X Factor 2013 Week 5 Elimination: That’s Life, Abi

As discussed in the latest podcast, last week’s assassination job on Kingsland Road was very much a classic X Factor kill of yesteryear. The boys were put on in a graveyard slot with a boring VT, bad styling and staging, followed by judges’ comments that failed to give any reason to motivate support.

The dropping of the Flash Vote made it feel more like the old days too, though it hadn’t stopped intended victims Miss Dynamix being successfully targeted the week before. As always, and it’s a raison d’etre of this site, reading producers’ minds can give punters an edge. And their intentions for week 5 seems to have become clearer as we near the live show.

Joint-favourite in the elimination market is Sam Callahan, but we’ve had a week to digest that he is being set up as the anti-Gary villain in this year’s pantomime. The Disco Week live show indicated this in many ways: from song choice to terrible staging to the repeated shots of Gary’s jaw dropping to the judges’ comments to the repeated mentions of “harsh criticism”.

Having set up the storyline, I see no reason why it won’t be followed through this weekend. Sam’s continued presence in the headlines, whether for selling merchandise or the amount of backflips he can do, only reinforces the idea. That makes him the same false favourite for elimination that Rylan and Wagner were at this stage, as acts that producers would like to keep around “controversially” for a week or two more.

He shares a best price of 9/4 to go with Abi Alton, for whom the red flags have been waved during the week. We’ve had comments from the likes of Paul Potts about her suitability in the competition, remarks that “she’s not so sweet… not so innocent” from the Kingsland Road boys, whilst her song choice of Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’ – as AlisonR marvellously pre-empted in our comments section – has a 100% X Factor record in seeing off those who sing it.

There could be a few reasons why it doesn’t connect as a song: it’s not the most well-known big band number, tune-wise it meanders around without a big moment, and the lyrics are highly suggestive of failure. Either way, as Jessica pointed out, the most likely explanation here is the one we stick to: they’ve given Abi this number because they want her out this week.

Given prodcuers growing effectiveness in eliminations this series, we have to recommend Abi at 9/4 to go against a joint-favourite whom they’d rather see stay. The argument against is that she has a niche and some regional support, which has helped keep her in the competition so far. That much is true, and could see her avoid the bottom two again this week.

However, I can’t help but think that the generally unhelpful song choices from week 1 onwards have seen her as nothing more than an also-ran in the phone vote, with the possible exception of week 3, when she cried on stage at some harsh criticism. She was in much better form last week, but slowing down an iconic song such as ‘I Will Survive’ is not traditionally a way to shine among the voting public in this competition.

Producers know that if Abi and Sam Callahan are in the bottom two, they need to get Abi to the bottom of the pack to save Sam in a controversial deadlock situation. I think she’ll be treated accordingly tonight, and her price will contract as a result.

The other short-priced act in the elimination market is Hannah, who we have admitted is dispensable in our midweek article. This has made her a popular choice to go this week among our commenters, plenty of whom were snapping up 9/2 earlier in the week. She now stands at just 3/1.

It’s worth pointing out that even last week, when they were as kind to Abi as we’ve seen so far, there was still a gulf in their treatment, with Hannah given a better VT, running order position, staging and comments. Whilst the staging hasn’t always been so helpful for the latter, song choice generally has been, another huge difference between them.

That hasn’t stopped Hannah falling into the bottom two, unlike Abi. And this week she comes back off a sympathy bounce. Once again, however, giving her ‘A Man’s World’ which propelled Mary Byrne to the top of the phove vote in 2010, suggests to me that producers are happier to keep her around for at least one more week compared to her northern rival.

I can’t rule out a surprise bottom two appearance for the likes of Rough Copy or Luke Friend, who have recieved nothing but praise and help during the series so far. How far Rough Copy in particular are connecting with the public is open to question, but I noted stories this week about them wanting to duet with Take That in the final, and it’s interesting that they are being name-checked this way in the press, if not yet explicitly on the show.

Prodcuers will want to avoid either of these acts falling into a singoff with Sam Callahan, which is another reason to target Abi (or indeed Hannah) this week.

Otherwise, some commenters have questioned Tamera’s ability to sympathy bounce following her “shock” bottom two appearance last week. I can’t envisage anything but a big pimping tonight that should see her safe, however. Meanwhile it’s very hard to see Nicholas McDonald and Sam Bailey in the bottom two at this stage.

I have backed Abi Alton for elimination already this week at slightly bigger prices, but the suggestions that she is producers’ target make 9/4 still reasonble enough to tip. Let us know your thoughts on this weekend’s elimination market below.

71 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 5 Elimination: That’s Life, Abi

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Little variAbility and sociialAbility make Abi a LiAbility.

    *Am currently playing Scrabble – that’s my excuse*

  • lolhart

    I think Hannah’s treatment tonight will be interesting. If she lands in the bottom 2 with Sam C (and polls lower than him), I think she’ll be out. Sharon could easily justify siding with Louis and she’s not coming back next year anyway. The shows needs a controversial result more than ever.

    • eurovicious

      I think Sam C may well escape the B2 again. He has a lot of multivoting fans. Plus now that he’s the new novelty act and with the show suffering in the ratings, they might even do something like put him on last with a big production, one designed to entertain rather than harm him like last week.

  • AnnaC

    I don’t think people care very much about Gary in the way that people used to vote to annoy Simon. Rylan vs Gary worked because Rylan’s retorts were funny and also he clearly revelled in his OTT productions. If Sam can be entertaining to watch and can show goodwill/humour when talking back to Gary then he will stay. However, I don’t believe people will vote for Sam simply in order to irritate Gary.

  • I agree with almost every word of this. They can get away with giving Tamera a later slot this week, stick in a favourable VT and she should bounce. I said on the superb podcast you mention, that Rough Copy have moved to “Amber” for me.

    Like you Daniel, I can’t really see past Abi to go this week; they really need a clean hit as well – maybe a little RnB action? The key to watch for is which judge makes some comments that won’t make them look hypocritical in a 2v2 save with Sam, if it gets to that.

    So one judge needs to both:

    a. Slate Abi or be “a little bit disappointed” with her performance this week. She’s brave.

    b. Congratulate Sam, or feel he’s really moved on, or this is more his style blah blah.

    Spot the judge who does both of those things, and that’s the one that will save Sam in the singoff to take us to deadlock, if he hits the bottom two.

    A second school of thought is a “shock” bottom two placing with Abi would be perfect as well. So if we see something bizarre, like fire for Luke/Rough Copy, then it could be “let’s get the double benefit of a shock and also an easy Abi kill”.

    I just can’t see past Abi going. Only tears or immense banter can save her!

  • I wonder if Louis will pull his “there’s something missing” (previously done on Scott Bruton and Sophie Habibis) on Abi this week. Also, if they miss the shot with Abi, who are they willing to throw out? Maybe that will be the second target.

    Also, Simon will make an appearance. How will that change things?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    That’s Life must be a Syco ordered song-choice for Abi (or maybe she feels it speaks to her experience on the show).

    I imagine then that she’ll be marooned on stage on her own (on a small, (bit of a) square plinth?). They could even afford to spotlight her, against a darkened indistinct background, as this would heighten the sense of her being alone and anti-social. Maybe the spotlight could be the glow from a lamppost? Which lends a creepy tone.

    Alternatively (or in addition) you could have a small, tight group of people (dressed brightly and smiley) perform the call-back ‘that’s life(s)’ near the top of both opening verses,who then promptly walk off stage, as though on their way to a party. They could motion to her to come with them but she knocks them back (holding on to her lamppost?) This might highlight she is not a ‘party person’, is a bit of a loner.

    I guess they’ll be little use of Richard’s Colour Vomit technique used in this particular staging choice, as XF will want to focus in on the sense of narrowness and depression and fatalism.

    Constricted thinking is also known as ‘black and white’ thinking so they will probably be the two “colours” (I know technically they’re not classed as colours). Foreboding brick walls (if they did go with a lampposted street scene) on set would further the idea of constriction and hint pejoratively at Abi’s mental state, at being a difficult-to-reach recluse.

    Anyway, that’s my guesswork…

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Plus the song is v likely to be left to finish on ‘die’, and I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘King’ was left as is, with no sign of the standard ‘Queen’ substitution.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        A further way to “depress” Abi’s vote would be to squeeze her in a sandwich of upbeat Luke and raise-the-roof Sam B.

        That’s someone of a similar age to Abi, and another female. The compare-and-contrasts of that sandwich would eat at her chances.

    • Lia

      Do you have a crystal ball? Spot on!!!

  • Boki

    Big question is how sure are we that SamC will emerge victorious from potential deadlock with Abi.

    Btw That’s life can also be entertaining 🙂

  • maudeymoudly

    According to the x factor twitter simon’s back tonight.
    Dont really know what to think have 2 thoughts
    a) If he is on the panel he might overcook it like ‘paije you have no hope of winning’ or be just generally false and readable.
    b) If he is in the vts then we shoulde easily see his preferences

    or the twats in charge of the twitter were on the wind-up

  • Kevin

    As I am Hannah I may be trying to persuade myself but That’s Life might be a song that Abi can do something with. She might make it somehow different and interesting.

    Another point I am thinking is regarding expectations. I think this plays a part in perception. Sam B is now favourite so faces a different dynamic. People expect a winning performance every week as it was with Tamera. In these shows it is difficult to stay favourite for a long period, I think in part due to the expectation level. In the same way Tamera has a chance of redemption, people saying she is talented after all etc.

    I said before I think its all about timing and arriving as the likely winner when it nears the end. I have a feeling the Producers are thinking this way. James Arthur would be an example of this. It is a big test for Sam B to maintain this leading position with still a long time to go. It is far from impossible but I seriously doubt it is the Producers intention.

    To finish off and tie point 1 to point 2 low expectations of what Abi can do with That’s Life might work out be a benefit if she comes out and makes it interesting.

    As always best of luck to all this week, the site seems split between Abi & Hannah it seems. Hopefully at least one if the Sofabet camps collects.

    • Kevin

      I am not Hannah! I have my money on her

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Ok – no need to shout! (*There’s a joke there, btw – just wish you’d written your negation in caps lock!*)

        • Kevin

          Always re read before submitting is the lesson! Your post earlier got me wondering if we are all mad! The level of detail is engrossing. It all makes perfect sense to me but I was thinking of someone reading it thinking what drugs are these people on!!!!!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            When there’s money involved I always go into obsessive detail! Haha!

            I imagine that the type and depth of banter on this site is a little way below the level that the professional creatives employed by Syco reach in their production meetings for the coming Saturday’s performances.

            In fact, a provisional list of song choices weeks and weeks in advance (perhaps spanning the entire projected journeys) will probably be in place well before the lives had even begun.

            Stay with this site, Kevin, and one day we will all be producing pop videos! Lol.

  • Dean

    As it stands on Betfaur just before 8pm, Abi is fave to go, Hannah 2nd face then Sam C has drifted.

  • Uh-oh! Abi on first, and given a VT similar to Sophie Habibis “empty pub” VT. She’s in an empty chippy with her dad, and only a couple of staff there looking more or less disinterested. Not to mention the display on the video wall reading “That’s Life Abi”. Now the lukewarm comments of death.

  • Dean

    Abi definite target tonight.

  • Natasha

    Sam B and Nick on next. I thought he would of got pimp slot 🙁

  • Ad break and Sam Bailey, shoving Abi down the memory hole, there’s a coup de grace if I ever saw one

  • Jessica Hamby

    Death by John Lewis advert. Noone’s going to remember Abi.

  • Another 4 judge standing ovation for Sam Bailey – The Girl has Won

  • Andy

    Well done Sam B.
    who was on 1st again ?????

  • Chatterbox5200

    Echoing the sentiments already provided…. John Lewis Advert, Sam Bailey, a standing ovation, and then “Baby Buble” (each given golden lighting) makes Abi’s performance not only shoved down the memory hole, but buried under the full weight of the X Factor machine!

  • R

    I’m going to admit that I preferred Abi’s performance to getting shouted at by Sam B.

    Bad VT
    Old fashioned death slot
    The John Lewis ad memory hole
    Lukewarm & mixed comments
    Possible colour vomit (especially the lights)
    Silly comments and being sassy & her glasses
    Dodgey camerawork, although it was nice to see so much of the judges, the band & the back of Abi’s head.
    And let’s not forget the plinth

  • Chatterbox5200

    Nicholas McDonald is how old?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Luke bludgeoned that song to death. Has Gary gone rogue? He’s telling the truth.

  • EM

    No way is Abi getting saved vs anyone on the evidence so far:

    1. Death slot
    2. Sophie Habbis memorial VT
    3. VT showed all the signs of ‘you’ve done it well done’ ie she’s achieved her goals, no need to get her further
    4. She misses her dad, send her home, it’s the kindest things to do
    5. That’s Life – that’s death in X Factor
    6. Distracting backdrop and staging
    7. Very few close up shots to make that connection
    8. Lukewarm comments, nothing to stir a sympathy vote
    9. Comments mostly on appearance and style not performance
    10. Now forget about her here’s the John Lewis advert
    11. If that isn’t enough here’s Sam B
    12. And Nicholas for good measure, who was on first again?
    13. And let’s give Luke the critical comments to get some votes going for him and take more attention off
    14. And why not though Hannah the overcoming sore throat storyline to win her support and give a reason for a bottom two save

    I’m sure there’s more to come!

  • Lolalola

    I suspect that Abi may have been her very own kiss of death tonight.sheu looked pleased with herself & even said it was her best performance yet. No vulnerability, no tears, no excessively negative comments, no underdog feeling about her tonight, leading to no-one picking up the phone for her.

    It’s very interesting to know from this site that that song has already sent two contestants home in the past. Most people would not know that (but the judges must). There has to be something deliberate about giving it to poor Abi.

  • Lolalola

    I’m running a bit behind tonight but contrast the arrival of Michael Bolton (ok a bit of a balding-has-been these days – but known to the audience who could be voting for Sam B) to the chip-shop VT.
    And New York, New York – probably the best known song of all this genre.

  • eurovicious

    Thought Hannah came over much much better this week, she seemed nice, relatable and really fun. The performance was better and less shouty too apart from a couple of moments.

    Abi is the clear target, on first buried under Sam B and Nick (double whammy! – they were both absolutely stellar, particularly Sam) and with a positive “end of journey” feel to her VT, performance and comments. I’ll be sorry to see her go, she’s the one I connect to most and her timestopping performance last week is easily my favourite X Factor performance since 2011, but despite the feedback in week 2/3, I think they gave her a fair crack of the whip. They let her do her thing in week 1 and 4 and I also really enjoyed her performances in week 2 and 5 – her treatment in those weeks could have been a lot worse. Even her weak performance in week 3 had helpful camerawork and visuals. I would go to see her concert in a shot, I don’t understand the level of hatred, a lot of it really personal and nasty, towards her on Twitter

    Rough Copy are safe, they were kickass – breakthrough performance. Luke in peripheral danger.

    I don’t think Abi’s vote is large enough to prevent B2 this week, and I think despite a better week this week, Hannah will probably be the one to join her.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Who would be saved in a b2 of Luke and Hannah?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Also Nicole’s dress looks like it’s back to front.

  • Lia

    A bit disappointed by Hannah’s performance. Maybe I just expected too much but that was sub-par. Tesco Mary had a moment. She didn’t. She could be in danger.

  • Chatterbox5200

    I wonder if Simon’s announcement that “you’ll all be on the X Factor Tour” was specifically used in Sam Callahan’s VT as a vote dampener – no need to spend your money voting for Sam girls, save your money for the tour ticket, as you know he’s definitely on it now.

  • Abi should be odds on for me, only concern is her Name was in lights in the staging behind her and also nothing from judges to motivate Sams support to vote for him

  • Lia

    They just need to get Sam above Abi. Then controversy is in the cards. And I would love it!

  • eurovicious

    I’ve been out of the UK too long (not long enough) – how/why is a John Lewis Christmas advert a thing? It didn’t make much of an impression on me, other than a) animals don’t have Christmas b) all those twee anthropomorphic Farthing Wood-style critters would eat each other in real life c) you shouldn’t wake a bear up during hibernation for obvious reasons, and basing a whole advert on a concept this stupid and anti-science strikes me as dumb even for a commercial. If some twee bunny stuck an alarm clock in my cave during the middle of my hibernation, I’d bite its fucking head off then go back to sleep. And I like bunnies normally. #bunnies

  • Fudd

    LOL Abi getting top spot on the ‘stroppy diva’ board. Subtle.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Anyone get Luke for b2 before the show?

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think Hannah will have won a lot of people over with her xtra factor bit about the chicken and ting.

  • Dean

    Abi big face to go but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s curtains for Sam C either.

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