X Factor 2016 Week 4 Review: A Tale Of Two ‘Creeps’

DannyCraig: “This show is about Matt & Emily this year”. James Martin: “definitely a full-on pimping”.

On a Friday, when the song choices are released, the Sofabet comments section becomes a hive of enjoyable speculation about whether each act’s choice portends helpful or harmful intent. Last Saturday was a reminder of how fraught with peril that exercise can be.

Last time ‘Creep’ was used on the show, it was for a textbook kill: Wagner in 2010. Remind yourself of the performance, and read the step-by-step breakdown we did at the time. There was no subtlety, no subtext. “I’m a creep. I’m a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here. I don’t belong here.” Got that, viewers?

It couldn’t have been more different for Emily.

Let’s start with the VT, which followed a beautifully judged VT in week 3 that had her and Ryan discuss their relationship, and how Ryan had been asking her out for several years before she finally said yes. What that told us about Emily: NOT A FLOOZY. This week’s VT efficiently filled in several more character details about someone who has consistently come across as adorably girl-next-door.

We revisited Emily’s Dad innocently telling Dermot the previous week, when interviewed in the audience during the show, that she hadn’t phoned home all week, and we saw Emily’s embarrassment about this as she Skyped her parents, brothers and dogs. What we learned: DUTIFUL DAUGHTER, after all. Oh, and LOVES DOGS.

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Then her dad told us: “I remember when Emily first went into a school competition. That’s when I found out she could sing.” What we learned: NOT A STAGE-SCHOOL BRAT WITH PUSHY PARENTS.

Dad continues: “Emily has dedicated her whole life to music… Emily certainly did miss out on socialising with her friends, she’d have a party on a Saturday night she couldn’t go to because she had a gig.” What we learned: WORK ETHIC.

Emily then assures us that while “I do work so hard, I also let my hair down”. Cue a montage of Hallowe’en pranks. What we learned: NORMAL, FUN-LOVING GIRL. From start to finish, the VT was perfectly conceived and executed.

It ended by preparing us for something unusual, with Emily saying her parents would be shocked.

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We saw a silent movie, depicting Emily as a doll being sadly left on the shelf as other dolls found homes. Then: “110 years later”, fade to black, a longish pause, and a single spotlight. This was staggeringly good stagecraft from Brian Friedman: it was already inducing goosebumps, before Emily had opened her mouth. When she did, the helpful reverb effect on the mic was immediately apparent.

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Friedman’s genius continued. Emily – made up as a Victorian doll might now look, her cheeks cracked – was sat next to an old packing crate; that her musicians barely moved a muscle added to the sense of time having forgotten her – as did the film reel recurring in the backdrop, which suggested decades of lonely abandonment as she plaintively sang “I wish I was special”; and we were back to the silent movie, with “FIN” at the end. So much thought had gone into it – Emily later said, on Xtra, that they’d experimented with her getting up and moving, but realised it worked better with her remaining seated throughout.

As with Wagner, the comments picked up on the lyrics, but with the opposite intent: “That was so special, and you are special”, Louis said. Simon made a point of crediting Emily with creative input (we’d also seen Brian Friedman, in cutaway, responding to Sharon’s praise by pointing to Emily to share it with her), and bestowed high praise even for someone with his penchant for hyperbole: “This is one of those performances, genuinely, I see very rarely and I’m going to remember. And I think this is going to define your career tonight, Emily. This was magnificent.”

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On the back of this, Emily came down to clear second favourite – currently 7/2, after Matt at 8/11, and it’s 10/1 bar the two. Of course, one week of bigging-up guarantees nothing on this show – compare and contrast 5 After Midnight’s week 2 with week 3. But it seems to us that it would make sense for the show to continue to help Emily, if only because it would be good for ratings if Matt goes into the final with a credible-seeming rival, and Emily seems like the most logical candidate.

Unwanted Gifty

Dean: “with the age old theories in mind we really should have seen Gifty leaving… She was announced last to be saved last week. She was given a song not many had heard of. She was on first in the Strictly death slot. All her staging had subliminal messages of ‘exit’”; Edie: “after her performance I was utterly convinced that she would be in at least the b3 (and also that producers/cowell were happy for her to be there), but also convinced that if she was there with any of the usual suspects (Ryan, Saara, 4oD) she would be safe this week… an important reminder of how producer favour can shift on a dime”.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It’s a rare week where we at Sofabet kick ourselves for not going deeper down the rabbit hole, but on our Sunday rewatch we’d discounted all those subliminals in Gifty’s staging as merely insignificant Hallowe’en fun.

10-lives-week-04-review-gifty-suitcase

She came out of a door marked “Room 101” (“You asked me once,” said O’Brien, “what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”) She was carrying a suitcase. There were loads of other doors on stage, all marked “13”. And somehow we were still surprised when she left!

In our defence, the staging subliminals for 4 of Diamonds were even worse. Long-time readers will know that there’s a strong historical correlation between fire on stage and trouble in the vote. Correlation ≠ causation, but a causal link seems plausible to us – the subliminal message of fire is “danger, stay away, don’t touch”. And boy, did they go to town on the fire. It was like 4 of Diamonds had been been found guilty of witchcraft in mediaeval Europe.

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So why was Gifty sent packing? A few theories have been floated in the comments. It could well be that behind-the-scenes personal unpopularity had something to do with it – it had earlier been rumoured that Gifty thought she was God’s gift, and the less-than-magnanimous way in which she reacted to her departure perhaps lends credence to that.

So does the lack of a Lord Sugar-esque “with regret” as the judges sent her packing – unusually, neither of the neutral judges, Sharon or Nicole, bothered to give any explanation whatsoever. Cowell initially firmly saying “Gifty” in response to Dermot’s “who are you sending home?” was either calculated or Freudian. He later attempted to console Gifty with that glibbest of breakup excuses, “it’s not you, it’s me”.

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Unlike many acts on this show, Gifty can’t say she wasn’t given every opportunity: producers could hardly have been more helpful in weeks 1 through 3. We believe there have been cases where producers have acquiesced in a singoff appearance for an act they wanted to launch commercially, hoping to generate a storyline that would reboot viewers’ interest for a week or two – Cher Lloyd in week 7 of 2010 being, to our eyes, the clearest example. But perhaps they’d concluded Gifty was irredeemably unpopular in the vote.

Some have suggested Gifty’s exit was punishment for unleashing the f-bomb on the week 3 results show. Maybe, though we doubt producers will have been that fussed about it – it was, after all, said in support of another act (“I f***in’ told you” to Sam, after she was called safe – presumably Gifty had previously been reassuring her backstage), and it got the show a few tabloid column inches. All publicity is good publicity.

There are other plausible reasons. Perhaps they anticipate the possibility of Honey G needing a save at some point, and didn’t want to risk the awkward optics of having to do that against a black girl? Perhaps they enjoyed the media attention they got from ludicrously claiming the jukebox randomly landed on “Fright Night”, and wanted to keep the story going by saving a girlband just before it landed on “girlband vs boyband”? (Though this strikes us as really pushing the “all publicity is good publicity” adage). Perhaps they just wanted a shock.

At any rate, 4 of Diamonds stagger on. Once again we had Louis bigging up their “potential” as he theatrically begged Sharon to save them, but the show has shown precious little interest in helping to develop that potential – so far, their principal raison d’etre seems to have been to provide an excuse to mention Little Mix, while making the latter look good by comparison. Hence the “Lidl Mix” reference that went viral thanks to Twitter user @CaraghElla – no reflection on the girls themselves, but how they’ve been presented.

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H to the O to the N to the E to the Y to the Final?

Woofie: I think they have got it really wrong this year in choosing Honey G… Do you think they are picking up on it and that it is time to cut Honey G loose?

Love-to-hate novelty figures Katie Waissel and Wagner came 7th and 6th respectively in 2010, our first year analysing the show. It’s been a running joke since then to place an equivalent novelty act in around that position for our 1-12 prediction.

Sure enough, Kitty Brucknell managed 7th in 2011. Rylan reached 5th in 2012, perhaps going one step further than planned when leaving Ella Henderson and James Arthur in his wake the previous week. Stevi Ritchie got to 6th, and we felt most comfortable putting Honey G in the same place for this year’s prediction.

Except the show has been suggesting she can make the final from early doors, much as Reggie n Bollie ended up doing last year. Like Reggie n Bollie, Simon was won round at the start of the live shows, so the narrative hasn’t been about a novelty act winning his approval, and the journey ending once that’s happened.

Simon has instead been cheerleading along with everyone else on the show about the entertainment provided. So is Honey G destined to make it all the way to the final, or will she fall at the more traditional novelty hurdle in around 6th place?

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I think that the show would like Honey G in the final if they could get her there. Reggie n Bollie hadn’t yet been namechecked as possible finalists by this stage last year, whereas Honey G was writing it into her rap for her week 2 song, as was referenced by the judges and Dermot. By this point, news stories were suggesting she would duet with Snoop Dogg if making it.

As an example of the extra effort the show is making on her behalf (beyond the massive productions which included a mock ITV Breaking News VT last Saturday), each week it has pushed viral memes such as Mummy G, pets dressed up in her garb, and Spooky G Halloween pics. There’s no doubt she is the talking point of the show, far more than Reggie n Bollie ever were.

She’s gained far more column inches than the Ghanaian duo, with debate raging over if she’s real or not (?!), is the act offensive or not, is she rubbish or not, and the more traditional, how far can she really go? The Sun showbiz website page in the middle of last week had five stories about the X Factor – all concerned Honey G. I think the show would love that kind of publicity in the week leading up to the final.

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I think a bigger question is whether they could actually get her there. The show may be treating her differently to say Stevi or Wagner, but in terms of her vote, the lack of genuine talent beyond the ability to entertain on stage may see her reach a ceiling. For example, getting 8-14% of the phone vote will keep you clear of the danger zone in the early weeks, but an inability to win round waverers or transfers from eliminated acts, sees those figures in trouble by the middle of the competition, and would put you short of the final.

How might the show mitigate against this? A situation where two of the acts (say, Matt and Emily), hoover up more than 50% of the vote in the middle stages might help. Especially if quite a lot of deadwood (say, Ryan and 4 of Diamonds) remain. And if the judges continue to be positive, they provide a raison d’etre for a singoff save if necessary.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Stevi had actually beaten Andrea Faustini in the phone vote before losing by majority vote in the singoff. Jedward bested Olly Murs in the same way, only to be binned by the judges. Would they cause the ultimate controversy by saving Honey G in a similar situation?

If not Honey G as the third finalist alongside Matt and Emily, then whom? 5 After Midnight have always seemed most favoured, also being namechecked as finalists on a weekly basis. But there were amber signals in their treatment last week, which featured a lot of red distracting spotlights. Overall, it didn’t feel like a proper redemption for their week 3 criticism. It’ll be interesting to see whether the gauntlet is picked up again this coming weekend.

Sam Lavery continues without falling into the drop zone, though her staging, and continual early or middling running slots don’t suggest any great push for her, even if the judges remain resolutely positive. There was another very empty feel to her set last weekend. Saara has been mooted as a possibility now that she’s the Finnish Kitty Brucknell in terms of what she brings to the show. But despite a fabulous performance last weekend, hints of colour vomit in the staging, and an offputting arrangement of ‘Bad Romance’, suggest she too is in a holding pattern.

Will they be able to hold Honey’s rivals back enough? It’s probably what’s required if they want her as a contender at Wembley. Let us know your continued thoughts below.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

77 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 4 Review: A Tale Of Two ‘Creeps’

  • The Juan

    Won a nice few pounds on gifts this week, once I saw the second wig in 2 shows, song choice and death slot it was a bit of a cash printer…. with a little saver on Ryan.

    What a conundrum he is turning out to be.

    The thought that as long as the flash vote is there he will survive is true, I think the only way they can truly get him with this is by getting Matt down in the bottom three… is that a path they want or will they be the steps to a true reveal?

    I have rewatched judges houses twice for a bit more insight and to try and pick up on any possible ‘nudges’… and I think I’ve found one… let’s call it the “golden nudge”.

    The intro to the boys/Nicole judges house episode after Nicole gets off the jet ski, there is Matt in the sunshine and then the voiceover and comments single out the words “the next X factor winner” whilst a shot of the boys and…. the nudge right in time with words is Ryan being nudged out of the line.

    Watch it….

    • Henry VIII

      Juan I watched it a few times just for fun, as Matt is TCO anyway, we don’t need a subtle clue from JH. But after she got of the jet-ski and “X Factor winner” there was a shot of all of them, not Matt. I saw it several times.

  • Woofie

    Reggie n Bollie were highly likeable with photogenic kids and family, a “feel good” element to them getting their big break. They did uptempo numbers with a feel good vibe. Yes Honey G has that fun element but I thought it was wearing thin… but that might just be me.

    Does she have the personality to gain enough support for a final placing? She is not real and is full of bluster. Does she connect to the audience in her sunglasses? I notice they are little more see through than the mirror versions she had earlier in the series. She looked awkward too me in the VT when signing autographs for the kids.

    I think if they do have intentions to get her to the final I expect we shall see some serious damage this week. 5AM could be the in range this week with 4OD given a little reprieve.

    Honey G may create headlines but at what cost? There have been racist and fixed allegations. The show started well this year with the judging panel and got good reviews on the opening. May be the Honey G thing gets people to look in on catch up to see what all the fuss is about…

    Making a contest between Matt and Emily would make sense to off set any negativity around Honey G. I notice Simon is quoted that he has changed his mind on who he thinks will win. Does “will” read “want”? It always hard to know when to take what he says at face value. I didn’t think they would want a girl winning consecutively but will Louisa be a great success for them? Emily has a big advantage over Louisa she is extremely likeable and the sort of girl I can see that other girls would like to be friends with.

    All in all this week will be interesting..

  • If they want Honey G to make the final, and perhaps 5AM representing the groups in the top 4… it’s going to be time to start cutting down Sam pretty soon, isn’t it? That’s the performance I will be most interested in watching this week. Most likely they will let go of one of the acts that have already been in the bottom repeatedly, though.

  • Alan

    Looking forward to the Sam kill off. Their treatment of her has been very clever. Outwardly very positive but keeping the vote very much in check and leaving plenty of banana skins lying around for future use.

    • Henry VIII

      Why would they kill her off? She hasn’t posed any threat so far and their treatment of her has been good.

      • Alan

        Im not saying they will kill her off yet but I dont think they have plans for her reaching the final so they will be killing her off at some point. And yes their treatment of her has been good. Good as opposed to the much better treatment of Matt, Honey G and Emily.

        • Tina

          To me it seems like Sam has been treated much better than let’s say, Saara. Sam is one of the acts among Matt, Emily and Honey G who get constant praise on the XF Instagram and Facebook. No mention of Saara since Saturday. Not even a photo of her performing. It’s like she isn’t even there anymore. A sign of them throwing her under the bus next?

  • Woofie

    Oh dear…

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/2061376/x-factor-boyband-5-after-midnight-sick-of-being-compared-to-jls/

    Kieran states this is completely untrue as he knows the boys personally. Jordan also tweeted today “be careful who you trust”… Does not bode well for Saturday.

    • 4oD just did a bit of Twitter damage control on their last Sun article too, insisting they didn’t have any doubts about returning to the show.

      Anyway, I don’t understand why they would go after 5AM now. Even if they’ve lost interest for some reason, surely they want a group around the top 5 and (though I continue irrationally rooting for them) 4oD seem to be a non-starter. I don’t see 5AM challenging for the win either. Perhaps they are simply trying to make sure 3 acts stay under Honey G?

  • 360

    I am semi convinced there must be an element of satire to the show this year. Given that the show is manufactured as far as legally possible and most acts are scouted, I find it boggling that they couldn’t find any novelty acts BETTER than Honey G and Bratavio.

    Two Barbie boys who looked like rejects from Snog, Marry, Avoid, and whose claim to fame and setup was a bizarre nonsensical argument about undercooked chicken (?!), and a middle-aged white ‘rapper’ woman who – fair enough, can’t rap, she *is* a joke act – but also can’t dance, isn’t charming or in any way endearing, doesn’t have any ‘story’ of judge animosity towards her… but at the same time, isn’t so awful to be ‘so bad she’s good’, doesn’t bring anything new to the table every week, which at least every previous joke act has tried (or failed amusingly) to do, and is COMPLETELY carried by the big productions, VTs and ‘memes’ (that are probably also manufactured or planted by production staff, just like the ‘home-made signs’ the audience hold up to support their favourites), and the judges’ painfully fake comments about her quality week on week.

    This was the best they could do after a whole year to recruit?? Two lads they could have grabbed out of any gay bar, spray tanned up and stuck in hot pants, and a woman who could literally be any thickset lass in a hat and big sunglasses, who finds herself able to remember some lines and not fall over on stage? ‘Honey G’ could very easily be a different woman every week under that getup and we’d be none the wiser!

    It’s a bizarre series to be sure. I wonder if somebody dropped the ball on an act they were trying to keep under their hats during an earlier stage and they were stuck with the dregs and decided to try and make the best of it. They seem to have gone to ridiculous effort to ringfence acts who either don’t seem to merit it (Honey G) or, from the rest of the casting, don’t need it (Matt). Just what is their game??

    • Alan

      Agreed. Although I dont think its satirical its just that the show believes it can serve up and old rubbish and the public will lap it up. Its difficult to imagine anyone playing the character less convincingly or amusingly. She’s got absolutely no charisma whatsoever.

    • Chris Bellis

      It’s not just an element of satire – the show and others like it have always been a parody of themselves. When Peter Kay did a spoof reality show it didn’t work, because you can’t parody a parody.

      • Martin

        I do wonder if we have a ‘Chart Throb’ (ben Elton book regarding this subject if anybody else has read it) situation with Honey G, in that she’s a bet Simon is taking from someone who has something over him.

        • Alan

          Ha! Yes, I remember reading Chart Throb and thinking there was probably an element of truth to it. It was much nearer to the truth than I realised at the time. Clingers, mingers and blingers. Haha.

          • Martin

            I only remembered it because it’s currently replacing a wheel on my bed. I wonder if that book would make anymore sense reading it now I’m more aware of this show haha.

    • Harry

      Remember that Ottavio had been on the show before. There’s no reason he couldn’t have kept in touch with TPTB.

  • Henry VIII

    Much more of a feel good factor for week 4. No real criticism of any act from the judges. 5 acts in week 3 got criticism ranging from moderate to harsh.

    They’re probably relaxed about Matt’s vote lead now. It will be interesting to see if Emily beat him on Saturday though. Similarly produced Cher Lloyd “Stay”, also: pimp slot (but votes at end); w4; tears at end, didn’t quite beat Matt Cardle that week.

    I’ve never believed in Matt Terry’s commercialism. Maybe Cowell just fancies him. Emily doesn’t have the voice and neither do 5am. But there’s nothing new about Cowell pushing an act that a layman could tell him has little long term viability.

  • Woofie

    Is Honey G creating “more” headlines and column inches for the show or is it the same amount of stories as any other year? She creates a story “focus”. I am sure the X Factor PR machine would have that evidence. If it is extra column inches than expected then yes it would make sense to have that continued publicity leading up to the final, particularly if she is in the final because of the public voting for her to be there.

    But can they get her there without real solid public support?

    At this stage of the competition unless they can pull something that tugs at the audience’s heartstrings, I would think she isn’t going to gamer much more support than she already has. As other acts leave would she pick up any vote transfer? I could see that most vote transfer could be soaked up by Matt and Emily which could then pave her way.

    Surely to stay above the bottom 2/3 she would need to pick up some vote transfer?

    Looking at previous “entertainment” acts most had personalities that easily game across as genuine and real… remember Stevi (bromance with Simon, the love of his daughter, all round nice guy), Rylan and his comical banter with Gary Barlow. Can a false persona which it so at odds to the reality behind the mask really work? Can a figure of ridicule, hate and anger get beyond 6th/7th? But then again they have avoided the bottom 3 so far without the need for judge’s intervention. Maybe the lifeline vote was intended to keep this type of act in the competition.

    I would think the jump from semi-final to final would be difficult without a judge’s vote in a sing-off… how would that go down? 8 to 14% of the vote is a very small percentage of the viewing public, as less then 10% of the viewing public actually vote.

    If this is the producers plan and they achieve it, then anything is now possible on this show. I’m sure they will have contingencies if they can’t achieve it keeping a couple of acts vote in control that can be credibly restored as “contenders” without impacting on the final prospects of Matt and/ or Emily.

    I guess if the plan is to get Honey G the third final placing we need to work out who are the real targets to go out each week and who are the holding/contingency/backup acts.

    • Henry VIII

      Ratings are plummeting because of Honey G and leaving good acts out of the Lives to make way for fodder. They have lots of plans but they are the plans of the clueless.

    • Daz

      I think the plan is to get a Honey G, Matt, Emily final with 5AM 4th place but I think 5AM have been polling 3rd with Matt and Emily top 2. So they have been slowing 5AM down and hoping they can get Honey G to the semi final and having a bottom two and then they can get rid of 5AM in 4th place. This week I wouldn’t be surprised if 5AM get a JLS song to sing and being critised for it and being compared to them.

      • Alan

        Surely there’s more £££££s in it for Cowell to get 5am to the final and launch a career for them than to get Honey G to the final. The show needs success stories like Olly, Leona and JLS more than it needs novelty acts. If it doesnt find genuine stars it becomes a bit pointless.

        I personally think that Honey G getting to the final damages the brand and still think she will be cut loose before she gets there. Maybe its just wishful thinking on my part though.

  • Phil

    Look at the staging for the act who went on to get eliminated in Australia this week:

    https://youtu.be/zGty2xNvfTY

    Particularly at 1:32. Textbook.

    • Chris Bellis

      So it’s not just our X-Factor that has awful girl acts. You proved the point about fire and elimination with this video. Thanks.

    • EM

      Great share Phil! That’s a cut out n keep assassination!

      Also made me think apart from the subliminals that when you perform with fire and pyrotechnics there are so many health and safety issues the artists have to think all time about positioning (note how the dancers walk away before the fire is lit etc) it must make it harder to concentrate on your vocal and dancing performance if you’re also having to ensure you’re on your marks to avoid going up in a fireball.

    • Anglia Chu

      off-topic: I like how Australia is more liberal with song choices.

      • Martin

        Goodness me, everything about that is horrible. Thanks for posting! I dread to think about the VT and comments which accompanied that performance.

    • Woofie

      I watched Star Wars Force Awakens 3D the other night chuckling to myself seeing how much “red and black” is used to represent the evil First Order!

  • EM

    On the how far Honey G will go question I think there’s a danger in trying to put her in a box that fits with other “novelty” acts like Wagner, Jedward or Reggie n Bollie.

    There’s a lot that’s unique about her compared to what’s gone before. Personally I can’t decide if she’s a joke act that goes at week 5/6 or someone who will go much further.

    I do know two things though: She will be really easy to kill off when her time comes and she is capable of generating massive controversy if they manufacture a save between her and just about anyone else left who can actually sing. (Honey G v Sam anyone?)

  • Curtis

    It was very clever how they played it with Emily this week – excellently staged by Friedman, and well sold by Emily both visually and vocally. That’s probably bought her a few weeks, but I think to get her cleanly into the final will require at least one more rabbit out of the hat – I imagine she was a little close to the bottom 3 for comfort last week.

    I thought Sam gave her best performance vocally of the live shows, but she conversely was given no help with staging, and no help from her mentor who totally derailed the mood. If the plan is a Matt and Emily final, she would probably not be their desired third choice simply because that would mean 2 girls – so I’m guessing she’ll be ditched at some point before the final.

    So I think realistically we’re looking at 5am versus Honey G for that 3rd spot in the final – and I guess it just depends how much value they put on 5am. A couple of weeks ago obviously we’d all have said a lot, but at this stage they look just as much filler acts as anybody else, so I suspect they’ll be ditched – and possibly sooner rather than later. I get the feeling there’s a “shock” bottom 3 appearance in store for them this week or next – unless producer attitude changes on them again.

    Getting Honey G into the final may honestly not be too hard for them. There’s still a lot of also-rans left. I also wonder how she will do in a bottom 3 flash vote situation. Would be interesting to see. At any rate if required I think the judges will have no shame in saving her – and their comments have set her up to be saved if necessary (I have to save the act who I most look forward to seeing each week etc.)

  • “‘You asked me once,’ said O’Brien, ‘what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.'”

    Nick Hancock.

    • Curtis

      Interesting. The thing is, I don’t quite know what to make of that, because she says that and then says it isn’t a fix (or at least she doesn’t know that it is). I wonder if what she means is she was told by someone she was tanking in the vote.

      Either way, the way she was styled on Sunday night really was telling. When I saw her I said to my friend “those are sing-off glasses”. You don’t get a dramatic restyling on a Sunday night just to not be in the sing-off I wouldn’t have thought!

  • Poker Coach

    I know that most people will not agree with google trends. Still Samantha is not so much above the rest that I think that she is a value bet.

    https://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore?date=now%207-d&geo=GB&q=saara%20aalto,sam%20lavery,ryan%20lawrie,4%20of%20diamonds

    Then when you add honey G, everything changes again:

    https://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore?date=now%207-d&geo=GB&q=saara%20aalto,sam%20lavery,ryan%20lawrie,4%20of%20diamonds,honey%20g

    At current levels in betfair my comments are following:
    Ryan: 3.4, stupid bet
    4 of D: 3.25, average
    Saara: 3.65, sligthly bad
    Sam: 11.5, great value
    Honey G: 14, better to bet she stays (hardest to estimate)

    They would like to get rid of Ryan, but hard to think that he would fall in bottom. Only if Sam get more votes than him

    4oD: Clear favourite of production, loose sing of most likely only to honey g

    Saara: Hard to estimate, has show value and legitimity, not that likely to go now

    Honey G: Popularity magnet, they will still keep it

    If it would be about singing, send ryan home. but because it is about making best bets, I think that sam is now likely surprise candidate to go.

  • Stu

    Clues to song choices on XF twitter:

    Emily is doing One Direction (the band was formed in 2010)
    Sam is doing Girls Aloud
    Matt is doing Wham
    Ryan is doing The Beatles

    A Belle Amie deja vu if Sam’s stuck with I’ll Stand By You?

    • Curtis

      And frankly thinking through Girls Aloud’s hits anything other than “I’ll Stand By You” would be wildly inappropriate and possibly even worse for her.

      And perhaps for Ryan, Let It Be, a song used to cull Paije Richardson?

      • Stu

        Yeah I was thinking Let It Be for Ryan but it gave Stereo Kicks a large bounce in 2014.

        Sam will likely do Sound of the Underground or I’ll Stand By You (but more the Pretenders version). The Loving Kind or No Good Advice would be good for her but I doubt Simon will pick one of the more forgotten GA songs.

        Matt is surely getting Careless Whisper? I can’t imagine him being lumbered with I’m Your Man. 😀

        Emily will need to somehow top her Creep performance (it was the first real “moment” of the live shows) and tptb will want to ensure that her follow-up won’t fall flat in comparison. She’s delivered a slowed-down stripped-back, minimal staging performance for the last 3 weeks but for Halloween it worked brilliantly. I’m thinking she’ll be given Little Things (a bit predictable) or Story of My Life. The latter didn’t work out too well for Lauren Platt. What Makes You Beautiful has proven a helpful song in the past in terms of getting votes.

        • Plinkiplonk

          Just read on DS that apparently, Matt is indeed singing ‘I’m your man’. Ok, you can’t beat it for subliminal messaging, but seriously? How is he going to make this into something they can praise to high heaven without looking like idiots? Or is this his scripted ‘moment of peril’???

          • Martin

            Looks like this is the week that they put paid to the “sex symbol” VTs they’ve been shoving down our throats for the last few weeks. I’d imagine we’ll get the whole “it wasn’t your best performance vocally, but you performed amazingly and everybody everywhere will fancy you now well done”

    • Martin

      I’d imagine Emily will get the Luke Friend memorial version of “What Makes You Beautiful”. I assumed Sam was doing Little Mix but you’re right, based on the clues it has to be Girls Aloud and I’m just not paying any attention. Based on all her “rock voice” shtick, “Wake Me Up” would be the best choice for her but there’s about as much chance of anybody doing that song on this show than there is of Steve Brookstein performing it on the results show. Both “I’ll Stand By You” and “Sound Of The Underground” have been performed before, the only other Girls Aloud song I’d suggest as well known enough to be performed is “Love Machine” and that would be wildly unsuitable for her. Although Simon did suggest “doing better” for her this week, so potentially we will see a switch up for Sam.

  • Woofie

    This is going to be a very interesting weekend and I wonder if we will get stronger confirmation that the producers intention is to get Honey G to the final for the publicity that will generate.

    I agree she is “unique” in terms that the show has never had an contestant like this before, therefore yes we do need to be careful in our analysis on how this contestant will impact on the show/audience and the producers intentions towards her and other contestants. In some ways this is going to be fluid because the uniqueness aspect is also new to the producers.

    Yes she is the main talking point but the longer she stays in the competition the more intense the stories are to going be and more difficult for the show to “manage” the PR and spin.

    A good example is the Lilly Allen story this week, their are positives in that Honey G was brought up in an ordinary interview on BBC Radio 1 – a talking point but the negatives are strong “racist”, “offensive” and the most interesting quote is the “ITV are pouring money into her”. That quote, which we all know is true, is not just about X Factor being directly responsible but ITV itself.

    There was another positive story (probably planted by X Factor) about the fact she has produced music before, that she is a real rapper but the music (which has “surprise” been taken down) had lyrics about her sex life and taking drugs… not very appealing to a family audience and Middle England.

    My point is that it will be difficult to control the stories, which might produce serious negativity to towards the show and ultimately to the ITV brand. That might be ok for Channel 5 (think Bear and Celebrity Big Brother) but for Saturday night ITV I’m not sure. Of course they may wish to ramp it up anyway and a controversial B3/2 save would perhaps explode the coverage, even generating front page headlines.

    I wonder if her VT this week will try to mitigate the toxic negatives and provide a more softer personal aspect less bluster/boasting which fits the rapper image but more about her as an nice person wanting to entertain the people, provide fun and a feel good vibe. I was surprised that she didn’t accompany other X Factor contestants to the Pride of Britain Awards a strong positive association. The excuse given by the contestants she was working hard rehearsing for Saturday.

    Fascinating stuff but I guess this week Honey G won’t be going home just yet and so will 5AM and Sam be in the firing line and/or will a previous B3 contestant be for the chop? Last week was generally positive/ neutral judges comments towards the contestants I think this week is going to be very different.

    Looking forward to full song choices reveal today.

    • Rose

      At the start of live shows, quite a few of us were struggling to rank the girls as it seemed they’d all do quite well. I do think tptb didn’t have a strong view themselves in the beginning but it became clear that Gifty was polling badly (the softened up image with the blonde wig was pretty clear proof of that) and with her now gone, Emily has become the clear Alpha, so the tide will presumably have to turn against Sam – but not just yet, I don’t think. She’s young, pretty and sweet and I think she has a couple more weeks before the knives go in. I honestly do not see them turning against 5 After Midnight and still see them as potential finalists or third place. I just do not buy the idea of Honey G going as far as the final – it would ultimately tarnish the brand which surely cannot be allowed. I think 5 After Midnight will be the ones to bring the show in the last couple of weeks though I’m not yet sure whether they’ll get beyond third place. My guess on the bottom three this week – before we see the song choices so it may change – are the usual suspects: 4OD, Saara and Ryan. Maybe Honey G will get less praise but that might risk vote loss and I too suspect she isn’t all that safe. It’s clever in a way that Simon hasn’t slated her – they don’t get people voting for her to piss him off – but she can’t be safe for long, surely?

  • Plinkiplonk

    If the song spoilers are accurate, than you can at least be sure that they will continue to be gunning for Ryan. Notwithstanding the fact that calling The Beatles a ‘boyband’ is a total WTF?, but it also gives them far too much ammunition about being old-fashioned, boring or destroying a much loved classic song. Or they could give him something fairly obscure, seeing how vast the back catalog is. It’s also not going to appeal to his demographic in the way a 1D or Vamps song would have.
    So however much we want to read into it, I think we can agree that it’s not helpful…

  • annie

    well, with those song choices I expect B3 made up from Sam, Ryan and 4oD.

    Sam and 4oD somewhat boring songs (they don´t hurt but can˙t see them making a wow moment) and Ryan will be a complete and utter mess.

  • Phil

    Boys

    Matt Terry: Wham! – I’m Your Man

    Ryan Lawrie – The Beatles – Twist & Shout

    Girls

    Emily Middlemas: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

    Sam Lavery: Girls Aloud – I’ll Stand By You

    Overs

    Honey G: Kris Kross – Jump

    Saara Aalto: Girls Aloud – Sound of The Underground

    Groups

    5 After Midnight: Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There

    Four of Diamonds: Wilson Phillips – Hold On

    • Stu

      I’m Your Man helped boost Marcus up in the polling week-on-week back in 2011. Has it been performed since?

      A mash-up including Twist & Shout didn’t do Only The Young any favours in 2014. They polled 13th out of 16 despite performing in the penultimate slot.

      Emily’s song helped out both Luke Friend and Reggie n Bollie. It’s One Direction’s signature song so only positive connotations.

      5 After Midnight getting Say You’ll Be There? Bjork and Radiohead in recent weeks has taught me to not judge the song choices *too* much but this is a potential red flag. The positives: being a girl-group song allows them to put their own spin on it, it’s probably the most male-friendly Spice Girls song to sing, it’s also never been performed on the show before (if I remember right). The negatives: it could appear cheesy similar to week 3, it isn’t what they’re about musically but maybe it’ll be a more “cool” arrangement.

      • Martin

        I think that hateful hipster boyband did it Im Your Man didn’t they? that was after marcus I think. I forget their name, They’re hardly a glowing reference for this song though.

        • Anglia Chu

          Kingsland Road (I had to look it up lol). Jedward also did it in their last week but Matt clearly won’t end up like that

          • Stu

            I’m Your Man seems to only be used to dampen an act then – Marcus included. Maybe tptb have decided to switch horses after Emily’s polling last week? She’s probably the only one who could rival Matt to win and she’s a more commercial prospect.

  • Dean

    Based on songs

    Matt Green
    Ryan Red (can you believe he criticised the older audience and now gets a song from one of the old great classic bands, couldn’t write it)

    Emily Green
    Sam Amber

    Honey G Green
    Saara Red

    5am Red
    4oD Red

  • Martin

    I think Sara’s time may be up this week, Sound of the Underground didn’t do much for Fourth Impact last year, vocally it doesn’t allow for much but staging and VT will tell us more. Initially, that is the one that stands out as a red flag to me.

    • Tina

      Could be a singoff week for Saara, unfortunately. She has expressed her concerns in the Finnish MTV3 entertainment news about the song, saying it has a lot of lyrics to learn and the song is very different from her style of singing. I agree. Why would they give this song to her when she has a voice for so much more.

      • Poker Coach

        As a huge Saara fan I think that now could be a good time to bet for her elimination. After listening the song it seems really like they treat her badly.

        It is just that I wonder TPTB motives which can vary
        -She has gotten too popular to treat their motives for other endgame solutions (Honey G, band, Matt, Emily to final four) and Saara needs to be played down
        -They need her as a signoff assasin
        -They want to get rid of her

        I would quickly estimate that her chance to go now is 40% +- 15%. Seems to offer great value now for odds 3.85. I also think that her chance to win in Betfair is greatly overestimated. Producers do not want her to win unless their plan includes heavy use of sympathy bounce.

        for outright win for her odds are 1:26 for back and 1:29 for lay. I estimate that her chance for winning is closer 1:100 or less.

        Correct me please.

        • I think Saara’s a great B2/B3 bet, but as far as the elimination there’s a very good chance the show will let go of 4oD rather than saving them for the third time in a row.

          • Poker Coach

            Hmm.. What was then the purpose of saving them instead of gifty last time. As I cannot figure it out I think that 4od could be saved again.

          • I suspect the purpose was getting rid of Gifty because her personality was rubbing the production staff the wrong way, and perhaps to help clear out Emily’s lane a little.

            I do personally see a little potential with 4oD but I think they would need some months to realize it, and probably some coaching on vocal chemistry and emotional presence.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Matt Terry: Wham! – I’m Your Man

    See my comment above. Feels like an odd choice with so many other boyband songs available, so maybe there is a special John Lewis version around that Simon has the rights to…

    Ryan Lawrie – The Beatles – Twist & Shout

    Yeah, sure. If I recall correctly this is on record as Simon’s favourite song, as Ferris Bueller is his favourite movie. Cannot see any other narrative that ‘You ruined my favourite song’ here.

    Emily Middlemas: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

    Of course she has this one. I wonder if this week is a test to see if she can potentially challenge Matt, hence his underwhelming choice?

    Sam Lavery: Girls Aloud – I’ll Stand By You

    That’ll be painfully dull…

    Honey G: Kris Kross – Jump

    Not a boyband, of course. And no real lyrics rather than shouting ‘jump, jump’ Honey G’ll make you jump, jump. Or switch off, in my case.

    Saara Aalto: Girls Aloud – Sound of The Underground

    As most original GA songs, the lyrics make zero sense, so that could be an issue for a foreigner. Have they mentioned Saara is foreign? I fear this is going to be some over-produced and over-choreographed nightmare.

    5 After Midnight: Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There

    Again an odd choice, as it’s not really High NRG, more mid-tempo, and probably one of the lesser know songs from the Spice girls. All will depend on how much assistence they get for their ropey vocals.

    Four of Diamonds: Wilson Phillips – Hold On

    Again, not really a girlband, but who cares. The song is all about the harmonies, so this will either be their time to shine or to sink without a trace. I predict the latter.

  • Anglia Chu

    (clear) B3 seems to be Saara, 4oD, and Ryan. Sam may slip her way down too

  • 360

    I really don’t know if they’ll be able to drag Honey G to the final. They weren’t able to get previous ‘divisive female’ acts (which is who I’m now classing Honey with) Misha B, Diana Vickers or Cher Lloyd there, and they tried really hard with all of those acts.

    Okay, Cher Lloyd made it to that year’s freak four act final but was summarily eliminated very quickly in.

    Honey G would need to be polling at least 20% at some point, and to continue delivering at least semi amusing, semi competent performances week in week out for the next five, to stand a chance of getting there. There’s only so much you can polish a turd, surely??

    Even IF Matt and Emily can hoover up a large chunk of the votes between the two of them, can Honey G week in week out poll enough to be above the others? When every week her act runs thinner and she doesn’t bring any charm or sass to cover up its lack?

    It really depends on how good an actress she is or can become, I guess.

    • Curtis

      She’ll probably need 2 or 3 sing-off saves to get her there, but are you really going to put that beyond them? Remember for the last few years sing-offs have ran all the way to the final, so they can take whoever they like to the final really if they’re prepared to save them enough times.

      Also is Honey G really divisive female? I see her as the novelty act – more Wagner than Cher Lloyd.

    • Gavster

      Well there are at least three or four acts below Honey G on the vote, which includes 4oD, Ryan and Saara, even though the latter likely had a small bounce in week 3. These acts are probably getting between 4%-10% of the vote.

      5am’s treatment over the last two weeks and their song choice for this week suggests they may also lagging behind Honey G. The show may well have given up on their longterm prospects and will now aim to push them to 4th or 5th for a post-show deal. They are probably floating around 10%.

      Sam’s vote hasn’t really been tested yet, though I was one of a few that thought she might be hovering around the bottom 3 last week. Let’s say she’s trading blows with Honey G around mid-teens. In my opinion, Sam has been suffering a slow puncture in terms of treatment, whereas Honey G has been rammed down everyone’s throats and persistently flagged up as a finalist.

      Honey G only has Sam to beat in my opinion. And in a straight bottom 2 decision, the judges may opt to jettison Sam to keep the act everyone is talking about for the final.

      Honey G doesn’t need to poll 20% just yet given the scorched earth policy of protecting preferred acts and pinning deadwood to the bottom 3 zone. And if we go back to Sam Bailey’s year, Sam and Nick were attracting 20%-25% of the vote at this stage, which is likely to be the case again this year. Honey only needs around 15% to stay well clear of danger.

  • swablu

    http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/the-x-factor/news/a813122/are-the-x-factors-5-after-midnight-actually-going-to-split-up/
    5AM reassuring us they are not about to split up, even though nobody suggested they were going to?
    A sign of things to come…

    • Rose L

      Blimey, they haven’t even got a source for that story – seems they just spoke to the band and put it to them that they might split up this early and made a story out of the rebuttal. Cheap journalism.

  • Woofie

    Louisa’s new single enters the charts at 20.

  • Fudd

    For what it’s worth, the Mail has some photos of the rehearsals:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3906026/Raring-Honey-G-proves-s-not-fazed-criticism-gives-X-Factor-rehearsals.html

    5 After Midnight seem to have a silver then gold (or gold then silver?) vibe about their staging with seemingly positive interaction with Louis. Emily and Simon also have some nice photos of them talking; her backing seems to be measured colour, with butterflies and flowers on a blue background. Honey G’s staging seems quite dark with a touch of red. I have no idea what’s floating around on the screens for Four of Diamonds – jellybabies?! Definitely a bit of red there. They’re sticking Ryan on a platform… or two… and will seemingly have girls throwing themselves at him again. This worked so well last week. There’s a photo of him looking pretty peeved as well. Matt has a lot of spotlights though not sure all are pointing at him; he seems to have a pink tinge, a cyan tinge and a feel of blue about it. The photo of him speaking to Nicole appears to be being taken whilst the stage is set for Emily going by the background; his backing seems to be basic shapes…. oh and he and Nicole hug.

    Nothing of Sam or Saara. By these alone I’d say Alpha Group is 5 After Midnight, Alpha Girl Emily, Alpha Male Matt and Alpha Over Honey G – which we all knew already really.

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