X Factor 2011 Week 7 Review: Better the Devlin you know

We have criticised the X Factor producers often enough this year, so it’s time to dish out some praise – they’ve done a brilliant job in keeping us guessing about who’s going to win this thing.

This is clear not only from the wide-open look of the market, with 2/1 the field and all five acts quoted at single figure prices. It’s also demonstrated by the answer to the “who do you expect to win” question in the recent YouGov poll, which featured a wide spread of opinion.

There are now three acts left whose vote performance we can only speculate about because they have never been in a singoff – Marcus Collins, Janet Devlin and Little Mix. Only producers know whether each of these acts is flying high or barely surviving, and perhaps it’s very clear to them which way this is likely to pan out. But it’s not clear to the rest of us. The public perception is of an open and exciting race, and for that programme-makers must be applauded.

Interestingly, only 8% of YouGov respondents said they expected Janet Devlin to win, a figure which would surely have been much higher before the lives. So if the theory we floated last week is right, that her treatment does not indicate a desire to get rid of her but a desire to hide how well she’s doing, then it has succeeded spectacularly.

Once again, Janet’s treatment this week makes sense only under one of two polar opposite interpretations: (a) producers are desperate to see the back of the Ulster lass, or (b) producers still want to keep her in and were confident she was as safe as houses. Which is it?

In the comments, bunnyman was convinced that Janet’s VT was intended to harm her – having “started off talking about her being boring and finished off talking about her being boring, it felt like an out and out crucifiction.”

We see the point about the repeated hitting of the “b” word – we pointed out when it was first used, in week 3, that it’s an elementary mistake in politics to repeat a criticism you want to deny, as it subliminally reinforces the criticism in voters’ minds.

Still, there is another way to read the VT. It developed a narrative about Janet which we analysed in our article about her last week, that she has a firm sense of her musical identity: “I’m definitely not your big, stereotypical pop artist. I’ve nothing against pop music, it’s just difficult to find songs that I like in the pop industry. I’ve strong ideas about what I want”.

You can read this as feeding the sense of Janet as being kooky and difficult – and the YouGov poll shows she has picked up plenty of negatives, being second only to Misha B in this respect and far ahead of her other rivals. This could increasingly become a problem as the competition continues and the votes of those who dislike Janet are split between progressively fewer acts.

Alternatively, you can see it as showing us a young girl who is apparently managing to keep her head, her identity and her integrity amidst the maelstrom of the X Factor silliness. Part of Matt Cardle’s appeal last year was a sense of authenticity, and the show is quietly doing a proficient job of conveying the same about Janet – as Louis said about her ‘Kiss Me’ in comments: “no tricks, no gimmicks, with you it’s all about the music”.

Janet’s VT then showed her talking about being in a posh hotel and having to have her hair and make-up done, saying “I’ll probably never get used to that”. We saw an X Factor stylist being exasperated by Janet’s disinterest in wearing anything elaborate and fancy. On the red carpet for the Twilight premiere, she found it “weird” that people were calling her name.

What impression do we get from all that? We see a down-to-earth girl with her feet on the ground and a healthy disrespect for fame, celebrity and the fickle world of high fashion. Is this really damaging Janet? It’s certainly making the Sofabet team warm to her more and more on a personal level (though admittedly we usually have a soft spot for the awkward ones).

This allegedly means we differ from Gary Barlow and Kelly Rowland, if we are to believe a piece of intelligence brought to us by Sofabet commenter Nugget, who writes that he was in the audience on Saturday:

I was close enough to hear the judges private non broadcast comments while the VTs were running and am now 100% certain that the judges will do everything in their power to stop Janet winning…
It was in particular comments made between Gary and Kelly while the VTs were running about Janet being wierd and hard to work with. The impression I got is they really don’t like her

Under normal circumstances we would doubt very much that this would matter. As we have written in our article discussing the role of the X Factor judge when it comes to a singoff, one can query how much the judges’ private personal opinions – as opposed to their awareness of the thinking that goes on at a programme level – influences what comes out of their mouths when the mics are on during the live shows.

Having said that, with speculation in the press last week that Gary might not be back in 2012, we have to wonder if there may be a greater possibility of him going off-message in the remaining weeks. Certainly we were surprised by the harshness of his tone in voting to send Amelia home in Sunday’s singoff. And for anyone who watched Xtra Factor on Saturday, it did not appear to be pantomime anger in his spat with Tulisa over song choice critiques.

No doubt the X Factor is like any other workplace behind the scenes, with arguments and ego clashes and tiresome petty rivalries. Still, our critique of the show assumes that ultimately professionalism will prevail and a united front will be put on, so the more important question is what programme makers are intending for Janet.

And that – still, after week 7 – remains very much open to question in our book. After four weeks of negativity, her comments on Saturday were a whole lot more positive and, as Kate said, “she looked happy for the first time since the live shows began”. On the other hand, Dug wonders:

Were the nicer song choice and kinder words for Janet perhaps tactical? I wonder if the negative coverage so far is provoking further support from her hardcore fans and it’s time to go easier on her. Had producers actually wanted to rescue her with ‘Kiss Me’ it would have been the perfect opportunity for Janet to whip out her illusive guitar as Matt Cardle had done many times by this stage last year. I have to believe that the plan is still to dampen Janet oh so carefully in order than she be easily shiftable in the later stages of the contest.

This interpretation is backed up by some less-than-helpful visuals. As pointed out by Rob in the comments, camera angles are one of the tools in the producers’ arsenal – watch Janet’s performance back and notice how much time is devoted to sweeping wide-angle shots of a largely black (though not red) stage. The theory is that this matters because close-ups of an act’s face give them a better chance of making an emotional connection with viewers at home.

As with last week, the immediate reaction shot of the judges was also damning – no applause from Louis, Tulisa or Gary, and perfunctory applause from Kelly.

While there is an emerging consensus in the comments that we’re heading for a Janet-Marcus-Little Mix final, the most obvious explanation of Janet’s treatment remains that producers are manouevring her towards the exit door. If that happens in week 8 or 9, we won’t be able to say they didn’t warn us.

Nonetheless, despite this obvious explanation, we still wonder if the show’s intention may be to hold off on making a decision about Janet for as long as possible until it becomes clear to them whether or not they’re going to be able to make Little Mix fly. To entertain this theory you would have to postulate that producers would ideally like a Little Mix win, but would prefer a Janet win to a Marcus win if they perceive those to be their realistic options – a scenario which seems speculative but not implausible.

Under this scenario, what they did this weekend would make sense – start the process of backtracking on the negativity to make it credible if they do end up deciding to give Janet her guitar and the “this is why we fell in love with you at your audition” treatment, but without yet risking that they light a fire under her that they couldn’t put out.

We’ll come back to the question of Little Mix’s position and prospects in a separate post later this week. We’re also planning a separate retrospective on the battle to be top Liverpudlian boy – now won by Marcus – as the abrupt withdrawal of favour from Craig Colton on Saturday casts an intriguing new light on what has gone before.

For now, though, let’s simply observe that there are three ways to read the pimping of Marcus Collins. The most obvious is that Marcus is doing so well in the vote, producers have made their peace with the idea of him being the winner.

We think a more plausible interpretation, however, is that producers see Marcus heading for the final and they don’t want to risk chatter about how unfair it is that he’s the only contender left who hasn’t had a pimp slot. They may have decided to get his pimp slot out of the way with three weeks before the final so that they can safely ignore him from here on in.

A third possibility is that Marcus might not be doing so well in the votes at all – as tpfkar’s speculative tweaking of Toby’s Twitter stats suggests. If we assume that the show would like Gary to have an interest in the final, once the decision had been made to dump Craig, that left Marcus as his only hope – so is it possible that he needed the pimp slot as a strategic boost?

All of which speculaton brings us back to where we started – bravo, producers. For all that we’ve questioned and criticised some of their decisions this series, to have us speculating so furiously about the relative standing of the top three acts in the betting – and their intentions towards two of them – is no mean feat.

What are your thoughts on how the weekend changed the landscape? As always, your interpretations, impressions and theories are warmly welcomed in the comments box below.

114 comments to X Factor 2011 Week 7 Review: Better the Devlin you know

  • Boki

    There is also a possibility they tried to bring Janet down but didn’t damp her vote enough to be in danger so finally gave it up. Why bothering with someone for weeks while they can bring types like Craig or Amelia so fast in bottom 2?

    One more thing that people here don’t mention as much as I think it deserves is the looks. We saw an X Factor stylist being exasperated by Janet and then we see her on stage looking gorgeous – she’s a beautiful young girl with her own style and I’m sure she gets lot of votes because of that. It’s a singing show but people also get attracted by someone visually (or the opposite in some other contestants).

  • Boki

    It was funny on xtra to see Janet feeling sorry for Craig going, being her best friend in the house etc. And then Amelia says basically the same again (he was her best friend too 🙂 ) like they are compete for Craig’s fanbase.

  • tpfkar

    I’ve now had a chance to tweak and upload my findings from this weekend, click on http://tpfkar.tripod.com/xfactor2.html to have a look.

    Not especially impressive, although the two biggest misses have been not picking up Misha’s bounce, and wrongly calling the Risk bottom when Ashley quit. Both of these involved plenty of tears so maybe there is an emerging pattern that twitter misses the emotional impact of the contestants.

    As before, awesome for Little Mix and terrible for Marcus; if this is anywhere near correct we need to reconsider the impact of that pimp slot in pink.

    Finally, did you see Gary laying into Amelia after the sing-off and her being given the red/black background last night? All feeds into the theory that the last thing they want is an Amelia bounce, and it was a desperate attempt to stifle her before next week.

  • Malcolm

    Surely it’s getting to the point in the show where they have to start raving about those that are left, to do otherwise would be admitting that the standard is a bit poor this year.
    Janet has a unique style, more monsoon than new look, and I like it. Having been a bit luke warm about her vocal style, I have warmed to it in the last few weeks. Maybe that’s because of the lack of real wow moments this year. Week one, on the first live show she was stunning. This week reminded me of that.

    Is she doing a matt cardle and topping the vote most weeks? It would explain how despite a prolonged effort to undermine her how she’s not been in the bottom 2 yet.

    Wouldn’t it be great to see her treated properly, and then if Marcus and Little mix can compete fairly and win then they are worthy winners. And it would be a great funal. I’d give her the whole Celtic treatment, throw in an enya song, a few river dancers. I think she’d blow everyone away. Even the doubters.

  • Pete D

    Superb work again tpfkar,thank you! Highly encouraging LM news for me in that. Maybe BORELOW can ‘re-light MARCUS’s fire’ with Motown week this week. I need him up there for my best bets. Fingers X’d.

  • Great analysis – Producers make mistakes. Not everything they’ve done this year has been well thought through, so sometimes when we analyse events, we need option (c) “incompetence or badly thought out strategy. ”

    This was apparent when they tried to backtrack on the Misha Bullying stuff, they repeated the allegations in the next week’s VT, and again, as you point out, that is what they have done with Janet. Accusation – Janet is boring. VT – they use the word boring at least 4 times in the first 30 seconds. The VT could have been WAY more positive, add a dingy set and lukewarm praise and I think they are trying to dampen support. But if that wasn’t the intention, then the third option (c) “incompetent producers” shouldn’t be discounted.

    There is a lot of negativity around Janet. Kelly failing to back her when Gary attacked her last week, and the rumours of a rift etc etc makes me think they would ideally like her to come 2nd/3rd, but will won’t mind if she wins.

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the act the producers dream winning act would be Little Mix. No one in the UK would begrudge that, it would be a big shock and they will have at least a two album career. Two can faux rap which is current at the moment. They come across as lovely girls, they’ve had no negative press, and they’ve been helped even more than One Direction were last year with ramped up backing vocals and judges papering over any vocal cracks with relentless positivity. The problem is the pesky public never voting for JLS / One Direction and G4, Three mammoth and hugely profitable acts who all outperformed that year’s winner in terms of long term career success (maybe with JLS/Alexandra being a score draw!) but didn’t win it.

    If Marcus wins, he’s destined for one album and then a two year career hosting shows on CiTV or a role in Mamma Mia in London. The producers know that.

    I think you are spot on. The producers would love 1. Little Mix, 2. Janet, 3. Marcus. But at the moment they are probably looking at a spreadsheet ranking the average public vote over the last few weeks at 1. Marcus, 2. Janet, 3. Little Mix. If they ever want a girl group to win it, this is probably a once in a generation chance, so they might as well go for it. Hence why I believe option (a) “producers are desperate to see the back of the Ulster lass” is the correct one here. If they know she’s in the final, they might as well start the drip drip of negativity now, just in case, just in case, they manage to pull off a Little Mix win.

    • Kev

      Decent post, Richard. Janet backers have had more than enough warnings as to the intentions of the producers and deserve to do their nuts.

      That may sound harsh but how many times are we gonna hear her be described as boring on a weekend by judges? How on earth do Janet backers expect to beat Marcus or LM in a head to head Sunday?

      • Rob

        two words ‘your song’ – if they let her reprise it of course!

        • Kev

          Fair point, Rob. That one song could make a few viewers realised why they loved her two months ago and forget that they have thought she has been pretty shit for the past month.

          It wouldn’t be the first time auditions songs had been used in the final either but last year we didn’t have any of these types of song because Matt (not the desired winner)would have knocked out a “First time…..” and it would have been all over.

          Doubt very much they will slip up letting Janet sing that while their obvious Plan A of Little Mix singing whatever it was they sang at Judges Houses.

  • Jack

    Hmm, the theme next week is Motown, surely that can only be good for Marcus? Also Gary said on Xtra Factor on Saturday that Marcus will be singing a ballad next week. Surely that means that they’re happy with him as the winner? I mean it seems that Marcus is really being pimped now, maybe they just want to stop Janet winning at all costs?

    Week 8 is traditionally a week where an act steps up and has a performance that carries them to victory. E.g. Nights in White Satin for Matt last year, Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Joe in 2009, Listen for Alex in 2008 etc. If they wanted a Janet win, surely they could choose a better theme? Or at least one where another rival clearly isn’t advantaged? I can see Marcus doing a ballad and blowing everyone away, but then again, I may just be biased and seeing what I want to see. What do you think?

    • Andrew

      Hi Jack, don’t forget we’re into the stage of the competition where they sing twice – often at this stage the theme applies only to one set of songs.

  • annie

    I am sure the last thing producers would want is marcus to win. matt cardle who was way more talented and was a stand out contestant strugles in the charts. marcus is good,talented but a bit like a leon jackson harmless-nice. (leon was pushing the michael buble swing , marcus the bruno mars old school tribute act a bit). from 7 seasons 5 winners were male solo artist, now that the competition is hardly as strong as in previous years, many mistakes made by production team, well all this gives them the realistic chance to get either another female or as a wow factor a girlgroup to win surely they won’t let go of this opportunity. so yes, marcus will make it to the final to have a happy uncle gary, but i’m sure they’ll pull every trick in the book to make someone, anyone else win.

  • Dug

    I’m very much in agreement that Janet looks more lucrative than Marcus and that if Little Mix can’t win then Janet would be producers’ seconds choice. It would certainly explain why they are holding their cards so close at the moment. They may also want to prevent the feeling of public resentment that came with One Direction’s clear pimping throughout the latter half of last year’s contest. The fact is, taste aside, nobody seems to be doubting LM’s marketability. It’s also clear that Janet has a distinctive voice and is aimed squarely at a clear (if over-saturated) niche. Marcus is the only front-runner that I see being problematic to the show.

    Misha and Amelia, having faced the sing-off thrice and having been eliminated once between them, seem like dead wood. I’m a personal fan of both but they don’t look at all like they are keeping up with the Big 3. Regardless of sympathy bouncing, the public subconscious will be filled with thoughts of “bully/backdoor/bottom two!”

    So looking at that much, I would happily bet on a producer intention of Little Mix for the win with a backup of the Gortin Guitar Gremlin if it looks impossible. The only doubt I have is that the producers won’t have flagged the issues surrounding Marcus’s marketability. That or the career-carvers are good enough to turn Marcus’s brilliant stage persona into something more current and applicable to the popular music market. At the moment, I have my doubt that Reverend Pink is a little too stagey to sell tunes but I could be wrong.

    I’m definitely on board with the idea that Janet has a hardcore fan base in a way that other acts don’t. I would not be the least bit shocked if she did a Cardle and scooped up every vote. No doubt this time next year she’ll be whining to NME about how exploited she was.

    • Dug

      I know this seems to go against my previous comment about dampening Janet’s appeal but I only meant in comparison to LM rather than out of all the acts.

    • Curtis

      But Janet won’t be moaning about how exploited she was will she, because as the VTs show, she is not compromising herself for the competition.

      Great article, and I agree that there are a lot of unanswered questions about the winner’s market still. I’m not prepared to jump on the Little Mix to win group yet. How well a group is doing in the voting always seems to be much harder to judge than solo artists.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Having done the round of bookies this morning to collect on MARCUS benig top boy I am now left with a host of bets on him winning, these ranging from his orginal 10/1 right up to the 25/1 he was in October. I still believe he can win this contest but I worry about JANET as the main danger. I’m not bothered about AMELIA, nor MISHA because they have been in the bottom 2 and aint gonna win so its LM and JANET who are the main threats.
    I believe JANET can win this competition, although not LM. How much to lay off? That is the question.

    Great article Daniel, and worthy praise for the show keeping us all guessing. The stats will be fascinating when they are released.
    It would not suprise me at all to find JANET has been head and shoulders above everyone else so far.
    Mind you, it would not surprise to find MARCUS has been ehad and shoulders above everyone as well,

    The good ship MARCUS sails on – looking forward to the next house article about him.
    You’re not going to switch ‘orses are you Landlord?

  • taichou

    dont know if its true, saw on DS forum:
    Jeff Braizer has just said on This Morning that his insider sources have told him Janet is topping the public vote every week.

  • Dug

    Can anyone remind me of the format of the show once it goes into double songs? Do they run acts in the same order twice or change the order? Or do they chop and change based on what’s advantageous?

  • Dave T

    Janet knows what she’s doing. She was smiling lots more and I’m pretty sure she does that same smile and little wave straight to camera as she’s walking off every week. Always good to have a signature move like that. See Eoghan with puppy dog eyes and Same Difference nodding with imaginary phone in hand for previous examples.

  • Andre

    Am watching the programme for the first time ever thanks to this highly enjoyable site. It seems ironic that the reason the judges are trying to get rid of Janet is that she is the only one to whom the title of the show actually applies! You can market an identical band from any bunch of girls who can hold a tune, Marcus is desperately wanting someone to allocate him an ‘identity’, Amelia is just copying what she’s seen in teen magazines and there are a million better versions of Misha in the usa. Having just watched her version of ‘pack up’ on youtube Janet is the only contestant with anything vaguely resembling an ‘x’ factor. Also, coming from those judges, I would regard being labelled as ‘boring’ as a huge compliment!!

  • Pauline

    Janet’s star will shine whatever. Andre I’ve seen ‘Pack Up’ also, brilliant. Have you seen her Gnarls Barclay cover. Absolutely fascinating. Janet is superb and her talents have not yet been shown to capacity. She plays guitar and drums and sings from the heart. She has something different that is clean and fresh and good to connect with. A lovely, young girl who knows her own worth and seem to have all the right values.

  • malcolm

    Had a look at some You Tube figures for the last 2 weeks, (discounting Craig who no longer figures)
    of the 5 remaining acts going on to live show 8, Marcus was the least viewed on Live show 6 and 7
    Janet was 2nd most popular on both weeks (discounting Craig)

    Show 6 Show 7
    Janet 2nd * 2nd
    Little Mix 3rd 1st
    Amelia 1st 4th
    Misha 4th 3rd
    Marcus 5th 5th

    * Craig 2nd/Janet actually 3rd

  • Andre

    Seems like that to me also Pauline. Sadly that doesn’t seem to count for much in this country any more! Will check out that other song thanks

  • mark the bookie basher

    they is only 2 possible winners ov the xfactor in imo and that is janet and little mix- misha and amelia have no chance 1 will go this week the other next and the producers will nobble marcus in the final as he has not got a recording voice and therefore will not sell records u can couple janet and little mix at around evs thats a great bet im starting to feel a lot more confident with my bet on janet she has had no help from the producers or judges in the last 4 weeks and yet she still hasnt been in the bottom 2 i believe the vote leak was right and shes topping the vote every week if she gets good songs and better treatment from the producers and judges shes unbeatable

  • Hi Daniel – first-time commenter, stumbled across the site a couple of weeks ago. I’m a Eurovision guy like yourself, have been known to bet on the contest in years past and I’ve been refining my prediction skills over the years. Here are some thoughts from me:

    Janet’s apparent enduring popularity with the public very much reminds me of Germany’s “Lenamania” in 2010. The similarities are all there: a very young, almost immature girl with an “innocent and kooky” personality, girl-next-door looks, and a fixed performance style which never significantly changes (ie. limited versatility). The differences in my opinion being that Janet seems like a nice person and can sing, whereas Lena comes over as quite strange and is a poorer vocalist. However, Janet’s huge popularity among the public (if her number of Twitter and Facebook fans are anything to go by) echoes Lena’s massive success in Germany and at Eurovision last year. This once again goes to show that contests of this nature are much more about popularity and whether the audience “like” someone than they are about talent, versatility or any other grand notions (I wish). If the contest was actually about professional ability as a performer, vocalist and all-rounder, then Misha and Kitty would have been the top two last week (and every week), not the bottom.

    So where does the Lena/Janet effect come from? I’ve pinpointed two reasons.

    1) People voted for Lena in 2010 because of the way she came over – unpolished, unprofessional, just being herself, a relatable ordinary girl caught up in a big contest. People in the UK are voting for Janet in this year’s X Factor for the same reasons. The type of people who vote this way? Mums, girls, non-musical viewers and passive viewers. Lena and Janet tap into the massive passive, people who switch over after Strictly and vote based on likeability not ability.
    2) Without wishing to sound prurient, the second key factor is that Lena and Janet both tap into the dad vote and the straight male vote. Apparently, straight men, dare I say especially middle-aged ones, love the “innocent, young, carefree, virginal girl-next-door” shtick. (I wouldn’t know.) Janet is mopping up horny-dad votes just the way Lena did in 2010. When Lena or Janet gets up on stage, dances around in a carefree, girly way and sings some kooky song in a coy, unselfconscious manner, women and men see two different things. Women see: “Aww, isn’t she lovely?” Men see: “Deflower me”.

    In the case of Janet there’s also a third factor: the Irish are voting for her. That’s not to be underestimated. Also, as you correctly pointed out previously, the only women to have done well on X Factor are those who’ve shown high levels of self-doubt (Leona, Alexandra, Stacey, Rebecca). Janet fits this category, although she’s a weaker performer than any of those four. To win the X Factor (which is a family show, after all), you have to appeal to both kids and their parents. For male performers, this means they need to appeal both to girls and their mums, ie. girls need to fancy them and mums also need to either fancy them or want to mother them (thinking of Leon and Joe here!). As a rule, shows like X Factor and Idol are usually won by good-looking, middle-of-the-road white guys who are invariably either straight (Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, Matt Cardle) or passing as (Joe McElderry, Will Young).

    In terms of archetypes, all UK X Factor winners so far fit into two categories:

    Bland white guy: Steve, Shanye, Leon, Joe, Matt
    Black girl with big voice: Leona, Alexandra

    But what do all of the people in both of these categories have in common? Blandness, dependability, humility, mass-market appeal, and ordinariness or perceived ordinariness. Based on that, here’s how I rate the chances of the remaining acts this year:

    Misha: easily the best musician in the contest, and at first glance, she’d seem to fit the “black girl with big voice” archetype. However, a) no winner has ever been in the bottom two, whereas Misha has twice, and b) she’s too original, too edgy and too self-assured to win. I actually know people who loved her audition until she started rapping, then they didn’t like her anymore because they just don’t like rap, full stop. It hits a mental brake in their brain. Really small-minded and shows a limited musical palette, but true – and will be true of many a viewer. As much as I hate to say this, what it also boils down to is that a lot of mainstream viewers in middle England will feel threatened by a confident young black woman (from the north, no less!) who raps and has her own style. Susan Boyle this ain’t. Musically, Leona and Alex were planted firmly within the mainstream (boring ballad-du-jour territory); Misha isn’t. And it’s to her own credit. She’s simply far too good for the show. If she makes it to the final, she won’t come higher than 3rd – and if she ends up in the bottom two next week or the week after, she may well go out in a deadlock.

    Little Mix: I just don’t understand who’s voting for them, apart from maybe young girls because they’re the only fun girly act in the contest. Don’t get me wrong: they’re competent, professional, likeable, able to learn choreography without compromising their vocals, obviously work well together as a group, and all sing well individually (I’m still not sold on the harmonies), but I just don’t see the star factor or even anything that makes them unique. They’re relatively average-looking, but the main problem is that I think their look and styling as a group is really off – it absolutely screams amateur. Visually they just look like every other wannabe failed girl band from the past decade or two – there’s no overall styling/presentation concept, no uniform look, no attitude or brand statement. I also don’t see a market for them after the show – the girls’ individual personalities don’t come through, they have no unique musical style other than what’s thrown at them each week, and they’re definitely no Girls Aloud – they’re not even the Saturdays. Add to that: their name is terrible. The only way I can see them winning is if they make it to the final and their “winner’s song” is brilliant (hey, it can’t be ruled out!). But they’ve been carried this far by the kids’ vote and the north-east vote – I expect them to come third or fourth, it’s possible they may even go out next week. Either this week or next, producers may want to solidify the north-east vote which is currently split between Little Mix and…

    Amelia: hasn’t had enough time to build up as much of a following as the others. Highly capable but given to looking moody/aggressive, which is unfortunate. Don’t underestimate the blonde/attractive factor – she’ll get votes on that alone. But I can’t see her making the final. She’ll be fourth or fifth.

    Marcus and Janet: it’s a two horse race between these two. Marcus will sail all the way to the final and take one of the top two places; he’s in no danger of landing in the bottom two before then. The same could be true of Janet, although as she’s a less impressive performer, it’s possible (though unlikely) that she could end up in the bottom two before the final. If this happens, it’d be interesting to see what the judges decide.

    • Daniel

      Hi wolfstar, welcome and many thanks for your analysis. I happen to agree with a lot of what you say and especially enjoyed the Lena/Janet comparison.

    • Pauline

      Wolfstar my reply went to Mark the bookie basher. But it wasn’t meant unkindly!

    • fiveleaves

      Hi wolfstar,
      Interesting post but I have to say I find the comparisons between Lena and Janet ludicrous.

      Lena was a charming, outgoing, funny and an engaging young woman.

      Janet is an introverted and rather cold young woman.

      Could Janet captivate a press conference full of cynical journos as Lena consistently did.
      The most famous example of this being the following


      Not a chance.

      Eurovision is also a song contest and not a singing contest.
      Lena had a wonderfully catchy, slightly quirky pop song to sing that was receiving airplay on radio staions all around Europe before the contest and half the audotorium singing along with her on the night.

      If it was a singing contest then the Austrian girl would have gone very close this year and Azer would never have won.

      Lena is much more of a Vickers type who was equally charming too.
      (yes I admit to falling in love a little with both of them, which is the one part of your post I agree with, but middle aged men don’t vote, so I see that as pretty irrelevant)

      Janet was heavily hyped before the show and as we saw with Eggnog, the Northern Irish/Irish vote is a strong one.
      That’s what’s keeping her in.
      The polls with a decent record show she is shipping votes at an alarming rate and unless TPTB change direction on her I’d be very surprised if she makes the final.

      As for their respective singing skills.
      Give me Lena any day of the week.

      Nothing Janet has produced gets close to a performance like this from Lena.


  • bunnyman

    Hi Andrew, as bizarre as it seems Janet backers amongst your readers seem to be taking comfort from this article. Is that your intention?

    “While there is an emerging consensus in the comments that we’re heading for a Janet-Marcus-Little Mix final, the most obvious explanation of Janet’s treatment remains that producers are manouevring her towards the exit door. If that happens in week 8 or 9, we won’t be able to say they didn’t warn us.
    Nonetheless, despite this obvious explanation, we still wonder if the show’s intention may be to hold off on making a decision about Janet for as long as possible until it becomes clear to them whether or not they’re going to be able to make Little Mix fly. To entertain this theory you would have to postulate that producers would ideally like a Little Mix win, but would prefer a Janet win to a Marcus win if they perceive those to be their realistic options – a scenario which seems speculative but not implausible.”

    After presenting a mountain of evidence that Janet is being slaughtered you have come up with an imaginative and clever theory of how she could conceivably win that has made interesting reading, but as you say it’s speculative. If she was 20/1 I’d be saying yes fair play, perhaps there’s an angle here, but she’s less than 9/2!

    Such a theory seems a very tenuous thread to be hanging your hopes on, but it seems to be all Janet backers have. Good luck guys.

    • Rob

      hi bunnyman, i doubt they are basing it on a theory alone – there is the regional vote, the twitter followers, the youtube hits, polls, not being in the bottom 2 despite the harshest treatment, some better treatment this week. not saying you are wrong, but i’m happy to keep my money where it is for another week.

      • bunnyman

        hi Rob, as I see it there are 2 theories being presented by Andrew for their treatment of Janet:

        A they don’t want her to win so they are doing all they can to stop her

        B the safety net to Little Mix as discussed in my post.

        If the reason is plan A then don’t all the positives you mention become irrelevant as they will get their way? So that seems to leave you with just Plan B.

    • Andrew

      Hi Bunnyman, quite honestly, I am puzzled by what’s going on with Janet. If they hadn’t pimped her to high heaven right up to week 2, I wouldn’t be feeling any interest in floating alternative explanations for her slaughtering.

      I really find it extremely difficult to guess what kind of price she ought to be. Out of interest, how you would price it up? If you think Janet should be 20/1, who do you think is overpriced?

      • Rob

        i’m confused too, but i firmly believe that she can avoid bottom 2 next week as AM and MB clearly can’t compete with JD even if she was sent out with a george formby song. so we have another week to assess the producer thinking before having to shift any money. i also have back up on marcus and hefty ew on LM so feel i’m ok. there’s 2 things that can stop JD winning 1. the greatest effort ever put into removing a contestant than has ever been achieved before without it looking obvious and backfiring (harder to do now they have 2 songs). 2. an anti-JD vote coalescing around one other contender as the others are removed – most likely LM.

        • bunnyman

          Two things that could prevent her winning? Rob, you’re talking as if she has 50% of the vote, the Daily Star leak had her peaking at 25%, since when she has done nothing to win new fans, and has surely lost many. We also know that Amelia led the vote last week with 25%, so we know she is below that. Why are Janet backers putting so much store in the fact that she has avoided the b2 when Marcus and Little Mix have done the same. According to Yougov she has more people disliking her most than Amelia, Marcus and Lttle Mix put together. How can she overcome that? As Kev says above, she will have to beat one of these in a head to head on the Sunday if she is to win. ok its not totally impossible, but is it really a 1 in 5 shot?

      • bunnyman

        Hi Andrew, this is how I see the correct prices:

        Little Mix 1.9
        Marcus 3
        Amelia 12
        Janet 20
        Misha 100

        With Little Mix’s momentum, even if Janet scrapes into the final I would be surprised if she is trading any shorter than she is now.

        • Rob

          bunnyman, please explain your reasoning for having amelia at a shorter price than janet? AL bottom 2 – janet never has been! you must know something the rest of us don’t?

          • bunnyman

            Rob, I see the final 3 as Little Mix, Marcus + 1. Imagine if Janet is there and she has to sing three songs. She has strayed from her comfort zone once and it was a disaster, so are we to expect 3 songs from within her comfort zone? Can you think of anything more tedious? Amelia has a better chance of getting to the final, where I guess she may just capture the imagination of the public, but I doubt it tbh, 12 is probably a bit short for her.

        • Boki

          Hi bunnyman, I believe the top3 order will be Janet,Marcus,Lmix but would never imagine such a gap within the odds. You are a little extreme with your reasoning whatever it might be.

  • Rob

    well getting rid of craig was… how can i say it… brutal. it made me want to take a shower as i felt almost soiled watching it. i wasn’t a fan but he really didn’t deserve it.

    given that he went out in a sing off to amelia lily i’m sort of thinking that she may not get a sympathy bounce as i think a few people will reflect on the fairness of him having to go ahead of someone who has only performed (averagely imo) 3 times? also i think the programme would really prefer sacrificing her before misha’s tormented journey comes to an end.

    so the jury is still out on janet. is she favoured, is she not? i still can’t figure it out. borelow used the ‘boring’ word again, but did anyone notice that although she wasn’t singing the opening lines of the contestant song she was maneuvered to centre stage for her part, subliminally suggesting she is the star of the show in case anyone had forgot? if she is being targetted then the cat will be out of the bag next week because there’s no way she’ll be falling below AM or MB imo. personally i think the producers should give up and let the cards fall for LM, JD and MC, but perhaps they think if they give JD ‘i’ll be there’ followed by ‘chasin cars’ for the next show nobody will turn up to see the final because it will be game over?

  • sam

    yet another well writen post.As i believe i pointed out yesterday janet devlin have a MASSIVE fan base its not just a fan community with a handfull of supporter its an entire race of people and not just based in ireland and the uk there fan sites around in other countries as well,you only have to goggle her to see this.
    In my own oppion the producers are all to aware of this and her popularity on the outside and that regardless of their own personal views towards her as some have said that they really dont like her (this i sorry i cant believe due to them not really likeing any of the act either personaly or profesionally as its a buisness and not a personal affiliation) Votes,show popularity,fan base support=big money for the xfactor franchise,so if they remove her to soon ,or it appears shes being persecuted by both the judges and producers it will omly mean more support votes for her.
    In my view they want her to stay in at the very least untill finals week by this time regrdless of where she comes either 1,2,3 she will have made them some good money.I also think that they are unsure of the other acts support as there seems to be little in the way of big fan sites out there for them,im not saying there not out there but there not as big as janets although little mix are makeing some big waves, but its people on fan sites that vote to help there acts stay in the show,its not all about what the producers want .
    Little Mix and Marcus also look good to be in the top 3 they do seem to have very good support out there i do quite enjoy little mix at first i found then false and poorly stage managed but this seams have change in the last few weeks,not marcus so much,sorry just cant work out this guys style seems a little dated style wise to me (no offence to any of his fans/backers0
    Personaly i quite like janets voice ,i dont find it boring as they keep saying and yes ok i agree its the same nearly every week but every artist is like that really its there style that makes you buy ther music, if you are going to find your market to which to sell your music to then the people who buy it must like the style you do ,if you keep changeing how your style is then people wont know who or what you are.
    Lastly going back to the topic in hand if the producers are playing a points make prizes game here with janet then they need to start making things a lot clearer as im getting cofused as it has become a bit muddy and unclear to me,but i do hope for janets own sake that she is aware of what is going on or she could be well and truely stitched up by the xfactor/cowell mogal empire.

  • Annemarie

    I agree with Mark the Bookie, there are only two possible winners of the X Factor, Janet and Little Mix. I believe they are setting up a show down between these two acts for the final. Who will win out of these two is anybody’s guess. It depend how they do on the night. Instinct is they will push Tulisa’s act hard as it is Tulisa’s boyfriend, I believe, who is producing the winner’s single. As a Janet fan, I hope she does win but in the end either way both acts will get recording contracts. Marcus is OK. I believe he will be third. However, he is more Sunday Night at the London Palladium than Top of the Pops!
    As the bottom line for X Factor is ‘Where will the £££££ come from’, Janet and Little Mix also appear to be the most lucrative option moneywise! As well as recording careers I can see both Janet and Little Mix appearing on the front of teenage magazines advertising beauty products, etc. Janet particularly has a very beautiful face and can see her in makeup advertising campaigns. Therefore in this context both Janet and Little Mix have more money making potential in advertising spin offs than Marcus. Also Janet has a huge fan base stretching from Lithuania to Venezuela judging from the hits on You Tube. Again going back to Gary Barlow’s comments at Janet’s original audition that the X Factor are looking for an artist who can sell records worldwide.

    I am voting for Janet on her pre X Factor performances on You Tube as well as her X factor performances. The X Factor production team have not showcased Janet at her best. A case in example is last Saturday’s performance. Kelly mentioned Janet did not move around the stage much. How can she if they have stuck her in a pair of six inch plus platform shoes?? Janet can do so much more than they have given her on the X Factor. She is such a breath of musical fresh air. her voice has a haunting beauty and stillness to it.

    Finally, one of the other betting sites suggests there is no sing off from now on: bottom of public vote to go next two weeks. Let’s hope it is Amelia and Misha. M &S will have to start from scratch then with their Christmas advert!

  • Dug

    The ever misguided Gary Barlow spent a good deal of the weekend drumming home the point that The X-Factor is a singing competition. The title and whole premise are about star quality and marketability, not vocal prowess. If the show was a true singing competition, we’d have seen winners in people like TreyC Cohen and other not-so-notable contestants. However! I would like to raise a point about vocals that could prove a crucial factor in the final.

    Nearly every winner or first runner up thus far has provided at least one or two powerful belter notes in their later performances. Steve Brookstein did it with ‘Smile’, Shayne Ward with ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, Leona backstage, onstage, during interview, in the bathroom, Leon… let’s skip that one, Alexandra… see Leona, Joe with his final trio of performances and winning song, Wett Flannle with Knights in White Satin etc.

    I’m aware that this series has taken a turn from tradition but I still wonder if Janet can pull it off as the only contestant left that isn’t really capable of belting a note. The nation seemed to fall in love with ‘Your Song’ but she doesn’t sustain a note for more than a second. Even Little Mix manage it from time to time, courtesy of Perrie’s wailing in the choruses. Are Janet’s voice-cracking, soft vocals an alternative to the big notes? Or are the public sold on a belter in the final?

    • Dug

      Or can Janet break her record and hold a note for two seconds?

    • sam

      i agree in part here many previous winners have and can hit the high notes when they are cued to to so and when the song requires it to be done , but not every song requires a high note to finnish it off.your right again in part about it not truely being a singing compition(hope i read that bit right) to me its more of a talent show now to find a semi profitable star not a true vocal superstar,they only managed to ever find 1 of them in leona and its a 1 off never to be found again.this year they keep saying they wanted a change of direction for the show,well they have in part managed that with new judges apart from luie,but apart from that it seems the same layout to me,but mabe its going to be the winner that changes that,maybe they want a softer vocal winner in janet or go for the usual sterotipical winner in misha or marcus how both can belt out the high notes
      my problem is though if you have not been given the song in which to produce the high note your never going to hear it from her.Maybe she can hit high but she needs to be given a song that requires it,then we can truely tell if she can pull it off,so far her song choices have not required it even though she did a guns and roses song for rock week ,but axle rose shes not and would never have pulled off his worble at the end,is that why they thinks she predictable,and slightly boring because all her songs go along the same tone line, but with doubles up this week maybe its time to find out

      • Dug

        Hi Sam,

        Janet has sung many songs with longer notes in but she just chooses to clip them. The only example I can think of where she has sustained a note for more than a beat would be ‘that I put down in wooo-oords’ in her audition. She had to crack her voice to hold the note for that long.

        My point is not about stereotypical Leona-style voices but simply that the final has always been more about the magic moments than the signature style of the performers. It’s like a prom or a wedding – you need the big dresses, the dry ice, the orchestra and the curtain of flames. They are staples in the ceremony. I’m sure it’s doable for Janet but a meek, humble finale performance might seem somewhat anti-climactic in the context.

        • Rob

          your right dug. she does it on her youtube channel well. she often breaks up words as well to suit her style. not sure it can be seen as a negative except by those who don’t like it’s quirkiness and prefer the more classical delivery. the trend you point out is correct but i’m not sure this is having an impact this year because the vocalists (AL and MB) that best resemble leona, alexandra and joe are not as good as them and more importantly not as likeable.

  • Nicky

    Craig’s assassination was brutal and perhaps needed to avoid ending up with a no male final, despite him clearly being preferred to janet over much of the lives.

    With Janet, I thought the tactics were less blatant but still pretty clear. VT, boring, weird, boring, weird, difficult, boring. Then she was followed directly by the two girls absolutely belting out numbers. This made Janet’s number mild and pleasant… and pretty forgettable. The judges comments reminded us that she’s had a rough few weeks, despite their positivity. Then Dermot talked about couples kissing and stilts. (Add in a load of factors mentioned above e.g. wide shots). = Forget about Janet.

    Will be really interesting to see what they do with her next week. But I reckon the focus will be on Amelia killing, she’s served her purpose now.

  • Simon "le happy chat"

    I disagree about the only possible winners being JANET and LITTLE MIX.
    You overlooked the good ship MARCUS
    Five out of seven shows have been won by a bloke and MARCUS is the only bloke left in the competition.
    He’s also the outstanding performer of all of the contestants and his vote will be booseted by CRAIG’s dissapointed Liverpool fans.
    MARCUS smiles and is humble and likeable and puts on a great show week in week out.
    JANET is pretty forgettable in all her performances, she has an annoying yodelling voice that is not everyones cup of tea and she never smiles. Her VT and post performance comments are generally negative so I can only assume she has a strong gaelic and middle age following as suggested in Wolfstar’s superb post.

    LITTLE MIX are in unchartered territory as a band have never won it, and a girl band have never got this far. They are being pimped for sure and are good performers but I expect them to fall short of winning.

    I am going to lay off some MARCUS money on JANET only and take a chance that none of the others can overtake him.
    When MARCUS is voted out I will know he cannot win but until this happens, I will continue to believe that he will.

    • EM

      If we’re being artistic about it Marcus isn’t all that. He can dance and sing a bit and is better than Craig at overall performance but is in his own way as one dimensional as Janet.

      He’s also in danger or looking less and less humble each week, something that doesn’t sit well with voters. If he doesn’t show something a bit more moving the good ship might start taking in water.

      And you’ve also believing X Factor’s revised history! Girl band Hope came 5th in Leon Jackson’s year so Little Mix have at the moment only equalled the best girl band result.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Surely this week – when each act will sing twice – will give them the opportunity to take a bit more of a risk. You can fully understand each act playing to their strengths until now, as they don’t want to be get it wrong, and alienate those voting for what they have seen so far.

    Maybe this is the week where JANET and MARCUS show their versatility, by doing something that they haven’t done before, together with something “safe”. It could also be the week that we see LITTLE MIX try something more accapella (or even include Jesy’s beatboxing).

    Although the statistics about the Twitter followers and YouTube hits can’t lie, as these come from far and wide, can they truly be translated into votes in the show? There has been a lot of talk about how widespread JANET’s appeal is, and although the Irish will vote, will those from all the other countries that follow her/view her?

    Like most people on here, it’s unclear what the show’s intentions for Janet are, and so I’m also waiting to see what happens on Saturday. I can’t, however, see her finishing below either MISHA B or AMELIA in the votes. If there is a Bottom 2 this week, and she faces either of the other girls, can they really make a case for keeping in either of the other girls?

    I think, for now anyway, my money is going to be on JANET TO BE TOP GIRL. At Evens, it represents a better return than the best price of 4/9 on her being in the Top 3, which would also make her Top Girl (assuming that Marcus and Little Mix will be the other two acts in the Top 3).

    • Boki

      Hi Chatterbox,
      I believe Janet top girl @ evens is a good bet. The only problem is if producers really don’t want her in the final so they let her go in the sing-off. To do that they need to perform her assasination together with promotion of Amelia bounce and to save Misha vs Janet (Misha again safe is not likely). Keeping Amelia so long and ditching Janet would make more damage to the show imo.

  • EM

    Stand by, the voice of reason, not clouded by big money on any one act is here!

    A bit of sound Sofabet thinking should be enough to unpick what’s going on with Janet.

    First of all identify plan A. I think only the blind, deaf or committed Strictly and nothing else person would agree it’s Little Mix. The backing vocals, sympathetic vts and uber-positive comments all point in this direction.

    That means it’s highly plausible they could also dampen down support of anyone that’s standing in their way. That would be Janet then.

    I’ve said before that they don’t really care who wins but after Matt Cardle’s less than stellar chart impact vs One Direction’s more impressive debut single it might be that they’ve decided to push them hard to find a different winner who can add a bit of lustre to the list of winners.

    Coincidentally the dampening of Janet happened at roughly the same time as Mr Cardle’s album “hit” the charts.

    For whatever reason they’re quite happy for Marcus to get the love. Maybe he’s too far away from Little Mix to be a danger, maybe they think Craig’s fans will switch to the girl group, I don’t know.

    Mischa and Amelia are damaged goods now and are likely to be the next two to go leaving a Janet, Little Mix, Marcus top 3.

    Back to my theory on they don’t care who wins as long as the top 4 is credible.

    They don’t care but probably have a preference in Little Mix. So they’re rather have Janet up there than Craig or Kitty who don’t have a future in recording. Actually does Marcus? Voice of reason? Help!

    Anyway as someone astutely said earlier, if they wanted rid of Janet they’ve shown they could have done it by now. Leaked stories, first on, truly dreadful, dull performances.

    In conclusion don’t write her off.

    • Curtis

      You’re absolutely right. What’s become clear to me over the last couple of weeks is that if they wanted rid of Janet that badly, they would have clinically killed her, as they have to Craig, Kitty, Johnny, Sophie, Sami and Nu Vibe. It seems that the plan is simply to dampen down her support, but only enough to get her second place behind Little Mix. She used to be referred to as the producers’ Plan A. I’m getting the vibe now that she is Plan B, the contingency plan if becomes apparent that Plan A, Little Mix, won’t fly.

    • sam

      i agree with much you say here,to me,janets getting the public votes lots off them each week, VOTES text or phone=LOADS OF MONEY for this show this is what matters to the them not who goes on to win,as its been proven over the whole 8 series of this show apart from leona winning in 2006 no ones made it big by winning matt cardels album seems to of sunk already,there want to keep her in for as long as they can or the stats for this show may start dropping off due to her votes going away,i still think she will make the final 3,but by them if little mix are way up front then all there pimping of this group may pay off.Also if it true that 1 of the n-snubs mafia team are producing this years winning song then the shoe may have finnaly fitted for them to get there winner.

  • Pauline

    I don’t know about this stuff you are all spouting. As just an ordinary person, what I do know is that I am mighty sick of seeing acts with scantily clad, genitalia thrusting men and camel hoofed women prancing around in the background and indeed coming from the artist themselves. Give me stillness and refinement anytime. It shows respect for themselves and for the people watching. That is much more watchable and has much more appeal. Please don’t mention the boring word boring. All this raunchy stuff has now become very predictable and very boring!!!

    • Dug

      I understand your frustration, Pauline. But how does that affect your perception of the outcome? This discussion is, after all, about betting on a winner. Do you think the public as a whole or maybe the producers feel that it’s time for an act like Janet because of the way pop music is now? And surely none of the other acts are any more scantily clad than Janet? I mean, Marcus’s trousers are certainly fitted but genitalia thrusting?

      • Rob

        i think she is talking about the dancers. i think the main point pauline here makes is that all the contenders bar janet get big productions. this could be making JD stand out more because i imagine a lot of people just say ‘thank god, someone just standing there and singing, that makes a change’. it didn’t seem to do matt and rebecca any harm alst year. i’m not so sure about the genitalia thrusting but last year my son fell about laughing at i think it was wagner performance – he said ‘daddy those girls were rubbing their boobies’. i think ofcom looked into that one!

      • Pauline

        Dug. Agree my comments seemed to be a little out of context. However, the outcome of the X Factor is down to the general public who are willing to spend a little of their hard earned on the act they prefer. The act they want to help. My feeling is that pop music is in a certain place now which is not considered good anymore. Too much of what I have already mentioned (not necessarily on the show, but it is touched on) but certainly beyond. I feel the public at large want to connect with something more wholesome. Something that makes you feel clean, not smutty. Something open and honest, sang with genuine emotion, true feeling and nothing false without the undesirable trappings that are usually thrown in. Rob thank you for seeing where I was coming from. Clearly I am going on a bit now, so to get to the outcome of the show. Who knows with a show like this? Regards

  • Simon "le happy chat"

    I do think there is a danger of reading too much into the producers various plans. I believe they have one plan and thatis to attract as many viewers as possible and thereby rake in as much money as possible.
    The live show your featuring most of the top acts will be a sell out as usual and the advance orders of the X Factor winning CD will make it the christmas No 1
    All of the bands are signed sealed and delivered to Syco so they wont really mind who wins so long as the interesting and entertaining acts get to the final.

    Do not underestimate the vote of the “neutrals” in this competition and others like it and ask yourself which act is likely to be the most entertaining.
    FOr em its MARCUS but there are too many stories out there about JANET’s support. Is she really that far ahead every wee? We were told AMELIA was top poller the week before last, much good it did her on Sunday.

    I find JANET rather boring too and cannot understand where her support comes from but it has to be there or she would have been in bottom 2 by now.

    I’ll lay some MARCUS booty off on her to be top girl and to win, but not much.

  • Rob

    just been having a bit of fun at marcus’ expense on betnod – see post #246 to see who marcus is modelled on…


    • Chatterbox5200

      I thought the same thing when I saw the VT on Sunday of Marcus having just perfomed. I swear he even did the twirl that the Cat does in Red Dwarf.

      It does look like the stylists on X Factor may have taken tips from the show too… maybe that’s what prompted Marcus to wear those bow ties?

      (not the best clip – but the best I could find)

  • sam

    off topic slightly but not totally,i feel janets treatment has been quite simular in a way to what frankie cozz was at the very start of this series frankie was always going to be the “bad” boy of the show he was picked and set up for it from the outset,even garry said when at judges houses that he did not want him to behave, when it was realised that this years show was going down the plug hole fast they “media screwed “him right over which pulled in masive more viewers to the show and got it back on top.
    As for janet they played her also from day 1,gave her a pimp slot on the first show she was on and again at bootcamp,kelly and tulisa almost crying cus they love her so much and she was portrayed as the cute girl next door butter would not melt in her mouth,with the voice of an angle.this tactic would get the young persons vote and some of the middle aged vote cus shes not got the “in your face attitude”they so hate so the producers thought they were on to a real winner.
    so regardless of anything else you dont kill off your star act before they have no further use for you,frankie was killed off cus it was giving to show a bad rep,even though it was bringing in many more viewer ,but janet is still in the show because she is still making loads of money for them by haveing this many voters and i cant see them getting rid of her this week either because there still money to be made on her,if she gets to the final 3 and its strike 3 and out you will know she served her purpose for the show but if the others still cant better her on votes by then,then she may go all the way to number 1

  • Rob

    just caught up with girls interview from xtra factor. is it evidence of JD’s continued rehabilitation? they seem to be embracing the weirdness here:

  • tpfkar

    I’m know I’m going against the grain here, but the key question in my mind is what went wrong for Marcus this weekend.

    Pimp slot, big production, Liverpool’s hope, and he turned into a joke. I love Dug’s ‘Reverend Pink’ above, you’ve got Rob’s link, I’ve seen parodies of him as the Messiah, lost in his choir of angels. Even with the pimp slot, his reaction was somewhere between Little Mix’s support act and a Monty Python extra – my analysis is linked above which suggests his support plunged.

    Three theories, in order of decreasing amount I believe them:

    (1) When pimp slots go bad

    They thought they were doing their best for him, and genuinely didn’t realise how daft the whole thing looked.

    (2) Get his pimp slot out of the way

    We have to give him a pimp slot sometime, not too late, put our best act on next to last to overshadow him, and that smart suit he’s picked – spray it bright pink why don’t you?

    (3) Screw Gary Barlow

    All of a sudden Gary makes public statements about not coming back, seems to have some tension within the show. And the very same week one of his acts is executed and the other ridiculed. Could this be the start of the end of the boys? Would be odd to have an all female last couple of weeks, but I did predict 3 of the last 4 from the girls category, I have 3 of the last 5 at the moment!

    About to take a substantial hedge on Marcus given how short his odds have become.

    • Curtis

      That’s actually fascinating though. If it’s to be believed, Janet was due to be first, and Craig third, and maybe the stitch-up job on Craig was a last minute decision.

      Incidentally, Craig can moan about how the X Factor stitched him up, but without the producers’ continued support up until that point would he have even still been in the competition to be stitched up at that point.

    • Ron

      I’m intrigued that the producers would change the running order at the very last moment, for what appears to be tactical reasons and nothing to do with a last minute technical problem or emergency. The level of plannng and manipulation seems to be quite extraordinary.

      • nugget

        Craig said of Saturday’s show: “I was down to be third and Janet was first – but five minutes before we went live, it got changed. They said mine was a bigger production number, a bigger opener. That’s what they told me anyway.”

        This story is complete Bulls**t

        I was there…..they may have changed the running order at some point during Saturday, but I can tell you for CERTAIN it did not change 5 minutes before they went live.

        • R

          Maybe not true but it’s another negative about Janet, making Craig fans think she should have gone instead, maybe to ensure votes don’t transfer to her.
          On the Xtra Factor Craig backed Janet to win and got the obligatory quizzical “JANET?” looks from the presenters.
          Since then he has backed Little Fix on every show he’s been on (maybe a little arm twisting from the producers?)

          • Annemarie

            Oh Dear, Craig! TRAITOR??? After Janet said on Xtra Factor you were her best friend in the house! I am not surprised Janet is keeping her distance a little. Just checked Janet’s Twitter: busy rehearsing, on after Amelia as Amelia was first up. I think Janet knows pretty well how the land lies!

            Have also been randomly checking the Tellymix ‘X Factor favourite’ vote. A small sample vote only I know. At one point Janet dipped 1% below Little Mix as favourite. However, it was not long though before Janet was back on top. It seems any negativity about Janet just brings out her fans to vote.

            The X Factor is becoming more like a modern gladiatorial circus everyday!

        • EM

          As a keen student of these things I think the actual running order and the running order that’s given to contestants can sometimes be different.

          • Andrew

            The effect on Craig’s mental preparations of telling him “actually, mate, you’re on first”, five minutes before he was on, was likely not conducive to a great performance…

          • Rob

            its interesting that it wasn’t a straight swap with janet if its true as janet went second. so i wonder where amelia was supposed to go from? second? i think the song was so dull craig would have gone in any case but maybe they studied past voting figures and decided they wanted to be more certain?

          • Rob

            i don’t know if its significant or not but every week bar one an artist going either before or after JD has come in bottom 2? this week both artists flanking her went bottom 2.

            the only week it didn’t happen was when she was flanked by LM and MC and sang ‘somebody to love’, her dullest song. (oh and the week there wasn’t a public vote, but that one doesn’t really count).

  • Simon "le happy chat"

    Interesting Nugget. CRAIG only stayed in so long because of the pimping and “Jar of hearts” selection. He was overdue and exit and it duly arrived. Anyhow he’s gone now.
    Thing is how much support has JANET really got?

    Tpfkar I dont understand how Saturday was a bad week for MARCUS. I mean he sang well (did you clock the range? – superb falsetto) and to sing and dance like that at the same time is very difficult- you have to be measured, extremely well rehersed and physically fit.
    Bad weeks for MARCUS by comparison was when he had to sing RUSSIAN ROULETTE and SUPERSTITION, the latter to a rubbish INXS backing track, yet he still made it through.

    MARCUS will make the final – it is inconceivable there wont be a boy in it. Only question is whether he has enough steam to carry him over the line. Let’s wait and hear his ballad this weekend.
    As for getting a pimp slot out of the way, well with only 5 acts and both singing two songs the pimp slot is maybe not so crucial as there is more of an opportunity with two songs for each artist to make their mark.

    • tpfkar

      Hi Simon,

      mid afternoon Sunday, I’d have agreed with you. But looking back, there is clear stats evidence (Toby’s raw data and online polls back this up, although my weightings make it more pronounced) that the good ship Marcus was taking on water.

      Now trying to see it in that light, I’ve observed comments here and elsewhere that he looked ridiculous, even accepting that you are right about his range/dancing.

      I’d agree highly likely to make the final, and I’m still green on him – but I can’t support him being favourite after this.

  • Hi everyone

    This may have been covered before on sofabet (apologies if it has) but am I correct in thinking that no-one that has been in the bottom 2 has gone on to win the competition? Obviously if that is the case then we can only (statistically) have the winner coming from Marcus – LittleMix – Janet.

    Also if the point about Craig being switched from 3rd to 1st at the last minute is true then this again shows how much tactical awareness and planning went into getting Craig shifted and lifted from the competition! There were so many nails in the poor boys coffin by the time it went to deadlock it was unbelievable!

    Bearing in mind the Xmas number one slot is a pivotal part of the whole x-factor machine then would they really want Little Mix being the one to fly the xmas flag? Sure it would sell to the little mix fans they have gained but I can’t see it pulling in any of the floating fans and non-regular viewers of the show? Urban-street-beatboxy-unthreatningbutstillcool-ishbut notquitewearinghoodies – is that likely to be a group that pushes extra sales of a xmas song? I guess if they mold them closer towards current act of the moment Rhianna then they could well shift a few extra units but (and forgive me if I’m wrong) they didn’t quite use Rhianna as a ‘hey UK I love those little Mix kids, vote for them’ practitioner when Dermot spoke to her?! To put it mildly I still don’t quite understand what they are planning with Little Mix….maybe they dont either!

  • Dug

    It’s shaping up to look a lot like last year.

    Little Mix, the manufactured group who have come to be Plan A thanks to their charm and some serious help with backing vocals.

    Janet and Marcus, the front-running male and female who between them have a scouse fanbase, a guitar, authenticity and the housewives vote.

    Misha, the female urban act that producers seem desperate to shoe-horn into the final despite an apparent lack of public support.

    That makes Amelia… MARY BYRNE!

    If we are to pay any attention to this pattern then we should keep our eyes peeled for some serious assassination on Saturday. It’s almost 100% guaranteed that a girl will have to leave, considering the fact that they now make up 60% of the contestants. I reckon they’ll throw the book at Amelia in order to stop her bouncing.

    1) Death Slot
    2) Red and black
    3) One upbeat song that makes her look a bit Kitty
    4) One ballad that’s set below her comfortable range
    5) Bad camera angles
    6) Some congrats on having reclaimed her place BUT
    7) A subtle suggestion that she doesn’t quite fit
    8) Drastic styling
    9) A VT that shows her looking a bit cocky / lifeless / lost

    What do you think? Will they try to shift her? Or will they accept her bounce and jettison Misha?

    • Annemarie

      Speaking of Kitty, have you seen the following article in the Daily Mail.


      Does Amelia in the photo remind you of anyone? Kitty mark 2?

      I believe Amelia and Misha B will be the next two acts to go:

      AMELIA: Kelly Rowland has a big ego. I cannot see Kelly allowing Amelia to win if she can help it. If Amelia were to win Kelly would have to admit ‘Whoops, I was wrong to leave Amelia out after the first round’. Somehow I cannot see that happening. It would be a slur on her judgement.

      MISHA: Misha B is obviously Kelly’s favoured act. Misha is even starting to emulate Kelly with her new haircut. All that heart wrenching misunderstood stuff from Misha is getting a bit tiresome now.
      New bullying allegations regarding a blind girl and Misha are probably the end of Misha as a possible final candidate. True or not, unfortunately mud sticks and there is a lot of mud being thrown at Misha this week.

      Janet, Marcus and Little Mix look like a safe bet for the final for the X Factor. They can do without any more scandals, I think, at this stage of the competition. After all X Factor is meant to be ‘family viewing’!!

    • Tim B

      It’s a difficult one. Both girls are highly marketable imo but producers seemed much more keen on pushing MISHA through to this week, which suggests they don’t care about Amelia as much.

      The other three should be safe for the semi final. I can’t see a shock elimination this week.

  • Simon "le happy chat"

    Little Mix have now surplanted MARCUS as favourites to win which surprises me.
    I would put them third behind JANET and MARCUS but hey, what do we know on here about voting patterns and numbers?
    I just think that there are more oldies in on a Saturday night watching X Factor than youngsters and the band LITTLEMIX are not going to pick enough of them up to win.

    AMELIA shouts and as long as Gary tells her that she wont win. MISHA was holed below the waterline a few weeks ago and you have to suspect she is on the edge of the precipice. It leaves JANET as the main danger to MARCUS because she rolls on without doing anything spectacular, and her media following is immense.

    I still believe MARCUS can “do” them all though. Anyhow one step at a time, I’m not going to look passed this weekend on the assumption that MARCUS will at least survive for now.

  • Pauline

    Dug, Rob. X Factor news: Gary Barlow shocked!!!

    I rest my case!

  • Annemarie

    Perhaps Gary Barlow does secretly like Janet after all. Nice wholesome girl.

  • nugget

    Having had time to review and revise my own thoughts on this years contest, I have come to the conclusion that only LITTLEMIX can win this now. If it wasn’t for the fact that every penny I have available to punt with is now tied up in a top 3 finish I would still be punting them to win even at the current price. I am also totally annoyed with myself for not getting any of the 2/1 LM to have a number one single and 7/1 for LM to have a number one album in 2012 which was available with Ladbrokes for a short while.

    Misha – I backed her EW at 20/1 after bootcamp and would still maintain she is the best singer in the competition. She is just not likeable enough to win it though, the efforts to soften her image following bullygate have just looked ridiculous and desperate, she just cannot get enough public support to win this now regardless of how talented she is. I had almost given up on my bet but still think there is a slim chance she may make the final 3.

    Amelia – She has limitations vocally and is not quite good enough to win this. Enough of the public seem to beleive that joining the competition halfway through is unfair and this will stiffle her votes and managed to get her in the bottom 2 this week. Best she can hope for is 3rd place IMHO.

    Janet – My feeling is that Janet DOES have a strong and loyal following but it is a niche appeal she has and she is not likely to gain too many extra votes as others drop out. My guess is that the producers have done thier maths and have worked out she cannot win this. As such I beleive they will let her do her own thing for the rest of the series, own song choices, own image, own staging, safe in the knoweledge that although pleasing her fans she won’t actually win. Also she is considered wierd and hard to work with by the judges and is now effectively mentorless.

    Marcus – Well, at risk of upsetting Daniel and the Sofabet team, I do not think Marcus can win either. Saturday “should” have been his big moment, pimp slot, big production number, 40 piece choir. Instead he was completely overshadowed and outdone by my LM girls. Marcus loooked more “would be good in a West End musical” than ever this week and to win this you need to look “potential pop star and multi platinum record seller”.

    Littlemix – What can I say, everyone is now talking about them. Saturdays performance was a simple but clinically effective one (albiet with a lot of help from backing vocals). There is nothing to dislike about these girls, no bad press. Everyone can see the journey and improvement week on week ( I am thinking more and more now that this was cleverly planned), their early performances were too bad to be true. Everyone loves the idea of ordinary girls working hard and having thier dreams come true and the voting public can relate to this and are really behind them now. They appear to me comletely unstopable now and are likely to be the next “spice girls”.

    Ask around 20 or so friends about who they like best in this years X factor and judge for yourself.

    The Littlemix train to victory is unstoppable now and only a press story of Perry and the girls torturing kittens for fun is likely to stop them.

  • sam

    i like and dislike all the remaining acts for various reasons this post is titled “better the devlin you know” and is aimed at janets scenario ,but i think it could well be in parts be describing any of the remaining acts .janets situation regarding what the show wants from her is a little unclear at this time still to me even after 8 weeks!cant say they hate her or love her,they bring her up and bring her down,they say shes fantasic then borring/pridictable,then ok,then back almost to the janet of week 1 ,her fan base is massive but the media dont warm to her that well,its that level of contradiction that confuses me,also her styling to is at times bizarre to neither one way or the other,if they want her there make it VERY CLEAR they want her there,or if they DONT what her there let her go in the same way they ditched craig last week, but to me marcuses,mishas and amelias status is also to unclear ,the only one who this program seems to have all ready pigened holed ,and i am now getting the point of this as someone put it in there post LITTLE FIX ,this group have been molded and remolded more times than a piece of pizza dough in to the next/new spice girls or girls aloud or the saturdays or any other girl group ( but really do we need to go all through this again,been there,seen it,brought the tee shirt).The rest all seem to be in what i would call the “waiting area” none have clear end potential areas of where they are going to be or slot they are going to fit in to in the record selling market,as after all that is where they are going,its a singing contest not britons got tallent contest where anything goes.
    im not a little mix hater,far from it they have brought me roud over the last 2 weeks but as i say its all been done before,but for me to back them i need to hear them really sing and with out the overthe top backing tracks,this also goes for marcus,and again i am not a marcus hater but lets hear him do something so different with out all the westend stage production behind him.
    As for misha and amelia i just cant say and have not worked them out at all,some may say this is funny in mishas case but for me i really dont know.
    It does seem to me though that they (the producers) may well push janet,little mix,and marcus massively up over the next 2 weeks if this is the final 3 line up some of us outthere think are going to be in the final sing off but if not i guess if 1 of the 3 here go out this week then im all to pot but fornow i think i may hold off on the expensive bottle of shampers just a little longer untill either misha or amelia go this week with the other the week after,then i will be more happy with the odds on the remaining 3 or though what order they will come i have yet to decide.

  • Annemarie

    Just picked this up in todays Daily Star


    Is it to be be believed? The Powers to be expecting both Janet and Marcus to be in the final?

    • nugget

      Thanks for that Annemrie

      If that is true , then it would appear that 2 of the final 3 are already nailed on.

      I cannot see Misha B singing with Coldplay or Amelia with Michael Buble, can you??

      As a LM top 3 backer that is slightly worrying, if it is true however, coupled with what we already know about Janets hardcore fan base it could mean betting a Janet top 3 finish at 1/2 is a fair bet.

    • Dave T

      Coldplay are playing the O2 the night of the Saturday night show and on another site someone has said that makes it impossible. While I agree it makes it far less likely I’d say it’s still not impossible. Bruno Mars appeared on the Sunday night show and then played a gig later that evening though that was probably a recorded segment. I expect they’d do whatever it takes to accommodate them if they are up for it.

  • Lee

    Apologies if I have missed this point in these comments, but X Factor is a money-making machine.

    It’s safe to say from the ‘evidence’ we have that Janet is attracting a lot of phone / text votes and this will only increase in the final.

    Last year’s final made £8 million in phone votes alone.

    I also think this explains why producers have been keeping a lid on her recently. If they were praising her to the hilt every week (having given her perfect songs, styling etc) her supporters wouldn’t be as motivated to vote.

    The negativity pushes them to pick the phone up and once she is in the final, I fully expect her to win.

    I haven’t backed her to win (but on Kelly as winning judge). I’m actually on Misha at 20s e/w which is annoying, seeing as she’ll probably finish 4th.

    I think Amelia will go this week, the ‘bounce’ stops working every year at this stage (although some years only 1 act has gone with no bottom 2).

    • Annemarie

      I agree with your sentiments Lee. The X Factor will cream off the best marketable acts. In some ways it does not matter to them that much who wins as long as they can make money from the winner and the runners up. I think Janet is probably on course for the final three. It appears her VT this Saturday will see her returning home today to switch on the Christmas lights in her home town of Omagh.


      It would be very cynical of the X Factor show to Janet in a negative light here: Christmas time, performing a charitable act with hundreds screaming and adoring fans shouting her praise. They are all feel good positive factors.

      Furthermore, if Coldplay were indeed booked for the X Factor final, Janet seems the most likely one who could perform with them. I am a little sceptical though about Coldplay playing in the X Factor final, as they said a few months ago they would never perform on the show. They stated they were too old and it might damage their credibility. Rumours like this have been in the press before and have not materialised. However, ‘Never say Never’, Coldplay are releasing their new album on 12 December 2011: the X Factor final would be great promotional timing for them. Apparently, according to Craig, Chris Martin of Coldplay was around the X Factor studios last Saturday. Janet did a great job with their track ‘Fix You’. When you look back at the video of her performance of ‘Fix You’, almost everything on stage was golden: her hair, her clothes and the background lighting. Was there some implicit symbolic message being portrayed here: the midas touch? It will be interesting to see who gets the ‘red and black’ treatment on Saturday, hopefully not Janet!

      Postcript: I never expected to see Florence and the Machine on the X Factor but she was there this series. At the end of the end of it all, as Jessie J says, it is all ‘About the Money, Money’

      • Annemarie

        PPS: Just checked Coldplay website: http://www.coldplay.com/newsdetail.php?id=857

        They are hosting a charity do on Saturday 10 December at the the O2 arena. Not impossible they could cover both venues, but traffic in Wembley on a Saturday evening: Nightmare! Do they have a helicopter pad at Wembley???

        I wonder where the Daily Star story came from? Becoming more implausible? Another ruse to sell papers?

  • Aquarius

    Although I’m just an ordinary viewer of the show, and a big fan of Janet, I wonder if there is something missing in this analysis. If you go to Youtube, you can see that Janet has done several covers before she joins the X Factor. Is this the case that her pre X factor popularity among netizens that secures her place every week?

    To be honest, I’m really disappointed in her from week 3 to week 6, as, like Gary said, the songs are quite boring (although the way he said so was quite annoying). However, last weekend’s song restored all my hope for Janet. I don’t think she can actually win outright, based on how much support Little Mix and Marcus are getting at the moment. However, if the producers are aiming for the LM-JD-MC final then over the next two weeks Janet is likely to be given songs that suit her style. This week’s theme may be an advantage for her, and with 2 songs, Janet can actually show what she is capable of (you should check out her Youtube channel, she has done songs that are different, in a good way, from what she has been given during the show).

    P/S: this is the first time that I actually post something on sofabet, but I have enjoyed the site for quite a while 🙂

    • Andrew

      Glad to hear it! 🙂 I’m sure you’re right that Janet’s youtube fanbase has been helping along with the NI base. Big week for her this week – she certainly seems to have been getting more column inches than normal, as with the link below.

  • Uncle Si

    Here is a readable and intriguing article:


    It seems the judges barely speak. They should be given one big dressing room instead of hiding away!

    • Nugget

      That article would seem reasonably accurate. I too was quite suprised to see the dancers changing and practising outside the audiences portaloo. Its not quite as Glamorous off camera as you would imagine. Kelly speaks to Gary and Louis to Tullisa, I never saw a single word exchanged between the 2 girls off camera even though they sit next to each other.

    • Andrew

      Very interesting, thanks for that! Sounds surprisingly chaotic. 18 senior producers?!

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