X Factor 2016 Week 1: Brooks Away

An eventful night began even before the show, with the news just beforehand that Brooks Way had been suspended from this week pending an ITV investigation. We were told the boys would not perform on the first live show but an elimination would take place as usual.

07-lives-week-01-reaction-brooks

Being suspicious-minded as we are, we wondered before the show if this might have been part of some cunning plan involving an announcement of an Amelia Lily-esque reinstatement of a judges’ houses reject – but the fact that we still had half an hour of the show to go with just two acts left, and Dermot then spent several minutes valiantly filling on the subject of the X Factor theme jukebox, strongly suggests that it was, in fact, not conspiracy but cockup.

Quite how this plays out is anyone’s guess. But if whatever the Brooks have done turns out to be unforgiveable, we’ll need some other act to be parachuted in, or a non-elimination week, or else we’ll end up with a two-act final for the first time since Leona and Ray Quinn.

Before the insta-take on tonight’s show from the Sofabet sofa, in case you missed it, take note of the new twist for Sunday’s show – there will now be a bottom three, with a four-minute app flash vote to decide who escapes the singoff. At first blush, this would perhaps appear to be helpful for divisive acts and those with strong regional votes, although – again – time will tell how it plays out.

5am gave us an upbeat opening with ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ after an upbeat VT. Although the staging was arguably a bit Miss Dynamix-y, at least they had their name in big letters on the wall, fireworks in the backdrop and the outfits weren’t colour vomit.

They appeared to benefit from some audio assistance, and got a three-judge standing ovation and some serious positivity from the judges – Simon saying “this sounded like a record”, and Louis saying “we’re going to go all the way to the final”. This was a promising enough opening for the alpha group.

The same couldn’t be said for Sam Lavery, whose treatment made her look very much like the gamma girl. Simon ended her VT by planting the thought that Sam needed to “connect with the audience at home, pull something out that even I’m not expecting”. That was a high bar, and Sam didn’t meet it – the staging was funereal, the vocals alternated between mumbly and shouty.

Amid all the “17? 17. 17!” references from the judges, Louis reminded us she’s a wildcard, and Simon said she’d been shouty, as he’d talked to her about in auditions, but then unconvincingly claimed it was brilliant anyway. Silent assassin Dermot then picked up on Louis’s cue, saying “as a wildcard you’ve got a little bit more to prove”.

Next up was Zaara from Norway – sorry, Saara from Finland. Or somewhere, you know, “abroad” – as Brexit Sharon put it when Dermot asked her after the performance. In her VT, Saara played the role of kooky foreigner to a T. The staging was more Maleficent than Frozen, though – where was the snow? That, and the slowed-down arrangement, seemed to us like it would work against any connection to the young audience who will be most familiar with the song.

A two-judge ovation, Nicole’s high praise and Simon’s “incredible” and “amazing” were at least positives for Saara, who continues to strike us as having potential should producers choose to run with it – something they currently still seem disappointingly disinclined to do.

Emily made a guest appearance in Ryan’s VT, and there were reminders aplenty of his Scottish roots. You could see the staging as nice and simple, or as making Ryan look rather lonely amid the empty seats. Ryan wasn’t quite ‘Perfect’ in his vocals, appearing to flub in the second verse.

The comments brought more reminders of Scottishness. Louis claimed we were looking at a pop star, but Simon said the performance was “slightly theatrical” – although this allowed Nicole to fight back on his behalf. Ryan’s treatment struck us overall as neither great nor terrible.

Gifty, on the other hand, was all positivity. Her VT showcased her journey from a rather dingy-looking London high-rise, with an explanatory mention that she’d moved from Ghana aged ten after her mum died, to wearing fur and appearing in glamour shoots – the message being that she’s being transformed into a star. Her staging was current and high-concept, with a routine that put her front and centre, supported by backing dancers in fencing instructor masks.

A four-judge ovation led into Louis wheeling out “own the stage”, and Nicole saying she’s a “beautiful flower” and calling for her to “blossom”, setting up a journey. It all felt very promisingly Fleuresque – the choice of performing an unreleased song included. Gifty was suitably humble in the post-performance interview, and this felt like the show giving her every chance to fly.

It didn’t look great for Relley when her housekeeping VT associated her with the visual imagery of cleaning toilets, but it was largely good news from there on for the act who’d had the least pre-lives exposure. A good soing choice, well styled, and very positive gold staging – complete with gold tickertape – certainly didn’t feel like a kill attempt.

All four judges stood, and both Louis and Sharon explicitly called for the regional vote from Birmingham – something you could read either way (will Birmingham votes be outweighed by others not voting because they trust Brummies will?). Nicole referred to “heart, voice, soul, spirit” and Simon said “tonight I know who you are” and “you’re someone people will root for”. But how does early support counter lack of pre-lives exposure? That’s the question.

It won’t have helped Relley to be memoryholed by favourite Matt, whose VT had him setting the record straight on his love life, claiming to be single. You could query his song choice in the context of the show – it was one of the two that got Lauren Murray in the singoff from week 8 last year, and the “out with the boys” gender-lyrics switchup felt clunky –  and also the staging, which felt rather cold to us, although Nicole’s comments clarified that it was intended to represent a laser.

Only Nicole stood, though Louis called it the “performance of the night”, Sharon referred to an “extraordinary” vocal range, and Simon said he had blown hot and cold on Matt but now liked him again and the song would get him “a lot of chicks”. Matt is good-looking and has a good enough voice, and is certainly a very worthy favourite – but we still were left with the vague feeling that producers could have done a bit more to help him get off to a really strong start.

Freddy’s VT portrayed him as a bit of a mummy’s boy, being nagged about remembering to take his fish oil tablets and worrying about a late song choice change. He had nice enough staging and lighting for the piano section, but the lighting changed to red and black as he unwisely left the piano to “whoa-ooaoa” his way through the final part of the song.

Simon pointed out that it didn’t work, leading to a contrived argument with Nicole. How much sympathy that won Freddy may determine whether he escapes the danger zone.

Bratavio’s VT was doing a decent enough job of trying to make them look likeable, until Simon promised it would be “awful” – and it unashamedly was. There were colour vomit outfits and staging, with African motifs everywhere – something that recalled Blonde Electra from two years ago – and there was no covering up the dodgy vocals.

Simon justly called it a “horror show”. Sharon possibly laid the groundwork for a save by calling them “brave” and “creative” and saying “I like you”, although whether the duo manage to get off the bottom of the vote seems open to serious doubt.

Emily’s first performance was also something of a horror show for those, including ourselves, who were thinking of her as a potential winner pre-lives. The VT opened promisingly enough, with a depiction of Emily leaving home in Scotland to become a star in London, but vocal coach Annabel’s admonition that she hadn’t been practising was a surprisingly unpromising sign, and the last-minute song change seemed unhelpful – indeed, it seemed positively anti-Emily, from all we’ve seen of her schtick so far.

The staging was also offputting, with Emily stuck in a cage throughout and with backdrops of puffs of smoke. The judges at least seemed to do their best to be supportive and understanding, which perhaps suggests this was an unfortunate misfire rather than a deliberate shot – Louis wheeled out “recording voice”, Nicole pointed out it was the wrong song and key, and Simon seemed apologetic.

The pimp slot for Honey G left no doubt that producers are really, really trying to make her happen. It certainly struck us as more fun than Bratavio’s performance, and it will be interesting to see how strongly voters respond. Simon said: “I don’t know what just happened, but here’s the weird thing – I loved it”.

At the end of the evening, Matt and Gifty are the movers in the outright market, with 5am, Emily and especially Samantha on the drift. Bratavio have hardened as elimination favourites, with Freddy rivalling Relley for second-favourite spot. Ryan, Saara and Samantha have also seen some backing. Producers will surely be tempted to try to engineer a controversial deadlock if Bratavio are above a fodder act in the public vote, but whether they would have the chutzpah for a 3:1 save seems questionable. With the change in the singoff procedure, waiting for Sunday’s show seems sensible.

What did you reckon? Do let us know below.

117 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 1: Brooks Away

  • Kieran

    Matt is going to win the show.

  • Jessica Hamby

    With 5 votes on the app it’s easy to throw someone a sympathy vote or show some love for a novelty act. I can see why Brattavio might pick up a few of those but I couldn’t see anything to motivate people to vote for Saara apart from her performance. Although I thought that was one of the better efforts of the night I very much doubt that is what people will remember.

  • Scott

    For what it’s worth – and it’s not necessarily much, given Kingsland Road etc have been there – Bratavio are trending on Twitter, so clearly have some talkability. Inevitably below Honey G, but if you work on the possibility that the acts in real trouble are the ones who don’t motivate people to talk about them and vote …

    (Advance warning: this could be confirmation bias, I’m desperately trying to find a value bet)

  • 360

    A note on app voting – the acts are arranged in alphabetical order, and you have to scroll all the way through one by one to get to the end. This might put casuals off throwing a few votes Sam and Saara’s way, as the last alphabetically on the list.

    Just had a look en route to voting myself

  • eurovicious

    Bratavio sound like a Slovak budget airline. And they crashed. “Louis’s dream act in a lavatory” they may be, but with that much colour vomit (though thankfully no real vomit – I’m guessing they skipped the chicken dinner), they may be more endangered than the zebras on-screen behind them. British TV audiences love camp, but only when the person is likeable; where Johnny Robinson and Rylan had humility, humour and warmth (and better vocals), Bratavio have thus far only demonstrated po-faced, brittle narcissism and immaturity. (Though I have to admire Bradley’s choice of fashion inspiration: http://noiselesschatter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/day111.jpg) As a kid at school I once got into a silly playground altercation with my (fellow future homosexual) best friend, and a music teacher saw us and broke us up. When we had to explain to him (with some embarrassment) that we’d been fighting over… Eurovision… (the more things change, the more they stay the same), the look on his face was priceless. It’s like Bratavio never left that phase. They’re still two little gayboys fighting on the playground over who gets to wear which item out of the dress-up box.

    I think Honey G is real. Delusional, but real. If she were a parody act like Leslie Hall or Kurupt FM (both wonderful), she’d be more competent. She reminds me more of BGT’s DJ Talent for obvious reasons.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I agree they were both bad and humourless (even the cartoon tribal mask in the background was stern-faced). The genius of the show is that it gives the public the illusion of choice but who fets eliminated is always up to the producers. I wonder if they mind who goes. It’s pretty clear there are a few acts not long for this earth. Which order they leave in probably doesn’t matter that much to tptb.

      One other thought. Does anyone believe the jukebox is a genuinely random selection?

      • Ben Cook

        Well it’ll be very convenient when Fright Night gets randomly picked for October 29th

      • Fudd

        What the true genius of the show is if it manages to get it’s way – it hasn’t always; Ella v James, Carolyn v Rylan. Indeed, series 9 had a feel of incompetent assassins about it; particualrly with District 3 when, in hindisght, I’m sure they wished they had bumped off in week two when given the opportunity.

        From live show one I have to wonder who they want to keep. Gifty is obvious, Relley C seems to be a certain and does Honey G – from nothing the Overs seem to have a bit of life about them though if they’re breathing too easily I have the feeling the knife will come out. Matt was given enough support to get through as were 5 After Midnight.

        As for the remaining six – Ryan got enough Scottish shoutouts to hammer his home nationality (to the point where I was wondering if he should get a restraining order against Sharon) whilst, other than her clear accent, I don’t think Emily got any mention of her nationality. As said in the article in relation to Relley C, will this make it feel like the rest of the country can ignore the lad and vote for the lass? Or could Emily be trouble… she was Bupsi’d, trapped in a cage and had a performance in the wrong key even though that was picked up on by Nicole.

        At least the panel knew where Ryan was from which is more than Saara’s place of birth. Sharon usurped Louis as a bumbling fool covering up a ruthless killer with that one. Throw a bunch of Gollum’s plus Halloween staging into the mix and it was definitely a lid on the vote count if not an attempt to bring her down straight away.

        Samantha was jammed in the deadly number two spot between 5 After Midnight’s uptempo opener and Saara’s fantastic vocal performance she was pretty forgettable. She clealry struggled with the song which Simon highlighted – fair criticism is not a vote motivator. Freddy was given a bizarre moment when he had to ‘ooh’ pointlessly down the microphone when lyrics could have been sung, was red and blacked for parts and hardly presented as someone who young women (I assume the one’s who vote the most) would get excited about. Bratavio were colour vomited and Louis was careful not to say anything too positive about them in the comments. Fun and different are hardly endorsements of greatness.

        So, for me, Samantha v Freddy v Bratavio in the bottom three. I wonder if anyone would be motivated enough to vote for the former two in the short time allocated… I think their favoured result would be Bratavio finishing above Freddy with the public and Samantha being saved by the flash vote. But the best laid plans of mice and men…

  • Scott

    Do the rules of colour vomit apply quite the same for novelty acts as they do for serious ones though? In the same respect, there was fire on stage when Honey G came on, and during any serious performance fire obviously kills.

    • eurovicious

      Blonde Electra would suggest so

    • Jessica Hamby

      Imo it’s better to look at a whole percormance (including vt and comments) rather than focus on a single aspect in isolation. Bratavio looked and sounded like shit and nobody seems to like them but their treatment in vt and by the judges (except Simon) was ok. Simon not liking them is expected so a good rather than a bad thing. They met expectations. Whether that will keep them in or not….? That, my young padawan, you have to decide for yourself.

      Thinking about it, if they go b2 I can’t see any judge supporting them except Louis no matter who they go against. On that basis they should be toast.

  • re: Brooks Way

    It’s probably really bad because so many other people have been accused of violent behavior (think all the supposed bullies) but not were given a week off; and the one person who did, Emily Nakanda from series 4, was sent off. Either way the damage has been done and it’s not feasible to help them because perceptions.

    re: real business

    I thought the Girls were fungible (in position) but it didn’t seem that way tonight. Bottom 2 will be Saara/Brattavio.

    A lesson here for me: last-minute switcheroo (not induced by tragic events), yellow card!

    • Anglia Chu

      I take my words back. Saara may not be a shoo-in at the bottom. She and Relley didn’t fly off the radar as I expected.

      Also, I’m more bullish on the Overs after this week. Still think they’re first out, but not in a rout.

    • Anglia Chu

      Honey G would make an excellent real-world joke artist. Maybe that’s what Syco will do

  • Martin

    Tonight felt like the producers throwing all their spagetti at the wall and letting the public see what sticks tomorrow. I didn’t see many being thrown under the bus, but neither did I see anybody being pimped to high heaven. Surprised they didn’t do more for Matt Terry, and also to see Relley C with the best-looking staging for the night. If, for a second, we imagine Gifty and Relley C were swapped over for the night, Gifty would seem even more of a Plan A than she already does. Just to add my two pence here:

    5 After Midnight: In recent years, the first act up seems to be a test of fanbase for the act, and to make sure that the show gets off to a strong start. 5am are reliable performers, and tptb are clearly confident in them. Positives: the VT name checked them all individually, the performance was visually attractive (if a bit messy at times, but it seemed to fit the context of the song) and the vocals had plenty of recorded support. Final shout outs from Louis. Negatives: Well, none really. The staging could have been a bit cleaner, but I think it all fit in with their image and song choice. It was coherant.

    Samantha Lavery: I actually really liked it, more than I was expecting. Her voice is a bit Jade Ellis/Sophie Habibis though, with the husky break in it she seems to have developed. Her VT was very on-message with her make over/under and unfortunately the producers can choose to use that for or against her for as long as voters play ball. I though the staging was positive (compare it with Tamera’s version a few years back, remarkably similar) but I need a second listen at her vocals. Simon choosing to address her vocals wasn’t a positive sign, but all in all I think she’s done enough to clear herself of the bottom three. It was the first instance of Sharon’s “how old are you” shtick, as if she was trying to ID them for buying cigarettes, too – which should motivate a few votes.

    Saara Alto – God, I hope she survives this week. She did her best Kitty Bruckenall and I loved it. The only positive I can see here is that she sang a well known song very well. Everything else will be of little benefit to fetch her any votes.

    Ryan Lawrie – The first shot of his VT was of him with Emily, and I think the rest of it, and his song choice (which he dedicated to Emily) is all likely to put off young female voters. Although thanks to Sharon IDing him, too – now I know he’s 20 I feel less guilt about finding him slightly attractive. It was all a big meh – he looked lonely on stage (alongside Luke Friend’s projector of doom. Luckily for Ryan it was more in context at his cinema, and the projection of the older woman was out of shot). The first negative comments from Simon lead to a distractive defence from Nicole – his good looks and Scottish roots should see him safe this week, but I don’t see a promising run for Ryan.

    Gifty – I think all the treatment was postive, but it jarred with me because I didn’t think the performance was any good. Her VT was ideal – set her journey up perfectly, and drummed up plenty of sympathy. The song choice was straight out of the Fleur East playbook, but the difference with Fleur was that we’d had previous weeks of getting to know Fleur and “Uptown Funk” was an immediate earworm of a song. “That’s My Girl” isn’t, and didn’t really do much for Gifty. A bit of sneaky backing vocals too, where Gifty was singing the lower register as they belted out the top notes. The staging was nice, she looked like a star and it did feel more Sunday-night-guest than X Factor contestant – maybe they were more comfortable doing this for her in week one where she should be safe anyway, thanks to her strength in the competition so far. I think it was a risky move tonight.

    Relley C – On a personal level, by far my favourite performance of the night, and I wasn’t expecting it at all. She was given perfect gold staging, ticker tape, an uptempo track which showcased a powerhouse vocal, and allowed to perform an original rap. Granted, rapping may not be a great way to endear voters to you, but it showed originality and versatility. I’m not sure if Relley C and Gifty being paired up in the running order is significant, but it had the effect on me of Gifty being memory holed. Maybe that’s just personal taste. I was expecting Relley to be saved from the bottom two tomorrow, but I’m not sure that she will be in it after that performance and overall treatment.

    Matt Terry – Can’t really say much more than what has already been said here. His staging felt oddly static and underwealming but his vocal was strong and he came across well at all times. A gentle start for the presumed plan A could be better in the long term, gives him a few weeks before they play his trump card.

    Freddy Parker – I’m expecting bottom two. Although, based on his press coverage I’d have preferred a performance of “Drinking from the Bottle” by Swedish House Mafia – “Killing Me Softy” was just as painful as that would have been. He just seems utterly pointless there to be honest, and I think Simon’s criticism of him getting up from behind the piano to flail around a bit was justified. I can’t see any of his treatment motivating many votes. Also, another clunky gender-change reference – not sure if it was just me that thought he is quite clearly homosexual so just felt unnecessary.

    Bratavio – Bottom two and out. I actually think that the new voting method would work against the novelty acts – it may appeal to a sense of fair play and motivate the public to waste their new votes on a “proper” act, rather than a novelty. It is a singing competition after all… 😐 Either way, despite all the movement on stage, the graphics in the background of their performance made it all feel a bit stationary, and their utter contempt for each other just made me a bit uncomfortable.

    Emily Middlemas – My shock of the night. Her VT had that vocal coach playing her character from Bupsi’s VT last year. It’s like they mixed up Emily and Freddy’s footage. Came across like she caused the show an inconvinience by not practising enough, and then turned up with another terrible performance. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not – her slot in the running order as the last actually good act suggests that they had decent hopes for her – would it have killed them to have at least let her hold a guitar through the performance? If she wasn’t Scottish, I’d have her down as in trouble.

    Honey G – Again, not a lot to add. She should be safe – it was fun, everybody in the room enjoyed it and that should translate through the TV set. It’s something that people can get involved in, and she should see one or two free votes thrown her way purely because it’s comedy.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, if anybody has bothered to read this far. To conclude – Bratavio seem a shoe-in for bottom two, and the most likely candidate to join them seems to be Freddy Parker. I don’t discount SLavery being down there because of Simon’s criticism and early draw, Relley C for lack of coverage or Emily because of her bad VT and performance, but I’d be surprised if the new voting system didn’t motivate them out of the bottom two. I can’t see it doing that for Freddy or Bratavio.

    • Martin

      As if I hadn’t wrote enough, Saara from Finland is clearly the third intended bottom candidate

    • 360

      I also was picking up gay vibes from Freddy, Martin. You’re not alone.

      If he is, that might lead to some unfortunate implications for our first bottom three, given that Saara Alto is a lesbian and Bradley and Ottavio are almost definitely not heterosexual. Who knows in showbiz though!

      • Tom H

        Why are the sexual preferences of the contestants an issue? Joe McElderry, Union J, Lucy Spraggan and many others have tried to advance their careers through X Factor without using their sex life as a defining point.

        • Martin

          I can’t speak for 360 above but I thought it stood out as odd because I assumed he was gay before he sang. Changing the pronouns felt a bit odd. Not suggesting it harmful or helpful but just a strange observation.

      • eurovicious

        It’s only October but “Bradley and Ottavio are almost definitely not heterosexual” is gonna take a lot of beating as my fave comment of the series. I love entertaining the outside chance that they’re a pair of straight lads doing it for the bantz.

        Hadn’t read the story about Saara Aalto breaking off her 9-year-relationship with a male singer in favour a lesbian superfan who wrote to her after seeing her on TV and who is now also her personal manager. Bit creepy. Anyway gtg, Vaidas is calling me to bed.

    • Fudd

      Maybe The Brooks should have performed between Gifty and Relley C and they didn’t bother to change the singing order afte their withdrawal. Though that would have menat three relatively uptempo performances in a row… logically it would make more sense to have them perform after Matt but before Freddie, especially as they’re both from the Boys category and sung slower numbers.

      • Martin

        I got the feeling that they should have been breaking up Matt and Freddy, too. I know that the show has little regard for minor inconveniences like two members of the same category performing consecutively but with this many acts, it did seem slightly odd.

    • Scott

      The only thing I would say on Gifty is that there’s no way she’s Plan A – not middle England friendly enough and performing songs older people haven’t heard of.

      I suspect they’ll test the water to see how it goes. If there’s a fanbase they’ll try to push her and make a viable recording artist out of her. But when it comes to the winner, the franchise is key over selling records, and Matt meets the middle England-friendly act your nan and mum will vote for.

      • Linda

        Agree. I really like Matt, and I think he genuinely has got “it”. But his staging and presentation last night was most odd. Maybe producers are holding back for a blossoming later, knowing he’ll get enough latent vote to stay in.

  • fused

    I agree completely that Saara’s staging was more Maleficent than Frozen, I was thinking that as I watched it. Not sure if that is good for her, if they wanted her to stay maybe they’d have gone with staging more like the film the song is from.

    Relley C was my favourite of the performances, she did it very well, and for me it was nice to hear ‘Shackles (Praise You)’ again. From what I’ve seen from comments etc I think a lot of people liked the performance, but her lack of screentime before might mean she hasn’t built up enough of a fanbase. I hope she can get through though.

    I actually quite liked Emily’s performance! I’m not saying it was brilliant or anything, but I don’t know, it made me like that song, when before I was a bit indifferent to it. It felt like she connected with it maybe?

    Bratavio really was colour vomit. It hurt my eyes! I’d also say the staging ended up making them blend into it too. They were dressed just as gaudy as the staging, so they hardly stand out. I definitely think the show are willing to cut them loose now, they couldn’t be more clear that they want Honey G to get the joke/novelty act role (pimp slot/name in big letters on screen etc).

    Sam’s performance wasn’t great, and being on 2nd is one of the worst places to perform, so she could be in trouble. I don’t know if I’d say Freddy’s performance was the “worst”, but it was the dullest.

  • Alan

    Saara’s staging reminded me of Anton singing in the graveyard last year. She belted it out but it wasn’t exactly a crowd pleasing version of the song was it?

    • fused

      See, I liked Saara’s performance, but I don’t really like that song very much! So it’s a fair point, conversely the people who like the song might not like Saara’s take on it.

    • Martin

      It was like a cross between that Anton one (her arrangement sounded pretty unpleasant too, like his was that week) and Monica Michael’s staging the week she left. I’m not sure littering a stage with literal deadwood is a good look.

      • fused

        Re: the staging and an earlier point you made about possible memory holing, I found it a bit odd that they put Sam and Saara on one after the other, because their names are similar and so are the types of performance they had this week. Both slow ballads and both given slightly gothish staging which didn’t really go with the song. Saara’s was probably inspired by Maleficent/Sleeping Beauty, but not sure why Sam got a spooooooky staircase and ghostly white sheets blowing in the wind. Was the show trying to get one to cancel the other out or maybe testing to see which one does better in the vote?

        • Martin

          I get what you mean – after 5am had such an upbeat opening slot, the mood was punctured slightly with those two performances being so dark and, as you say, gothic. It seemed an odd choice for Saara as the obvious thing to do would be to make it a bit Disney but obviously they had another agenda.

          Sam’s performance made more sense to me, purely because it was basically the same staging as Tamera’s and they were pushing her when she sang it in 2013. With so many acts, pairing them up may just confuse people as to who did what, affecting them both negatively.

  • Alex

    I just can’t see how Bratavio don’t get eliminated unless they finish 2nd bottom of the public vote and a manufactured deadlock is orchestrated to keep them safe for the controversy publicity. Sharon already set the seeds with the “I like you” schtick after their performance. If that did happen I think Freddy would be the fall guy. I could see Sharon voting against him to save Bratavio. Realistic though I think Bratavio leaves in a bottom two with Saara.

  • Tom H

    Emily and Ryan were bottom 3 for me (with Bratavio, obviously), if they were Plan A that has gone badly wrong. Seems like the Gifty and Matt show right now, with Relley, Sam and Freddy showing signs that they could grow in coming weeks. Amazed at Freddy’s bad feedback from the judges when he delivered the best vocals of the night, but that is the way of the show we have come to accept…

  • I had Bratavio for the singoff buy as I said in the last blog, too many people will vote them in for the lolz at this stage. Same with Honey G. If there’s a market to put down who’s defo safe, that’s a bet I’ll see.

  • Scott

    In retrospect I agree with the theory that the producers have to some degree just used this week as a test. There’s quite a few disposable acts in there so they shouldn’t lose anyone vital, and Honey G was pimped to high heaven. I’ve put a sneaky fiver on Freddy because there are just too many indicators that something is up – red and black staging, an unhelpful arrangement, unhelpful judges’ comments, unhelpful tabloid stories – but I would accept Bratavio are most likely.

    They’ve got a middle England friendly act in Matt who already looks the part for the feel-good winner who might sell a few records then disappear into London theatre. They’ve got plenty of other components in there to play about with – a possible Janet Devlin or second/third contestant who can be nuked when required, an X Factor relationship, a potentially relevant Radio 1 act, another novelty act depending on how far they want to go with them, a foreign act who can either be novelty or have a breakout moment, and a potential JLS. Why not get the voting numbers from week one, then see how to play it?

  • Martin

    does anybody else think that there is anything to be taken from a lot of the song choices being so recent this week? Usually we’re lucky if we get one song a week which is from this century, but tonight we got 7/11 (would have been 8/12 with Brooks) from the last five years, several of which from this year. At risk of disappearing down a large rabbit hole, could it be of benefit to Gifty that several other acts were singing songs that older audience members may not know?

    I thought tonight’s show was one of the most entertaining live shows in recent memory. Perhaps tptb have realised it’s all got stale and finally decided to bring it up to date.

    • 360

      I think if anything it would be beneficial to Relley, singing a classic, given that over the last few years we’ve had evidence that the show is skewing older in terms of who’s tuning in.

      It should help Gifty be seen on more of an even keel though, is that what you meant? rather than being *the* modern outlier? I can see that being the case.

      • Martin

        I’m not sure what I mean, really. I thought Gifty singing this song she did tonight would be seen as a handicap, but in the context of the whole show it didn’t seem that way, perhaps because we had Emily, Ryan, Matt and 5am singing songs your nan might not know either, forcing older viewers to look past song choice when casting votes.

        On the flip side, if we imagine the show in an alternate universe where Gifty and Relley sing the same song but everybody else sings more typical X Factor fodder, what would our opinion be? Gifty seems more prolific, a trendsetter by comparison and Relley gets lost in the crowd? Or Gifty is handicapped by an unknown (and in my opinion, poor) song choice?

        The more I type this the more i think I just need to go to bed.

        • Martin

          Second attempt: if several other acts were singing more ‘classic’ songs that were well established with viewers, those other acts may be more likely to pick up votes. Because there wasn’t songs like that on offer, Gifty may receive votes tonight where she wouldn’t have done if there were, because there are several other acts singing songs older voters may not know too.

          That said, with Relley and Freddy singing more familar songs, they may benefit, as you say. Does this make any sense?

          Furthermore, do I seriously believe that tptb have constructed their whole first live show around making Gifty’s song choice voteable, rather than just giving ‘Shackles’ to her to sing instead of Relley? Even less likely, making everybody sing newer songs to the benefit of Relley C? It seems more likely that they’re just trying to make the show a bit more modern.

        • kingston

          nans will remember matt’s song… goldie hawn, bette midler and diane keaton sang it at the end of The First Wives Club movie lolz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_oFL_b719g

  • Donald

    Feel disappointed tonight that I have not had the time past six weeks to devote the time it takes to do this gig well.

    For Sofabet regulars and readers info I did post the following on August 27th though.”PS. Rumblings of some changes to voting possibly on the cards!”

    Enough said about that for now… it will only become valuable to them when they really need it.

    Watched the show tonight, same old same old.. they got a boy band or two and potentially “Fleur 2” Stoney get on 😉 I’d say everything else will get well bussed and they got the new bottom 3 vote stuff to ensure they get their way.

    Lots of food from Finland on the way suppose 😉

    Audio was terrible tonight for some, boosted for others..

    Bottom and home tomorrow is most likely the vomit show but a bit of any uproar for ratings so God only knows. Sleeping on it,

    • stoney

      Haha last night was my first watch of x factor this series. I was going to give it a miss this year but had a quick look at the contestants and couldn’t miss the chance to whack a bit down on matt @ 12/5 on betfair. Looks like i got in just in time.

  • swablu

    That was a really weird episode of X Factor: most acts were given something suitable to sing, a lot of songs were modern, comments were fair. Not really used to this. And it really hammers home how awful last year was.

    I said in a previous comment I thought Sam was alpha girl but it’s quite clear now she doesn’t have the voice. I found it incredibly jarring how she sang IMPOSSIBAAAAAAAAAAL instead of IMPOSSIBA-AHAH-AHLLL. It really emphasised the shoutiness and combine that with going on second, possible bottom 3.

    Bratavio’s song and staging was X Factor Joke Act By Numbers, frankly. And Louis saying it was ‘different’. Couldn’t they come up with something better than a mash-up of two really obvious songs sung badly with a multicoloured but mostly pink backdrop? It’s just too boring. Nobody will think it is funny. Bye bye Bratavio.

    Freddy might also be bottom 3 but honestly I think he might win the flash-vote due to sympathy, he looked quite sad when he was being criticised, do not underestimate someone who looks quite sad when they get criticised.

    I thought Honey G would never fly because there has never been a successful female joke act, but now I think maybe she will be an exception. Based on the fact previous female joke acts have been ‘funny’ mainly due to acting sluttily.

  • Anglia Chu

    I know YouTube views are a poor indicator of results, but so far, Saara is running away with the views.

    • Scott

      A hefty health warning on that one – she’ll have a Finnish fan base, has tried to go for Eurovision in the past and is very good at social media.

      None of that means she isn’t popular, it’s just worth bearing in mind.

  • Chelsea

    On Facebook Bratavio actually have the third most likes out of all of last night’s acts. I really don’t think they will be the first out. I’m aware Facebook likes don’t equate to votes but I do think they’re a good indicator of popularity of contestants which of course is linked to how the public vote.

    Interestingly, Diva Fever who were basically Bratavio on series 7 (YouTube them if you’ve never seen them) made it through to the second week and that was a very strong series talent-wise. Historically the ‘joke act(s)’ is/are rarely eliminated on the first week. See Jedward, Johnny Robinson, Wagner, Rylan, Stevi Ritchie etc., some of whom actually progressed well into the later stages of their respective competitions. I believe this is because some people (not me) believe their entertainment value makes them worthy of progressing at least a few weeks into the live shows.

    Let’s face it, people either want to see awful singers for the sheer entertainment value or amazing singers for the ‘wow’ factor, when you’ve got mediocre singers who are neither extremely talented nor remotely entertaining the public will generally get rid of these people rather than the two aforementioned groups of contestants.

    • Phil

      In terms of Facebook likes, it’s a lot more skewed this year as they aren’t just likes, they are “reactions”. If you click through, you see that 1.6k of their 5.6k reactions are “Angry”.

      Maybe the best thing to go off is how many “Love” reactions people have? As it stands:

      Honey G 310
      Emily 284
      Bratavio 191
      Freddy 110
      Matt 2400
      Relley C 259
      Gifty 204
      Ryan 183
      Saara 422
      Sam 264
      5AM 175

      I’d say a “Love” reaction is more more likely to translate into a vote. If that’s the case, I hope Freddy is practicing his sing off song today.

  • Boki

    Which vote are they going to use in case of deadlock (normal, flash or added-up)???

  • David Cook

    My week 1 conclusion is that Matt will win – l think my doubts were unfounded.l suspect the lack of strong producer support may have been just to test the strength of his vote and how much help he’ll need. If they can they’ll try to avoid a rerun of last year when Louisa was flogged to death to the general detriment of the show.
    Bratavio will be rock bottom of the vote – l don’t think the flash vote will save them – and I can’t see a bottom pairing which could possibly save them either.

    • Phil

      Re: Bratavio – I think they will get saved against practically anyone the first time. The sole reason for their inclusion, I think, is to engineer a controversial bottom two save.

      • Anglia Chu

        The field is thin (12 acts only) and there’s another novelty act. Is giving them a little more mileage worth the chance of losing someone who is actually worth dragging (think Ella, series 9)? Only way Bratz will be saved is if the Brooks thing turns out to be serious and they need to leave.

    • Jessica Hamby

      If the show wants to be considered musically credible and Bratavio finish b2 I think they have to go. They already have Honey G for pantomime and she has the added virtue of originality. We already know what Bratavio have to offer. Honey G can go anywhere from Sugar Hill Gang / Grandmaster Flash to Will Smith to hard core hip hop and any one of those would be fresh as far as the show is concerned.

  • Anglia Chu

    re: the upcoming Jukebox theme. Clearly “Fright Night” will be on the weekend before Halloween, which makes you wonder how that randomness thing will go.

    • Ben Cook

      I suppose Dermot didn’t actually claim it was random though did he, it just makes more of a show of announcing the theme. Though yes it’s going to be pretty damn obvious in 2 weeks time.

      • Phil

        Pretty sure Louis Loves won’t ever happen either!

        • Fudd

          Really? I have the feeling it’ll pop up at some point. It’ll be a car crash but people’ll be interesting to see what they do with it.

          Wouldn’t be completely surprised to see it pop up week five to try and give the show a kick after Fright Night. They might as well not bother spinning the Jukebox after the week three results; it’ll just reveal the manipulation further.

          Speaking of it reminds of me of a thought I had last night… I bet Simon was so glad Dermot was back. Can you imagine Olly and Caroline trying to fill time???

        • Jessica Hamby

          Louis Loves will be a sort of cheesey / 70s / 80s night. One for old skool x factor fans. Wouldn’t be surprised if they get itup in the next couple of weeks.

          One other thought…

          I know we all go a bit mad as the season progresses bt can we please end any talk of Honey G actually winning before it starts. Not. Gonna. Happen. No-one could listen to a whole album of Honey G even once, never mind more than once. She’s a comedy interlude and her trajectory after the show is at best “one hit wonder” followed by slots on daytime tv and/or radio presenter/dj (records chosen for her, script outline supplied). More likely she will fall into Wagner / Chico / Steve Ritchie obscurity and wait by the phone for the chance to do live show cameos once a year.

          • Yep. She’ll get nuked before that can happen. TPTB can get any one of them at this stage.

          • Phil

            I think you are severely underestimating her. The acts you list – they were all actual people. Honey G is not – she is clearly a persona. We’ve never really had this before. There is an audience for this – look at Ali G, Pam Ann, even Eurovision favourite Lynda Woodruff.

            I’m not saying that I think she will win – just that you can’t write off that there is just the tiniest of chances depending on which direction she goes in.

          • Anglia Chu

            Yes, Honey G is the least self-aware of the joke acts and her commitment to character is unprecedented, but have you seen Week 1? She changed half of Dre and Tupac’s lyrics to “H to the O to the… it’s Honey G.” Surely it will wear out fast that TPTB won’t have to exert too much effort.

          • I now have the vision of Edward Af Silen (Scriptwriter for ESC 2010, 2013 & 2016, Melfest and ESC’s Greatest Hits) writing the judges scripts.

          • Jessica Hamby

            No Phil. I’m not underestimating her. She is definitely 100% not going to win. Don’t be fooled. It’s like when people tbought Wagner had a chance and it turned out he was pretty much circling the drain every week. Also tptb cannot possibly let her win. If you’re going to waste your money I’ll take your bet on her to win.

          • Hi Jess, I have some money waiting to back Honey G on Betfair, please feel free to take it 🙂

  • Joe

    So what do we think, will Brooks Way return? If they do will they be swiftly voted off? Can just one of them come back on their own?

    • Dean

      I think Brooks Way will be goners leaving a chance to see four of Diamonds come back (I hope)

    • Anglia Chu

      If the situation (which we probably can’t discuss; see also: Spraggan, Lucy) is as nasty as it allegedly is, yes. If so, I can imagine Yes Lad coming back (because adding a girl group in a previously-male-heavy Groups category adds unnecessary uncertainty to the whole year).

      If not, I’d think they have enough of a fanbase to pass Week 2, but TPTB may knock them down a peg or two, especially if Bratz is safe this week.

    • 360

      As a duo in the Groups category, I think that limits the chance of one of them coming back solo unless they can rustle up another brother or convenient cousin out of the woodwork!

  • Boki

    Since nobody is replying I guess my question must have been very stupid… but this is still not clear to me so I have to repeat…

    This is the info we have:
    “The remaining two acts from the Bottom 3 (who may or may not actually be the two with the fewest votes from the weekend) will then sing-off. From there, the format returns to normal with the judges deciding who goes. If the panel’s votes are tied, the decision goes to deadlock and reverts back to the public’s vote.”

    But in case of deadlock which public vote will they use? Probably the flash one?

  • Plinkiplonk

    Just a few thoughts, no particular order, while I can still remember:

    – Overall, it showed that they have more shows this year than last. It felt a lot more as if they were going to give most acts a relatively fair shot, and let the chips fall where they may.

    – Like most people, Bratavio actively repulsed me. They are the most clicheed, bitchy queens straight out of Simon’s Big Book of LOLgays. Everything about their performance was hideous, including song choice, and even their VT picked up on their nastiness towards each other. If they are meant to stick around as a FUNFUNFUN act, then I would suggest an immediate redemption story, ideally something about bullying, tragedy, hiding the real them behind a persona blablabla…

    – Saara’s presentation was as unhelpful as they could dare to go; the creepy gothic emo makeover of the song will not appeal to the potentially biggest target (10 year old girls that want to be Elsa). And the pantomime about her origins was cringeworthy to the extreme. Could anyone imagine the same treatment for, say, Gifty? ‘Oh, she’s from Ghana. No from Kenia, or was it Zimbabwe? Who cares, she’s from Africa. She’s FOREIGN!’ Bet the Finnish embassy has already been booked for future filming…

    – Freddy looks like Jamie Laing’s younger brother from Made in Chelsea, not sure if that counts for or against him. His treatment suggests he’s disposable. It also seems to make it more obvious that he was chosen over Christian because he poses less of a threat to Matt.

    – That Bottom 3 twist with the app vote has, once again, been announced in a very inprecise way, so some of the details could be tweaked to suit any agenda. I would also say it massively favours the acts who’s supporters are most likely to use that kind of thing.

    – I think for the show to retain a shred of dignity (HA!) they need to get rid of the Brats tonight; cannot imagine they won’t be in the bottom 3. However, since this series seems to be about chasing ratings, I have a horrible feeling they will generate a watercooler moment by keeping them in over, say, Freddy.

  • Alan

    What did people make of Emilys treatment? I took Nicole’s comments to be negative (rather than sympathetic) and then Dermot clarified that Emily had agreed with them, justifying the criticism. Couple this with the negative VT, late song change and terrible staging and its pretty obvious that she’s not the chosen one.

    • 360

      Initially I thought the switch to the current #1 Closer – which was then called out on in the comments – suggested Emily was being given a fair bite at the apple, or a chance to pull it off.

      I wasn’t sure what they were doing with the cage and initial red and black lighting even if it then changed to blue. It was decent, but didn’t look like a winner’s performance. But I did wonder if that might be in response to criticism of the over-obvious pimping Louisa got from the off last year.

      The way I read it, Emily *was not* meant to take Nicole’s criticism that way – the light criticism was there as an additional reason for people to vote for her to secure her this week. I think this because they already set up Sam as the fall girl and Gifty as the Misha B memorial act who won’t fly as high as they hope. So to me watching, it’s Emily or nothing from the Girls category.

      I just doubt Simon would have thought that Emily would accept the criticism and agree that it was justified. It’s the last thing someone with a big ego would do. I can imagine she got a talking-to behind the scenes.

    • Martin

      I think it was a hastily repackaged VT, a bad performance and misjudged comments. The only reason I think was intended to be positive was because she was the penultimate act, and the last ‘proper’ act before Honey G. Maybe the show switched tactics and allowed that terrible VT (which was the worst of the night for me) because they genuinely don’t think much of her, after her lack of rehearsal and ropey replacement.

      Although surely however under-rehearsed her Toxic performance was, it can’t have been worse than what we got with Closer?

  • Dan

    My big takeaways from last night:

    Bratavio really are awful with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They should rightly go tonight. Assuming they are bottom of the vote, they will need three judges to save. Louis will obviously support them, probably Sharon as well, but Simon and Nicole won’t, especially if they are up against Freddy or Saara.

    Relley fared much better than I expected in terms of song and staging. I didn’t see the VT as negative either – she was shown working hard doing a not particularly pleasant job. I’m not sure what the show has in store for the future but I think she’s OK this week.

    The Brooks weren’t missed and I get the impression they’d be splitting the 5AM vote. Assuming they’re gone, time to bring back 4 of Diamonds perhaps?

    Honey G – I still waiting for a “big reveal” where we find out she can actually sing. Unless something changes, there’s only so many times you can go on stage and spell out your name to the audience before it gets old.

    As for the show itself, a vast improvement on 2015, which in retrospect was crap. Too few live shows, terrible presenters, terrible judges, and acts that no one really cared about.

  • Scott

    I think I’m down for a £5 loss tonight. That’s what I’ve put on Freddy on the off-chance it happens, because there were just too many red flags for me – poor arrangement of song, massive red and blacking (albeit only in the final stage), poor judges’ comments, bad press during the week. There is no value for me in backing Bratavio to go, as much as they appear doomed to the Blonde Electric week one exit, because it’s not impossible the show might decide to pull off a shock save, or keep them in to make Honey G look better, and it’s not clear enough to me that the show in fact cares too much which of about three or four acts disappear this week.

  • Joe

    I’m in agreement with Scott on the 1st elimination. Freddie and Chicken dudes bottom 2. No value in backing the latter and how many times have we seen a controversial save in favour of the novelty act in previous series. In terms of credibility it can’t be a 3:1 vote so I’m thinking Freddie to go at deadlock.

    Sam/Saara/Ryan will be saved in flash vote escaping the bottom 2. Very tough to pick which of them will be bottom 3 as they all received bad treatment but I’m leaning towards Sam as she had the ‘death slot’.

  • Tpfkar

    Entertaining show I thought. Coming back to my three thoughts in the prediction thread:

    1 – Bratavio have more shelf life than HoneyG.

    Looks clearly wrong. As others have said, no redeeming features for Bratavio. I was surprised it was that bad – something like Candyman at judges houses worked much better for them. However honey G made me think of Chico, he sang his signature song and was then eliminated. What does Honey G do next week? It feels a bit end of journey in week 1. We must be missing something about what the show has lined up for her.

    2- Ryan will be presented as Emily’s support act.

    Yes definitely. She featured in hisVT not vice versa. However hard to see either as contenders at the moment, and all a bit of a damp squib. I still think we need to consider them forming a duo later in the series.

    3- Gifty has real potential.
    I think this looks true, but her presentation was very harsh, she needs a big classic song soon. Having seen the other girls, she looks like the most reliable Saturday evening performer and that will count for plenty.

    It really should be Bratavio tonight, but this voting change looks fishy to me. I was wondering Boki’s question as well – they will know the order overnight before having to tell us, a real advantage to the producers.

  • Sagand

    I think the bottom three will be Sam, Saara and Bratavio. App voters to save Sam and Bratavio to go in a three to one vote.

  • Plinkiplonk

    I wonder if nobody leaving is a viable option, seeing as the Brooks are now definitely out ?
    Probably not, as the whole rigmarole with the app would make absolutely no sense…

  • 360

    Honey G still pimped as much as possible in the show for the last few minutes.

    On another note, the judge camaraderie has this feeling more like X Factor of old.

  • stoney

    Please tell me no one here has actually put money on this Honey G character to win?

  • Piresistable

    I didn’t realise James Arthur had been rehabilitated.

  • 360

    Well, we called the bottom 3 Sofabet!

  • Piresistable

    Does anyone know what is actually happening here?

  • Piresistable

    So was that all the young girls voting for the boy?

  • Freddie’s save is a surprise. Gone in on Sara to go, with regret as Shuggsy would say.

  • Fudd

    Logically – Nicole brought Saara back as a wildcard and Simon blasted Bratavio last night whilst called Saara amazing. Logically it should be 3-1 to Saara. But since when has this show followed logic?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Anyome who doesn’t believe the show is manipulated should take note of this result. The best singer in the competition is in the bottom 2 in the first week.

  • EM

    Well if nothing else that ends any analysis of Facebook likes and YouTube views for another series (not that any one really was were they?!)

  • stoney

    Simon asking nicole to write the groups name down Haha

  • Fucking hell. That has to be my worst week of any XF or Eurovision.

  • 360

    Pleasantly surprised, that went about exactly as I predicted it after the judges flipped on Relley last night.

    Next week’s Motown should play to her strengths as well. Anyone else notice two of the judges picking her as their favourite from last night? Perhaps a Fleur East run isn’t completely out of the question – or maybe they’re just running her against Gifty for now.

    I voted on the app for Freddy to stay, in order to get Bratavio out. Maybe others did the same. It was more likely in my mind that they’d find it harder to knock the duo out against someone who sang as well as Saara does. Bratavio vs Freddy would have had more chance to go either way.

  • Edie M

    Out of the country so missed all this, always thought bratavio would leave first so no surprises there. This brooks thing is bizarre, nye assault allegation came out days ago so why suspend them only on Saturday? And does it seem like there’ll be a replacement? Surely only 10 acts left doesn’t give them enough leeway.

  • Scott

    Saara clearly has a limited fanbase, and the powers that be know what they need to do to get rid of her should they wish to, so there’s no rush to get rid of her. Could happen next week, could happen in a few weeks. All they need to do is remind the viewers she’s foreign and give her a slightly ropey/odd arrangement of a song and she’ll go.

    I’m convinced Freddy was rescued by the new system – I’ll be amazed if he wasn’t bottom two, and at that point it becomes a bit more credible to put him out and retain Bratavio. But really, given Simon’s comments at the end I’m now fairly convinced they were going no matter what. Blonde Electric all over again, a free pass for the producers to avoid someone good going in the first week.

    No other way to play it for me this week but to back Freddy to go, there were enough indications that it could have happened, the only way to make any money would have been to back Bratavio with big money in the sing-off.

  • Allan

    I firmly believe Matt is a decoy for the real TCO The show seems to be keeping people guessing this year by being less predictable I have Relley to win at 66-1 and even at 25-1 she’s a damned good bet in my opinion. Have to say when i read the “Do you Relley want to hurt me” article last week i was chuckling to myself in the firm belief that the signs had been totally mis-read!

    • fused

      Relley C is by far my favourite contestant on a personal level, and I have heard a few people say she was their favourite or one of their favourites from last week’s live show, but I still think Matt is going to win. He just seems a much more likely winner for this show going by what’s happened in the past. I think and I hope Relley may end up doing better than expected, but honestly Matt seems to be the one I’d most expect to win out of all of them, not just him and Relley.

      There’s also that all the Boys this year are kind of variations of the same type. They could easily have been put together as a boyband. I think the are fishing from the same pool in terms of potential fans, and I’d say Matt is probably the most popular of them and most likely to sweep up votes from people voting for Ryan and Freddy once they go, which might well be sooner rather than later. We’ve also suddenly ended up with a very female heavy final 11, a bit ironic considering that it initially looked like it would be more male heavy, but here we are. So I think the votes that will go to female vocalists are going to be much more split.

 Leave a reply...