X Factor 2011: 10 Questions For Bootcamp

Going into the bootcamp episodes, the main news of the week is that Tulisa’s position is looking a whole lot brighter than it did when we last posted. The main reason for this is because of news brought to us by Judge’s updated spoilers that the band featuring Derry Mensah and Marlon McKenzie is through after all – only without Marlon. Judge tells us he is replaced by Charlie, the lead singer of The Keys, after they have been eliminated at judges’ houses.

Regular readers will know we have had high hopes for this group, even speculating that it might be the reason Lascel Woods does not feature in Judge’s list for Gary’s final eight (although the more mundane explanation is now looking like laryngitis). And cherrypicking Charlie seems to be very promising news for the band’s chances. (It’s not such great news, of course, for the other four members of The Keys. Or for Marlon, although knowing this show we would not rule out a headline-grabbing emotional return for him at some stage during the lives).

The Risk, as Judge tells us this group is known, should thus go into the lives having been much featured at judges’ houses and with some interesting getting-to-know-you stories to fill the VTs. We expect producers to milk Charlie’s transfer for all it’s worth – if there are no tearful scenes as he agonises about the prospect of leaving behind his disappointed bandmates to take up this opportunity, before graciously being given their blessing, we shall feel most let down.

This brings us onto the first of ten questions we are looking to have answered over bootcamp weekend:

1. Who else is in The Risk?

Judge tells us it’s Derry, Charlie from The Keys replacing Marlon, and two others. Derry and Charlie are highly promising, having both enjoyed plenty of screentime. But who are the other two, and what will their identities suggest about the likely trajectory of the group?

2. How good are 2Shoes?

The second reason we’re feeling a lot brighter about Tulisa’s prospects is that we have been doing some google digging on 2Shoes (many thanks to commenter Alan for pointing the way). We admit we were suckered into taking their audition at face value – they looked for all the world like two ditzy Essex lasses who doubtless had no idea they happened to have half-decent voices. The reality appears to be rather different.

Check out the website of one of the two, Charley Bird. The image presented is not exactly the one you saw on screen last Saturday. Here is a polished performer of bluesy country rock who has a management company and has released an album. Not a pink handbag or an orange tan in sight.

The other girl, Lucy Texeria, talks on her myspace page about her six years of professional vocal training and how she is a “very determined, passionate and reliable person/performer. I take pride in my appearance and like to always give 100% in everything I do.” Ditzy? It doesn’t seem that way.

Perhaps these two really are as over-the-top as they appeared to be in their audition, and have wisely been hiding it in their web presence. Or perhaps they are two smart and ambitious girls who have spotted the chance to capitalise on a gap in the market opened up by The Only Way Is Essex. If this is the case, we take our hats off to them – and we also start to take them a lot more seriously as having potential to go quite far in this competition.

After all, there is a history for Essex ditziness doing well, as shown by Stacey Solomon (the ever-excellent Bitch Factor have already labelled the pair Stacey Duomon). And if Judge is right, 2Shoes will be the only non-manufactured group of the four, which should also count in their favour with voters.

2Shoes are currently available at anywhere between 20/1 and 100/1. We’ve snaffled a bit of the 100s (still available with Paddy Power and Betfred) in the expectation that the lower end of that range will be nearer where they are in a week or two.

3. Who is in the manufactured boy and girl bands?

Judge tells us Tulisa’s category is rounded out by a manufactured boyband and girlband. We are struggling to see how either of these will be able to come close to replicating the run enjoyed by One Direction, two of whose members (Harry Styles and Liam Payne) enjoyed major screentime during the audition shows with a third (Zayn Malik) getting attention during a bootcamp episode.

This time around, all four girls who got big screentime auditions are in Judge’s partial list of Kelly’s final eight, so they would not appear to be in contention for the girlband. And the only two boys who got decent screentime and don’t make Judge’s list of Gary’s final eight are Lascel Woods and John Adams, neither of whom would appear a natural fit for a band Judge’s source describes as “a young urban One Direction”. (We assume this is the same manufactured band as Judge previously reported that Stefan Romer was put into, which makes us slightly curious about the description – on the admittedly very limited evidence of his audition, Stefan Romer looks about as urban as Stow-on-the-Wold).


Are we missing something? Is there the raw material there for producers to fashion either of these into contenders? Or are they, as we currently suspect, likely to be made up of little-known solo auditionees and thus cannon fodder for the early weeks?

4. What happens to Lascel Woods and John Adams?

Both boys impressed at the audition stage, and garnered plenty of screentime, as mentioned above. So their exclusion from the list of contenders in judges’ houses, according to Judge’s spoilers, comes as a great surprise. Does laryngitis strike one of them down, as has been suggested, and if so, which one? Might the other be stuck in a group after all? If not, how is their failure presented?

5. How much screentime will James Michael get?

The big question among the boys has to be how much we will see of James Michael, who is very much an unknown quantity at present. We know he has the looks, the voice, and a laconic line in answering questions about his suntan. But he has so far been allotted only a fraction of the screentime given to the other three boys who Judge tells us make the lives along with him.

Will producers continue to give little time to this intriguing dark horse? It is hard to make much impact if producers show no interest in helping you. Or are we going to see a whole lot more of him at bootcamp with producers allowing his potential talent to flourish? Only time will tell, but while currrent odds of around 12/1 will look skinny if he is again shortchanged in the screentime department, they may also shorten considerably with an extended VT and a memorable vocal performance.

6. Will Craig Colton or Frankie Cocozza surprise us?

Regular readers will know that we at Sofabet aren’t feeling it for either Craig Colton or Frankie Cocozza, though the comments to the last post showed that several of you assess especially Frankie’s chances more positively. Will we have to revise our opinion after what we see of them at bootcamp?

7. How much screentime will Melanie McCabe get?

Moving onto the girls, the big question remains – if Judge’s list is right – who will get the final slot. We assume it is between Jade Richards and Melanie McCabe, with the doubt regarding the latter the lack of screentime for her audition. The market is no guide here, with different bookies quoting her as low as 6/1 and as high as 18/1. If she is to make the lives, we would expect a whole lot of screentime for her at bootcamp.

8. Will any of the overs emerge as a contender?

Judge has information on three of the overs, none of whom would appear likely to make it much beyond the midfield. We assume the final slot will go to someone halfway credible (presumably Sami or Jonjo), but either will have to step up greatly on what we’ve seen in their auditions to make us fear for our 7/4 bet on Louis to be first judge to lose all acts.

9. Will the Janet Devlin ‘journey’ begin in earnest?

The current favourite wowed judges and punters alike with her Ellie Goulding-like version of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ in the first audition show. She showed an ability to crack her voice in a way that seems popular in the charts at the moment (Adele is the most notable example), and had a little-girl-lost persona that appealed (though in an excellent summary of the state of play re the girls, commenter Rob wonders how long before it starts to grate).

Both voice and character are surely lined up to blossom further during the series. Will this journey begin at bootcamp? In other words, we will see her show some vocal versatility and begin to come out of her shell now, or are we to wait until the live shows? Her ability to cement her position at the top of the market may depend on at least hinting at another facet to her ability sooner rather than later.

10. How will Janet compare with Amelia Lily?

Second favourite behind Janet, and breathing closely down her neck in bookmakers’ lists, is a much more finished article in Amelia Lily. Both are 16 years old, but the latter belied her age with a very mature vocal and look at auditions. Given this, there is a possibility that Amelia will put up a stronger all round performance at bootcamp than her more shy rival, and they may flip-flop in the market as a result.

The danger for Amelia in the longer run is that she doesn’t appear to have any journey to go on, as she already appears to be a confident, well-adjusted performer. Will something emerge in her backstory at bootcamp to suggest a journey? If not, she will be relying on her voice alone – will the bootcamp performance be good enough to shake our current scepticism that this will be sufficient?

What are your thoughts on these, and what questions are you looking to have answered? Do let us know in the comments box below.


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44 comments to X Factor 2011: 10 Questions For Bootcamp

  • Henry VIII

    Great article Andrew. One thing – you mean James Michael.

  • Stableboyuk

    Great article Andrew. But as I said to Daniel yesterday, I’m nailing my colours early this year and this Competition is James’ for the taking! Take the 12’s! …… and 2Shoes to be top 3!

  • As for Q1, I am told the Risk are made up of Charlie, Derry, a young white Scottish boy & a young black boy.

    Still trying to get all the missing names confirmed & will post when I do.

    • Andrew

      Cheers Judge! Much appreciated as always. Interesting that The Risk were multiethnic before Marlon became Charlie.

    • Daniel

      Thanks Judge, I reckon a good fit for the band and the young black boy you mention could possibly be Ashford Campbell, who impressed Xtra Factor viewers with his performance. You can see it here. I hope it’s him in the new band.

      • tpfkar

        I am on the other side to you on this group – we’ve always said that one of the most important facets of a successfuly x Factor group is that they look like they get on and like each other.

        But here we have a group not only manufactured, but re-manufactured. The casual audience will likely be confused about who is performing with who. Can they believe this is a real group or just a few wannabes flung together? The name ‘The Risk’ sounds right to me and I’ve got money on Tulisa as first judge out.

    • Sophie

      The Scottish boy in The Risk is called Andrew Merry.

  • Steve

    Re James. What little we saw I liked, and took a bit of the 50/1 on offer thanks to judges spoilers. But and its a big but the judges houses for the boys took place on Sept 5th and 6th, they showed James auditioning on the 12th some 6 days later, that would give the producers plenty of time to “beef up” his audition. But they never, they left it at 1 minute 5 seconds it would have taken the minimum of effort to take it up to 3/4 mins yes they never. I would rather wait before investing anymore though it might have to be sloppy seconds its a chance I will take.

  • Boki

    Regarding James Michael: is it possible that the producers didn’t pay much attention to him when editing the auditioning episodes and in the meantime he shined at bootcamp?

    I believe he will be the best of boys but no idea about winning.

    • Andrew

      I think it’s doubtful, Boki – it would only be possible if they edit and file away all the audition episodes before filming bootcamp. I don’t know for certain but I would suspect it’s more likely they can tinker with the edits of the audition episodes until much closer to transmission, which brings us to Steve’s excellent point – they knew for six days prior to screening James’s (and Marcus’s) auditions which boys were making it to the lives. So even if James was a last-minute choice at judges’ houses, it seems likely that they could still have chosen to re-edit the audition show to give him a bigger intro if they’d wanted to.

      • Boki

        Good point from Steve indeed, it also answers my question (I didn’t see his post before pressing submit). I took him yesterday @17 but they allowed me only to stake lunch money 🙁

        Anyway the present JM hype is still based on a spoiler only, perfect explanation for short exposure would be that he actually wasn’t good enough for the lives… so I’ll just wait for the weekend …

        • Steve

          From what I can gather the final edit takes place on the Friday allowing them to get the teasers in the Saturday papers some people on Digital Spy and Tellymix get to see the pilot late on Friday or early Saturday. Both those sites will be worth checking late on Friday for up to date news.

      • Panos

        So, if the producers had all those days during which they knew James Michael (JM) was going to the lives but still didn’t beef-up his audition, could it be a further indicator that they want a girl winner? They obviously had to show longer audition coverage for a couple of the boys eventually making the lives, so they might have chosen Frankie and Marcus believing there is a ceiling to how well they can do. Is it possible they were afraid of JM’s winning potential in case he was given an equal treatment? God knows!

        • Noisy

          I wouldn’t be surprised if they want a girl winner.

          Traditionally the boys seem to do well. Maybe they’ve gone for 3 from Liverpool to split the regional vote to lose a couple early?

          That said, my money’s on James Michael.

          That said, I normally lose;-)

  • Henry VIII

    Charley, one half of 2 Shoes, is 4 months pregnant, meaning she’ll be near to giving birth in December’s final.

    A great story I guess but those of you who know more about pregnancy – can this be detrimental to her singing?


  • Henry VIII

    ….or can the strain of pregnancy make her give up XF? It is the one thing that is more important to people than stardom.

    • Andrew

      How interesting! My guess is this is a huge positive for them, provided there is no suggestion that the stress of XF is interfering with the pregnancy. The show will need to play that very carefully.

      • Rob

        mmm… it could be a boost? but they’ll still have to perform. i remember being in a wheelchair didn’t cut it for the great british public for one particular contestant so i doubt being pregnant is going to influence the votes that much? anyway hope it does have an effect as i’m on at huge odds 😉

  • samsmonk

    maybe James Michael is nt gettin much exposure because he s refusing to play on a sad story,the guy wants to make it because he HAS got talent AND the voice and he HAS got the look,niavely and probably at a cost to himself and he probably thinks he s selling himself short if thats the only way forward! .The sad thing is he has probably got the saddest story of all.My monies going on this guy

    • Rob

      i have one theory about the JM lack of screen time – could well be rubbish though – we’ll see this weekend? it goes back to the way matt cardle was handled last year. at boot camp MC did a great number and simon cowell’s reaction was ‘why did we not notice him before?’. well actually us joe public had because he’d had loads of exposure on his first audition. i’m just wondering if the producers picked up on this and have gone for a proper surprise factor with a similar reaction when he does a good bootcamp performance? it will make better telly than MC last year – but maybe i’m over speculating. we’ll soon see.

  • Shaun

    You could well be right Rob. It becomes all too predictable a lot of the time with X-Factor. So your theory could be spot on. I would hope so. I think from the very brief clip we have heard, you can tell he has a unique recording voice. I think the producers secretly have high hopes for him, and are looking to offer that surprise factor this weekend. It is a risky tactic, but maybe they decided not to edit his original audition as he really impresses at bootcamp which gets people talking.We shall soon see over the weekend. I think the guy could go the furthest out of all the rumoured guys going through to the live shows. No, I have been sat in the garden..Quality! lol

  • Henry8

    2 Shoes have upped their Essex image for bootcamp http://xfactor-updates.com/x-factor-bootcamp-2011-in-pictures/2-shoes-2/

    It will be interesting to see at what stage they are de-Essex-ified by the judges and stylists. If that never happens then they are just intended as a joke act. However it is too good a story/journey for the show to miss, in fact it’s probably been scripted.

    The fact that they are accomplished, but it is not mentioned, and that Charley is under management, reminds me of Katie Waisel. I’m sure, like Katie, that they were scouted by the show or introduced to the show by their management. However people found Katie irritating whereas I think they’ll warm to 2 Shoes. Even if people don’t warm to them they could be kept in the show for a while, like Katie.

    I hope they keep up their ludicrous sense of humour and infectious laughter.

  • Judging by the amount of Frankie Cocozza fan pages being set-up on twitter, it looks like he’s going to have a rabbid fanbase & could last a long time in the competition.

  • Rob

    appears that there is plenty of buzz in for the acts i’ve backed at high odds JD, JM, 2S, FC. however, i’m worried about amelia lily! the problem with her i find is i can’t find a previous contestant that fits her persona to gauge how far she is likely to go. i’ve not got anything on her. is she really a contender? would like to cover her but her price is a bit skinny. as the others come down in price is she likely to drift? would welcome some advice at what might be her trajectory and the best time to cover her?

    • Andrew

      Rob – Laura White, maybe? Not an exact comparison by any means, but in the sense that in another exceptionally strong year for the girls, she didn’t have Diana Vickers’s opinion-dividing quirkiness or Alexandra Burke’s heart-warming self-confidence journey. She was just straightforwardly good. I seem to recall she was up with the market leaders until her shock early exit.

      • Tim

        I think Amelia will be more of a Lucie Jones, although Laura White is also a good comparison. She just doesn’t have any kind of journey to go on which is essential for a female in this contest.

  • miskynoodle

    They are so keeping JAMES MICHAEL under wraps,have you seen the pics of him @JamesM_Army on twitter?the guy is so handsome!!..Actually to the point, they revealed something in heat and shown pics, and they tried their hardest to only give a peak of james s face.me smells a rat!An ace up their sleeves i think!

  • Tim

    Does anyone know why the X Factor winner market isn’t available on Betfair? Just signed up to find it’s not there!

    • Steve

      I think its an ethical decision Tim, they know as we do that certain acts are through and certain ones aren’t so they are protecting their customers from “insider” dealing. The bookmakers don’t see it that way and will quote prices for acts that customers want to back. Of course by researching the x factor you are in the loop and can take advantage of any bookmakers compiling errors. Betfair open their market on confirmation of the final 16 acts.

  • Tim

    Oh right, thanks! Makes sense. Betfair’s loss could be Stan James’ and Boylesports’ gain as I’ve just backed Janet Devlin and James Michael on those sites respectively.

  • Boki

    Guys, regarding the question 8, what would be the worst 4th over choice for our ‘Lois 1st out’ bet? Who could actually harm the groups?

  • Boki

    I’m really sick of this Frankie and the way they push him tonight…

    • Daniel

      Couldn’t agree more, Boki. Confirms my suspicion from the auditions that he’s there to provide tabloid interest as a ladies’ man rather than for his vocal abilities.

      • Boki

        The question is: to back or not to back now at this price? I really can’t decide based on my non existant x-fac history 🙂

        • Daniel

          I see Frankie as a good contestant to ‘lay’ – in other words, bet against him winning – when the lives start. He is not vocally talented enough to reach the final, and once he has tried it on with those other contestants who are suitable, surely interest in him will wane.

          • Boki

            Oh sorry, I didn’t make myself clear enough, I was thinking to back now and lay later when odds drop, I have no doubts he’s not winning. But I can’t really judge how low he will go…

  • Steve

    Dont think he will go very low and choosing the moment to lay will be difficult. He did get a lot of coverage tonight so they must think he will get them publicity but his singing was someway below par, a disappointing night for all the boys really.

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