Why we think Craig Colton will not win the X Factor

We’ll admit it – we underestimated the biscuit boy. When we reviewed Craig Colton’s first audition, we assumed it had been included simply for the lulz of the (admittedly quite funny) banter about his mum’s uniform ironing and not knowing what his dad does at work. The audition itself struck us as one of a gazillion passable Adele covers and we didn’t see Craig making the lives, let alone being in the top four of the betting after the first show (props to our commenter Allan, who did).

Craig’s odds plummeted after his ‘Jar of Hearts’ stole the show on Saturday night. He suddenly looks like a credible contender. But for anyone tempted to back him to win the competition, we have two words of caution: Aiden Grimshaw.

This time last year, we also had a bequiffed boy from the north-west plunging in odds after wowing everyone towards the end of the first show with an emotionally overwrought performance of a hauntingly beautiful track which he sang largely out of the side of his mouth. Much good it did him. As our 2010 running order review article details, Aiden’s vote subsequently dropped week on week, with progressively less help from producers, until his “shock” elimination in week 6.

We wouldn’t bet against ‘Jar of Hearts’ likewise proving to be Craig’s high water mark, rather than setting him on the path to victory. Here are five reasons why we doubt Craig’s ability to justify his current odds of around 6/1.

Our first doubt about Craig is the split in his regional vote – now a two-way one between Craig and Marcus Collins since poor old James Michael and his barely-played guitar were despatched back to Widnes.

With all the indications being that Frankie Cocozza will get by far the most help from producers amongst the boys category, it seems likely that the next act Gary loses will be another of the Scousers – a current danger for both Craig and Marcus, but a potential boon for whichever of the two is left standing to inherit the Merseyside base.

Despite the odds, we’re still hopeful that Marcus can be the last Liverpudlian left on the show. One reason is that he has demonstrated in spades a quality which we have yet to see from Craig: versatility. And this is our second doubt.

Craig was unquestionably the best of the boys on Saturday, but he can’t gurn his way through a meaningful ballad week after week and hope to have the same impact every time. Can he cope with something more upbeat? What will he do in disco week?

Marcus’s song choice on Saturday arguably did not showcase him to best advantage, as Craig’s did. But the cheerful hairdresser still performed the challenging ‘Moves Like Jagger’ with enough aplomb to remind us that as well as being very vocally solid, he can put on a visually entertaining show. We have yet to see the same from Craig.

Put it another way: Imagine the songs had been switched. Could Marcus have nailed ‘Jar of Hearts’? We reckon so. Could Craig have nailed ‘Moves Like Jagger’? We suspect not.

Which brings us to our third doubt: We have a sneaking suspicion that the success of Craig’s ‘Jar of Hearts’ owes less to Craig and more to ‘Jar of Hearts’. It’s a hook-laden song with a proven ability to have an immediate impact – the original version caught fire in 2010 after being passed to a choreographer on the US reality show So You Think You Can Dance by a friend of its then-unknown singer-songwriter.

In that sense it’s perhaps another similarity with Aiden Grimshaw’s week 1 performance last year. The stripped-back and slowed-down version of ‘Mad World’ which Aiden covered had also previously demonstrated its capacity to touch a collective nerve, becoming an unexpected hit after featuring on the soundtrack of the cult movie Donnie Darko.

The song choice tells us that Craig is astute, certainly. But how many more rabbits can he pull out of his hat?

Our fourth doubt is… how to put this nicely? We’ll let Louis’s post-performance comment do the talking: “It’s great that you’ve lost a lot of weight”. (Sadly, Louis missed an opportunity for self-referential comedic gold by failing to add: “You look like a little Craig Colton”.)

The makeover journey could, of course, become a positive for Craig, if the Gary Barlow Plan Diet makes him look more svelte by the week until he eventually emerges with washboard abs. Even with continued success in shedding the porcine look, though, Craig seems unlikely to rival Frankie for screaming female attention any time soon.

We’ll let Matt in the comments summarise our final doubt about Craig: “he doesn’t come across as especially likeable”. Whereas Craig in his auditions came across as a wisecracking cheeky chappie, on Saturday we thought we detected just hints of a whiff of possibly being rather too pleased with himself.

It came across a couple of times. There was the line in his VT when he said that he chose the song and the arrangement, so if it failed it would be down to him but “if it’s a hit, it’s also down to me”. Then there was the didn’t-I-just-do-well look he pulled shortly after his closing note. It’s not much to go on, admittedly, but it doesn’t exactly scream endearing self-deprecation.

To explain why this matters, we can do no better than to quote an excellent comment made by Rob a few weeks ago:

now what is the thing that gets you to the winning post besides being able to sing? – it’s humility. imo if you are not humble before the audience you don’t have much of a chance. matt cardle for me is the first contestant to recognise this and actually work on it. his bow with hands together at the end of every performance says to the audience ‘i am here because of you. you put me here and you can take it away. i am grateful for your support and continue to do my best for your entertainment’.

It’s currently a little hard to imagine Craig pulling off the trademark Cardle bow, although the factory worker does at least have a humble beginnings backstory to play on if he can strike the right tone. Craig’s longevity in the competition may depend partly on how sympathetically he VTs in the next few weeks (especially in comparison to Marcus, who does humility with ease and had Tulisa vouching for his loveliness on Saturday night).

What do you think? Are we being too hard on Craig? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments box.

27 comments to Why we think Craig Colton will not win the X Factor

  • Rob

    it’s spot on about the song – i’ve not been able to get the thing out of my head all week. i keep trying to replace it by humming one of the other performances but it keeps coming back… and back… and back arrgh!

    still don’t get the marcus thing though. he’s going to need to get some better songs and some pimp slots to build some support if he’s going to make an impact. i just don’t think the producers are interested in him – his voice is good but it’s just too plain. i think you’ll have to run an article ‘why we think marcus CAN win the x factor’ before i’ll start to think about him seriously.

  • Dug

    I had considered the Aiden Grimshaw comparison but I don’t think it’s as stark as, say, Vickers/Devlin or Waissel/Brucknell. Aiden was set to do well because of his ‘distinctive’ vocal style and, to be fair, he did do well for a while. If you take that model and apply it to Craig then you have to acknowledge their differences and allow for the possibility of Craig succeeding where Aiden failed. Firstly, Craig is much stronger vocally. I know this is subjective (as in the case of you guys being impressed by Mr Karaoke Damien Rice in the form of John Adams) but Aiden was often on the edge of notes, often straining, often flat and thus without the ease associated with soulful performers. Secondly, Aiden gave off an air of being ‘above’ the X-factor rather than grateful for the opportunity the competition afforded him. Thirdly, Aiden had to contend with Matt Cardle, the clear audience favourite in the Serious ‘n’ Authentic music man stakes. Neither Frankie nor Marcus (yet) fit that bill. I am sure that Marcus will develop his repertoire and show a much more soulful, serious side but at the moment he’s the ‘star performer’ or ‘all-rounder’ rather than the troubadour – the guy that makes you question where the music ends and the man begins. Craig projects the kind of connection to music that stinks of authenticity. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for Marcus. In terms of personal taste, Marcus would get my vote over Craig any day of the week. But is he marketable? Would producers not want to keep Marcus away from the top spot for fear he might prove to be another Shayne Ward or Joe McElderry. Granted, he’s more soulful and sophisticated than either but does he have the edge to be worth the risk?

    Cynically, I also worry about the implications of Marcus’ now-public sexuality upon his chances. ITV audiences love a gay champion but they don’t like them to come out until they’ve established themselves outside of the competition. They like them to be smiley, ‘i-don’t-have-a-girlfriend’ gay – not out and proud ‘i-have-a-boyfriend’ gay. Sadly, it’s just one of the prejudices of ITV audiences. Like preferring men to women and not wanting black women to be too sassy. The last point is the main reason I worry for Misha. Perhaps I have too little faith in the audience but I can just hear thousands of voices all over the country uttering the words “I’ve got no problem with the gays. As long as they don’t shove it in my face.” As much as Marcus doesn’t seem to be doing any shoving whatsoever – he only carries the merest hint of camp and he handled the gay news story with maturity in his VT – media focus on his sexuality might distract people from his talent.

    Craig feels in many ways a safer option to me. The danger, of course, is that he’s too safe and he fulfils your prediction by plummeting from ‘Jar of Hearts’ into ultimate mediocrity. I just think he fits the current public appetite better musically. Having said that, the X-factor voting demographic is only very loosely aligned with the music-buying public and the past has shown us that the public are pretty much incapable of electing a winner whose songs they will go on to buy.

    • Dug

      And in response to the point about versatility, it’s a real double-edged sword. Often it can only be present at the expense of distinction. Versatility was arguably the poisoned chalice for many female contestants who were seen to be disingenuous after changing up their style too many times. Treyc Cohen, Rachel Adedeji and (least of her problems) Katie Waissel. Whilst I see this as a much bigger problem for females (“How sly, how calculating! Human made of Adam rib dare make many faces!”) I still feel that we’re getting on in the game and Marcus desperately needs to establish his identity a little better if he is to go on to win. On the positive side, is anyone noting any Will Young comparisons?

    • Andrew

      You make a persuasive (and amusing) case, Dug. Re the versatility, I think it all depends on whether it’s perceived to be coming from a position of strength (it looks like the confidence to do different things) or weakness (it looks like trying something new in desperation). Rhydian Roberts an example of the former, I suggest.

      Combining points made by Rob above and Allan below, it’ll be crucial to see who gets the most producer love of the two in the next week or two. It’s encouraging that Marcus has been portrayed sympathetically so far, but he could do with some pimping sooner rather than later and ideally with biscuit boy not having another stormer, or the Scouse vote may start to run away from him.

  • Allan

    Thanks for the props Daniel! Must admit I am now in two minds about the biscuit boy. My bet at 40s was purely based on price as I saw the price as massive compared to his true chance, which at that point I put at 15/20-1 – solid if not spectacular, with a not bad shot of making the final. At the current prices I will probably lay back my stake and get a free bet at 33s or so.

    I think this week could be crucial – if he builds on that performance with a good rendition of a more upbeat number then his price may contract again (depending on how others do) but I reckon he is probably a bit too short at the moment and this may be the shortest we see. Hope I’m proved wrong though!

  • Simon "le chat"

    Very, very good write up team – I couldn’t agree with you more – Craig is not winning material and I too believe he has reached and passed his zenith with “Jar of hearts”.
    The kid is not good enough.
    Bookies may know about sport and compile odds on results and stats, but they don’t know music. LADBROKES have MARCUS an incredible 3/1 third fav in a three horse field with two donkeys for competition. The judges are keeping Marcus under wraps with praise but remember Barlow, the least likely judge to be cowed by the producaers said when he named MARCUS in his top four
    “you diodn’t think I would go to live shows without you did you?”
    Says it all. Disco, ballad, swing, Beatles, Abba and christmas song, MARCUS – happy and humble – is the best malke vocalist not just this year but of any year and I am going in big on him while the 3/1 for top boy is there, and while with CORAL the 16/1 is too.
    This is money for old rope.

  • mark the bookie basher

    craig is without doubt is the best vocally and has the best recording voice in the competition apart from janet devlin marcus collings is jack ov all trades and trade ov none could leona lewis do rock week and disco no but she was bloody good at belting out a ballad if the producers and judges are kind to craig for me he is a huge danger to janet like i said he has a great recording voice and is a likeable kid and i believe gary barlow has allreadty decided hes his number 1 hope 6-1 is a bit skinny id prefer to take the evs him bein the top boy as frankie simply isnt good enough vocally and the producers simply wont be interested in marcus hes so dated like someone out ov the 80s

    • mark

      disagree about Marcus , he’s got a good voice, comes across and humble and likable – marcus v craig marcus copmes out the victor./.i hope

      I dont think his sexuality will be an issue at all (just saying)

  • Simon "le chat"

    Interesting view Marc – I personally think it won’t be the bookies who get bashed if you put your coin on Craig.
    Leonna Lewis was still 20/1 after four weeks of voting – it’s the one who finishes strongly that wins.
    Craig simply does not have the all round appeal that Marcus does, or the talent or the versitility.
    Time will prove which of us is right – in the meantime I enoy the crack on this board and we will no doubt post some more after the live show on saturday but anyone wanting to back MACUS should do so now before the odds crash after the live show.

    • mark

      I’m with you Simon, I’m on Marcus @ 16s E/W and I’ve also backed him top male @ 100/30 on betfair (didnt get everything matched – some still queued)


  • mark the bookie basher

    hi simon- leona lewis 20-1 after 4 weeks ov voting????? she was 7-2 after 3 weeks ov voting and the biggest price you could get on her was 7-1 before the first live show she was the bet ov the century and i won a tidy,sum- everyone has different views ov the acts on here which makes it such a enjoyable site xfactor has been very kind to me betting wise showing a healthy profit every series apart from when the talentless leon jackson won it- in gona go in big on janet devlin as she is the producers plan a and a shoe in for the final 4 at least also like i said before on here im laying the risk big time and sophie habibis

  • tpfkar

    This article seems less convincing than the one on the Risk, and the comments seem to reflect this.

    All the negatives can be seen as positives.

    He has to share his regional vote with Marcus…it’s still one of the strongest.

    He’s not versatile…he knows what he’s good at and sticks to it.

    It was a good song choice…and it was HIS choice.

    He is overweight…and they are making a big deal about his attempts to lose weight, which many will identify with.

    He isn’t humble enough…he works in a biscuit factory.

    In fact as I read and type, I’m more worried about Craig doing well than ever.

    • Andrew

      tpfkar, you’re worrying me too…

      To keep it in perspective, as Boki says below it’s indeed very early to reach any kind of conclusion. Which was really the point we intended to make with these three pieces this week looking at The Risk, Craig and Misha B, all of whom had their odds plunge dramatically after the first show – i.e. beware of reading too much into week 1 performances, as Aiden showed last year.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Lea=onna wasn’t anything like 7/1 at the first live act! She only crept into the forefront as the show went on.

    Craig cannot do a ballad every week and if that is all he is good at then he is going to fall short very quickly because the show covers every cross section of music – disco, big band, Beatles, Abba, rock and roll. MARCUS can sing and dance and move at the same time – he is also clearly athletically fit and a natural performer and Criag is none of these things.
    FRANKIE is a one trick gasping pony with a range between the “A” below Middle C and the “F” above it with no falsetto or other style of singing apart from gasping every monosyllable into the microphone and will be off after we have lost the girlband, bacofoilman, Nuvibe and Sohie.
    We’ll know on Saturday where the producers pitch Sophie by her song choice and position – she really has to raise her game to stay in the comptition because many people out there reckon she should have gone last week instead of Amelia.
    MARCUS all day for me.

  • mark the bookie basher

    good post tpfkar some people on here just cant see past there origional selection ive said janet d from day one and didnt even consider craig to be in my top 4 but i can see him goin a very long way and like i said if he gets the producers help he is a cert 4 top boy at evs and a big danger to janet and simon im not gona get into a argument with you but leona was NOT 20-1 after the 3rd live show she sang summertime and went into 7-2 2nd fav behind ben mills i shud no i had a big punt on her

  • Boki

    I think it’s too early for any conclusion because we saw them only one time. Everything can change as mark says, top boy maybe.

    Having said that, there is one thing Craig can’t change and someone looking as Janet has enormous advantage so I’m convinced he won’t win.

  • Rob

    Agreed that it is a wait and see scenario – there is a perfect chance this week for craig to repeat the trick with the lurve theme. so i expect we’ll be a lot closer to the truth by sunday. being consistent is more important than having one spectacularly good week – not just aiden grimshaw last year, but both mary byrne and cher lloyd had stand out weeks they were unable to sustain. in craig’s case (atm) i am inclined to think it was the song – i’m thinking that sophie, janet and mischa could all have had a similar impact if they had been holding the microphone instead of craig…

  • Simon "le chat"

    Hi Andrew/Mark!
    Looks like I stand corrected on the Leona betting although she did start off long odds.
    You are also right about me not being able to see passed my original selection MARCUS.
    I’ve an open mind in running as always but will review the position if another act comes close to Marcus’s talent and verstility in the live shows and so far no one has!

  • Matt

    I’m not sure sure about Marcus although have some cash on him. However, I’m pretty sure Craig won’t make the final three. Of the boys Frankie may have the best shot with producers behind him. The Risk are starting to look stronger for a final three position and surely a girl will get there. As for Marcus, well if he can survive long enough maybe, I like him but he may suffer from poor song choices (that’s my bet as to how they get rid of him to boost Frankie’s chances).

    Off to Asia for a fortnight so playing catch up after that!

    • MARK

      I just wasn’t impressed by Frankie..I know young girls will like him, but is that enough to get him across the line? He doesn’t have a good enough voice imo or the character

      To me he comes across as another indie kid wannabe, the clothes style, the hair etc, he’ll be doing whiny songs about how hard life is ,.,,,,,,

      Craig, im not really sure, as Boki says it’s really early days – my initial thoughts were Sophie/Marcus and Sammi – perhaps I was mistaken on Sammi being that although imo she has a good voice, she doesn’t have the appeal or look to cross the line? I do still like Sophies chances though, she has a journey to make after not having the confidence to come on last year, a journey to show her develop which the public could get behind

      We’ll need to see more really still too soon to say much

  • mark the bookie basher

    hi andrew thanks for clearing up the leona lewis odds debate- hi simon didnt mean to sound patronising about marcus collings chances ov winning but i think you maybe over egging the versatility needed to win x factor only alexandra burke was a master at been able to do all the different themed weeks the producers are mainly looking for someone who has a great recording voice ie leona and shayne ward thats why i believe they are desperate for janet devlin or craig colton to win he show

    • simon "le chat"

      The producers can always rely on MARCUS to put on a good show – he is extremely watchable, has the moves and sings in tune while he dances. I agree the producers are obviously behind JANET but is it going to be enough? ~I believe the girl is limited with her yodelling and I dont know who is going to vote for her apart from the IRish – which is plenty enough I agree but will not carry her over the line. In identifying MARCUS as a top six I then put aside tribal and regional factors and asked myself who among JANET, MISHA, NU VIBE (I think they will do better than the RISK) CRAIG and KITTY – being the other top 6- could beat him to the joe public popular vote and I couldn’t see anyone. Marcus excudes charm and confidence and talent and I firmly believe the bookies have got it very wrong putting CRAIG and especially FRANKIE ahead of him. Still 3/1 for top boy which in a three horse filed is absolutely astonishing.

  • Allan

    Anyone seen the Sun today? Interesting news for Craig backers http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3871028/Biscuit-boy-Craig-Colton-set-to-beat-Matt-Cardle-in-singles-charts.html

    Obviously as has been said it could be the song rather than the singer, but potentially interesting re public voting nonetheless…

  • i think craig is head and shoulders above the other two boys, but was wondering. one of you guys commented on marcus’ sexuality. but surely craig is gay, right? i mean every single person i have discussed him with has assumed so? but it seems like the producers are putting pictures of him and sophie habibis holding hands out there to avoid the situation that was mentioned re marcus. how wonderful would it be if he was both chubby and gay and managed to get far in the competition. i find all the talk about him losing weight being such an amazing thing, as a chubby gay dude myself, somewhat troubling. it was not like he was obese or anything. another example of them turning someone interesting into someone bland. and it also seems like a double standard…where there would be outrage if the same thing happened with one of the female contestants, it is fine for them to keep mentioning craig’s weight week in week out.

    • Andrew

      Hi Jimbo, and welcome to Sofabet! I can’t tell you what Craig’s sexual orientation is, but I can tell you that looking at Sofabet’s traffic reveals we are getting hundreds upon hundreds of people searching for “is Craig Colton gay” (as this article on Craig’s chances also includes discussion of Marcus being openly gay, this has led to it being high on google’s results). So you are not the only one wondering! 🙂

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