X Factor 2016 Final Preview: A Finn-Win Situation?

The X Factor final arrives on the back of a topsy-turvy few weeks. Unlike last year’s highly predictable final, it’s possible to make a case for any permutation this weekend. As always, watching the show will be vital in assessing producers’ hopes and the reality of the phone vote. Whilst judges comments tend to avoid any negativity, there have been some clear staging clues over the years, from the mess of Nick McDonald’s ‘Candy’ to Marcus Collins’ lonely ‘Last Christmas’.

xfactor-2016-final-main

We don’t rule anything out this weekend, but there will be many more voters and votes cast this weekend, and the British sense of fair play tends to swing behind the most “deserving” winner. In terms of vocal and performing ability among the final three, that is Saara Aalto. Admittedly, Five After Midnight have the advantage of most producer favour based on semi-final evidence, and Matt Terry can claim to be the most Middle-England friendly finalist. But the Finn is the most likely to have won the quarter-final and semi-final phone vote, and producers may feel that her underdog “journey” – bouncing back from early singoff appearances to win over an initially sceptical British public – is a feelgood narrative they can reconcile themselves to.

As remarkable as Saara’s rise to favouritism has been Matt Terry’s apparent fall from grace. We are left predicting that he leaves the competition tonight in third place. Why? Let’s start with a stat he has to overcome: since results started being published in 2008, every lowest-polling semi-final act remaining in the competition has departed first in the final. Although this is the first time the 3rd place finisher is going into the final after hitting the singoff for the first time.

It’s one of those years that’s going to defy some of the statistics, so why not Matt defying this one? Producer favour might make a difference, given his poor treatment in that semi-final, in contrast to the massive pimping for Five After Midnight. But Matt has looked desperately short of producer favour in recent weeks. From week 5 onwards, he’s only been allowed one “moment” – week 7’s ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’. Otherwise he’s been handicapped by poor slots in the running order, and increasingly harsh criticism from head judge Simon Cowell.

That criticism seemed to go much further than necessary last week when Simon called his performances “bland” and “like a sandwich without butter.” Cowell may have felt being that harsh was necessary to get Five After Midnight above him, and through to the final without another singoff. But the choice of Matt as the act brought down rather than Saara suggests a few things: that Saara had won the week 8 vote, leaving Matt closer to the danger zone in week 8; and that they were comfortable with causing some collateral damage to his reputation. This is an act who hasn’t had a pimp slot all series.

Matt was, at least, spared the indignity of the criticism being repeated in the Sunday reprise. That’s one reason I was inclined to think, earlier in the week, that he might still get to the final Sunday. But I’m not particularly encouraged with his first song choice tonight, ‘Take Me Home’, last performed when producers were hoping to get Lauren Murray eliminated from last year’s semi-final. The lyrics offer an unfortunate subliminal, and the song arguably lacks a moment, though we can imagine it suiting Matt’s voice. He gets to partner mentor Nicole Scherzinger in his duet. Whilst it’s a shame that Sam Smith isn’t present, we don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to emphasise the bond that Matt and his mentor have built up – Nicole’s presence means there will be chemistry on stage. But Matt’s supporters need to hope that his first song keeps him in the hunt.

Having got Five After Midnight above Matt last week, it’s not clear why producers would want to reverse that position, given how much more positive they were about the boyband last week. One potentially limiting issue in how far they can push Five After Midnight is the smoke-and-mirrors required to raise the level of their vocals. The strong use of backing track throughout both semi-final songs was incredibly beneficial to the trio. Still, such assistance will come into its own even more in Wembley Arena rather than Fountain Studios. Their first song choice ‘Crazy In Love’ promises another massive production. We still haven’t had their duet partners confirmed, though latest rumours suggest Clean Bandit featuring Louisa Johnson.

It feels significant that we’ve been encouraged to emotionally connect with Five After Midnight more than the other finalists over the last month. VTs have filled in the backstory of each, with more family involvement than Matt and Saara put together. There was a real sense of pushing the “this will transform our lives” button last week. That’s undoubtedly helped an urban act who might otherwise be deemed less Middle England friendly. The final necessarily levels the playing field a little in this respect, as each of the remaining acts visits home, and emphasises the importance of winning.

The next question in our scenario is: can producers get Five After Midnight above Saara? Oh to know how close they came to the Finn in last week’s phone vote! Saara’s treatment over the last few weeks has suggested producers recognising that her talents have catapulted the Finn into many hearts, but attempting not to let her run away with the vote. Hence the use of “corny” and “cheesy” for her more over-the-top performances.

But the judges can’t deny her performing prowess, and have waxed lyrical about her vocals. It’ll be fascinating to see how much the show appears willing to accept her as the feelgood underdog winner. Earlier on in the series, the show used her foreign origin against her, with mentor Sharon Osborne apparently uninterested in getting her name or home nation right. But as last week’s embassy VT has shown, these apparent negatives can be turned into a positive given the desire to do so. You can argue that having a foreign-born winner helps encourage broadening the competition’s talent pool for future years. The treatment of her triumphant concert in Helsinki last Monday will tell us plenty.

Saara is arguably less marketable than Five After Midnight, which is another reason why producers might do their best to get the trio above her. It may not be easy, though. It seems likely that Saara won the week 8 vote when Five After Midnight were in the bottom two, according to Dermot’s running teases about the state of the overall phone vote. Then there was a sense that Five After Midnight needed every help possible last week to help them avoid the bottom two. Our guess is that Saara won the phone vote once again, maybe comfortably.

If that’s the case, then producers may look at the bright side of having the less marketable act win the competition – someone whose talents merit the title. It would help prove that anything can happen in the live shows if she can recover from spending the first two weeks in the singoff. Saara’s first song choice ‘Everybody Wants To Rule the World’ is lyrically promising, and her reported duet of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with Adam Lambert has the potential to be a show-stopper. We’ll know soon after the show starts if producers have the knives out for her.

It’s worth repeating that with more than usual uncertainty surrounding producers’ intentions tonight and tomorrow, a watching brief is advised. Amidst the speculation, and given the song choices, we feel safest going with the order that the three acts most likely finished in the semi-final, giving us a prediction of:

1. Saara Aalto
2. Five After Midnight
3. Matt Terry

Do give us your predictions and further thoughts below. But most of all, good luck and enjoy.

Photos via @ThePixelFactor

205 comments to X Factor 2016 Final Preview: A Finn-Win Situation?

  • Tim B

    1. 5 After Midnight
    2. Saara Aalto
    3. Matt Terry

    I’m excited!

  • Jessica Hamby

    1 Saara Aalto
    2 Five After Midnight
    3 Matt Terry

    It’s worth remembering that Saara can sing in chinese (I think she sings in mandarin but it may be cantonese). She has self-released an album in chinese. China’s Got Talent (or whatever the chinese franchised equivalent is called) regularly gets more than 400 million viewers. There is also a chinese X Factor which has similarly massive numbers.

    Saara also sings in japanese and yes, there are franchises there too.

    As winner of the UK show she surely can get a guest slot on one or more of those if Syco want it and we all know her singing will impress so maybe she’s more marketable than you think.

    • Yeah, no… This is similar thinking to last year’s theories that Simon would make Fourth Impact superstars in Asia.

      So you think that just because Saara recorded something in Chinese or Japanese Syco is going to push her there? Who are you kidding? She will be pushed in the UK, Ireland, the rest of Europe and possibly in Australia and NZ. If she really takes off, perhaps also in North America. We will soon see what Simon thinks of her potential for success as a recording artist. It would be nice if they managed to at least make her winner’s single a success.
      IMO, she is a competent singer and performer, but I find her voice generic and not easily recognizable on recordings.

      Japan is a big market for music, but somewhat closed off, it’s hard for western superstars to crack it. Some have more success than others. China is a big country, but it’s market for music is plagued by piracy.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Well I’ve been wrong about everything else this season so I’m probably wrong about that too.

        • Jessica Hamby

          But for any western act that does get a big following in China it won’t be the sales or even royalties that are important (the western market is plagued by piracy too, after all) it will be endorsements. Western companies will pay fortunes for an act with acess to 400 million people to eat their cookies and wear their deoderant (or whatever tat it is that they’re trying to flog).

          • Syco wouldn’t profit from Saara’s endorsements.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Unless they arrange a deal whereby they do.

          • Syco is a record label. They make money off music.

          • Yes, and they’re also very low-risk. Remember Sam Bailey’s Mothers Day album? In addition to the lack of investment for most male winners.

          • Jessica Hamby

            If we’re nit picking then they’re an umbrella company with film, music and tv arms and they themselves are an arm of Sony. That’s irrelevant though. If you think it’s impossible to negotiate such a deal then there’s nothing left for us to discuss on the matter.

            I am suggesting possibilities. If you think they are impossibilities that is up to you. My possibility offers a motivation for producers to favour Saara. Of course it might be wrong but it is at least an avenue to explore. What do we gain when you shut it down?

          • Syco does have film, music and TV arms. Saara would get a recording contract with the music arm of the company. The other two arms make TV shows and movies. Saara would have to seek management outside of it (Modest!, Crown, Global) and she would sign endorsement contracts through the management. Syco would not make money from that.

            I’m sorry if you are not familiar with the basics.

          • Jessica Hamby

            My bad. I didn’t know all contracts are the same and no-one ever negotiates anything. I always thought parties decided things between themselves basis of what they were bringing to the table.

          • Jessica Hamby

            *on the basis*

  • Martyn

    Hoping for…

    1. Saara

    However, I think it be…
    1. Matt
    2. 5AM
    3. Saara

  • Edie M

    Reckon you could make a case for any order, but I am going to guess:
    1. Saara
    2. Matt
    3. 5AM
    Want Saara to win, wouldn’t mind 5AM, hope it isn’t Matt as would be such an anti-climax.

  • Milton

    1. Saara
    2. Matt
    3. 5AM

    As Matt is unlikely to be accused of having lost his way or being like a sandwich without butter tonight, he should regain his quarter final position above 5AM.

  • MCIMH

    1. Saara
    2. Matt
    3. 5AM

  • Dean Brown

    Would LOVE to see Saara win.
    despite the votes in the recent weeks I still can’t see it happen for some reason.
    However I would lovvvvvve to be proven wrong!!

  • Shaun

    1. Saara by a landslide
    2. Matt
    3. 5AM

    I think second and third will be almost a draw so the toss of a coin.

  • Lara T

    This is nerve racking!

    I want:

    Matt
    Saara
    5am

    I think it will be:

    Saara
    Matt
    5am

  • A couple of polls still with Emily below only because they are still getting votes.
    ________________________________________
    2,643 votes

    Saara Aalto 85%
    5 After Midnight 8%
    Matt Terry 7%

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/0/should-win-years-x-factor-saara-alto-obviously
    ________________________________________
    “1,000+ votes”

    Saara 52%
    Matt 25%
    5am 23%

    http://metro.co.uk/2016/12/10/matt-saara-or-5-after-midnight-who-will-win-the-x-factor-2016-6313231/
    ________________________________________
    6,671 votes

    Saara 47%
    Matt 28%
    5am 25%

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/simon-cowell-x-factor_uk_584ab983e4b040989fa6b86a?utm_hp_ref=uktvxfactor
    ________________________________________
    4,558 votes

    Could Saara Alto win The X Factor?

    YES – She’s a superstar 78%
    MAYBE – If she pulls out another Sia 13%
    NO – She needs to Let It Go 9%

    http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/741695/X-Factor-2016-final-Saara-Aalto-Simon-Cowell
    ________________________________________
    914 votes

    Saara Aalto 59%
    5 After Midnight 16%
    Matt Terry 20%
    Emily Middlemas 5%

    http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/740068/The-X-Factor-homophobia-row-ITV-snubbing-Saara-Aalto-fianc-e-Meri-Sopanen
    ________________________________________
    no vote number stated

    Saara 74%
    Matt 11%
    5am 9%
    Emily 6%

    http://www.justsimoncowell.com/single-post/2016/11/30/X-Factor-poll-semi-final

  • David Cook

    1 – Saara Aalto
    2 – 5AM
    3 – Matt Terry

    The Sun running the voting story today suggests that TPTB aren’t yet giving up just yet BUT the bottom line is that I don’t think they could get 5AM over the line. They might be able to push them above Matt. It’s up to Saara now to pull out the performances of her life over the next two days. I think she will and if she does she does she will win.

  • Sagand

    1. Five After Midnight
    2. Saara Aalto
    3. Matt Terry

    Saara to lead at vote freeze, 5AM to take a very close contest tomorrow.

  • Dana

    1-Matt
    2-Saara
    3-5am

    Matt overtakes Saara after 5am eliminated

  • Dendrite

    There is still one permutation left (5AM – Matt – Saara), in case someone wants to be original… 😉

  • 360

    I fear for a 5AM win. They’re the first act I’ve actively disliked on the show for a few years now…well, apart from Saint Louisa last year.

    I would like Saara to win, and I think, unless slaughtered with song choice and comments, that Matt is still the most likely to win, even though the ‘male’ vote is split.

    What would be cruel, but I wouldn’t put past them to do to ensure a 5AM win, would be to imply a lot about Matt and camp him up, in order to try and eat into Saara’s theatrical/LGBT vote while at the same time taking away his middle England/female vote in the hopes that 5AM would then mop it up.

    What I would love to see is 5AM having a Milli Vanilli moment.

  • 1 Matt
    2 5am
    3 saara

    14/1 skybet straight forecast

  • Spiidey

    1. Saara
    2. 5AM
    3. Matt

  • Curtis

    1) Saara
    2) Matt
    3) 5AM

    It’s definitely an interesting one though, because this may be the only year ever in which there’s a good reason to think any of the 3 finalists will win. It’s momentum vs broad appeal vs producers’ favourites. I still think any permutation is possible, but getting 5AM to win will probably take a lot of sabotage, and I don’t think they’re going to do it.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Poor old Matt. The man in black. Hope he enjoys his swansong.

  • Jessica Hamby

    On the basis of the group song they’re going to go for it with 5AM. Glad I covered them.

  • Curtis

    Dermot doesn’t waste any time, straight in with pimping 5AM, noticing out loud how the crowd scream when he says their name.

    On the other hand the running order suggests Saara is the chosen one.

  • stoney

    The weeknd was the pre record. 5am seem to be getting the best reaction in the arena. Saara with pimp spot.
    Shook dermots hand 🙂

  • George

    Great intro and breakdown, the singing bits not so much.

  • DGiles

    Its 60% music with no vocals :S
    I kept waiting for the singing to start….

  • Curtis

    I don’t think that performance is how the show presents its chosen winner. The vocals were ropey of course, but that’s not really what mattered. The staging was just too chaotic – with not much focus on them. There was fire, colour vomit, spotlights aiming anywhere but them, the works frankly.

  • 360

    Torn with that. On the one side they played to 5AM’s strengths by keeping it off vocals, on the other hand, they didn’t buff up their vocals as much as they have done in the studio shows, and they were a bit exposed as a result.

    I thought this might be the ‘set them up for a good career’ moment, like Fleur’s rapping in her final.

  • DGiles

    I can’t see 5AM winning with that…
    One more performance to turn it round though I guess

  • Chelsea

    Was there any correlation in previous finals between the allocated voteline end digits and who the producers are rooting for?

    01 – 5AM
    02 – Matt
    03 – Saara

    A subliminal message perhaps from TPTB? Just a thought although perhaps I’m reading too much into it!

  • DGiles

    lol at the same sex dancing duets. Not subtle are they..

  • Sagand

    Same sex dancing couples, then called a drama queen. Subtle.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Blimey. Simon couldn’t resist the chance to give Matt another quick shoeing.

    And as for drama queen…..

  • Edie M

    Well that was damning Matt with faint praise

  • annie

    I wasnt around internet much these days, just wanted to say that I am pretty sure saara will win, and it will be a win win situation.
    Besides the fact that she is the best singer, that people who only tune in and vote on the final will go for, she has other aspects too going her way.
    Little mix was helped to the win to prove the point that a group, even a girlgroup can win XF. Good for the franchise.
    Sam Bailey was allowed/helped to win to prove that an Over, older lady can win XF too. Good for the franchise.
    Saara will win to prove brits are not againts foreigners, and everyone does get a chance when its deserved. Good for the franchise.
    Good luck everybody.

  • George

    If Saara doesn’t come out with an epic performance now I’ll have no clue what their intentions are.

  • Curtis

    Saara has won Round 1 before even stepping out. The distracting dancers being wheeled out for Matt, and where Simon ignored them last week for Saara, he couldn’t help but mention them for Matt!

  • eurovicious

    First the beard (not Sinitta, the one on his face), now the coy circular glasses… Simon Cowell is turning into Daniel!

  • Lara T

    Supersonic PR just confirmed on twitter matt will be duetting with Nicole.

  • swablu

    Look how many Finnish flags there were in Bromley.

  • DGiles

    “There’s another thing wrong with you and Nicole, isn’t there Matt?” Hands mic to Matt..

    My word. I thought he was going to come out then…

  • Jessica Hamby

    Matt’s face by the end of that….. He was doing his best to keep the smile on but he looked like someone who’d trodden on lego and was trying not to swear in front of the kids.

  • Scott

    The England stuff from Nicole was … odd. And happened twice, so it ain’t an accident.

  • George

    Well, we’ve adopted Saara.

  • Curtis

    Begging for votes before she even performs? Oh, and she’s Sarah now? Oh Sharon.

  • Chelsea

    “England, vote for YOUR VERY OWN Matt Terry!”, says Nicole. Obvious dig at Saara there.

  • annie

    wow. saara is winning this bigtime. otherwise it will be biiiig embarassment. (…all the over the top production and hype she is getting)

    • eurovicious

      Great VT. They’ve turned her narrative into a Christmas Disney fairytale. While, in keeping with the Disney approach, eliding her queerness and keeping shots of her rather-too-Channel-4 girlfriend to blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. Now why aren’t I warming Dermot’s cockles on a sleigh in Scandinavia?

  • Curtis

    The homecoming VT was phenomenal. I thought she was maybe sucked up by the production in the earlier moments of the song but was given the opportunity of big notes later on, and the finnish was a winner’s shot. Nicole very reluctant in her praise mind, but Simon lifted the tone.

  • Ben Cook

    Felt a bit teary watching Saara’s VT! She’s walking this.

  • DGiles

    Bearing in mind that was the more worrying half for Saara pre-show, it’s looking very good.

  • Fudd

    Is Nicole going off script here?

  • DGiles

    Needs more autotune. Much more…

  • Alan

    I hope all the folk who claim 5AM’s vocals arent good enough for a career in pop are enjoying Louis Tomlinson.

  • Curtis

    I don’t even feel I can criticise that performance because that felt like quite a genuine moment of emotion.

  • Sindi

    1. Saara Aalto 2. Matt Terry 3. 5 After Midnight

    Oh these were probably supposed to be posted before the lives. 😀 Saara is so winning this.

  • GsP

    Stunning from Saara. Epic VT. Performance felt like an established artist doing an Arena Tour.

    5AM being pushed hard to get above Matt.

  • Edie M

    This 5AM performance is a bit of a mess, too many people on stage plus colour vomit

  • swablu

    what is 5ams role in this performance?

  • Curtis

    Poor Louisa – they’ve put this song in 5AM’s key and she’s struggling! Not exactly a moment!

  • DGiles

    Didn’t Clean Bandit say their favourite was Saara just a couple of weeks a go?

  • Edie M

    also did you hear Dermot say ‘well that’s your last competitive performance on the x-factor’…’for now’ when he realised what he’d said.

  • swablu

    that was just a louisa johnson performance with 5am bobbing about next to her

  • Sagand

    No break between 5AM and Matt.

  • Pimping Louisa still.

    She can’t happen.

  • DGiles

    I feel sorry for Louisa that she was forced into being a part of that mess..

  • annie

    wow. they dont even pretend to care about 5am anymore.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Mr Hamby is disgusted that I made him turn off the Fast & Furious 5 car chase to see that. I’m can see his point.

  • annie

    it official. Nicole is the duet assasin.
    it´s like she gets payed to outsing .

  • Edie M

    That was mostly just Nicole with Matt standing there, and she pretty much drowned him out.

  • DGiles

    Nicole just can’t help herself can she.
    always has to outsing whoever she duets with

  • Curtis

    Now THAT was a moment. That is why Scherzy was a dangerous pick for Matt’s duet partner. No doubt about 5AM in third place now for me.

    EDIT: Hang on, is this a triple song with no ads?

    • Edie M

      they’re really rushing through the duets, maybe because the stars are so c-list (although reckon Lambert and Saara is going to be pretty impressive).

  • Alan

    Nice to see they’ve sorted the Purple Rain clearance issues that stopped Max Stone singing it last year.

  • Curtis

    I personally think Matt won the duets, but not by as much as Saara won round 1 (and Matt’s duet was quickly memoryholed by Saara).

    Edit: And Louisa didn’t even make it into the duet recaps! Her day goes from bad to worse!

  • George

    They completely gave up on 5AM in the duets.

    Matt “won” the duets, though it was Nicole really. Had the most oomph, but Saara/Adam was the most equal.

  • Ana

    This has to be the least money spent for final duet ‘stars’ ever.

  • 360

    Saara’s duet was wonderful – although they really should have dropped ‘Adam Lambert, frontman of Queen’ or mentioned it at some point.

    Nicole has some pipes on her! Why she’s content to be a zany-personalitied TV presenter when she can sing like that is beyond me. Now she could sing rock.

    Matt might get some sympathy votes after being drowned out by her though. They should have turned her mic down, considering it’s well known what power she’s got.

    In other news, yawn, I’d forgotten Honey G existed. Truly a blight on this year.

  • Curtis

    Honey G gets a performance on the Wembley stage? Fantastic, great opportunity for her. Looking forward to Emily Middlemas’ performance 🙂

  • Honey g got the real pimp slot then

  • Edie M

    Whatever happens, it’s pretty unbelievable that Matt has never had a pimp slot.

  • Pete

    Matt is 6/1 for next elimination with Paddy Power for those who fancy him out next, if you are able to get on with them that it.

  • stoney

    What was they doing allowing matt to win the duet round. Hes back in with a shout. 5am are gone

  • George

    It’ll be interesting to see if we get any voting tidbits on how close it is.

  • Curtis

    To be clear, when I say Matt won the duet round, I’m not referring to which duet was the best, the most equal, or whatever else. Just which duet will have made people pick up their phone the most. I say it was Matt’s.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Oh wow! Now tomorrow gets interesting. I called a Saara / Matt top two prediction weeks ago.

    http://sofabet.com/2016/10/30/x-factor-2016-week-4-post-mortem/#comment-75504

    I wish I’d backed the top 2 combo.

  • This is going to be a hell of a show tomorrow!

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think Matt’s going to win it. Scherzy might have won it for him. Their duet was the most memorable part of the show – no doubt about that.

  • Curtis

    I think after that we still have a ball-game here. First half was the Saara show but Matt pulled back in the duets, and Nicole Scherzinger seems to not be going down without a fight (denied an interview at the end there while Sharon got one I noticed). Vote transfer from 5AM I would expect to be in the direction of Matt.

    All that being said from Round 1 I got the impression that the producers certainly think Saara can win. We’ll see if the tone of the show continues as such tomorrow.

  • Saara winning both rounds with facebook reactions

    • stoney

      Totally unreliable because of overseas fans

    • Lake

      Saara still “wins” the FB likes in Round 1, even if a quarter of the Facebook likers are Finnish.

      Matt is only like 6% lower in likes on Round 2, which means he probably edges it out there, accounting for overseas likers.

      5AM were rock bottom both rounds, and left third.

  • stoney

    Really gutted that i didn’t just stick with matt. Unless tptb pull a rabbit out the hat hes winning this.

  • Congratulations Matt, this is going to be a anti climax.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’m going to have ice cream and go to bed.

  • Curtis

    Something I said a week ago:
    “Other possibilities [for duets with Matt] are Nicole Scherzinger of course (although her win record with duets might scare them!)”

    They should have looked to me for advice, because had they have come to me I’d have told them anyone but Scherzy. In fact I then went on to suggest Louisa Johnson for Matt as a deramping duet – now that would have been the ticket as we saw!

    • Jessica Hamby

      Mind you, why Bohemian Rhapsody? Utterly forgettable. Chopped the song into bits and the performance was flat. Unless something remarkable happens tomorrow I think Matt’s got this.

      • Edie M

        Both everybody wants to rule the world & bohemian rhapsody were odd song choices. Neither really go anywhere.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Agreed. The thing I like most about Saara is the pleasure, joy even that she seems to have when she performs. She exudes it and it’s infectious. Although she beamed at the end of each one, neither song gave her an opportunity to express it.

      • Curtis

        I like Bohemian Rhapsody, and I thought it was a nice performance, but forgettable may indeed be the word. Adam Lambert for all his virtues was hardly a great choice either, though maybe they thought it would work because it was Saara’s dream. Ultimately be that as it may he’s no Beyoncé, he’s even no Nicole Scherzinger.

        I think though it’s far from as cut and dry as you think. I think Saara will have dominated the first round, and while votes between now and tomorrow will perhaps favour Matt my belief is that those votes pale in comparison to the ones that will be made during the show tomorrow – and Saara may be able to win that starting with a reprise of The Winner Takes It All. I will be paying exceptionally close attention to the early stages of tomorrow night to see if there’s anything in the tone of the show to suggest that it’s over one way or the other. Particularly if Matt starts getting “you’ll be a great winner” stuff as opposed to “you’ve done well to get this far”.

  • DGiles

    I’m a bit undecided tbh
    Nicole won the duets, but completely outsung Matt by doing so. This was no alex/beyonce or Nicole/Sam Bailey, as they at least fought to TRY and match the superior celeb, whereas the gulf between Matt and Nicole was absolutely huge.
    So does that motivate votes for Matt or not? I’m not 100% sure…

    • Jessica Hamby

      Which do you remember? Matt’s duet or Saara’s duet?

      By tomorrow morning most people will be thinking “Matt was amazing”.

      • Ben Cook

        Really? Matt might as well not have been there the moment Nicole walked on stage. There was a moment near the end where you could see in his face he knew it too.

      • 360

        I remember Saara’s duet! I think a lot of other people will too. She played the piano and nailed the sweet bits, the ballad bits and the rock bits, and so did Adam as well.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I hope you guys are right. Perhaps I’m just getting overly nervous now it’s so close to the finish line. I really hope so.

          • Robert

            I thought Saara’s duet was great. All I remember about Matt’s duet is Nicole screaming at the top of her lungs, while Matt made high-pitched “ooooh wah wah” noises in the background. HOWEVER… I think Saara’s choice of Oh So Quiet vs Matt’s Writing’s On the Wall has sunk her for tomorrow night. Which is a tremendous pity 🙁

    • DGiles

      to be honest, they were both a distant memory by the time the show ended I thought. a lot of time appeared to pass between the duets and the result..

      Edit: Plus I’d remember Nicole, but not necessarily Matt. It was more a guest performance than a duet.

  • Ben Cook

    I’m confused. Why do people think Matt won purely because Nicole sang well? His first song was meh and his second song he was sung off the stage. Saara had a great night.

    • James

      I’m with you, Matt was completely outsung by Nicole in that duet. It felt like a Rebecca Ferguson/Xtina moment to me.

    • Ron

      Matt has gone into the final with very little momentum and yet because of the duet, people think he has the entire series sewn up now. Has any act ever gone from finishing third or lower in a semi final to winning the overall show?

  • DGiles

    Remember that there are songs tomorrow as well. We already know Saara’s best from the series is much better than Matt’s…

    • Ben Cook

      What do we think they are singing? Hopefully The Winner Takes It All for Saara. Maybe Writing’s On The Wall for Matt?

      • George

        With that scenario I think Matt would win. If they want to push Saara to the finish line they could give Matt something with a bit less impact, maybe his first performance or something.

        It’s also not beyond them to change the staging for the performances, so if TWTIA was originally designed as a deramp they could do some good by making it look more flattering.

      • Fudd

        Writing’s on the Wall for Matt. Oh So Quiet for Saara. Confirmed on The Xtra Factor.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Do we? Is Matt going to do Writing’s On The Wall? I hate the song but he nailed it. Got more out of it than Sam Smith imo. Saara has more top performances but Matt is the only middle-of-the-road white male in the final of the X Factor. That’s a powerful position to be in.

  • Lara T

    Saara sing it’s oh so quiet. Matt singing the wrongs on the wall.

  • Edie M

    Just revealed on xtra that Matt is doing writing’s on the wall & saara’s doing oh so quiet. That’s really good for Matt. Can’t decide whether I think that’s Saara’s best option.

    • 360

      Interesting…Matt for the win then, maybe, if that was his standout moment.

      A lot may depend on the winner’s song too though. Matt will then be doing two ballads while Saara will have one ballad and one uptempo.

    • Curtis

      That is some bad news right there for Saara. It was a good performance, but it was not her performance of the series. On the other hand Matt does get his performance of the series. Are the pieces starting to fit into place now?

      • 360

        The only confusing thing if they’re going all in on Matt now is the times they’ve turned on him. Maybe Nicole has a card up her sleeve to pressure TPTB? Or maybe the times they’ve criticized him have just been incompetence rather than malevolence.

  • Lara T

    Just confirmed on xtra.

  • Robert

    Saara has just said on the Xtra Factor that she’ll be singing “Oh so Quiet”. Matt is singing Writing’s on the Wall. That’s a massive deramp for Saara, and….. that’s all, folks. Matt wins 🙁

  • Lake

    According to those song choices, Matt wins.

  • Disco or TWTIA should have been some. I thought if Saara picked it it would have been its oh so quiet or Let It Go. Again, Congrats to Matt.

  • stoney

    Feeling absolutely sick. What a turn around from 2 hours ago

  • Robert

    Absolutely. Big ballads win the X Factor. Kooky Bjork songs do not. This song selection is nonsensical, as The Winner Takes It All was CLEARLY her ‘performance of the series’. Paving the win for a Matt win in most obvious of ways…

  • Curtis

    If she had to do an uptempo song she should’ve done No More Tears. That would’ve been phenomenal also.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I hope the magic happens. Saara gave a great performance of it last time.

    However I must add that I’m on my second bowl of ice cream.

  • Alan

    Theres no way they want Matt to win. Terrible song choice for Saara though.

  • Ron

    Aren’t you all forgetting that there is an X Factor winner’s single to be performed? If Matt sings the better version, then all well and good but if not……..

  • Ben Cook

    Oh I’m not pleased with It’s So Quiet. Also fear the single is going to suit Matt better. Damn.

  • George

    I will say one thing – whatever happens tomorrow the natural rules we follow have well and truly been ripped to shreds. Good for the show, but bad for people who rely on reading it to make educated bets.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Not really. Matt was favourite all the way except for the previous two weeks. Everyone was calling him winner, even the papers and the tv shows, by week 3 or 4. He’s the archetypal X Factor winner, inoffensive but forgettable white guy with an above average singing voice. There’s probably a factory somewhere churning them out.

      No wonder Simon went at him again after the first song. When the voting figures come it will probably show that the it was close between him and 5AM last week.

      • George

        I completely disagree. Jumping from third to first after a semi-final deramp would be truly unprecedented. Matt is your typical X Factor winner, I agree, on paper he would be favourite. But the show has done well at tearing down these acts before when they think they have a better alternative and every indication was that Matt was going the same route.

        But it’s not just Matt – Saara coming top two is crazy enough.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Matt’s gone odds on.

    I reckon it’s carnage out there. At least you’re not alone Stoney. There will be people as bad or worse off than you. Has Betfair gone mad?

  • annie

    the final is usually won on the first night. whatever happened already. regardless hat they sing tomorrow.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Then I suspect announcing Saara safe first was just a way to ramp up the tension to make tomorrow more of a surprise. I think Matt’s got it.

    • Ron

      Indeed, but many people seem to be ‘assuming’ that Matt topped the poll tonight even though it’s quite possible he didn’t. Even if Matt has picked up extra votes since last week, there is no reason whatsoever to think Saara Alto’s vote has collapsed

  • Keen Observer

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here…

    Realistically Saara was well ahead after the first half, it would take an awful lot for Matt to recover (especially considering last week he was below 5AM). They may just be allowing Matt to do his best performance as the result is done and dusted. “It’s Oh So Quiet” allows for another big theatrical performance ahead of the perhaps unsuitable “Winner Takes It All” (which was Saara’s best of the series imo). Of course, there’s a chance Matt has won and they want to give him his best song, but in all honesty I struggle to believe Matt is in unassailable position at this stage – it just doesn’t match up with what we’ve seen in previous finals over the years.

    Does anyone remember R&B getting backed in after their performance of the series last year but being miles behind in the vote?

    http://www.tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/292886-poll-want-win-x-factor-2016-vote-2.html

    • Ron

      That would be my impression too. I find it hard to believe that any act who had to go through a sing off in a semi final is now a “cert” to win the final. Even if Matt improved this week, there’s nothing to suggest that Saara has gone backwards at a rate of knots and lost support.

  • Sindi

    I’m really looking forward to knowing how close 5 am were to Matt.

    Matt’s first song was boring and his voice sounded tired. Saara’s first song was the best of the evening.

    5 am’s duet was surprisingly bad. Matt was totally drowned by Nicole. Saara and Adam’s duet could have been much more of a moment had the song been different. Vocally it was fine.

    Worried about 5 am vote transfer now.

  • Lara T

    Just remembered I have a tri-cast for matt, Saara, 5am.

    I’ve been so convinced matt couldn’t win I’d completely written it off in my head already.

    Also covered for a Saara/matt finish and have Saara on an each way.

    Phew! At least I can watch tomorrow now stress free!

  • stoney

    5ams vote transfer certainly won’t instantly be transferred to matt but it’s gonna help.
    Saara being called safe first tonight is not a good sign btw

  • Sindi

    Oh relax about Oh so quiet. Of course they need something fun and uptempo for tomorrow.

    It will be hard for Matt to repeat The Writing’s on the Wall.

    • Well in that case shouldn’t they have given Saara No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) instead?

    • Sindi

      Oh So Quiet was better imo. They want to show her crazy side. Also it could be said it was the main turning point for her.

    • DGiles

      It allows a narrative of how far she’s come (given she performed it in week 3), so it can be played as being better than before, even if it wasn’t
      Matt can still be given the lukewarm treatment of it was good, but not as good as before (they won’t say it explicitly, but can imply it o deliver more faint praise). Plus I still stand by my statement that its a horrible song, no matter how well it’s sung.

      We don’t actually know Matt topped, or even did well, in the vote that week. I don’t think they’d have got him in the bottom 2 under 5am 2 weeks later if he absolutely stormed it.

      Marcus Collins performance of the series choice looked good on paper as it sis seem his strongest without knowing otherwise, but when the results came out, it seemed he only just scraped through that week despite him being in the pimp slot…

  • Edie M

    Surprised no-one has mentioned Saara’s curse of always coming 2nd in tv talent shows…

  • Dana

    Bjork will lose it for Saara. A silly novelty song that even Bjork herself hates. Absolutely no chance of impressing more than Writing’s on the Wall.

  • The voting stats will be fascinating. I was surprised Cowell criticised Matt but I’d be very surprised if Cowell does it again tomorrow. They tend to have good comments on the last day.

    So what’s with the staging on the first songs? (They gave them a break with the duets). Matt’s was clearly a de-ramp but Saara’s was ultimately one too. That telescopic platform taking her to the ceiling. No wonder she said she was nervous about that one.

    • Jessica Hamby

      We were all very quiet after Saara’s performances and with good reason. I think we were all a bit shocked. I didn’t particularly like either of them. Didn’t like the arrangment, staging or lighting for Everybody Wants To Rule the World, didn’t like the arrangement for Bohemian Rhapsody.

      I hope she wins but I think Matt’s got this. All in all it was a bit disappointing for Saara. Her hightlight of the evening was her homecoming VT.

      Or maybe the finns have won it for her with their clever computer hacking…..

      • Finnishculture

        Fun fact. 99.9% Finns follow always the rules. We dont vote even if we could. We dont need another finnish pop star. We want our first british pop star and that cant be done with our votes. Its a culture thing. (plus 0,1% of finns = 500 votes, not enough to do any difference in your competition)

  • stoney

    Even though matt winning is my worst nightmare i kind of felt sorry for him and wouldn’t begrudge him the win. I feel sorry for the way they have shafted him the last few weeks. Sometimes money isn’t everything

    • Alan

      I tend to agree. Feel a bit sorry for him.

      • Robert

        I don’t feel sorry for him at all. He’s another dull milquetoast cookie-cutter X Factor male winner, who’s going to get pushed over the winner’s line at the expense of a much more interesting & (imo) talented performer. Can’t muster any sympathy for him whatsoever – despite his desperate trying-hard-to-cry expressions…

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