X Factor 2011: Week 1 Elimination Betting – What Does The Big Twist Mean For Punters?

Going into the first live show, it’s a case of “let’s twist again, like we did last autumn”. Very much like last autumn, in fact. Then, we thought we were getting 12 acts and we got 16. Now, we thought we were getting 16 acts and we’ll get 12. It was announced at midnight on Thursday that there will be no public vote this weekend, with each mentor instead eliminating one act from their own category in Sunday night’s show.

Through the course of Friday, markets were opened on first eliminations in the respective categories – and with plenty of differences of opinion among the odds compilers. This puts punters in the challenging situation of being able to bet on an outcome which is entirely in the show’s control, rather than an outcome which requires guessing not only the show’s preferences but how they will be refracted through the prism of the public vote.

Here’s how we see each of the categories.

Starting with the boys, we now have an obvious explanation for James Michael’s previously intriguing lack of screentime. This makes him an obvious favourite for the chop (best-priced 11/8 at the time of writing; odds-on in places).

Conversely, there is surely (and unfortunately) no way that Frankie is going anywhere after all the show has invested in him so far. It’s hard to understand why Skybet are so stingy at 4/1, and even the top price of 7/1 looks much too short.

We made the case in our 1-16 prediction article for why we think Marcus Collins (3/1 for an early bath) is the strongest of the boys – versatility, vocals and stage presence. However, we are under no illusions that producers would want him as the winner – he is a long way from being from the most marketable of the 16 acts as a recording artist. And, as has been widely commented on, everything this year points to producers wanting a girl to win it.

We can only hope that producers will want to keep Marcus around to put on a show for viewers week after week, rather than to nobble him before he gets the chance to build up a head of steam with the voting public. The song choice will tell us a lot here, as indeed it will for all the other acts – letting him loose on an upbeat, feelgood number on Saturday night will likely signify he’s being kept, while saddling him with something forgettable will be our clue that he may be about to be cut off at the knees.

William Hill briefly offered Craig Colton at 8/1 when the market opened, but we were too slow to get it. Still, the current top price of 6/1 with Skybet looks more than fair (he’s as short as 5/2 elsewhere), as we reckon it’s probably between him and James. If James is allowed his guitar and Craig looks as uncomfortable on the big stage as he did in his audition, that could tip the scales.

The lack-of-screentime argument is also a reason for thinking that Sophie Habibis (generally odds-on but evens in places) may not be long for this competition. But there is also a theory that the big twist may end up feeling like something of a letdown if it’s all the obvious acts who are dumped. And if there is to be a headline-grabbing departure, the exceptional strength in depth of the girls category this year means that this is arguably where it is most likely to be found.

Having said that, we would be amazed if Janet (16/1) is dumped for the sake of a day’s worth of cheap headlines after all the effort show has put into her so far. Could it be Misha (9/4) or Amelia Lily (9/1)? Neither would surprise us greatly, but equally neither is big enough to tempt us to get involved.

In the overs, Sami (currently top-priced 7/4 with Ladbrokes but odds-on elsewhere) is the obvious choice, as she was the late substitute.

But is she too obvious? After all, if we postulate that this twist was in the offing before the final 16 was decided, then she can’t have been the one originally intended to be sacrificed. The question is: who out of the original four would have been in line for an exit if Goldie had stuck around?

One of Goldie or Johnny (4/1) is surely a possible answer, as we always thought that two end-of-the-pier acts in one category was pushing it even for this show. Or perhaps nervous, lyrics-forgetting Jonjo was never intended to make it past the first week? If you forced us to have a bet in this category then we’d be on Jonjo at 7/2 with Coral, but we’re not confident enough in our reading of this situation to put cash at stake.

One thing we’re pretty sure about is that it won’t be Kitty, who has very curiously been installed by Coral as their 9/4 second favourite. Bet365 have her at 9/1, four times Coral’s price, though the signs are so strong that producers have lined her up to be one of the talking points of the series, we wouldn’t be tempted even at 90/1.

Finally, the groups. Rhythmix have been put in as one of Bet365’s 11/4 joint favourites here but they look like a lay to us – or they would if Betfair had opened a market on these per-category eliminations, which is not the case at the time of writing. [UPDATE: Betfair markets now open – girls, boys, overs, groups.]

Our slightly sordid reasoning is that, given all the effort the show have put into setting up Frankie Cocozza as a Don Juan, producers will presumably be hoping he will provide some juicy tabloid fodder by copping off with someone or other among the other finalists. While we have no idea about the Rhythmix girls’ tastes in arse decor, getting rid of them would approximately halve Frankie’s list of conceivable conquests. We don’t see the show doing it.

Besides, even without the Frankie factor, girl groups tend to be good for generating tabloid stories. That’s the only explanation for the otherwise dull Belle Amie being given some running order help early in the last series.

The other joint-favourites at 11/4 are our each-way selection for the whole competition, 2 Shoes, and here we feel the decision will rest very much on how producers are viewing Charley’s pregnancy. On the one hand, it could be seen as a great feelgood story. On the other, the show may not want to run the risk that the stresses of the competition could be suggested to be endangering Charley’s health. We simply have no idea what their thoughts are on this.

What we do believe is that two boy bands is one too many, and if they’re relaxed about Charley being up the duff, the most logical way to balance the groups category would be to get shot of either Nu Vibe or The Risk.

As we mentioned in our last article, the editing of bootcamp and judges’ houses suggests that Nu Vibe is the boyband producers are most interested in. So we’re surprised to see them at the shorter price of the two – as short as 15/8 with Bet365, biggest at 7/2.

The main reason to think The Risk will not be ejected that it could embarrass Tulisa, given that she personally cobbled them together from leftovers in Mykonos.

We don’t see this as too much of a problem, however. After all, Saturday night will be the first time this lot have performed together in public, and it would be easy for Tulisa simply to say that she’s disappointed they haven’t gelled. We reckon it’ll be either The Risk or 2 Shoes, and the only cash we’ve parted with today is to take a little bit of 4/1 about The Risk with Hills.

Three more observations about the big twist need to be made.

First, unlike last year’s twist, this one is great news for punters. Once we get past this week, it’s single eliminations all the way to a four-act final, or at most one double elimination if we are to revert to a three-act final. The threat of the lowest-placed act being eliminated before producers have had the chance to save them, which plagued the next elimination market last year, has receded. The show will remain in control.

Second, it is interesting that the show is willing to give up a week of phone vote revenue. What this suggests to us is that the phone vote numbers aren’t that big in the opening weeks, and build as the competition progresses. This is another reason to keep stakes small on the elimination markets in the early weeks, when the margins are tight and producer intentions still remain murky.

Thirdly, what does this mean for punters who had already dabbled in the first elimination market? Betfair quickly voided their market and refunded stakes – which is probably the right decision, as clearly anyone who bet pre-twist was betting on very different understanding of the situation.

Other bookies have pulled their markets, but are they all going to refund stakes, or will some let the bets stand? After all, one of the four acts eliminated on Sunday will be eliminated “first” – it depends on which mentor Dermot starts with. We are waiting to learn from bwin, for example, whether our very speculative, small-stakes pre-twist dabble on James at 40/1 will be refunded or left to stand.

If you have intelligence from other bookies on their policies, do share it in the comments box below. And, of course, let us know what you’re making of the twist and where you think the value lies.

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34 comments to X Factor 2011: Week 1 Elimination Betting – What Does The Big Twist Mean For Punters?

  • Ronnie

    Hello Daniel,

    I had backed Jonjo to be first eliminated at 12/1 with Boyles prior to the twist being revealed. I have just contacted them and they have given me the choice to have the bet voided or to let it stand on the understanding that it would be subjected to a four-way dead-heat rule.

    Just thought I’d share with everyone how they are planning to settle the early elimination bets. I voided mine as more prudent to just back him at 3/1 to be the over to leave.

  • mark

    hi daniel do you think coupling jonjo kerr 7-2 and sami brokes 7-4 to be first over to leave pays around 4-6 is a great bet cant see them letting jonny or kitty go lump on i am

    • Andrew

      Hi Mark – I’d be a little bit nervous about Johnny, myself. Would be amazed if they got rid of Kitty, but if they do value the soldier backstory, and if Sami puts on a show, then I think it’s just about possible Johnny could go.

  • Boki

    Stan James voided my 1st elimination bets.
    Still no news from Betfred.

  • Dan

    Spoke to Betfred on the phone, the guy didn’t seem to know what I was talking about in regards to the format change but he insisted the market would be settled on the first to go. However, like I say, he didn’t seem to understand.
    Betfair have also voided.

  • beckham76

    think the biggest certainty to go is 2 shoes.. 1 is 4 or 5 months pregnant… sure the top 12 do the concerts so if 2 shoes became 1 shoe for them think there be bits of a let down.. plus part of me thinks this is the reason for the twist to be certain to be rid of them ive got my max bet on them at 5/2 to go.. hopefully that will get me my melanie mccabe money back,..had 33-1 25-1 and 16-1 for magic mel… of the others im hoping squeeky man goes..shouldnt have got past group stage at bootcamp… forgot lyrics and hasnt reached the heights of audition.. think amelia should go.. as janet is the producers choice.. and kelly loves ”misha B” and wants bad chicks album now…and that leaves amielia who i think shouldnt have been in top 4 anyway.. melanie was loads better..and jade who i didnt rate.. boys the obvious 1 if was singing compo its suppost to be is frankie.. he really is a poor mans ollie muirs.. and considering olly muirs is a poor mans robbie and robbie is a poor mans mick jagger..etc but i think 3 lads from liverpool will have to be brought down to 2 otherwise they would be splitting the vote every week and gary wouldnt want to be left with 1 act after 3 weeks..! graig colton is gary’s secret weapon..and raved about him so think we can rule him out…. and as gary said james was last 1 thru to judges house and a gamble and he dosnt gamble..maybe he was put thru so it wouldnt be a hard choice to chop 1 as it wouldve been if he had picked the john wilding?? so thats my 4… james,2shoes,johnny,ameilai prices i got with corals.. 6/5, 5/2, 7/1, 10/3….
    add me on twitter @beckham76

  • Noisy

    The benefit to giving little screen time is that the acts find it harder to build up a fan base. They may not need to get rid of James yet as he could still struggle for votes so could take the opportunity to get rid of Marcus who’s a stronger contender to upset their Plan A (Janet).

    Same goes for the girls though depends if they’re keen to have a girl winner or Janet in particular. I could see them getting rid of Amelia if they don’t want her to win or Sophie if they’re happy for any girl winner.

    I agree the groups will be 2 Shoes if they’re worried about the pregnancy or The Risk if they’re not. I think Rythmix should be safe as I think they’d rather have a girl and boy band than two boy bands (if 2 Shoes stay in).

    The overs won’t get rid of Kitty but any of the other 3 could really go. Probably Sami or Jonjo. None will threaten Janet so are just there for a few weeks’ entertainment.

  • Noisy

    Does anyone know any bookies offering multiples on the 4 1st eviction markets?

    • beckham76

      well im certain you will be able to have multiplys ive had 1 bet on a single on 2 shoes… but im going into town in bit so will let you know..

  • Simon "le chat"

    The way to approach this is to decide in each category who the producers want to keep, but also who the judges want to keep. This is no deadlock, the judges will be judged by their decisions as much as the acts. Gary barlow certainly wont be told who to pick so lets start with him
    BOYS: Craig is the ebst voclaist so he stays. Franky and his bum should have a few weeks to run until the public get wise to his lack of talent so that leaves Craig and James Michael. Craig is a better voclist than James but he doesn’t look the part and to be brutaly frank, he is too porky. Craig to go (nap)

    GIRLS: Janet Devlin has to stay after all the effort the producers have put into her. Amelia was pretty sensational, she looks the part and dresses it. Misha is a brilliant singer and Sophie habbibis is the dark horse. Who goes then? Amelia could with a “not quite mature enough” “come back next year” but I have just watched her judges audition again and she has fab stagepresence even if she is not that good a vocalist.I listened to Mishas again and she doesn’t have that much to recommend her and to be brutal doesn’t have the looks to make up for it. Misha to go.

    Groups. 2 shoes will be kept BECAUSE one of them is expecting. There are an awful lot of mothers out there ex-mothers and they will all be rooting for them to show what expectant Mum’s can do. There is Rythmmix who were put together with the cabbage patch doll who are pretty rubbish to be honest leaving Nu Vibe and The Risk. It has to be Rythmmix because girl groups have a rotten record in the competition and if Tulisa doesnt chuck them tomorrow night, she could find herself with two acts down after two weeks. As they say in Bridge “throw a loser on a loser” so bye bye cabageparch and friends.

    OVERS: Well it’s not just the acts on trial here but Louis Walsh himself. The bloke is a complete and utter pratt,beaming with that sickly grin nodding out of beat to the music and hiding behind a pair of sunglasses to give the bad news to the dissapointed acts – what a totaly dick. Anyhow he has to make a choice and as he couldn’t tell the difference between a nightingale and a wherewolf with laregitis on the face of it anything could happen. However Louis is fighting for his existence and will do as he is told. Soldier soldier Jonjo is very average but the producers will want to leave it for the public to reflect his limitations in the public vote so Jonjo is safe. Kitty is brilliant entertaiment and the act we all look forward to seeing – she istotally off the wall and good for the ratings and likely to get off with one of the other acts so keep her in. That leaves “end of pier” Johnny and Sami Brooks. No contest because Sami can sing reasonably well and Jonny cannot sing at all. I’ve just watched Samis live performances again and she is ok, she could survive a few weeks yet on the “porky” vote.
    Johnny is pretty awful, nice guy but a nerd and if the song choice “Believe” is to be believed, that will lay the ground for his expulsion.

    SO that is a £1 lucky 15 on the following acts to go
    Craig 7/2
    Misha 7/4
    Rythmix 9/4
    Johnny Robinson 4/1

    One final note of caution: This is (supposed to be) a singing competition and we havent heard the performances that are (supposedly) deciding the contestants future. It is live TV remember and that is something the judges cannot control so if one really cocks up (like that young lad did at the judges house) it could throw everything back into the mix. The odds may well change by tomorrow -as they should- but these are my selections and I shall go for a few beers now and then put the loot on at William Hills.
    Good luck all!

    • beckham76

      ex-mothers bit harsh…but i thing rythmix have huge potential dont forget the 2 boybands and rythmix have the most improvement and as solo artists have their own fans base so as a group have more voting power..i personlly think 2 shoes is the best and easiest act to pick out the 4..and misha is very popular with kelly…and will be given the big note.. so im sure she will have the wow factor..but hey im excited again as been on a downer since Magic Mel McCabe went….i agree with louis is fighting for his job… have been watching xfactor usa and not 1 novelty act went thru unless you count dexter (to judges house) but even he is better singer than 3 of the 4 acts in our overs…so why do we have to have the shite in the birth place of xfactor? pfffftttttt

  • alexkerr49

    What do the amounts of money refer to under the decimal odds when looking at the specials bets.

    They don’t appear to be there under football

    • Andrew

      Hi Alex – on Betfair, you mean? Those are the amounts available to back/lay at those odds. You’ll see them on the football markets too if you click “view full market”.

      • alexkerr49

        Thanks for quick response Andrew,

        So i the backers stake I enter has to be this value, the one in the blue/pink boxes. Or is it some sort of average based on the full market.

        • Andrew

          No problems Alex. What it means is you can bet up to that amount. So if, say, there is £10 available to back on an act at a certain price, you could bet anything up to £10 and the bet would be made immediately. If you wanted to put £15 on, then the remaining £5 would not be matched immediately – it would wait to see if someone else came along who was willing to lay you that £5.

  • Tim

    I think the following will go;

    The Risk
    Craig/James (Hopefully Craig)

    Had a small bet on The Risk to go and a lay on Rhythmix.

  • geoff

    any bookies takin multiples on the eliminations

  • mark

    2 shoes now favs 2 go been a bit ov a plunge on them i reckon it will be 2 shoes sami brokes james mickaeal and sopie habbis gona wait till after the live show 2nite then il be avin my first big bet ov the series after ive seen who theve set up by the song choices they r given gud luck if youre havin a punt

  • Boki

    Sofabet team, can you please comment the songlist from judge’s site !!!

  • Simon "le chat"

    I reckon a £1 bet on the outsiders to go in each group will make more money than a £1 bet on the favs to go. X Factor makes up it’s own rules as it goes along.
    however for all the drama of evictions, the snowflakes of time quickly cover the tracks of the evicted,
    I stand by my selctions though

    Craig 7/2
    Misha 7/4
    Rythmix 9/4
    Johnny Robinson 4/1

  • James Michael is getting some action to be first boy eliminated. I think he will stay. With the judges questioning Barlow’s song choice I dont think Barlow will want to concede that he picked the wrong song by eliminating James. Same with Cocozza, he changed his song so no way he would get rid of him (but he is safe anyway). Im bettin on Craig Colton whilst odds are at 4/1 on betfred

  • And Kelly is gonna have a very hard job eliminating one of the girls!

  • Boki

    My conclusions from tonight:

    Jonjo worst performance and deserved to go.

    James vocally shaky and guitar didn’t help, deserved to go.

    I had a combo bet on Sophie and Amelia but switched to Amelia during live, I think she goes, surprised nobody mention her occasional false singing but it seems to be decided already by giving her 1st slot (and last to Janet). Anyway, worst girl performance to me.

    Groups not yet clear to me. I understand my risk with the Risk didn’t pay off, they were great on stage. For the rest have no idea, 2shoes are so low now but it’s not decided yet (I hope) because Gary’s karaoke bitching might be setup for clash between judges later. Nu-vibe then ?

    • Andrew

      Great minds think alike on the groups, Boki, as you’ll have seen from the article just posted. Sorry we got in too late to respond on the song choice spoilers.

  • Voyeur

    Simon..how have you got any money left to bet? Ru sure ur not working for the bookies!or on drugs!!
    The bookies have got this pretty well nailed!
    You can pickout out of the bottom two bookies selections! But that’s about it!
    Boys: Frankie can’t sing but it would be very brave to kick him out, Craig had a great performance, so it’s between Marcus and James. Makes sense for James to go as Marcus is a more upbeat showman, the other three are more moody singers!
    Girls: Janet and Misha going…unthinkable!
    Overs: most tricky…who knows with Louis picking! Sami should be safe, and for some reason Kitty? Very brave Louis to ‘Dis’ the Soldier vote!
    Groups: Risk are safe, and probably NuVibe for the potential hysterical girly vote!
    2 shoes are awful, Rhythmix are worse!

  • Mark

    William Hill have just voided my 1st Elimination bets and refunded my monies 🙂

    It took some doing though, had to reference their special event betting rules (sections d & f) and explain the difference in odds a made my bet against prior to the “twist” (1:16 to now 1:4) and betting environment being none public vote and isolated to category no the whole event.

    Good Luck All

    • Mark

      Ha ….Thought i would re-post as it did not read good england 🙂 Sorry!

      William Hill have just voided my 1st Elimination bets and refunded my monies

      It took some doing though, had to reference their special event betting rules (sections d & f) and explain the difference in odds made against my bet prior to the “twist” (1:16 to now 1:4) and betting environment being none public vote and isolated to category not the whole event.

      Good Luck All

  • beckham76

    well after last night the only act im worried about that will spoil my lucky 15 and acca is jonjo! just wish louis would vote fairly and get rid of the drag act johnny…he made me cringe! but surely ameeilia,james michael go along with 2 shoes? ive had a lumpy bet by my standears on 2 shoes as i mentioned above so surely i get my money back from melanie mccabe anti post? we will see in litterally half hour!

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