X Factor 2013 Week 7 Staging and Lighting Review

JScouser kicks us off this week with some plinth connoisseurship on Nicholas: “the plinth was bigger than ones we normally see, it made him look higher up (further away from audience) and smaller”. Nick does look more than usually Wee here.


Here’s an interesting effect that can’t be illustrated with a screengrab. Watch the YouTube of Nicholas from 2.02 to 2.08 – the lines on the backdrop behind him move outwards from the centre, creating the visual illusion that he’s going backwards:

After that there’s a long (8 second) panning shot of the choir obscuring Nicholas. (They’re dressed funereally, too – shades of week 2’s zombies?) Our attention is focused back on Nicholas just as he sings the line “sometimes I’m gonna have to lose”.


Here’s Heisenberg’s entertaining-as-always graphic take on “Where’s Nicky?“, showing how the staging obscured and belittled the birthday boy.

Gold dress, backdrop of a purple-tinted cloudy night with some stars. Here’s Hannah singing Hallalujah:


No, wait, that’s Alexadra Burke singing it as her winner’s song in the 2008 final. Here’s Hannah:


Props to commenters EM and Stephen Muckle for pointing out the similarities, which don’t end there. Alexandra got some beautiful swirly halo-effect lighting towards the end:


This isn’t coincidence, surely? It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that whoever made these styling and staging decisions was trying to help Hannah by associating her with the winning performance of five years ago, even if the vast majority of viewers would remember it, if at all, only in the murky depths of their subconscious:


Luke gets a galaxy of stars. Watch this from 1.53 to 1.59, remembering the visual effect of Nicholas. Here, the stars are receding behind Luke, creating the impression that he’s going forwards:

Nicholas is going backwards, Luke is going forwards. Is this coincidence? You tell me.

Rough Copy got a laser display:


You could read this staging two ways. On the one hand, the overall effect was vibrancy and fun. On the other, as Heisenberg puts it in the comments, “When your slot runs for 2 min 40 secs, why not waste 7 seconds of airtime focusing on the dancers? Very deliberate bad staging, multi-layered distractions and very few close-ups in comparison to the other acts.”

All the cutaways to the judges showed them smiling and enjoying themselves. This seemed to be an example of staging that wasn’t intended to motivate votes, but also wasn’t intended to do any long term damage.

Tamera. Oh, Tamera. We were supposed to worship you:


It was supposed to have been a golden, sparky performance:


Celestial golden beams were supposed to have suggested that the heavens were shining upon the X Factor stage:


Oh dear:


Podiums after sporting events. Who is it that stands on the raised bit in the middle? Not exactly subtle:


Sam also got some nice fluttering angel wings towards the end:


Finally, in their singoff, Rough Copy got the same gold lighting Tamera got in her week 4 singoff. This seems to be the lighting used for “not only are we saving this act, we want to create positive emotions around them that will carry them a lot further in the competition”:

week7_RC_singoffYour spots from this week? Do let us know below.


34 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 7 Staging and Lighting Review

  • Heisenberg

    Bitter disappointment for me when Tamera was called safe. I’d backed Rough Copy/Tamera B2 during the week and it also put rest to those briefly resurrected hopes I had for Hannah as top girl.

    The cruel irony is that the ‘Matrix Mechanics Formula’ already called the bottom 2 last Thursday (http://goo.gl/L6IsNS) – and I didn’t back it! Somebody please slap me with a wet haddock and wake me from this unshakable state of woe.

  • Rough Copy’s outfits in the Live Show is radically different from the ones in the previous weeks. No skirts, no leather, no slick whatever. They look like threatening thugs, to be honest.

    • Chris Bellis

      I think that’s deliberate. At this stage they will be trying to estabish their street cred – winning may not be as important as that image.

      • Gamblebot

        I noted the same thing right after watching the show. Thing is, though, it’s a disconnect from the previous stylings they had. Not as bad as Abi’s glasses or Sam C’s shirt, but still a disconnect. Imagine if, say, Jay-Z goes back to his early-2000s style.

        • lolhart

          Street cred and the X-Factor doesn’t work though. The reason JLS got to the final was because they were nice, “unthreatening” guys. The most urban they ever went was singing Boyz II Men and Rihanna.

  • As for Hannah, her version is more purple than that of Alexandra’s. Whilst the latter felt like a winning moment, Hannah’s felt like it was shrouded in some purple gas. Toxic?

  • great week for me. my predictions for the last 3 weeks: week 8- Luke eliminated. (unless showdown, in that case Luke/Tamera but Luke still leaves.
    week 9- Rough Copy eliminated.
    week 10- 1.Sam 2. Nic 3.Tamera

  • tpfkar

    Nic’s VT also featured him singing in a stadium. Plenty of longshots reinforcing The point you’ve picked up on about him being seen as small.

    In the sing-off, the lighting changed from red and black to rising gold as soon as Dermot called for Rough Copy.

    As you say, Tamera’s staging was set for something special which never came. Wonder if they will play safe next time.

  • Gamblebot

    I wonder if Nicholas is ready to kill as they set Luke up for the win, or if he is just being softened up so Sam Bailey will walk away with the win?

  • Heisenberg

    About Luke, I noticed he had a couple of dissolves early in the edit. At 17 seconds the wide panning shot fades gently into a close-up:


    This close-up then very slowly (9 seconds) zooms even closer towards Luke. Like Andrew’s ‘galaxy of stars’ observation at 1:53, an impression of forward movement is created, though during this example the effect is more subtle. Luke’s eyes are focused on the viewer as he sings the opening lines, staring straight down the lens as he drifts gradually closer to the screen. It’s almost slow-motion and not without emotional power, allowing the viewer additional time to more clearly engage with the performance. The camera movement feels smooth and suspended. The sequence then continues with another dissolve into a very deliberately composed wider front shot:


    The dissolve technique, coupled with this lingering close-up, helps to lure the viewer right from the outset. It’s slightly dreamlike and may have been used as a safeguarding tactic to reassure a passionate One Direction fanbase that Luke’s rendition of ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is non-threatening and palatable in its unfamiliar, rearranged acoustic format.

    It’s also intriguing to consider that dissolve transitions are traditionally used to imply a passing of time, reminding me of some Sofabet comments posted after Luke’s previous performance of ‘Your Song’. The backdrop then showed home movie footage which is also very suggestive of time placement, an event reprised from somewhere in Luke’s past playing out simultaneously against the context of this particular juncture in his X Factor journey. Significant?

    Given that a good portion of Sam Callahan’s votes may have transferred to the Dark Horse Busker from Devon, and in light of Sharon name-checking him for the final, is it looking more and more likely that Lil’ Nicky is about to be abandoned as alpha boy? Blue eyes may need Nicole’s cuddles sooner than expected:


    • Natasha

      I tend to agree to some extent regarding Luke however, Lukes treatment prior to the lives would suggest otherwise?

      • stoney

        Don’t worry tash there is nothing to worry about nicholas will be there til the very end. Lots on here hoping otherwise though I am noticing

        • Natasha

          That’s what I keep hoping but they have definatly started a slow deramp. In all honesty though, I can’t see anyone beating Sam B for the win, not even Nicholas with the Scots behind him in full force

      • Gamblebot

        They may have shoehorned Luke into this role. Upgrading him to Beta Boy was premeditated, but when the Girls started crumbling, TPTB might have thought that pushing him to Alpha Boy isn’t such a bad idea.

        That said, what does that make of the short two-week deramping in Weeks 5 and 6?

  • Fudd

    Thinking outside the box could TPTB be seeing Luke as a potential James Arthur replacement as the latter is seemingly on a path of self destruction at the moment? Deramping Nicholas is no big issue; especially if they want Sam to win. Gary is lining up the ‘individuality’ question whereas Luke is on a different path to everyone else and Louis has built up a ‘sympathy’ vote by saying Nicholas is more likely to win.

    It will be interesting to see how the sympathy bounce works on Rough Copy next week as, on paper, surely Luke is due to fall into the bottom two? But if they want to pull him round they’re going to have to target two from Rough Copy (is being abbreviated to Arsey really a help?), Tamera (who I think they’ll try to give another redemption arc to even if they are planning to drop her before the final) or Nicholas (who they’re deramping).

    If I was a betting man I think I might be tempted to put some money on a Nicholas being in the bottom two next week. Until I see the performances I’m not sure if it’ll be alongside Rough Copy or Tamera.

    • Gamblebot

      Rough Copy is in a good position historically. Since series 5, all acts in the Week 7 bottom 2 have bounced into the final.

      This week’s bottom 2 are not as lucky. Since series 5, all acts in the Week 8 bottom 2 (including Diana and Danyl, who were second to last in the voting) were axed the following week.

    • Boki

      I guess it all depends on the Nic’s vote numbers, he certainly had a drop this week but it’s hard to say how big it was.

  • R

    The most obvious scenario seems to be:

    Luke loses his sympathy bounce and drops back to B2.

    Tamera gives two great performances and loses her sympathy vote.

    Rough Copy receive a vote transfer from Hannah & a bounce to jump out of B2.

    Nick receives further deramping but still holds second place.

    Sam B morphs into Mariah Carey & is proposed to by Harry Styles straight after her second song

    Come on, this is getting ridiculous! The XF cliche machine must have spun this one out.


  • tpfkar

    Has it been confirmed that there will be a sing-off between the final four? What do we think this is getting at?

    The ‘obvious’ approach is that this weekend will be between Luke and Tamera, and the semi would be Rough Copy vs. the survivor (who is then eliminated.) So a Rough Copy, Sam B, Nick final. But why have a sing-off at the semi-final stage?

    The only reason I can think of is that they think they can get Nick (or Sam B – but why?) into 3rd in the semi, and can get rid before the final. So very speculative, but suppose that Luke and Tamera face off this week, and Luke survives. he could be pimped on a bounce in the semi, giving a voting order of Sam B – Luke – Nick – Rough Copy. Nick goes, and the final is Sam, Luke, RC.

    Not impossible – but I’m stuck for why? Possibly to give Sam B a clean run to the win, but would they really need to do that if she is winning the votes most weeks anyway?

    Not sure what they are trying to do here.

    • Boki

      First of all semi sing-off is not confirmed yet. But if there is one I completely agree with your assessment. If they want SamB to win that’s a perfect way to assure Nick doesn’t give a final fight. Having said that, if they can get Nick to third in the semi that would mean he isn’t such a big threat after all unless they expect a big surge of Scottish votes in the final and not in the semi. Far too many ifs here…

      • Tim B

        I agree with both of you but remember the sing off survivor from week 8-9 has never bounced to the final and Nic topped the vote in week 6 whereas Luke was bottom 2, and will likely be again this weekend…I think it would be very, very difficult to get Nic out of the top 2 but yeah, perhaps worth a try.

        • Here’s a question: how much can we read into Nic winning week 6? It’s not exactly a shocking revelation considering (a) he had the pimp slot, (b) general consensus was he was one of only two non-terrible performances on the night, the other being Sam Bailey who (c) had just been announced on the front page of The Sun as not needing anybody’s vote, thank you very much.

          Previous week 6 winners – Chris Maloney (3rd in semi, 0.6% off bottom), Amelia Lily (in singoff the next week), Matt Cardle, Stacey Solomon (3rd in semi, 0.6% off going), Diana Vickers (4th in week 8).

          Admittedly there are some unusual circumstances there – Diana’s post-illness spike, Amelia’s wildcard win. But still, that’s only one out of five week 6 winners who hadn’t dropped out of the top two before the semi. Is Nick a Matt Cardle? (It might even have happened to Matt if they hadn’t given him ‘Nights in White Satin’ in week 8 – he’d only won week 7 by a whisker from Katie Waissel.)

          There are other precedents for steep drops at a late stage of the competition. Eoghan Quigg for example – won week 7 (13% clear of the second), dropped to 3rd in week 8 (3% off the singoff).

          Of course, you may well be right that they can’t get him out of the top two, I’m just not sure how relevant the week 6 win is to that. I’ve an open mind on what they’re up to with Nick – it was definitely an application of the brakes last week, but was it with a view to getting him back below Sam, or to ditching him before the final? Not sure. What do you all think?

          • EM

            Well if it was me I’d be pushing Luke and dropping Nic given that the rockier voiced male winners of Matt Cardle and James Arthur seem to have shifted more worldwide than the more angelic Joe, Jamaine and Eoghan types.

            However a) I’m not privvy to all the details and b) Luke isn’t exactly the same mould as Arthur and Cardle.

            Maybe that’s the point. Luke’s like a boyband version of them? Sam’s commercial future is far from certain and neither’s Nic so very possibly RC and Luke will get pushed forward now that banker Tamera has gone bust

          • Gamblebot

            Do they have room for both, though? They were able to push two in series 5 because both Eoghan and Diana dipped. They have no plans of doing that to Sam Bailey AND Nicholas, so they can probably do only one. In that case, I’d say Rough Copy is their preferred act…

            … but I wouldn’t count Tamera out just yet. Her song choices (at least the ones for the public to decide) are the most solid and they’re probably setting her up one last time.

  • Boki

    Week 6 is for me the confirmation that Nic can easily win if they want to and probably if they let him – the problem is they don’t seem to like that. Luke is the key imo, if he’s gone he can provide extra boost to Nic’s vote, if he stays he is the main stealer of Nic’s vote.
    So, in order to get Nic to 3rd in the semi they need to push SamB and another above him. The best option for them would be to have two boys in the semi bottom 2 but that would mean survivor of Tam/RC to be 2nd – impossiboool. So the only way looks to be pushing Luke to 2nd in the semi, if he managed to be 2nd last week they might try it I guess.

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