X Factor 2016 Week 6 Review: Why Sharon Abolished SLavery

We start with a Sofabet exclusive. On Sunday, viewers saw Sharon seem to prepare to send Ryan home, only to change her mind at the last moment and name Sam. We have obtained unseen footage of another camera angle which sheds light on what happened.

Now on with the rest of the week’s review.

Is Matt Terry more of a Matt Cardle or a Marcus Collins?

Daz: “Maybe Matt is going to have more of a Marcus Collins run and 5AM come out of nowhere and take the lead like Little Mix.”

Back in 2014, we asked if Ben Haenow’s fortunes were set to mirror most-of-the-way winner Matt Cardle, or never-quite-winning Marcus Collins. Turned out he was more of a Cardle than a Collins. Our commenters are now asking a similar question of Matt Terry.

12-lives-week-06-review-matt-matt-marcus

For the first four weeks, the Matt Cardle trajectory felt more likely. His performances were strong (the standout arguably being his week 4 ‘Put A Spell On You’), the judges were overwhelmingly positive, and he was a heavy favourite in the outright market. Week 5 saw an application of the brakes. Terry was put in the coffin slot, with the uninspired song choice of ‘I’m Your Man’ (previously performed by Marcus), some red-and-black staging, for a performance described by Louis as “karaoke”. Vocally, he wasn’t at his best.

Still, mixing things up a little is to be expected in a ten-week run of live shows, otherwise the show becomes far too predictable. Cardle faced something similar with his week 4 performance of ‘Bleeding Love‘.

The stats reveal his lead was cut to under 1% at this point. Coincidentally, when Dermot told us that 1% separated both first and second, and second and third that Sunday, the general feeling among our commenters was that Terry still headed the vote. But the following week, Cardle was allowed to reprise his bootcamp breakout song ‘The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)‘, with a full-on pimping, including a four-judge standing ovation, that trounced the opposition in the phone vote.

There wasn’t such a pimping for Terry. Sure, he had a better week 6 than his week 5 – it was a big production with a golden colour scheme. But only mentor Nicole stood afterwards, and Simon produced the definition of a mixed message by criticising the first half of the performance and praising the second half. Simon went onto say just afterwards on Xtra Factor that Terry “hasn’t been himself” for the last two weeks.

12-lives-week-06-review-matt

On Sunday, Dermot tried to cloud the picture further with his garbled tease about the state of the vote. We argued in the post-mortem post that what he actually said was grammatically incoherent, but that one plausible interpretation of what he meant to say is that two acts who hadn’t previously been top had topped the vote at some point in the last 24 hours: that might be consistent with, say, Saara and 5AM briefly topping the vote during the show, before Matt took over and eased to a comfortable win.

Clearly, the intention was to make us think that it’s an open race. And it may be – there are other plausible interpretations of what Dermot might have intended to say. But if it turns out that Matt won this week easily, don’t complain to Ofcom: basically, Dermot told us nothing. The teases on the last two Sundays are consistent with the hypothesis that Matt won weeks 1-4 easily, week 5 narrowly, and week 6 easily.

Even if Terry isn’t Cardle-ing the vote, he reaches this point looking in a much stronger position than Marcus Collins. Marcus was a mid-series afterthought in 2011. Initially poorly treated, he survived the Strictly bus with a surprisingly decent week 3 performance, and an entertaining week 5 rendition of ‘Reet Petite’ positioned him as best supporting act in the Little Mix show – but it still left him only second in the phone vote, and producers never intended him to go any higher.

One could also consider the Ben Haenow trajectory. Ben polled consistently well, and whilst he never surrendered the lead after gaining it in week 4, it was a close run event up until week 8, when his Middle-England friendly credentials helped him gain more floating and transferring voters than his rivals.

12-lives-week-06-review-matt-01

There were quite a few aspects of Matt’s treatment this week that reminded us of Ben’s at a similar stage. The heart-throb / top bro / humble job / doing it for his family VT. The golden staging, but not ideal song choice. Largely positive comments with some qualification (in Ben’s case, the criticism usually came from Mel B with occasional help from Cheryl). The overall sense that although not as pimped as some of his rivals at this point (in Ben’s case, Fleur; in Matt’s case, 5 After Midnight), there’s no unnecessary damage to his long-term prospects.

Now that the show has been able to claim it’s an “open race”, producers can get behind Matt more emphatically, should they so wish.

Middle-amiss, the sequel

Jessica Hamby: “There are only two possibilities here. They are going for a “moment” next week or they have decided to cut her loose.”

Emily suffered a big deramp last Saturday. The first clue was song choice ‘Wishing On A Star’, used to dampen both Austin Drage and Tamera Foster. Unlike ‘Creep’, Emily wasn’t going to take this poisoned chalice and make it her own. Instead, she struggled on a large plinth at the back of the stage. As Nicole commented, the whole production swallowed her up. Sharon’s “Debbie Downer” remark also seemed harsh but fair.

12-lives-week-06-review-emily

Her VT had also rung alarm bells. We were promised a homecoming moment, which turned out to feature merely Emily and her best friend at an otherwise completely empty roller disco. Even Tamera’s roller disco VT before the same song had comprised a supporting cast that included mentor Nicole. After all this, it was no surprise to see Emily drift significantly in the betting, an unloved fourth favourite by the end of the weekend.

A future change in direction was indicated by the judges comments. Sharon said, “I need to see another side to you.” Louis commented, “Simon, you’re playing it safe with her every week.” Nicole joined the others in primarily blaming the mentor. If Emily shines with something upbeat next week, it would showcase a hitherto hidden versatility, and do her prospects plenty of good. She certainly looked ready to show us a fun side as she left the stage after performing last week.

12-lives-week-06-review-emily

But we could also have another ‘Mmmbop‘ on our hands. This was a similar change of direction for Janet Devlin in 2011 that fell flat on its face, and indeed saw her eliminated. If Emily was close to the bottom two last weekend, a scenario that was implied but is in no way confirmed by having her wait for ages until being last called safe, the temptation this coming week may be to engineer a singoff with boyfriend Ryan Lawrie. Our commenters have long speculated that such a scenario would be TV gold.

Emily backers will be taking crumbs of comfort from the news that the winner’s single is an acoustic ballad penned by Ed Sheeran. That sounds like it would perfectly suit her, and not inconvenience Matt Terry. It’s not so promising for 5 After Midnight and Honey G, as an inside source was happy to tell The Sun.

Saara, citizen of the UK!

Scott: “Saara spoke to half the United Kingdom and was introduced as being from London this week.”

12-lives-week-06-review-saara

If Emily went from hero to zero in the space of a week, the opposite was true of Saara. The Finnish lass has been treated in yo-yo fashion by producers and her own mentor, her foreign status being a bellwether of this. In week one, Sharon introduced her as “Zara from Norway”, and could barely remember her name for her second singoff in as many weeks.

Sharon’s memory and bond with her act improved during weeks 3 and 4. But in week 5, an unfathomable Japanese routine to ‘Sound of The Underground’ presaged a third singoff appearance. We had noted then, “Saara’s VT credited tolerant British X Factor viewers for teaching Finns that it’s okay to be different. Sometimes you just have to admire the show’s chutzpah.”

Sharon’s introduction, “Saara Aalto, from London!” was an indication of producers taking the chutzpah up to 11 for her VT last Saturday. The theme was of Saara appealing to different geographical parts of the country, given she lacks a base of her own in the UK. Saara appeared on three regional radio stations.

Coincidentally, two of them were the bases of her elimination rivals, Scotland (home of Ryan as well as Emily), and Newcastle (associated with Sam). The Scottish presenters said, “I’m sure you want everyone in Scotland to vote for you,” and added with no apparent sense of irony, “we are right behind you”. Saara then took to the streets of London to shill for votes, meeting fans from Northern Ireland along the way.

When will we get the VT of Saara visiting the Finnish embassy, discussing in Finnish her favourite Finnish football team, whilst salivating over Finnish delicacies that make her feel homesick? Will it feature a Finnish sauna? Someone should warn her.

And finally, Sofabet goes undercover

Ryan Lawrie announced early last week he was doing an intimate gig just down the road from where I live. The opportunity to check it out was too good to miss. I joined the queue, which for a long time numbered only 13 people, mainly young women. We were promised a special guest, and Nicole duly turned up. She was an absolute trooper, encouraging everyone to contact nearby friends to join the gig. Producers sent extra tweets out. After we were let in, the crowd roughly doubled.

Inside we got to meet both Ryan and Emily, a personable pair who happily chatted and posed for pictures with allcomers. (I resisted the temptation to introduce myself and check if they’re reading Sofabet every week). Nicole, playing bartender, pulled me a pint.

Ryan eventually performed three songs, the last one repeated after producers had told the audience to put their phones away to concentrate on the performance for the cameras. The X Factor team and Nicole got the crowd going as much as possible, and were highly successful given what they had to work with. Everyone enjoyed themselves, not least Ryan himself.

The VT did its best to portray this, keeping shots close in, so that individual enthusiasm rather than paucity of numbers was the general impression. It’s amazing to think how differently it could have been spun: imagine an opening shot of a small queue waiting in the fading light outside a tatty London pub; then inside, numerous longer range shots showing a small venue nowhere near capacity. But Nicole’s appearance was the best indicator that producers wouldn’t go down that road. It would have looked too damaging for her.

The positivity of the VT was largely carried through in the rest of Ryan’s treatment at the weekend. His prospects this week look less promising, if his Twitter feed is anything to go by. Yesterday, he tweeted, “Aw okay, I’ll do that then.” Tellymix indicated he went even further in expressing his unhappiness. We imagine this may be another Sunday with Ryan waiting stoically on stage, the familiar knowing-yet-bemused look on his face.

Let us know your thoughts on these points, and any others, below.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

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218 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 6 Review: Why Sharon Abolished SLavery

  • Sindi

    Ryan sings My heart will go on?

    The show would be much better if they let people choose their songs. Would they really lose on it?

  • Panos

    Re Zaara, if you’ve been in the sing-off 3 times ON PURPOSE, then they do not have big plans for you.

  • EM

    So plenty of signs that the show could be trying to contrive a Ryan v Emily sing-off this week.

    I can see why they would and wouldn’t want to do it. But what if they go nuclear?

    What if it’s not enough that they throw through the book at the two of them? What if it’s Emily that goes and not Ryan?

    It’s enough to fill the red-tops and broadsheet think pieces for days. And just the ratings bolster they may need after Strictly’s visit to Blackpool.

    PS Ed Balls goes on the weekend of 26th Nov

  • Alan

    Im usually way out of step with popular thinking (for which Im entirely grateful) but am I really the only one who doesnt think a Ryan Vs Emily sing-off would be TV gold? Lets face it the drama is somewhat dampened by the sheer inevitability of Emily being saved. Its hatrdly a cliff-hanger.

    If Emly and Matt were lovers then yes I can see the drama in that, both being contenders, but Ryan has been a lame duck since week 2. He’s got no chance of doing any good and has known it for weeks. In fact I wouldnt be surprised if he did the honourable thing and refused to sing.

    It just strikes me as totally contrived (what’s new?) totally pointless and unecessarily cruel. Ryan’s tweets are a clear indication that he knows he’s being stitched up and Emily must also be feeling the same way with the way she has been portrayed. She’s clearly got a bubbly personaility but has been made to sing drab, dull as dishwater dirges week in, week out.

    Personally I think they will dampen Saara and use her to kill Ryan off in the sing-off. That would be preferable to me.

    • Woofie

      It is cruel Alan, maybe they will think that would be going too far and last week was enough. I can see your point about not being a cliff hanger but it still would be drama.
      But it would be a risk because could they control/manage the situation? If it was a plan I think the “friendly” production team would have given pet talks and discussed it with them to gauge how they would react and to influence any preparations.
      I do think it would generate a lot of headlines over the following week, particularly interviewing the contestant that left. But if it was Ryan can you imagine him not blaming the producers and saying it was set up?

    • Sindi

      They don’t seem to have any problems with being cruel. Really that clip of poor Janet Devlin makes me angry.

      If they weren’t aiming for lovers’ sing off, why else would they have saved private Ryan? Might be other reasons though, maybe it’s enough to keep the lovebirds in the house.

      Also the question remains, whether they can get Emily to bottom 2 next week. Saving Ryan against Saara would look really stupid. Honey G might serve the purpose better.

  • Woofie

    I like this site because I’m interested in hearing people’s comments, opinions and theories about the show and the fate of the contestants. I am here to learn and hopefully pocket a few pennies.

    I have ideas and thoughts one week, which can radically change the next because when you think the producers show favour they can take it away just as quick the following week. Whilst there is usually consensus on the next targets and who is likely to go after the Saturday live show their are different ideas about where contestants will eventually end up.

    It feels we are at a pivotal week, so will the producers be revealing some of their hand? If those of us who are more knowledgable of this stage of the competition is that fair assessment?

    Reading Daniel’s article observations is interesting.
    Will they start pushing Matt again, finally giving him the pimp slot and his “moment” this week?
    Would Simon really not have a contestant in the final from what is considered a good category, ok when he was “stuck” with the “poor” overs last year?
    Will they keep on supporting 5AM? To what level and can it work? Will their vocals start to work against them?
    Is Honey G really wanted for the final for publicity or is it time to start the exit proceeding to protect other contestant’s placings?
    Does Saara now present a better value for a final placing?
    Is it still all to play for and they have not fully decided the final line up keeping their options open, depending on voting performance?
    Will some contestants find the last leg more difficult having to perform two songs a week?
    As we are this stage and quantity of votes is increasing how will vote transfer work and who is more likely to benefit? E.g. If Ryan exits this week will his votes go to Emily or to Matt? Do the producers consider vote transfer?
    What will be the final 3? You can make a case for at least 5 of the 6 contestants left… Does the news about the winner’s single change the outlook?

  • Henry VIII

    Good summing up by Daniel as usual. Situation murky, awaiting next week me, for Cowell to show more of his hand.

    The Pixel Factor’s video up top motivated me to play his Jay James Skyfall again. It always gets me laughing.

  • Sindi

    Recent tweet from @RyanLawrie_: “Got a wicked song to perform next weekend! I can’t wait for you all to hear it”

    • Henry VIII

      Probably Cowell doing damage limitation – he probably has the right for his minions to send tweets from the contestants’ accounts.

      Cowell has said to several contestants “I like how you never moan”. The first contestant he said it to was Ryan. The first time he said it to Ryan was just after Ryan had moaned to the Sun. Neat psychological trick that seems to have worked so far.

      Recently Cowell was infuriated by Emily not moaning but merely agreeing with the 3 judges. He said sweetly “I’m not angry with Emily, I like artists to express their opinions”.

      • Sindi

        Also Ryan had just moaned on his VT about some people in the X Factor house not thinking he should be there. (Really the stuff they make them say…) I hope they have a psychologist available.

        Could Emily’s shout for an uptempo song when she was talking to Dermot last saturday be considered rebellious by Simon?

  • annie

    Oh , God, they really finished off poor little Janet … That look on Tulisa¨s face while she is performing… priceless. 🙂

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’ve not seen this before. Didn’t watch much of this series.

      Poor Janet. I even feel sorry for Tulisa.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Ooops. Only just noticed that Daniel linked to it including the VT. What a horror show that was. No-one at the airport but to then be cheered by the whole of your home town just before you get evicted – that’s harsh.

      • 360

        Poor lass. I always wondered, given that she said she felt really ill and nearly dropped, how the judges would have reacted if an artist actually did pass out on stage. That would completely screw with their plans.

        In all honesty, for 13 years of live TV for 12 weeks a year, they’ve done well to have so few ‘incidents’ on-air as they have done!

      • Curtis

        The brutal assassination of Janet Devlin was probably the harshest takedown I’ve seen in X Factor history. It wasn’t a quick painless kill, but a brutal one over many 6 weeks that she was clearly ill-equipped to deal with, culminating in this cringeworthy disaster!

        Still, to be remembered is that because of the show she is able to release music to a much larger audience than she would’ve otherwise to this day. That’s true for many other former acts who we might feel sorry for too! For goodness sake I saw Monica Michael on TV a couple of months ago!

        • Sindi

          Abi Alton Vevo released its single music video in 2015. It has around 15 000 views.

          • Curtis

            Dare I say that’s a bigger audience than she would’ve reached without the show? Looking at her Twitter it looks like she’s at least playing a few gigs that she probably wouldn’t be without her X Factor exposure!

          • Sindi

            I think the exposure she had makes those figures particularly shocking. Of course we don’t know where her career is at only based on that. I’m glad she gets to do gigs.

  • Curtis

    I have to say fair play to Nicole, maybe it’s false but I sense like she puts a lot more into the nitty gritty of the X Factor than other judges, most notably Mr Cowell.

    • 360

      She has the most motivation to: she doesn’t have an independent career of her own to fall back on.

      Sure, she’s had some music success, but in the last five years, only really in the UK, and if she stepped on Simon’s toes he would have the connections to bring that all crashing down.

  • Woofie

    I am not convinced that Matt “easily” won the vote on Sunday. If we are saying that because Emily had a serious de-ramp Matt was the main beneficiary overturning the previous week’s close vote?
    I can accept that he might have kept a lead but I’m not sure it would be a comfortable win of the vote. It was a poor song choice. Starting off in the car park with dancers dressed in red and black, which were at odds with his styling, the whole production concept was odd. He sang it well but did he motivate votes outside his core support? Someone correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the voting increase last week from 2.3 million to 2.7 million? On that performance, at that point in the show he picked up many of the new votes?
    He has been pegged back, doing ok, but not really setting the competition on fire for the last 2 weeks and certainly not creating a buzz. I do think that will change this week and he may even get his pimp slot. Building up or rebuilding his lead I don’t expect will be difficult.
    I thought Dermot read the voting information from a card so I don’t think there was any errors in what he said as he may have read it as it was written. We shall have to wait and see if it was a deliberate attempt to imply the competition is open involving more of the contestants as contenders but that there was no real change in the top positions from the previous week(s).
    With Matt’s and Emily’s treatment I think the producers may have tighten the vote but it is not really an open competition as I’m sure we shall see in the coming week(s).

  • David Cook

    Is this going to be the week when Emily finally turns it around? Disco week looked like the perfect opportunity to go up tempo. They didn’t take it and she ended up with her weakest performance of the series. I don’t see the appeal of the Emily / Ryan sing off, and if they do engineer it, surely it’s going to leave Emily beyond redemption in terms of the overall competition.
    One interesting point when we saw Louis and Simon behind the scenes – Louis said something along the lines of she needed to do something up tempo and move more. Simon’s response was “but Emily can’t move”. Unless she’s gone backwards since 6CC two years ago we know that’s not exactly true. Is it an indication that they’re going to keep Emily firmly in her lane, or perhaps to set up for a surprise moment when the apparently immobile Emily does finally put on a performance. All will be revealed on Saturday – if not on Friday as soon as we see the song choices.

  • Dendrite

    With nothing better to do, I decided to go through all official X Factor clips from this season just to see what has generated most buzz on YouTube. The Top 25 (in millions of views) are as follows:

    5.827 Christian Burrows Audition
    4.947 Saara Aalto Audition
    2.976 Bratavio Audition
    2.796 Caitlyn Vanbeck Audition
    2.580 Honey G Audition

    2.424 Sada Vidoo Audition
    2.218 Saara Aalto Week 3
    2.083 Saara Aalto Week 4
    2.057 First look at the new series Audition Preview
    2.015 Saara Aalto Week 1

    1.894 Christian Burrows Six Chairs
    1.645 Ivy Grace Paredes Audition
    1.638 5 After Midnight Audition
    1.386 Saara Aalto Week 6
    1.340 Sam Lavery Audition

    1.225 Honey G Week 1
    1.202 Saara Aalto Week 2
    1.192 Saara Aalto Sing-Off 1
    1.141 Saara Aalto Six Chairs
    1.122 Emily Middlemas Audition

    1.071 Rebekah Ryan Audition
    1.035 Matt Terry Week 1
    1.026 Honey G Audition Preview
    1.005 He Knows She Knows Audition
    1.002 The Brooks Audition

    Older clips dominate, as might have been expected. Some surprises here (I actually did this all the way down to 0.5M views, and that really was a trip down the memory lane, but the list would have been too long to post here). I have to assume that a substantial share of Saara’s views comes from the old country, though.

  • GsP

    Re Dermot’s comments, does noone watch XtraFactor? Matt and Rylan said Dermot had said someone new had topped the vote and asked the judges who they thought it was. All said Saara or 5AM

  • Phil

    With the Ryan/Emily sing off scenario, they are possibly harking back to the James Arthur and Ella Henderson sing off. Now THAT was tv gold, but probably more so because it was impossible to judge which way it was going to go, and neither deserved to be there. That and Ruth’s Purple Rain are probably the 2 most memorable sing offs we’ve had.

    Ryan vs Emily just seems contrived, however the 2 of them must have discussed it between themselves already as to what they’d do. I’d love Ryan to do a Katie Waissel, say sod it and sit on the floor, but I’m not sure it’s something he’d pull off (and they’d probably then go on to save him).

    The way we’ll know if this is what they want to happen will be their treatment of Saara this week. They know now what motivates and demotivates votes for Saara – if she gets a high-concept and overly elaborate/camp production, she’ll land in the bottom 2. If they keep it relatively simple and allow her vocals and performance to shine, she’ll be safe and that Emily vs Ryan is more likely.

    • Plinkiplonk

      Piers Morgan, the most hated man in Britain, who also happens to be good mates with Simon Cowell. If that’s not an open invitation to protest voters to get on the Honey Train I don’t know what is… I mean, who wouldn’t want to make Piers Morgan vomit ?

  • Scott

    The minute Emily said that on stage a massive, massive red flag went up for me. The show isn’t very good (or is very good, depending on how you look at it) at dealing with contestants who go off-message. I’m not sure I’d take the “yeah everything’s fine now” at face value.

    On Saara – I don’t think they have any plans for her to win the thing. At best she’s your third-placed Saturday name elimination candidate who can be suitably Andrea Faustini’d when required. They clearly have her vote completely under control so she can be wheeled out to kill off whoever they need, and go when she’s no longer any use to the producers. She has got a very good voice and very good stage presence, and won’t need the assistance some others would, so I wouldn’t rule out a final appearance, though I suspect she’ll be away before that.

    Ryan and Emily – there is so far we can go with how horrible the producers are, and how nasty it is that certain things happen, but best not to forget the general public can be every bit as bad. During that ad break when we were waiting to see who was in the bottom two, Emily and Ryan immediately started trending, and everyone acknowledged it would make for good TV, even if it was horrible for everyone involved. Unless the show thinks it’s got what it can out of that (and has become thoroughly pissed off with Emily and just wants her out asap – it’s already happened this season) then I’d be amazed if it doesn’t happen in the next couple of weeks. Works either way – they keep Emily and bounce a good performer into the final, or they get rid of her in a controversial sing-off.

    I agree the situation is incredibly murky this year. What I’d be looking out for this weekend is:
    * Matt – Deramp or pimp slot? Still seems like the most middle England friendly feel-good Christmas winner to me.
    * Emily – Another week like last week and I think they’ve lost interest. Alernatively they could be trying to bounce her to the final and engineer the Ryan sing-off. Too close to call – could be anywhere between finishing second and thrown out abruptly next week.
    * Ryan – Are they going to take him down a lane, like they appeared to indicate with the sing-off song and Oasis. If he goes down the rock route he could have a future in this for a while. Having said that, his recent tweets don’t indicate that he’s going to be in this any longer than serving a purpose for producers – I wouldn’t rule out them giving him ‘a song that allows him to be him’ which then kicks him out the show.
    * 5AM – I still don’t feel I know them as a group properly yet – this is not striking me as a Little Mix as it stands. I wonder if it’s too late to establish this. The Rough Copy alarm is going off in my head.
    * Saara – Is her UK makeover continuing or is she, as Daniel says, going to the Finnish embassy and talking in another language again?

  • Sindi

    Has there ever been a public outcry over how the contestants get treated or is it always just about the fix claims and individual ‘offensive’ contestants?

  • Woofie

    The doubts over 5AM is their vocals – they couldn’t just sing in line and do harmonies. For this weekend it looks like another “crazy” choreography routine. The producers will be aware what works for them in terms of motivating votes and what the public like and expect from the group. It could be used to secure their position in the competition or be used against them exposing their weakness. Their treatment this week and how that fits with the treatment of other contestants may give us more confidence to decide if they are destined for a final place or not. The song choices might reveal a bit more. For this week I’m not very confident in making any predictions before the live show and feel it is a pivotal week in the competition.

  • Tim B

    I don’t know if anyone else has pointed this out yet, but for the last three or so weeks (maybe longer), there has been no recap of the performances at the end of the Saturday night show. My view is that this exacerbates the effects of the running order – votes are even more likely to come in at that point for the act on last, with people forgetting who was performing first, second and third even more so than they already have.

    The only recap comes in the results show, when of course the appropriate judges’ comments are included alongside the clips with the voting numbers.

    • EM

      Yes I noticed that but thought it was for time reasons but if it’s a regular thing (did it come in when heh introduced voting at the start?) it does seem to favour those at the end more.

      Psychologically you may also be holding your votes until you see the person who you voted for last week? Making those early slots even worse.

      Also it feels like much less mentions of phone and text numbers this year so app voting must be very dominant.

  • Tim B

    Another way they effectively nobbled Sam this week was by making viewers head to Twitter to tweet ideas for a new jukebox theme, distracting them from potentially using their phones to vote for her. This came directly after Sam had performed.

    The same distractionary tactic was used in Divas week. Directly after Ryan had performed first, viewers were encouraged to use the app to vote for which judge was the ‘biggest diva’. Ryan wasn’t eliminated that week, but he did land in the Bottom Three which is clearly where the producers wanted him.

  • For those who enjoy televised singing contests such as X Factor and who share my taste in absurdist kitsch, this has recently been added to Netflix:

    (The British judge is called Simon Growl.)

  • Harry

    Out of interest, Daniel, did Ryan do original songs or covers? Were they any good?

  • 360

    A little off-topic, but the talk of judges going rogue around what Sharon said last week (forums are all over it, although I don’t personally think she did) reminded me of the XF NZ Natalia Kills ‘bullying’ scandal from I think last year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1R_LR63RU8

    Did we ever discuss that on here? Or did it come at a time when it wasn’t betting season?

    Basically I would ask what do you think the deal was here? Off-script or just completely overegging the pudding when following the gist of what her scripted reaction was meant to be? The second and third judge, Natalia Kills and Willy Moon (themselves a couple) accuse the contestant of not being original, and criticise his clothes, but go on to call him “disgusting” and compare him to Norman Bates.

    • Anglia Chu

      I can’t remember anyone bringing this up. I reckon that the versions with less Simon Cowell are not controlled as much as the UK version is. That said, it could be just as controlled and the Natalia Kills incident was just executed poorly.

    • Tim B

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe ‘negative press’ has contributed to anyone getting eliminated in this series yet. Otherwise they’d have pretty much no contestants left…

    • EM

      If nothing else the stories that are shared show how desperate the press are to get stories out there without any substance!

      Quick get me something on Honey G!!!

      Do you think she’s good value to go this weekend Jessica?

      • Jessica Hamby

        Depends on your gambling strategy, how much you’re prepared to lose etc etc.

        I gamble for fun, not to make a living and my strategy is based around trying to find long odds that I think others have missed. I don’t think you’re going to find odds better than 10/1 on much from now until the end of the competition unless you’re prepared to risk on Emily going. I am, as it happens.

        It’s hard to tell with Honey G. If someone put a gun to my head I’d say I think she’s going out at the semi-final but I’ve a small stake on. Why not? If I lose I’m not really going to notice. If I win then yay.

        I think the Piers Morgan comment is more significant than Plinkiplonk does. I don’t think it guarantees that she’s going out this weekend but the signs of a deramp are there.

        • EM

          Please don’t worry about my potential losses, I’m only too familiar with them!!!

          I suppose my question was more about the value of a Honey G elimination? Do you feel it’s favourably priced? She’s shorter odds to win the whole thing than to go this weekend. Would I put money on her winning? No. Do I think there’s a better chance of her going this weekend than winning? That’s what I’m not so sure on.

          For me there’s not much value in the market, the signs are all too visible.

          Emily going this weekend is not a bad shout for me, as is betting against a Matt win. That’s not to say I passionately believe either will happen but I think both are more likely than the markets do.

  • Woofie

    Interesting reader comment on the Ed Sheeran story in the Sun:
    “This is why it has to be Honey G to win. No one will buy her music and X factor will be shown for pantomime it is.”

    Quote from Simon in Ok magazine;
    The judge, who has mentored some of the show’s biggest stars including Leona Lewis and One Direction, added that he didn’t think people were voting for Honey G to spite the judges.
    He said: “This is down to the public. I don’t think we’re in a situation – which has happened before – where there is a campaign to p**s me off.”

    That amused me.

    I just remembered that Matt Terry said on the Xtra Factor he wanted to do something stripped back for movie week… which incidentally coincides nicely with the announcement of the Ed Sheeran acoustic ballad winner’s single?

  • HL

    Just wondering about the Scottish regional vote. Is it really strong enough to win the whole competition as some have argued? If it is and if they do not want Emily to win, they should get rid of her before Ryan. She is more popular than Ryan both in Scotland and in general. She was the worst of the week 6 (IMO), but still avoided B2 appearance. So if she is not wanted, they really should try to kick her out this week when Ryan is still there splitting the vote.

    I have no idea if she is wanted or not, just speculating. I think they may have changed horses and decided to push Saara instead of Emily to be the last girl standing (Honey G does not count as a girl), but might be just my illusion.

    • Tim B

      I don’t believe that the Scottish regional vote is as strong as it used to be. Ever since the free app voting was introduced in 2014, the percentages have been much tighter in general. Compare that to 2013 when Nicholas McDonald was miles ahead of most acts almost every week. Free app voting gives anyone who wants to vote the chance to do so, which dilutes the effects of regional voting somewhat, in my opinion.

    • Martin

      Before the live shows started, I expected Emily (and Ryan) to be managed out before the final, mostly down to the Scottish vote so as not to threaten the apparent plan A (at the time) Matt. Over the course of the live shows and free app voting, it may have become apparent that the regional vote for Emily isn’t so much a threat (as Tim says above) and so may be more welcoming of her in the final.

      There are other less conclusive reasons for her being considered – I maintain that Simon’s ego would prefer him to have an act in the final (although I don’t believe he’s stupid enough to give an act a push on that reason alone, and discount another act because of it) if at all possible, and I’d aruge that after 5AM, she is the most marketable contestant left. That said, she did get a mauling in week one and week six which isn’t ideal for a potential winner.

  • An excellent example of social proof from this past weekend was during Emily’s performance of ‘Wishing On A Star’, where the director cut to Louis drinking a cup of tea. This implied that he found a cup of tea more interesting than Emily’s performance. He was very animated with his tea drinking too, so I doubt this was any kind of accident.

    https://twitter.com/Reality_Tim/status/799047786532577280?lang=en

    The same tactic was also used by Mel B in 2014 when Jake Quickenden (her own act) was eliminated. I can’t remember whether or not it’s been used since then, but that was another prominent example of the same tactic. And then in 2013 Sharon said to Abi Alton that she was so dull, she’d be sending people off to make a cup of tea instead of watching her.

  • Woofie

    I notice this week Daniel that you didn’t provide any comments and observations on Honey G and 5AM.

    I am going to share my observations because I’m interested to see what happens with these contestants as I’m learning here. Opinion is divided on these 2 so I assume there are good prices to be had.

    Ignoring 5AM’s week 3/4 treatment both these contestants have had full on producer support and recently they have had their respective pimp slots. Some commentators have said the support has been desperate. Both have avoided the drop zone and that might be a reflection of producer treatment rather than traction in the voting.

    Both;
    – “final” and “winning” used.
    – over praising that didn’t match the performance.
    – vocally limited.
    – VTs with children appeal.
    – studio audience buzz/hype.
    – volatility in the markets.
    – Ed Sheeran’s winner’s single not suited to them.
    – can easily be taken down although with judges previous praising probably would be done over a couple of weeks.

    I notice that both have had negative press from the Sun this week.

    The question for me is how are they doing in the voting because where they finally end up it’s going to be a playing factor not just producer favour and preference alone.

    They have both avoided the drop zone and are pitched at the “entertainers” camp of the audience rather than the “vocalists” camp.
    Are they both doing relatively ok? Just avoiding the drop zone? One doing better than the other?

    Is Honey G the Reggie n Bollie of 2016? I’m not convinced.
    Is 5AM the Little Mix of 2016? I’m not convinced.

    I am not convinced because unlike R’n’B and Little Mix, Honey G and 5AM don’t have a strong emotional connection with the audience, which I think is a key factor, as well as some others. If either was to win it would be a very different outcome compared to previous winners.

    What is the producer preference? Are 5AM a plan A? For me until Simon mentors the groups any plan A that is a group comes with big doubts – look at the disaster that was Stereokicks (a massive waste of one the best vocalists that the show has ever had in James Graham).
    Honey G getting to the final would send the media in overdrive.

    IMHO I think it is either one for the final or neither of them. I am not sure it would be producers preference to have both or that they could get both there, although if they were in the final they would be no threat to the vocalist.
    Last week’s show was like a show of 2 half’s 5AM ending the 1st half and Honey G the 2nd.

    Will it be full on support for both this week again, or will we see some damping setting up for a kill next week or after? I do think if one was to leave there would be some vote transfer to the other.
    I am looking forward to hat the song choices will be this week.

  • Alan

    I think producers intentions with 5AM are very clear. Get them as far as possible and launch a career. The question is whether the public will bite given their limited vocals. I personally think they will, full on pimpings have been pretty successful in recent years.

    With Honey G you have to ask if TPTB want her to get to the final or whether they think it would damage the brand. Difficult to call.

    I dont think either will win and Matt Terry has been lined up as a ‘satisfactory’ winner from day one, ie not a Plan A type winner like Louisa.

    • Edie M

      This is pretty much how I see Matt- they’d been fine with him winning, but as a MOR boy they’ve seen how badly they have all flopped in the past.

    • Sindi

      IMHO Honey G in the final would damage the brand too much. I don’t know if they think so. At the same time I think Honey G has caused a bit of an overreaction. Nicely trolled, TPTB. I think it took off much better than they expected.

  • Henry VIII

    As 5am can’t sing I can’t see Cowell having any interest in them other than a sacrifice in the final, ie they can have their vocal assistance turned off.

    I like Tim’s observations, I had missed them. Jessica why do you think Piers Morgan was a de-ramp and not a ramp for Honey G?

    • David Cook

      This reminds me of the sketch in Father Ted when they’re visited by ‘the most sarcastic man in the country’. Ted tells Mrs Doyle that he means the exact opposite of what he says. That is of course until he gets to the part where he means exactly what he says.

  • Martin

    I get the sense that with both 5AM and Honey G the show is giving them as much of a push as possible, as they did with Gifty in the first three weeks, to get them both as far as possible. It seems to be working for 5AM – they managed to get through their week three treatment and support for them since has returned. They turned the tap off on Gifty quickly and effectively in week 4, the general assumption being because she wasn’t flying in the vote and this suggests to me that 5AM’s vote has been strong so far and Honey G can be maintained.

  • 360

    Just one thing to touch on with 5AM – because I’ve not seen it talked about on here yet I think, the member that can sing best, Kieran, has quite a significant existing career.

    He starred in a CBBC sitcom alongside Tracy Beaker lead actress Dani Harmer for three years, while a teenager, not even as a kid, and has appeared on CBBC’s new/recent music show Friday Download, performing, as a new and upcoming solo artist. He’s also signed to a management company associated with Beyonce and released a single last year produced by DJ Mustard, who recently produced for Rihanna and Britney Spears – and is presumably quite expensive! So not quite the complete humble beginnings the show has been making out.

    I’m just noting this because this suggests there might be more investment in them and perhaps with these connections, already plans in place to launch them. I had a listen to the single and it was very R&B rather than pop – Jason Derulo ish or something like that. If they start going in that direction this week I would think that’s a sign they’re running with them – or at least to the final if possible.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Not a huge amout to add to this, but I would maintain that the Honey G media reports are not placed by TPTB as a deramp, and here’s why:
    In the past, a joke act would sometimes be voted through ‘against’ Simon’s critique, with a clear ‘let’s stick it up to Simon’ narrative around them, and they tended to be portrayed as good-natured and harmless overall. Wagner was the sweet kooky foreign weirdo with the bongos, until they wanted him out, when suddenly there were media stories about him buying drugs and living off benefits.
    Honey G was almost a villain from the start, immediately from here audition everyone was wondering if she was for real or a fake. And now all the judges incl. Simon are fawning over her. If the show wanted her out, there would be no reason to place stories in the press, they would have much easier and immediate tools at their disposal. She can’t sing or dance and is a one-trick-pony – surely there would have been some mention of that first in the critiques before they have to employ the media spin army?
    I think the story they are building for her is in the ‘underdog trumps(!) the establishment’ vein. The reason why the judges are on her side rather than playing up the establishment part is that a) they want to be seen to be on the side of the people and b) they might have to save her along the way and need to build up credibility for that. (Good luck…)

    Oh, and as for the winner’s single; clearly that has been chosen for the bland MOR acts to shine. However, imagine Matt doing a bland but serviceable version of the song, followed by Honey G, without glasses, dressed in one of Sam Bailey’s leftover big Girl party dresses with hair to match, trying to sing the song straight. It would break the internet and catapult her to the top no problem. It would be such an obvious thing to do a big make-over on her, and they have never yet shied away from the obvious…

    • EM

      Brilliant thoughts – anything is possible

    • Chris

      It’s an assumption that she can’t sing, because we’ve never heard her try. Maybe she sings like Susan Boyle and the overall plan is to destroy the internet by revealing that when the whole world expects her to fail miserably on the winners song ballad. /devilsadvocate

      • Alison cassells

        That would be a peach lol. I’d pay plenty money to see that

      • Spiidey

        I presume this is tongue in cheek.

        If not, listen to the few words she had “sung” in the competition this year, most recently the “stayin’ alive ” lyrics from last week.

        She cannot sing so without an auto tune machine turned up to the hilt, any singing will be downright awful. I’d be astonished if that is even close enough to sway any final vote.

  • Edie M

    I know there is disagreement on this, but I still think it matters that Cowell did not have an act in the final last year & that it’s unlikely he’d want to repeat that. As Emily is now his only option, it’ll be very interesting to see her treatment this weekend. Although it may be the plan is taint her with a sing-off appearance with Ryan and then manage her out in 3rd place?

    • EM

      I do get that, I really do. There must be some ego at play but will potential £££ trump ego?

      It’s noticeable this year they’ve really downplayed the mentoring and judges rivalry aspect of the format.

      Since Cowell came back he’s appeared much more humble, much less harsh in his judgements.

      It’s worth thinking how few of the successful acts from the show have been from the Simon category. Is that chance or judgement?

      So I’m on the fence with this one. I can see be arguments both ways but am not convinced he will do anything that would “weaken” the show to have an act in the final.

      • Edie M

        Not sure if potential ££s trump ego, but also not convinced that there is much potential in the remaining acts. It’s one of the weakest final sixes ever. Plus, the franchise rests a lot on the idea that Cowell’s judgement carries weight- the acts are always most keen to impress him etc (in this regard, it’s interesting that he has been the one criticising Matt in the last couple of weeks). I agree Cowell has changed but I don’t find his remarks more humble per se, just increasingly saccharine. Also, I reckon percentage wise he’s probably had the most successful acts of any judge & there are notable examples of him eschewing the winner to focus on his own pet projects: Olly & One D esp. come to mind.

    • Curtis

      I just don’t think it matters that much to Simon anymore. On his first stint on the show if you wanted to see who the chosen winner was, it was a good idea to look at his category. Since he has returned, I think he’s not just been happy to take weaker categories, but has purposely done it preferring to give stronger categories to the women on the panel in general.

      Yes, even the year when he had two finalists in Ben and Fleur, I don’t think either of those were meant to make the final in the grand scheme. That’s how it worked out and don’t get me wrong, he still has enough of an ego to enjoy that moment, but I don’t think it was the original plan.

      Same thing this year. We’ve just had a girl winner, and Simon takes a below average girls category and weakens it even further by removing Caitlyn Vanbeck (who I have a hunch will be back next year or the one after when Syco are more in need of a girl winner). Gifty and Sam get shafted by the producers – Sam frankly from day 1 was never allowed to get any momentum. It doesn’t look like the actions of a man who really cares about his category – and I think he’s going to be far more interested in 5AM’s fortunes than Emily’s.

  • EM

    Ok due to a bad button press on Betfair I’m now routing for an Emily and Saara bottom two!!! It could happen couldn’t it? Bounce for Ryan? Emily’s downward trajectory continues. Saara comes from Finland ???

    We’ll see!

  • Alan

    Emilys is “Nothing Compares 2 U” I would imagine. No1 in 1990 and featured in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

    Google is my friend.

    • GsP

      Put her on early and criticise her for again not doing an up tempo?

      • Alan

        Could go either way. The vocal will suit her and personally I think it’s a great song but its keeping her firmly in the lane that TPTB have put her in and doesnt really fit with her youthful, bubbly personality.

        For me the song is so synonymous with Sinead O’Conner that I dont really want to hear anyone else cover it. But I felt much the same about Creep and for many that was her big moment.

        You can hear Louis saying she’s back in the game or you can hear him saying he wants to see her move. It all depends how TPTB want to spin it.

  • The way Saara is currently being treated is 100% what the core audience wants from the show. Someone with a fantastic voice singing karaoke without changing the arrangement, working the stage and not being afraid to camp it up. Assuming that she is to be treated well with ‘My Heart Will Go On’, she should be easily safe this week and the Lovebird sing off looks very much on the cards.

    • HL

      Agree on both the potential line-up for the sing off and the Celine song.

      If it was someone else, I would say that there is an iceberg ahead and she will sink. But Saara will do great as long as they don’t make her to dress up as a ship or an iceberg or a frozen corpse or turn it into a rap version.

      And Emily will either eat her words or do Vogue or Polkadot bikini or Turtle power or the NKOTB dance song…

  • DannyCraig

    Is Saara going to be treated positively all the way from now to the win? There seems to be a nice journey arc from kooky foreigner to loved by the British public, and everybody knows she has the best voice in the competition. I would rather be backing her for the win than emily or honey G.

    I personally think emily is more likely to finish 2nd or 3rd than saara, but saara is more likely to get the win if she got to the final.

    • Chris

      Probably not that great for the show if the winner is a serial talent-show contestant that already has a record deal and 5 albums out.

      • Sindi

        She doesn’t have record deal. She has recorded some songs as an independent artist but it didn’t do very well.

        • Chris

          saaraaalto.com says she *founded* her own record label, Yume Records. A deal with your own label is still a deal (and likely reduces the chances of you getting dropped, haha). It also links to 5 complete albums that you can buy *today*.

          yumerecords.com/artists/ details the other artists that Saara has signed to her own label.

          • Sindi

            A lot of people have small record companies. It doesn’t mean that they are commecially succesful. Saara’s albums have sold very little and got practically no radio play. I was under impression she’s made 4 full albums. One of them is in Chinese but she’s given that market up now.

            If anybody wonders why she hasn’t had a breakthrough in Finland, it’s probably because the songs haven’t been good enough. So she does need help.

          • HL

            I assume the company is more like a small cooperative, each paying for their own records and marketing, rather than a real record company that “signs” artists and pays them. I know Teemu Roivainen is Saara’s ex boyfriend who won a local tango(!) singing competition a few years ago. I have no idea who these other people might be, anyway not famous artists in Finland and most definitely not Finnish counterparts for Simon Cowell. 😀 You need to be really mean to try to twist it as it was Universal Music or Virgin Records (which are btw companies that have had some sort of deal with 5AM’s Kieran).

          • Sindi

            British tabloids have totally exaggerated the fame of Saara’s ex. He’s not a “pop star” and they together were never a “power couple of Finnish music industry”. However the tango singing competition he won does have some prestige in Finland particularly among older audiences.

  • Henry VIII

    I reckon Matt and Freddy are a potential (secret) couple, not just a “bromance”. https://twitter.com/MattTerry93/status/799387565426032640

    • Spiidey

      I think you could be right. The pushing of the “gushing girls” thrusting themselves at him starts to make sense – bearding the real Matt.

  • Henry VIII

    Saara will have grown on Cowell. Her ability to take all evil thrown at her and come back smiling and grateful will have flattered his personality (disorders). He may have also twigged that he can make some money from her.

  • Henry VIII

    Jessica Piers Morgan wasn’t a de-ramp to Honey G. What he said was so irrationally insulting and horrible it was designed as a vote motivator for her and just to keep her topical.

    Morgan is a former and therefore possible future hireling of Cowell so he is not going to upset Cowell.

    • Jessica Hamby

      You are, of course, welcome to your opinion. I disagree.

      No-one who currently dislikes her will change their minds because of that article. It may in the short term encourage some of her fans to continue voting but that makes no difference. They are already her fans. In the longer term it will undermine her. Those comments are memorable and she is crap. Although the comments may sound over the top she is truly rubbish so the sentiment is accurate.

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-U-EkC1dwIWg/Vnmfwn81rBI/AAAAAAAAgYs/8eHXIRFB6GE/s1600/54493334.jpg

    • Jessica Hamby

      No one who dislikes her will have her mind changed by this article. In the short term some who like her might entrench their support. That will make no difference. They already support her.

      The comments are memorable and the although the language is over the top, the sentiment is broadly accurate.

  • Woofie

    Interesting I thought it was reminding the audience she is a joke act. As you say it could work in her favour if it’s seen as unnecessary and cruel. The latest Sun article about the salad litter drop is really negative:
    Careless X Factor star Honey G drops litter – and F-bomb – as she …
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/2199695/careless-x-factor-star-honey-g-drops-litter-and-f-bomb-as-she-struggles-to-hold-a-salad-and-get-in-to-a-car-simultaneously/

    I’m not sure these type of press stories change people opinions that much.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’m not sure these type of press stories change people opinions that much.

      I think it depends on the story. Tamera’s bullying is different from Che Chesterman snoring. When there are two, three or more stories coming out one after the other in the week before a live show, I think that does make a difference. If the stories are referred to in the live show that brings them back to mind when voting begins.

      Another negative story about Honey G has been doing the rounds this week too. I didn’t post the link.

      • Woofie

        We are on the same page Jessica ( pardon the pun). Yes it depends on the story apart from the Brooks story nothing else has made a big impact on the show as far as I can see. They just reinforce people’s opinions about the show and any contestants.

    • Spiidey

      Emily and Ryan the clear bottom 2 targets.

      Saara should sail through this week. Pimp slot?

    • Jessica Hamby

      The Matt deramp continues. They started it early this year. Wise on their part. I thought this was coming. They want him in the final and he’s not a disaster as winner but I’m sure they’d love to avoid another bland, identikit MOR male singer this year if they can.

      In a way I feel sorry for Mason Noize. If he’d applied in 2014 or this year they probably would have got behind him and propelled him to the final or even the win.

  • 360

    I came to comment: pimp slot for either Matt or Saara – beat me to it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a show of two halves; one closed by Saara, one closed by Matt. Emily following Saara would be the most damanging as comparisons could immediately be drawn between the two vocals and proficiencies – this is another advantage of keeping her around while whittling the remaining women down one by one.

    Will Smith AGAIN for Honey G. What a serious rap artist she is. At this rate I’m struggling to think of what child-friendly song she could possibly do with someone like 50 Cent or Snoop in a final. Will Smith himself would no doubt be too expensive right now – what are the chances they parachute in Vanilla Ice for a reprise? The difficulty in getting a classic rapper is they would have to be flown over to the UK especially just for this, and it would likely damage their credibility unless they’re the type that already doesn’t give a damn.

  • Martin

    Matt Terry – Writing’s on The Wall – Sam Smith – from the movie Spectre

    Not been done before as far as I am aware? Should suit his voice, but I’m blinded by my hatred for this song. Bond theme’s have a rocky past on the show, too.

    Ryan Lawrie – Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley – from the movie Jailhouse Rock

    Complete nothing of a song choice. The only other time I remember it being performed on the show was as part of a mash up for Only The Young which wasn’t a vote magnet. I suppose it’s in a similar vein to “Twist and Shout” when he avoided the b3 but I don’t anticipate the same thing happening again.

    Emily Middlemas – It Must Have Been Love – Roxette – from the movie Pretty Woman

    All the shit that was used against Emily last week (being boring, downtempo, never moving etc.) is likely to be repeated. I’m not massively familiar with this song, but it’s quite a big vocal isn’t it? I’m imagining some sort of twee re-working of it. I can only recall one of the early girlbands on the show (Bad Lashes?!) performing this previously but they were all doomed regardless of song choice.

    Honey G – It’s Like That & Getting Jiggy With It – Jason Nevins & Will Smith I – from the movie Keith Lemon The Movie / Last Days of Disco

    Yawn. More of the same.

    Saara Aalto – My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion – from the movie Titanic

    It seems the show is now morphing Saara Aalto into Sam Bailey. She should do the song justice, and as said above it delights a demo. The first song choice of hers on the main show which will showcase how good she always in during the sing off.

    5 After Midnight – Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding – from the movie The Commitments

    I can’t see this being anything other than underwhelming. Paul Akister and Che Chesterman both had successful performances of this song but they were strong vocalists. I can’t see 5AM putting in a performance anywhere near as powerful as they did. I’m sure the stage will be full of musicians and gold backdrops and will be praised to high heaven regardless.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Matt is 18/1 to do a Hannah Barrett. B2 combos involving Matt are tasty too. 80/1 for a b2 of Matt and Emily.

      If you see fire, you know what to do!

      • JScouser2002

        Why would Matt fall in B2 singing a song thats perfect for his voice after he has been totally fine doing two uptempo songs, when he is miles better at slower songs.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Sorry. I forgot that the X Factor is a singing competition.

          • JScouser2002

            Surely if a target for B2, would have been over the last 2 weeks? Or.. can you not explain the point your suggesting?

          • Jessica Hamby

            I’m not keen on the song choice.

            Do you remember Hannah Barrett? She was tipped as the 2013 winner by the Sofabet team. She was given Skyfall, a massive song that had been number 1. She went b2 that week.

            The thing about Skyfall and this song is that they’re unmemorable melodically and a bit shit really.

        • David Cook

          I’m sure Sam Smith said he spent about 5 minutes writing the song and I can’t help thinking it might have been better if he’d stretched it to say 15 minutes of his valuable time. After all how many Bond themes do people get to write? I’m sure I’ve also previously mentioned that I’m not Sam Smith’s biggest fan either – it’s that falsetto he wheels out at every available opportunity that really grates.
          None the less I can’t agree with Jessica on this. I think that this is firmly in Matt’s lane and that he’ll do well with it. He hasn’t had a pimp slot yet, so this looks like the last chance before we switch to 2 performances each next week.
          What I don’t think it will do is really help him pick up votes from people who aren’t already voting for him. I’m just pleased we only have to listen to 2 1/2 minutes of it.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Wotevs.

            If it wasn’t for the Ryan / Emily sing-off I’d think (but wouldn’t post on here) that Matt was nailed on for B2.

            In competition terms that song is a hot, stinking, steaming turd. It hums from here to heaven. You only give it to someone as a deramp. It doesn’t matter how well you perform it. Also the theme means it’s easy to add fire and all sorts of other negative effects.

          • David Cook

            I found this version which is more to my liking – maybe Matt could give it a try.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Kudos to Nicole for eating a Greggs sausage roll. Asking what was in the chicken pasty indicates she knew it was abbatoir slurry wrapped in compressed cardboard.

            https://youtu.be/qW5Sgxq-utc

            It’s worth noting that Hannah did not sing this badly.

            Like I said above

            If you see fire, you know what to do!

          • Martin

            Whilst I’m not convinced that this song will be a vote killer for Matt, I can’t help but feel that there would have been better choices for him. I think it will suit him more than Skyfall ever did Hannah (or Jay James for that matter) but perhaps tptb are seeing an opportunity here to keep a lid on Matt whilst trying to push 5AM, if they were indeed one of the acts nearing the top of the vote these past few weeks.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Obviously it depends on a lot of things, VT, staging and comments included. I’m not saying Matt is definitely going to go b2, not by any means. I’m saying it’s worth considering as a possibility so that if the show does send a bus at him some people might get in quickly enough to take advantage of the 80/1 odds on a Matt & Emily b2 or the 100/1 on a Matt & Honey G b2.

            The great thing about odds like that are that if they, for instance, set him on fire you can risk a quid and not care if you lose it, knowing that if he does go down it’s a very tidy return.

            I’m not going to bother post long shots anymore because people seem to think I’m predicting them as certainties rather than positing them as possibilities to be considered and I can’t be bothered defending them when in fact I’m trying to do y’all a favour.

            If you think the song is going to motivate votes we’ll just have to agree to differ.

  • Anglia Chu

    Looks like a cert for Ryan to go

  • David Cook

    I think Emily will probably do a slowed down version of this!

  • Fudd

    Emily is so close to snapping they’re going to have to be very careful how they handle her tomorrow should they want her to fall into the bottom two with that song. Demotivating praise the order of the day there, methinks: “It’s another slow number but you sang it well”, “Much better than last week” etc.

    I know this might be trying to make facts fit the circumstances but surely a Ryan v Emily bottom two is on the cards? It’d make sense to do it now as a week seven bottom two appearance has resulted in a bounce to the final on more than one occasion.

    Saara has a song Sam Bailey also performed, same as last week – it should be enough to keep her clear on it’s own. Of course producers may have arranged a trip to the Finnish embassy this week! 5 After Midnight appear to have been handed another fun song to be going on with which should appeal to the voting demo and Honey G will do her normal thing on those choices. As for Matt… possible moment in the offing here?

    I’d say running order of Ryan, Saara, Emily, 5 After Midnight, Honey G and Matt with no ad break between the first two.

  • 360

    Just one small word of caution on Ryan; classic retro is the genre and style that kept him out of the bottom 2 before; the audience is (haven’t we projected this in the past?) skewing older nowadays, Elvis Presley just had another well-selling number one album in the charts, and Ryan currently might represent something of a double-threat of being a young man (to appeal to younger girls and women) singing classic old music (which will appeal to older folks). Amplify this if they play up any camp/gay angle – or allow even an inkling of it – for Matt Terry this week. Sam Smith is gay, after all.

    My other hunch this week is that if they manage an Emily/Ryan B2, it will definitely come to deadlock for maximum drama.

    So, my value bet this week would be for Emily to come rock bottom and be eliminated. I wouldn’t put it past, in that situation, Ryan to protest and offer himself as a sacrifice to drop out in her stead – given how unhappy he’s looked to keep getting through every week.

    It would be juicy, cruel, and make great telly and tabloid fodder for the week ahead – and make headlines for the brand, which is exactly why I can see them doing it.

    All will depend on how Emily’s handled, but I wouldn’t be averse to putting a wee pre-show flutter on her going before we see the lovebirds’ respective treatment.

    • Fudd

      A doubt regarding that would be Simon as a mentor – would his ego really allow him to have no one left for the final three weeks for a second year in a row? Last year had been scripted that way with his outburst at the Six Chair Challenge but, on paper, he had a strong category this year. He’s seen as the strongest member of the panel yet over the past two years would have been ‘beaten’ by the likes of Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh?

      As you say on paper that’d be the best result for them press wise but I can’t see how they’re going to do it – Louis has already laid the groundwork by saying Emily should do uptempo, which is a good reason to save her on Sunday on top of her first appearance in the bottom two against Ryan’s second (plus numerous bottom three moments). I think Sharon may have echoed him. They could easily do an about face over the weekend but…

      A more logical doubt about this is the Scottish vote being pooled completely behind Ryan along with a share of the male vote plus sympathy vote in seeing his loved one go in those circumstances. The show has been good at kills but they might have to pull out the series 8 tanks for him if they save him over Emily this week; I think he might become difficult to shake off.

      • 360

        I just don’t know if we can accept Simon having an ego and actually caring about the acts at the same time as subscribing to the theory that it is all pre-planned and pre-calculated.

        On the contrary I think, Emily going would leave Simon as a loose cannon when it comes to the singoffs; never having to side with his own act out of loyalty. Far easier then, to save Honey G just for badness when she inevitably falls into the bottom 2, or save Saara because she’s ‘won him over’ if she fell into the bottom 2 alongside Ryan – or even Matt!

        If they’re trying to make a TV show that suggests judges have reasonable motivations behind their actions, having Simon as the first judge out (acts-wise) with a ‘neutral’ eye on all the remaining acts – when Simon’s voice is still the most respected on the panel – would go a long way to validate Honey G or Saara in the public’s eyes, if they want to push them further. Or whichever act they decided to go this route with.

        In terms of a deadlock this week if they need one, they’ve already sown the seeds of Sharon being a loose cannon. Nicole will save Ryan. Simon will save Emily. Louis will save Emily and Sharon will save Ryan, if they need a deadlock. Either because he’s cute or because Nicole will dramatically beg for it live, when it comes to Sharon to again cast the deciding vote. I don’t think they’d be so blatant to vote her out 3 to 1 though unless she has a horror of a performance.

        • I’m not sure they will let Sharon have the casting vote again after last week!

        • Fudd

          I’m sure Simon doesn’t care about the acts, except the chosen ones, but he certainly cares about himself and his image.

          We said last year that him going out with three weeks to go would create a neutral image but I’m not sure how much of an impact that had or will have this time around – he was pushing Reggie and Bollie’s before Anton’s departure whilst he was pushing Honey G even before Gifty went.

          It’s also worth remembering that it was Simon’s fault when Gifty left. If Emily leaves this weekend the finger is going to be pointed at him again (an appearance in the bottom two will do this as well but he’ll have a redemption arc – I’m speaking as if he’s an act – if Emily survives).

          If Nicole, Sharon or Louis end up out of the competition at this stage, so be it. They’re not supposed to be so highly regarded as mentors. But Simon? I’m not so sure.

          You could well be right in what you say; this is just why I have my doubts. I’m pretty sure that they’ll leave Louis to last in terms of judge’s voting after Sharon’s fun and games last week. They may even say ‘vote how you want to vote’ then tell Louis to do the opposite to take it to deadlock.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I agree about Ryan. That song is similar to those he’s had success with in the last two weeks.

      • David Cook

        Success in the sense that he landed B2 last week? The song choice looks fair based on how he’s performed the last couple of weeks. Fair to good comments. No real motivation to vote. Put him on first or second again and he’s going to be forgotten about by the end. No real sense of a stitch up. Job done as far as TPTB are concerned isn’t it?

  • Curtis

    Emily definitely has the worst song choice. Not that I dislike the song, but it’s certainly not a response to the criticism she received last week. I would expect her to get her first bad draw in the running order for a while with that, possibly just straight up from the death slot. I think we might see Saara in the pimp slot, with them throwing absolutely everything at it to get try and get that Ryan/Emily sing-off.

  • Keen Observer

    Che won week 5 last year doing Hello (forgetting the lyrics) and Try A Little Tenderness, so the pimping of 5AM seems set to continue. To this viewer it certainly seems the desired last two is Matt along with the group, but would have to have the odds closer together than they are, despite Matt’s vocal superiority.

    Kudos to the suggestions from the very start of engineering a B2 of Ryan and Emily – the latter’s song choice feels very much like a FU from Cowell. There is a chance it is a slow death for Emily’s place in the show, she may have started from a very high point, a la Miss Devlin, so it may take another week or two to get her.

    Let’s not forget they gave Saara terrible treatment two weeks ago, they may have decided to try and get her ahead of Emily but I wouldn’t be all in on the idea she’ll definitely be getting pushed for the next few weeks.

  • Woofie

    I think Matt could be given the pimp slot using his falsetto to good effect. Could be the start of a push and would help to swallow up some of the voting if the target is an Emily vs Ryan sing off.

    Emily and Ryan have got old fashioned songs, if they are performed straight I don’t see them as great motivators. But you never know could end being fun and entertaining appealing to a broad audience.

    Saara I expect good treatment and vote to hold. Although it depends on the staging and whether or not it comes across as cheesy…

    Honey G as expected. I don’t think she will be going anywhere this week. It does feel a bit repetitive but it’s what is expected.

    5AM Try a Little Tenderness… if they are put on 3 stools to sing in a swing style they are out… I suspect it will be Ottis Reading with a big band, several lady backing singers, slow start building up to a crescendo… If that is the case it will be interesting to see how they will handle the vocals at the start and how much whelly they put in at the end… Potential to underwhelm or go full on crazy…

    Will we have to see if there is any attempt to sow the seeds for future exits or if it’s all out for a B2 of the series…

    If the voting numbers have been tight maybe they feel they have better control of voting motivations providing everyone performs as expected.

    Of course you can never be sure on these things until the credits roll.

  • Spiidey

    With those sing choices I can’t see anything other than a huge push for a Ryan and Emily bottom 2.

    The seed has already been sown after the lengthy wait when Emily, Sam and Ryan were hanging on last week.

    Huge push for Saara, pimp slot almost certain and incredible feedback, to get her above Emily.

    Shouldn’t be difficult to get Emily below all of 5am, Matt and Honey G given Dermot’s voting stats snapshot.

    So just Saara to push heavily.

  • Stu

    5AM – great song choice for them. It did Che wonders last year. If the boys get positive treatment and comments all round again, I think they might just be the producer’s push for the win…

    Matt – the thing with this SS song is that it’s very whiny (but that may just be Sam’s voice on it). I think we will have a clear idea if Matt is destined for the win or not by the end of Saturday’s show. The two past week’s haven’t been good for him (and his vote has likely suffered). He’s overdue a pimp slot though…

    Saara – if Matt doesn’t get the pimp slot this week, I think it will be Saara. I still believe a Ryan/Emily B2 is on tptb’s wishlist and the best way of achieving that is to put the most vulnerable act (in regards to the vote) in the pimp slot. MHWGO has a strong and safe history on XF – everyone has seen Titanic so the emotional connection is already there.

    Emily – her song choice has only been performed once on XF live shows (IIRC) and that was by Bad Lashes in 2008. I believe they were on quite late in the first live show yet still landed in the bottom two. It wasn’t a great performance though. I’m definitely in the “demotivating praise” camp. No way will the judges be able to pull off another week of “Emily this is boring. Do up-tempo now” without it looking like a stitch up on Simon’s part.

    Based on the six song choices, I can’t see anything besides an Emily/Ryan bottom two scenario playing out. If tptb wanted Saara in the bottom two this week (which would be easy since she’ll be coming down from a bounce), they wouldn’t give her MHWGO of all the songs out there. 5AM and Honey’s song choices play to their strengths. I’m unsure about Matt’s end position, but I don’t think he’ll be a bottom two contender… this week.

  • Tim B

    Might be running ahead of myself here, but I’ve thought of a way how the producers could create the most exciting final 3 line up possible.

    Week 7 – Ryan vs Emily sing off, sending Ryan back to Coatridge

    Week 8 – Emily vs Saara sing off. Let’s say for argument’s sake Emily has bounced above Saara, who goes home on deadlock

    Week 9 – NO SING OFF. Engineer Emily to the bottom of the vote. It’s in the rules for a sing off/no sing off to be announced at the last minute.

    This would leave a Final 3 of Matt, 5 After Midnight and Honey G, with none of them ever having hit the sing off. Hope the producers are reading this! 😀

    • Henry VIII

      Tim you don’t think they want Saara for the final? Week 8 more likely to be Matt vs survivor of Ryan/Emily imo.

      • If they put Matt in the B2, I can’t see him really winning. Matt V Emily is another James V Ella imo, 2 wanted finalists. I think the Quarter Finals are too late. I would say Honey on Toast or the crazy costume Finnish one to go next. Saara I like to think is a semi finalist but probably not a finalist.

        I really love Saara, she is the best this year, don’t call me racist please :p

    • Sagand

      I was thinking the exact same as this but with Honey vs Emily in the week 9 singoff and Sharon taking it to deadlock as the public should decide the finalists.

  • Jessica Hamby

    For those who remember Abi Alton with affection…

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/tv/x-factor/563155/X-Factor-Abi-Alton-transformed-where-are-they-now

    Amazing to think she’s still only 21.

  • stoney

    Honey G has served her purpose now. I think she will definitely fall bottom 2 this weekend. Whether they will let her go over Ryan that’s the only doubt for me.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Ryan / Honey G and Ryan / Emily are the only combos shortening. All the others are drifting.

      • stoney

        Yeah i fancy Ryan/Honey bottom 2. I spose deadlock could be called without being seen as too unfair, especially with Ryans multiple saves lifelines over the series

        • Jessica Hamby

          I don’t think the Emily / Ryan b2 is nailed on the way some people do. Plus if they do bin Honey they can still do that next week.

          • stoney

            Agreed. Emily isn’t ready for the bottom 2 just yet

          • Jessica Hamby

            We might have to disagree on that. 😉

            The only two I feel sure are safe from b2 are Saara and 5AM.

            I know Matt ought to be safe too but that song is nasty and they’ve been trying to drag him down for a couple of weeks already. I remember what they did with Andrea Faustini. It was six left when they got him down with Stevie Ritchie.

            It would make for great drama if they can get Matt and Honey b2. Imagine if on Sunday the first person they announce safe is Ryan, then Saara and 5AM. Then they go to a break with Emily, Matt and Honey G all standing there.

            That would be cool.

          • stoney

            Saara with multiple bottom 2 appearances when low votes were needed is safe at this stage of the competition? We will definitely have to disagree on that lol

          • Jessica Hamby

            Fair enough. In my opinion if they wanted her b2 they wouldn’t give her the biggest song of the night.

            When people leave they won’t be humming Writings On The Wall.

          • Stu

            I think if the producers want it, they’ll likely get it. They manipulated the show like clockwork last year. They managed to get an act like R&B into the final 2 without a sing-off! Because the vote seems to be tight this year, it must be a lot easier to engineer scenarios – such as an Emily/Ryan bottom two.

            On the topic of Emily, her claims of “I want to do up-tempo” last weekend won’t do her any favours tomorrow night, now that we know she’s singing It Must’ve Been Love.

            If Matt is given a “moment” this week, I think he’ll run away with the vote to be honest.

          • Jessica Hamby

            That’s true but you can get a guide to the producers’ intentions from song choice. It’s difficult to get a moment out of Writing’s On The Wall (it’s a dreary, turgid effort) and you’re going to make it hard to deramp someone like Saara by giving her My Heart Will Go On.

            It’s not even clear that Matt is the desired winner. He’s acceptable but I don’t believe he’s their first choice. I think they would prefer 5AM to win.

          • Stu

            I agree. I too find it difficult to see a potential moment in Writing’s On The Wall… I’m just going by the assumption that he will get this week’s pimp slot – in order to work against Ryan (like it did with Marcus/Craig in 2011) – and since he’s due one.

            I do think there was some deramping going on last week re: Matt. It was hardly the return to glory after a bad week. The voting was tight at the top two weeks ago so tptb would’ve done more for him last week if him winning is the priority.

            As for the others, this weekend should make things very clear:

            – If 5AM get the treatment they’ve had for the past two weeks, they’re Plan A (or B).
            – If Emily gets the treatment she had last week, she’s definitely a target.

            Saara’s a conundrum. She undoubtedly has the vocals to win and the audience are clearly warming to her – plus her winning would be welcomed by many in a year of Brexit (and Trump I guess). But her fate (more than anyone’s) all comes down to tptb.

          • Jessica Hamby

            If it was easy to predict we’d all be millionaires or there wouldn’t be a market.

            As far as Matt’s song goes, it’s not just difficult for him to have a moment. It stinks.

            https://youtu.be/8jzDnsjYv9A

  • Spiidey

    Everything points to an Emily Ryan bottom 2. I honestly can’t see anything different.

    The only other act that could end up there is Saara and it looks like they’ve finally given her the right song for her voice.

  • David Cook

    Unless they really stitch her up with the VT and comments Saara should be safe this week. There was probably a clue in the group song last week – she was well styled, sang the largest parts of the song, and vocally was head and shoulders above the rest. The perception was almost that she was a guest act, being backed by the remaining acts. I doubt that wasn’t done by accident. If they were targeting her I don’t think that they’d be giving her the perfect song choice to deliver a similar performance this week.

    • GsP

      Though worth remembering that back in 2008 the blonde girl from Girlband was given major parts on the charity version of Hero.

      It may be nothing more than she sounded best on the track, but yes it did seem a bit like Saara ft the others.

      Worryingly, it looks like her staging this week is recreating the Titanic sinking. Her backing “violinists” appear to be hanging upside down….

  • Jessica Hamby

    Ray Quinn doing Jailhouse Rock at the X Factor.

    https://youtu.be/HUc3YkD5ASw

  • EM

    I’ve got to disagree with some of the thoughts on Writing’s On The Wall.

    A good looking guy doing a Bond theme? Lush and orchestral? Parts of the song that will brilliantly show off his voice? Crescendo finish? All there and all possible.

    Not nailed on but totally possible.

    Saara’s track worries me more – it’s was to close to Let It Go which didn’t do her any favours at all.

    • Henry VIII

      I’m with Jessica on this one. Why didn’t they give him something decent, Skyfall for example? What he’s got is not only a dirge, it’s very hard. And look at the title, delicately chosen by Cowell and advisor McKenna.

      However, like Emily with Creep, it is possible that he beats the intentions of the machine, and shines.

    • Sagand

      I have to agree with the thoughts that The Writings on the Wall is a terrible song. My main betting event of the year is the Oscars and in all the forums I read for Best Original song last year I don’t remember a single positive opinion about it.

      The producers also know what Gifty’s performance of Lay Me Down did to the vote. I would guess not a lot as they sent her packing the next week.

      Matt’s tone is better than Sam Smith in the upper range so he’ll likely make an okay go at a bad song at best they are holding him where he is in the vote.

  • stoney

    The writing is indeed on the wall
    The winner of x factor 2016 Matt Terry

  • Sindi

    Did anyone else notice Emily’s hair on sunday? I think it was notably different. The lighting on her both saturday and sunday was unflattering IMO.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I noticed the perm they gave her on Saturday. It looked good but it made her look older, took away the sweet Emily that they’d been pitching her as. Can’t remember whether she kept it on Sunday or not.

  • Plinkiplonk

    I would see Matt’s choice as positive, for the reasons EM listed above. It will also give Matt ample opportunity for showcasing his falsetto, and it is the most current song on that list of recycle shit that they have come up with. I would also not be surprised if they were angling for Sam Smith as a duet partner for the final. All in all, I can’t see Matt as a potential bottom (that’s more Freddie’s part – bdoom-tish).

    Emily’s song is just a giant two fingers up to her after last week; she will do it exactly like the link posted above, and it will be the same turgid wailfest, rather than the fun uptempo she has said she wanted. Although this could get so brutal that she may get sympathy votes, who knows?

    In terms of Saara, she will do a good job vocally, but this song, while big, is now a giant karaoke clichee, and that will leave it completely open to be skewed exactly as needed. A suitable FOREIGN FOREIGN FOREIGN VT, coupled with sinking ship metaphors and dampening comments on karaoke performance could still damage her, whereas a positive happy VT with subtle classy staging and styling (LOL, never gonna happen…) and comments praising her voice could create a moment. We won’t know until it’s happened, it’s too open IMHO.

  • stoney

    I guess these things are all down to personal taste, I happen to prefer TWOTW to skyfall

  • Jessica Hamby

    Heh. I’ve really thrown a turd into the punchbowl here. Everyone’s pointing at it and speculating about what it might be.

    Like I said before, watch for his treatment. They can set him on fire or red and black him on a song like this and it seems perfectly in keeping with the theme. Hannah had a VT where Nicole went to work with her – only thing was the shop was empty and the food talk left you feeling nauseous. She sang the song well but there was fire all around her. The comments were all complimentary although a bit out of context. Viewers were left feeling flat and unmotivated.

    If they do something like that, and it’s very possible, then he’s in trouble. If they dress him in white with angels wings he’ll probably top the vote.

  • Curtis

    Writing’s on the Wall is a fine choice for Matt. It’ll show off the strongest areas of his voice. I think it’s a bad Bond song, but that might be the exact reason it’ll work a lot better than Skyfall and License to Kill in an X Factor context. Also, some might disagree, but I think it’s rather a lot easier to outsing Sam Smith than it is to outsing Gladys Knight or Adele, so the comparison to the original will hold up better.

    Even Sam Lavery’s had a good crack at this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6BIM46Wcjg

  • Jessica Hamby

    Saara is now best priced at 12/1. She was 66/1 or something this time last week.

    • Poker Coach

      Yes. I did bet for Saara then. Simon did tell after Saaras last sign off that shw can change the course. After that nothing has really changed but people have corrected their estimates.

      I already took my profit but this is a good example about value bet. When you can estimate the direction that the bets are changing, there is a good chance for profit.

      I never believed that Saara would win but I was sure that public will think that her chances for winning will increase significantly.

  • Henry VIII

    Church windows in Saara’s staging. Signify anything? Jail in Ryan’s obv. Gold in Matt’s but that won’t stop Cowell having a go at him if he isn’t stunning.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Off topic: Bit annoyed to realise I have to be out for a sports club AGM tonight. Will probably have to watch the show on catch up.

    BAH. I was quite looking forward to it tonight, just to see what happens.

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