X Factor 2011: Will Kitty Brucknell benefit from a sympathy bounce?

What are we to make of Kitty Brucknell’s ability to bounce out of the bottom two this week? She’s a one-off by X Factor standards: too fragile to be as much of a hate figure as Katie Waissel was last year, despite the obvious comparisons between the two, but clearly not likeable enough to escape a poor showing despite the show’s best attempts to pimp her.

Still, Frankie Cocozza managed to bounce despite a highly unsympathetic portrayal last Saturday, giving an overall X Factor stat that 80% (24 out of 32) of acts escape the bottom two the week after surviving their first sing-off. Can Kitty join the club?

There are reasons to suggest she will. Like Frankie last week, Kitty is a big character in a relatively weak field, with a theme that should suit (Halloween). She generates tabloid headlines, is compulsive viewing and thus good for the show; therefore it would be a surprise if producers didn’t do their best to try to keep her clear of the sing-off this week with another big production and kind draw. Katie Waissel got them consistently.

Unlike Frankie, she also has the advantage of being a relatively talented vocalist who can impress on stage. She can certainly belt out the big notes, as she most notably indicated in her performance of ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, which felt like it stole the show in week 2. It displayed how riveting she can be as a performer.

That was also the case in the final two-thirds of her rendition of ‘Live and Let Die’. As fire raged around her, it was hard to take one’s eyes off the TV, which certainly wasn’t the case for many of the performances last Saturday.

Although I thought she was nasally and off-key during the lower register of the first verse, there is a sense that her performance didn’t deserve to put her in the bottom two. And this is surely what the concept of a sympathy bounce is all about: motivating people to vote for someone whose merits have been unfairly under-appreciated.

But there are nagging doubts. She might possibly need quite a big bounce to clear the danger zone. Fiveleaves pointed to a story in the Daily Star, who surprisingly enough do have some form of being accurate in this area, alleging that despite her pimp slot performance of ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ in week 2 she was above the bottom two by only 0.5%. We don’t know for a fact if this is accurate, but it would be oh so worrying if true – and it certainly became believable last Sunday when Kitty’s mostly solid vocals, another big production and a kind draw didn’t help her escape the sing-off, even in a mediocre live show. From the fact that Louis saved her over Sami rather than going to deadlock, it seems a fair bet that Kitty finished plum last.

This may have had something to do with the thunder-stealing performance of fellow overs contestant Johnny Robinson. As fiveleaves mentioned, he may have “taken some of her ‘entertainment’ votes”. Clearly, if you were going to support an off-the-wall character last week, the fabulous Johnny was the only game in town.

But it may also be to do with the way Kitty’s personality comes across, and this is the deeper problem. Louis Walsh summed it up when he said, “she’s clearly not connecting with the public”. But why?

There is something about Kitty, or at least the way she has been portrayed, that is hard to warm to. Last year Katie Waissel played the pantomime villain role with aplomb, her apparently monstrous ambition and self-regard allied to only the merest modicum of talent. We never felt too bad about her being in the bottom two, because we knew she’d bounce back next week with another unabashed self-reinvention in her relentless quest for attention. Kitty is different. She is more talented than Katie, but also appears to be much more fragile and needy.

In the week 2 VT, for example, we saw Kitty expressing her hurt at being booed when saved by Louis in the big twist, then entirely unconvincingly claiming that it “doesn’t matter” to her what the “haters” think, because she cares only about the opinions of “the people who write to me, telling me what an inspiration I am to them”.  She then made a point of reading out something nice she’d found about herself on the internet, looking rather dishevelled as if she’d been up all night typing her name into Google and swinging between elation and despair with every click. It all made for rather uncomfortable viewing.

Week 3’s VT featured Kitty on a high after her survival of the first vote, saying that she loves the public “right now” (with the unwise implication that she hated them before and would do so again as soon as they stop voting for her). We saw her firing off a series of madcap ideas at a bewildered Louis, who in comments said that she was on the phone to him “night and day”.

All in all, Kitty seems like the kind of person you would hate to get stuck with at a party, because she would regale you with a torrent of self-pitying insecurity and/or hyperactive overenthusiasm while you patiently nodded and smiled. At the same time, she seems like a perfectly nice girl who you would be completely mortified if she found out you were trying to avoid her at a party. This is a worst-of-all-worlds combination for a talent show contestant. She doesn’t work as a contestant we can love, like Johnny Robinson. And nor does she really work as one we can love-to-hate, like Katie Waissel. She’s not robust enough for that.

How can producers turn it around for her?

Given her apparent fragility and neediness, her narrative trajectory has to be a variant of the self-confidence one – a journey towards greater self-esteem. The difficulty with this is that Kitty has to start to appear like she no longer needs the validation of others… on a reality show where validation from others is what it’s all about. It’s not easy, but nor is it impossible. There are precedents within the goldfish bowl of reality TV – Jade Goody and Kerry Katona spring to mind – though their journeys took years and several incredibly traumatic experiences played out all over the press.

The smart thing to do with her this week would be to show a brave face in her VT footage: “Of course I was hurt to be in the bottom two, but someone has to be. I’ll just enjoy every moment on that stage for as long as it lasts, and if the public think it’s worth keeping me in for next week, that’ll be a bonus.” Stories of her dressing provocatively on a night out in Soho with Johnny suggest, however, that the show may instead be intending to double-down on the outrageous vixen persona it has created for her, just as it doubled-down on Frankie’s bad boy image in his post-singoff VT.

These stories also remind us that she’s a more interesting and headline-grabbing character than most still in this series. This, and the fact that producers should be on her side, are Kitty’s best hopes for achieving a sympathy bounce. But being Kitty, we can’t be sure what she will bring to the show this week – who knows how she will come across in her post-performance interview, for example. Probably best to wait and see.

Do you think Kitty will avoid the bottom two this week, and how long do you see her lasting? Do share your opinions with us below.

59 comments to X Factor 2011: Will Kitty Brucknell benefit from a sympathy bounce?

  • Boki

    Apparently she will sing Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics (Marilyn Manson cover) so it’s going to be dark and suit the theme with big production etc. I think her bounce will depend on Frankie’s performance but also from other potential bot2 act they may want to put there.

    Btw good news for Marcus lovers, speaking in his latest video diary, Marcus teased: “This week I will be singing a mashup of two songs.” He added: “I’ll be keeping it quite close to the original… hopefully. But I want flashes to make sure it’s uptempo and it’s modern and up to date.”

    Also some potential for Craig haters: Craig Colton has revealed he’ll be taking a risk with his Halloween week performance on the show tomorrow night, telling fans he hopes to show “another side” of his personality and voice. “It could go either way, it will make me stand out and show people another side to me or it will be the total opposite and people won’t like it because it’s not the average ballad I do.”

  • bob

    I think Kitty may not get the bounce but I see her saved against most of the other contenders for bottom two. Having said that, The “Artists” Formerly Known As Rhythmix could be interesting against Kitty in the bottom two. I think Kitty v Frankie and Frankie goes.

  • bob

    Off the topic but…on the subject of Little Mix…

    Might be over-analysing here but doesn’t Little Mix sound a bit like/evoke “little minx”. Are the producers deciding it’s time to off the girls?

    • Daniel

      I’ve just heard about this name change for Rhythmix. I can’t decide whether Little Mix is cute or derogatory as a new moniker. It’s a fine line 🙂

      • EM

        If you have big plans for anything in a “contest” you don’t give it a name with LITTLE in it. Concious or not it’s not really a name to inspire confidence.

        • Oscar Diggs

          This is bad news for the girls – a name change at this stage of the competition is disastrous for them. Some of the stronger acts would be able to get away with it, but not this group (traditionally weak category) of girls (even weaker within the category) and I am certain the running order will see them on early – and that means only one thing.

          I for one wil be taking the 11/8 bottom two with a smaller wager for them to be eliminated at 11/2.

      • mark

        I was waiting to hear what the new name would be..Little Mix..just doesn’t sound right imo..not a good name choice

        but that’s just my thoughts..I don’t rate them anyway despite the name – but I wonder if the name has any impact on their chances of winning or anyone’s for that matter?

  • Ronnie

    Unbelievably, Little Mix is third on the UK trending list on Twitter!!

    • Simon "le chat"

      Maybe “Little mix” are third on trending but I agree with Oscar this is a disaster for the girls. Let’s face it, you enter as soloists, you are mixed and mashed then put through the rinder as a new act then the public are now asked to disregard what little momentum they have accrued and start again with a new name. Bottom 2 here.

      Who joins them?
      Well not Kitty in my view- she is too talented and too newsworthy and watchable. Most people (including the bookies) were very surprised to see her in the B2 and her hoards of fans will pick up the phone and keep her in- she is too popular.

      So Kitty not in B2 so who is?
      The needle points towards FRANKIE, CRAIG, SOPHIE and JOHNNIE. The competition is too girl heavy and boy heavy and one of them has to go.I’ll have a bottom 2 of CRAIG and RYTHMIX and CRAIG to survive on deadlock.

      I reserve the right to amend this of course subject to runnning order, judges comments and song choice.

      LE MIX though doomed- it will take a miracle to save them from bottom 2

      • mark

        Bottom two for me is Little Mix and Craig.Sophie (i like Sophie but she doesnt get enough exposure) i think frankie and kitty both fine this week

        but as with your view..I may change it once we know the running order

  • Ronnie

    Just heard that Kelly Rowland won’t be appearing in this weekend’s show.

  • EM

    Not a great week for the show. Name change, judge change and lineup change.

    Sounds to me like someone’s gone in and read a riot act to producers. You have one week to sort it out, get rid of issues hanging around the show.

    Whether Kelly has quit, is genuinely ill or it’s just another soap opera twist in the X Factor tale I ont know. The one thing I do know is it lays a lie to any pretence that the judges mentor the contestants to any extent more than some tips at the dress rehearsal.

    Kelly went to the US on Sunday night and was due back Friday. No way could she have picked songs and found out which one suited, decided on staging or coached on performance. It more or less proves the show execs decide what happens.

  • Ronnie

    “I’m hearing ASHFORD from Nu Vibe to replace ASHLEY in The Risk. Bet the other Nu Vibe members are livid,” Wootton.

    • Henry VIII

      Where did you read that Ronnie?

      • Ronnie

        Follow @danwootton on Twitter – a entertainment journo who works for This Morning.

        • Henry VIII

          Thanks. Confirmed on Updates too now.

          • Simon "le chat"

            Well a line up change is not good news for the show or for The Risk.
            I would take a lot of pursuading that an illness is the real eason for the change in line up – do you remember Diane Vickers was ill one week and they just went ahead without er and she got a free bye to the next round. These producers make up the rules as they go along to sit the various weather. A bad week for The Risk- like Rythmix/Little Mix not good teasing their fans like this- neither are well enough established to sustan many more reverses like this- The Risk might just manage it with pimp slot and judge support but Le Mixymix or whatever they are called are NAshville Tennesse ie NASHED and certs for bottom 2.

            All good for the soloists.
            MARCUS now clipped to 12’s in places.
            One thing is certain, with so much uncertainty in the show and the odd whiff off scandal, they are not going to tinker with the goody goody steady away solid performers of which there are three – JANET, MARCUS,SOPHIE

          • Nicky

            Quoting Simon’le chat’: “I would take a lot of pursuading that an illness is the real eason for the change in line up – do you remember Diane Vickers was ill one week and they just went ahead without er and she got a free bye to the next round”. I agree it seems curious. Last week I was trying to work out who was singing badly out of tune and found myself thinking it was a shame they hadn’t put the lead singer from New Vibe in The Risk. Coincidence or what?

  • Ronnie

    Any thoughts on how bookies would settle ‘Kelly Rowland winning mentor’ bets should she leave and one of her acts win?

    Would it be similar to a jockey change where you still have a bet on the horse that the jockey was supposed to be riding?

    • Boki

      They say she’s ill and will miss this weekend only, no reason for panic yet 🙂
      But what’s important for the moment is that 3 judges will decide this weekend, does it suggest they will try to get rid of a girl (if it ends up in bot2)? It would also generate a controversy, especially if Misha gets there (but more likely Sophie)…

  • annie

    So it’s official, Ashley is out, Ashford is replacing him…
    I am curious to see what strings they will now try to pull to push the new risk towards the final and not ultimately embarass Tulisa…. Cause with the new name Little Mix seem plain funny, hardly serious, and all the line up changes the risk is looking more and more ridiculous…
    I agree with what you said in one of the previous articles, the whole show seems just a bit out of controll. They probably moved not just simon and brian but a few to many from the production staff across the pond.

  • mark

    so who’s replacing Kelly this week then? or just having 3 judges?!

  • Simon "le chat"

    Here’s the press release about the change of line up for The Risk
    I dont believe a word of it.
    There is a rabbitt off here and a reason for the change other than that stated.
    Wht would a young lad with a fabulous opportunity on the greatest nrusery act stage of all suddenly decide “my future is not with a boyband”
    The public will not buy this -not yet anyway.

    The whole thing stinks – the show is losing control of itself- how about those voters who voted for the two bands on their prevous line ups? What will they be thinking now? That they are being manipulated?
    No prizes for The Risk and The Mix being in the last half of the show.
    All good for MARCUS.
    At least the producers have not messed around with his perceived integrity- yet.
    But there is hardly an act left now who hasn’t been subject to bad publicity, negative commments or uncomfortable changes in line ups or names.
    MARCUS coming in some more on this.
    All good news for the MACUS camp.

    • Simon "le chat"

      Hi Nicky
      You are probably near the truth in your assessment.
      Someone (near the top harmony) WAS singing out of tune and this tweaking is probably to correct the weakness. I wonder how much they had to pay the one who left for his agreement and silence. He’s called either Ashley or Ashford and without looking it up I cannot remember which one he is which says alot about the identity of the band apart from Charlie.
      Did anyone else notice the stories about one of the band shagging Sammi this week putting said member forward as the new stud of the series? That’s how it appears to me, I deduce it was done to lay the ground for FRANKIE going soon and replace him with a straight macho guy to counterbalance GRAIG, MARCUS and JOHNNIE being gay.
      The object of the program is to make money. The way to make money is to get viewers interested and to keep them. Viewers mean advertisers and votes which money. The program has therefore to appeal to as many cross section of society as possible.
      Hence careful media releases, judges comments and song and running order choices.

      • mark

        I just hope they don’t try and mess with his chances, i.e. a bad song or bad slot for this coming week

        if they do , there’s a good chance Marcus would be safe anyway in a bottom two sing off judges saving him and if it went to a deadlock and PV votes used then i’d expect Marcus to beat quite a few – note he seems quite popular on DS

        Realistically, what with the name change, and the replacing a member of The Risk – surely this can only negatively affect both of their chances

        I’m debating little mix 11/8 (PP/Spoils) Bottom 2 and Sophie 7/2 (Spoils/Bluesq/Hills)

        Simon – re the risk member nailing Sammi – id have thought that would be something theyd want to keep quiet – cant see how it would help them at all?!?!

        • Simon "le chat"

          Hi Mark
          I don’t think they would dare tinker with MARCUS who has come up to the occy and taken on board all of the sh**e he has been given so far with a smile.
          The series really needs a couple of weeks of stability so I cannot see them trying to nack MARCUS any more than they have previously because they know he will rise above it and there are bigger- or wtter- fish to fry.

          I expect a hatchet job on The LITTLE MIX, and one other.
          Who is surplus?
          One of the girls methinks and Frankie/Craig.
          Frankie cannot sing sowill go sooner rather than later so throw a loser on a loser and sling him.
          BOTTOM 2 then – The Little Minx and FRANKIE- keep FRANKIE and bin Cabbage Patch.

    • mark

      All aboard the Marcus train £££££££££££££££££ Boyles still 18s, everywhere else shortened I took 16s at the start and also a bit more when he drifted to 33-40s other week

      Simon – whilst I agree re the bands you dont think you’re overestimating the public when you say what will they think..they’re being manipulated? Im sure a lot wont think much!!

      • Simon "le chat"

        Hi Mark
        I don’t think youngsters are that gullible, at least not all of them. You might be right- we’ll see soon enough, but THE NU RISK have to start all over again building up a new head of steam. So do LITTLE MIX and the judges cannot say to both that they are working well after such a short time together. THE RISK are the chosen ones so it has to be LITTLE MIX in bottom two – the classic sacrificial lamb- these programs do not like any whiff of litigation and the RYTHMIX controversy has already involved lawyers letters, threats of litigation and therefore done some damage. The group – whatever they might be called now- are suddenly and inevtiably DISPENSIBLE and they will be sent first across the bridge of the weakest competitors, with THE RISK getting the star treatment near the end.

        • mark

          Hi Simon,

          Makes sense to me – I personally didn’t think either The Risk/Rhythmix (little mix) were potential winners – but now with these issues Im even more sure , ex con in the risk, new member controversy, etc

          On a different note – I was looking at lads specials, they have a market up for Number of times Dermot says ‘In no particular order’ Exactly once 5/2 , Exactly twice 2/5 two or more 5/1 0 50s

          I had a look over most of 2009/2010 and some of 2008 and the 2 results shows for 2011 and out of all of them except one he said ‘in no particular order’ during the results show twice – meaning although it’s 2/5 it’s value – looking at previous shows it’s more like a 1/14-16 shot imo

    • mark

      I didn’t realise one of The Risk was in prison accused of armbed robbery – surely this has to be a HUGE negative

      People who vote on these shows wont get behind some thug criminal will they..surely not? Even though it’s just one member of a group, he still represents the group and in turn it has to affect the groups chances on the whole

      Just like if someone from a specific company did something bad it may make people boycott them, even though it’s not the whole company

      • Simon "le chat"

        I agree to an extent but beware- the vast majority of people who vote in this show dont read the red tops, and they certainly dont read DS or even access the web to help them make up their minds.
        They wont know or be affeced by the changer in line up – the change of name they might.
        They judge people on talent, likeability and sunny dispositions (great description landlord)
        A taste of BULLY or ARMED ROBBERY is enough to do serious damge to any of these acts and this weeks voting results wil likely be a stark reminder to the producers that they cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

        But it is back to makng money.
        Q. Who as winner will make most money for the producers?
        A. Well none of this crop except MARCUS because he is genuine and likeable, no scandal or namechange and solid solid solid.
        Also have you noticed that since he sange (very well) “MOves like Jagger” three weeks ago MAROON 5 are now featured as an advertisment on ITV as part of a disco type compilation album? I had never heard of “Moves like Jagger” until MARCUS sang it three weeks ago and now as a result of his performance the song is now hip and aired every fifteen minutes and each time it is aired, I can see MARCUS singing it live.
        It is virtually a live advertisment for MARCUS every time it is on.
        That is worth many silent votes.
        I see HILLS and CORALS have MARCUS at 16/1 still. I shall have even more of that tomorrow, hang on to it until the last 6 and then lay some off.
        MARCUS is going to be single figures on Monday morning. Time to stock up for the winter now!

        No more to say now until after Sunday.
        MARCUS will do the talking for our stable.

        • mark

          I sure do hope so – a bit annoying I didn’t manage to get the full amt I requested matched on Marcus Top boy @ 100/30 – Simon what happened to the 11/2 bet at the tote..still say 11/2 or betslip ammended?

          Also re the armed robbery, see for me personally it would make me chose to not vote for them, even though it’s only one member of the group he still represents them – thing is it was ‘accused of armed robbery’ so could it be played down and say it was mistaken identity?

          I still think the mere metion of armed robbery will do damage

          As to Misha B – not sure on her at the moment, all depends this week, if the judges appologise, say sorry etc

          I think Kitty will possibly grow as a contestant if she manages to get over this need for re assurance as the article says – not a potential winner imo, but definitely a contender for final 5/6

          Noone having been in a bottom two has won x factor either..to date, so that’s another reason to write her off – perhaps being in the b2 even once makes people associate her as one of the ‘losers’ of x factor..and not the potential winner? maybe im miles wrong

        • Boki

          You had never heard of “Moves like Jagger” until MARCUS sang it…

          But it was 1st place on the ITunes about a week before the x-factor so it was well known I guess…

  • tpfkar

    What a mess!

    Show already in trouble, and we now have Nu Nu Nu Risk on stage. Can I apply for a refund for my votes for Nu Nu Risk? Will the line-up change be handled any better than turncoat Charlie’s?

    Even more than I posted the other day, what a hopeless job they did at putting the rejected soloists into groups. Does anyone reckon Amelia Lily will be lead singer of Medium Mix this time next week?

    And as for the judges, Kelly has the strongest category of all and is off sulking. I doubt it’s anything to do with that Tulisa bust-up, it looked too scripted, but if she doesn’t care about her acts, why should we?

    A sorry state of affairs.

  • Simon "le chat"

    PS: MARK

  • Donald

    Just catching up after busy week, lots of turmoil on XFactor show by all accounts tonight. Any truth in Cheryl coming back rumour?

    It is turning into a bit of a joke really.

  • Tim

    This whole groups fiasco is a bit ridiculous, and surely puts both of them out of the running to win the show.

    The only people left who can win the show are JANET and MARCUS. I have a huge bet on Marcus, but I still think Janet will win comfortably.

    Kitty for the sympathy bounce, definitely. With all the drama surrounding the other contestants, a performance that will “blow your socks off” – Louis Walsh – should easily see her through. I’m going to lay her for bottom 2. More risky than laying her to go but VERY good odds on betfair.

    • mark

      It’s all about what they do now, will they push someone else and abandon The Risk? Perhaps they’ll Push Craig now what with Frankie being done, and The Risk looking the same, I can only see them now pushing Marcus/Craig/Janet on as the winner or trying to

      Misha B’s clearly not favoured by producers, they wont want Johnny to win – not marketable enough, Sophie – I don’t know, can’t make my mind up , Kitty – not popular enough

      combination tricast anywhere? Marcus/Craig/Janet

      could of course back the forecast Marcus/Craig etc but prob work out pretty crap odds

  • Alfred Butts

    What happens on this show has little to do with talent or performance. It’s likely that Kitty will be voted off due to the trajectory set for her by the judges and producers. But I’d bet good money she will be much more successful, much bigger, than whoever wins. She IS a star.

  • EM

    If you guys are right and they’re making a change to The Risk line up to make them vocally stronger that means they have bigger plans for them than survival over the next couple of weeks. That suggests they see the Risk as long term performing and recording artists which means they need them top 5 at least and ideally top 3 to leave the series with some kind of momentum.

  • Noisy

    Could changing the Risk have an upside too? Could the Nu Vibe fans now switch to backing them as one of their band moved across?

    Also, why would a name change for Rhythmix be so damaging? They’re the only girl group in it so I’m sure people can figure out who they are still. They won’t get votes for their name after all…

    I think Marcus is a good shout to win if not nobbled, though I expect him to be. If they wanted him to win why give him such poor songs/running order so far?

    They seemed so keen for Janet to win, they eliminated her biggest rival (Amelia) before the public even had the chance to vote for her.

    • EM

      All the many Nu Vibe fans that saw them first band off after a public vote?

      I agree a name change is not likely to confuse anyone but the initial refusal to comply with a charities wishes and talk of court action and online campaigns won’t help muster support

  • Boki

    Guys, this Misha bullie thing continues:

    Is this a continuation of campaign to ditch her asap? Could they get her in bot2? Bad slot is smiling this week anyway…

    • Nicky

      Tulisa’s certainly not backing down. It could be her attempt to drum up some support and sympathy for her Pick and Mix groups in what could be a tricky week.

    • Mark

      Wow so I guess it does
      Not look like any will say sorry for last weeks bullying claims?

      Misha b / little mix b2?
      There’s about 4/5 who I consider for possible b2 this week so really need to wait for the running order!

  • Tim

    Confirmed now that Nicole Scher Scher Scher Scherzinger is standing in for Kelly, for one weekend only 🙂

  • Nicky

    Articles on tellymix state that Ashley has left The Risk of his own accord and that the band are ‘devastated’ and feel their chances have been ‘ruined’. Looks like they’ll be playing it for smypathy to a lessen the potential damage.

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