X Factor 2011: James Michael and Melanie McCabe – How Much Does Audition Screentime Matter?

One of the trickiest aspects of this year’s X Factor for punters is the fact that two otherwise strong-looking contenders, James Michael and Melanie McCabe (now named by Judge’s spoilers as the fourth girl through to the lives and down to 11-1 this morning), had such a tiny amount of screentime in the audition shows.

Why should punters worry about an act’s lack of audition show screentime? Two related reasons. In the short term, it gives them less of a chance to establish a fanbase early and thus make a running start in the lives. In the longer term, it suggests the producers are not interested in helping them to win. And while it is certainly possible to win this show without the goodwill of producers, it makes life a whole lot more difficult.

How big a hill is it for the laconic Liverpudlian and the big-voiced Dubliner to climb? Before putting it into historical context, a quick trawl of youtube lets us compare how they shape up against the other auditionees who Judge tells us are going through. The figures are youtube clip lengths in minutes and seconds, with the auditon show in which they featured in parentheses:

Frankie Cocozza (1) 6:34
Craig Colton (2) 6:52
James Michael (5) 1:05
Marcus Collins (5) 5:43

Janet Devlin (1) 8:06
Misha Bryan (2) 8:00
Amelia Lily (5) 6:44
Melanie McCabe (6) 0:52

2Shoes (6) 6:03

Kitty Brucknell (1) 6:40
Johnny Robinson (2) 6:53

Clearly, James and Melanie have a vast screentime deficit to make up. The same applies to two of the manufactured groups who Judge has in the lives, too – Nu Vibe and Rhythmix. Only The Risk contains anyone who had respectable screentime in the audition shows (Derry Mensah got 6:39 and The Keys, featuring Charlie, got 3:25, both in show 2).

What does history suggest about the chances of overcoming such a hurried introduction to the voting public? Courtesy of youtube and The Bitch Factor audition show archives (and, while we’re at it, building on Euan’s great analysis suggesting that acts shown in the first couple of shows tend to do disproportionately well), here are the same stats for the eventual top four in the last five series:

Matt Cardle (2) 4:03
Rebecca Ferguson (5) 7:25
[One Direction] Liam (3) 6:11 / Harry (6) 4:11
Cher Lloyd (3) 5:55

Joe McElderry (1) 5:51
Olly Murs (4) 6:28
Stacey Solomon (1) 4:27
Danyl Jonhson (1) 6:30

Alexandra Burke (2) 4:48
JLS (1) 3:13
Eoghan Quigg (2) 4:18
Diana Vickers (2) 3:49

Leon Jackson (3) 2:48
Rhydian Roberts (6) 3:07
Same Difference (1) 3:03
Nikki Evans (1) 3:42

Leona Lewis (1) 1:02
Ray Quinn (2) 2:51
Ben Mills (4) 2:44
McDonald Bros (5) 1:14

The good news for backers of James and Melanie is that Leona Lewis’s audition got barely a minute in 2006, so there is a precedent.

The bad news is that we appear to have experienced Zimbabwean levels of screentime inflation since Leona’s day, when none of the eventual contenders got even three minutes. Part of the reason is the introduction of the live audience in 2009, which has turned auditions into much more of an event in themselves, with opportunities for judges and acts alike to milk the crowd. But the trend was evident before then (all of 2008’s eventual contenders got 3-5 minutes) and has continued since (this year we have Janet topping the 8 minute mark).

Comments to previous posts have featured a good deal of speculation about the possible explanations for James’s lack of screentime, in particular. Here are three theories that have been floated:

1. He was a late choice for the lives.
This explanation doesn’t wash, however – Steve makes the point that James’s audition was screened six days after judges’ houses for the boys were filmed. So even if James was a last-minute choice for the lives, producers must have had plenty of time to re-edit his audition and give him a more memorable introduction. They could also have started to make up for lost time with the bootcamp episodes edit, and they didn’t.

2. Producers are hoping for the “surprise factor”.
This one was raised by Rob. Perhaps James is being kept relatively anonymous not because producers are apathetic about him but so that, when he turns in an amazing vocal to justify his place in the lives, we can all be shocked as well as wowed. If this was going to happen, though, as Rob says, bootcamp would have been the obvious time. It is still a possibility for judges’ houses, but this would be leaving it rather late to build the initial fanbase.

3. The rest of James’s audition wasn’t that good.
Nicky in the comments notes that James’s vocals were less than stellar in parts during the second bootcamp episode, and wonders: “Maybe the sparse air time isn’t about disguising his ability, but rather his lack of it, as he is rather lovely!” Viewers of the Xtra Factor on Sunday night will have seen extended clips of James’s initial audition, from which it is clear that they showed the best bit on the main show.

Here at Sofabet, we frankly still don’t know what to make of James. In our opinion he’s comfortably the best-looking of the boys, and probably the second-best vocalist after Marcus. His “garden” response at auditions suggests he was in the queue when dry scouse wit was being handed out, though possibly behind Craig Colton. We regret not backing him at 25/1 straight after his audition (obviously, as we could then look to lay it off when the Betfair market opens), and we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him shape into a major player. But can we back him at around 8/1 given his lack of screentime?

As for Melanie, it is even harder to know what to think. In the comments, DJ Sunset’s Love Child notes that she “has the power voice that goes down well in this format”, as amply evidenced on youtube. But why has she been kept under wraps in the audition show and bootcamp edits, to an even greater extent than James?

One possible theory is suggested by a story which appeared in the press in late August, quoting an “insider” as saying that Melanie and Janet “have been getting on like a house on fire”. As we noted in our review of bootcamp episode 2, the evidence of the editing so far strongly points to Janet being this year’s Plan A. Could it be that Melanie is being lined up to be a bit-part player in Janet’s story, providing a heartwarming subplot of friendship transceding rivalry to occupy the VTs in the early weeks?

Then, if Melanie exits before Janet, we have a tearful goodbye that provokes sympathy for Janet and ensures the maximum possible crossover of Irish support south of the border. This theory is more than a little bit left-field, but it would explain why producers have evidently been so keen to avoid Melanie building up too much of a head of steam from the auditions.

Melanie going through also evidently means that Jade doesn’t (barring any wildcard-type shenanigans, which can never entirely be ruled out). So we also need to ask why producers have been building up Jade so assiduously, if she is to be knocked down again in this weekend’s episodes. Dramatic effect is the simple explanation, as Ron suggests, though Rob theorises that the most obvious place for Scottish votes to go is across the Irish Sea.

What are your theories? Are there alternative explanations for what producers are up to with James and Melanie? Can either of them (or indeed Nu Vibe or Rhythmix) overcome the initial lack of screentime? As always, we warmly welcome your thoughts in the comments box below.

57 comments to X Factor 2011: James Michael and Melanie McCabe – How Much Does Audition Screentime Matter?

  • Malcolm

    Maybe as Melanie entered on a previous year but didn’t get through they kept an eye on her and decided to put her in late when there was a lack of a more middle of the road singer with talent turn up. The intervening years have clearly turned her into a more likely star this time round. The presence of Janet Devlin, Irish and obviously in from the start maybe made them hold back . If the two best females are Irish it could split the vote. All the other leading girls seem a bit alternative I think Melanie is in as the typical x factor all-rounder.

  • Daniel

    Some interesting points here Malcolm. I believe that producers keep their eye on previous auditionees with promise. Those that get through to the live shows have a surprisingly good record, Alexandra Burke being the most notable example. However, her return was heralded at her audition, with the judges reminding us of her previous appearance in the competition. In contrast, Melanie received no such coverage.

  • tpfkar

    Lowering the tone, Melanie looks blonde and cute.

    Janet looks innocent, Misha looks hard, Amelia looks goth chick.

    So if the producers wanted some eye candy, and were teetering between Jade and Melanie, not a tough choice.

    If it’s about appearance, no need to build her up during auditions, as preview photos for the live shows will pick her up just the same.

  • Ronnie

    Not sure how many times I have to say this but Melanie’s Irish vote will not be split – they are very patriotic and will go with Mel. N.Ireland is a different country! Mel will also be the most versatile – perhaps along with Amelia. One thing I do agree on is that to win she’ll need to build UK support and we haven’t seen too much of her yet and is relativity unknown compared to the others.

    • Andrew

      Hi Ronnie, I didn’t mean to suggest the Irish might vote for Janet while Melanie was still in – only that whichever of them leaves first, there is potential for some of their support to switch to the other, and a friendship between them might maximise this. Could of course equally work to Melanie’s advantage if she outlasts Janet.

      • Ronnie

        Ah, sorry Andrew. In that case I am in total agreement with you and that theory leads me to believe that if a girl were to win it can only be Janet or Melanie.

  • Donald

    Seems as if Melaine through, now while there will be some Irish support neither of these girls have the Louis mentor factor or the PR machine that comes with it which is unique, obviously Melaines connections can’t wait to jump on the bandawgon but he not Louis. Radio in Ireland more segmented now also. YouTube is tierd for users, just like myspace and Bebo were and with the increase in mobile all the kids know it gobbles their data so that worth bearing in mind. As for James well here is opinion, Gary is the most powerful mentor ever as he can fill stadiums all over the country to fans and perfect demographic to latch on to a male vocalist, which one is the question?? James looks the part but as rightly pointed out on here not the strongest singer. Groups ran amuck in Greece as I thought they would! too much for their mentor to manage that many, but it may increse airtime, but airtime and “Gary Factor” needs to be closely monitored because no producer or PR machine would try to beat it if it kicked in. Question is will they allow it, if they do only one winning mentor!

  • Ronnie

    Mel still 12/1 with youbet.com if anyone is interested

  • Panos

    LOL, I have compiled exactly the same info, even with the audition show in (brackets) hehehe. All I can say is that it will be very interesting indeed if 2011’s top4 confirms the longer audition slots given to eventual contenders.

  • Ron

    It’s curious that the producers went with Melanie’s weaker performance from the auditions, when her rendition of “One Night Only” got a standing ovation fom the four judges. Were they afraid that she might overshadow Janet perhaps and deflect attention away from their star turn?

    • Daniel

      Indeed Ron, especially as she looked strikingly pretty at auditions, I thought. You can hear the audio clip of Melanie performing ‘One Night Only’ here on Youtube.

      • Donald

        Hi Daniel, I picked up on her with people who had been at the auditions wondering on twitter when she would be on. There are a few on twitter close to the show or close to people on the show.Following the hastags has found them. Right time for main bet before value goes goes, I really fancied Azerbaijan musically and when you said it ticked allot of boxes with the fiery rain etc. I went for it despite the competition. So what now ticks the boxes with Jade gone, Gary as mentor has to be respected as mentioned earlier but can’t see the talent, it’s weak overall really so hard to call. Which ticks the most boxes at the minute? Amazingly Jade still 6/1 only at Paddy Powers.

  • Boki

    Regarding JM:

    I believe Gary was honest when he said that they didn’t spot him at first. I mean he has the looks and the voice but the stage presence is missing, just like he sings for himself and not to us. If Garry could improve that (as his mentor) JM will get wow effect, no doubt. If not then his current position as a best boy is not realistic.

  • malcolm

    saw an online poll this afternoon, only about 98 votes cast but interesting all the same …

    Janet 39%
    Melanie 34%
    Amelia 14%
    Misha 12%

    interesting that amelia and misha are lower than melanie, who has had a fraction of the airtime.

    • Panos

      although the order seems like the most probable scenario to me (allow for switching between mel and amel), we must keep in mind who the people voting in these polls are. probably a very different market to the masses who watch the live shows. these polls remind me a bit of OGAE votes for eurovision, i.e. even if proved right it’s probably by chance!!

  • Steve

    Agree very much with Daniel that plan a is Janet, they have done everything thus far to promote her. If the winners vote were now it would be a landslide.
    The choice of Melanie over Jade selection is for the reasons suggested Leon Jackson taught them that a half decent singer from Scotland can win due to the patriotic vote so why put through a decent one when you have another agenda.
    As Dan points out rightly Janet benefits from Jades departure initially and Melanies later if or when it happens. Viewers are at present in no doubt which category is strongest as Janet Misha Amelia and Jade all had the pimp audition slots. For the boys it was Frankie who had the pick of the auditions but not to promote his vocal abilities. Marcus and Craig did ok but no James at all. The groups we simply dont know and the overs are the lets laugh at
    Louis category.
    So as it stands at present Janet is plan a and plan b is see plan a.
    But as the saying goes there’s many a slip between cusp and lip, many contestants have gone from being the chosen one to a lets get rid one, because of their behavior in the house or there abilities didn’t meet expectations, Ben series 2 Laura White and Diana Vickers in 5 and even Matt Cardle last year in know Matt won but they would have stopped him if they could. So from now it is important to pick up any negatives in their attitude to Janet alternatively excessive positives towards some other contestant. The first opportunity to do this is this weekend who will it be who deprives Jade of her place my money says Misha but if it is Janet make note.
    apologies for length of post

  • DJ Sunsets Love Child

    I’m still convinced they have wrapped up Melanie and they will get the wow factor similar to McElderry when they let her loose as they did with him in the Lives.

    Ive heard she sings Listen by Beyonce at Judges house and if she has got through she has probably nailed it and that is her moment where the public sit up and she will be fresh and build up over the first few weeks of the Live shows.

    You have to remember she was 17 when she auditioned and i think theyve just wrapped her up so they can get some vocal coaching into her and some experience before the spotlight hits her.

    I predict she will be favourite after the 2nd live show IF she has got through.

    It doesnt look a strong X Factor, i cannot see the bands or overs winning, the boys dont look exceptional although Frankie and Marcus will have their followers. Amelia could be a bit of a Katie Waissel but she could also go the other way to be a huge contender if they take the grunge look away and tone her appearance down, Misha is a diva but not in the class of Leona or Alex and more of a Rachel Huylton or the or the other Rachel who both tailed off and were a miss with the public. Janet does look fragile and a bit of a rabbit in the headlights and i am not convinced Quirky artists can win (Aiden, Diana Vickers etc etc) or she has the fortitude or repetoire to become more than a marmite choice.

  • Henry VIII

    Re the Irish patriotic vote: ITV don’t appear to have yet published voting conditions, but are we sure Eire has the vote, and are we sure Northern Ireland protestants will vote for a Dubliner?

    There are Irish on the UK mainland, many of whom would vote for Melanie, but they wouldn’t compare to the 5 million Scottish electorate (who won’t incidentally transfer their votes from Jade to a Dubliner).

    The main thing is whether Eire votes or not.

    • Daniel

      Excellent point, Henry8. People in Eire were able to vote last year (fifth-placed Mary was from the Republic), but as yet no confirmation for this year. Where’s Ron when you need him? 🙂

      • Donald

        Louis had Mary PR machine hammered last year in Ireland and still only managed fifth so even with Ireland votes in or out will it really make a difference for the win? The votes Eoin Quig got were well impresive when revealed though.

      • Ron

        I believe Irish voting will be allowed once again Daniel 🙂 It was up and running for Britain’s Got Talent this year as well as XF 2010, and there is no reason to believe it will be cancelled this time.

        • Daniel

          Thanks for that Ron. Donald, I’m not sure a direct analogy stands up because Melanie is a very different kettle of fish to Mary, I would argue.

          • Donald

            I agree with what you saying, definitely a different kettle of fish to Mary.Shame she hasn’t had the coverage cos she can sing and well. Nobody close overall singing wise really now with maybe one exception in the overs. Janet is good but as Ron rightly pointed out Melanies more mainstream. It down to producers as usual but they have got it wrong before although they nearly beat Matt as you so well covered and he was so strong. Brings us back to the producers and songs.Want to try get an outright win bet on at decent odds but still too many variables.

  • Henry VIII

    DJ, Melanie didn’t need vocal coaching to produce the wow factor in auditions. She had the most memorable audition of anybody in the competition. Not only the audience, but all 4 judges, were on their feet applauding. The only auditionee who got the 4 on their feet. They asked for another song from her just for the pleasure – they had already decided she was a definite.

    By not showing it they wasted what would have been their best audition show and also neglected to garner a lot of public interest in following a great singer. They then neglected her at bootcamp.

    It’s possible they can catch up at Judges House but it’s also possible that they don’t want her to challenge their chosen.

    • Ron

      The only reason I can think of that they downplayed Melanie’s audition is they don’t want her to overshadow Janet or deflect attention away from her. They could easily have made a ten minute segment about Melanie’s audition and she would probably be challenging Janet for favouritism now, but it seems Janet is the “chosen one” this year. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Melanie outlasted Janet in the competition as she is far more mainstream.

  • DJ Sunsets Love Child

    Henry, Two points

    1 if they didnt want her to challenge their chosen she wouldnt be going through to the Lives.

    2 I feel with Vocal coaching she will be a bigger WOW and come from nowhere to the masses and be a surprise and a big story and make a huge impact. i caught small glimpses of a powerful voice in the edits shown and very unexposed talent that will be a huge improver under professional coaching by someone like Yvie. I think this is their secret weapon and their plan A.

    • Donald

      You may be right, it’s tempting with the prices still available. Cover with Gary as winning mentor for now. You mentioned “Listen” Beyonce is supposed to have an ITV special pre Xmas so with Rihanna song already done and now Beyonce could very well be plan A but it not viewing that way yet.

    • Andrew

      DJ, your point 1 is exactly it. If they don’t want her to challenge, why put her in the lives? She has so many positives (looks, voice, solid regional vote), she has to be a danger even if they give her the worst possible song choices, running order slots etc week after week. If they don’t want her doing well, and they’re worried enough to undermine her with a terrible edit in the auditions, then why take that risk of putting her through?

      However – if they do want her to challenge, then why handicap her with the terrible audition edit? Can it just be for the surprise factor in the lives? What else could be going on?

      • Ron

        It’s curious that they have downplayed her so much when she appears to be an obviously strong contender. My best guess is that they feared she may overshadow Janet Devlin, and she (Janet) is the one they want everyone talking about going into the live shows.

        The producers have a track record though of backing the wrong horse and it may happen yet again with Janet vs Melanie.

  • Boki

    A little off topic: I see no one mentioning Goldie, definite withdrawal or not ? If yes, who will take her place ?

  • Donald

    Goldie seems to be out and reports of Samantha Brookes replacing. Anyone else any info?

  • Jack

    For me, the biggest surprise is how much support there is for Melanie when people have seen so little of her. Having seen her videos, she is now my favorite contestant, but I find it hard to believe that so many people have seen her full audition.
    An update from the poll Malcom pointed out earlier, with 200 odd votes now:

    1. Janet (38%)
    2. Melanie (25%)
    3. Amelia (20%)
    4. Misha (17%)

    So, whilst there is not that much in it apart from Janet, Melanie is still second-most popular with far less screen time and emphasis than the others.

    Just find it interesting.

  • Malcolm

    Up until the fleeting glimpse of Melanie, there was no mainstream type girl this year. Comments on here (thank you Henry viii) back up my own hunch which really was based on a few fleeting glimpses of her. She seems to be a great x factor package. Interesting that Melanie Amaro in the US x factor is being raved about as the best audition ever, there is nothing odd or quirky about her. Just a very strong mainstream contestant.

    Maybe 2 melanies win x factor this year?

  • Ronnie

    Two other
    things in Mel’s favour over Janet:

    1) Stacey Solomon and Rebekah got hammered for not dancing and moving when performing and this might be Janet’s achilles too. A bit of a guess I suppose but she doesn’t seem to have the confidence to own the stage that I think Mel does. Of course this might change as Janet progresses.

    2) SyCo surely wants the winner to sell in the US and as the weeks tick by I think Mel (or even Misha and Amelia) will be seen to more likely to appeal to mass America than the niche market of Janet.

    It’s all speculation at the moment but, although I have backed Janet, she’s a wobbly favourite at the prices offered now.

  • Leroy Cain

    At the moment I’m just not sure about Janet and I don’t see her as being a great X-Factor type. How is she going to cope with ‘big band’ week for instance? Her potential lack of versatility and timidness could count against her in the live shows and her kooky Vickers-voice may begin to grate after a while…
    Melanie on the other hand seems a far more rounded, versatile and confident performer who could appeal to a wider voting demographic. If she plays her cards right and comes across as a ‘nice girl’ she could do a McElderry. I think there is just enough value in her price at the moment, particularly with a view to flogging it on down the line, so Mel is currently getting my money.

  • DJ Sunsets Love Child

    I think they are going for Impact with mel and have used Jade and Janet to get the publics attention in the auditions.

    Beyonce in the Live Final sets it up for a power voice to accompany here.

    Mel has already sung Only Girl in the World and Barlow called her a popstar… Remember Simon calling McElderry the same at teh auditions?

    Mel very definitely plan a for me.

    • tpfkar

      That’s an interesting idea. Perhaps the producers are concerned about the backlash heading towards the favoured contestants, as Matt Cardle won and Ronan Parke lost.

      Suppose they think that the 2 most marketable acts are Janet Devlin and Melanie McCabe. So go out of your way to favour one (JD) and to hide one (MM). That way, if the public vote for who they are told for they go for Janet, and if not they go for Melanie because the show isn’t promoting her as she should be.

      Win-win for the producers. Too far-fetched?

      • Panos

        tpfkar, im loving ur scenario more and more and more. could it be??

      • Andrew

        I don’t think it’s far-fetched at all – I think you could have hit the nail on the head. A bit of reverse psychology. Why not?

        Especially as the danger with such a plan would generally be an early exit for the secretly-favoured contender – and this doesn’t apply to Mel, because the Irish vote should see her safe for at least six or seven weeks even without any favourable treatment.

  • Ronnie

    Melanie is and has been getting a lot of press in Ireland so I find it strange that the two big Irish bookies are offering the joint biggest price on Mel @ 8/1 and the joint shortest on Jade @ 6/1.

    Surely they would have been made aware of the Irish Independent article a few days ago? And they must also be taking a lot of patriotic money on Mel so it seems insane to offer the joint biggest price and value Jade as a more likely winner. Do they know something we don’t? Could the Judge have been misinformed?

    Any views here?

    • Donald

      Hi Ronnie, I know for fact that Paddy Power shops in Ireland had betting on XFactor suspended yesterday afternoon. Don’t know about today. Jade has been well backed in Ireland at fancy prices as has Melanie especially in the past few weeks. We got a bit on when over for Listowel Races 16’s/20’s but not enough! Backed Jade also. Paddy Power may not want the flood of money on Melanie so keeping price out and happy to take on Jade at 6/1. Remember the hype they had on Jedward Eurovision and Mary not doing that this week. Janet is a bookies favouite if not plan A and it’s win only market. i think they afriad of Melaine more and keeping it off radar. Not everyone like the people on Sofabet. 8/1 could look huge for Melanie in a few weeks but there are risks she not plan A.

    • Ron

      I would say that Melanie has been getting a decent amount of coverage in the Irish press, but not exceptionally so. She has been hampered by having so little screentime and has probably flown under the radar even of the Irish viewers.

      Mary Byrne for example had FAR more coverage in the Irish media last year in the run up to the live shows.

  • annie

    i don’t think melanie is plan A,B or C to win. She does have a big voice, but that’s about it, i don’t think she has the spark or originality to win or to be really succesfull afterwards. no alexandra or leona pottential by far. i rather see har as treyc from last year, nice girl, big voice but just a bit boring.

  • Donald

    When you look back at previous winners its male 5, female 2. Both girls were good with Leona an exceptional talent and both girls had the urban music factor. Where does that really leave Janet and Melanie in overall winner prospects? Janet seems to be plan A and Melanie some sort of plan, but history stacked against them. Does Gary have any guy who could be a real contender or is it finally year of the group and producers have learned from last years mistakes.

  • Noisy

    I think the producers are keen a boy doesn’t win this year.

    They’ve gone for 3 from Liverpool to split the regional vote.

    The best male singer (imo Lascel Wood) was eliminated before the live shows.

    The ones they’ve put through have faults:
    Frankie – not great and will get annoying
    Craig – champion gurner when he sings
    Marcus – probably the best of the 4. Producers may try to get rid of him before the other 2 Liverpudlians while the regional vote’s still spilt
    James – limited airtime to mask lack of range if Nicky’s suggstions accurate (https://sofabet.com/2011/09/25/x-factor-2011-bootcamp-part-2/comment-page-1/#comment-4535)

    Overs look poor.
    Groups too early to tell but nothing impressive yet.

    I think they’re keen for a girl to win. Has Leona had most success in America (where the big money is)?

    • Noisy

      I don’t think it’ll be Janet either. Her voice will become way too annoying after a few weeks. Melanie or Amelia for me.

      • Boki

        If I summarise all the theories and plans A,B etc. I come to this:

        – They want a young girl to win this year.
        – They gather 3 of them (Janet,Mel,Amelia) with looks and good vocals, Misha is there for demographic reasons
        – They will try to push one but if she doesn’t get enough votes they switch to another and another
        – Bottom line: they don’t care which one will win as long as it’s a girl

  • Rob

    there seems to have been a bit of melanie mania broken out on here at the mo. i’m adopting a wait and see policy for this girl as i just don’t think there is enough evidence either way. she’s clearly good and mainstream, but no better in that respect than amelia lily imo. i still feel it’s janet’s to lose rather than a ‘superior’ talent taking it away from her. however, no one is indestructible – remember susan boyle. btw the marketing potential of an irish winner is huge, especially in the states… where even barack obama claims to be irish. i doubt the judges would be completely unhappy with an MM win.

  • JJ

    There is a bit of x-factor history here with Melanie that the majority of the public aren’t aware of. 2008 she was put through to bootcamp by Simon Cowells insistance at the age of 14. You may have your own opinions of our Si but he can spot talent. I think because of past series i.e. Alex burke come back. I think they did not want to thrawl out the same story, been there seen that scenario no emotive return. It may be they are being too cute in playing this one out, talent will win out whatever the back story. This is gona sound weird but the way she commits to her performances suggests something special may be in the offing. Time will tell. BTW I agree with Rob, an Irish pop princess mentored by an american icon. I can see Simon Cowell licking his lips as we speak.

    • Donald

      Hi JJ, great point re how she commits, it’s crazy how they are playing it. if it were my $ she the only one would sign with maybe Janet on a development deal. Rob comments correct and it very much Simon put here is one air of caution Sony have already spent a small fortune on The Script in US. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls looks like going No.1 in UK on Sunday, will shorten Fankies price, open up Betfair please. Goo Goo Dolls must be pinching selves.

  • JJ

    Donald thanks for reply, just to flesh out my theory. I think she may be at week 7/8 lives standard already (i.e. as has played out in previous seasons an act starting to believe in themselves), and the producers wanting to take credit for the growth have decided not to show what she is capable of. Kelly’s comments after bootcamp performance suggest this (“I think she is phenomenol”) which are totally at odds with the brief snippet shown (which is decidely average), it does not make sense!. I mean Kelly would have been to 100’s of auditions i’m sure, she definately would not be impressed by an average vocal as many pundits are agreeing melanie possesses. This leads me to believe that she may be the one to watch and worth a punt at 9’s.

  • JJ

    BTW – If Sophie Habibis did not make the lives. I would be tempted to stick dosh on her now for next years show, she is too good. The odds would make it worth the punt.

  • Dug

    I really think Melanie’s the one to watch at the moment. They hype around Janet makes me think too much of Diana Vickers/Cher Lloyd etc. I don’t necessarily see the journey to self confidence being a big enough push to get her past the finish line when she’s clearly already so formed in ‘what she does’ stylistically. She’s almost too much of a finished product already. Melanie does remind a lot of Alexandra Burke and the comparisons with screen time as well as coming back for a new series solidify that parallel. I completely agree with the above comment that perhaps the producers are holding her back so that the audience can be surprised when she makes her grand ascension to popularity. There is a certain extent to which the viewing audiences are becoming more savvy to the production processes and also more bored by the repetition in the format. I can really see Melanie as a ‘champion of the people’ – a democratically elected winner who the audience don’t perceive as ‘Plan A’ but who appears to deserve the public votes. Having said that, I still don’t really feel she (or Janet) will win this series. In seven years of the show, it has only ever been won by two kinds of people and the winner usually succeeds by a reasonable margin. We are, however, missing the kind of male singer who represents the Brookstein/Ward/Cardle (charming, a bit working class with a ‘surprising’ vocal talent) and as much as I like him, I don’t see Marcus fitting the bill (too fun, too smiley – he should do something about that if he wants to be taken seriously). I think it’s a really hard one to call but I’d still go out on a limb and say that I see Melanie going far. Possibly not further than Janet but I don’t see Janet as the eventual winner. I can’t swallow it. It sticks in my throat like her hiccuppy vocal…

  • Just read the entire thread with interest. Melanie is my first choice this year, to the point I don’t have a second. And even to the point I won’t want to watch, if the leaks aren’t true.

    I am praying, they’re keeping her under wraps, for a shock moment and to take credit for what is likely the biggest talent since Leona.

    If they’ve kept a lid on her talent, because they didn’t want her to make it. I’ll be utterly gutted. There’s just something about Melanie, I really want her to be in the finals and go on to win.

    Janet on the other hand, is already bugging me. Copycat voice, to mask a sub-par voice.

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