X Factor 2017: Live Show 5

The news that this weekend’s shows have reverted to single eliminations takes some of the heat out of them. There’s been plenty of speculation about why this happened, though as Ben Cook wondered in our comments section, having only four contestants left on each night next weekend would not have been ideal.

Tonight it’s the return of the Groups vs Overs to tackle the George Michael theme. Only Kevin and Matt are left of the Overs, singing ‘Fastlove’ and ‘Careless Whisper’ respectively, when you might have expected it to be the other way around. Matt’s reputation for fast love escalated in the tabloids today with stories of him flirting with Nicole, apparently creating a Nicole / Matt / Grace love triangle. Kevin does get to show his versatility and artistry however, this time with a piano.

Jack & Joel are elimination favourites tonight with Wham’s farewell song, ‘Edge of Heaven’. Meanwhile, Sean & Conor Price get the iconic ‘Freedom 90’, Rak-Su have a chance to put their own spin on ‘Faith’, and the Cutkelvins tackle ‘Killer / Papa Was A Rolling Stone’. As always, we look forward to hearing your take on proceedings in the comments section below.

Photos via @ThePixelFactor

X Factor 2017 Week 2 Review: A Fall from Grace?

Thursday evening saw The Sun run with a story previously seen in Wednesday’s The Mirror alleging Grace had been “branded a diva”. Was this the start of a takedown, or just a shot across the bows, sending Grace a not-so-subtle reminder that they have the armoury to take her down if they want to? Our suspicion is a shot across the bows: for a start, “a source close to Grace” was allowed to defend her, which wouldn’t have happened in an all-out hatchet job; there was also the potential get-out clause of the line, “hopefully that’ll be the end of the matter”. Funnily enough, we also thought 5AM got a shot across the bows in week 3 last year, and they recovered to make the final.

Nonetheless, it does suggest that Grace might have been doing something behind the scenes to warrant a warning shot – and that any further infraction might therefore indeed bring fury raining down upon her. As Janet Devlin’s roommate, the early favourite should need no reminding of what can happen to acts who get in TPTB’s bad graces.

Looking back at the weekend, we thought the show still seemed perfectly happy with Grace – yes, there was a clear attempt to get her beaten, but only to get a fresh face into the prize fight, as there was an equally clear attempt not to inflict any lasting damage.

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X Factor 2017 Week 2 Post Mortem: All White on the Night

After the clear intent of Saturday’s show, Sunday’s was a more opaque affair, with several instances of questionable staging followed by high praise from the judges. No performance was praised more highly than Kevin Davy White’s, and he duly topped the evening’s vote after a four-judge standing ovation.

Kevin then doubled up by also winning the “prize fight” against Rak-Su, and again we saw Simon standing in response. This time, however, he appeared to loudly exclaim “bollocks”. One assumes that neither Kevin’s winning of the prize, nor the screening of Simon’s reaction to it, were in the script.

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X Factor 2017: Live Show 4

Last night’s show was pretty straightforward in its elevation of Rak-Su and dismissal of Leon. Apart from the new outright favourites and Lloyd-from-the-Valleys, it felt like each act was deramped to some degree. We’ll go into more detail on some of the treatments in our midweek article.

Meanwhile, tonight’s event looks harder to call, with questions to answer. Will Grace Davies be deramped, and if so, by how much? We assume she was reasonably far ahead of the field last weekend. This time she resorts to a cover, although Anne-Marie is in her comfort zone.

Tracyleanne Jefford received one of the most positive edits last weekend, and we expect her journey to continue with J-Lo’s ‘Ain’t Your Mama’. The show likes to defy expectations with one of the underdogs going into the live shows, and Tracyleanne was the biggest underdog of them all. We’d rather look elsewhere in tonight’s elimination market.

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X Factor 2017: Live Show 3

Tonight’s next elimination betting is headed by Leon Mallett, hoping to ‘Get Lucky’, having managed to ‘Stay’ after an unimpressive first live show. His closest rival is fellow member of the boys category, Sam Black, who remains stuck in 1961 for ‘La Lamba / Twist & Shout’. According to the market, the other act in the mix is Jack & Joel, with their take on current number one, ‘Havana’.

Among the more feted contestants, last week’s prize-fight runners-up, Rak-Su, give us another Latin original with ‘Dimelo’. The Cutkelvins’ rendition of ‘Reggaeton Lento’ is much anticipated, while we expect to see Lloyd continue to be portrayed as the ‘Hero’ of his weak category. Sean & Conor Price hope to improve on last week’s effort with ‘Cheap Thrills’.

We think the market has tonight’s elimination odds about right, and prefer to wait and see how the acts are treated. There’s no news yet suggesting it’s anything but a single elimination, but we’ll be watching Dermot’s introduction closely just in case. Do let us know your thoughts on the show as it pans out, below.

X Factor 2017 Week 1 Review: Dermot, The Silent Assassin

In the absence of Simon, whom do we trust to be most unerringly on-message? Dermot, of course. Dermot is known on Sofabet as “the silent assassin”, for his ability to slip the knife in during his post-song interviews. The last weekend brought a few gems.

Sofabet commenter Alan noted one in the very first performance: “Dermot’s ‘not cocky’ comment to Rai-Elle made me smile”, he wrote. Planting the thought”. Indeed. Dermot informed Rai-Elle that she’s “fearless. Not cocky. Fearless”. It’s the old “don’t think of an elephant” principle – on some level people don’t hear the “not”, they’re just left with a vague association between Rai-Elle and the word “cocky”.

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X Factor 2017 Week 1 Post-Mortem

We’re still getting used to the new rhythm of the show. It has some plus points, but one thing we suspect producers will be rethinking today is the “prize fight” singoff format. Twitter and the Sofabet comments section were united in bafflement at why the show thought viewers would care which of Grace or Rak-Su goes to a Pink concert next April. We understand the desire for positivity, but a survival singoff is a lot more interesting. No wonder more than twice as many people were watching Strictly instead.

One bright side from the show’s perspective was that it gave those who were watching a chance to hear the two original songs again, which probably contributed to an impressive performance on iTunes – Grace charting at 2 and Rak-Su at 3. But from a punting perspective, we’re wondering where we go from here. Surely we can’t have Grace and Rak-Su battling it out with original numbers for each of the next three Sundays? But then, how much can they mix it up to get new faces at the top without risking too much damage to Grace and Rak-Su, who still appear to be the most-favoured acts? We can’t help wondering if TPTB may have played their hand too early.


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X Factor 2017: Live Show 2

We’re still adjusting to the changes in format, but it has to be a positive that the franchise felt refreshed from its tired old formula. Our midweek musings will be where we plunge into depth on various treatments. That will include Spencer’s assassination, which saw more than a few foreign references, and a cage of light.

Some brief thoughts on the other acts in the order they appeared: Rai-Elle’s busy production felt like roadkill – almost literally when a cyclist nearly crashed into the audience; Holly’s weirdly-phallic pink staging looked like a Mr Blobby wet dream, with an otherwise positive-but-not-OTT, beta-girl edit; Leon was treated rather cursorily as if his time will soon be up; and Alisah kept firmly in the power-ballad lane which could see her to the middle stages of the competition.


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