X Factor 2011: Week 1 Post-Mortem – A shocking lack of shocks

In the event, there were no real shocks in the Sunday show’s big twist (rather disappointingly – is the show losing its taste for headlines?)

All the odds-on favourites for elimination were eliminated, with the exception of Sophie Habibis. Kelly instead eliminated Amelia Lily, who was just a shade of odds-against in that two-horse race. Amelia would have been much more of a shock before singing first and failing to make much of an impression with an arrangement of Billie Jean that did wonders for David Cook on American Idol but worked rather less well for Austin Drage on this stage in 2008.

As Giles put it in a comment to the last post in which he correctly called the four eliminations, “I know it’s no public vote, but starting a show of 16 people will mean she was forgettable and no one will be that bothered when kelly chucks her out”. Indeed. Public vote or no public vote, that’s now seven out of eight series in which the first act to perform in the first show has found themselves either facing a singoff or going home.

Also in the comments to the last post, Malcolm asks: “Wonder if Sophie is now set up for a wonderful X factor ‘journey’?” A good question – it remains far from clear where Sophie is intended to go from here. They will certainly have to find something more interesting to say about her backstory than that she knows how to pull a pint.

Still, perhaps producers felt that this was more interesting than Amelia Lily’s supportive dad and inability to do her laundry? Perhaps they are hoping for her to generate some headlines by getting it on with Frankie Cocozza? Perhaps they perceive her as less of a threat to Janet Devlin, who looks more than ever like Plan A after her first show pimp slot, than Amelia would have been? Or perhaps they are going for a slow-burn with Sophie and see her as a potential winner?

We had speculated in yesterday’s post that the show could be cooking up some controversy by having Louis send home Sami after Gary rather theatrically promised to walk out of the show if he did, but alas this particular punch was pulled.

It’s intriguing to speculate about who might have been in line for the chop among the overs before Saturday’s performances, but Jonjo ultimately made it uncomfortable for Louis to make any other decision with a rendition of ‘You Really Got Me’ that made our pre-lives description of him in our 1-16 prediction article as “an anonymous and average performer who looks overawed on the big stage” look like the kindest review he was ever going to get.

Most disappointingly, we lost our long-odds each-way selection for the show, 2 Shoes, with Tulisa looking genuinely upset and struggling to make eye contact as she announced her decision. We are finding it hard to escape the conclusion that, as we had feared, Charley’s pregnancy may well have been the unspoken key factor here.

We maintain that in dramatic terms it makes no sense for the show to have lost 2 Shoes and kept two manufactured boybands. The show has given up Essex fun and heartwarming VTs about Charley’s ante-natal visits, for what? An attempt to drum up some “battle of the boybands” tension and perhaps some suspense about whether the members of Nu Vibe will stop bickering with each other? It is difficult not to feel some sympathy for the girls.

It is hard also not to feel a certain sympathy for James Michael, who was rather cruelly allowed to do a sob story VT on Saturday while Gary talked about how he’d never had the breaks. High up the list of people who haven’t given James the breaks are, of course, the X Factor producers, who gave him practically no screentime in the auditions, or at bootcamp, or even at judges’ houses.

It turned out that lack of audition screentime was highly significant here, unlike in Sophie’s case. We had wondered beforehand if biscuit boy Craig Colton might come to James’s rescue, but he turned out to be a tougher cookie than we had anticipated with a surprisingly strong rendition of ‘Jar of Hearts’. After that, it never looked likely that poor James’s ‘Ticket to Ride’ was going to be anything other than a return journey to Widnes.

At least our pre-lives selection to win the whole show, Marcus Collins, made it through after a thoroughly solid if somewhat unspectacular performance. We expect more is to come from Marcus. And Frankie Cocozza was never going anywhere – while we fully agree with Simon le chat’s comment that he is “not a good singer – he has a small range and no falsetto and sings in long breathy pants and that’s it”, Frankie’s voicebox is not the part of his anatomy that is keeping him in this competition.

Aside from the quadruple elimination, the big news of the weekend was the plunge in odds of three acts: Craig, Misha B and The Risk. But are any of them really conceivable winners? We’ll turn our thoughts to this in our next post in a few days time.

What are your thoughts on this, and what did you make of the twist? As ever, do let us know your impressions below.

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32 comments to X Factor 2011: Week 1 Post-Mortem – A shocking lack of shocks

  • Oli

    I think the right decision were made in terms of voting by all bar the Groups.

    I was in shock that 2 Shoes went, in my opinion they were the group most likely to suceed perhaps with the exception of the risk.
    Nu Vibe seemed less than mediocre to me and won’t girls be voting for Frankie?

  • Boki

    I had Louis as 1st manager to announce safe act (won) but also Kitty and Johnny as first safe acts at great odds. Damn, he picked Sami #$@$#@$#

    And of course damn 2shoes decision, they took 2 boy bands thru, stupid.

    Sorry for spamming guys, had to share my frustrations, otherwise good results for me (especially Amelia) but only to cover losses from some speculations long time ago (James, Melanie, 2shoes), learned a lesson there.

    Back to the newly formed winner market:

    Craig best boy at the moment!? Still don’t get it sorry, curious what you guys think but with his range of facial expressions found him repulsive.

    The Risk we all need to survive other over’s, glad they are looking good on stage.
    Marcus was too tight but plenty of time to improve.

    What intrigues me the most is Misha. I mean we all knew she has the voice, confidence, attitude and urban element so she showed really nothing much new wrt her audition. Yet she is 2nd favorite now while we wasted time and money with dark horses like JM or Melanie. Or am I getting it all wrong? Or is it simply because Amelia is out and they need a second girl to fight with Janet?

    These were my thoughts, now I’m gonna read this new article with pleasure 🙂

    • Jack

      I have to disagree with you on Craig. I thought his expressions showed his passion in the performance, but different people are going to interpret it differently.

      I have to say, I really thought Kelly would eliminate Sophie, but now she really has to potential to go far. Also thought that Nu Vibe would go, but Tulisa surprised me.

      The others were obvious – Jonjo was a dead man walking after his terrible performance yesterday and with Craig and Marcus doing well, James was the obvious choice to go.

      • Boki

        Without different interpretations would be no betting 🙂

        Seriously, have to admit I overreacted a little, he was far from bad but just think that those ‘expressions of passion’ could work against him if used in this way (e.g. Harel Skaat last year or even Amaury Vassili this year on ESC imo).

  • mark

    hope you all took my advise and lumped on amelia goin out at 6-4 still dont get all on here who thought 2 shoes were a good act 4 me the performance ov the night was craig really tricky this year to pick a winner but im sticking with plan a janet devlin gud luck 2 u all next week happy punting

    • mark

      Agree with the 2 shoes comment – I thought they were loud and annoying, and yes The Only Way Is Essex may be popular at the moment.. and no doubt a lot of the essex viewers also watch x factor which could have seen them go reasonably far

      but what are the comments about their singing abilities? They can’t sing!?!?!?

    • Donald

      Thanks Mark, did that, so back in front after my Janet and Melanie blips. Daniel had it right too with first on etc. It’s tricky this year, only two really sang well on Sat, early prt of show was like having Wagner after Wagner production wise!Gd luck for the weekend.

  • Andrew

    Nice one Mark and glad you covered losses, Boki (rather pleasingly I am in the same situation having just discovered that a few quid I’d had pre-twist on Jonjo to be first out has been settled in full). Agree with you about Craig and Misha. There is often some overreaction in the win market after the first week. And also fully agree with you Oli about 2 Shoes…

  • Tim

    I had a loss on The Risk and a win on laying Rythmix. Backed Amelia to go at the last minute which covered my losses.

    I did lose my bet on James Michael to win, but I have £40 on Marcus to win at fantastic odds.

    Thought I had some money on Janet but it turns out I hadn’t, so need to get on her at some point. Problem is I’m not sure when is the best time now.

  • tpfkar

    I just read through the predictions thread. 8 people put a prediction down before the first live show (3 only 1-4) And EVERYONE has lost at least one finalist.

    Looking back, why did they do the twist though? 3 thoughts.

    1. Maybe it really was all about getting rid of the shoes due to the pregnancy. But surely putting them out first to Billie Jean with pink hair would have done that easily enough, especially in a double elimination?

    2. For a headline? They eliminated the wrong acts then.

    3. The producers are now in a better position than for any other series. Before a single phone vote has been cast, they’ve tried the final 12 in a live show, understood the live reactions to them and got the newly remixed groups performing together without the chance of them going out first.

    If 3, is along the right lines, more chance of the producers getting their way this year.

    • Jack

      I had Amelia as the winner. Oops. However, it was without the twist. I agree that producers are in a great position. Hypothetically, they could get an act in the final with that act getting 0 votes in the entire competition. (assuming they follow the same format as last year – sing off in Semi-final)

  • mark

    I thought it was a bit of a boring show with no big upsets – I did expect Sophie to get through over Amelia as imo she is the better singer

    Personally I expect Sophie to do well, nice girl, sings well, fairly attractive and a nice backstory, her friend signed her up last year but she didn’t think she was good enough – the same friend signed her up this year and here she is!! Good backstory / journey to get support, useful for PVBs?

    My selections for the outright so far: Marcus Collins / Sophie Habibis / Sammi Brooke

    Groups don’t seem to win x factor, do well and trade at short prices but ultimately get done at the line

    I like Marcus, very good singer and seems genuinely likable

    • Boki

      I’ve always fancied Sami to be the best over, was disappointed when she wasn’t the 1st choice and went for 2shoes 🙁
      Anyway, I hope you are wrong and they ditch her in the process before the Risk 🙂

  • Simon "le chat"

    Well no big surprises there – Amelia a bit unfortunate to go – the judges see something in Sophie but goodness knows what it is. It remains to be seen if the public agree.

    Marcus is as big as 3/1 to be top boy which are frankly astonishing odds for someone way clear of a three horse filed


    I could imagine Marcus trumping the other three on their choice of sings but not the other way around – Marcus was really good with a difficult songand I like the way he is a slow burner. There will be at least one boy in the final, but probably one boy, one group and one girl. I reckon Marcus is nailed on to get to the final as top boy and William Hill are offering 100/30 so Ishall have some of that and Corals 16/1 for him to win.


    Don’t underestimate NUVIBE – well yes its difficulty to underestimate them because on the evidence so far they are poor but note waht Tulisa said when she almost apologised for putting them through about them “not sounding so good live but they were great in the studio”.
    Now apart from telling us that the acts were not judged judged on their live performances after all (which we knew anyway) what aree Nuvibe doing in a studio if it is not to record- and record what?
    I know THE RISK sounded miles better on saturday but they had the much better song- swop them around and you probably wouldnt have noticed the difference- except the top harmony for THE RISK was really shaky.

    I’m going to BUB Marcus ie Back Until Beaten. Christmas is an expensive time so looking forward to collecting a skipful of cash om finals evening.

  • Malcolm

    Kitty for me is a good bet to be last one standing in the overs. Of the weaker acts that could figure in the bottom 2, johnny, Rhythmix, nu vibe, and Sami are all more expendable .
    The Risk looked good to go furthest of the groups, Tulisa is staking her reputation on it. First impressions were that they were far more accomplished than any groups at this stage last year and they have only just started. Being Tulisa’s chosen ones will give them a lot of confidence.
    It will be interesting to see who goes on first out of the groups next week, I think it will be nu vibe. They are the most disposable.

  • Boki

    Kitty will be saved, no doubt, so we have indeed Johnny, Rhythmix, Nu vibe, and Sami as bottom 2 candidates (with Sami less likely imo). Who will be saved then?

    Me thinks:
    – Kitty vs field means Kitty saved
    – Johnny, Rhythmix and Sami would be saved against Nu vibe
    – Johnny vs Sami – tough for me to call, Johnny maybe?
    – Johnny vs Rhythmix – another tough for me, Rhythmix has to go but not yet?
    – Sami vs Rhythmix – girl band saved

    Basically, Nu vibe looks doomed if end in bot2, not sure about Rhythmix because they keep praising them.

    Or is it better to wait the bot2 announcement and react then?

    • mark

      Hello Boki,

      Agree with almost all, and like you

      – Johnny vs Sami – very tough to call, it should be Sami that would be saved purely on talent, but would they save Johnny for entertainment purposes – creates headlines and also interest in the show??

  • Boki

    There are some H2H on WillHill,
    Marcus underdog vs Sohpie, I’m hesitating since have already too much on him 🙁

    • mark

      1/2 Misha Bryan v Craig Colton 6/4

      6/5 Marcus Collins v Sophie Habibis

      1/2 Janet Devlin v The Risk

      3/10 Frankie Cocozza v Sami Brookes

      I like the look of that Boki, Marcus v Sophie Marcus at 6/5 looks value, although I did say Sophie was one of my selections..I fancy Marcus to progress further

      Sky amd Hills have to be in the bottom 2 markets – although I don’t think I’ll be touching either the bottom 2 market or elimination until we see the running order – running order has a massive affect on things – as im sure you know? 🙂

      Hills and fred have first act announced safe betting and freds have manager of first act announced safe

      I guess there’s no like standard that one of the groups are always announced safe first etc?


      Who will the judges save market too

      It’s a tad annoying that these extra special specials markets dont appear on oddschecker so have to check each book individually! 🙁

      • Boki

        Hi Mark,

        Rgd Sami vs Johnny still think Sami has least chance to end up in bot2 from 5 outsiders. But if they give her poor song/slot than everything changes of course, I guess we wait. Curious to see what Daniel/Andrew think about next elimination. Up to now have only small stake on Nu vibe.

        Thanks for those special markets, you have to check all sites indeed. Last time it was logical to me that Louis will first announce the safe act because. This time could be someone else? Have to think about it…

        • Andrew

          Hi Boki, We’ll do a weekend preview post on it but at this stage you’re largely trying to guess who’ll be nobbled in the running order given that Strictly is still on the other side for the fist 30 minutes of XF – that should have a big impact.

          Thanks for the link to the skybet market Mark.

          We’ve never studied the “first to be announced safe” question. I suspect it’s a bit of a crapshoot really but you could look through the Bitch Factor archives to see reviews of results shows from previous series and see if there are trends.

          • Boki

            Thanks Andrew,
            That’s correct, if we can guess who is becoming obsolete to them we can guess the beginning slots. Do you guys think it’s better to wait for the order to reveal and bet then because it’s an early stage of contest?

            1st safe is for fun really, but I looked into bitchfactor just in case. I have a weak conclusion from first few weeks of last 2 seasons. First 2 safe acts are usually somewhere in the middle of the voting table for that week.
            wk1 8,9 from 16
            wk2 8,7 from 14
            wk3 4,6 from 12
            wk1 8,4
            wk2 5,9
            wk3 7,5

            So at least it looks like top acts are saved to be announced later.

          • tpfkar

            Really interesting Boki – even the order the acts are announced in gives us big clues to the voting. Hadn’t even thought about this until your post.

          • Andrew

            Indeed – thanks Boki, will pay more attention to the order of safety this weekend than I have before.

            Small stakes does seem wise on eliminations at this stage. Nu Vibe and The Risk last weekend were a salutary reminder of how hard it is to be confident of reading producer intentions at this early stage.

          • tom21

            Thanks Boki. I think the announcement position that it would be really interesting to do an analysis of is ‘3rd bottom’ – i.e. the last person declared safe before the bottom 2 is announced. Logically that person should be the, or one of the, lowest ranked of those declared safe in order to create tension (if they choose one of the favourites in theory it’s obvious at that point who the bottom 2 are). Clearly there’s room for some double bluffing, but if there was a trend of unpopular acts who just missed the bottom 2 being the last act announced safe that would be useful to know for the next week…

        • Panos

          Tom, from a fast scan I’ve had of 2010, it seems that the last act announced safe is either one that the public THINK impossible to be eliminated (aiden, 1D) OR one that the public THINK is very possible to be eliminated (paije, wagner). The reality is that, despite of what the public perception was, the act announced safe last in each show actually scored televotes more or less in the middle of the field at that particular show. interesting.

  • Dug

    Righty ho, I’ve decided to have a second go at predictions, based on the fact that this weekend’s show was basically a glorified extension of Judges’ Houses and the live finals don’t start properly until next week.

    CRAIG – his performance was the surprise standout of the night

    JANET – I just can’t believe she’ll be able to keep it up, week after week, without boring people. Where be the surprise?

    MARCUS – Still too smiley to win

    FRANKIE – His Ed Sheeran cover left me reeling from the horrid realisation that the show, contrary to my presumptions, might actually be grooming him for an actual post-show career as a teen heartthrob and professional rasper.

    THE RISK – Because they seem less favoured than Nu Vibe and can actually sing in tune and they give off the air of ‘deserving it’

    SOPHIE – Because everyone loves an Adele soundalike

    KITTY – Because, well… she’s Kitty

    NU VIBE – Because they’ll fall out of tune and out with one another.

    MISHA – Because she’s too good/talented/unusual/intimidating to come any higher

    SAMI – whose vocal talent isn’t enough to get her saved in a sing-off against any of the other females in the contest.

    JOHNNY – Because there’s a feeling that he already did what he came to do. The Judges comments from the first show reminded me of the Wagner assassination. As if they were being careful not to be too critical lest a Team Johnny emerge to rage against the X-factor machine.

    RHYTHMIX – Because, let’s face it, they are a girlband.

  • mark the bookie basher

    whats everyone thoughts on next weeks eliminations a great start 4 me with ameilia goin out shud have had more on her as the more i think about it she shud have been 4-6 and not 7-4 which i took next week if kitty is in the bottom 2 the other contestant will be out here,s my thouhts overs jonny and sammy will have enough support 2 be safe the same with all the boys although 4 me marcus is definatly the weekest and the producers wont mind him goin i believe all the groups could be in danger and ive never seen such a over reaction in price on the risk winning 1 half decent performance and there now 5-1 3rd favs do me a favour il be laying them till the cows come home also 1-5 to be top group ridiculas price lay lay lay nu vibe might just get enough teenage girl votes but the girl band will need a hell ov a lot ov help 2 get through the girls janet as safe as houses misha shud be ok but you never no and i dont see where sophie fan base is gona come from im gona have small punts on marcus at 20-1 the risk at 50-1 sophie at 28-1 and a medium punt on the girl band at 7-1 good luck 2 u all if her havin a bet

    • Boki

      Where do you find such a price for the girl band ?

    • mark

      I agree the groups could all be in danger, Johnny and Sammi should be fine..yep – not sure why you say that about Sophie, she’s an attractive young lady and can sing well – that being said if she got 1st slot on next weeks show then shed prob be b2 and id back her to go

      Im surprised by you saying Marcus is the weakest? weaker than Frankie and Craig?! Frankie might be more marketable but in terms of talent Id have Marcus at the top of the boys group

      Still no point touching anything till we see the order!!

  • mark the bookie basher

    sorry just checked the latest prices rythem mix are now 7-2 sophie 18-1 and the risk 66-1 marcus still 20-1

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