X Factor 2013 Week 4 Elimination: Saturday Night Fever

I’m still gutted that they cancelled Halloween (week). An X Factor live show is a bizarre alternate universe that suits the Day of the Dead. The franchise’s three Halloween incarnations seemed to specialise in female sacrifice – Belle Amie, Sophie Habibis and Jade Ellis the victims of some devilish shenanigans.

Whilst the disco theme promises more energy than last week’s moribund programme, finding the pre-show elimination value is becoming a trickier affair. The market calls it between Abi, Kingsland Road and Sam Callahan, with Rough Copy the most likely looking outsiders and Hannah expected to bounce. I can’t argue with that, and it will likely be a Saturday that I wait till we’re in-running before getting involved.

On what little we actually know about the voting, Kingsland Road would appear in most danger of another bottom two appearance. They have the dubious honour of being the only act beaten by Shelley Smith in a phone vote. Admittedly, this was when they were sent on in the Strictly overlap during week 2 (it lasts 15 minutes tonight) and given the colour vomit treatment.

This week the boyband are coming off a sympathy bounce, which more often than not sees an act in the bottom two again, as it did for girlband Belle Amie at this stage in 2010 and for Union J after each of their three singoff saves last year. Not always, though: District 3 went from a week 2 rescue to relative safety right through to week 6.

However, they were aided by a decent ramp in week 3 and harsh criticism that motivated their fanbase in weeks 4 and 5. Kingsland Road’s sympathy bounce didn’t seem so pronounced for ‘Pretty Woman’ last week. They were accused of being “cheesy”; this week’s song choice, ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, only seems likely to accentuate that.

The boyband vies for favouritism in the bottom two market with Abi, who hasn’t been there yet. She’s an interesting test case in that she fits the mould of week 4 departees Jade Ellis and Sophie Habibis, having received the gamma girl edit from bootcamp onwards. Unlike those two London acts, however, she was given plenty of momentum in her initial arena audition and has a regional fanbase. She also inhabits more of a niche than those two examples.

Still, ever since the “one-trick pony” comment at Judges’ Houses, the week 1 song choice and the “bum notes” VT that accompanied it, I think producers have had it in for her. But harsh criticism that reduced her to tears on stage last week helped motivate her fans – she clearly has more to count on than Sophie Habibis who, after a classic deramping VT that made it to number two in our top ten manipulative moments of the season, was offensively told by Louis: “You’re like a secretary who sings at the weekend”.

Last week’s criticism of Abi – which we were reminded of nearer the time of the flash vote with a backstage interview – combined with the arguably helpful staging and song choice may have been part of the larger plan to get Miss Dynamix eliminated last week. Expect judges to be lukewarm and non-provocative in their response to an Abi-fied ‘I Will Survive’ if they really want to go after her this weekend – which I think they will.

Sam Callahan is another of the likelier elimination contenders who has avoided the bottom two so far. Given that he managed to do so with a minor U2 song during the Strictly overlap last week is encouraging for his chances this week – though for all we know, it may have been a close call.

‘Relight My Fire’ is an interesting song choice for him. It has good viewer recognition thanks to the Take That cover, and the Take That lead singer ready to critique it. Sam is a confident performer and mover on the stage; most would argue that vocals are his main drawback. Disco week arguably plays more to his strengths than weaknesses.

Rough Copy continue to be ramped, based on the staging and judges’ comments last week. Their harmonies have been weak, which is why a huge backing track helped them out for ‘Everything I Do’ – Miss Dynamix weren’t treated so kindly. As I said last week, I’ll need to see evidence of deramping before backing them for a surprise bottom two appearance.

‘September’ offers an encouraging narrative for the boyband, given that it’s their first chance to do something upbeat. Listen out for the sound production as an indication of whether they’re still favoured by The Powers That Be.

I have faith in the sympathy bounce, especially once the worst acts have gone early in the series, and that means I expect to see Hannah safe this week. Quite how much of a boost she gets from producers will be fascinating to see. On two out of three occasions so far, her staging has been far from helpful.

Luke Friend, meanwhile, has had a succession of useful productions and slots in the running order. He’s due an earlier spot this week, but ‘Play That Funky Music’ could be an inspired song choice to cement his position as the dark horse of the competition

That leaves us with the frontrunners in the win market –  Tamera, Nicholas and Sam Bailey. Clearly all three are in this competition for the long-haul, so their treatment has more relevance in this respect. Tamera has had three late slots so far and I’m still of the opinion that she’s not polling as highly as The Powers That Be would like.

Nicholas and Sam Bailey are clearly polling well, so it’s worth looking out for further indications of brakes being applied by producers. So far, I’ve seen more evidence of it in Sam Bailey’s case than Nicholas’s, although both are being pigeonholed to some extent.

You can hear me talk about tonight’s show with Richard Betsfactor on our latest podcast.

You can listen directly here.

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Do keep your comments coming below. It’s been a delight to witness the breadth and depth of knowledge being displayed – long may it continue.


42 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 4 Elimination: Saturday Night Fever

  • Panos

    Cancelling Halloween Week was probably not without a hidden agenda, but what could that be? Maybe ousting Abi.

  • Abi’s crying probably derailed their attempts to knock her out. Considering that her song will probably help her with votes (and they’re probably planning on kicking her out with That’s Life next week), but who’s the target? Maybe a frontrunner is underachieving and is due a nudge?

  • Chatterbox5200

    On the topic of themes, I wonder if the re-introduction of “Big Band Week” next week – for the first time since Series 6 – is more to do with Robbie Williams’ appearance (who has a new swing album to promote), or to help support “Baby Buble” and possibly Sam Bailey?

  • I’ve backed Abi to go this week, fancy an early slot,lots of red and black and middle of the road comments

    I’ve also back Rough Copy for a Bottom two appearance, as I have a feeling Kingsland will be pimped this week and Sam C picking up votes due to some banter with Gary and his large social media support.

    Here’s my full thoughts on this weekend if you fancy reading my full logic http://www.cherryanalysts.co.uk/2013/x-factor-live-show-4/

  • Jessica Hamby

    Is the desire for a balanced tour line-up likely to influence TPTB at all? Given that Tamera and Sam Bailey are pretty much dead certs, would they want Hannah as well? If they take Nicholas and Luke does that make Sam Callahan superflous? Pop in Rough Copy instead and you’ve got quite a nice line-up. I have no idea if the tour is a concern or not. Any ideas?

    • They got District3 and Union J last year (with help from the judges, who rightfully bashed District3 for a really bad performance in Week 5), so I’m guessing that it’s not much of a priority? I think it depends on who they think can attract fans to watch the show (that’s pretty much why they caved 3 years ago to accommodate Aiden on the tour but not Treyc).

    • EM

      There’s no rules about who goes on the tour.

  • Dean

    Nic’s slots so far have been 2 , 3 and 4 if I am not mistaken… so he is surely due a later one? Oh wait, it does not work like this. Would not be surprised to see Luke in the pimp slot and Nicholas out in the first 2 again. The XF aren’t afraid to be quite blatant like that.

    • They’re usually more subtle with late slots than with early slots. Producers’ darlings get a week or two in an early/mid slot, and the closest thing to shoving towards the end that I’ve seen is Wagner… and even he wasn’t as close to the end as Luke is.

  • eurovicious

    When Leah McThing did I Will Survive in The Gob, it charted in the top 10, didn’t it? Despite the fact her vocal style is nails down a blackboard. Really interested to see what Downbeat Abi makes of it tonight.

  • Panos


  • I reckon we might see Sam Bailey’s first pimp slot tonight. It can realistically only be between her and and Nicholas, and her song is more epic-sounding than his.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Is Abi capable of coming out fighting? I’m not suee she is.

  • EM

    I Will Survive is a hugely popular song especially with women, especially with older women.

    The lyrics of the song are all about being your own person and not letting negative people bring you down to their level, at times it is almost like an anti bullying song.

    Without seeing the performance or hearing the arrangement it’s impossible to be sure but it’s possible Abi’s being set up to be a survivor against unloving judges, a knowing Maloney if you like.

    We’ll see.

  • Plenty of Color Vomit for Chic 😉

  • Chatterbox5200

    Is having Chic playing at the start of the show a way to minimize the impact of the Strictly overlap?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Kingsland for B2. Rank running position, colour vomit and disjointed camerawork, finally Nicole says “throw them away” – talking about mics but in such a spurious cobtext that her words can only have one connotation.

  • Is Sam C this years Novelty Act?

  • Bit of a shot at the Beeb by Sam C “It’s not The Voice, it’s the X Factor” . Scripted line?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Will Sam get the sympathy votes after taking a beating?

  • Natasha

    Im hoping my wee Mc Nick gets pimp slot 🙂 and Stoney, where you hiding? lol

  • annie

    dear Abi not only in front of a bus, but chained to the road as well? (over pimped rouch copy- wee mcNic sandwich as well as just after a break with a questionable song choice 😀 )

  • stoney

    Lol good too see my phrases bring used (chained to the floor)

    I’m still about tash, been more of a viewer then a commenter this week. I’m in heavy with kingsland for bottom 2 and let’s hope mcnic can do this mj number justice. The pimping of luke is becoming a small concern

    • Kevin

      Luke was 40/1 last Saturday with 365 and regret not having a bet at that, was 16/1 soon afterwards.

    • Natasha

      Mmm, not as good as I was hoping for! Next week is big band week and im sure he will do it justice with an almight pimp slot hopefully!!

      • stoney

        Wasnt feeling that at all. His worst performance of the series. That was the judges chances to deramp him if they wanted but they obviously have bigger plans for him than that.

        • Natasha

          I was thinking the same. Louis said he had ‘it’ he had the ‘x factor’. His price will drift even more after toinghts show so maybe its time to take the plunge lol

  • Jessica Hamby

    Is it possible Abi could throw a spanner in the works and generate enough momentum to win? That was tremendous.

    • eurovicious

      It was tremendous but she won’t win, people don’t have enough taste.

      • Jessica Hamby

        She could sneak a top 3 spot. That kind of thing sells well. Also she has a lot of power in her voice, she just saves it and uses it sparingly, something Hannah has yet to learn. She’s getting very sympathetic camerawork. She’s not going anywhere for a while. I’m seeing a Joan Armatradingtype of artist, and in her day she was huge.

  • R

    Thought that was Abi’s best performance of the series with great lighting, camera work (long lingering shots) and a giant silver heart floating over the piano.
    Will definitely delight the demo.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’m glad I’m still only imaginary betting. In my head I piled on Abi to go and Kingsland for b2. Now my head is taking a small piece of Abi for the win before she shortens. Sam C is in a bit of bother. Mind you, he was never a contender once he opened his mouth.

  • stoney

    Tamera top price 9/2 for bottom 2 tomorrow!

  • Nissl

    Much more fun, positive show this week. Thank goodness.

    Test week for Luke’s support sending him out first? Kingsland Road is an obvious target. Tamera was better vocally (still not great, but good and even connected a smidgen, for her). I assume it’s since she didn’t have to move. Still heavily supported. Sam C is ably filling the novelty act controversy role with Gary. Now will Gary see if he can do the subtle deramping 7th place as well as Simon?

    Abi’s the other target, but she connected for me given the constraints of her nasal, flat voice. Better pianist than vocalist, really. Classic lukewarm-ish comments and flushed with Nic, but they did let her cry. Bit of softening for Nic (showing the “hate” comment in the VT as well as judges’ comments.) They probably aren’t pondering dumping him for Luke, just softening him for Tamera… right? It’ll be interesting to see who gets the classic week 5 pimp slot. Hannah better emotion, smiles, but a bit shouty and heavy breathing on the mike didn’t do her many favors. Good performance and plenty of help for Sam B.

    I swear Gary Barlow is reading my comments. I mention Hannah crying constantly, he mentions it. I say they need to let Rough Copy loose, he says it. Well then here’s another one: pending a tape review, I think Joey’s the best voice in RC. Don’t say it, but he should be opening and closing most of the songs. The other two are all right, but get swallowed up on stage a bit.

    I’m off to a work retreat next weekend, but I look forward to all of your comments.

    • eurovicious

      Nissl, they are reading comments! Last week I wrote about the show having alienated its gay audience with the only 2 big camp divas being voted off in the first 2 weeks, and what do they do? Go full-on 1970s disco, and I mean full-on – no worries about catering to a younger demographic here! – open the show with an extended disco performance by a guest act, and replace Nicole with RuPaul. Then they make Sam get his guns out and give Hannah and Sam big upbeat “ain’t nobody stealin’ my man”-type songs and stick them in the final two slots. Now this is more like it!

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