X Factor 2013 Week 5 Post Mortem: Control-Alton-Delete

“That’s life (That’s life) / That’s what all the people say / You’re riding high in April, shot down in May”. Make that September and November. Abi Alton got a big introduction in the second audition show, but ever since producers edited her week 1 live show VT to end on the phrase “bum notes”, her time on the stage has been limited.

It was a classic, clean kill. The song choice was the writing on the wall, Abi’s treatment on Saturday’s show left little doubt that she was the target, and she was duly despatched when she landed in the singoff. She traded between 1.1 and 1.25 on Betfair during the singoff.

The conversation in the Sofabet comments all week had revolved around Hannah and Abi, and plenty of commenters were on the bottom two combo bet. I won a decent amount on Abi’s departure, and I hope you also ended the evening happier than the poor Guisborough lass.

Or, indeed, Hannah. Unfortunately, she clearly isn’t connecting with the public, and there has to be a serious doubt about her ability to enjoy a second sympathy bounce – the phenomenon is traditionally much less potent second time around.

Despite producers doing everything to help Hannah yet again on Saturday, there also has to be a question mark around whether they will now decide her continued presence in the competition is detrimental to their chance of getting Tamera to the final.

The other big talking point of the night was Sam Callahan’s survival. There was debate in the Sofabet comments about whether Gary’s refusal to provide a critique on Saturday was part of the producers’ script or indicated that he has gone rogue.

We still find the latter the more plausible explanation. To us, everything on Saturday pointed to Gary being primed to deliver another “you’re the weakest vocalist, I’ll be outraged if you’re here next week” broadside.

On the Sunday results show, Dermot asked Gary why he hadn’t offered a critique, to which he replied: “I felt I’d said it all last week”. We interpreted that as “I compromised my principles to whip up artificial controvery last week, and drew the line at doing it again”.

How did you read Gary’s performance this weekend, and what are your thoughts on the shape of the competition going forward? Please keep the conversation going below.


77 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 5 Post Mortem: Control-Alton-Delete

  • eurovicious

    The next time Hannah B2s, she goes. Everyone on Twitter was saying she was murdering Wrecking Ball. She’s not popular.

  • Boki

    Props to Daniel for the best article title ever 🙂
    They seem to be softening Luke for the coming weeks, SamC probably also for the kill, otherwise we’ll get Tamera – Hannah sing-off next week. Thinking again, that sing-off could be great for telly with Tamera bouncing again, taking Hannah’s votes and on the route for 4th place.

  • Dean

    Well I’m surprised they didn’t go in for the kill on her this week, but maybe they feel they can lessen the sympathy bounce more than abi who prob would have bounced next week. I’d be surprised if 1 of Hannah and Tamera isn’t B2 again next week. They are taking each other’s votes clearly. I’m going for Hannah/Sam C B2.

  • Natasha

    Hannah and Sam C for bottom 2 next week although, aren’t we due a ‘shock’ exit? Hannah’s exit will no longer be a shock after being in bottom 2 twice already.

  • Dean

    Can someone so a break down of every tactic used to get rid of Abi? I will show it to my gf. She may believe me.

    • EM

      I made a list of all I spotted and put it on yesterday’s thread. Doubtless there are more too I didn’t see.

      For me it started last week by allowing her a decent performance which enabled this week’s to be shown as she’s peaked, you’ve achieved your dreams etc

      • Dean

        No doubt I saw last week as the softener for this too, but wasn’t sure if they would have tried to get rid of Hannah first as her and Tamera are taking each other’s votes.

        • EM

          Seeing lots of people say that but not sure I know why. Can you explain?

          • Dean

            Just think they are fishing in the same pond for votes in terms of style of music etc and the fact they are B2 on contrasting weeks now when the other has a sympathy bounce says something.

          • EM

            Yeah that contrasting bottom 2 makes sense, although I’m not sure their fan bases are too similar

          • eurovicious

            I think of the final 12, Sam B, Tamera, Hannah, Shelley and Lorna were all fishing in a broadly similar pond. (Which is why they should have put Joseph Whelan through – here’s another looooovely shirtless pic: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BYtXJV9IEAAy9ey.jpg:large). Of those five, two have of course gone now, and of the remaining three, the strongest similarities are between Sam B and Hannah, with Tamera being more pop than either in terms of her voice, her look and her song choices. So part of Hannah’s problem could be that Sam B makes her redundant.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I asked a teenage black girl I got talking to at the library who her favourites are in x-factor and she said Hannah AND Tamera.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Shots of Abi and Tamera holding hands and being close last night pave the way for a votes transfer. On DS posters were speculating from something on last night’s extra factor that Abi and Hannah had fallen out (didn’t watch it) so I think that plan was well in hand.

          As an aside I think making use of the John Lewis advert premiere, which has become a tv event, to distract attention from Abi was a masterstroke of subtle cruelty.

    • eurovicious

      This isn’t exhaustive and I haven’t rewatched it
      1. On first (proven disadvantage)
      2. Immediately followed by the much-hyped John Lewis ad
      3. Then followed by the show’s most popular act
      4. Then followed by the show’s other most popular act. Combined effect of 2-4 is that viewers forget her performance.
      5. Her performance was pleasant and blandly competent but not amazing.
      6. On both previous occasions an act sang That’s Life in big bang week, they were eliminated. So a deliberate choice.
      7. …due to the fact it’s a mellow song with a message of resignation and an “end of journey” feel.
      8. Abi was not significantly or unjustly attacked by the jury as she was in weeks 2/3. The criticism was much fairer, and Gary’s praise was also very fair. As a result she didn’t cry or get a sympathy vote.
      9. The fact they actually let her do her thing in week 4 is significant. It was part of the end of her journey. They couldn’t have brazenly bullied her off the show without letting her be the artist she is, which is why I only this week through her time had come
      10. A parochial feel to her VT, including shots/footage of her as a child playing provincial gigs on a naff-looking keyboard. No screaming fans or celeb endorsements, just her affectionate and approving dad with her in a pub
      11. …so a family VT, but not a sympathy-getting one or a tears-and-snot sob-story one. It portrayed Abi as a happy, ordinary northern lass from a comfortable home, not a pop star or quirky artist
      12. A generic performance away minus three of her trademarks: her glasses, her piano and her artful musical rearrangements.
      13. On a small plinth, which she remained on throughout. (One person said she had slight colour vomit but I disagree.)
      14. The VT, performance and post-performance presented us with the narrative of Abi having achieved her goals by having sung for her dad, made her family proud and had her performance be praised by Gary.

      Others more attentive than I, please add to the above…

      • Dean

        Thanks EV also going to add the song choice 100% at eliminating acts and Mrs O’s ‘next week’ more sassiness.

        • eurovicious

          Yes, viewers were at no point impelled to vote and Sharon’s “next week” comment implied she would still be there next week, so discouraged votes. There was no sense of Abi needing votes or support.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I’d add the background, which while not colour vomit was quite distracting with lots of words which I wanted to try and read instead of listening. Lost amongst them in a martini glass were the words “That’s Life Abi” and somehow they seemed to me reminiscent of the ironic toasts we’ve all made when things go, or are about to go, tits up.

  • Fudd

    If Gary doesn’t play ball they may find it harder to isolate Sam C when the time comes – unless he comes to his senses and deliberately praises Sam C to kill off the sympathy vote altogether. But I would still argue he is following the script. I think the producers want a lighter series than last year and having Gary blitz Sam for another week would lessen this impression and would build the ‘punchbag’ image that they don’t want.

    The ‘no comment’ approach is something different to the show and has created debate and doubt amongst people who know how the show work (eg. everyone else on here!) about whether it’s a rogue nobbling or pre-planned.

    The Great British Songbook could result in a good song pick for Sam C for a change which could lead to some praise from Gary… the death knell. The only question is will they cut Hannah loose and save Sam C as a ‘shock’? Something tells me not – in the same way as trying to keep a lighter tone on the show I think they’re trying to keep controversy to a minimum.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think the emergence of Luke has been a pleasant surprise for them and makes up for the Miss Dynamix fiasco and now they’ve shoehorned Sam C into the role I suspect was planned for Shelley they are indeed back on track.

  • Boki

    Any thought on the outright? They kept endorsing SamB who is almost evens now, but what happens next?
    She was asked on xtra if she might peaked too early and her answer was “I would like to do some up-tempo Rihanna/Beyonce stuff to show people I’m versatile”. So if they indeed give her that I would say game over, otherwise there is some hope for Nic/Luke/RC. Do they ever plan to unleash Nic, I wonder.

    • Natasha

      I asked a similar question in the previous thread earlier today but got no response 🙁

    • EM

      Purely personal opinion:

      I reckon they can deramp Sam B subtly by keeping her doing the same kind of songs and performances and lots of “end of journey” vts and comments. She might make the top 3, her lovely personality will help her lots so they’ll be careful with her.

      Rough Copy, I reckon they found their winning formula last night, performance and energy over actual singing. More of than and they’ll go top 3.

      Nicholas, totally forgettable last night. They’re also nice to him with comments but not ever throwing they “works very hard” ultimate accolade at him. A few more average nights like last night and he’s out.

      Tamera – she needs to have a breakthrough performance next week, preferably one that’s fun! I’d say last nights comments set her up for this. Whether she can deliver I don’t know.

      Hannah is toast, Sam C makes up the numbers and Luke may have peaked.

      Purely a guess but I’d say the elimination order now is

      Sam C
      Sam B
      Rough Copy

      Hmmmmmm not sure I believe that myself!

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t think Nic’s got anything left to unleash. I think he reached his apogee with “Arms Of An Angel”. That’s what he’s good at, sweet choirboy songs,certain types of musical theatre,some ballads ( not power), middle of the road stuff. Mandyor One Voice by Barry Manilow would be good for him. He’s certainly no Baby Buble.

      Similar with Luke. Kiss From A Rose is as good as it’s going to get with him in my view.

      Nic’s one trick is a damn good one, but he’s still one trick.

  • Things will change, but I think on message Louis named the finalists they are gearing up for. I think they’d *like* Tamera but they might have decided she’s a lost cause now.

    He named Rough Copy, Sam B and Nicholas as people who’d done well, and I’ve not seen anything so far that makes me think that’s not the current “Yeah we could live with that”, 20:00 14th Dec lineup. Sam Bailey’s trajectory is interesting me, I have a lot written on the “pro” pushed-winner side of my sheet of A4, but I’ve added “Michael Bolton” on my “con” side.

    Also agree with EM that Sam C might be around for another week or two. I’ll explain, step by step, what I think the dream scenario will be with Sam, on Friday’s Betsfactor Podcast.

    What an incredible reason to listen(!).

  • Limehouse

    Does anyone think the playing up of Sam C & Tamera’s relationship is part of a bigger plan from the producers? Could there be a potential way for them to skew/ portray the relationship that makes Tamera look like the victim – “Sam cheats”, “heartbroken Tamera”, etc., thus denting Sam’s popularity and giving Tamera a boost?

  • R

    Agree with the top 3, with Tamera saved for the 4th spot Relentless Records contract (which, as an aside will probably mean Misha getting dumped).

    Sam B is getting the full Little Fix treatment.
    Her story about changing herself because of online bullies is the 30 something version of Jesy’s crying to camera.
    The constant celebrity endorsements is moving in the same direction. The level of hype also leads me to believe she’s close to the top but not a shoe-in for the win yet.
    With no Janet to contend with, this is looking like a straight fight between Sam B & Nick (can we call him “the good ship” a la Marcus Collins?).

    • eurovicious

      As I understand it, Misha’s already been dumped. Around the time, she tweeted “”As an artist its so important that whoever is in your team understands YOUR vision and isn’t caught up in THEIR own vision for you.” Which is true. Both her album and Amelia’s were shelved. They were both mishandled, neither of them were given good enough material. But the market is saturated. This is the most recent thing Misha did – it’s brilliant and back to the sort of thing she should be doing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDPfvjKjC_Q

  • Jessica Hamby

    Sam B v Nic is not a fair fight. She’s got an arsenal and he’s only got one weapon. Total mismatch. He’ll lose. Also Sports Personality is on BBC the night of the final. I expect a fair few Scots to watch and vote for Andy Murray.

  • Its late so I havent had time to read all above yet, so forgive me anything I say is repeated or has been quashed above 🙂

    1) If Gary went off script, why did the producers choose to edit it in to the “story of last night” at the beginning of Sundays show, they have previously cut out Comments that may not of suited the directions for acts they wanted (When Tamera was criticized) Why show Gary saying “Well Done” again to Sam, unless they wanted that across?

    2) What if Sam was so safe, they can afford to have him on Pimp slot… and then begin de-ramping him, I mean what if when they do want him to go they run the risk of having a Ella v James Arthur situation again, so they learned from past mistakes and started de-ramping a little early. I mean with Tamera/Hannah both landing in bottom 2, he could be much higher than them meaning they have had to begin De-Ramping a little early, hence the “well done” Keep in mind Robbie WIlliams was on the show this week and we all expected him to either feature in Sam C’s VT or at least comment praising Sam C, to continue the Anti-barlow pantomine story, this was not used either this weekend.

    • Ria Elle

      I’m starting to think that Sam C. is actually doing better in the polls than most people think.

    • AlisonR

      JScouser – Putting Sam on pimip slot was another nail in the coffin for Abi. They didn’t want Sam in the bottom 2 this week, otherwise they would have had to vote him off as the weaker vocalist.

    • Morning JS. Loving this debate about Gary and the script – fascinating range of opinions.

      In answer to your first question, I’d say you play the cards you’re dealt. Even if what Gary said wasn’t what they wanted him to say, they’d still want to turn it into a talking point if that made for better television than ignoring it completely.

      I’m presuming they must also have had some suspicion that Gary would be going off script (if indeed he did), and will have been able to plan for it. In Sam’s VT, in the bit where he delivers the “Gary’s punchbag” line, Louis mentions that it’s Monday. So what if during the week Gary expressed reluctance about the whole pantomime thing, they made compromises – maybe that’s why there was no playing of the Robbie Williams card – and they kept trying to reach a solution he’d be happy with right up to the filming of the show?

      That might be a more logical explanation for the pimp slot – if they weren’t sure until the last moment whether Gary would play ball with the controversy, at least sticking him on right at the end would help him clear the bottom two.

      The “early de-ramping” explanation is also possible, but I’m reluctant to buy it as it’s such an easy thing to get wrong – overcook it just slightly and you risk having him finishing last behind Abi and then having to get rid of him and have Abi bounce, which they clearly didn’t want. Surely they could demolish Sam’s vote easily enough in the usual way if they wanted to – early slot, dull ballad, no big production, “that was actually your best vocal yet” etc etc.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One little piece of disingenuousness that nearly slipped by me was Sharon berating Abi for not showing emotion.

    Given song choices like Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, how could she? Of course if tptb allowed contestants to choose their own songs they’d lose a powerful influencing tool so it’ll never happen butthat’s surely why. Moon River admittedly was a terrible choice on Abi’s part but having Mrs O howling and gurning at me every week would put me off expressing anything. To me she always looks a couple of gins away from giving someone a headbutt.

  • tpfkar

    Well done to everyone who called it right…and for the awesome thread header pun. Happily green for the week even after panicking and laying off Abi being in the bottom 2. I would have been seriously red had they got rid of Hannah so relieved with the final verdict – but it made no sense for them to keep Abi. In fact the last 10 minutes of the results show was all about avoiding the car crash telly of Abi crying her eyes out, with the judges being as gentle as they could. Didn’t quite work, but you could see what they were trying. she was too good for them and I genuinely hope she makes it, well away from this silly show which was never quite right for her.

    Hard to see where Hannah goes from here; most contestants would kill for the kind of coverage and help she has had.

    Thinking ahead, it seems that Plan A involves Rough Copy and Sam Bailey getting to the final. They’d be joined by Tamera > Luke > Nick, but I think the votes are Nick > Luke > Tamera. So thinking aloud, I reckon it really helps Tamera for Hannah to go next week, then for all 3 boys to go consecutively, so it’s too late for votes to transfer. Has any category ever lost 3 acts in consecutive weeks? That might be what’s needed to get Tamera to the final.

    • Leona NOTLewis

      Dannii lost all her Overs in succession in series 5, then Kelly’s Girls two years ago.

    • eurovicious

      I wish Abi hadn’t cried again, it makes me start to get why people don’t like her. Being in the B2 is par for the course and she did really well to get this far – the last girl to hit B2 – so crying just makes her seem entitled and unprofessional. The show has given her brilliant exposure.

  • Nissl

    I missed the show this week due to a retreat, but from everything I’ve read I think Sam C has a good chance of being out next week, hitting the usual controversy act 7th. This week could have been a bit dampening in terms of tone – perhaps he was just a bit higher than they’d like – and setting up for an early slot full of unhelpful tricks next week. Seems somewhat likely we’ll see Tamera again in the B2 and bounced into the final 5. The following week Hannah goes back in the B2 and they’ll shed her to help Tamera.

    From there it gets a little trickier, and depends on who else has found the bottom two, what the vote totals look like, and what the producers now think of the commercial potential of the remaining acts. I can make solid cases for and against each of this final five, but one’s going to be left outside the final four commercial launch runway. Luke might be the most obvious as there’s been an “authentic” boy winner two of the last three years, but he had a couple of really good weeks there.

    I expect Tamera will be gone whenever it gets down to the public vote. I’m much more doubtful than most of the commenters I’ve read that they’ll insist on pushing her past fourth. I thought she was pretty decent this week though. Since I haven’t seen it pointed out: the way she loves to swing her arm behind her back looks really weird.

    • Nerleen

      The standard exit for controversial acts is Week 7, not 7th place, but they might make an exception especially when their plans are in shambles. Mind you, they haven’t pulled off a Week 7 takedown since Jedward (Katie, Wagner, Janet, and Rylan were all taken down in Week 8). Song choice will be telling, as Hannah might get the Kitty Brucknell treatment and open the show next week after a B2 appearance, then get the classic “you’ve been here thrice because you can’t connect” remark, setting Sam C and Luke to be taken down in consecutive weeks after (unless something goes crazy).

      One interesting thing from this week is the brewing Sam C vs Gary thing. I reckon that while it’s being set up, it might have its roots off stage (unlike, say, the thing with Rylan which was essentially banter). Gary’s remarks last Saturday seem to be out of character and they reek of so much bitterness (worse than Dannii post-Lucie imho). Then Sam C said these on Twitter:


      He knows what’s up and he wasn’t enrolled in the James Arthur School of Poor Media Training so he didn’t snap back.

      • Dean

        Sam’s remarks there are really rather arrogant for someone with such poor vocals and is placed as the joke act (not sure he knows this but still)

        • Aolta

          Which one? The one he said on Xtra Factor or the passive aggressive one? His insistence on taking himself seriously combined with the fact that TPTB giving viewers reasons not to is becoming very hard to watch. Add to that the frosty demeanour of Gazza, who at times takes himself way too seriously, as well, and it’s practically a cold war. Too bad it will be short-lived. It’s a matter of when Gary will win.

          • Dean

            I think it’s set up nicely and Sam will stay 1 more week, they will want him too. We know it’s over when Gazza does his, that was actually quite fun comment.

      • Aolta

        Gary’s answer regarding Sam (“I have nothing constructive to say…”) on Xtra Factor seems to indicate that he might be genuinely upset with Sam calling himself Gary’s punching bag and remarking that Nicole’s very constructive while Gary’s just mean, rather than TV upset with KR’s exit last week. I wonder how they will close this drama.

      • Nissl

        Hmm, what makes you say their plans are in shambles? They’ve got the exact top 7 I predicted before the lives, minus KR (who I said could go earlier if they didn’t appeal to the teens, which they didn’t) and plus Luke (who had a couple very good weeks). Hannah’s probably going earlier rather than later but that was always a distinct possibility. The only other problem is Tamera hitting B2, but I always figured they’d have to save her a couple times, and the producers knew she had a connection problem from the very start.

        I’d say a real example of collapse was 2011, where the preseason alpha boy and group hit B2 in the first week and the alpha girl started fighting with the producers around week 3 but had a massive regional base supporting her.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One thing I learned from this week is not to jump in too soon. In my imaginary book I went on to Hannah at 9-2 and Abi to be top girl at 8-1 last Tuesday. When the song choices came out and we discussed on here it became obvious that Abi was the target. I took enough of Abi at 9-4 to cover my earlier stakes so I end the week neutral. If I’d waited a few days I would have been nicely in profit.

  • Fair play to AlisonR for calling the song choice that would be the killer this week.

    Despite my feelings that we’d get a Abi/Hannah B2 this week I waited until the show to place my bets. As soon as Nicole said Ab.. I managed to get some 13/8 on her being eliminated. Covered that later in the show with a bit of Hannah at 4/1. This weekend just seemed a bit too easy… and came away from it thinking I should have made more by staking more. Just goes to show that sometimes the obvious answer is the answer. Trying to ‘over-analysis’ things comes at a cost, in this case limiting profits.

    Looking ahead Hannah surely can’t bounce from a week six early slot can she? Even the girls own mum doesn’t like her

    • Aolta

      They already used the super squeeze on Abi. What tactic will they use on Hannah to take her out? Granted, Kitty reached B2 in Week 6 after another stint in Week 5, but who will fill in the second slot?

  • AlisonR

    TPTB have often missed their target, but this week a bullseye, bet they are feeling smug. Hannah was obviously bottom of the vote as they voted 2-0 on Abi (would have been 3-0 with Louis) and all that bull**** from Gary and Mrs O in the justification when they were “deciding” who to choose to go, didn’t fool me.
    This week will be interesting. I suspect Hannah may not bounce, but Tamera’s also coming down from one, so I favour a Hannah-Tamera b2, with Hannah to go as she’s “been here twice before, isn’t connecting, and Tamera’s still growing”. Having said that, Tamera had a good performance this week and another good performance next week could see her clear of the b2. Luke had a weak one this week and his treatment next week will be interesting: will they continue to run with him like they did the last couple of weeks (almost thought he might challenge for alpha boy) or turn against him? Sam C I agree is polling better than they want and I believe will now fill the fifth place slot occupied by Rylan last time. Nicholas had been dull the last two weeks and I don’t believe has any commercial future. Having originally tipped him to win I now can’t believe that he is Plan A or Plan B, but who is? Sam Bailey is brilliant, but I too noted the comments about whether she had peaked, and her performance on Saturday (whilst still better than some of the other contestants) was arguably her weakest. RC are on an upward trajectory: whilst I’m not sure they are plan A yet, they are at least challenging for Plan B…..

  • Anyone finding it bizzarre the way Gary, for the past 3 weeks, has said “This is a shock, viewers are voting for the wrong acts”

    A) If thats Scripted why have that on the script every week
    B) If it is scripted are they doing it to build up a Gary v Viewers line, to set up for a Sam C shock
    C) At first I thought it wasnt scripted, because when there is an actual “Shock” claiming every week is a shock, takes it away.

    • Chatterbox5200

      I think there might be something in the dislike for Sam C. Gary was always cited as the talented singer and song writer in Take That, but it was Robbie Williams (the entertainer/more fanciable one in the group) that took most of the headlines, and won the battle of the solo careers. He has regularly stated that Sam doesn’t have the best voice in the competition, and his recent comments that the public aren’t voting for the right people, is obviously aimed at those that are voting for Sam C.

      With regard to the thoughts of Gary going rogue, I’m no convinced. The show thrives on controversy. It’s what generates headlines in the press and water cooler discussions. Without a joke act this year, there is not much scope for controversy, with a favoured act being eliminated as the joke act is saved. By refusing to give a critique, you could say that Gary caused enough debate/discussion as negative comments would have, without the affect of encouraging people to pick up the phone and defend Sam C. By saying “It looks like you enjoyed yourself up there. Well done”, there is nothing for Sam C to come back with, either as a witty retort, or in his determination to prove Gary wrong next week.

  • tpfkar

    Replying to eurovicious’ list of tricks they used to take down Abi with one I thought was clever:

    last year when James and Ella were the bottom 2, they announced all except Chris safe, then took an advert break. So we all had 3 minutes to think who was safe, and then when we found out it was Chris, it created the effect that it was all his fault that James / Ella were bottom 2.

    Fast forward to last week, and with Abi, Tamera and Kingsland Road left, they took an advert break. Last one safe – got to be Tamera surely? No it’s Abi, so with Gary telling us the public got it wrong, poor Abi got the blame for one of the headline acts going in the bottom 2.

    • eurovicious

      This! Yes. It makes the act in question look like they’re the one to blame, it singles them out, and combined with the “shock” and “public are wrong” narrative pushed by Gary and co., portrays their qualification as an injustice that needs to be rectified.

    • Jessica Hamby

      And last week they did it to Nick so that Abi’s votes don’t go to him. And they had Abi and Tanera conspicuously holding hands like bffs.

  • AlisonR

    That’s brilliant – well spotted.

  • Dan

    I sat this out from a betting perspective this week. I think that now, I can safely say that my money on Hannah to win is lost though!

    Here’s what I don’t get though; the female acts have been really struggling the last couple of years. Think back to last year and we lost Carolynne, Melanie, MK1 (one half was female), Jade, and Lucy in quick succession. Ella the favorite only made it to week seven. This year it has been Lorna, Shelley, Miss Dynamix, skip a week, then Abi. The two remaining girls have been in the bottom two, Hannah twice now. So what’s going on? Any thoughts? It starts to make me doubt how well Sam B is doing.

    • eurovicious

      This is an established reality TV phenomenon and will be familiar to viewers of shows like Big Brother. Basically, girls and women watch and vote in these shows to a greater extent than men, and they tend not to vote so much for women. X Factor has only had 3 female winners, BB has had many more male than female winners and women tend to get evicted first (starting with older women). On X Factor, girlbands and female Overs have typically been the first casualties over the years. And I’m sure someone can back me up with stats on how SCD and I’m A Celeb (neither of which I’ve ever watched) have had many more male than female victors.

      On Idol/X Factor-type shows, there’s also the “cute boy” factor. In Germany, Pop Idol launched not long after it did in the UK, but instead of being replaced by X Factor after two years like in the UK, it’s still going and is now on its umpteenth series. The early series were more balanced but starting from about series 5/6, it got to the point where the cute boy won every year, even over more talented girls. This phenomenon increased markedly as ratings declined and the viewership became primarily young girls, to the extent the show started trying to steer a female win in the last couple of series – which they only managed to get by surreptitiously shifting tack to target an older audience and gradually turning it into a schlager show. (This is the winner’s single from the last series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epaxXWrgQ_E)

      As you document, in X Factor UK 2012 – with its lower ratings – we lost 5 out of 6 female acts in the first 5 weeks and the 6th in week 7, while all 3 boys made the top 5. This year so far, we’ve lost all but one group, all but one Over, and all 3 girls have been in the B2, yet the Boys category remains intact and none of them have been B2.

      Importantly, I would say attractiveness, while not unimportant, is only of minor relevance. None of last year’s boys on X Factor were pin-up material, to put it mildly, and the group that was – Union J – went B2 a ton of times and couldn’t make the final. Boys just have an advantage. One of my take-home lessons from last year was seeing the number of girls that fancied James Arthur, despite him not being blessed with looks and having the charisma of a bag of sick. I think girls watching these shows will latch on to pretty much any credible straight guy in the right age bracket that makes the final – because it’s the power and the celebrity that compels them, and because attraction in women is less visual and more emotional than in straight men. So I wasn’t too worried about Luke potentially being B2 this week, despite a shakier performance than usual from him. Nick is platonically cute to women of all ages – even I find my inner mother wanting to tuck him in, cook him some chicken dinosaurs and wash his football kit, and I’m a man – Sam C is romantically and sexually cute but (crucially) in a non-threatening way, so girls can safely test-drive their feelings on him and project by emotions , and Luke has a cute cherubic face and cute personality (the most appealing personality of the three to girls, I reckon).

      However, I don’t think any of this undermines Sam B’s popularity, for the simple but crucial reason that women love Sam B. Sam B is every woman. She’s the M&S woman running naked up the hill screaming “I’M NORMAL!!!!”. She’s hugely relatable and not a sexual threat – she’s married with kids and ordinary looking, with a pleasant, humble “woman-next-door” personality. The sort of friend you’d love bumping into for a chat while out shopping. While they’ve glammed her up a bit, they’ve done so appropriately and in a non-sexual way – the Mitchell brothers have been largely kept under wraps or only made dignified appearances. Apropos the Mitchell brothers, X Factor is a soap and in this soap, Sam B isn’t the brassy matriach, the bad girl/seductress (Tamera) or the comic relief, she’s the archetypal “heart of the show”, the everywoman protagonist – the ordinary woman that viewers can connect with and almost insert themselves into, who provides the show’s emotional centre and through whom viewers experience the world of the show.

      • Dan

        Great analysis as ever eurovicious, and thanks for responding.

        I wonder if they’ve found their vote winner in Sam B. I’ve always thought that she fitted the X-Factor voting demographic well but did wonder about if she would lose out to the “cute boy who needs mothering”.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hi eurovicious,

        ‘And I’m sure someone can back me up with stats on how SCD and I’m A Celeb (neither of which I’ve ever watched) have had many more male than female victors.’

        Happy to oblige:


      • sistermym

        Brilliant analysis and as a woman I agree on most points except about Nick. I find him quite bland cringe inducing in his awkwardness on stage and feel he should be in musicals. If they want ti deramp him that would be the comments: you would be great in the west end.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Had 2 early bets on the elims this week,one of which was included selecting Nick for the mix at 20/1. I was trying to imagine who XF would keep him against in a B2. Potentially, he could be jettisoned against anyone. In fact, I would make him favourite to go against anyone, maybe even Hannah.

          Plus, it’s about time I had a tickle on an outsider in this market. I’ve noticed I’m oddly conservative at selections for B2 and elim. Am stretching myself deliberately here.

          And then there’s Hannah. They’ve thrown the emotional kitchen sink (*available from all good Italian outlets of Ikea*) at the viewing public, yet she’d B2d twice already.

          These were my thoughts on her latest performance and on her in general from a weekly production point of view:


          She’s returned nothing on XF’s considerable investment in her. She’s a lost cause and is only taking votes from Tamera (and possibly Sam B).

          If XF thought she might be of help to Tamera, by filling the role of the big-hearted emotional bff who helped unearth Tamera’s sisterly,loving nature, then that’s a plan that’s already been binned, as Hannah is proving more unpopular than Tamera!

          She needs to go and she’s demonstrably beyond saving anyway. A combination of factors that make the 2/1 on her appealing to me. I’m guessing that top price will contract as the week comes to passing.

  • Roxie

    Are we not misinterpreting the comments for Luke’s performance by any chance? Yes while it is true that Louis said he’s a busker from Devon – isn’t that more representative of a journey and some potential room for more storyline for Luke, that’s he just a busker and now he’s preforming in front of millions? Saying Devon also reinforced a potential regional vote, though I have no idea how strong Devon’s is.

    Also I still stand by my previous comments that I think TPTB have cleverly masked the real Plan A this year. It can’t be Tamera, otherwise why would they purposely deflate her pimp slot by labeling her a Beyonce impersonator and giving her hair and choreography so incredibly suggestive of Beyonce? Sharon’s comment to Tamera on her Cry Me A River performance also tells me something like that – why deflate her sympathy bounce more by saying she lacks emotional connection? Then the fact that Sharon and Louis have gotten Tamera’s name wrong on multiple occasions sends the impression that she’s a bit of a nobody? I really want her to do well, but TPTB could be pulling out a lot more stops to ensure she does well.

    My real feeling is that Sam B was ALWAYS the producer Plan A. She was pimped significantly having the pimp slot of the launch audition. The judges every week say she’s done the best performance. The considerable volumes of celebrities who come onto the show only to say their favorite is Sam B has to reinforce this notion that ‘Sam Bailey is the best singer, my favorite, therefore you should all vote for her’.

    Also why pimp Nick throughout the pre-lives – in the arena audition, bootcamp and judge’s houses? He was always going to fulfill this Leon/Eoghan/Joe slot so there was no need to give more exposure than necessary – that would be a death sentence for the lives! I really do think that Nick is dominating the votes right now. The Rock With You performance was shaky but as we know from Matt, even with shaky performances, if the fan base is dedicated enough they will continue to vote for you (which is a bit unjust but nevertheless is a possibility).

    I really don’t think Tamera was ever the Plan A, nor was Hannah. I think it’s more about restoring the credibility that the previous 4 years slowly gnawed away at – that this was ever a singing competition. It’s to restore belief in that in my opinion and Sam B – the best singer in many’s eyes – winning is the only way to reinforce this.

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