Why we think Misha B will not win the X Factor

We at Sofabet feel that Misha Bryan is one of the few genuine stars of this series of X Factor. She has style, originality and attitude – and that may be the problem. There is a place for her in the charts, but whether there is a place for her in the hearts of enough of the voting public is another matter.

We’re not the only ones to fear this. Responses to our pre-twist 1-16 prediction article included tpfkar‘s “Very good at what she does, but too niche for the X-Factor”; Jack‘s “I love her, think she’s brilliant, but I think she’ll be the traditional shock Week 5 girl exit. She has too limited an appeal for this show”; and Dug‘s “I love her and I think she’s wonderful and in my experience that always means she’s going home stupidly early”.

Nonetheless, after receiving a big production and lavish praise for her opening week take on Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’, Misha is now as short as 7-2 second favourite for the main prize. This seems like an over-reaction, based on one pimped performance that told us nothing new about her vocal abilities. A comparison with previous contestants tells us that Misha still has many barriers to surmount.

It’s an argument we have made before but worth reiterating: successful females in this competition have been demure and non-threatening. Rebecca, Stacey, Alexandra and Leona – the only ones to reach the top three – all showed high levels of self-doubt. Misha’s two remaining rivals in the girls category – Sophie and Janet – fit this template. The Manchester lass does not.

Strong, confident females more comparable with Misha have done less well, notably Rachel Adedeji and Rachel Hylton. Adedeji was particularly unfortunate. Despite being one of the better vocalists in the competition, the public put her in the bottom two for three out of her four weeks in the competition, and she exited despite her rendition of U2’s ‘One’ being one of the strongest performances on the night.

However, there was never a sense that producers had any interest in keeping Adedeji around (she was sent on first in the first show and had the fourth slot for the next two weeks). On the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, producers are doing their best for Misha, from the moment she was given the starring role at the end of the second audition show.

Just how much producers are investing in Misha became evident in the first live show. As remarked on by tpfkar and Matt in the comments, there were multiple references to Misha’s Britishness – from the judges, Misha herself, and set designers in the shape of her Union Jack throne. (Something similar happened with Rebecca Ferguson last year, so presumably producers think it is more necessary to hit patriotic buttons with non-white contestants, though we find it deeply patronising).

We also had a continuation of her judges’ houses reinvention by Kelly as “Misha B” (as surnames go, Bryan is not very ‘street’, which is the best response I can think of to tpfkar’s point that Bryan is typically British-sounding if this is indeed something that producers want to emphasise).

And, of course, she got the biggest production of the night. This helped her odds drop from 11-1 before the weekend. Sofabet commeters such as Simon “le chat” and Oli were universal in their praise. But whilst there was much to like about her performance, it did not assauge the doubts we’ve always had about her.

Primarily, she looked as fierce as ever whilst performing, which doesn’t go down well with a voting public that likes to see a softer side to its contestants. Misha does have a softer side, as she showed when crying at the sight of Jennifer Hudson at judges’ houses – but it’s not how she performs.

Most notably, there’s an edginess thanks to the original rap she has so far added to her performances. This shows more artistry than any other contestant. But it only adds to an overall effect that can be rather jarring. In the case of this week’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’, the rap didn’t sit particularly comfortably with the rest of the song, and Misha remained slightly screechy on the bigger notes.

Styling-wise, she made quite the statement with her paper dress. It makes her far more interesting to watch than most, but I don’t think it flies so well with mainstream taste.

How can producers counteract this? For a possible indication, we need look no further than Cher Lloyd in 2010. She also made a name for herself by rapping part of the way through her early performances. But she had by far her best week when ditching this style and coming across as sweetness and light for her fourth week pimp slot performance of ‘Stay’.

It will be interesting to see if producers time something similar for Misha, who needs to prove she can do angelic for a ballad too. As Sofabet commenter and Misha fan stableboyuk notes, “It’s vital if she is going to remain in the competition that she sing something normal for a change!”

Indeed, it will be interesting in general to see how much producers are willing to push Misha – in particular, will she get more help in running order slots, song choices etc than Sophie Habibis? One way to read the latter’s lack of audition screentime, in conjunction with the early nobbling of Amelia Lily, is that of all the girls in the final four (or who could have been in the final four, such as Melanie McCabe or Jade Richards), Misha represents the least threat to the programme makers’ apparent Plan A, Janet Devlin.

If Misha is indeed helped to become the last girl challenger to Janet, she will find it hard to go all the way as she remains an urban artist in a show which ultimately favours middle-of-the-road contestants. She is as far removed from the likes of Joe McElderry and other X Factor winners as it’s possible to be within the constraints of the competition. For that reason, and much as we’d like to be saying otherwise, her current odds to win the series strike us as particularly bad value.

What do you think? Have you become more positive about Misha’s winning chances as a result of her first week performance, or do you still find it difficult to imagine? Let us know in the comments section below.

14 comments to Why we think Misha B will not win the X Factor

  • tpfkar

    Thanks for the props and the reponses Daniel – feels like a team effort this year and I’m sure you’re right on the surname point.

    She’s got a couple more things going for her. Firstly Manchester as a regional base, but also there are no other urban females in the competition – Rythmix are far less edgy than The Risk (and probably Nu Vibe) so she is in a class of her own.

    But far more than Craig, this may be her high point. The theme is apparently love songs at the weekend – unless she goes for an unconventional choice this could be a weaker week for her, and you can imagine her odds heading back to double figures if she’s seen to struggle.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Agreed Daniel, right on the money again. She is a class act- my Missus and her mates think she is great- but who is going to vote for her? Not final material because there will only be one girl in the final and that will be Janet. There could be two boys there but that’s a different thread. Misha is hopelessly overpriced. Her odds will neither shorten or lenghten this week as the show finally relies on performance rather than hype to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Misha is pure wheat of course but where is her universall appeal and who is going to vote for her?

  • Donald

    Hi Daniel thanks with Mark for Amelia advice the weekend. Gave me confidence to recoup losses on Mel and Janet. You are right above. I will add this I was listening on Sat night not really watching keeping an eye and only two sang well well in a way that tends to win on this show, for what it’s worth that was Janet and Craig. One of the groups could go this wk, nobody knows them really? and be easier focus on two?

  • malcolm

    Marmite, especially on some of the X factor discussion forums; Misha does seem to polarise opinion. I think she will go the same way as Cher last year – lots of talk about how good she is, but too urban and edgy for mass appeal.
    A shock exit once the ‘fun’ contestants have fallen by the wayside. She is very good but X factor tends to favour more humble, middle of the road acts.
    If everyone who voted in the final voted each week it would be a different story, but most people i know don’t vote until the final! …I don’t.

  • mark the bookie basher

    glad you took my advice donald and had amelia to go out i also agree that janet and craig are the 2 acts that normally win the show great vocally and great recording voices that will sell records- does anyone agree that kitty been in the bottom 2 at 7-4 looks a great bet who is gona vote for her shes not a comedy act that allways does well and shes obviously not well liked i also rythim mix has to be the percentage call to get eliminated 4-1 looks good to me

    • mark

      In my view Kitty is either a love her or hate her character – bottom 2 @ 7/4 sounds good..but at this point I’d be wary

      We don’t know when she performs – if she gets 2nd to last or last slot then big chance she stays – really depends

  • Rob

    my reading is that nu-vibe will be the group to go but i’ll have to do more analysis before i bet. i’ve heard a rumour they are doing a boys II men number… can anyone confirm? also i’m always cautious about pre-show bets. anyone (but the chosen ones) who go in the first half hour with a bland song may be in danger because of the ‘Strictly’ factor. kitty in the bottom 2 seems like a good bet, but i expect her to get the pimp slot this week same as katie last year. the bottom 5-6 are always only separated by a few votes.

  • mark

    I was just looking over the Facebook pages for likes to gauge interest in them 0- obviously this doesnt say it all, but can show interest

    Facebook figures for X factor Contestants 2011:

    15,984 likes – 8735 talking about (22;45 14/10/11)

    154,679 likes – 21.314 talking about

    10,717 likes – 8,876 talking about

    7,538 talking about

    7,824 likes , 5824 talking about

    21,753 likes – 16.186 talking about

    8,833 likes – 6786 talking about

    7,239 likes – 5023 talking about

    Sami Brookes – couldn’t find an official one, and the rest very sparse on numbers, but that’s due to age and the fans shed have – perhaps not being the types to click like on facebook more of a young thing

    5757 likes – 4476 talking about

    4465likes 2209 – talking about

    5293 – more likes than her main page!

    Can anyone help me with this , how much weight do you give to twitter followers, facebook likes ./ youtube channel views etc?

  • mark

    Just had a look at the viewing figures for the videos on youtube

    Contestant Facebook likes Talking about
    Janet Devlin 154679 21314
    frankie Concozza 21753 16186
    Misha B 15984 8735
    Craig Colton 11432 7538
    The Risk 10717 8876
    Marcus Collins 8833 6786
    Sophie Habibis 7824 5824
    Nu Vibe 7239 5023
    Rhythmix 5757 4456
    Johnny Robinson 4545 2945
    Kitty Brucknell 4465 2209

    1st Craig, 2nd Janet, 3rd Misha B, 4th Sophie , Frankie 5th Marcus 6th

    Johnny , Sami, Nu Vibe bottom 3 on youtube views

    On facebook likes Nu Vibe are 4th to the bottom – very last in youtube views, could be in trouble if death slot + poor song?

    Janet, Frankie, Misha are all 1,2,3 on facebook likes suggests they’re relatively safe atm

    The ones in the middle like Marcus/Sophie I guess are not sure, could go either way

    I don’t really know how much weight to give youtube viewing stats/facebook likes owing to the different ages of contestants and their likely fan base – i.e. Sami will have less likes on facebook than say Frankie as youd expect her fans to perhaps be a ioit older than Frankies and not be into this facebook like nonsense?

    If anyone has any links to well anything that might help me work out how to interpret stats from places like youtube/facebook/twitter id be VERY grateful!


  • Rob

    hi Mark
    i think the internet is an increasingly good place to gauge interest in the different acts. matt cardle was consistently the interenet leader last year and an easy bet from bootcamp onwards. i would caution using it for eliminations though. the fair minded public often base their views on that particular nights performance so the least views on youtube won’t necessarily come last.

    also weird anomalies come up. for instance last week craig colton was the easy winner on xfactor’s youtube channel – but look at this channel
    yep it mirrors the xfactor channel except for one important position – here Janet is winning by a street. don’t know why? and i’d be interested if anyone has any theories?

  • mark

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the reply – yea I was keeping track of views on youtube last year and did notice Matt was ahead – at the moment on the main channel its Craig at #1 Janet then Misha, but its too early to use this for much?

    Perhaps if after 6 weeks Craig was still averaging the highest views on youtube then it would look like he has a good following and a decent chance to win? and backable depending upon the odds?

    What about facebook likes – likes Rob – any idea about these, twitter likes and talking about

    On facebook likes Janet is miles ahead with 154,679 likes next best wad Frankie with only 21753

  • i dont think she will win but i want her to but janet going to win

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