X Factor 2017 Week 3 Review: Pocket Rocket

“We’re starting off this evening with the gorgeous, little, teeny-weeny Alisah,” Sharon announced. After her ‘Praying for Time’, Nicole used “little” three times and Louis called her “a little Filipino tigress”. “Tigress” continued the Orientalism theme about Alisah, described previously as a “ninja” and “warrior princess”, who “karate-chopped” her way through songs.

Regular readers will know we assume that emphasising a foreign act’s otherness is a tactic to keep a lid on their vote: the embassy visit, in particular, has become a running joke. Alisah didn’t need one of those. Indeed, the drip-drip association of not-from-round-here stereotypes with her has actually been quite subtle – at least relative to, say, the clunkiness of last year’s “Zaara from abroad”.

And, to be fair, the show has given Alisah plenty of chances, bringing her back from initial rejection at boot camp, six-chair challenge, and judges’ houses. Sunday’s treatment wasn’t harsh, suggesting that she had been struggling in the vote, despite winning our affections with her previous week’s rendition of ‘Let’s Get Loud’ – for which the staging had included golden bulls, fans and red banners, all imagery with Eastern connotations.

Alisah’s VT this time started with Simon’s criticism of that performance: “You at some point are going to have to put your own twist on a song.” That immediately set the bar for this week – and when Simon later pointed out that she’d failed to clear it, mentor Sharon agreed: “You haven’t had that one moment that is yours.” That was easily enough to put her in the elimination mix.

In between, Alisah was shown struggling during training to connect with the song. “We need way more emotion, we need more telling of the story,” vocal coach Anni warned in the VT. Lloyd put in an early appearance on his winning night, trying to help her understand the lyrics: “[They] talk about hard times and how poverty was really tough on people,” he explained. “And I’m sure, you know, the Philippines…”.

This was cringey enough at the time and became more so in retrospect, as the VTs for Grace, Rai-Elle and Lloyd all showed them connecting meaningfully with the lyrics to their own songs. We also got the impression that the tempo for Alisah’s song was just that bit faster than it needed to be, making it harder for her to make an emotional connection through the words.

Sharon was very encouraging at the end of the VT – “I get goosebumps listening to you, I’m very proud” – and she and Nicole stood at the end of the performance, and like Louis, were perfectly nice in their comments. Only Simon dampened things with one of his food metaphors, talking of “too much cream in the coffee”. Implications: overly cloying, lukewarm, not lively enough.

Simon added she was “old-fashioned”, and should “headline weddings”. This fed into a long-term narrative during the audition phase that Alisah was “dated” and “cabaret” – which other elements of the ‘Let’s Get Loud’ staging, the chairs and dancers’ outfits, had also reinforced. That remains one of our favourite performances of the season so far, and Alisah one of our favourite contestants – let’s hope the experience works out for her, as it happily seems to be doing for Zaara from abroad.

Look at Lloyd’s vote, look at the size on it

Simon’s desperately trying to keep a lid on any momentum Lloyd might muster” – Fudd.

We’ve also developed quite a soft spot for Lloyd, partly because he and Nanny Chris give such great VT. Their FaceTime skit in week 1 – which saw Lloyd variously point out the X Factor house, pool and stage, inviting Nanny Chris to “look at the size on it” – has given us our catchphrase of the series so far. Week 2’s VT, in which Nanny Chris drummed up support in Morrisons, presumably en route to the fish finger aisle, cemented her place in the pantheon of cult-status X Factor relatives.

So we were delighted that the likeable Welsh lad got his moment in the sun, reducing Sharon to tears and bringing three of the four judges to their feet for his rendition of ‘A Different Corner’. It’s hard to doubt that Lloyd topping the vote was exactly the plan for this week. Nicole called him “effortless” and announced that she’s on the “Lloyd train – choo choo!” – a phrase Dermot reinforced as Lloyd walked off stage.

But it also seemed clear that TPTB don’t want a runaway train on their hands. Simon remained seated and tempered his general praise – “boy, did you sing it well… people like you, people get you” – by calling Lloyd’s performance style “a little bit stilted”, and asking for “that extra 10 or 20 percent”. We’re not picking up any sense that producers want Lloyd winning this thing.

Which is fine, because we sense from other interviews that – for all that the FaceTime skit portrayed him as a charmingly parochial naïf from the Valleys – Lloyd knows what he’s doing. “It really set me up for something like the X Factor”, he tellingly explained, in this week’s VT, about his first-class degree in performance. In week 1’s VT, he’d framed his ambition for the live shows as: “I want to give this my all and have a fantastic career after it”.

That’s exactly the right attitude. As we often say, acts should know by now that the value of X Factor isn’t so much the shot at winning, which experience shows is no golden ticket, but the chance to get exposure that can become a springboard to various possible career routes, if you put the work in. A semi-final or final exit will do Lloyd’s career just fine, and we’re assuming Lloyd knows it.

Jack and Joel come down the hill

“Jack & Joel were fine, but it wasn’t particularly entertaining, original or impressive vocally, in every area it was just fine” – Sagand. “It’s not dropping the hammer like Leon’s exit, which suggests this kill wasn’t too hard” – Anglia Chu.

Much as we’re connoisseurs of X Factor assassinations, the enjoyment of analysing the most clinical of takedowns is always tinged with guilt. We almost couldn’t bear to rewatch Leon’s malletting in week 2, for example. It was expertly done, but it was like watching a puppy being murdered. It’s actually quite nice when an elimination feels gentle, dignified and fully expected by the act in question.

That was the case with Jack and Joel, even more so than with Alisah and with TracyLeanne last week. There were no character assassinations. They didn’t need to damage the duo in any way: giving them so little stage production for their upbeat song was enough to allow them to drift to the bottom of the Saturday vote. Louis’s assessment that “you have a great future in television” was also a great way of demotivating votes without being nasty: viewers will likely have thought “he’s right, but this isn’t a TV presenting competition”.

And the show followed up on Louis’s praise by giving the pair control of the interviews on the official Instagram account the following day. Exit interviews indicate that they seem also to have had their eyes wide open about the experience: “It’s opened so many doors… I think we naturally accepted of course that our time was going to come”.

On which note, although ratings aren’t great, we’re rather enjoying that the series as a whole has felt more positive than usual. The judges have an easy chemistry, and aren’t being overly harsh as TV talent competitions go. Song choices have drawn from a wider palette. And it’s genuinely impressive that they’ve unearthed two decent acts with the talent to write their own material that’s had an impact in the iTunes charts.

Granted, not all attempts at positivity have worked – the prize fight remains something of a fifth wheel, but it has at least worked out better than we feared after week 1, with producers deftly making sure different acts have appeared at the top and giving us a much livelier betting heat as a result…

We need to talk about Kevin

“He wouldn’t have been given such a boost if they wanted anyone else to win the vote” – Nick. “Don’t get the hyperbole for Kevin’s dirgified version of Fastlove… he cannot be a preferred winner, can he?” – Plinkiplonk.

We’ll admit it – we didn’t see Kevin Davy White coming. For the second week in a row, producers left little room for doubt that they wanted the Frenchman at the top of the night’s vote, putting him in the pimp slot and insisting that he’d had a moment with a performance that struck us as serviceable but no more than that. Punters have Kevin down to single-figures to win the show. What’s going on?

With hindsight, we can understand why Kevin would appeal to producers as a winner of some nightly votes. As the panel keep reminding us, he’s a nice guy. And he can play the guitar, and the piano. It’s no bad thing for the franchise to have a nice guy with musical aptitude being seen to do well. But would he really appeal as a winner of the whole competition? Two topped votes in a row means the question has to be asked.

One reason for doubt is that Dermot informed us there was less than 1% in it at the top of the vote. After such a full-on pimping, you would generally expect an act to win more comfortably than that. Having said that, a surreal atmosphere suffused much of the praise to Kevin, with Louis cackling and Sharon seeming to point out something that was happening on stage which the judges could see but the viewers remained in the dark about.

The main reason for doubt, however, is the nature of the praise Kevin has received – it’s been focused on his personality and musical artistry, rather than hitting the buttons traditionally associated with an act producers are priming viewers to think of as a potential winner: the likes of “recording artist”, “real world”, “number one hit record”, and so on. By contrast, we were told about Rak-Su topping the iTunes charts, and they were tagged as “stars being born”.

Of course, that could still come for Kevin – and if he gets another bigging up this weekend, his prospects will have to be taken very seriously. The general assumption among Sofabet commenters remains, however, that Kevin may already have served his narrative purpose of making the series look less like it’s all about Rak-Su and Grace.

If that’s the case, it’s worth also asking the opposite question: could he even exit before Matt, which would count as a shock at current odds?

We must admit, if were running the show, we’d be tempted to continue to run with the storyline of Matt having toyed with Grace’s emotions and flirting with mentor Nicole. Maybe the final Saturday could see Matt and Nicole share a smouldering duet, before Grace debuts a newly written original number entitled ‘Dirty Linnen’, accompanied by Grigor Dimitrov playing his tennis racquet as an air guitar.

Producers already had some fun with this on Saturday, cutting to a reaction shot of Grace as Matt sang the line “waste the chance that I’ve been given”. Matt made a decent fist of ‘Careless Whisper’ – perhaps better than expected. Simon joined Nicole in a standing ovation, while both Louis and Sharon remained seated, which made us wonder whether Simon had spontaneously decided that the performance merited more praise than had initially been scripted.

“You pulled the cat out of the bag with that”, Simon began, before establishing kinship with Matt over fatherly love – a positive connotation for both of them. Matt’s VT, introducing us to his three kids from two previous relationships, went out of its way to head off any risk of portraying him as negligent with birth control: we learned he’d been only 19 when he had his first child, and he was shown being an involved and loving dad.

In short, nothing would surprise us with Kevin any more. If he’s praised to the heavens again this weekend, that would be wholly consistent with his recent treatment – and if he’s sent to the French embassy, it won’t be hard to work out why.

What are your thoughts on Kevin’s likely treatment this weekend? Let us know what you’re expecting below.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

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152 comments to X Factor 2017 Week 3 Review: Pocket Rocket

  • Nick

    Grace back to doing an original song this week.
    Served her well so far, will tptb get behind her?

    • Tim B

      This could well be Grace’s week to get back on track. It may not have been a coincidence that all her negative press has (so far) appeared across the period of one week. She could have been so far ahead of Lloyd in week 1 that producers felt they had to take action.

  • Anglia Chu

    I don’t think Alisah’s takedown was gentle at all. Yes, it was mild compared to what Sam got (which saved him), but it was not nice. Some of Simon’s lines could have easily been taken from his peak years.

  • Alan

    Great article as ever but you’ve been pretty coy about how you see the series progressing in terms of finalists / winner etc. Would be great to hear your thoughts.

  • Yolanda

    I can easily see Grace at the head of the market by the end of this weekend. There has been enough ammo to bury her if TPTB had wanted, but instead it smacks of just keeping her popularity in check. She can now turn the negative press around with another ‘amazing original’ and go on to be a seemingly organic and natural winner, without having been rammed down the publics throat (a la Louisa).

    The market is still cautious of Rak Su of course, but I feel they will need a helping hand from the production team if they are to get there. I can’t see the winner coming from either of these two so I believe we have two routes; Grace to win via the laissez-faire route giving us a ‘peoples champion’, or a heavily backed and producer assisted Rak Su. I’m certainly leaning towards the former as things stand.

    • Yolanda

      From anyone other than either of these two*

    • You have articulated my thoughts pretty much exactly. Although if Grace somehow fails to make the Final 2, I would still be cautious of Rak-Su winning as I think Lloyd or Kevin would have a fair chance of beating them.

    • Milton

      Check out the likes v dislikes on youtube for Grace’s 3 live show performances.

      Week 1 15:1
      Week 2 4:1
      Week 3 2:1

      That’s an alarming decline and shows that the negative publicity is hitting home. She won’t be able to turn that around with a good self penned song this week, however good it is.

      Rak Su by contrast had easily their worst live week – a truly divisive, and frankly crap version of Faith, yet still the likes v dislikes was 12:1.

      Any Grace backers relying on an anti Rak Su vote to come to their rescue at the final 2 stage need to have a long hard look at these figures. If anything its Grace who can expect the anti vote.

      We know that contestants read this, and if Grace is I would urge you to hang in there. It feels like this is Rak-Su’s year and the rest of you are the supporting cast, performing whatever roles are required to ease Rak-Su to victory. Try not to let it upset you, its nothing personal, its purely business. Regardless of the haters and the negativity you will come out of this process with an audience and profile that would have been incredibly hard to build without the show, so I’m sure it will all be worthwhile in the end.

      • Anglia Chu

        Pretty sure Alisah’s angry fans are driving the dislikes here. 4th Impact fans did the same to Lauren Murray

      • Sagand

        It isn’t really rising dislikes that’s causing the fall though. If she has a break out performance this week and gets the same likes as week 1 even if she has the same dislikes the ratio would be back to 8:1.

  • Sean

    I can’t see Rai Elle or Holly finishing ahead of Grace so I feel the last 4 will be Grace, Rak Su, Lloyd and Kevin. Rak Su seem to have the edge over Grace for “star power” at the moment but Grace can regain edge this weekend. Grace vs Rak Su final 2 – what is the likely scenario??

  • Jordan

    I reckon Rai-Elle could very well end up winning. Pimped by Simon last week to the max and could see her peaking just at the right time if they continue to shoot down Grace.

  • The judges talking cryptically about Grace’s “hard week” was to motivate people who didn’t know about the press stories to look them up. They also cut in a “resting bitch face” of Grace during Holly’s performance. Maybe they want to crush any idea she has of performing her own songs when they’ve employed her after the series. Her voice sounded weird in places. This weekend they may start criticising.

    I think last weekend was the turning point for Lloyd. Cowell said he needed 10 or 20% more but the other judges were having none of it and were more emotional than I’ve ever seen them. The T2 in the table have weaknesses – Rak su urbanising George Micheal jeez (Cowell can sign them wherever they finish). Lloyd is the one the mems (middle England mums) are now waiting to see.

    • “..crush any idea she has of performing her own songs when they’ve employed her..”

      * I didn’t mean they’ll want her to perform covers after XF, the opposite, I mean they may want her to write for others.

      We’ll see if they give her a break this weekend anyway. But treatment has been undeniably non TCO the last 2 weekends.

      • Alan

        Grace’s treatment has been all about ensuring different winners for the prize fight each week. Getting her below the winner without doing too much long term damage. An audacious move I’d say but one TPTB clearly feel capable of pulling off.

        This weekend should see the start of a winning push for Grace and RakSu and the start of the dampening of Lloyd and Kevin.

    • India Marie

      I have doubts about Lloyd. Surely with the show’s new direction, an act like him will fall short, by hook or by crook

      It’s bad optics if the show brandishes a new direction where acts can do their own material… and the MOR boy still wins

    • Do you think many people would be sent to Google by a passing mention of a tough week, though, Henry? I’d guess most casual viewers would simply assume they’d missed an earlier reference to her having had a cold or something. If they’d wanted to make sure people who didn’t know about the stories found out about them, they could easily have addressed them explicitly in an ostensibly sympathetic way – Sharon saying “she’s not a stroppy diva” etc.

      I’m curious, as we don’t often see things differently – imagine you were a producer and your brief for Grace’s edit last week was to limit the damage from the tabloid stories (leaving aside the question of why those stories got out there in the first place…), how would you have played it? I’d have done pretty much exactly what they did.

      • I might be reading too much into that “bad week” remark. But the week before, albeit dressed like Sesame Street, Grace put in a decent and spunky performance. She could have been applauded for showing a different side to her and showing performance skills but instead she was criticised. The negativity from that week made part of her VT just gone and also part of Cowell’s comments just gone. Surely that’s how you pigeon hole someone rather than create a popstar.

        Problem is XF is not very logical and Cowell’s mind is dark and unfathomable so I wouldn’t be surprised by any type of treatment for Grace this weekend.

        • Nor would I, to be honest.

          All depends on whether Alan’s assessment above is correct – that the treatment of Grace these last two weeks has been only about mixing things up for the prize fight. We’ll find out this weekend!

      • Alan

        Surely the best way to limit the damage of the press stories would’ve been to just ignore them? I took the “hard week” references to be a deliberate attempt to remind people about them and thus dampen her vote. Not to harm her long term but to make sure she polled beneath Lloyd. Voting stats will certainly be fascinating this year.

        • But if they’d ignored the stories completely, they would have gone unchallenged in the minds of the viewers who’d seen them. I thought the aim was that viewers who were aware of the stories would pick up a general sense that Sharon and Dermot were being supportive of her, and that would make them be a bit more inclined to discount the stories as tabloid guff – while for viewers who weren’t aware of the stories, the vague references to a hard week would sail over their heads.

          I think in general the approach to damage limitation depends on how many people have seen the damaging story. If only very few will be aware of it, I agree you’d want to ignore it. But the more people are aware of it, the riskier it becomes to ignore it. In the extreme scenario, if everyone is aware of a damaging allegation, you’d feel you have no choice but to address it explicitly – as with how they tried to resurrect Misha B the week after Louis called her a bully. In between, you might want to address it obliquely, in a coded way.

          As an analogy, imagine you’re a politician and a story appears that you – say – once made a derogatory comment about women. If the story only appears in some tiny corner of social media, you’d ignore it. If it’s on the front page of every newspaper, you’d issue a statement directly addressing it. But suppose you estimate that maybe 20% of voters have seen the story, and 80% haven’t – what would you do? You might give a big speech about women’s equality, and arrange to be endorsed by a women’s group – that way you avoid bringing the allegation to wider attention, but nonetheless send a message to people who are aware of it. I thought they were trying to do something along those lines.

    • Tim B

      A “hard week” could mean absolutely anything though; problems during rehearsals, ill health, family problems, vocal rest. I was glad they addressed it in this way and didn’t directly refer to the press allegations, which could’ve been quite damaging.

  • Alen

    I guess the prefered top 4 are indeed Grace, Rak-Su, Lloyd and Kevin.

    Grace and Lloyd sing mostly ballads, Kevin midtempos or ballads and Rak-Su only uptempos. I wonder if that could have an influence in the end.

    • Yoland Cabrera

      Don’t be surprised to see Rak Su wheel out one of their slower, more “traditional” RnB numbers such as:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRiDMPEP9Jg

      If they want to show that they have “another side” to them, other than the wrapped-up-like-a -fajita fun/jokey side and to demonstrate they are “serious artists” (like Grace?) then I’d expect to hear them perform something like the above. Particularly in the weeks where they sing twice (one fun one more serious).

  • Anglia Chu

    I feel like the landscape of the weekend is stable, just waiting for song choices to pop out

    – No more time for new entries, expect Rak-Su/Lloyd v Grace/Kevin in the prize fight
    – Sam Black is leaving
    – Ideally, Matt too but can’t quite gauge his support level. If still strong, 2 Groups or 2 Girls may leave.

    One more thing, Betfair has (Holly, Rai-Elle, Matt) having much better odds than (Cutty, Prices). Makes no sense to me because they’re all on the same boat in my view. Is that due to the market being open to an upheaval in the Overs/Girls category?

  • Tim B

    Probably stating the obvious, but having Matt still in the competition must really be harming Kevin’s vote. If he can’t lead the vote by more than 1% over X after Saturday’s performances, then this must be the case. Close your eyes and you’d be forgiven for thinking Matt and Kevin are the same person when they’re performing, at times, and they must be appealing to very similar demographics.

  • The Juan

    I completely agree and at this stage of the competition TPTB have got to be thinking about vote transfer in the next 2 rounds….

    Build up Kevin’s support for a vote transfer to grace, but what about the others?

    If Rai-Elle can survive, I could see her picking up votes from holly and cks.

    Sean and Connor would pick up sams , then Matt picking up those?

    I can’t see many of the floating votes going raksu way.

    • In theory some of The Cutkelvins’ votes could end up going Rak-Su’s way, though I couldn’t be certain how much. You’re right though, it is difficult to predict how much Rak-Su’s vote can increase relative to some of the others. I would be more confident about the “singers/vocalists” picking up each other’s votes after some of them are eliminated.

      Or perhaps a lot of people will have Rak-Su as their overall second favourite?

      • Stoney

        The reason Matt Terry hoovered up all of 5ams votes was because they were the people voting anyone but the foreigner. Same would have happened had 5am pipped Matt the 1st night. Which was very close. Not sure how Raksu get this sort of vote surge when the floaters come into account.

    • India Marie

      unrelated: I wonder if TPTB have a market research team predicting how floating votes will move.

      I think this framework makes less and less sense as you go deeper into the competition. Fans of acts like Sean & Conor and The Cutkelvins probably stan them, so that when they’re gone, the votes float too, they’ll float too. THEY’LL FLOAT TOO.

      In 2013, Sam Bailey ran away with the vote on the Sunday after a tight Saturday that saw Luke Friend leave. I attribute that to former Luke voters either voting based on performance or not voting at all, instead of making some weird “connection” (oh, these acts are black, so if Rai-Elle leaves, her votes clearly go to Rak-Su— example is based on a true story)

  • The Juan

    It’s an interesting one, I think if they went into the last 2 against Kevin, he would take the majority of the vote transfer from grace and others.

    If we work through it… presuming 2 go each night this weekend.

    Boys v groups

    Sam would be the fav as would Sean and Connor

    Girls v overs

    Would see holly and if the guns of TPTB hit Matt gone (with Sam and Sean and Connor gone they’d have to get that right)

    Which would leave

    Kevin
    Raksu
    Cutkelvins
    Grace
    Rai-Elle
    Lloyd

    So arguably, holly’s Vote would go to rai Elle.

    The others would disperse among the contestants quite equally, but to a bias to who would usually attract the pretty boy vote, so maybe Lloyd?

    From there it gets interesting, it’s arguably an even playing field going into the last few weeks…

    • India Marie

      To be honest, if you’re going this route, best if you predict next week’s culling, as well. Why leave Rai-Elle and The Cutkelvins on the list? Slight hope TPTB change their minds about their favouritsm within the next week?

      Not to sound rude, but I seriously think this conversation is picking up pennies under a steamroller

      • Stoney

        Its not unreasonable to say if the Cutkelvins finished 1% behind Kevin they may be allowed to top a vote this weekend, this makes sense as I imagine they will still be looking for a fresh prize fight winner. Although I also imagine they will want Raksu actually winning a prize fight before the final. If it wasn’t them that did then they are toast and will probably be cut loose this weekend.

      • The Juan

        Think you’ve missed the point of the conversation a bit India? Suggest you re-read.

        Until the figures come out after the series, it’s all about speculation, especially under the new format.

        And trying to get a good priced winner for us all, which I think we will have this series

    • The ‘pretty boy’ vote goes to Myles from rak-Su… hope that helps

  • Stoney

    I didnt get to see last week’s show as im away on holiday. Im sure someone said the reason Simon gave for shelving last weeks double elimination was so that one of the less likely winners could grow into the competition. Who would he have been protecting?

  • Panos

    5-a-day. 4 fruit + a daily reminder to self not to become conspiratorially delusional in an effort to be cynically sceptical. #simplicity #ifitswimslikeaduckandquackslikeaduck

  • The Juan

    Stoney, I’m with you here and that’s exactly my point…. just I can’t work out who?

    • Alan

      I don’t think a winner has ever emerged this late in proceedings. It might be different if there was another 6 or 7 weeks of live shows remaining but there’s only 3 weeks left.

      Plus I’m now of the opinion that TPTB are more adept than ever at controlling the vote. Pretty sure they will steer this thing exactly how they want to from here on in.

  • Dazzle

    Overs song choices-
    Kevin – I Will Always Love You
    Matt – Fallin’ (Alicia Keys)

  • India Marie

    Boys songs
    Lloyd— From This Moment On (Shania Twain feat. Bryan White)
    Sam— Oops (Little Mix feat. Charlie Puth)

    • Love that choice for Sam –
      – it sounds like it was written in 1961
      – while Sam is covering Little Mix, Lloyd’s VT will be about how excited he is to be performing with Little Mix.

      TPTB really are on top form this series.

  • India Marie

    for the Groups
    The Cutkelvins— Saved Me From Myself (original)
    Sean & Conor— Issues (Julia Michaels)
    Rak-Su— Mona Lisa (original)

    some people in Sofabet will salivate; meanwhile, I’m just happy this must mean Cutty stays another week

  • Uzair

    Groups songs –
    Raksu – mona Lisa by raksu
    Sean and connor – Julia Michaels issues
    The cutkelvins – save me from myself by the cutkelvins
    The cutkelvins have been given an original I think this could mean that they could be given the pimp slot amd saved over sean and connor. Sean and connor song choice is terrible. That song is very accustomed to a female voice and the best covers are of female singers singing. I can’t imagine connor doing well with that . Raksu will do well its just will they let them win the vote or will they give the cuttys a chance

  • India Marie

    Girls

    Grace— Hesitate (original)
    Holly— Love Me Harder (Ariana Grande/The Weeknd)
    Rai-Elle— Mr. Big Stuff (Jean Knight)

  • Anglia Chu

    Woke up from my coffin (because apparently, some bitches here are calling me a vampire #TheHillsHaveEyes)

    Assuming a Boys/Groups, Girls/Overs weekend that’s not one elimination per category.

    – Boys/Groups are settled at the bottom. They’re not eliminating an act *now* after doing an original so Sean & Conor and Sam are gone.
    – Lloyd can be controlled by an early slot so it’s going to be a battle between the original tracks. Cutty’s song title sounds like a change from their electronic route while Rak-Su’s song title sounds like more of the same.

    – I won’t Hesitate to call this Grace’s redemption song. I Will Always Love You is dreary if you’re not belting it.
    – My first hunch is Rai-Elle and Matt to go but Holly’s song isn’t really much either. If Matt’s support is robust enough to withstand an attack, they may not bother and just kill off the two Girls.

    • Uzair

      The 3 younger acts sean and connor hilly and rai Elle would most likely struggle with this week as they cant relate to a song as much . It would be fitting for all 3 to leave on this theme. I think Matt could survive this week his sing choice is not bad and also a theme abiut love especially with them pushing his sex appeal would help him a lot. I think Kevin could be in danger too. This is graces week to redeem herself

      • Anglia Chu

        In one fell swoop, 20-year-old Grace who allegedly dated a guy with kids becomes the baby of the competition… I love it. If that happens, Daniel’s Week 4 review should have something to do with bedtime.

  • Martin

    Amazing choice for Sam – as Andrew pointed out for the reasons above. Message wise, a song about accidentally sleeping with your ex sung from a male perspective isn’t great either.

    Cutkelvins doing their own song is a positive. There’s the niggling doubt that they could be compared unfavourably with Rak Su but speculation on that is moot until the show.

    I’m most alarmed by Holly’s choice. I’m not sure giving a sixteen year old a song about wanting to be nailed more is terribly appropriate. But she will sing it well nonetheless.

    • Spiidey

      It’s going to be interesting to see which route TPTB take with Cuttys.

      I think it’s more likely given the overall emphasis on originality this year that they get the pimping – they’ve done a great job this year making the show more credible – in fact it’s astonishing how well they’ve achieved this. Another act with an original song on top of grace, rak-su and Kevin. It also completes their narrative if they sing this stripped back or with all 3 close on stage. Plus I think they’re able to control the Cuttys vote quite easily in week 5 by just shoving the brothers back into their boxes.

      The alternative scenario is a negative comparison to rak-su to push rak-su in the vote. This is dangerous as depending on how this is delivered it could actually result in an anti vote against rak-su and a counter vote for the Cuttys.

      Scenario 1 then for me. Probably a good week to back the Cuttys if this is how it plays out.

  • India Marie

    Wikipedia already has

    Boys/Groups on Saturday
    Overs/Girls on Sunday

    has this been corroborated by any of the acts?

  • Panos

    This is the week sleeper Plan A, The Cutkelvins, will come to light. Redundant group Rak-Su will have an inferior original song and will be merely used as a comparison to stress even more how great The Cutkelvins and their self-penned song are. For the night is dark and full of terrors.

    • Alan

      It’s been planned like this all along mate. We’ve just been too blind to see it.

    • Stoney

      I guess you guys are responsible for the cuttys halving in odds today. Make the most of the double figures is the best advice I can give. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and be able to accept you was unable to read the signs.

      • When you brought me back to Winterfell, you told me that there’s no justice in the world, not unless we make it. Thank you for all your many lessons Lord Baelish, I will never forget them.

  • Ben Cook

    Interesting that they’ve not allowed Kevin to do his own song, when presumably he has one that would be suitable for the theme

  • Stoney

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Cant seem to remember anyone tipping cutkelvins to do an original/have a moment.

  • Dazzle

    I can remember reading a comment on here after week 1 I think when someone said they are expecting someone to perform an orginal that hasn’t before and go on to win it, and they could be right whoever it was they might be spot on

  • Alan

    Kevin’s song is such an obvious de-ramp.

    • David Cook

      Looks that way, but then Ben topped the vote when he sang it, and he didn’t even do a very good version so who knows. Depends how he preforms it and what spin they put on it.
      Lloyd’s looks more of a de-ramp in that I can’t see him doing as well with a little known Shania Twain song as he did with a well known George Micheal song last week. Listening to it I suspect Lloyd sing it will end up sounding like a song from an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical – and that can’t possibly be a good thing.

      • Tim B

        “From This Moment On” is also covered on Sam Bailey’s first album, for what it’s worth. Let’s be honest, most people who bought that are probably still watching X Factor *and* voting for Lloyd. I know I am 😉

      • Spiidey

        ‘From this moment’ has probably been played at 1000’s of weddings of the core demographic of this show. Possibly even the first dance. The song therefore likely has strong emotional connections. Underestimate at peril on this one I think.

  • Steve

    Of course we don’t know yet how good any of these original songs really are….will they stand up against strong songs that people already know ?

  • Yolanda

    As much as I enjoy the comments on here, the confirmation bias on a lot of the comments is applied very thickly.

    Very easy to deduce who has had a bet… And who they have bet on.

    • Tim B

      Regardless of comments, people should go into each live show weekend with an open mind. Or at least open to a few different possibilities.

      • Yolanda

        That would be nice… But I suppose it is human nature to see what they want to see in each performance.

        • Tim B

          At the same time, I think it’s totally understandable that people’s comments often reflect the positions they’ve taken. The key is being able to switch positions at the right time after it becomes clear it’s not going to go your way or when things become uncertain. But not everyone is able to do that effectively all of the time, because of confirmation bias etc.

  • The Juan

    Well that’s some good news…

    Dazzle, Anglia and stoney, that was me!

    I made one right at the start but can’t find it and that one Anglia.

    If I’m honest I think the ck vote has been strong from week 1 and the vote has been tested, especially with that awful bus thrown at them in Halloween weekend. Further, I think they have done everything else to test their vote, including the ‘from scotland’ shout by Louis for another act.

    This all comes with a caveat, that this really is the breaking point for them to go as planned. So giving them the original and pimp slot, will give TPTB a view at how big their vote actually is with all bells and whistles. To allow them to see if they let them go with it.

    As an afterthought, the previous rabbit hole discussion a la Andrea faustini and the use of food reference to deramp a vote… there’s been a lot of food used with Rak Su.

    As I said the other night, the cks are a massive price at the moment. I’d this works, they’ll probably be as short as 2/1 or 7/2 by Monday

    Can’t wait to see how it pans out….

    • Yolanda

      I’d love to buy at 7/2…

    • Anglia Chu

      Congratulations! As someone who likes The Cutkelvins but doesn’t think TPTB will back them to go all the way, I’m cautiously optimistic. Details will matter on the weekend (they’re performing on Saturday, as per Cutty themselves), even if they’re safe.

      Even if they win the weekend, I don’t think they will go that short. Probably more like in the level of Kevin and Lloyd now (8/1-12/1).

  • Yolanda

    Simon has the CKs well and truly in his pocket right now.

    In the series that is mooted as being the fairest of them all, with no obvious winner even at this stage the master puppeteer is probably playing his best game ever.

    Do we want to get rid of Grace? In shereen we have the most attractive and most humble girl in the competition. Already described as a ‘superstar’, she has listened to the judges’ advice and acted upon it.

    Equally he can snuff our their threat in three or four words. Not a group. One girl band. Two spare parts….

    How is Simon going to roll his CK dice? I’ve suggested from the start that he would love to have a final of Rak su v CKs. A more compelling final is surely impossible…

  • Dazzle

    I honestly think now they want a final of Rak Su, Grace and The Cutkelvins and if a 4 act final Kevin there as well. All those acts have performed their own orginal material at some point which this series storyline has been about.

  • Dazzle

    Plus I think Simon will want Nicole back next year and if she is the only judge that doesn’t have an act in the final that could be embarrasing for her and maybe won’t want to come back next year. So they couldn’t really push Matt to the final cause he would end up winning so they went with Kevin easy to push out in 3rd or 4th place.

  • Spiidey

    I’m still struggling with the cutkelvins. They had something pretty unique in the pre-lives but it’s been lost in the live shows. They need something incredible to get that magic back.

    The position of the brothers will be key. If they’re in close proximity to Shereen then this could be a turning point for them.

    Either way I’ll be surprised if they get to the final.

  • Joe Lemer

    I mentioned in an earlier post that another act could yet emerge from the pack.I didn’t think the series would be engineered with the same contenders fighting it out and thankfully it hasn’t! Would have made it very dull.

    I am invested in CK’s but was beginning to lose hope prior to last weekend. I felt they had a chance of continuing their journey after last week.

    Many understandbly have written them off with such a short series of lives. Was there enough time to push another act? TPTB seem to push and deflate acts at will this series, so anything seems possible.

    The fact the narrative is ‘originality’ this series and the fact that CK’s are doing an original song tomorrow for the first time seems promising. My guess is they will win the night with the pimp slot. Then it’s game on.

  • George

    If they wanted The Cutkelvins to have a moment with an original this week, I don’t think they’d let Rak-Su do one as well.

    • Hmm it reminds me of week one in 2014 when they gave Stereo Kicks and Overload Generation Katie Perry songs. One soared, one sunk.

      • Milton

        Rak-Su will be doing their 6th original song, Cutkelvins their first. If they were talented song writers TPTB would have been anxious to showcase this by now. The most likely explanation as you say Fudd, is this is about making Rak-Su look good.

        • Piresistable

          If they are going to let an act do an original song, it must surely be half decent. The last thing they want is to have an act looking utterly stupid.

          If they intend to help Rak-Su, they’ll have to leave it up to the viewers to decide for themselves that Rak Su has written a better song.

        • Anglia Chu

          “making Rak-Su look good” is harsh. Given the show’s new push for being “original”, at worst, giving Cutty room to do an original is to make Rak-Su look better, but they will still look good on the weekend.

          • Milton

            You’ve misunderstood me, I’m certainly not expecting them to look stupid, I fully expect them to be half decent, but I also expect Rak-Su to be visibly better which the show will use to highlight how special they are. Presumably backers are hoping that they will be better than Rak-Su which seems a bit optimistic to me.

  • R

    Grace Davies’ recent tweet:

    “I’m full of a cold and can’t breathe through my nose and I had a spray tan last night and I think I must have dribbled my way through my sleep cos I have some severe white lines on my face”
    https://twitter.com/gracedavies/status/931792530060009472

    • Yolanda

      She has “battled adversity”, “bad press”, “having to sing cover versions”, and now she has “battled illness”.

      What a strong, talented, brave woman, who you can feel entirely happy to vote for, without having had her rammed down your throats, or been at all influenced by us to do so. Amirite?

  • India Marie

    what are white lines? is she sick?

  • Sean

    Pimp slot prediction for Saturday & Sunday? Interesting weekend ahead 🙂

  • Anglia Chu

    Grace’s original will be uptempo and not about her ex.

    https://twitter.com/TheXFactor/status/931855763391184898

    • R

      Looking forward to this if Grace’s cold doesn’t cause issues. It was co-written with Lauren Aquilina.

      “wrote a song with my faves @gracedavies and @lfitton and grace is performing it on x factor tomorrow night! she is such a special songwriter, voice, and person. can’t wait for you all to hear ‘hesitate’ #TeamGrace”.

      https://twitter.com/laurenaquilina/status/931853427847639040

      • Tim B

        Who is she? Who is she? Where did you find her?

      • Ok, after listening to Lauren Aquilina’s solo material I decided to increase my green on Grace at current prices. And Luke Fitton is a songwriter who writes for Syco act 5 After Midnight.

      • Problem with Lauren Aquilina being a performer herself is that her best ideas will likely be for herself and not for a one day XF writing contract. And Luke Fitton also may not give his best for this, but they could all surprise and come up with something passable.

      • India Marie

        Great find! Surely this means the show wants her in the final

        • Edie M

          Yeah, this looks good for Grace

          • Yolanda

            I think that it would be incredibly naive to think that TCK and Raksu don’t also receive professional help with their songwriting.

            They get help with their production, their arrangements, their choreography, their singing, their staging. Why wouldn’t they also get help with their songwriting?

          • India Marie

            I won’t be shocked if Rak-kelvins (or Cut-Su?) have help with their material (even if I don’t think so) but my running assumption is that Grace’s relationship with the two songwriters above runs deeper than “she’s on XF”

          • Yolanda

            If you look at Aquilina’s twitter you will see that she has only added Grace recently. I’d suggest that Grace had an idea for/a semblance of a song, and these two were drafted in to help finish it off/make it more prime time ITV friendly, following an introduction earlier this week.

      • R

        If you read some of Lauren’s replies, she also points out her role in the writing of the song:

        @JParpadeos: so you wrote a song for original songwriter extraordinaire @gracedavies ?

        Lauren: we wrote it together. i wasn’t paid or hired! she can write amazing songs on her own, i just helped finish this one with her. stop trying to stir the pot.

        @JParpadeos: So Luke Fitton who writes for another Syco act wasn’t contracted either? Are you getting writing credits on the show tomorrow?

        Lauren: nope! grace and i got together and i brought luke in on production because he’s a frequent collaborator of mine. no one was paid. the song was grace’s idea and we just helped. got it?

        • Yolanda

          she also tries to claim that she is a friend of Grace. However, she hasn’t tweeted about or mentioned Grace in any of her previous tweets. A bit strange that you wouldn’t at least offer a tweet of support for a friend. Clearly there was a recent introduction.

          • Edie M

            It’s kind of a moot point though. Either way, they have allowed a credible songwriter to tweet about writing songs with Grace as if she is an equal rather than on a talent show. It shores up the image they want to paint of her as an artist. Even if they have brought in writers for Rak-Su, TCKs (which I think is v likely) it has not been discussed in the same way.

          • George

            Not sure I agree with that. Very few people are going to be seeing these tweets. She probably tweeted about it of her own accord.

            But if anything, Grace being revealed to be getting help with her songwriting would only hurt the singer-songwriter image they’ve developed for her.

          • Edie M

            @george I think it could go either way with helping or hurting. The moot point I was referring to was whether they were ‘friends’ or had been drafted in by the show, it doesn’t really matter (esp. as the songwriter has chosen to portray as though they are ‘friends’).

  • Stoney

    Just catching up on last week’s show finally. If Cutkelvins wernt 1% behind Kevin ill eat my hat.
    The VT
    Tears on stage
    4 judge ovation
    Simon- something clicked tonight.

    Bring on tonight’s show

    • But their performance itself was not very voter-friendly, same as the previous week. You could probably argue that it was anyone less than 1% behind Kevin. Matt had a somewhat emotional VT too, but I don’t think it was him.

      IF (and it’s a big if) The Cutkelvins were close to Kevin in the vote last week, then they would have a fair chance of winning the vote tonight. Personally I’m expecting Lloyd to be performing second as I can see them wanting/needing to get his vote down after polling so strongly last week.

      • Stoney

        Yeah the song choice/performance wasn’t great but when has that ever mattered to the fickle voting public?
        For eg, id say Raksu were the worst on the night yet didnt finish nowhere near bottom id imagine.

        • Edie M

          The song choice/performance definitely matters when you’re only middling in the pack. Rak-Su have gained momentum in the lives, Cutkelvins have done the oppositie. I like them and am hoping they do well tonight, but still think it’s a case of getting them through this week’s double elimination rather than for the win.

    • Alan

      Yes all that going for them and they still couldn’t beat Kevin.

  • Boki

    RO not leaked yet publicly but judging on the odds CK don’t have a pimp tonight.

  • Anglia Chu

    running order

    Sean & Conor
    Sam
    The Cutkelvins
    Lloyd
    Rak-Su

    looks like the agenda is to get Cutty just above the Prices?

  • Plinkiplonk

    Just a thought: I know we are all more or less in agreement that this is supposed to be the year of the Original Artist, and that whoever is allowed to perform an original song can be seen as favoured. But I was just thinking that, at least in theory, an original song could equally be used as a very effective take-down, if it’s bad and presented as such. I can hear Simon doing his usual spiel: “I have to hold my hand up, this is totally my fault, I shouldn’t have let you sing this song, it’s not good enough bla bla bla”. I say Simon, as the background info on Grace’s song above makes it highly unlikely her song will be anything but praised…

    However, freely mentioning that she did not write the song all by herself could make her look less talented than, say, Rak Su, who will probably wow us again with something along the lines of “Yo Hot Mama, wanna dip my Burrito into your Guacamole”, and they had no help with that !

  • Uzair

    Running order
    Sean and connor
    Sam
    The cutkelvins
    Lloyd
    Raksu
    Another pimp for raksu r u serious? Week 4 what act has had 2 pimp slots by week 4. I don’t understand this show

  • Looks like they want S&C and Sam out. They’ve given Lloyd quite a favourable position.

  • David Cook

    Possibly looking to damped Lloyds vote by sandwiching him between two acts who will be performing original material – will they accentuate that in the comments? However still not looking great for TCK that they don’t get the pimp slot.

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