X Factor 2011 Week 4 Elimination: Chaos Reigns

I had hoped there would be some sense of clarity in the elimination market by week 4. Fat chance. The series is in chaos. You probably know by now that Kelly Rowland will not be appearing this week – having apparently caught a sore throat in LA, Rhythmix have become Little Mix, and The Risk have risked a change in personnel at this late stage.

A race to the bottom also continued at the micro level. After his storming performance last week, negative headlines discussed Johnny Robinson’s benefits claims, whilst further coverage was given to allegations that Misha B had ‘bullied’ rivals and Kitty Brucknell continued to provoke on a night out in Soho. Is there any contestant that hasn’t been dumped on in some way?

Kelly’s absence and The Risk’s rejig shouldn’t impact the elimination market this week, with producers bound to do all they can for the latter. However, I’m not so sure about the Rhythmix name change. Punters have very little idea of how so many things will pan out in tonight’s show – not to mention the overlap with Strictly on BBC1 that will disadvantage the first act significantly – that I can’t recommend any involvement beforehand. Nonetheless, here’s my appraisal.

Hot favourite to go is Frankie Cocozza at a shade of odds against. The first public vote put him in the bottom two, from which he managed to escape the following week despite the attempt to make him come across as objectionably as possible. The so-called ‘sympathy bounce’, however, most usually only lasts one week: of 26 first-time sympathy-bouncers throughout each series, 17 were in trouble again the following week. I’m not prepared to suggest that Frankie will more likely emulate the nine out of 26 to escape this fate, given his lack of talent or popularity.

A more pertinent set of questions may be: who would Frankie face if in the sing-off; and would producers want to see him saved against these potential rivals? Kitty Brucknell is due this week’s sympathy bounce after her sing-off survival last week, but my article yesterday pointed out that as a loose cannon, it cannot be taken for granted. Frankie and Kitty have consistently generated more headlines than anyone else. Nonetheless, Kitty offers programme makers far more options than Frankie, vocally and emotionally, and for this reason I think she would win such a duel.

I’m not so sure about the band formerly known as Rhythmix any more. The judges showered them with fine words for the first two live shows, but last week felt like an attempt to soften their appeal. They were drawn badly, and the panel spent more time discussing whether the mashup of Tik Tok and Push It was pushing it for rock week than on their performance – a classic diversionary tactic.

And then there’s the new band name. Firstly, it’s really not ideal to change your brand mid-competition, though I recognise that producers had little choice. Secondly, the new name Little Mix received a general thumbs down on forums, with some justification. As our commenter Euan put it, ‘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.’

What reason could there be for producers to cool their enthusiasm for Little Mix, if that is indeed what’s happening? After all, they are the only girlband left in the competition. If Little Mix are knocked out, it would also leave Tulisa with only one act standing for her supporters to coalesce behind: The Risk. And that may be the point. Quite how much the show is investing in the boyband has been amply demonstrated with yesterday’s outrageous personnel change (of which more next week).

One theory is that producers with access to the weekly phone polls may see the girlband barely escaping the dangerzone. As a result, why continue to flog a dead horse (or a ‘little’ one), when they can double down on their big hope in the groups category instead?

This is speculation, but the girlband’s supporters should be very concerned about their treatment over the last week, because it indicates they might not even be saved over Frankie Cocozza. Little Mix fans will be praying they are not sent out first, in the Strictly overlap zone, as this would seem to confirm they are being cast asunder (I can’t see anything but another late slot for The Risk with their new line-up).

But If I had to guess who we’ll see first, it’s Johnny Robinson. This is based on something our commenter, Curtis said after Johnny’s storming performance last Saturday: “It’ll be interesting to see their treatment of him in the coming weeks, as that will probably be based on how well he’s doing on the votes (good treatment if he’s not doing that great, bad treatment if he’s doing really well).” A couple of subsequent stories in The Sun, one pointing out that he got far in a previous TV singing contest, and more especially the questioning of his benefit payments, indicate the latter of the two scenarios.

This is reiterated by the suggestions that Johnny’s production this week would be “stripped back” and “minimalistic”. The damaging tabloid stories and low-key production are straight out of the Wagner assassination copybook – as is being given the death slot. All will be revealed tonight. The momentum that Johnny gained from last week’s performance may well see him safe for this week at least. However, if producers are truly panicked, song choice and other considerations may be highly unsuitable. Therefore, I wouldn’t rule elimination out, especially if producers decide they would rather not risk a sympathy bounce from sing-off survival, even if he’s pitted against Frankie Cocozza. 

Janet, Misha and The Risk feel like the acts that programme makers are going all out to get into the final, even if recent events may not have shown them in the most flattering light. I can’t therefore see any of them being voted off the show, or indeed in the bottom two this week. Marcus also looks likely to be safe after his strong performance from last week’s death slot.

That leaves us with the most vulnerable contestants from the boys and girls categories: Craig and Sophie. Both have their supporters and critics, though a general consensus emerged that last week was a rather anonymous one for both of them. There is a sense that both need to start re-building a bit of momentum –  the death slot for the Liverpudlian lad or the North London lass would be a worrying hindrance, and could put either in danger of falling into the bottom two. However, given my theory that Johnny will be sent on first, I don’t feel like taking the prices on offer on either outcome.

In conclusion, this précis could be described as suburban, there’s so much hedging going on. But that’s with good reason. We commented earlier in the week that the show had lost its ability to follow through positive narratives for its contestants, thus alienating viewers. Events over the last day or two have only reinforced this opinion. Everything feels up in the air. Partly for that reason, I won’t get involved in any elimination betting before Saturday’s show. Also, although I expect Frankie Cocozza in the bottom two come Sunday’s results show, his fate may be decided by who opposes him in the sing-off. 

42 comments to X Factor 2011 Week 4 Elimination: Chaos Reigns

  • Oli

    You never know if they want to increase the chaos they could throw in a double this week?

    Got a feeling Craig could be given the death slot he has been so underwhelming recently and it would be a relative shock if he was to go.

    I am anixous for Little Mix, I had thought the early draw last week might indicate some confidence but now the Risk have had their line up changed surely they well have a late draw. Also it will be interesting to note how their name change is handled. If the emphasis on charity it could garner sympathy if it isn’t explained clearly it could just cause confusion.

    I will be interested to see where they put Kitty, a pimp-slot doesn’t bode well for the long term and could suggest the report she was 0.5% above the drop zone week 1 however if they put her on in the middle the producers can effectively ‘bank’ a pimp slot to use next week.

  • tpfkar

    Really interesting theory on Johnny but it does seem to add up. I’ve had a dabble with a plan to lay off if he is sent out early. A minimal production could easily hurt him.

    Overall, the producers seem to be losing control; they didn’t get the winner they wanted on last year’s X or this year’s BGT, but the rot seems to have crept in much earlier here.

  • Nicky

    The Daily Mail are not reporting that Alexandra Burke will be Kelly’s replacement tonight: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2055023/X-Factor-2011-Kelly-Rowland-replaced-Alexandra-Burke-judge-tonight-s-show.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    The rest of the article does not reflect well on Kelly. Will this impact upon her category, notably, Misha?

  • Nicky

    Previous comment should read ‘now’ not, ‘not’. Must learn to proof read.

  • mark the bookie basher

    il be amazed if they send jonny out first he is the most talked about contestant on the show and hes likeable so why get rid now when the show is in turmoil? they need to gain viewers and fast my guess would be operation get sophie out this girl is simply bland bland bland a half decent singer but no one is talking about her and shes just so forgetable i bet bet most viewers cant even remember her name ten minutes after the show has finished as for the risk getting a new member surely the public will not like that 1 bit 11-4 to win the show do me a favour its looking like more and more that plan a janet devlin looks the likely winner

    • Nicky

      I can see both arguments regarding Johnny. If he stormed into the lead last week he might get nobbled this week and the bad press isn’t a good sign. But wouldn’t this just be another example of the X Factor “poisoning their own well”, as suggested by Mark? I really hope they see Johnny as an asset. The other quirky, entertainment acts, Frankie and Kitty, haven’t exactly captured the public’s hearts.

    • mark

      I dont think Johnny will be out early this week – but as I said in the other articles comments, I dont see him as a potential winner, with a week6/7 departure looking likely imo

      Didn’t see him as a potential winner at all then add to it the fact that he has been exposed as a benefits cheat – cant help to get him more votes

  • Tim

    Not one person I’ve spoken to likes the name Little Mix. I can’t see many voting for a group with an awful name. For that reason I’ve had a little flutter for them to be in bottom 2.

    I’ve also taken a gamble on Sophie to leave. Odds were attractive and I see her as very expendable. However I won’t be confident on this one unless they send her out first or second.

  • Daniel

    This week’s songlist on the official site (usually in no particular order):
    Sophie Habibis – Bang Bang
    Little Mix – ET
    Janet Devlin – Every Breath You Take
    Johnny Robinson – Ole Devil Called Love
    Craig Colton – Set Fire To The Rain
    Frankie Cocozza – Should I Stay Or Should I Go
    Marcus Collins – Superstition
    Kitty Brucknell – Sweet Dreams
    Misha B – Tainted Love
    The Risk – Thriller

    • Simon "le chat"

      This is the week MARCUS makes his move.
      Have had a load more loot on him after this song selection- Stevie Wonder is his hero, his style and he will know this number backwards.
      I’m taking a load of the 16/1 to win in anticipation of a sensational performance and then will lay some off on Monday morning.
      Time to help ourselves on this one.

    • Boki

      What’s this Bang Bang ???

  • Boki

    I have a feeling the death slot is a little bit overrated especially if they seem to prefer an up-tempo song there. 2nd slot for a strong ballad and then 3rd for a boring someone (or vice versa). So I would say Misha or LMix 1st this week. We’ll see in an hour 🙂

  • EM

    Not feeling Johnnys song choice. Slow, dull and much lower than he excels at. An early slot inspires no confidence

    • Daniel

      That may well be the case, Euan – it could go either way.

      As you say Simon, it seems an ideal choice for Marcus.

      Boki – Bang Bang is a number Nancy Sinatra made famous and I think it’s an inspired choice for Sophie.

      Craig is going a bit more uptempo, as promised, but it is an Adele number, who he has been accused of impersonating on stage.

      • Boki

        Thanks, I didn’t believe it’s that one, sorry but don’t get why you find it inspired (outdated and kind of boring that suits perfect to description of Sophie – she might confirm her ‘boring’ status don’t you think).

        • Daniel

          Hi Boki, of course any speculation could prove completely wrong if a different arrangement to the original is done, or it feels very different to how we imagined.

          However, the reason I thought it was inspired is that there’s something in Sophie’s tone of voice that reminds me of Nancy Sinatra. She has even been working a bit of a 60s look too. It just made sense to me when I saw it. I could prove very wrong though!

          PS I do also love the song, but take your point it could be perceived as boring on the XF stage.

  • shoulders

    Frankie, should i stay or should i go?? if i go will there be trouble, if i stay will there be double?? I anticipate more of the same as last week from the producers vt wise, I’m guessing Frankie will still be around for double trouble next week, then that will be his lot

  • Simon "le chat"

    “Bang Bang” is Sonny and Cher “my baby shot me down” isn’t it?

  • Donald

    Strange song choice for The Risk, that’s hardly a vote increasing song.

    Twitter vultures will eat Frankie alive with that song choice. “Go now”

    Marcus in comfort zone,

    What a wierd list of songs, what are the producers at. PlanZ. ET strong for Little Mix me thinks, at least their audience.

    Betting in running as you say Daniel.

    Most of it will be muck I’m sure, chance for someone to shine and rise above the mayhem hopefully.

    • Daniel

      Hi Donald, the question is, will it be the original, upbeat ‘Thriller’ that may showcase the fact nu boy Ashford Campbell is a rather good dancer on stage; or will it be a slowed down version, which for me just brings back the nightmare of Aiden Grimshaw’s interpretation. We also know what slowing down Michael Jackson did for Amelia Lily.

      Agree that Little Mix choice will appeal to their demographic.

      • Donald

        Hi Daniel, similar thoughts here, Aiden Grimshaw did come to mind.

        Michael Jackson stuff not at races for votes, maybe worth chancing small punt at the prices?!

        These producers must know Michael J songs don’t work by now.

        Let the madness begin ….

      • EM

        ET is a bit of a dirge of a song brought to life by Katy Perry and Kanye West’s performance, not sure Ryth… Little Mix are up to it. Right let’s find out who’s first!

    • mark

      Marcus going 4th – not a particularly good slot..but not one of the ‘death slots’?

      1-3 being the bad slots 4 just being part of average i guess??

      hopefully he keeps on doing well despite not getting great slots, then later on maybe we can start getting good slots for him in the later weeks

  • Donald

    I’m Chancing bottom 2 Daniel

  • Boki

    Well, I was right they like up-tempo as an opener.

  • Shoulders

    Can’t believe the VT for Sophie, sending her home to see the hype outside X Factor, only to film her in a dreary empty pub, (save the couple of bored actors in the background) meeting just 1 friend, the X Factor axe is swinging down at an alarming rate, poor girl, on the other hand go Marcus, my betting is looking good!!

  • tom21

    Well done anyone who put money on the Louis ‘I think I did the right thing saving you’ Kitty bet!

    And Shoulders, totally agree Sophie’s now in big trouble – can’t think of anyone she’d be saved against…

    • nugget

      I think almost all those Coral specials were winners….which shows how predictable and cliched the show has become.

      Louis did stand up and stoke the audience earlier.
      Someone did say You have a recording voice.


      This is looking like a good week foe me 🙂

  • annie

    so, i think poor sophie (who is actually my favorite…) was placed on a magic carpet ride to depart from the competition. Bad draw and the only one getting bad comments… And all the other usual suspects got good treatment, good comments, good VT’s. It will be a miracle if she does escape bottom 2… and even there it’s not looking very good, i can’t see who against they’d save her tonight.
    i thought the risk were also quite underwhelming, plus the overlap with strictly, but they’ll surely be saved, with all they’ve been through this week.
    Frankie wasn’t very good, but i am almost certain he’ll be saved for his entertainment value even if he ends up in b2…
    I’m very confused about craig. I didn’t think much of his performance tonight. It was ok, but definitely not the showstopper the comments made it out to be. And I thought he looked unflattering as well.
    Oh, I do hope sophie survives by some miracle:D

  • Peter

    Hi Daniel,
    Enjoying the blog, as always. Keeping it simple surely Craig is the “chosen one”? Personality, reliable voice and vunerable. What’s not to like?

  • EM

    My quick thoughts

    Risk – not a great performance, not a great vt, not a great place in the running order. Losing favoured status? Should be ok.

    Sophie – poor vt, poor performance, poor comments. They tried to get London on her side but will that happen? Looks doomed. Wouldn’t be saved against anyone.

    Johnny – sung well, genuine talent shone through. Marvellous comments. Only negative is his place in the running order. Popular enough to just sail through.

    Marcus – confidence journey vt, decent enough performance, good comments. Craig got the vt to push for the powerful Liverpool vote. Is Craig the favoured boy or does he need more help?

    Janet – appeared over confident in her vt, the performance didnt connect for me and the judges comments were lukewarm. Long shot but i see danger longer term for her.

    Kitty – another good performance, vt was ok but not sure it would get sympathy. Not sure enough has been done to prevent bottom two again.

    Little Mix – very sympathetic vt and very decent performance and slot, great comments too. Being positioned as girls best friends not glamour girls.

    Craig – got the Liverpool vote VT, been styled to appeal to the older demographics. Performance good too.

    Bottom two – Kitty and Sophie, Sophie to go.

    • Donald

      Hi Em,

      I didn’t go through the acts but you could be right re Little Mix or Pick and Mix as twitter mob are calling them.

      Well positioned tonight, swings clever move, Janet was bad tonight simple as so they may pick up some new fans and probably worth a few quid for top qroup now at least.

      Though Marcus too edgy and Craig is the safe bet for a struggling show and producers as they tried tonight.

      Nobody pulled ahead tonight and few made up ground, so it’s just getting boring which means voting will be lower.

      Any no. of 6 could be in bottom two tomorrow if voting is low. Non event betting wise really this week.

    • EM

      And yes I totally forgot Mischa. No variation in performance again, decent enough though. Can’t have helped having all the bullying allegations pushed out again but she came across well in her interview.

      And was all the Risk nonsense put at the start to bury it under Strictly’s juggernaut?

  • Donald

    Just opened a bottle of wine, will watch show back it might sound better but doubt it.

    One thing I mentioned few weeks ago was the sound mix. They did it again tonight, kept it dry early on and then warmed it towards the end. Oldest trick in the book. It slaughtered the early acts.

    Be interesting to see what Daniel has to say.

    Twitter was nightmare really, most not voting I’d say. Simon will be back judging by few tweets by certain people tonight.

    • nugget

      I thought it was just me, glad someone else noticed, the sound mixing for the first few songs was dreadful, all the level were wrong.

      Do you think its deliberate??

      • Donald

        Hi Nugget,

        the did it few weeks ago also but not as blatant as tonight.

        It must be deliberate, levels one thing but no reverb etc. is joke really plus they propably vary the compression also, sounded that way tonight.

        It’s another trick they have found I think.

  • mark

    Pretty boring show – quite a few poor performances

    Sophie / Frankie to name two were very dissapointing, I wish id taken the 6s on Sophie to go..but by the time I;’d seen her sing and decided she’s good for b2 gone everywhere

    Frankie had his sympathy bounce last week – so should he not be in b2 this week? Another poor performance…
    Question then is, if he’s in the bottom 2 again, 2nd time..would he be saved or would they finally get rid of him, realising they’re flogging a dead horse?

    Marcus good performance , should be safe – single digits at some places now Simon

    Little Mix – poor, but yet they got talked up , i personally think they;’re absolute garbage?

    Johnny – most likely safe for now

    Janet – normal type of performance from her..for me it comes across as ‘boring’

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