X Factor 2017 6CC: Blanket smothering for Linnen et al?

In last week’s article, we discussed the possibility of producers pursuing a scorched-earth policy to facilitate a Grace victory. The remaining 6CC shows fitted that interpretation: after her rivals in the other three categories had performed, the only act shorter in the Betfair market than they had been before was Sam Black, who didn’t even feature (but was later confirmed as replacing Ant Russell). The newly-listed market entrants, the two girlbands and Leon, didn’t impress punters much either.

Usually there’s more than one act at this stage with some sense of momentum and general positivity. But we find ourselves looking at the boys, groups and overs and asking not “who have they bigged up the most” but “who have they done least to undermine…?” It was a weekend full of putdowns, reservations and qualified praise, in which pretty much every act seemed to be given the finger in some way.

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The most hilarious backhanded compliment was Simon’s to Lloyd Macey: “People are going to like you, in much the same way that they like a comfortable blanket before going to bed.”

Let’s go through each category in turn.

Groups

The Cutkelvins were the first of those who made it to judges’ houses to appear. One of the three acts to have largely hogged the limelight in this category so far, they got a recap that included Simon’s line at the room audition about wanting to work with them. The mixed messages of their bootcamp phase seem to set up a storyline of the trio finding their way musically.

That direction was a cover of Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’. As with all their auditions, there were moments of promise, especially when Shereen was solo, but the overall effect was unpolished. Still the crowd liked it, as Dermot acknowledged by calling it the “biggest reaction so far”.

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There was plenty of positivity among the judges too. Sharon said: “that’s the bar that everyone else has to compete with”; Louis added, “this is a great group. This is the future”. Simon hit the family theme again: “I really liked the fact you decided to play off each other more. That’s why I think a family group is so cool. You know each other”. However, he went on to note that “there were some issues with the vocals, and that’s probably excitement, over-singing”. It set the tone for this weekend’s equivocations, in what seemed to us like a conscious effort to prevent any potential challenger to Grace from building up too much of a head of steam.

Lemonade were finally uncorked with a brief review of their hitherto-unseen journey, in which they admitted they had been together for only three weeks at room audition. Their rendition of ‘I Was Here’ was serviceable and earned a “most improved” tag from Simon, though as this was the first viewers were hearing of them, we had to take his word for it.

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He went on to say, when giving them a seat, “I made my mind up from the moment you started singing” – but it felt damning that we weren’t introduced to the girls individually, especially given that there’s presumably room in the lives for no more than one of Lemonade and the new girl band, who would later get considerably more oxygen.

Jack & Joel got a recap which included them struggling a little at bootcamp, and the narrative continued that it wasn’t plain sailing for the likeable duo. Simon halted their rendition of ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ by saying, “this is all wrong… I can tell why the crowd liked it but if we listen back to it on the TV it’s not going to sound as good as we thought.” They reverted to ‘Bang Bang’, to which the crowd response and other judges were positive. Simon called them “bonkers” and “weird” in the process of giving them their chair.

Just as the Cutkelvins play on the family dynamic each time we see them, Rak-Su articulate their longstanding bond from being “friends since school… we’re just happy to do it together”. Their recap included the standing ovation for their room audition original number, and they had another one here in the form of ‘Change Your Mind’, which was very well received.

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Louis exclaimed “I love the energy you bring to the stadium”, while Sharon said “you always make it fun, you’re just great”, before singling out one band member for criticism over timing issues. Simon concluded: “what you’re doing musically represents who you are, where you’re from… and I see a gap in the market for a group like this”. This was among the most positive overall treatments of the weekend, and much better than last week’s – but that bootcamp edit, as we explained in last week’s article, is not the way you’d expect a top-priority act to be treated, and still casts a lingering doubt about the identity of the alpha group.

Sean and Conor Price, the other of the three heavily-featured acts in this category and still the shortest-priced among them, also got a recap of their ups (room audition) and downs (a nervous bootcamp performance) so far. Encouragingly, both Louis and Nicole called them “my favourites” as they came out on stage. They too had an original song, which however was quickly interrupted by Simon. They rolled out another piece of new material, called ‘Time’.

In the Sofabet comments, JScouser invited us down a rabbit hole with a montage showing how Simon spent their performance holding his mic in a way that involved giving them the finger, as pictured above. You can debate if that suggested anything about his subconscious thought processes, but one clearly deliberate and repeated hand-motion was a gesture to the Irish brothers to slow the tempo. “It’s very difficult for people your age to be on a stage this big, because you’re showing your nerves”, he told them afterwards.

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Other judges were more positive. Sharon: “Conor, your confidence is unbelievable. You’ve got a great vibe going on, and it just works”. Louis: “better and better… It’s all about the potential, you’re so young and have so much to give”. Whether the concerns about nerves, which Simon also expressed at bootcamp, are merely a tactic to plant telegenic seeds of doubt on the boys’ faces – and set the scene for a transformation under his mentorship – remains to be seen.

The pimp slot brought the amusingly confected drama of a new girl group being formed literally in front of our eyes. A fivepiece originally went on stage, admitting they had got together “last night at about ten o’clock” after being rejected as individual contestants at Sharon’s girls 6CC. Unlike Lemonade, each girl got an individual introduction as Simon told us “well this is interesting”, before they launched into Nicky Minaj’s ‘Hey Mama’.

We then went through the farcical charade of Simon adding another member from a just-rejected girlband, NQ, whose voice he claimed to have discerned would fit; the girl he brought back, Ash, hadn’t even had lead vocals in her group. The bewildered-looking other five had to teach the even more bewildered-looking Ash the opening line of their song right there on stage. We rather enjoyed the ensuing episode of ‘Mean Girls’, in which Simon asked Ash if she would abandon her erstwhile bandmates to join this new enterprise, and the others loudly implored her to “be selfish”.

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Given that it has historically taken Simon several live shows to learn the names of group members, this mini-soap opera stretched credulity; the question for punters is whether it portends anything more than a couple of weeks worth of daft television and fodder for the tabloids. The pecking order of girlbands at least seemed to be suggested when their inclusion led to Lemonade being forced into a surviving a singoff.

Overs

After a recap which reminded us she had previously carried Nicole’s bags for her while working at Heathrow, Talia Dean encountered some turbulence before making it through. Simon called her rendition of Macy Gray’s ‘I Try’ “the best you have sung so far in the competition” and Sharon praised her “new-found confidence”, but mentor Nicole was rather more realistic: “it wasn’t perfect, some of the notes were a little off”. This had been said of her room audition, too.

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Talia was further undermined by Nicole having to be persuaded by the crowd to return her to her seat. Reports from those who attended the filming suggested she had to sing again for it, but this was not shown in the edit.

Slavko got a recap, showing him being Slavko and Nicole being his main cheerleader. Louis said of his performance: “I love your energy, I love your soul, I love your style”. Nicole admitted “I’m a sucker for Slavko” before giving him a seat.

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Later cutaways in which audience members were shown gesturing who they wanted to be turfed out, with fingers indicating the seat number, suggested the feeling wasn’t particularly shared in the arena. Slavko’s performances are already feeling very one-note, with the hair braid, some dance moves, and singing that’s only adequate at best.

Berget’s recap was largely about her getting out of her “comfort zone” of soul numbers on Simon’s advice – but it often happens on this show that advice to get out of one’s box is followed by an admonition to get back into it. She was criticised for her choice of Bon Jovi’s ‘Always’ – which, to be fair, was indeed underwhelming by her own high standards – as Nicole reminded us of her true lane by exclaiming “you’re the epitome of a soul sister”.

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Berget was tagged with a couple of words that tend not to spell longevity on this show – “caberet” from Sharon and “boring” from Simon. However, Sharon also noted “you have probably got the best voice in the entire contest”. Last year’s foreign-act-with-the-best-voice-in-the-entire-contest, Saara Aalto, ended up outperforming expectations at this stage, though whether Berget could carry off Saara-esque big productions if she got to the lives seems open to question.

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Another act hailing from the continent, Kevin Davy White, got a nice recap which reminded us why a Frenchman was on UK X Factor – largely thanks to his London-based girlfriend. He growled his way through Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’, guitar in hand. Simon praised his “rawness, it’s not over-polished”, and helpfully added “it’s not cabaret”. Louis added some other X Factor drinking game lines: “real artist… you don’t know how good you are”. Again it was left to Nicole to inject a note of realism with “that wasn’t your strongest audition”.

In a hypothetical parallel universe in which all contestants were treated with equal favour, one of the likeliest to hog the public vote would be Matt Linnen – the Southend plasterer is the closest fit to the mid-20s MOR male mould of his namesakes, Terry and Cardle, and Ben Haenow. Producers will, of course, be well aware of that, so it’ll be no coincidence he didn’t get a recap before introducing himself to the audience and launching into a slightly bemusing Michael Stipe impression. The prowling around the stage, with jerky movements emphasising his connection to the music, was a departure for him.

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On the bright side, it showed he’s not lacking in confidence. Sharon tagged him with “potential” and “likeable”, while Louis added “you’re not perfect but with a bit of help you’re going to be amazing”, and exclaimed in an aside “I think he’s great”. Nicole felt this was “by far the best audition that you’ve given me vocally”. With some potential for flirtation between mentor and “blue-eyed boy”, Matt is understandably the shortest-priced over on Betfair, but in truth the 6CC edit couldn’t be said to point towards a clear alpha in the category.

That left Tracyleanne in the pimp slot, but it wasn’t plain sailing for the Sunbury lass. She reminded us in her recap that the last year had been very hard due to the breakdown of her marriage, before running with that theme by singing ‘You Don’t Own Me’. When that didn’t go to plan, she switched to ‘Misty Blue’.

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Simon summarised with: “you’re a total, utter mess tonight, but this is what we’re looking for” – which momentarily seemed an unusually honest admission, until he clarified by adding “people who’ve got potential talent”.

Boys

By now the 6CC felt like it was descending in quality through each category, and the finale was duly the most shambolic of the lot.

Lloyd Macey kicked off proceedings, with an injured-puppy look that makes you want to mother him. He claimed to have “found his path”, which appears to be “songs for grandmas” – we were reminded of his supportive Nan in the recap. While Sharon praised his “timeless” voice, it seems clear that keeping him to this classical path should enable producers to limit the advantages of his potential Welsh regional support and winningly ingenuous smile.

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Simon’s “comfortable blanket” line reinforced the granny connotations, while mentor Louis offhandedly dissed him with “Do I think you’re a star? I don’t know” before offering him a seat, which he later had to sing off to confirm.

Producers doubled down on the sadistic fun with Leon Mallett, who came to the stage on crutches for a rendition of The Chainsmokers’ ‘Closer’ which was rather anonymous but had Simon praising his “connection with the audience”. First they split him from his brother – as explained in the recap, they’d originally auditioned as a two-piece group – so they could manufacture the drama of rejecting the latter.

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They later had Louis eject him from his seat and let him hobble halfway to the taxi rank before acquiescing to the crowd’s demands to “bring him back”. It wasn’t particularly dignified treatment for the Yarmouth lad, as reflected in the lengthy odds at which he entered the Betfair market.

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Spencer didn’t merit a recap before launching into Pussycat Dolls’ ‘Don’t Cha’, a choice which had Nicole’s approval: “I love your voice, you can sing the phone book”. Simon rained on the parade with “it was corny”, before Louis continued to cheerfully self-harm his category by stating “you oversang… It wasn’t a good audition”, and giving him a seat anyway.

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Aidan got one of the more positive edits, including a nice recap of his emotional room audition. He explained that this original number would be about the same person as that first one, and took to the piano for it. “It’s like therapy for me,” he explained emotionally. His supportive Mum was shown singing along.

We wondered if there was a slight edge to the combination of Sharon saying “everything you do is with great emotion, but genuine emotion” and Louis “you’re so emotional, but you’re so honest”, in each case the “but” perhaps implying that the extent of the emotion might not be entirely a good thing.

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Jack Mason has mostly been trading at triple-figure prices since judges’ houses was filmed, which lessened how significant his positive edit from the pimp slot felt. After a recap reminding us of a random-seeming Nicole comment (“I’d like to put gravy on those cheeks and eat them”), his heartfelt version of ‘Rise Up’ won praise. Sharon: “I’ve loved you since day one”; Simon: “a genuine connection with the audience”; Louis: “you’ve got something very rare, you’ve got likeability”.

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The other person to get similarly positive comments was Ant Russell, whose subsequent withdrawal from the competition has since been confirmed. It felt like Ant would have been in contention for the alpha boy role based on his edit here.

It’s interesting to wonder why he was replaced by Sam Black, who’d been rejected at bootcamp, when Benji Matthews – despatched in that final sing-off with Lloyd and Spencer – would have been the more obvious choice. We wonder if a possible answer is that producers are making a conscious effort to get a regional spread of contestants this year, in a bid to shore up declining ratings by maximising local news coverage. If that’s the case, it would make sense that Ant’s replacement is also connected to the Liverpool area.

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Benji has continued to attract interest on Betfair – at the time of writing, his last price matched was 65 – which indicates that some punters continue to expect him to be wildcarded in. Meanwhile, in the last couple of days there has been some renewed nibbling at Aidan, who had, like Jack, been trading at triple-figure prices since judges’ houses – he was last matched at 48. Rumours on the Digital Spy forum have been suggesting a possible public vote among judges’ houses rejects in each category.

If true, that would explain the interest in Aidan, but presumably exclude Benji – though perhaps there’ll be yet another switch-up. Who, if anyone, is in the know here remains to be seen.

Wildcards

Thanks to Sofabet commenter Score for alerting us that ITV’s website described the first weekend of live shows with the words “the reveal of this year’s four wildcards… Each of the final 16 contestants will sing their hearts out on the live stage”. With two hours scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday, the likeliest format appears to be eight acts performing on each night, as has previously been suggested.

This might perhaps explain the continuing mystery of Grace being booked for a charity gig on the second Saturday. Producers ended Sunday’s show with a trailer for the judges’ houses episodes showing Grace saying “I’m so sorry” to a shocked-looking Sharon; we laughed at the thought that she continues: “I can’t do the lives, Sharon, I’ve committed to a Children In Need concert”.

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Let’s just hope the wildcard situation is clarified in time for our traditional Sofabet pre-lives 1-16 prediction, which we expect to be publishing in the middle of next week if possible. As ever, please keep yours under wraps to post on the article thread so we can keep all predictions in one place – bragging rights are up for grabs – and keep us updated on your thoughts, theories, news and reactions to the judges’ houses episodes in the thread below.

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172 comments to X Factor 2017 6CC: Blanket smothering for Linnen et al?

  • Alan

    I’ve never bought into the idea that there is an alpha, beta and gamma act in each category. For me there are simply acts in whom the producers are interested and those in which they’re not.

    Maybe that is why its difficult to work out who the alpha group is this year, ie because there isnt one and producers are equally dis-interested in them all.

    Contentious I know but I thought it was worth mentioning.

    • Martin

      I agree, to a point. It seems like they have no plan B at all this year. Even in Louisa’s year, they bothered to have Lauren Murray as her beta in case things didn’t work out. They also had reliable performers in Che and Fourth Impact to create the illusion of a competition to casual viewers.

      I sort of think the idea of an alpha in each category is for balance in the final, appease demographics and for ratings and whatnot. There is the issue this year that we seem to have a plan A in Grace, but nothing else!

      • Alan

        They had a plan A and nothing else in Louisa’s year. Lauren was a beta on this site only. There was not a cat in hell’s chance TPTB wanted her to win. She was just as disposable as whoever the third girl was that year.

        Who were the 3 girls last year? Emily may well have been the alpha but Gifty and Sam were equally disposable so allocating a beta or gamma status to them just seems pointless.

        • To be fair, I thought they tried to give Gifty a push but she never flew in the public vote, hence they had her returning to Room 101 in Halloween week and disposed of her. In the end last year had a remarkable live show stage as they had a predictable winner which they somehow managed to seem unpredictable. I can’t help but recall the quote about not attributing to conspiracy what can be explained via incompetence.

          They shouldn’t go down the scorched earth route. The favourtism towards Louisa in 2015 was so obvious that even casual viewers could spot it a mile off – and they’re not any better with Grace this year either.

        • Martin

          That’s a fair point – going into the lives they gave her more of a chance than poor Kiera that year but it was the Louisa show.

          Last year I still can’t figure out who was supposed to be alpha. I think it similar to the groups this year where none of them were meant to win so they just let them all fizzle out.

          • Sacrilege, Alan, first the prawn cocktail Skips and now this 😀

            I think in most categories in most years you can generally identify an act they’re most interested in and an act they’re most clearly regarding as cannon fodder, which is all we mean by alpha and gamma, and that leaves whoever’s left as beta. But sure, I agree – there are cases where disinterest seems equal and then there’s no point trying to force a fit with the framework just for the sake of it.

            I think trying to identify alphas per category, rather than just what acts they’re interested in, is a useful exercise to the extent that – as Martin says – they generally prefer to try to have some kind of spread of categories in the final. Tricky this year, though!

          • R

            When they want a certain type of male winner, eg. Cardle, Haenow, Terry, they don’t need to be obvious as the public vote is naturally skewed to vote for them.

            When they want a different type of winner eg Bailey, Johnson, they need to force the issue, so it becomes very obvious who they want as winner. ie a scorched earth policy.

          • Phil

            Has there ever been a year (maybe excluding the first couple) where we think they’ve just gone in with an attitude of “let’s just let the best act win”? Because the show’s decline is clearly a consequence of all their manipulation.

            Maybe that’s the aim this year?

          • Jessica Hamby

            Lauren Murray would have gone out earlier than she did but one week she ended up doing her sing-off song (for a reason I can’t remember) instead of the dud they chose for her. If anything Lauren’s story is a perfect example of the show’s incompetence. She was a much more appealing personality than Louisa, had loads of charm and a natural sparke and star quality. She could also perform and act a character, as when she did “You don’t own me”. They still backed Louisa. Even now Louisa can’t get a career off the ground because the public just don’t like her.

            When it comes to Gifty you can forget all the micro analysis of having Room 101 on the doors. It was down to a dreadful, unmemorable song. Funnily enough she actually performed it well – certainly better than Fifth Harmony. The thing is that it’s rubbish and compared to the others on show that night, no-one knew it. Suitcases and all the rest of it might have provided lots of subliminals fodder for the rabbit hole brigade but the could have dressed her in white and given her angels wings and a halo and she still would have gone b2.

            That song’s best effort was about number 37 in Belgium. I don’t think it charted anywhere else in the world. It was performed over the closing credits of Hotel Transylvania 2 and by the time it came on most people would have been walking out. If you’ve got that up against Thriller, there’s only one winner.

            I’ve not watched any of the show yet this year. I don’t know if I’m going to bother because I prefer Strictly now and I’m a bit tired of the X

            BUT

            If you’re looking for value bets then look for the “top two in any order” bets. The last 3 years they’ve all provided good odds quite deep into the lives because one of the top two was unexpected. Fleur, Reggie & Bollie and Saara were all long shots and the odds on them going top 2 even with favourites like Matt and Louisa (iirc Ben wasn’t favourite for the first few weeks) were very good. We’re talking forty and fifty to one even when there are only 8 contestants left, and 80 or 100 to one if you can jump on before that.

          • Martin

            The Halloween treatment of Gifty the week she went home was of the quickest and funniest u turns on a contestant I’ve ever seen, and actually refreshing for the show to realise that shoving a contestant nobody likes down the viewers throat is counter productive. Much more entertaining to shove them on stage singing a song that literally not one viewer will know with brutal staging and let her slope off quietly. Loved it.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I think they put her on second that night too. They might as well have made her walk straight onto a comedy trapdoor.

      • Anglia Chu

        (Alpha, Beta, Gamma) are mainly “Sofabet models” to make sense of how the Lives will play out. TPTB don’t pick their acts thinking “oh, this is our Alpha for this category,” but some acts are more liked/unliked than others and tiering them makes things easier to understand.

  • Piresistable

    “Simon summarised with: “you’re a total, utter mess tonight, but this is what we’re looking for” – which momentarily seemed an unusually honest admission”

    That made me LOL.

  • Rainbow

    Kelsey gill (member of new girl group) said they won’t know who made the lives till this weekend she said “when you know we know “ ‍♀️

  • Milton

    Surprised you left the three judge standing ovation for The Price Brothers out Daniel. Surely that was more than this performance deserved, and is a sign of positive treatment.

  • Uzair

    According to the spoiler tralia leaked the top 12 are
    Girls:
    Holly
    Grace
    Rai Elle

    Boys:
    Aidan
    Spencer
    Lloyd

    Overs:
    Slavko
    Matt
    Talia

    Groups:
    Sean and connor
    Rak su
    New girl group

    Didnt expect rai Elle to get through. But boys and overs make sense. But why go through so much effort for the cutkelvins to jist get rid of them especially for rak su who cant sing. Imo i though it would be S and C or rak su for alpha but maybe the cutkelvins Scottish vote could be a threat. They also got rid of Georgina and alisah who got 2 pimp slots each.

    • Uzair

      These aren’t confirmed but just what happened based on talias video

      • Sean

        So after the final 12 leak and likely wildcards, who does everyone think will be top 3 and most likely to win based on producers interests & audience voting?

        • Martin

          If that is true and Talia has revealed the finalists in a video I’m sure she can expect to be first one out next weekend!

          • David Cook

            Did Talia not say something to the effect of whenever anything goes right for her in life she always manages to mess it up. Bearing this in mind you would have to be pretty stupid to film and share something that you’ve expressly been told not to do, and at the same time slag off your own mentor. That would indeed seem to be number one route as to how to mess things up. However this is in The Sun, so I wouldn’t entirely dismiss the possibility that TPTB are in some way complicit in this – Talia somehow seems to equal column inches.

      • Must have missed – where can I see Talia’s video on this?

        Thanks!

  • Is there a link to Talia’s video?

  • Stoney

    The weirdest thing regarding the supposed leak is that the groups market certainly doesn’t support this. So I’m highly sceptical.

  • Rainbow

    Well in digital spy forum it’s a different final 12.. guess have to wait to see

    • Uzair

      Who is in the digital spy forum top 12

      • Rainbow

        Well they said they got this list from tellystats twitter so…
        Overs
        Tracey
        Kevin
        Matt

        Girls
        Grace
        Holly
        Rai-Elle

        Boys
        Lloyd
        Spencer
        Sam

        Groups
        Rak-su
        Cutkelvins
        Sean & Connor

        • Uzair

          Based off the fact both the girls category r the same means that it seems most likely that grace holly and rai Elle r the top 3 girls. On talias instagram there was a pic of her Kevin and Matt together at some sort of awards so that would make sense for them to be a top 3. No aidan in the boys is weird as non of the boys seem to be alphas. Sam’s not good enough Lloyd is too boring and Spencer has the talent but they won’t push him that far. I cant see all 3 of the possible alpha groups getting through. I’m still confused why put raksu through. With s3an and connor and the new girl group/cutkelvins making it who r more popular and better acts, they will be a gamma

          • David Cook

            The line up looks like a bunch of stand there and sing acts – so at least Rak-su bring more of a performance into their act. You need at least one act like that just to bring some variety and to energize the studio audience.

          • Uzair

            Cutkelvins can do that and r better. New girl group dont seem like the ballad type. I can see rai Elle putting on a performance. Spencer could also go upbeat

        • Wkrs

          This is looking pretty good so far. Talia would’ve been fishing in Grace’s waters.

          • Ben Cook

            She might get the wildcard vote. But it reminds of 2015 – some very weird choices. Unless they’ve deliberately left some of the ones they do want to do well out, because they’ll do better as wildcards.

        • Stoney

          Looks like this will be the correct final 12 then. Good to see the cutkelvins making it.

        • Anglia Chu

          it’s 6/6 so far. surprised that Aidan isn’t there, maybe the Boys first out is a good bet

  • Phil

    Can’t help but chuckle at the show flying the 6 poor girls to Dublin for what, five minutes, just so they can crowbar in product placement for Aer Lingus and Three.

  • Stoney

    Poor Holly, she would be plan A if Louisa didnt exist.

  • Rai-Elle gained a surname. Positive or negative?

  • Stoney

    Wtf was that from the clear market leader. She can not win this.

    • Martin

      What in God’s name was that?! They’ve scorched the earth and hit Grace with some of the debris!

      • Easily the worst performance in the category. If she’s Plan A, this is going to be the most manipulated series yet. I can’t see original songs being a huge vote winner, the voter base will respond better to well done cover versions.

  • Ben Cook

    Bit dramatic guys. It was only because they made her cry.

  • With Jack saying Grace didn’t have a strong voice and Sharon suggesting she should write and not sing both being included in the edit it’s not scorched earth any more. That was far from a Louisa Johnson edit.

    Which is good, makes the series more interesting.

    • R

      It certainly makes it interesting for the lives when she’s singing covers and not originals, so won’t have the advantage she’s had so far for being “such a talented songwriter”.

  • Martin

    I loveee the drama! No but seriously, there’s giving her a story/journey going into live shows and then there’s taking a giant shit on her shtick. If nothing else, at least it made her seem human and relatable.

    • Ben Cook

      I wondered if that was the whole point of it. Her getting emotional and having self doubt is more likely to get her votes.

    • Anglia Chu

      I thought that as well, but the edit had her taking the spot of Alisah, the sweet foreign girl with a powerful voice that rose back from adversity twice before due to her tears. Not a good look when Holly could have taken that blow.

  • Me

    Do you think Talia or Slavko will be the the wildcard? I’m torn.

  • 360

    My two cents:

    Grace is a diversion.

    Reasons:
    Simon has the groups this year
    Four groups have been given significant screentime. We know with wildcard additions, there will be four groups in the live shows.
    5AM, last year’s group signing have flopped. Little Mix are six years into their career and will be aging out of the kids target market bracket. One Direction are no more. Fifth Harmony, Simon’s backup American group are down a member and from all reports, down to implode soon too.

    It all points to me as a group win, throw four varied ones at the wall and see which flies. I would go as far as say the ‘wildcard’ setup this year is an excuse to put four groups through to the lives and push all four as far as possible. I would not at all be surprised to see all four groups reach the later stages of the competition, like the Girls in Little Mix’s year. Or one to be sacrificed a la Sophie Habibis so that all the judges can have ‘lost one of their acts’, but there will still be a full complement of three groups in play.

    Other thoughts-wise:

    Those of you noticing that there’s no alpha in the Boys…of course there isn’t. They want them all out ASAP, they’ve been given Louis, isn’t that sign enough? There’s no way they want to be forced to sign another immediately after Matt Terry and with all their ex-One Direction boys on their roster too as solo artists. They know Boys category are natural vote magnets so they’ll deliberately go in with the weakest possible and probably nobble them. I expect highest boy to come no higher than 7th or 8th.

    The Grace and Janet Devlin thing is still a red flag to me. I’m also reminded of Caitlin Vanbeck’s year, she seemed like a clear alpha all through auditions only to be surprise-nobbled at judges’ houses with an unsuitable arrangement and edit. I honestly feel that after what a thorn in their side Janet was, they’ll treat very carefully and hestitantly a friend of hers, perhaps being overly suspicious or paranoid about her reasons for being there. The whole thing feels off to me.

    In addition to that in terms of real-world stuff, there is already a singer called just Grace – the singer of Lauren Murray’s You Don’t Own Me from back in her year, and also Ella Henderson will finally be launching a comeback next year (she will shortly be touring with James Arthur to promote it) and would be fishing in a similar pool as this Grace. I’m firmly in the red herring camp.

    Also in terms of the girls, Rai-elle going through would not surprise me; given her TV show history, her inclusion screams done deal with agents and management, like that girl who was ex-BGT who made it to the live shows a few years back. As for this Talia, perhaps she’s the villain this series and is getting started early!?

    • Unfortunately Grace Davies looks far from a pop star (unlike Grace Sewell who you mentioned). People forget that wider picture when wrapped up in the XF bubble. She may have a good career as a writer.

      So they can’t pin everything on her and it should be quite open. Groups, as you say, and maybe also Holly, who does look like a popstar and has a personality that their Louisa lacks.

    • R

      My 2 concerns with Grace are:

      What if Syco were unaware of Grace and Janet being housemates until the first audition went live?
      Judges houses is the only episode filmed after the audition, so she may have been alpha until that point but Cowell spat his dummy out when he found out.

      Are we really following the script from 2011?
      Alpha girl gets shredded every week in the lives while manufactured girl group come out of nowhere to win?
      Does the manufactured girl group have a Jesy to cry about being called fat and ugly for votes?
      Will the group be portrayed as “great role models for young girls”?

      I’m still backing Grace.

    • Phil

      360 – I agree with pretty much all of what you say. I made the point on an earlier post (which was pretty much shot down in flames) that the assigning of Simon to the groups (and Nicole to the overs) shows where they want the winner to come from. I know full well that they do little in the way of actual mentoring, but Simon and Nicole are the “competent” ones, Louis and Sharon are the joke ones. You don’t lumber plan A with a joke mentor – look at how many times “the nation’s sweetheart” (wretch) Cheryl got the strongest category.

      I don’t think a group will win though. I think Matt has it quite comfortably. I don’t think they’ll have a problem with that.

      • Ben Cook

        Matt would be a dreadful winner. At least Cardle and Haenow had distinctive voices. Matt is just dull and would sell the square root of bugger all.

        • David Cook

          Matt’s Performance was quite something. There are literally thousands of songs to chose from, yet he managed to select Rozalla and squeeze the life out of it.
          If he wanted to sing a miserable dirge surely Grace has got a few spare she could have given to him.

  • Anglia Chu

    A few notes:

    Maybe it’s years of joke act conditioning, but I got it so wrong with the Overs. I thought after the performances, it will be: Matt, Slavko, Talia, and maybe Kevin/Traceyleanne in place of Talia.

    On the other hand, I got the Girls spot-on. I knew that Alisah would be the shock-not-shock exit of the bunch. Georgina and Deanna were meh so I was left with the other three.

    THAT SAID, one interesting twist of the night is the shit thrown on the “Grace is The One” market. She was exposed (reminded me of Cher Lloyd’s edit in JH) and I first thought she was being given a “journey”.

    BUT! That she was edited alongside Alisah in the decision time casts aspersions on how liked she is by TPTB. Alisah, as the shock-not-shock exit, is the contestant that seems ready for it if you’re new to the show but clearly won’t be there if you’ve watched the show long enough. As such, Grace being “chosen over Alisah” makes her seem undeserving. If there were a scorched earth plan for her, the producers would have edited Holly with Alisah or something…

  • Is anyone still convinced that the show are planning to drag her over the line by nuking everybody else?

    Last night built my confidence that she won’t be winning this.

    Now interested to see how what I believe the real ‘Plan A’ of any group, gets handles tonight. Wildcards are a massive bonus for anyone who’s backed Simon as the winning mentor or Groups.

    • Anglia Chu

      Wildcards are going to trample over all our macro predictions before the Lives. Last time a WC was brought in by public vote was Christopher Maloney, and everything was thrown at him so someone else will win.

  • Stoney

    Gonna have to disagree here. Groups have always had a tenancy to struggle. They have generally maybe with the exception of JLS had to be dragged to the latter stages. 1D were prime examples of this with the huge ott praise, backing tracks etc. The trend has continued in the years since.
    Watering down the field with another group is not going to help the ones already in the live shows at all. The only time a group tends to gain any real momentum is when they are the last group standing. With only 6 weeks of live shows I can’t see the extra group helping Simon become the winning mentor. We don’t even know the new girl band. They are at a huge disadvantage.

    • Whilst I agree with your somewhat, I’m looking at it in a different way to the logic we usually apply.

      Having four girls, could potentially water down the girls vote as they’ll be spread more equally (with limited producer manipulation). Holly, Grace and Rai-Elle will all be fishing in the same pond, the producers may just allow them to cut each others throats. Same with the boys.

      Groups on the other hand don’t really have a generic pool, they generally have a core vote that sticks with them. Obviously that makes it difficult to pick up floating voters. However we have seen in the last few years that tptb have been able to get the likes of 5am, R&B, RC to pick up floaters.

      I may completely wrong but if the non-stereotypical acts (ie; middle of the road girl or boy) were to win a series now and again it may abate some of the ‘fix factor’ claims.

      Never hurts to try and imagine different scenarios, even though the likelihood is we’ll just see the same old.

      • R

        Rai-Elle won’t last too long.
        Holly and Grace have already become good friends.
        I expect them both to last to the latter stages, but whichever goes first will provide a good percentage of vote transfer to the other.

        • Stoney

          I would be surprised to see Grace get past Holly. She doesn’t have the voice needed to land a money shot vote winner.

          • David Cook

            She lacks the powerful vocal that seems to be the requirement for female winners. However she is a better vocally than she’s shown in performances so far. I think her version of Anne Marie’s ‘Peak’ is excellent. Unfortunately it’s also a far better song than Grace’s own songs, and the selling point is that she’s a singer song writer, not a singer of someone else’s songs. If she was writing songs similar to those she sings on SoundCloud – Anne Marie, Tove Lo, Daya – then she’ d have it cracked, but the Adelesque dirges without the vocals to deliver them isn’t doing her any favours.

    • Anglia Chu

      With enough backing, any of the *alleged* groups can pull through; they just need to do their part and perform like winners

  • Anglia Chu

    What do we make of the song choices for later?

    AIDAN MARTIN
    Ariana Grande – One Last Time
    SAM BLACK
    Otis Reading – Hard To Handle
    LEON MALLETT
    Gabrielle – Dreams
    JACK MASON
    Emeli Sande – Clown
    SPENCER SUTHERLAND
    Original Song – Wasted Time
    LLOYD MACEY
    Moana – How Far I’ll Go

    It’s a no for Leon, but everything else is a toss-up. The spoiler above seems correct.

    THE CUTKELVINS
    Camila Cabello / J.Balvin – Havana / Mi Gente (Mash up)
    LEMONADE
    Hannah Grace – Praise You
    NEW GIRL BAND
    Labrinth – Misbehaving
    JACK & JOEL
    Pink/Missy Elliot – Get The Party Started/Get Your Freak On (Mash up)
    RAK-SU
    Original Song – Palm Tree
    SEAN & CONOR PRICE
    Pink – What About Us

    We pretty much know how this will end, but I’m personally excited for The Cutkelvins. Being “NEW GIRL BAND” until now sounds like a no from Simon tbh.

    • 360

      Groups-wise, Cutkelvins and Sean & Conor with the most recent songs of the bunch, and ‘switching it up’ are surely shoe-ins.

      New girlband are put together by the show, right? And singing a Syco-signee Labrinth’s song? A song that, when I look it up, is one I’ve not heard but was apparently a comeback song released this September? That suggests either producer favour or to be put through to run Gifty’s path of ‘singing songs by acts we want to promote’.

      Which would leave Rak-Su, the original-song-singers as a wildcard. That wouldn’t square so well with the amount of screentime they’ve had so far. On the other hand, I would think after the disaster of 4 of Diamonds last year, if the girlband goes through, they’ll want them to be a first choice rather than a wildcard, so not so sure on these last two.

  • The Juan

    First post of the new series and good to be back…

    A points of discussion from judges houses last night:
    – grace’s jumper – red and black with word ‘wonder’ on it
    – the choice between her and Alisah- song writer v singer (Alisah with the musical note hanging around her neck for good measure
    – putting Rai-Elle in her box already as ‘Rai-Elle with her little rap’
    – seeing holly comforting grace on the sofa (and not the other way around…possible switch of alpha?)
    – Georgina (who I think will be the wildcard) constantly being referred to as the horse to back, then switching her name to Gi gi (slang term for horse racing)

    The overs:
    – I agree with recent comments about Matt and could see him doing well in the vote
    – Tracy, although easy to connect with the audience…easy to dispose of. A repeat of Lauren Murray’s sleazy hotel staging would take care of that.

    Boys and groups tonight… initial thoughts about Rak-Su are that they (if Slavko doesn’t return) being the new breed novelty/guilty pleasure act.

    I can see the cutkelvins having a fleur ‘bang bang’ moment tonight…and with a Scottish regional vote and the already built up neon jungle votebase, it’s a strong start.

    My money has been on the cutkelvins and Matt since auditions…and at the current prices, I’ll be going in again before the lives!

    Good to be back

  • Stoney

    Worst performance of the group’s also goes to the supposed alpha the price brothers. Awful.

  • Uzair

    When Cheryl said you can’t have two of the same after raksu performance who do you think she meant. My first guess would be the cutkelvins or raksu but it could also be raksu or the new girl group both had very similar performances. Cut Kelvin had the best edit good chance to show of shareens vocals aswell as no negatives said after the performance. Sean and connor weren’t that good and they are drifting in odds. Rak su were same as always no actual singing in a singing competiti0n and Mustafa did nothing . They r basically 5am they’ve even pushed the comedy aspect too. Idk which is aplha anymore

    • The CutKelvins had the best edit?

      Did you not hear the words.. Global Appeal… Americans will love you

      ?

      On top of The crowd loved them

      It’s not just a singing competition, it’s an entertainment show… if it was just a singing competition based on who could recite a song closest to the original then the roll of winners would look completely different.

      • India Marie

        Maybe it’s because they’re the best and Rak-Su are overrared in comparison? The fact that they’re portrayed as second fiddle to R-S beforehand is crazy *shrugs*

      • Uzair

        No winner is the most entertaining of the bunch. Matt And Louisa were both boring. Sam and ben were good but there was better entertainers. The trouble with raksu is they r not good enough and anyone who can heat knows they have the weakest vocals in th3 whole show. Not only that this was the first time hearing about the cutkelvins dead father (a sob story) so maybe in week 4 theyll do a ballad to respect him and win the vote. With raksu there can be no little mix moment. The cutkelvins have the potential to have a moment especially woth shareens huge range. They r the only group that can entertain and wow vocally

        • and generally the winner isn’t the best singer, which was my point…

          You keep saying Rak-Su aren’t good enough, but lets look at the last few years

          Rough Copy 4th
          Reggie ‘n’ Bollie 2nd
          5 AM 3rd

          You’ve stated that Rak-Su are basically 5 AM, looking at the voting breakdown they could’ve got 5AM to win the whole thing if they wanted to…

          You bring up ‘a sob story’… looking at the list of recent winners

          Matt Terry
          Louisa
          Ben
          Sam Bailey
          James arthur
          Little Mix
          Matt Cardle
          Joe Mcelderry
          Alexandra Burke

          What were their sob stories?

          In fact has anyone actually won X factor on the back of a relative dying?

          You appear to be falling into the trap of what the media tell you about X Factor… that 1) It’s purely a singing contest and 2) you need a dead relative

          • Uzair

            The problem with the likes of 5am and rough copy were they were pushed as alphas from the beginning and were a niche. No doubt raksu will poll well its just the cutkelvins are similar but also add something different. For the first time in a few years there is no clear aplha griup so they can push who they want. Raksu r basically 5am who’ve already signed to syco. I’m not saying the sob story will be the whole basis of their win but it does help;
            Little mix-week 4
            Matt terry- week 1 (recovering from his break up)
            James Arthur – (troubled upbringing)
            All these scenario make an emotional VT which helps create a moment for a contestant. A dead relative could be what leads to an emotional VT. I’m not saying a dead relative automatically could mean you win. Raksu cant really create a moment like that unless they push from a weak performance from a latter week or give them a huge backing track to support them. It would be easier to get the cutkelvins over the line. Less back track needed (still might need some) shareen is a star. They are Scottish amd the only Scots this year. So imo i can see both doing well but I think in terms who would make a worthy winner aswell a commercial winner the cutkelvins tick those boxes

          • Fair enough,that makes more sense… I have no issues with The CutKelvins winning… it would be profitable for me… When I wrote my pre show write up, they were the two acts I concentrated on.

            Personally though, I don’t think the treatment of The CutKelvins has been helpful to their cause… what are Shareens backing singers names?

            Rak-Su appear to be getting more known… Myles or as he’s seemingly called on twitter ‘lighty’ is getting a decent reputation. And Mustafa also gets decent mentions.

            The CutKelvins twitter profile only appeared towards the end of last month and doesn’t appear to have much traction.

  • Tim B

    Making a 1-16 prediction could be a bit difficult this year with the acts being split across the two nights. I’ve started working on mine but I think we need more information about how it’s going to work.

    • Martin

      I thought this. The vote closes tomorrow though, hopefully some news will leak before the weekend.

    • Martin

      I’ve been thinking the same. Plus wildcards. It feels a bit murky this year in that there’s plenty of acts who could be vote magnets but could also have a lid kept on them. there also doesn’t seem to be an obvious first act out!

      • Tim B

        Perhaps the way we make our predictions should also change…It could be better if everyone predicted the 1-4 order in each category in addition to a Top 3 prediction, or similar.

    • India Marie

      Wildcard vote ends tomorrow, so how much of a mess will everything be? I reckon one category will have a Wildcard Alpha

      • Uzair

        It will either be the boys or over. Aidan and talia seem definite for their respected categories both could poll Maloney espcially talia whos gained a lot of momentum since six chair. The wildcard girl will be a gamma and wildcard griup would be a delta

  • Phil

    http://www.itv.com/terms/votes-the-x-factor/the-x-factor-voting-terms-2017

    Interesting details on here about how the live shows will work. Seems to be a number of different scenarios, but it implies there won’t be a sing-off as it specifically states that the act(s) with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated. It also confirms 2 categories Saturday night and 2 categories Sunday night. Confusingly though, it still says about the judges having a say, but only those whose act isn’t in the bottom (so maybe there will be a sing-off). Think they’re covering a number of eventualities.

    Also, interestingly, a vote for the best act of the weekend.

    EDIT – the judges deciding is in the event of a tie. Not sure what scenario that would appear in.

    • Martin

      Some interesting info there Phil thank you for sharing. There’s something in there about a vote for a best performance, has that been including in any literature for voting before?

      It seems suitably vague though. Am I right to interpret that that the bottom two acts will be eliminated, regardless of category?

      • Ben Cook

        No, it says either 1 act from the 2 performing categories, or 1 each from both categories.

        I’m surprised they are sticking with that format for as long as 4 weeks.

    • Uzair

      For the first weekend im guessing it will be lowest act in each category based of that fact prior to the wild cards i would say;
      Boys-
      Spencer will be eliminated
      Over-
      Tracey Leanne will be eliminated
      Girls-
      Rai Elle will be eliminated
      Groups-
      Raksu will be eliminated

      • Ben Cook

        I think they’ll save the double eliminations till later on. There’s no need to rush to get the numbers down when they’ve split the group into 2 and having an elimination both nights.

  • India Marie

    My memory on odds is short, is it normal that the top five favourites are Girl-Girl-Group-Group-Group, in that order?

    • No, it is highly unusual and also extremely unlikely to work out like that in the end. I think the market is underestimating the Boys slightly. It’s by far the category with the strongest record over the years and even if we don’t end up having a Boy winner this year, we will almost certainly see some of them progressing further than the market is currently suggesting.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Looks like my original thoughts on how the first few weeks would be structured were correct:

    (http://sofabet.com/2017/10/12/x-factor-2017-bootcamp-2-coup-de-grace/#comment-84154).

    This would allow Grace to perform at the Children In Need gig on Sat 4th Nov, if the girls category perform on the Sunday that weekend.

  • India Marie

    Little Mix are rooting for Aidan as a Wildcard. Highly unnecessary as he will win anyway

    • Gloria

      He hasn’t, seems weird doesn’t it, you don’t think they fix it do you? Maybe for some reason they do t want aidan on the show, I can’t believe someone like Leon would win over Aidan it just makes no sense

  • Phil

    One thing to consider is that there is a risk to the producers that their Plan A (be it Grace, The Cutkelvins or otherwise) doesn’t make it past week 1, given the lack of a sing-off and that presumably one from each category needs to go home (and I’d say wildcards are likely to be safe). This is brilliant news – we know they won’t leave things to chance and so the dirty tricks will be out in full force to make sure the vote goes their way.

    I don’t anticipate Rai-Elle or Sean and Connor being allowed to have a good week as I can’t see Holly or Rak Su (betas in their categories I’d say) going anywhere just yet.

    Or controversially, they might go for the tactic of allowing everybody to shine. One thing I would say is noticeable this year is that a lot of the contestants already have a strong sense of who they are. I think the talent has been talked down a little – there are some duds (the boys) but overall this feels more like the James Arthur / Ella Henderson year.

    • India Marie

      With four contestants per category by next Saturday, I reckon SC (who can reasonably slot into Alpha/Beta if the any of the other two royally flop in votes) may have breathing room as they seem to be higher up the pecking order vs JJ/Lemonade/nameless girls. As for Rai-Elle, if the WC becomes Alisah, she should start packing.

      I think they will be nice early on, until they get nightmares with whoever is leading, then they will go for the kills. This means assessing how the Cutkelvins and Rak-Su fare and throwing bets in whichever way fits (see: series 12, District3/Union J).

  • The problem with Rak-Su is, I can’t figure out who their audience is in the context of this show. They are too old and not cute enough to appeal to teenage girls and they’re far too urban to appeal to the Middle England mums who make up the majority of the voters. They’re from Watford too which is hardly going to set the phones alight in terms of a regional vote.

  • The Juan

    If they’re from Watford, tptb and script can just name check the town ala honey g…. rak su, the new novelty act

  • India Marie

    Four weeks before the semis.

    if the semis will have 4 people, this means 2 double eliminations and 2 quadruple eliminations.

    if 6, it’s 3 doubles and 1 quadruple.

    How will this work?

    • Uzair

      First week well have the quadruple with one act from each category going then the next 3 weeks will have double eliminations so 6 in the semis i think we could have a 4 act final

  • An interesting clause from the voting terms and conditions for this year… Could we see a ‘shock’ recall in the live shows?

    The producers of the Programme and/or judges may in their discretion reintroduce an act seen in earlier stages of the competition which was previously eliminated by the judges. The judges may also in their sole discretion nominate an act to appear in the live show as ‘wildcard’ act. The producers’ and/or judges’ decision will be final.

    The first part seems to cover the Sam Black situation, but also leaves it open for yet another contestant to be brought back from the dead.

  • Uzair

    Who do we think r alpha beta and gamma for each category. Overs r the only category that we can see a clear Alpha with Matt and it seems Kevin as a beta and Tracey as gamma. Sam black would’ve been an alpha before but he’s had a lot of backlash since his return so i think we could expect Lloyd as alpha and Spencer as gamma. The group’s r most confusing no clear Alpha i think sean and connor could drift to gamma whichever of the other 2 gets pushed more will get alpha position. The girls were clear until tjis weekend could holly surpass grace as alpha but they could attempt to push raj Elle but doesn’t seem likely so she’s a gamma

    • Judging by the ‘Meet the finalists’ advert from ITV I’d say that The Cutkelvins are the clear group alphas and maybe even vying for plan A status. Sean and Conor the week 1 fodder.

      • Anglia Chu

        Love the Cutkelvins but Rak-Su are on safer ground

      • Anglia Chu

        Also, predict an early exit for SC at your own risk. Only young males, very very inoffensive, Irish (if regional votes are still a thing).

        • Alan

          This is where I have an issue with the whole Alpha, Beta, Gamma thing because to me TPTB have got absolutely no interest in any of the boys or overs. I dont think any of them are alpha or beta. They’re all gammas.

          They want a girl or group winner so they’ve filled the boys and overs categories full of cannon fodder. They’ll pick them off in whichever order suits them, probably determined by the first week’s voting figures. If Aiden wins the wildcard then I’d expect him to get thrown under a bus in the lives.

          Grace, Hollie, CutKelvins and Rak-Su have got the obvious commercial appeal and would be Plan A – D (not necessarily in that order) in my opinion. The rest of them are all “gammas” and have been put through because they can put on a good performance but are absolutely no threat to the chosen ones. TPTB will believe they can manage them out without too much trouble.

          Thanks for the anaysis and comments so far. I can start watching the series now and Ive stocked up on Prawn Cocktail Skips in readiness. With Sofabet and Youtube you can avoid having to watch any of the pre-live shows.

  • Stephen

    So do we think every week (until a.
    certain point?) we will see one (or two) leave from each category?, in other words it is becoming similar to The Voice? I’m not sure I like this, it will protect acts in the weaker categories . Do we know if, after the first weekend, we will revert to live performances on Saturday with a results only show on Sunday? As you can see I’m confused!

    • David Cook

      On the Voice the vote was changed to an open vote for that very reason. The fast pass ensured each coach got at least one act through to the semi final.
      Hopefully the XF vote will be an open vote too. Even if two get knocked out from one category on first week it wouldn’t be possible for a category to be wiped out until at least week 3 (assuming one per night on weeks 2 and 3).

      • Stephen

        Thanks! Interesting to read on Digital Spy that Dermot will announce each week whether the eliminations will happen within a category , or across the board. Hmmmm!

  • James Martin

    Is it all being done in one show, ie the lines will only open for 5-10 minutes whilst an interval act performs (effectively like ESC or MelFest) or are they going back to the pre 2009 style of a second programme later on at night?

    • David Cook

      It’s just one show. The year that they had the flash vote there was very little difference between the flash vote result and the overnight result. I don’t think anyone at the bottom changed places – so it doesn’t really matter that the voting window is so short.

  • Anglia Chu

    NOTES on SUNDAY

    BOYS
    This is painful. Not to impose gender roles, but the Girls were a lot more composed and it’s weird. This reminds me of Gary Barlow’s Overs: the top three are all bleh but their wildcard (Aidan) will be a pain for the producers. I would give the Groups three more slots than give any to this lot.

    I expected Aidan, Sam, and Lloyd/Spencer so I’m almost right. Sam is the novelty-ish act because how the hell is he singing current songs? Runaround Sue mashed up with Justin Bieber’s Baby? In a short series, this is the best chance for the show’s most solid category to be wiped out first.

    GROUPS
    Probably the most uncontroversial of the decisions (by some distance). One huge pivot (that manifested itself in the odds) is the supremacy of Rak-Su and the Cutkelvins (my personal favourite) over Sean and Conor, who (imho) went through on the strength of their audition (also the source of their short odds). Notice Simon’s remarks after giving the news

    RS- no-brainer
    C- no-brainer
    SC- how can I say no to this
    JJ- song choice

    What I heard is “boys, you were on the Maybe pile but the other duo picked a bad song so congrats xx.” What I didn’t hear is an anointing of the Cutkelvins as The Chosen One. Rak-Su also got superlative praise and weren’t given a slight dig, which the Scottish trio got in the form of “they were bringing her down.”

  • Uzair

    Anyone else seen the response on the cutkelvins YouTube view. They have 360k the 5th highest of all th3 acts and highest of the group 120k ahead of raksu. This is interesting considering the cutkelvins YouTube views aren’t the best their audition is 700k. Camilla Capello even tweeted their performance maybe the possibility of them exceeding raksu could be a chance

    • Anglia Chu

      The response doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that they were handed a recent hit (plus points because Camila is a Simon-handled act). This is like Fleur getting Uptown Funk.

  • Martin

    Hmm. It seems we have a few Cutkelvins die-hards in our midst.

    Everything is up in the air at the minute in terms of elimiations and live shows. The most likely default winner seems to be Matt Linen, but there’s every chance they could Kye Sones him.

    With the selection of finalists, Grace’s edit on Saturday and the fact that they;ve allowed a public wildcard vote suggests to me that TPTB may be more relaxed about their winner this year. They’ve got a handful of commercial acts they could choose to launch if they wanted to.

    I’d lump on the wildcard group being out this weekend, though.

    • Anglia Chu

      Great point! One thing I (plus others) should be cautious of is that the format for the next month is uncharted territory. There are too many contestants and too many eliminations to carve out a cohesive “narrative” that 10 weeks offers.

      Might I add that Tracyleanne is also a goner.

      • Martin

        In terms of elimination betting, performances on the night will be more important than anything. Until we know which category is performing each night, we can’t predict a thing.

        I just think that, of all the acts remaining, whoever the wildcard group is doesn’t stack up. If a girlband goes through, they both seem like an Alien inclusion and Jack and Joel are, quite simply, crap and most likely already damaged by their comments so far. After all, the way the wildcard vote is constructed means that whichever group goes through to the lives could have less votes than the third most popular in any other category. Given the choice, I’m sure most of the voting public would rather send two girls through than any of the remaining groups.

        Traceyleanne is a curious choice. I’m sure a heartwarming VT and pleasant performance will be given to her, but ultimately, does she have a demographic?!

        • India Marie

          I think Tracyleanne is stronger than we think if she gets a neutral edit (and not get those JH clothes). Amy Winehouse-esque voice and an interesting story. Not going to win but has potential to last more than 2 weeks, perhaps?

          • Martin

            Do you think? I can see an argument for why she’d do well – she has got a nice back story and her voice is good when she gets it right but personally, I don’t think she’s coming across as particularly likeable or sympathetic. I don’t think they’d have to go in too hard if they wanted her out.

  • Stoney

    Cutkelvins or Matt are my runners at juicy odds. That seems to be a popular choice on here at the moment. I dont see the winner coming outside of those 2 at this moment in time.

  • Will

    I think this year producers will be absolutely set on getting a winner, or at least some finalists, that can make an impact on the top 40 more so than in recent years.

    The show hasn’t produced any act of note since 2012, with winners and finalists since then failing to have any kind of longevity (jury still out on Louisa Johnson) and I think with the focus on originality and the groups this year, producers want this to change.

    With that in mind, I don’t see the winner coming from outside the only two acts with obvious commercial potential – Raksu or the Cutkelvins – with producers doing everything in their power to stop the likes of Matt Linnen making the final.

  • I’m not convinced it’s enough to be good looking like Matt. IMO a beautiful singing voice to go with it (and at least a bit of a brain) is a big part of the attraction to the woman voter who make the majority.

    • Stoney

      Ben Haenow was far from the best singer when he won. While I appreciate Matt doesn’t have the greatest voice it also isn’t bad and is more of a rock voice. They will need to get rid of him early if they don’t want him winning.

  • The Juan

    Here’s. Good breakdown of the new format

    http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/the-x-factor/news/a841270/x-factor-live-shows-shake-up-eliminations-saturday-sunday/

    Basically, tptb can make it up as they go along…who wins if they apply this format?

    • Ben Cook

      No, that’s a stupid breakdown of the new format. Why even point out that the judges make the decision in the event of a tie, when that’s so unlikely to happen in the first place?

  • Uzair

    https://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/336607-x-factor-2017-poll-whos-favourite-finalists-vote.html
    This poll was very interesting grace still was the highest but cutkelvins in second while sean and connor were like 7th. I know its no extremely accurate or the exact represntaion but it does offer some insight Matt may not be as popular as we think he’ll have to rely on the female vote

    • India Marie

      Small probably unpresentative sample but Girls and Groups are the most loved overall. Maybe that’s why they’re overpriced in the market now

    • Stoney

      Ben Haenow wouldn’t have been that high either to begin with, but once the field gets reduced he was hoovering up the floating votes. Id expect Matt to do the same.

    • 360

      Matt may not be as popular as we think he’ll have to rely on the female vote

      aka the most populous voting demo that decides the winner of literally every series? Wow, poor guy.

  • 360

    So another thing to note that I’ve not seen anyone really mention: this series they lowered the age to enter to 14 again, after it being 16.

    Who was that to allow in or to protect? Likely candidates due to their ages would be Sean + Conor and/or Holly Tandy. Or are any of new girlband young enough? It just strikes me as unlikely for them to’ve done it on a whim or ‘just because’.

    • Martin

      I think last time it was to allow for a few members of Stereo Kicks if I remember correctly.

      They’ve changed the age of the overs again this year too, not sure if the two are linked.

      • Phil

        The changing of the overs and the age of the boys is the more curious one. In the boys category, Sam and Aidan (if he gets through) are both 27, whereas in the overs, Matt is 28 and Kevin is 29. In fact, the youngest of the “boys” category is 23. Contrast that with the two 16 year-olds in the girls category.

        • Martin

          It does seem as stated above, they want young, commercial groups or girls. Not sure how Rak Su and Grace fit into that theory though, especially considering they’re arguably the most favoured acts thus far.

          • David Cook

            Grace is 20 – not exactly over the hill for someone who wants to be serious singer song writer – she could potentially still have a long career ahead of her. Rak-su at 24 / 25 have already reached the stage where most boy bands are splitting up rather than just starting out. Within the little bubble that is X factor I don’t think it matters as I still think that they are there to provide an entertainment element rather than as potential winners. You would have to question if they have a place in the real world.

      • I think they raised the Overs age because they had a bunch of male acts clustered around the 25 age. If that remained the cutoff age, they’d make the Overs far too crowded and the Boys category too sparse.

  • Alan

    It would be a supreme cock-up on the part of the producers if Matt won it. Surely they will be going out of their way to kill him off and I’d imagine they’re confident of doing just that.

  • India Marie

    Seeing reports that Week 1 is a double elimination and Week 2 is a triple. Curious to see how the latter will pan out. Surely there’s an asymmetry between voting volume in Saturday and Sunday.

  • India Marie

    Someone help me out, I noticed that Talia Dean is verified on Twitter. What is she known for?

    note. only ones verified as of writing have pasts I know of: Lady Cutkelvin (from Neon Jungle), Slavko (from Eurovision), Spencer (something in US iirc)

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