X Factor 2012: The Monday hangover

To have been a fly on the wall in the producers’ debrief this morning. It felt like a night of firsts. It’s the first time we can remember an act shortening in the win market after hitting the bottom two. And it’s the first time we can remember a pantomime villain act’s clearing of the bottom two engendering a sense of angst from the show which felt quite genuine, rather than – as was the case with the likes of Jedward and Wagner – cynically manufactured.

Sofabet commenters have been reacting overnight, and we want to pick up on some of the points made in the comments along with our own further reflections on what happened and where next.

R and annie wonder if this might not have been such an unwanted outcome – it generated talking points. But we agree with EM: “That’s got to be a bottom two the producers didn’t see coming and wouldn’t have wanted… There’s no way the Powers That Be would have wanted to make a choice between Ella and James at this stage.”

Boki suggests that Ella did better last week after Tulisa’s table-thumping and they got complacent with her. Whereas JScouser takes the opposite view: “The intentions this week I thought was to create a “shock” of Ella v Chris, with rylan as the backup for Chris, enough to give ella the momentum she needed to push her to the finals.”

After we’ve had the chance for some reflection, here’s what we reckon probably happened.

Let’s remember that the show had been name-checking three finalists: James, Jahmene and Ella. That left three disposable acts: Christopher, Union J and Rylan. All that producers really needed to happen was at least one of the disposable list should fall into the bottom two, preferably Christopher of course.

There were clues that producers felt Christopher was within range. It’s true that he got a demo-pleasing 80s number, but the demon eyes backdrop was so unsubtle, and reminiscent of the backdrop that finally did for Janet Devlin last year, that it it felt like an attempt at a kill. After all, where do you go from there?

What’s more, there were small but intriguing signs of the possible beginnings of a Jahmene deramp – the huge plinth, the criticism of his vocal affectations. We’ve wondered if the primary purpose of the high praise for Jahmene in recent weeks was because he appeals to a similar demographic to Chris – and if, consequently, we might start to see a dampening of Jahmene as soon as they felt they’d got Chris to a gettable position.

It transpired that Christopher’s support was resilient to such tactics, maybe even further encouraged by them. This was producers’ first mistake, as summed up by lolhart: “I think the comments about his production last night were another Wizard of Oz moment like the producer whispering to Louis during the first results show”.

According to our reading of Saturday’s show, the next backup in case they missed Chris was Union J. There was nothing of interest in their VT or production on Saturday. It was as dull as their grey outfits. But with a bounce and no more boyband rivalry, they were able to escape the singoff, too. That was producers’ second miscalculation.

Rylan was their other line of backup. We reckon they were ready to lose Rylan if they had to – i.e. versus Ella – but also would have quite liked to keep him if possible. A 3-1 verdict versus Chris would have been no problem, but versus Union J the boyband would have needed to be bottom to keep Rylan, as it would have to go to deadlock.

Hence the bit of help for Rylan, in the form of the entertaining banter with Gary. They probably calculated that they could afford to risk it. Their third mistake, as tpfkar explains: “they paid the price by not getting serious on Rylan or Chris this week a la Wagner. They let Chris sing an 80s song, and gave Rylan a big production with lots of Gary angst and good banter. If they really wanted them gone why did they let this happen?”

Then the big three. We reckon they will have thought Jahmene was safe anyway, and they might have been quite happy to see Ella fall into the bottom two – if she was struggling in the votes, that would have helped bounce her to the final. Tpfkar again makes this hypothesis: “Was the plan to allow Ella a bottom 2 as the best way to bounce her to the final? If Tulisa was in on this, it would explain why she lost it the way she did after Ella went out. If the plan was to save Ella against whoever, and Tulisa deliberately didn’t appeal for votes as a result, she’d have been mad when it was James who was stuck with her, and she was first judge out as a result. ”

All they had to do then was give James every assistance, and we guess they thought they’d done more than enough for James to make sure he’d be safe. Their fourth mistake!

In sum, then, there were not one, not two, not three, but four miscalculations – not doing enough to help James; doing too much to help Rylan; not doing enough to dampen Union J; and going too far in dampening Chris.

Producers aren’t daft. They will have known there was a chance of each of the treatment of each of these four acts going awry, especially in a series in which it’s become a running joke on Sofabet to refer to them as the incompetent assassins. But they may well have calculated that they could afford to get the treatment of two or even three of these acts wrong, and still end up with a bottom two that they didn’t mind – any two from four of Ella, Chris, Union J or Rylan would’ve been an acceptable result for producers. Unfortunately for them, they faced a perfect storm.

Why? We’re inclined to agree with Mick that “I think the voter turn out is so low that it is tight between all acts only takes a small swing to put the wrong act down there. Same in politics, low turnout = shock result.” In that respect, Ella Henderson can compare notes with John Prescott when she gets back home to Humberside.

Before leaving the analysis of last night, a couple of hat-tips. To our friend Richard, who posted on betsfactor.com that Rylan would be safe and Ella in serious trouble. And if you haven’t read eurovicious’s in-depth analysis of why X Factor producers have misjudged what their audience is looking for, check it out in full. If I had to highlight just one of the numerous fine points, it’s this on a performance by Ella that had Daniel telling me he’d self-harm if the beat didn’t kick in at some point:

Does the average ITV viewer think “I know what I want to hear on The X Factor this evening – that fun song from Grease, the one with what’s her face, three very nice fellas, Olivia Newton John, that’s it, but slowed down, drained of every last droplet of its joy and exuberance, and sung as a depressing, moribund, soul-exsanguinating ballad?” No, they bloomin’ well don’t.

What now? Donald gives us an overall feeling that “the series has lost it’s way totally, anything can happen now”. Expanding upon this, EM is worth quoting at length:

So they’ve lost control. There are some assumptions we can make about why but they are just assumptions. Voting is low, the bland contestants they have this year just aren’t generating passion. People actually like Rylan and Christopher and want them to continue (either a talent/entertainment vote or an anti-X Factor one). My hunch is both are true to an extent.

X Factor is so crucial to ITV’s success you can bet the producers aren’t just going to cede control and roll with the voters which give us some pointers as to what happens next.

The ultimate aim has to be a final that people watch in massive numbers. They’ve probably even figured now that they aren’t going to shift much music product on the back on a bunch of singers people don’t feel passionate about. For that reason I can see an attempt to get one of the controversial contestants into that final. A groundswell of “we can’t let Rylan/Christopher” win opinion would drive those viewing figures. But you need two of Jahmene, James and Union J in there too to make it a story.

They will carry on the story that started last night of people aren’t voting enough, the Great British public will be guilt tripped into believing the fate of true talent lies in their hands.

One of the controversials will be thrown to the dogs. I know that appeared to be Christopher on Saturday but as he seems to be made of Teflon then it could be Rylan that finds himself on fire this weekend.

Don’t rule out a twist too: what better way to keep people talking and try to get that control back? Could be exit with no sing off to emphasise every vote counts, it could be a vote freeze, bottom two are announced and then voting for them starts afresh, it could be a bottom three sing off, it could be something I haven’t thought of.

With James due a bounce, Jahmene looking safe, and Union J due to come down off their bounce, the big questions this week surround Rylan and Christopher. Much will depend on the success of guilt-tripping the public. As Neeve points out, “Tulisa’s rant has got a very negative reaction on forums, twitter etc. Will this encourage people to do the opposite?”

Judging by the fact that he seemed resigned to leave this week and was blubbing on Xtra Factor that he should have gone instead of Ella, Rylan won’t be making too many appeals for votes this week. But could we be getting into a situation where the more Rylan agrees that he shouldn’t be there any more, the more voters like him for his honesty and self-awareness, and the more votes he gets?

We can be confident that Christopher, by contrast, won’t be VTing about how he thinks he should have gone instead of Ella. But will the obviousness of the campaign to get rid of him motivate still more protest and sympathy votes?

What is your view of our theory on the weekend’s events? And, moving forward, what scenarios are you seeing for the next two weeks? Do please keep the tremendous discussion going below.

125 comments to X Factor 2012: The Monday hangover

  • Donald

    Well Andrew hangover for sure!

    This is how close we were this taken from my piece after the show on Saturday,

    “There is no doubt from a value point of that Ella and James are worth a punt”

    Shame it wasn’t done! separately yes but not together for bottom two and only Ella to go and not big bet. The signs were there especially Ella. song choice down to producers at the end of the day. They knew and had been at her for weeks now. James styling changes etc. YouTube Friday James etc. I am absolutely kicking myself I didn’t go with my better judgement but even I couldn’t see both in bottom two.

    Much has been written after the event but value is an important part of gambling also and no good when the horse has left the stable, the gamble was missed, plain and simple.

    Some of those left are not in Ella league but all the old reliables were there to some degree including on Saturday all the way to song choice, and then your piece yesterday re Tulisa!, at least we on the case not worrying about Christopher , we had already decided he was staying so it is one that got away on us in terms of a proper proper punt on it.

    But I did I covered Ella B2 with everyone except James and Jaheme and properly also.

    So I do have hangover today, anyway onto this week, they have lost their way but it their own fault, they sent home allot of good acts from boot camp and auditions this year now they left with Jaheme as favourite who may I add is well wobbly sometimes on the group sings on Sunday night so he some favourite to have for a final.

    This Saturday going to be a nightmare to call, but I’m sure once the week settles down here, common logic will return just like the show.

  • Help!

    The show must go on. I’m a bit bummed, but the series was due for a shock exit. At the very least, this will provide a hell of a media circus without trying to demonize Chris or Rylan. (And they got a ratings boost, peak of 11m at the last quarter-hour).

    I reckon Chris could reach the final if the producers keep being incompetent. Rylan and Union J are due to go at some point. In the event that the producers do get a direct hit at Chris’ voting, and being subtle enough to do so, Union J could be in the final.

    The voting stats will be interesting to look at. I can see Ella going at an Aiden-like trajectory. Decent beginning (Aiden polled at 3rd, Ella (if the Daily Star is to believed) also polled at 3rd), then a decay in the mean vote and placing.

  • WideoftheMark

    can anyone explain on betfair Ella’s odds are shortening (to 75) from 160 after elimination – either some deluded people or someone knows something (clearly not me). I would have expected them to go to 1000

    • eurovicious

      Because nutters think she might be brought back. This happened with Carolynne *rolls eyes*, and with Amy Mottram after Lucy’s first absence. It’s probably only tiny amounts causing the change; let them throw their money away.

  • wideofthemark

    True – more interestingly Chris has shortened considerably, and I can only imagine that will continue. If you follow the no winner from bottom two you have Jahmene at evens (pretty much) and Chris at 7/1. I think that will shorten more in the next week

  • Jake Kl

    Did they mention in XF or XtraF whether we had bottom2 or not this weekend?

  • Sarah

    I predict a Rylan and Union J bottom two this week with Rylan leaving.

    An attempt to bounce Union J into the final and leave Chris with the lowest votes (but if he is polling too far ahead of James they will leave Union J to leave during the semis).

    Then I can see them pinning everything on Jahmene to win.

  • A kind hat tip – I’ll explain why I thought those things this week on Betsfactor.com and here probably!

    I’ll let you in to a secret, to prove I know nothing. My main cash bet this year was Rylan to outperform, taking say, 80-1 on average. Once he hit the bottom two, I “cashed out” a couple of weeks later on Betfair, took my losses and licked my wounds.

    You can imagine how irritated I am now!! Hedging now I’d be about four times up. Anyway…

    Firstly, I haven’t seen:

    – The VT’s from Saturday
    – Most of Sunday’s show
    – Most of the performances in full, or judges comments!

    I was just scanning through the show on Saturday night, in between a trip to London and a wedding in the Lake District!


    – Union J absolutely “delighted the demo”. Call Me Maybe is one of the most played songs on commercial radio this year, and the absence of Red and Black and a reasonable staging made be think they were safe. The song, the bounce and the lack of a teenie rival kept them safe.

    – James A – didn’t really see his performance, but the little I did see seemed good. He’s now a guaranteed finalist in my view. Must admit I was surprised, serves me right for scanning through his entire bit!

    – On Turnout, I agree, I just think people are fatigued of voting every week. Whilst my tongue is half in my cheek here, it’s only half in… the Greek debt crisis is affecting Julie in Lincoln and 13 year old Leah in Eastbourne. Voting, every week, for all these TV shows (I’m a celeb, the X, Strictly, Big Brother, This Morning’s poll on whether Philip Schofield should be hanged for what he did last week, which dish do you want the TV chef to make on the Saturday kitchen etc etc) is a luxury. Pay the energy bill or chose that Strawberry and Rhubarb crumble with rosewater infused custard?

    I’ll go into Ella, Rylan and Christopher on betsfactor.com this week, and some more on here soon as well.

    Some really insightful stuff this week in your articles/on the comments section!

  • Boki

    My 1st thought about Ella was indeed that she did much better last week, of course the other reason of Tulisa not thumping might be Ella’s sacrifice but in that case Tulisa is a great actor. Anyway the voting figures will show what happened regarding that angle.

    Basically Ella and James were punished for following the theme because voters didn’t really care about it. Both got very old very known songs and ‘made them their own’ by slowing them down (extreme in Ella’s case). I found Ella bit boring but thought the fact of last girl standing together with ‘her best performance to date’ would be enough. Wrong.

    Jahmene didn’t change much, after slow start it was more or less the same song. Rylan and Chris got same stuff they get every week, nothing changed there. UJ got a well targeted modern hit (300+ million on youtube) and got some critique for not following the theme by making it more cool. Why didn’t others btw?

    In Ella/James case we could speak about producers error/incompetence for not giving them something more ‘target voter friendly’ (if we assume it wasn’t on purpose). But I don’t buy the incompetence as a reason anymore regarding Chris – instead of modern song they give him demon eyes and then point to them, ‘look there’s a devil there but it’s not Chris’s fault and certainly not Gary’s’. I don’t know where do we go from here but curious to see if the ratings will be higher due to this ‘shock’ or not.

  • Donald

    Question re first Judge out, technically Gary as Christopher wild card? What were the exact rules? Gary lost his three acts first?

  • EM

    A lot of talk on here about producers trying to bounce acts into the final. A word of caution with this one.

    Deliberately sabotaging an act to hope they do better in the long run is more risky than just helping them do well. I don’t see it as a tactic that producers would employ (assuming they’re even aware of the phenomena)

    Secondly I wouldn’t assume the producers are capable of executing any plan they have. I don’t mean that with venom and malice but since the top production talent moved to the U.S. show the UK crew have made a lot of wrong and clunky moves both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

  • R

    I really don’t buy the idea that TPTB have suddenly become so incompetant. They saved Ella last week with all the table banging yet let her drop this week. They waited until the time was right then pulled the trigger. The terrible song choice has been detailed above and was no mistake.

    Rylan’s “banter” with Gary was all scripted. watching his reaction in Week 1, he doesn’t have the capacity for clever comebacks, only the odd “nah, what?” This indicates that the show wanted to keep him in for this week too. Next week could be a different story as the negativity of Ella’s leaving hits his vote. I’ve heard several “Well Tulisa should have voted Rylan off when she had the chance – she can’t blame Chris.”

    As for Mr Maloney. There’s something rotten going on.
    The big difference between the negativity towards Janet and Chris is this:
    The Janet deramps were never pointed out by the show, they did it by stealth and stabbed her in the back.
    Every week, they look to deramp Chris yet point it out as if saying “look at how we’re hating on Chris – what are you the public going to do about it?” They’re holding a loaded gun to his face and daring the public to sit by as they pull the trigger. What would you do as a middle-aged woman seeing a guy being obviously bullied on TV? Pick up the phone and vote to save him. Kerching.
    This brings me back to the original Rylan save. Was the shot of Louis & the producer a set-up. “Look at us fixing the show, look at us fixing to get rid of Chris.”

    Personally I think Chris has a role model…anyone remember R Wayne?


  • AlisonR

    It was a real shocker both Ella and James being b2, although many of us saw Ella as the most likely to be out first of the big three. I did not see James being there though. I think TPTB just didn’t try hard enough with either.

    How do we work out what happens next? One question must be, where do Ella’s votes go now? I think this is less easy to answer than for D3 last week, their votes would have undoubtedly gone mostly to Union J. I think Ella’s could split, to Union J (girls), James (those voting for a credible artist), Chris/Jahmene (“nice” contestants) but less so for Rylan. So I think he may be at a disadvantage there.

    Next, the theme coming up: Abba/Motown. The former suits Chris and Rylan, the latter suits Jahmene. James doesn’t naturally suit either, but will probably re-invent. Can’t see Union J really taking to either theme. It will just sound naff. However, sometimes having a theme which suits you can actually work against you. Thinking Jamie Afro in Rock Week a few years back.

    Who do TPTB want to win, and who would they want in the final with them? What are the consequences of each contestant winning if they won?

    Jahmene has never hit b2 and should be the favourite. He has the back story to encourage the public to vote, but they have focussed a lot on his Gospel roots and that can sometimes turn off the media/voting public. The market is possibly missing this genre of artist, but I can’t help thinking that they missed their chance with Marcus last year, who had far more personality (and who I was rooting for from judges houses onwards). Jahmene could win it, but I see him being a Leon or Joe McElderry if he does. Having said that, Leona was always very quiet and she did OK. If TPTB decide to deramp him, dance would be the way to do it (check out his lack of movement in Sunday’s group performance).

    Chris must be TPTB nightmare to win, and will probably not get offered a record deal unless he does. Having said that, if they end up with him and Rylan as their final two (their probable worst case scenario), he is a more credible winner than Rylan, as he can actually sing. Can he win? He has survived every attempt to shift him without hitting b2. He has consistently trended low on social media (the more likely multiple voters?) since the beginning, yet this has had no effect (though I recognise the Maureen from Asda view which has been mentioned earlier). He attracts the anti-XFactor vote. Plus “I’m doin’ i’ for me nan” is very endearing. So yes, he could. I predicted him to be fourth and still see him making at least the semi, but would not be surprised to see him do better or even win it. Although I did note that his VT on Sunday before the eliminations seemed to say that he’s gained his confidence (i.e. my journey is complete, no need to vote for me).

    Union J are still very marketable post-shows if they get to the final (They’re not great vocally but that didn’t hamper 1D) – I suspect less so if they are fourth or fifth. I expect them to be heavily pimped this week, regardless of how good bad or indifferent their performance is. I expect them to be further pimped if James falls before the final, possibly even for the win.

    James has grown on me over the series. I thought he was too OTT to start with but he is the only one who puts any real emotion into his performances, and I am now always interested to see what he will do. (My OH hates him). I expect him to do well post-series wherever he finishes. For this reason, his fate may be left more to chance, though for the show to retain any shred of credibility he has to be in the final. I expect him to be pimped for the win if Jahmene falls before the final.

    Rylan is vocally the weakest of those remaining but he is more entertaining and again may attract some anti-Xfactor votes. I would still have him as favourite to go this week, except the themes suit him. We know he is bottom of Louis’ and Gary’s list if it comes to it (whereas Chris is bottom of Nicole’s and Tulisa’s).

    Are those who have been b2 before damaged enough to not reach the final or win? It has happened in the past, but I don’t necessarily think so this time. A first for an act being b2 and winning the show? This could very well happen this year. I don’t totally rule out any of them winning at this stage. I agree with Mick that it is too close to call.

    • eurovicious

      Chris will have a record and it will go to number one, the way Susan Boyle’s annual releases do and the way Robson and Jerome’s used to. There’s a huge gap in the market for this type of act. He’s bringing populist “light music” back.

      • EuroV. Susan Boyle was a standing ovation, wow moment phenomenon (and she still only came 2nd). Baloney is just a ‘boil’ that XF are trying to lance as his faker ploy is exposed. It takes a lot more than his (multiple voting) small following to get a record to No1. It is one bet that I would recommend you save your money on as he will be soon forgotten after this show (but remembered as a standing YouTube joke for the laser eyes sketch).

        • eurovicious

          I reacted very similarly to Maloney’s highly emotional, vocally powerful pimp-slot audition as I did to Susan on BGT. I suspect a majority of people also did. Chris’ll keep doing what he’s doing, but there’s no remaining contestant able to pull off a Diversity “wow” moment. Arthur and UJ are damaged goods without wide appeal, Rylan’s the comedy, and we’ve seen every trick in the Jahmene book – he’s peaked too early.

          With regards to multiple voting, even though we can assume numbers are down this year, this makes little difference. Putting Chris’s seven-week survival (and the fact he has reportedly been pulling in twice the votes of his nearest rival) down to “multiple voting” by a “small following”(!) is v short-sighted and not evidence-based. We can take it as read that every contestant’s friends and family multiple-vote, and that every contestant’s friends and family get campaigns going in their local area for people to vote for them. If multiple voting made any difference, Union J should have been safe throughout – because they have 4 times the friends and family support of any of the soloists, and because it’s kids who tend to multiple-vote most (especially girls for boybands) and they’ve been running constant voting campaigns on Twitter, where they have half a million mostly young followers. Didn’t stop them hitting B2 twice. Chris’s popular support is genuine. The public aren’t musos – they’re not thinking “this guy isn’t credible”. Maloney is a “light music” act of the type the UK hasn’t seen for a while – like Cliff, Daniel O’Donnell etc. This is the market he taps into, and it’s huge. Popular entertainment for ordinary folk and older folk. In many European countries with a stronger “light music” market (like Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany), this type of music hugely outsells normal pop music. The reason, as explained to me a couple of years ago by someone in the German music industry: kids and young adults consume more music via more channels than older adults, but they’re more likely to download it (illegally or legally), copy it or simply not buy it (consuming via radio, Youtube, Spotify etc.) because they have less purchasing power. By contrast, adults and older folk consume much less music via fewer channels, and think nothing of going into a store and splashing €18.99 on the latest Semino Rossi CD (or insert cheesy act here) – because it may be the only CD they buy that year. (Sorry, I know my references are getting non-Anglo – Boki, I’m sure you’ll know what I mean with regard to levensliederen, De Toppers etc.) Chris taps into the “non-musical” market – the people who consume little music and, to be honest, aren’t really into music – but when they’re activated by a sympathetic figure or group, can generate huge sales/votes. We’re talking about people like my mum, whose music collection consists of about 30 LPs from the 1960s/70s that she hardly ever listens to (Val Doonican, the Alexander Brothers, soundtrack to various musicals, Kenneth McKellar etc. – stuff I grew up on and loved, which explains a lot) and CDs of Adele, Connie Fisher and Susan Boyle. She’s never watched X Factor, but in clips she saw after last year’s series, she really liked Sami (as did I). This is Chris’s market, this is who’s voting for him, this is who’d buy his record. It’s fundamentally different to the Steve Brookstein situation (or even Leon Jackson or Joe), which seems to be what the show’s worried about. They’d be daft not to run with Chris – his success would surprise them.

        • eurovicious

          In summary: this cheesy, camp middle-aged orange man (http://www.theagenda.nl/theagenda/library/show_image.php?ID=62249) fills stadiums in the Netherlands and has a string of bestselling albums to his name. In German-speaking Europe, this (much worse) cheesy, camp middle-aged orange idiot with triangular hair (http://media.shop24direct.de/media/catalog/product/cache/14/image/17f82f742ffe127f42dca9de82fb58b1/s/e/semino-rossi_die-liebe-bleibt_tour-edition_1_1.jpg) fills arenas and every album he releases (annually, without fail) shoots straight to #1 and sticks around there. This is Chris’s market. Same applies to Daniel O’Donnell in Ireland. (Maloney is of course of Irish extraction and you can be sure he’s getting a big Irish vote too.) Criticising Chris for being cruiseship or cheesy is like criticising Daniel O’Donnell for being cheesy – it entirely misses the point and the act’s audience doesn’t remotely care.

          • Boki

            My impression was that people like your mum do not watch/vote x-factor in great numbers or at least that they are minority to younger voters. I came to this conclusion last year (first year on x-factor with no idea about GBP) since I initially saw Sami as someone who is lovable, targets this ‘older’ group perfectly and one of a kind in the competition but she went nowhere. This year seems to be different in one cheesy aspect – it might be due to that people’s choice wildcard crap, otherwise each year there would be someone like Chris in the top.

  • Further to all this, I’m now grinning from ear to ear having started watching this all back.

    I’m going to reveal the exact reason I felt Ella was “in serious trouble” at 12 Noon tomorrow. Watching this all back, I’m staggered!

    It’s quite big – not massive, but worthy of reasonable amounts of hype.


    The Hype-countdown will start at midnight!

  • The Cat In The Hat

    Can anybody please tell me why everybody seems out to get Christopher and why he seems so disliked?

    I think he’s okay and if I HAD to go for a drink with any of the acts that are left, I’d choose him. He CAN sing, doesn’t take himself too seriously and seems a bit of a laugh.

    I really can’t understand why people have got a problem with the guy.

    Sometimes the treatment of some acts through the years borders on bullying.

  • tpfkar

    When Janet was eliminated last year, there was an article comparing her to Princess Diana, loved by the public but unloved by the powerful. But Ella only gets compared to John Prescott. Talk of kicking a poor girl when she’s down….

  • Even Ella tips Union J to win now (as well as ‘first hand insider’ Kye Sones and Nicole Scherzinger and also JLS……google it…’Union J to win X Factor’). Ella is also tweeting it to her fans (where UJ followers have increased by over 27,000 to 587,000 in 2 days and which is around one third of Baloneys total followers).


    There are still some good prices left up to 16/1 available for UJ on oddschecker. I walked away with the 66/1 win AND the 66/1 straight forecast last year using the same observations and reasoning. The ‘game’ is fast approaching the time when the public DO now start to pick up the phones and vote (eg. the teenies mainly). Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

    Ella aside (naturally), UJ are second only (and close) to James in viewing figures with Maloney a well deserved ‘last’ on XF’s own channel….Live Week 7 – The X Factor UK 2012.
    I have reversed that forecast too for safety (both at massive prices of 50 and 66/1).

  • Completely agree with the last paragraph there.
    There was a massive difference between Rylan’s and Christopher’s reaction to their qualification and Ella’s demise.
    The Xtra Factor had doubled its ratings this weekend so plenty of people saw Rylan sobbing his eyes out not overjoyed that he stayed for another week but feeling truly guilty that he had overstayed Ella.
    In contrast when Christopher was asked what he thought about his qualification he was doing his happy I’m-so-humble-and-grateful speech with a wide smile (or smirk) and an almost rude and over the top confidence and relief it wasn’t him going home. I can see people turning their backs on Maloney and filling his space in their hearts with Rylan.

    This will be better milked by the producers if they give Rylan an adequate VT to showcase his grief and the same with Christopher if the Liverpool showman is given a VT showing how glad he is to reach the Top5. This would make people vote less for Chris and more for Rylan.
    The thing is, if they decide to give Rylan another underwhelming performance, and even if they go all guns out for Chris again, they’ll end up stuck with Baloney one week before the final. And seeing how their targets have been met, I can see this just happening.

  • Highlighted

    Even though I thought Shakey would go, and I do believe he’s off the top now and possibly lying close to B2 last weekend, something didn’t sit right with me too with the whole Nicole pointing out the laser eyes and staging almost daring his fans to vote. What happened there?

  • Alen

    Are they keeping Chris in because he is brining the votes? Because they are trying to get rid off him but not hard enough (change his style completely and tell the public you embrace him)

  • lolhart

    I think Gary’s influence is one of the reasons that TPTB haven’t gone harder on Chris (I think they’ve gone very hard personally). Chris may not have been Gary’s chosen act to be left with, but I’m sure for egotistical reasons he’ll want him to stay the course. I can also see Barlow putting his foot down and not allowing the producers to give Chris a completely unsuitable song. He would look more than a little stupid trying to justify Chris coming out and singing My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas. Barlow cannot control the staging, lights and VTs, but he can ensure Chris appeals to his target demo.

    I think there’s an interesting contrast with Janet Devlin. Janet bless her gave the producers’ plenty of ammunition to bring her down by forgetting her lyrics and VTs that were edited to make her look sulky and difficult. It didn’t help that she had a mentor who seemed to go off her for whatever reason.

    I didn’t read too much into Nicole’s comment about the devil’s eyes during Chris’ performance. I think it was just a case of her going off script. Anyone who has seen her on X-Factor USA (which doesn’t seem as tightly controlled) can see she’s quite capable of doing that.

  • jake Kl

    In response to Alen, changing his style and giving him good comments will only give him more vote.
    Heres the situation: You have Rylan, a guy with no talent, jumping around the stage, making a fool of himself, knows he cant win but stays on the show week after week and then getting praised for it by the judges. (Garys comments can appear sometimes like a friendly banter).
    Then you have Chris, a serious contestant who wants to win, has a great voice, sings dated songs but sings with less bum notes than Jahmene, and gets criticised week on week by the judges. Then tell me who’s the producers pet and who’s the hated one.
    By making Chris more modern, he’ll appear out of his comfort zone and that will be seen as further bullying by the public, urging them to vote more. Good comments will appear suspicious seeing as they’ve been hating him for 7 weeks., again making people vote more.
    Imo, the producers want him in the finals, to attract more viewers= the main aim of the show. But if some week they decide to get rid of him, the best thing to do would be to make his performance go unnoticed. Give him an 80s track, Give him average comments (it was ”nice”/”ok”), make his VT about him enjoying being there, Give him slightly dark staging (not too obvious like this week).
    Also if you want to know how Chris is doing, heres some advice: Don’t look at Twitter followers, Don’t look at facebook fans, Don’t look at youtube Views, Don’t look at weekly polls. Anything on the net that is. His big support is coming from people who dont use internet. and the same people will be voting multiple times for him every week, to ensure he wins.
    Right now, I dont see him leaving. Anything the producers do to de-rampen him wont work imo, which is why what i mentioned above will only work in the finals.
    The finals attract more viewers and therefore more votes. With alot of pimping for the other 2 finalists, Chris could be overcome by them.

    • TommySauce

      Interestingly, TPTB still seem to be trying to motivate the “anti-X Factor” vote for Chris. (If we assume that The Producers still have a pretty tight hold on what does, and doesn’t make it into the media from the judges and contestants, it’s been an interesting few days in the tabloids.)

      We’ve had slightly (in my opinion) more sympathetic articles about Chris – ‘I’m too poor to vote for myself” in the Mail for example, which also, while repeating the diva claims, allowed more of a defence for Chris. Alongside this we’ve had Louis claiming he “can’t win”, his own mentor claiming he wants James to win and an X-Factor “source” saying that Chris winning will anger Simon Cowell.

      What’s more likely to get people doing anything than the thought it will piss off Cowell – remember the RATM Xmas number one?

      And what’s more likely to get floating voters picking up the phone than the thought the poor wee lamb is penniless, abandoned by even his mentor and being picked on by the other judges.

      Either TPTB have completely lost the plot and can’t even control the messages in the media (or no longer care what effect the media message has), or they’re actively still trying to ramp up voting for Chris.

  • R

    This is exactly what I’ve been saying. If you want someone out of the show you don’t point out your tactics to the audience. It’s reverse psychology to get the public to pick up the phones. They can get rid of him with a switch of tactics when the time is right – it’ll only take a 2-3% drop in votes.

  • AnnaC

    Chris cannot win. He might well make it to second place but there are too many people who dislike him and will vote ‘anyone but Chris’ in the final. Remember that negative voting starts to have an effect as the number of contestants falls and that there are two ways to get a winner; the other way is to create a loser.

    • Kevin O Reilly

      “Chris cannot win”. How can you be so sure? If the numbers voting are that low we can be sure of nothing. Will there be a huge increase in the numbers voting in the last few weeks? And what percentage of them will wish to defend someone who being openly ridiculed week after week. The original issues of the cruiseship mistruth and the question about his shaking are long gone. He is far more wronged against at this stage. People will see this nice Northern lad sing his style of music perfectly well and wonder why he deserved all the abuse. Chris may pick up as many new voters as anyone else. The votes of the more senior viewers has become very significant in terms of the overall numbers. Simon Cowell might like to think he is reaching the kids man but clearly this show is not anymore. Top of the Pops was cutting edge one time too.

      I do not think Chris will win but it is far from impossible.

      • AnnaC

        He can only win if he is against an act who is more disliked. Once he gets to the final two the person who is not Chris will gain two sets of votes – the pro-(whoever) and the anti-Chris. In order to win then he would have to be against someone with a stronger anti-vote and the only possibility for that is Rylan. However Rylan’s two appearances in the bottom two suggest that he does not have enough support to make it into the final two.

        • Boki

          This makes a lot of sense to me AnnaC.

        • TommySauce

          Think Anna and Kevin raise an interesting point and something I’ve been thinking about in terms of the way the audience evolve and voting patterns can change as the show goes on (no real answers by the way, just wondering if anyone else has any theories on this…)

          As acts are voted off, do their “demos” continue to watch the show, or do they drift away to other shows. For example, once MK1 disappeared how likely are the “urban” demo going to bother to watch Maloney or Rylan do their stuff and spend money voting for acts they have no interest in (and no interest in the final outcome).

          Granted, the negative vote is probably quite motivating for a week or two after your favoured act has gone – but once someone like Chris shows limpet like ability, are you really going to bother wasting your Saturday night watching acts you have no interest in *just* to register a protest vote (which costs you money?).

          I believe this is why The Producers are always desperate to get as representative a four or five into the final as possible, to try and maintain as broad an interest as possible for viewers and voters. IMO a real disaster for them would be one judge still having all acts in the final, for example, as they’ll be alienating three-quarters of the ‘demo’.

          The new voting system has changed the dynamics in unexpected ways and due to the lack of fine control, they’ve ended up with a more narrow spectrum of acts in the final stages, which perhaps appeal more to the older demo – while the younger voters who may have voted against Maloney stopped watching weeks ago, as increasingly the remaining acts held no relevance for them (not that frankly, many of the acts had true appeal for the young from the start).

          I’d also repeat a comment I made from a few weeks ago that I believe the new voting system more or less negates all the traditional deramping tactics as people can vote for an act before they’ve even seen the production, or heard the song choice/performance – or while the act is performing, thereby evading the “memory hole”.

          And as I’ve suggested above, I’m not even convinced TPTB are trying to deramp Chris – from what I’ve seen in the press I have a weird feeling they’re trying to get him more votes next week…

          • AnnaC

            i think that anti-votes only matter (possibly only exist) in a competition with no more than 3 choices. For example, in Big Brother elimination votes people often vote for the elimination of a contestant that they don’t particularly dislike in order to save one that they support. In the early stages of X-Factor those people who vote will always vote for the act that they would like to save. However, once we get to the final and there are only two or three acts then people may start to vote for someone they don’t particularly like in order to prevent a victory for someone that they really dislike. One sure way of steering a chosen act to victory is to ensure that the last remaining competitor is perceived as ‘undeserving’. I believe this tactic was used in Series 3 to make sure that Leona Lewis won; her real rival, Ben Mills, was assisinated before the final. This left a competition between Leona and Ray Quinn who had been portrayed as ‘smug’, a ‘one-trick pony’. In addition, some viewers believed that it was unfair that Ray was in the competition at all as he was an established TV actor. This meant that Leona gathered votes not only from those who thought she was the best singer but also from those who thought that Ray did not deserve to win.

          • TommySauce

            Some good points Anna.

            Guess a lot depends on who the final three are! There’s always the possibility we’ll end up with two “anti” candidates, which could make things interesting.

            In fact, perhaps we’re looking at the most cunning producer plan ever seen – engineer it so that two polarising anti-contestants get into the final against one credible finalist – therefore guaranteeing victory for plan-A (and avoiding a Matt Cardle style surprise in the final).

            Imagine a Chris/Rylan/Jahmene final. Jahmene will get his “pro” votes, and “blocking” votes from both the anti-Chris and the anti-Rylan camps. He’d have it sewn up with very little chance of the Producer’s plan coming unstuck. Plus the threat of either Rylan or Chris winning the thing may even motivate a lot of people to vote who wouldn’t have done so anyway (for example if the final was three “meh” candidates), or encourage multiple voting.

            This could explain why TPTB *appear* to still be doing everything to motivate the “stick it to the X-Factor man” vote by claiming Cowell will be furious if Chris wins, and that Gary will be equally furious if Rylan wins.

            At the same time seemingly botched assassinations seem to have done little other than pull the curtain back on how the show manipulates viewers – again energising the “fuck you I won’t vote how you tell me vote” – but what if this isn’t as accidental as it appears.

            As many people have pointed out, if TPTB had really wanted to get rid of Chris or Rylan earlier, they could have easily have done so – just via song choice and “displeasing the demo”, or more subtle and effective production and judges’ comment deramping.

            Imagine Chris doing a modern song choice, with judges saying “that’s your best ever performance and I think that’s the sort of music you’ll be recording in future, you’re a shoe in for the final” a few weeks ago – the real demo for that sort of music will be falling over with laughter and voting for anyone else, his demo will be falling over with shock and voting for that nice, “is-it-Jeremy?” fellow who has stuck to the music I like.

            Equally, I think there is a reason Rylan hasn’t yet done the promised slow ballad, with just him on stage with a single spotlight and stripped down backing – again with the judges raving about how this will be the new Rylan approach from here on. It’s the quickest way to displease his demo and get him out – and it seems the Producers don’t want that.

            Obviously to get these two to the final, TPTB would have to sacrifice a lot of lambs along the way – but in a way that doesn’t appear to be deliberate…perhaps even a miscalculation.

            It would be a delicious irony (if my admittedly tenuous conspiracy theory about the Producers being far cleverer than we’ve ever given them credit for is true): by appearing to be incompetent assassins they’ve managed to engineer a final which gives no other outcome than Plan-A winning.

          • eurovicious

            There is no plan. They’ve no idea what they’re doing. As the show’s goal is to steer four marketable acts into the top 4 (this year from a prechosen selection of Ella, Jahmene, Lucy, James and Union J), they would never want a final with “two anti-contestants” and “one credible finalist”. None of the people voting for Chris see him as an “anti-contestant”, they see him and respond to him as an archetypal reality show contestant. Low self-esteem, vulnerable, shaky, tearful, yet a tremendous voice and delivers the goods performance-wise when called up. Also affable, humourous, relatable and in need of a break. It’s the classic talent-show magic formula for success. Similarly, people vote for Rylan because he’s entertaining in a series severly lacking in fun, plus young kids like him in the same way they like Jedward. (I approve in the former case, not in the latter. Rylan is fabulous, Jedward are awful.)

          • TommySauce

            I did say it was tenuous…;)

          • eurovicious

            I think any “negative” vote (people voting against a certain contestant to prevent them winning) is not that significant compared to the “positive” vote. In a Chris/Jahmene final, loads of people will be voting for both acts – because they like them and want them to win, not necessarily because they dislike the other act. But by the time it’s reached this stage, I seriously can’t imagine people who are fans of neither act (let’s say, Ella/Lucy/James/Union J fans watching a Chris/Jahmene final) thinking “we have to vote for Jahmene to stop Christopher winning!” or vice versa. They don’t care, definitely not enough to spend money. We’ve seen in recent years that in terms of post-show career, t doesn’t matter whether you win or not – in fact, more often than not, winning is a poisoned chalice. Olly, Stacey and Jedward > Joe; 1D, Rebecca and Cher > Matt. Your average German or Polish teenager knows who Olly Murs is because he’s huge here (not just in the trouser area) and has a big European career – ditto 1D and to a growing extent Rebecca, whose album is out here and who’s picking up a lot of radio support. No-one in Europe or America has heard of Joe or Matt. This is why the show could actually do a lot worse than let Chris win – with Jahmene/James/Union J occupying the remaining top 4 places. Of the remaining acts, UJ are actually the most internationally marketable, followed by James.

          • TommySauce

            Yeah – part of my earlier musing was about this very thing…do fans of previously eliminated contestants continue to watch the show in any sort of active way (either switching allegiance to a second act, or voting negatively against the act they really don’t want to win)?

            If they don’t, then any theories about negative voting are pretty moot.

            (However, I’ll disagree with the idea that *noone* votes for acts like Rylan or Chris for anything other than positive reasons. I voted for Wagner until he was booted out, not because he entertained me, nor that I thought he was talented (I’m not that deluded), but because – at the time – I believed he was bucking producer intentions and throwing a spanner into the works…I’m sure I wasn’t alone and I’m sure there are (probably quite a few) people doing the same for Chris and Rylan this year)

            And I think you nail it with the points about winning not being about actually winning. I think people often forget that producer intentions are not focussed on who gets to actually win – history shows that just propelling marketable acts to the final handful is usually enough to turn the poor fodder into money making machines for a year or two, before being dropped and replaced by the next one from the X-Factor conveyor.

            I think you posted the links to the “cheesy” acts currently doing well in Europe – if XF has an eye on that market, they might well be keen to springboard Chris (who would seem ideal to storm that market) with a win, or a final place.

  • Kevin O Reilly

    I still believe TPTB have wanted Chris gone for weeks but are entirely incompetent in controlling events. I pointed out a couple of weeks back that this lack of control was making life difficult for us. In the past, as with Little Mix last year, interpreting what the producers desired was enough to go and bet as generally they were adept at steering things in the direction they wished. Now we must interpret the producers wishes and then assess the likelihood of how successful they will be. It has become a far more complicated affair. The idea of the show wanting to appear fixed is crazy as then it would be curtains. I think what they lack this this year is subtlety. I think casual viewers can see clearly what is going on whereas in the past you had to play closer attention. The treatment of Chris on Saturday was insane as it undermines the show further in the longer term. It was like: Hey Joe Public, this is the kind of thing we use to make you dislike someone.

    As a betting proposition X Factor has changed, possibly entirely negatively but who knows. If they were a football team we might say they were in transition, hovering just above relegation territory. Either way it feels like risky territory to invest serious funds in just now.

    One suggestion to Mr Cowell is there are a few who contribute on this site that could do an incredible job for him next year if recruiting!!!

  • Panos

    Xf AUS has just been won by a girl in the overs who had been bottom 2 three times, the first one in week 1. Last year’s boy winner was also in the bottom 2 at the stage of 6 too. Maybe this is the UK’s moment.

  • Just one thought for anyone who now thinks James can’t win using the basis as “no act that’s ever won has been in the bottom two”

    I am of the opinion that James is the act they want to win.

    So I then ask this question, has any act the producers ever wanted to win fell into the bottom two? If not then surely this contributes against the above comment.

    How they will no react is the question, that will differ opinions, some will say they will focus on someone else (Jahmene), however I see it easier for them to focus on James, he will gain momentum and it will prove that viewers “need” to vote which means more money for them next year etc.

    (I discount the possibility that it will be cancelled end of day Itv can’t replace it with something that will gain more viewers)

    • AlisonR

      JScouser – I’m sure at the start TPTB have two or three or four favourites and don’t really mind which one wins it. Then sometimes someone they initially backed they change their mind on (Janet, series 8; Danyl series 6; Diana series 5) or doesn’t deliver (Frankie) or doesn’t get the votes for some unknown reason (Laura White series 5) whilst others they didn’t initially favour come up the rails and they then back (Alex Burke, Little Mix). Maybe your question should be the other way round – have the producers ever got behind someone who’s been in the bottom two?

      • Alen

        JLS and Olly Murs were bottom two and I don’t think they would have minded them winning.

        Although I don’t see why they should focus on James now if Jahmene for example was always second behind Chris and James always only came 4th, 5th whatever……Wouldn’t they back up Jahmene even more and try to push him over Chris?

        • Kevin O Reilly

          It seems that what TPTB want or do not mind happening is not the vital aspect anymore. This applies more so going forward as it will be straight vote. They lose the comfort of rigging the sing off.

          With James having just been B2 it probably means more now than in previous years. TPTB clearly this year do not possess the influence to save him even if they wanted to. He will get a certain bounce surely but I have to say James winning from this position is very unlikely.

          Simply put the other four acts are more popular with the voting public according to the most recent poll. That vote followed massive pimping so how does he turn that around? Sadly he does not possess mass appeal with the current X Factor demographic. When you look at it that way it is very hard to see him winning.

          • eurovicious

            Agree with all of this.

          • The question I bring here is, one week does not dictate the overall view, hence the opinion of bouncing various weeks, some performances favoured, some not.

            The fact UJ have been in bottom two twice as has rylan, I think it’s harsh to use the opinion “he doesn’t appeal to mass public” based on one week, which was a shock to all.

  • Kevin O Reilly

    True, it is just one week but it is the most current. He is last of five. It is unlikely he will pass out four in the circumstances. The Star leaks had James & Ella both struggling so we know one part was correct. The odds are stacked against him.

    • Highlighted

      You can say this but I remember Amelia shooter up to second or even maybe first after her bounce at the last 6/7 stage last year.

      • eurovicious

        You’re right, Amelia topped the vote after being 5th (in the bottom 2) the previous week. That was the week the show pimped her to an unprecedented degree though in its mission to make her the alpha non-Misha girl and thereby get Janet into the B2.

      • Kevin O Reilly

        I think he will do well this week, like Amelia did but it is easy to point out also that Amelia did not sustain the vote and win. It was a bounce. I have James at 10/1 so am truly hoping to be wrong. I just think we have to accept the public vote is running this show, TPTB are unable to control it to any degree. To make money going forward we should think less about TPTB and more about what is actually happening.

    • eurovicious

      I expect a huge bounce for James in week 8, but I can’t see him winning the series. He’d be lucky to make second. 3rd or 4th is more realistic.

  • Lola

    Not sure tyhat anyone has said this, but surely the biggest and surest sign that Ella’s departure was a shock to the producers is that they never had her “best bits” (Normall Dermot would pull the contestant aside and say- let’s have a look at your time on the show) I was waiting for this and really confused when it cut straight to closing credits. Do you think the producers were unprepared for her to leave so there were no cut-together best bits?? If so, they could never have forseen her being in the bottom two with anyone they would have saved over her.

    Alternatively they ran out of time?

    Have they ever failed to show a contestants best bits before? Not to my knowledge but I don’t always watch the results show.

    • annie

      I actually think they have at least a raw version best bits thing prepared for all of them starting from the first week. And just gradually add to them as weeks progress. It couldn’t be done otherwise. It’s more likely they somehow ran out of time. I think it was the same with Carolynne, when it was obvious they ran out of time.

      • Alen

        I just think they ran out of time. I’m sure they always have something prepared.

        This does make me think though when are they getting the most votes? I’m sure they get quite a lot on Saturday, but how many do they get during Sunday and most of all once the Sundayshow starts?

        I’m just asking cause maybe Ella was 3rd on Saturday right off with voting but during Sunday slipped and they couldn’t prepare her exit. But that would mean that moooooost of the votes are happening during the Sunday show in the first 10 minutes so they can’t propare anything.

    • Jake Kl

      Her best bits were shown on Xtra so i dont think it was due to them not expecting it

  • Boki

    This guy is amazing:

    The weekend saw the judges react generally positively to the Liverpudlian singer’s performance of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse Of The Heart, but Chris was skeptical.
    Rather than being overwhelmed by the positive comments, Chris said: “It was weird. Though, I do wonder if they are being tactical. Maybe the Judges thought: ‘Ah, if we keep on being mean to Chris, maybe people will keep on feeling sorry for him and voting him in.’”


  • So what’s next? It’s week 8 now and I think we can (relatively) safely assume that Jahmene is safe (or will be saved against anyone). I expect James to bounce à la Amelia/Olly/JLS (1st, 3rd and 2nd respectively in week 8 after after a bottom 2 appearance in week 7). Even in the unlikely case he does’t bounce, I find it very difficult for him not to be saved against anyone, especially with Gary and Tulisa’s orgasms over him (anyone except Jahmene, but come one, seriously, what are the chances of such a bottom 2 for 2 weeks in a row!!).

    I belong to the camp which supports that Chris is a goner as soon as he hits the bottom 2. So the only unpredictable scenario left for me is a Union J Vs. Rylan bottom 2.

    As far as voting from the start of the show is concerned, I think in a field of 5 things are probably similar to previous years again in terms of running order benefits/risks. As far as history is concerned, at this stage bouncing becomes more difficult, especially with the top2/3 breaking away with a greater piece of the pie. Week 8’s 4th placed/saved acts from 2008 to 2011 all came 4th the next week and were eliminated (Misha/Cher/Danyl/Diana). So this may mean that in a Union J Vs Rylan bottom 2, TPTB will NOT save the act that could presumably bounce over Chris the next week as that seems to be not happening at this stage, but the act that will provide one more week’s worth of money/entertainment, and I fear that the winner in that is Rylan. But would they do that??? A joke act has never reached so high in the competition, but of course there is the first time for everything.

    As far as the judges’ voting in such a bottom 2 is concerned, leaving Louis and Nicole out, the only way for Union J to be eliminated will be for Tulisa to save Rylan and Union J to be bottom of the vote and go on deadlock, as Gary will obviously save the group.


    • Also, saving Rylan would mean Nicole has 3 out of the 4 acts left!!!!

      • Kevin O Reilly

        It could be argued that 5/4 Rylan is not a bad price. Looks very likely for B2 and only Chris joining him would save him. You would think there wont be much help given to him production wise at this stage either.e.g comedy sketch. I do not think he will be 5/4 come Sunday.

    • eurovicious

      Panos – don’t assume Jahmene is safe! (Don’t assume anything!) I think he’s peaked. They’ve thrown everything in the book at him. The betting community was wise to be initially skeptical of his appeal. After Ella and James being in the bottom 2 (thereby polling lower than Rylan and Union J), Jahmene is next in line for a fall – because he’s heavily pimped, “presumed safe”, and like Ella and James, may not have as wide an appeal as the show wants. Value.

      In a Rylan/UJ singoff, they’d save Union J as they’re infinitely more marketable post-show and as Rylan has served his purpose. Nicole even looked shocked when he went through on Sunday.

      Chris of course would be eliminated if he was in the bottom 2, but I highly doubt he ever will be. James will have a massive bounce and feasibly poll 1st/2nd next week.

      • I agree with everything you say Eurovicious. But don’t you think Jamhene will be saved against any of the other 4 acts? I also expect an even bigger pimping of him now that Ella is gone. Even if he is not marketable in the UK, they can totally 1D-sell him to the US. He is basiaclly the male Melanie Amaro. The middle states are already wetting themselves for his religion-wrapped vocal acrobatics.

  • Queen Bea

    I’m more inclined to believe TPTB are struggling to control events this year rather than having a plan to have a credible act in the final with 2 more non credibles.
    If they are as clever as the people running the record label side of SYCO, who can’t even get the most famous of the previous winners a hit single/album with all their pimping of her in the past then they have lost the plot. Lewis’ 3rd album has only sold around 50,000 copies. Plus, what about the other winners? Brookstein, Ward and McElderry were non starters, Cardle jumped ship as they weren’t interested in him, and the fact that they couldn’t make a star out of someone with the looks and voice of Shayne Ward speaks volumes. Alexandra Burke is another case in point- they never got her the material fitting of her voice.
    Seems like all the SYCO eggs are in the 1D basket.

  • AnnaC

    Reply to Eurovicious regarding ‘negative voting’ (no reply button above). A finalist has to be pretty strongly disliked in order to incur anti-votes. Last year Amelia Lily was probably the only finalist that people might have voted against (believing it was unfair for her to jump straight into the final stages). If, say, the final two are Jahmene and James then there will not be a strong negative vote. However, both Rylan and Chris have a strong group of ‘haters’ so are likely to gift negative votes to ttheir opponent. I don’t believe that people vote against an act simply for knocking a favourite out of the competition; there has to be a strong perception that the opposed act does not deserve to win.

  • Curtis

    I completely agree with the ‘negative voting’ counting for something the less people there are. I don’t think that a truly divisive act has yet won the show. They often get far due to loyal fanbases (e.g. Cher Lloyd) but they don’t pick up the floating voters necessary to win the competition. I fully expect that to be the case with Chris, but don’t be surprised if we have to wait for the final 3/2 for that to happen.

  • Highlighted

    I honestly James still has a chance. I think until this stage potential voters in my age range don’t really vote, and they are the demographic that like Ella and James. However it is these voters that turn out for the semis and final and no doubt will be voting in large numbers for James.

    Talking of the water cooler experience, you should have seen my Facebook on Sunday eve, all absolutely delighted Janes stayed and determined he stays from now. I am sticking it out there and if TPTB ride out the sympathy bounce, James will finish top of the votes in week 8. Whether or not he wins I’m unsure, but I still think he has a chance.

    Unfortunately for the show as a whole, the reason good current acts leave even earlier now is because I am sure it’s my age range (20-30) that are not viewing the show on a weekly basis anymore and why ITV are losing viewers. However they will be there voting for the final.

    • Highlighted, I have been pro-james now since Auditon 2 and i stand by it now. See my previous comments about his Live Shows


      I think before Sunday, James was infact the Plan A. But has been masked by Ella pre live shows to week 2. (See my thoughts on this here https://sofabet.com/2012/11/16/x-factor-2012-week-7-elimination-six-of-the-best/comment-page-1/#comment-26007 )

      Then they promoted Jahmene. Just because it was done early on does not mean he is/was the long term plan. I tihnk it was always a goal to pimp James from week 6 (hometown glory), in order to give him momentum into the final.

      For reasons mentions already in this thread, James fell victim to poor execution of the targets being Ella v Rylan/Chris (with saving ella the end outcome)

      Does this mean that producers will now jump ship and stick with Jahmene? I really dont see why. If anything this week can help him.

      I agree with the Water Cooler Experience, my facebook went into meltdown all pro james. If anything I think now those who didnt vote for James will vote in force, now no longer assuming safety. This week will also be refered to regularly as a reason why you must vote.

      Taking on board you know in advance that Gary is going to route for James to win, and I assume Tulisa will do exactly that also. He can gain from this, take into account Olly/JLS both bounced to the top 2 from this position. Where I dont think they were due to be as favoured as James was prior to this week.

      Time will tell for this.

  • The Cat In The Hat

    The question you have to ask yourself is this: which act, if they won, would shift the most CDs? It’s as simple as that.

    In the end it boils down to what it always has done: cold-hard cash.

    Answer that, and you’ve got your winner,

    • Tim B

      No, it really isn’t as simple as that. Who the producers want to win and who the public might go for are two entirely different things altogether.

    • eurovicious

      What Tim said. 1D were Plan A in 2010 and have made the most $$$€€€ since, but the show couldn’t push them to victory no matter how hard it tried.

      • Alen

        Indeed eurovicious. Otherwise Lucy would have won as she was already No. 2 on iTunes so it would have been easy to have her as a selling artist.

        I think it was has been proved that it’s actually better not to win if you want to have a long(er) career (looking at Olly Murs, Rebecca Ferguson and 1D for example)

  • Heisenberg

    Just been reading about the possibility of a surprise twist in the show this weekend. If true – this could be a desperate bending of the rules designed to align Christopher into the crosshairs.

    Speculation on Digital Spy suggests a change in voting format i.e. vote for who you want to eliminate (like Big Brother).

    • Jack

      Yeah, I saw this and whatever it is, it can’t be good for Christopher. However, if they are trying to oust him, can’t believe there won’t be a backlash. I was considering backing Christopher for the win, but I’ve decided to see what producers will come up with this weekend before betting any money.

    • eurovicious

      If they did this (ie. vote to eliminate), I think the backlash would be phenomenal. They couldn’t get away with it – it would literally kill the show.

      • Heisenberg

        What do you think would be most harmful for the show – a backlash as mentioned above, or Christopher winning?

        A backlash only creates more controversy (lifeforce of the show, let’s face it) and would be mostly forgotten when the weekend of the final arrives.

        A Christopher win, however, blemishes the reputation of the show on many levels, not least the international commercial angle.

  • Phil

    They wouldn’t do a vote to eliminate. It goes against everything the show is supposed to be about and turns it into a popularity contest. It’ll possibly be something Cowell related, or maybe a reveal of voting orders or something, or maybe nothing exciting at all – it did come from Dan Wooton, he has a habit of overhyping things.

  • Kevin O Reilly

    I hope it is that they are bringing back the third guy from MK1.

  • tpfkar

    My Monday hangover has cleared now, and I’ve rewatched Ella and James’ performances from Saturday. Several notes on Ella:

    1. It’s a wedding song in the style of a funeral. It’s a bizarre mix that keeps threatening to go somewhere, but even with the choir and golden lights it never really gets going. Bizarre song and arrangement.
    2. At the end of her performance, Ella looks distraught. Why? The camera then pans away from her as soon as this is caught, to long shots and judges, and only comes back to her after Gary says performance of the series, which unsurprisingly makes her smile. I know the choir had to get out of the way, but it seemed an un-natural break; the contestants are at their most vulnerable at the end of a performance and it both reveals how they feel and allows the audience to connect in a more emotional way; Ella was denied this for whatever reason.
    3. The judges’ comments weren’t helpful. Gary said ‘best yet’ Nicole made a big thing of saying Ella made her think of ‘fire’ and Louis said ‘electrifying’ and ‘youll definitely be in the final.’ These comments didn’t have any credibility after the slowed down performance, and second time round you can sense the audience laughing at each of them, Nicole in particular got distracted by the heckling to her comment.
    4. Tulisa did in fact appeal for votes, but it seemed rushed at the end of her comments, almost apologetic. Was this unscripted? Was she genuinely short of time? I’m slightly less inclined to believe Tulisa was in on a big plot second time round.
    5. Ella is asked by Dermot how the performance went, and she says she is pleased. Given her demeanour at the end of the performance, I think she was being professional after such good comments rather than believing this. She also describes it as a big song to take on, which again seemed an odd comment.

    I have no notes at all from James; they really did seem to be helping him in every way, and are there any explanations other than just not being right for the X-Factor audience that could explain his bottom 2?

    • Kevin O Reilly

      Ella sings “I’ve got thrills they’re multiplying and I’m losing control” while standing there like her dog just died. It was never going to do really was it?

    • eurovicious

      A relatively laid-back performance of a cheesy Andy Williams song isn’t as good for his demographic as his other, more intense performances of more contemporary songs.

      • The Cat In The Hat

        Have you ever heard that phrase:”All racehorses look fast going past trees”? Well, you can employ this same phrase to describe the popularity and support behind Master Arthur.

        However, I’m not buying it at all! If the producers think that all this James Dean-meets-Damien Rice-tortured soul nonsense will shift tons of units, they are wrong, wrong, wrong!

        This scruffy oaf, in Christmas knitwear and his nan’s specs makes Matt Cardle seem like the Laughing Policeman in comparison.

        People don’t want miserable dirges bombarding their ears – they want to be uplifted and they want to smile – something that this guy does not make you want to do.

        There’s a reason this fella was in the bottom 2 last week – he’s a one-trick-pony and the British Public have had enough.

        “Taxi for Mr Arthur…!”

        • eurovicious

          Exactly. I do like him but he’s not Ed Sheeran. You can’t fantasise about tousling his hair and going apple-scrumping with him. Ain’t gunna win.

        • Cat in the hat, sounds more like your basing your dislike for James Arthur and assuming the rest of the public has same opinion.

          • The Cat In The Hat

            Well, he WAS in the bottom 2 last week. FACT.

            In pop music, sex sells – not always, but by and large.

            Having said that, I nail my colours to the Union J camp…I might be wrong, but there seems to be a growing momentum behind these kids.

          • eurovicious

            The “growing momentum” behind them is Louis when he’s had too much to drink,

        • More I read about this more i can’t agree with.

          Not sure you can call someone a one trick pony who has sung

          Tulisa – young
          Adele – hometown glory
          Andy Williams – cant take my eyes of you
          Take that – million love songs later
          Fray – how to save a life

          And more, those are pop songs, dance songs, old songs. Certainly not one trick.

          Fair enough. Point taken.

        • It won’t let me reply to your latest comment, regarding bottom two.

          Simple response, so where JLS. Olly Murs, Cher Lloyd, look at their success now.

          Momentum will carry James to final, and if they want him to win (which I think they do) he will win

  • R

    Have to disagree. The connection is not between who wins or loses and how well you do, it’s all to do with who TPTB want to win, who will do anything for Syco and who they can make the most money from.
    The success of Oily Murs has nothing to do with ability & all to do with hype. His career was a major flop until he got the Xtra-factor gig and now gets massive tv coverage. He will also be touring with 1D to get US exposure.
    Sony/Syco spent over £5m hyping 1D to make them big in the US, & they are on XF nearly every week.
    This week Little Mix have been on every show and keep popping up as internet ads. Even JLS whose “independent” label is a subsidiary of Sony/Syco get constant free XF coverage.
    In fact, there was a 10 min spot in the last results show was just pure hype for all the above pretenders. Meanwhile the real musicians out there are kept off our screens to prevent people seeing how bad these acts really are. Sorry, needed to get that rant off my chest.

  • R

    And while I’m in the mood for a rant…

    I’ve been reading a few comments about the show having lost control.
    To me, they have more control than ever.
    Last week Onion J had the bounce from bottom 2 plus the boybland transfer from Undistinct 3, ensuring they would avoid B2.
    Rylan was given the clear chance to have the scripted “love me I’m fun” banter with Gary – result was the Rylan bounce. There was no negativity in his VT.
    Chris – while most on here see the attacks on him as the show trying to get rid, I see it differently. The show is expert at turning viewers’ perception without them realising. What they are doing with Chris is too obvious. Add to this that no other contestant has ever been negative about the show while still a contestant indicates that they are allowing Chris to do this so that he can garner the sympathy votes. I believe this is all within the plan and they will discard him at the right moment.
    So these three were pimped out of the bottom 2 leaving Jahmene & James who did not different from previous weeks & Ella, who had the worst song choice possible. If they knew James was struggling for votes they knew James & Ella would end up as the B2.
    This has allowed them to pimp James into the final from a weak position. There are several campaigns started up to support him. At the same time, they can now get rid of Rylan or Chris as “doing what is right”.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Hi everyone, began reading the analyses from this excellent site last year, only felt the urge to join in the debate now.
    Have to agree with the negative comments about James Arthur, his look reminds me of Bo from The Voice.
    I read a comment here prior to the final of The Voice that highlighted Leanne (subsequent winner) as the value bet. Hadn’t watched a second of the show but thought a small bet on Leanne at 6/1 in a field of four might be worth a punt, particularly as she reportedly had a fantastic voice and she had kept her place at the expense of a girl called Ruth, the erstwhile hot-pot favourite.
    Wanted to study the field more closely, watch a few episodes etc but was pressed for time so did a quick series of searches and looked at pictures of them.
    My snap impressions of them were:
    Leanne: exuberant, fun, honest, powerful, friendly, nice, girl next door.
    Tyler: conceited, smug, fashion victim.
    Vince: edgy, quirky, maybe friendly and nice, cheeky, and looks a cross between Billy Idol and Brian Harvey.
    Bo: Scary-eyed, needs a feed, wearing too much mascara and posing like a vampiric version of Princess Diana being interviewed by Martin Bashir.
    Felt more comfortable having a punt then, still a deaf bet, but at least not a blind bet. And was happy to take on the near even money favourite, Bo.

    With regard to James Arthur, he simply looks dodgy, no matter how they style him. I would wager dressed in a suit he would like someone due for a court appearance.
    Watched an episode of this X Factor series the other week and thought even the way he moves is off-putting.
    Could be a lovely, lovely fellah, but impressions count in a popularity contest. Do like his speaking voice, though, could sell many loaves of bread with a voice like that.
    Wouldn’t want to get involved at the 9/4 outright, see no value in that, no matter the power of the expected bounce, nor the extent of producer love behind him.

    There are major flaws undermining all of the remaining contestants, in my view. Think Ella would still be in the competition if she had had Leanne’s bubbly personality and would have gone on to win it comfortably.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Thoughts on the search for outright value.

    As stated, can’t see the value in becoming a James backer.

    Considered a bet on Union J this week as I thought there may be a value bet at 16s or so to be had in a squeaky clean boy group coming good late in the day, what with the often mooted block votes of multi-voting adolescents and teens coming out in force for the run in. But they don’t seem to have done so in the past so why now? Glanced at Wiki and I see that in eight series of X factor one group has won (Little Mix), or broadening this to look at the number of top two finishes by groups in the eight series so far, that totals three out of sixteen (LM 1st last year, JLS 2nd in 2008, G4 2nd in 2004 (albeit with credit to Sharon Osbourne’s intervention)). A group has a 12.5% chance of winning; an 18.75% of placing in the top two. Not inspiring percentages.
    Plus, Union J are 1D clones, and obviously so; plus in week 6 (with MK1 already gone) all the boy band/group votes piled together left both D3 and UJ at the bottom of the heap.

    I think Rylan is a goner tomorrow, so easy to skip over him.

    Christopher Maloney. I like Chris, as do a lot of other people it seems, but as another Sofabet commentator has already said, he is probably too devisive a figure to win. Although producer desperation and arrogance has played into his hands, they must surely have learnt their lessons by now, and will get him later rather than sooner. That is if they overcome their sense of omnipotence, in time.

    Jahmene looks good, fresh faced in pictures, but reminds me of a hit parade star before the invention of the teenager on screen, a 1950’s style looking singer, old before his years, a youngster who dresses, looks and acts like his middle-class dad, with the stiffness and deportment of Carlton from the Fresh Prince. Sometimes, he looks like an alien figuring out how to be human; and there’s something kind of asexual about him. Plus I had to laugh when Nicole announced to him, “When I see you on that stage now, I see that you have grown into the man you were meant to be” (- or whatever guff it was she came out with). But how popular is Motown-style and the sound of Northern Soul with the general public, nowadays? Possibly more popular than is being given credit for, as I think I recall that in the early Daily Star voting percentage leaks, Jahmene was the only act anywhere near the popularity of Chris. And was this before the heart-warming back story VTs and publicity? And love it or loathe it he does have an extraordinary voice/sound, rare to hear, a voice you’ll hear seldom at karaoke or from a busker, or indeed on the X factor itself.
    I like him but can’t warm to him, so am just, just able to resist the general 4/5 about him.

    Am stumped as to where the value is in the outright market.

    A general extra thought is that the mantra of “credibility” and “credible acts” seems to be being pushed this year (as a reaction to The Voice?). It seems beyond the production Gods to realise that true credibility for the show, for the brand, would come from stopping their addiction to manipulating, and instead just providing a level playing field and letting the winner arrive naturally.

  • Highlighted

    This is awful on This Morning. Completely against Chris asking awful questions to him. Even makes me, who dislikes Chris’ style, want to vote for him. Think it’s all gone OTT and can help Chris to the final. It’s like ITV/XF versus GBP

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