James Arthur wins the X Factor 2012

The opinion pollsters defied some fierce scepticism from the right-wing blogosphere in the U.S. presidential election last month, and YouGov has likewise defied some fierce scepticism from much of the Sofabet comments section with James Arthur’s win tonight. Although the X Factor is harder to poll than political elections, because the show itself can change opinions, I was happy to trust YouGov for reasons I explained in my preview of the final.

The Sofabet team is delighted for James. Andrew and I have fully shared the evolution of opinion described by Dug in his recap of James’s journey, from a highly negative reaction to his first audition through to rooting for him for the win. We send him our hearty congratulations and best wishes for his future career.

It’s a good win for the X Factor franchise, too. Firstly, James becomes the first act to win having been in the bottom two, breaking a hoodoo for future series just as Little Mix’s win for the groups category did last year. Secondly, James has always seemed most likely of the finalists to enjoy commercial success, and it’s always helpful for the franchise to have a successful winner – especially a credible one. Just don’t let Gary Barlow pen his first original single.

Producers set their stall out last night in no uncertain manner, pimping James to high heaven. We will have to wait and see what the voting statistics say, but my suspicion is that James enjoyed a healthy lead after last night’s show – he was given a mighty push, and the YouGov poll suggested that it would be pushing at an open door. No act in any of the years since the show started releasing statistics has come from second place in the Saturday voting freeze to take the crown, and as Saturday showed producers were clearly on James’s side.

Tonight started with Jahmene and James reprising their performances of ‘Angels’ and ‘Let’s Get It On’. It didn’t feel like this round was a game-changer. James’s supporters were thankful that he didn’t sing ‘Don’t Speak’ again.

Producers seemed to be playing it fair. Jahmene was given a great production for ‘Let It Be’ and VTs that reflected the incredible journey he has gone on. It was followed by James’s take on the much more contemporary ‘Impossible’. Viewers had been offered a clear choice.

It’s far from a bad result for Jahmene. Before the series we and many other Sofabet commenters had Jahmene pegged as a shock early exit – although, to be fair, this was before any of us knew about his tragic childhood. While his commercial viability as a recording artist is open to question, you get the sense that he cares far less about fame and fortune than about having a platform to inspire, and being a gallant runner-up rather than a winner seems unlikely to hamper his public image and ability to carve out a role for himself.

All told, it’s not been a great year for the X Factor. Ratings are down, the Carolynne Poole singoff exposed the wizard behind the curtain to a wider audience than Sofabet reaches, and they surely didn’t intend to lose Ella as early as they did. But, to their credit, they adapted to that week 7 shock by ensuring the most headline-grabbing act of the series, Christopher Maloney, was still around to generate interest up to the final weekend. A final two of credible James and feelgood Jahmene – and a celebration of the mentoring of Nicole, the true breakout star of the series – is surely what they have been hoping to achieve for the last three weeks. But it seems to us that a Simon Cowell return is the show’s only hope of getting much beyond its tenth series next year.

For us, the highlight of X Factor final Sunday is still to come – not the Christmas songs, not the winner’s singles, not even the announcement of the result. It is, of course, the publication of the voting stats, when we get to look back on the last ten weeks with the joy of hindsight. Assuming the Star leaks were right, when did they succeed in dragging Christopher back to the pack? How much of a bounce did James get after his singoff save? Was Ella’s early position as hot favourite never reflected in her popularity in the vote?

In past years, they have put the voting stats up on the X Factor website in the early hours of Monday morning. If we’re still up, we’ll post an instant analysis – if not, we’ll do so in the morning.

In the meantime, a big thank you to all of you who have shared your wit, wisdom and insight in the comments section over the course of this series. Do please keep the conversation going below.

39 comments to James Arthur wins the X Factor 2012

  • chicky258

    Great call lads.
    Wll done.

  • Daniel

    Thank you chicky258. Caroline Flack has just promised us a look at this year’s voting statistics during Xtra Factor currently on ITV2.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Seconded, great advice, guys.
    This fierce sceptic salutes your collective wisdom.

  • Heisenberg

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the posts and comments by everyone during this series, cheers.

    And to the Sofabet team – you nailed it. Thank you.

    Until the next time.

  • nugg

    Great site and coverage once again team. Sofabet goes from strength to strength. Winner was obvious from 6pm saturday 🙂

    • Hi Nugg. Great to see that you wangled your way into the show again (just how DO you do it you jammy bugger? lol). Hope you had a great time there and also smacked the bookies botties a bit. I’m down on my last years big LM win with doing mainly UJ/James combos this year but got a few James wins and loaded up more just before the Saturday show with some gifts of 2/1 with Ladbrokes. So its a few hot dinners and a decent Crimbo for me and the missus.

      I dearly wish that I could have also found odds on Baloney walking before the final, as I historically predicted it a few weeks back. The guy is an oxygen thieving rank amateur as I said and has now shown his true colours. Can’t imagine a heroes return for him in Liverpool now (except maybe at his local karaoke pub). His ungrateful, big headed, spoiled attitude did not deserve the votes, voting money and attention that people bestowed on him with faith and he has just ruined his own career in this biz. In other words, he has pissed on his own chips.

      Merry Christmas to you Nugg and to all here and have a great new year too.

  • Donald

    I posted on other thread but must say great great call Daniel. a strange series but kept exciting and interesting by Sofabet as always. Voting numbers going to be interesting for sure.

  • Kevin O Reilly

    Well done on the great prediction in the final and thanks to all for making Sofabet more entertaining than X Factor itself!

  • Chatterbox5200

    Looks like the Daily Star leak was SPOT ON! Christopher 1st & Jahmen 2nd in weeks 1-7.

  • Esme

    Voting stats on itv 2 now! Christopher and jahmene topped first 6 weeks!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Thanks for the link 🙂

      Daily Star leaks. Deep Throat is real.
      James’s hyper-space percentage jump from Week 7 to 8. Good grief!
      Week 10 freeze – That YouGov polling is the real deal.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Am fascinated by Week 7 to 8.
        James’s percentage sky-rocketed from 13.7% to 40.7%.
        Am checking to see the spread of percentage losses among the other surviving contestants.
        Although Chris shed 5.4% (down from 26.4% to 21%), look at Rylan’s loss – he suffered a 7.3% loss, from a previous base of 15.7%!
        And this despite the fact that most of the blame for the cut of Ella was being publicly shovelled towards Chris’s door, despite Rylan’s percentage share having increased the previous two weeks and despite Rylan being publicly devastated at the loss of his “sister” Ella, from the show.

        The credibility factor took over post Week 7.

        I wonder now who would have been crowned if James hadn’t dropped into the bottom two with Ella on week 7 or if it had so happened that Jahmene had happened to have dropped into the bottom two with Ella.

        As it turned out, Ella was the true series Kingmaker.

        • Highlighted

          If Ella had been saved over James, she would have won too I think. Being B2 was best thing to happen to James.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Oh dear! How many times can you reply to your own comments? :S If the series builds past three, you are officially sad? Lol.
          Just a quick afterthought, an answering of my own question: I speculate that if Jahmene had have dropped into a bottom two with Ella as his neighbour, Ella would now have just been crowned series winner – with Jahmene as the series Queenmaker.

  • Richard (t'other one)

    Xtra Factor just announced some of the voting results.

    Christopher won the first seven weeks with Jahméne second every week.

    James won from week 8 on; Christopher second in Week 8 and then Jahméne back into second from there.

  • Richard (t'other one)

    They nearly had Union J in the final – look how close that week 9 was

  • EM

    Week 8 (Abba and Motown) looks like the game changer when James shot to the top by a hefty amount and Christopher started wilting….

    • Or perhaps him being in the bottom two the week before,, drawn so much attention to him, he became the focus of the show and a memorable artist.

      Aswell as more favourable song choices that appealed to a wider variety

  • annie

    I’m trying to find my jaw in the cellar….. It dropped til there….

  • M

    Quite staggered by how well Rylan was doing until he got derailed by the producers.

  • Highlighted

    Week 7 still a blip for me but I think they expected 1 of Ella/James in B2 then they could have pushed then to final but as it turned out they made most of situation and pushed James to win

  • Damn! I’ve just written a load of drivel before I saw the voting stats. Will now look forward to pouring over those….

    Warmest Congratulations to Daniel and the team – who actually stuck their necks out and predicted a 1-2-3, unlike inferior sites.

    I’ve written one of those vague pieces that adds little.


  • Ben Cook

    Not at all surprised to see James topping the vote the last 3 weeks. I guess a combination of being bottom 2 shocking his fans to vote for him, and clever song choices in “Let’s Get It On” and “The Power Of Love”.

  • EM

    Not seeing much in the way of running order tells in the figures.

    I am seeing James getting to do his breakthrough song again in the final (Let’s Get it On) and Jahmene getting to do one of his worst performing tracks in Angels.

  • Jack

    Week 8, as ever, seems to be the week for a game-changer. Congratulations to James and heartiest congratulations to the Sofabet team for a risky prediction and getting it right. 🙂

  • Tim B

    Omg, poor Melanie was only 0.1% behind District3 when it went to deadlock in week 2. Rylan enjoyed a monster sympathy bounce for Gangnam Style, but not so much for the Spice Girls. The sympathy bounce worked like clockwork, and almost got Union J into the final. That’s quite frightening when I consider how much I had on in week 9!

  • What I find remarkable is that James and Ella’s figures between week 6 and week 7 is almost the same, but it’s the same week Chris was made to look like satin, and his vote percent increases in this week.

  • My first reaction is this… Incredible accuracy of the polling this year. They got it pretty much spot on.

    My second reaction Ella WAS in serious trouble for a long time (Star Crazy).

    My third reaction is surprise at the incredible James A bounce. It’s as if his supporters had been given a massive b*****ing from Tulisa and have done their duty.

    Amazing stuff.

    • Kevin O Reilly

      Oppose James the was Betsfactor call for final wasn’t it?

      • Ha, if you read it – it was with very low confidence! I only made one “tip” this year on Kye Fawkes Night and I’m glad I did – it was fairly unpredictable.

        But absolutely, 100% definitely didn’t call James’ incredible rise – staggering rise. Passed me by!

        • Kevin O Reilly

          Didn’t you say you backed Christopher @ 7/1 with Betsfactor funds when you tipped him on this very site. I find maybe you conveniently forget your reversals at times.

  • Donald

    God that was close between Melanie and District 3 week two,, and they almost got UJ to the final, so they were just ramped up James from his bounce week 8.

    Thanks for all the great coverage and guidance to all on Sofabet throughout 2012, it is a most enjoyable place to visit online, here’s to 2013.

  • Mech

    For your charting delectation, the results in a more digestible form.


    I’ve plotted it on a log scale to make seeing the meanderings at the lower end of the table more visible.

    I’ve also back calculated what the percentages for the final show must have been, and also the combined percentage across the final weekend for JamJar excluding Chris on the Sunday.

    The figures are:
    Contestant Sat Sun Combined
    Jarmene 31.5% 45% 42%
    James Arthur 51.7% 55% 58%

    Jarmene caught up a lot in the Sunday show, presumably as more of Chris’s votes transferred to him, but still a comfortable win for James.

    Other thoughts:
    – As mentioned above, they really were close to nobbling Chris in week 9…
    – Union J, Jade and Melanie went out on a rising vote share.
    – The hits on Kye, District 3 and Rylan were all really quite effective (in the week they finally worked at least!) Ella wasn’t killed off in the same way, and so just kind of dribbled out of the bottom of the competition.

  • Jake Kl

    Im actually suprised UnionJ were ranked higher than D3 and Jade in the singoffs. This means the act with the fewest votes left every time and they could’ve have gone to deadlock week on week.
    Rylans journey is a bizzare one. I knew he would bounce but to come 3rd? And yes, James suddenly topping the votes in week8 is due to afew reasons: -only credible artist left (after departure of Lucy and Ella) -massive sympathy bounce -Quarter finals= serious competition now= getting rid of joke acts (rylan) and finally -” Lets get it on” with massive pimping. Chris coming 3rd last night was my only real shock but a JA v JD was easier to predict.
    Overall, best singer one and a nice way to end a rather dull series 🙂

  • Mech

    Further thought – the sympathy bounce is alive and well.
    Union J had three, in weeks 4, 6 & 8, and were unlucky the third wasn’t quite big enough even though it was quite substantial, but Rylan week 1 & 5, D3 week 2, Kye week 3, UJ week 4, and James in week 7 all experienced a bounce – in no week did the bounce not occur.
    Which begs the question – if they’d gone to the judges in week 8 and given kept Union J in, how high could they have bounced them? – as it was, they managed to keep Chris in for the final but without giving him a bounce.

  • Highlighted

    The thing to learn, in a show like this where public doesn’t vote as much until semis and final, the bad guy (Chris in this case) will rarely win. Ev kept referring to the Voice but wasn’t ratings down on that show and gives a chance to the outsider.

    Also worth remembering that being highly regarded can still land you in trouble like for James/Ella as the ‘cool’ kids don’t vote straight away and don’t have a favourite until near the end or when shocked into voting (like for James).

    Was no surprise he won once he stayed over 2nd most credible act (in the eyes of a demographic like me which takes up a large percent of the show, e.g a mid 20s person who likes modern music, watxhrs XF but rarely votes until findibg necessary) Ella in a week 7 B2.

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