X Factor 2016 Week 9 Post-Mortem: Middle Missed

I met Emily in the run-up to week 6, when Ryan’s VT was filmed in a pub near where I live. I didn’t tell her who I was, or apologise for jinxing her by tipping her to win in our speculative 1-12 prediction. Sorry, Emily!

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I did ask her whether she was going to go uptempo for disco week, and her pained expression was an immediate answer. We’ve wondered, since then, whether Simon resisting the constant calls from the other judges for Emily to be allowed out of her box was part of some master plan that would eventually get a payoff. Nope – they were just slowly suffocating her.

Matt went through to the final by majority vote, Dermot having carefully reminded Sharon that she had to say who she was sending through. Now we have the first ever final where every act has been in the bottom two. It’s the most open final I can remember, not least in terms of uncertainty about producers’ intentions. They’ve blown hot and cold on all three of the finalists, to a greater degree than usual, at various points of the series.

We’ll be back during the week with our now-traditional pieces assessing the journeys each act has taken to the final. The title of Emily’s, had she made it, would have recalled the damning epithet Sharon bestowed on her after that Disco week dirge: “from Sassy Scot to ‘Debbie Downer’”.

As ever, do keep the conversation going below.

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293 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 9 Post-Mortem: Middle Missed

  • Martin

    Eagerly anticipating the journey articles – particularly Saara’s. I can’t remember such a turnaround on any contestant, or such an unlikely finalist – Reggie N Bollie and Amelia Lily included.

    I’m expecting a demolition job on Matt. Crazy unsuitable, Candy/Valerie-esque horrid staging. It seems likely that he’d duet with Nicole, but would they dare fob him off with Rod Stewart?!

    All Saara needs to be is Finnish to the max and even more novelty than usual. Should clear the path for 5AM.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Helsinki tomorrow and already comments from Sharon on Xtra Factor about a woman saying she can’t win because she’s foreign. Could get ugly. Still, at least my each way is in.

      • Dean

        I am very sceptical about the whole Helsinki visit and Finnish stuff. This will be very interesting. This is the most open final I can remember and a slight nudge from production one way or the other could hand the winner.

        Still think Matt has a shot Stoney and his fan base will be in full force next week.

        • Stoney

          His fan base isn’t as big as I thought iit would be. And tptb will continue the damage with his song choices. I wouldn’t be surprised if his song of the series was the wham song.
          Too be honest im just happy I’ve got him in the final to watch next Saturday at Wembley. Would have been a damp squib going to the final with no financial interest

        • Jessica Hamby

          Sceptical in what way? Do you think it’s positive, negative or neutral? I think it has to be presented very carefully or it can become a big negative. That most of the dialogue in Saara’s embassy visit was in english was a big plus for her, in my opinion. I doubt it will be the same in Helsinki.

          • Dean

            I guess this is my point. Like the embassy depending how producers spin it Finland could be a huge positive or a huge negative.

            I do notice the order the buses left in though.

            Matt first meaning third?
            5am 2nd
            Saara last meaning the winner

            Obviously means sod all probably.

        • Dana

          It had to be Finland really as the others will no doubt be reuniting with old friends/family/teachers etc.

        • Dean

          Maybe they dumped on Matt yestetday to get him in the sing off with Emily yo make a great last show at fountain and also to make it the most open final ever. Something they gave been shouting out for since like week 4 as the most open contest ever when we didn’t believe them.

          Yet production favour next week could see Matt win it

          • Martin

            Production favour for any one of them could win it. Maybe the ratings has been plan A all along, which would make the most sense of this series than them favouring any particular contestant.

          • stoney

            I’m all for being hopefull but they aren’t about to start giving matt any help in the final

          • Jessica Hamby

            What Stoney said. If they wanted a Matt win, he wouldn’t have been b2. Even for him to be second will require divine intervention.

  • Emily seemed defeated throughout last night’s live show and the results. I think that she’s known that her ticket was market at Disco Week and it was simply a game of seeing when her expiration date was.

    Folks complained about her not going uptempo but I see why Simon never went that route.Let’s be clear: Her voice wouldn’t have held up on an uptempo big-production number. She simply lacked the technique and breath support to pull off a big production. Her getting sick halfway through the live shows definitely didn’t help.

    Her voice also may not have held up through three songs next week so this is good.

  • Dean

    Right now it’s all up in the air. Usually the sing off save goes out first in the final since I can remember, but this year seems to be a first and I think Matt will be at least runner up.

  • annie

    Hah, Daniel, at first I was gonna compliment to he brilliant photoshop job:) It´s a nice photo. 🙂

    watching emily´s recap (and recently re-watching her 2014 journey) I feel that for whatever reason they completely drained her from all the things that were so appealing about her. Her quirky, fun style, her guitar… One or two john-lewised performances would have been ok, but to me she shone best in the first week performance (closer) and week 8 (human), that had some sort or energy in them.
    It´ a headscratcher why things panned out in a such a way, why production turned heir back on her.

    I was utterly bored this season…. and feel no desire whatsoever to watch the final. I actually only read sobabet most of the time and subsequently watched the clips that you guys raised my interest in :)))

    • Edie M

      When they played her best bits and showed her early auditions it just reminded me how they’ve managed to totally drain the life & youth out of her.

      • Jessica Hamby

        She’s not the same person she was when she started, that’s for sure. I’m reminded of a quote I saw from Abi Alton about the X Factor. “Glad I took part. Glad it’s over.”

  • Dean

    Just from interest Daniel I was bought up in Camden and the fiddlers was a pub I went to occasionally. Not my out and out local that was the sir robert peel just a stone throw away.

    Now reside up near Muswell Hill though.

  • Scott

    Going to Finland for a homecoming does not strike me as good news for Saara. It’s the most obvious thing to do, but they could easily have got her to adopt London as her home and showed people in the UK accepting her. I’ll be intrigued how they present this.

    Saara is still most likely, but 5AM have been namechecked by almost every single celebrity – that could easily be reprised in a VT. I would not rule them out for the win either.

    And that leaves Matt, who seemed the most likely and the safest all-rounder, but seems to have massively fallen out of favour.

    Fair play to the producers, they’ve made this a final that’s difficult to call.

    • Sindi

      The Helsinki homecoming is going to be huge, much better material than they would have got shooting it in London. Also the season gives opportunities to make it extra cosy. It’s only that I feel for Saara as she has it tomorrow already, what a week for her.

      • HL

        Think again. Saara is really huge in Finland right now thanks to this show and she cannot control the public. There are going to be thousands and thousands of people waving Finnish flags and shouting things in Finnish.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Their best hope is to use the radio and newspapers to ask Finns to bring Union Jack flags along with their Finnish flags to make it look like a joint celebration.

          Probably too late for that, if they even think of it.

          • HL

            They could not stop people even if they wanted to. Tomorrow is the Indepencence Day of Finland. Lots of people have taken this day off. Any concert today is seen as part of the festivities.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Oh boy!!!! This is going to be insane. I’m going to watch it online if I can. I will post any link I find.

        • Sindi

          For weeks people have been saying that mentioning Finland is a problem but she’s got this far. The embassy was made a huge deal of and it turned out just fine. A London homecoming would have been ridiculous.

          • Jessica Hamby

            They spoke predominantly in english at the embassy. Are they going to do that at the concert?

            People can be very tribal and it is not difficult to encourage the tribalism in them.

  • Ben Cook

    I think people need to get over the Finland thing. People who would be put off voting for a foreigner weren’t going to vote for one regardless of how big a deal they make of it. They’ve made a pretty big deal about it so far and it’s quite likely she’s now topped the vote two weeks running.

    I wonder if the dramatic u-turn they’ve done on Matt these last 2 weeks is partly because they’ve only just realised he actually isn’t very good. He sounded awful again tonight. There’s no way he’s going to have a successful recording career.

    • EM

      That would make sense but sadly they ended up with four semi finalists who either don’t sound very good or ain’t got much chance at a successful career!!!!

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s presentation. People can be very tribal and that tribalism can be encouraged or discouraged. They can put you in the in-group or the out-group very easily. The struture of the show, with the judge/mentor role and introductory videotapes, is a great set-up for guiding the audience response to a given performance. Also add to that the control over the song choice, staging, lighting, costume and camera work and they have a lot of tools at their disposal.

      Of course when you can sing as well as Saara you have a tremendous weapon to fight back with, and given the poor vocals from 5AM (and Matt at the moment) and she’s never out of the running. But they can do a lot to put her in the out-group if they want to.

      • George

        Putting the genie back in the bottle is always harder. If Saara was comfortably ahead of Matt this week, they’re going to have to do a hell of a lot of ramping and deramping next week to get Matt ahead. And I’m not sure if they’d be willing to compromise the quality of the final when the ratings situation is so delicate.

        • Jessica Hamby

          That’s very true. And if they’re looking for a big name duet I’m sure most of them would rather partner Saara than Matt. I’m going to be a bit edgy until it’s over though. There’s a lot of difference between 16/1 (each way) and 80/1 (for the win).

        • Jessica Hamby

          But they might try to get a 5AM win. The “cast of thousands” backing track will be worn out by the end of the show on Sunday.

          My main hope is that Syco see the same potential of Saara in the Far East as I do. I still think her going to China and Japan and singing in mandarin and japanese could make her one of the most marketable acts on the planet. They have huge shows over there so they already have a platform and if they want to do it, introducing her as the winner of X Factor UK is the way to do it.

  • Stuart

    The details of each of the finalist’s shows are now on the X Factor website. Interestingly, Matt’s venue is still TBC. If he was a shoe in for the final as we’ve assumed for weeks, why wouldn’t they have his venue confirmed by now?

  • George

    It’s so hard to get a sense of Saara’s support on social media because of the Finnish fans.

    If I had the time/no life I’d crawl through the names and work out how many were Finnish!

  • 360

    I began writing this comment in the previous thread, but a phone call interrupted me: I am finding myself to be struggling with the show more than ever this year, and a large part of that is 5 After Midnight.

    It just boggles me that an act where two thirds of the group literally mime the songs every week can be allowed. I understand that smoke and mirrors is what the show runs on, along with overblown praise, manipulation in the form of guest performers suspiciously endorsing produer-favoured acts week on week, and ludicrous cherry-picking, but I am just finding it uncomfortable this year.

    It has become, as I think Jessica said a few weeks ago, scripted reality TV where the contestants are unwilling, unaware participants. I find that really, really offputting as a premise.

    After the outcry on BGT a few years ago when the woman’s dog act used a substitute dog without telling the audience, so that the show seemed much more impressive than it actually was, I would have thought the public would be more up in arms about this kind of thing, but apparently not. Apparently it’s A-OK to have a ‘group’ composed of a solo singer and two backing dancers who sing the occasional “oo” and “doo-wap” and mime the words of the rest of the song?

    Anyway. That’s one reason. Producer intention has been another one that’s been difficult to follow this series, as the trajectories of Saara, Matt, Emily, and Honey have shown – and to a lesser extent, Ryan, Gifty, and Relley – who, for an early-exiteer, got really a ridiculous amount of praise in the first few weeks, even being name-checked by guests and judges as one to go far.

    All in all it’s resulted in me not really watching the show any more. The awareness and sadness on the faces of the acts as they become aware of their treatment has put a big ole dampener on what was once entertaining and fun Saturday night family fare. I wonder how many other past viewers this is true for.

    • fused

      “Apparently it’s A-OK to have a ‘group’ composed of a solo singer and two backing dancers who sing the occasional “oo” and “doo-wap” and mime the words of the rest of the song?”

      The thing is though, it’s acceptable for that to happen in the pop charts anyway. Look at Nicole Scherzinger. She became famous as part of The Pussycat Dolls, a girlgroup of 6 women where Nicole Scherzinger sang all the lead AND most of the background vocals!

      It’s nothing new either. Wham was technically a duo, but was really just George Michael. Then there’s Boney M where some of the group didn’t sing anything, or Milli Vanilli where neither of them sung anything.

      • Scott

        To be honest, the best boy/girl bands are the ones where there’s a dominant lead singer. The worst performances in X Factor history have predominantly come from groups where everyone sings at the same time.

        I am beginning to fear a 5AM win. Saara’s foreign-ness, and whether Matt can recover from being comprehensively thrown under the bus last week, could be too damaging. Dare I say it, I’m relying on middle England to avoid it – because Matt and Saara are much more conventional winners for them.

  • GsP

    Disappointed they didn’t give Saara a London homecoming. They don’t want her to win I don’t think.

    Hopefully she preps some excellent reaction answers. Her two on Saturday were brilliant, but she need to be ready with a line about how it was great to perform in Finland but it’s even better to be back here because she loves the UK and it’s her real home now.

    I reckon she won this week though.

  • India Marie

    1. People have compared this to 2008, with Saara becoming the where-did-she-come-from winner.

    2. Was the bus thing necessary? Saara’s had too many people!

  • Stoney

    Everything depends on how close 5am got to the top. I can’t believe they managed to bounce them in to the top 2. But all the signs point towards them being the preferred winners. I think they will finish 3rd. But that will probably change when song choices are revealed

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t know. Matt’s confidence is shot and Writing’s On The Wall seems a very long time ago. Is a week long enough for him to get his mojo back?

      Who is helping him? It doesn’t seem like anyone is at the moment because his sing-off performance had similar problems to his second song last night.

  • Sindi

    I’m surprised Matt’s fanbase couldn’t keep him safe. If I heard correctly, he was off-key tonight. Nerves? I have to give it to the producers that the final seems more exiting now that we know Matt is not ahead of the others.

    Emily is one strong 18-year-old. Despite all she’s suffered her interviews have been brilliant all the time, very unaffected. I have to say I’m relieved she gets to go home and get better. It was too many weeks of voice straining, but the public (Scotland?) were behind her, so what do you do. She might well get a career, she’s a kind of girl people get attached to, but I don’t think Simon will sign her.

    I think their priority next weekend is going to be the quality of the show, because of the ratings. I hope. Still expecting Matt and Saara to be the last ones standing as it would make better TV. Matt needs to up his game though or this might not happen. I don’t know which is his main problem, nerves or strained voice. Nerves can be singer’s worst enemy as your body is your instrument.

  • Alan

    I cant see anyone suffering a major deramp next week. Its the final and they will want to make it look as fair as possible to the casual XF viewer.

    Also the show has got the finalists it wanted. They will be relatively relaxed about any of them winning the show. If they had been desperate to avoid any of them winning they had their chances to dump them.

    Its mission accomplished with 5AM. They have followed the JLS / One Direction trajectory into the final and will no doubt be signed (sealed, delivered) to Syco. They dont really need to win the show but will obviously be given every help with the post-show career in mind. I still think they are likely to finish 3rd though.

    Saara Vs Matt is a tricky one to call. I dont think TPTB think either will be particularly successful artists on Syco so tend to think they’ll push for Saara as the best entertainer and “feelgood” winner in this year of the underdog.

    • stoney

      No one will get an obvious deramp in the final. The judges generally get behind all the finalists every year. The deramping/ramping will come with song choices and vts

      • Jessica Hamby

        Let’s not forget duet partners too. Rod Stewart refused to even rehearse with Che and iirc walked off at the end of their duet without even looking at him or shaking his hand. He only agreed to do it so he could get a spot to promote his new record.

        Meanwhile Alexandra Burke got Beyonce when the others got Boyzone and Westlife. They might as well have both been given the same act.

        Craig David was intended as a deramp for Reggie & Bollie last year. He was pretty much the only act they could get and was a laughing stock at the time because of Bo Selecta. They just hadn’t taken into account that Craig had never given up on the music biz and was still working and singing and took his chance with both hands to re-ignite his career.

        Nicholas MacDonald was given Candy. Not only is it just a horrible song in every possible way, if there was one person in the world you would say that song doesn’t suit, that person is Nicholas MacDonald.

        The judges don’t criticise the way they do at other stages of the competition but every other option for deramping is still available to them, from staging to song arrangement to VT. Look at the “winner’s song” they gave to Reggie & Bollie last year. It was bad enough when Louisa did it but the only possible explanation for it is that they chose it to hammer the last nails in the coffin containing Reggie & Bollie’s hopes.

        They deramp in the final. Don’t be under any illusions about that.

        • stoney

          Another sneaky tactic which they used against marcus collins is to get the act they want to deramp to sing there song of the series that has actually been one of their poorest songs in the voting

      • You know they sell CANDY at Wembley arena, stoney? It’s really expensive though.

  • If this was the US, they’d just give the chosen one a Jesus song. No lie, a Voice US contestant went to #1 last week on iTunes with a song called “Jesus and Me”.

    Maybe a rousing version of “God Save the Queen”?

    • Scott

      Lest we forget that shadow dance troupe act who, in a bid to confirm their middle England credentials, did a performance in the final that at times felt like it was bordering into a UKIP rally.

  • Tom H

    Firstly, I would like to say that Daniel, you are looking stunning there and if you are in the market for a new romantic interest, I am right here…

    But back to X Factor! I thought Emily was at her very best in the sing-off with Wings and I hope that will help her get a major label deal. I also hope Simon will sign Caitlyn Vanbeck rather than make her audition again next year, because it would be so unnecessary and repetitive for the brand.

    As for this year’s winner, it will come down to song choice and overall treatment next weekend. We have seen them all suffer with bad hands. Amazingly, I think Saara might have it.

  • Curtis

    I don’t think 5AM can win. I simply don’t think their appeal is broad enough to win the X Factor final. They are not Little Mix – not even close. It’s a straight shootout between Matt and Saara for me, and everything depends on their treatment on the night. Saara should go in as favourite.

  • I understand YLE are screening the final next weekend to Finnish viewers, which may have something to do with the Helsinki thing.

    Are they sending a commentator, Eurovision style, or are they just going to take the whole thing in English?

    • Saara is also a MASSIVE star already in Finland. This gig will be huge.

      Any of our continental Sofabetters going?

      • GsP

        She’s really not. Her Finnish recording career is even less successful than Kieran from 5AMs was here in the UK.

        She’s well known amongst Eurovision fans, on the LGBT+ circuit etc but she’s not mainstream in Finland at all any more than any beaten finalist in these shows is here in the UK.

        • HL

          She really is a massive celeb right now in Finland, but it is only thanks to the XF. Her ugly duckling storyline has been a great source of income to the tabloids. The gig will fill the whole Senate Square, no doubt. Although it is already filled by the annual St Thomas Christmas Market so I don’t know what they have been thinking:
          https://goo.gl/images/7zSiyp

          (There is no snow right now in Helsinki, but apart from that the Senate Square will probably look like this.)

          • GsP

            She’s performing on the steps and it’s a totally open event. If it’s busy, then they could make it look quite spectacular with wide, high shots – it’s a stunning backdrop, and the Christmas market is really excellent and beautifully done.

            I hope some people are wise enough to bring some Union Jacks but I don’t know where they would lay their hands on them.

            I actually don’t think the playing up her Finnish thing is necessarily bad. It’s always been a big deal, she’s been clear she’s moving here, there would be huge headlines (both positive and negative) from an openly gay EU-national winning in the year of Brexit.

            I think that if it’s busy, then even if it’s very Finland centric it may come across that she’s a ‘star’ – they are having a big welcome at the airport too (fans, paparazzi, media cameras and journalists), with the potential to cross-over into other markets.

            The embassy visit was absolutely brilliant. Really well done, and Saara’s off the cuff “and I believe in YOU” to Santa was gold.

            One thing Saara has as a possible advantage is experience of how these shows work. So whilst she’s not in her home tongue, she might have just about enough awareness to avoid any majorly obvious pitfalls (some things she has no control over of course).

    • Dendrite

      It is on Sub, actually (one of the three commercial channels of the MTV Corporation). The final will likely be done in the same way as the semi, i.e., just the live feed without any subtitles or commentary.

      I shall probably need to make a minor detour through the city center tonight as this will surely be the last opportunity to see Saara performing in Finland for a while.

  • Dana

    The voters always go for the voice in the final. I think 5am are too niche and too overshadowed by Matt and Saara in the vocal department to win. It’s been a weird year though, so who knows? All the money will be ploughed into their career anyway, assuming they can go 6 months without splitting up.

  • stoney

    If anyone finds a site offering a forecast let me know. Can’t seem to find it. Nothing on betfair

  • David Cook

    Well done to Emily as she was a model of diplomacy tonight. I think she almost had to go this week as it’s become clear that her voice is getting worse rather than better and I doubt she could have done herself justice if she’d made it through.
    Despite being kept so firmly in her lane at least she got a couple of opportunities to shine with Creep and IMO even more so with Human. Wings really suited her too, it’s just unfortunate the her voice wasn’t really up to it tonight. It wouldn’t have affected the outcome anyway.

  • Curtis

    Duets are an interesting thought. I see people mentioned Robbie Williams above for Matt – that seems quite likely. Other possibilities are Nicole Scherzinger of course (although her win record with duets might scare them!) or they could Andrea him by giving him an X Factor alumni. Louisa Johnson for example would be a sign of a pretty big deramp!

    5AM and Saara are harder to think about, because I’m expecting producers to give them as much help as possible, surely meaning the best possible duets – but that will all depend on which stars are both willing and able to do it. And to be honest, these duets have not really attracted the names they used to in recent years, so it might be hard. Would they dare but would they dare have Nicole duet with Saara? Because you could see that working. Would they do it if she at least also did it with Matt?

    • Jessica Hamby

      For me the Robbie Williams mention not meant to be taken seriously. Having said that, One Direction got Robbie Williams back in 2010 (the year Matt Cardle got Rhianna, Rebecca Ferguson got Xtina and Cher Lloyd got Will. I. Am.). I wonder what happened to them.

  • Did anyone else notice on Xtra Factor that Simon said Saara will be going back to being “Crazy” next week at the final? And he suggested Matt should (or will) reprise his week 1 song and that 5 After Midnight should sing Earth Wind & Fire from week 6.

    No Winner Takes It All for Saara? It’s worth remembering also that only the last two get to perform their “Song of the series”.

    • Curtis

      Oh really? That doesn’t sound promising for Saara. She should at least combine crazy with a big booming ballad (and she should clearly reprise The Winner Takes It All for song of the series). Before I would’ve said she’s in the final to be crazy and provide entertainment, but after the pimping she has received the last 2 weeks I just can’t imagine they don’t want her to win it – and they know that crazy is not how to get that done!

    • David Cook

      Nicole picked Kate Bush seemingly out of thin air on Saturday. Maybe we are going to get Wuthering Heights. It doesn’t get much more crazy than that. Saara’s version is – well it’s very nearly Kate Bush – but would it get the votes?

    • Ben Cook

      Well he said that’s what she would be doing if he was mentoring her

  • Dana

    Looking at previous voting patterns, things seem to be very static between the semi final and the final. Think the only difference was Alexandra and JLS swapping places back in Series 5. Other than that the top 3 has been identical in semi final and final.

  • DGiles

    While the producers motives have been obvious in hindsight each week this series, the last few weeks have been very difficult to predict beforehand based on song choices, previous weeks treatment etc…

    The one exception is Saara in week 5 (that Japanese Sound of the Underground mess). I still really really don’t understand why they deramped her to such an extreme that week.

  • Tim B

    Guests on Xtra Factor tonight were asked who they want to win;

    Katie Price couldn’t decide between Matt Terry and 5 After Midnight.
    Dumb woman from TOWIE said Matt Terry
    Charlie XCX said 5 After Midnight
    Sam Bailey said 5 After Midnight
    Reggie N Bollie wouldn’t say.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It was interesting that Dermot didn’t ask either guest on the main show whom they wanted to win. Can’t help thinking that that if Gaga and Zara had seen any of the show they’d be picking Saara Aalto.

      The more I think about it the more I think they’re going to push 5AM for the win.

  • Sagand

    Is the theme for the first song next week the 80s? Or was that just an extra theme on the wheel?

  • EM

    Fascinating final then eh?

    The reveal order felt telling last night. Announce 5AM safe first, make em look like winners and keep the tension going with Saara Matt and Emily as the last three with Saara being the biggest doubt given her past bottom two appearances.

    If it was sport we’d say Saara is the form finalist with the best recent results but overall she’s bottom in head to heads that we know for sure but it’s likely she beat Matt and 5am last week and certainly beat Matt this week.

    We can stand by for a week of speculation but that’s proved very difficult this year when it comes to picking a winner.

    Good luck all!

    • Curtis

      I thought 5AM were first to be called not to make them look like winners, but because it was a bit of a surprise, and meant that one of Matt and Saara were in the bottom 2. Reggie ‘n’ Bollie were called first before Louisa in the semis last year, for example.

      It’s an incredibly tough final to call – for me 100% the toughest in a long, long time. You could come up with any forecast of first/second/third and it would seem pretty reasonable at this stage. Hopefully as the week goes along clues will be left as to where this is going – although until the show happens I don’t think we’ll be quite sure!

  • stoney

    I see matts odds have done their usual overc night turn around and he’s come back in to the 7/4 mark. The only way he has a chance at this point is if they do a complete u turn on the treatment of the last few weeks and throw their weight behind him. His support has crumbled. I just can’t see it happening now

    • EM

      Taking advantage of Matt’s odds fluctuating last night was my smartest move of the series.

      Apart from that I’ve had little to write home about!

      • stoney

        Youve put more on him to win?

        • EM

          Put on at his longest odds pre sing off and opposed once he inevitably shortened after he went through.

          Can’t call the result though.

          Evidence says Saara but it’s too tight so producer manipulation will have an effect

          • stoney

            He is closing back in on Saara on betfair. I haven’t cashed out just yet as i think he will shorten as the week goes by. I will wait for song choices to come out. I guess if Im being hopeful any new viewers that tune in for the final could be likely to vote for the middle england choice.

          • EM

            If there’s any solace for you it’s his treatment in the recap last night and the fact we went through with full judge endorsement rather than deadlock.

            He is the most commercially viable but that doesn’t mean much.

          • stoney

            I doubt many people actually vote on the basis of what’s shown in the Sunday show, especially app voting.
            I think they just didnt feel the need to gun for him anymore as they had him in the bottom 2.
            The thing that flags red for me was no vote snippet from Dermot meaning it may not have been that tight at the bottom or the top

          • EM

            I meant more the recap *could* suggest they have no more negative intentions.

          • stoney

            Just had a look on betfair. Saara and 5am drifting across the board, matt shortening. Crazy stuff

          • Jessica Hamby

            Most commerically viable? Why do you say that?

            5AM are the most contemporary with their urban styling and r&b twist. Saara can sing in mandarin and japanese so can tap into markets there. Also her nationality alone makes her stand out and is a USP.

            Matt seems to be another cookie-cutter X Factor winner – reasonably good looking, nice voice with a good falsetto, release one poorly received album, dropped after a year and then disappear.

          • EM

            I said most commercially vibale.

            Groups are most difficult to get off the ground, they’re not lookers and don’t have any distinction.

            Saara is too stage school musical to be a global pop star and winning X factor U.K. Isn’t going to launch any career in china

          • Jessica Hamby

            The China’s Got Talent franchise has 400 million viewers. She kind of has a headstart if they put her on as UK X Factor winner. In my opinion it’s at least as likely as Matt doing anything in the UK chart. His future is more likely to be theatre than hers.

          • EM

            What’s her background in singing in Chinese.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Just had a look on betfair. Saara and 5am drifting across the board, matt shortening. Crazy stuff

            Didn’t any of them look at his face? I can’t remember when I saw a contestant look so miserable. Bambi was happier after his mother got shot.

          • stoney

            I meant to say odds checker

          • Jessica Hamby

            What’s her background in singing in Chinese.

            She’s done a whole album in chinese. I think she’s pretty fluent so she can also do interviews in the language and she can be guaranteed to act with decorum and respect the local customs. She’s not going to do a James Arthur and disgrace herself or the brand.

            https://youtu.be/fmNjnfjRdBo

            https://youtu.be/MbPDqwgu5gg

            If tptb haven’t worked this out yet someone needs to bang their heads together. She has the potential to be human gold.

            She can sing in 15 languages and also speaks a whole bunch of them.

            https://youtu.be/aljmNEGWzrs

          • Stu

            Spot on Jess re: commercial viability. I don’t see how groups are the most difficult to get off the ground, EM? G4, JLS, ONE DIRECTION, Union J, Little Mix…. Compare that to solo male acts – Olly Murs and (only recently) James Arthur. Bringing physical attractiveness into the equation is pointless – I personally consider 5AM to all be better looking than Matt. And I doubt James Arthur’s appearance was the main reason people invested in him…

            Matt is too cheesy and dated to realistically cut out a career as a pop star. He’s Joe McElderry 2.0.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I personally consider 5AM to all be better looking than Matt

            I might have a go on Jordan. Can’t say I’d be too bothered about Matt.

          • Anglia Chu

            So Saara has the international credentials that Syco has no idea how to handle?

  • Plinkiplonk

    Well,
    I have no idea where this is going next weekend, but the path there is relatively clear, hindsight being such a wonderful thing…

    Last year must have noticeably damaged the brand, despite all the buzz at the beginning, ratings are on a downward trajectory, with lots of programmes beating the X Factor on a regular basis. not just Strictly. I feel the Plan A this year was to turn this around, by creating excitement and suspense, hence the constant reminders of how close the vote is, and the engineering of a final where all acts had hit B2 at some stage.

    Interestingly, lost of people claimed that Matt was TCO from the start and that the finalists had been chosen on purpose to give him an easy journey. I actually cannot remember any out-and-out over the top ramping for him at any stage, not on the levels seen for Honey G and 5AM, and I believe the boys category was selected not to clear the path for Matt, but to ensure there was no Matt/Ben style MOR runaway winner. Also, Ryan was included purely because of Emily. Matt had positive feedback throughout, but some song choices that were clearly not helpful.
    If there was an act that (with one weeks exception) has constantly been given underved praise and producers’ help, it was 5AM. They are clearly earmarked for post-show investment a la 1D, but I fear they might turn out more like Fleur East…
    At this point, I think they are ok to go with whoever wins this, as there is now almost no difference in treatment after the final – they can easily have a winner that gets shoved on stage as an early Sunday show guest next year, while 5AM are being sent on a world tour with an army of backing singers.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Your argument provides a satisfactory explanation for a lot of things including why the line-up was so weak and why Gifty was pushed under the bus (we need a new phrase for this). Vote transfer from her to 5AM seems likely and tptb would know from the app if both acts were getting support from the same voters.

    • 360

      Additionally: Honey G has provided a convenient smokescreen to distract from how much help 5AM have been getting performance-wise relative to their comparative lack of ability. Huge productions that pale in comparison to the scope of and favouritism shown to a blatantly inferior act are easier to sneak by even active viewers like ourselves; never mind passive viewing audience members.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Very good point. All the attention she was getting completely overshadowed them and the early b2 made their position in the show look even more parlous. Everyone was looking at Honey G to the point some people here were suggesting she was nailed on for the final and even the win.

        That’s some quality misdirection.

  • Keen Observer

    http://www.tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/291980-poll-want-win-x-factor-2016-vote.html

    Early days but Saara miles clear. I’ve bet on X factor for probably 10 years and gone through the ups and downs of laying LM at triple figure odds during their victory year and the highs of Ben’s win when I backed him heavily against the stampede of Fleur money. I don’t say it lightly when I say I’m in disbelief at Matt’s odds of 6/4 right now!

    An act that has had early slots throughout the series alongside worsening treatment hits B2 in the semi and he’s approaching favouritism again for the final, as if the producers just got him in B2 as a power trip.

    Given Dermot’s snippets we can be fairly confident Saara won the QF and we know she was top two this week (most likely first given 5AM B2 week before). They could have easily deramped Saara this week and pimped Matt, but did the opposite. You don’t deramp your favoured act in the semi final! Yet we’re seeing Matt, who couldn’t even poll higher than 5AM, into 6/4 for the final.

    For those Matt backers on here I think you have a wonderful opportunity to get out of your Matt bets and possibly even take a profit on them. And for those clever folk who got on Saara at big prices I think you’re in a great position.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s interesting but I don’t think it means much for the result. They could yet get Craig David back to duet with 5AM with Sam Bailey for Saara (doing And I Am Telling You AGAIN – third time in four years should kill her off quite nicely) and Ben Haenow for Matt.

      And she can still go back to being Zara from abroad.

      • Keen Observer

        But why would they? They could in all likelihood have got her B2 with 5AM/Emily if they so wished this weekend but chose not to. It would be an extremely odd turn of events to see Matt pimped at the expense of Saara in the final. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen such a semi/final switch before? If I remember correctly, Ben didn’t get bad treatment in the semi a couple of years ago, he nailed the first song before being overshadowed by a sensational performance from Fleur.

        Fairly safe to assume super positivity over 5AM in the final, but seems the producers have made their bed now with the idea of Saara winning – I think she’s won the last two weeks and is a big favourite in the final.

        • Jessica Hamby

          But why would they?

          It makes perfect sense if they think they can push 5AM to the win. We’ll have to wait and see. They continued to push Fleur even after it must have been clear to them (although not to us) that she was a lost cause.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Let me add that I hope you are right. I backed Saara to win a while ago. Perhaps I’m being overly paranoid. However I have seen all sorts of manipulations on this show in order to influence the voters and get the particular result. If you don’t believe me, just look at this.

          https://youtu.be/lL–imNJzNA

  • Tina

    At least three Finnish news sites are showing live coverage of Saara arriving to Finland and also her gig tonight. At least Iltasanomat, YleAreena and Iltalehti. For anyone interested in watching.

    Expecting a big crowd there, sadly I live too far from Helsinki, would definately have gone.

  • GsP

    I think the producers have done a good job in going for show over post-show success. It has actually been an entertaining run I think. I know some might not agree but I’ve really enjoyed it and think the panel of judges actually worked quite well.

    Plus, it does genuinely feel open for the final. All have won weeks, all have been bottom 2. Any combination of the final 3 seems plausible.

    I don’t think we can underestimate just how damaging Reggie and Bollie’s winner’s song performance in last year’s final was for the show. It was toe curlingly bad, and undermined them as a fun act as well.

    I guess that’s why all 3 have different songs I believe? They can’t afford to have a single bad performance next week. I think it will be an amazing show, and they are fairly happy with however it turns out. We might get some dampener VTs, dodgy song choices etc…, but nothing massively obvious to the casual viewer I don’t suspect (last year’s final everyone picked up that it was ludicrous and clearly aimed at a Louisa win).

    Note Simons’ comments at start of the show on Saturday:

    “If you win this show AND YOU GET IT RIGHT it can change your life”.

    If someone they think is more viable finishes 2 or 3, they just pump the money that way, and let the winner fade out. No biggie, they still have another star for the franchise.

    The winner has to be the one for the best television. In terms of post-show success, they can direct resources at whoever else they want.

  • stoney

    I absolutely agree with the consensus that having finished 3rd in the semi its a bad position for matt. Most years as we know this would leave him no chance and a shoe in for 3rd. This however is not most years. Its the strangest series ever. The story about the producers being desperate for matt to win is one of the biggest non story ive ever seen. You would have to be watching this show for the 1st ever time to even be in with a half chance of believing that. Has any other act ever made the final without a single pimp spot in the previous rounds?

  • Natalie

    They’re preparing to bring Saara’s vote down. She’s off to Finland to visit her family this week so that will be prominent in the VTs at the final, I should think.

    • George

      Something about Finland is prominent in her VT every damn week.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I know I’ve said this already but the fact Dermot didn’t ask Lady Gaga or Zara Larsson who they supported was unusual too. Have that happened before? I would have bet the house that they would say Saara. I’m also willing to bet that is not the answer they wanted.

      • George

        I doubt either watched the show.

        • Jessica Hamby

          You’d be surprised. Come into a country the night before. In your hotel room. It makes sense to watch the show you’re about to appear on, especially if like Gaga you’ve been on it before and you expect to be asked who you like.

          You can rationalise it all away if you want but tbh you sound as if you think that the X Factor doesn’t manipulate the show’s outcomes. You’ll not find support for that view on this site.

          • George

            Not sure where you got that idea from. If I didn’t believe the show was manipulated I wouldn’t be on this website.

            But both Zara and Gaga are bigger than the usual names they’ve had on this year. Typically with more famous acts they tend to ask for advice as opposed to naming an act. I don’t think it’s just a weird correlation.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Well if you get that then you should also understand that single events don’t have much effect but an accumulation of events, a pattern, is usually indicative of an intention.

            So we have Sharon telling us a story about a woman who says Saara can’t win because she’s foreign, we have no endorsement from guest acts when usually they are asked for an endorsement every week, we have Saara saying she is moving here to say (a very provocative statement in the current climate and guaranteed to put off some voters) – (was she told to say it? Then you have the news stories about X Factor executives checking for “abuse of the voting process” by people supporting Saara (which can only have come from someone inside the X Factor).

            Now one can start to see a pattern of neglect of potential sources of support and an emphasis on othering and negatives.

            Two weeks ago Sharon called her Saara from London. Anyone think that a concert in one of Helsinki’s main squares the day before Independence Day is going to make her look like Saara from London?

            Of course it’s not guaranteed that they’re going to try to other her or make the visit a festival of Finnish nationalism and show it to an audience in the UK, but the potential is clearly there, they have a strong motivation (getting a win for 5AM) and if you want to win money you’d be foolish not to consider it.

          • George

            Most of that is you presuming a negative.

            Sharon telling us a story about a woman who says Saara can’t win because she’s foreign > Sympathy. Riles up an anti-xenophobia vote.

            We have Saara saying she is moving here to stay > We like people who come here, integrate and pay their own way. What she said was perfect.

            Then you have the news stories about X Factor executives checking for “abuse of the voting process” by people supporting Saara > That’s a red flag, but if it was released to cause maximum damage they would’ve waited until the day of the final ala Matt.

            Two weeks ago Sharon called her Saara from London. Anyone think that a concert in one of Helsinki’s main squares the day before Independence Day is going to make her look like Saara from London? > We know she’s Finnish and every act has to do a homecoming. Having it in Finland means she could get a huge crowd and look like a superstar.

            Now I’m not saying they’re definitely going to ramp or deramp her. Each of these things can easily be spun either way. But the truth is we won’t get a true glimpse of their intentions until the song choices are released, and won’t know for sure until Saturday.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Wotevs m8. I’m on her at 80/1 so it will be great for me if you’re right.

          • Edie M

            A lot of the Sunday performances are pre-recorded so it may be that they were recorded prior to the Saturday show and therefore it might not have made sense to ask them (and also bigger acts/acts from abroad are more likely to be asked for advice).
            More broadly, I’m on the fence about her treatment. Jess makes a convincing case aside from the guest acts (esp. as not sure whether Zara from Sweden supporting Saara from Finland would have been that helpful anyway). Precedent says filming her homecoming in Finland would be a mistake but who knows with this random season. I do think that a. Finland is seen as a white, non-threatening country (with regards to immigration) to most Britons (I’m just guessing though, as I’m pro-imm). Not as ‘other’ as even Italy (thinking of Andrea) as it’s Northern European & a lot of people can speak English b. The Xmas connection probably helps, they can make it look really festive.
            It’s also interesting to think back to the auditions when some of us were saying that they were trying to make it seem like a more open & fair competition and many veterans were acting as if this was naive. A Saara win for this season would cap off this storyline nicely. But 5am are the wildcard here, perhaps I have been underestimating them all season and that TPTB plan for a while has been for them to come down the middle for the win whilst other acts have been a distraction/mis-direction.
            It does seem from the perspective of history (mulitple MOR male winning flops) & current storyline requirements (not to have a clear chosen one) that Matt would be the worst winner for the franchise. This is a fascinating turn of events.

          • HL

            George, it is not necessarily a good thing to make her look like a superstar in Finland. It is the main reason why people say they won’t vote for her. “She is the best singer, but she already has a career in Finland.”

            She was not an A-list celeb (or even B) before the XF, no record deal, no radio airplay, but who cares about the facts. All they can see is thousands of Finns waving flags and screaming her name. A rich and famous pop star, it seems!

          • George

            You’re totally right, of course, but what I meant to say is that they can spin it directly to The X Factor. Suggest that Saara is tons more popular than Matt or 5AM. Have a lot of X Factor signs so it’s more as if they’re supporting Saara the contestant, not Saara the already-celebrity. People like to be on the winner’s side.

          • David Cook

            This is a reply to Edie M’s comment above.

            If TPTB were planning for 5am to come through and win would they have done a bit more to avoid the debacle of the sing off performance. OK it might be forgotten about by next week but why take the risk of allowing them to appear so poor.

            Alternatively was it set up as a potential moment for them but they fluffed it?

          • Edie M

            I’ve been wondering about this. I don’t think they were meant to be as poor as they were in 8th week esp the second song- mash ups have worked for them and it was modern. The sing-off was atrocious, I imagine it was not amazing in rehearsals but not as bad it was live. I thought they might be totally out of favour with tptb after that but the semi-finals proved otherwise and it says something that they managed to bounce them into the top 2. No boyband has ever won before so another good storyline. I think it will be difficult to get them to the win though, little mix won but they actually have pretty good voices and hadn’t been in b2.

  • George

    I sense from the odds that a lot of people are in disbelief. Matt has barely budged from this time yesterday despite us knowing both Saara and 5AM (!) got more votes than him. But on paper he’s everything we know the audience has gone for in the past. In a regular year it’d be hard to see him *not* win it.

    And yet this year has just thrown pretty much everything we thought we knew about this show into the bin.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Suggestion her gig is 7-8 tonight but not sure it that’s Helsinki time or UK time. If it’s Helsinki time then 5-6 UK time.

    • Jessica Hamby

      There’s someone from the X Factor there directing proceedings to make sure they get good shots. They had her walk in and down the escalators twice to get a better shot and a bigger cheer.

      The Finns will have seen her Saturday performance and heard the UK audience in the hall chanting her name. I hope they (and me!) are not disappointed come Sunday night.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Just before the live feed went down (after Saara had left) you could hear a UK voice asking a Finn for an interview. He was telling them what answer he wanted and then asking the question so it could be filmed. Fascinating getting a little more insight into the process.

  • Should be tens of thousands of people in Senate Square – when Lordi played there after Eurovision, 70,000 turned up.

    • Dendrite

      That was the Market Square (about 100 m farther south). Due to security reasons, major celebrations are no longer arranged there, though – with the Baltic Sea immediately to the south and tall buildings to the north, a panic (let alone one caused by a bad truck driver chanting “Allahu akbar”) would lead to a catastrophe there.

  • stoney

    I have now moved all my investment away from matt. Seems a lost cause to me

  • Tough final to call. As others have said, you can make a case for all 3.

    Matt Terry – Make a average X Factor winner. You would probably make Matt Terry. 2nd week (Probably) In a row being below top at least, 5 times not being at top. Possibly not in prods favour anymore, but the average viewer would vote for him, Semi Final sing off history suggests he comes third, but hey, Donald Trump is the president of America.

    5AM – Least likely of the 3, but most likely to have runner up position. Strongly in prods favour but by how much did they avoid the sing off? The producers would love them to win but they might have conceded it’s impossible. 1D came third.

    Saara Aalto – Won last 2 weeks probably, Prods would rather have 5AM but they would want anyone over Matt. The Finnish thing has been shoved down our throats but a lot of people tune in for the final. But would average viewers care?

    A type of thoughts in a Family I could see

    Teen: Matt looks cute! I like him, better vote. (They would not actually say that)
    Mum: I like his voice.

    Negative is they like others better.

    5AM:
    Dad: They are fun, lets vote.
    Teen Boy: They sing modern, lets vote.

    Or

    Everyone except the kids: Is that Auto Tune?

    The Good One:
    Adults and Teens: She has a Epic voice!
    Kids: She is fun!

    OR:

    Adult: She is from Finland, she is already big… WAIT!? SHE IS STAYING?

    I wanted to call the last one racist so bad.

  • EM

    I do love finals week, the biggest rabbit holes of all!

    Doesn’t an open air party in Helsinki sound so much better than a PA in Bromley?

    Doesn’t a reunion with long missed friends and family sound a million times warmer than seeing a few mates in Leicester?

    Ps appropos something above: Gaga was pre-recorded

    • GsP

      Interesting way of thinking about it. And it should look stunning. She got 300 people they think at the airport with about 15 hours notice. A small crowd is already starting to build going by Twitter and she doesn’t start for 2 hours.

      Plus, with only Dermot making the trip, a cheeky banter exchange with him post performance about “Finns really knowing how to party” etc… could keep it really fun and inclusive, like the Embassy visit, rather than making her feel distant. He doesn’t just stick the silent knife in, he can turn it the other way too.

      If it’s true the rumours of Adam Lambert (and potentially Queen) doing Who Wants to Live Forever, it will be the biggest duet moment since Alex and Beyonce. If that’s her pairing and song, she’s definitely through to the Sunday.

      The “vote fix” is a regurge of stories from a couple of weeks ago, and better now than a Friday/Saturday editions. Plus we know Matt is getting big international support as well. 4oD had to delete a retweet of instructions for their foreign fans to vote, so all acts benefit from it.

      If Saara talks about being so lucky to have the support of people in her old home and her new home that will help. I note many of the articles both UK and Finland reference her plan to move to London in January.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I do love finals week, the biggest rabbit holes of all!

      Haha. Very true. It can get a little, um, fraught.

      BUT

      no-one who was here will forget the horrible year stoney had with Fleur and then with (I think) Suzanna Reid. I may be having tea with the Mad Hatter right now but at least I’ve covered a 5AM win and will make decent money whoever wins.

      *and breathe*

      • EM

        That is better than me being only marginally up in the win market. Well done

        • Jessica Hamby

          Thanks, although reflection reminds me I forgot about Matt. I’ll still be in profit if he wins but it’s only from the place money on Saara. I don’t have anything on him personally. It all comes down to that early call on the silly odds (and then getting told it was nonsense which bizarrely made me top up as if to spite the naysayers).

      • Jessica, after your Saara bet have you thought about starting your own website up next year?

        • Jessica Hamby

          In a word?

          No.

          Most of my predictions go awry. I expect most of them to. I look for the long shots. For example I had 6 x £2 bets on Matt going b2 with a n other the week he did Writing’s On The Wall (not only Matt, I think 3 were Matt and 3 were something else). The returns on some were nice because of odds but none of them came off.

          I had Gifty to go soon after song selection was revealed. The bonus for me is that when people gave me ag about Gifty and about Saara I ended up topping up on them. God knows why. I suppose in my head I was getting them back but it would have been a poor revenge if either had failed.

          Funnily enough I was fairly confident about Gifty and about Saara because I was certain of my reasoning. That Gifty song is a dog at the best of times, in a competition like X Factor it’s a disaster. Best placed #23 in Belgium. No chart placing anywhere else in the world. No-one wanted to hear that though. Confirmation bias led people to waffle on about cross marketing and all sorts of nonsense when the evidence was right there in front of their ears. It had no recognition factor and seemed to have been written with its own memory hole attached.

          With Saara, once Gifty was gone it seemed to me they had to keep her or the whole compeition would become a laughing stock. Matt and Emily could sing but not really move, 5AM could move but struggled with singing and Honey G was (and still is) a piss take. And the others had even more flaws. Without Saara it looked more like a school talent show than a serious search for a star. I was of the opinion that they had no choice. They had to keep her deep in the competition or the show was gone.

          With, for instance, the Matt b2 bets I was very aware they were punts which is why they were for such small amounts. I said as much when I posted about it at the time and I still got pelters from people.

          Given the reactions I tend to get on here I don’t think many people would be interested in my insights. I’d be scared to enable comments for fear of the trolling.

          • Edie M

            I remember thinking at the time that your point about the show needing Saara after Gifty went was spot on, the talent pool was so shallow this year in the lives. Not that I was as certain as you she’d get this far, but I thought at least the QF once Gifty went. The real question for me still though is- why get rid of Gifty so quickly? I know she probably wasn’t polling that well but they could have legitimately got rid of 4oD & given her one more week to try. Keeping Ryan over Sam is also a bit of a puzzle now the lover’s sing-off didn’t come off AND Emily faded before the final.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Maybe 5AM needed vote transfer and the app indicated they shared supporters with Gifty.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Not that I was as certain as you she’d get this far, but I thought at least the QF once Gifty went.

            Every time I tried to name a top 3 without Saara it looked inadequate. Mind you, I didn’t think they’d take 5AM to the final back then. I thought it unlikely last week tbh. So I can see why some people who had written Saara off believed that Honey G would be there, but I couldn’t accept that. To me, it would have been as bad as having Wagner or Chico or Stevie Ritchie in the final.

      • stoney

        I have only got involved in the last 3 years strictly and had the previous 2 winners backed from day 1. This year has been a nightmare in comparison. I have however balanced my book to the point where if Matt wins I’ll probably cry!

  • Dana

    I can’t help but feel that if the producers were desperate for 5am to win or felt it were possible, they would have sent Matt home last night. Emily would be easier to jettison in 3rd place and 5am would get all the male act vote in the final.

    Once they get to the final, do they care who wins? They will sign who they want regardless and if they get a commercially undesirable winner they can just give them an album of cheap covers and drop a la Sam Bailey.

    • Edie M

      Yeah agree about the 5am/Matt thing, that’s why I thought there was a small chance Matt would go in the sing-off. But as franchise comes first in the final I think they decided they had to get rid of Emily. Her voice has been deteriorating for weeks and she also can’t really put on a big performance (in the traditional X factor sense).

  • thank you please

    Of course its all scripted but the extent… What Jessica said and beyond… fascinating indeed. You’re not gonna see/hear anything that wasn’t scripted, rehearsed and done with several takes. If this applies to a few second scene from an airport where people are told to scream “YEEAAHH”… what size of a tiny detail could possibly not be scripted in the show? I mean Finland is famous among performing artists from the fact that no matter what you say, the crowd always responds “YEEAAHH!!”. But TPTB wanted to be sure!

    Watched it from Yle net stream. Yea, I’m Finnish, sorta semi-retired bettor.

    They told the crowd beforehand that they were gonna do the stairs twice btw. Feeling a bit sorry for the director gal, admire her work ethic but Finns just don’t excel in pop up theatre especially when done in foreign language. Awkward. I hope it looks all happy on tv nevertheless.

    Little tidbit, maybe meaningful… in an interview at the airport Saara said that Sharon has arranged her some special surprise for the final.. something she’s always dreamed about.

    –> Cant imagine that referring to anything else but the duet.

    Maybe Mrs O has managed to pull some big strings… Sara has mentioned Lady Gaga as one of her duet fantasies… Gaga is obviously already in Britain as she (or an impostor!) performed on X-Factor yesterday… and she can belt out anything… and is even professional with the piano… and.. and… well okay we all know she’s gonna do Keep on Smiling with David Hasselhoff, but was a fun thought.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s worth noting that Louis called out for Finns to vote last week in english and this week in Finnish and after the show the stories about investigations into Finns voting appeared. Did he really, without prompting, decide to learn that Finnish phrase and support an act he isn’t mentoring? The rival to his own act?

  • David Cook

    My unthinking reaction last night when Saara said Helsinki was that it was positive. On balance I still do. It can’t be any worse than Andrea’s tour of London, nearly all of which was still sub titled and of course stuffing himself with yet more cake. We all know she’s Finnish. If some people won’t vote for her just on that basis then it doesn’t matter where the VT’s filmed. I think she’ll get a good reaction and if they want to they should be able to edit it to make it appear very positive. If it’s being filmed today then there’s still plenty of opportunity to do something else back in the UK later in the week as well.

  • Dana

    If the show were desperate for Saara not to win, they could and would have disposed of her very easily this week, yet the opposite happened. There is really no need for elaborate tactics with her to get her vote down.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t think it works like that. They need a good show, they need quality acts, they need at least the illusion of competition. They have to have other acts besides their first choice winner. It’s not a straight linear progression from audition to chosen winner.

  • George

    Matt drifting back out again a bit this afternoon. He was way too short this morning IMO.

  • Fortunately, I doubt the press will pick up on the fact that her “homecoming” concert is actually taking place 600 km away from her home town of Oulunsalo.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Looking back at the top 12 predictions nearly everyone had 5AM and Matt Terry in their top 3.

  • I think Saara’s going to win by the biggest ever margin they’ve had in their 13 series.

    Incidentally she can make Cowell money. That’s probably not that relevant to her chance next weekend as we know they’re pimping her anyway. Unlike Sam Bailey and Louisa, Saara can dance and put on a great performance.

    They’ll try and get 5am above Matt and they might make a bit of money out of them for a year or so whether they finish 2nd or 3rd. And Matt, who lacks any sex appeal for women, will be forgotten about.

    • George

      The biggest victories (that we know of) were Joe over Olly in 2009 (61%-39% excluding Stacey) and surprisingly Ben over Fleur in 2014 (57%-34%).

      I think this year will be closer than those.

  • Tina

    Make sure you all tune in to watch Saara perform in Finland. 5pm British time.
    http://www.iltasanomat.fi and the link is on the top of the page, IS Live.

  • Time for my final pre song choice prediction.

    3RD – Matt Terry. If they truly want 5AM to win this is the next step forward And was in the semi final sing off. Hey, Saara survived an embassy VT!

    2ND – Dancer and his mates. They will probably concede this is the best they can get them. A career is launched but I don’t think they can win.

    1ST – Saara. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MEAN SIMON COWELL UP IN THE HEAVENS

  • GsP

    Holy wow, stunning venue, HUGE crowd. Considering it was announced after midnight Finnish time I’m so surprised. Great planning putting it open air beside a busy tourist attraction.

    They gotta run with this surely. It could look absolutely phenomenal in a well edited VT.

    If they want to create an aura of a potential global superstar, this is it.

    And there’s even a couple of Union Jacks and LGBT+ rainbow flags

  • EM

    For everyone watching Saara’s homecoming now you know what every other homecoming is like! They are never on time and never great gigs. They’re all about getting 45 secs of good video for Saturday night and pics in the local papers (even in Finland!)

    • Jessica Hamby

      If it was a real gig it’d be a bloody disaster. It’s a total farce. And I’ve missed “The Chase”.

      Vexed.

      I’m vexed.

      Oh. Here’s Dermot. At last. 🙂

      • EM

        The crowd do get vexed, they inevitably queue for hours in the freezing cold, sit in a hall that’s freezing because there’s so few people in it and get treated to a couple of songs (maybe with retakes) get told how to react and have to repeat it many times.

        Still it looks ok on TV! Just another example of the smoke and mirrors of how it all goes together and the pawns in the game.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Scripted reality. Thanks for the insight.

        • EM

          Oh yeah and everyone on the show including the act, crew and mentor have been working non stop for 12 weeks and are extremely tired and grumpy and can’t wait for it to be over.

          They’re cracking gigs!!

          • Jessica Hamby

            Hahaha. Sounds bloody dreadful. Have you been to many?

          • EM

            Enough for them to make an impression!

            To be fair the vast majority of interaction with any X Factor people has been great, mostly nice people. Apart from one 😉

          • Jessica Hamby

            Dare I ask who that one is? I love a bit of gossip.

          • EM

            If I said you wouldn’t be learning anything new and this was a winner that’s probably discreet and indiscreet enough!

          • Jessica Hamby

            Haha. I think that’s enough for me to guess. That sounds like Brookstein or Arthur, and neither of them would be surprising.

            I’m feeling a lot better after that gig. As long as the edit is kind and 5AM don’t take the roof off it should be fine.

          • EM

            Homecomings are always edited to look decent – makes the show look bad and unpopular if they’re sparse. Still plenty of room for subliminals though

    • Jessica Hamby

      She can sing though.

  • The Finns on here – is that the Parliament building she’s in front of?

  • She’s brilliant. I’m preferring watching Saara perform now than watching XF.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Agreed. A seriously talented woman. Doing this working solo with a backing track. And you can tell she loves the stage.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Holy Cow. What do you call that hairstyle? It’s like a mullet went wrong and didn’t stop growing.

      • Jessica Hamby

        And now I can forgive his hairstyle anything.

        Well played Mr Monroe, and thank you.

      • Sindi

        It’s amazing how good she sounds after all these weeks and and a couple of hours’ night sleep. The crowd was HUGE and the venue looked amazing. They were having retakes of the crowd doing waves and swinging phones in the air. It looked like Saara arrived with Dermot and Santa on a little sled. She was styled very well. I think there’s zero change they’ll waste all this. Going to be brilliant TV.

  • Dana

    Think that guy mentored her on the Voice

    Nice moment of them thanking England for supporting Saara.

    Though probably won’t get shown for fear of upsetting the rest of the UK

    • Mim

      This really is a bit of a problem. Finns never mean it as a snub, it’s just one of those things that gets lost in translation. The Finnish word for the UK is “Yhdistynyt kuningaskunta”, which abbreviates to YK, which in turn is the Finnish abbreviation for the UN. It can get confusing and I think that’s why we rarely use “Yhdistynyt kuningaskunta”. When speaking in a foreign language most people tend to translate more or less directly from their mother tongue, so I would guess that’s the reason why Finns talk about Britain or even just England when they’re actually talking about the UK. I know this doesn’t really make a difference, I just hope people understand it’s not intentional.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I’m not sure it’s such a big deal. When Sharon told her story about the woman at the airport saying Saara can’t win, the reason she said the woman gave was that “she’s not english”. I suspect a lot of non-english Brits are used to it.

      • George

        Maybe they can dub over it. Use the 5AM choir. :p

  • GsP

    10,000 in attendance according to local media.

    Incredible backdrop. Impressive show with no rehearsal. Great fireworks.

    And they let her sing No Fear.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Sometimes I would be tempted to give good money to know precisely what goes on behind the scenes… From the pre-lives, I would have been convinced that TCO were The Brooks. I mean, you have an unholy mix of 1D and jedward right there, what’s not to like ? And then the Sinitta link was reported, and then the assault claims, and it all went south. I wonder if 5AM became favourites by default, seeing as the boys’ category was already nobbled? I have no links to the industry, but the signs are a bit ominous: out of 3, only one can sing passably, and he’s the only one that is boyband-good-looking.Unfortunately, he’s also the one that just got (what sounds suspiciously like a random hook up) up the duff. And there is already quarrels about singing the lead, and seemingly attempts at solo success – it’s like a forest of merrily waving red flags, is it?

    I also briefly thought that maybe Sam Smith had pulled out of the finals, and that’s why TPTB lost interest in Matt, but let’s face it, he was always going to be sung against the wall by Nicole… Once we know the duet partners, we will know more.

    Edit: didn’t see your post re Sam Smith, Jessica, seems there’s something in it, but reporting that essentially Matt isn’t good enough to attract Sam is a bit of a blow surely?

  • GsP

    https://youtu.be/yPDFBwmIcQY

    Allowing her to perform No Fear is very, very interesting. Could it make a surprise appearance on Saturday?

  • Stu

    So 5AM are looking to get Little Mix for the duets. LM have a rather huge fanbase these days and will they be a visual reminder that groups can win the show.

  • Getting Celine Dion for the celebrity duet round would be HUGE. She’s on Sony of course, which helps.

    Which song though? Tell Him would be epic.

    • Jessica Hamby

      She’s available. She’s not back at Caesar’s Palace until mid Jan. Whether she would want to do it however…. It looks like more of a wish list than anything else at the moment.

      If they are going to push 5AM for the win then getting Adam Lambert for Saara (and Shayne Filan for Matt?) would make more sense.

      • Jessica Hamby

        You’re right though. This would be awesome.

        https://youtu.be/X4p_3scB_8c

        If they get the chance to do it I don’t see how they can turn it down.

        • Celine would be a huge pull for the show, and she’s guested on the programme twice previously. Although it’s not immediately well-known, Tell Him would be a massive, massive moment. It’s also very Musical Theatre in style, so very Saara.

          • Jessica Hamby

            If she gets it, it’s a winner. No doubt. But then again Adam Lambert can sing the hell out of any song you give him. He’s not all about the power and the high rock screams either. He can do tender and he can do sweet.

            I’m not familiar with The Weekend but I can’t see James Arthur / Matt Terry topping Saara and Adam or Saara and Celine in a competition. Either of those combinations will literally stop the show. Must admit I can’t see her losing now. Almost wish I hadn’t covered 5AM.

  • Dana

    Dan Wooton from the Sun seems to be hinting that the duet partners will be:

    Matt and James Arthur
    Saara and Adam Lambert
    5am and The Weeknd

  • Poker Coach

    Was watching Saara in Helsinki and there was one thing which changed my estimation towards Saara’s win.

    Dermot, the silent assasin spoke few words in Finnish and then thanked the audience in English. He thanked the finns for the support of the finnish fans despite voting is not possible.

    UNLESS, you do some computer stuff. And then he said that finnish people are intelligent for sure.

    Basically he encouraged the people to vote as clearly as he could.

    • Poker Coach

      might have been this:

      Dermont O’Leary: Or hack same computers and vote! 🙂

      They must be behind Saara in TPTB 🙂

    • Sindi

      I thought I heard him say that but I didn’t know if I could believe my ears. I don’t know whether he was silent assassining or just being spontaneous. It seemed like as if he was talking intimately to some people he knew, instead of talking to thousands.

  • 5AM’s gig is at the Athena, Leicester. It’s not exactly a massive venue. It’s big, but won’t look anything like Saara’s gig on TV.

  • Ben Cook

    This could be total bollocks but someone on Twitter reckons Saara said to Finnish media that she is performing “Rise Like A Phoenix” in the final…

    • Sindi

      She said she can’t reveal the songs yet.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think I’m going to have to stay off this site for a few days. I was just starting to feel good and now you tell me that.

      Ohgodno.

    • Can’t see that happening at all. Sean Miley Moore would have nailed it, but it’s not an X Factor song. Eurovision is a big deal in Scandinavia, we know that… but it’s not a big deal here. It’s viewed as a parody of itself here in the UK – we’ve got a really outdated view of ESC which annoys me because the Stockholm production was a far stronger show than anything Syco have produced. Ever,

  • HL

    I was there at the Senate Square in Helsinki (visiting relatives). My toes went numb before Saara even appeared. Just terrible. Stood there for an hour and a half before anything happened. When the presenter or whoever asked the audience “can you still wait?” or “maybe we should make one more wave?” the audience yelled back “NO!!!”. He joked that is it cold and windy up on the stairs but it must be warm down there with so many people packed together. Yeah right.

    But then Saara began to sing and everything was ok again. 😀 I am happy most people had left their Finnish flags home. There were some people on social media encouraging others to bring their flags and paint their faces blue & white, but most seemed to understand that it would not help Saara at all.

    If it looks good enough on tv and Saara wins (also runner-up is ok with me, but 3rd place means no money), maybe it was worth it. I can already feel my toes so no permanent damage.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It looked and sounded great on the feed I watched. Sorry about your toes. Glad you still have them.

      I’m going to have to step away from the computer now. I’m a bit too excited about this whole thing.

    • HL

      Thanks Jessica. 🙂

      ….And yes, I noticed that
      1. Michael Monroe, Saara’s mentor in the Voice, said “England”, not “the UK”. Several times, and asked audience to shout it, too. It was done specifically for the XF UK.
      2. Saara mentioned that two dreams of her will come true on Saturday. She also said that one of them is something she is scared to do.
      3. Dermot encouraged Finns to hack the app and vote for Saara.
      4. Saara sang Let It Go, Chandelier, The Winner Takes It All, and surprisingly one of her own songs, No Fear.

      But to be honest, I was more interested in my poor toes.

      • Mim

        I’m curious about the TWO dreams coming true. One of them is obviously the duet, and it doesn’t really matter who it is as it’s going to be sold as a “dream come true” anyway.

        I am a little nervous that the second dream come true is that she gets to perform an original song of hers. No Fear seems like the logical choice based on yesterday. This has been one of her biggest hindrances in Finland – she’s extremely controlling when it comes to original material, and nothing original she’s done so far has proved successful. As you only get so many songs in the final, I don’t think an unknown lackluster song would work in her favor at all. But maybe the dream is something else (performing at Wembley, for example).

        • Jessica Hamby

          Hopefully she learned from her decision to sing that French song at 6CC. She’s at the stage of her career when she has to give the audience what they want, not what she wants. If she tries it the other way around she’ll be back to youtube videos with 400 hits.

          And sorry Saara, but No Fear is not a great song. Not even a particularly good one. It has a lovely sentiment but no-one’s going to go home humming it. Save it for the contractual obligation album or re-write it.

          • GsP

            I love No Fear (the slightly remixed fancier version is better). If she goes for it at Wembley I say more power to her. Go for it. She might never get on a stage like that again (win or lose).

            An exciting Bollywood or Arabian inspired production, pyros, good comments from the judges and it can work as well for the casual audience as it will for those who are more invested in her who love this track. It’s hugely popular amongst the Eurovision fanatics, and also Saara’s big LGBT+ following. Get the messaging right in VT and post performance interview and it can be a real moment. Saara wants to really lead the line to help LGBT+ kids, this song is a good way of doing that and cementing her place as a bit of an icon amongst the community, ensuring her work for years and years to come around the world.

            I’d prefer it to hearing an XFactor staple for the 15th time.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Fair enough. We all have different opinions. Mine is that just being there and it being unremarkable is a huge statement.

            If she wants to be a campaigner that’s fine but she should resign herself to singing to and talking to people who already agree with her and making little or no difference. If she wants to be singer as well as an inspiration and a force for change she should concentrate on winning the competition.

          • Mim

            Good point, GsP. I still suspect the Eurovision fanatics represent a small portion of the vote, and the general public won’t necessarily respond well to the song. I think it would play to her weaknesses rather than her strengths (as the song is quite OTT and cheesy to begin with). At the Voice of Finland final Saara sang an original song (can’t for the life of me remember the name or anything else about if for that matter) which I dare say drowned her chances of winning.

            This is what she does. She’s a fantastic singer, but not as good a songwriter as she thinks she is. She seems to like a lot of sycophants around her (I mean, her manager and partner is a “superfan” – not in a cute way), which isn’t the best setup for a successful international career. I’m hoping the X Factor is a turning point for Saara as I do wish good things for her, but there’s a reason she hasn’t truly found success and it’s not only a question of lacking a proper platform.

          • Jessica Hamby

            The general public won’t respond well to the song Mim. I love Saara but the song is forgettable and a bit tedious. The British laugh at eurovision and at europop. They won’t take it seriously. It might be a moment, but it’ll be a “what the fuck?” moment.

            https://youtu.be/IjDtvaWWfyI

    • Thanks for sharing this HL. Useful read.

      Do you have any links for those who where encouraging to bring flags and paint their faces blue and white? Twitter accounts perhaps?

      Thanks

      • HL

        I am not using Twitter that much. Those were just random people on Facebook and in comments sections of Finnish tabloids and such. I don’t think it was intentional, just dumb. Today (6th of December) is the Independence Day of Finland so no wonder some thought flags and other national symbols were essential accessories.

        Actually the presenter specifically asked people to wave their Finnish flags. Saara wished everyone a happy Independence Day and mentioned the subject several times in her speaks between the songs. So it felt like an ID concert, but with less blue and white than expected. People knew better.

    • PolarNight

      It will potentially look very good on TV. There are plenty of videos from the crowd perceptive available on Youtube. But you don’t realize the magnitude from them.

      I stumbled on this link on digitalspy forums. It’s from the production perceptive before the concert started:
      https://www.instagram.com/p/BNpjvx3Bbeg/

  • Cyrus

    This clip captures the feel of Saara´s Helsinki concert quite well:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhdmAtb7iGY

    Apart from the ridiculous wait in stalingradish weather conditions it was an incredible night. Saara was in great mood and worked the crowd like a true snow queen. It was cool to hear her sing full versions of the songs she performed in the live shows. She said that Dermot and the crew had never experienced a home coming of such magnificence in the 13 years’ history of X Factor.

  • Stu

    If we are assuming the producers’ main goal this year was to redeem the show from last year, is now the time to remind ourselves that Louisa’s winner’s single only limped in at #9 last year? While a boyband festive #1 could be pulled off, Saara definitely has the endearing hero-to-zero-to-hero journey that could most certainly translate into a lot of sales. Sadly for Matt, since he’s not Cardling it, I can’t see him doing that much better than Louisa.

    • These days, the key to chart well is to do well on streaming. That means, being put on the key playlists on Spotify. The iTunes downloading market is getting smaller with each passing week.

      And now the chart week starts with a Friday, so the winner will be missing out on two days of sales and streams. Basically, the winner’s single would have to do amazingly well on downloads to have any chance at getting the #1 in the first week. Getting the support from Spotify will be key and that might depend on who the winner is (Saara isn’t exactly trendy.) and the genre and quality of the song.

      The underperformance of Louisa’s single was one part the audience not feeling the song and one part the rise of streaming.

      • Stu

        Unless the sound/style of the winner’s single is completely revamped this year, I think the music buyers are the most important demographic here. It’s still possible to get big numbers from downloads – although it’s rarer these days. If Saara has a winning song that’s reminiscent of one of her popular performances (Enough Is Enough or The Winner Takes It All) then she could potentially shift lots. Thinking about it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea making her winner’s single The Winner Takes It All.

    • Dana

      I’d think the combination of a multiple bottom 2er and a foreign contestant winning this year would make a brilliant story- one that they could never have pulled off intentionally had they been trying to from the start- it’s kinda fallen in their laps. I think it could do the X Factor brand a lot of good and it’s not as if they are obligated to actually spend much money on her career.

      Matt winning would be a bit of a damp squib really. A boyband has never won before, but that’s not that interesting.

      I’m not convinced any of the final 3 will be commercially successful. Louisa had zero story last year, which I don’t think helped.

      • Stu

        I think Saara winning makes the most powerful statement in 2016. 5AM being the first boyband and only the second group to win it would be a big achievement and the tabloids could run with this. There’s very little value in Matt winning for Syco TV and Music.

  • Thanks for posting these links Jessica. The idea in that Express title, like the Mirror before it – “bosses” want Matt because he’s commercial – is just wrong as he’s not commercial. He’d do even worse than Ben Haenow and the others. But none of the finalists are very commercial, Matt probably least so.

    It’s been a mad series for working out Cowell’s intentions. The most obvious is that Matt was TCO, then it dawned that he can’t move much on stage etc so TCO changed to Saara. Of course 5am are being heavily pushed but they’re limited by not being singers. So nothing’s certain even now.

    • Sindi

      I think the producers’ intentions have changed several times. Brooks Way axed, Gifty given up on for some reason, Emily losing her voice, Matt’s recent performances being bad, Saara performing above expectations…

  • David Cook

    I’ve got to say IF (big IF) they get The Weekend to perform with 5AM it would be a bit of a coup for them. If they do the current single it certainly makes them look very credible and contemporary. It’s the market they would actually be aiming for.
    The downside, in terms of the competition at least is that it might be a bit too contemporary for a lot viewers.
    Then we come back to if it happens – has he actually heard them?

  • Lara T

    Well James has form for x Factor final duets, so this rumour is very believable.

    I think it’s main advantage would be that it’s probably the biggest song of the last few months. Though it could lack that killer punch.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nR9_gNDbrNk

    Adam Lambert is phenomenal. It would either be a huge moment, or he could sing her under the table.

    I think the wkend would be too ‘cool’ for the majority of the audience. I still see them finishing in the One Direction memorial spot of third.

    • GsP

      Worth remembering that Adam is a product of one of these shows and a mentor on Oz X Factor.

      He is the perfect partner because he knows it’s not a showcase for his own publicity. He will work the duet to ensure his partner shines (Beyonce to her credit seemed to understand this too, which is why her duet with Alex was so amazing). He will not hog the limelight, or make it look like the two of them have never met before he walked on stage.

      • Lara T

        True. He is a complete professional.

        I just mean that vocally he is a lot stronger than Saara in my opinion. I still think she’ll win it though!

        • Lara T

          How he never won his season of AI is beyond me!

          One of the few finals of this kind where the best singer didn’t win!

          • Jessica Hamby

            Don’t mention last year. Lousia was up against Fourth Impact, Anton Stephans, Che Chesterman and Lauren Murray. You could make arguements for any of them (including all four members of Fourth Impact) being at least her equal.

            *controversial 😉 *

          • Lara T

            True. Not such a big distinction between vocalist last year, they could have had a strong open competition had they not gone in so ruthlessly behind Louisa. I think they partly did that due to nerves that they’d have less control to get what they wanted with the shortened run.

            However lambert was in a different league to the guy who beat him whose name I don’t even remember, Chris maybe?

            Pretty sure he only won because of a decent rendition of ain’t no sunshine.

          • Jessica Hamby

            On reflection I can’t help thinking that if it had been (or at least been seen to have been) a fairer competition Louisa would be doing better now, even if she hadn’t won.

            She also seems to have one of the worst cases of bitchy resting face I’ve ever seen (yes, I know it started as a joke but in her case at least it’s real – https://youtu.be/3v98CPXNiSk) and I don’t suppose that helps her either.

          • Anglia Chu

            2008-2012 was the Golden Age of the WGWG on American Idol.

      • Edie M

        ‘On reflection I can’t help thinking that if it had been (or at least been seen to have been) a fairer competition Louisa would be doing better now, even if she hadn’t won.’

        Completely agree with this, and thought it during the competition. It was too difficult to form an actual opinion about her (or make an emotional connection) because they just rammed her down everyone’s throats. This just made me switich off during her performances.

  • Woofie

    Looking back I think their intentions towards 5AM has always been favourable.

    Last weekend was all about getting 5AM into the top 2 and they succeeded. It didn’t think the song choices were that positive. I wasn’t able to see the shows live last weekend… the only positive I saw beforehand was the pictures of the rehearsals which had 5AM surrounded by gold lighting.

    I know people don’t give their performances the time of day on here but I thought they had stepped up a level. Their singing was a lot better compared to previous performances. The producers did a brilliant job with Stay Another Day.. the walk on to the stage was well executed to get the maximum effect. The producers know how to get the buzz from the audience they wanted. It will be interesting to see how they play the arena next week.

    Of course the final could be different now they have they finalists they wanted. They maybe content for 5AM to be third, for example. But after so many times of trying to get a favoured male group into this position I would not be surprised that the producers go further. For me it is no coincidence that they have reached a point of no one contestant running away with it. Matt and Emily’s treatment in the shows and certainly last week played to assisting 5AM. Supporting Saara coming to the fore has also helped. It is going to be an interesting final.

    • Edie M

      Did you see their sing-off last week? It was brutal, and that’s why it was probably hard for people on here to suddenly think they’d produced an excellent singing performance without vocal manipulation.

      • Woofie

        Which why I was surprised at the level they achieved last week Edie. I am not saying it was excellent but that it was better than their previous performances and played well with the studio audience. I thought they would be exposed again with those song choices but it didn’t it work like that. I think that was their most confident vocal display to date. They had the full support of the producers but they were also dependable, which I also thought would be an issue for a final placing.

  • Three Wise Monkeys

    I find hard to imagine that the final is only determined the week before. When you actually think what goes in to the final. Contracts need to be signed, and scrutinised by Artist lawyers. Dates for the Artist who’ duetting need to be booked. The artist are not going to be booked on the premise of you may or may not be performing in the final. It doesn’t work that way. ITV/XFactor are a massive Corporation and Franchise. Nothing can be left to chance and they make sure of it.

    It was a massive bloomer today. You have had by chance a sneaky peek to what goes on behind the curtain today, when hearing the production team telling audience what answers they wanted to the questions. You will be able to see how much the VTs are manipulated with on Saturday.

    I do believe that you hit the nail on the head most weeks with tptb’ intentions. It’s niggling away at me this season though, that they may be playing with sofabet. Year in n year out you guess their intentions easily. I feel they are very aware of the site. My suspicions began when they had the sofabet sofa colours on stage for one of the acts, I cannot remember who it was now.

    • JMTA

      @Three Wise Monkeys, just in case you’re not pulling our leg, the “Sofabet sofa colors” are nothing more (or less) than the SMPTE color bars: an industry-standard, electronically generated TV “test card” image for checking the signal quality and maintaining the colors at their correct levels in TV or video productions…

      The SMPTE test card is a bit irrelevant in this day and age, though, as it is meant for an analog signal. But the color bars could conceivably still be utilized for calibrating the on-stage displays and LED matrices to match the color profiles of the cameras.

      (A British show wouldn’t use the lower part of the card, though, just the upper colors, as the lower section is for checking technical problems that are only relevant to the American NTSC TV signal.)

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