X Factor 2012 Week 8 Post Mortem: Clark Went

With the overnight publication of yet another leak from the Star showing Chris Maloney continuing to top the votes up to last week, the bottom two combination of Rylan and Union J looked more predictable.

As was the result of the singoff. There was little room for doubt that it was Rylan’s time. He opened up on Betfair at 1.15 – the kind of price that indicates people who have backed him at longer odds are locking in their profits just in case, rather than that anyone seriously expects him to stay.

Nicole’s introduction (“he’s done amazingly to get this far”), Rylan’s look of serenity, and the mid-song hug with his stage nemesis Gary Barlow, all felt warmly valedictory. I had no hesitation in building up five-figure liabilities as Rylan’s price contracted down to end up at 1.04.

We at Sofabet have certainly thoroughly enjoyed Rylan’s time on the show. He has entertained and come across as a highly likeable chap. In contrast to the vinegary nature of the comments that preceded the last two departures at this stage of the competition (Janet Devlin and Wagner), it was nice to see the genuine-seeming warmth with which Louis, Gary and Tulisa sent Rylan on his way. We at Sofabet, too, wish him all the very best.

Looking forward, the narrative continues to revolve around the enduring survival of Chris Maloney. Can producers manage to pimp a thrice-saved boyband over him and into the final? As Curtis commented, they were channelling Leona Lewis yet again in the singoff.

Or are producers pinning their hopes on the success of a long-term campaign to build up so many negatives around Chris that whoever he faces in the final two will be able to win through a combination of positive and negative votes, as has been discussed by AnnaC and others in the Sofabet comments of late?

Chris this week survived the remarkable story in the Mirror alleging that he attempted to strangle someone on a cruiseship. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that Misha B survived in the week she was accused of being a bully. The damage was done the next week.

But has the campaign against Chris become so obvious that any heavy artillery used against him is now doomed to backfire? And could it possibly be that the backstage team feel such antipathy towards him that they can’t bring themselves to stop at the more subtle tactics that might actually work?

As ever, do keep the conversation going below.

44 comments to X Factor 2012 Week 8 Post Mortem: Clark Went

  • Yes Ryland’s gone Wooohooo! Nice site and post too.

  • Daniel

    I should add that I don’t think a 3-1 decision in Union J’s favour necessarily means that they finished below Rylan in the public vote. At this stage of the competition, especially after Ella, a 3-1 ‘do the right thing’ decision is perfectly natural.

    Also, Ella Henderson just made a call into Xtra Factor. She thinks the prize is now between Chris and James. No mention of Jahmene. Has she gone rogue? 🙂

  • This whole Christopher thing is mind boggling. I have a crazy notion… Apparently he worked in one of the major call centres in the UK. Is there any chance that he was popular there and a hundred or so people are voting multiple times using the lines there? Have we any indication as to how many votes make up a typical week? Would 10,000 votes see you safe?

  • WideoftheMark

    I think weve seen enough Chris smears to do without it on this board thank you very much

  • VC have gone first up elimination if anyone is interested
    UJ 4-7
    Chris 5-4
    James 10s
    Jahmene 16s

  • Nugg

    The reason Chris is doing so well is surely because he is singing songs people are familiar with , the way they were supposed to be sung.
    No twists, slowing down, speeding up or vocal acrobatics, no raps in the middle, or mash ups, just simple solid performances that appeal to the demo. Xfactor is a middle aged thing these days, young people are increasingly seeing it as “something mum and dad watch”.
    Also no one likes to see someone bullied, and TPTB have been so blatent and obvious about it that it has helped build support for Chris.
    All of this coupled with an small anti cowell, anti XF vote should see him through to final.

  • Anyone got any news on whether there’s a singoff next week? Originally, the final five was always public vote only, this went out the window a couple of years back, any idea whether they will try and sneak a sing off in via the back door this week?

  • Jack

    For me, it’s about whether the show will have the balls to do a sing-off and whether they even want to. A sing-off could well be between James and Union J, which would surely mean UJ go. I don’t think the show would want that. They’d rather James appears to have support and gets to the final anyway. I think Union J will go next week. Surely too much to ask for a third bounce.

    • Boki

      Multiple posters asking the same question in the same time 🙂
      You have a point there about James/UJ (most probable bot2 combo as it seems), or even Jahmene/UJ. Agree on UJ not capable to bounce anymore.

  • Boki

    Hi guys, I have to repeat the same questions since semi is approaching: what’s the chance they will introduce a sing-off in the semi with 4 acts left (which is never done before)?
    And also very important: when are we going to know for sure? Can they keep silent until Sunday and depending on the voting introduce it on a result show?

    I would say it depends on a chance if they could get Chris in bot2 or not but it will be dificult to think of any bets before we know sing-off or not.

    • Boki. I am pretty sure that XF monitor this site and other sites like this and the whole essence of their being is to have fun keeping the world ‘wondering’. You can be sure that they are loving the Baloney phenomenon too (and that they do know the answer to ‘How do you solve a problem like Baloney’… to just leave it be to fate).

      I don’t think now that they are even bothered either way as ‘the winner doesn’t take it all’. They already have recording contracts with the best money making talent the show has turfed up (and one who is also the worst gamble; and probably seen as a £million well spent just for the publicity to get people to watch the car crash happening in slow motion).

    • Hey Boki, I suppose the obvious answer is that they’d presumably like to have one if Chris is 3rd and would prefer not to have one if he’s 1st, 2nd or 4th.

      I seem to recall we didn’t know until right at the last moment whether there’d be a singoff in week 9 of 2010, right? That was presumably a comparable situation in that I guess they’d have been happy with there being no singoff if Cher had been 4th and Mary 5th.

      On the evidence of the last couple of years I doubt they’d be shy about breaking with precedent if need be.

      • Boki

        Thanks Andrew, I wasn’t involved (or watching) Xfac in 2010 so I wouldn’t know, when was the last moment – Sunday results show?

        • Just reminding myself what we wrote at the time! 🙂


          Yep, seems like it wasn’t clear till halfway through the results show.

          • EM

            Interesting to see just two comments under that article and as I type 18 under this one!

            I know you always welcome the comments and feedback but I’m starting to wonder if we need a Nate Silver to cut through the noise?

          • Boki

            Always good to look into archive, can’t forgive myself for not knowing about sb in 2010.

            Btw, I agree to all who think that UJ will not bounce above James/Jahmene next week, most probably finishing 4th. So basically if we hear on Sunday sing-off announcement, that would mean they got Chris in the 3rd.

            Having said that, there could be another case that UJ somehow manages to bounce above James to 3rd and they introduce the sing-off to put James into final.

  • Cath

    In tonights show they said something like ‘the final showdown’ which indicated to me that there would be no sing-off next week.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Delighted to hear that Rylan was dismissed tonight, thought 5/4 was a gift, was difficult to imagine a scenario in which he persisted for another week on the post-Ella, you-must-only-vote-for-credible-acts (or Tulisa will hunt you down to smack you in the face) X Factor.
    Am surprised at the general cavalier attitude towards the press allegations against Chris. If a criminal prosecution is brought against him then he could be in the deepest of waters. I think to brush off the stories in the papers this morning as merely evidence of more of the smear campaign is to underestimate the potential gravity of what might be forthcoming. I doubt everyone reading their newspapers this morning will whistle ho-hum, oh yeah sure, and blah, blah blah. It’s an allegation of attempted murder; not of being a ‘diva’.
    On the under-estimating of Chris’s popularity (though not of late), despite the gold standard evidence of early Daily Star leaks to the contrary, I suggest a parallel phenomenon with the popularity of Jahmene.
    The same Daily Star leaks also point to the persistent top two presence of Jahmene in the voting. Chris and Jahmene both trigger the ‘Aarrrh! Isn’t he a lovely fellah/lad sentiment’.
    The mystification with the popularity of Chris in many quarters strikes a parallel with the lack of faith in the popularity of Jahmene on this site (and on other t.v. betting sites). That expectation that it can only be a matter of time before everyone sees him the way I do.
    To accept that the Star has been right all along about Chris is to accept the same about Jahmene. Now that Chris is damaged goods I can only see mum-loving Jahmene picking up the vote transfer from nan-loving Chris.
    Further, although James is probably the (credible) chosen one (props to Jscouser2002) this series; and the oft predicted diminishing of Jahmene is beginning, why should anyone place any faith in the power of the production staff to (better be quick now!) nobble Jahmene, given their track record with Chris? Plus, they have eight weeks of cementing Jahmene’s position to undo, two months of shining his halo to dull.
    My thoughts on the backstage team are that their arrogance is their undoing. Eight years of successfully manipulating the public has left them with a one track mind. Their success with manufacturing a win for rank outsiders Little Mix last year has set the seal on their hubris. They remind me of the dying days of New Labour: instead of admitting that the game is up, putting their hands up, saying ‘It’s a fair cop’, drawing a line in the dirt and endeavouring to make a genuine fresh start, they believe that instead their answer lies with yet more spinning, yet more smearing: more, more, more (…of shredding their own brand). Mad men.
    The backroom production team only have pride for themselves and disrespect for the public: how could they possibly have a different mentality from that? Ever? It’s all they know, and what keeps them superior to the mugs and plebs who watch and phone. (Free indirect speech.)
    Another problem is Tulisa. What a Hell hound! Yuk! I didn’t see last year’s series and have only caught up with this one in the last few weeks. Was she really voted FHM’s sexiest woman? She looks and sounds like any other aggressive, gob-heavy asbo-ite to be seen loitering in a slovenly mass outside Maccy Ds on any high street in any town centre. From the press stories that abound about her she herself is tainted goods. Tu(big-for-her-steel-toe-capped-boots)lisa. To have her as your Saturday nemesis, the public face and ringleader of your persecution, is a guaranteed vote sucker for you.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Warming to the New Labour parallel:-

    Tony Blair = Simon Cowell.
    Alastair Campbell = Richard Holloway.
    John “Biffa” Prescott = Tulisa Constipation.
    Harriet Harman = Nicole Scherzinger.
    Louis Walsh = Robin Cook.
    Gary Barlow = Mo Mowlam.

  • Snickster

    Hi guys, I’m a long time reader of the site, but don’t think I’ve ever posted.
    I’ve been out in Australia for the last few weeks so have been following the UK programme on here. Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve caught the semi-final and final of Autralian X factor whilst I’ve been here, and it seems to follow a very very similar format to the UK. Mel B and Ronan are both judges. The reason for me posting is that this years winner announced last week, was a girl called Samantha Jade, who was actually in the bottom 2 weeks 1, 5 and 7!!! She was saved by the judges week 1 and then through on deadlock weeks 5 and 7.
    I thought it was worth pointing this out as there’s obviously no precedent for this in the UK.
    From an outsider point of view having seen no shows before the semi-final she was far and away the best of the last 4 contestants (I would put her in Leona Lewis league). I can’t find the voting stats, but by the final she was clear favourite.

    • Rave

      As an Australian, our reality TV voting is very strange and unpredictable. It might be the low vote counts.

      You can see it in action in the winner of Big Brother this year, X Factor all the time, etc. Favorites are much more subject to change weekly, and people you might think appeal to voters never stay the same.

      It’s so confusing.

    • Jake Kl

      I think Bella was the favourite to win in the beginning, similar journey to our Ella

  • Tim B

    Hey Cath, ‘the final showdown’ is often what they refer to as the official name for the sing off. It’s usually only the judges, like Louis, who call it a ‘sing off’. So in this case I don’t think it necessarily means it was the final one.

  • tpfkar

    After on of the most shocking and surprising weeks in X Factor history last time, this week was a strong conteder for least surprising.

    Believing Christopher to be safe, Rylan and UJ were highly likely to form the bottom 2, and Rylan was highly likely to head off. As you’ve said in the article, the goodbyes started well before the result was announced and they didn’t even bother pretending.

    Not sure we have learnt much at all this weekend, apart from the Star leak that Sun God Maloney still topped the vote. Nothing to see here folks, move on to the semis

  • Nicky

    I think Rylan was bottom myself. The stats don’t look good for UJ next week though. I’ve just been looking at the previous results. I’m sure you all this know this, but I thought I’d point it out anyway:

    every act that survived the bottom two at the five act stage has been eliminated the following week, ie, finished fourth. (Diana Vickers, Danyl Johnson, Cher Lloyd and Misha B).

    Union J’s only chance would be if the percentages were very close at the bottom end of the pile yesterday, allowing them to claw their way into third place next week. Also, the act that came third in the vote at the five act stage has never gone on to win,(Eoghan Quigg, Olly Murs, One Direction and Marcus Collins).

    If the above is a significant stat, James needed to come first or second this week to stand a chance of winning. If the Star is correct and Christopher and Jahmene have been the front runners, James would have needed to increase his appeal considerably to overturn the order. I’m not convinced he managed to do this. But ‘Let’s Get It On’ was good though……

  • EM

    Takikng my own point about cutting through the noise I think I should put my words where my mouth is and wonder if emotion has got in the way of seeing Chris for what he is which is merely another one of the regular cast of characters that appear year after year.

    We know the controversial characters like Katie Waisell and Frankie Cocozza and we recognise the Rylan’s, the Jedwards, The Wagners as the ones who can’t sing but keep it entertaining for a while.

    However I’ve never realised there’s another type. The squares. The (generally) older contestants who can sing, look a bit awkward, seem nice enough but get people asking “how the hell are they still in”?

    Craig Colton last year, Mary Byrne the year before that and Danyl. While no one ever exactly conforms to the stereotype they all had nicknames about how ordinary they are, they all did well in early voting (Craig less so) and they all left just before the final.

    I’ve had in my head that Christopher is some kind of phenomonen that we’ve never seen before… not so.

    • eurovicious

      I’m not sure those examples can be grouped together; Chris is closest to Mary of the three but more of an entertainer type. Craig and Danyl are fundamentally different. (If Mary had been English she could have gone further.) Honestly, they were all better than Chris too.

      Chris is a new phenomenon for the UK show. I completely get it ever since I put my schlager goggles on. (By that I mean continental European schlager that only survives in the UK in the form of Cliff Richard etc, not Scandinavian schlager which is different).

      I know what you mean about cutting through the noise.

      Chris isn’t Susan Boyle. But if Susan Boyle had been English and had received this level of maltreatment (instead of support and praise), she’d have won. #justsayin

  • eurovicious

    Jury far too harsh on Chris again. Show has no idea what it’s doing. They don’t “get” it. Outright contempt for the public, especially with regard to Louis’s Benidorm/Blackpool comments etc. (He does now he’s on a Saturday night ITV entertainment show, right? I doubt Benidorm is exactly chocker with BBC4 viewers, let me put it that way.) Chris knows what he’s doing and is doing it right; Gary knows exactly what he’s doing and is playing it straight. The chorus of three bitches next to him (Louis, Tulisa and Nicole) has deteriorated into a complete lack of professionalism with regard to Chris. Hard to say who’s worse. I used to like/respect Tulisa, but she was really sour-faced and has some nerve sitting there and criticising Chris for the staging, as if he has any control over it. Nicole’s arrogant and indecipherable comments won’t ingratiate her viewers with in general, not just Chris fans. And Louis is Louis.

    Those two performances were perfect for Chris and his demographic, the first in terms of song choice and the second in terms of the way it showcased him as a “people’s entertainer”. He’ll have topped the vote again. He’s the only schlager act and the only real everyman in the show, and that the grounds he’s winning on.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      That “skimmed milk on top of a cornflake” comedy fail of Nicole’s was priceless. She delivers a “funny” line like Victoria Pendleton dances a salsa – stiff, and alien to the sensibility. You wonder who told her she was funny – maybe that other noted king of comedy, Lewis Hamilton.
      A nice related line for Gary to drop this week might be, during the introduction, to characterise Chris as “the diet coke of evil”. Chris “diet coke of evil” Maloney. Sends up the weirdness of Nicole’s attempted slight and references and ridicules the weeks negative press stories.
      Chris “Danger” Maloney.
      He’s not losing his mojo, baby!

  • Kevin O Reilly

    I think the odds against on Union J is worth grabbing. I did not expect to see it. Going to give it a shot anyway.

    By accident really I have a nice situation on the overall with 40/1 on Chris and 10/1 on James. No fortune down or anything but I think I will cover Jahmene to make a decent profit. I think 5/4 might be as good as it will get with him.

    • eurovicious

      They’re a lock for elimination next week. Three bottom 2 appearances and both the least entertaining and least sympathetic remaining act. They’ve failed to catch on. Chris, Jahmene and James should all be well ahead of them.

  • EM

    Thanks for your comments. I’m not comparing them as singers or entertainers but more the feeling they engender in the great British public.

    All went from plucky underdog at audition stage to looking good at the lives, to who the hell is voting for this person and keeping young, cool talent off the show.

  • I really think we need to reconsider what he producers really “want” here, majority including myself have always thought they want rid early as possible, hence the constant critism, bad press stories and awful stage productions etc.

    Before I go on, I want to point out a comment made above, this time last year sofa bet was getting less comments, suggesting this type of website highlighting producer manipulation etc wasn’t as popular? Is it now a case that the audience are a lot more aware of the manipulative side of things, with this in mind I will continue on…

    Now everyone is saying its too obvious, too obvious to the general public too. Meaning he is looking more like a victim than a villian. Is that exactly what they have wanted, I am not saying that this was the plan from te beginning but perhaps half way they decided. “How do you solve a problems me Chris” you don’t you carry on with negative tactics and let him go as far as whatever if he gets to the final, he will bring lots of press and ratings for the show, aswell as most likely be outclassed v anyone else in the final, and certainly not win more than 50% in a head to head.

    I just bring this question because I believe if they wanted to get rid they could have done this easier by giving him a song that doesn’t delight the demo.

    Without checking too much but off my head I think it all changed from the time he did “all by myself” it was like e looked totally alone like a victim and from then on its got worse. If someone can remind me of the songs he has sing since they have delighted the demo, right? If they wanted him gone they could have just gave him a song not for his audience, aswell as lukewarm comments, instead of laughter at him and critism.

    Louis the right hand man to The producers when it comes to judges comments etc, he is perhaps the most critical in a nasty way, perhaps as instructed. Also during the vt of the highlights from the night before, aired Sunday, once again it focused on Louis mocking Chris during his comments and backstage with Gary. Enticing his fans (which they know he has) to retaliate and vote for him, as they have done for the past 3 weeks, why continue with this strategy unless they are getting what they want?

    I admit I’m undecided on this, but want to bring the comments to be brought to discussion, rather than we assume the producers are failing.

    (Only thing I think they failed on was Rylan being safe last week, when it was meant to be Ella v rylan not James, saved by unscripted banter that was unexpected from rylan, cleverly avoided this week by not allowing dermot to interview rylan after his second performance)

    • Boki

      Every week they keep doing in this way it I’m more convinced they do it on purpose just to carry him through. Either that or (which I don’t really believe) rogue Garry who chooses the songs himself.

    • lolhart

      I think this is an interesting and thought out theory, but I’m still inclined to believe that the producers have been so frustated by the Chris “situation” that they’ve just gone completely over the top. Usually they’ve been able to nobble acts quite easily with dated song choices, dodgy staging and lukewarm comments. When that didn’t work (and even worse he tops the vote if the Daily Star leaks are correct) they threw everything at him. I’d also be more willing to believe Chris has taken on a role they want him to play if it wasn’t for the falling ratings. One of the things that sustains the X-Factor is that acts have come from the show and had a recording career. It’s the reason they keep banging on about Leona Lewis despite her latest album already flopping. While they’re happy to let the novelty acts and villains hang around for entertainment value, Cowell doesn’t want that to be at expense of acts who can fill his coffers. I also believe Gary has been responsible for Chris getting demo pleasing song choices. Barlow’s pride must have been hurt by the early departures of Carolynne and Melanie and while he may want James as the winner, he still wants one of his acts in the final.

      • If they went over the top 2 weeks ago (when Ella went) they didn’t correct this week. Infact i thought it was worth, now Louis was laughing at him and Tulisa was highlighting how hard it was to not laugh. This is new, something that the producers wouldn’t allow if they wanted to correct their mistakes from the previous week.

        And it was then again highlighted on Sunday, when showing the story of the night before, could have been edited out but instead edited in. Why?

        Factoring in that Simon wants acts he can make money out of in top 3, the preference will be ratings, that’s we’re the money is made from X factor. The acts he can make money from the ones he choices wether they finish in top 3 or if they finish 6th it wouldn’t matter.

      • eurovicious

        What lolhart said. Basically they’re pissed because half of this year’s acts were talent-scouted, and the one that’s going to win isn’t. Ella didn’t fly, Lucy had to pull out, Jahmene (undoubtedly chosen for his backstory) has needed mega-pimping to get this far, even James (talented and authentically popular, their one partial success) has been B2, and none of the Overs or Groups caught on. X Factor has always had audition show front-loading and has always had a plan (however flexible), but this year, not only was there more of a plan than ever, the show’s complacency also led to more of a disregard for public tastes than ever. They thought they could pick a handful of acts they wanted to launch commercially, fill the rest of the show with disposables, and steer their chosen ones through to the finishing stages. But in trying to jump on the New Boring bandwagon (which has long since departed) in the casting of their 4 prime acts (Ella, Jahmene, Lucy, James) and stick one to The Voice at the same time, they forgot the most basic thing of all: that X Factor is a Saturday night ITV entertainment show.

        In pseudo-scientific terms, the volume of manure they’re spraying over Chris is directly proportional to the magnitude of his vote. Janet’s kill of a thousand cuts last year took effect right from the moment they started (as she was a much less reliable performer than Chris to begin with), with her share of the vote steadily diminishing week by week, even though she continued to top the vote until week 5 (and only until week 5). By contrast, 7 weeks into this year’s show, by all accounts Chris has merely increased his lead over the others, as Jahmene flounders in his tangerine wake. Hence the unprecedented propaganda and disinformation campaign conducted via the media and the show, and the unfocused jury bile exceeding anything we’ve seen before. They’re in a fucking panic, and every week he continues to top the vote, the more this amplifies. They’re shit-scared. It’s like the dying days of a crusty regime: having kept its subjects satiated with a paternalistic “we know what’s best” attitude to their music tastes for the past decade, Sycostan is both terrified and genuinely baffled that they’ve now risen up en masse and thrown their support behind a non-regime (= non-scouted, non-favoured) opposition candidate week after week. Just like a tinpot dictatorship, their existential fear of overthrow has led them to use their media stranglehold (black ops via red-tops), their control of the political arena (unflattering staging and verbal attacks on the show) and every other weapon in their arsenal to conduct an unprecedented character assassination in an attempt to neutralise the threat. Mahatma Maloney (henceforth known as “The One”) has responded non-violently and reflected every bullet, while his mentor Obi-Wan Barlowi understands everything that’s going on and has sagely and gallantly guided him through it. And, just like a panicking dictatorship lashing out in fear, the problem with this approach is that the sheer scale and concertedness of the attack makes the true nature of the regime transparent to more people than ever before, thereby merely increasing the scale of the uprising, as previously neutral or disinterested subjects (the man on the street) see what’s going on (the regime being too desperate and blinkered to care) and throw their weight behind the opposition out of a sense of justice and solidarity.

  • Highlighted

    Yep I was about to do a post exactly the same but Jscouser beat me to it. We need an article on the intentions of producers with Chris. After last weeks hilarious staging which Nicole even pointed out, I believe they actually want Chris in the final (and they know in a 50/50 vote he probably won’t win).

    • Bare in mind, regardless of the 50/50 result, the final will get most viewers so more votes, then they won’t need to criticise/target him anymore.

      Then with a bit of praise instead of laughter and critism, should be enough to prevent him from not winning (easily).

  • R

    I’ve been saying the same thing for the last few weeks.
    They’ve given him too much time to respond to the negative comments, he’s been allowed to have newsapaper articles saying how bullied he is. No other contestant they’ve wanted out has been given the chance to speak out about their treatment. In fact I’m pretty sure they’d be some sort of confidentiality clause in the contract to prevent them from doing so.
    TPTB have ensured that their biggest voting demographic are picking up the phones and pulling in the cash.

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