X Factor 2010 Voting Statistics Week-by-Week

Shortly after Matt’s win, the X Factor website published a pdf with the week-by-week breakdown of the voting percentages. Here they are.

What useful things can we learn from these statistics to help us from a punting or predictive perspective when next year’s series comes around? That’s a question that deserves some reflection and study, so Daniel and I will be posting some in-depth thoughts on them in a few weeks time, when the dust has settled (and when Daniel has got back from spending his Wagner and Matt Cardle winnings on a well-deserved holiday).

But in the meantime, we’d like to ask for your thoughts. To our great pleasure, Sofabet’s X Factor analysis has become very much a collaborative exercise in the last few weeks, as we have been blessed to find such insightful commenters. We’d love to have your help in picking out the interesting lessons from this trove of stats.

Here are five quick, initial thoughts to get us started:

1. Matt sealed the deal with ‘Nights in White Satin’ in week 8. He topped the vote every single week from the second week onwards, and his ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ in week 5 saw him garner almost three times as many votes as any other act. The wins in weeks six and seven were narrower, and those weeks were the window of opportunity for another act to reel him back in. But none took the chance, and after week 8 Matt was down to odds-on and never looked back.

2. Rebecca still came surprisingly close on Sunday, though, narrowing the gap to Matt with every freeze of the vote. Could she have overhauled him if she hadn’t been too busy gazing adoringly at Christina Aguilera to notice when she should have started singing?

3. One Direction were never in the hunt. They were consistent, give them that, finishing with form figures of 4-3-3-4-3-4-4-3-3-3. But they had as much of a ceiling as a floor, never coming close to threatening to top the vote.

4. Cher got fewer votes than Mary in their surprise week 9 sing-off, as many had suspected. And Treyc Cohen got more than Katie in the shambolic week 5 sing-off. Other acts that needed to be saved by the judges were Belle Amie (lower than Diva Fever in week 2), Treyc herself (lower than John Adeleye in week 3), and Cher again (lower than Paije in week 7).

5. Wagner needed all that help from producers. The big man came within 0.2% of the singoff in the first week, then cleared it by a whisker every week (0.42%, 0.72%, 2.04%, 0.68%, 1.01% and 0.53%). But equally, when the producers went out to get rid of him in week 8, they needed all that firepower – he was only 1.42% off safety.

As I said above, Daniel and I will certainly be looking at these statistics much more closely in the coming weeks, and if you’d like to be notified when we post further analysis, please do sign up for notifications of new posts by one of the means at the top of this page (Twitter, email, RSS). In the meantime, please tell us – what have you noticed from these figures? What has surprised you?

[Update, 13/12: Here’s another way of slicing and dicing the figures – I’ve pdfed an excel sheet which calculates how each act performed each week relative to the mean percentage vote that week. So, for instance, in week 1, with 16 acts, the average vote was 6.25%. Matt got 15.14%, so this translates to 242% of the mean.

This may arguably make for better comparisons. For instance, at first glance it looks like Mary enjoyed a decent sympathy bounce from week 8 (11.29%) to week 9 (14.99%). But because week 8 had seven acts and week 9 had five acts, in fact she went from getting 79% of the mean vote percentage in week 8 to only 75% in week 9.]

17 comments to X Factor 2010 Voting Statistics Week-by-Week

  • Jack

    Yep, Cher was bottom. Trust me to post the one bit info I heard and it turns out to be wrong.
    Sorry guys.
    Not quite as bad as Abigail though who was wrong on the order at the top most weeks.

    Your site has been a good read.
    I hope you guys had a good one.

    A nice one here. I’d have preferred a Rebecca win who was total class at times, but Matt was a nice result.
    1D would have been a disater. Fortunately they were never in the hunt.
    These markets often go into a panic at the sound of screaming girls, but their favourite very rarely, if ever wins.
    The winner is picked by their mums and these lads were never good enough to appeal them. Even with Cowell’s ramping.

  • tpfkar

    I’ve only found this site in the past two weeks, but it’s been essential reading – thank you for keeping it going when it would have been more profitable just to keep schtum.

    I worked my way to a five pound profit while you were making your thousands! But useful to see how the experts saw it every step and I’m sure i’d do better next time.

    Thanks again.

  • Andrew

    Thanks, Jack and tpfkar! Really glad you’ve been enjoying the site – it’s been fun – and hope to see you for the next series.

    An addendum to the above post – by my (possibly wonky) calculations, in the final, between freeze 1 (Cher going) and freeze 2 (1D going), the votes split 39.8% Matt, 37.9% Rebecca, 22.3% 1D. And between 1D’s departure and the lines closing for good, it went 52.2% Matt and 47.8% Rebecca.

    So a much closer-run thing – it was Saturday night that Rebecca lost it…

  • Euan

    Quick observations – there’s a great deal of sympathy bounce evidence.

    Katie was second the week before she was eliminated as the lowest polling contestant. I wonder if her second place gave producers the guts to do a double elimination.

    There’s some evidence that votes really do go to strong peformances. Look at Mary, started off singing well but got a bit ropey, her votes reflect that. Same with Rebecca on Beatles week, it went down.

    Week one is all about impact during auditions and bootcamp, then it becomes very much a singing contests. Almost like it should be!

  • Ed

    In your point 4 above, you listed the acts where the judges saved someone against the public vote. You missed one of the bigguns! Week one, the judges ditched FYD over Katie despite FYD having more than her.

  • jo

    So when can we see the week by week results?


  • Andrew

    Good point, Ed! That was a series-defining save, alright. Amazing to think they came within 0.19% of losing Katie below Nicolo Festa in the very first week! What on earth would the tabloids have found to write about?

    @ Euan – great thought about Katie’s astonishing week 7 second place maybe giving them the confidence to go for a double in week 8. They were nowhere near pulling it off, though – Wagner got nearly half as much again as Katie did.

    Katie’s sympathy journey is intriguing. Big bounce from week 1 survival carries her through 2 and 3, no real bounces at all after surviving the first two of the week 4-5-6 singoffs, suddenly sympathy kicks in bigtime in week 7 (or was it the haircut?!), but after one week of safety she drops like a stone again.

    @ Jo – they’re up on the X Factor site, here

  • i think the 1 thing we can learn from this years xfactor is forgot about the stupid ridiculas voting leaks and trust ur head and own judgement my monster bet on rebecca narrowly failed and yes she blew it on sat night her duet with christina was a disaster last night for me she was awesume and 4 one minute i allowed myself 2 think she was gona pinch it but a new my fate was sealed when cowell failed 2 champion her ive said 4 weeks now that matt was a rock solid and worthy fav all the opion polls had him 15 percent ahead ov rebecca and a mile ahead ov idirection so like i said 15-8 a matt rebecca 1-2 in any order was simply a gift and it allowed me 2 show a profit over the series.. geoff im glad u took my advice and layed your 1direction bet off…looking ahead 2 next year i think they have a serious problem as a group will never ever win the xfactor i direction had the kitchen sink threw at them and could still only finish way behind in 3rd… anyway thanks to andrew and daniel 4 a great site its the first year ive read it and its been a very enjoyable read im just gutted rebecca couldnt quite pull it off take care all

  • stableboyuk

    A HUGE thank-you for all your articles. It’s been and interesting competition with all the ramping and lies flying around about the different contestants but I personnaly stuck by my own guns and I was convinced that the profiles of the people who actually vote in X factor would never vote in bulk for a group full of children (16 & 17 year olds) and that Rebecca’s unusual voice (even tho it was the best voive in the comp) was to “niche market”. That only left one winner. I’m smiling all the way to the bank.

    I have you in my favourites already for your next postings as well as on twitter!

    Keep up the excellent writing.

    You guys have been the most level headed forum for the X Factor and it’s been great using your posting as

  • Andrew

    Thanks so much, Mark and stableboyuk – and congrats to you both on a winning series! 🙂

    Totally agree that they have a major format headache now with the groups, with 1D having fallen so far short despite all the ramping. Must be a concern for the US launch – it’s the groups and overs that are a large part of what makes XF different from the American Idol format, but neither category has won since Steve Brookstein (admittedly Matt would have been an Over this year if they hadn’t changed the age limit). How do they make it credible that a group could win it?

  • Niall

    Yeah, great read guys! I’m looking forward to next year’s X Factor already ( I may even be tempted to take a punt – maybe) but I do wonder how the phone results from this year will effect the format next year. The public is already pretty skeptical of the show, and there might be a backlash if it seems like it doesn’t really matter who you vote for.

    I’d like to know though, do you think Matt is a shoo-in for Xmas number one, or is Cage Against The Machine in with a fighting chance?

  • Some more thoughts…

    From the tactical elimination voting you can see the producers were wanting a final with the best and most distinctive acts in it. I’d bet they’d have loved Katie in the final over Rebecca but gave up on that when it wasn’t possible. Lesson the best girl, boy and group makes an excellent top 3 bet.

    The hated, love to hate and novelty acts have no traction with the audience. Lesson bet against them winning.

    The polls weren’t wrong. Lesson use the big sample sizes and go for it.

    @andrew what can be done to make a group win? The producers really messed up on One Direction, they didn’t learn nearly enough from the JLS experience and didn’t give them enough of the kitchen sink.

    The first group problem is that the studio is too noisy for groups to do proper harmonies. Some weeks JLS were very ropey on this count even though they are excellent vocalists. The 1D solution to this was to ramp up the pre-recorded backing vocals which makes them look at best untalented and at worst cheaters. The better solution would be professional in ear monitoring. For the first time this year there was some use of in-ears, Matt used them for one song, they’re not cheating just professional, use them next series.

    Next the group was too large. It will take you 5 times longer to get to know each group member as each soloist. Or you know and identify with the band about a fifth as much as a soloist. This also made 1D look like certain boys did a lot of singing on lead vocals. This also adds to the lack of talent impression.

    The solution is smaller groups, a return to the ‘journey’ vts to build character and remember JLS’s colour coding? A little gimmick that helped individual members stand out.

    As a group manufactured at the auditions 1D had no history, no soul and no regional following. Solution use a band already formed, or if you must form one give them better backstories in the auditions and get them from the same area.

    Lastly boy bands doing boyband numbers has a limited demographic appeal. Solution introduce instruments like Matt’s guitar and Katie’s piano. Get them doing Sinatra standards as well as Westlife covers.

    The judges comments were also poorly constructed. “You’re the next big boyband” to many means you’re rubbish and will stink up the charts for years with bland covers. The repeated lines on being hard working and nice and friends made them sound even more boring and bland. Solution inforce the image these guys are different, creative, having fun, have an eye for the ladies, have already written an album themselves etc etc

    If Syco want me to mastermind a group next year I’m here!

  • stableboyuk

    Niall, I think Matt is a DEFO shoo in for the No.1 slot. His song is brilliant but very short at 1.2 to back on Betfair!

    A better bet would be Kara Tointon on Strictly!!!! (2.16 at the moment with one week to go) Her only comp is Matt and he is trying too hard and has become a bit too desparate…..and the public can see this!The chemistry between Cara and Vincent is elecric and the fact that he is such a gentleman is capturing the hearts of the public and it will be a travesty if they don’t win.

    As for groups winning, there will never be a group winner if the current format continues. It is easier to get close to and favour a single act than it is to do the same with 5 different personalities in a group and the fact that they are always doing covers doesn’t help.

  • Allan

    just like to echo the positive comments above – this blog has been great throughout the series, have learned a lot! Gutted my original picks of 1D and Rebecca didn’t do the business, but had enough success on the weekly elimination markets that it was a successful series.

    strictly wise have been on Matt from the day the prices were out, managed to nick the 13-2 that was up on Stan James, now laid off to cover the stakes but still reasonably confident despite his recent blip. My good lady though is on Pamela at 33-1 and I think she’s very much in with a chance. According to her (the Strictly expert) all can change with the showdance so it’s all to play for!

  • Andrew

    @Euan – looking forward to you being in charge of the groups next year! 🙂 Great points.

    Thanks again all for the positive comments.

  • Euan

    I’d love the challenge

  • Jolo

    I love this article! 🙂

    If only, X Factor producers did what you did, and calculated how each act’s vote compared against the mean percentage of that week. They could’ve prevented Matt’s victory. They should’ve ditched their Plan A (going with One Direction), and went with Rebecca.

    In the later weeks, they flipped-flopped between 1D, Cher, and Rebecca. Their indecision proved to be costly, as Matt still won.

    1D started out with 161% of the mean, but by week 5, they only had 121% of the mean. They should’ve ditched them by then. Sure they had the teenage girl vote, but that was it really. Soon decreased to 83% of the mean by week 8.

    Cher did quite well initially, but it was downhill for her during week 5, where her relative vote percentage dropped from 217% to 76%. Producers should’ve taken that as a sign…not to give her any more of those pimp slots.

    Rebecca, on the other hand, was quite steady throughout the weeks, peaking in week 6 with 164%. They should’ve concentrated on her more, giving her pimp slots and all that. She even managed to get the vote pretty close. Matt won by less than 6%.

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