X Factor 2012: Who are the alphas now?

The results of the first public vote are in! We don’t know what they are, of course. We’ll find out when some exhausted intern plonks a pdf on the X Factor website in the early hours of the Monday morning after the final – a moment which we are already, pathetically, keenly anticipating.

All we know for sure is that producers now have a Rylan headache. As commenter Steven succinctly puts it, “Week 1 and they already used the death threats VT. Where can you go from there?” For the rest, we can only speculate about what the new lie of the land might look like from producers’ perspective. So let’s do so, taking each category in turn.

We’ll skate over the girls, where both Lucy and Jade survived but Ella “Frankel” Henderson is currently in danger of making a one-horse race of the entire series, let alone Tulisa’s category.

The Overs

First he had to flog us Frankie Cocozza, then Carolynne Poole – Gary Barlow must feel like a raincoat salesman in the Sahara. Whether or not you share our view that producers were trying on Saturday to give every chance to an act who was never going to fly with the voting public (Sofabet commenter Lia makes the case against), the important question now is which of the remaining three is Gary’s great white hope?

Kye? We’d be especially intrigued to know how well he polled. His performance was reasonably good on Saturday but we remain of the same view as Steve at the Bitch Factor, who wrote a couple of weeks ago: “Is it just me, or is he the most anonymous contestant of all this year? I swear I forget about him the second he’s off screen.”

Christopher? How we’d laugh. After his hatchet job on Sami Cruiseship last year, it would be a delicious irony if Gary’s last act standing this year were to be Shakey Cruiseship. Sofabet commenter Mike F reports from Liverpool, by the way, that “Chris Maloney is NOT connecting with the Liverpool public… please don’t take the regional vote as a reason to back him”.

Melanie? Stranger things have happened. Sending her out third and reminding us she’d rather be at home with her family hardly suggested that producers were desperate to keep her safe, but then Marcus was apparently considered fodder in Gary’s category at this stage last year and he ended up in the final. We stand by the reasons we gave after Melanie’s first audition, though, for thinking that there’s a fairly low ceiling to how high she could fly, even if she were to have the wind of producer favour in her sails.

We stand to be proved completely wrong, but we wouldn’t be at all surprised if none of Gary’s remaining acts cleared the dropzone by much. If true, that would give producers an interesting dilemma. Our suggested solution: do everything possible to nobble one of Gary’s acts per week, such that they finish bottom of the vote with Rylan just above them. Each Louis-triggered deadlock would be more hilarious than the last.

Current odds: 4/5 Kye, 11/4 Melanie, 9/2 Shakey.

Our verdict: Probably Kye, as the odds indicate. However there could be future rearrangement, like the deckchairs on the Titanic.

The boys

In the Sofabet comments, several commenters expressed the view that Jahmene’s pimp slot indicated he was clearly the alpha boy and on course for the final. But let’s remind ourselves of the ultimate fate of acts which occupied the pimp slot in the first public vote of previous series:

2011 – Kitty Brucknell (7th)
2010 – Treyc Cohen (9th)
2009 – Danyl Johnson (4th)
2008 – Laura White (8th)
2007 – Hope (5th)
2006 – Leona Lewis (1st)
2005 – Andy Abraham (2nd)
2004 – Tabby Callaghan (3rd)

Though the first show pimpee made the final in the first three series, it’s been five years since that happened. One pimp slot does not an alpha make. And there was an intriguing little whiff of “journey completed” in Nicole’s comment to Jahmene – at judges’ houses, she told him to find his balls. In live show 1, she said he’d found them. Don’t discount the possibility that this is Jahmene’s high water mark.

We must also respectfully disagree with commenters who detected a deramp in James Arthur’s treatment. To us, sending him out early was a straightforward sign of confidence, and we reckon his VT was intended to be – and was – helpful. In his comments about his looks and demeanour and his response to Nicole reaching for The Sun, he came across as self-aware and with a mordant sense of humour. It made us warm to him, and we’ve been among his harshest critics.

Current odds: 4/6 Jahmene, 13/8 James, 33/1 Rylan

Our verdict: If we had to have a category bet at this point, it would be on James in the boys.

The groups

Producers could hardly have done more to signal their preferred boyband on Saturday. District 3 were made to change their name and told that they didn’t look like they were having fun. Union J sang a song about how much fun they were having while stood on a plinth proclaiming their name in enormous letters.

As Stephen M writes in the comments, “Now that District 3 have survived the public vote despite being on first in week 1 (only the second act ever to do this), and after Union J’s horrible performance, I’m kind of wondering, much like Nu Vibe and The Risk last year, will the producers switch their alliegances towards them and put Union J on the chopping block.”

That’s the question. Something that slightly intrigues us here is whether one logical implication of allowing in acts with existing management deals this year might be that the show might perhaps stand to earn a differently-sized cut of post-show earnings for different acts. Might this possibly be relevant to favoured boyband, or is it a red herring?

It’s impressive that all three groups cleared the opening singoff  – only the second time that’s ever happened, after Kimberly Southwick faced off against Alisha Bennett in the first singoff of 2007. We had worried that MK1 might have a likeability problem, but their VT couldn’t have done more to rectify that – there was nary an accountant in sight – and they got a big, energetic Brian Friedman production, suggesting the show aren’t keen to dump them just yet.

Current odds: 11/10 Union J, 9/4 MK1, 10/3 District 3

Our verdict: Having advised an each-way on Union J at 18/1 in our finishing order prediction piece, we’re not jumping ship – but we’ll take a watching brief for the treatment of the groups this week.

How have your thoughts changed after week 1, if at all? As ever, do please continue the debate below.

75 comments to X Factor 2012: Who are the alphas now?

  • Boki

    My alpha over is and always was Kye, anonymous or not. The problem with Louis deadlock would be Rylan @bottom which could be very likely.

    Still no confidence for Jahmene so it has to be James but far from sure.

    Groups depend on number of votes, if by any chance D3 polled more than J they might switch, same for MK1.

  • lolhart

    I have serious doubts Jahmene is the alpha boy. He’s too much like Joe McElderry and that’s the last thing the producers want. I can see him being lined up for a shock exit; in the producers’ dreams in the bottom 2 with Rylan and a tearful Nicole refusing to vote. So my choice would be James, although I’m not sure if his stroppiness has put them off.

    I agree with Boki that they’ll be looking at the voting figures for the groups and adjusting their priorities accordingly. I think if MK1 did well enough they’ll become the alphas in their category. Syco could get some use out of a budget will.i.am and Fergie.

    I still think Carolynne was being considered as a possible alpha Over. Her performance on Saturday seemed to be a misguided attempt to appeal to the kids (after all they all “dig” Nicki Minaj) and the oldies. Their only option now is Kye who to me smacks a bit of Matt “humble” Cardle, but may be more malleable. Melanie would struggle to have a post-show recording career and Christopher is already being mocked by Louis Walsh of all people in Week 1.

  • stoney

    bearing in mind union j’s twitter following is considerably bigger than the other 2 groups put together i am guessing they will be miles ahead of them in the voting regardless of how terrible they were on saturday night.

  • Nugg

    Union J would appear to be the alpha group, they have everything required of a boyband, young and good looking, a nice big UNION J logo (already!!). As the following suggests they would seem to be way ahead of the other 2 groups. All that is lacking,it would appear is a single drop of talent and vocal ability from 3 of the members, but surely that is a minor obstacle in the world of teen boybands and easily washed over by clever production, auto tuning and inspired song choices.

  • Roy

    I don’t think Jahmene has peaked just yet, likeable, humble and talented he looks set to stay a long while to me. Jahmene and Ella both have something quite amazing in their voices. A bit surprised just how much praise they heaped on Ella, do they really have to show out so early?
    MK1 also have great likeabity – urban, but not as marmite as Cher or misha

  • stoney

    mk1 and great likeability is a strange one when you consider charlies outrageous behaviour at bootcamp in their sing off with the lightbulb thieves, i instantly though, what a horrible little git.
    agree with your stance on jahmene, a devout non drinking non smoking religious polite friendly super voice up against the 16 year old who is already taking her eye off the prize by getting involved with another contestant. Definately not a 1 horse race by any stretch of the imagination

    • eurovicious

      I didn’t think there was anything bad about Charlie’s performance at bootcamp – it’s hiphop, it’s a battle, all she did was walk in front of them (at a point in the song when it was her vocal anyway), and it’s not like they’re fixed to the ground or that a wee thing like her is going to block them from view(!). It’s exactly what I’d have done in her shoes and she was right to do it – hiphop’s about attitude and commanding the stage, which is what she did. It’s not like they had no defence. Anyway, people won’t remember minor details like this from bootcamp.

      I agree it’s not a one-horse race, but the average viewer doesn’t know those things about Jahmene and Ella (I didn’t). I hardly think being religious and teetotal are vote-winners in this day and age, and those facts haven’t been broadcast in the show as far as I’m aware. His voice and performance style quickly grate and are anything but current or what most voters are looking for – it’s not the Gospel Factor. He doesn’t have the looks, character or lad-next-door factor needed to excel (thinking here of Marcus/Olly’s charisma, Craig’s humour, Joe’s teen heartthrob status, Matt’s looks and everyman appeal). After Saturday’s show, I’m solidifying in my view that this year’s alpha male is Kye. Aheheheheh.

    • annie

      I like MK1, they are a breath of fresh air next to the repetitive boybands (even though I’m not that much into urban music), what worries me is their low online buzz, they have nearly the least YT clicks, aren’t that talked about on twitter, even though they should theoretically appeal to a demographic using social media intensely. I wouldn’t be surprised if they barely just escaped bottom2. District3 also have surprisingly low number of clicks, but they trended a few times on twitter, and escaped the assassination plot against them, I guess girls are faithfully voting for them regardless of their performance. Still, if producers want one group in or close to the final they have to get rid of one of the boybands as soon as possible. As someone already wrote, before the ‘battle of boybands’ doesn’t cement fanbases too much, to make the transfer of support from eliminated to remaining possible.

      Carolynne was definitely alpha over, and this was her downfall. She became a victim of trying to hard. She wanted it tooooo much, so after behaving decently last year and not getting through, she served viewers with what she thought she lacked-the sob stories. Then the show also really wanted her to do well, so they gave her a Nicki MInaj song to appeal to the kids as well, with a late running order. Then make her look hot for men to love(her performance started with camera showcasing her body…), make it country for mums to love. Should have worked on paper. I guess they didn’t realise that overtrying ( sandwiching her between ella and jahmene) will backfire. (I actually feel really sorry for her, after putting herself out there again and with her talent she deserved better then the scandal that was last night)

      I’m not sure who the alpha over will turn out to be.
      Not Christopher…. I’m sure producers are ready to let him go next week or in two weeks time the latest and I don’t see him stirring sufficient sympathy from viewers to back him.(the way they did with daniel evans, whom his singing style reminds me of).
      It’s more likely to be Kye, although I see Melanie running a few more rounds as well, They might style her like a runaway hippie, but she is likeable enough and her vocals are good enough, the’ll have to call on her screaming more then once for her to fall. Kye is beige, but his voice is decent, performs well, he’s good looking and the only one who might appeal to females who already have their period.

      James is the preferred alpha boy, but I don’t think they are sure of him yet. He is controversial in his look, sense of style , style of music.I think his early running order last night wasn’t a sign of confidence, it was rather a test to see how well he does… As I said before he’s a bit of Aiden with a faulty attitude. And a bit like Misha, and they remember the blood and sweat needed to get her to the semi.

      And Ella is clearly alpha girl. But Lucy will be pushed as she’s great post show succes material. Jade won’t make the tour.

      • eurovicious

        I feel the same about MK1 and I suspect a fair few people will, including those of us not into “urban” music. They add fun, energy and dynamism in a year of mostly downtempo contestants. The lack of buzz does both surprise and concern me though, I wouldn’t necessarily have expected it. So yeah, they could be at risk, I’m sorry to say. If their “attitude” comes over as arrogance, that won’t work well for them.

        Agree, I feel really bad for Carolynne, especially having just watched the result show again through a viewer’s not a punter’s eyes. (I have a collection of them in jars.) I really like her as a person and her voice just melts me, plus she’s sooo gorgeous. It’s a real shame after all the ups and downs she’s been through – she took it with grace and dignity and I hope she makes the most of the exposure.

        I also think Chris may be going soon, the seeds were already planted yesterday. He didn’t get any special treatment as the wildcard – a mediocre draw number, no plinths or pyros, and a “cheese” comment from Nicole and a “cruiseship” one from Louis. They very much treated him as just one of the rest. I like him, I thought his vocal was superb and I think he’s the type of act older viewers will enjoy, but the very fact that (to his credit) he was completely self-assured and composed during his performance (more so than Jahmene) and that Nicole then congratulated him on this means his heavily-emphasised “nerves” narrative has reached a conclusion (he’s successfully overcome them) and thus he may have served his purpose.

        I thought Kye was excellent last night, and to me, in the context of the live shows, he’s moved out of the beige zone and become a serious contender. Last night’s credible, skilful performance by him is the sort of thing I can see having real broad appeal, so his low online resonance doesn’t overly concern me (kidz on teh internetz isn’t his core demographic).

        The jury is out for me on James. I just can’t see him connecting with the wider public. He bellows loud notes in a way that really grates me (they’re just a tad too loud and out of control), lumbers around the stage like Cro-Magnon man and every time I see him he reminds me of these: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/scottishnews/3792109/Brother-and-sister-in-lift-sex.html.

        Agree on Lucy – a lot of mileage in her. I can’t see Jade going this week or next, I do think they want to keep her around for a while (but not forever). I think the public like her, at least what they’ve seen of her (that’s an unevidenced statement but I just have a feeling) If they nobble her I suspect it’ll be through song choice.

  • Lia

    The Girls: Alpha is definitely Ella but she’ll need to switch it up just a little bit to keep her status. Slowed down versions of songs might be cool a couple of times but can become gimmicky if constantly repeated. People get bored and for me she already pushed a little by slowing the already not fast Rule the World. Not as bad a Lucy though. Her songwriting is clever but her songs sound very similar and he inability to drop the guitar may cost her in the future. Jade is gorgeous but her style doesn’t usually do well and hardly wins.

    The Boys: It has to be James. He is still the “credible” one. Jahmene is the big voiced kid that is as uncomfortable as Lucy on stage when faced with any material that’s not exactly in his tiny little box. Big trouble expected for some theme nights. Rylan is good for ratings. That’s all.

    Overs: I’m guessing Kye but I agree he is anonymous. He’s not as “credible” as James or as big voiced as Jahmene, so he loses out to the boys. Melanie and especially Shaky are not marketable and I struggle to see people voting. Shaky has already had comments like “needs some burger with that cheese” and the dreaded cruiseship. Worst of all, on Xtra factor when asked which contestant was the biggest diva backstage, Louis said “he heard” it was him, as did Tulisa and Nicole to Gary’s utter annoyance. He’ll be toast sooner than later.

    Groups: That’s the tricky one for me as it’s been from bootcamp. Then I thought TripleJ sounded better than GMD3 but were sent home. I always thought Times Red were more appealing, and they went home. When both were brought back, the now Union J still sounded better and Times Red sounded (and looked) the best. Newly named District 3 was put up for slaughter and delivered a lacklustre “Simply the Best” drained of all it’s life and strength. The Union J suffers what was probably the worst song choice in X Factor history. What was already a not a very easy and melodic song (only made decent by the amazing Freddie Mercury), especially for a vocal group in need of harmonies became the biggest turd of the evening. Still both survived. There must be a fanbase, even if it’s not massive, but it’s there, saving them. If they will grow, Louis needs to stop “experimenting” and give them something they would choose to perform. MK1 was also safe, but they had a good performance with what was surprisingly Louis’ best songchoice (let’s face it: he did not pick that song as I doubt he even knows who Chipmunk is). So I’m still undecided. Need to wait for next week’s show.

    BTW, Gary will be the first to lose all acts and I am hoping it’s soon because he is a self centred, hypocritical idiot. Good bet on that one.

  • Ben Cook

    If Jahmene has peaked, hasn’t Ella also? They’re both in the final.

  • Tim B

    In addition to The X Factor and Signed By Katie Price, Rylan was apparently almost a Big Brother housemate.


  • tpfkar

    Before we get carried away with how Rylan won’t bounce, remember we had exactly the same discussion about Frankie last year. He never hit the bottom 2 again.

    • eurovicious

      Yeah, but a lot of hard-up girls with terrible taste fancied Frankie (I can’t begin to fathom it, it makes me shudder and want to wash myself, but it’s true). Rylan is perhaps an even shakier vocalist and has the disadvantage of not being an 18-year-old straight lad with Floppy Hair (TM) but a marzipan-coloured mincer who I doubt even appeals to the majority of gay guys, at least those with any taste. Unless the X Factor’s notoriously fickle deaf-blind viewership takes a shine to him, he’ll be in Dermot’s bottom again before you can say “Dyanaatameen?”. I agree with the comparison in that they both are/were charisma-free zones though.

    • Boki

      Yeah but that was always a close call, 0.3-0.4 % of the votes difference. Or are they fixing the phone votes too like some countries in ESC 🙂

    • Lia

      Frankie was always very close to being the bottom 2, so it was just a matter of time, like it was for Wagner and other bad acts. For Rylan it’s also a matter of time. It could happen next week (doubt it as he is bound to get some sympathy votes for the way Gary is just being plain mean to him) but the week after is a big possibility.

  • Tim B

    Hi all, I’ve cpmpiled quite a long list of ways producers tried to depress Christopher’s vote this week, despite winning the wildcard. And also why they might be gunning for him next.

    Running order: 6, in the middle, forgettable section.

    Nicole: “Cheesy” 3 times
    Louis: “Cruiseship, got rid of the shakes”
    Tulisa: “Confident, Dated”
    Gary: “See you next week for work” implies he’s safe and doesn’t need the votes.

    Christopher last to be called safe implies he only just survived.

    The Xtra Factor
    Louis: I’ve heard Chris from Liverpool is a bit of a diva backstage
    Tulisa: I’ve heard that too
    Nicole: me too
    No denial from Gary.

    Caroline and Olly asked Chris if he’s a diva.

    Naturally due a massive comedown from the hype of being the wildcard.

    2011 Wildcard Amelia Lily was bottom 2 the week after being voted in as a wildcard and topping the vote by a mile.

    No favourable treatment for winning the wildcard vote, unlike Amelia in 2011.

    Liverpool apparently not behind Christopher, like they were with Marcus 2011 and Rebecca 2010.

    He’s reached the end of his narrative, getting to the live shows and overcoming his nerves.

    Is there anything I’m missing? And does anyone disagree?

    • eurovicious

      It’s a good pre-emptive analysis. After seeing their treatment on Saturday, I think the show is behind MK1, Jade and to a reasonable extent Melanie (the other likely bottom 2 candidates) and won’t want to ditch them (certainly the former two) as soon as next week. It’d be surprising for Gary to lose 2 Overs in the first two weeks, but he had more contestants to begin with so I wouldn’t rule a Chris exit out. He’s the most disposable remaining candidate (certainly in terms of post-show marketability), so if they can engineer him into the bottom 2, they will. However, this is of course all speculative, it’ll all come down to the songs and performances on Saturday again…

  • Heisenberg

    Re the groups – I can sniff an opening here for MK1. Union J, after a monumentally bad first outing, will no doubt be given a better song/slot this week with comments enforcing the road to improvement – but that’s a short term repair job and based on the shambles I witnessed on Saturday they will be found out – I simply don’t think they have the chemistry or the collective talent to maintain the show’s support.

    District 3 are dangerous – anyone who can dodge such a big bullet has to be respected. However, when it eventually becomes clear that Union J are not worth the investment, it will be too late to switch horses and promote District 3 to the head table (if they are still around).

    This is where I see MK1 moving in and accelerating the momentum that should be slowly mounting by this point. As long as the pre-lives ‘accountant’ is kept out of sight, out of mind – 8/1 for top 3 looks increasingly tempting.

    • annie

      It does remind us a bit of little mix’s lucky situation from last year, doesn’t it? Boybands pushed early on didn’t manage to pick up a momentum, little mix had a lucky break….
      Well it could be and would be nice, but like I said the lack of social media buzz worries me. The people they should most ‘speak to’ live on twitter and friends…
      Maybe in time this will increase if the neither UJ or D3 get significantly better and producers decide to back them a bit more. But given that the grand task of making a group win was completed last year I don’t think the’ll really pushed.

      • eurovicious

        The lack of buzz is especially concerning seeing as Simeon and Charlie have been really active on Twitter too. They’re making a really good effort in terms of engagement.

        Rylan had nasty tweets about Gary last night but he’s deleted them…

  • R

    TVGuide.co.uk shows a 5 minute crossover between Strictly finishing and X Factor starting so we could be looking at the death slot being used effectively this week.

    If they open the lines at the start of the show, dump the act then bring on Ella second to shove the first act down the memory hole, with Dermot reminding the audience that the phone lines are open and you can vote for Ella on…
    I don’t think they can put District 3 on first again so they may have a week’s reprieve.

    I see Shaky Malone in prime position to take the fall.

    Rylan came second bottom, not bottom, and looking at the first voting weeks in the previous two years, the gap between the lower placed acts is very narrow. If Ella is storming the votes as much as expected, the % split between the other acts could be even closer.

    The ramping of Rylan already started with Conor Maynard backing him to win in Xtra Factor. In contrast Chris is being dumped on, as Tim B mentions above. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they want another Barlow act out to increase the angry Barlow factor.

    • eurovicious

      My programme guide shows that too. 5 minutes isn’t enough. I very much doubt Ella would be put on second at this stage either, even as a tactic. I agree that the voting differences between the lowest-polling acts are likely to be very narrow indeed. Also agree that District 3 may again be safe next week – let’s see what song they get and how their performance is. Yeah, it could well be that knives are out for Chris. A lot of punters are saying this, though, and my only concern is that this is creating a self-perpetuating effect like the “District 3 to go” consensus last week.

      • Boki

        Last week we came to conclusion that D3 might be offered for the chop and consensus that they are probably gone as a consequence. At least first part was spot on so there was plenty of room to lay off if you backed D3 high odds before the show or even live when realized 1st slot. I covered my pre ‘to go’ bets by laying bottom 2 on Sunday. If we can also guess the first part about Chris being next offer that would be a success.

  • Butterscotch

    Give it to Frankella Henderson now, and we can save 20 odd hours of our lives that we’ll never get back 🙂

  • Chatterbox5200

    From the opening VT on the very first audition show (if my memory serves me correctly) it was clear that the show was focusing very heavily on Rylan, and I think it came as a shock to the production team, that he didn’t prove initially as popular with the voters as they had hoped.

    It’s clear that they want to try and keep him in for as long as possible, and so if he gets the lowest share of the votes this week, the only way they can keep him in is with a 3-1 judges vote. There is no way, given Gary’s walk out at the result on Sunday, that he would get Gary’s vote this week (although he may “win him round” in a future week, just as Simon was won round by acts he previously criticised, in the past). That means the only way for a 3-1 judges result is if the other act in the sing-off is one of Gary’s acts. With everything that has been said above, regarding the de-ramping of Christopher, it would not be any shock to me at all to see him in the next sing-off (especially if there is any feeling that Rylan will not pick up some sympathy votes).

    • eurovicious

      Here’s a thought: Gary’s surprisingly vocal and vitriolic dislike of Rylan is setup – part of a pantomime to allow the other judges to save Rylan in singoffs to supposedly spite/get back at Gary. His meanness towards Rylan felt a little too strong and theatrical last night, and that crane cam seemed a little too ready to follow him when he marched off-stage. I think it was an act. Maybe this is what they’re gonna run with: Gary versus the other judges. So that if Rylan does end up bottom of the vote again despite a kitchen-sink VT and production, the other 3 judges can justify saving him as a vote for fun in defiance of Gary’s overblown bitterness. They certainly can’t justify saving him on vocals or performance.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Or a 2-1 verdict with Nicole refusing to choose between two of her acts, but that would involve either James Arthur or Jahmene finishing in the bottom two, which looks incredibly unlikely so early in the competition.

  • Nugg

    Just watching Saturday live show again, did anyone else notice the song playing in background for District 3 VT , “All time low” by The Wanted…..seems like they really did want District 3 in bottom 2 last week. Subliminal messaging??

  • I am sure they only want Chris to last 2-3 weeks, but I have doubts whether his exit on the first week after his entry is still too soon thus risking the twist to look stupid.

  • I have been a fan of the site but this is first comment. Slightly off topic also so a bad way to start perhaps! Just wondering what opinion is regarding the collapse in Carolynne’s odds on Sunday now that she was sent home. If there is a similar trend next Sunday will people be tempted to follow it?

    • Daniel

      Hi Kevin and welcome to Sofabet. It’s a very pertinent point and not off-topic at all. There have been other market moves in the past before the Sunday show, some proved right, some not.

      Last week’s was on the money though. As other odds failed to move much, it seemed to indicate that Carolynne was clearly bottoming the public vote.

      One swallow doesn’t make a summer. I am cautious of merely assuming a similar plunge would be proved right next week. But if it does happen again, producers would need to look into fixing their leaking pipes.

      • Boki

        But if there was indeed a leak, why didn’t it involve both acts from bottom 2 so not only Carollyne?

        • Could have been that Carolynne was clearly bottom and it was nip-and-tuck among several acts for second-bottom – remember the odds move on Carolynne happened when there was still plenty of voting time left. Pure speculation, but would explain it.

  • Heisenberg

    I stumbled across this insight:

    “In all 8 Series at least 1 Act every year except 1 has been in the Bottom 2/Bottom 3 from the first 4 performances on the night. Of the 9 Acts eliminated in Week 2, 4 have been from the Overs Category and 4 have been Groups. The other 1 exit came from the Boys Category.”

    Nothing we didn’t already suspect, but nice to have stats like this – if there’s an over, it’s likely to be Maloney, but the groups – any of the 3 would not surprise me. Tough call.

  • Phil

    Hello all! A few comments from me on Saturday’s show.

    First of all, I completely agree about the treatment of District 3. All the signs were there that they want these out so the vote is concentrated on Union J. UJ’s performance, however poor it actually was, was very reminiscent of those by One Direction 2 years back.

    I called Carolynne for bottom two as she performed on Saturday night – it was a limp performance, her support is minimal and she was forgettable. Her treatment in the results show was pretty horrible, to be honest, but again as soon as we knew who she was up against, I told my partner exactly what was going to happen – it’ll get to Louis and he’ll take it to deadlock, and she’ll go. There was no way Rylan was going anywhere.

    Also – there’s been talk of “alpha” characters. Given her frankly amazing performance, I can see Melanie hanging around Mary Byrne-style – despite what some think, there *is* support out there for a likeable over with a good voice.

    And finally – they’re severely overhyping Ella. I thought she was pitchy, she struggled with the high notes, yet this was ignored and she got a standing ovation and Leona comparisons. Either they’re trying to boost her vote, or cool it down – no doubt we’ll find out which over coming weeks.

    Good show, by the way, I thought. Vast improvement over last year.

    • eurovicious

      Completely agree on Ella. She’s by no means bad, but unjustified overpimping to the extent that many people now think the series is a foregone conclusion is something that actually puts me off a contestant. It can backfire. Look for someone strong but comparatively unpimped, like Kye or Lucy, to sneak past and usurp. After Saturday, I think Jade Ellis is one to watch too; the lack of pimping may work in her favour (with viewers reacting in a similar way to the jury, ie “Who’s this girl? She’s great”). And “best female vocalist since Leona Lewis”(!) – pfffffff. Natasha Bedingfield’s on the phone, she wants her hyperbowl back. I can reel off a handful of names from this year alone who vocally are/were worlds better than Ella: Melanie, Carolynne, Leanne Robinson, Jade Richards etc etc. Vocally, what little we heard of Leanne was stellar and the best and most professional voice this year.

  • tpfkar

    Welcome Kevin -I cant wait to see you post on-topic if that’s your idea of off-topic!

    Boki – I have a theory on that. Suppose Carolynne was last by a long way, with at least 3 acts neck and neck for 12th place. In that case, Carolynne would have been the only act worth putting substantial money on, particularly if the others were among the lower-priced acts. Might explain why her odds were the only ones to move.

    • Boki

      Yes I get it now, it makes sense, thanks both you and Andrew.

      • Kevin O Reilly

        Problem with this also is I guess if it was a genuine leak this may be acted on internally and there may also be a tendency next Sunday for bookies to overreact to any kind of early move due to what happened last Sunday. There are always landmines!

  • Nugg

    One of the problems with Rylan is that unlike say Wagner or Jedward, is firstly he comes across as fake and contrived. Other joke acts in the past have succeeded in winning over the public largely due to them genuinely going out there and having fun. Rylans role just feels to acted and contrived.

    Also there was the public feeling, rightly or wrongly, with other joke acts that by keeping them in each week you were going against the mainstream and annoying the producers and Cowell and causing the show embarassment.

    With Rylan the public feeling is quite the opposite, the feeling is the producers want him there, so he cannot attract the traditional joke act ANTI XFACTOR vote which has helped some acts with less talent push through to the later stages.

    For this reason I think he is going to struggle to stay out of bottom 2 in future, he might “just” get away with it next week but after that he is a goner.

    • eurovicious

      Nugg, could not agree more with any of this – it’s the gospel. Exactly what I’ve been trying to articulate. This is why he’s miscast and why the show now faces a problem/dilemma regarding him. Last year we saw how things can backfire quite spectacularly when you miscast the alpha male (Frankie). This year, they’ve seriously miscast the joke act, and if they doggedly cling on to him instead of realising their error and jettisoning him, it could really damage the show when week after week, the real talent goes out instead of him. I have him down as a firm non-bouncer and he’s just not a sympathetic character (even less than Waissel). If they went with the tears and death threats VT in week and he still came 12th out of 13 acts, he’s in trouble. Unlike Wagner and Jedward, he’s not fun or charismatic, unlike Frankie, he lacks a natural demographic, and most importantly, he lacks even Waissel’s basic vocal competence. Arguably, vocally he’s even shakier than Frankie.

      • I definitely agree that they may have miscast the “joke act” of the year. Either that or maybe the public are just fed up of them and it’s time to draw a line under them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the producers decided to pull the plug on Rylan earlier that they plan to. Especially if he survives another 2 or 3 sing offs and they get him far enough to go on the tour i.e top 9. Which would point to a week 5 exit, or a week 4 exit if they do a double KO in the next 3 weeks.

        In my opinion, once that point of the competition hits, the longer he hangs around, the more damage it is going to do to the show itself in the long run. I was surprised in 2010 they let Katie survive against Aiden because at the time I thought at that point they would cut their losses with her, especially with Wagner around, they wouldn’t have even needed her, hell they could have kept Treyc in and it would have done them no harm. It is these controversial twists that are damaging the credibility of the show, the week 1 twist farce of last year proved that.

        I also find it odd that for the first time ever the “joke act” comes from one of the two Under 25 categories. I always expected the joke act to either be an Over or a Group.

        One last point is that while Ella seems to be the red hot favourite to win the competition outright, I really can’t see this happening. I can’t see her picking up the “floating votes”, so a shock runner up or 3rd place finish for me is the most likely outcome. My prediction to win is Kye Sones, or even Melanie, because they have the potential to pick up the floating votes if still around in the business end of the series, and especially if the latter builds up a head of steam and becomes “immune” to any nobbling attempts, much like Matt Cardle in 2010. I can’t see Jahmene even being the last boy standing, let alone win, and Nicole is my most likely prediction to be the first judge to lose all her acts. His performance last week just didn’t do it for me (and this is not a biased thing since I’m a Tesco worker).

    • eurovicious

      I mean, I could sing One Night Only better than that, so could any number of amateurs and pub/karaoke singers. It was sub-karaoke.

  • Nugg, Eurovicious, taking the words from my mouth.

  • Stephen

    Not sure if its has been mentioned, but does anybody have any ideas why they would save District 3 before Union J when announcing the results. I know it is in no particular order but I would have thought it to be the opposite.

  • Highlighted

    Sometimes this can be to make voters think District 3 are really safe for the next week perhaps? I would not be suprised to see D3 put out 2nd or 3rd next week in a hope to get them in the bottom 2 next week. Problem for the producers is if its a Chris v D3 bottom 2 next week whoever stays is likely to geta sympathy bounce. I am guessing they want these 2 out next judging from whats been going on. If this is the case then they will most lilely majorly de-ramp one of these next week and not so much the other, but quiten down the vote a bit. For me the double de-ramp will be on D3, with Chris a minor de-ramp for this week assuming his vote is reasonably high after the WC and then the double blow in week 3.

    I actually think Chris has got a huge vote this week and that is why they are already performing their surgery in just week 1 on him. I think the big production they gave him through the audition process has meant he has quite a big support (even if not necessarily in Liverpool itself) and they are already starting to calm his vote a bit. I think next week he will go out first and even if this may not get him in the B2, they will get his vote down enough to send him out 2nd in week 3 or something and possibly kill his vote completely. I think if they are to get Rylan to week 4 at the least then next week they will need to try their hardest for some sympathy vote, even if just to lift him to 3rd bottom, then the following week even if his sympathy is crushed and hes back in B2, at least if he is alongside Chris it will be ok to send Chris home at the annoyance of Gary 😀

    So just a prediction for now, but I think D3 will be sent out early agin this week no more than in 3rd spot and sandwiched between 2 marquee acts, with a major pimp slot for Union J (i.e all little girls voting D3, please vote Union J). I think they will also hope to get someone who is despensable in the bottom 2 alongside them, like Jade/Melanie/Mk1? with D3 to go.

    So dont be surprised if this week Chris gets some de-ramping, but at least another act who possibly had low votes get major de-ramping too along with D3.

  • Nugg


    VT- A humble Rylan acknoledging that he should have been sent home last week and it was unfair on Carolynne. Vocal coach to be shown working with Rylan and saying no one in the competition has put more work in this week and Rylan is improving. Clips on Rylan practising 12 hours a day and everyone saying how much effort he has made.
    SLOT – give him a half decent slot.
    PERFORMANCE- put on a song that he can pull of reasonably well, use plenty of backing vocals if necessary and decent staging. Performance a clear improvement on last week fun and vocally quite acceptable.
    JUDGES- All totally unfairly lay into and attack Rylan, including Louis. Comments like you should have gone last week, I see no improvement, I regret keeping you in, you don’t deserve to be here, you will definately be in the bottom 2 tomorrow , no one will be voting for you after that perfomance etc. Even Nicole,luke warm comments, saying that although he has worked so hard this week she has to admit that he is not upto level of the others and it may be time to go.
    RYLAN on stage with Dermot, dramatically breaking down in tears and saying he has tried so hard to get it right after last weeks bottom 2 result and he is sorry if he has let everyone down and understands why no one will vote for him.

  • Highlughted

    Just another note. I dont think Ella is a Frankel just yet. She will need to show some variety eventually. Actually there is not really anyone in the competition who has that much variety in performance. James looks like he can mix it up a bit and perhaps Jade will be able too. That is why they will want to keep Jade until week 4 or 5 or so. I think she can be pushed at that point if Ella is faltering.

  • stoney

    Im glad i snapped up the 10/1 on fakey shakey being the next eliminated, looks like thats coming in to some serious money across the board.
    Also i think too much credit is being given to gmtv for surviving this week, it really doesnt take a huge amount of votes to survive week one. The most significant factor is that the producers clearly want them out, and unless they topped the vote (which they didnt) i cant see this changing

  • In honour of ‘Louis’ wig’ – undoubtedly the user name of the year (improved by punctuation error) – I hereby re-dub myself ‘Simon’s merkin’. And, as the Savile story has stopped being celebrity titilation and become just plain nasty, I think a change of avatar was long due. ‘Prodigal epicentre’ was a close second, but in the end the sheer allure of ‘Louis’ wig’ compelled me to demonstrate the old adage about imitation and flattery. ‘Louis’ wig’ – whosoever you are – I owe you. Big time. Be proud.

    Well …

    I’ve had my bet for the series… Best price now on Ella Henderson to win outright is evens (in the shops – better available on Betfair, of course); and, despite advice from some quarters to hold off for another week or so, I’ve lumped on. (Well into four figures.) Unfortunately, as I won’t be participating in elimination markets this series, my future contributions to this excellent forum will probably be relatively few and very repetitive.

    So… Ella Henderson – The Truth!

    Implicit in my bet is:

    1. Producers have lined Ella up to win the series

    2. Enough ground work has already been laid to secure the popular vote

    3. Ella’s price will continue to contract for at least the next few weeks until – for all practical purposes – backing her becomes next to impossible

    Factors disregarded include:

    1. Narrative shifts and other contestants’ pimping. (These will happen.)

    2. The possibility of a massive lurch in price in the week of the final. If this happens – and it always a possibility in TV betting – the bet will go down, and I’ll have a depressing Christmas. By my lights, the ‘lurch’ – if it happens – will be from around 2/5 or 1/3 (possibly considerably shorter) to 2-1: similar to that suffered by Johnathan and Charlotte in the final hours of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent. (Beaten by the dog.) Perhaps I should have waited until this matter has been clearly determined. However, the alternative is that the final week will confirm the current momentum in Ella’s favour, by which time the bird will have well and truly flown.

    Unlike one of two commenters, I do not believe Ella is being lined up for a shock exit before the final.

    So, essentially, I’ve placed thousands of pounds on my hunch that Ella is the strongest favourite of any series to date; that – pimping notwithstanding – the series will ultimately prove one-sided in her favour; and that (like Cardle) the front-runner can and will prevail all the way to the end.

    A lot of people seemed to resist this idea when first mooted so I am fully prepared for ridicule and schadenfreude. But I wanted to put it on the record!

    With apologies for longeur…

    Simon’s Merkin [aka KS, ‘Prodigal Epicentre’]

    • eurovicious

      Jesus, a 4-figure bet on Ella to win at this stage at low odds? Are you sure that’s wise – do you have other bets (or money put aside for other bets) to cover it, and if not, can you afford to lose it? It’s only week 2, there’s a long way to go and it’s questionable how much further her odds can shorten between now and the end of the series. “Enough ground work has already been laid to secure the popular vote” – has it? Do we have evidence of this at this stage? By way of comparison, Lucy has 60,000 more Twitter followers than Ella (and yeah, I know Frankie had the most last year, so it’s not the world’s most reliable indicator of voting support…).

      It’s interesting you mention BGT: I learnt a lesson back in May when I lost all the money I won on the BGT semis by backing the show’s Plan A (Jonathan and Charlotte) to win the final, with no cover or backup bets; I dismissed the daft dancing dog. Don’t make my mistake! Have your bases covered! And all the best… a shame you won’t be able to play the elimination and singoff markets as that’s a lot of opportunity (and less risky than backing a winner at this stage),

    • eurovicious

      Oh, and never apologise for length – when it comes to commenting, it’s what you do with it that counts… 😉 (apologies for cliche)

    • Good luck, Simon’s merkin! Though you’ve conjured up a mental image I could have done without over breakfast.

      Do pop by with elimination thoughts. Your contributions are much appreciated.

  • Tim B

    Just thought of a couple of things regarding Rylan. Usually an act takes on the “novelty” role i.e. Wagner or the “hate figure” role i.e. Katie Waissel. Rylan’s problem is that he has had to play both of these roles. However, he does have a respectable 140,000 (by the time ya read this) followers on twitter, so I think a sympathy bounce is entirely possible.

  • Tim B

    I think the ideal bottom 2 this weekend is Christopher/Jade. They won’t want Christopher to survive another week or bounce, so will probably try and get him out this weekend. A sympathy bounce next week for a kill in week 4 sounds about right for Jade. Tulisa will have to lose an act fairly soon.

  • Butterscotch

    @Simon’s merkin: your wager is already won, sir and I can hear the jingle of guineas in your pocket even now.

    Spend your gains wisely, and enjoy your holiday.

  • Queen Bea

    Ella wasn’t perfect on saturday, but she was a great deal better than everyone else. I agree she needs to show some variety, and I wonder how she will cope with more uptempo numbers (I suspect very similarly to Rebecca Ferguson). She’s not a dead cert yet though- Jade Ellis could be the Alexandra to her Laura White, if she manages to avoid the bottom 2 for a couple more weeks.

    I don’t bet on exchanges so I’m wondering where to put to put my mosdest bet for next one out. Currently torn between the wailing scouser and The District 3.

  • bob

    For anyone interested ella was 2.1 (11/10) at bwin last night. Not sure if price changed now – suspect it has.

  • Kevin O Reilly

    Just by way of opinion, I also backed Christopher Maloney to walk at 8/1, they have the ammunition to torpedo his cruiseship if they want to (dishonesty). Someone made a great point that if one of Gary’s acts is in the bottom two this would nullify his anti Rylan vote and leave the other three free to choose Rylan. If District 3 are bottom two this becomes more difficult. Also targeting the same boyband two weeks in a row could backfire. Gary losing two acts, albeit two no hopers in the large scheme of things, would also generate headlines. Anyone thinking along these lines should get on Christopher today at 7/1 as most bookies did reduce his price yesterday. I think 7/1 come Sunday will look a nice price and hopefully allow laying off or covering someone else if required.

    The negative with the above is that the tactics they will employ are of course informed by the phone voting figures which we do not have. I can only hope that Christopher is vulnerable enough figures wise for them to go after.

    • Boki

      The point is that they have to manage both Chris and Rylan in the same bottom 2, either this or next week. If Rylan bounces this week they should get rid of D3 and prepare Chris for next week but without putting him into bot2 this week (because he can bounce the next). So, someone else with D3 in bot2 this week – this could be hard to accomplish.

      Maybe simpler solution is to stuff Chris immediately and don’t do any special treatment to Rylan so he can land to bot2 again 🙂

  • Tim B


    The knives are out for Maloney in the press today. Will he be out next week? This kind of negative press worked well against Johnny Robinson, Misha B and Wagner didn’t it? Are there any other prominent examples?

    • Lia

      I had just come across it and came here to comment. You were faster!
      As we predicted, reports are everywhere about Shakey’s diva behaviour. Now it is reported the other contestants wanted Amy Mottram back, not him, because he is a fake. He’s actually very confident and is pulling the shakiness just for the cameras. Another miscast?
      Like I said before: he’s toast!

  • Henry VIII

    Eurovicious in what alternate universe are “Melanie, Carolynne, Leanne Robinson, Jade Richards etc etc” “worlds better than Ella”?

    You’re needed back here on Earth.

    • eurovicious

      They have better and more trained voices, with more power, range and control. Ella can’t belt like Melanie, doesn’t have Leanne’s versatility and vocal control (and obvious years of practice and training), and doesn’t have the tone and colour to her voice that Carolynne and Jade do. Vocally I find her an unspectacular all-rounder with a very conventional, mainstream voice; moreover (and the reason for my comment), there are imperfections in her vocals that leap out at me from time to time.

  • http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/s103/the-x-factor/news/a429503/x-factor-lucy-spraggan-scraps-rehearsals-after-grandma-dies.html

    I sense a major pimp this week for Lucy. This is almost exactly like Janet last year when her grandad died. And the theme week just happens to be love and heartbreak again. I expect this to be brought up in Lucy’s VT, but the question will be whether or not her granny’s death will only be mentioned briefly like Janet last year or will the producers milk it for all its worth. More likely the latter since the sob stories are just as desperate this year as they were in 2007.

    On a side note, after “Shakin’ Scouser’s” performance last week and the camera cutting to his gran in the audience, it very much reminded me of the Peter Kay parody. Ironic that Barlow is a judge on X Factor now since he actually wrote Geraldine McQueen’s winner’s song. Maybe if he has an act in the final he should get whoever it is to duet with him/her

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