up and dance with me” mashed up. Two uptempo positive choices?

        Interesting shot of Lauren rehearsing choreography with some shirtless make dancers.

        • Jessica Hamby

          If tptb are taking them seriously they’ll keep their trademark look going as well as the sound. They need that as much as they need the afro beats. It may not be specifically about the colours or the jackets but that sort of feel, along with the baseball caps, helps their identity.

          It’s a wait until the show with them for me this week. In theory it sounds like it could work. Shut Up And Dance With Me is a massive, popular song that could work just as well as the One Direction thing did with Cheerleader. I don’t know Dangerous Love off the top of my head so it’s hard for me to visualise (auralise?) it.

    • Sagand

      The version of Let It Go Louisa will be singing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxQN1g491NQ

  • stoney

    Bordering on annoying for me. Witneeeeeeeeee is like nails down a black board

  • Martin

    Fourth Impact are doing “Ain’t No Other Man” – quick song choice switch from a ballad apparently.

  • Edie M

    Doesn’t seem like FI are doing a ballad anymore…
    That seems to bode well for the fact producers don’t want them to expose their vocals, but in the long term if they really aren’t capable of singing/connecting to a ballad.

    • Sagand

      I take the opposite view, the producers won’t give them an opportunity to ignore everything else and just showcase their vocals. As long as they are doing dance numbers the vocal is always going to suffer and they aren’t given the chance to connect emotionally with the audience. They’ve been given their niche and now aren’t allowed to leave it to expand their vote.

      • Edie M

        You could be absolutely right regarding the ‘niche’, they have certainly be pigeonholed. Only thing is, the closest they came to a ballad- JH- was imo their worst performance.

        • Martin

          They have been given very “brassy” uptempo numbers, and are basically singing songs that sound a bit like “Sax” by Fleur East. It will suit them to the ground but they are being pigeon holed.

          • Jessica Hamby

            This is a great song for them but yes, they are getting stuck in a rut. Having said that, this sort of song could totally memory hole anyone who sings a ballad before it (as will Reggie and Bollie).

  • Joe

    OH MY GOD. Did anyone just see Lauren sing on Xtra Factor. Was she messing about? Sounded terrible. Not sure what they asked her to do but she was set up for a fall.

    I like her, funny, warm and with a great voice too. More rounded than Louisa. But I fear Lauren is done for.

  • Martin

    Mason Noise popping up in an awful Snoop Dogg long length leopard print jacket. Singing “Jealous” by Nick Jonas. Which is a massive tune but worrying for me. He sings the line ‘it’s my right to be hellish’ but it’s a hella sexy song, depends what they want to do with it.

    Che doing a Marvin Gaye cover of “Yesterday” by the Beatles.

    • Edie M

      They’ve let us know he’s been on voice rest, which seems positive to me. The skit seemed to be doing a bit of a Sean Miley Moore demolition job on Che.Implying he was gross & loud etc.
      Also the show now joking that Anton is in love with, obsessing over Simon Cowell.

    • Linda

      That leopard print coat is from Grimshaw’s Topman collection.

    • Jessica Hamby

      “It’s my right to be hellish”?

      HEH!!!!

      He flounced out of an X-Factor audition. He’s not a cop killer.

  • Martin

    This is the version of “Let it Go” Louisa is doing – https://youtu.be/cxQN1g491NQ
    – sorry Sagand looks like you got there first.

    Anton doing some song by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men I’ve never heard. A Mariah-off like the Katy Perry off between the boy bands last year?

    Reggie and Bollie being surprisingly good at the end of the show too!

    • Edie M

      I thought exactly the same thing about r&b

    • Jessica Hamby

      Regarding the Katy Perry off, iirc they both lost (although Stereo Kicks were kept breathing on life support for a few more weeks).

      • Martin

        Overload were bottom of the vote, Stereo Kicks got glorious comments, the better song of the two and fell into the bottom two the week after.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Yeah. Great comments for an average performance can be damaging in the long term. People notice, especially if they watch the show a second time.

    • Fudd

      Anton’s choice has been performed twice before – in series 5 by JLS and series 7 by John Adeleye. The boyband finished 4th out of 7 in week 5 (13.26% of the vote); John ended up 9th out of 16 (2.46% of the vote) in week 1. So it’s not a killer number, really, and Anton has a potential bounce behind him.

  • stoney

    Ive snapped up the 9/2 for rnb to go next this weekend. Grab it while you can

  • Martin

    Thoughts on song choice and Xtra.

    – Aubrey from Dogglebox chose Anton, and only Anton to be the next out. Makes me think it’s a single this week.

    – worrying choices for me are the two Mariah songs. Neither are typical choices which may be a positive, but I think Lauren’s is the better choice personally. Do either delight the demo? Not particularly. Masons song is also a risk but it’s in his lane and would delight his demo. Depends if there’s enough of his demo to delight.

    – Louisa is disappearing into Ella Henderson territory. Constant new arrangements of songs, lauren has already performed the better and most well known James Bay song and the new version she’s doing isn’t particularly mind blowing. She must be performing comfortably to give her this dirge.

    – Reggie & Bollie staying firmly in their “fun” lane with two modern, uptempo songs. Should work.

    • Jessica Hamby

      This keeps Louisa right in her niche and plays to her demo. The people who liked Everybody’s Free will like this. She can have a starry background and another white dress and all the usual shizzle.

      Just listened to Dangerous Love. it’s perfect for them and will go down a storm with Shut Up & Dance With Me. Sorry Stoney. I think you better lay that as soon as you can. They aren’t going anywhere.

      • stoney

        The bookies are not agreeing. There odds have been dropping since the songs were revealed. 3/1 in some places

        • Jessica Hamby

          Well good luck, but remember it’s the public that decide.

          If they get down a bit further you can lay and lock in a profit.

          • stoney

            Yes ill look out for that chance. I think they are wearing a bit thin now. I would guess their support is amongst the lowest except mason but I just think they want to keep mason in for a while longer. There is a gap for him in the market right now

          • Jessica Hamby

            I find them a refreshing change from the same small selection of songs and the interminable ballads that they x factor usually offers.

            For a while now I’ve thought that the limited and dreary songs and performances are one of the reasons the show has been in decline. It’s become boring and predictable. At least R&B aren’t that.

  • stoney

    I don’t see why they are doing another mashup. This would work much better without SUADWM

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s the audience. This isn’t a dance hall. It’s the X Factor. They like songs they know and can sing along to. Think of it like one huge wedding breakfast or office party, only noone’s drunk and everyone’s sitting on sofas.

      Oh God! Is that what hell is like?

  • All set up for, Che to characterized and assassinated as old fashioned, B3 runner this weekend

  • Jessica Hamby

    So the song choices are

    Lauren: We Belong Together – Mariah Carey

    Louisa: Let It Go – James Bay reworked by Sofia Karlberg

    Reggie & Bollie: Dangerous Love / Shut Up And Dance With Me (mash up) – Fuse ODG (feat. Sean Paul) / Walk The Moon

    Che Chesterman: Yesterday – Marvin Gaye cover of The Beatles

    Mason Noise: Jealous – Nick Jonas

    Fourth Impact: Aint No Other Man – Xtina

    Anton: One Sweet Day – Mariah Carey / Boyz II Men

  • Lia

    I think We Belong Together was the first Mariah song that didn’t make me cringe 😉 It is a nice song and depending on the arrangement it can be very good, but it could easily go the forgettable route too.
    What did we think was Ella’s stand in the competition when she got slow song after slow song? Did we think she was safe? I’m just thinking if there is any chance TPTB are just dumb and are making the same mistake with Louisa. If she comes out with star shaped lights, wearing a star necklace and with a full constelation on the screens I think she might be in danger…

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’m not going to be able to watch it but if I could I’d be thanking God for FI and R&B. The rest is going tobe a bit dreary imo.

      Maybe Mason will do this. It would keep him out of the danger zone imo.

  • Vülker

    Going to stick my neck out and predict Louisa and Che for the bottom two this weekend.
    They keep sending out the same stuff and eventually the public will get tired of it and we’ll have a new Ella vs James Arthur surprise. Not convinced the survivor can go on to win it all though…

    I can see the public voting for all the others for different reasons but can’t pinpoint how the public will be convinced to vote yet again for a John Lewis’ed cover version and a Motown rehash.

    • Jessica Hamby

      The Marvin Gaye version of Yesterday is a true showstopper though. If Che gets it right, and he should, he won’t be anywhere near b3. It may be old Motown but it’s pretty special and most of them will never have heard it before.

    • Lia

      That’s what I’m hoping for… Would be hilarious!!!

  • Rose

    I haven’t easily been able to find the Marvin Gaye version of Yesterday online and no time today to search for it further…however, knowing the rest of the Marvin Gaye canon very well, I agree with Vulker about Che; I think this is potentially too similar to everything else he has done. I also wonder if it will sound like the Beatles John Lewised and suspect that Beatles’ songs are sacrosanct for the demographic in the original version, unless the changes made are really amazing. So I think Che in the bottom two might very well be our “shock” this weekend.

  • Joe

    Che got the pimp slot last week if my memory serves me right. Tbtb must have his vote under control to allow this, as they surely aren’t out to push him into being too much of a strong contender to rival their chosen one.

    I think someone on here said that the sun newspaper publicised the first 4 weeks as double eliminations? Everyone is in danger except Louisa and Lauren. Don’t think producers mind who is bottom 3 as they have been derailing everyone the whole series.

    One of the bands are set to go for sure. R and B I think will be first to go as the ‘novelty act’ often leave in 6th position. Mason is on the way down from a bounce with Anton rising leaving Che in danger. I think Grimmy will be made to choose between his own acts…….

    • Jessica Hamby

      Is there past proof that running order is indicative of support for contestants or is this an assumption that you are making independent of evidence? The reason that I ask is that I could provide equally compelling reasons to argue that Che is doing well and Louisa not so much if I wanted to.

      • Kermit_The_Frog

        Firstly, there is evidence that contestants doing well in the public vote are sent out early as they are immune to the pitfalls of those slots.

        Secondly, there is also evidence that contestants in the firing line without public support are also sent out early to push them into the Bottom 3.

        Thirdly, there is evidence that favoured contestants without public support are kept away from early slots as this could put them in danger.

        HOWEVER

        There is no evidence that helps us conclude which contestants fall into which category during a series, so it’s of no consequence until we see the vote results at the end!

  • annie

    Are there previews to the iTunes pre-order listings? Can they be listened to without having iTunes?

  • Stu

    My thoughts on the song choices (even if they aren’t really the best factor to determine how things will pan out):

    Fourth Impact’s song has only been performed once before on XF and that was by Amelia Lily in the 2011 final. Obviously it didn’t really do her any favours but it’s important to note that she was going into the final as the underdog anyway.

    I really don’t know what the producers are playing at with Louisa’s song choice. It’s another slow one which makes me wonder if Louisa’s week 2 performance made her score her lowest percentage of the vote so far. There must be a reason why they’re not giving her more up-tempo song choices…

    We Belong Together is a difficult song to sing but I think the end of the song could be big for Lauren. But it also allows a major deramp if the producers really wanted since the song is a challenge.

    The route the producers/Simon are clearly going with Anton is for him to be seen as predictable and unoriginal. First I Have Nothing and now a Mariah song. They did the same thing with Andrea last year with Hero, I Have Nothing and Listen (if I remember correctly).

    Mason’s song choice is promising. A lot of people on DS have been suggesting Jealous for Mason and it’ll certainly connect more with the XF audience than Drake (his first choice). But, beyond that, I don’t know what the producers’ plans are for him this weekend. I still expect him to leave.

  • George

    I think the best time for 4I to do a ballad is next week when they perform two songs. Performing another uptempo risks them being pigeon holed though but being the only proper uptempo that isn’t a joke act should be enough to save them this week.

    Don’t really have much to say about the other choices. What seems like a dud on paper could be amazing on the night.

    • Stu

      Good point George re FI. The thing is when an act constantly sings up-tempo songs, viewers expect a ballad to show that the act can actually sing. Doing a Christina Aguilera up-tempo will allow both a performance and a vocal showcase.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Do viewers really expect a ballad? I think viewers mostly want an entertaining show and there are loads of ballads already. There’s this ongoing theme that viewers vote on who will be most marketable for the dullards at Syco. I don’t think that’s true. I think viewers tend to vote on who they like and which acts entertain them most on any given night.

        • Stu

          I think the viewers who are more musically-focused would feel that if an act always does up-tempo it suggests that they can’t handle a ballad. But I do see your point.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Is that what you think? Because honestly I don’t. I’d quite like to see Louisa doing something a bit different from the tinkly emotional stuff and I’d quite like to see Che (and Anton for that matter) do something more contemporary and upbeat but the one thing I don’t think is “I wish there were more ballads”. I look at that line up and I think if FI were doing a slow number too I’d just want to switch off.

          • Stu

            I’ve seen posts saying “it’s about time they sing a ballad” on DS. Quite a few of them. But yes I do see your point. Maybe it’s just because I remember the same thing being said about Little Mix but admittedly their year had lots of up-tempo acts (Marcus, Amelia, Misha B, Kitty and so on…)

          • Edie M

            I think there’s a disjuncture between what the audience want to see (i.e not an entire programme of dull ballads) and what they think an individual act needs to be able to do (i.e demonstrate they can emotionally connect to a ballad) in order to be in contention for winning the show.

  • stoney

    Big market movement for louisa today. Bet way the 1st to make her odds on for the win. Evens with pretty much the rest of them.

  • Stu

    Why is Seann 15/1 to win on 10bet? Surely they can’t bring him back to the show? (no matter how much I loved him)

  • Jessica Hamby

    The problem I have with this line up is that although they are all nice enough songs in their own right, as a program it looks boring. One Sweet Day and Let It Go are songs that people have at funerals. We Belong Together is pretty miserable too. Without Reggie & Bollie and Fourth Impact to liven it up it’s frankly a bit depressing.

    Are they going to deramp R&B or FI and turn the only two lively performances into something second rate to get their preferred winner? Isn’t that yet more self-inflicted damage to the show?

    • George

      With the show seemingly on a knife edge (not helped by ITV winning The Voice) they need to do what is in the interests of the show and I don’t think deramping most of the contestants just to get one across the line is particularly helpful.

      With the ratings surely there is a lot more going on in the producers’ minds than how they’re going to get so and so out.

  • Henry VIII

    What do we make of this message from a Cowell mouthpiece?

    Just Simon Cowell ‏@JustSimonCowell 4m4 minutes ago

    OT: Is anyone watching #AdeleAtTheBBC? We want a @CheChesterman and @Adele duet in @TheXFactor final!

    • Jessica Hamby

      They want Che in the final and they want you to want him there too.

      • Henry VIII

        Maybe they want him there. But why?

        • Jessica Hamby

          *shrugs*

          Maybe they think he’s entertaining.

          Maybe the public like him.

          Maybe they’ve put a bet on him.

          Maybe the person who runs the account licked a toad.

        • Tim B

          They NEED a male in the final for ratings, especially in a year when ratings have been abysmal. So that means either Ché or Anton will be in the final, and they’ve been a hell of a lot kinder to Ché. Also, Ché was name checked for the final in his VT (thanks Daniel).

          • Martin

            My take on that Adele tweet is that Adele may have say to the show that Che is the only finalist she’d sing with. She was in the press a few weeks back saying she’d duet in the final but only if she thought the singer was great, and then name checked Ella Henderson as an example. Just speculative, but I can’t imagine Simon tweeting that on a whim.

            EDIT – I’ve just read properly and it’s not even actual
            Simon, my bad. I don’t really think it’s that important in that case.

    • Sagand

      The website says “This site is independently run with no official connection to Simon or Syco Entertainment.” But even if it is a Cowell mouthpiece why wouldn’t they want Che in the final? All the signs are the show is being helpful to him.

  • Donald

    Playing catch up, been too busy to really focus all week. Sofabet is best place to catch up by far. Plenty good conversation.

    Miss Platt beat Andrea to the final last year with public vote despite bad slots etc. but they still put Andrea through. If Loiusa vote holding like Miss Platt time for them to push on, I would think Fourth Impact more likely to have attracted Miss Platt fans than Louisa.

    It could all come down to an Adele duet yet, anything for viewing figures. If Adele was to perform who would she be most likely to duet with? That a situation to seriously consider. It is hard to see her doing show at the minute though, ratings down, bit old hat, depends on Adele album sales for Xmas suppose. Did I say album sales in the year 2015…

    Fourth Impact with One Direction in final?

    If two acts going home this week, Mason and Anton most likely but going to watch show first.

    All still not well in house heard…

    “Twenty Feet From Stardom” is a classic.

    • Tim B

      I have a really strong feeling that 4th Impact are likely to duet with Little Mix in the final.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Can you give any form to “all still not well in house”?

      We know Lauren is not living there and we know why. What else is happening? There’s only the 2 boys, Anton, the two groups and Louisa (10 people) in a house that originally had 22 in it. Surely there’s enough space for them to avoid one another if they’re getting on each other’s nerves.

    • Sagand

      OT: The Oscar’s are my main betting event of the year so I try and watch every film that’s nominated. “20 Feet from Stardom” is the only one I’ve every fallen asleep in. Classic isn’t the word I’d use to describe it.

  • Lia

    I was going through 2012 archives to answer my own question of how we perceived Ella to be doing at this stage in the competition. Re-found this superb Richard Betsfactor post. I think it can be applied to this year: perceived credibility and mix it up! Makes total sense!
    http://sofabet.com/2012/11/02/x-factor-2012-richard-betsfactors-state-of-the-union-address/

    • Edie M

      This was a really interesting read. I got pretty bored with Ella in 2012 (although not compared to Jahmene) and I’m not a fan of Louisa atm. I could be, but they’re just giving her such awful songs even giving her Billie Jean for her uptempo number was bizarre.

      • Jessica Hamby

        It’s weird given that she’s wanted to be a singer for a long time and attended some sort of performance school that she’s not learned how to dance.

        Agree about the song choices. Apart from Billie Jean, which as you say is just wrong, all the rest is music for Magic FM.

        • Edie M

          Yeah it’s a bit strange. Also considering she’s been to stage school, is 17, looks like a popstar,and can sing well (& is a bit 1D personality wise) I’m just not sure why she’s on X Factor. Surely she’d have a shot at being signed and developed by a record label on her own?

          • Jessica Hamby

            You’d have thought she’d be a marketing man’s wet dream – the new teen pop sensation. If anything X Factor, the songs she has to sing and the audience she has to cater to are actually bad for her. They’re making her seem boring.

            17 yead old Britney was being a sexy schoolgirl in Hit Me Baby One More Time, 17 year old Miley was doing that amazing caged bird thing in Can’t Be Tamed. Arianna Grande, early Xtina, they are so much more fun. It’s like these girls were aimed at teens and young adults while Louisa is being aimed at their parents. No wonder it’s not quite working.

          • Edie M

            Exactly, I think she might actually be harming her career in the long-term. And, it’s considered pretty uncool to be associated with the dying brand that is x-factor these days.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Oi!! Kitty!!

            If you’re going to use any of this, or anything from this site, in your blog this week remember to attribute it. Something like

            As contibutor Jessica Hamby said on the website Sofabet.com….

            will do. 😉

  • Plinkiplonk

    Well, I think we can assume that Syco would give their right arm to get Adele for the final, regardless on who posted that tweet, simply because so far, this year is bad news regarding the viewing figures, and with the wrong set of contestants, the final could well be the last nail in the coffin. I cannot see Adele duetting with anyone but Che (and even that’s not a certainty), so if Che is their only chance to get Adele, Che will be there in the final. So my hopes are on a Louisa/Che singoff as soon as possible, that should liven things up…

  • stoney

    Why does adelle need to sing with someone?
    Im pretty sure she could do a better job on her own

    • Martin

      Of course she would, but now she’s said that she’s willing to sing with a contestant in the finals you can bet Cowell will be using every trick in the book to try and get her to, even if it’s not a with favoured contestant.

      • stoney

        I disagree. If adelle dueting with someone other than plan A is going to derail the plan id see her as performing on her own

        • Sagand

          It wouldn’t be a choice between Adele singing on her own or with a contestant but Adele singing once or twice. It’s better for the show that Adele would sing twice and the show is more important than any Plan A.

          That said we are discussing a comment by a Simon Cowell fan group who I doubt has any more information than us. Adele said she would have duetted with Ella Henderson the closest to Ella is Louisa, so wouldn’t that be the more likely duet?

        • Martin

          It’d be a ratings landslide, there’s no way they’d turn Adele down, even if she said she wanted to sing with Reggie n Bollie. It’s the closest they’ll ever get to a Beyoncé and Alexandra Burke moment again.

    • Curtis

      It’s not Adele who needs to sing with someone, it’s the someone that needs to duet with Adele! Not to mention the show needs her to do it.

  • R

    Most artists need the show for promotion and are willing sacrifice a credibility to appear on the show.

    Adele doesn’t need the show. She’s just had an hour long Friday evening show on the BBC promoting her album.
    She can pick & choose which shows she appears on & the X Factor viewers know she has an album out whether she appears on the show or not.

    So I guess it depends on if they offer her enough money ;p

  • Caro

    Apparently only 2 of the last 24 acts were not scouted. Does anyone know which two they are?

  • Stu

    Surely since The X Factor’s future is uncertain due to the ratings, it’d be in the show’s best interests to get “the right act” winning more than ever. Che winning would create yet another dull, boring male winner. If the more handsome Ben is struggling in the charts, Che would completely bomb. That’s a very shallow statement but the industry is shallow.

    “The right act” will presumably be a female act since the show’s most successful winners have all been female (Leona, Alexandra and Little Mix). But here’s a question: if there are 4 male acts and 1 female act left in the competition, will the female act have a huge advantage (and vice versa)?

    Obviously it is a different show but in Big Brother – BB11 Josie and BB10 Sophie were the only female finalists in their years and both won.

    So, what I’m ultimately thinking is that if the producers really want to get Louisa over the line, will they nuke 4th Impact and Lauren this weekend or next and therefore allowing her to be the last remaining female?

    • Jessica Hamby

      Ratings are about making a show people want to watch. Very little to do with who wins. The competition is only important insofar as it provides a reason for the show to exist.

      My opinion, obv.

      • Stu

        I think there are two ways of looking at it. If we take your view, who are the most valuable entertainment-wise?

        I’d say: Reggie N Bollie, Fourth Impact and Mason.

        But then, focusing on my point, who are the most commercial?

        I’d say: Louisa, Fourth Impact and Mason.

        This may be a HUGE stretch but wouldn’t it be more beneficial to the show if Mason was the token male in the final? Although I don’t know if the producers could somehow engineer him getting there. He also wouldn’t be a threat to win whereas Che and Anton would.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I’d rather see the show as a whole. Regarding performances you want a mix of acts, not all one thing. Early shows are different from later shows as the competition aspect becomes more important in creating drama (and therefore entertainment). The show is a series, not a bunch of standalones so there has to be a sense of progression and fairness but a lot of extra ppl tune in for semi final and final so you want good performers there, and variety.

          There are a lot of things to take into account. I’m sorry I got involved in this with you. It’s all too deep for me. I don’t look at the show like this. I look at how the competitors come across and how I think the public will react to them. I don’t bother too much trying to guess what the producers might want because even if I get it right the public may not vote the way tptb want them to.

          • Martin

            I think, as with most British things, the public like to see a sense of justice and ‘the best singer’ winning. Which is usually why we get such a boring winner. Or the best singer is dragged down with other things which damage the public perception, making them winning somehow ‘undeserving’ – them being a bully, or Italian etc.

            In terms of a show, I think generally the public expect a variety but also within a certain standard. A winner may be expected to show versatility, but also consistency. If the perception is that Fourth Impact can’t pull off a ballad, or don’t even attempt one, it may work against them as that does seem to be the measure of ‘being good’ when it comes to vocals. At the same time, the bar may be different for Louisa and Lauren, who keep doing ballads. If they keep doing ballads, it can be used against them. The public are a fickle people, and being boring (or just doing the same thing each week) is one of the most harmful things you can be on a Saturday night.

  • Lia

    A question to stir the discussion up: if the show is more important than who wins, why do tptb try so hard to get certain contestants to succeed/fail? The ramping/deramping can get quite nasty as we know.
    I think Simon’s ego and stuborness would never let the show run free and let the public REALLY decide who they like. He will always try to get HIS preferred winner even if he doesn’t always succeed…

    And if I see Louisa’s crying face in my telly again I’m gonna vomit!

    • Jessica Hamby

      Even if it’s because she’s eliminated? 😉

    • George

      The thing is, they have to be more careful than ever with the nuking because it makes it appear as if the contestants are of poor quality. If they want ratings to recover they need to be making a good show.

      That’s why I think rather than just one Plan A this year in Louisa, they’re leaving it open for Lauren, Che and Fourth Impact too.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think they want to create a dramatic narrative and they don’t trust the public to vote for the right people. They like stories – hero and villain, first time ingenue just off the street, experienced old timer back for one last shot…. These are what they think people want, so they manipulate the show to make sure people get it.

      Maybe they’re right. Maybe that’s why Fourth Impact aren’t quite connecting (along with the name).

  • Tim B

    I got a decent amount of money on Ché at double figures the other night, but I wish I’d got more. The potential is there for a mega bounce, for sure. Three of the last four eliminated acts have been Max, Mason and Anton, so there could be a hefty vote transfer. Hello is his first contemporary song AND the biggest song of the year. Oh, and wasn’t Adele talking about potentially duetting with someone in the final, if they were good enough?

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