Matt Terry Wins The X Factor 2016

Producers, you win: if the aim of the last couple of weeks has been to keep punters guessing, you managed it right up to the moment of the reveal. Saara and Matt repeatedly traded places at the head of the market throughout the Sunday show, even though Dermot never mentioned the vote being close, as he surely would have done if it had been. Several astute observers in the Sofabet comments section were sure Saara was way ahead, others were confident that Matt had it in the bag.

xfactor-2016-final-sunday-main

We’ve joked before about the comments to the winner’s single usually making it obvious what’s about to be released but this year – oddly – the final performance wasn’t the winner’s single, which meant Louis couldn’t helpfully observe “that sounds like a number one hit record”. Matt came into favouritism again after his song, then Saara after hers, then Matt again, then Saara, then Matt. It was insane – I’ve never seen anything like it. When the vote closed, Matt was trading at 1.66 and Saara at 2.48.

It’s not been a good series for me financially – I’ve ended up down on the outright this year, frustratingly so as I’d had a very healthy-looking book up to about three weeks ago. Now the wait begins for the highlight of the Sofabet X Factor year – the voting statistics. These normally pop up on xfactor.itv.com at some point during the evening, sometimes quickly, sometimes late [update: see them here]. We’ll digest them and post a review in due course. In the meantime, do commence the post-mortem in the comments below.

178 comments to Matt Terry Wins The X Factor 2016

  • MCIMH

    A nice series from a viewer point of view, terrible JH picks notwithstanding. Not too harsh, good final, nail-biting stuff, likeable contestants.

  • Cath

    The result we all called months ago, yet kept us all guessing until the last minute – crazy!

  • Cath

    Thanks Sofabet team for another great year of articles!

    I’m still really surprised with Simon’s comments over the weekend given the result. He definitely sounded like he was backing Saara to me.

  • Fudd

    It was a great final – the final show felt like The X Factor of old despite the unfortunate result (for me). They didn’t hurt either contestant and it made for a feelgood night; please learn for the future producers!

    Can’t wait for the voting results to be revealed.

    Thanks to everyone on here as ever, especially Daniel and Andrew. 🙂

  • Bit of a pants series overall. I finish with an okay profit on the outright but got burnt to hell and back on the elimination.

    However thanks to all for the great banter and here’s to a more prosperous Eurovision. Bring on Kyiv.

  • Curtis

    Next year more of what we saw tonight. A feel-good fair entertainment show between competent singers – but all the way from the outset of the live shows this time please!

  • Welp, my first year on SofaBet, I might return for BGT and the Voice. Thanks, its been fun, and if I don’t see you again, have a great time making money 😀

    Commersions to Saara, you join Hillary Clinton in the should have won club.

  • 360

    Any last minute predictions for voting results? I can see Bratavio polling less than Blonde Electra did on their first performance.

  • Fudd

    According to the envelope reveal:
    Simon thought Sam or Matt would win.
    Louis thought 5 After Midnight or Matt would win.
    Sharon thought 5 After Midnight or Relley C would win… but she’s on another planet as it is.
    Nicole thought Matt would win.

    Matt always Plan A or at least up there. Interesting to see Sam there from Simon; 5 After Midnight also picked by two judges.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’m just going to leave this here.

    I disagree. I’m predicting a Saara / Matt top two.

    For the X Factor to get it’s mojo back it has to be event television again. It’s not enough to see bickering between the judges and the emotional manipulation by numbers is tired and transparent. The best way to make it event television again is to create a real competition and the only possible competition is between Matt and Saara.

    Were you for Gareth or were you for Will? By the end everyone was talking about it and was for one or the other. This can be the same. Are you for Matt or are you for Saara?

    The franchise always comes first.

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

    • Andy

      Great hindsight jess, must be the comment of the series and deserves recognition. Congrats.

    • Alan

      Haha. Yes you absolutely nailed it there. As you know I sometimes disagree with your opinions but no doubt you called it here way before anyone else saw it. Shame Saara didnt win for you. Thought you had it in the bag.

    • I think it would have been better for the franchise if they gave Saara much better staging for the first song and a better second song and she won. Generally speaking, I think it would also be better for the franchise if they picked the best acts for the Lives and didn’t do all their de-ramping. If so they’d still have their viewers (but we’d have less ability to get an edge).

      They don’t know how to put the franchise first and that’s why it’s going down the drain. I don’t expect logic from them.

      But tonight was at least fair and enjoyable to watch.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I agree Henry but I’d go further and say it would have been better for the franchise is Saara had won. Matt is a nice guy and a good singer but to me he seems like an act from the last century.

  • Sagand

    http://www.itv.com/xfactor/news/voting-stats-2016

    Matt was behind yesterday. Only 0.4% off the bottom semi week. 5AM were within 1% of Matt in the quarters, Emily was still top 2.

  • EM

    Voting stats out – Saara won Saturday

  • Tpfkar

    Matt won weeks 1-4.
    Emily won week 5
    5am won week 6
    Matt won week 7
    Saara won wk 8-9
    The producers had it in hand all along.

    Edit-that’s what was announced on Xtra factor but doesn’t match published figures!

  • Cath

    It’s a first, Saara won the semi final week!

  • Fudd

    Saara was leading at the Vote Freeze – Matt overhauled her overnight/tonight.

  • George

    Saara came 2nd in Oh So Quiet week.

  • Sagand

    Ryan was never bottom of the vote.

  • Curtis

    Wow! Those stats! They show one thing and show it well. This series really was a close run thing. Saara won week 8, but alternatively she was only 3.4% from finding herself in the bottom 2. And those stats between the final 3 are the closest I believe that have ever been seen – and here I was 5 minutes ago saying 5AM were probably crushed. Saara as I thought edged yesterday’s vote but lost it comfortably once the field narrowed to 2.

  • DGiles

    Saara was never bottom 2 in the main vote
    always top 3 when she avoided the sing off
    My Heart Will Go On – 2nd

  • Alan

    Thanks for another year of brilliant articles. Sorry to hear you lost. Not much hope for the rest of us if you lose. Your analysis is always spot on.

  • annie

    wow. stats are really wow!

  • Martin

    Wow, if they’d have kept the bottom two and we’d never had a bottom three, Saara would have never faced a sing off.

  • Dean Fiori

    So we know the 5am vote transfer went to Matt. That’s what won it.

    Also Emily 2nd in week 8. They completely bombed her in week 9.

  • Edie M

    SHE WAS WINNING YESTERDAY! This just makes it worse

  • Sagand

    Matt won the vote 56.8% vs 43.2% after the vote freeze compared to 33.4% vs 35.3% before. 5AM transfers did it.

    A different final running order and duets and 5AM could have won.

  • Keen Observer

    1. Incredible how close final Saturday was – better duet 5AM would have beaten Matt (at least)
    2. After semi must have thought had Matt under control – should have ditched him when had the chance
    3. Winning margin for Matt is extraordinary considering didn’t win Sat

  • stoney

    No real surprises with them voting stats. Honey G never topped a vote. I genuinely don’t think they cared who won in the end. They achieved their mission of creating a wide open competition with a lot of suspense but failed to add any more viewers to a rapidly declining audience. Next year would be the last series i imagine.

  • GsP

    Yup, Saara never being in the bottom 2 really shocked me. And she was equal % with Gifty in week 2!

  • George

    Matt never picked up any extra votes until the final – 22.2% in week 1, 22.5% in the semi-final. Extraordinary.

    • Woofie

      Be careful these are percentages not the actual amount votes cast. It is possible to have the same core support vote and see an increase and decrease in your percentages, depending on the total votes cast. We didn’t get numbers from Dermot for each week. Can we assume that the total vote was static till the final weekend?

      • George

        I think there is usually just a little bit of an uptick in the semi-final but it still stands to reason that at that point most of the floating voters were going to Saara and, to a lesser extent, 5AM. You can see why producers could’ve thought they could nobble Matt in the final if they wanted to.

  • Jessica Hamby

    In Gifty’s “moment” week she was only 0.5% off b3 and the week before that she tied on percentages with Saara who went b3 so the difference between them was very small. She was never going to fly in this competition.

  • So as there wasn’t much in it last night they could have made either win. But they played it reasonably fair, bigged them both up and allowed both to shine.

  • 360

    Well, I meant to get my prediction in beforehand, but I did predict 4oD bottom every time they were bottom 3.

    Saara never being bottom 2 when in bottom 3 also not so surprising.

  • Ben Cook

    Hmm so did they screw up with the song choices there, or would Matt have won anyway just because 5AM voters switched to him? Guess we’ll never know. That single wouldn’t have really suited Saara anyway.

    • stoney

      We all imagined 5am being kept till the final would hinder matt and in most circumstances it would have done. But luckily for matt there was only a few% splitting all 3 acts on Saturday night so he was able to eat saaras narrow lead away with ease

  • One last thing.
    I never said it but I KNEW when the lifeline was ditched Honey was about to be 3rd Bottom

    Creep and Whatever matt sung was same percentage.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think that Saara will have had votes from people who hit their buttons before the singing even started yesterday but after the reset and the duets some of those votes will have gone to Matt. I know there’s no way of confirming this but I feel sure that if she’d had better songs then she would have won.

    • Curtis

      She was close enough that had she have won every round (and I think I’d argue she only won 1 out of 4 rounds over the weekend) she could definitely have won. Would still have been an uphill challenge against such a vote magnet as Matt, but she was already a lot closer than Fleur to Ben for example.

    • GsP

      If she’d done Enough is Enough, Chandelier or Winner Takes It All she would have won.

      But I can’t see how the winners song would have worked for her.

      She was far more popular throughout than I thought. Third bottom in week one and tie for third bottom in week 2. And third bottom in Week 5 (I thought she was dead last but no).

      Gifty didn’t do well at all.

  • 360

    Just to add, as most of us predicted, Honey G, like Wagner before her, was never in danger of troubling the top of the leaderboard, even after initial sympathy to her act and ‘for the lols’ votes for her. In fact she was skiting just above and close to the bottom 3 or 2 most weeks.

    Poor Ryan Lawrie, despite being criticised for multiple bottom 3 appearances, used as fuel to take him out over Honey, was only actually ever in the bottom 2 once of those – week 2.

  • George

    Matt was very lucky. I think had he not had Purple Rain (or even if 5AM just had a better duet) he would’ve been gone on Saturday night.

  • Poker Coach

    I think that they wanted to get 5AM into the final two. That was so close but the bad duet screwed them. Odds were sick at that point comparing to the odds.

    • 360

      I think so too. Matt’s vote transfer if he went out in 3rd would split more evenly between the other two or even just boost 5AM.

      5AM’s vote transferred more cleanly to Matt, it would seem.

    • Woofie

      I don’t agree, they wanted Matt and Saara top 2 with Matt as the winner. What’s interesting was the votes 5AM received for those performances.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Interesting that Simon is a no-show on Xtra Factor. I wonder if he’s pissed off. I think he might be.

    • George

      I highly doubt it. Saara was only 2% ahead on Saturday and they know how these things work, Matt was always going to get the lion’s share of 5AM’s vote. Even if he wanted Saara to win he had no reason to believe it would happen.

  • Tpfkar

    Looks like they abandoned the flash vote at exactly the right moment to preserve Honey G’s “modesty” interesting how close the various flash votes were.

    As others have said, it’s the power of transfers that won it for Matt – well done all the commenters saying that. Had it been just a 2% swing last night, with Matt announced third, then it seems very likely that 5am would have won the competition, due to transfers the other way and I suspect some blatant producer favour.

    • Curtis

      I’m not sure that’s a vote transfer that works so well from Matt to 5AM as it does from 5AM to Matt. I think Saara would have got a lot of “great vocalist” votes from Matt supporters. That is of course pure speculation, we’ll never know.

  • Jessica Hamby

    To me Matt seems much older than 23. I don’t know if it’s the music, the way he’s styled, his demeanour or something else but it’s hard to see him as a chart act unless he changes in some way.

  • Sagand

    Ryan wasn’t unbeatable in the save vote Relley C came really close, within 2%.

    • George

      If somebody like Relley C could come within 2% of Ryan then I don’t think the demographics of the lifeline vote were really that different to the actual vote.

  • Ok, I guess il update on my findings

    Matt was within 1% B2 in the Quarters, not Emily. The save me vote never went the way the actual vote went, still have no idea who votes for sam

    Ryan Bounced to 5th bottom on W5

    Honey was indeed bottom of vote on Week 7

  • DGiles

    I’m quite surprised how well Saara did in the vote in all the weeks she didn’t hit the bottom 3 (especially weeks 3 and 4).

    They had to push her down pretty hard to get her in the bottom 3 in week 5. I wonder whether how well her vote held up in week 4 (bad romance) spooked them a bit, given the negative staging that week.

    She seemed to fly whenever they didn’t go over the top to hinder her, so was always looking good to get to the final if they didn’t go all out to destroy..

    • George

      It wouldn’t surprise me if week 5 was just an experiment to see if they could get her vote down. I don’t have a clue how she came 3rd with that Bad Romance performance – it was good, but I didn’t see it as a vote winner.

      • Curtis

        Isn’t it most easy to interpret Saara’s deramping in Week 5 by looking at the act directly above her? Someone who they were desperately trying to pretend was a candidate for winning?

      • Sagand

        She was only 2.6% off the bottom three in the week with Bad Romance, it was just incredibly close all the way through.

  • EM

    5AM must have infuriated the producers, the stats show them much more popular than I imagined at the start of the series. If they could have strung together solid performances with all the help they were given then could have launched themselves onto a very good career

    • Woofie

      I disagree they were popular but the producers controlled their vote throughout the series. Where it dropped it was because they took off the support. They were still popular at the end I was very surprised at those numbers based on their Saturday performances which some commentators described as a nuking. Maybe if they were better vocalists a win might have been on the cards, but they were well aware of their limitations from the start.

  • Linda

    I must say I’m delighted, financially, for him and for the franchise. I think he’s one of the best winners they’ve had. I got on him the week he started to drift out. I knew with transfers he’d come good on the night.

  • 360

    Jessica really called it, I did not expect to see Saara in the top 3 seven weeks of the ten, and the top 2 six weeks of the ten.

    She really was the Maloney of the series in the end, wasn’t she? I did mention this at one point, that when she sang straight covers she was doing exactly what a sizeable chunk of the viewers were tuning in to see.

    She was also 1% off 1st with her Titanic vs Matt’s Writing on the Wall, and 0.6% off 1st with her Enough is Enough vs 5AM’s Boogie Wonderland.

    The wikipedia page has the results up in an easier-to-view summary than the ITV website’s list:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_X_Factor_(UK_series_13)#Results_summary

  • Sagand

    Matt won the vote with ‘I’m Your Man’ wasn’t expecting that.

  • Carlos

    Seeing last night’s results is awful. It almost seems like Saara partially won the series. So anti-climatic. Well, the awful Christmas song PLEASE LET ME BE #1 BUT I WON’T would never work with her.

  • Curtis

    Look how close Gifty was to a shock bottom 3 in week 2 by the way. I didn’t think that “Rockin’ Robin” performance did anything for her.

  • Fudd

    Just noticed – Emily finished second with the Toxic/Human combination. I thought that was a bit of a nuking at the time and was surprised when she pulled through it.

  • DGiles

    It was Matt that was less than 1% above 5am for the B2 in week 8.

    I think everyone assumed it was Emily.

    Even though Matt won week 7 (writing on the wall i.e. his moment of the series), it was still a lower % of the vote than he got in week 1 and only 1% above Saara, with her “worn out, dated song choice that everyone’s sick to death of” My Heart Will Go On.

  • Edie M

    Did anyone watch Xtra and hear Nicole talk about knowing vote wise which weeks were weakest for Matt because she ‘remembered’? She got hushed up pretty quickly.

  • Dana

    So Dermot’s claim that in Week 6, 2 new acts had finished in the top 2 wasn’t true at all it seems.

    • Sagand

      He said the top two in the vote (which were 5AM and Saara) had never been top before, which was true (only Matt and Emily had been top before that).

    • Edie M

      I presumed when I looked at the stats he must have said that in the week that 5am topped for the first time and Saara came second but I could be wrong

    • It was the first week Matt was pushed out of T2 so a new pair in the T2 is correct even though they’d both been there before individually, with Matt. If that was roughly how he worded it.

    • HL

      He said that two acts were competing for the top place in week 6, and neither of them had topped the vote before. That was exactly what was happening there, a 5AM and Saara battle. (And I called it right.) Saara had easily won that week, too, if she had not been the first to perform.

  • Considering Simon’s open feelings on his anti-Brexit views (with it ‘leaving us a a little lonely Island’), plus his UK X-Factor’s ever dwindling viewers figures, I am wondering if the sudden uber-pimping of Saara to bring her into the final was just his desperate, ultimate plan A to open it up and expand and emulate the Euro-vision competition to help rescue the show here (with the UK being responsible once again for producing Euro winners in the future).

    He is now on a losing streak with the UK XF end being in sight and he knows it…….. It’s worth a thought.

    • Jessica Hamby

      With catch up the numbers are still huge. I don’t think the show is going anywhere.

      • Lake

        They thought that about X Factor Australia, too. And X Factor USA.

        • Caroline

          I don’t know about Australia but X Factor USA was never huge – it debuted disappointingly and lost ground from there. X Factors numbers are still large compared to other ITV shows and it has a high number of ad-important young viewers. It is nowhere near where it was though and certainly feels past it culturally.

    • DGiles

      looking at the vote stats, they didn’t need to “uber-pimp” Saara to get her into the final. When they threw her under a bus, she went bottom 3, in weeks where they played fair, she went top 2 in the voting.

      • DGiles. They did favour Saara though and massively pimped her to bring her back up, but that’s the whole point. In past years any Euro entries were humoured for a while but soon ousted. Now Simon is desperate to keep the UK show going with its waning viewing figures (and seen to be more a fair competition, even though producers did openly destroy 5AM in the semi).

        Strictly CD smashed XF this year. Perhaps it’s because it is seen to be much more of a fair competition with virtually no viewer manipulation. People are seeing what is going on and leaving in droves. http://www.tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/285649-x-factor-2016s-viewing-figures-hit-another-new-low-strictly-come-dancing.html

        • Jessica Hamby

          There’s manipulation in SCD. Conspiracy theories abound regarding that show, dance choices, performance order, judges comments, over- and under-marking.

          • Jessica. Since the illegal Ant & Dec phone vote saga, tv shows are much more governed now and more open to instant investigation. I would imagine the BBC are more-so now with its recent dark history. ‘Conspiracy theories’ about judging skullduggery are therefore just exactly what they are.

            However, XF ‘voter influence’ with clever camera trickery with staging, uncomfortable red/black colours, wide panning shots, colour vommit and deflating VT’s are not illegal, but viewers are becoming more cute towards this (probably due to Sofabet) and producers have to duck and dive a lot more now (even resorting to being honest for a change, as has fooled us all here this year).

          • Jessica Hamby

            Running order, dance choice, judges comments, even judges marks etc are not illegal either. They have nothing directly to do with phone votes but they can influence audience perception and thus influence how the audience votes.

          • Jessica. I covered that already. I never indicated that phone votes were involved in the BBC show, but there is nowhere near the same amount of smoke and mirrors influence involved as in XF.

            ITV (XF) gets away with a lot more of it for some reason, which is why the general consensus on forums and news threads is that SCD is a lot more straight forward, fair and trusted. Thus it has better growing viewing figures. It’s well known that XF has been a running joke for years and continually shooting itself in the foot.

            For the same reason (even though I am not keen on dancing), I now watch SCD more than XF with my good lady and just flick through XF’s BS and adverts in my recordings of it for the highlights and just to bet on it.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I think the reason SCD has higher ratings (and when you add catch-up views the difference is nowhere near so big) is that it has more variety and creativity. Each dance is a one-off, never to be seen again whereas with X Factor a lot of the songs and arrangements come around again and again. Having a professional dancer for each competitor in SCD means dedicated creative input for each competitor and there is always at least one half of each couple who can put on a show. X Factor has limited creative input – it seems to be mostly down to Brian – and a lot of the acts can’t dance or move so a lot of performances are static. That is probably why they go for big stage and lighting effects – it makes sure the viewer has something to look at. Otherwise all you get is someone stood there like a statue. Compared to Strictly, X Factor is predictable and even boring.

            Another thing is that they don’t make popstars anymore. They haven’t for some time. They can’t even get the Xmas #1. You’re as likely to get success streaming yourself on Spotify or YouTube and it’ll probably last longer.

            I don’t think the sense that the show is manipulated helps but all reality shows are manipulated. IACGMOOH is still doing well and the edit was clearly designed to boost Scarlett at everyone else’s expense. More than anything I think people are tired of the format. But it has a contract for another 3 years so it’s not going anywhere for a while yet.

    • Linda

      I was going to say that but bit my tongue. There are some seriously mad people working in the present media echo chamber who would have loved a Saara win purely for political reasons.

      A Saara win would have damaged the franchise. She came across as a highly seasoned professional who was always standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was perfect for carrying a big Saturday night show but not the right candidate to win it.

      • Edie M

        Also maybe they wanted her to win because she’s awesome & they’re sick of bland male winners who get nowhere? In what universe could her winning damage the franchise? Pretty much all the most successful winners have been female.

        • Edie M

          And maybe some of us have been biting our tongues not wanting to suggest Matt supporters want him to win for their own political reasons? why is wanting an awesome female to win ‘political’ but wanting *another* mor male winner ‘apolitical’?

        • Linda

          She wouldn’t sell records for Simon Cowell. She’s a seasoned professional but very cabaret. There’s definitely a career for her out there in a “all round entertainer” way but a Syco signing isn’t it.

          • Edie M

            And I’m sure Matt is going to be a superstar just like Leon and Matt c and joe- oh wait?

          • Jessica Hamby

            I think it depends on what songs she gets. As a chart act Matt is very predictable and in my opinion comes across as middle-aged. It’s hard to believe that he’s 23. He doesn’t dance and his song of the series was a Bond theme. I can’t see how that’s going to chart. Saara at least has a unique identity. Matt’s like your singing uncle.

          • HL

            Saara is not “very cabaret”. That was the way the show wanted to present her. Before the XF UK she had been mostly singing power ballads, sentimental Christmas carols and such, because that’s the material normally expected from great singers. Actually she had been criticized for being “too stiff” and “boring”, not for being “too cabaret” and “crazy”.

            She could have sung any songs given to other solo singers better than them. That was the problem. They wanted to keep her in, but not to fly.

  • DGiles

    Interestingly, a joke act that is recognised as such seems to start out very low in % (just above bottom 2 in week 1) and climbs steadily in support until reaching about 10%-12% and being eliminated at top 5/6

    Honey G, was treated like a credible act by the judges and started with 10-12% in week 1, but the support just stayed the same every week and was eliminated at the same time, with the same % as all previous joke acts.

    So no matter how they treat the joke act in the early weeks, it has no impact on their eventual vote ceiling or final placement.

  • Scott

    I think the powers that be got exactly what they wanted. A middle England friendly feel-good winner, a final with two strong singers but one they could easily nuke, and the impression the series has been really close and an open contest. And Syco gets to launch a novelty act and make a bit of cash. It’s a little sad the final wasn’t as good as it could have been – imagine if you’d unleashed Matt and Saara on a level playing field – but it’a a vast improvement on the previous year.

    It was over after Matt and Saara’s last competitive performances – look at the staging of both, and the comments after each. Could not have been any more blatant.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It was over after Matt and Saara’s last competitive performances

      I disagree. I think it was over after the duets. Adam Lamber did this duet on American Ido. I think if they’d done it last night she would have won.

      https://youtu.be/YMmzvr4_fS0

      • Robert

        Saara was LEADING after the vote freeze last night. It was lost on the song choices tonight.

        • Edie M

          I’m not sure. I think she went into the final with momentum but it was an odd night for her. If it had been a great night she could have pulled further ahead and consolidated her lead. It seems that overnight catch up viewers largely plumped for Matt. Tonight didn’t help but she needed to pull away last night to have a chance.

        • Jessica Hamby

          It depends on when those votes were cast Robert. A lot of people will have voted as soon as voting opened and as soon as it was reset, before the performances happened.

          Some people who voted for Saara in the early part of Saturday’s show will have changed their minds (and their votes) after the reset but before the Sunday show performances.

        • Curtis

          The vote didn’t freeze long after the duets. Had the dust really settled? Her lead was probably more related to her domination of the first round of songs.

        • Dendrite

          Basically, the game was over after the duets. Saara should have managed to pull a comfortable lead before the freeze, but that just did not happen – partly due to Saara not being quite at her best in the Final, and partly due to Nicole stealing the show and winning votes from her to Matt.

          After 5AM were eliminated, the previously split girlie vote was unified to back the remaining male act. Since the race was so tight at that point, it probably took Matt no more than another hour or so to overtake Saara. After that, there was nothing she could do to turn things around. It is as simple as that.

          • Sagand

            She won the vote before the freeze by 40,000 and lost after the freeze by 540,000. It would been impossible to build up a big enough lead before the freeze. There was never going to be one performance that would have turned that around she was killed by demographics not what happened on the night.

          • Dendrite

            It would have been difficult, but not entirely impossible: the top two female acts actually accumulated more votes in Weeks 8 & 9 than the top two male acts (before that, nah). So, Saara did have a clear advantage as while the chick votes were split. However, she should have managed around 45 % of the votes before the freeze (not unheard of) instead of the 35 % she actually captured to pull it through. Unfortunately, this time the performance of the night went to the Pussycat and her toyboy, Matt ended up inheriting far more votes from 5AM than Saara did from Emily, and, well, that was that. Matt is a worthy winner, though – and the winner’s single is absolutely hideous (Saara dodged a silver bullet there).

      • Keen Observer

        I think you’re spot on – Matt’s duet gave him so much momentum that even though he was well down, he caught up, and although just behind at vote freeze, probably stormed ahead soon after on Saturday night.

        I think they probably were slightly arrogant in thinking they had Matt’s vote under more control than they actually did and just messed things up with both Saara and 5AM. Even a slightly better duet for 5AM prob would have pushed Matt into third.

        Given they knew Ben was going to walk the final, a couple of years ago, this seems like the first time they’ve really made a complete hash of getting the winner they want on the final weekend?

    • DGiles

      I wonder if there were disagreements over the wanted outcome among production and which would be best for the show.

      Simon didn’t look on board with Matt at any point tonight, even after he was announced winner (could barely raise a smile). His praise seemed half hearted for a finalist and he seemed to be just going through the motions. On the other hand, he’s been beaming after every performance Saara has done over the weekend.

      Yet, the production was better for Matt (the fireworks and staging for the second song in particular) and the duet with Nicole with Purple Rain song choice was always going to be dangerously good.

      Very mixed messages, that I’m not convinced is all down to just wanting to make it a good show.

      • Woofie

        “I like working with winners”‘ “I think your going to do this”…

        After his win… “What I promise you Matt we will give you 100%, you deserve this opportunity..”

        I am not sure that is coming across as Simon disappointed with Matt as the winner.

        • DGiles

          His mouth was saying one thing, but his face was saying something different. He has to say those kinds of things after the final performance / after he is announced as the winner or he looks bad himself, but as say, it just felt like he was going through the motions.

        • Jessica Hamby

          It has to be pointed out that sometimes on X Factor they say things for the cameras that they don’t necessarily mean.

          What are they going to do with Matt? What niche can he find in the current market? The way he is at the moment it’s hard to see anything. He’s good but not amazing. He doesn’t offer anything that isn’t already out there and (at least as far as we know) he doesn’t write his own songs. He’s not going to be an easy sell.

  • Scott

    I tend to agree that the damage was done on Saturday actually. What I meant – but clumsily phrased – was that any idea I may have had in my head that it could have gone either way was completely gone the minute I heard the reactions to the final songs. It was nuke after nuke after nuke – Matt’s fireworks display staging versus Saara’s sparklers; judges praising each other rather than the performer after Saara’s song; the VT which (inevitably, hard to see how it could have been avoided) featured virtually everyone speaking in Finnish and the first appearance of her lesbian fiance. But before that – the constantly references to her being Finnish, sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious; “England’s own” – they’ve known what they were after for a while.

    Someone I know who isn’t involved in the X Factor betting malarkey brought a pair of fresh eyes to it for me when he said during Matt’s ropey weeks: “They’ll be setting Matt up as a underdog, rather than having him win it at a canter”. Spot on.

    • Linda

      Remember that Saara will have an agent who liaised directly with the producers. This wasn’t a case of someone queueing up in the cold in Bolton on a Sunday morning. Same with Seann last year; his Australian management dealt directly with producers to get him seen. TPTB know they need candidates with some genuine stage experience to carry such a big production. It doesn’t mean they’re there for the win.

      • Jessica Hamby

        No. Saara just turned up. No agent.

        • Dana

          Matt, meanwhile, was invited to take part by the producers.

        • Tom H

          I don’t believe that for a moment. I respect your success this year with predictions, but please let’s not be ridiculous. Saara was pushed through to live shows with the might that comes from contractual obligation. In my opinion, she redeemed herself for this by delivering some great performances in the live shows, but it was not a casual ‘walk up’ situation.

          • Jessica Hamby

            *shrugs*

            I think she went to open auditions in Manchester and was asked to return so she went to Edinburgh. This is off the top of my head. I don’t have links and can’t be bothered to search them out right now but I’m sure I read that somewhere. My memory is usually pretty good for these sorts of things.

          • Dendrite

            Nope. Jessica is right. Although Saara apparently did send the show a demo tape, she never got an answer. So, she just showed up in Manchester and queued for the Producers’ Audition (there is some footage of this on her Facebook page, in case you are interested). She was not aware that the more promising candidates were expected to show up again the next day, so the interviewer had to pull some strings and get someone higher up in the organisation to meet her there and then because she had booked her return flight for later that evening.

            Finns have actually learned quite a bit about the inner workings of the show through Saara’s postings and interviews. 🙂

          • HL

            I can confirm what Dendrite said, she really did just show up, no contacts beforehand. She was not a part of their initial plan at all, so no wonder her treatment seemed so random in the beginning.

  • Dana

    It was a combination of the offbeat Bjork performance and complete dirge of a Whitney song that I have heard about 100 times and still can’t remember that finished Saara. They can’t possibly have thought that would get her over the line in such a close final. Both of Matt’s songs were totally perfect for him. To be honest, I’m surprised he didn’t beat her by more.

    When initial favourite Danyl Johnson did the awful Whitney song, he went from 1st in Week 1 with 27.1% to 7th in Week 2 with 6.5%. Is there a better song to derail someone?

    • Tim B

      Don’t know, but it *was* Andrea Faustini’s huuuuge breakout moment at Six Chair Challenge, which promptly took him to the top of the betting where he stayed for several weeks.

      • Jessica Hamby

        He sang his heart out that day. That was a stunning performance. Not sure he’s ever sung it that well since. The version on his album is nowhere near it.

      • DGiles

        I think song choices in the pre-live shows are a different kettle of fish than those in the lives. Actual voice / performance, as well as judges and audience feedback have a much more influence in those stages than they do during the live shows. In the lives, the song choice is much more important.

  • Sagand

    I don’t think there was anyway Saara could have won. If Matt had finished third 5AM would have won.

    If the vote shows anything it’s that the performances don’t really matter that much compared to personality. 5AM polled less with Thriller than the car crash that was ‘Valerie’, Emily only lost 2% for ‘Wishing on a Star’, Matt still topped the vote with karaoke ‘I’m Your Man’.

    Everyone who hit the bottom three or two increased their vote the following week so the sympathy bounce is still there just not enough to move people out of danger most weeks.

    • Curtis

      I don’t think the vote transfer would have worked that way. I think Matt’s vote transfer would have gone to Saara or at worst 50/50 because a lot of it is “good vocalist” vote.

      • Sagand

        It’s one of the things we will never know, I think Saara had pretty much maxed out those who were willing to vote for her and 5AM were a much more mainstream option for casual fans.

  • Dana

    Things were very static in the vote between weeks 1 and 2-much more than usual. Pre show edit effect?

  • EM

    Lots of learns through the series and voting stats.

    Some confirmation of common wisdom: the joke acts never come close to winning, they can control the vote almost at will with all the usual techniques, stats from Spotify, youtube facebook and polls mean diddly squat and the vote tends to coalesce towards the cookie cutter winner towards the end.

    Interesting that one of the lines used to make the final “all acts have been bottom two” wasn’t quite true but then the act that wasn’t ever bottom two in the main pv didn’t go on to win.

    Overall I’d say they wanted a close competition for ratings and got that wish.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Well, that was exciting, wasn’t it? While there are many sub-variations imaginable, I would say it boils down to 3 distinct options – which one do we think it was ?

    1) They truly let go of the reigns and were ok with whoever would end up winning this.
    2) They had a preferred winner but failed to get them over the line.
    3) They had a goal and achieved exactly what they set out to do.

    After lots of hard thinking (LOL – no), I would go with the last option. There were lots of rumours at the start that the candidates were picked to favour a male winner. And while both Saara and Matt had arguably mixed treatment in the final, I think Matt’s combo of so-so comments and good songs vs Saara’s combo of great comments and so-so songs was always going to come out top. Judges comments are recognised as a way of influencing, whereas song choice is a much subtler push, especially in the final where it is implied that it is all down to the contestant’s choice. Also, there has been so much clear and proven manipulation during this year that I find it inconceiveable to think they would then just sit back and let it roll for what is arguably the most important part for the show. Lastly, that winner’s song had Matt’s name all over it – I think the reason they didn’t let Saara sing it was that it would have been obvious it was not meant for her.

    I think there were broadly three aims this year:
    – get enough media coverage out of Honey G to keep the show in the headlines, make her into a meme and get a novelty single out of her, followed by possibly some reality show appearance.
    – get 5AM as far as possible to give them a credible start a la 1D to launch them into the market.
    – make the live shows look as unpredictable and open as possible to prevent a repeat of last year’s farcical operations.

    • Linda

      I agree with whoever up above said that Cowell looked deflated when Matt won. Though if this is the case he really has some neck as Syco has made a dog’s dinner of Louisa, who is far more marketable pop-wise than 5AM (awful) or Saara.

    • HL

      The reason why they did not want Saara to sing the winner’s song was that she would have sung it much better than Matt and then lost the competition ten minutes later. It would have ruined the evening and left bad taste.

  • Woofie

    I see Honey G was bottom of the vote in the sing off with Ryan so she did need the judge’s saves to stay in the competition. I still think the way Honey G was handled as a big negative for the show. They had all four judges rooting for her with obvious favouritism that creates. Without one judge being the “voice of reason” that alienated the majority of the audience. I also found the false persona annoying, I do wonder what the outcome would have been if she was allowed to be herself off stage and this big character on stage… maybe that wouldn’t work for XF, ok for BGT?

    Losing talented contestants for 2 “joke acts” making up the final 12 also didn’t help the ratings? What was the point of Bratavio? Didn’t it work for the show?
    Yes the show requires interesting characters to provide entertainment, drama and talking points. I suppose it is difficult to find a talented but flawed contestant that will generate headlines for people to tune in to see. I guess controversy always generates the most media coverage, but with all four judges rooting for Honey G, the show itself is being controversial with its own audience not the contestant and judge/mentor supporting them, if that makes sense?

  • EM

    Matt’s currently number one on itunes – ahead of Louis Tomlinson, then Louisa, then Zayn – quite a X Factor top 4 – Simon will be stroking his cat!

  • Scott

    Bratavio struck me as the traditional acts put in the final to ensure someone good/marketable doesn’t go unexpectedly in the first few weeks. See also Blonde Electric. Problem with this series was there were a lot of interchangable acts the show clearly had no interest – no doubt to get Honey G to stay in for a bit – which hit the overall quality of the show.

    Honey G was a bit of a double-edged sword for the franchise. On the one hand it got them a lot of talkability and headlines, on the other hand it contributed to destroying the remaining credibility of the show. Of course, it’s impossible to tell how The X Factor would have done on a level playing field because Planet Earth arrived and destroyed it.

  • GsP

    I still think they wanted 5AM v Saara and felt that with song choices on Sunday they could get a 5AM win.

    But the 5AM duet fell apart at the last minute and they just missed out, leaving them with a very vulnerable Saara (who I think Simon wanted to win out of the final 2) and a Matt with much better song choices.

    They basically gave him as much of a slagging on the Saturday as they can get away with in the final.

    Saara’s 5 year old Christmas album is currently #3 on Finnish iTunes.

    • Jessica Hamby

      If that’s the case then we have to re-evaluate all our ideas about the way producers support or undermine an act through the staging. They used a lot of things we would normally describe as unhelpful for an act. It doesn’t mean that these things are not undermining but it might mean that the producers don’t believe that they are undermining. On the other hand it may be that any correlation between fire on stage and b2 appearances is completely coincidental.

      Or it could be that tptb were trying to get 5AM out (in which case they cut it fine because they were only 2.1% behind Matt at the vote freeze).

      Interesting…….

  • George

    I do wonder if they would’ve got rid of Matt in the semi-final if he came bottom. Eliminating him 3-1 would’ve been ridiculous, but a deadlock if he had got just 0.4% less would’ve been easy to manufacture.

  • GsP

    XFactor took a 75% audience share in Finland, 1.4m viewers, peak of 2.5m (almost half he population).

    Worth getting a decent foreign act to promote the franchise!

    • Jessica Hamby

      No wonder they like acts from the Phillipines. It’s the 12th most populous country in the world. If anyone knows a decent singer or a boyband from India they’re pretty much guaranteed a semi-final spot.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Note: I excluded indian girlbands because I assumed they’d be too conservatively styled to work on the UK X Factor. A quick google image search shows that’s not the case.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It would have made Saara an ideal winner too. And that she came and auditioned off her own back rather than being scouted would have made an even better story both at home and abroad. They wouldn’t need to go and scout acts. They’d come.

    • Ben

      She’s going to have a massive career in Finland now at least with those numbers!

  • HL

    Saara was really the only act throughout the whole series who never hit bottow two. Obviously before the last night when there were only two acts left.

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