X Factor 2017 Bootcamp 1: Betfairs and Graces

In a normal year, we’d be looking forward to the first of the live shows this coming weekend. Instead, the XF’s focus groups apparently told them that what viewers really want is five hours of bootcamp, and the same again of 6CC. Bootcamp is turgid fare from a Sofabet perspective, typically revealing limited new information about producers’ thinking. Indeed, the most interesting betting event of the week happened not during the shows themselves, but on Twitter on Monday evening.

A tweet was put out by a BBC Lancashire presenter about a Children In Need gig on Saturday November 4, with Grace Davies of X Factor fame top of the bill. It was retweeted by Grace herself. The suggestion that she had committed to a gig on the Saturday of the second week of scheduled live programmes saw a massive market drift, from favouritism out to 20.0 on Betfair. The following day she returned to favouritism, as the money suggested she was in the live shows after all.

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We can’t claim to know anything for sure right now – about whether Grace is in the lives, and what the format of them will be. (As Ben Cook points out in the Sofabet comments, there’s been some suggestion that overs and groups will compete on Saturdays, and girls and boys on Sundays, which could allow Grace to make the gig.) There’s also the extra unknown of a potential wildcard: if we have two eliminations each weekend, we have to start with 13 to have 3 left for the final.

We do know for sure what happened in last weekend’s shows: not much of interest. But here’s what we picked out.

Let’s start with Grace: she’s still being treated as the main attraction. Her group effort was the last one of that particular stage of bootcamp, introduced by Dermot as featuring, “Lloyd, Gregor, Spencer, and 20 year old warehouse worker, Grace”, before her room audition was helpfully recapped.

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Grace was shown feeling the pressure of rehearsing while those around her continued with their bit parts. Eventually they all sang James Arthur’s ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, during which Grace often deployed the signature cracking of her voice to achieve emotion. At least she didn’t oversing like Lloyd, who seemed less at ease than with the rousing number of his room audition, while Spencer was reasonably effective until over-singing himself (conversely to Lloyd, his lane looks like the raspy, more intimate songs).

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I can’t say I was overly wowed with Grace after this performance – my main concern being that she may lack versatility in how she sings and performs. Having said which, the fact she was kept firmly in the public eye was in her favour.

She wasn’t the only leading light in the betting market not to match the heights of their room audition. Sean and Conor Price weren’t on the Saturday show, and their group bootcamp performance was only briefly shown in an extended build-up when opening on Sunday. When they did perform, their rendition of Madcon’s ‘Beggin’ was cut short and they resorted to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Sing’ instead, which was only marginally less frantic.

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Simon had been the first to cut short their opening attempt, and the most sceptical of the second, saying: “Now you see what their Achilles heel is: when they start getting nervous, they get faster and faster, and more manic.” The rule of thumb for criticism at this stage is: if it’s intractable (such as “he doesn’t have the best voice”), it’s highly detrimental to long-term prospects. But if it’s something that could be worked on, it’s not necessarily such cause for concern – especially if it can be worked on through a mentor’s expert guidance.

The Cutkelvins were also disappointing at this second stage of bootcamp. Their rendition of Kool and the Gang’s ‘Get Down On It’ wasn’t impressive, and led Simon to say, “What you’re trying to do is musically so wrong at the moment.” Still, as with the Irish brothers, they got some support elsewhere on the panel (this time from Nicole, who felt they had made the song “fresh and relevant”), and criticising song choice didn’t feel like an intractable problem.

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The group performed better on Saturday’s show, when singing ‘Ain’t No Mountain’, when they were also given a nice recap of their room audition. Despite the Sunday performance, it’s encouraging to have seen them featured at each stage so far, and reminding us each time that they’re a “family band”, which the show seems keen to push.

Performing with them on Saturday and also getting a recap was Georgina Panton, who went on to be given Sunday’s pimp slot with her rendition of Beyonce’s ‘Sweet Dreams’. The 20 year old endeared herself to us by explaining “I’ve got a horse”, as she gestured to her sore throat. In fact, she gave her least unpolished performance yet, though it was still very pitchy in places. It earned a standing ovation from audience and judges alike.

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“I love her, she’s one of my favourites,” Nicole explained. Simon said: “wow, wow ok wow, I’ve been waiting for that. This was for me one of the moments of bootcamp. We’re excited, good for you.” Sharon gushed, “You’re such a free spirit.” On the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, she’d be a highly entertaining presence in the lives, even if not the most reliable singer.

Simon added at the end, “she’s made that category very strong.” Arguably, that was even more the case with Holly Tandy, who also appeared on both Saturday and Sunday. The market was most impressed, bringing her into third favourite. On both nights she showed an impressive focus, and voice, for ‘Ex’s & Oh’s’ and ‘Sign of the Times’.

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We were reminded of her precocity on both occasions, turning 16 on the day of her second bootcamp performance, but she clearly has a mature head on young shoulders. There’s something of the Louisa Johnson about her big voice and determination, and she’d clearly be a danger to all if getting through to the lives.

Elsewhere in the girls category, we had the sight of Alisah Bonaobra pleading for her reinstatement during the first stage of bootcamp, before proving her point with ‘Defying Gravity’ in the pimp slot of Saturday’s show. Simon explained: “This is a very theatrical performance. I think if I was producing a West End show right now, and I was watching that back, I’d be incredibly impressed.” That’s not usually an encouraging message for a contestant’s longevity in this show. Based on coverage so far, the likes of Alisah and Georgina are fighting for gamma status behind Grace and Holly. Rai-Elle and Deanna were also shown briefly during the first stages of bootcamp, and cannot be discounted. Deanna had the added bonus of a recap of her room audition, but didn’t really impress with her vocals.

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A few of the overs got a decent shot at performing to the audience in the second part of the bootcamp process. Matt Linnen got the process started with his rendition of ‘If I Were A Boy’. Linnen is the closest we’ve got to a Cardle/Haenow archetype this year, as was tacitly acknowledged in the judges’ comments. “I think the public will like him, his personality,” Sharon said. “They’re going to love him,” Nicole added. Presuming the show does not want another one of these types winning, they’re going to have to be careful how they treat him if he makes it through to the lives.

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Berget Lewis performed Donny Hathaway’s ‘Song For You’, and despite another strong, soulful performance, faced the criticism from Simon in an aside to the other judges that she couldn’t just rely on the classics. Still, she’ll be happier with that edit than Kevin Davy White, who was a bit part for the first group performances on the Saturday show. However, his vocals did come across strongly for ‘Let It Be’. At least he was shown performing, unlike Talia Dean who we only got to see saying on a few occasions how much she “wanted” it.

Of the other boys, we got to finally meet reported judges’ houses participant Jack Mason. He turned out to be a highly endearing 18 year old busker, who loved giving his rendition of ‘It’s A Man’s World’. Simon was right to suggest, “The public are going to root for him, and love him.” The question remains, will the show let that happen? It’s not in his favour that this was our first opportunity to listen to him.

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Sam Black was featured cracking under pressure in the first section of bootcamp, before failing to progress after giving Del Shannon’s old-school ‘Runaway’ a try. The market continues to suggest he is brought back for judges’ houses when Ant Russell is let go. The show has hobbled him to some degree by already writing him off, but has continued with his backstory via his marriage proposal. Previously introduced as being from Liverpool, Sam this time informed us he is from the Isle of Man, giving producers some scope to expand or shrink his regional vote by which they choose to emphasise.

Aidan Martin also got a recap before his part in the group session was overshadowed by the domineering presence of Jodie Woolcott. He wasn’t particularly impressive vocally.

The market’s sustained low-level interest in Benji Matthews is a puzzle. The 17-year-old, introduced with a self-penned song about Eastenders, has traded around 30.0 since the weekend, despite reportedly being dismissed at 6CC and not having featured in any reinstatement rumours. Somebody knows either more or less than we do.

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The other act shown who have reportedly made judges’ houses are Rak-Su, who were shown bringing their shtick to their own group session, after which Nicole said, “they came with it, they created their own stuff”. The show has strongly focused on three groups so far – Rak-Su, the Prices and the Cutkelvins – with still no performance shown from girl group Lemonade.

Do let us know your continued thoughts below. This coming weekend sees one more bootcamp episode in front of an arena crowd on Saturday, before the madness of 6CC kicks off on Sunday.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

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87 comments to X Factor 2017 Bootcamp 1: Betfairs and Graces

  • Paul Romain

    Rai-Elle has become a clear 3rd in girls market since JH filmed. Georgina trading at 70-80 now compared to her 26-28

    I’ve backed/laid Benji at 60/36 this week. Must be a wild card leak or market just homing in on him as an obvious wc candidate?

  • Uzair

    A confusing weekend im not 100% sure who will make it literally im not sure on any acts at all. Tbh im not sure whos plan A either. Imo georgina is the person who is most likely to make the lives out of anyone. Her pimpsloy was surprising and she has shown to be entertaining as well as talented shell make a good gamma and will be more fun then last year’s gifty. I’m not sure about grace either or holly. Hilly good but shes so young shell either be a Lauren Platt or an Olivia Garcia. Alisha could be dangerous in the live shows with her being foreign. Rai Elle is my favourite of the girls but no push for her and Deanna. Interesting which of the girls will get the six chair pimp slot. Boys so many mixed messages im not 100% sure. Overs dont think they really care about maybe Kevin or Berger as an alpha talias or Tracey will be throwaway. Slavko seems like most likely. Groups r confusing since we’ve only seen four but the main focus is raksu s3an amd connor and the cutkelvins very interesting as I doubnt all 3 will make it. The only combination that would make sense would be the cutkelvins and sean and connor both making. Cutkelvins are being pushed as a beta more then an alpha. If both of them make it I could see a 2015 scenario with 2 groups in the top 5 alongside alpha girl beta girl and plus boy

  • Gage Loverne

    Uzair, i agree with the 2015 comparison. However instead of 2 girls, i could see Slavko dragged to 5th. Then the final 5 would be 2 groups( cutkelvins and S&C), Slavko, plus a boy and a girl.

    • Uzair

      You telling me slack will manage to get further then holly or alisha who seem most likely betas at this point. Also do you really think they’ll give Georgina the pimp slot normally six chair girl pimpsgo to girls that dont make it e.g. olivia kerianne and melanie so possibly Deanna for the pimp i cant see grace alisah and georgina getting it as they’ve already had pimp slots.

      • Gage Loverne

        This is the same show that saw Rylan Clark get farther than Ella Henderson, Stevie Ritchie get farther than Lola Saunders, and Honey G get farther than Sam Lavery. I dont put anything past the producers, in terms of joke type acts.

        • Uzair

          Lola and Sam weren’t that good Ella was good and had momentum but that bottom 2 was shocking if it had been any other act other then james she would be been fine. Also slavko is different as a joke act that people wont understand hes not as entertaining as normal joke acts and also if foreign. He isn’t sara alto or fourth impact so i cant see him doing well in the vote. Imo i could see Berger or Kevin better suited for this role

      • Panos

        Georgina got the 6CC pimp. She sang last.

        • Uzair

          New girl group get the pimp for the group’s. I’m guessing Leon James for the boys he will have to prove himself and also there was rumours about Louis splitting up brothers at six chair so maybe both Leon and his brother will make it from ITG. Overs could be any of them. Taliah and Tracey lack screen time so it could be one of them

        • Edie M

          6CC hasn’t happened yet, this article is about bootcamp.

          • 6CC has already been filmed months ago… there’s no point as bettors trying to prentend that we don’t know who’s going to Judges House

          • Edie M

            Yh I know, I was talking about the broadcast. I know the jh spoilers came out weeks ago. Probably should have elaborated on the comment that I think the editing is so important that raw info is not enough for judgement til I see the show.

  • Grace preview BC tomorrow. Would you say she has SBF? (Singing bitch face).

    • I would say she’s ugly and even though the ugly duckling grew into a Swan…

      But many ‘ugly’ people, compared to usual social norms, have won any talent shows?

      Sam Bailey
      Andrea Begley
      James Arthur
      Paul Potts
      Marija Šerifović
      Michelle McManus

      She reminds me a bit of Abi Alton, who traded at around the same price iirc… I’m not even sure she’s more likable, or has a better voice.

      Even the ‘great’ Susan Boyle couldn’t win, guess what she was beaten by a better looking group of people.

      Adele would not have won X Factor, people like her old school mate Leona Lewis do however.

      At the end of the day people don’t want to see ugly, they’re fine to listen to it on the radio, but they don’t want to be confronted with it on their TVs on a Saturday night.

      • R

        That’s a lot of assumptions. All of which I disagree with.

        I would still back a talented singer songwriter who performs her own songs in a year where the show is pushing originality, authenticity and “being real” over an out of tune boy band called The Risk-Su.

        • It;s one assumption, but they’re based on a large historical sample size. It’s not just X Factor, how many ‘ugly’ people have won Eurovision for example?

          If she’s 5.00 when the lives start and she’s in them I may be tempted to back her. But if she’s sub 3.25 she’s making the market.

          Whether the show push her, it doesn’t mean the public will take to her.

          ‘Out of tune’ boyband isn’t an issue, when has that ever stopped one picking up votes before? They’re also capable of originality, authenticity and “being real”, or are you saying ‘MOBO’ doesn’t count as those things?

          https://youtu.be/GbSezWDRu0A

          I would say that video shoes their’s capability to work with.

          Who is going to be Grace’s core vote?

          Who is your average X Factor viewer these days?

          My guess would be a large number of people who grew up in the r’n’b era of the early 2000s (28s – 35s), now make up a decent chunk of the voting public.

          The now over-50s, now have more disposable income and aren’t at home looking after their children on a Saturday night.

          This article also highlights a trend in the music industry in this country http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/sales-of-grime-albums-have-risen-over-100-in-the-last-year-as-the-genre-smashes-into-the-uk-mainstream__19439/

          • R

            I don’t recall any polls asking people if they think XF or Eurovision winners are ugly, so I’m not sure where you’re getting your stats from. Is this based on your assumption of who you are calling ugly?

            Are the public more likely to vote for someone pushed by the show?
            2011 – Little Mix
            2012 – James Arthur
            2013 – Sam Bailey
            2014 – Ben & Fleur
            2015 – Louisa
            2016 – Matt Terry
            There is never a guarantee, but history suggests that those who are pushed do better than those who are targeted for elimination.

            I don’t recall any out of tune boyband winning the show. And Little Mix needed all the help in the world to take the win.
            Yes this could be repeated with a boyband this year, but I personally don’t see it happening.

            Grace’s core vote will be people who buy the music thrown at them. ie the XF viewers and people who buy Adele albums. That’s a large potential voting base.

            I don’t see any individual grime artist outselling Adele anytime soon.
            Grime may be “becoming mainstream”, but Adele is the left, right and centre of mainstream music, and the majority of viewers are more like to follow the mainstream than be grime fans who happen to watch TXF on Saturday night.

            Again, this is all supposition, and everything depends on how the show treats each contestant.

          • Agree that people will vote for those that are pushed by the show. Matt wasn’t pushed though. Interesting that you bring up Little Mix, as in that year Janet Devlin was going to be the next big thing, she was the best ever on X Factor etc etc… Same things were said about Ella Henderson the following year.

            Grace will never be as big as Adele, it’s obvious to see she’s trying to be a copycat. She wrote a song about her 20 year struggle against the oppression of living in near Blackburn, nice song but would it ever do as well as the Adele equivalent, Hometown Glory? If Grace was going to be the next Adele, she’d already be it.

            Grace will never be a bigger draw than Stormzy. Grace isn’t going to potentially attract a new generation of viewers to the show. You say that nobody of the ‘grime/hip-hop/r’n’b’ genre will outsell Adele anytime soon… Kanye, Eminiem, Jay-Z show there’s a market there.

            The show has had two actual successful acts in its history, One Direction and Little Mix. The problem the show has with finding long term successful soloists, is that it’s likely they’ve already been found by the time they’re 18.

            Obviously Grace can win, if they push her… but if it’s going into the final with the same voting patterns as the last two years, I think it’s plausible they go with the ‘urban’ group. Which agrees with your original point of people will vote for who they’re told to vote for.

            Out of interest what price wouldn’t you back Grace at?

            I’ve personally backed Rak-Su at 21.0 and 15.0, Groups to win at 4.xx… but at the current odds of 9.00 and 3.00, I wouldn’t go in again.

          • R

            Matt was pushed enough given he’s the demographic who take a voting advantage into the live. Much like Ben Haenow.

            We all know the history with Janet. Winning the first 4 weeks and needing the show to bring her down is different to having the show push her throughout the series.

            One Direction were helped to reach 3rd in the lives and has a lot of promo to make them happen. Although I will agree that they worked.

            Little Mix was the series manipulations to force their win by default. They are not a big group decent the hype that surrounds them. When their fans are celebrating that they’re in the top 10 of songs outside the top 100 in the US, you know that’s scraping the barrel. Looking at their twitter, their numbers have also slumped without the 1D cross-promotion.
            I’d put Leona, Alexandra Burke and Matt Cardle ahead of Little Mix. Maybe even James Arthur.
            If LM ever left Syco, they would disappear within a year without the promotion.

            I backed Grace at 6.5 but won’t be going back as there are too many variables at present and the odds are likely to shorten as the lives go on. If they lengthen, it’ll be because she’s no longer being treated in a favourable manner or because she’s had an Mmmbop moment.

          • Mmmbop moment 🙂
            I’d completely forgotten about about how hilariously car crash stuff that was… watching it back, I feel a bit bad for her

            6.50 perfectly fair price

      • Boki

        Adele probably wouldn’t win the X in her early days when there was no singer like her present, but she is established now. So if people believe (or made to believe) that someone like Grace is (almost) as good as Adele I don’t see a reason for her not to get public support. She is the only true artist in this bunch…

      • Grace is ugly? I can’t agree with that. There’s a whole lot of daylight between model gorgeous and needs a bag over her head ugly.

        Grace is nice-looking but not particularly striking. Far from ugly IMO.

        • She pulls ugly faces in that song preview doesn’t she?

          Her legs looked good in Drop That but alas they weren’t her legs.

          • I was looking at her legs earlier, funnily enough… I’ve seen more ankle definition on an elephant… She doesn’t move very gracefully either, sort of plods/somps along. If SyCo sees her as the future of his music empire I’d be surprised

        • Guesser

          Lol @ posters calling Grace ugly. It’s pretty much a given that she was told to dress down for her audition. If you look at her Instagram pics she’s a really attractive young girl. I’ve no doubt that when she appears at the first live show she will look and sound stunning. She’s different class to this Karaoke rabble and the only competition she had in original music category,Aidan, was dumped at Judges houses.

          • Really attractive? 8 or 9 out of 10 for you then…

            She’s a 5 at best

            However online comments about her shape can help her. It worked for Little Mix, they made a whole VT about Jesy’s size and online bullying. Ultimately that was the week that propelled them.

            Ironically she has listened to the online comments and lost weight.

  • Sean

    She is actually quite good, I think she will make the lives. Her song choices would be very important. Interesting how she gets a preview video. Who are the main acts that could stop her from winning?

  • Spiidey

    Digital spy forums reporting the first of the top 12 – alisah bonaobra. Via apparent tweet from her mum. have asked for tweet to be posted as a quick check on Twitter ain’t turning up anything

  • R

    In the end the show is about making money, and this depends on how it is viewed by the public.

    There’s been a big shift from manufactured acts like Little Mix to the show pushing the real, authentic, original lines this year.

    I believe the show is looking for an artist who can appeal to a much wider audience than just the falling numbers who watch the show. Someone who comes across as a real artist, not someone who just does covers.
    Someone who can break through internationally and maybe even win some real music awards.

  • Stoney

    Big move for Cutkelvins. Into 11 on betfair. Could be a final 12 sign.

  • Martin

    Who does make it though?!

    There’s fair reason to doubt all the acts we’ve seen so far. The most vote-friendly acts are commercial disasters – producers are likely aware of this so won’t give them the chance.

    I’d exercise most caution over Grace – we have seen her act too many times before for me to believe she’s capable of going any further than Emily Middlemass or Diana Vickers. She’s the only act so far this series that I’m confident producers will be putting through the live shows, but I seriously doubt that they can drag her through to the final without going into Louisa Johnson pimp mode. That was a disaster for the show, will they really do it again?

    Add into that the risk of original material in the live shows, it’s a risky risky move that I wouldn’t be taking if I were in charge. If I were a Grace backer I’d seek solace that in the last two years producers have expertly controlled the vote at their whim for the most part, and I’d hope that would continue through to this year. For the past two years we’ve suggested that ratings may trump their desire to control a vote but they can’t resist. As for who I’m backing outright, I couldn’t confidently say. If producers can’t make Grace happen, they may Gifty her, but who takes her place? Little Mix didn’t exist at this point in 2011. We’d barely seen Fleur by now in 2014. I’m keeping an eye on outsiders.

    • Simon’s not much of an original thinker, so I assume he is trying to push Grace D (and possibly some of the others with decent original material) in a manner similar to his 2016 AGT winner, Grace Vanderwaal.

      Of course, that Grace was only 12 years old and only had to perform 4-5 times on her way to the win.

  • Stoney

    To think the live shows should be underway tonight. Such a damp swib having these extra shows of pre recorded fodder.

  • David Cook

    It’s possible that there isn’t going to be a single plan A going into the live shows. The rumored 24 at JH appear to be a fairly decent mix – it would be impossible to conjure up a final 12 as weak as in 2015. It may be that within that group there’s 3 or even 4 who might be acceptable winners. It’s just possible that they seen how votes fall the first week and then decide who they’re going to run with. With viewing figures so low they probably can’t afford to alienate too many viewers with the kind of manipulation necessary to get Louise across the line even against such a poor field.

  • Grace really feels like this year’s main attraction, doesn’t she?

    Rak-Su didn’t get a great edit tonight and their performance didn’t get a lot of reaction online. But The Cutkelvins didn’t even have their name up on screen when they were getting Simon as their mentor.

  • Martin

    Tonight’s show was the first time I’ve felt particularly inspired by what I’ve seen from Grace. A whole segment to herself, a VT which was much MUCH longer than anybody else’s, and that rapturous emotional response from the judges and crowd was over and above anybody else’s so far.

    Whilst I still have questions about elements of what she has to offer, if the show continuously plays her up in this manner it’s hard to see just what other options we have. Rak Su were easily missed this evening – I’m still not convinced they make it through to the live shows.

    Rather questionable inclusion of Sharon taking a giant shit on her category though. One would hope that her maternal instinct takes over tomorrow night. After her (presumably scripted) behaviour last year with Zara from Abroad, producers must be confident in her if they’re to trust her with their Plan a.

    • Inspired by her song or how they treated her? She’s certainly TCO but we’ve known that from the first episode.

      • Martin

        Inspired in the sense that her performance somewhat justified her treatment. I still think they’d have to go nuclear on the rest of the field to get her to win, but she was the most relatable contestant last night, and her song/vocals were good. Better than anything Emily Middlemas managed to serve up last year.

        • Stoney

          The tears from Nicole were way ott, but will fool a lot of the viewers. They will need to carry on that level of ridiculousness for the rest of the series to get her over the line.

  • Ben Cook

    They should be pulling out all the stops to ensure Grace wins. She could sell a lot of records.

    • Phil

      I find it hard to believe that a girl is plan A, given Sharon is the mentor for the girls. A rare change of hands of the groups from Louis to Simon would suggest that’s where plan A lies, if you ask me. Surely it’s not just me that sees Louis and Sharon as the duds, with Simon and Nicole the ‘good’ judges?

      • Mentor is irrelevant imo. Sharon is generally liked by the public, as they all are, so it makes no difference. Sharon flies to the USA midweek and hardly ever speaks with her acts.

        Her “they’re so young and I’m too upfront” maybe her own little cameo to excuse her from forming any bonds with the girls, which she will hardly see.

        • Phil

          I don’t agree that it’s irrelevent. Sharon is liked but she’s not necessarily respected as a mentor, and her track record on the show isn’t great. I know that in reality the judges don’t do as much as is made out, but it’s rare for the chosen one to be given Sharon or Louis as mentor.

          • Martin

            Sharon did a sterling job with Sam Bailey – the bond seemed genuine and even leaked outside of the show with all the reports that Sharon is Sam’s daughters godmother and whatnot. If Sharon was indeed following a script last year with her Zara from Abroad nonsense and her memory seemingly having an on/off switch, she played a blinder and then managed to adapt quickly when Saara Aalto won producer favour. I’d suggest that she is being rewarded somewhat with a genuine contender to flatter her ego this year, with the suggestion that she replicate her Sam Bailey relationship but in a more maternal capacity.

            That, or a group is Plan A which makes more sense to me with Simon as a mentor, particularly as he has sat the last two finals out.

          • R

            The mentor can be relevant if they push them to the fore, as they did with Tulisa for Little Mix and Nicole for James Arthur.
            It’s no coincidence that so many people went from lauding Tulisa and her “friendship” with Little Mix, to deriding her for ruining the girls in 2012.

            Sharon worked well as Sam Bailey’s mentor, and I believe Nicole has the Overs because they will be first out, giving her free reign to back Plan A.

  • Any conclusions about this yet?
    https://lowtherpavilion.ticketsolve.com/shows/873580102

    Most likely I suppose is that they release her for the Saturday and she performs on the Sunday.

    But also possible that she walked after JH and they’re keeping it under wraps. Simply because it’s unprecedented to let an artist do a concert the evening before a full day of show run throughs and live performance.

    • R

      The show would be crazy not to put her in the lives. Highlighting “real music” then dumping her would create a backlash and lose them another million viewers.

      I can’t see that she’s pulled out of the show. Although I’ve seen comments saying she’s too good for the show and she should escape Syco, if she walked it would lead to the idea that she threw away her chance.

      I think the split, with the girls performing on Sunday may be the right one. This could mean she may be short on rehearsal time, which could leave to a weak performance and criticism on the Sunday, or just that she gets a great VT for her charity work.

  • Boki

    Singing for “Children in Need fund to help children and young people throughout the country”. Sounds like a great VT to me…

    • Phil

      It’s going to have to sell a few more tickets than the handful that have already gone for it to make a good VT though…

      It’s literally just up the road from me so I might have a poke around on the day and see if they’ve got the whole production crew there. Be interesting to see how big a deal they make if it, if she is through to the lives.

      • The box office denied Grace’s inclusion when I spoke with them on Monday but Grace has remained as the concert headliner on their website since that day. And also on the same page where you click to pay.

        They only started advertising the concert then, which seems to be immediately after her JH.

      • Janet Devlin, Grace’s flatmate, appreciated XF publicity but also said this:

        “No one wanted to know me. Radio wouldn’t touch me or my tracks, or give me anything more than a spot-play, as they refused to air the music from anyone of a TV talent show past. Television was the same, they were exhausted with personalities from reality shows so they’d stopped taking people on.”

        So how does one get publicity from XF but then avoid the RTV taint and avoid signing SyCo’s Devil contract that all acts entering the Lives must sign?

        I am completely undecided, but it’s foolish to dismiss the possibility that Grace has walked.

  • Stoney

    So the ratings continue to nose dive. Good job they cut the amount of live shows to save the ratings. Getting to the point where they must be realising nothing they can do will save the show. I would seriously consider just making it a Saturday night only show with all the results on the same night like it used to be. Back in the day when they had 3 times as many viewers.

    • Phil smith

      I agree stoney they need to just accept the ratings will never be what they once were! The show has been running for about 15 years some people are bored of it , same thing every year or people go out instead seen as it’s Saturday night !

      • Stoney

        Every year is just made up from a watered down talent pool from the year before. This year is absolutely awful. The clear favourite cant even sing very well, she just writes her own music.

  • Nick

    As Ben says.”They should be pulling out all the stops to ensure Grace wins. She could sell a lot of records…”

    As usual, you don’t have to over think.
    If you have Grace at e/w first 3, at over 4/1…..you have a fantastic free bet imho.

  • 360

    Given that it’s only three to four groups that have been given significant spotlight and coverage (three existing, plus one deliberately created), isn’t it likely we’ll be seeing a wildcard group to bring the total acts up to 13, to give them maximum chance to see which of the four will fly?

    Re Grace I still think it’s possible she’s a plant or has an ulterior motive for being here, and that a Gamu situation will arise where she ends up for whatever reason not going forward. Gamu is one past example of that, an act that seems like a plan A ultimately not going so far, and the big blonde girl from a year or two ago, and even Amelia Lily’s original live shows path would be two more.

  • Stoney

    I dont think they risk putting Matt Linnen through. Hes the biggest risk of a vote magnet from the guys going to judges houses.

  • Stoney

    Lemonade are the group im most eager to see. Simon will have high hopes for these girls an I can definately see him attempting another littlemix win with them.

    • Lemonade was formed before XF, is that right? Because additionally XF have another girlband which they formed, as yet unnamed.

      • Stoney

        I’m not sure but I’m thinking they will go in as Alpha group. Almost as if they are saving their group push for them.

        • Martin

          There is precident for an act flying under the radar to gain momentum. Fleur, Relley C and Sophie Habibis (and to some extent Reggie and Bollie) all had to make up for a deficit of screen time prior to live shows and delivered surprisingly strong live show week one performances as a result. These acts tend to be entirely at the mercy of tptb – I’d suggest that if the show had concrete plans long term for Lemonade, we’d have seen something of them singing by now but the show basically ignored Little Mix until week four of the live shows so anything is possible.

          • Stoney

            No point making a big deal of a solo act in the earlier shows as they are more likely to be seen as only being in a band cos they wasn’t good enough in the audition.

  • Stoney

    Grace isn’t going to even be the best singer in her category let alone the competition. But she does sing her own songs.

    • Ben Cook

      It’s not all about having the best voice. Alisah might be technically a better singer but when she does songs like All By Myself and everything else from The X Factor songbook she bores me rigid.

      Grace doing her own songs is far more interesting, and they sound like hit songs too. And even though she is one of the favourites, she feels like an underdog and someone you want to root for. She potentially has crossover appeal in the same way Adele does (albeit probably not on that sort of scale!)

      • Stoney

        If I was backing a girl at this point Holly would be my selection. Much better value than Grace.

        • R

          Is Holly beta or gamma girl?
          I’d say gamma. Although “She’s only sixteen! Sixteen!”

          I prefer listening to Grace doing an original than Alisha’s Westend auditions. I just find Alisha’s performances soulless.

          I also feel that the panel talk to all the contestants as contestants expected to battle it out each round, but Grace is spoken to as though she’s an equal.

    • David Cook

      If it was just about being the best singer surely Berget would already have this sewn up by now. But is there anybody on here who thinks she could possibly win? There’s a good chance she might not even make the live shows.
      At least if she doesn’t we can look forward to how Nicole manages to justify putting Slavko through instead. Perhaps on the basis that he’s a unique talent – just like Honey G.

  • Uzair

    Very interesting tonight grace wasn’t very good she was trying to belt and be louder but shes more john Lewis slow down songs. Alishas a greatnsinger but way too old skool. Rai Elle and hilly were good not heavily featured. Alishas constant rejections say she could be the wildcard possibly.

  • David Cook

    Who was the girl in the red dress sitting backstage with Grace during Alisah’s performance? As she wasn’t shown taking part in 6CC I assume she must be one of the made up group? If they’re going to edit someone out they need to make a better job of it.

  • David Cook

    It seems a bit harsh to get as far as 6CC and not get shown at all. You would think that within the 75 – 80 minutes they could give everyone at least some coverage. There again being fair has never been a strong point on XF.

  • Rainbow

    Well one of the members of the new girl group was seen in boot camp with rak-su and one was also in boot camp with her original group “ NQ” and imogen blue is not part of the group it’s really imagen Harrison that we saw on auditions.

  • Milton

    Nine days on from the original announcement about the 4th November concert and they are still leading with Grace on the booking page, as the link says:

    https://lowtherpavilion.co.uk/show/bbc-children-in-need-with-grace-davies/

    Assuming she is doing this gig on Saturday night then driving through the night to throw herself into a day of XF rehearsals/ performance this is a really tough ask. Poor thing will be shattered.

    • I know everybody’s tired of this conspiracy theory but I find it interesting.

      If she’s headlining the concert with XF blessing why would the theater staff verbally say she’s not in the concert? Phone the box office and see if that’s still the case, I haven’t phoned for a week. Maybe their boss told them to deny it so they wouldn’t have to spend all day arguing over the phone with callers. Because she’s left XF but XF want to keep it secret so as not to undermine their 6CC and JH edits and Grace has agreed.

      May not be odds-on that she’s left but it’s a possibility.

      • Ben Cook

        I’ve bought a ticket so she’d better be there. Mind you, it’s only a fiver so if she pulls out I’m not too fussed.

        If she’s pulled out, I wonder whether Syco would have edited her so well. OK it’s publicity, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to let viewers get too attached to someone who won’t be in the lives. Some people might think “well if she’s not in it there’s no point in watching”. And presumably her reasons for leaving wouldn’t show the programme in a good light.

        I’m hoping it’s just that the girls are singing on Sunday nights!

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