X Factor 2016: Matt’s Journey – From Jilted Lover to Jilted Favourite

Matt’s journey feels like a mirror image of Saara’s in that he started out with nothing but praise and producer favour, yet approaches the final having endured some rough recent criticism, and a singoff save. It’s been a series of two halves for the Bromley lad. Picking himself up from a failed relationship, the first half saw him portrayed as a newly-available heart-throb with a glittering future.

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But he goes into the final weekend wounded by Simon’s description of him as “bland” and “like a sandwich without butter”, that helped him drop into the bottom two for the first time last Sunday. Was this merely intended to make the final look as open as possible before returning the presumptive crown to his head, or a sign that he’s not so attractive to producers’ eyes any more? For the first time since the live shows began, the betting market dumped him as their favourite, replacing him with Saara.

His audition backstory was one of lost love: “I’ve come out of a relationship with my girlfriend,” he explained. This “heartbreak”, and confirmation that he was the one dumped, marked him out as single and sympathetic. Despite this, Matt displayed a chipper attitude that left the judges with a “positive”, “happy” and “feelgood” impression. Nicole was playful with him, and Cowell made a direct comparison with Syco’s girl-magnet Olly Murs, describing Matt as “fun, approachable, you’ve got that same personality”.

Producers had also wheeled out that classic X Factor supporting act, the Loyal Nan. Matt’s grandma described herself as Simon Cowell’s biggest fan, adding colour to the audition. She would be featured in the audience at the six-chair challenge, at judges’ houses and in his week 2 VT. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a returning part she gets during the final weekend.

Matt’s performance of ‘Stand By Me’ in that first audition was solid and had the payoff of a fine falsetto. He used that higher register to good effect at bootcamp also, where Sharon said “he’s got everything”, Nicole responded “he’s so cool”, and Simon rounded things off by claiming he was “one of the best boys we’ve had in a long time”. At this point he and eventual judges’ houses reject Caitlyn Vanbeck were vying for early favouritism.

There was some drama over his seat at the six-chair challenge, but that seemed highly contrived to us and, what’s more, it felt like Matt was in on it. Beforehand, we got some social confirmation that Matt was attractive to women: as Nicole introduced him, we were shown a few cutaway shots of excited females chanting for him to get a seat. “Wow, really? The girls are very excited about you already,” Nicole reiterated.

The first suspected contrivance came with Matt’s initial attempt at Bruno Mars’ ‘When I Was Your Man’, which was in the wrong key for him. Nicole quickly stopped him and said he was “a half-step too high”. Without blinking, Matt offered to start again “a half-step lower”, a change which immediately appeared to give Nicole all the feels. The second suspected contrivance was Nicole’s dilemma about whose seat to give last-to-perform Christian Burrows. Nicole chose Matt to sing again, suggesting only one of the pair – portrayed as good pals during the episode – was going to be selected. Once more, Matt didn’t bat an eyelid before launching into a second song, and after much heartfelt hugging on stage, Nicole was persuaded that both boys deserved to go through.

Matt’s judges’ houses edit left little doubt that he was not only alpha in his category, but deserving favourite for the contest. We returned to the backstory of his failed relationship, which he explicitly linked to ‘She’s Out of My Life’. Having offered us that emotional connection, his strong performance as the sun set in the south of France left him, mentor Nicole and guest Calvin Harris emotional.

Months will have passed between the filming of Matt’s room audition and judges’ houses, at both of which he told his failed romance story. But a week before the latter was aired, The Sun reported that Matt and supposed ex, Jasmine Avis, had split only “very briefly”, and that they were still sharing a flat. This was especially inconvenient given that, in his first audition, Matt had said he had to leave his job so he could move away from the area to get over the heartbreak.

Matt’s week 1 VT attempted to clear up the confusion. There they had Freddy Parker, with whom Matt had struck up a strong friendship according to their social media accounts, joshingly ask him if he was lying about being single. Matt replied “no” with a frown. We then cut to Freddy’s reaction, which we said at the time looked like nervously conspiratorial laughter.

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The week 1 song choice of ‘You Don’t Own Me’ continued the jilted theme, and required the clunky lyric change to “Don’t say I can’t go out with the boys.” Simon didn’t sound too certain about the truth, saying “even if you’re dumped, don’t worry about that, because this song is going to get you lots of chicks”.

One of the “chicks” who play-acted being turned on was mentor Nicole, flaring her nostrils suggestively after his performance. This became a running theme for the first half of the live shows. In week 2, Nicole, doing her best cougar impression, decided to show him both leg and thigh after his performance.

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In the week 3 VT, Matt’s friends turned up at the studios to witness her flirting with their pal. Matt as heart-throb was also the subject of the week 4 and 5 VTs, showing him dealing in embarrassed fashion with female attention in a nightclub, and fending off questions from a female journalist about female attention. The week 5 results show saw Nicole straddle him in eye-opening manner when he was announced safe, earning a disapproving look from Simon Cowell.

xfactor-2016-journey-matt-nicole

We’ve long said that a close bond between mentor and contestant is a positive sign. If the bond appears to deepen, it suggests “this contestant is one of us, a star who hangs out with other celebrities”. The example that comes to mind is Sharon Osborne inviting Sam Bailey to hang out at her home for a semi-final VT. Having a mentor flirt suggestively with an act takes it one step further: “This contestant is one of us, a star who might get it on with other celebrities.” A recent example we can think of is Fleur East’s week 3 VT, where Simon was shown flirting with her in the corridor, before the mother of his child pulled him back. At the time we thought this might be a red flag for Fleur, but it was better read as signifying her star power.

Matt’s star had been in the ascendant, receiving mainly high praise for his early performances. After his week 3 rendition of ‘I’ll Be There’, Simon said, “the winning post is in sight”. He was an odds-on favourite at this point, a place cemented by his strong week 4 performance of ‘Put A Spell On You’.

His week 5 cover of ‘I’m Your Man’, felt like a necessary application of the brakes to stop the show appearing too predictable. First in the running order with a red and black backdrop that looked subliminally like snake eyes, he wasn’t vocally at his best whilst moving around the stage. Louis called his performance “karaoke”, although Simon claimed to have “loved it”.

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Week 6 witnessed another uninspired song choice with ‘Best of My Love’. This time, there was at least an exemplary VT about Matt doing it for his hard-working parents, that also saw him return to his humble waiting job. And the staging was golden, with a big production that involved Matt striding into the studio from the car park. This time it was Simon who poured cold water on the performance by saying, “the first half of the song didn’t work because it didn’t feel like you”.

It wasn’t the first time Simon had been equivocal in his comments about Matt, and it’s worth going through them. In week 1, he prefaced his praise by admitting “at first I liked you, then I didn’t.” That sense of swinging back and forth on Matt continued. After week 2’s ‘I Heard it Through The Grapevine’, Cowell had said he preferred Matt the previous week, but that you’ve got “the chance to turn into someone really good”. He repeated this in week 6, agreeing with Sharon that “there’s a lot more to come from you”.

Simon, like the other judges, was effusive in his praise for Matt’s week 7 performance of Sam Smith Bond theme ‘Writing’s On The Wall’, a high point for the 23-year-old during the latter part of the competition. More golden staging – and extensive use of his falsetto – combined for the first four-judge standing ovation of the night. This felt like a return to the first four weeks, when Matt’s treatment suggested he was the closest this series had got to being The Chosen One.

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But just at the moment when you expected producers to embrace what they had built up, it felt like they started giving Matt the cold shoulder instead. Having moved to two songs per show for the quarter-final and semi-final, Matt received the earliest slot in the running order for three out of those four songs, and the second worst slot on the other occasion. This from someone who hasn’t received one pimp slot in the live shows (only one other act, Luke Friend, has reached the final without a pimp slot in 12 years of the show).

In week 8, he spent all of ‘Secret Love Song’ stuck on a high plinth, from where it’s easier to disconnect an act from the studio audience. Simon called the first half “a bit wet”. There was minimal production for Matt’s second song, Sia’s ‘Alive’. Simon was more enthusiastic this time, suggesting Matt was better without dancers and gimmicks around him, and that consequently he could imagine Matt giving just such a performance as the Sunday guest star the following year.

However, Cowell gave the boy both barrels in the semi-final last Saturday. Matt’s ‘Silent Night’ seemed vocally secure to us, with a decent acappella opening. Simon dampened the other judges’ enthusiasm by calling it “predictable” before describing it as “like a sandwich without butter”. It’s not the first time Simon has used strange food-based metaphors as critique. He damned Ryan Lawrie this way in week 3 (“if I imagine what a pancake would be like if it sang”), and more notoriously did the same to Andrea Faustini in 2014 (“listening to you makes me feel like I’ve eaten six donuts”).

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Cowell called Matt’s second performance last Saturday “bland” and added, “something’s been lost along the way”. This all seemed unusually damaging about the last remaining male soloist and erstwhile favourite. Just what was going on here? Was the sole intention to get him below the other remaining male act, the more marketable Five After Midnight, about whom Simon made that opposite observation “something has changed [for the better]”? Or perhaps he’d been tossed under by the wave of public support for Saara, and producers had hoisted their sails to the Finnish boat instead? Giving him ‘Alive’ only highlighted her vocal superiority, Saara having nailed it in an earlier singoff.

There’s a possibility that producers decided at this point to take the “open race” message to the next level by having all the finalists drop into the bottom two. Clearly stung by the idea that Matt had it sewn up after three weeks, they’d started dropping hints from week 6 onwards about different acts topping the vote. And while last Saturday night may have been bad for Matt, at least the Sunday show failed to repeat the criticism of him, instead clearly having the knives out for Emily, as the singoff confirmed.

But if the intention was always to build Matt back up in the final, it’s hard not to think there’s some collateral damage done by using sentiments such as “wet”, “bland”, and comparing him to a butter-less sandwich. Like Gifty earlier in the series, the rapid switch in mood makes us wonder if he has somehow displeased producers behind the scenes. That seemed unlikely when Matt was happy to play ball earlier in the series.

On last Sunday’s Xtra Factor, Simon’s comment that we would see a return to “week 1” Matt in the final, seemed a ray of hope. Should he make it to this coming Sunday, the Ed Sheeran acoustic ballad penned as one potential winner’s single, could suit him well. He remains the most Middle-England friendly act remaining; the type who in normal years, would be hoovering up new and transferring voters at this stage.

But Matt seems to be having as much luck with potential duet partners as he’s had with girlfriends. Firstly, Sam Smith apparently snubbed performing with him, then James Arthur, reportedly lined up should Emily have got through, supposedly declined once Matt was the suggested partner instead (for a sense of how a ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ duet with a male partner may or may not work, check out the version from the Australian X Factor final a few weeks ago. The act in question, Vlado Saric, had survived the semi-final singoff and went on to finish third in the four-act final).

If you believe these stories, the poor lad can’t stop being jilted. He’ll be awaiting his fate at the Wembley altar on Saturday, in what feels like the climactic episode of a soap opera. Will producers allow the ideal partner to show up and make his dreams come true? Let us know your thoughts below.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

114 comments to X Factor 2016: Matt’s Journey – From Jilted Lover to Jilted Favourite

  • Interesting read, I thought Matt would be third but then Saara’s song choice happened. Could he win it?

  • Dana

    Once Saara crashes out in 3rd, I suspect he will inherit most of her voters, due to how vocally superior he is to 5am.

  • Finnished Buisness?

    Nice gals Finnish Third?

    Fight to the Finnish?

    No More Saara? (No more drama)

    I used a pun generator for some of these,
    Don’t do them please they are rediculous

    The Saara ain’t over until the fat lady sings

    Confessions of a teenage Saara queen

    Hungarian state Saara house

    Indian Soap Saara

    Metropolitan Saara in HD

    Prime time enemy award for most Saara series

    BBC tv Saara

    This is the best one

    Romantic Saara film

    Never go on the pun generator

    Sorry, I’m trying to be lighthearted after Saara destroyed herself. Hopefully we get to see metropolitan Saara in HD soon.

  • Curtis

    The hysteria surrounding Saara;s song choices is ridiculous. Do we learn nothing? 2 weeks ago we saw she had 2 of the worst X Factor songs, The Winner Takes It All and Diamonds Are Forever. Yet it’s 95% likely she won that week. A Eurovision classic? I’m immediately drawn to “Waterloo” as the song that most fits that and is a decent song choice for her. Maybe she reprises Chandelier or No More Tears on the Sunday rather than TWTIA, or maybe she just sings 2 Abba songs over the weekend, because they’re going to be drastically different performances. Her duet with Adam Lambert could be a real moment, whether people have heard of him or not. Count Saara out at your own peril.

  • stoney

    Saaras odds are continuing to shorten today while the rest are lengthening. Saara has her support now. All the momentum as well. They aren’t going to help someone described as bland 1 week ago to the win that much is for sure. With regards to song choice as Curtis said until we know for a fact what she’s signing and the arrangement its pointless spectulating on her being thrown under the bus. I would hazard a guess and I haven’t called much right this series that she won the last 2 weeks and seeing as she’s now odds on to win and tptb are fixed on this wide open competition scenario, that they are again trying to paint the picture it’s anyone’s final. The crazy thing is they lost all the viewers way before the point of putting this tactic into place.

  • stoney

    For those convinced saara will be finishing 3rd fill your boots on the 6/1 available.

  • I think Cowell wanted another Olly Murs and went off Matt when he realised he couldn’t dance and lacked sex appeal, and was a risk of losing female interest if he was gay. Matt got a reprise in week 7 but he earned it. It wasn’t just the first 4 judge s.o. of the night, it was Matt’s only 4 judge s.o. of the series.

    Rise Like a Phoenix is my guess for Saara’s ESC song. She’s done it before several times. If so, she’s won.

  • EM

    Bringing the focus back to Matt (sorry Saarabet fans!). We’ve seen acts lose producer favour through previous series. We never know why but being difficult, not taking off with the public and press coverage have all been posited as reasons.

    I was going to say the unusual thing was not at this late stage but remember the Ben/Fleur final where she had been getting all the support up to the final then Ben got much more even, if not better, treatment.

    It was supposed round these parts that they realised Ben was going to win whatever so they couldn’t look like they were being nasty to the winner or backing a loser.

    I’ve always supposed there are certain acts they’d rather didn’t have the winner tag hanging over them as they launch any career but being finalists is good enough and I wonder if that is the case here. Have they decided the main objective is Saara for the show, 5am for the career and Matt is the heart throb that makes up the numbers?

  • David Cook

    Apologies for posting this on Matt’s page but here’s a version of Euphoria which could work well for Saara. With her vocal I think she might just pull this off. I’m thinking this would be similar to TWTIA – but she’d have to do something else if she makes it through to Sunday.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChGwdaD7aVw

  • Martin

    Matt’s comments have been suspect from Simon quite a few times. He’s used the ‘I didn’t love the first half, but the second half of the song was better’ quite a lot of times on him. Not sure if that is significant, perhaps suggesting that he is inconsistent, takes a while to get going?

    Tying in with the story in the Mail last week, there were also a few suspect comments on Xtra on Sunday. Rylan asked Matt how his first time in the bottom felt, being the most alarming. Katie Price was also on fine lewd form as usual, but there’s a whole other can of worms.

    What I’m thinking is that last weekend, the show levelled itself for 5AM. I’m anticipating guns out for Matt on Saturday and a big push for 5AM. We’ve all spoken about Matt being the chosen one but what if it was 5AM all along? Granted they’ve always had favour but felt second fiddle to Matt, perhaps because they don’t appear as natural vote getters. Maybe in the middle weeks they were experimenting with seeing if they can boost 5AM and bring down Matt. It crosses over nicely on week 5 where 5AM got their first pimp slot and Matt his first criticism. It doesn’t explain 5AMs sing off, which may not have been in the script, but if they had to go into the final damaged, they’ve damaged everybody else too and disguised it as an open competition.

    Still not convinced they can pull it off, mind.

    • Alan

      Rylan’s “first time in the bottom” comment is comedy gold. Was the viewer supposed to pick up on the double meaning or was it meant to go unnoticed to most?

      • GsP

        Or more so Matt’s knowing response to “how did it feel being the bottom for the first time”:

        “It hurt”.

        Followed by much laughter

        • Martin

          Yeah I was about to mention, Matt’s response was equally as witty and I can’t imagine that, if this whole secret relationship thing was getting to him, he’d have been playing along seemingly unaffected. I got the impression that it was just Rylan being Rylan – him and Matt have been fantastic on Xtra this year.

          • Martin

            I’ve also just realised the matt story wasn’t in the daily mail, it was the star or the mirror, I forget. Ignore my inaccuracy I do apologise.

    • Stu

      Good theory. It’s definitely plausible – especially the week 5 treatment. I think that idea was used with Marcus and Craig back in LM’s year (although not 100% sure).

  • Ben Cook

    I’m actually not convinced that post on Digital Spy is true.. no one else seems to have seen Rylan saying that? Seems like an unusually large amount of exclusive info to reveal in one go.

  • Jessica Hamby

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/2352233/spice-girls-drop-out-of-x-factor-final-performance-with-5-after-midnight-and-now-wont-make-comeback-till-2017/

    At this rate Saara will be the only one with a duet partner.

    Looks like Clean Bandit / Louisa are stepping in with 5AM.

    • George

      They should scrap the duets, honestly. It’s embarrassing for the show that we used to get people like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Christina and now for the past few years we’ve had judges performing with acts who aren’t even in their own category and this year they can hardly find anyone at all.

      They’re not as impactful as they used to be.

  • GsP

    Hilarious that noone wants to sing with Matt.

    Please no to Bohemian Rhapsody. That would be horrendous. Surely they won’t?!

  • Lake

    Adam Lambert singing Bohemian Rhapsody a few years ago:

  • Martin

    We get this with duet partners every year. I’d be astonished if Sam Smith was ever actually involved – Andrea Faustini was rumoured to be singing with every female diva under the sun right up until he turned up on stage with … Ella Henderson.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Shane Filan is in Indonesia.

    https://twitter.com/ShaneFilan/status/805807327450431489

    Don’ know if Matt will be pleased or disappointed.

  • Curtis

    I had earmarked down Louisa as a possible deramping duet of the Ella Henderson with Andrea ilk. I thought they might do her and Matt for that reason – and I’m sure they’re disappointed if they are having to pair her with 5AM, because clearly the Spice Girls would have been more impactful!

  • I’m holding fire until we know what Eurovision Song it is. There’s very, very few of them that appeal to UK audiences. Rise Like A Phoenix would do anything but, though.

  • Love Shine A Light COULD be a moment… when Katrina performed it at the UK national final this year it got the cheer of the night in the hall.

  • Dana

    The DS post about Rylan giving hints for the songs doesn’t seem to be backed up with any source and the poster has not provided one even when asked. No reference to it anywhere online either. Potentially false?

  • And let’s not get too far down the Euro hole. Most people tune in on the Saturday. We stream Melodifestivalen and stay in to watch it, and seek out the world feed for the semis to avoid the shitty BBC opt outs. (I’m still pissed for them dropping The Gay People.)

  • Alas yes Dana, it looks like it may have been all a lie. I guess we should all check out stuff like that first. What a waste of time.

  • Scott

    The joy of fake news – it’s all over the shop these days. Bane of my life as I need to triple check everything in my job these days.

    It’s very possible the poster thought it was true after seeing it on another forum or something. Either way, unless I see a link I’m not going with it.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Off topic but I think that after today we could all do with a laugh.

    https://youtu.be/TbHLoIKGqdw?t=13m29s

  • I meant the Grey people. That’s gotta be typo of the year.

    (For the curious – The Grey People was a contemporary dance piece that was the interval act of the first semi at Stockholm. The BBC, being the cunts they are, opted out of it and showed a shit VT of Mel Whatsherface in a cake shop. How original.)

  • Spiidey

    I’ll hold my hands up as the poster who copied the original digital spy post to here.

    It definitely appears that there is some dubiety over whether Rylan has actually said any of this.

    I had a look back through the original poster’s (Hannah’s) posts and there are others related to X Factor that appear genuine – adding more grist to the mill that it may be valid.

    However, it’s difficult to believe the poster unless someone else can corroborate Rylan saying this.

    http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2108228&highlight=

    http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2031841&highlight=

  • thank you please

    I’d go with the theory they wanted Matt to B2 for the “open race” scheme.

    5am and Saara got maximum push on Saturday while Matt was sandwich assaulted by Simon. When the night’s votes were in and app votes spent, Matt’s B2 was probably a certainty. Thus, they did not replay Simons negative comments on Sunday’s recap as now those reminders would have only hurt Matt in the final, which they did not want. Instead they added some praise to minimize damage.

    I’m an amateur with this, but makes sense?

    • Woofie

      They did the same when 5AM was in the B2 they didn’t replay the criticism in the recap. I think it was to support the judge’s decision for a save in the sing off. But yes it plays into not carrying it forward.

  • Woofie

    What struck me about Matt last weekend was how he had been drained of his confidence. He came across as the least confident performer of the finalists, the sighs of relief after performing you expect in the early stages of the competition not at this juncture ahead of the final, so his treatment over the last few weeks must have really got to him.

    Interesting that Simon is now the “impartial” judge with no conflict of interest in the finals. Fleur’s Standard article this week implies that critiques of Matt was judges game playing. There was the pantomime distraction between Simon and Nicole. I think it would not be that difficult to restore Matt’s position on Saturday, if they wanted to, and if 5AM were 3rd I would expect significant vote transfer from them to Matt for the Sunday.

  • JM

    The “source” of the “spoilers” on Digital Spy forum-hannah-wrote: “I got the information from another forum but the poster on there who was on there seems to lie so I would discount my original post I’m sorry. ”

    So you can calm down.

    She did it after 4 pages on speculation.LOL!

  • GsP

    Interesting(?) that the XFactor site got a story and gallery of 5AMs homecoming up within 12 hours, and there’s still nothing at all on Saara’s from Monday.

    Not wanting to make the other gigs look bad in comparison?

  • EM

    2016 the year of fake news. Hope no one placed any bets based on that info. Always wise to check.

  • If it’s fake, thank god. I have been bashing Zara from Norway (Who will be back I think) the entire day yesterday so I’m trying to find another thing.

    Emily is questioning Grimmys mental state.

    Why??

    Ok, here is some more finalist elimination names.

    The Pun Generator did the next one

    The Powers Matt Be

    Ok time for ok ones

    Been there, done Matt

    Terry the hatchet

    Terry Third

  • David Cook

    Here’s an interesting fact (maybe not but I’m still going to share it anyway). Just looking at the odds I noticed that Matt and 5AM are virtually at the same odds as they were when Daniel did the 1 -12 Prediction article before the start of the live shows.

  • Marianne

    I think Matt is still going to win and they just don’t want it to seem like a done deal. Maybe they’re trying to decrease Saara’s votes with the ‘voting scandal’ story. First Louis tells people to vote in Finnish (and they must have prepared her for that, because I had no idea what he was saying), then there’s the ‘scandal’ and at Saara’s homecoming Dermot encouraged the audience to vote. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but something along the lines of ‘hack some computers, you’re good at that sort of thing.’ Why would he say that if they didn’t want to show it in the VT and remind the audience that maybe Saara’s only made it this far because people are voting for her from Finland? And there are those who think it’s unfair that she’s in the show when she’s already such a huge star back home and the big crowd at the homecoming could emphasise this idea, when in fact that’s only due to her success on the show.

    But I haven’t really tried to analyse these shows before so maybe I’m wrong.

    • Scott

      That’s a theory I’ve heard from someone else who generally doesn’t try to anaylse these shows. These interventions are really handy at this point when many of us (ok, I) am too far deep in the show and sometimes fail to look from a different perspective.

      The bit I struggle with is that Matt was thrown so far under the bus last week. But The X Factor can U-turn without huge concern, and that clip would just never be seen again.

      Nothing would quite underline the idea of a wide open competition than a ‘shock winner’.

    • Sindi

      I don’t think they’ll show Dermot’s computer hacking line. It would be a scandal, the show encouraging “illegal” voting from abroad. It is very puzzling though that he said that. I think it might even have been spontaneous though I admit he usually follows a script.

      • EM

        Yep, I’ll eat Stoney’s hat if that line from Dermot gets into the show

      • Does anyone have a link to Dermot saying this? on any of the videos online? Cant find it.

        Thanks

        • Jessica Hamby

          I watched it live and he definitely said it. I haven’t looked for a link though.

          • I have no doubt he said it, but I would like to rewatch it back and see the context in which it was said etc

            If anyone finds a link.. great! But i cant 🙁

          • HL

            Dermot said: “It’s getting hot in here!….Oooh….This is fantastic. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you Helsinki…. So. I’m very cold but I’m feeling the warmth from down there, friend…. Moi Helsinkiiiii! Moi stadiiiii! Was that right?… So, listen… [mumbling], Anteeksi? I can’t speak Finnish so I’m so sorry. But you all seem to understand English very well…. Finland, I just wanna say a kiitos, thank you for giving us Saara Aalto. She has been uuunbeliiievable on the X Factor this year. We are very very proud to have her on our show, and, and I know that the love and the support she has got from back home here in Helsinki has been so so so important to her… So just from the UK and our show we wanna say kiitos, thank you thank you so much…. And now she’s in the finaaal!…. So listen, I know you guys can’t vote, but I just wanna… If you just send her big love this weekend then she will feel it, okay… Or hack some computers and then vote… Umpf, you can’t be getting that [or you got to be good at that], you guys are so intelligent here!…. So, listen, I know you are very cold now, so let’s get her out here without further ado, your own daughter, and she’s on the X Factor final this weekend. Helsinki, make some noise for Saara Aalto!”

            I might have heard something wrong, but it was at least very close to that.

          • Sindi

            I think HL has got it right. He didn’ t mention phones.

          • HL

            It’s not on YouTube so cannot share. I gave it another try, and now I am pretty sure he said “good at that”. Bad sound quality, sorry.

          • HL do you have the video saved? Is it possible for you to email me it or anything?

            jscouser2002@hotmail.com

            Contact me on there if you can please. thanks!

          • HL

            I managed to find another stream with better sound quality. So yes, he said “Or hack some computers and then vote… You gotta be good at that, you guys are so intelligent here!” It takes about 51 minutes before Dermot appears: http://www.mtv.fi/viihde/ohjelmat/x-factor-uk/uutiset/artikkeli/saara-aalto-hurmasi-senaatintorilla-nama-kappaleet-suomalaistahti-esitti/6200102

            Or actually there is a short interview earlier, too. He is talking mainly about Finnish people and the moment he first met Saara at her audition.

            Maybe this is available in the UK? I am in Finland right now and would not like to use much more time with this stuff.

        • David Cook

          From what I can remember from the live feed this is the gist of what he said – Marianne or Jessica might be able to confirm or disagree if I’ve got it close.
          “I know you’ll be able to watch on Saturday. I know you won’t be able to vote”.
          Then as an aside he said something like
          “You’ve all got phones and you’re all clever people”.
          Then almost as an aside to the aside he said.
          “Hack some computers or something”.
          The last part was purely a joke but the part about the phones did almost seem to be an unofficial encouragement for people to try to vote.

  • Alison cassells

    Don’t know how to put the link in but daily star quoted dermot on Lorraine stating. They’ve all been top of the vote, they’ve all been bottom. Does that mean if they went to deadlock last week matt would be toast? Or was the comment there to enforce the comp is wide open and all to play for?
    The machinations of this programmes, nothing is a slip with dermot, message delivered

  • David Cook

    Here’s the interview – it’s must be slightly edited – but in the part where they’re talking about the voting he does say bottom two, not bottom.

    • What the Star quoted Dermot as saying: “everyone in the final three has finished top of the voting chart at some point through the series and they have all also finished bottom at one point or another.”

      What Dermot actually says: “everyone’s finished top of a week, the final four, and then everyone’s finished in the bottom two”

      Yet more fake news! 🙂

    • EM

      It’s obvious they want to push the close and unpredictable final line this weekend.

      Dermot said something along the lines of “Saara has been slow and steady” when talking about the voting. Wonder if that was an opinion formed by his knowledge of the voting or just his thoughts.

  • Dana

    I think the producers can pretty much get the result they want with 2 exceptions:I can’t see 5am finishing 1st and I can’t see Matt Terry finishing 3rd. Any other combination will be easy.

    • Curtis

      They managed to get Matt Terry third (or fourth) last week, admittedly with less voting and in a 4 person field. I do agree that getting 5AM to win would be a very tall order though. Their appeal is not broad enough.

    • Sindi

      He expects to be taken seriously although he’s writing about the X Factor TO THE GUARDIAN.

      I hate that kind of journalism. It’s bullying.

  • HL

    Can someone remember when Cowell said that he has changed his mind about who is probably going to win this? Week 4? I think it was discussed here.

  • Dana

    Song choices:

    Saara Aalto ~ Everybody Wants To Rule The World ~ Tears For Fears + Duet TBC (Likely Adam Lambert doing Bohemian Rhapsody)

    Matt Terry ~ Take Me Home ~ Jess Glynne + Duet TBC (likely Nicole Scherzinger)

    5AM ~ Crazy In Love ~ Beyonce + Duet TBC

    • Mim

      Matt’s song probably suits him well but it’s one of those songs that doesn’t really go anywhere vocally and I feel it’s right up the “bread without butter” alley. It will be interesting to see what they do with it.

      5 AM can be pimped to high heavens with Crazy in Love if they use their usual 20 “backing vocalists”, regardless of what version of the song they do (original or 50 Shades). But as per usual, strip them of that support and it will be disastrous. They are vulnerable.

      Bizarre choice for Saara yet again but she’s had some of her best moments with seemingly bizarre song choices. I also think with Emily gone they have more room to play with the slowed down, haunting arrangements with the other contestants. Could go either way.

      Wouldn’t count anyone in or out based on song choice alone, which I suppose is exactly what they’re going for.

    • Matt with Lauren Murray’s swan song from last year.They’ve used quite a few of her choices on him, seems like they’re trying get him into third.
      Mixed feelings for 5am, could be a fun performance but it’s an iconic song and I think it’s difficult to interpret. Just ask Monica Michael. It’s probably intended as positive thugh.

      I don’t like Saara’s song, but it could work for her and has a nice little message, I suppose.

  • Dana

    All 3 songs seem kinda crap choices to me. I guess it gives 5am a chance to dance rather than sing.

    • Spiidey

      Based on the three first songs, it appears 5AM have been given the best treatment.

      I can see the song, with its stand out melody, being similar to Signed, Sealed, Delivered’s trumpet sound which on playback was one of the most memorable parts of the semi final.

      Matt’s song has subliminals to be first out but offers him the chance of a “moment”.

      Saara’s is odd. I don’t know what to make of it. It just kind of plods along. A lot is going to hinge on the duet for Saara I think.

      Does seem like a 5AM push for the win though.

      As we know with sing choices though after the last couple of weeks, it is almost impossible to know what the arrangements/styling will be like on the night though.

      • Lake

        I think Saara’s will probably be this version recently recycled at America’s Got Talent this year:

      • DGiles

        Not 100% convinced about Crazy In Love for 5AM. It’s a great song, but requires a strong voice to make it compete with versions people know and love the most.

        For me, a good arrangement of the song would leave 5AMs voices badly exposed.

        They could get a version which provides a lot of vocal support as usual, but I think the song arrangement would be poor in this instance, simply because such an arrangement would pale badly in comparison to the original. There’s various layers to the song that would get lost with the sound of 100 voices singing constantly.

        Saara – need to wait and see with that one. It’s very unlikely to be the original version, so already it’s a unknown until the actual show. The one thing that the last few weeks have shown us is that it’s a big mistake to try and analyse Saara’s song choices before the show. Just remember “The Winner Takes It All” has been her best performance by far and seems to be the one that has spearheaded her to be the current favourite, despite its previous 100% record of eliminating any act that sung it on this show.

  • Lake

    Liam Payne ripped into Louis Walsh after he dissed Cheryl & got aggressive at a presser promoting 5AM:

    https://twitter.com/LiamPayne/status/807016977088684032

    “Congratulations Louis Walsh for setting the worst example on handling media for his band who are about to step into a very hard industry. ”

    What Louis originally said:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/x-factor-louis-walsh-cheryl-fernandez-versini-return-video_uk_5849b829e4b0f21e8655bdf3?amp%3Bir=UK+Entertainment&utm_hp_ref=uk-entertainment

  • GsP

    That’s a clear deramp for Saara. Song goes nowhere. neither allows her to play up her camp/theatrical/fun side, nor gives an opportunity for vocal gymnastics.

    I wonder if they know her duet with Adam is going to blow the others out the water, so a dodgy solo choice is to try and level the playing field.

  • How will 5am be able to sing Crazy in Love? They’ve chosen one of the most demanding songs for their weak vocals.

  • EM

    Eagerly awaiting the voting stats on Sunday.

    Questions I have:
    Did the flash vote save Ryan from bottom two a lot or was he always 3rd from bottom anyway?

    Are the general assumptions about when the top 4 topped the vote true?

    Matt’s trajectory

    How close was Honey G to the bottom each week?

    Who was bottom of the vote in quarters and semis week? Could they have used deadlock but preferred acts to go through with confidence or did 5am and Matt need the decision to get through?

    How big was 5ams semi final bounce?

    Anyone got any more?

    • How big was Ryans week 5 Bounce? How much votes did gifty get in week 1-3? What did Slavery usually get? Has Saara from norway ever been bottom of the vote? How high was she from bottom titanic and Bad Romance weeks?

    • stoney

      How the hell did 5am top a vote and what week was it. Disco week was the only week i seem to remember them being any thing resembling decent or was it motown I can’t remember

      • EM

        Huge question – consensus seems to be Girlband v Boyband week when they did Say You’ll Be There from the pimp slot. That would make sense as neither Matt (on first) or Emily had stand outs that night and Saara was bottom two.

  • EM

    Interesting the song spoilers as they stand don’t indicate a song of the series on Saturday which would be a good way of keeping votes under control

  • The question is, I think 5AM just dodged Matt in to the bottom. So, is Saara from norway in a completely different league?

    If she didnt win last week or the quarters I need stoney’s shirt. He does not have anymore hats.

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