After VTs which saw them being lauded in the Philippines Embassy and on Filipino news programmes, Fourth Impact get to go home to the Philippines having finished a creditable fifth in the UK X Factor.
The big market move today was for Ché Chesterman, who was as short as evens in places to be next eliminated before in fact being the first act called safe. After a Saturday show which sparked confusion, debate and multiple competing theories in the Sofabet comments, the singoff was contested by the girlband and Lauren Murray, just as the pre-show betting had suggested. We might as well all have saved ourselves 24 hours of headscratching by not watching it at all.
During the singoff, punters were far from certain – Lauren was available to back at around 3.0, and Fourth Impact at around 1.5. I shared the sense of uncertainty, taking the opportunity to green up my book rather than going in one way or the other.
Why the uncertainty? We have often mused that Louisa’s path to the win may be clearer without Lauren still in the picture – and tonight’s singoff reinforced our sense that Lauren is at least a match vocally for producers’ Plan A, as well as repeatedly demonstrating much the more natural appeal as a personality.
But elements of doubt were introduced by 4th Impact’s treatment for the last two live shows having been just as equivocal as Lauren’s, and the awareness that one of the two neutral judges, Grimmy, has been such a Lauren fan that it was questionable whether he would want to give the girlband a 3:1 save.
After Rita and Cheryl had saved their own acts, Grimmy duly saved Lauren while Simon saved 4th Impact, triggering a deadlock which saw the girls voted out. In the circumstances, it’s interesting to speculate why Simon decided to take it to deadlock. Perhaps it just seemed fairer if the public decided, though it also plants the idea in viewers’ minds that Simon doesn’t rate Lauren as highly as had he given her his vote of confidence.
We head into the semi-final with Ché on a comedown from the sympathy bounce which carried him to safety this week, and Lauren due one of her own. Louisa and Reggie N Bollie are now the only two acts who have evaded every singoff and about whose level of support debate can continue. We’ve had singoffs in the last two semi-finals, and there’s no obvious reason to think producers will cede control back to the voting public.
As always, we’ll be back with some more in-depth thoughts in midweek. Let us know your reactions below.