X Factor 2016 Week 2: Freddy Parked?

Matt Terry and 5 After Midnight were the big winners from the second live show – it’s 16.0 bar two on Betfair at the time of writing, and producers’ intentions to have both in the final seem clear enough. Who they’re thinking of as the likely third finalist is a more intriguing question.

Of more immediate concern, to our eyes there weren’t any all-out hatchet jobs – you didn’t have to look too hard to find some degree of positivity in everyone’s treatment. But three of the eleven acts are going to be standing next to Dermot looking crestfallen on Sunday evening.

Freddy Parker is a shade of odds-on for next elimination and justifiably so. He was sent out first, one of only two acts to perform in the Strictly overlap, and didn’t get as much positivity as most.

The VT was nice enough, if bland and reinforcing the mummy’s boy meme. And there was lots of gold in the staging, with Freddy front and centre. But only Nicole applauded at the end, and Louis probably vocalised the thoughts of many viewers by saying the song was too big for him – a criticism which Sharon backhandedly reinforced by ludicrously claiming it was “too little”. An article of faith on this site is believing praise perceived as detached from reality doesn’t motivate viewers to vote.

Simon called it “a little bit erratic” but still “a million times better than last week”, reminding us how bad he was then. He also said being in the bottom three had been good for Freddy. An invitation to viewers to let him experience it again?

Sofabet commenters were very down on Emily’s treatment, but we saw it as something of a rehabilitation after last week’s horror show. The VT started by making excuses for that performance, then we saw Emily going shopping with Gifty – are we to get the Fleur tactic of Gifty turning up in other people’s VTs? It ended with Emily saying she hoped everyone would “love it”, a positive frame to go into the song.

We thought the staging was classy – a single spotlight on Emily stood in an octagon, with darkness all around. And while there was no standing ovation, Simon at least persisted with applauding while Louis attempted to give feedback, riling up the crowd again. If we had one criticism, it was the funereal arrangement of the song.

There were at least two mentions from Simon – one in VT, and again in comments – of Emily not having a big voice, but we didn’t take this as too much of a negative as it was immediately coupled with pointing out all the other things we should enjoy in Emily’s voice. The VT showed her referring to “Emilyisms” while Sharon said she “Emilied” the song. There’s an element of brand-building going on there.

Of course, having been on Emily pre-lives, confirmation bias could be making us look for the positives here. But while it was not encouraging to see Emily come on in the Strictly zone, the rest of her treatment felt quite positive overall.

Not as much as Matt’s, of course. His VT featured a visit from his nan, who lives in Spain, as Matt did for eight years until his family apparently “gave it all up” so he could pursue his singing dream in England. Why it isn’t possible to sing in Spain was never explained.

Matt’s staging was exemplary, a backdrop featuring a gold disc with his name on it, and he made good use of his falsetto. Sharon and Nicole set out to establish Matt as a sex symbol, Nicole showing some leg and Sharon requesting a reprise of his opening over-the-shoulder look.

Simon dialled down the praise, saying the vocal wasn’t as good as last week and that he has “the chance to turn into someone really good”, implying he’s not there yet – but that just sets up the journey. This was a very promising week for Matt backers.

It didn’t start too promisingly for Relley as Sharon introduced her as Saara, but she got another nice VT with an introduction to her dad Eddie C, also a singer – like Che Senior last year – and shoutouts to the Birmingham regional vote.

She had a choir and simple, effective staging – although the distractions to her image in the backdrop raised an eyebrow and will merit a second watch – and sang it well. Comments were positive, Simon saying it was “devastatingly good” and again drawing a contrast between live-shows Relley and unsighted-in-auditions Relley, calling her a “different person”. How long-term the plans are for Relley remain open to question, but it didn’t seem like she was in the crosshairs tonight.

Sam Lavery got a regional vote shoutout, too, with Dermot pointing out she’s from Durham, and meeting James Arthur, who claimed the north-east is behind her. The staging was simple and intimate – although possibly a little cold, the wavy blue-black recalling a nighttime sea, until it changed to show the silhouettes of musicians towering over her, which is a subliminal you could question.

Vocally she was doing better than last week with the help of some reverb until she went for the high note and went yelpy again – possibly Sam doesn’t have the greatest of range, although both Sharon and Simon chose to praise her for having a “rock voice”, and Nicole called her a “warrior princess”. As with Emily, we felt that Sam backers could find plenty of positivity if they looked for it.

5 After Midnight got a textbook boyband VT, emphasising laughter and bonding, with childhood photos bringing out their individuality and a nod to their work ethic. Their staging was colourful and fun.

The four-judge standing ovation left no doubt about how we were supposed to react, and the reaction in the studio sounded huge. Simon congratulated Louis on the great job he was doing with them, and said they have everything. We’re still not completely convinced they have the vocal chops to go all the way, but this was a great night for them.

Less so for Ryan. Once again, we had Emily starring in his VT while he was absent from hers, and we were amused to hear how many times Coatbridge (population 41,000) was mentioned in his VT – Emily, by contrast, had been described as being from “Scotland” and “Glasgow”. After seeing many other families visiting rehearsals, Ryan chatting to his family on the tablet felt like it invited less of a connection. “I just hope I can do the song justice” was the final line of his VT, planting the thought that he might not.

You could take some comfort from his staging – the name up on backdrop and movement with backing dancers – and he seemed to get some vocal assistance, but it felt significant to us that they’d shorn him of his trademark curls. He looked barely recognisable without them. How well Ryan fares in the vote may depend on whether Simon’s criticism (“this didn’t work…. It was mechanical… It didn’t feel real…”) strikes viewers as justified or motivates sympathy. Oh, and whether Coatbridge come out in force.

Once again the show did their very best for Honey G, with a VT introducing us to Mummy G – we loved the photo of Anna as a kid in her gansta gear, with a backdrop of a leafy suburban street. She got a segment to herself, there was gold tickertape and a four-judge standing ovation, and the judges motivated as much noise from the crowd as they could.

Honey rapped at the start that she was going “all the way to the final”, where Snoop Dogg has already offered to duet – we presume the show would love that, but there’s a long way to go. Will there be a drop-off in how well this pimping works, given it was basically the same thing for the second week in a row? Having enjoyed last week, it felt to us like this week fell a bit flat in comparison.

Gifty’s VT had her meeting Fifth Harmony, whose song she’d performed last week, and bonding with Simon. She also had her name up in big letters, colourful staging with pink balloons, and nice choreo with backing dancers. It was a fun performance, which Simon pointed out. He called her a “happiness balloon”, after Louis had said she was like an “established recording artist”.

Simon also explicitly pleaded for votes. It remains possible that Gifty might not have done too well last week – Dermot pointing out her smile added to the sense that they feared she’d come across as too fierce in the first performance.

Saara’s family had made the trip over from Norway to see her, reassuring her that “the whole of Finland is behind you” in a Faustini-esque VT that further emphasised her foreign-ness, as she went on on a trip around London with her sister, courtesy of lastminute.com, and waving union flags.

We thought her performance was great – amazing vocals and good interaction with her backing singers in what was a big production, and a winning combination of showmanship and kookiness that reminded us of Kitty Brucknell. Louis called her “cold” and said people hadn’t taken to her, and there followed a distracting conversation about bananas. Saara remains second-favourite for elimination; how many people will have felt motivated to warm her up by throwing her a vote?

The much-anticipated return of 4 of Diamonds started promisingly with the four girls introduced individually in their VT, but the staging was uninspired – the backdrop looked more like a Renault logo than a diamond – and the performance was rather static and dull.

Judge reaction was less than enthusiastic, with Nicole praising them as “my favourite girl group” (so, a good job Louis didn’t bring back Skarl3t) and Simon pointing out how much Louis hates girlbands. It was a pimp slot, and it’s early days for the returnees, but this was an overall treatment that suggested they have plenty of ground to make up on the alphas in their category.

Freddy is the act we’d be most confident of seeing in the bottom three, when the question will be whether the app vote will save him again. How did you read it? Do let us know below.

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98 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 2: Freddy Parked?

  • Stu

    My pre-lives prediction of 5AM winning is looking good after tonight but it’s early days. 4OD were underwhelming admittedly but for me it was their awkwardness/nerves on stage that distracted me. They’ll have to work hard to stay in this competition for a while but I think some people on here are reading far too much into the judges’ critique and 4OD’s song choice. The judges seemed to be hyping them up this week and Keep Me Hangin’ On can hardly be a sabotage if Little Mix performed it in the week they topped the vote and at the point the producers were backing them 100%. I think their overall treatment suggests a triumphant return but next week will be the real test for them… if they’re still here.

    I wasn’t surprised with Simon’s voting plea for Gifty. I’m now near-certain that she polled just above the danger zone.

    Matt on third to perform – is that a show of confidence in his vote or a dampening? Maybe it was both. I still can’t comprehend why TPTB would want Matt as their ideal winner. Simon’s small critique was interesting. Didn’t the judges do the same to Janet and Sam Bailey on the week after the first public vote? It was a good performance though if not a bit “Danyl Johnson”-ish.

    Relley C is reminding me of Alexandra Burke in both song choices and styling at the moment. I don’t think she’s at all a valuable act in the producers’ eyes but it’s clear they want to keep her around for a few weeks yet.

    • Matt performing third meant he was the first act Strictly viewers will have seen as they switched over from BBC1.

    • Sagand

      Little Mix sang ‘Keep Me Hangin’ On’ in the semi finals where it was the first song which was criticized to build to their second song ‘If I Was a Boy’ from the pimp slot.

      • 360

        Their version was also I feel miles above 4oD’s version, thanks to a better arrangement and better individual vocals.

        I didn’t watch auditions so I’ll wait until next week to fix my judgement about Four of Diamonds. I have very little idea from that performance alone what they sound like singing as they all blended in together.

  • 360

    I’m holding to my prediction earlier in the week of a bottom 3 comprised of Saara, Ryan and Gifty. Unsure which of Gifty or Ryan would be saved by panic-vote, but either way, Saara to go. Gifty to be softened up even more next week if possible and to bounce through.

    I still think they’d like to keep Saara as a villain until Halloween but it doesn’t look likely that the public will bite.

    Acts I feel least likely to hit bottom 3: Matt, Sam, 5AM. Anyone else is fair game.

    RE: What Stu says about Relley C, Alexandra Burke is an apt comparison. Let’s not forget Ms. Burke started out as the gamma or maybe the joint-beta in her year, and was styled awkwardly early on in her run.

    Relley, although an Over, is only 26; if they decided to switch horses to her it would be pie to give her more modern clothes and a more in-vogue haircut. Moreover, if they decided to give her Gifty’s role, they could be more daring, having already sown the seeds that she can do classics and feelgood songs.

    Alexandra Burke went from singing Whitney and Michael Jackson classics to Britney Spears’ Toxic in a red leather coat with no audience discomfort.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Reilly is 26 and they dress her like she’s 40. This could be a problem.

      She’s also an indifferent singer, although that doesn’t have to be a handicap.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Playing devil’s advocate with 4OD

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R6woM2H3TQA

  • Ha Jess. Thunder and lightning, it’s getting exciting!

    So, much to take away this week.

    Saara: I hope this isn’t confirmation bias, but she didn’t strike me as being in trouble. Louis put the boot in and I have no doubt that was on-script, but the other three were quick to shut him down. The “smacking a banana” thing I’m willing to suggest was off-script given how pissed the ladies were tonight. I certainly wouldn’t mind smacking a banana round Saara. 😉 I just don’t know why the producers have it in for her to such an extent when she’s got the strongest voice in the field.

    (Daniel – have you said she’s from Norway on purpose

    4OD: Some of their performance was technically ropey but the harmonies were bang-on. I think they’re in there for the long-haul. Fair comment from Towerzinger. Introducing them all by name (then reinforcing the point with Louis on ITV2) suggests they want us to emotionally invest.

    Emily: First John Lewising of the season. I think she’s going to be OK.

    Honey G: Could be here a while…

    Sam: Fairly good performance, and I notice Peter Dickson is now pronouncing Lavery like “Lavatory” not “Slavery”.

    Matt and Ryan definitely in trouble. Question is who’s gonna join him.

  • I HAD TO LISTEN TO THIS SEVERAL TIMES TO SEE IF I HEARD IT RIGHT…..In the intro to the show Sharon said “Motown is perfect for my category and we are going to nail it”….. THEN, straight after, Louis Walsh said…..”I might only have two acts left, but these two acts are going…(pause)…NOWHERE”
    Now either the show editors are stupid in overlooking it, or very clever with the ‘subliminal messages’. Hmmmmm?

  • Oh dear for Emily too. A VT vid of her performing with everyone rushing by and not stopping to watch her and then placed on a British Gas stove cooker ring for her performance….= toast (and burnt)!!

  • EM

    I think the article sums it up well, we know the two favourites. It doesn’t look like they’re too fussed about the order most of the rest of them go.

    I’d imagine their priorities over the next couple of weeks will be getting rid of anyone that could stand in Matt and 5AM’s way (mostly boys) and keeping Honey G in as long as they can for ratings (she will be incredibly easy to knock out when the time comes).

    I’d disagree that Saara was amazing – sure she’s got a powerful voice but she doesn’t do any nuance with it. If indeed she’s this year’s Kitty Brucknell it’s worth noting KB struggled regularly in the vote.

    Thinking about the psychology of why you’d vote for an artist it will mainly be because you want to see more of them (ie you liked the performance) or you like the act (ie they’ve formed a connection). On that criteria I could make a case for Ryan, Saara, Sam, Freddy, Relley and 4 of Diamonds hitting the bottom.

    I didn’t pay massive attention at the end – was the bottom three flash vote mentioned again?

    • Hi EM, it was indeed. And true about KB, even when they were trying to help her…

    • Yes EM, it’s the same elimination format as last week. Speaking of which, I think Freddy would have a fair chance of being saved by the public again with all of the likely Bottom Three combinations.

      • EM

        Thanks Andrew and Tim.

        It’s a big IF but you can see the young boys being saved in the flash vote each time, the only way to guarantee a boy in the bottom two would be to have two in the bottom three which makes the thought of a Ryan/Freddy/AN Other bottom three appealing

  • David Cook

    Very difficult to call the elimination this week. To me both Freddie and Ryan seemed to be the main targets and if they can get both B3 I think that they’ll take the opportunity to get rid of one. The preference may be Ryan – if they think his absence may remove a distraction for Emily. The lifeline vote however may well save him over Freddy. Will the public play ball. If not it’s pretty much up in the air. Saara should have done enough in a more favourable running slot so she might be safe this week.
    At a push I’m calling Freddie to go – but not one to bet the house on.

  • stoney

    I notice saara is benefiting from overseas fans in the telemix poll the same way as the asian girls were last year. Apart from that its Matt 1st and 5am second as you would expect.

  • Martin

    I think this week will be more of a test to the life line vote than anything else. In typical fashion, the pretty boy was saved above all else last weekend – will be interested to see if he benefits again, or indeed Ryan if he is down there.

    based on the quality of her sing off last weekend and her performance last night, Saara should safely bounce but I still have doubts. after his ‘the public think you’re cold’ comments, Louis could have quite easily added ‘but that should have changed their mind, I hope everybody votes to keep you safe this week’ but he didn’t. The other comments were positive, but not motivating.

    I think EM seems to have nailed the overall feeling of this series – they have their top two, are protecting Honey G for the time being and aren’t really arsed about the rest.

    You could argue that they are doing their best for Gifty, but not in a typical vote getting sense. I thought her production was a bit of a mess last night, although vocally she was a lot better than last week and the comments were at pains to try and get everybody to vote for her. I get the feeling they’re trying to see how much they can get away with trying to make her interesting and relevant before they have to start pandering to the ‘Proud Mary’ style crowd pleasers, if they even bother.

    • Jessica Hamby

      If Gifty doesn’t make it who do you think will be the third act in the final? Emily?

      • Martin

        I genuinely have no idea – i think the show would quite like it to be Gifty but I have reservations as to how many votes she’s actually going to be getting so far. From the rest of the field, whoever the third finalist is will more than likely have to be dragged there.

        I had Sam down as third place on the pre-lives prediction but that seems even more unlikely at this point.

  • Phil

    I can’t see Ryan going anywhere to be honest – I think they’ll find him VERY difficult to get rid of. I say he’d get saved in any lifeline vote against literally anyone. If anyone is going to motivate app votes, it’ll be him.

    Oh and OLLY, get off the TalkTalk sponsor stings, you’re embarrassing yourself.

  • Emilys staging, I’m surprised Sofabet think its classy, the single spotlight is good yes, but next to that.

    Shes surrounded by misty fog, shes in a circle similar to last week and to me it looks like if she steps off that plinth shes falling down a big hole.

    Next to that shes wearing a very short skirt and conveniently Nicole goes on to mention “she has legs”

    https://i.imgsafe.org/342a63ff94.jpg

    That said, I dont see her B3 this week.

    • Fudd

      My ‘funniest’ moment for Emily is when they managed to completely cover her up with the voting strapline during the recap. I wonder if they’ll amend this tonight?

      Simon also completely clapped over Louis’ comments, which were the most positive of the four judges… even more positive than Simon’s. Iif we’re saying that Simon commenting on Freddy’s performance last week is a reminder of how bad he was he did exactly the same thing to Emily.

  • Anglia Chu

    I’m just catching up now.

    Impressions:

    4oD getting a welcome to start the show. Promising.

    Freddy: Mama’s boy, promising lighting, terrible camera angles, mixed distracting comments about his nice hair and his balls. Not bad but it won’t win new fans anytime soon. A return to B3 seems sure.

    Emily: London is bigger than Glasgow oh my God, no big voice, individuality, surrounded by a ring of white and purple, pigeonhole as slow-singing girl. Dermot saying “stop walking off prematurely” feels like a nice metaphor for a future shock exit. Safe.

    Matt: Nan from Spain who meets Simon, nice non-monochromatic lighting, Nicole’s legs, scared for every other contestant, “hot”. Another song about an evil ex LOL LOL LOL. Effusive with praise without being pushy; he must be running ahead.

    Sam: Meeting James Arthur, makeover, mom’s favorite song, focus on her, rock girl, warrior princess, she’s finding herself. Not as good as they’re saying, but Dermot reminding everyone that Sharon managed rock bands aims to add credence to her “rock voice” remark, which is positive.

    Relley: Not Zara, dad did Motown tributes, Birmingham, wall of old photos, Relley as Motown personified or something, strong in the Lives after being invisible before. Solid performance that’s boosted by the judges, but the OTT comments may suggest they’re still trying to push her into a stable position.

    • Anglia Chu

      for some reason, I swapped Relley and Sam in my notes lol

      MORE impressions:

      5AM: Someone turned 21, singing and since they were young, staging has personality, great comments but not overdoing it (see: Terry, Matt), Berry Gordy. Great performance and I feel like they are an act to look forward to. Clearly safe.

      Ryan: Emily’s boyfriend, “stay focused”, “whole Coatbridge”, “sound amazing, so natural” during rehearsal, what is he wearing (underdressed for the choreography), contradictory comments but Simon’s negative is the most memorable. He’s too young for the choreography around him and he’s not dressed appropriately. Not necessarily safe but not as much in danger as remarked by the comments; it doesn’t help, however, that he’s sandwiched by 5AM and Honey G.

      Honey G: Social media, Mummy G, explaining urban slang, her own currency (HoneyGexit?), David Cameron in a wig, everyone embracing the madness and trying to use urban slang. She’s clearly getting a lot of help (I listened to her song last week on Spotify– mainly the live show performance with most of the on-stage boom removed– and her timing was WAY OFF; it’s probably the same this week) so safe.

      So much to unpack: the only part that’s Motown is the sample of I’m Coming Out and most of the Biggie lyrics are superimposed with some variant of “Honey G”; all four standing up feels like full “Britain’s Got the Pop Factor…” After Brexit and possibly Donald Trump, Honey G would make the perfect XF winner, demonstrating that 2016 is the year of picking things you will regret.

      Gifty: Meeting 5H, ginger tea, pink and red, star quality, gift-y, please vote for Gifty. She has so much potential and it looks like TPTB agree. It looks like she underwhelmed in the vote last week; I can imagine her going Luke Friend (who got relatively unique songs, good comments, good running order early on to slowly boost their fanbase), if handled well.

      Saara: From the land of ice, B2 last week, tourist-ing with also-foreign sister, Finland behind her, why is her outfit Native American, purple stained glass patterns (how is this Motown), cold v hot, judges arguing more than usual. She’s not out of the woods, but given how her B2 last week was seen as a terrible result by those who didn’t see it coming, she was given a fair crack. Whether she will hold on is another story.

      4oD: Welcome back, they have names, inspired by Motown, on top of glass bleachers, blue and silver (like Ryan), more welcome back, constructive criticism, watch Little Mix. They weren’t hyped like the other returnees, which could mean they won’t be torn apart so quickly afterwards like the other returnees. Safe and their future is promising.

  • Henry VIII

    4oD not as impressive as before but I think the show did alright for them. The red we saw in that photo was changed and they used the steps well.

    Someone else less impressive in the Lives, but much less so, is Emily and I’d get out of her while you still can. They mauled her last week and this week she got the triple running order whammy of: death slot 2; SCD overlap; just before Matt. Plus all the minor de-ramps. She was also noticeably nervous singing last night. She’s just not good enough.

  • Ben Cook

    Haha, I suspect someone will have a word with Snoop Dogg about Honey G before he ends up duetting with her.

    I’m really puzzled about the public’s perception of her. Does everyone think she’s mad or do they know she’s in on the joke? From chatting to people and reading forums there seems to be an alarming number of people who think she’s totally serious.

    To me, it’s just becoming clearer and clearer that she’s laughing with us. Nobody on here thinks this masters degree holder and business owner is that deluded, surely?

    • Phil

      It’s clearly a persona, but I think she is genuinely good at what she is doing. Rapping isn’t easy, despite what a lot of those who dislike her seem to think, and to do it pretty competently whilst carrying off some pretty high energy routines – she deserves credit.

      • Ben Cook

        Yes.. I expect she genuinely does like this sort of music, and probably has some sort of experience in DJing and MCing when she was younger. But the way she speaks, dresses an acts of course is a persona, yet it’s amazing that a lot of people think she’s for real.

        • stoney

          At the end of the day it’s awful. The real novelty acts of the past, Jedward, Wagner Rylan etc were streets ahead of this act and offered so much more from an entertainment value. She would have been better off on BGT where she could have been put into the semis then dumped out after 1 live performance.

    • Henry VIII

      Honey G gets a 4 judge standing ovation and they’re supposed to be trying to reverse the ratings plummet.

    • Snoop appeared on the Corey Feldman album… he’s clearly past caring and I wouldn’t rule out anything if the pay is right!

      • Jessica Hamby

        He’s always had his tongue firmly in his cheek. It Wasn’t Me was a bit if a novelty song albeit a massive hit and his appearance in Katie Perry’s California Girls is pretty in a multi coloured suitthen buried up to his neck in candy floss surrounded by candy canes while Katie shoots whipped cream from her boobs. He’ll probably have a great time doing it and put on an amazing show.

  • Anglia Chu

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tznixMxIBGo

    A superfan will meet Honey G next week, apparently. It’s like they’re sure she’s safe.

  • Fudd

    Of course, what Sharon’s faux pas introduction to Relley C did was put it in the viewers minds that Saara is the Diva of all Divas before she was even ready to perform. Though I could be disappearing down the rabbit hole with that one, admittedly!

  • Wkrs

    One thing that stood out for me is H to the Oh No its her again is really, really limited. She can’t sing at all and can barely rap, hence they’re struggling to fill 3 minutes of content. If next week is more I SAY HONEY U SAY G on repeat I think the GBP will start getting bored. At least Lord Wagner could play the bongos.

    I think TPTB are more concerned with viewing figures than a particular winner this year so less intervention in the process. That said, I don’t think they’ll want Saara around too long; she’s a professional singer who stands out a mile and makes others looks bad; agree that Halloween week sounds like her last show.

  • Rose L

    Not down the rabbit hole, Fudd, but sadly the impression I was left with wasn’t that Saara is the Diva of all Divas for Sharon, but that Sharon almost can’t tell one of her acts from the other (which is a role she is playing rather than the reality) and that this sobriquet could have just as easily been transposed from one singer to the next. For me, it simply played back into the whole “she doesn’t know who Saara is” narrative even though poor Relley was the person she had misnamed.
    Relley seemed to benefit greatly from the appearance of her dad – such a coincidence that a father who was in a Motown tribute band should show up on a week when this was the randomly chosen theme!
    I don’t agree with the critiques of Relley’s costumes. Jumpsuits are having a major moment in high fashion and are very much sold as the elegant choice for parties, among other things. Relley, even as young as she is at 26, couldn’t be dressed as a teenager, surely? What she’s wearing is highly fashionable and young enough for someone in their mid 20s. I definitely don’t look at her and think “lamb dressed as mutton” I do think tptb want her around a bit longer, at the least.
    Coming to the bottom three predictions, I think it is likely to include both Ryan and Freddie. I thought the theory about the flash vote favouring young pretty boys quite persuasive and so having two of them together in the last three would indeed possibly enable the show to get rid of one of them – and in this case, my bet would be Freddie, because Ryan only seems to have fallen out of favour and been literally shorn of his locks and thus robbed of his power, whatever there was of it, this week. Freddie would be now on his second time at the bottom of the pecking order and might not benefit from the flash vote a second time round.
    For the other person in the bottom three, I’d have to go for Saara. I know she has a good voice, but I hated what they did with her this week. I found her performance rather karaoke, with a cheap looking dress that smacked of having been knocked up on a sewing machine at home and an OTT performance. All that flirting with the men on the stairs just seemed naff and old-fashioned to me. And Louis’ savaging of her seemed to express what they have been trying to get us to think about her from the beginning. Her reaction shot was entirely understandably one of outrage and shock, but it didn’t sit with the model of humility that all the other contestants have had drummed into them these days (if I hear anyone else say how much they have enjoyed their performance and how grateful they are for the opportunity, I will SCREAM!)
    So I do not think she will marshall enough votes to get her out of the bottom this week, sadly for her.

  • Plinkiplonk

    I am actually surprised that they are gunning for Saara in the way they are. If they really want to get rid of her, just do a nice VT of her skyping with her girlfriend in Finland, and voila. I am fully expecting this next week, if she survives tonight.

  • EM

    Just to help people not fall down a rabbit hole there is no claim that the theme is randomly chosen by the jukebox machine – Dermot is clear that the theme is “revealed” by the machine rather that picked.

    • Rose L

      Speaking for myself at least, my comment on Motown week was ironic – I never believed they would really have the balls to claim that the jukebox chooses at random. But I just love the idea that the theme is “revealed” – maybe it’s a bit like a seance; the spirits are clearly moving and showing us what must be each week. Shame they can’t show us who is going to win and who is going to be sent home, eh? I for one could do with a bit of revelation there right now.

  • Black n Blue

    It’s tough to have a nailed down bottom three. Most didn’t improve on last week. A lot of poor song choices across the board. Matt probably edged it. Wasn’t impressed last week but he ticks a lot of the boxes & looks/sounds very commercial. 5am a close second. Relley C’s stock has soared. She looks a lot closer to the finished article than Gifty, who ironically had the most motown-sounding song, yet one of the most tired performances of the night.

    Emily and Sam’s efforts were very beige, Freddy was slightly stronger than last week and so was Saara. The issue I have with the Finn, is that she looks too strained on TV, the act is too strenuous looking and impersonal, a la Kitty Brucknell as already mentioned. Superstition needs someone with bucket loads of charisma to sing it, not a teflon-snapchat filter robot.

    Bottom three: Ryan, Saara and 4OD, Ryan to be saved.
    Eliminated: Saara

    • India Marie

      Surely you’re not predicting that a recently-returned act who are riding a wave of sympathy and controversy at the pimp slot will go B3

  • Sagand

    I am going with a bottom three of Ryan, Freddie and Gifty. Freddie to be saved by the save vote and Ryan to go home.

  • Dean

    My prediction is B3 of Ryan, Freddie and Saara

    Ryan saved by vote.

    Freddie out in sing off

    Then next week they get rid of flash vote.

  • Does the app work in these foreign places of which Mrs O speaks of?

    • stoney

      We learnt last year from the Asian girl group that online over seas support amounts to nothing when it comes to voting.

    • Henry VIII

      From last year, with Philippinos saying they voted no problems, I reckon the app allows it at the user end but then rejects non UK IPs without the user knowing.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I still think Emily is in trouble unless there is a natural scots support for her. There was nothing in her slot to motivate votes and the scottish connection was not mentioned. If she survives then Saara seems quite likely. Louis’s criticism was mitigated by the others speaking against it so voters may not feel a great need to support her.

    Freddie and Ryan seem the likely other twi unless there is also a scots surge for Ryan.

    • Fudd

      Out of all the comments for Ryan to show in the intro they had Louis referencing ‘Scottish soul’. That’s considering they spent most of the show itself bringing up Coatbridge instead.

      Less that half a percent between three acts. Dermot didn’t say WHERE these three acts are in the leaderboard though.

  • Joe

    Very tricky bottom 3 but for me Ryan was bland, Emily was dirge, Freddie uninspiring Saara unlikeable, not convinced Gifty is polling that well despite comments.

    Bottom 3
    Ryan
    Emily
    Freddie

    Freddie saved in Flash Vote

    Ryan to go……

    • Fudd

      As Emily’s safe I can’t see them eliminating Ryan yet… unless Relley C is in the bottom two with him. Freddy and Saara are surely far more expendable from the show’s point of view?

  • 360

    I’m expecting Relley through and for whichever goes through to have polled highly, not near the bottom, this week.

  • Tpfkar

    Whenever they take an ad break before revealing the last safe, it’s usually someone they want to tArget – make them look weak and responsible for beating your favourite in the bottom 3. Red flags against whoever is last declared safe -‘Freddy perhaps?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Well done Emily. Announced.first too. I have sent a stern letter to the manufacturer of my crystal ball.

  • stoney

    I think it’s fair to say 40D won’t be doing this in 4 years time

  • Jessica Hamby

    He’s banging Gigi Hadid love. He doesn’t even remember your name.

    • Fudd

      Predictable.

      If I was a producer I’d save Saara. This might need a 3 v 1 vote to do so though.

      Interesting that they managed to suppress both sympathy bounces from last week.

  • Freddy to go, but it’ll be Sara’s week next week. They clearly can’t make her happen.

  • stoney

    Surely there paid enough effing money to learn the flipping contestants names!

  • Fudd

    Sharon forgetting Saara’s name there looked real rather than put on – there was a flash of panic in her eyes which isn’t normally there when she ‘forgets’.

    That or she is an exceptional actress.

  • Jessica Hamby

    If I was Saara and I won this sing-off I’d quit tomorrow (or even better live on stage tonight). If your mentor is deliberately belittling you like that you might as well not bother.

    • Piresistable

      Nah, come on stage next week and walk up to the judges and tell her to **** off and walk off stage.

      • Jessica Hamby

        That might be temporarily more satisfying but better not to sink to her level imo.

        • Fudd

          At the moment I’m not sure whether I’ll vote for Saara next week or not, the latter to put her out of her misery.

          Sharon’s certainly given them material to work with should they wish to work with the bounce. To be honest having her in the bottom three AGAIN will be quite dull and predictable, even if they do get rid of her.

  • stoney

    And matt sucks up his first extra batch of votes

  • Fudd

    That was gold for show – being able to take it to Deadlock and save Saara in the process. I don’t think many people saw that result coming once the judges tied the result.

    • fused

      I was expecting them, with the obvious exception of Nicole, to unanimously save Saara. I wasn’t too shocked at the deadlock result though, it would be even more shocking if Saara got the fewer votes performing near the end than Freddy performing first and him being such an obvious target. Doing it that way I suppose allows them to say Saara has got through because some viewers at least are voting for her.

      • fused

        Replying to my own post as I’ve run out of time to edit, but I’ve just thought it could also have been to soften the blow for Freddy. From the Xtra Factor it seems he was very well liked by the other contestants and people working on the show. Gifty in particular looks very upset about it.

        But it is all quite sad. They all seem upset about Freddy going, and poor Saara is taking it badly this week.

  • Rose L

    Well I wish I’d had the guts to put my money where my mouth was tonight – but all I am thinking right now is how furious I am with the way “Zara from Abroad” has just been treated, yet again, by Mrs O and, therefore, the whole show. For goodness sake, surely just for once Sharon Osborne could have let the act slip and behaved like a human being? I don’t buy the panic thing truly; and even if she did genuinely forget this time, then it is just as a result of all those times she purposefully got it wrong before – that tends to end up creating a mental block.
    Saara’s sing-off performance was really excellent, best I’ve heard from her. Freddie’s also wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to her standard. In the end, I think the right person went home and Ryan – whose curls have amazingly grown back since yesterday (must have an incredible hair product) lives to bore us another day.

    • fused

      Yeah, I really hated that “Zaara from abroad” comment too. It seems constant the show is doing a “lol, she’s foreign” thing with her, and she definitely deserves better than to be treated like that. She is an excellent singer, if we’re looking at ability she’s the best of the lot.

      I felt really sorry for Freddy too. He’s not bad, and he seems like a nice guy, and he was blatantly thrown under the bus. I found the whole thing tonight mildly depressing to be honest, a lot of the contestants seemed quite downbeat by the end of it as well. I know this sort of thing is par for the course with this show, but still.

      • Jessica Hamby

        It makes us all look small-minded and ignorant. She’s a guest in our country and she deserves to be treated well.

        • Fudd

          They treated Andrea and Reggie & Bollie far better – until they wanted to dampen their vote and even then the foreign links were nowhere near as overpowering as it has been with Saara.

          In terms of her introduction, I’m starting to wonder how much of it is scripted and how much it’s Sharon making it up as she goes along.

  • 360

    It was awfully convenient for Little Mix, a band known for appealing to girls and young women to perform an exclusive premiere of their new song at a time when two young pretty men needed voters to save them using the flash vote. I suspect strongly that Saara may have been intended to boost out.

    • Plinkiplonk

      If Saara had been the target, she would have gone. Totally believabe for Louis to spin the old ‘you just don’t connect’ trope and vote her off, especially after his comments last night.

      • 360

        I meant for Saara to be boosted out of the bottom 3, leaving a singoff between the two boys. She was already 2nd from bottom, not dead last.

        Saara voters being less likely to let Little Mix’s new song premiere distract them from voting, unlike the fans of Freddy and Ryan.

        • Plinkiplonk

          Sorry, misunderstood that. However, I would say the boys’ voters were more likely to watch in the first place, as they overlap more with LM fans. Plus, that app vote was always going to skew in favour of the boys.

        • Henry VIII

          Boys more likely than girls to be distracted imo as LM forgot to put clothes on.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Is someone having tea with the Mad Hatter? OFF WITH HIS HEAD!

          • Jessica Hamby

            To clarify I am referring to the suggestion that the result was engineered to help LM pronote their (dreadful) new record.

            Off topic: All those Beyonce power poses and whining at men…. It’s feels 10 or more years late and the boots and underwear thing seemed desperate and dated too. And now I’ve posted that it’ll probably be #1 next week.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Well, that was expected; once more have to appreciate how well they manage to hone in on their chosen target. Would be surprised to see Ryan leave before the widely expected sing off against Emily; that’s a ready-made drama right there for them, and they never shrunk away from the obvious so far.
    I actually have a new theory: the reason they keep throwing Saara under the bus is that they can use her as a quasi assassin, as they can credibly vote out ANYONE that will go into a sing-off against her. Very clever, actually, and with this new App vote they have even more chances to steer the result into the direction they want.

    • Rose L

      I think you have a really good theory there, Plinkiplonk – but they won’t be able to keep pulling that off for very much longer – at some point, they’re surely going to have to acknowledge the fact that Saara just isn’t that popular and send her home despite the brilliance of her sing-off? Unless, of course, the unimaginable happens and they really do start to judge the sing-offs completely fairly and without any other criteria than the standard of the singing, that is.

      • Plinkiplonk

        Thanks 😉
        It will go the way it always does: if the ‘correct’ act is bottom of the vote they will go to deadlock, otherwise they vote on majority. I recon they have about two more weeks of use for Saara; so far neither of her two sing offs were controversial as such…

  • 360

    Is it ironic that after all of the talk about it last night, Freddy ended up being the bottom this week?

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