X Factor 2015 Week 5 Review: Louisa Johnson and the Quest for an Emotional Connection

After week 4’s expertly-executed pimping, we went back to being slightly mystified by some aspects of Louisa’s treatment in the quarter-final. We’re not primarily referring to the performances themselves, vocally below her very high standards due to illness. On that point, we felt rather sorry for her as she struggled through each song and the effort of maintaining a happy face afterwards.

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We don’t mean the first VT either, which was a pretty anodyne one about being feted at a gig then hanging out with a friend. It’s the second VT, in the build-up to her first live show pimp slot, that intrigues us. It seemed like producers intended it to add depth to our empathy for Louisa, and in that objective it fell curiously flat.

The mission was spelled out. Once the song choice was revealed to her, Louisa said, “It’s one of them songs that you need to connect with.” Rita made the same point to camera: “What Louisa needs in this performance is to find something real – an emotional connection – and put it across to the public.”

It was no coincidence that the chosen song – Labrinth’s ‘Jealous’ – had provided the most emotional moment of the series so far. That was Josh Daniel’s arena audition, which had left Cheryl and Simon in tears, and has so far racked up over 29 million views on YouTube. Louisa’s illness meant her rendition didn’t match Josh’s, but that’s not our focus.

Having set up this moment as Louisa’s quest for an emotional connection, the rest of the VT was meant to hammer it home. Home is where Louisa told us she was going – although the venue turned out to be Sugar Hut, ground zero for The Only Way Is Essex.

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For the third significant time this series, we encountered Louisa’s mum, once again on the sofa with her daughter. She said: “Last time we was here was for your 14th birthday… It’s great to be in Essex… You’re where you belong.” The appeal to the regional vote was reiterated by Louisa in her final words: “I know that I’ve got my family and all of Essex behind me, so I just need to go out and make them proud.”

So the build-up to Louisa’s moment of anticipated emotional connection involved merely a chat with her mum, and an appeal to the Essex vote. We’ve doubted in the past if the latter is significantly positive – on the basis that Rylan went home the week they played up his Essex roots. Still, at least Louisa got that regional callout – Ché had no such luck.

What else could they have done? It’s worth reminding ourselves how emotionally invested we were encouraged to get in last year’s winner, Ben Haenow: week 4 saw him visiting his mum in her council flat; week 5 had him reminiscing with his fellow-musician brother, saying he was “living our dream”; week 6 brought us back to his mum, whom he took to a film premiere; week 7 saw a return to the van, this time for a catch up with workmates; week 8 introduced us to Nonna Rita, who quickly became one of our favourite characters; week 9 featured not just Nonna Rita, but also Ben’s mum, brother Alex and girlfriend for a family festive meal.

Does Louisa have siblings? If so, where are they? If not, why have they not done a VT about growing up as an only child? Grandparents? Why have we not either met one of them, or heard about how sadly she never knew any of them? What’s her parents’ backstory – is there a divorce? (Builder dad Dave was briefly sighted in the Sugar Hut VT, not with her mum). We heard all about Lauren Platt’s divorced-then-reconciled parents last year. Where’s the “it’s been hard for my mum, raising me alone”, or “I’ve got step-siblings” VT?

We don’t mean to pry. Perhaps there’s some tragedy in Louisa’s family past that she doesn’t want to talk about. If that’s the case, we’d admire her hugely for it. We’re just puzzled as to why producers haven’t done more to help viewers understand who Louisa is and where she comes from, and to care about the people who matter to her, as they did last year with Ben (and Fleur, whose sister featured prominently and who had all her female relatives on stage for ‘I’m Every Woman’).

Louisa briefly mentioned “hard times” in her second VT. Earlier in it she’d said: “I just wanna put all those feelings that I’ve ever had into this song.” After the song, she repeated that line when Olly awkwardly asked her whether she had performed the song with anyone particular in mind. Sunday’s recap saw the line crop up yet again in the backstage return to her dressing room. It had presumably been drummed into her as something she shouldn’t forget to say.

The problem is, producers have given us no idea what emotions or feelings Louisa is referring to. You can’t get emotionally invested in someone over a generic reference to “hard times” and “all the feelings I’ve ever had”. It’s puzzling that producers seem to think we can.

The semi-final VTs are the last chance for some exposition before the final. It was at this point they wheeled out Ben’s family en masse and he promised to do it for them – and who could have watched their festive meal without hoping he could improve the lives of his Sainsbury’s worker mum and Nonna Rita? Ben was also the only act shown visiting the charity to benefit from the winner’s single, in a clever bit of subliminal association on the part of producers.

We’re looking forward to seeing what they come up with for Louisa next week (perhaps body image issues, which are in the press today). At this rate, they’ll have Rita stepping in as her Nonna.

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Ambassador, with these singoffs you’re really spoiling us…

There were a couple of red flags in Fourth Impact’s treatment on Saturday. We had wondered when their home country popularity would be referred to as part of a deramp. Sure enough, we saw them watching a Filipino news report about themselves. The extensive need for subtitles at this point reminded us of their use in some of Andrea’s Italian moments last year.

But our favourite page from the Andrea playbook came when Almira, Celina, Mylene and Irene were sent to the Filipino embassy. Andrea’s week 7 visit to the Italian equivalent last year ended up with his first bottom two appearance. We can only speculate on why the “embassy deramp” has worked on both occasions. You could argue that such a narrative reinforces the sense of “not one of us” – of the act in question being a representative of the foreign country rather than individuals to empathise with. Which of course, taps into Simon’s wilful inability to get to know the girls’ identities.

Like last week, Simon’s inability to tell “A, B, C and D” apart dominated the panel discussion after their (second) performance. Rita scraped the barrel of distracting arguments by talking about not liking the idea of being boxed in, as the girls had unhelpfully been at the start and end of their medley. What with the most unhelpful running slots, they were the clearest targets on Saturday.

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After elimination, Celina was taken away by ambulance after another fainting episode (the ironic ‘Cowell-friendly’ wall marking in the photo did make us chuckle). It’s worth wondering if her dizzy spell before and after their week 3 performance had an impact on producers’ favour – which clearly passed to Reggie n Bollie from week 4 onwards. The last thing you want to happen in any live show (especially the final) is one of the acts suddenly being unable to perform, causing headaches for the whole production team.

Our advice to future foreign contestants? Turn down any visit to your home country embassy, don’t be caught on camera having long conversations in your native tongue, and avoid any dizzy spells.

We’ll have more to say on Ché, Lauren and Reggie N Bollie in the second part of this review, scheduled for publication tomorrow. Do keep the debate going below.

X Factor images and clips ©SYCO/THAMES TV/PA

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89 comments to X Factor 2015 Week 5 Review: Louisa Johnson and the Quest for an Emotional Connection

  • Rose

    That’s a very perceptive observation about Louisa’s treatment so far in the VTs and what it made me wonder is whether they feel they have no need to bring out the big emotional hooks for Louisa because she is so far ahead in the vote – although,so was Ben last year and they still went the final mile for him in the bid to get us emotionally invested; and also, if we believe the leak, Louisa wasn’t topping the vote the first week.. Perhaps that leak was inaccurate, or a plant (down the rabbit-hole?) or perhaps Louisa’s lead has been building up inexorably in more recent weeks. I still think they want her to win and there doesn’t seem anyone who can threaten that win now, in my view anyway.
    It was no huge surprise to find 4I going out last week – though I thought they might just last another week. TPTB, via the judges, clearly signalled the change in preference for top group as I pointed out at the time, though I had no explanation for it – your idea that it was down to Celina’s fainting is certainly intriguing. Perhaps there had been more of this behind the scenes too.
    My predictions for the final and the winning order remain the same as I suggested in week two, and for the same reasons: they only want one group in the final and that would be their favourite group, which has since become clear to be RnB. They probably won’t want them to win though, I don’t think, because they are not British (if the Ghanaian embassy makes an appearance at any point, we will spot the deramp immediately and know their vote was getting too high to manage!) The regular description of RnB as “the joke act” on here misses the point, to my mind. They are hugely likeable guys, humble, always with a smile on their face, with lovely families, which is the X Factor package, there and then; and people seem to love their style of musical “fun”. I wouldn’t buy their records or go to see them – it’s not my thing at all – but I do think there is a big market for fun like this in our grey, rainy, cash-strapped UK. It has never been a singing competition and so who cares that they can’t sing as long as they are never given a ballad.
    So I think it will be 1) Louisa, 2) RnB, 3) Lauren or Che. Both Lauren and Che are now damaged goods and I can’t quite tell which of them will go out this coming week, but I do think it will be one of them and will be surprised if that doesn’t happen.

  • annie

    unless she manages to bounce to 2nd place Lauren is a gone this week.
    There seems to be no interest in her post show musical career. she doesnt serve any purpose anymore.
    Up against Che Nick wont save her, so deadlock isnt an option.
    Che will ensure that 3 judges will be represented in the final.

  • Rose

    You make a persuasive argument here, Annie. I suppose it depends on how much they care that more judges are represented in the final as opposed to having acts they specifically want there but from fewer judges. Has anyone ever done a comparison on previous year’s finals to see whether it is the norm to have a wide representation of judges’ acts there?
    That said, I think they have made it quite clear in Lauren’s staging and clothes that they are not interested in her going further and I think, depending on the odds, she is definitely worth backing for elimination on Sunday.

    • Stu

      2014: Simon vs Mel (3 act final)
      2013: Sharon vs Louis (3 act final)
      2012: Nicole vs Gary (3 act final)
      2011: Tulisa vs Gary vs Kelly (3 act final)
      2010: Dannii vs Cheryl vs Simon (4 act final)
      2009: Cheryl vs Simon vs Dannii (3 act final)
      2008: Cheryl vs Louis vs Simon (3 act final)
      2007: Dannii vs Simon (3 act final)
      2006: Simon (2 act final)
      2005: Louis vs Sharon vs Simon (3 act final)
      2004: Simon vs Louis (2 act final)

      It seems that ever since 2011 there has only ever been two judges represented in the final. Notice how the new/returning judge (bar Cheryl last year) always has an act in the final. If that is anything to go by, it’ll be a Louisa vs RnB vs Che final.

      Also there has always been a male solo act in the final from the very first series.

      • Jessica Hamby

        So the question, can Lauren bounce?

        • annie

          Im sure she will, the question is rather if top 2 is withinh her reach or not….

        • Stu

          I think if she delivers a vocal performance on the same level as You Don’t Own Me / One Last Time this week since she is due a bounce, then she could potentially poll in the top 2. Che is coming off a bounce and I expect the sympathy for him forgetting his words will have worn off by this weekend. Reggie n Bollie have received as much help as they can from producers so will they be given yet another penultimate/pimp slot in the running order this week?

          I still don’t believe RnB are polling amazingly in the vote. Obviously they must be doing well but I can’t see them being a comfortable 2nd or 1st in the vote. Voters seem to reward balladry more than fun performances (probably due to the emotional connection ballads have) so RnB will always be at a disadvantage. That said, being the only up-tempo act left in the competition must surely go in their favour.

          It’s a tough week to call but I’m leaning more towards a Lauren vs Che bottom two with Lauren going. I don’t think the producers would want Louisa being the only one not hitting the sing off since (a) it kills any suspense for who will win and (b) it’ll make Louisa look even more like she has it in the bag which might not do her any favours if she doesn’t have a comfortable lead in the vote.

  • Plinkiplonk

    For the final, Louisa and R ‘n B are a definite, and I would agree that Che is a better bet than Lauren, simply because it gives more variety, plus Lauren has the ability to potentially show up Louisa vocally, and that can’t be desired.

    Other than that, your article is perceptive and probably correct, I just personally cannot make up my mind what to think. To me, last year’s treatment of Ben was a clear matter of getting behind the likely winner with soft support vs the full-on outright desperation of Fleur’s treatment. Louisa’s handling until last Saturday was much more in the Fleur category. Would they lobby THAT hard to get her on top to then immediately switch to soft support once she wins the vote ???

    • Ben Cook

      I’m not sure R&B are a definite. What if they are in the bottom 2 with Louisa? And if there’s any possibility of them winning surely they’ll want them out this week.

      • annie

        I am sure they will pimp the life out of them. A finale without them would be a complete snoozefest. And I cant imagine both Lauren and Che bouncing to top 2…

      • Plinkiplonk

        Agree that a Louisa / R ‘n B bottom 2 would be the least desirable scenario, but the name checking for the final by Simon and the rumours about Shaggy being booked for the duets makes me think that, desaster aside, they will be there.

      • Henry VIII

        Ben why do you think they’ll want RnB out this week. They’ve had far more pimping than any of the others. They’ll make more money than anyone else – Jedward with musicality. Cowell will sign Louisa but must know by now she’s not a British Britney.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One of the most common complaints about x factor is from viewers complaining about contestants’ sob stories. It’s like Louisa is struggling to find one.

    She wanted bigger boobs? She lives in Essex ffs. Breast augmentation is as common as a cut and colour. She lost a bit of weight but not from an eating disorder. She didn’t like school – then it turns out she went to stage school.

    She’s probably had a lovely, enviable, comfortable life and her dad owns a building company rather than being a brickie. Not something to blame her for but perhaps they’re scared it will demotivate voters.

    I wasn’t inspired to sympathy by the Star article, more inclined to play the world’s smallest violin.

  • annie

    … looking through her IG its apparent she has a younger bro and sis and she stated in one of the VTs that she lives with her mom (only) which would tel me her parents are long divorced… Maybe her stepmom isnt keen on featuring her kids on prime time tv for Louisas sake. (when Boliies stepson didnt make an appearance onstage alongside Regies kids I was thinking along the the same lines)

    • Jessica Hamby

      Oh. That would be difficult, being caught between parents’ conflicting demands. It would explain a lot too. If true then no wonder she tends to he guarded. Ironically, if she was able to talk about it, it would probably get her a lot of empathy.

      • annie

        its not neccesarily tragic or bad blood or anything negative.. its jut that some people are more sensitive on privacy then others especially when concerning their kids.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Good point. I’m from a family that had plenty of bad blood where there wasn’t a divorce. It’s hard for me to imagine a good, healthy “conscious uncoupling”.

  • Curtis

    Everyone has a story to tell, even at 17. What is Louisa’s? Who is she?

    The whole “I’m going to put every emotion I’ve ever had into this song” is very weak, and suggests you haven’t had many strong emotional moments. And when Olly asked her whether she was thinking of anyone specifically, I presumed they’d have an answer lined up for her – and they did, but it was that same weak answer.

    It’s bizarre, and like I say, I refuse to believe that she has nothing in her life that would make good VT material. If the producers haven’t found anything then they’re just not looking hard enough.

  • Rose

    I guess some sort of difficulty being able to access the usual emotional stories to push Louisa to the win may actually explain the obscene levels of pimping she has received for her performances. Otherwise we would see them pushing her from both angles.

  • Plinkiplonk

    In fairness, they have been rather sob story light this season. Normally there are all sorts of dead relatives, deprived childhoods and broken families being bandied about, but I must have missed all of them if there were any this year.
    Other than 4I’s “We need to raise $10000 for our dad’s operation, and we thought going on UK X factor was a better route than, say, getting a job ? Vote for us…”

    • Jessica Hamby

      Josh lost his best friend, Che lost his grandfather, Keira lost her mum, Monica lost her brother, Lauren lost her dad (who had split from her mum and then went to prison), suffered with depression and spent her early teen years away from her mum who suffers with mild schizophrenia. Lauren’s story came out in the papers rather than on the show but all the others were given airtime.

      There are probably others I’ve forgotten.

  • Rose

    Fair point, Plinkiplonk, maybe it is an editorial decision along the lines of making it “more fun” this year. There was quite a lack of negatives in the audition stage, I felt.

  • I’ve been trying to figure out what I find off-putting about Louisa. It finally hit me. She is a dead ringer for LeAnn Rimes. I don’t know if she is known in the UK. She was an extremely precocious singer, with her first big hit at age 13. She won the Best New Artist Grammy before she was old enough to drive. Unfortunately, she is now more famous for her extremely messy, tabloidy life as a grown-up.

    Every time I see Louisa, I wonder whose husband she’ll be stealing in 5 years!

    • annie

      my problem with her is a combination of her ´fault´ and TpTb.

      -She seems cold, distant, her words say passion, but there is hardly passion in her eyes. She is very competent, like a very well prepared student. all she says is right. she always looks the part… she is like paint by numbers. But there is reason why paint by numbers aren´t masterpieces. That little extra from withins is lacking.

      -the other offputting about her is her excessive pimping. casual viewers notice the discrepancy between her over the top praises and her performances and take note that she is treated ´special´

    • fused

      I used to be a big fan of LeAnn Rimes when I was a teenager! In the UK she’s mainly known for two songs, ‘How Do I Live’ (which was on the charts for ages) and ‘Can’t Fight The Moonlight’ (which got to number one). Oh and maybe some people might know her for her duets with Elton John and Ronan Keating.

      I suppose Louisa looks a bit like LeAnn Rimes, but LeAnn Rimes had a more interesting voice. With Louisa it’s not so much that I dislike her, I just don’t really ‘get’ her. I get that she’s a good singer, but I just find her blandly competent. None of her performances have done anything for me. They just pass me by. Whether it’s because they are so John Lewised I’m not sure, but she’s yet to do one I like. I’ve not liked every performance Lauren and Che have done, but I find their voices more interesting as well as good, and I like them as people.

      I agree that if there’s anything offputting it’s the pimping and praising more than anything else. We’re told how amazing she is, but I don’t see much proof she’s as good as they’re making out.

      I don’t even think she’s unlikable as such. She’s a bit “stage school” I suppose, but not obnoxiously so. It’s fair enough if perhaps she’s a bit guarded or reserved or maybe she just wants her talent to speak for itself, but this show is a popularity contest at the end of the day. But then again, for all we know she could be doing well in the vote. That’s the thing, they don’t need universal popularity, they just need enough people to like them.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I don’t know. Maybe she’s just up herself and that’s what we’re all picking up on but no-one wants to say out loud. I’m not buying the shy and unconfident thing. She certainly doesn’t suffer from that when she’s on stage or posing for a photo.

        • stoney

          You dont like louisa. We get it.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Stop taking it personally Stoney. You’re replying to an article all about how they’re trying to get Louisa to connect emotionally. Lots of people, and not just on this site, have been speculating about the same thing.

          • Jessica Hamby

            And you were suggesting that Lauren was racist after the Fourth Impact non-event so get down of your high horse.

  • Pete

    I suspect Lauren has a reasonable chance of bouncing this week, whereas Che on the other hand will be coming down off his bounce and I can’t really see any way he avoids being in the bottom two.

    This presents a dilemma for tptb, the only scenario that would ensure 3 judges are represented in the final, would be if Rita was to lose one of her girls. Now I think everyone would agree that if Louisa hits B2 she is saved against anybody, even R&B. So that means they have to suppress Lauren’s bounce in order to make this possible. If they go at her too harshly over the two songs then they risk generating more sympathy, again look at what happened to Che just last week, if they fail and she bounces to top 2, then they have to save either ‘The Chosen One’ or R&B, given their duet with Shaggy is already booked and sealed by all accounts.

    Add into that the fact Lauren was saved last week when tptb were presented with the opportunity to get rid of her, I think the 2.92 for Che to be eliminated next look to be excellent value.

    Anyone else’s opinions would be greatly welcomed before I steam into it.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Here we go.

      She once worked with a band who once woried with Timbaland. That’s like having a grammy by association. She’s probably Beyonce wearing a hat.

      I know you all were praising Janet Devlin’s attitude and saying how it’s better to have been on the show than not been on it but I hate this part of it and I always will.

    • Curtis

      God the tone of that article is just horrible. “Whilst she might not be fake, we don’t think she’s been entirely truthful – but we still love her!” So snake-like!

      And Jess, I think we all hate this part of the show. I remember when Janet herself had stories coming out about her every week saying she was difficult to work with, not as nice as she appeared on camera etc. etc. It’s unpleasant.

      The point is while that’s all deplorable, ultimately Janet and others came out the other side of the show with a lot more chance to forge a career in music than the average person. It’ll be the same with Lauren.

      • Martin

        Wow, the tone of that article is horrible. Although I suppose it isn’t necessary to mention the success that Bollie had in Ghana as a solo artist a few years ago, is it?

        • Rose

          Given that 23 out of 24 of judges houses acts had been spotted by producers and invited to audition before the show commenced, it is likely you could find a story like that about pretty much every contestant. It’s the fact that this has come out about Lauren now that makes it interesting.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I think it was 22 out of 24. I don’t think the Isle of Man lad was scouted. Ironically the other act that wasn’t scouted is….

            wait for it…..

            Lauren Murray!

        • Reggie & Bollie’s success in Ghana as solo artists hasn’t been hidden. IIRC, they even said it in the auditions.

          Lauren on the other hand has been hidden. She’s implied she is just a dentist, yet she’s been in a girlband and she’s best mates with Union J!

          • annie

            that girlband doesnt look like it had much consistency or history to it (no performances, songs, exposure anything, besides a few covers done in a living room)…. its an exagerated story with malicious intent.

    • Fancy that! A 20-something woman who wants a career as a singer has been out there trying to… sing!

      Do the public really want to believe that you can simply wake up one morning and decide it might be fun to try out singing?

  • Shraine

    You would of probably seen my thoery on the DS forum. I
    I think the only reason why they havent gone to deep with Louisa is because RNB are too far ahead in the voting and would be pointless. As you said. This week would be the last chance to show the public her real self and who she is a person.

    • stoney

      Why have they needed to living daylights pimped out of them then? If this was even remotely true they would have opened the show at least once by now.
      Pretty sure they have been towards the end pretty much every live show

      • Shraine

        Exactly
        Doesnt make no sense. They have not de railed them as of once yet. I think there trying abit of reverse psycology to use it to get louisa past then line. It aint working. Hence the reason simon said there going all the way. He is fed up of trying lmao.

        • Dazzle

          There is two possibilities with reggie and bollie i think with this years boring contestants and no ben haenow or matt cardle people are giving reggie and bollie there votes because they are fun.The reason i think they are pimping them is to make them look like a credible act instead of a joke act because they can’t catch them in the votes. Or with che and lauren being a possible threat to louisa they want an act in the final two that hasn’t been in the bottom two but isn’t a threat to louisa to create suspense for the sake of viewing figures.

  • Martin

    It’s no coincidence that the only other act to have been treated as well as Louisa is what many consider the ‘joke’ act because by the time the final rolls around, the public sense of fair play will kick in. By which time, whoever is there out of Lauren and Che are already damaged by a sing off and Louisa will probably have had Freddie Mercury, Amy Winehouse and Elvis Presley resurrected just for her to sing in the final with, she’ll win and we can all get on with our lives. I think she topped the vote in week three, and has done ever since.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Well, I think just about the only thing that we can definitely say from all this is that, whoever was in charge of deciding the final 12 contestants has done a crap job. Not only were the shows seriously unappealing so far, they also must have seriously under/overestimated the appeal of certain acts, given the unprecedented amout of producer interference.

    As for Lauren, agree that that nasty article is probably only stage one of the de-ramp. They could easily fiddle with her technical details, like the click track or the song, and if she complains about it it would be her ‘being difficult’. We shall see…

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t think the final 12 were a bad selection. We can quibble about a few of them, maybe take Jenny instead of Bupsi or Max, maybe take a different band instead of Alien, maybe take a different wildcard instead of Monica.

      I was excited about this years line up (with the exception of Monica and leaving out Jenny). The reason the shows have been a bit crap is that no-one has really been given the opportunity to shine apart from Louisa and R&B. Everyone else has been at best limited and at worst stamped on. Even Louisa’s big productions have, to me, been a bit dull. Everybody’s free was derivative and turgid and the one on the cloud had me wanting to kick the screen. I haven’t listened to Jealous. Past caring.

      Monica gave a great performance in her first show but was not allowed to do the same again. Max’s Over The Rainbow was quite good but he was equally damaged before and afterwards. There is no doubt that FI’s vocal sound has been dull and lifeless ever since their opening audition. Mason’s Sorry and Luther track were a waste of his ability. I could go on but I’m sure you can fill in the rest.

      The franchise is in its death throes, they know it and don’t seem to care about trying to extend it. Instead of making the most of a bunch of interesting, quality contestants they’ve found a generic pretty blonde teenager whom they think they can market and they’re determined to push her across the line. Everyone else can go hang.

  • Somewhere in Wembley lies a bus with VOTE LOUISA livery already on it.

  • Alan

    Does anyone think that Louisa or RnB will be successful post-show. Louisa just doesn’t appear to have any personality or star quality and although fun acts can be successful they dont tend to have long careers. I’m not sure either or them will do well.

    • Curtis

      Honestly the only act from this year that appeared to me to have real commercial prospects was Fourth Impact. With regards to the four acts remaining, three of them are very good, and the other is good fun and should balance the show nicely, but to be cliché, none of them have the “x factor” in my view.

      My guess is that Simon thinks he can do a job with Louisa, working on stage presence, interview technique and what have you. She ticks the boxes he wants on voice, age, and appearance. I don’t think it will work out, but out of the four left, she probably has the best chance.

      Reggie ‘n’ Bollie will surely end up in presenting. That’s just inevitable right?

      • Jessica Hamby

        Leona Lewis was boring. He managed to sell her. He tends to go for generic teen pop. Let’s face it, his big signing outside of talent shows was Zig and Zag. He’s hardly the greatest music impressario that ever lived. He’d never have signed Adele or Celo Greene.

        • Alan

          Im fully in agreement with u there. Cowell is a businessman first and foremost he’s no musical expert.

          Leona had a more exceptional voice than Louisa but look how her career went to pot once the label support ran out. Im sure shes a lovely girl but she has never had anything interesting to say. Absolutely dull as dishwater.

          Louisa seems to be of the same ilk. We’re weeks into the process now and not a single interesting thing has come out of her mouth. They can throw all the money at her they like but without a more striking personality behind it she will be a hard sell.

          Reggie N Bollie have got one novelty album in them before the act wears thin. And thats being generous. I think ditching 4I for them was a big mistake.

          • annie

            Leona wasnt a big bubbly personality either, but her voice was so much more interesting than Louisa s, was better too and her looks were also exotic,
            But then again I didnt find little mix too interesting either, i found them not too pretty, not much style. yet with a bit of luck and brilliant marketing they are doing alright, arent they.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I don’t think there’s anything wrong with quieter personalities who concentrate on the music. Sia is doing brilliantly and no-one knows what she looks like. She writes great songs though.

            Maybe part of the problem for a lot of the talent show winners is that they are dependent on outside help for their songs and production. Leaving Syco means finding new songwriters and producers as well as marketing.

            Speaking of marketing, the saturation given to Fleur at the moment has put me off her. I’m not a huge fan of the song as it is but it’s on an advert, a tv station ident and being played as a song. It’s not a great song anyway but when she says “play that sax” and the trumpets come in it drives me f*cking crazy. THAT’S NOT A SAXAPHONE!!!!!

            If they’re not careful she’s going to become such a cliché that she’s too naff to listen to. If they’ve got any sense they’ll release something new soon and take that record off playlists on Jan 1. Mind you, I think Scowell might be too cheap to do something like that.

          • Martin

            I thought it was just me who noticed that thing about “Sax” – it drives me insane.

            To be fair, for some reason whenever I see Fleur on anything I think she’s still a contestant rather than a real life popstar. I think it’s because she’s had more screen time this series than the actual contestants this year, but the whole thing (marketing, song etc.) feels a bit naff?!

          • Jessica Hamby

            Definitely not just you.

            There’s a rap in the middle that sounds like Debbie Harry’s Rapture, but it’s a Syco act so no surprise. Originality is not their thing.

    • Ricky A

      I doubt that Louisa will be successful post-show. She has good vocals but not very pop. She really needs a few years to mature so her age and life experience catches up with her style of singing.

      I am on the fence with R&B. I think they will have modest success but will quickly fizzle out.

    • Nissl

      I expect RnB have a reasonable shot at showbiz success following the Jedward/presenter path. Very hard to predict, however. The tall one is a pretty big natural star and they are both very likable but then there is also the foreignness issue to contend with. At the moment I wouldn’t want to watch them do the same thing for a full show, but they would always be a nice plus in an evening of mixed entertainment.

      Louisa has quite a few tools but she either needs to start moving when she belts and put on a show (see: Ariana Grande) or if she’s going to remain a singing candle, actually figure out connecting. I think the former option might actually be the easier one. As for connecting, “putting emotions into” a song is the wrong approach. You have to actually let the song get to you. I just don’t know if she can figure that out, because I think I’m looking at someone with some very long-established walls she’s not aware of at all.

      As for 4I, it was always going to be tricky. Where do you launch them? The Philippines is too small to matter to Syco. In the UK they are a foreign group who would be running against a well-established girl group on the same label that is basically the exact same age and currently in its strongest commercial era. Not to mention Little Mix’s contract is up after this album so you would be risking them bailing right as they achieved Girls Aloud status if you supported 4I too much. Meanwhile Korea and Japan are saturated with dozens of new girl groups every year and they were already on a show in Korea with no effect.

  • Spiidey

    Re Louisa and her look, and I didn’t notice this until a couple of weeks ago, but she has a couple of fangs that are extremely off putting, very subliminal but perhaps one of the reasons that I can’t warm to get.

    I also think her voice is too ‘one-dimensional’ – there’s very little light and shade and warmth of tone in it.

    • Martin

      I tend to watch the show of a Saturday night with a couple of friends before we go out, and Louisa’s teeth seem to have come a running theme of dislike for her. I mean, I’ve been voicing my drunken sofabet views for weeks now and they seem to have picked up on it but gradually, their enthusiasm for Louisa has all but gone, and they’re championing Lauren. But they don’t vote, so it means nothing.

      I think the wizard behind the curtain has long been exposed, a lot of people are aware of the heavy handedness of Louisa’s treatment. The contrast between her disappointing performances this weekend and her overblown judges comments have done her no favours. I think this week will be interesting – I’m anticipating song choices to get more of an idea of what will be going on. I’m not holding out much hope for poor Lauren after that article – as many have said, Che offers more variety in the final so I expect her bounce to be surpressed.

  • It’s become interesting. Olly said the voting was “close”, not the usual “it’s close between the B3”. Cowell said something like “for the first time I have no idea who will be in the B2”. All this indicates that it was close between all 5 and the votes coming in on Sunday’s show were deciding it last minute.

    Only one more act to leave and then it’s the final. And in the final they big everybody up. They still play about with staging sometimes but the songs are better and the running order means less. It’s a more level playing field.

    • EM

      Yes meant to post at the time that you really can’t say it’s close when it isn’t anymore – you get found out lying about that kind of thing and it’s a fine from ofcom. Which means it’s reasonable to accept it was close but the very specific wording implies it was close at the top, not among the bottom 3.

      One to check a week on Sunday

      • Henry VIII

        If it was close just at the top Olly wouldn’t have bothered mentioning it and Cowell wouldn’t say he had no idea who would be B2 for the first time. It all indicates that it was close between all 5. And that seems the most likely anyway.

        • EM

          No if it was just close at the top he still would have mentioned it as it’s a device to create drama and encourages voting and investment in the process.

          Cowell mentions in his autobiography he knew how the Will v Gareth vote was progressing through Pop Idol so I’d take his comment he has no idea about the bottom 2 with a pinch of salt.

          • Henry VIII

            They can’t mislead to encourage voting. At best they risk large fines and poor PR.

            And Cowell is always told exactly how the vote is going. The fact that he had no idea means that there were just hundreds of votes between them. It may not have been close at the end of the results show though, they were up to their usual tricks again.

          • EM

            I think we’ll have to disagree. Saying the vote is close is not misleading if there is any closeness in the poll.

            Cowell’s “can’t predict” comment was in the form of a record piece from the night before so isn’t factually misleading either.

  • Martin

    Is it just me who thinks Reggie nBollie could actually have a decent career in music? They’re modelling themselves on Fuse ODG who has had a bunch of hit singles, Cheerleader is one of the biggest singles this year (coincidentally owned in this county by Cowell) and evenShaggy managed to make a come back in 2015. I think if anyone from this year was a direct fit for the CapitalFm play list its them.

    • Chris

      Cheerleader is a song by OMI rather than ODG. I think that xf is modelling them on “african jedward”, without the twins bit of course. I had to look up what that azonto thing was .. seems to basically be agadoo for the modern age. In fact when I found agadoo on youtube, the suggested artists sidebar contained : (more) Black Lace, Cheeky Girls, Tony Christie, Fuse ODG, Psy, Joe Dolce.

      R&B can have a career in entertainment if they’re given the right material and backing, but then so could many xf contestants.

      The question for now is more about who is voting for them every week and what demographic are they delighting?

      • art

        EDIT: I typo-ed my name here, this is martin replying. D’oh.

        Oh yeah sorry, the Cheerleader thing was a separate point to Fuse ODG, wasn’t clear in my previous comment.

        I’m not sure about the “African Jedward” thing – they’ve consistently been gifted dancehall/reggae arrangements putting them firmly in a genre-lane. If they were trying to make them Jedward-like, I think we’d have had more focus on their terrible vocals – the only truly “novelty” song we had from them so far is “Who Let The Dogs Out” and that was the week they were taken off the boil slightly. Rita has been allowed to say they’re credible recording artists – I’m sure that they’re being primed for a post-show music career. I think they come across as two genuinely nice, family orientated men who lift the mood of the show, rather than a pair of annoying idiots who can’t hold a note and are irritating people by their continued presence on the show.

        Their demo is a confusing one. I do think it’s broader than you think, but basically anybody who listens to Capital FM and goes to Lloyds Bar after the show is the sort of person I’d imagine is voting for them. Reggae also has a bit of a legacy in this country for people of a certain age, so I think older viewers will appreciate what they do to an extent.

  • Martin

    Has anyone seen the pictures from the annual “film premier” they all go to last night? The contrast between Lauren and Louisa is alarming (yet again). I’m not sure how much control the show has over what the contestants wear to these things, but Lauren looks like she’s going to a business meeting, where Louisa looks as if she fits right in. I’m not sure why Lauren allowing them to style her in this unflattering way – take a look at her current Twitter display photo, she looks glamorous and stylish – a side we’ve never been allowed to see. She’s definitely been made to look like Louisa’s tacky, dumpy counterpart all the way through IMO.

    • Henry VIII

      I think Lauren was styled the best that she could be. She’s got a beautiful face but is a complete bloater and needs help in hiding all the blubber.

      • annie

        have you seen her twitter profile pic or her pics from a magazine a couple of weeks ago?

        she isnt a petite girl, but she definitely has the potential to be styled like a star.

      • A complete bloater? Wow, nice try at fat-shaming there, Henry, except Lauren isn’t even fat. Your comment says way more about you than it does about Lauren.

        • David Cook

          When Christina Marie was on the Voice someone actually started a thread on DS Forum about how ‘fat’ she was. Ridiculous! Even more ridiculous – most of the comments agreed! You really need to be Cheryl size if you want to avoid the ‘fat’ label. Then look to see what they say about her on DS.

        • stoney

          Shes not fat she’s just big boned

    • Caro

      Maybe they’ve got a job-lot of jumpsuits left over from Sam Bailey’s stint on the show?
      It’s as though the stylists have a series of ‘types’ to style. So, there’s the slightly bigger female in a black trousersuit/jumpsuit, the slim toned female with her midriff on show, the bloke with the spray on jeans and oversized shirt and the group with a set of clothes that seem to have been chosen completely randomly.

      One thing I did notice was that last year we had a lot of the contestants in Versace, both on the show and when at premieres, etc. Part of this fitted with the theme of making Andrea look as Italian as possible, but others wore it too -notably Fleur. Of course, in Fleur’s case it may have been to associate her with a sexy luxury brand. We know there are sponsors, but I wondered if ‘product placement’ is also going on and if this affects styling which in turn, as we know, affects votes.

      I haven’t spotted Versace on any contestants this year – though Rita and Cheryl have both worn it (Rita wears it on the publicity pics). And incidentally the hotel used for I’m a Celeb is Versace.

      • Martin

        I did think that it was just part of Lauren’s “personality” that she was fine with looking a bit of a mess all the time, but I don’t think that’s the case now. Her styling throughout has been consistent – always in black, arms and shoulders covered, gems/diamante’s – there’s been very little progression, even when they bigged up her “makeover”, all they’d done was brush her hair in week one (after featuring her in a VT where she looked like she’d been dragged through a hedge). At least there was consistency though – this week, I don’t think it was coincidental that they sent her out in an unflattering strapless jumpsuit for her first song, and then another terrible dress in a similar unflattering style). They know that she’s the most reliable vocalist, so they’re putting her demo off (I’ve said before, I think her demo is the girl who post inspiration quote memes on Facebook too much) by dressing Lauren in a way that’s the opposite of aspirational.

        Watching her on Saturday, the first thought was likely to be “wtf is she wearing” rather than “wow she sounds great”. That sort of thing matters to her demo – if they wanted her to appeal to them, the stylists would be dressing her in a far more stylish way. She was the opposite of that on Saturday.

  • Keen Observer

    One thing perhaps not considered is that RnB could be by far the most attractive vote for the neutral viewer who just watches/votes on the final. You’d have to think they would reprise their week 2 1D mashup which has to be one of the most entertaining performances in recent years. Combined with a Shaggy duet which again could be hugely entertaining and you’ve possibly got an act which is very hard to beat. It all depends if tptb think it’s job done getting them to the final and then decide to dampen them sufficiently.

    • David Cook

      The casual viewer probably thinks that they’re tuning in to see the final of a singing competition. It’s likely that they’ll just think Louisa is the best singer and vote accordingly (if they bother to vote at all). Remember a lot more votes are cast in the final than in other weeks – many of those will be coming from ‘middle England’. They will think R&B are a joke act – they won’t be thinking ‘these two could be the next Fuse ODG’.
      If it does come down to R&B against Louisa as the final two then I think that this favors Louisa.

  • David Cook

    As I said in my prediction post Lauren has been my favorite contestant his year. That hasn’t changed through the live shows. I think she’s been the best singer, and she’s shown the most versatility and variation in what she’s done. All she can do is sing the best she can – the rest is out of her control. I also said that didn’t think she would win, because I’ve always thought that they would push Louisa and that seems to how it’s panning out. And yes I agree it’s unfair. The comments from Cowell last weekend were ridiculous – but he did just make himself look like a musical imbecile (talentless twosome top / Lauren 4th – yeah right whatever). The only thing I would say is that despite this she has been given a good chance – which is more than a lot of the acts get. I was actually surprised they even put her through to the live shows given that she was clearly the biggest threat to Louisa. She’s also always been given songs which have allowed her to sing properly and show what she can do – and there have been some difficult songs to pull off. So far at least nothings been done that would really damage her prospects going forward from a musical point of view. I don’t think Max and Mason will be saying that.

    • Martin

      It seems like Lauren and Che (and Louisa) are there to further the charade that this is a “singing” competition. She always delivers, and they’ve done well getting her so far without it impacting their Plan A. I didn’t like Lauren at first, but she’s won me round massively.

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