X Factor 2012 Wildcard: Maloney vs Mottram – What’s the thinking?

Well, this is all very unexpected. When the wildcard twist was announced last week, there were a handful of plausible permutations for the contenders. But, knowing the X Factor, what seemed predictable was that it would be easy to guess who producers wanted back in. And if you’d told us last week that it would be Christopher Maloney vs Amy Mottram vs Adam Burridge vs Times Red, we’d have said “see? It’s obvious. They want Shaky Maloney”.

Now, we’re not so sure. Having been ignored in the edit of the bootcamp episodes, Amy Mottram received the most helpful coverage imaginable in the Judges’ Houses episodes. Extensively and sympathetically portrayed on both the Saturday and Sunday show, she did herself plenty of favours with a mature and graceful response to the bad news from Tulisa. More significantly, Tulisa went out of her way to emphasise how much she wished she could take Amy through as a fourth girl.

The contrast with the wildcards from the boys and groups was stark, and tells us pretty clearly that neither of these are the ones the show wants back. The screentime-starved Adam was put up instead of Jake Quickenden, who enjoyed a lengthy introduction segment in audition show 3 and would have been riding a wave of sympathy after he was shown at the weekend struggling with grief over his brother’s terminal illness.

Adam is cute – but, as we saw in last year’s wildcard vote with James Michael, being a cute boy doesn’t necessarily get you far if the audience haven’t been given the time or invitation to invest in you emotionally.

Meanwhile, having emphasised in his earlier deliberations that Times Red were older than their boyband rivals, Louis prefaced his wildcard decision by repeating the “older” epithet and then observing that “older girls” will like them. Got that, ladies? If you think of yourselves as old, vote for Times Red.

Producers saved the agonising rejection of Christopher Maloney till the end of the episode, then immediately invited us to phone in to reinstate the trembling Scouser. This did come across to us as part of a plan. You can almost imagine the production meeting in which they viewed back the footage of him convulsing on stage before his audition:

“This shaking man is TV gold! How can we make him tremble as much as possible in future episodes?”

“I know. We could repeat that bootcamp cull thing from last year, and leave his name till last.”

“Ha ha, great one. Then how about we reject him at Judges’ Houses, and put him up for a wildcard vote?”

“Genius. We’ll get Dermot to pause for at least 30 seconds before revealing who’s won. That’ll bring the studio down. Perhaps literally”.

“And the great thing is that if he later breaks down with nerves while singing, it won’t be our fault but the public’s for bringing him back.”

But if this was indeed the thinking, then why all the help for Amy Mottram in the Judges’ Houses edit? Take your pick from three possible explanations:

(a) they want Amy to win the wildcard vote;

(b) they’re confident that the sympathy/sadism vote will be strong enough to propel Shaky to the wildcard regardless of Amy’s portrayal;

(c) they don’t much care either way, as long as Shaky provides some entertainment by juddering up and down on stage like a pneumatic drill as Dermot’s “and the wildcard is…” pause enters its 20th second.

We incline towards the latter explanation. If it is Christopher Maloney, it seems likely that his intended role in the series will be to provide a couple more weeks of good TV before being quietly jettisoned. After all, as Dug said in his review of Judges’ Houses, “the man is mediocre community theatre at best”.

We saw with Amelia Lily last year that the comedown from a wildcard win can be steep – she was in the bottom two the week after her return. So it shouldn’t be too big an ask to nobble him – especially considering The Sun have already reported on his past as a (not-so-nervous) cruise ship singer, setting him up for the Sami Brookes tactics.

As for Amy – well, it seems pretty clear that she’s not supposed to be the alpha girl, doesn’t it? We’re currently thinking that producers are likely to be thinking of Jade Ellis as their “Ella spare” – a pleasant alternative who can be activated if something looks like going wrong with the hot favourite, and Sophie Habibised if not. If Amy wins, we’d bet she simply becomes the new Ella Spare. We suspect producers won’t have a very strong preference between Jade and Amy as gamma girl.

Another reason to lean towards explanation (c) is that it’s hard to see how the show could be certain about what result they will get. Unlike the dozens of live show eliminations they’ve been through, they have only one experience of running a wildcard vote – and that one was so one-sided, they may not have learned a great deal from it.

It must be a different dynamic, with lines open for a week. Are voting totals lower? Are voting demographics more skewed towards X Factor obsessives than casual voters? Is there more scope for multiple votes to influence the outcome? We don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the answers to these questions are yes.

To our minds, Amy appears the most deserving candidate, just as Amelia Lily did last year. Opinion in the Sofabet comments is certainly leaning her way. Highlighted expects her to advance, while eurovicious thinks she’ll sail it. Tim B is leaning towards Shaky, but won’t be surprised either way. Boki, Nugg and KaraokeSauron all reckon Amy’s odds offer better value.

We agree. If you put a gun to our heads and forced us to have a bet at current odds, then we’d much rather be on Amy at 5/2 than Shaky at 1/2. However, punters can always take the safe option of sitting out events where they feel less than confident, and for us this one falls into this category. Are you getting involved? How do you read what producers want and what they’re likely to get? As ever, do let us know below.

48 comments to X Factor 2012 Wildcard: Maloney vs Mottram – What’s the thinking?

  • Boki

    Couldn’t agree more with everything. Btw is the wildcard going to perform in the first show or not?

    • Andrew

      Dunno, Boki. I guess the working assumption has to be that it’ll be like Amelia Lily, they announce the wildcard vote at the end of the show and then the wildcard sings in the pimp slot – which should put them in no danger of elimination.

  • Panos

    (c) does it for me too. In addition, I think it’s safe to assume that the chosen wildcard will not (1) be eliminated this Saturday, as a 1-2 weeks stay is probably needed to avoid making the twist looking pointless and (2) go anywhere near the final, as that would make Gary/Tulisa look daft.

  • tpfkar

    Been thinking about this for a couple of days, and some thoughts not covered / a different slant to the article:

    1) Do they want another Essex act? Rylan Clark delivers an oversize dollop of Essex fun, and would they want Amy fishing in the same boat which could make it difficult for Rylan to progress?
    2) You say we can’t learn anything from last year’s wildcard vote, but remember that 2 Shoes were another Essex act and came last – does this say something about the weakness of the Essex regional vote?
    3) On the other hand, the Liverpool regional vote is known to be among the strongest, and note how Poisonous Twin, another Liverpool act, weren’t put forward to risk splitting this.
    4) Apologies for lowering the tone, but mature response to rejection or not, Amy does not look or feel like a pop star, maybe just be, but I find her quite unsympathetic.
    5) Surely no coincidence that Chris was pimped just before the phone-lines were opened – the producers know what they are doing there.

    So all in all I make Chris hot favourite, although I’d agree with plan (c) I think priority 1 is to stop Adam Burridge, and that is why Amy is being promoted. Not sure I am about to lump money on though as there is uncertainty, but I’d note that Amy is longer odds to return on Saturday than Ella is to win the whole series.

  • Boki

    I don’t think Shaky will get more sympathy vote than Amy, the outcome depends on a sadism vote imo but have no idea how sadistic TGBP is 🙂
    Btw I also found Tulisa’s supposed choice struggle most convincing out of 4 judges with ‘genuine’ sorrow of not including Amy, unlike Gary who is not willing to take the Shaky risk.

  • Justin

    I agree with tpfkar’s comments – I too think Chris is hot favourite and the current odds are about right (1/2 Shakey, 5/2 Amy). The Amy thing from last weekend to me suggested that they really do not want the groups or boys to win the wildcard. So if the public don’t take to Shakey in the way the producers intend then there is little doubt the slot will go to Amy. In general this fits well with the theme this year of promoting the overs and the girls at the expense of the boys and the groups.

  • AnnaC

    When my son saw Tulisa about to deliver the verdict to Amy he asked “Have they got an Adele yet?”

    • lolhart

      AnnaC, I think the funny The Fix Factor cartoons on Facebook would answer your son’s question.

      This is a different topic, but I’m surprised how Tulisa has been favoured over Nicole this year. You’d think that being a new judge they would have given Nicole one of the priority categories. I’m assuming she’s just a placeholder until next year when they can get a judge they actually want.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Although not directly related to this Wildcard thread, there is currently a list up on the DigitalSpy X Factor Forum of the anticipated song choices for the first live show.

    There were posted by someone that is new to the forum, and so it is not yet possible to judge how reliable the source is, but she apparently has a close friend working at X Factor and questioned if she was allowed to post this information.

    Ella Henderson: Hold it Against Me – Britney Spears
    (originally selected Born to Try by Delta Goodrem)
    Could she be performing this version….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxTDK1S5qJ0

    Jade Ellis: Marilyn Monroe – Nicki Minaj

    Lucy Spraggan: Pumped up Kicks – Foster The People

    Kye Sones: Black and Gold – Sam Sparro

    Melanie Masson: I heard it through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye (likely to perform the Tina Turner version)

    Carolynne Poole: Mr Know It All – Kelly Clarkson

    Rylan Clark: Evacuate the Dancefloor – Cascada

    Jahmene Douglas: Big White Room – Jessie J
    The beginning seems ideally suited for him……… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAaos80oPqg

    James Arthur: Teardrop/Dry Your Eyes Mate (Mash up) – Massive Attack vs The Streets.

    GMD3: Simply Amazing – Trey Songz

    MK1: Run This Town – Jay Z, Kanye West and Rihanna
    They already have a version of this available online….

    Union J: Lights – Ellie Goulding

    Source: (Post #92 – emma_gillespie) http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?p=61435095#post61435095

    It will prove interesting to see if these are correct.

  • Queen Bea

    So most of the contestants getting not very well known songs. Jahmene and Jade’s songs aren’t even UK singles and Union J’s wasn’t a UK hit.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Louis has 2 acts in the bottom 2.

  • Tim B

    Don’t believe the song choices. It’s only Tuesday and they’re never out this early.

    • Daniel

      This is true, Tim. Even the somglists we were getting on Thursday or Friday over recent years have proved to be unreliable. Best to wait and see.

  • Nugg

    I must say if the songlist is fake, someone has put an awful lot of thought and effort into it. I actually beleive this list subject to last minute changes.
    The person that is supposed to have leaked these is using thier real name on DS forum, not a good move, cos it won’t be too difficult for SyCO to work out exactly where the leak origintes and close it.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I remember that last year there were a lot of last minute song changes, due to a difference of opinion between act/mentor, or a feeling that the chosen song wasn’t working. In the opening live show, where each act wants to prove they deserve their place, it would not be a shock to see them performing a song that they are very familiar with rather than someone’s choice or recommendation. The list could merely represent the songs that they are rehearsing with a final decision to be made on Thurs/Fri.

    An updated post by the same contributor on DigitalSpy, amending Ella’s song choice, states that each act is preparing two songs.

    As mentioned earlier, the quality of this information and integrity of it’s source, can only truly be confirmed on Saturday night.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Any reason why when “replying” , it is not linking to the original comment as it used to, but dropping straight to the bottom of the thread?

    • Andrew

      Hi Chatterbox, it changed when we got a new comments plugin with upgraded WordPress. When you press reply, it does create a reply box directly under the comment you’re replying to – but if the comment is a long one, or already has replies, you have to scroll down to see it. Hopefully they’ll fix this in a future upgrade.

  • Roy

    Don’t they need two song choices in case they are in the bottom two?

  • Stephen

    Does anybody remember or have the link for the blog that was recording the twitter feed for last year? thanks

  • Nugg

    Is anyone going to any of the shows this year?

    So far i have tickets for Saturday night live show 17th NOV and both Saturday and Sunday night live finals tickets.

    Be good to meet up if any Sofabet fans are going

  • R

    Does anyone have any views on who will be first to go?
    Despite me thinking MK1 will be top group, the Bookies seem to have them at around 5/2 to go with Jade Ellis second favourite at 4.

    • I agree with Tim that as MK1 are a credible N-Dubz style act (that’s the first time “credible” and “N-Dubz” have appeared in the same sentence) that will appeal to young people and sell records, the show will want to keep them around a bit and save them if they enter the bottom two (at least the first 1-2 times), as with Cher and Misha, perhaps even more so. If you’re prepared to take the risk, I think it’s worth considering laying MK1 for first off. There are more likely candidates. Additionally, in week 1, with the vote split 13 ways and lower voting figures compared to later in the series, who lands in the bottom two is harder to predict and is decided by much smaller margins than later in the series.

      Rob at entertainmentodds.com recommends Carolynne as value for first off and I’m inclined to agree. Middle-aged straight men will probably fancy her (more than Melanie) but I’m not sure that’ll translate into votes. Obviously any prediction of who’ll be first off is highly speculative before seeing the show though. On Saturday, look for the acts who are egregiously rubbish (thinking Frankie and Nu Vibe in Week 2 last year), who receive negative feedback or whose performance is overshadowed by a pantomime jury argument, who receive an unfavourable VT and/or “hellmouth” staging, or (especially) those who are competent but unremarkable and not relevant to viewers and thus fly under the radar.

  • Monsieur Simon "Le chat"

    I believe Adam Burridge will win the wild card. It may not always help being cute but it sure isn’t a hinderance. Adam is a good looking James Arthur, he plays guitar and sounds and looks the part. 33/1 with Coral is outstanding value in a 4 horse field on unpreedictible ground and I am going to have a bet on him. Kerching!

    • Oh Simon! I resisted the urge to say “I told you so” about Duke, but seriously? Adam has had next to no screentime compared to Chris Maloney and Amy, both of whom got full-length auditions on the main show and Olly visits on Xtra Factor. Additionally, Times Red have been trending on Twitter a couple of times in the past 2 days. Burridge remains anonymous compared to Maloney and Amy, and even to Times Red. By all means put £2 on him if you’re so inclined, but I’ll be taking it in a lay. It’s all well and good saying you “believe” he’ll win it, but when your money’s stake, your beliefs need to be backed up by study and evidence.

      • I agree with eurovicious, but for educational purposes I would like to add that Louis Tomlinson is apparently in love with Adam Burridge, as he cannot stop telling his 6m + followers to vote Adam in. Go figure!

    • Henry VIII

      Simon I agree with Euro but if you really must, and you think 34 is good value, put something at 50 or so up on Betfair. I’m sure it will be matched.

    • Henry VIII

      Thanks Annie, always interesting to look over something like that. In this case though I wonder if it is telling us anything more than what teenage girls are discussing.

      Also, if I understand correctly, they total “mentions”, with each mention being given equal value. They say the forums contribute 12,000 mentions but a single twitterer, Abbie, has contributed 2,300 mentions. So “buyer beware”.

    • Thanks so much for this – fascinating and something to keep our eyes on. Main insights for me after flying over those infographics:

      – Jahmene is popular neither on- or (presumably) offline = Funky Davros will be unable to ascend the X Factor stairs.
      – MK1 have gained surprisingly limited traction at this stage. This is a danger sign. Whatever the show’s hopes for them, getting them into the later weeks (if that’s what’s desired) may be an uphill struggle and they may be dropped earlier than I anticipated. Unlike Cher or Misha, they can’t exactly do a Stay or an I Have Nothing to stay afloat.
      – Lucy is more popular than Ella among netizens (but we knew that anyway)
      – Young girls on Twitter heart boybands. The extent to which this’ll translate into votes is questionable. However, I can see both boybands doing better than their 2011 equivalents. Nu Vibe came over as too chaotic/aggressive/shambolic, like a sort of bopping young offenders’ institution, and The Risk were more of a manband who were too old for teen voters. Neither were correctly cast to appeal to protosexual teen/tween girls (http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lg3grnqd7x1qgllp5o1_500.jpg) – GMD3 and Union J (who look so much like 1D that the only way I can tell the difference is by counting them) are. However, adults won’t be that bothered by them and are more likely to vote for other acts (the girls, the overs) instead.

  • Monsieur Simon "Le Chat"

    The good ship “Duke” was sunk the moment they were given the ghastly Louis Walsh and sharon Osbourne as their mentor- dear me, they just go for more of the same and same as before. No wonder the show is struggling with these two pathetic bakofoil botoxed specimins trying to mentor for live TV. Yes, you did tell me Euro so good call but then when I backed Duke they were 100/1 so it was only a small bet. I’ve not had my big bet yet and will wait until the first live show but I’m minded to go for MK1 as top group, Kye as top over, Ella as top girl so leaves one other which I’ll wait for the wild card.
    I may be losing my bet on Adam but 33/1 in a 4 horse field on unpredictable going is good value- I mean its all very well saying who isnt going to win guys, but if Adam doesn’t I will only have lost a small amount whereas many folowers will have lumped and lost a great deal more on the vanquished of Maloney v Motram. Good luck everyone.

  • So, at boot camp they stage a sing-off between Triple J and GMD3 with the excuse that they are too similar and only one can get through. Then, at Judges Houses, even with +1 act to a total of 7, both Union J and GMD3 are taken through. I’m trying to understand what’s going in their minds, Any ideas?

  • KaraokeSauron

    Very hard first elimination to call this year. I’d be amazed if if were Carolynne who I think the show has high hopes for. The question is who the judges would be least inclined to save, i.e, who is the most disposable at this stage.

    If it’s a girl, it’ll be Jade. The groups are hard to call – but probably MK1. Of the boys, I guess it would have to be Rylan. And the Overs – Melanie.

    All of these acts have strategic viability in a well-programmed final twelve. The weakest position at this point seems to be occupied by Melanie; against any of the regular contestants I think she would be dumped first. Against the Wild Card, however, if that is possible – someone please advise me of the rules here! – I think she’d be put through.

    The exception to this would most likely be Maloney, as producers seem to think DTs = VT.

    So… my tentative prediction is for a Melanie/Wild Card bottom two, with the outcome dependent on the identity of the latter.

    • Tim B

      On Betfair Jade, Carolynne and GMD3 are the most backed in that order, with Jade being backed massively. I have to say I agree. Melanie should be safe from the bottom 2 with the whole Scottish thing and tiny voting totals in the first week – I’d be surprised if Gary or Louis don’t ask Scotland to vote for her. They’ll more than likely want to make money from this powerful voting demographic – at least for a few weeks. Not to mention her vocal should be more than adequate and it’s likely they’ll continue the narrative of making her wee kids proud in her VT. Assuming the wild card sings last and sings a ballad, they’ll be 95% safe from the bottom 2. I also predict James will be on first out of the boys so I’ve had a cheeky £2 on him at 100/1. Rylan would be saved regardless of who he ended up with in the bottom 2.

  • annie

    There’s no way the wildcard will end up bottom two, he/she/they will surely get a lot of pimping, will be last to sing… no way.
    I think one of the boybands will end up there. Even if they are cute and all, I have a feeling one of them will get neglected, they might not have been able to decide which of the two will work out better up to judge’s houses, but I am sure since then and at the first performance one of the two will get their fate decided. a bit like last year with nuvibe.
    I don’t think carolynne will end up in the bottom two just yet, although I think she does lack some sparkle to take her very far, but at this stage there aren’t that many votes cast and with the pimping received so far, plus some old fans from her FA days should make her sail through the first week.
    Jade Ellis is a bit like Sophie Habibis from last year. Sophie managed a killer performance first week which helped her overcome her lack of screentime. If jade doesn’t manage to do a really stand out performance, if she’s just ok she’ll join one of the boys in the bottom two. Rylan is also in jeopardy of getting to the bottom, depends how ‘out there’ his performance will be, but will surely be saved and will most probably gather following to hang around for a good few weeks.
    Mk1 are another possibility, just because I don’t see them getting too much casual/housewife votes and groups have it harder. II think they have a lot of post show potential, comercial viability in today’s music scene (and for this reason they might get help from producers to push them as far as possible) , but I’m not sure people who’d really like their music actually vote on shows like this.
    So for bottom two for the me this week : two from Jade, Rylan, MK1 and either of the boybands are in the mix.

  • Highlighted

    I wonder who we can predict will be first up this week. For me it’s also one of Jade, or any one of the groups. Rylan will go out 9th or something and the pimp slot will most likely go to the WC. I predict the 1 before pimp slot to go to Kye.

  • Highlighted

    Sorry, but to carry on I predict a running order like this (if so far is anything to go by)

    1. Jade
    2. 1 of boybabds/MK1
    3. Melanie
    4. Jahmene
    5. MK1/1 of boybands
    6. Ella
    7. Carolynne
    8. Rylan
    9. Preferred boyband
    10. James
    11. Lucy
    12. Kye
    13. Wild card

    However wild card can go at any moment. Producers decide. They could be first on if they wanted. I predict whichever group they dislike to be sandwiched between 2 key acts like Jahmene and Ella. However I predict Jahmenr to be dispensable too.

  • annie

    First up, especially first live show will be something up tempo/big production type.It’s not just about who they want to ‘deathslot’ it’s also about making a television show. I don’t see Jade doing anything like that. Going through the all of them in my mind I can only see as showstarter one of the groups, or rylan, but they’l save him for the second half the show, so first up will be one of the groups I think. MK1 if they don’t care about helping them, less favoured boyband with upbeat song otherwise. Could be someone else too, but it’s definitely something upbeat.

  • Highlighted

    You could put Jade first or 2nd either way it would mean she is dispensable.

  • KaraokeSauron

    I fully agree re: Rylan, and like the look of that 100/1 bet.

    Gary made quite a point of not soliciting votes last series, and I doubt he’ll start now. (Louis, of course, will – he knows his role.) But I can definitely see the case for Jade.

    Annie – I think you’re overestimating the appeal of the Wild Card acts. The lack of buzz around any of them is deafening. Yes, they’ll be pimped, but with the exception of Maloney, I can’t see anything there for the public ‘to connect with’ (as the phrase goes). I think a Wild Card bottom two is very plausible; and were that to happen I would expect them to be eliminated ahead of any of the regular contestants.

    A tough one, all round… And probably not a market I’ll be getting involved in.

  • JasonB

    Guys – updated X-Factor Weekly tracker with Wild Card entries. Looks like Times Red is way ahead in the build up to the votes.


  • Heisenberg

    I’ve just spent way too much time analysing this, but here’s how I see Saturday playing out based on:

    – Social media activity
    – This week’s GMTV appearances (seating order)
    – Exposure in ‘Read All About It’ video
    – Rumoured song choices
    – Act’s voting demographic
    – Judges’ houses final 3 reveal edit
    – Potential wildcard replacement
    – Likely VT representation
    – Act background, level of established exposure

    I’m working under the assumption that the wildcard winner will be pimped and should comfortably avoid danger.

    Therefore, using this calculated data, my graph tells me the most vulnerable acts are Carolynne, Jade, Melanie and MK1 – but ultimately I predict a sing-off between Melanie and Jade with Melanie sent home and Shaky stepping into her shoes to restore balance in the categories.

    A bit of fun, but that’s where my money is – 7/1 Melanie (Boylesports).

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