It was the push seen around the world. A brief, minor moment during the Sunday results show became a viral sensation, after Lauren Murray was seen rejecting a group hug by pushing away the arm of a member of 4th Impact. Soon there were parodies on YouTube, and Twitter vitriol had gone global – though seemingly focused on 4th Impact’s home country, The Philippines.
In realtime, Lauren is seen to take the arm away from her shoulder as her attention is focused on the names called safe for another week. Just before she does it, the group coming to join her, including Louisa, start to turn to hear the latest announcement. And as she removes the arm, she mouthed a few short words which were misconstrued by early lip readers.
A slowed down replay showed that the words coming out of Lauren’s mouth were “Come On Ché”, rather than anything aimed at 4th Impact. But that didn’t stop some of the group’s more militant supporters and others taking to social media to accuse her of racism amongst other ridiculous notions. The general charge seemed to be that she had “shown her true colours”.
It will be interesting to see if this week’s VTs mention it. Given the general assumption that producers will now be looking to lose Lauren before the final to clear the field for Louisa, it’s hard to imagine a sympathy-grabbing VT focusing on her horrified reaction to the appalling online hate she’s received. It’s possible to imagine 4th Impact’s VT featuring the girls reiterating the innocence of the gesture and how well they and Lauren get on, which they have been at pains to do in media interviews this week.
More broadly, the social media storm reminds us why girls have it much harder in these reality shows. No one was berating Ché for his own harmless shove on Almira earlier in the series.
Nor indeed was Mason called out for amusingly thanking all those who didn’t vote for him, the implication being that elimination suited him, and you may as well not have voted for him this week. But girls are held to a different standard. One innocuous moment and your card is marked.
The bell tolls for Anton
New commenter Simon Kent brought up the topic of varied sound quality for both the vocal and song arrangement, depending on whether an act was being helped or hindered. It has long been something on our radar, though we can’t claim expertise on the finer points or jargon of this technical subject.
On the Sofabet sofa, it’s more a case of knowing it when you hear it, and explaining it to oneself in layman’s terms. There’s a particular doom-laden percussive sound which I call the “death knell” that’s used in many a hatchet job. It got an outing at 0.39 of Anton’s ‘One Sweet Day’ performance. Compare with when JLS or John Adeleye sang the same song – the bell did not toll for them at that point.
There are many ways to deramp via the arrangement. The song can feel slowed down with the energy sucked from it, like Monica’s ‘Crazy In Love’; the sound mix or lack of backing track help can leave a vocalist exposed, as Mason was for the falsetto moments of ‘Jealous’. Last year, a distracting dubstep beat was completely at odds with Paul Akister trying to sing ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.
A pimped arrangement can obviously involve the kind of backing track help that at times made One Direction sound like a harmonious large choir during their stint on the show. A reverb effect can also be made so that the vocal fills the studio more effectively, and that gave extra help to Louisa’s already powerhouse vocals with ‘Let It Go’.
If you want to know what’s being said on the Sofabet sofa during a Saturday show, it’s exclamations like these: “It’s the arrangement of doom!”, “There’s the death knell!”, or “It’s the reverb ramping!” Your thoughts and knowledge of this topic are welcomed below.
A recurring debate this season is whether Adele, who has a new album out, could be persuaded to duet with a finalist. The problem for the show is that the X Factor needs Adele a whole lot more than Adele needs the X Factor.
A few weeks ago, Adele was quoted as saying she might consider duetting with a finalist if they were “not rubbish”. Last week, while Adele was performing on the BBC, a Twitter account associated with Simon Cowell floated the thought of Adele duetting with Ché. One of Ché’s options for jukebox week – which voters duly went for – was an Adele song, ‘Hello’; last year, Ben Haenow sang ‘Thinking Out Loud’ in jukebox week, and reprised it with an Ed Sheeran duet in the final. Could history repeat itself? Who knows what – if anything – Adele might have told producers, but these certainly look like overtures.
The show has seemed keen to keep an air of credibility around Ché. His pre-pimp slot VT in week 3 went out of its way to associate him with musical instruments, and musicians were on stage with him this week. Cowell told him “you’re turning into an artist on this show, you’re learning how to control a song, how to deliver a record properly”.
Ché’s singoff appearance on Sunday is not ideal, but nor does history suggest it’s disastrous at this stage of the competition: since 2008, every act to survive their first singoff in the equivalent show has made the final weekend (JLS, Olly Murs, Cher Lloyd, Amelia Lily, Andrea Faustini), and one (James Arthur) has won.
Cowell’s careless whispers
Other than the Lauren brouhaha, this week’s big scandal has been microphones picking up Simon Cowell’s voice saying “Ché, Ché” just before the judges told Olly and Caroline who they’d be saving this week. It came just after the camera had cut away from a judging panel featuring a noticeably perplexed-looking Cheryl, and the assumption is that Cowell was confirming to the girls on his right whom they should vote to keep around. Here’s an audio enhanced clip:
We were certainly shocked by this. Shocked that they needed telling, that is. We’ve always assumed such scenarios are gameplanned before the Sunday show when producers have a reasonable idea of how the vote is looking. Perhaps Cheryl, who went out of her way to be nice to Anton when sending him home, had previously told Simon she’d like to be able to save him if circumstances allowed? Or perhaps, after the Olly fiasco last week, Cowell was simply making absolutely certain to avoid another misunderstanding.
Seann Miley Tour
Every year, when there are nine acts left, the same debate happens in the Sofabet comments. Some commenters say “to guess who they’ll target for elimination this week, we should think about who they’ll want on the tour”. Others say “it doesn’t matter. It’s their tour and they’ll take whoever they choose. Yes, they usually take the top eight – but if they think the act who finished 10th will sell more tickets than the one who finished 8th, they’ll just take the act who finished 10th. Why wouldn’t they?”
The decision to take 10th-placed Seann Miley Moore as a “wildcard” this year should finally put that debate to bed.
Tonight we should get the rest of the song choices, after the jukebox round picks were confirmed earlier in the week. We’ve already got notice of Labrinth’s ‘Jealous’ for Louisa and 4th Impact doing a mash-up of Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ and Gwen Stefani’s ‘Rich Girl’. Do let us know your continued thoughts on these topics and any other news below.
X Factor images and clips ©SYCO/THAMES TV/PA