X Factor 2015 Week By Week Voting Statistics

The eagerly-awaited voting stats can be found here. Here’s our take on them.

1. Plan A was on course from the get-go

In 2012, Ella Henderson was 3rd in the first public vote; in 2013, Tamera Foster was 6th; in 2014, Stereo Kicks were 11th. Louisa Johnson won the first public vote. And the second, and the third. Unlike with their Plan A in previous years, producers were never playing catchup with Louisa – it was a case of ensuring nobody overtook her.

voting-stats-main

She was marginally second in week 4, when her celestial staging saw her nonetheless finish 0.1% behind Reggie N Bollie from the pimp slot. And she was third in a strange week 5, more on which below, but only 1.1% off the lead and when hampered by a sore throat.

As soon as she was vocally recovered, she was comfortably back in front in the semi-final. In the final she outpolled Reggie N Bollie 56:44 before the Saturday vote freeze, and (by our calculations) 60:40 after it.

2. Viewers never needed to connect with Louisa

Louisa’s early lead helps to explain our puzzlement throughout the series at why producers weren’t doing more to help us emotionally connect with her. Over the final weekend we started to get the family story we’d never been told: Louisa mentioned her parents’ divorce when she was three; we met her stepdad on Xtra; after her final song on Sunday, she was joined on the stage by a young girl who turned out to be her sister, Daisy. That was a much less affecting moment than when Reggie and Bollie’s children had joined them after their final song, because we had no idea who Daisy was. Why had we not met Louisa’s family before?

With hindsight, presumably, producers must have seen that Louisa was topping the vote based on them not having told us much about her as a person, and decided there was no need to change a winning formula.

3. The Star burns out

Time was when whatever the Star said about the phone vote could be taken as gospel, no matter how unlikely it sounded at the time – Rachel Adedeji topping the phone vote the week after two singoff survivals; Christopher Maloney running away with the early weeks.

They blotted their copybook last year by getting the percentages wrong (though the order right) in the semi-final. This year they leaked that Anton had won week 1’s vote with 23%; it turns out he was third with 10.7%. Seann Miley Moore was reported as being third; he’d actually come eighth, a terrible showing from the pimp slot, making his elimination the following week far less surprising.

It’s possible, as some have theorised, that they’re seeing genuine data but only from phone votes, not from the app votes. But whether or not that’s the case, future leaks sadly can’t be relied on.

4. That strange week 5

Sofabet commenters were confused by what week 5’s treatment of the acts suggested about their relative position in the vote. Unusually, a case was made in the comments for every one of the five acts to figure in the singoff. Let’s try to figure out what producers were thinking by looking at the vote trendlines they would have been seeing going into that week. (For a note on the “percentage of the mean” methodology, full calculations and graph, here’s a pdf).

Week 5 vote trendlines

This helps make sense of the mixed messages. With Ché due a sympathy bounce, which producers made no effort to suppress, they will have seen that Lauren and 4th Impact should have dropped naturally into the bottom two, as indeed ended up happening. The vote that week finished Ché 22.2%, Reggie N Bollie 22.1%, Louisa 21.1%, Lauren 18.4% and 4th Impact 16.2%.

The messages were most mixed regarding Reggie N Bollie and Louisa. Having opened the show, apparently suggesting her vote was solid, Louisa then got the pimp slot, with some curiously fatalistic judges’ comments suggesting she might be in danger of the sing off: Simon said “this show wouldn’t be the same without you”, and a tearful Rita used the phrase “regardless of what happens in this competition”. Reggie N Bollie, meanwhile, were pimped to the rafters in the first song, but for their second the staging was worse, the vocals were exposed and the judges’ response was more downbeat.

With Reggie N Bollie having marginally bested Louisa in the previous week’s poll, the pulling back in their second song was presumably intended to prevent them opening up a gap over her. What’s most intriguing is to wonder whether the judges knew how the vote was going when they gave their fatalistic-sounding comments to Louisa’s second song: given that she ended up clearing the singoff by only 2.7% on Sunday, at the time she took to the stage – with the other four acts having performed since the vote opened after round one – things may well have been looking dodgy for her.

5. Reggie N Bollie’s ups and downs

We wrote in our review of Reggie N Bollie’s journey that it had been whiplash-inducing: the accelerator slammed down in week 2, the brakes applied in week 3, the accelerator slammed down again in week 4, and a distinct lifting off of the accelerator in the second song of week 5 and the first of week 6.

That’s reflected perfectly in their vote trendlines – up and down until week 5, from where mixed treatment had them pretty much flatlining into the semi and the final. Producers were able to inflate and deflate their vote at will.

XF 2015 groups trendlinesAlso interesting is to plot 4th Impact’s line on this graph, as their fortunes rose and fell in mirror image of Reggie N Bollie’s in the first four weeks. That also reflects their treatment: praised in week 1, sent on first and with more mediocre comments in week 2, Celina’s fainting episode causing a spike in week 3, and they were dampened in week 4 and again in week 5 when they exited.

Do keep giving us your thoughts on the voting stats below. And for any who haven’t seen it yet, check out Sophia Wardman’s blog detailing her time with Belle Amie in 2010 – a fascinating insight into X Factor behind the scenes.

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77 comments to X Factor 2015 Week By Week Voting Statistics

  • Lia

    This year was definitely boring. Even the stats review brings nothing to the table. LOL!

    Thank you very much Daniel and Andrew for your fastastic blog, your insight and your patience!!!

  • EM

    Ah voting stats time is my favourite thing about X Factor.

    It’s worth remembering that the producers can see the actual voting numbers rather than having to look at percentage formulas – luckily they shared some numbers and that would back up your week 5 theories.

    In week four Louisa would have been just 3000 votes behind RnB – who had massively increased their voting numbers over the week – much more so that Louisa – everyone else was not a threat but Lauren and Fourth Impact were gaining votes as well. So if Louisa was to win then RnB, Lauren and 4I needed deramping.

    As it was at the end of week 5 Louisa was quite a way behind 1st and 2nd place but quite clear of the bottom 2 – however after voting opened it may have been much closer to B2. Given she was ill they probably pushed everything available to downplay the others (bar Che) while not allowing the damage a B2 could do Louisa.

  • Stu

    It seems my theory was right about Billie Jean being Louisa’s weakest showing – her percentage dropped from week 1 to week 2 – despite their being less competitors. That must be why the producers stuck her in the ballad zone constantly. Furthermore, she was nearly in danger of being in the sing-off the week she performed two recent hits. What do they give her the following week? Two golden oldies to belt out. It seems like she needed the older viewers on board to have a shot at winning.

    As a 4th Impact fan, it does frustrate me seeing their percentages and it now confirms my suspicions on why they lost the support of the producers. It now comes to light that THEY were the biggest threat to Louisa after the first phone vote.

    Props to the producers though; they did a fantastic job in securing their Plan A the win (for once). Before the lives I was very doubtful of whether they could get Louisa over the line but they used 2011 methods of destruction this year so it’s no wonder they got what they wanted. Anton was sabotaged in week 2 which caused his steep decline, RnB and 4I’s voting popularity depended on the producers…

    So if The X Factor is back next year, I’m immediately betting on the contestant at the end of the first audition show. 😀

    Also thanks Sofabet for another fantastic year. This website keeps me interested in the show. Will there be any more articles about this year?

    • David Cook

      2015 really was the year of the producers favorites. In both XF and The Voice the producers introduced their plan A in the pimp slot of the very first audition show. Both acts started as bookies favorites and never looked back. And of course both acts went on to win. The only thing I can predict is that it’s a feat that’s unlikely to be repeated in 2016.

      • Stu

        I think the casting is key. They messed up with Ella because, let’s face it, she was dull in the live shows. It was the same performances week after week. “John Lewising” every song given to her. Tamera’s past alienated XF viewers/voters and Stereo Kicks also had a lot of bad press during their time on the show plus an 8-piece band was always going to be a hard sell to voters.

        What Louisa had going for her was that she was a white good-looking girl who came across as innocent and ditzy and, unlike the aforementioned three contestants, she was consistently great vocally. Leona was vocally outstanding and came across as innocent – she won. Alexandra was vocally great and came across as ditzy – she won. Little Mix came across as both and were good vocally – they won.

        So for a girl to secure the win, she has to be ditzy/innocent and vocally solid.

        • annie

          I have to disagree.

          to be honest I found Louisa quite similar and actually equally dull to Ella… (sadly) I think the only difference between the two of them is in looks, Louisa is much hotter then Ellas was at that point, she is also a petite girl whereas Ella was a bit chubby back in 2012…

          • Stu

            Louisa is a powerhouse vocalist though. Ella wasn’t. Louisa may have been given dull songs but the power in her voice made them interesting (Let It Go, Everybody’s Free). Ella’s USP was that she was a singer-songwriter (a desired quality during her year when the producers wanted to make the show credible hahaha). But in the live shows she had to do covers which didn’t do her any favours since her voice was pretty average.

          • Curtis

            I don’t really doubt there’s some element of truth in that, but I do think it’s more nuanced than that. I think Louisa’s live show performances were definitely of a better quality than Ella’s, both vocally and just in terms of being less dull in performance and arrangement.

            If you disagree, I suggest rewatching a selection of both with as open a mind as you can manage. Maybe Louisa’s performances were dull, but they were more dynamic than Ella’s for sure.

  • Edie M

    The interviews that Louisa’s been giving today have made me like her a bit more. It seems that she didn’t want to give anything away about her family/private life and the TPTB must have respected that after she topped the vote from the beginning (I think if she’d been struggling in the vote and still refused then they might have withdrawn support).

  • Alan

    A great year of articles and comments for sure. A complete wash out gambling wise for me. Trying to find the person rock bottom of the vote is much harder than trying to work out a bottom two and then who TPTB will save. Broke even but pretty much gave up after getting Max and Mason wrong – both left the week after I backed them.

    Some great comments from posters. I think every conceivable theory was suggested then dismissed – usually by the same poster!

    Judges comments for me were the highlight this series. Aside from a couple of odd ones from Cowell the party line was well and truly toed. I particularly enjoyed watching the new judges squirming as they had to stick in the knife. They certainly earned their money and it was good to see Nick finally let the mask slip on Saturday night with the cloud comment. Will be interesting to see if they are onboard next year.

  • Piresistable

    As ever, thanks for the excellent coverage. Assuming the show is back next year – and they have been advertising for the auditions – hopefully we’ll get a full 10 week series. I didn’t like the double eliminations, it all felt a bit rushed.

    • Lia

      ITV has a contract for one more year. Renewing it is another story. If it’s another year like this, definitely not. If it improves, maybe…

    • Stu

      I want 10 weeks of live shows too. It’s much better since the live shows are the best part. Hopefully it was just the rugby that caused the frankly crap structure of this series. 7 live shows made the series feel shorter than it actually was.

      • This Rugby excuse is frankly bullshit. The show had options. They could have done the lives on Sundays on the affected weeks, in the pre-2009 format. Or, they could have moved to ITV2 if the rugby pre-emptied their ITV slot. Several games involving the “six nations” got relegated to the sub-YouTube quality ITV4 to allow X Factor to go on as it was.

  • fused

    Thanks Sofabet for all the great articles and analysis of The X Factor.

    If anyone is interested, I have written a blog post about this series of X Factor myself:

    https://headphonedaydreams.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/the-x-factor-series-12/

  • Henner

    This year was the year I think producers lost the concept of what the viewers want, I’m an X factor fan and look forward to it every year, I had major disappointment in the over production and getting rid of 3 live shows. Judges houses and boot camp was so tedious. I really disconnected, Lauren kept me mildly interested, glad Adele agreed.

    • Dean F

      They had to cut the live shoes due to Rugby World Cup but anyway yeah it definitely felt rushed this year. And ratings got worse as the show went on. I think by now it’s clear several people have seen their faves be put through the garbage and the decline started when it was clear what they did to poor Janet Devlin. Since then it’s only gone downhill in terms if viewing figures

      • 360

        Did they HAVE to cut the lives though? Surely they could have just cut the auditions and bootcamp short and started earlier? Isn’t the Halloween week normally a lot later than it was this year, for example?

        I always wondered if that was just a convenient excuse for what was actually a budget cut, as the status of most of the Sunday night guests suggested.

        • Lia

          There were a few weekends with just one show, hence the delay. I think having performance and results on the same day for the first few weeks would’ve been better. The pre-lives lasted forever…

  • Curtis

    So I always had a problem with your “percentage of the mean” method of generating the graph at the end of each series. The problem with it (and I know you know this because you’ve mentioned it before) is that it will typically trend downwards as it is far easier to score 300% of the mean in week 1 than in the final (where of course it is impossible). With that said, I decided to use Excel to generate a formula that could calculate a “par winning score” based on how many contestants were left. If anyone wants a detailed methodology feel free to ask.

    The short of it is that I used past data to generate a formula that would give each act a “performance” score” for each week. The aim was to create lines that do not naturally trend either upwards or downwards so that a week 5 vote could be compared with a week 1 vote for example. The graph I’ve generated for this year is shown below.

    http://pasteboard.co/3GKwt04.png

    What’s interesting about this graph when you compare it to Sofabet’s is that it shows better just how important Week 6 and the Final were for Louisa. Up until then her vote, while clearly being the best, was not what would be expected of a poll leader. In Week 6 she has a massive uptick in performance and the final is the only stage where she has a performance rating of above 100 (par)

    Another improvement is that we can see a lot better RNB’s improving fortunes throughout the series (Sofabet’s graph shows a false downward trend for them).

    It’s not a perfect method by any means (because it’s based off a winner’s percentage I don’t think it’s so effective for those who are a long way off winning) but I think it is better and I hope there’s some geek out there such as myself who enjoys this!

    N.B. My formula is par percentage = 71.4x^-0.462. Performance score (shown on the y axis in my graph) is simply (actual vote/par percentage)*100.

    N.N.B Note my formula doesn’t take into account last year or this year, which would change it a bit. Unfortunately don’t have the time to be doing that right now so what I’ve got here will have to do.

    • Curtis

      N.N.N.B The “x” in my equation is the number of contestants remaining in the show.

    • EM

      Good work Curtis – as I’ve said earlier it’s worth remembering that the producers have the absolute numbers of votes to work with so don’t have to work with formulae to see how each act is doing. I’ve done some work on that and the graphs follow similar lines from yours.

      One thing of note for me is that Che and RnB must have been giving them concerns they could win the whole thing based on their votes in the two weeks ahead of the semi final so it’s admirable that they kept their nerve and targeted Lauren to go after the semi rather than going for one of Louisa’s biggest threats.

      Or the data they had meant they were confident that 4I and Lauren votes would be going to Louisa. That would mean the process is much more sophisticated than just deramping those with the biggest votes.

      • Curtis

        You are right, the graph serves as a tool for us to interpret the percentages and see how well the acts did week by week. It’s not the graph the producers will have been looking at – they of course have access to far more data than us including raw numbers, phone vote/app vote split, and overlap between acts in app voting.

        I don’t think producers would ever have been too worried about Ché winning – they will have known week 5 was a sympathy peak for him rather than a trend. However, it is interesting how unafraid of RnB they seemed to be, and yeah, ditching Lauren (whose vote can be seen to have never been particularly great) in the semis.

        I believe they ditched Lauren in the semis because the final of Louisa/RnB/Ché would provide the most variety. One possible theory as to why they weren’t worried about RnB winning is that they saw the overlap stats and felt that vote transfer would go from Lauren to Louisa. However, I’m less inclined to believe this theory. I don’t think vote transfer is particularly relevant in the final where there are significantly more votes made than at any other stage in the competition. Instead, I’m of the belief that the producers simply felt that the fair weather final voters could be relied on to vote for the middle-of-the-road candidate presented to them as the rightful winner.

    • Very ingenious! 🙂

      I think it’s horses for courses really. I like the “percentage of the mean” method for visualising things like the height and length of sympathy bounces (not many of those this year!) and the effects of dampening tactics at the lower end of proceedings – e.g. if you go from 10% in a week of 8 acts to 11% in a week of 7 acts, superficially it looks like you’ve increased your vote, but relatively speaking you’re losing ground.

      But you’re right, it’s practically guaranteed to give you a misleading picture for frontrunners. And completely agree with EM that any method we can come up with will be woefully broad-brush compared to the granularity the show will be able to see from the app.

      I wonder if the app has changed things regarding frontrunners? If you look at the %s of winners each week, for both this year and last year there were a lot of weeks won with %s in the teens and low 20s, whereas up to and including 2013 there were more weeks won with %s in the mid-20s and above. It would make sense, in that you can imagine someone phone-voting only once for their favourite but spreading their five free app votes around a bit, which would bunch up the field. But makes it harder to compare 2008-2013 with 2014-2015.

      • Curtis

        Yeah, the percentage of the mean graph has the property of producing those really nice inverted v’s for sympathy bounces – and honestly is probably just as valid a method for tracking the progress of the lower contestants. My formula does also account for how a small percentage increase is actually losing ground, not gaining it – it just doesn’t value this effect quite as much, which is why the lines don’t naturally trend downward (and also why if you look at your percentage of the mean graph and tilt your head to the right, it looks an awful lot like mine).

        Your point about the app lowering the vote percentage for the front runners in the early weeks is one I hadn’t thought of. Based off how the last two years have went, it could very well be true. I initially attributed this just to the fact that there was no obvious front-runner in either year, but yours may be the better explanation. In which case 2008-2013 data isn’t strictly comparable with 2014-2015 as you say, but when we’re given such a limited data set on this there is no method without flaw. Only different methods with different biases!

  • Alan

    I must admit I was surprised when I saw Louisa’s line going down on the sofabet graph. I cant say I understand your calculation at all but I think that says more about me than it does you.

    This series seems to have played out in a much more predictable fashion than previous ones and it feels like there is much less to learn from vote analysis. The lack of comments here speaks for itself I think.

    • Curtis

      Haha, there’s absolutely no need to understand the calculation anyway. Ultimately it’s just a graph like Sofabet’s but I believe it shows how things went a little more accurately (and Louisa’s trajectory is a good example of this as you pointed out).

      I agree with your second point, the voting statistics don’t really teach us much new – if anything they just seem to reinforce the things that we already thought. I’m not sure I could call it a “predictable” series though, if simply just because I didn’t make as much money as I usually do, and I think a few people are the same in this regard!

  • Alan

    I think it was predictable in the sense that we always knew who the generally favoured and unfavoured acts were and this didnt really seem to change through the series. The big surprise was probably the disposability of some of the acts favoured through the pre-lives and the pimping of RnB.

    We also probably all had a good idea who the acts in danger were likely to be. As always it was the specific timings that were difficult to guess and the double eliminations in my opinion made this worse. Its easier to know who TPTB have in their sights than it is to guess whos coming bottom of the phone vote.

    I also never got the feeling that public opinion changed too much through the series. Its not like anyone went from being liked to loathed or vice-versa.

    • Curtis

      Yeah, I agree with you, double eliminations definitely confuse the matter. I don’t think it helped that literally everyone seemed highly disposable to producers except for Louisa and RnB. Usually they have a few more interests than that, and that certainly threw me off. I thought they had an interest in 4I but that proved to be very much not the case as it transpired, and that cost me.

  • Alen

    Having 7 weeks instead of 10 surely also helped Louisa (well the producers) I think.

  • Sagand

    If it hadn’t already been confirmed that the country just doesn’t care about the X Factor anymore, Louisa’s winner single enters at number 9 (in comparision ‘The Voice’ winner Stevie McCrorie entered at 6 in April). I expect an announcement soon that ITV won’t be renewing their contract and next year will be the final series on ITV.

    • Edie M

      I suppose she missed a couple of days of sales at the beginning of the week, but god that’s a terrible chart position. I wonder if she’ll go up or down the charts next week with a full week of sales.

      • Sagand

        Almost certainly fall, she’s already being out sold by 9 songs on itunes, not to mention other songs that have better streaming. She had total sales of 39,196 over 5 days whereas Ben H had 74,663 in his first two days. The scale of the failure can’t be exaggerated. Hopefully it doesn’t affect her future success and show will put more effort into the winners single next year.

  • Lia

    If you kill the show, you kill the winner. If people don’t care about the show, they don’t care about the winner. I’ve been banging on and on about this for weeks.
    And to complete the crappiness, the production on the single is quite lame. It does not sound like Louisa, so any hopes she might carry the single with her voice were quickly killed off.

  • Gosh. That is an awful, awful chart position. I’ve also heard barely any radio Play for the song. Even Little Mix got more than this and commercial radio really snubbed Cannonball.

    A far cry from a decade ago where. That’s My Goal was played everywhere.

    The production of all winners singles sounds the same though. Right back to Steve Brookstein, who’s been trolling me on Twitter this week after I call him a “sensitive little flower.”

  • Curtis

    It’s not all over for Louisa – she’ll have the chance to launch next year and with the right song and a good album she’ll do just great. However, it’s looking more and more like it’s definitely all over for the X Factor.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s interesting that on Digital Spy Louisa does not have an appreciation thread. She’s the first winner never to have had one. She had supporters there but no-one could be bothered to start one. FI, Lauren, Seann, Keira all have one. Even acts that didn’t make the live shows like Havva, Simon Lynch and Kerri-Anne have one.

      I wonder if tptb deliberately kept her bland so that she could be all things to all people. If so then it backfired. People voted for her but they aren’t that interested in her.

      Usually when someone is describe as “not likeable” it means dislikeable. In Louisa’s case I think it’s more literal. It’s not that people actively dislike her, it’s that they don’t actively like her. They don’t care. Imo that’s worse than being disliked.

      That’s a long-winded way of saying I’m not so sure she will do just great. I still can’t see what she’s got to offer that’s going to stand out in a crowded market of established and supported acts.

      They thought they’d found someone they could make into a huge star so they turned the series into a launch vehicle for her. The problem is that the public just haven’t taken to her. Maybe there’s a song that can do for her what Ghost did for Ella. If not it could be that they killed off the franchise for an act that is going to flop.

      • Alan

        I think youve absolutely hit the nail on the head Jessica. She won on the basis that she was perceived as the most worthy winner but she didnt connect with people the way that TPTB would have wanted. I think your comments about the likeability factor are spot on too. Theres nothing to dislike about the girl but not a lot to inspire devotion either.

        Would young girls look up to Louisa and want to be her? Im not so sure.

        If she is given killer material she’ll be fine. I wouldnt necessarily have expected Ella to do well but you cant argue with a debut single like ‘Ghost’. She’ll be totally reliant on the label though so she will need a quick start or they’ll just cut their losses and dump her. My guess would be that her pop career will be over within 3 – 4 years.

        • Jessica Hamby

          With the possible exception of Max she has the least charisma of all the finalists. Quite remarkable that she’s the one they picked when you think about it.

      • Sagand

        That’s the case more and more that acts depend on having great material rather than a loyal fan base. It makes sense that you needed people to trust you if you were asking them to buy an physical album with 6/7 songs they had never heard before, but in the age of streaming to have a hit you need the quality of songs that stand up to repeat listens and that people want to share.

        It’s the Cowell business model to make someone famous on TV and then sell products based on their brand.(Syco only has two acts that weren’t launched from a TV show) It’s a model that fails when you fail to make people famous.

        If I was Cowell I’d be looking at launching a show to find songwriters or a melodifestivalen style contest where songs compete, to build relationships with better songwriters.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I think a fandom is really important. A fandom guarantees sales, downloads streaming. Media outlets know there is a committed audience who want stories, reviews, airplay, competitions, promotions etc. Xtina still tweets her Fighters. Cheryl still refers to her Soldiers. Fandoms are what sustain an artist and give her longevity. Katycats, Little Monsters and Directioners are all central to their acts’ success.

          She had the whole series and not one person on a notoriously partisan forum could be bothered to start an appreciation thread. That’s an epic fail imo.

          • Sagand

            Xtina’s last hit was? The Cheryl whose last album made it to the heights of number 7? Gaga and Perry had eras where they didn’t perform to expectations because the quality wasn’t there. But my point wasn’t that fanbases are meaningless but that the music industry is becoming more of a meritocracy and quality rises to the top. If Louisa releases a quality single she will do well and if she doesn’t she probably won’t.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Yeah. The music biz is all about merit. Good one.

            He’s here all week folks.

            And I’m sure Xtina’s turn on Nashville and Chezza’s appearance on X factor have nothing to do with their enduring popularity. You know what? I reckon the X Factor is a singing competition.

          • Sagand

            It’s impossible to have a rational conversation with you. You have absolutely no understanding of nuance and make up your own straw men to knock them down.

          • 360

            Sagand, Jess, I agree with both your points.

            With the rise of streaming, quality – in pop terms, a catchy song that’s an earworm with good production values has a much better chance of rising to the top and catching on than something less so. Being on-trend is ever-more important – look at Bieber’s success this year off the back of Where Are U Now, Sorry and What Do You Mean hitting a sound that’s popular, and Love Yourself being an Ed Sheeran write – or a lesser artist like MNEK having a surprise hit with Never Forget You just because it sounded modern and like other big hits of the year. Sagand, you are bang on here.

            But Jess also has a point. An established fanbase can keep an artist’s head above the tide when things don’t go to plan, find excuses for them, and pave the way for them to have a successful comeback. (Perhaps demonstrate to the record company that there is still interest in them) Gaga is a great example – her last album was completely OFF-trend and widely panned, but all things in consideration, didn’t do *that* badly because the core fanbase was still there in its droves to buy at least some of its singles, and in the time she’s been away, have kept talking about her so she won’t be forgotten by the time she decides to relaunch herself.

            To bring it back to Louisa, with the might of Syco and Mr Cowell’s favour behind her, she should be able to make good on the former and get at least one good summer hit for next year under her belt. But she’d be wise to find an identity and build a fanbase for herself as well if possible, so that she has some leeway of support if things go pear-shaped for her at any point. Without that, she’s completely dependent on the material. Ironically, I’d say that’s about where Cheryl sits at the minute – she seems to have a pretty vocal hatedom online, and her single and album success varies wildly depending on whether she’s been away for a while or not and whether she’s on X Factor every week or not.

  • Nissl

    So XF is on the skids and The Voice sucks at producing anything. Hopefully nobody will mind if I post my new, more gentle and honest format idea here, on the chance the producers are reading.

    Openly invite prospects but also hold open auditions. Select a small handful of *legit* prospects only, without any cruel rounds of public cuts. For the first half of the show, train and develop them for a few months. For the second half of the show, have them do different pop-related challenges each week, whether it’s doing a photoshoot, recording a track, making a music video, appearing on the red carpet, interviewing on the radio, doing a club set, or doing an awards show performance (the current XF format).

    Since there’s no chaff on the show, don’t cut any prospects; thus, no nasty editing or dishonest feedback needed. Have a visible public vote every week, and give a cash prize to the winner at the end. Sign whoever you want after the show.

    • Lia

      I like it! But I think TPTB would struggle with “No cruel rounds or public cuts” bit… They just can’t seem to let it go!

      • Nissl

        Yes, and I think they’re now falling behind the times for it. The younger generation seems to be opting for more warmth and openness in their popstars. Not only do I think the cruelty and lies are hurting the show with its main target audience, I actually think they’re chasing off a lot of the better prospects by making a show with so many transparently ugly features. I could see the format I suggested being attractive to a lot more “credible” and high potential recruits, because everyone should wind up benefiting and not have to sacrifice their integrity.

  • George

    Not looking like things will improve for Louisa this week, already down to #16 on iTunes.

    I completely agree with Jessica’s statement that they could well have killed the show for someone who will probably end up flopping. I honestly think that a lot of the reason why they continued with the constant manipulation to get Louisa the title is because they thought she would be the next Leona and regain the show’s credibility ready for next year. Certainly not looking that way.

    I think the only reason ITV could keep The X Factor after next year is if Simon insists it comes as a bundle with the much more successful Britain’s Got Talent. Though you have to wonder who will have the upper hand in those negotiations – Simon of course loves being on the top of ratings so he won’t want to go to a smaller network. And with ITV having The Voice from 2017 they’re getting less and less reliant on Cowell.

  • Lia

    Had to endure a strop from the 9 year old today. I was calmly watching MTV top 40 enjoying my first day of holidays and then, at #9, Louisa Johnson. Little girl starts screaming at the telly saying that song is awful and it’s autotuned to death. Then she goes on a rant about how 4I were robbed and how Simon is stupid and it goes on and on and on… Man, she’s still pissed! Never seen her like that!

  • Lia

    And Sophia posted another update. Enjoy!

  • Martin

    I’m sure Louisa’s relative flopping will be blamed on the new chart format or some nonsense that the SYCO press team can dream up. To be honest, I’d throw Louisa in a studio with Sia, Naughty Boy, Ed Sheeran (and any other writer/producer who has had a number one in 2015) the morning of January 4th and get an album out the day after the tour finishes. They well and truly phoned her winners single in, and they need to magic some sort of proper first single up pronto. If next year is the final series (if there even is a series) I would 100% angle for a much fairer, feel good winner.

    • Lia

      They are trying to blame the new chart format in a few articles I’ve seen, kind of half-heartedly, as straight after it is pointed out both Steve Brookstein (yes, even him) and Joe McElderry climbed to #1 on their second week.
      They should just put their hands up and admit they screwed up and, yes, lock Louisa with the best CURRENT producers and release something decent. I’m not sure a quick release is the best. I think Louisa needs time to develop her identity. She is only SEVENTEEN!
      Ella Henderson had 2 years doing just that with the likes of Ryan Tedder. It is a luxury that the winner doesn’t have.

      • Nissl

        Agreed, I would take my time with Louisa, assuming they aren’t going to toss her aside for this flop. Obviously the general public isn’t interested in her enough to be excited by average output. She needs to come back with something dynamic and fresh, and more time to grow can only help.

  • TPTB won the battle, but fuck me they haven’t half lost the war.

  • The comparisons with the downward spiral of American Idol are becoming even more stark.

    There’s the falling ratings, still good by normal measures, but not completely dominant; the show becoming less relevant as a cultural phenomenon; the decision to “youthanize” the panel to disastrous results; the manipulation to get a desired result appearing even more obvious; the poor sales from the winner and the end to multiple contracts being offered.

    • Lia

      American Idol also went through a year of trying to engineer a female win after 4 straight WGWG winners. The males they put through were so bad they were duly eliminated one by one, leaving an all female top 5, which no one really cared about. That year is known as the worst talent wise and panel wise, as having Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey proved a disaster. Ratings just went from bad to worse in this misguided attempt to save them.

  • mb79493

    The sales were terrible, but an album being out in two months was not something I expected.

    Have they given up already?

  • A belated Merry Christmas to all gamblers. As 2016 approaches may I wish you a profitable Eurovision season!

  • Hope everyone had a nice Christmas. All the best for 2016. Looking forward to joining you again for Eurovision.

    As is the Oracle. 😉

  • Quick Q… Will there be special coverage of the UK’s national final, as one assumes there will be betting opportunities here?

  • Lia

    THE MALONEY has signed up for CBB! Am I getting my hopes up he spills some beans???

  • Donald

    A very happy,prosperous and profitable 2016 to all on Sofabet. Belated thanks to all for a great and enjoyable 2015.

  • Caro

    A quick aside – Ben Haenow has parted company with Syco: “after discussions with the Syco team we both felt it was the right time to move on”.
    Fingers crossed for his new career.

    • Martin

      I didn’t think he’d stick around. He hardly stole the show, but I quite liked him. By the end, he seemed quite bemused by the whole thing – I particularly admired his off the cuff comment about Louisa being on a cloud in the final, and his parting words for Lauren after having to vote her out. Fair play to him making it seem as if he’s opting out, rather than poor Caroline who appears to have been sacked.

      • Liked him too. And loved that “they like putting you on a cloud, don’t they”.

        There was an interview towards the end of the series where he said something like “I’ve learned a lot” in a way that made me think he meant “I’ve been horrified to discover everything that goes on”. I may just be projecting, though 🙂

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