X Factor 2011 Week 4 Review: Five questions for win market punters

Despite the chaos preceding it, week 4 at least felt like an attempt to put the wheels back on this series; as Euan commented before the show, “Sounds to me like someone’s gone in and read a riot act to producers”. Rhythmix became Little Mix, Ashley became Ashford, and Kelly became Alexandra – and after week 2’s dumping on the boys and week 3’s dissing of the girls, everyone except poor old Sophie Habibis got broadly positive treatment.

After four weeks, the contours of the series should be becoming apparent. Though all the acts have more significant weaknesses than we would expect at this stage, nonetheless there are five acts it is possible to imagine winning, so this week’s review considers the key question regarding each of them in turn.

1. Is there any way back for Misha B?

On Saturday, producers could hardly have done more to attempt to repair the damage they inflicted on Misha B with bullygate in week 3. Given that ignoring the media storm in her VT would have looked very odd, they instead filmed Misha in wide angle, wandering pensively through a deserted park – a visual that cleverly suggested reflection, repentance and personal growth.

As in week 2, we saw her being liked and respected by an employee on the show. And in comments Tulisa backtracked, albeit in a nauseatingly self-serving way (“If I cynically character-assassinate you on live TV, it’s only because I care”).

Misha performed well once again, so it was a major surprise when she landed up in the bottom two. If she wins now, she will be the first to do so having been in a sing-off. Three acts have finished second after surviving the danger zone, albeit from later in the series – Ray Quinn (week 5), Olly Murs and JLS (both week 7). The best precedent for a sing-off survivor this early in the series is Danyl Johnson, a week 3 survivor who went on to finish 4th.

Is it just a coincidence that no sing-off survivor has won? Maybe, but there is a plausible case for it being significant – voters like to back a winner, and acts who have never faced the judges in a sing-off have more of a winner’s aura when it comes to the final than acts whose lack of popularity has been laid bare at least once.

After week 1’s show saw Misha’s odds plummet, we wrote a piece explaining why we thought she would not win the X Factor – essentially, as a strong and confident young woman, Misha contrasts starkly with the demure and self-doubting profile of girls who have typically done well with the show’s voters. Since then we have changed our mind about only one thing in that article – we started it by calling her one of the “few genuine stars” of this series, and now think she’s the only genuine star. She’s the best thing in this show by a country mile, and that offers a slim hope of her bucking the trend.

Perversely, it is also just about possible that bullygate and the bottom two could play to her advantage. After all, Misha no longer looked so strong and confident when too choked to speak to Dermot in her post-performance interview. Is it conceivable that, having done such a great job of demolishing the self-confidence with which Misha started the series, the show could build it up again in a format more palatable to X Factor voters?

If we were in charge of the show this week, we’d portray Misha in full-on meltdown mode, lacking the confidence to get back on stage. We’d show her talking to the show’s psychologist, and we’d develop the idea planted by her last VT – “music saved me” – by having her suggest that being on the X Factor itself is proving to be a transformative experience for her. She could VT that she feels the support from the show is making her into a better person, and she doesn’t want it to end. It would be horribly cynical, but it just might have the desired effect. Danyl lost all his confidence the week after his sing-off survival and managed to top the following week’s vote despite performing abysmally.

However, the trajectory needed to get Misha into a position of winning the show may not necessarily be the best trajectory for a post-show career, and for that reason the show may choose not to send her down the route of looking demure and belting out ballads. We think Dug may have it right:

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I considered Misha’s styling to be dangerously alienating and the harsh look does nothing to help the girl in her upward climb from the Bullygate pit. I fear that whilst the Halloween theme should have suited Ms B, the scary makeup, growth-like horn-hair and evil cackling in the rap will have done nothing to soften her after last week’s debacle… The whole thing is a little fishy – perhaps they are planning a post-show career for Misha but think that being a nice girl and winning will do nothing for her ‘urban’ street cred?

We would love to be wrong that Misha’s current odds of around 7/1 look plenty short enough, as her talent deserves to shine through – but we fear that a bottom two experience this early bears out the doubts we rehearsed previously about her connection with the voting public.

2. What does Janet Devlin have up her sleeve?

After the last audition show, this is what we wrote about Janet: “In uncertain times, those who play the stock market gravitate to ‘safe havens’ such as gold or German bonds. Using similar reasoning, the Sofabet team took the last of the 13/2 on Janet Devlin after last night’s show.” Six weeks on, we stick by our analogy – while the German economy is flatlining, Janet just about remains a worthy favourite because her rivals have been about as impressive as Greek austerity plans.

The look on Janet’s face after her performance of ‘Every Breath You Take’ told you everything you needed to know about it – she seemed aghast as she stood back and contemplated the huge, steaming turd she had just deposited on the stage. She had not exactly stolen the show in any of weeks 1-3 either.

There are three ways to look at this. The first is that she just isn’t that good, and the show made a major goof in investing so heavily in her during the audition stages. The second is suggested by bunnyman in the comments, that Janet was never meant to be a Plan A: “I have seen her more of a pace setter intended as an early favourite, but incapable of keeping it going until the end.”

But if not to protect Janet’s chances, why ditch the much stronger Jade Richards and Amelia Lily to make way for the personality vacuum that was Sophie Habibis, whose presence in the live shows has seemed otherwise entirely pointless?

We’re thinking a third possibility is the right one. As Curtis puts it, “There is the possibility that they do not want her to peak too early… The thing that we’ve learnt from previous X Factors is that to win it, it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.” We reckon the show is relying on the Northern Ireland vote to keep her safe through some underwhelming early weeks that are designed to ensure the victory that programme makers are hoping to engineer for her doesn’t look too predictable for too long.

Speaking of “predictable”, that was the criticism Gary levelled at her this week. And it now seems all too obviously set up for Janet to come out and wow us with an uptempo number in club classics week. As nugget says, “There is no doubt in my mind that Janet can do an upbeat track. Check out her recording of Avril Lavignes Skater Boi on You tube. This is a card the producers are saving to be played at a later date when needed. The whole shy Irish girl thing is a bit of an act IMHO.”

In a weak year, we still reckon the betting is right to suggest that Janet is the most likely winner.

3. Does Ash to Ash mean The Risk are dead and buried?

If Janet is not Plan A, is it The Risk, as bunnyman‘s comment suggested? They would be an ambitious Plan A to win the show, when we’re already onto Plan C just in terms of the group’s composition. Surely tpfkar is right to say “what a hopeless job they did at putting the rejected soloists into groups”.

The reasons for Ashley leaving The Risk are certainly intriguing to speculate about. It casts a new light on a comment by Louis during the Week 1 strangling at birth of Nu Vibe: “Ashford, you’re the main man”. It seemed random at the time; was the switcheroo being contemplated even then? It also makes one wonder about Ashley’s “laryngitis” during week 3 – could this have been intended as the face-saving get-out (before Kelly upped the stakes in unlikely-sounding sore throat excuses)?

Sunday’s redtop story that Ashley’s religious beliefs made him uncomfortable with the Halloween theme is just about crazy enough to be halfway believable. The Halloween thing feels like a playful embellishment, but Ashley being ultra-religious would certainly explain the otherwise baffling sight in The Risk’s VT of a young lad being in tears as he wrestles with the question of whether he wants to be in a boyband, as if it were somehow of grave moral import.

At any rate, while the shots of Charley, Derry and Andy holding heads in hands on the sofa on Thursday and calling Ashford on the phone on Friday felt horribly staged, Ashley’s angst did not seem acted. It seems likely that this was a crisis management situation for the show, hence burying them in the Strictly overlap zone to get it out of the way with.

The fact that The Risk survived the death slot indicates they can’t be doing that badly in the vote, but we stand by our piece written three weeks ago on why we don’t think they will win. Although this is a weak year, we just can’t imagine this re-re-manufactured crew succeeding where the much more cohesive JLS and the much better planned One Direction failed.

4. What’s with the pimping of Craig Colton?

Could it possibly be that Plan A is Craig Colton, now down to a general 5/1 after his appearance in the pimp slot? Peter suggests so in the comments: “Keeping it simple surely Craig is the “chosen one”? Personality, reliable voice and vunerable. What’s not to like?”

It’s true, we don’t like Craig’s performing style – we find it irritating and mediocre. But the quest for self-knowledge is a vital one as punters, so we must ask ourselves whether we are blinded to Craig’s putative virtues by our backing for Marcus Collins and the fact that there is highly unlikely to be space for more than one Scouse lad in the final.

We therefore found it galling to see Craig not only in the pimp slot but getting the full-on Liverpool treatment in his VT, right down to the interview at his favourite Chinese takeway. As Oli pointed out in the comments, we wrote an article as part of our 2010 review series noting patterns in previous series of who appears in the pimp slot when:

What about the Week 4 pimp slot? In 2010 it was Cher, in 2009 Olly Murs and 2008 JLS. This seems to have been about a strategic boost for acts which were bubbling under in the vote – doing okay, but without yet hitting the top of the leader board. All three went on to be finalists.

Is the same in store for Craig? Obviously, as Marcus backers, we hope not. But we must admit that, while Craig is a one-trick pony against Marcus’s whole field of ponies, one thing Craig does have over his Liverpudlian rival is a more distinctive voice. Tulisa’s comment that Craig could sell albums was ominous.

We cling to the thought that the underwhelming post-show careers of male solo winners is becoming such a running joke for the show, it would amaze us if they would have chanced putting Craig in the pimp slot if he was doing well enough in the votes to be a potential winner. As bob asks, “let’s face it, what kind of career could he have?” Our speculative theory is that the show may have decided they can make a few bucks by releasing ‘Jar Of Hearts’ – which remains the standout performance of the series so far, and was nostalgically referred back to in Craig’s VT – and to do this, they can’t afford to lose him embarrassingly early.

Last year’s week 4 pimping of Cher with ‘Stay’ led us to write an article dismissing the widespread reaction that she was therefore the producers’ chosen one. As it happened, Cher was in the bottom two just three weeks after her pimping. We hope the same fate awaits the biscuit boy.

5. Can Marcus pull off a male version of the self-confidence journey?

As we have remarked many times before, the classic female path to victory in this competition is the one from self-doubt to self-belief. We haven’t seen that path trodden by a male before, which makes it intriguing that Marcus’s week 4 VT suggested this is the route they are going down with him.

Having tipped Marcus at 14/1 to win the show, we are obviously happy finally to see him at half those odds. His treatment by producers so far is hard to figure out – while he hasn’t had help in the running order for the last two weeks, his VTs and comments have been uniformly helpful.  It could be that they aren’t that interested in him. Or it could be that, as with Janet, they are keeping him relatively quiet early on and plan to big him up in the later weeks.

We’d like to see a pimp slot and a suitable ballad for him in the next couple of weeks. At any rate, we stand by our view that Marcus is the most likely alternative winner to Janet at this stage.

Do you agree? As always, please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

74 comments to X Factor 2011 Week 4 Review: Five questions for win market punters

  • EM

    Bingo! Your comments on Marcus (and to be fair Janet) reminded me of something. Alexandra Burke. She anonymously floated through the first few weeks then BOOM one performance caught on and she went on her trajectory to win.

    If there is a chosen one of these two it’s got to be Marcus surely. They must know Janet’s staging, smugness on VTs and warbley voice would grind people’s gears.

    Mind you this is the same production team that thought Alexandra would be an insightful and experienced judge!

  • Simon "le chat"

    I thought Alexandra was an excellent judge compared to the rest, and didn’t overly favour her acts tempernig her comments with advice.
    JANET is the chosen one, and added to her change of singing style next week we can expect some raunchier clothing. Will it propel her to an even greater position in the the markets? Perhaps. Perhaps not. She may even bring out her guitar as she threatened to do on Satruday night’s show although what place this Maris Von Trapp combination could have in a “Club” theme taxes the imagination.

    I cannot see how CRAIG is superior to MARCUS to the extent where the producers and judges continually pimp and praise him. The bloke is a one trick pont although I too was concerned about the reference to “Jar of Hearts” – I reckon MARCUS and indeed JAMES could have done it just as well. At least they are not continuing with the porky boy theme and we are not all on a journey with him as he gives up the biscuits and feasts on veg soup.

    The series is well and truly under way and the wheat and the chaff is beginning to sort itself out. I believe that MARCUs is so infinitely ahead of CRAIg in talent and popularity that the producers will not be able to engineer a reverse reflection in the votes and of the two it is biscuit boy who could be vulnerable.
    Everyone likes a happy sunny person who remains positive in spite of a bad luck background and I will continue to believe it is Craig’s LIKEABILITY that will see him home. He may not be the most talented singer in the competition (I agree the plaudit is MISHA’s) but this is not a singing competition so much as a feel good popularity contest and I cannot see MARCUS letting his supporters down- people just love him, something which is not the same for CRAIG.

    Let’s see what they do with him this next weekend. He is overdue a decent song choice and backing track and a pimp slot- they cannt give it to biscuit boy yet again so let’s wait and see before writing him off.
    Time to keep our nerve chaps.

    • Pete D

      Simon, I’m with you and keeping my nerve. I have had a feeling in my water about MARCUS ever since he first set foot on the XF stage and it is where my main bet is.

      My only nagging doubt to threaten him is the Steamroller that is coming of LITTLE MIX (but I got on them with a more modest early punt at a whopping 66/1, just in case).
      However there are also some great 66’ers on offer for a straight forecast either way too.
      Worth a small fun one or what ?

  • Rob

    good article – observations:

    i don’t really buy a misha b comeback. she is going to have to eat some major humble pie to turnaround the public to win it and i don’t think it’s in her character. plus the scary outfits and rapping are serious negatives also. and tbh i’m not sold on her talent as much as you guys are. she seems to be simply mimicking grace jones with an urban twist?

    i’ve said enough about janet devlin. i’m sticking to her until another serious contender comes along. just a question though. has anyone done a serious investigation into the depth of her support? are ‘the devlinators’ enough to propel her to first place? one caveat though is that the producers are going to have to pull there fingers out if she is plan a or they will stall her momentum irrevocably!

    are the risk really the top group? i seem to be detecting a shift to the girls both on and off the show. there’s something about the risk that really alienates me… is it the one with the big ears who never changes his expression or the rapper who looks like he’s on drugs – dunno? anyway i don’t think they are anywhere near as popular as previous boyband entries.

    craig colton is just not popstar material and i see him now as the rebecca this year. pimped by the judges in regards to his voice but not quite having the all round ability to get him over the line. i think he’ll be going out 2nd or 3rd next week and seems the most vulnerable of these in the clubclassics week.

    i’m beginning to warm to marcus a bit with his cheery demeanor and energetic performances but still have nagging doubts as to his ability to come through. these are: his voice is too generic and his personality reminds me of an even cheerier joe mcelderry. ok he won, but i don’t think the producers want another joe! however, imo he does seem the most likely to overcome janet so i’m going to lump a few quid on as backup before his price shortens any further.

    ps i think one of the above will go in the next 2 weeks, probably in a singoff with either frankie, kitty, or johnny

  • Boki

    Here’s my small analysis of the running order:

    According to ‘runes’ wk2 pimp is a wk1 topper and that’s Kitty – not logical. Also wk3 pimp is someone

    bad in wk2 to keep and that’s Misha. If Misha already did bad in wk2 they wouldn’t ‘bully’ her in her

    pimp slot so that’s also not logical. So I discard wk1 as non existing and start all over from wk2.

    Kitty pimp in wk2 just because they were scared for here at the beginning.
    Wk3 pimp Misha was vote topper in wk2, they got scared and pulled the bully trick to bring her down a

    bit but didn’t expect it will hurt her so much. This might be true but not rock solid theory.
    Wk4 pimp Craig and LMix before are someone who were in danger in wk3 and they wanted to keep them. It

    makes sense for Marcus backers 🙂 but is it true? Or they just have changed the pattern from previous

    years to keep us in the dark… did you try to figure it out SB team ?

    • Boki

      Sorry for the strange paragraphs, don’t know what happened…

    • Andrew

      Hi Boki, the early weeks have all been thrown into the air this year with the big twist (and it was always a little bit speculative anyway as to how much weight one could put on the apparent patterns continuing)… but the week 5 pimp slot (previous recipients being Alexandra, Joe and 1D) could be interesting this weekend.

  • Rob

    there are 3 acts that are either too polarising or are deffo not wanted as winners:


    one will have to go soon… but which one and when? opinions and reasons welcome.

    • Andrew

      My theory: If they could choose who to jettison, Johnny (incapacity benefit story last week, valedictory feel to VT this week). If forced to choose between cutting Frankie or Kitty loose, then Frankie (where do they go with him now other than descent into Trainspotting-esque extremes? Although admittedly this might be entertaining to watch. Kitty offers a greater range of emotional possibilities and thus story trajectories, as well as being more entertaining as a performer, so I think they will think she has more legs).

  • tpfkar


    As a Christian myself I don’t believe a word about Ashley walking because he didn’t want to sing Thriller for Halloween. Get real. I flagged at the time that something felt wrong the previous week when they spoke of ‘issues’ on stage; my guess is that they had a big bust-up (a more plausible reason if you want to bring his faith into it is that he refused to go out on the town with Frankie…)

    I agree the balance of power in the groups is in the Mix though.

    Janet: I think you’ve got this absolutely right. It might not be club classics (although an obvious one) but I think she is being set up to shine.

    • Andrew

      Sounds completely plausible re Ashley, especially given that unpleasant Derry girlfriend-stealing VT that preceded the week 3 “issues”.

  • Boki

    I still have no answer (so no bets) on a question who they might want to ditch first. One of the boys is logical but I believe it’s not an easy job to get either Marcus or Craig in bot2 unless one of them is struggling already. So it seems the end of Frankie ? Anyway, I’m not a patient man but I think I’ll wait this time…

  • Boki

    Btw, I now it’s early but I’m in a mood for writing a post mortem on a whole sofabet x-factor coverage.

    I found this website last year, between eurovision semifinal and final. Took one advice I missed to see myself (Greece top10) which probably caused my ban at one of the bookies 🙂

    Anyway I was amazed by the QUALITY of posts and decided to join 1st next covered event and that was x-factor which was completely new to me. This summer I read all the related articles and again AMAZED by the content. The rest is history, now I even kind of enjoy this show and all around it so there is not only profit but also fun just like esc.

    BIG THANK YOU GUYS for amazing posts, research, up to date analysis and last and maybe most important – responsivness to your commentators with responsible advice to anyone. I’m trying to contribute as much as I can but it’s not easy because lot of the comments are also on a very high level. Keep up the great work you are doing !

    • Andrew

      Thanks very much, Boki! 🙂 It’s great to have you here and delighted you’re enjoying the show as well as the site – it’s a very different beast to ESC, but absorbing in its own way!

      Daniel and I are regularly bowled over by the wisdom in the comments, and struggle to do it enough justice in the main posts – we’re so grateful to you and everyone here for making the site what it is.

      • nugget

        I too would like to thank Andrew and Daniel for an excellent site. The knowledge shared here helps immensely.
        I discovered Sofabet some time ago and have been hovering in the backround ever since.

        Eurovision is a whole different ball game for me and a time I look forward to every year. For ESC I work as an odds compiler for a bookmaker, playing around with their money at no risk to myself and getting a commission on the overall win at the end of it all.

  • mark the bookie basher

    after predicting operation get sophie out last fri at 8-1 im struggling this week who are they gona target i firmly believe now that the chosen final that the producers want is janet craig and the risk its gona be a massive week for janet though after her painfull performance on sat she needs to start building some momentum and soon i think the producers are playing a waiting game with her at least i hope so im on at 7-2 and im gona go in again at 11-4 1 really big performance and shell be 7-4 i just hope its this week

  • Tim

    I agree with those saying Janet is being set up to shine this weekend’s club/dancefloor theme.

    I’ve found the perfect song choice for her! Olive – You’re Not Alone. If she sang this she’d bring the house down! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkg7Ozu0pH8

  • KingKong'sDong

    Michas rapping is unintelligible and outfits such as the rhinovagina are distracting. Did you note the coached demure attitude on saturday, quiet, unassuming, head down..
    The only way back for her to secure a deserved (on her vocals) final placing is to strip her personality away from her image – go more feminine, less threatening more mainstream with her look and stick to well known songs. If this doesn’t happen she’ll keep B2ing, people need to see change to believe in personality change.

  • Donald

    Agree with Janet or Marcus, have some money on both but haven’t gone for it really yet.

    Song choice important for both Janet and Marcus this weekend.

    Craig seems to be getting allot of help for some reason.

    Be easy to get Marcus away this weekend with a track like Flo Rida’s Club Can’t Handle Me. There are big crossover Club Tracks like that one right now but fear is producers give dated tracks, doesn’t work with todays youth or groove enough to really shine and get votes.

    Whoever if anyone attemps When Love Takes Over unless Kitty or Misha will fail with it I think. It is an obvious one though. Maybe Craig??

    Janet is tougher than Marcus, they say they going to do something different when a DJ Sammy “Boys Of Summer” or “Heaven” would be easy and perfect.

    So song choice very important this weekend in getting an act to shine.

    Kitty with the right song should be safe again and I await with anticipation what they give Little Mix “steamroller” They are doing nicely against all odds and could be a real dark horse, but the producers could stop that easily.

    As Daniel has said Janet or Marcus, but knockout market is safer and better earner right now.

    Finally wouldn’t it be great if they gave Frankie a Scooter track! on you’re bike.

    Be interesting if anyone gets a Faithless track and there are a few gems.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Five out of seven series so far have been won by boys yet none have gone on to stardom. Even Matt’s career looks like it is foundering before it get’s off the ground yet as stated before the five previous male successes at least looked the part. CRAIG doesn’t fit the bill but the only interpretation of all his pimping and assistance is that they want to keep him in for now. I cannot escape the reality that he is a hugely inferior artist to MARCUS who as yet has not had a chance to shine. I don’t believe CRAIG has the superior voice- MARCUS is a better singer, he just hasn’t had the opportunity to exhibit the ballad side of his ability. Yet.
    In a head to head on a public vote MARCUS will always prevail because he is the complete package – talented, handsome, humble and extremely likeable. The producers cannot feasibly do any more to advance CRAIG than they already have and I suspect his pimping last week was to boost his ailing vote. We’ll see.
    The expendible acts at the moment are JOHNNIE, RISK and one of the boys. TATARSE puts more bums on seats than anyone so he’s safe. MARCUS is safe because he is earmarked for the final so that leaves CRAIG and JOHNNIE in the bottom 2 and CRAIG to go.
    Incidentally I thought THE LITTLE MIX were very, very good indeed on Saturday night. If there is a dark horse these girls are it.

    • Noisy

      Hi Simon,

      I agree that Marcus is far superior to Craig but aren’t you a bit worried by the lack of help they’ve given Marcus compared to Biscuit Boy?

      I think they’re keen for Janet or a group to win so would prefer to get rid of Marcus before the final to reduce the threat. If they’d been keen for him to go far they could have easily given him better songs/slots.

      I just hope they’ve seen by the votes that Marcus doesn’t need help yet and are saving the preferrential treatment till it counts…

      • Simon "le chat"

        Hi Noisy
        Yes, like Daniel I find it galling that the judges and backroom staff go out of their way to pimp CRAIG at MARCUS’ expense. This Liverpool theme last weekend was particularly unhelpful to our selection but it is early days. If MARCUS can stay out of the bottom 2 with an unhekpful backing, what will he do when he gets support?
        I just want BARLOW to stop yabbing on about CRAIG being the “performance of the night” when he clearly isn’t.
        I am really dissapointed in BARLOW as a judge. I thought he was successful enough not to need to tow the line but I was wrong and many of his comments are hollow. Shame.
        Anyhow come on MARCUS!
        You just need a little help fom your friends.

  • bunnyman

    “There is the possibility that they do not want her to peak too early… The thing that we’ve learnt from previous X Factors is that to win it, it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.”

    Don’t they need some stunning performances to boost the ratings? Surely that’s more important than holding her back to try and improve her chances of winning.

    • Donald

      Maybe. The stunning performance hasn’t happened yet though and last week was not great to put it mildly.

      Janet is young and a perfectionist, problem is since she missed the note on the Elvis track (which if you watch closely on YouTube she was aware of the note beforehand) her confidence is shot a bit, so she is thinking about it instead of flowing with the song. Same happened on Sat.

      So caution for the minute maybe best, but the value will go if Janet nails it.

      I rate Janet and like her but she is young and the way the show been going probably not the easiest place to adapt and develop. She seems to lay back because of her “t’s” but won’t even go into that. That worries me a bit.

      There is also rumour of some problem with Miss MB also reading between the lines on social media.

      Little Mix did piece about online bullying on Chartshow TV today and how upsetting it is, so this bullying thing may not be over.

      EW to split the loss maybe if going hard.

      If they don’t put the brakes on the Little Mix we could be all in a mix, ev

      • fiveleaves

        Little Mix have been very good every week and all the judges have dropped plenty of hints that there’s a gap in the market for a girlband like Little Mix.

        The market had ignored them til recently because ‘Girlbands can’t win’

        In such a weak year I see no reason why these very likeable and very decent performers can’t win over the family audience that watch this show.
        Their vt on saturday was one of the best ‘vote getting’ vt I’ve ever seen on this show.

        All the other acts are deeply flawed in one way or another.

        I agree with bunnyman that a group are plan A, but not another boyband in an already flooded market, but a girlband.

        • Pete D

          fiveleaves. I agree with you on that. I am a MARCUS man right from his first audition (have to stick with our gut feeling hunches), BUT I have very quickly warmed to LITTLE MIX so much too after not even giving them any cred at all at the Judges house.

          The Spice Girls have left a mighty big market gap to jump into and I think they are being groomed to fill it. Big record contract returns for XF if they can do it (as with JLS)….so watch this space folks !
          Got them early at 66/1 with an alternative win bet to MARCUS. Same prices too at the moment for forecasts with MARCUS. Big price for a small fun punt.

          • Rob

            i also detect a swing to little mix, and i think this will be at the expense of support for janet.

            top 3 for me atm in no particular order:

            remember humble wins x factor and these have it.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Does anyone think that calling on the regional vote in VT’s so early in the competition may indicate a need for votes?

    It’s always been a ploy, to show VT of an act’s home town (difficult to do for a Pick’n’Mix group) then for a judge – usually Louis Walsh – to ask for “The whole of Liverpool/Wales/Ireland/London/Newcastle to get behind you and pick up the phone to vote”.

    This week, we saw Sophie go back to London, Janet’s regional support in Ireland and Craig’s mentions on local radio in Liverpool, despite the fact that Marcus is also from there.

    I’m sure that you’ve probably got some great stats/research into this already Andrew, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and of course those of anyone else on here.

    • Andrew

      Good question, Chatterbox. There is also the possibility that they could shill for regional votes for an act that’s doing well simply to maximise phone vote revenue. We’ve no stats on it, I’m afraid, but it would be an interesting one to research.

  • EM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, just because the theme is club classics don’t assume everyone will be doing a disco stomper.

    As someone much funnier than me put it, nothing says Halloween quite like a plump bloke in a duffle coat singing an Adele song.

    • Donald

      Hi EM, Ha ha, that is so funny.

      They’s probably rate anything club with a beat, they might even be trying to get an old dance hit back in the domain. They need a hit on iTunes YouTube etc. nothing through the roof yet.

      Easy enough put someone in the B2 with a bad song choice and crap beat.

  • Marinamau

    The thing with misha is that not only she is not likeable for the masses I find her a bit scary. I agree that she is the only star in there so far, but I just find her image concept rather ugly (she is Not ugly, just the styling) and dark (not colour of skin) so far that I find her scary.
    The thing with Marcus is as someone already has mentioned here and myself on another comment, has talent but he has no differentiating factor on the recording artist market. He is Joe mcelderry mark 2 but with slightly weaker vocals (joes were impressive), more openly gay (which makes him less fanciable, sorry but it is truth for many female voters), older so less chance of middle age women go oh he is so sweet!. So while it means that he can win I think the producers (syco) will try to sabotage his chances of winning if they can.
    I just still can’t believe why they let Amelia lily and James go. They had IMHO far more potential to be successful on and after the x factor. I wonder why they cut them?

    • Noisy

      I think they were bigger threats (specially Amelia) to the producers’ Plan A.

      My fear for Marcus is he’ll get stitched up too when he starts getting too popular. They’re keen not to give him good songs/slots to help his chances choosing to pimp Craig ahead of him. I feel they’ll find it easier to ditch Craig when they want as he’s less versatile.

      I agree with your views on Misha. I don’t think she’ll win as she doesn’t come across as very likeable to me. Just a little scary! You need to be likeable as well as a good singer/performer to win this. I think Kitty’s one of the best singers/performers but is again struggling through people not warming to her.

    • miskynoodle

      I totally agree with your opinion marinamau about James and amellia both would have had a successfull music career after the show,james s twitter is still gaining an average of a thousand every three days without anykind of publicity,however nowhere near the amount as the others on the show but all of them were pimped up to the hilt before the live finals.Then i think well why put them in the lives if then to panic that they were a threat to their plan a s without any votes been cast.THEN i can t help but think that they took them both out early to stop them being branded with the x factor name and have bigger plans for them because they where to good to lose in the first week.They r now working the clubs and are getting a healthy following and both gaining,more so James the confidence to take them to the next level, imho they both have the potential to be the stars the judges keep threatening us with every week!!I don t know just a thought!.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Is it just me, or does 3/1 available for Little Mix to be the top group seem a bit too high for a 2 horse race, especially considering that the other horse is The Risk. With their change in group members (which may be seen as an unfair advantage) and an unconvincing performance last week, are they really more likely to be top group than Janet is to be top girl?

    • Pete D

      Chatterbox5200. Best thing is to take it if they are giving it (and if you feel confident that they WILL be top group). I know what my thoughts are on Little Mix and have done a piece on them here on the week 4 post-mortem thread. I love em !

  • zoomraker

    would love to see Frankie or Kitty do “Whole Lotta Love” for club classics.

  • Malcolm

    Thanks, I too have found the info on here really good. I’m really struggling to think who might go this week. I’ll be looking for clues again in the running order and judges comments which paid off for me last week with Sophie. I’m puzzled about Craig, the judges raved about something that was quite poor in my opinion. My favourite last week was little mix, backed up by several similar comments in my office where a lot watch the show. It reminded me of eurovision.
    Johnny seems the least worthy of the remaining acts, but kitty now has trouble…. front page of the sun kitty x factor race row. So maybe she is a more definite candidate for the bottom 2 this week.

  • Simon "le chat"

    If “Bullygate” sank MISHA then this scandal wll harm KITTY no end.
    She wont go though – she’s live tour material. I reckon they need a boy off and it could be time for FRANKIE to go becaue he is totally dreadful.
    It might be time to rough CRAIG up a bit too, although the Liverpool angle was a big card for them to play.

    • Malcolm

      Surely frankie is live tour material also? Although he is poor, on a live tour he does offer something a bit different to the others, and something that they could really play to with the audience.

  • bob

    People keep going on about the liverpool card but I thought it was interesting that Marcus got even a mention in Craig’s VT.

    Regarding the theme, I think last week was more about the styling and performance than the song. Hmm, still not sure how the duffle coat fits in to that!

    I think the issue with not having a boy win is not as important as people think. The show makes the most money from advertising, and therefore viewers. Again, I’m not sure how the duffle-pimping fits into that. Perhaps the show has far more female viewers and girls like watching boys?

    • Rob

      the extent of the ability of liverpool to influence the result is imo overstated. it’s not a massive city and it should also be noted that a high proportion of it’s population is… wait for it… of irish descent

  • bob

    As has been said previously, they can take whoever they want on the tour (and have) so the issue of top 8, or whatever, is irrelevant.

  • bob

    Is this a subtle attack on The Risk (maybe Little Mix are the chosen group?). Overtly a story about Kitty being racist but there has to be the assumption that Derry must have done something to her.


  • BoomBoom

    It’s highly likely that I’m alone in thinking this, but the pimping of Craig is so strange that I wonder if it’s not part of a larger plan to ditch him this week.

    If there’s one thing that the show has continued to do well amongst the chaos, it’s ditch who they want to, when they want to.

    In the crisis meetings last week, it’s clear that it was of great importance to throw Sophie to the sharks and thereby cut loose a contestant who patently hadn’t forged much of a connection with the public (the show’s fault rather than hers.)

    However, they were surely already scheming for what to do this week – and for arguments sake, let’s say they had decided to chop Craig this week.

    All signs suggest that he is struggling a little votes wise recently, in which case the producers had a problem of how to treat Craig on Saturday. There had been far too much criticism of all acts up to this week, and to begin to stick the knife into Craig would have continued this theme, as well as endangered the plan to remove Sophie.

    That would have run the risk of Craig being B2, either keeping Sophie out of the bottom two, or if with her then the producers would have had to counteract what would have been a genuinely decent sympathy bounce this week.

    So the plan last week was straightforward – massive pimping for Craig. a) it would ensure he had enough votes to stay clear of B2, so that they could continue with plan A of removing Habibis. b) it would comply with the necessary widespread praise for most acts on Saturday. And c) it makes their job of removing him this Saturday significantly easier.

    Gary saying ‘performance of the night’ doesnt make it so, and the post show reaction suggests that very few punters agree. It’s a comment which actually alienates certain floating voters from Craig’s cause just as Simon’s endless praise of OD did for them to the extent that they never grew their fanbase…

    So just as Mischa will this week benefit from votes from those who believe she didn’t deserve to be B2, Craig needs to fight against the ‘anti-sympathy bounce’ of winning over floating voters who believe he was over-praised.

    Further, being on late sets him up nicely for an early slot this week, and last week gave off the impression that he is one of the frontrunners with a whole city behind him – possibly leading to fewer votes this week as his fans believe him to be safe.

    So, it has been expertly prepared for an underwhelming Craig performance in Club Classics week to drop him into the b2, and allow the show to ditch someone who offers little to the overall narrative or to potential post show marketability.

    • Nugget

      I agree with all this, Craig represented excellent value at 16/1 for bottom 2 when prices were first released. I managed to grab a little of that and he now trades at half that price. He may or may not go, not a certainty but in an extrodinary series I am happy with the bet and the price.

      Craig is due for an early slot this week, and with a theme/genre that will not suit. Off all the remaining acts he seems the most anonymous/disposable one left. He has nothing that suggests if he wins he can succeed as a popstar, there have been too many single male winners in this type of show and too many failures for the producers to risk doing all that again.

      A case can be laid out to save the red top headline grabbing acts, has anyone seen a X factor front page in the tabloids with Craig as the focus, I don’t think so.

      Syco and the producers are publicity whores, so there are good reasons to keep the likes of Kitty, Johnny,Misha and Frankie. Craig just cannot offer that and the (split) scouse vote may not be enough to save him from bottom 2 this week.

      • Simon "le chat"

        I also agree with the above as being a far more plausible explanation for CRAIGS blatant pimping than the more obvious one that they want him to win.
        We’ll know as soon as the start positions are announced. They surely cannot pimp the bloke even more so he has to go down the pecking order doesn’t he?
        Poor slot, poor song and he’s exposed as limited.

  • Dug

    I’ve just re-read your past article on running order and considering the pattern for week 3 pimp slots, perhaps it shouldn’t have been such a surprise to find Misha in the bottom two in week 4. As you point out, that slot in the third week has historically been used to boost an act with a low vote count.

    I’m happy to see Marcus at 7.50 when I took him at 26. I was initially disappointed to see him reach 31 but glad I didn’t hold out any longer as I saw him shortening pretty quickly after that.

    Brilliant read, as ever. I particularly enjoyed Janet’s steaming turd. In reference to holding back, I’m sure she has a lot of tricks in the bag. She’s a seasoned performer and the little girl lost persona is unconvincing to me. Stylistically, I can see song choices in a similar vein to the upbeat Rebecca Ferguson numbers. With performances like Show Me Love and Sweet Dreams, Rebecca was able to stay relatively still and emit her distinctive vocal whilst appearing to be part of a highly energetic and exciting set. Whilst I don’t see producers sending Janet in such a dance-oriented direction with her upbeat numbers, the same principal could easily be applied. Ms Devlin is never going to be a prance-around-the-stage kinda gal but I’m sure she could stand with her legs slightly apart and two hands firmly on the microphone whilst looking fearlessly into the audience and belting out something amongst the lasers and fire. A few panthers and some dancers in cages wouldn’t hurt.

  • Pete D

    CHECK YOUR BETS…Although everything is ok with my SKYBET, it might just be worth double checking with your own company if you have bet on LITTLE MIX ‘before’ the name change.

    These companies could possibly just avoid paying out on a technicality (if they so wished on big odds payouts). So I just spent a nervous 15 mins waiting on the chat-box with SkyBet whilst the girl had to go off and take advice on it from their traders.

    It might be wise just to double check as some appear to be ‘offshore companies’ and therefore not quite under UK regulations if you had to complain.

    • Nugget

      Hi Pete D

      Does this mean my name the bottom 2 bet of “Rhythmix and Sophie” is now void and I can claim my money back ???

      Or is that wishfull thinking 🙂

      Seriously though, it would take a really dodgy bookie to try and avoid paying out on Little Mix to those who bet Rhythmix.

      • Pete D

        Hi Nugget.
        I’m just an occasional (hence an inexperienced) punter but hooked on this XF thing with being experienced in the music biz.
        Its just that last year (although I got Matt spot on early for a nice Crimbo treat), I had a little spat with SKYBET over another bet.

        I had put a bet on a promising girl band at good odds (‘long before’ the Judges house final 12 announcement) and then saw they had gone out even more. So I googled them as to ‘why’ and found that the final 12 had just been leaked out on the internet, yet SKYBET were still happily taking bets. They are not daft and knew this too (hence the big drop), so I tend not to trust anyone 100%. With news like that they should have halted betting really.

        I was annoyed but had to take it on the chin and chalk it down to experience as I didn’t lose much, BUT so glad I found SOFABET this year. It’s a mine of information and insight from like thinking people.

        Hope y’all find my own humble input useful too as I have had a good nose for winners every year (NOW I am actually betting on my hunches with money). Its great to chat with you all !

  • Malcolm

    In week 3 Sami went home, Marcus was on first and was clearly going to be saved against any of the likely candidates for the bottom 2 if he was unfortunate enough to be there.
    Looking up the list that week Janet (looking very safe) Sami (producers favourite to go home) Rhythmix ( judges desperate to keep in) next was Sophie who we now know wasn’t in the long term show plans. and then Craig. I did wonder if Sophie and Craig were seen as expendable if things didn’t quite work to plan on week 3.
    Don’t think I’ve explained that too well but this year the bottom slot isn’t necessarily the worst place to be, Sami and Sophie proved that. This week the risk were on first but with a view (I think) of being safe against any likely bottom 2 candidates should they find themselves there.
    Maybe also putting Craig on in the pimp slot this week was a test of what votes he could get with everything – including adele’s duffle coat- thrown at him. At some point perhaps they decide who is the best bet between Marcus and Craig to favour, and this was part of the decision process.

  • Boki

    I think I will try a small bet of 1st announced safe. Wk1 Risk, wk2 Marcus because he was trembling previous wk, wk3 Kitty who was to be expected in the end but they put her first to make people believe she’s still strong. So the next candidate is a girl then?

    Misha would follow the same Kitty principle if they want to rehabilitate her. Janet could be also there because last week girls took hardest blow (3 girls in last 4 to be announced). Small combo on the girls then.

  • Boki

    There is a nice match bet for Craig haters against Misha who is 2.25 @WillHill.

  • Tim

    Can I request a post? Something along the lines of ‘Can Little Mix win The X Factor?’ Is this already on its way? I can’t be the only one who’s worried about them at the moment!

    • Simon "le chat"

      You’re not the only one Tim
      I dont know if they can win but these girls are good, thier performance on Saturday was ecellent and they could surprise a few.
      They wont win it though.
      Janet or Marcus

    • Daniel

      Hi Tim, thanks for your request. Such an article is in the offing and will be posted on the site towards the end of the week.

    • Chatterbox5200

      The producers seem to have identified this group as being the “Girls Next Door”, so that they can appeal to the younger (particularly female) demographic. There has been a lot of talk about a gap in the market for this type of group – possible role models – each with their own image, as per the Spice Girls. This could also explain the inclusion of “Little” in their new name.

      With JLS having achieved success and One Direction starting to do the same, a group can do well after the competition, even if they have yet to win it (previous posts on this site have explained the challenge faced by groups compared to solo artists).

      I don’t think there is much doubt about their vocal abilities, but I do think that their styling/image will have a lot to do with how far they can progress in the competition.

    • Pete D

      I too would love to see a post on the deserving LITTLE MIX. They will be up there fighting it out with my first choice MARCUS in the top 2, because I think JANET will follow the same route as the very similar styled DIANA VICKERS (who was also the bookies favourite for weeks until ousted in the Semi’s to 4th place).

      I didn’t tag them as ‘THE STEAMROLLER’ for nothing, they are stoking up their boiler as we speak and getting up even more steam ready to run over everyone in their way. XF bosses are already working to flatten the Tarmac for them to make it an even smoother ride, as they will be the biggest (and most instant) ‘after show’ earner for them out of what is left.

      There have been enough BIG hints dropped about what they want (voiced through their paid puppet Judges).

      My 5 year old Grandaughter is already identifying with LITTLE MIX and once styled properly to match their individual bubbly ‘girl next door’ personalities, they will be the new ‘updated’ Spice Girls for sure.

      • Nicky

        I was never a Diana Vickers fan, but remember she had laryngitis. She was allowed to miss a week and then returned for the next show. However, her voice had not recovered and sounded so rough she really shouldn’t have been singing. She may have gone further in the competition if this hadn’t occurred.

    • Pete D

      Has SOFABET or anyone got a list of ‘first act announced safe’ please ?

      Is there a pattern, rhyme or reason to it to possibly help us to narrow it down for this week’s prediction ?

  • fiveleaves

    Rob said –

    “also detect a swing to little mix, and i think this will be at the expense of support for janet.”

    Totally agree with this. I see Janet being the one who suffers the most if Little Mix continue to impress and be pushed.

    Looking at twitter their main support comes from teenage girls. So they’re fighting for the same votes.

    • Pete D

      fiveleaves. Good call, as I am spotting cracks in JANET’S ‘sweet little me’ act as it’s all going to her head and she thinks she has the title nailed already (though in reality, diverting votes from her is still tough at the moment).

      More likely LITTLE MIX are getting BULLY B’s votes (and possibly KITTY’s too now with this weeks news). FRANKIE’S too, when he has to pack his bags and ‘do one’. Teens nowadays are so switched on at school against bullies and racism (unlike when I was there in Julius Ceaser’s reign).

      • Pete D

        fiveleaves. Also, if you look on the ‘Dove’ facebook, Jesy has had a massive support for her own ‘twitter’ bullying/victimisation with 7,000 likes and a host of support comms over her size insecurities. There are a lot of teens who identify with her and she is already becoming a great role model for them.

        • fiveleaves

          Yep, agree again Rob and I saw that story about the ‘Dove’ FB page.

          And I don’t think it will just be teens who will empathise with her.

          Every woman I know and have ever known have worries over their body image.

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