X Factor 2016 Week 8: Honey Dip

Sometimes you just have to hold your hand up and admit you read the runes completely wrong. From the song choices and various other clues, we’d been anticipating that producers would come to bury Saara tonight – instead, they came to praise her. It’s a salutary reminder of the show’s unpredictability, especially when there are two songs to get through.

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Now it looks very much like producers have decided Honey G has run her course. Who will join her in the singoff looks a very open question. On Betfair, at the time of writing, Emily shades 5AM, with Saara considered almost as unlikely as Matt.

It wasn’t the greatest of nights for odds-on favourite Matt, who opened both rounds.

VTs were fine in both instances, with a visit from his erstwhile singing teacher giving him an excuse to turn on the waterworks, followed by a visit to the focus group and sharing a dessert with mentor Nicole. (We were intrigued to see the focus group, by the way – every act but Emily got a VT of them seeing what some random people thought about them. It’s an odd choice from producers to show us this, because presumably the purpose of these focus groups is to help them decide how to present the acts – presumably they assume viewers won’t make that connection).

Judges’s comments were positive enough for Matt, too, with the exception of some Simon criticism (“a bit wet”) of the first half of the first song – there was plenty of “you have to be in the final” (Louis), “golden voice” (Sharon), “passion and commitment” (Simon). Nicole perhaps unwisely gave us the mental image that “you whipped your balls out and threw them everywhere”.

But there was no standing ovation from any judge other than his mentor; his first song had him marooned on a high plinth, and his second had him alone on stage; his first performance was promptly memoryholed by Saara’s much-praised ‘Winner Takes It All’; and by the end, he was arguably the least memorable of the evening’s performers.

The positivity for Saara was the big surprise of the night. Her first VT had her being visited by an old friend and being delighted to hear “she’s my winner” from a focus group member – the first time the “win” word has been associated with her.

An early cutaway to Sharon suggested that we might be supposed to be finding the song boring, with Saara at the piano and an unusual arrangement – but the vibe changed with a shot from behind of the audience rising to some vocal acrobatics, and all four judges stood before delivering some very high praise indeed: “you just took first place” from Matt’s mentor Nicole; “you just had the moment” from Simon; and “one of the best performances on X Factor” from Louis.

Her second song saw Saara in the pimp slot, with a VT showing her taking creative control not only of the song but the staging. She got another big production, with iconic UK landmarks floating past in the backdrop – but this time only Louis and Sharon stood, while both Nicole and Simon tempered their praise by calling it “cheesy”. Simon also said he preferred the first performance, and Sharon agreed. Louis was in fine, self-parodic form, calling on everyone in Finland to pick up the phone (Saara pointed out they can’t; Louis said “they can try”).

Honey G was the third act up in both rounds. In the VTs we saw her taking umbrage at a focus group member’s suggestion that she’s an “entertainer”, and staying in character as she went home to visit her well-spoken mum, who played ‘Can’t Touch This’ on the piano.

Honey’s two performances weren’t the biggest she’d been given, and there were no four-judge standing ovations – in other words, the show didn’t seem to be pulling out all the stops to get her off the bottom of the vote, as you would assume they would have needed to had they been keen to get her through another week.

Indeed, the two biggest talking points had nothing to do with her performance at all: there was a stage invasion as Louis gave comments to her first song (he smoothly incorporated it into his “you owned the stage” cliché), and the second performance featured a live mannequin challenge (which would have been a much funnier time to do a stage invasion). The mannequin challenge made for a great televisual moment but it required no dexterity on Honey’s part, and we doubt it will have motivated any votes for her.

5 After Midnight performed fourth and seventh, and retain their place as second favourites in the outright despite relying heavily on the backing track once again, and one or two little warning lights amid their generally very positive treatment.

Their first VT featured a red carpet and heartwarming brotherly visit for Kieran, as we heard about his six siblings and single mum. The second VT had a focus group member say Jordan should be the lead singer (long-time Sofabet readers will be aware that singling out a group member as the “main man” has previously seemed unhelpful, as it suggests the other members are weaker and unwilling to admit it). But then, they also got a “winner” shoutout in the focus group, too.

‘Uptown Funk’ got them a four-judge ovation with a “brilliant… you want to win this show” from Simon, a “that’s one place gone in the final” from Sharon and a “you’re going to be worldwide this time next year” from Louis. But the second performance – a ‘Sorry’ and ‘One Dance’ mashup – felt disjointed to us, and had Simon saying “I didn’t think that worked”.

Emily got the first round pimp slot and the penultimate place overall, with VTs that showed her tearful over boyfriend Ryan’s departure but determined to work hard, and taking responsibility for her second song choice with Simon’s approval. She also claimed twice, about her first song, “I love ‘Toxic’” – the song she had been going to sing in week 1 before a last-minute change.

Having referred in her VT to how she had her guitar with her throughout auditions, it felt like a bit of a downgrade when she was sent out with a ukelele – something she said afterwards she’d never played before. She also had tear make-up, as last week, and the staging for ‘Toxic’ consisted of some fairly toxic colours. We thought ‘Human’ worked only adequately – it’s a strong song but most viewers won’t have heard it before, and Simon’s VT comparison with Fleur’s ‘Uptown Funk’ felt a little optimistic.

Comments were generally positive, although only Simon stood; Nicole accused her of still playing it safe at the end of ‘Human’, and Simon pleaded for votes, which often sets the alarm bells ringing. Emily’s drifted to fourth-favourite in the outright in consequence, as Saara challenges 5AM for second favouritism.

Overall, it was an unexpected and somewhat confusing night. On a Sunday rewatch, the main questions will be: if they’re resigned to losing Honey G, who gets the singoff save against her, and will that presage a bounce to the final? And does Saara’s positive treatment indicate that the show is contemplating her as a winner, or merely that they recognise how much she brings to the show both vocally as a performer and feel confident they can deflate her vote when necessary?

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

Photos via ©ITV

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206 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 8: Honey Dip

  • MP

    “his first song had him marooned on a high plinth”
    To me, it looked like it more resembled an Olympic podium with him on the gold medal stand. Incidentally backed up by Sharon’s mention of him having a “golden voice”.

    • Fudd

      I agree with you, it reminded me of Sam Bailey’s staging during series 10 with the podium.

      Disappearing completely down the rabbit hole, did anyone else notice Matt was wearing a ring on the fourth finger of his left hand (the engagement ring/wedding ring finger)? He hasn’t worn anything there in the live shows up to this week. They were pushing his availability previously; were they trying to subconciously trying to suggest he isn’t available now? And could that affect his vote from those who vote for him at least partially due to his singledom?

      I said I was disappearing down the rabbit hole on that one!

      In relation to Saara, I can’t help but feel that the producers had their foot gently on the brake pedal despite her good night; there were enough warning signs despite the overall positivity – the red and blacking of The Winner Takes It All; the… whatever it was (a Bushtucker Trial critter?) on her tiara and on the background screens, the latter of wish flashed distractingly and was hardly attractive; the clever references to Finland after the Diamonds mash up along with a healthy dose of cheese to finish it off with Sharon herself basically suggesting Saara goes over the top – et tu Osborne? They were looking to push her vote over at least one if not two of the others but they weren’t going for first place with her IMO; if so they would have done more with the obvious opportunity The Winner Takes It All gave them, possibly even comparing it to her Judges House audition and saying it showed how far she has come.

      Honey’s performances were scaled down compared to previous weeks which is a definite warning sign. Push It was on the screens behind her; I don’t think an act has ever done well in the vote when the song choice has been lit up behind them but not their name. The mannequin challenge was clever though I had to smile that Dermot was speaking to a producer at that particular moment rather than concentrating on Honey’s performance; they turned him into a literal silent assassin!

      Speaking of song titles on the background screen, 5 After Midnight had this with Sorry as well, the mash up being liberally backed up on the screens with coloured vomit. They also had very little vocal support, except for the opening, on that performance in comparison to Uptown Funk which had a lot. It was the same combination as Saara for them – a praised opening performance followed by fair critique in the second to keep their vote in check.

      Emily’s had additional eye make up for four performances in a row now. Toxic was the number which dragged Chloe Jasmine down to the bottom two in week two of series 11; wasn’t it also switched because it “didn’t work” or something of that ilk? Maybe they’re not so fussed about that being the case now. The stage colouring, green and pink, reminded me of Blonde Electra’s colour vomit Kids in America which also saw them depart in 2014 – amongst other things of course! Louis referred to Emily’s lack of movement after her first performance which… was not answered at all in the second performance where she simply walked from the back to the front of the stage. I would say she was a shoe in for the bottom two but will the undiluted Scottish vote see her through?

  • Dana

    Tonight was weird. It’s almost as if the producers were (*gasps*) playing fair!

  • Alan

    I cant see that Syco would want to give Saara a recording contract but I guess you have to weigh that up against giving the public a feel good, underdog winner who’s undoubtedly the best singer and performer in the competition.

    The arrangement of Winner Takes It all would have killed anyone else and I did wonder if that was the intention. The comments and pimp slot proved it wasn’t.

    Matt still the winner for me but they might think Saara is a worthy finalist now.

    • Jessica Hamby

      In my opinion she’s the best singer the show has had since Leona and she has the bonuses of great warmth and charm and fantastic stagecraft. If they can’t find something for her to do then they might as well give up.

      • Tom

        Maybe it’s just be me but I don’t find Saara warm or charming at all. She seems completely fake. And also not that great a singer, pretty generic.

        • Jessica Hamby

          It’s different views that make the market. She appears to me to be very genuine and to have the ability to make her performances sound spontaneous. The latter is a rare gift in talent shows.

          • Woofie

            I like Saara but I just can’t see her having a successful recording career of new material. Emily fits that image better of someone who is singer songwriter.

            I do think we have to keep things in perspective like the confirmation bias that crept into Honey G, I am seeing it with Saara.

            To me the second performance was key as she chose the songs but of all the songs she chose them, which she had done before on another show? They kinda played into a talent show contestant that the public warm to not telling us what kind of artist she would be, which I think is important at this stage of the competition. The others had references to songs released in the last two years, even Honey G with Black Beatles.

            If they want her for the win surely they have to show us what kind of music she would record. If they do the same this week and only have the theme as one song out if the two she might get the chance but 80s and Christmas?

  • I don’t know if Emily is getting the benefit, but her version of Human has pushed the original from mid-20s up to #3 on iTunes.

    • It’s difficult to say. Fleur East’s much-lauded version of Uptown Funk didn’t really do much in the vote. In fact that week she was absolutely miles behind Ben – 24.3% to his 36.5%

      • Cath

        I agree Tim, not a negative but not necessarily a positive either. 4OD saw a similar climb up the charts for Hold On the week they covered it (and also left the competition).

  • Woofie

    I think things were missed because of confirmation bias towards Honey G. It was clear from tonight’s first performance she was not destined for the final.

    I said earlier that those song choices would have been all positive if she had not fallen into the B2. In her first VT we were reminded of her sing off behaviour. “Super Freak” was played with “You Can’t Touch This.” “Push It” didn’t feel right at all. And the mannequin part left her completely over exposed and she lost her place and forgot her words.
    Her styling was off putting gone the gold and sliver from previous performances. A lot of red and black in the first performance, the staging and lighting in the second was very dark. When you look back at those early performances the difference in treatment was stark.

    The only positive came by accident when the studio audience gave her support following the stage invasion. What ever happens tomorrow she does not have producer favour and her time on this show is running out.
    It is massive red when these type of contestants start to become “serious”.

  • kingston

    is it “Push It” performance where there’re arrows that seem to point to honeyG to exit the XF stage in either direction?

  • DGiles

    A weird weird night. As said above, it’s almost like the producers were playing fair tonight, but that just seems so far fetched. I guess they could be happy to let Honey G go and are fairly certain this could happen without burying her and, perhaps more shockingly, don’t really mind who drops into the sing-off with her. The other possibility is that this week didn’t play out as intended and they’ve had a rethink at some point (some mentioned that certain things were last minute I.e. Saara said the arrangement was only for winner takes it all was only finalised last night and Emily hinted that the Ukulele was a last minute inclusion).

    Matt – seemed overshadowed and forgetful tonight. First performance immediately trumped and then some by Saara. I had expected Alive to be a possible true moment to give him some momentum building up into the final and for it to be used as another way to kick Saara (I.e. Judges to reference Saara already singing it well, but Matt taking it to a completely new level). But the performance was underwhelming and not big enough for the song. Turns out he was actually lucky that no one brought up Saara’s version and in fact, this is the only reason why I don’t think the producers want him in the bottom 2, as it would have been so easy to make a passing reference to it. Everything else seemed against him tonight though.

    Saara – clearly the best of the night. The first song showed she is clearly the best singer. The second, while in isolation may have been a bit iffy, showed she is by far and away the most capable performer. Early first performance and the pimp slot is probably the best running order combo for two songs. Judges made sure the audience were reminded about her first song after the second performance. VTs seemed positive and on a side note I think she comes across a lot better and much more likeable as a person than she did in the early stages. More hard working, happy and light hearted rather than overly desperate, serious and a bit stuck up. You can never be certain of her safety, but would be more surprised if she ended up bottom 2 this week than I would have been last week.

    Honey G – boring performances, felt flat compared to her “better” weeks. Mannequin challenge seemed more of an effort to send her out on a high by having fun with the judges than to lift her vote. Not sure the affect really worked watching it on TV though, but don’t think it makes a difference either way. The highlight was the invader who took the focus away from Honey G herself. Enough said.

    5AM – they can perform, but they can’t sing no matter how much the show tries to convince us. They were not helped much either by the running order and the set productions were quite poor. Yet they still get over the top praise all round, even if the second performance was dampened a little. It wasn’t a ramp (I hope, for their sakes), but I don’t feel like it was intended as a deramp either. Vocally more exposed than usual and feel it really depends on core support as to how safe they are from the B2.

    Emily – the mannequin challenge expert actually did move a bit during her second performance (shock horror). First performance was OK, a little weird and a bit too in her comfort zone with little vocal challenge. Not sure how voter friendly it was though. Second performance was again OK, but nothing special. Her vocals were a bit stretched at some points though and overall felt the song was a bit too big and too gritty for her. Very very current songs that aren’t widely known yet have a shakey record on these kind of shows as well, despite fans often protesting that most songs are dated and not relevant in the current music industry. Like 5AM, it really depends on her core support. The performances will please them, but not sure she will attract huge numbers of floating voters.

    I think Honey G is in trouble and any of the others could join her, although if pushed I think 5AM may just edge Emily into B2, with Matt being the least likely. I find it difficult to really place Saara’s potential % of votes though, which makes predictions very difficult.

  • Anglia Chu

    Matt was anonymous. They must be confident that what he delivers doesn’t matter.
    Saara’s first song exceeded expectations, so it must have sucked to see a weird second performance.
    Honey G is being milked one last time. 5AM can do the Rick James/MC Hammer mashup lol. I may be underestimating her ability to bounce, but the second song just showed (in a very clear manner) that she can’t rap (the backing track did most of the rapping for her).
    5AM getting all the help they need must mean they are wanted in the final.
    I liked Emily’s performances, but in a series full of crazies, she doesn’t stand out.

    In terms of BOTTOM 2 SAFETY:
    GREEN
    Matt
    AMBER
    Saara, 5AM, Emily
    RED
    Honey G

  • Anglia Chu

    I also noticed that during the Mannequin Challenge, Louis’s face slowing changing from smiling to not amused.

  • Chance

    Matt’s first performance was completely memoryholed by Saara, which might have been a good thing if his version of Alive had been on key. I don’t think he’ll be in danger but it did make him vulnerable as a plan A.

    I still don’t get Emily’s appeal beyond being adorable. For the first few weeks it’s a good thing no one locked her in a room cause she couldn’t find a key. And that trouble returned tonight.

    God bless 5AM. They can put on a show but the amount of vocal help they’re getting is embarrassing. Are their mics even on when they aren’t soloing?

    Honey G may have finally been dealt a fatal blow this week. And thank god if she was. There is absolutely nothing entertaining about her. An infected gash on the bottom of my foot would be more fun.

    Saara was clearly the best of the night and they seem intent on keeping her for the semis since they made sure to work so hard at reminding everyone of her first performance. They still could off-ramped her if they wanted by only focusing on the cheesy nature of her second performance but the pivoted back to The Winner Takes it All pretty quickly.

    I think Matt, Emily and Saara will be safe and 5AM will put Honey G out of our misery.

  • Poker Coach

    For Honey Dip check Google trends:

    http://tinyurl.com/juzz8es

    Honey G just kills everybody else. Bounce is possible despite the negative comments she gets in social media.

    • HL

      If her votes/Saturday_attention ratio would be a constant, then yes, it looks like a big enough bounce based on my calculations. I have compared how much more search interest there has been towards her each Saturday than towards the others who got through or ended in B2. Last week the ratio dropped significantly, now it is high again.

      It was mostly the intruder that caused it, based on timings of the peaks, but also the mannequin challenge got some attention.

      However I don’t know if there really is any constant there. Hope not.

      • Poker Coach

        I don’t think that her attention/votes ratio is constant.

        But her attention levels are so huge that it might chamge the things. If there were 5 % between bottom 4 last week just small changes would make a difference.

        That’s why I believe that even Emily/5AM is possible b2 today.

  • Sagand

    Saara could well continue with her habit of finishing second in TV talent shows, twice trying to represent Finland at Eurovision and also on the Voice of Finland.

    I can’t see Matt or Saara in the bottom two and I can’t see Honey G avoiding it (or staying in the contest). Emily has Scotland and better running order slots, and in general better statistics on youtube, Spotify and facebook likes.

    In the opening recap of last week Emily was put into the positive side with Matt and Saara whereas 5AM were in the negative with Honey G and Ryan. 5AM didn’t have a break after either of their performances.

    5AM had a better first performance and the comments seemed all positive. (But were they motivating if they are already in the final?) Dermot drew the parallels with Fleur, a comparison they aren’t coming out well from. The second song was worse. There was the song title ‘Sorry’ in the background, (how many people up and down the country made the joke with vocals like that they should be sorry?) Simon’s comments punctured the atmosphere, atmosphere is like a balloon one prick can lead to everything deflating.

    There were red flags in Emily’s first performance (toxic waste) and the second was very monochrome. Emily got a direct call for votes from Simon and should get the lions share of transfers from Ryan.

    I think it’ll be 5AM and Honey G in the bottom two with Honey G going home 3-1.

  • kingston

    rewatching matt’s second song, it was vocally a solid performance… it’s just the producion was obstinately, decidedly unhelpful… when he started singing “i’m still breathing”, the stage became these icy cold colours of white and bluish grey… and when he sang the chorus “I’m alive”, instead of suffusing the stage with warm eg orangey colour, up on either side of him were giant xray images of him in white and grey– WTF?? instead of feeling the “aliveness” he was singing of, the production seemed to want to make the audience feel ermmm deathly cold?… maybe i’m just a sucker for the male MOR voice but his in this song passed my ermmm goosebump test lolz… and it wasn’t coz i was feeling cold lolz

  • EM

    A lot of people saying last night’s show felt fair and I think it was (with a lot of X Factor caveats!).

    Remember originally the show didn’t have sing-offs at the latter stages which suggests they were comfortable could handle the votes and deal with whoever went, last night had a similar vibe.

    It seemed to be more about putting on a show than manipulating votes.

    Matt was as memorable as a sheet of MDF. If he is the chosen one they must be very confident he has a strong vote. However it didn’t do much to make him stand out or gain new fans.

    Saara had limited support, yes she can sing but that second song would have limited appeal.

    5am had a load of vocal help. You don’t get that if they don’t want to help you go further.

    Honey was a low key as honey can be. The stage invasion may have helped/hindered but there was a real lack of investment in her.

    Emily was right out of her lane. It certainly showed she’s no one-trick pony but was her second trick any good?

    If I was forced to bet I’d go Honey/Emily bottom two and Honey to go but I have a red flag over Matt – a shock appearance in the bottom two?

    Other random thoughts:
    Where’s Brian Friedman? He was heavily featured and praised early in the series but just not evident now.

    I’ve seen the full video of the stage invasion. They did well in choosing their shots not to make it look so bad on TV.

    I’m sure they do focus groups during the lives but those ones in the VTs were done for TV. It was plain bizarre to include them. It could only be a signal to viewers that “this is what you should be thinking”

  • I wonder if it will twig with Cowell that Saara would be so much better for brand than Matt.

    This reminds me of Rebecca Ferguson who had a late surge but too late to defeat the male MOR of her year. Saara’s surge is better timed for the win (it seems more by chance than design).

    And Cowell said something last night like “this is an unusual year, it’s not like one person is always winning the vote”.

    • stoney

      He twigged that Fleur would be better for the brand but there wasn’t much he could do to stop Ben winning. What is a singer who couldn’t make it in Finland going to bring to the table in terms of £ for Syco? Very little.

      • EM

        Yeah the comments about Saara having success last night felt at total odds with the musicals style of her performance. I fear she’s much more popular on Sofabet and in certain forums than with the general voting public.

        Much more telling was the conversation about Matt showing how he’d perform on. Sunday when he was invited back in the next series. Now that painted a real picture of a winner.

        • stoney

          Yes absolutely that was the big positive for Matt last night. Even if they aren’t fully 100% behind him as plan A they are gearing up for his win.
          The only niggle I have about their plans for saara was the support group saying they think she could win. The same was said by one of them about 5am. All matt got was criticism. So many mixed messages last night. But maybe their being clever for once.

          • EM

            Possibly they realised Louisa was damaged by all the favouritism she was shown last year so want to keep Matt safe but not lauded?

            Possibly they’ve found viewing figures last year were affected by the fact everyone knew the winner weeks in advance?

            Maybe that’s why Saara’s weak start and strong end works for them too

      • I believe Finns like foreign artists singing in English and prefer their own singers singing in Finnish so Saara was disabled staying there.

        Matt would just be another dull sink-without-trace. Saara would be able to perform in bigger venues than Matt and has a made for TV personality. A great ambassador and would attract quality foreign acts to XF2017.

        • Woofie

          I am not convinced Henry, her first VT I think had a reference of musical theatre and the second performance also felt musical theatre. Her styling and staging plays into that too even in the first performance.
          In my view all her performances on the lives don’t say pop star to me. Yes she is the best vocalist and can put on good show but what she has been given in the lives doesn’t say contemporary to me because she has sing such dated songs. Be interesting if she survives this week if they try to support a more contemporary image. At this stage it is important to show what kinda of artist they would, because of her haphazard journey I am not sure what material she would release.

          What ever happens she does have a career moving forwards and I don’t think she will be going back to Finland

          • Jessica Hamby

            She’s not been given the chance to do anything contemporary except maybe Bad Romance, and that was on Halloween so it was always going to be a bit freaky. Her It’s All Gone Quiet was a show stopper and showed what she’s capable of when given even a little support.

            I think Matt is clear favourite for the win but I think Saara has much more to offer after the show.

            She has the potential to be a total showman like Miley or Gaga, to produce and perform things that defy convention and subsume the senses. She can do it musically, visually and conceptually. You don’t get more current than that.

            Of course you can call performers like that niche. Not everyone likes Gaga or Miley, but I think anyone would like a “niche” with that sort of following.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Of course it would require Syco to take risks artistically and they’re not known for that. There’s her biggest obstacle imo.

          • Alan

            You said the same about Lauren’s potential last year. You’ll have to update me on how her stellar career is going as I have somehow managed to miss it.

            Personally I think Saara is more suited to something in the West End than a tilt at the charts. I hate to use the expression but whilst she is undoubtedly an amazing singer she hasnt got the “recording voice” they love to go on about.

  • Dana

    I think the show would like the positive publicity of a European immigrant winning X Factor UK this year. Plus the fact that she was in the bottom 2 3 times and still won would make a good story.

    Commercially, I’m not sure what they would do with her though.They could just do what they did with Sam Bailey- spend about £40 on an album of covers and then drop immediately. The money is all going to go on Matt and 5am regardless.

    • EM

      I disagree. A non British winner would damage the brand and not totally in a small minded Brexit way but with people saying the show can’t have tried very hard to find the best UK talent available if someone from a small country can come across and triumph.

      • Fudd

        It didn’t harm Britain’s Got Talent with Attraction from Hungary. Indeed there was a stage invasion that year as well – albeit seemingly planned!

    • HL

      Saara is a songwriter. I just recommend you watch her “No Fear” music video to see what kind of music she is writing herself: https://youtu.be/4OKrIRVUEGQ

      I don’t especially like that particular song but I’d say it is contemporary. The only thing she needs is a little bit of support from a major label: someone to work with to make the songs a bit more catchy and then a professional marketing team.

  • Alen

    lot of people thinking the invader was “fake” https://twitter.com/panayisalad/status/802615848758345729

    looking at the judges reactions i think sharon and nicoles reaction were truly fake and i do think the producers organised the invader themself. why? probably to take off any focus from honey g performance … same with the mannequin challenge hm.

    • EM

      Not planned at all.

      1. Why plan a stage invasion and then not show the full extent of it?

      2. Watch Simon’s bodyguard protect Simon rather than Honey G

      3. If it ever got out it would be the end of the show

      4. If you want to distract there are a million safer ways to do it

      5. Given it’s come out the purpose of the invasion was to humiliate Honey G its more likely to get her sympathy votes

      • HL

        Trump had “attack on stage” three days before the election in one of the swing states. If you cannot make people watch your substance, make them watch your face anyway and to forget about the substance. Just saying.

  • Woofie

    I wonder if Simon’s negative critique in 5AM’s second performance allows them to put something in the VTs recap if they do look like hitting B2. He kinda says “that didn’t work” … with respect to awareness of stage props and dancers, and then dismisses it as a small thing finishing off with their strongest night yet comment.

    Their staging and set up last night wasn’t on par with their previous full on treatments in my view. The second performance was not quite a deramp but it certainly was not a vote motivator. It was strange they referenced their audition song One Dance in the VT but only used a small part of it. I think the mash up would have worked better if the balance of songs was the other way round, it was a very clumsy.

    In my previous comments I thought they would do everything to avoid the B2 for 5AM but that didn’t come across last night in their treatment in my view, especially for the 2nd performance. May be their is an acceptance that a B2 appearance was likely and that a quarter final one allows for a full on treatment to support a bounce in the semi final. The Judges still heaped on praise, referencing a final place and going one step further about referencing post show career success. If they do have plans for the group it will be interesting how they are supported if they survive for next week.

    If 5AM land in the B2 this week, survive and are supported for a bounce in the semi finals that would mean, at least, 2 contestants going into the final would have had a B2 appearance. After last night I think 3rd place in the final is the best they can achieve for the group in the context of the show with the stronger vocalists.

    What happens next for 5AM will very much depend on the level of their core support and if the producers are prepared to continue their support with concerns about dependability. With the vocal issues the producers have done well getting them to this point without a B2/3 but I do wonder now how they can keep it going. Be interesting if it is 80s theme next week, which might suit them better if they are still in competition.

    It’s difficult for me to call tonight as the treatment for all contestants was not consistent for both performances, but I will be surprised if Honey G bounced to 3rd and if she is the B2, I will be surprised if she does not go home.

  • Rose

    I think this year’s X Factor is possibly as manipulated as it has ever been – only this time, the manipulation is not with the goal of achieving the win for TCO but of creating a seemingly more exciting, close competition. Some weeks they hold a potential runaway winner like Matt back – and let an outsider like Saara bloom. But I suspect they don’t let anyone bloom too vividly if they’re not someone they’d ultimately want to win.
    I do think Honey has to go this week as last night wasn’t enough for a bounce – even had that been the plan. I don’t think it was; we’re not getting any idea of her as popular and fun for kids and the older non-rap appreciating audience anymore and there’s no more “fun” with her name in her performances or memes of her look. It’s not enough to get her off the bottom and her time is up today – unless tptb have really messed up.
    Which isn’t impossible – but there’s no other performer I can see her beating in the vote this week really.
    We could have a surprise with her in the bottom two though. Matt possibly? 5 AM? I think they’re protecting 5AM more heavily than Matt right now. But Honey G will go against anybody, I think.

  • Sindi

    Didn’t Emily say “I’ve never played ukulele before…. on stage.” It certainly sounded like she really meant she had not played it before but then realized she shouldn’t say that and added the “on stage” part.

    I think the “They can’t vote in Finland” -thing could be seen as a call for votes, reminding British fans to vote. Finland is all over her treatment anyway and it has not been a problem lately regarding her vote.

    • Sindi

      Or it’s about this http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/saara-alto-fans-finland-find-9344058
      However it’s not only fans in Finland who are doing this and probably all of the acts are getting votes from abroad. Hard to say if it’s enough to matter much. Finland is a very small country and I don’t think there are so many die hard dans who bother to do that. It didn’t save Saara from bottom two before. However if there’s a global fan movement it might matter. Imagine a world wide troll attack to vote Honey G to victory. This is of course an issue for the producers.

  • Wkrs

    I agree with most of the analysis, but think Honey G will be okay. The sympathy bounce has been such a good predictor historically I wouldn’t want to bet against it. In terms of the show, I’m not sure they want 3 vanilla acts plus Saara in the semi final. Even if “Rapper Baron-Cohen” gets into the bottom two, I could see them doing a sing off save vs Emily to generate controversy.

    Can’t say I understand why they would want Matt to win, but it does look that way. Predicting a Matt/5am/[Saara/HG] final.

    • Woofie

      It will depend on how others do, as the show was inconsistent to everyone and their votes either stay the same or slightly deflate she would need to pick up 18-20% of the vote to avoid the B2, I don’t think her performances were really good vote motivators to support a bounce, say compared to previous contestants in this position at this stage of the competition, who were better vocalists. If the stage invasion and the empathy of the studio audience fed into votes at home would that be enough? I’m not sure I don’t recall this type of contestant being in this position getting above their ceiling at this stage, but as the show was inconsistent to all the contestants it might play out differently. Will be interesting to see the voting stats this year to see how it changes from last week to this week.

  • Ben Cook

    Honey’s got to be gone now. Like Nicole said, it is the same thing every week. She must be running out of late 80s/early 90s cheese-rap songs to do. There can’t be anyone left watching now that thinks she might be genuine/deluded either – the idea that someone who wants to be the biggest rap star in the world would happily keep on doing Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer and Salt-N-Pepa tracks is laughable, but it isn’t even funny any more.

    I was underwhelmed by Matt this week and feel Saara could’ve topped the vote. Even if they go out to get her next week or in the final, I think she could still sneak a win because she sings the socks off anything she’s given and really comes across well in VTs, even when they’re meant to be negative. Or maybe that’s just me.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Here’s my usual weekly random assortment of thoughts:

    – Matt still looks like the most likely winner to me, even though one could get the feeling that the show would desperately like 5AM to take the crown. I think after last year’s debacle they would prefer him to fly under the radar a bit rather than shoving him into everybody’s face a la Louisa. By now they will know that Louisa has effectively tanked and will be dropped, which may be down to them presenting her as Dear Little Angel Our Blessed Saviour Louisa each week, and as soon as the show was over she transformed into Domina Lady Slut Bunny…. where was I? Oh right, Matt. Bland, with a likely Ben Haenow trajectory. Meaning that they are happy to have him as a winner, but somebody else (5AM) will get the career investment afterwards.

    – Saara took the show with her first song, but it’s worth remembering just how heavily rehearsed this show is – they knew before that her first song would bring the house down. If they really wanted her to romp into the lead with a prospect to win this, they would have made her do the silly diamonds romp at the start (don’t tell me you would have been surprised to be told ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friends’ was a Louis choice) and close the show with ‘Winner takes it all’ in a complete redemption / triumph story arc. As it was, she had a high followed by a cheese mountain, hinting at a bit of inconsistency. Totally needed for the final, but not meant to win, I think.

    – 5AM are still getting ridiculous amounts of vocal help, and they might as well flash ‘JLS’ permanently on screen while they’re on, since that seems to be the gap they are destined to fill. Of course, once they are signed, none of that matters any more, autotune will take care of that. (see also: Direction, One)

    – While I normally immediately think ‘FIX’ whenever anything attention grabbing happens on this show, I don’t think the stage invasion was, well, staged, as they would have shown it in full. The cameras being kept on the panel seems to indicate that they expected some rough work from the security guys, and that wouldn’t make for light entertainment. Or possibly generate some sympathy for Honey G. It’s ironical that her VT showed her visiting her mother in full mask, not even taking the hat off indoors, and then she gets invaded by guys trying to take off her glasses and cap to ‘expose’ her on stage.

    – Final predictions: Matt/Saara/5AM. 5AM to finish in third (don’t make them attempt to sing Ed Sheeran, please) to be launched immediately a la Fleur East. Saara to come second like she always seems to do, and Matt to win, with an album full of Falsetto classics and the predicted (underwhelming) Sunday show appearance next year.

    • Curtis

      I agree that they could easily have swapped Saara’s two performances around if they were intending to lift her to victory.

      I feel her second performance is getting unfairly criticised mind! I thought it was great fun, and I think with the first song just demonstrated she is a hundred times more versatile than all of the other acts left. But clearly the first was better than the second and that oddly makes it look like she’s going “backward”, even though in reality she has of course been rehearsing the two of them together.

      • Sindi

        I don’t think the order of the songs matters regarding whether they want her to win or not. It looks like they are avoiding overfavouring anyone. I too think Saara’s second performance was excellent.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Odds check: Saara and 5AM now both best priced at 6/1.

    At least they’ve succeeded in making it look like a competition. If they can up the level of the contestants for next year then who knows…, maybe the show can recover.

    • Woofie

      I agree for me this year they got the panel right but dropping so many talented people with good personalities and back stories was a mistake.
      I think people would tune in if they was a genuine contest. I don’t understand why they can’t choose 3 or 4 contestants who they could support post show on the back of real public support, instead of having a TCO or another and playing around with the show to get the public to play ball.
      I still think Honey G reinforced the “same old shit” after having what was a good “vibe” at the very start of the show. I think they killed that vibe as the show progressed, including the 15 mins audition for the chickegate drama, which in the end went no where.
      Yes it needs characters and personalities to be fun and entertaining, to create emotion, drama and suspense but I’m sure there are better ways of doing it. For a prime time TV show they don’t half annoy their audience… What happened to feel good telly…

  • Poker Coach

    On last weeks VT Matt commented Saaras vocals: I am scared
    This week Nicole said Saara has taken the lead.
    Thy are portraying Matt and Saara together in extra material also.

    It seems that they are the final duo. As Jessica Hamby said, Saara can bring a lot of credibility into a finals in a way no other contestants can.

    Saara & Matt vill most likely get biggest audience and give the best impression that the show in the end is still a singing contest.

    Still the question is: Is Syco willing to make a contract with Saara or not? I am 50 % confident that the final outcome is.

    1. Matt
    2. Saara

    They will sign 5 AM and use autotune to improve their vocals, so that part does not really matter anymore after the show.

  • Alan

    Wonder if TPTB were resigned to 5AM dropping into the bottom 2 and would rather save them this week against Honey than next week against a better singer.

    Simon will roll out the ‘come back fighting’ cliche next week and the kitchen sink will be thrown at their productions.

    Definitely think they could be bottom 2 tonight.

    • stoney

      Ill be surprised if there not

    • Woofie

      If they do Alan be interesting on how they perform in their first sing off… and how that affects their chances if they survive for next week… I was surprised they didn’t go full on to keep them out of the danger zone but like you say they maybe resigned to that fact and better this week then next week. Poor vocals really get exposed in the sing off even if it is against weaker competition.
      It was a strange night, we thought the producers would be reveal their hand but the inconsistency of treatment a push here and than pull back there. May be complacency or part of a plan to create an open competition without damaging the favoured too much… Risky? Time will tell..

  • Lara T

    Having thought about it overnight, I now can’t see a way Honey won’t be in the b2. I reckon she’s most likely to be joined by 5am if Facebook likes are anything to go by, with Honey leaving.

    Next week I think we’ll see a 5am bounce to the final with the kitchen sink thrown at them.

    A b2 then of Emily and Saara with the sing off winner (I think Saara) going on to take second place. 5am will lose their bounce and get third, with Matt taking the top prize.

    Let’s wait and see!

    • Phil

      I agree that this is probably the most likely scenario now. However, I do think that last night wasn’t too bad a night for Honey G. Her mannequin challenge and the stage invader were the 2 biggest talking points of the night, but I don’t think that will translate into votes.

      It would be nice, after last weekend’s car crash sing off, if they allow her to have a more dignified exit than that would have been. Given that this week’s bottom 2 appearance for her is pretty much guaranteed, could we finally see the sunglasses come off?

      • Lara T

        I don’t hold out much hope we’ll see the glasses come off. I think that would be just a bit too odd now!

        Saying that, and putting my personal feelings about her aside, I do think she’ll have a career, if not in the charts, which without X factor she never would have.

        I’ve a wager on the 5am/honey b2, none on honey to go, but there’s just no value there.

        Still nervous though, I think you could argue a case for any of them being down there tonight, possibly even Matt (shock horror).

      • Woofie

        If she is in the B2 she is likely to be more resigned to her fate.
        I don’t expect a repeat of last week, the pressure would be on the other contestant. If it is not going to be Saara it will be interesting how they handle it.
        I don’t think she would remove her sunglasses it’s her trademark and she will be thinking about the next move… Interest in her if she leaves tonight will still be high and the media will follow her every move and appearance for the next couple of weeks at least.

    • stoney

      Would it be a given they would send an act who has had 4 bottom 2 appearances and therefore no chance whatsoever of winning through to the final over an act that had fallen in for the very first time?

      • Woofie

        I see where you are coming from Stoney. I don’t think you expect it to be Saara vs Emily this week but could be a possibility next week… if so that would be interesting, I would say in previous shows I don’t think they have, but Saara’s journey has not been that simple and she has had references to a final placing and a win. Without a doubt she is a strong vocalist I guess it all depends if this a possibility how she got there that week.

      • DGiles

        Have they ever actually sent anyone home on a majority vote in the semi finals. Don’t they normally take it to deadlock so “the public decided the finalists”. Quite easy for them to use the same excuse here, so they would just need to get Saara to 3rd in the votes. How hard that is, I really don’t know. It’s far easier to determine falling or constant fan bases than growing ones IMO

  • GsP

    That sweeping wide audience shot when Saara hit the big notes and they seemed to get up on their feet like a Mexican wave is THE money shot.

    I hate that they use the “moment” phrasing all the time, but that really was one.

    • Woofie

      It was interesting that when watching 5AM go into the audience behind the judges on Uptown Funk the girls on the front row were not as animated compared to their disco performance week. I said it before the studio reaction is an important barometer of how the audience at home might be motivated to vote.
      Hence the empathy towards Honey G might have had an effect but the audience at home didn’t see what happened on the stage so it felt a bit disconnecting.

    • Phil

      That shot of the audience rising to their feet for Saara was, I reckon, completely spontaneous and a huge spanner in the works for the producers. It’s one thing voters being “guided” by what the judges say, but this was a huge and possibly unintentional signal to the audience at home.

      Best performance not just of the series so far, but probably since James Arthur’s bottom 2 sing off performance.

    • kingston

      before that, i think the audience also gave matt a SO though it was after his first song finished, not when he was hitting certain notes (like saara)…

      • Cath

        When the audience got to their feed during Saara’s performance, it felt to me like the camera cut away quite quickly rather than lingering on it which gave me the impression it was spontaneous, unexpected and not something they wanted to emphasise too much. Though I realise this interpretation is at odds with the very favourable comments from the judges…

  • Chris Bellis

    With reference to Finnish proxy voting, it is certainly possible. However I did this once for my niece’s Italian boyfriend’s progressive rock band, setting up new addresses each time using a batch program via a VPN. However, it backfired as I didn’t calculate how many votes the other bands would get – some were in single figures. So when this band got several thousand in a short space of time, they were disqualified. Needless to say, I never admiited that I’d done this. If TPTB wanted to, they could flush out any trollish behaviour on the part of Finnish fans, and disqualify Saara. It might suit them not to, as Saara is the best singer in the competition.

    • stoney

      If said Finnish fans can’t get her enough support to win the shows in their own country I don’t see how they can in this country. Seeing as she has been bottom 2 more than anyone else left in the competition the support isn’t that strong clearly

  • Alan

    With regards to last nights apparent lack of manipulation I do think that it points to the fact that TPTB are generally happy with the way the votes are going and are probably happy with a number of different final three scenarios. In Matt and Sara they have consistently good vocalists. In 5AM and Saara they have acts that can do big productions. In Emily they have someone who can sit still and sing a dirge…… But seriously they clearly feel Emily has something to offer (likeability maybe) that they are also clearly happy with. In short however it turns out they’re going to get a decent final with a decent mix of acts.

    I still think they would like to pimp 5AM as far into the competition as possible to launch them as JLS mark 2 but other than that I think they’re just fairly content with the way things are going. No need to throw anyone under the bus in those circumstances.

  • stoney

    When we see the power of Enilys support as she misses the bottom 2 again tonight its gonna come down to a simple choice for the producers to make. Who do they want in the final 3, 5am or saara

    • George

      We’ll see. I think 5AM are likely to be below her in the vote, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see Emily down there tonight.

    • Woofie

      Yes I see where you are going with that. Lots of factors at play there and I don’t think it is going to be that simple.
      If that was the choice for post career launch 5AM but it will depend on the voting numbers stacking up and if the producers prepared to risk continuing their support. A quarter/semi final exit is not too bad but falls short of the praise and judge’s predictions for the group, but is that an issue long term?
      I always think at this stage the judges have to be credible otherwise they look like they don’t know what they are talking about… over praising a performance is one thing pointing to a contestant’s success after the show is another if the judges are their to find talent. Yes I know they say that after many contestants it’s not the end but “world wide class” is not used lightly for contestants not destined for the final…unless I am wrong on that….

  • James

    Watching it back, on paper Saara’s first performance should have been a deramp: early in the show, odd styling that made her look 10 years older, red and black lighting and no big production like we’ve come to expect from her. Did she just knock it out of the park to such an extent they felt they couldn’t criticise it without sounding ridiculous? If it was a deliberate pimping it was a strange way of going about it.

    • Poker Coach

      I think that they have taken a risk.

      Lets give her something that leads most likely to catastrophy and she will be memoryholed.

      Maybe they tried to memoryhole Saara placing her after Matt but it just turned vice versa.

      Just to leave somebody alone with just a piano and give her an odd outfit cannot really be a plan to make somebody to shine. Whatever you do, when you do it exceptionally well, results might surprise.

      • stoney

        That’s only possible if the judges go into the live show blind. They are well aware of how rehersals are going. I doubt very much they are ever shocked by a performance. With the pressure of it being live it can surely only ever be slightly worse than perfornances in rehersals. And in other cases a million miles worse when contestants struggle to perform under pressure.

    • Curtis

      There were a few oddities (red and black always raises eyebrows!) but I think there were a few ways in which she was clearly helped out – spotlight firmly on her, atmospheric backing track, some great close-up shots, panning across the crowd at the big moment of the song. And the thing is the judges didn’t just not criticise it, they pulled out the 4JSO and were very heavily complimentary of it. I don’t think this was a moment she had in spite of the producers, I think this was one that they allowed her to have. But it was retained to the early show, probably just keeping her in check.

      • Jessica Hamby

        But her final performance was meant to be an even bigger moment. They absolutely set it up to stun. Somehow it fell a bit flat but I’m sure that was not the intention. The intention was to blow everything else away.

        I wonder if the stage invasion affected the atmosphere backstage. Everyone seemed off their game after that.

        • EM

          Highly likely Jessica, I wondered what was going through Honey’s mind when she had to go into the audience after that.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Honey and Saara have both received threats on social media. I expect the show takes incidents like that very seriously. It would be hard to remain unaffected when the backstage staff are all hypervigilant.

  • Just finished my Sunday re-watch and I think Emily is more likely for the Bottom Two than 5 After Midnight. Both of her performances were poor and Human in particular was too big for her and/or the arrangement wasn’t right. She’s also been left as last to be announced safe two weeks in a row, which is usually a sign that an act is due to drop down into the danger zone sooner rather than later.

  • Black n Blue

    One of the questions I imagine is running through Simon’s mind is that of, is there a gap in the market for the any of the remaining acts? The mainstream right now is bloated with heart-throb teens and girl/guy groups, all very cookie cutter, yet all having enough going for them to get the streams, airplay and ticket sales. The problem I see, is that Matt, Emily and 5am don’t offer anything we don’t already have in pop culture right now, and with Honey set to go, my inclination is that the producers are coming full circle on Saara.

    A theory I have is that the pop scene today, is missing a truly outside-the-box zany artist, and that Saara, if backed by the right people could potentially fill this gap in the market. It’s the sort of gap that fifteen years ago was filled by Bjork, five years ago by Gaga, and three years ago by a restyled Miley Cyrus. Since then Bjork and Cyrus have gone quiet and Gaga’s image has been tamed a lot.

    I think it’s dawned on Simon that Matt isn’t the chosen one, and that perhaps there’s an opportunity for Saara to go on to bigger and better things.

    • Woofie

      I would be more convinced if they chose something more edgy that the “cheese fest” than was the two Diamonds songs. That was a great opportunity to demonstrate that side of her and show the public what kind of artist she could be.

      That might have been a step too far for Middle England and we may see something more edgy night week, but so far I don’t see that there at the moment. If Simon had those thoughts this was a good week to see how the public would react. So far no one has talked Saara up in those terms as far as I can see.

      I think last night was so confusing that anything can be at play. Maybe after the results show it might make a bit more sense. But so far the producers have sent so many mixed messages in various ways about the contestants I don’t think we can be absolutely sure what their plans are.

    • Cath

      Even if Simon thinks Saara could be TCO for a post-show career, I don’t think that necessarily means that she is TCO for the win – that could still be Matt. Often it is the finalists who haven’t won, who go on to bigger and better things.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One reason I think that the last night’s show was a bit confusing is that they actually tried to do some things a bit differently. I know there was something a bit daft about trying to do Toxic on a ukelele but someone with a bit more stage experience or perhaps just life experience might have made it into something quite special, giving it real pathos. Human is new for the X Factor and kudos again to Emily for giving it a go. Saara’s performances speak for themselves. Even Honey G with the mannequin thing did have a special tv moment. Matt’s second song (I missed the first every time for some reason) was a challenge for him and it pushed him out of his vocal comfort zone to the extent that he struggled with it.

    I liked it for that and I’m glad they’re trying. As well as making for a more interesting watch it makes the show more competitive and harder to read.

    If any producers are reading, well done and thank you. Despite what you may think from my posts, I am an X Factor fan and I’m glad you’re making an effort with the show.

  • DannyCraig

    Why are people happy that the producers have mixed it up and made it more competitive. With my betting head on, I’d rather boring shows where you know exactly what they’re doing at all times with all performers.
    How has Saara become second favourite for this?!

    • kingston

      holy guacamole!!

    • Woofie

      Yep for a betting forum you want predictability in the way they treat contestants not mixed messages.
      Although if you can spot what they are up to that is not seen by the majority there would be good opportunities.
      At the end of the series the outcome might not be that surprising after all. Maybe the producers do read this forum lol….

    • Jessica Hamby

      If you assume that Saara’s pimp slot was meant to be a show stopper and the stage invasion cocked things up for everyone then I think it becomes easier to read. Honey G and 5AM were the targets (in my opinion, obv) and I think they’re still likely to hit them.

      • Woofie

        I think we will get an inkling in the introduction and summary of last night’s recap VT.

        It was interesting that they recapped Simon’s negative critique of 5AM in the introduction at the start of the show last night, which triggered a bit of an alarm.

        Maybe they were mixing it up to aid a possible bounce next week?

        Be interesting if the guest singer is asked who their favourite is and who it is… and of course who is called safe first.. I think this will be more tense in studio than last week..

      • Edie M

        I don’t know what to make of that pimp slot for Saara. To me it seemed kind of awkward and off somehow- the styling (and Nicole’s snidey comment about her dress looking like an ice dancer) & the staging (that box throwing with Simon having to duck to avoid) just made it seem a bit like she was being laughed at rather than with. I also thought it was a red flag that they said she’d performed it before, that was a disaster with let it go. I might be overreacting a little bit bc I found that 2nd performance so disappointing after the great 1st one & was really hoping they’d let her shine in the pimp slot. Maybe others just found it fun & lighthearted.

        • DGiles

          a medley of diamonds are forever and diamonds are a girls best friend was never going to be the performance of the series. They’re both pretty terrible songs that go nowhere, so combining them and making it fun, lighthearted and full of energy was the best way to take it. It wasn’t perfect, but a decent enough (especially given the second half was generally poorer overall) and it was fitting end to a week dedicated to Louis,

  • Plinkiplonk

    I always wondered – with that much betting involved in these shows, and with that much supposed producer influence and ‘chosen ones’ getting pushed towards the win, why are there not many more bets placed by people that are working on the programme or related to others that do? Is that an incredibly naive thing to ask? I know it would be illegal, but come on !

  • DGiles

    To be fair, I think people may have over thought this week.

    Initial response last week was that the 2 performances would suit Saara more than anyone as it would showcase her versatility (i.e. big stripped back ballad and a showy number) and Honey G’s time was up now she had hit the bottom 2.

    The mindset changed when the news of the songs they were singing came through and people thought Saara was being thrown under a bus. Too much emphasis was placed on the ability of the Mannequin Challenge to lift Honey G, while Saara’s ability was ignored when looking at the history of Winner Takes It all on the show. Having said that, the lesson to learn this week is that Saara shouldn’t be underestimated and song choices shed little light on how good she could. I mean, if she can turn a horrific sounding medley of Diamonds are Forever and Diamonds are a girls best friend into something that’s pretty good. I thought that would be a step too far for her, as I simply thought it was impossible. I wouldn’t put it against her being able to do a 2 minute fart on stage and make it sound good pre-show now.

    in reality, this week was pretty much the same from each act as last week, except Matt and Saara swapped positions in terms of standard. 5am and Emily both pretty weak again. Should this week really have been such a surprise.

    • Woofie

      I was taken off track because I thought they would have done there best to avoid a B2 appearance for 5AM, having the only time to be in this position, with what looks like a favoured male group, since 2010. The song choices on paper looked favourable, but I guess the vocal issues have played a part in their treatment.

  • Edie M

    Emily’s sore throat is becoming an issue. Her and 5am in the final might risk some really weak vocals. Wonder if Matt/Emily/Saara final is a possibility? That way you get a mor act, an act for simon’s ego & someone who can put on a show and has had an unusual X factor journey. Think Simon has got on board with the redemption arc as it’s a pretty new one for the show. I’m increasingly wondering what the point of 5am is? 5am may well still be there but it seems to be like tptb are getting a bit bored of their terrible vocals, like it’s becoming a chore to constantly cover them up.

    • Spiidey

      Can’t see 5AM missing the final. They want to launch them after the show and if they’re not in the final that would be a huge setback for then right from the get go.

      The only way Saara is in the final is if Emily is booted.

    • Sindi

      5 am is as samey as Honey G and more boring imo.

    • DGiles

      I feel there is bigger story to be had with Saara being in the final, as in week 2 it was laughable to think Saara would get beyond week 4, let alone close to the final. This is the best redemption arc they’ve ever had fall into their lap (and they have tried and failed several times with this kind of storyline in the past)
      Emily’s story has gone now Ryan has left. There’s also been no progression or improvement of any kind with Emily and a severe lack of high points during the live shows.

      • Edie M

        I agree, I reckon Saara being in the final is a really good story for the show. It’s Emily being Simon’s act that keeps niggling at me (plus she does have a strong regional vote, is likeable). Last week he made such a show of his ego in relation to her, getting her to say he was right and all the praise the judges had to say about him being right. His ego is sometimes underestimated on here I think. I just can’t see him liking all the other mentors having an act in the final except him for a second year running. That’s why I pondered if 5am might be the ones sacrificed for Saara rather than Emily.

      • Dana

        Saara has by far the best story at this point. Emily seems a bit redundant at this stage, but the producers are difficult to predict this year, so who knows what they have planned?

  • Sindi

    Facebook comments on Matt’s version of Alive make the song choice seem like Saara promo. I almost feel sorry for the dude. Almost.

  • Poker Coach

    I still don’t think that what happened with Saara is that surprising. Production showed her in a bad light to get her into sign offs.

    It did not really matter because they always could save her due her vocals. And it was good to create controversy.

    I suspected in the beginning that this would be the case. I only got misguided when I found that her odds were over 50. As I am used to think that odds reflect actual world probabilities. From now on I start to trust even more my own instinct and reasoning. Group bias can give extraordinary value in betting like this.

  • Stu

    5AM must surely be a shoe-in for B2 (unfortunately). Their bottom two odds have shortened ridiculously since last night. Even Emily is behind them now.

  • Martin

    To me, it’s quite clear that Saara has next to no commercial career. There has been discussion about Matt performing as a guest, 5AM got a shout out to their post-show career on their first audition, and Emily has been told about her ‘sound’ countless times. Saara has had nothing of the sort. She is being pimped not because she is a commercial proposition for SYCO, but she does provide reliable performances and is a safe bet to deliver during the final. She can also be easily deramped, and does not provide a threat to the desired winner. Even if she does hit the B2, she can be realistically saved against Honey G, 5AM or Emily because she can actually sing. I think the show did its best for her last night, but I’m not sure that she has enough support to avoid b2.

    For the last two years, the show’s preferred act has had their ‘moment’ during the semi, and gone on to reprise that performance the week after in the final. Next week, I think Matt will have that. He was good last night, and they can turn up the heat to build momentum next week.

    5AM’s backing vocal issues are ridiculous right now, and the very fact they’re getting that treatment and not being called out on it speaks volumes. They’ve basically put in the same performance every week so far, and have not been called out on performing a ballad, or switching it up in the same way that Emily has been. I’m anticipating a Honey/Saara b2 tonight, but 5AM would be my outside choice.

    Emily’s Toxic performance was atrocious, worst of the entire evening (Honey G discounted). Human, however, was the best (in my subjective opinion). I do think there is something to be said for the scottish regional vote, and I think Human will have motivated her fanbase to vote and that combined should see her safe.

    • Woofie

      Good post Martin.
      Not sure about Saara’s support though.

      I do like this forum as it is an opportunity to share thoughts and for people to respectively challenge your views. Sometimes when you home in on a particular contestant’s treatment and position in the show you don’t always see the bigger picture so it is important to listen to other views and try to see things from different perspectives, particularly from those who have been commentators on this site for a long time.
      Experience is important. I’m new and learning, i appreciate everyone’s contributions.

    • Poker Coach

      It depends how we define commercial success. In Finland Saara tried to create her own cd’s but has never managed to get a single song to Finnish radio channels.

      However she has been a sought permorfer in gala evenings and concerts. She will definitely do her career with music and most likely also performing.

      However she might be a bad investment in mainstream music business. It costs at least a million euros to create a mainstream pop artist and with Saara that investment might be just lost for good.

      • EM

        X Factor is specifically designed to minimise that investment.

        The genius here is that ITV pay Simon Cowell a lot of money and then give him a platform to give new acts a launch and exposure

      • Martin

        It’s not to say I dislike her. She’s easily my favourite contestant left but trying to be objective, I think she’s great in the context of the show but she’s had none of the shout outs for a post show career that the other acts have. If she was a serious contender, you’d think they may have mentioned it.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Surely it all depends on catching the zeitgeist. Like Miley or Gaga she can sing anything and sing it well. The question is, I suppose, what would she choose to sing and will it (and will she) catch on with the public. I can’t see why not.

          Of course Syco can put people off with the marketing and overexposure sometimes, but that’s a different issue and not a rabbit hole there’s much point in going down.

  • Andy

    I going to put my neck on the line with a prediction that Saara will easily top tonight’s vote, she also topped last weeks vote. Full circle indeed, she has only been bottom 3 once in the last 5 weeks and that was not surprisingly with sound of the underground. Last nights 1st performance was absolutely stellar. I wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting on a sinister Red in the outright market. Can they or do they wish to bring her down, I doubt it.

  • Sagand

    The results opening has Louis saying Simon is in trouble. A real prediction or drumming up some last minute Emily votes?

  • Plinkiplonk

    O Dear – all in black & Red, all in trouble…

  • George

    1% between 3rd & 4th – 5AM/Emily?

  • stoney

    Thousand of Scots speed dialing the save line right about now

  • Sindi

    Whom did Busted name? Was it Saara and 5 am?

  • Alan

    When the dust settles on this series can we all agree to consign the red and black theory to the dustbin please?

  • Well, the market wasn’t calling that – they were expecting Saara to be there from what I saw.

    No money in a Honey exit at all.

  • 360

    Scottish vote holds up! Poor lass clearly thinks she’s been doing badly in the voting going by being left til last every week!

  • stoney

    Get in. A good ending to a bad saturday position

  • Piresistable

    In case no one has already said this, “Honey Trapped” is my headline prediction.

  • Alan

    That bottom 2 was 4.5 when i first looked last night and about 2.1 when I looked this afternoon. Gutted I didnt take the 4.5.

  • Rose L

    So they couldn’t protect 5AM from a sing off despite their very best efforts; now they get bounced into the final, I guess – probably the safest way to get them there.

    • Fudd

      They didn’t try that hard with the Sorry/Drake mash up – little to no vocal support for much of the song, the song up in lights and a splash of colour vomit for good measure. The judges comments weren’t the most motivating either.

      • Rose L

        Yes, think that is fair comment. They were presumably intending to bounce them into the final by allowing them to slip into the sing off with the weakest potential opponent tonight rather than next.

        • Alan

          I doubt they were intending to do that, they were just sufficiently relaxed about it happening if it did. Ultimately they would rather have got them to the final unscathed.

          • Rose L

            In an ideal world, maybe – but bands are a hard sell on this show. I suspect it will have been clear that they were slipping down towards the danger zone before tonight – hence all the mad pimping and the recent times where they were praised to high heaven for distinctly less than brilliant performances. I do agree with Fudd that the second song last night didn’t seem to show the producers trying as hard to make it work. If it looked like 5AM weren’t going to dodge the bullet longer term, then why not try to engineer the right week for them to fail?

          • Alan

            Yes I totally agree. I think they knew they’d have to save them at some point and if it had to be this week against Honey G so be it. The problem they’ve got now is that they will probably have to save them again next week.

  • 360

    “Honey Gone” was my shout (for our next headline)

  • Wkrs

    Honey Shot?

    I could be wrong think we’re going to see DEADLOCK…

    • stoney

      Absolutely no chance whatsoever
      We already know one of the acts was 1%away from being safe. Thats is obviously honey g
      There is no point in deadlock
      They will damage 5am by doing that

  • Plinkiplonk

    ‘Hitting the ‘G’spot’ ? I’ll get my coat…

  • EM

    The Honeymoon is over

  • GsP

    I don’t think 5AM will bounce. I think they’ll be bottom 2 next week with Emily (and be kept again).

    Not a coincidence the guests are now shouting out Saara.

  • Sindi

    5 am shock exit? That’s why they’ve been going on about their career this weekend? Well maybe not…

  • That’s gonna hurt the bookies if they do. Honey G reprising California Love. Dead girl walking.

  • Rose L

    Oh my god I have this weeeeeird sense of deja vu! H-O-N-E-Y-OH-NO

  • Piresistable

    In case you were in doubt about 5AM, they really are rubbish.

  • EM

    So all those comments about the best singers going through in a sing off….

  • DannyCraig

    5am now singing a ballad?
    Honey G had backing vocals on her track?

  • Fudd

    Honey Leave?

    That was a better attempt than last week – not that that’s saying much!

    The three confirmed semi finalists seem far more supportive of the group than Honey G!

    Interesting both Busted and Clean Bandit indicated that they both liked Saara. 5 After Midnight also got a shout out from Busted which is another reason why I think they’ll be safe tonight.

  • Phil

    Definite end of journey for Honey. They’ve let her go out on a high with that performance.

  • Plinkiplonk

    They are really atrocious. And they have background singers even for the sing off…

  • Jessica Hamby

    The dreadlock lad is the vocal weak link. How could the people who put the band together not hear it? Mind you, he’s got the most personality so swings and roundabouts I suppose…..

  • annie

    wow, they can try to push 5AM as much as they like, but this sounds like cats strangled.

  • Fudd

    So were 5 After Midnight bottom or did they want to emphasise the result?

  • Alan

    Half the acts in the charts cant sing. Did anyone hear Busted???

  • Jessica Hamby

    She did what she had to do and she went with dignity. Given her history I hope she’s got what she needed from that. Bless ya hun.

  • Woofie

    I think it’s going to be 5AM vs Emily for the final 3rd place.

  • EM

    “Did you get a boy band?”

    “Yes Simon”

    “Do they look the part?”

    “Yes Simon”

    “Are they urban and cool?”

    “Yes Simon”

    “Can they dance?”

    “Yes Simon”

    “Will the girls love them?”

    “Yes Simon”

    “And obviously they can sing right?”

    “…erm”

  • DannyCraig

    Saara at 9/4? Too short for me.
    Emily still 8/1 after avoiding bottom 2?

  • Poker Coach

    Now put your money on Matt.

    Her competition is as weak as it can be! Saara has been ridiculed from start to keep her vote low. That has definitely not been the treatment of the chosen one.

    I cannot see Saara beating Matt in a final. This is best possible plan to make Matt Sycos next cash cow while keeping the shows dignity.

    I would bet Matt now for only 1.5 and I am getting 1.75 🙂

  • Woofie

    I think they will go for the bounce for 5AM but not sure if they get out of the B2.

    It interesting that Matt and Rylan on Xtra Factor last week asked Matt Terry and 5AM for one word out of their winners recorded single, Matt said “cheer” and 5AM said “Christmas”. I’m not sure if Christmas would suit them but they seem to want that theme.

    Song choices will be interesting. I think the theme suits Saara the best.

    After the B2 appearance I think the best they can hope for is 3rd place with full on producer support.

    • Sagand

      With only 1% between safety this week 5AM should move ahead of whoever was third this week (most likely Emily) and I could see them deadlocking an Emily/5AM singoff to keep 5AM.

  • Curtis

    If Saara wins it would be something totally unprecedented in X Factor history. From bottom 2 in weeks 1 AND 2 (not to mention 5) to winner? Yes, this is a trajectory that has never been seen before. It’s one I would only be confident in backing if I were truly convinced the producers were desperate for it, which at the moment I’m not.

    If just looking at voting performances, then clearly Emily’s odds should be shorter than Saara’s, but one has to use their intuition. The Scottish vote will get her so far but unless she finds something outstanding she is not the kind of person who wins the final. In all likelihood it was probably her who was just 1% above the bottom 2 this weekend with two pretty forgettable performances last night.

    The winner is usually the most middle-of-the-road player. The one who not only captures the votes of teenage girls, but also the housewives of Middle England. The one who sings decently well but most importantly is a very “safe” person, won’t ruffle any feathers. The one who is modern but not too modern. I’m going to need more evidence before I bet against Haenow Mk II

    • It has happened once before to my memory on XF Australia. Samantha Jade had a similar trajectory to Saara, struggling with the public and coming in the bottom 2 in weeks 1, 5 & 7 before picking up momentum to the final. So its rare, but it can be done- I still think Matt will win fairly comfortably, but when ratings drop the results become far more unpredictable (a la The Voice UK)

    • Poker Coach

      Totally agree.

      One of the best posts here.

  • stoney

    1 interesting thought. Matt with 0 pimp spots and 0 name checks from star performers. 1 possible reason is because he is hoovering up votes so easy and we know tptb have been prioritising a close contest for a while now. 5am are way infront on celebrity name checks and even picked up another one tonight. We know know this was/has been because they needed the support for votes. Are they now giving saara the same help and pushing her as the best chance of creating a close competition in the final 2.
    I agree with poker coach that now is the time to take advantage of the longer odds for matt

    • Poker Coach

      Exactly.

      I am huge Saara fan but now I did bet against her. Of course she won’t have 25% chance for winning the show. Maximum 15%, but more likely between 5-15%.

      They still need to get 5AM once through. When 5 AM will be out Matt is the one who is getting their votes (teenage girls).

      Right odds for Matt would be between 1.25 and 1.5 at the moment.

      • Woofie

        Yes we as I am sure they do need to consider how the vote transfers will work. Who picks up Honey G’s? Her supporters are in the entertainers camp. The thing with Saara she plays to both vocalists and the entertainers camp. I said Honey G’s could be pulled to 5AM but after being in the same sing off I’m not sure.

    • George

      Either he’s hoovering up votes or they simply don’t care much about him while accepting his almost-inevitability.

      My own interpretation is that he’s getting enough votes to be the most likely winner at this point but I don’t think he’s been running away with it. He was very anonymous last night.

  • DGiles

    What would be the equivalent of the finnish embassy visit for Emily?
    Afternoon tea with Nigel Farage and a birth certificate showing she was actually born in Kent?

  • Woofie

    I don’t think name checks are used as a serious motivator for voters.

    Matt’s treatment this week and last week felt more like restraining/keeping a lid on his vote appealing to his core support. It will be interesting to see what the voting figures are at this stage against the treatments last.

    Be interesting to see how much Saara’s vote changed after those performances. Even though Matt and Emily have not had a B2 appearance the momentum is with her, particularly helpful the name checks to cement her as a possible winner in the eyes of audience.

    Of course in this show it could all change next week. Song choices will be interesting if we can keep confirmation bias to a minimum.

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