X Factor 2013: Tamera Foster and Conspiracy Theories

When one hears a conspiracy theory, it can be hard to be sure which is more naive and which more worldly-wise: to entertain the possibility that there may be something in it, or to dismiss it out of hand. Indeed, believers in conspiracy theories can sometimes think they are being worldly-wise while in fact being the most naive of all.

Heisenberg posted an example of this in the comments recently. Having discovered that “illuminati” is one of the most popular autocomplete suggestions for Tamera on Google, he linked to this rather astonishing YouTube video – with 56,000 views – in which someone makes the case, apparently seriously, that Tamera has progressed so far in the competition because she wore “all seeing eye” earrings to the audition to “get the attention” of the “illuminati puppet master” judges.

Call us gullible, but we reckon she’s got so far in the competition because talent scouts in Syco believe she could be commercially successful and asked the show’s production team to do their best to build her profile ahead of a 2014 career launch.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t exactly been going to plan. And that’s where the less ridiculous conspiracy theories come in.

You’ll recall that Tamera’s trouble with words started in her arena audition. At the time, we thought that on balance of probabilities this was quite likely staged. Maybe not. But it helpfully created some televisual drama, made her stick in viewers’ minds, and set up a potential narrative for the live shows – a variant of the tried-and-trusted arc of nervous act journeying towards self-assurance.

We thought this in part because our cynicism sensors had already been tickled by Tamera’s room audition, in which she came in as part of a duo whom the judges rent asunder. Again, while one can never be sure, this struck us as likely to have been a stunt to create a more emotionally memorable introduction to viewers than if she’d wandered in as just a great-looking teenage soloist with a reasonable voice.

When Tamera’s word-forgetting troubles popped up again in live show 6, we had an open mind about whether it might have been staged. She was due to be coming down from a bounce after her week 4 singoff save, putting her in danger of the bottom two – and producers will have been keen to avoid this.

Her VT finished with her worrying about whether she’d forget the words. And she forgot the words. At the time, it seemed to us that there were two reasonable interpretations here. Perhaps her VT focused on the risk of forgetting the words because, well, she’d been forgetting the words in rehearsals, and they were genuinely worried about it.

Or perhaps it was intended to make sure that viewers were thinking about the possibility of word-forgetting, so that they would be sure to notice when it happened, and more likely to feel sympathy for her, which could motivate them to vote. Sharon’s comment, about “if you hadn’t gone errrrrr, we might not have noticed”, made us wonder if Tamera might possibly have been advised to go errrrrr at the requisite moment.

Week 7 changed our minds. Tamera’s not that good an actress.

Because she looks about 28, it’s easy to forget that Tamera is only 16 – and on stage last Saturday, she looked like a child. Specifically, she looked like the kind of put-upon child reluctantly ferried around beauty pageants by overly pushy parents. She looked fragile enough in her VT, as Olly Murs prodded her to admit that, yes, this could be the week for the game-changing moment Gary had demanded of her in last week’s comments. She looked terrified on stage, barely able to put one leg in front of the other. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that the pressure of having to produce this big moment had gotten too much for her.

On rewatching, her flubs weren’t forgotten lyrics so much as timing issues. Check for yourself:

She starts after four beats instead of after eight beats, so she’s a line ahead of the music. The first flub at 0:38 before “effortlessly” is the first outward indication that she knows something’s wrong. The second flub at 0:47 is whilst she waits for the backing track to catch her up. The third flub at 0:55 is to check she’s now in the right place.

This opened the door to a new Tamera conspiracy theory: had producers sabotaged her?

Sofabet commenter Shoulders posted text from an excitable thread on Digital Spy, which started “they deliberately messed with the track… X Factor did that on purpose”. Kahdoosh theorised along similar lines: “If I was stage directing Tamara I would already know that I had to find a way to cue her, That would come out in stage rehearsal, They focus on the problem in the VT’s so they are aware of it. In other words, the help she is given is not the help she needs… It’s a subtle assassination, IMO.”

In response, Jessica commented, “It’s the age old question… cock-up or conspiracy. I favour cock-up.” We agree with Jessica. And with EM, who summed it up neatly: “No doubt what was planned here. She came on right after the Doctor Who event show had finished, had a ready-to-steal-the-show VT, a great song and simple staging all the focus on her. So it couldn’t be clearer she stuffed it.”

There is just one tiny, annoying, nagging doubt about the cock-up explanation, and it’s one that Jessica gives voice to: “Surely a more obvious problem for Tamera is that the song was in the wrong key and she could hardly reach the low notes in the verses. You can’t tell me no-one noticed that in a week of rehearsals. It is an extraordinary error.”

Indeed it is. And, like Nissl, we were surprised that Gary pointed it out in his comments – another indication, perhaps, that he’s veering off-piste with his critiques as he gets demob-happy?

But we just can’t buy the idea that the show is deliberately undermining the act with the most obvious commercial potential. While her travails have got people talking – and enough sympathy votes to keep her safe – surely her post-show positioning would be better served by taking the traditional route of helping her to put on good performances. What seems far more likely is the obvious explanation that they were doing everything they could to tee up Tamera for a knockout performance – and it went wrong on the night, as live television sometimes does.

The prime evidence, if you need convincing, is Louis’s reaction immediately afterwards. As Richard posted in his analysis on Betsfactor.com, “If you want a good idea of the minds of the producers and Cowell – watch Louis. He gets it – and he’s annoyed.”

He certainly was. Louis’s reaction was that of an angry parent: “Why, you ungrateful…! After everything we’ve done for you! All the sacrifices we’ve made! And all we ask is that you remember some words! That’s all you had to do! Just remember the words!” He was still seething about it in his comments to Sam Bailey ten minutes later.

Here at Sofabet we feel for Tamera, especially after the snarkiness from the panel about the “travesty” of her not being in the singoff. She’s just a kid, and a kid with obvious issues given her litany of bad press about drugs, violence and shoplifting. If she’s struggling to get it right with just one song a week – which shouldn’t be a difficult ask – then surely the show must bear a hefty chunk of the responsibility for failing to find a way to put her in mentally the right place.

And while we don’t believe they would take an executive decision to undermine Tamera, we will say that – very speculatively – it has occurred to us to wonder if people backstage like Hannah more than Tamera, and if there might be a degree of resentment about orders from on high to push Tamera at Hannah’s expense. In the last two weeks, it has been puzzling that Hannah has had bad slots in the running order (and Tamera good) while other elements of her treatment have been positive: the whipping up of audience participation in week 6; the lovely VT with Alexandra and styling reminiscent of the latter’s winning performance; judges’ comments that have seemed suffused with genuine warmth.

Judges and production staff are humans, and it sometimes seems to shine through that they like or dislike contestants on a personal level (compare the snide tone of comments when sending home 2011’s week 8 eliminee, Janet Devlin, with the warm tone when sending home 2012’s week 8 eliminee, Rylan Clark). If there’s been any kind of vibe backstage of accepting but resenting the need to show favouritism to Tamera, perhaps she’s picked up on it and that might account for why she’s evidently been feeling unhappy, under pressure, and messing things up.

That speculation aside, where now for Tamera? Despite exasperation expressed by the judges at the singoff, producers will surely be happy she survived – more viewers will be tuning in to see how the next episode of the Tamera car crash unfolds than would have been tuning in if Hannah had still been around instead.

Consensus in the Sofabet comments seems to be that they will now have decided they can’t trust her, and will have lost interest in getting her to the final. We’re not so sure, for a couple of reasons. First, within the context of the show itself, in a series that’s sorely missed a decent novelty act or villain she’s their last best talking point. And the lower she falls, the more amazing the story of redemption – if they can get her to pull it off.

Second, we don’t know how much overlap there is between the people charged with handling these acts during their time on the show, and the people lined up to manage them commercially afterwards. Is it conceivable that the former group’s struggles with her on the show might not make too much of a dent in the latter group’s assessments of their ability to relaunch her commercially? If so, there might still be interest in having her shepherded to the final, if at all possible.

Where do you stand on the Tamera conspiracy theories? Don your tinfoil hats in the comments below.

70 comments to X Factor 2013: Tamera Foster and Conspiracy Theories

  • If it’s any consolation for Tamera, people will now focus on her performance mistakes rather than her shoplifting, beating up a girl thing, etc.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I agree that they want to boost her not break her but they’re making a dreadful job of it. Diamonds are Forever was an incomprehensible song choice and the staging, the dancers and the arrangement were more end of year school show than X-Factor. Last weeks incorrect key is simply inexcuseable.

    Most of all she shouldn’t be blamed for these performances. She’s dependent on these people, there are plenty of examples of people who’ve “stood up to them” and disappeared never to be on our screens again. She’s sixteen and inexperienced, surrounded by people who are supposed to be expert professionals.

    Sad truth is they are f**king it up.

  • As Richard Betsfactor says, “protect the franchise”. She’s too much of a liability.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t see that as an issue here. They put Katie Waissel through after she said sod it, stopped singing and sat down in the middle of a sing off. The competition has been more pantomime than genuine contest for years.

  • annie

    I doubt her being difficult behind stage would result in unkind treatment… Just remember there were rumors what a difficult brat cher lloyd was (sort of confirmed now by louis) and still, they didnt make a fuss about that and gave her the best shows and even pushed her at almost all expenses towards the final because they knew she will have commercial succes.

    • lolhart

      Cher herself has also admitted she was difficult during that time.

    • Curtis

      My impression to be honest is that regardless of how “bratty” Cher may have been, when the backstage staff asked her to jump her response was “How high?” and they appreciated that about her.

      Compare that to Janet, who was much more mild mannered but did not always want to comply with the behind the scenes staff – hence they wanted to ditch her.

      This is what I think really matters to them – and in that sense you’d imagine that Tamera is someone who would comply, putting her on the right side of the producers. Then again, all it takes is for one person to not like Tamera much and to start sabotaging her.

  • Ron

    There is the theory that Tamera is Cowell’s pet project (even though he has presumably never even met her) and this could explain why the production team have been forced to hype her, perhaps reluctantly.

  • Alen

    My problem with Tamera on the live shows was always this: Where is her personality? Yes she sings good but that’s it. As soon as she was off you forgot about her.

    Her forgetting the lines 2 weeks in a row makes you now remember her clearly and even focus on her. Bad publicity is better than no publicity, right?

    So they can go two ways: Give her a spectactular performance this week and try to get her in the top4, even Final or they just let her go.

    I wonder though what would happen if she just did good? A good performance, nothing spectacular, just nice. Would less people vote for her? I guess so. And she’d be bottom2 easily then.

    I also saw many mean comments on facebook where they asked what song she should sing. People were mostly writing “the one she can remember the most” etc. She is now the girl that can not remember the lyrics. It will be hard to make UK forget that (after the show!).

  • Lulu

    I know for a fact that there are Syco executives working on the show and they will relaunch her – if needed in the US first – as Cher Lloyd has demonstrated so effectively. Once she has had more training, the tour for example will teach her live stagecraft she will be then able to take 6/9 months to make an album. Expect to see her on X Factor 2014.

    • Ron

      The US would be a very difficult market for Tamera though – there are probably hundreds of young black girls there vying for a similar break into the charts and probably all of them better singers than her.

  • The illuminati stuff is fascinating, but I’ve said all along that Tamera will succumb to Misha B and Cher Lloyd syndrome, aka the curse of 4th place. The lyric forgetting is just a new twist on the “talented but unlikeable” tag.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It is weirdly compelling to see all that bonkers stuff isn’t it. I ended up following the related videos until I found stuff that told me Miley Cyrus was invoking Kali, hindu goddess of destruction, every time she stuck her tongue out and that Whitney Houston had been murdered by Nicky Minaj on the orders of the Illuminati. I had to stop then.

      Mind you, Simon Cowell could easily be mistaken for a giant lizard.

      • R

        I did once overhear Cowell complain that there weren’t enough flies in his soup…makes you wonder 😉

      • On the subject of shape-shifting giant lizards, do check out Jon Ronson’s book Them if you haven’t already read it – especially the chapter on David Icke. It’s a very funny, sane and actually quite sympathetic portrayal of the bonkers stuff, and Jon Ronson’s a terrific writer.

        And welcome, Jenny!

        • Jessica Hamby

          I read and enjoyed Them. In return can I recommend a book called Big Babies by Michael Bywater. It’s an enjoyable if slightly ranty polemic about “the way we live now.

        • Kahdoosch

          I thought they were shape-shifting lizards from the lower 4th dimension, or is it the upper 4th? Either the exec or the typing pool, it might be crucial

          Note to self, check X Factor judges for evidence of tails and scaly skin.

  • Izzy

    I think the Tamera’s treatment in the coming Saturday’s show will be interesting. They could either set her up for another ‘breakthrough’ performance and attempt another pimp, or they give up and just get rid of her either by shoving her down the memory hole (good but forgettable performance, faint praise) or turning her into the panto villain.

    I must say I am *most* intrigued to tune in and see Tamera’s performance this week, over any other contestant. Which just shows that the controversy created by Tamera’s storyline probably does keep people tuning in to see what happens next (yes, I’m a sucker!). Maybe they’ll keep her in as the panto villain for that reason. Though I think that would be cruel to Tamera who is clearly not coping with the pressure.

  • alex

    Another very interesting article!

    Just saying hello since I have been reading this blog for a while and really enjoy it, but I don’t bet.

  • David Cook

    I agree that there appear to have been some very strange decisions by the programmes musical directors who are presumably resposible for this – of which the choice of key was just the latest.
    Perhaps the strangest was Abi’s final preformance in Big Band week when Gary commented that she looked like a musician surrounded by musicians – to me see just looked like a musician who’s instrumenthad been taken away from her to sabotage her.

  • Michelle

    I think it will be very interesting to see if Tamera is in the bottom two next week if the judges go for her or if she is saved with comments of “I know you have the potential” or if the other contestant has reached the end of their journey. I think if she’s up against one of the boys she’ll be saved in order to make sure all the judges have an act going into the semi final.

  • Natasha

    Im pretty sure she’ll be in bottom 2. She’s not been likeable from the beginning, theres been all the bad pres, she doesnt connect with the audience and she forgets her words. IMO she is a lost cause and i assume viewers would have given up on her. She has had her chance to change and better herself but,this has not been the case. But, it’ll be interesting to see what happens saturday

    • Saoirse

      She must be connecting with some of the audience though to say she hasn’t hit the bottom 2 again this week. Even if there’s an element of sympathy voting, it proves a connection.
      Wonder what will happen this week though? Will the show be happy with Sam B flying the flag for females? Sam B, Luke and Rough Copy would prove to be a diverse final but will they be able to lose Nicholas?
      Hannah has been very complimentary about Tamera and has spoken about how she suffers badly with nerves before the shows, so maybe we’ll see a transfer of votes there along with some #teamscherzy votes.
      The publicity/tactics seem to work though as Tamera is the contestant I’m most looking forward to seeing this week, and willing her to do well!

  • lolhart

    Another great article. I love the ones where you analyse the show’s treatment of the contestants. I thought one of the most interesting parts was the possible conflict between the show’s staff and Syco. I thought at judges’ houses that even Nicole seemed more taken with Hannah than Tamera. Hannah’s whole treatment right up until the emotional part when Nicole said she would be in the lives led me to believe she was actually the alpha girl. Especially, Nicole saying something along the lines of “We’ll do this together” seemed to be setting the stage for a nice story arc for Hannah.

    I don’t think for a second that Tamera was set up last Saturday. I’m sure they were hoping for her to do an Alexandra with Listen and have that breakthrough performance. Also, if they really wanted rid of her there would be much easier ways. It’s not like she’s been doing a Janet in the voting (I think we can safely assume that) where they would have to take extreme measures to nobble her.

  • Shoulders

    Don’t under estimate the power of the show, Tamera is now only known as the girl who can’t remember her lines because the pressure of the show is too much for a shy nervous 16 year old girl, who now is someone that everyone is willing do do well and waiting to cheer and vote for and get to the final when she pulls it out of the hat, rather than the drug taking shopping lifting bully at the start of the lives that no one would have cared about even if she had sung well, she’s been set up to be the Phoenix that rises from the ashes of bad press!!! obviously I’m always wrong in my post, so if she doesn’t make the finals all this is a prank post

    • Hi Shoulders, I hope you didn’t feel the article was quoting your comment dimissively – that wasn’t the intention at all. We wrote this piece exactly because we thought the possibility you raised was intriguing enough to be worth engaging seriously with (in contrast to the shape-shifting giant lizard stuff!)

      Fully agree that, whether they engineered this situation or stumbled into it, it’s helpful to have associated her with something other than drugs and violence and it’s now nicely set up for a phoenix from the ashes if she can pull it off. Please do keep posting, your contributions here are always greatly appreciated.

      • Shoulders

        Hi Andrew, not at all, in a tongue and cheek way I was just stating all more ideas generally do turn out to be wrong lol, I absolutely love this site, all my posts are from the light hearted point of view and as such it’s great to hear everyone’s ideas, the really good thing about the comments on Sofabet is that everyone is considerate to different opinions, If it wasn’t for Sofabet X Factor would have run its corse and no longer be compulsive viewing any more for me, however reading the comments on here instead of watching a singing competition every week, for me the show has become more of an Agatha Christie play where we are all trying to work out who’s next to be hit over the head with an iron pipe regardless if they can sing or not. I only bet small amounts to make it fun and with all the commentators on Sofabet and the excellent and very funny Betsfactor podcast it certainly is
        Keep up the brilliant work everyone!!!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Took the 16/1 for Nic to go this Sunday.

    Didn’t over-think it.

    Even I felt a bit sorry for Tamera on Saturday.
    RC could bounce – you never know.
    Luke may be pimped.
    Sam B will probably be safe as houses.

    The jury is still out on producer intentions, so if (and it’s a big if) he B2s there could be a surprise.

    A Nic vs Luke B2 would be fascinating to watch play out.

    • That’s a very good shout this week, Guildo. We don’t know yet who they’ll be pimping, and if he falls into the bottom 2 you’d expect them to ditch him to avoid him bouncing to the win. The judges would say they’re “saving the act with the most commercial potential”. Of course, most difficult would be if Tamera was bottom 2 as well but I’m sure they’d find a way around this, if they wanted.

  • EM

    Is it really that hard to see producer intentions for Tamera?

    She’s had great running order slots, usually in the last three. Staging has always been helpful, mostly putting her at the centre of attention. The songs she’s been given are mostly powerful.

    There’s only some evidence of things not going her way. The week she was bottom two she had a poor slot and maybe a bad song and Diamonds Are Forever was probably not a great song choice for her.

    There was also evidence of some fibs going on around her song choice in Diamonds are forever week. You don’t get into lying about something like that unless it has a positive intention.

    But are these vocal slip ups a conspiracy? You really have to assume that they haven’t asked her to deliberately mess the words up, I can’t see anyone doing that on either side of the agreement.

    The majority of the evidence suggests the producers want her to do well, they are giving her more help than hinderance.

    If they wanted rid we’d seen a clean assassination, poor slot, poor VT, poor song choice, poor staging, poor production. That wouldn’t be hard with someone who’s already gone bottom two.

    However I think there’s a strong possibility of another option. And it’s not one I like.

    The two songs she’s messed up on, Diamonds Are Forever and Impossible, have technically difficult song structures. In hindsight not the kind of songs you’d give to someone who struggles with nerves and remembering lyrics. To put it in terms I understand: you’d ask a toddler to sing When Santa Got Stuck Up A Chimney at a Christmas concert you wouldn’t ask that toddler to sing all the verses to Silent Night.

    Could it be they’ve noticed her struggle with words in rehearsals and decided to make a thing of it? Highlight it to the audience? Put the pressure on her even more? Give her songs she’ll have a hard time of? Either to create a much needed storyline for this year’s show or to generate the sympathy she needs to get voted into the career launch pad positions in the show’s final weeks?

    As I always say with X Factor: follow the money. You can be the stroppiest, least talented and most disliked person but if they think they can make money from you with increased ratings or record sales they will stick by you.

    • The problem with that possibility, though, is what if she’d remembered the words/got the timing right on the night? You’d then have had just a nervy and fairly mediocre performance of a difficult song, and with no vote-grabbing sympathy – the worst of both worlds. Wouldn’t it have been safer to give her a ‘When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney’ that she could attack with confidence, and praise it to the rooftops?

  • Heisenberg

    Tamera has updated her Twitter profile header photo, how wonderful, I love charades!

    Okay, my guess first – two words, walking… err… run, running, oh, oh – Cool Runings!


    It has been confirmed that all proceeds from the X Factor winner’s Christmas single will be donated to charity. That’s all well and good, however, this now leaves the anti-X-Factor brigade with far less incentive to download AC/DC next month.

    If there is any repeat of Tamera’s performance blunders this weekend I believe that not only will she avoid the sing-off once again, but she would also become the new champion of the anti-X-Factor vote who have so far this series been denied a contestant to latch on to. Indeed, following Louis Walsh’s undesirabe outburst last week which displayed a genuine tone of discontent – I’d even be inclined to vote for Tamera myself.

  • Kahdoosch

    Still not sure about the reasons for doing it, (in Tamara’s case at least) but I’m fairly certain a variation of the click-track-trick was used for her in much the same way as it was for Sam C.

    Speculating on the reason is fun especially if it helps to decide where to back for the next week.

    Couple of ideas here:

    Notice how the consensus after Sunday’s show was that Hannah’s exit was a ‘shock’? This is the act that was odds on favourite to go only 8 days, (and two performances) earlier.

    Simply amazing piece of X factor legerdemain to bring this about in little over a week.

    I was thinking about what you might call ‘the abstract use of resources’, As X factor serves as an A&R function for Syco, it’s reasonable to assume that they intend to make the most of every resource the show can provide and if a particular strategy can work in multiple ways that will be considered.

    The notion that various scenarios are in operation at any one time, each does not operate in it’s own vacuum, A certain demographic might be more likely to vote multiple times, that such a demographic might most probably switch to a certain kind of act, etc.

    That Tamara became the ‘agent’ of Hannah’s ‘unfair’ removal will affect how the released voters will vote. This could be a secondary desire for harming Tamara whilst being seen to help her.

    A sympathy pick-up for Tamara coupled with the addition of Hannah’s vote (remembering that it has been considered they were sharing a demographic), might seriously harm the placement of another act they wish to see in the final.

  • Heisenberg

    The Matrix Mechanics Formula results as of Thursday 28 November:

    1. Luke Friend 13 points
    2. Sam Bailey 11 points
    T3. Nicholas McDonald 9 points
    T3. Tamera Foster 9 points
    5. Rough Copy 3 points

    It’s 99% certain that Rough Copy will sing “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men as their Jukebox song (http://goo.gl/bWSKKp see 4:15 onwards) – the title itself couldn’t be more suggestive if it tried. It’s quite possible that RC finished bottom of the vote last week, the performance and production certainly warranted it, so they are going to need one hell of a push to avoid the B2 again this weekend. That will be the objective with heavy pimping because it won’t be easy to justify saving them against anyone other than Tamera or Luke in a second successive sing-off. As long as they avoid it this week, it’s job done because, if the semi-final will be decided by a sing-off, they can be shoehorned into the top 3.

    Luke and/or Nicholas may well be targeted in at least one of their songs (most likely the second half performance) to make Rough Copy’s survival attainable.

    Contrary to what Gary Barlow says, we know this is not a singing competition and right now Tamera is more valuable to the show than she has ever been. For that reason I am staying away from her in B2 predictions. Sam is surely immune at this late stage and Rough Copy will enjoy favourable support as stated above. That leaves only Luke and Nicholas.

    I think it’s a sizeable challenge to generate the ascendancy needed for Rough Copy’s survival, but of course we pity the fool who underestimates TPTB.

    At this stage I see Luke/Nicholas 9/1 and Rough Copy/Nicholas 10/1 (because I’m not doubting the Matrix again!) as viable B2 combos.

    • Hmm, but these results to a large extent only reflect last week’s treatment of the acts. Rough Copy were the successful target for bottom 2, so no surprise to see them last. Luke won’t have been anywhere near first in the vote, and his score will have been greatly boosted by singing a One Direction song. I could be wrong but I’m assuming your model fails to take into account anything like a Scottish vote.

      ‘End Of The Road’ for Rough Copy is, despite the title, an extremely demographically-friendly song and actually very uplifting. I wouldn’t dismiss their chances at all if the voters picked this.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Yes, it was the Billboard number 1 for 13 consecutive weeks (and it took Whitney’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ to end it’s run).

        And singing this power ballad, they’re unlikely to be styled like gangsters this week (as someone put it last week).

  • tpfkar

    Really interesting discussion. The whole alpha-female thing hasn’t worked out for a while (Janet Devlin, Ella Henderson) and although Tamera’s had much producer love, they’ve never seemed sure what to do with her. So maybe we’re making too much of her “She’s the one who can’t remember the words” because they’ve not managed to project much identity onto her. I don’t think anyone has really forgotten her less than ideal past though.

    Although the comments were negative last week again are we reading too much into this? They couldn’t really have done much else, and in the circumstances probably helped to draw sympathy. Too early to say that the producers are cutting her loose given how much they’ve invested in her so far.

    In fact, this is really what I was getting at in the last thread by asking about a semi-final sing-off? Is it really about getting Tamera into the final by whatever means, and they need an insurance policy as they aren’t confident they can get her past fourth place without one?

  • Kahdoosch

    I think at this stage a well run marketing machine can probably make a good fist of selling any act left in the show, Four is the magic number but I’ll wager that any one of the top ten live finalists can be pimped post-show at least for one album,

    Check out this article


    “Simon will also sign Tamera, 16, regardless of where she finishes in the contest.”

    The A&R function has changed enormously over the last decade, Traditional department staffing has been largely ignored for a more business-like personnel. Shows like the X Factor save £££ £££ on pimping new acts to the industry. In fact now the public pays THE RECORD COMPANY to break new acts through these shows.

    Even bands like ‘The Dolly Rockers’ get their shot at the industry, (they only got to the Judges House stage in 2006).albeit with a much lower profile deal, Worked with Hedges and Butler who have been known to liaise closely with Syco

    The only real difference is how much personal time the higher executive and the big door openers will spend on an act post show

  • Heisenberg

    The ‘Sun On Sunday’ magazine supplement this Sunday (Dec 1st) – this won’t do her any harm.


  • I think we should have a big Sofabet round of applause to Heisenberg who keeps bringing us new and original sources of X Factor publicity. From the “Sun on Sunday” to the Kiss Breakfast show. Great stuff!

  • Gamblebot

    Thoughts on the revealed song choices?

    Luke Friend: I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

    Nicholas McDonald: The Greatest Day by Take That

    Tamera Foster: We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) by Rihanna

    Sam Bailey: How Will I Know by Whitney Houston

    Rough Copy: a mashup of Every Little Step by Bobby Brown and She’s Got that Vibe by R. Kelly

    • EM

      My first thought at seeing that list was goodbye Luke. Mumford and Sons maybe popular but not in an ITV Saturday night mainstream way.

      Rihanna, Whitney, Take That now these songs ARE popular in a mainstream ITV Saturday night kind of way.

      Rough Copy with a mash up reminds me of the Wagner days of two choruses for the price of one and don’t spend too long exposing weak vocals on the verses.

      There’s still each acts other song to factor in but at first glance it is disadvantage Luke

    • Boki

      To be honest I’m confused with the song choices, for each one I can find the bad/good reasons, except maybe RC – they look safest to me.

  • cfahrenbach

    …and there you go with the winners of the public vote:

    Luke: Skinny love (interesting one, didn’t think Birdy would be the people’s first choice)

    Nic: Just the way you are (srsly? that’s is positioning now?)

    Sam: Clown (good, that she got the contemporary one and not the Mariah-Carey-belter, even better for her that she already showed that one in a bit edgier style)

    Rough Copy: I believe I can fly (OMG; they won’t be able to deal with this, will they? I think their vocals are way to bad for this)

    Rimera: First time I ever saw the lyrics (still remembering the perfect Cardle-rendition of that, but that’s probably a whole different pond)

    RC will have a sympathy bounce, Tamera will get faint praise… So maybe it’s finally time for Nic/Tamera B2?

    • Kahdoosch

      Interesting that the youngest contestant left on the show ends up with a song that’s almost 60 yrs old now,

      What age demo is voting for these?

      Which version do you think she will do, The Peggy Seger, Peter,Paul and Mary or the Roberta Flack?

      Ewan McColl despised the Roberta Flack version although it is the one most people recognise Chord spelling much the same as ‘I don’t wanna talk about it’ by Danny Whitten

      Oh please let it be the Peggy Seger one, with a guitar 🙂

      Rough copy for the bounce and the Croydon vote, Tamara and Luke b2

    • Gamblebot

      Skinny Love: BON IVER!!!!!!!!!! not Birdy. Sorry, a part of me refuses to acknowledge the existence of that dreary cover. The thing with Luke’s songs is that they are “right up his street”, rather than out of it. This gives him little leeway to “make it his own.”

      As for Nicky. This is the most current, demo-happy song he has gotten. Lights out for Luke if he nails this late in the show.

      Sam sang Clown at Bootcamp so I think she can nail this easily.

      Tamera gets a big song. Combining with the other song, either she nails it and gains momentum or she falls short and is set to die out.

      Rough Copy = cheese. Please send them home.

  • Izzy

    Is this week a bit different to the other weeks? Since the acts have allegedly chosen one song themselves and the public chose the other, does that mean the producers have less control this week than usual? Or is it still carefully set up?

    Pretty much all the song choices seem reasonable this week with no obvious targets which is is why I’m asking. I think the staging, running order, VT and comments might be more telling as to their targets this week.

  • Saoirse

    Just watching back Rihanna’a performance of We Found Love on x factor 2011 and wondering how it would be analysed if she were a contestant!! The backdrops at the beginning of a toothbrush, a fish and a pineapple, kicking and pushing the dancers, the crazy lighting and colour vomit, and the constant jumping around with those infamous shoes!!
    Let’s hope Tamera gets better production!!


    • R

      I remember being annoyed at the time that all the headlines were about the shoes and no one mentioned the fact she was refining her marcel marceau tribute act.
      I guess distractions can be used to help in some instances.

    • lolhart

      Based on that Rihanna performance, did Tamera select We Found Love as she figured she would have to do the minimal amount of singing and not worry about remembering the lyrics? In all seriousness though, I don’t think this is the best choice. It will just lead to negative Rihanna comparisons.

    • I’m fascinated by this question of what differences there are in how staging is approached for acts and for special guests. Presumably the special guests get a lot more creative control, so it’s intriguing they so often choose staging we’d classify as unhelpful if an act got it – that’s a great example!

      I guess there must be quite a big difference between the kind of staging that motivates people to pick up the phone, and the kind of staging that the guests think best serves their purposes – shifting records or concert tickets, general memorability and brand building etc.

  • Saoirse

    And then there’s this version done on Xfactor USA by Josh Krajcik in the final 5, who also had Nicole as his mentor…


    I don’t think this type of non movement version would do Tamera any favours.

  • Saoirse

    Here’s Luke’s version of Skinny Love from a while back..


    Think he’ll have to make some improvements on that version and I wonder if he’ll have his guitar?

  • R

    Happy St Andrew’s Day to you all and any Scottish XF contestants there may be. I wonder if this will be brought up in the show today…

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