X Factor 2016 Week 2 Review: I’ll Get My Coatbridge

Ryan Lawrie’s VT this week sent us down memory lane to one of our favourite ever things we’ve seen on this show, Craig Colton’s Incredible Shrinking Hometown. If you weren’t with Sofabet in 2011, start by watching Craig’s week 4 VT, when he was still in favour with producers. Note the establishing shot of the iconic Mersey riverbank, and the “we all support him in Liverpool”, “come on Craig, do it for Liverpool!” vox pops.

Now here’s Craig’s week 7 VT, when producers want him out. After some hints that we should now consider his X Factor journey completed, producers show him returning home… not to Liverpool (population: 465,000), but to Kirkby (population: 40,000). We especially enjoyed the shot of poor old Craig waiting alone at a deserted bus stop.

This week, Simon introduced Emily with “she’s from Scotland” (population: 5.3 million). In her VT, Emily informed us that she’s from Glasgow (population: 600,000). Ryan, in his VT, said “the support from my hometown is absolutely crazy” – but where is that hometown, pray? Here’s his mum to enlighten us, standing in front of a couple of “Vote Ryan” posters on the glass doors to an empty room: “All of Coatbridge is behind you, 100%…”. (Population: 41,000. Hey, more than Kirkby).

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The extent to which a regional vote helps an act is a perennial talking point on Sofabet. Historically, both Merseyside and Scotland are areas from which X Factor acts seem to have outperformed, presumably due to the regional identity being cohesive over a relatively broad area – that’s why we assume it’s a deliberate tactic either to emphasise or obscure an act’s connections to these regions.

When it comes to other parts of the country, it’s a cultural guessing game. For example, James Arthur told Sam Lavery the “north east” is behind her; Dermot, before the ad break, more specifically mentioned “Durham”. Sam’s County Durham pit village is about equidistant between the region’s main population centres of Teesside and Tyneside – is it close enough to either to motivate votes? We can only guess, but producers’ knowledge of regional voting strength should have become more sophisticated with app votes, which presumably come geo-tagged.

Anyway, back to Ryan’s VT, and it got worse. We had a message from two music teachers at Coatbridge High, one of whom was particularly young and good-looking. Matt, watching over Ryan’s shoulder, observed “no wonder you were a top student at music”, prompting an embarrassed laugh from Ryan.

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We’d love to know if producers fed Matt that line. (What was Matt even doing there, anyway?) It had the effect of making Ryan look somewhat sleazy, just after we’d been reminded of his relationship with Emily.

Finally we got Ryan’s gran, with the succinct: “We’re so proud of you back here in Coatbridge. Bye.”

It was more subtle than sending Craig home to a deserted bus stop, but it was cruelly effective nonetheless. Had producers suggested to Ryan’s family to make sure they mentioned how proud Coatbridge was of him? Who knows. They certainly made good use of it.

Last week we noted that The Sun had reported on Ryan and Emily supposedly being too busy getting jiggy to focus on the work. It was Ryan who got the talking-to about this in his VT, looking somewhat abashed as he told Nicole “working is the only thing I’m interested in”. Nicole replied she’d “whip him into shape” if that wasn’t the case.

Something we always listen out for is the very last line of a VT, which can frame the audience’s expectations of the song to come. In this case Ryan’s words planted some doubts about whether he’d be able to carry it off: “the song that I have is one of the biggest Motown songs around, I just hope I can do it some justice”.

Then came the hairdo, with Ryan’s familiar forelocks slicked back. We’ve observed before that when an act’s styling takes away their most memorable visual motif, it can be a bad sign for them – a notable example being parting Abi Alton from her trademark glasses in the week she was killed off.

We can’t help feeling bad for Ryan, whose post-show tweet on Saturday was interestingly phrased: “You know what guys, I tried my best with the situation. You all know how these things work.” Indeed we do, Ryan, indeed we do.

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5 After Midnight have a moment

Woofie: The producers have invested a lot into 5am. I couldn’t believe that was a week two performance. Vocals could be an issue but everything else was spot on.”

Occasionally we doff our cap to producers for a well-executed kill or pimping. They did a stellar job boosting 5 After Midnight this week, on the back of a first performance undercut by less than perfect vocals. It’s one for the X Factor textbooks, so let’s go through how.

The VT started with Jordan’s Mum showing her pride whilst her son celebrated his 21st birthday. We then got childhood pics from the family album for each of them, as the boys explained their determination and dreams. Previewing their second week performance, Brian Friedman primed us about how much was in their routine. Simon Cowell watched rehearsals, and Louis claimed he “feels threatened”, before ending the VT with the line: “It’s going to be an X Factor moment we’re all going to remember.” Hold that thought, viewers!

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The boys started on their plinths, which we knew they were going to come off. What was striking was the colourful, modern take on retro styling in the moving striped backdrop, with their stylised images dancing around. Strongest singer Kieran got the vocals off to a confident start, and they were joined by four unobtrusive dancing girls in a big but focused production.

Sensibly, the boys had a dance break in between the mashup of two numbers (their vocals had suffered most in week 1 when coming down the stairs, and trying to do other things whilst singing). The second song, ‘Reach Out (I’ll Be There)’ is one of the nation’s favourite Motown songs.

The performance was followed by a four-judge standing ovation, a huge audience reaction, comments like “sensational” by Sharon, and “this is your career” by Nicole. Just as Simon felt threatened by their talent in rehearsals, Scherzinger was “scared of you guys”, a compliment also given to Matt Terry on Saturday.

As needs to be rammed home with groups, Nicole also said “you guys are great together and individually” (something that their similar but different-enough black, red and white styling reinforced). Simon added to the alpha group buzzword bingo by calling them “such nice people”, whilst Louis namechecked them individually, as he had done when introducing them.

We had expected nothing but positivity for them and Matt, both having been namechecked as finalists in week 1. This production helped cement that status for 5am, although Matt looks like a runaway train at this stage unless producers decide to change things up.

I say “Honey”, you say “again?”

360: “A step down for Honey G. This week will be about pushing as many as possible under her.”

In a midweek comment last week, Brian Friedman suggested the public may start to tire of the “I say Honey, you say G” catchphrase if they heard it too often. And yet North Weezy’s finest did just that again, in a second routine that felt like a less joyous copy of the first.

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We smiled all the way through that first week performance; this one fell slightly flat by comparison. Nonetheless, it’s worth bearing in mind that Reggie n Bollie had certain weeks of huge productions punctuated by slightly less successful ones that included mixed judges comments, perhaps as a way of ensuring their vote never got out of hand.

The show is clearly out to continue promoting the act, for example with its attempt at Mummy G memes. It also seems to be enjoying the headlines surrounding the question of cultural appropriation. So where can they go from here with “something of a phenomenon” Honey G?

Artist-wise there’s plenty more out there, having covered Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. in the first two weeks. The forthcoming diva theme gives her a chance to return to her audition roots, when she showed her respect for Missy Elliot. Performance-wise they can definitely ramp things up again.

We had wondered before the live shows whether producers would feel the need to blow her cover to tell us about the real Anna Georgette Guilford. But on second thoughts, that just defeats the whole idea. We’re amazed at how many people seem to be taking her for what it is, and asking if she’s real. There’s no point pulling the rug away in the circumstances.

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Which probably means more pictures of pets dressed as Honey G, and no doubt more brainstorming sessions among the production team on how to represent their most talked about asset.

Cowell’s comparisons

Fudd: “If 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”

We seem to be in a small minority who felt Emily’s treatment was broadly positive this week, after the red flags in week 1. Let’s take Fudd’s comment, above, as one example of how we are more sanguine than most. It’s worth studying in full what Simon said to Freddy, as hindsight confirms that Freddy was the target this week so it was likely to have been carefully calibrated.

“You know, I think that’s one of my favourite songs in the world.”

Simon is picking up on Louis saying the song was too big for Freddy, and Sharon disagreeing. This observation is significant because of what Simon doesn’t go on to add: “and I loved your version of it, Freddy.” Instead he continues:

“It was a little bit erratic, it started well, fell off in the middle, then you picked it up at the end. But, compared to last week, this was a million times better.”

Translation: it was a bit shit, but we know you can be a million times shitter.

“You haven’t come back moaning or complaining. I think in a weird way being in the bottom three was good for you, as it showed you’ve got determination. So congratulations.”

On the face of it, this is a nice thing to say to Freddy – but it also gives his fans no motivation whatsoever to vote to keep him out of the bottom three this week. He was fine with it, and it was good for him – and “congratulations” implies that his determination has had its reward already. This was really a Cowellian masterclass in subtle vote-dampening manipulation.

Now here’s what he said to Emily:

“I think that you’ve demonstrated tonight exactly who we wanted you to be as an artist. You don’t have to push those big notes like the other singers, you’ve got a different kind of voice. It was beautiful, it was subtle, it was delicate, it was unique. This was so much better than last week, it’s going from karaoke to originality. Congratulations”.

It’s similar in referencing a poor week 1 and ending with congratulations, but the tone was very different – he’s giving her forgiveness and redemption, offering seven positive epithets (artist, different, beautiful, subtle, delicate, unique, original) and reminding viewers of what they liked about her before that first live show aberration.

The pecking order in the girls category still looks remarkably fluid, as the odds indicate – Emily, Gifty and Sam are all around 12/1 to 16/1. We thought all were treated positively enough this week – but now they have two weeks of voting results to study, producers may soon decide which to push and which to jettison.

As ever, do let us know your continuing thoughts below.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

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60 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 2 Review: I’ll Get My Coatbridge

  • Spiidey

    Re Craig Colton, the vt’s posted at the start of this article confirm the staging theory too – safe blue lasers in week 4 vs red&blacked on exit week 7.

  • Henry VIII

    Interesting article as always. Treatment of Emily was better than Ryan but in that quote above he does suggest that the other singers are stronger and he also says her first week was karaoke. Before she sang in her VT he said to her “Sweet, we’re not trying to prove that you’ve got a huge voice”, also in a tone that indicates problem.

    I think it’s a more subtle long-term sabotage. Like separating her from the audience on a little pedestal surrounded by a “cage” in w1 and little “flames” in w2.

    Interestingly when they try to de-ramp someone with comments, generally imo what Nicole says has musical merit (but is applied unequally ie she is an assassin still). Cowell, by contrast, often spouts meaningless babble but in a manner that most would find it authoritative and knowledgeable.

  • Tabitha

    Sorry for the long post…

    I’m Scottish, so I find the whole concept of the ‘Scottish regional vote’ both laughable and offensive. There’s a real sense of othering about it: all you London based folk would presumably dismiss the suggestion that your regional voting is responsible for Honey G still being in the show, but you’ll happily accuse people you don’t identify with of such mindless voting.

    Not to say that Scottish people aren’t pleased to see Scottish acts do well, but they have to be good, to be a credit to us, and interest and even enthusiasm don’t equate to votes. Even to free votes, since almost no one knows you can vote for free since they don’t actually watch the show, and the people that do watch and vote, vote on the basis of what they like – just like real people like the English do! – not zombie-like on the basis of birthplace. But I guess confirmation bias >>> reality, and in the mind of the rabid Honey G voting Londoner, we’re all hoots moning away while sucking on a haggis and frantically voting for anything with the merest whiff of tartan about it.

    However. There clearly was an effort by the show to be very pro-Scotland in its pre-live stages, with loads of positive comments when the room auditions went north of the border, and four – four! – Scots at judges’ houses. While some of that might be from a ‘London and Scotland versus the rest of you’ reaction in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, it looks very much like the production company positioning themselves in a post-Brexit, IndyRef2 suddenly imminent world, and they’ve been extremely adept in ensuring they don’t actually have to deal with the awkwardness of a Scottish winner. Caitlyn, who was by far the most talented of the lot, was (maybe) sabotaged and dumped at JH. James, who was talented and completely adorable, was encouraged to do whatever that… *thing* was at six chairs, and sabotaged at JH for good measure. Ryan had nothing going for him apart from being cute (before they dehaired him) and being Emily’s boyfriend which could be used to hurt either of them, either for the zomg young people have sex daily mail shock horror, or just to get tweenie Ryan fans to be hostile to Emily. Emily’s guitar has presumably been taken out the back and shot. So the production company can proudly proclaim their pro-Scotland credentials while the blame for there being no Scots in the later stages can be comfortably placed at the feet of the contestants, a nice way to position themselves whatever happens politically in the near future.

    It’s been a very impressive exercise in ensuring that this year’s winner is yet another tedious Middle England darling. Congratulations on winning X Factor 2016, Matt.

    • Phil

      “Not to say that Scottish people aren’t pleased to see Scottish acts do well, but they have to be good, to be a credit to us, and interest and even enthusiasm don’t equate to votes.”

      *cough* Leon Jackson *cough*

      • Spiidey

        Quite (as a Scotsman)

      • Tabitha

        So a granny pleaser from a decade ago condemns all Scots to the regional voting myth for all eternity?

        • Martin

          I wouldn’t say it was a myth when the same can be applied to Nicholas McDonald a few years ago.

          Nobody is being offensive, it’s a pattern noted with the information we have. If it’s any consolation, poor Liverpool are being accused of voting for Ray Quinn and Chris Maloney for the reasons you state. I’d be more upset if I were Scouse.

    • Piresistable

      Tabitha, this is a betting site. The first rule of any form of gambling is ‘leave emotion at the door.’

      Have a read of Daniel’s profile and see how he got rich. I guess you think betting on diaspora votes in Eurovision is another form othering?

      Like it or not, Scotland, Merseyside and other places have strong regional identities that the X Factor producers push when it suits them.

  • EM

    As a Scot (and one who has lived in Coatbridge!) I can say Sofabet mean no disrespect by talking about regional votes.

    It’s only a theory but one backed up with considerable evidence. They’ve also discussed London based regional votes and the difficulties of establishing them.

    In no way ever has there been an assumption that a whole body of people will vote for someone just because they come from the same place as them.

    Regional voting makes perfect sense though
    – You will identify more closely with someone who has the same accent and experiences as you
    – Local media will have more coverage of your local contestants so many will be more exposed to those who come from places near them
    – Some (yes just some) who are proud of their region will vote purely to see their region do well.

    There is a flip side of people who don’t feel this way (for example I though Michelle McManus represented Scotland really badly so would never have voted for her) but that doesn’t negate the regional vote factor.

  • What now for Saara? Does she have an epic week this week, followed by Fright Night where she sings Hard Rock Hallelujah dressed in a Lordi mask?

    • Sagand

      I see Halloween as a chance to do a outrageous hit job without making the show look as bad. Why waste that week on a zombie contestant (already dead but still walking).

      • Jessica Hamby

        Who are they going to hit? And why? Saara and Ryan are clearly in their sights and we’re due at least 2 more big productions from Honey G. Why get rid of anyone other than those two? I reckon Saara’s got one more sing-off save (assuming she’s up against Ryan) and then she’s gone.

  • Tina

    It certainly seems like Saara needs to make double the effort to please the judges and the audience. Simon said she needs to be crazier, and it seems like she is going down that road based on her IG stories. Not sure if it’s the right way, but at least it’s memorable.

  • 360

    My two cents on Saara Aalto; the reason she is cleaning up on online polls is as simple as she’s the kind of act that does well on online forums and polls. A slightly quirky female with a big voice. It just so happens there’s no-one in the Girls category to challenge her for that role this year.

    Do TPTB want an act like this from the Overs to go far? Ever? Sam Bailey is basically the one exception, and who knows what they were going for that year – chaos, really. A trial run for who’s watching still, perhaps.

    And likewise, the reason she keeps hitting bottom 2 is because she’s the kind of act who does so. For as much as she’s Big Voiced Girl, she’s also Over 25 Weird Woman Who Thinks She Can Still Make It. I don’t think she is this really, but it’s the role and the shoes they’ve put her into. Previous examples: Melanie Masson, Sami, Shelley, Bupsi, even Carolynne Poole. She’s also got shades of Weird Foreigner, a category which although worked for Ruth Lorenzo and Wagner, completely did for Nicolo, Storm Lee and Blonde Electra. The combination isn’t looking good on paper and post Brexit spells even more trouble. The ‘singing in French’ edit at bootcamp was nails in the coffin. So she’s not got much chance.

    Whoever it was that said they’re using her as an assassin was spot on too.

    • stoney

      Sorry but your wide of the mark. The reason she is cleaning up in the online polls is because of overseas fans. The same way 4th impact did. And lots of people thought it would be relevant to their chances in the competition.

  • EM

    As much as I can see a lovely feel good Saara smashes divas week story (at least for a week’s reprieve) I have to ask “if not Saara then who?” no answer springs readily to mind.

    • After Saara I think Ryan, Emily, and Sam might be up next in some order. Besides Matt/5AM it seems the show is interested in having Gifty and Relley represent their categories at the end as they put on a show.

      Honey G to finish the traditional ~6th and for me the jury is out on 4oD after last week’s handling.

  • Tina

    I find Sam Lavery a much worse vocalist than Saara, but she seems to have a big fanbase. Why is it that they are pushing Saara to show much more variety than Sam and Emily who just stand and sing without any choreography? If Saara would only sing behind the piano, they would have got rid of her already.

    • David Cook

      I think Sam’s got enough problems with the singing without worrying about moving at the same time. With Emily I think it’s part of the Emily deramp. Not sure what she’s done to upset them but to me she certainly doesn’t seem in favour.

    • David Cook

      PS – probably best not put Saara behind a piano – she’s a bit of a wizz on it apparently.

  • Martin

    I think they’re playing a smart game with Sam. There are worse things you can pigeonhole a female singer than a ‘rock singer’. It gives them the ability to control her vote by taking her out of her comfort zone at any time, but conversely – the two most favoured acts are nan-friendly Matt and urban 5AM. To balance things out, our third finalist could quite easily be Sam if she can learn to sing in tune. I maintain that our third finalist will likely be a girl, and over the weeks i think TPTB will find it easier to get Sam there than Gifty

    • Edie M

      I too have suspicions that Sam is being lined up as Simon’s finalist this year. I think they’d prefer Gifty but she’ll be much harder to get there and if they really run with Emily she could turn into a threat to the favourites.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Why are you assuming Gifty is a hard sell? Colour? Everything about the way they’re treating her screams alpha girl and third finalist to me. They won’t want Sam any more than they wanted Rough Copy. They don’t want a rubbish act in the final. It was bad enough when they had to put Luke Friend through.

        It’s weird though, when the talent is so limited, that they attack one of the few genuinely good singers there. At least they let Andrea shine in week 1. Saara hasn’t even had that.

        • Martin

          Not necessarily her colour – if she were white, I still think she’d struggle as her look is more edgy than voters seem to prefer their females. They seem to be taking the Fleur East approach of pushing with her – we can’t say whether a) the public will play ball or b) tptb will persist.

        • Edie M

          Hi Jess, I think you’re right that the final would be much more interesting with Gifty in it, and I really hope she’s the last girl standing. Race is a factor, it always is (to a greater or lesser extent), especially for women- it is naive to suggest otherwise. In addition, her vocals can be a bit ropey and her dancing is not amazing (or at least we haven’t seen her do very complicated choreography), plus the aspects of her styling others have discussed.
          I also wonder about the likelihood of two black/non-white acts making it to the final (has this happened before other than alexandra/jls)? Bjork is surely the nail in the coffin for Saara this week? It’s all so depressing this year.

    • David Cook

      The chance of Sam learning to sing in tune between now and Saturday is precisely zero.To be fair at times you get a glimpse of what could be a decent vocal – but it’s undermined by the lack of control and her tuning is just constantly on the edge. I don’t think it’s just nerves because it comes across in her YouTube videos as well as her x factor performances. No doubt her vocal control and technique can be improved with coaching, but it’s simply too difficult to achieve too much within the timescale of the liveshows. Solving pitching issues could be more difficult if she can’t even hear the problem herself. If they were really interested in her it would probably have been better to advised her how to try to address the issues and come back next year, rather than putting her through this year.

  • Allan

    Sam is the only contestant I’ve listened to on Spotify purely because I thought i was going mad when i heard the gushing comments on her quite frankly awful performances and had to confirm that they were indeed gut wrenching! If she gets to the final then I’m entering next year because truly anything is possible!! I can only assume the N. East vote is coming into play with her

  • Jessica Hamby

    They could push her behind a piano and tell her to play chopsticks. Talent and musical ability are not prinary factors in a show that is this tightly controlled. Even Wagner and Chico could thrive with producer support. Singing in tune is kind of a basic requirement though.

  • Henry VIII

    Sam is one of the most interesting for me. And for Cowell too. They give her help in the Lives by boosting her voice and maybe adding some echo. They make effort in her staging, and arranging a harder edge to “Hello” etc.

    • Jessica Hamby

      They can easily take that help away and give her a Paul Akister arrangement (while dressing her in black and making her sing in th dark). They want the show to look and sound good or people won’t watch.

    • 360

      I wonder if Sam might be a genuine amateur. Most of the 16/17 year olds we see on these shows are scouted, yes, but also stage school and/or musically trained since kids, but if all Sam has already is youtube, it’s possible that she’s just not been taught to sing properly and make the best use of her voice yet by a professional.

      I wouldn’t discount her as a commercial prospect. Acts like Cheryl Cole with quite a limited vocal notwithstanding, singers like Madonna and Rihanna have seen their voices transformed with some proper coaching and guidance.

      I do like Sam, but am also aware if they’re dampening Emily and not playing safe with Gifty, she might be the only girl that flies as we get to the later stages of the competition. Early days though.

    • David Cook

      I’ve got to agree at the moment they do seem very much to be helping Sam, whilst at the same time holding back Emily. The question is to what purpose. I think it’s pretty obvious that Cowell will want an act in the final if possible – so do they think Sam can be the one to achieve it? If you take her performance at JH’s in isolation, where her tuning does actually appear quite accurate, you do get the impression that she could be decent. Yet the performances week 1 and 2 are, to put it mildly, uneven . For what it’s worth I think something by Lana Del Rey could really suit her voice.
      To me Emily seems much more consistent, and within her own style capable, although she hasn’t been able to show it. I agree that her treatment this week seemed to continue the de-ramp despite the generally positive comments. The pace at the start was funereal and the delivery of some of the vocals was almost staccato. She tried hard but just couldn’t quite pull it off. Simon’s comment about her not needing a big vocal seemed to me to be a bit of a twist of the knife because that’s exactly what was required for that arrangement.
      I’m going to reserve comment on Gifty as frankly I don’t think Rockin Robin should be inflicted on anyone.

  • 360

    I also now have Sam as top girl. Gifty’s colour isn’t an issue, in response to Jessica’s comment above, but I would hypothesize based on past serieses and contestants that her short hair and competitive attitude aren’t going to go down well, as they don’t match previous successful contestants.

  • annie

    song choices this year……… the most recycled ever….

  • Tina

    Any thoughts on Saara singing Björk? I guess they are making her the quirky one. Might not help keep her in the comp.

  • Is Saara singing Bjork another reminder to everyone she is foreign? Will we see Iceland & Finland referenced in the show?

  • Allan

    Bjork has sealed Saara’s fate….she’s getting her Coatbridge!!

  • Tina

    I hate how they are emphasizing this role they’re assigning to her that she is the weird, foreign girl. She actually has an amazing natural voice if you look her up on youtube singing with Andrea Bocelli. Why not let her show her range rather than turn her into a circus freak. I guess they’ll make her come out in a strange costume with face paint on.

  • David Cook

    By what possible stretch of the imagination do half of these qualify as Diva songs. Sam Smith. Michael Jackson. Vanilla Ice! Really? It’s Diva week and what do they give the one act that could actually sing a Diva song properly? Bjork! Really? If I was Saara I’d be tempted just to tell them to F*** O** and pack it in rather than be subjected to another week of this total c**p. If Emily had any sense she’d do the same – Whitney Houston for gods sake! Are these people completely bonkers or are they just deliberately intent on destroying the show completely. What an absolute shambles.

  • India Marie

    Kitty was B3 in the pimp slot with the Björk cover; Saara is in trouble.
    Same for Ryan; Rolling in the Deep is too generic and it’s really really hard.
    Emily getting shoehorned hard, a la Lauren Platt.

    Are TPTB trying to wipe Jedward from XF consciousness with that Honey G song choice?

  • EM

    I’m normally the most quiet and accepting person around how well songs fit with the themes but I’m totally baffled at how Vanilla Ice and Queen fit the bill! Is it a general rule that the acts that most get the theme bent are the ones that are favourited?

    Can see trouble ahead for Ryan and Emily doing songs so identified with a single artist. 4ODs getting a mash-up is helpful though.

    Off to bet bottom two now.

    • David Cook

      I seem to remember Loui’s rule book making an appearance the week 1D did Kim Wilde for the american artists theme. Apparently ‘Kids in America’ qualified by virtue of containing the word america in the song title. Lets be fair having a song choice of any song by any american artist is a little restricting.

  • David Cook

    PS If I was seventeen and someone asked me to sing a twelve year old song by Britney Spears I’d think they were asking me to do something ancient and old hat. Emily’s granny probably thinks Whitney Houston’s ancient and old hat.

  • plinkiplonk

    If the spoiler is correct then there are going to be some very questionable song choices on Saturday – both in terms of suitability and in regards to the Divas theme. I mean Sam Smith, really ?
    Sara’s song is almost cruel, and a clear indication that she will not be allowed to shine for a week. Sam Lavery and Earth Song – WTF? And if I remember correctly Adele seems to be the kiss of death, so Ryan is shafted, too. Does anyone want to give adds for ‘the song was too big for you?’

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think I’m done for this year. I’ll find a book or a dvd instead. Will probably lurk and occasionally post on Sofabet but I’m giving up on the show. Same shit, different year.

  • Stu

    4OD doing a mash-up of Lady Marmalade and Bang Bang? Both songs performed by Fleur only two years ago… I’m a bit weary of the fact a girl-group is given LM. For a solo female, the performance can appear classy (see Fleur) but for a girl-group, there’s a chance it could come across a bit… slutty (see Hope). However, both tracks are positively associated with XF – Leona, Fleur, 4th Impact audition – so it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

    Matt doing I’ll Be There? I just can’t see how this is a good thing for him. It’s been done to death on XF over the years and didn’t do 4th Impact any favours the week they performed it last year. Maybe it’s the ideal song for his weekly falsetto moment.

    5AM doing Valerie suggests their old-school performance did very well in the vote last week. Valerie is a “showman” choice – a lot of instrumental breaks in the chorus which will allow choreography surely.

    Poor Saara. I like to think the producers are just playing with us and it’ll be a real moment for her but I just can’t see it. Kitty performed this song in the pimp slot but I’m thinking this sounds like an ideal show opener. This or 4OD’s song choice.

  • stoney

    Won my final tickets from talk talk today 🙂

  • Rose L

    When I read that Saara was getting Bjork earlier in this run of posts, I thought someone was having a joke. Of course it wasn’t a joke, the X Factor just couldn’t resist shafting the comedy foreigner by giving them an appalling song written by someone else they probably regard as a comedy foreigner. To me, it is one of the worst songs ever written and it’s simply not possible for any performer to make it enjoyable – and I used to really like Bjork (for her other songs) too! I said I would give my free votes to Saara and I had been thinking she might have a sympathy bounce this week as last week’s treatment of her was truly beyond appalling, but now I can’t see it happening. I’ll still give her my votes but I suspect I’ll be the only person in the UK to do so.
    I do agree that we are really just debating who comes third, in terms of the long game this year. It does indeed seem most likely to be one of the girls who makes it so that Simon gets a look-in this time round.
    Sam has seemed to have some undeserved producer favour so far; despite the quality of her singing, the comments seem to be pegging her as someone with potential. The song choice for this week surprises me; I’m not sure how someone who sings out of tune is going to cope with it. But my instincts tell me that she is still a potential third finalist in Simon’s eyes at this point, unless, of course, Rockin’ Robin somehow boosted Gifty’s vote enormously last week, which I doubt.
    I agree with most commentators here that Gifty is a hard sell; she is clearly ambitious and confident in her looks and abilities rather than X Factor-style humble and this comes over quite strongly on screen to me; she’s easily pretty enough to pull off the harsh haircut, but it is still quite a challenging look, and if you pair it with the sexy outfits, it’s a lot for middle England voters to forgive, let alone fall in love with. She has none of the charm of Emily, who would make all the above factors immediately forgiveable with some cute shake of her head and giggle – but I think Emily has had her card marked since the start of the live shows as someone expendable. Knowing the lengths they went to in order to get Cory Spedding’s “story” to fill a couple of minutes’ screen time, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if both Ryan and Emily were picked in order to stage the lovers’ sing-off we’re all waiting for. But I do think they could change lanes with the girls and that, while places 1 and 2 seem well and truly nailed on, place 3 still has some fluidity, the “Don’t Know Factor” perhaps. I’ll be waiting to see what the show brings before making my mind up any further.
    Unlike Jess, I think I cannot turn off and do something else now we’ve got this far – how very irritating!

    • The Bjork song might seem like a joke to you, but It was also sung by Marlisa on her way to winning the XF AU.

      • Anglia Chu

        XF Au is a lot more forgiving, though (in general, reality shows are taken more seriously there; not just Idol or XF, even Top Model).

        Saara could crazy her way out of the bottom but it’s not looking too good for her right now.

      • Rose L

        The song is no joke to me, I am afraid. I find it atrocious.
        I do wonder if the choice for Saara of a song made famous by someone from another northern hemisphere country notorious for its ice and snow was also some kind of lazy semaphore on the part of tptb. “Here, look at all the funny folk we find in these snowy countries! Come and have a good laugh at them with us.”
        Almost certainly a step too far but faced with having to listen to “It’s All So Quiet” tomorrow night, I have a bit of, er, brain freeze! Now where did I put the remote control?

    • EM

      To be pedantic I very much doubt the producers even know who wrote Saara’s song or the longish story behind it!

  • Fudd

    Please tell me the spoiler is a a bad joke? That’s an awful selection.

    Ryan and Saara are clearly not being offered a sympathy bounce if true, though of course production can change a bad choice into a good one I suppose. Sam and Gifty could both be thrown under Louis’ rulebook for a distracting argument whilst, as said, Emily seems to be being Platt’d. Has she got a little brother? Relley C and Honey G appear to still have support though the former seems to be shoehorned with older songs; her live show songs so far were released in 1999, 1971 and 1967 respectively. It feels like the Mary Byrne drag down to me.

    The Groups actually seem to be given support – Valerie seems to be a good choice for 5 After Midnight as it’s not been over-exposed on reality shows. Admittedly Four of Diamonds may have a few issues if they’re compared to Fleur though the latter’s live show performance didn’t work as well as it was shoehorned into Big Band week.

    But… REALLY? They could and should have done far better that overall, even whilst leading lambs to the slaughter.

  • Spiidey

    I wonder if Honey G polled near enough the bottom 3 spots last week that tptb are taking no chances that she’ll end up in the bottom 3 this week (i.e. so early in the series), hence the assassination of Saara and Ryan this week to ensure that there is no sympathy bounce and that they both remain bottom 3 this week.

  • India Marie

    There are news coming out that Bowie’s estate forbids Honey G from adding her asinine commentary on the song

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