Congratulations to Louisa Johnson, who has justified red-hot favouritism to win the X Factor. Congratulations, too, to X Factor producers – a Plan A has come off at last. And congratulations to Sofabet commenters who were confident from the beginning that Plan A would come off. We’ve been sceptical at times about how effectively they were selling her, but you can’t argue with the results, and I’m content to end the series with a modest profit on the win market.
With only 5.7 million people bothering to watch yesterday’s show live, however, you do have to wonder whether squeezing out the golden egg has come at the cost of half-killing the goose.
The markets had a bit of a wobble during the first round of songs, after repeated references to how Reggie N Bollie “could win” and the vote “could still go either way”. Louisa went as big as 1/3 and Reggie N Bollie as short as 9/4 in places. But wording is important here, and at no point did Caroline or Olly tell us the vote was “close”, as they surely would have done had they not been worried about incurring the wrath of Ofcom: everything they said was compatible with a large lead for one act or the other, and only a theoretical possibility of that changing. The question was, who was ahead.
It’s the comments to the winner’s songs that usually provide the biggest clues as to which is about to be released as a single. And the comments to Reggie N Bollie’s version said nothing about the song itself, instead focusing on how lovely they’d been to work with, with the appearance of kids on stage adding to the valedictory feel. If the show had been about to launch that version as a putative Christmas No 1, the judges would surely have said something in praise of it.
Louisa then got much better staging for her version, with the red X turning white and the crowd waving their torches in the darkness. All four judges stood to applaud, which they hadn’t for Reggie N Bollie. Cowell referred to the song this time, telling her “you turned a good song into a great song”, adding “we are witnessing the birth of a star”. The markets reacted accordingly, Louisa contracting to 1.08.
Now the wait begins for the high point of our X Factor season – the reveal of the week-by-week voting statistics. We’ll be back with an analysis post in the next day or two. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.