X Factor 2017: Semi-Final 2

In yesterday’s show, we said goodbye to Matt Linnen, who finished bottom of the vote after his rendition of ‘Gimme Shelter’. It was enough that he was put on second in the running order, with generally unhelpful staging, and a look of thunder on Sharon’s face as he performed.

Dermot said in-running there was only 2% between the bottom two. Consensus in the market and among our commenters was that The Cutkelvins were the ones scrapping for survival with Matt. That makes them strong elimination favourites to go tonight, though Dermot’s further announcement that it would be a double elimination was a surprise.

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X Factor 2017: Semi-Final 1

The remaining six acts merge for semi-final weekend, where one act will be eliminated tonight, and one tomorrow. The Cool Britannia theme allows a few X Factor staples to be wheeled out – Kevin’s ‘Come Together’ has been covered by Ben Haenow, Matt Cardle and Olly Murs on the show. Lloyd Macey’s ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ was previously done by Stereo Kicks, Nick McDonald and Joe McElderry.

Grace’s choice of ‘Life On Mars’ was performed by Seann Miley Moore in 2015. She’s tweeted that it’s her favourite song to cover, and there’s evidence of that on YouTube. Matt Linnen is going with ‘Gimme Shelter’, a choice which saw him continue to drift in the outright market.

Betting favourites Rak-Su have plumped for garage track ‘Flowers’, which on the surface is a leftfield choice, though they’ll no doubt put their own spin on it. Meanwhile, the Cutkelvins will showcase original material for the second consecutive performance, with ‘Nothing Like You’. We’re waiting on tonight’s show – which has a 40-minute overlap with Strictly – to see how these choices pan out. Do let us know your thoughts below as it progresses.

X Factor 2017 Week 4 Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball Metaphors

“They must have been very proud of the Andrea Faustini food takedown, there’s more food discussion than most cookery shows” – Sagand. “Did last nights Prawn cocktail reappearance remind anybody of the Skips rabbit hole?!” – Martin.

If you were reading Sofabet in 2014, you’ll recall the infamous “doughnut deramp”, in which Simon compared an Andrea Faustini performance to eating six doughnuts. We thought Simon was trying to subliminally associate Andrea with the queasy, bloated feeling of regretted over-indulgence – and that it was ingenious. Our ears now prick up at any food mentions. How appropriate that on the night which saw the return of Matt “like a sandwich without butter” Terry, we got a feast.

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IACGMOOH 2017 Discussion Thread

The latest series of the celebrity jungle adventure landed on TV screens at the weekend. If you have any views on who is proving a crowd-pleaser, and who’s a snake, feel free to leave your thoughts below. Unfortunately, we are too invested in X Factor to provide much coverage ourselves, but it’s a fun reality TV betting heat.

This year’s contest has a pretty typical array of soap and TV stars, alongside WAG Rebekah Vardy and The Saturdays’ singer Vanessa White. The cast also includes footballer Dennis Wise, boxer Amir Khan, and the man responsible for Boris, his father Stanley Johnson. Talking of politics, former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is expected to join them in the coming days. May the Bushtucker Trials begin.

X Factor 2017 Week 4 Post-Mortem: Apollo 16

We are in awe of TPTB this series. Another weekend flawlessly executed: can anyone doubt that Rak-Su and Grace topping the vote, and Rak-Su winning the prize fight, was the plan? It puts the momentum firmly back with those two long-favoured acts as we head into the semi-final, and it retires the prize fight with four different winners, one from each category. Bravo, TPTB, bravo.

Targets were hit in the elimination yesterday, too, with both 16 year old girls departing. Fans of subliminal messages in staging will have enjoyed the repeated sight of Rai-Elle sitting on a rocket and being sent off into outer space.

Rai-Elle’s kill was a kind one, though. She presumably hadn’t been setting the vote alight, so by sticking her on first in the running order, they could afford to send her off with a four-judge standing ovation and feelings of goodwill all round. They’d made sure to continue the long-running “attitude” associations, ostensibly positive but ultimately vote-limiting, this week through that “sassy” VT and the rapping.

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X Factor 2017: Live Show 8

Producers haven’t been subtle in their use of the running order this series: last night’s show saw the acts appear in ascending order of apparent favour. Rak-Su were on last and won the night; Sam Black along with Sean & Conor were the first to appear and duly eliminated. #3 is the latest slot for an eliminated act so far this season. Three vote-toppers have performed last, three second-last, and one third-from-last.

The most intriguing treatment tonight will be second favourite Grace Davies, who returns to her comfort zone of self-penned songs with ‘Hesitate’. It hasn’t been plain sailing for the 20-year-old during the live shows, but she still looks like the most favoured girl. Holly Tandy hasn’t been given a moment yet, and ‘Love Me Harder’ suggests that may continue. Rai-Elle’s ‘Mr Big Stuff’ is a more leftfield choice.

Kevin Davy White comes off the back of two prize fight appearances with the iconic ‘I Will Always Love You’, while fellow remaining over, Matt Linnen, performs ‘Fallin’. Both songs have recent form with men that went on to win the show: Ben Haenow performed the Dolly Parton classic in Week 7 of 2014; while James Arthur used his guitar to good effect for the Alicia Keys number during his dramatic singoff with Ella in Week 7 of 2012.

Last night confirmed that either we misunderstood what the terms and conditions said about the double elimination format, or producers don’t feel bound by them – it’s clear from how Dermot handled the reveal that it would be possible for two acts from one category to leave tonight. Let us know your thoughts on the choices and how the show progresses below.

X Factor 2017: Live Show 7

Despite ten acts remaining, it’s effectively the quarter-final stage, and there’ll be no quarter given for the double eliminations this weekend. We’ve yet to have it confirmed if it’s just the bottom two in the vote or one from each category going home, not to mention whether the prize fight remains. Dermot, it’s over to you to let us know.

What seems more certain is that likeable plasterer Sam Black will struggle tonight in the boys vs groups battle. The general consensus was that he scraped through last week – survival tonight would be the X Factor equivalent of ‘The Great Escape’. He’s being kept in the 1961 groove with Little Mix doo-wop album track, ‘Oops’. There may be tears before bedtime.

Intriguingly, the Cutkelvins introduce their own original material – ‘Saved Me From Myself’ – alongside Rak-Su who give us ‘Mona Lisa’. Sean & Conor Price have ‘Issues’, last performed by Anthony Russell during auditions, while Lloyd Macey gives us Shania Twain MOR classic, ‘From This Moment On’. Do let us know your thoughts on tonight’s show below.

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.

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