X Factor 2013 Audition Show 1: Will Tamera be better than today?

It was the X Factor reboot that wasn’t. Saturday night’s programme, featuring the return of closed-room auditions, seemed to herald the return to a lighter, more positive tone. But the Sunday night arena tryouts felt little different from those of recent years, just more redundant in the circumstances. A pre-bootcamp bootcamp.

It’s as if producers knew that the format had to change but didn’t have the guts to go the whole way, creating instead this halfway house: old-school X-Factor on Saturday, new-school X-Factor on Sunday. The overall effect was to show us how much the franchise has deteriorated over the years into overly sentimental and manipulative guff.

That aside, what about the singers?

I have to start with Sam Bailey as she was the only one to get a long segment on both the Saturday and Sunday, and her second arena audition shown on Xtra Factor. She also received the only four-judge standing ovation for her performance of ‘Who’s Loving You’, which was the most impressive of her three pieces, even moreso than a rendition of ‘Listen’ that eurovicious thought showed “colour, a rocky edge, good control and real strength to her voice, particularly in the upper register”.

The plucky, hard-working everywoman trope is not new to X Factor. The question is, can the 36-year-old prison officer break the semi-final glass ceiling where Mary Bryne and Niki Evans failed?

Let’s not forget that Mary Byrne was the only contestant to outpoll Matt Cardle in a live show (Week 1) and was the studio audience favourite in the first two weeks, riding a wave of goodwill. As Dan points out, Sam – like Mary – should appeal to a demographic that appears happy to vote from the beginning, as they did for Chris and Jahmene last year.

But the later experience of Mary Byrne does instil caution.

Producers proceeded to give Mary a succession of frumpier-looking outfits and unsuitable song choices, before culling her in week 9 at the expense of the younger and less popular Cher Lloyd, who was presumably deemed to be more commercially viable. Sam may be vulnerable to the same treatment that finished off Mary – a vote-dampening suggestion that “whatever happens” she’s already done enough to change her life.

So will Sam be Tesco-Maried or not? Pimpin4rizeal “can’t see the producers pushing for her”, while stoney thinks “the fact that no one like her has won it before means they are more likely to push her”.

Given her starring role in the all-important first weekend auditions, we have to consider: might producers want Sam as a winner, and why? With an eye on the “how long can the X Factor continue after 10 years” conversation, might they think it would rejuvenate the franchise to have a winner who comes across as walked-in-off-the-steet rather than scouted-and-groomed? Producers made sure to show us that she’s not just an everywoman, she’s an everywoman with an everyman husband and an everyfamily with two everykids and an everydog. Might they think that a winner reflecting the average ITV viewer’s household back to themselves would buy the show some goodwill?

Against that, the cruiseship story that ran yesterday wasn’t exactly a promising sign, and today we have further revelations about previous singing experience.

It’s also interesting that the reported list of judges’ houses candidates includes last year’s controversial bootcamp eliminee, Joe Whelan. If that list is correct then he appears to be the only male in the overs category at judges’ houses, which would suggest he may be on course for the lives in the name of gender balance, and he is an obvious natural fit for Sharon, who mentors the category. So anyone backing Sam needs to bear in mind the real possibility that she may not even enter the live shows as our Alpha Over.

Time will tell.

Otherwise, producers mixed it up in the girls category – Hannah Barrett getting the love on Saturday night but given much shorter shrift the following evening, when the pimp slot went to Tamera Foster. It was a mother of a pimp slot too, covering almost a quarter of Sunday’s show; a third if you include her joint segment with Jerrie Dila, with whom she had auditioned as a duo the previous night.

I thought the storyline on each occasion – the improvised pairing and forgotten words – seemed a little forced. Given that Silver Rock had been together for only a week, it’s hardly stretching the boundaries of cynicism to wonder if someone backstage may have put them up to a joint audition with a view to the judges then being able to split them up again.

But is it altogether too cynical of us to wonder if Tamera was also put up to appearing to forget her words, followed by that dramatic backstage dash to be helpfully prompted by Dermot?

Producers were clearly concerned that viewers would be thinking that the arena auditions were a waste of space, given that they included a clunkily expositive “that’s why we need the arena!” conversation between Nicole and Gary half an hour into the show. And this was another highly convenient storyline – see, here’s someone who impressed in the room but freaked out in front of an audience! This additional arena stage does have a point, honest!

But if these storylines struck us as forced, they weren’t half as forced as Tamera’s vocals for ‘I Have Nothing’. Editors did their best to cover up some of the worst moments by cutting away to the audience reaction, and ramping up their applause, but eurovicious summed up her problems: “she’s just all over the place”.

Still, as Shoulders remarked, there is plenty of room for a “journey” – and not only that, but the classic young female journey on this show, the journey to self-confidence. She had this year’s Ella slot, alongside the repeated Ella-esque refrain, “she’s only 16 by the way”. And there’s her fantastic Rihanna-esque looks, also noted by our commenter, R.

I’m not sure whether Tamera has the Middle England appeal that producers were confident of getting for Ella, and she’s already had some unfortunate drugs press, as Ben Cook alerted us to. Gavster observes “that’s usually terminal”. It will certainly be a test of how keen producers are on her.

Overall, while the edit suggested that Tamera has the green light from producers, at this stage at least, there are some clear red flags for punters. Similarly priced alongside Sam Bailey at 8-1, this is another one I’m happy to wait on.

Currently third in bookmakers’ lists at 12-1, Hannah Barrett’s perfunctory Sunday night treatment could either be an indication that producers are not as interested as they seemed on Saturday night, or that they don’t want to prematurely over-egg the pudding of her moving backstory.

Like Tamera, there was an untrained rawness about the vocals she displayed for ‘One Night Only’. In the comments section, R, pimpin4rizeal and eurovicious were rightly not blown away. Something of both Tamera’s and Hannah’s fortunes may depend on how much polish can be added in a short space of time.

Still, I found Hannah to be a highly sympathetic character. Should producers give her a chance in the live shows, you can expect the lessons from Misha B’s ‘bullygate’ to be learnt. There is also the potential for an emotional reconciliation VT with her mother, for which I’d put the spread at about weeks 2-3.

Elsewhere, we believe we may have got a view of another auditionee who appears on the judges’ houses spoilers in the girls catergory, in the shape of Rielle Carrington. She got only a brief slot on Saturday, and if she is indeed the “Riely” in that list linked to above – which was compiled by Digital Spy forumites who attended bootcamp – then she may be fishing in similar waters to Hannah and Tamera. Her top price of 40/1 reflects the brevity of her screentime thus far.

With old stalwarts Jade Richards and Melanie McCabe also reported to have made judges’ houses, that leaves only one of the six girls on the Digital Spy list who we’ve yet to meet.

The only other act we saw this weekend who appears on those spoiler lists is Luke Friend, who opened the very first show. As reflected by his availability at 25/1, the Devon teenager with the acoustic guitar and the unwashed hair didn’t make much of an impression. It’s worth remembering that being chosen to open the first show was a sign that plans were in store for Frankie Cocozza a couple of years ago, and while producers chose not to showcase Luke again on Sunday, he did pop up in the “next week” montage at the end.

We should therefore wait till next week’s show before forming a view on whether Luke is earmarked as anything more than an intended bit-part player. If nothing else, as Steve put it at The Bitch Factor, Luke might at least “get a very nice Garnier Fructis sponsorship deal out of this”.

I don’t hold out much hope for the others who made it through to bootcamp this weekend. Whilst one shouldn’t rely solely on spoilers, the likes of Alejandro Fernandez didn’t seem vocally strong enough to me anyway.

What do you think on these points? Please continue the debate below.

94 comments to X Factor 2013 Audition Show 1: Will Tamera be better than today?

  • Boki

    Lot of comparisons between Mary and Sam but, since I didn’t follow X back then, can someone tell me if Mary was also pushed like this in the very beginning ?

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if both Sam and Joseph make the live shows. I think TPTB know a little better now about how to get the overs category right after last year’s pathetic attempt to make the category serious. Plus, they will want sharon to win it or challenge for the win, in the same way as Cheryl/Tulisa/Nicole did in their first years, when they too were brought in to breathe new life into the show. For me, what we are witnessing now for Sam is a Janet/Ella pimping. Really not sure about their intentions for Tamera yet.

    • Boki

      You can also say that they will want Louis to win since this is his last season (as I read somewhere).

    • eurovicious

      Totally agree with this comment. The difference between Sam and the Janet/Ella pimping is that due to Sam’s sheer prowess combined with her likeability, the attention and praise she receives feels in no way forced. I was never struck on Janet, and while Ella was talented, I didn’t find her outstanding. Not only is Sam by far stronger than either, I think she also much more closely fits the viewing and voting demographic as Daniel highlights above. We’ve established that X Factor isn’t a young person’s show anymore if it ever truly was.

      With most past “chosen ones” like Ella and Janet, and even with Mary, it felt like they were pushing an archetype, whereas Sam feels very individual and like the real deal. What I mean by that is you can tell in some previous years that the showmakers went into the casting process with the idea of “we want to find and market X”, then picked their chosen one (or in the case of 1D, even created them) based on those preconceived criteria. The selection of Ella, who never caught on, was clearly an attempt to capitalise on the “new serious”/”new boring” trend within UK music in the wake of Adele and Emeli Sande. Janet was never the best singer and was picked for image, and she was popular. But Sam doesn’t seem to me like she was picked to fit any preconceived notions, just as I don’t think BGT was looking for a SuBo when she turned up and auditioned. I’d call Sam the X Factor equivalent of SuBo on BGT for this reason and several others. And like SuBo, there’s no guarantee at all that she’ll win, or even make the latter stages given that X Factor has many more hurdles.

      Thinking about demographics, it’s interesting to me that the show has never been won by a white woman, despite the fact white women almost certainly form the largest viewer demographic, and that likely as a result of this, the “chosen ones” since 2011 have all been white women (Janet, then Little Mix once Janet fell out of favour, then Ella last year, and now Sam). Working-class and middle-class women, particularly the former, are the show’s viewer/voter backbone. The show had success with Little Mix but it didn’t work out with Ella or Janet, so they still haven’t had their solo white female winner. If anyone can do it, Sam can. She has the talent and ticks many many boxes.

      • stoney

        Whats the chances of us both making posts in relation to girls races at the same time!!! Great minds. Anyway going to have to disagree with your point about x factor not being a young persons show anymore, the 2 previous winners, littlemix, and james arthur without doubt suggest otherwise

        • Boki

          True, Chris or even Jahmene would win before James if young people were in minority last year. I’m sorry EV but “if anyone can do it, Sam can” sounds exaggerated after one audition show. Please don’t fall into “Chris” mode again 🙂

          • eurovicious

            Yo Boki. I’m not betting so I’ll try not to fall into any mode. That comment on Sam was in relation to past solo white female chosen ones, not “anyone” full stop – I was trying to express that her talent is more exceptional than Ella’s or Janet’s and she matches the show’s demographic much better and embodies exactly the right set of values.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hi eurovicious,

        Yes, the snap of surprise upon hearing Sam’s power as she moved through the gears in her Beyonce number was up there with listening to SuBo launch into her Les Mis track.

        Great point about the working-class female demographic. I’m sure they will have been loving to hear that she handcuffs and locks up “bad” men. An interesting,novel variation on the strong, powerful woman trope.

        Am unsure if it’s mentioned elsewhere in the Mary Byrne comparisons on the X Factor threads here, but I seem to remember that Mary had formidable Tesco voting block power behind her. I think the rumour at the time was that Syco were terrified of being lumbered with a runaway train win for an over (given their long memories of their experience with Brookstein), and so threw her under the school bus.

        Sam does fit the bill for the times with her skin colour. I think there’s still a bad vibe hanging about Spellbound’s victory in the last Syco contest.

        Plus, Sam continues picks up the theme of “authenticity” so rammed down the viewers’ ears last year, with the campaign for JA.

        A random point: but I couldn’t stop staring at Sam’s nose.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Just re-watched Sam’s audition piece in front of the judges and realised that perhaps a key piece of information regarding the marketing intentions of the show this year is that 25 year old Tulisa was replaced with 60 year old Sharon Osbourne?

          Are TPTB really going to be reluctant to push for a 35 year old winner, when they have brought in a 60 year old as the new face of the panel?

          Or is the ages of the faces on the judging panel, factored in consideration of the programme viewership, a decision not to be confused with the separate priority to ensure a series winner that is marketable in the music world?

          Must also add that I find it more shocking that Sam is 35 than I do that Lauren Harries is that same age!!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Oh! hold on…my reasoning is flawed there because I think Mel B was the first choice to replace Tulisa. Sharon could be the trusty old veteran they turned to, only after their first picks knocked them back.

          • eurovicious

            Guildo, I agree and am loving all of this (ich hab Dich lieb!) – and yes, the Tulisa-to-Sharon age shift in my book strongly correlates with the Janet/Ella-to-Sam age shift in the “chosen one”.

            I was a bit harsh on Sharon earlier, I mostly remember her going off the rails at Steve Brookstein back in 2004 (thereby only propelling him further toward victory); she’s actually fun, funny and nice, definitely a warmer, less highly-strung and less divisive figure than Tulisa. There’s a dearth of older women ont telly and she’s not only entertaining but has a motherly quality too. Her collapsing into a fit of giggles during that awful audition was hilarious, infectious and totally relatable, I was doing the same. In some ways she represents the viewer at home. Together Sharon and Sam are an incredibly likeable and relatable combination.

            With regards to international marketability, that’s one area where I have my doubts. I can walk into my local music store in Germany and buy SuBo, Olly, 1D, James Arthur, Rebecca Ferg, Paul Potts, probably even Cher Lloyd if I search hard enough, but I do question whether Sam is a “domestic-only” star. I do think she’d be very hard to market internationally despite her abilities. While I can see her being successful in the UK and a popular winner, she doesn’t fit a predefined niche or embody an archetype (unlike the acts listed above) as discussed yesterday, and there wouldn’t be demand for her in other countries. So this is a note of caution.

      • eurovicious, I have to take issue with your comment “Ella never caught on”. If you look at the voting figures, she did catch on in the early shows.

        Week 1 – ‘Rule The World’ – 3rd of 12
        Week 2 – ‘Lovin’ You’ – 4th of 11
        Week 3 – ‘You Got The Love’ – 3rd of 10

        But this is where things started to go wrong. In a desperate attempt to to turn her into a “credible artist”, rather than a karaoke one, they started messing with her arrangements.

        Week 4 – ‘Bring Me To Life’ – 6th of 9
        Week 5 – ‘Firework’ – 5th of 8
        Week 6 – ‘Written In The Stars’ – 4th of 7
        Week 7 – ‘You’re The One That I Want’ – 6th of 6 – OUT

        ‘Bring Me To Life’ was one of the popular and best-selling number 1s of the noughties, but it was the creepy and unconventional arrangement of this song that started the downward spiral for her.

        A bit off topic maybe, but I’m confident she would’ve made it a lot further had TPTB not messed with her arrangements.

        • eurovicious

          Yo… I think you make a really good point about the arrangements. With that comment I was comparing Ella with Janet who topped the vote several weeks running and required prolonged efforts to be engineered into the bottom two. By contrast Ella was never higher than 3rd and by week 4 was already in the bottom half. So I hope you see the difference I was getting at. I do agree with you that those downbeat arrangements of otherwise rousing or enjoyable songs played a part in her downfall.

  • Tim B

    I was in the audience at Wembley for Sam Bailey’s audition (and many others) and it was even better in real life. It was more of a surprise given that I hadn’t seen her “room” audition. Looking back at my notes, though, some of the judges’ comments were edited out. Gary said “That was the best audition I’ve ever seen on one of these shows. We’ll be seeing you in the final at Wembley!” and Sharon said “I want YOU in my category MRS so I can win this year!”

    Why were these comments edited out? My guess is that they’re being careful not to pimp her too much too soon, so she doesn’t burn out and do an Ella Henderson or Danyl Johnson.

    I would also say that Joseph Whelan is on paper a much stronger contender than Sam, and I agree with Panos that they would like Sharon to win or come close to winning. For these reasons, I backed the Overs category pre-series at 7.0, rather than wait for any odds on Sam and Joseph.

    • eurovicious

      Heartily agree with all of this, and that those comments were edited out is very interesting indeed – I agree with your interpretation. Overpimping has backfired in previous years (and may well also do this year in the case of Tamera) but Sam didn’t feel overpimped – but if they had included those comments, it would have felt too much like a foregone conclusion. Sam needs to retain an element of underdog to stay popular.

      • pimpin4rizeal

        Although i dont think its always a case of the early favourite burning out after being overpimped,its a case of the show producers like to change direction to stop the show being predictable and boring they put in twists and turns.
        Danyl johnson as mentioned by tim didnt burn out the seeds were planted from auditions that he was marmite and from the very first show the comments from cheryl cole were dont get cocky danyl you havent won it yet.

        Janet was another example of producers changing mind started great looking unbeatable then all of a sudden you get a vt with louis walsh defender of every irish entry before good or bad saying i find janet a bit boring =-O
        For these reasons im trying to go a bit under the radar with my early selections i just dont believe the show wants a cut and dried winner from the start.

  • Stu

    At this point, I can definitely see Tamera being a serious contender. It may seem unlikely that the producers would be pushing Nicole’s category to win this year again but that didn’t stop Cheryl winning two years in a row. I think the producers would be looking for a Girl win though. Syco have already got their international girl-group (Little Mix), their international boyband (One Direction) and their international male popstar (Olly Murs). Leona Lewis’ career has declined on a worldwide scale and Alexandra Burke has moved record labels so, from a record company’s perspective, a new female popstar would be their ideal choice.

    Melanie and Jade have re-entered far too many times in the past to be suddenly given the special treatment by producers so even if they did make the live shows, I can’t see them lasting long. Hannah has a sweet, endearing personality which is similar to Stacey Solomon, but neither were/are commercially viable. Unless the last two remaining girls through to judges houses yet to be shown (Abi and Reily – the latter was shown in the “next week montage” so isn’t Rielle) are anything commercial/special, I can see Tamera definitely being the Top Girl.

  • Stu

    I’m more inclined to believe that they edited out those comments in order to prevent Sam from getting too much popularity before the live shows. I don’t think the producers would want Sam to win for obvious reasons already mentioned and they’ll do their best to derail her at some point in the lives.

  • nugg

    two words Abi Alton watch out for her

  • pimpin4rizeal

    I echo what tim says. the judges comments were definately toned down by the edit.but im thinking its more because they have already decided shes not very marketable so dont want to build her up too much

  • Ben Cook

    How much influence do we think the record company have in the making of the show? If they have quite a bit, then surely they would never want someone like Sam to win. If it’s very little, then Sam winning is possibly a good thing for the reasons already discussed.

    • pimpin4rizeal

      Id say the ones they want to sign definately get pushed to be finalists.maybe not always the winner.
      Although in the last 2 series they managed to get the cool marketable acts across the line as winner

  • stoney

    I can certainly see TPTB favoring someone like tamara winning the show, but have my doubts they could see it through, as we know from recent years that early female favourites do not get the publics backing, diana vickers, lucie jones, janet devlin and ella henderson are prime examples of this. However the 2 young females that have bucked the trend to take the title Leona lewis and alex burke, both happened to be of mixed race ethnicity (as is tamara), and the ones the public never backed were all white Caucasian. Sure this could just be coincidental, but makes me wonder if it could again prove substantial.

    • eurovicious

      Leona and Alex were much stronger, though we’ll have to see how Tamera develops. But the reason Whitney was trending after her audition was because so many young women – white, black, all ethnicities – were seriously not impressed at her audition (or conduct). Positive comments I’ve seen about Tamera seem mostly to come from men (surprise surprise). This much suggests to me that unless her abilities dramatically improve and she gets things under control, Tamera won’t have the same level of support as Leona or even Alex. During her X Factor time, although Alex could be flaky to the point of being irritating when not performing, during her performances she always had it together – even during the Beyonce duet when she went to pieces she still stayed vocally on point. She was never outstanding but she had a fairly strong basic level of ability and control that Tamera so far appears to lack.

  • Boki

    I was in Spain (Costa Brava) a month ago and was surprised to hear JA’s “Impossible” in a local supermarket on a local radio station sandwiched between some Spanish spoken hits. Did he accomplish something bigger in the UK btw?

    • eurovicious

      He’s been launched in Europe, which seems to be part of the plan for selected X Factor acts now. The single has been high in the charts in Germany and heavily played on the radio for some time. Rebecca Ferguson was launched her last year too.

      Bizarrely, while Sugababes and Atomic Kitten were well-known here in the mid-2000s, Girls Aloud were never launched here. No-one has heard of them.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    On reflection, Hannah fascinated me. Her performance simultaneously moved and bored me.

    Is it possible to yawn and cry at the same time?

  • tpfkar

    I’ve very little to add to the comments above.

    Sam Bailey looks set for lives, but seems less than commercial and is in a category of contestants who haven’t made it to the final before.

    Tamera is exactly the kind of female contestant who we can get carried away with after the first show, and her emerging background may well make her a non–runner. Hannah looks like a decent singer but short of a superstar.

    I thought the other Luke (Justin Bieber) was stronger than the one who supposedly makes it to judges’ houses.

    Early days

  • AnnaC

    From the news coverage reported in the Digital Spy forums, Tamera is starting to look like the Gamu of 2013; a clear ‘winner’ in the audition stages but doesn’t make it to the live shows for reasons unrelated to her singing. The need for different narratives suggests that ‘grubby’ Luke may fit a wild-child niche that was not appropriate for ‘happy’ Luke. The contest still needs a character who can be fitted up with OTT productions and we haven’t seen a likely candidate yet.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Andy,

      Back from your hols?

      Yes, Tamara is a shocking 11/2 (!!!) favourite.

    • Andy, AnnaC – remember Emily Nakanda from 2007? She ended up walking the plank when already in the live shows

      Interesting to see if this becomes another Gamu situation, as AnnaC suggests above, or if they think it can be parlayed into “journey” fodder.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      A selection of headlines and quotes from the articles to which Daniel and Andy provides links:-

      [From the Daily Mail. 4/9/2013]:

      [Tamera] Received police caution for attacking Holly Wilks, 15.

      ‘Kiss my shoes or I will beat you up!’

      The 16-year-old girl [Tamera] posted pictures of what appeared to be an unlit cannabis joint and tweeted about the effect of smoking ‘Zoom’ – marijuana coated in the class-A drug PCP.

      ‘I do think the marijuana I took could have contributed to my behaviour. I was in a bad place when that happened.’


      [From UNREALITY TV 4/9/2013, quoting from The Sun]:

      Meanwhile, Holly – who is also 16 years old – said, “Tamera comes across on X Factor as a lovely girl, but the country should know she is a violent bully.

      “She followed me off a train and when I would not kiss her feet, like she asked, she beat me.”

      Of seeing Tamera on X Factor, Holly said, “As soon as I glimpsed her on camera, I knew it was Tamera.

      “I couldn’t believe it. I was eating dinner but just felt sick and couldn’t eat.

      “I couldn’t believe how angelic she appeared. The judges were impressed because she can sing.

      “I hope they boot her off the show — otherwise it sends out a very dangerous message.”


      So Tamera was bragging about smoking weed coated in angel dust! And blames the drugs for her attack on a 15 year old (for which she received an official police caution)!!

      Echoes of violent men here who blame it all on the drink.

      Done some research on this (information provided by a Police website) and I find that her police caution does not technically mean she has a criminal record, but that, still, she may be required to declare this if and when she applies for certain types of jobs.
      Public perception may be less nuanced than this.

      Done some research on the effects of PCP, one of the side effects can be amnesia (which may partly explain Tamera’s struggles with remembering lyrics).

      If Tamera followed Holly while on a train together and confronted her after Holly had exited the train (less chance of witnesses?), she can hardly say she acted on impulse.

      The ‘Kiss my feet’ order is possibly the most revealing aspect of it all.

      Personally, I don’t see how TPTB at the XF can redeem her.
      I remember how Danielle Lloyd was vilified for a while for her role in the CBB Shilpa bullying incidents.

      It took a while for the public to move on from that memory.
      Though Danielle was ultimately forgiven because she was young and very pretty, whereas Jade and Jo O’ Meara were not.
      Tamera being young, pretty and talented does play and bode well for her.

      But James Arthur doing a bit of weed while “homeless” seems very tame in comparison and can easily be viewed as harmless, understandable and a tale that elicits sympathy.

      I wonder if XF will want to stick with Tamera. She has the potential to damage the XF brand. They got rid of Tulisa and must be thanking their lucky stars they did (look at the downward spiral she is locked into).
      Do they want or need to take a chance with Tamera?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        A few extra bits:

        After the initial drugs stories broke XF management will have asked Tamera if they’re were any other bad news stories likely to pop up in the press. I wonder if she replied ‘No’? If she did, then she has damaged any trust in that key relationship.

        Again: 11/2. Lol.

        And I had to chuckle when reading that Tamera beat up Holly on Boxing Day.


  • Shoulders

    For Tamera I’ve got the feeling X Factor knew the bad press would be coming and ran with her pimping the opening shows as this would get maximum news coverage for getting XF in all the papers in a big way with an immediate controversial contestant, now its the question has she served / or soon will have served her purpose and will be ditched as soon as they feel she has, or is this the act for the public to watch grow and turn her life around, for my bet I’m hoping for the second, but the stories are quite distasteful and I fear the first, but then again 10 years of X Factor maybe the new direction for the show is taking its inspiration from the Jeremy Kyle format

    • eurovicious

      I’ve been thinking the same thing. Someone on my Twitter saw a tweet saying she’s already signed with Syco and is planned to be launched as a UK Rihanna. (I couldn’t find this tweet myself for verification, at least nothing concrete.) Add to this the show in both 2011 and 2012 tried to launch a young urban girl act (Cher Lloyd/Misha B), in both cases making notable efforts to make them “controversial”, but ultimately meeting with only mixed success. Plus Alex Burke’s time is also over now (although she was more straight-up pop). If they do want a UK Rihanna, Tamera ticks a lot of the boxes (young, hot, has the right look, mixed-race, scrappy and street but not overtly confident and threatening, not the best singer). If she gets put into the live shows at the expense of Jade, Melanie, Amy Mottram or anyone else with proper pipes and professionalism though, I’m self-immolating. (Not literally.)

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Not prepared to spend a squid on website access to The Sun, to see if this headline is being blown out of proportion:


  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I think Stu, Shoulders and eurovicious could be right.
    Great points.

    Tamera is a ridiculously attractive girl; she does have global superstar looks.
    When she reaffirmed that she was 16 years old on stage at the Arena, it reminded me of the story of Naomi Campbell being discovered at 15.

    Syco shows aren’t afraid of controversy, even with the choice of panelists. Only Syco would have given Piers Morgan the opportunity of BGT; at that point of his career Piers was a pariah, finished in journalism and showbiz.
    The reinvention of a tainted Cheryl Cole into a national sweetheart was also made possible and enabled by Syco’s XF.

    If she makes it through boot/stiletto camp, will her price dramatically shorten?

  • Stu

    Looking at the news stories over the week re: Tamera, I’ve done a u-turn and actually can’t see her winning now. The damage is done already. It’s hit the mainstream press and the general public all know what sort of character Tamera is. I still think she’ll be favoured by producers for the reasons I gave originally (being a ready-made superstar, filling a hole in the Syco roster) and they’ll ensure that she manages to at least finish top 5 (just like Misha and Cher) but I doubt she’ll have enough viewer support (most of the votes come from the older [more symapthetic/moral] demographic) to get to the final and win the show. Such a divisive act has never won before because there has always been a more inoffensive alternative. I thought originally that there was a chance Tamera could win if she still showcased a personality that wasn’t grating/over-confident (again, Cher/Misha) but she’s more “Emily, Series 4” which is even worse. I do think that she’s more to do with Syco’s interests than the TV producers’ interests though and we still haven’t seen the winner of this year’s XF on screen yet even if we might’ve seen the plan A.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Thinking back over the finishing positions of Misha B and Cher (outside the top 3) does make even an EW bet on Tamera seem a stretch.
      Mary Byrne also finished outside the top 3, so perhaps an EW bet on Sam is also an insurancey, hedgey bet that is not just justifiable.

      Though whereas Mary was 50 at the time of her run on the show, Sam, at 35, is nearly old enough to be her daughter.
      Plus Sam is a more versatile singer.

      Hopefully (if Sam and Tamera go through), on a week centred on the songbook of Elvis Presley, the XF producers will present a duet between Sam and Tamera. They can effect a virtual split screen by effecting a prison wall on stage between them. Tamera can be garbed in a prisoner’s outfit, while Sam simply wears her uniform from her day job.

      If the following lyrical stanza was performed by Sam to Tamera, then the X Factor would delight a niche viewer demographic:

      ‘Number forty-seven said to number three:
      You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
      I sure would be delighted with your company,
      Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me.’

      Could be a kind of X Factor apology to all the Jade Ellis fans for XF’s sabotage of Jade last year!!

    • eurovicious

      She won’t win. That’s not relevant to their plans for her though, assuming there are any. They just need to give her the promotion/airtime/maximum controversy and steer her through to the latter stages. I wouldn’t bet on her making the top 4 though, we’ve seen their plans go agley before. Tamera could easily be a mistake just like picking Cocozza as alpha male was in 2011. They actually have a lot in common, both chosen on the basis of youth, bad boy/girl image and perceived sex appeal despite vocal weaknesses (though his were obviously more profound than Tamera’s) and introduced in show 1 as the alpha boy/girl.

      I second Guildo on Sam’s versatility compared to Mary; she’s a great rock/soul/jazz voice.

  • Ron

    Louis hinted in an interview with TV3 yesterday (recorded at Judges House) that Luke Friend is his favourite singer in the Boys category.

  • Stu

    I think she will make top 4 tbh. She’s closer to Cher than Frankie in terms of her role in the show imo. I don’t think her and Frankie are similar at all. Tamera can definitely sing (her youtube videos prove so) while Frankie could hardly hold a tune and Frankie’s “bad boy” image was shoved in the audience’s faces in the actual show whereas I don’t think Tamera was ever promoted to be the “bad girl” and I refuse to believe that the press surrounding Tamera was planned by producers because she was shown as really decent and likeable on screen.

  • Shoulders

    Hi Sofabet users, check out this years X Factor app, the 5th judge part, with a live insight into people using the apps opinion of the act while they are on screen, think this will be a useful tool once the lives start for the elimation betting

  • PG

    Early contender for worst X factor value of 2013 , hats off to stan James for their 8/1 outright price on Amy Mottram for someone who hasn’t even made it to judges house by all accounts that is a generous price indeed! Even sky bet offer 66/1 on the outright.

  • Nugg

    I have placed a speculative early bet on Abi Alton @ 12/1 , she was outstanding at bootcamp and in live audtions. I know she makes judges houses, just hope she is selected for lives.

  • Nugg

    Abi Altons first private judges audition makes me laugh a bit, They clearly don’t want her to appear too good initially and she is following instructions how to behave, the producers know how good she is, Louis is following producers instructions to creating doubt and being unsure, watch the improvement in arena auditions and again in bootcamp show 🙂 For the record I was at both, Abi is the highlight of the bootcamp show 🙂

  • Boki

    Didn’t see yesterday’s episode yet but looked for Abi last week on YT, lot of clips with live gigs and she sounds like a great (and experienced) performer indeed. But all the stuff she does is in the same slow acoustic range so it might appeal as boring after some weeks (like Ella or similar) if she can’t switch to another mode.

    • Dan

      But all the stuff she does is in the same slow acoustic range so it might appeal as boring after some weeks

      That was my thought as well. Couldn’t help but compare her to Janet Devlin from 2011. However if she makes the lives, she will be popular with the voters, at least at the start.

  • Gavster

    I reckon Abi is being saved for Sunday’s pimp slot where she will finally earn Louis’ backing. In one weekend she has completed her first journey which adds to her story and builds her identity with the watching public. She possibly a tad too similar to Melanie, who in my opinion, had the stronger VT.

  • R

    Fully expect Abi to get the pimp slot tonight. The way she was dressed, with the hippy flowers and larger glasses, is a far cry from the confident, stylish look I’ve seen on her Facebook, Twitter and YT pages. She really “geeked up” for the performance, including putting on an over-cute voice. This suggests she is already playing the game with TPTB.
    I agree with Gavster that she reason Louis “wasn’t sure” was so he could backtrack and say he was won over by her.
    She has already released a CD and has several original tracks on YT, plus plays the piano, so I expect these to be used for vote boosts during the lives.

    I found Amy disappointing and Jade not much better. The Dolly Rockers were better than expected and I have to agree with Borelowzzzzz that Melanie was the best performance of the night.
    It was interesting that the returnees were only shown on Xtra-Factor last year but have been promoted to the main show this time around.

    I found Louis’ tears over Melanie very strange. Will this be a lead up to a shock tearjerker of an exit at Judges’ houses or a shoe-in for the lives. I feel that she is the contestant to pull in the Irish voters.

    It all feels very 2011.

  • eurovicious

    A lot of time was wasted last night – in both shows – making fun of daft apeths who weren’t even that funny.

    – Suspect the yodelling guy has served his purpose. It was a good performance and he’d learnt the technique well but that was pretty reedy for yodelling.

    – I’ve championed Melanie McCabe before when others have said she’s quite bland, but on the basis of last night I now agree wholeheartedly. I’m mystified as to why she’s received preferential treatment over Jade both this year and last (when Melanie was prominently featured and highly praised on the main show but Jade relegated to the Xtra Factor). She’s vocally fine but her voice lacks character, nuance and recognisability, and I could say the same of her girly, wet blanket personality. Although we didn’t hear much of Jade and Amy in that montage last night, they were both far better with much more power, dynamism, emotion and personality in their voices. I thought Amy was especially good. I liked Melanie last year but her rendition of Diamonds last night was more cubic zirconia – it left me totally cold, I found it pedestrian, emotionally flat and boring. Sing like you feel it, girl! The praise heaped on her was disproportionate, and Louis’ loss of impartiality was galling too. What gets my goat also is that these girls (Jade, Melanie, Amy etc) are encouraged to think they’ve been getting something wrong in previous years – that they didn’t progress because of their talent – when in fact their failure to reach the live shows is more because they have less marketable personalities/images than those put through, combined with the extremely tough competition. X Factor is not the only road to success so they shouldn’t stake everything on it – there’s nothing wrong with working in a supermarket but Jade and Amy should be gigging, making contacts, recording and uploading music etc. Relying on the vague hope of X Factor stardom is too passive an approach if you’re that talented and really care about your career. I almost wish Jade would turn her back on X Factor. I’m reminded of Rolf Roosalu, who after entering the Estonian national final 6 years on the trot and never coming higher than about 4th, basically said “fuck it, I’m not doing this anymore” after losing again this year. It was the right decision.

    – I loved Relley, not just because her hair reminds me of Vice Versas, but I don’t think they should put her through. She’s good but not extraordinary and her voice is also relatively characterless. In a show where only 3 girls can go through, I don’t think she’s outstanding enough.

    – The Welsh girl on Xtra Factor had tuning issues. Not ready yet.

    – Shelley won’t make it past judges’ houses. Skilled singer with good voice but I didn’t like her personality and Sam beats her on every front.

    – I think Abi is extremely dangerous. She shares a lot of features with previous “chosen ones” Janet and Ella but without their respective drawbacks – vocally she’s very strong, she’s cute and likeable but not twee, insecure or flaky, she has a fair amount of professional experience, and she’s ordinary but not boring. When she came on in her hipster glasses with flowers in her hair and a guitar, my bile was already rising, but her performance served as an aural antacid. Which is to say I like her, quite a lot, despite hers being a genre I don’t normally care for.

    – What with its awkward/unfunny male-female host combo, Israelis, yodelling, and Latvian “elven princess”, Xtra Factor this year is basically Eurovision, isn’t it?

    – If the JH spoiler list is correct, we’ve seen all 6 girls now in the first two shows, which would seem a lot upfront. Last week’s shows invested a lot in Hannah and Tamera, last night’s invested in Melanie, and I expect tonight’s to invest further in Abi. On that basis I’d be inclined to provisionally rule out Relley and Jade for the lives. Melanie got the “it feels different this year” treatment, Jade didn’t.

    • Gavster

      Pretty much on a par with my thoughts EV. The Janet/Ella comparisons are scary given how quickly public perception changed. Hopefully Abi has much more to offer. She certainly appears easier to connect with on an emotional level, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her.

      The problem with Relley, even though it was suggested she wouldn’t be cleaning rooms again, is her strong brummie accent. It has never been a marketable asset and isn’t as lovable as Essex or perhaps Newcastle. I have no doubt her dodgy weave will be retired by bootcamp which may soften her image and show greater promise.

      As for picking who might proceed to the live shows, I’m clueless. I know the games this show likes to play. On potential alone, my three would be: Tamera, Abi and Hannah. If the PR machine doesn’t sufficiently repair Tamera’s soiled reputation, I suspect Melanie might be given a chance.

  • Highlighted

    I liked Abi yday and I like Melanie from before I would hope those 2 go through most likely with Tamera.

    Guessing Abi will get huge pimping tonight

  • stoney

    A lot of people pinning hopes on a big pumping for abi tonight, if this doesn’t happen and melanie gets the preferential treatment then abi Is going to have her work cut out making it far in this year’s show. I must say that neither melanie or abi struck me lastnight as having enough to do what no other white girl has done and win the competition

  • Highlighted

    We have only seen 1 boy from the spoiler list so far. Looks like boys will get pimped in future audition shows

  • Nugg

    In my opinion, Abi will be bookies favourite for this year, if not after tonights show, certainly after bootcamp. She appears to be willing to play along with whatever the producers want her to do to create an image/journey/story and she is incredibly talented and a seasoned performer in front of crowds. There is an AWFUL lot of VT footage yet to be used of her, she is for me definately the choice of TPTB, although they do not have the best track record of pulling off the result they want. If you bet now at double figure prices I am confident you will be able to lay at shorter odds later.

    • Boki

      I’m still not sure about that Nugg, she didn’t receive obvious Janet/Ella treatment yet and those two failures might influence the market this year. She will probably shorten somewhat if pimped tonight but the boys are still to come and I’m afraid of the Lucy Spraggan odds trajectory (I mean you back her now at double figure and she shortens afterwards but by the time you can lay off at betfair she’s sky high again). What I’m pretty sure is that Melanie’s odds are ridiculously short at the moment.

  • Gavster

    Two by my reckoning. Luke and Ryan

  • Highlighted

    Abi being bugged up on X Factor official twitter page if that’s any relevance

  • Tim B

    Hi Daniel, just wondering if you’ll be doing a Strictly preview article this year?

  • Stu

    I think the three girls through to the lives will be Melanie, Tamera and Abi with Hannah being the big shock exit at JHs. I don’t see why the producers would give Melanie a lot of airtime again just to be turned away at judges houses again. It would seem extremely tedious, let alone cruel. The producers must either have big plans for her or they’ll just finally give her a shot in the lives, giving her a place at the expense of a girl with more potential, and therefore helping Abi to progress. I think the same tactics were used in 2011 when Sophie Habibis was given a chance over Amelia because she was no threat to Janet (Amelia certainly was, judging by the bookies.

    I think Abi is definitely the producers’ chosen one this year. They’ll try and correct where they went wrong with Janet in 2011. She’s probably the second-most obvious girl to make it in my opinion at the moment. That’s not to say that I think she’ll win if she becomes as monotonous as Ella/Janet in the lives. There’s certainly a journey planned for her (also, random point, but her “dad’s my best friend/biggest fan” story was very similar to Amelia’s I thought).

    With Melanie and Janet presumably taking two spots in the lives, I think Tamera is the almost certainty for the lives. She’s basically an unsigned superstar at the moment – she’s got the looks, commercial appeal, the voice, the headlines. I don’t think the press will stop the producers from putting her through.

    I can’t see Jade getting past judges houses with the poor airtime she’s received. Relley doesn’t really strike me as interesting/controversial/commercial enough to be given a slot over the aforementioned three. Hannah’s the one I’m not so sure about but I’m wondering if the producers would want two black girls in the top 3. A lot of viewers would compare the two (see the Alexandra/Leona comparisons) and the producers may be scared of a possible split-vote (the American Idol “racist” controversy comes to mind when three black women (Jennifer Hudson was one) were all outstanding one week yet all ended up in the bottom three).

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Liked Abi’s audition performance and am doubly impressed to hear that not only does she have WGWAG power but WGWAP power also! Girl-next-door looks won’t harm her chances either.

    The XF “credibility” theme can strengthen further with Abi. On her twitter page she lists herself as a singer/songwriter, too. The girl is an all-round musician. Credibility as a singer, songwriter and as a multi-instrumentalist.

    It’s easy to imagine the XF executives have already been plotting Abi’s progress through their competition.

    It’s the logical progression for the credibility theme and it can be seen from the recent BGT results that the country is a little fatigued with the televisual onslaught of singers being thrust at them.

    Since the start of The Voice, BGT’s, 2012 and 2013 winners have not been singers. This year’s BGT was won by a dance-shadow theatre act, with a comedian second and the opera brothers in third just, just holding off (by 0.7%) a ventriloquist.

    Somewhere above (on this thread, I think) a sofabet commentator has mentioned that there has never been a white solo female winner of XF. After nine series, that’s an amazing stat.

    Thinking about the two female winners, Leona and Alexandra: they had powerhouse voices.

    Listening to Abi’s performance, I liked her ‘an all, but she seemed to have a bit of a quiet voice, to my ears.

    I had a Jessie J moment listening to Abi. Like Jessie, when listening to Liam Tamne’s audition (in this year’s Voice) she beseeched ‘More power!’.

    In the last few words of her Dixie Chicks song, Abi does hint at deeper note power, with the way she expresses ‘…soldiers coming home’.

    I’ve always liked Joni Mitchell’s voice and like folk music, but generally I don’t like the American-tinged country(ish) voice. I just don’t like the tone of Abi’s voice and a medley of songs from her would annoy me.

    I like her skill at controlling her talented voice but I don’t really enjoy listening to the sound of her voice.
    And the American tinge irritates me.
    There’s something about Abi that seems to make me think of Dawson’s Creek!

  • R

    I don’t see the “failures” of Janet and Ella relating at all to Abi.
    It took 6 weeks for TPTB to turn the pubilc away from Janet and they placed the “boring” tag in the public’s mind week after week. Her personality and style away from the XF show her to be a completely different character than we had been led to believe.

    I can’t even remember anything about Ella’s personality so assume they whitewashed her with supreme efficiency. Given that they show had already started the “sexy James” campaign from week 1 of the lives and saved him over Ella, he was obviously plan A and she was a disposable used to pimp him over the line.

    The show can go either way with Abi. At the moment, I believe she could be the female winner they were looking for in 2011, until the show realised it couldn’t control Janet and had to bring her down.

    Abi has also shown she is willing to play the game. With the question marks over Tamera, she is currently my number 1 female for the show. Unfortunately, I found her whole persona and put-on voice so fake that I found it difficult to judge her performance honestly.

    • eurovicious

      Maybe I’m seeing this through the prism of someone who’s only been “properly” watching the show since 2011, but this is how I see it:

      – Janet was young for her years and a highly unreliable performer and personality. Her voice was unstable and reedy, and she overrelied on a specific vocal gimmick (ending lines with a Dolores O’Riordan-style pseudo-yodel to the point of it becoming grating)
      – Ella was mature, stable, comparatively confident and vocally accomplished and reliable. But also a bit dull. As Tim pointed out, part of the problem was they kept giving her balladised versions of fun upbeat songs with the life sucked out of them.
      – Abi shares many of the positive characteristics of the above two “chosen ones”, and a bit of Spraggers too, but without their respective drawbacks and with more career experience than either. And I doubt she’s naive about the show. I didn’t perceive her singing or speaking voice as “put on”. However, the annoyance factor is something worth considering. There’s the risk that her style and voice will be marmite to a certain degree.

  • Nugg

    60 minutes away from a new market leader on XF…good luck all 🙂

  • stoney

    Even though abi got the pimp spot melanie blew her out of the park in my opinion, I’m clearly in the minority but I can’t see abi ever winning this show, voice isn’t strong enough

    • eurovicious

      Yeah, Melanie blew her out of the park because that’s where she’ll be living once she loses her house. *plays world’s smallest air violin*

  • eurovicious

    Brief thoughts on tonight’s pimpfest before I go to bed (I can’t be arsed with Xtra Factor, despite the possibility of more Shervin):

    – I really liked Melanie until this year but the show’s nauseating lionisation of her at the expense of poor Jade, who I love and who is in a whole other league, is driving me nuts. I’m finding Melanie irritating and bland, both vocally and personally. I don’t care how poor she is – you think Jade, Amy, Hannah, Relley etc are rich? No, the information is just withheld in those cases. The more the show tries to make me care, the less I care. Their treatment of Jade boils my piss, can they not see the reason she’s not happy in herself is that she’s putting herself through this again, opening herself up to another devastating rejection, perhaps against her better judgment and beyond a point where she can emotionally cope with it anymore? Fuxake. Jade also trended on Twitter during and after the show both last night and tonight, Melanie didn’t. I don’t know why they’re going with Melanie when Jade has much more of an online fanbase.
    – A look at Twitter reveals that a fair few people are going to find Abi irritating. There’s an issue too in how much variety she can offer. Not much.
    – Barclay was even better tonight. Nicole’s German ancestry is showing through – yodelling is hot. He should have come in his lederhosen. I sure did.
    – Abi’s voice is very very similar to Chiara Dubey’s (Swiss NF the past 2 years). Chiara is better though. This point has no relevance.
    – Euphoria Girls may look like some sort of Barely Legal Stoposto Te Ljubam tribute act but they were better than their closed-room audition, I didn’t think it was all that bad. I had a real feeling the many many audience and judge reaction shots, telling us what to think, may have been taken from another performance (or the stock “mortified” can).

  • Nugg

    Abi was a nice back to lay at double figures, not sure if she can win but at least I know I can take a profit or sit on a free bet, FWIW there is further improvement in bootcamp show in which she again gets the pimp slot. She,will be 4/1 after that 🙂

  • Curtis

    It’s interesting that people constantly talk about Janet/Ella as if their stories are interchangable. Superficially perhaps, both as favourites who ultimately failed. However recall that Janet failed because of producer treatment and Ella failed in spite of it. Ella is an example of someone who seemed popular but in reality could never have won. Janet is an example of how far the producers will go to get rid of someone who is non-compliant.

  • Andy

    I must be in the minority Stoney, I was quick to dive in at 14/1 on Melanie when the market came in yesterday and thought she was even better tonight.
    If she makes the lives and I think she will, the public will surely warm to her for her perserverance and persistance over the years, she is likely to go along way in this years show.

  • stoney

    I dunno bout that to be honest, personally I prefer to see new acts than returning past failures. I never bet on an act until I’ve seen them all, Sam from episode 1 still remains my favourite at this point

  • annie

    Mark my words: Abi Alton will be 4th, just like all those outstanding yet somewhat marmite acts before her (diana vickers, danyl, cher lloyd…) and just like lucy spraggan would have been (hadnt she left willingly)

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