X Factor 2013 Week 8 Elimination: Friend no more?

The Strictly overlap returns this week which means any act performing in the first 15 minutes faces a slight disadvantage. But at least they get to perform again. That’s because we now get two songs from each remaining act. This can be a bit of a rollercoaster: remember that the running order can change during the second set of songs; and there is a chance for redemption or slip-up no matter what happens during the first song.

It means that Tamera has two chances to repeat the serious flubs in her last two performances. Those flubs may perversely have helped her clear the bottom two. It’s better to be talked about than not be talked about; and may well have motivated a sympathy vote. We know that facing overly harsh criticism from the judges can help an act’s vote spike, and once we get the week-by-week voting percentages after this year’s final, they may well indicate that the nightmare of missing lyrics had a similar effect for Tamera.

The question many of our commenters have been asking is: given her mistakes on stage, do producers cut Tamera loose as soon as she falls into the singoff, or persist with her?

My hunch is that they would do their best to persist with her, as the most commercial post-series act and the show’s major talking point. She’s been consistently pimped, with six late slots in seven live shows, and I reckon this bias towards her would continue in a singoff against a more expendable act, though perhaps not against anybody.

The most expendable act at this quarter-final stage would appear to be Luke Friend, who has fulfilled his “dark horse” description by getting this far. His treatment in both week 5, when called a “busker from Devon” by is own mentor, and week 6, when some distracting staging helped him drop into the bottom two, showed that producers have recently enough been happy to damage his prospects.

We got some smoke and mirrors last week, with the “dark horse” narrative returning and the suggestion that he could make it all the way to the final. But we’ve seen producers working with the grain of the sympathy bounce on a regular basis. They know as well as we do that it usually lasts no more than one week, unless there are exceptional circumstances. That trend has continued this year, with Kingsland Road and Hannah (twice) crashing back to earth two weeks after their singoff, and only Tamera – saved in week 4 – getting a more extended bounce. This doesn’t bode well for Luke.

This week’s song choices are not encouraging either. Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’ (which we know is well known to Luke, thanks to Saoirse) and Mumford & Sons’ ‘I Will Wait’ are far less iconic for an ITV audience than those of his rivals. As I mentioned on the podcast, I’m not convinced by Tamera’s choices of ‘The First Time Ever I saw Your Face’, popularised on this show by Matt Cardle, and Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’, but at least they are well known to viewers.

They seem the most likely bottom two before the show, and the elimination market agrees with both sharing a best price of 13/8 to go. Given my belief that Tamera would be saved over Luke, the 13/8 about Luke makes far more appeal.

It’s 11/2 bar, which brings in Rough Copy. The fact that one of their songs is a mash-up of ‘Every Little Step’ and ‘She’s Got That Vibe’ seems to confirm what Sofabet readers will have suspected, which is that the well-treated group will be given every chance to bounce from their bottom two appearance last week. A mash-up makes for a more entertaining performance, as indicated by the likes of Rylan and Wagner. I expect the boyband to be pimped hard this week, and that may be enough.

At 10/1 to be eliminated, a price that has shortened from 16/1 over the last few days, is Nicholas. He would be a shock exit this week as much as he would have been last week, but those odds are a lot less generous than the 40/1 which I couldn’t resist taking a speculative punt on a week ago, when song choices indicated it wasn’t going to be a particularly positive week for him.

This week’s song choices – ‘Greatest Day’ and ‘Just The Way You Are’ – seem more solid on paper. And one of this week’s VTs (thanks, Heisenberg) looks likely to be based around his first driving lesson, focusing sympathetically on his tender age. As was the case going into last week, you would expect his regional and demographic advantages to see him safe again.

Last week’s treatment – a largely forgettable performance from first in the running order – felt like a mild deramp, certainly in contrast to Sam Bailey’s pimp slot praise. Producers seemed to be laying their cards on the table about which of the only two acts yet to hit a singoff is their preferred winner. I expect that mild deramping of Nicholas to continue, and I’ll be looking for any indication that producers think they can go further and get him in the bottom two. It will be especially interesting to listen to Gary Barlow, who penned and sang ‘Greatest Day’ and has criticised Nick’s lack of individuality for the last two weeks.

Producers have done everything they can for Sam Bailey since week 4, and I expect them to continue that treatment this week. They do have to guard against complacency though, partly engendered by The Sun story before the week 6 show that she was “unstoppable”. Sharon did this last week by reminding viewers “not to believe everything you read in the papers”. A bottom two appearance would be a shock even among the final five.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s quarter-finals? Do keep the conversation going below.

57 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 8 Elimination: Friend no more?

  • sistermym

    Interesting article, Daniel. What I find strange this season is that although it looks like Sam Bailey for a landslide victory, I haven’t got the sense of an outright ‘this is who we want to win’ from the producers. This time last year, it was pretty obvious that James Arthur was it regardless of Jahmene and same for Little Mix previously.
    This year though…I am not so sure.
    10/1 for Nick to be eliminated looks good still especially if he falls in the B2 with Tamera. I am not a fan of hers but she has the best song choices by far.
    i also think that people can vote more for the song that for the person who sings it on many occasions, last year James Arthur was consistently given fairly wide appeal songs. I hate to say it but if Tamera falls in the B2 against anyone she looks to be safe and bounce to the final …to win?

    • Week 8 os notoriously bad for B2 participants (even those implied because there was no sing-pff); no one in recent memory survived in Week 8 to bounce into the final, let alone win.

    • Ben Cook

      They probably don’t really want her to win, but have realised that it is her vs Nick and if it has to be one of them they’d much rather it was her.

      • R

        They could have “cruise shipped” Nick and Sam at the early stages if they’d wanted to.

        They managed to get James Arthur & Little Mix to the top of the podium from lost cause positions through major ramping. They could have done the same with Luke, RC or even Kingland Road if they’d wanted to.

        Sam B has received major favouritism since her first audition. They definitely have a post show plan for her.

        From a betting angle, I would make bigger gains if Nick wins, but he has become a Jahmene/ Marcus Collins figure, sailing into the top 2 without being a threat to the chosen one.

        • Gamblebot

          They were setting up traps on Sam early, but U-turned by Week 4 (because of Hannah’s first B2 appearance?).

          As for Nicholas, they’re praising him, but at the same time, making him look very unappealing commercially so taking him down is easier in the long run.

  • Love the blog guys. As you may have heard on the megacast, myself and the Sofabet team disagree a little on Nicholas. Which is great, because it makes things more interesting. I think he’s a dead cert for the final, but agree he’s unlikely to win.

    In my view, the only way he would be got rid of, is against Sam Bailey.

    Let’s wargame it out and think of the other three contestants and let’s have a singoff against them.

    Who do the judges opt to save…?

    Nicholas vs Luke

    GB – Luke, to mix it up a bit.
    Sharon – Nicholas – she keeps saying how consistent he is
    Nicole – Not sure
    Louis – If he went last, he’d likely vote for Nicholas – he’s always said that’s who he thinks should make it – even on Radio 1 controversially. He is unlikely to refuse to vote if he fears the other judges will screw things up.

    Likely Nicholas. Maybe Deadlock

    Nicholas vs Tamera

    GB – Nicholas – Yes he wants individuality but he’s been harsh on Tamera.
    Nicole – Tamera
    Sharon – Not sure
    Louis – Nicholas

    Likely Nicholas. Maybe Deadlock.

    Nicholas vs Rough Copy

    GB – RC
    Louis – Nicholas
    Sharon – Not sure
    Nicole – Not sure

    This one is potentially a bit more dangerous, but I still think at least Sharon would want to be seen to do the decent thing “guys you’ve already been in the bottom two yadda yadda”.

    The last judge to vote would probably at least take it to deadlock in my opinion.

    = Deadlock =

    Deadlock seems the fairest way to decide when you get to the business end of the competition. So, let’s accept it’s certainly a possibility, so that the last judge makes it look fair and doesn’t get negative tweets for the next three days – especially when Nicholas is a wee lad who’s never put a foot wrong, and they’ve said as much.

    In Deadlock, for Nicholas to go, he has to be BOTTOM of the public vote:

    – Despite the infamous “scotbloc”.
    – Despite likely WINNING two votes so far this series and one just two weeks ago.
    – Despite having a lot of producer love all the way through the series.

    The only way he’s going home, is if he’s against Sam Bailey.

    Which, for me, makes 10-1 for elimination look far far too short.

    As ever, feel free to pull me to pieces – it’s only opinion.

    • stoney

      I don’t get your views on nicole regarding how she would vote in the event of her nikky Blue eyes falling into bottom 2. Id say she would be his dead cert for a safe up against a neutral act

    • Ben Cook

      Richard, I thought you believed the producers told the judges who to vote off? In which case it’s not really necessary to work out which judge would go for who because they quite often contradict themselves by saying who they really preferred and then go “but I HAVE to send x home”.

      • Ben, I don’t think I have ever said, or ever had the view that the producers TOLD the judges who to vote off. Please forgive me if you can find something I’ve written that gives that impression.

        Whilst most people here think that’s the case; personally and maybe controversially, I am “unsure” if that really happens – certainly directly.

    • Hey Richard! Enjoyed your combativeness on the megacast 🙂

      I think we can agree that their treatment of Nick so far has suggested they’re relaxed about the idea of him in the final, but would rather he didn’t win it. I think we can also agree he’s most likely not going to be bottom two this week.

      Question is, if the opportunity presented itself to have both Tamera and Rough Copy in the final, mightn’t they take it? There are so many excuses they can wheel out to justify singoff decisions, if there’s a will I’m sure they’d be able to find a way.

      • 🙂 Hope I didn’t go too far! Conflict = ratings.

        So, your theory is that he hits the bottom two next week and isn’t saved? I can see something in this, in that, if he hits the bottom two next week, that’s a very very dangerous bounce for the grand finale, so maybe get rid rather than run the risk of a finalebounce.

        However you need to accept two theories, one I think is possible and one unlikely and therefore “possible” x “unlikely” = “very unlikely”.

        1. Possible – That they want Tamera in the final. My personal view, as explained on the Megacast, can be summed up in two words. Six Songs. I should stress I wouldn’t rule it out, I’d say 25/75 Tam/RC for the third place at the moment.

        2. That they don’t want Nicholas for the final. Given the drought of Scotacts in on Syco shows in the last few years, for reasons I explained on Podcast Ep1, they might as well have a big keynote Scottish finale event with Nicholas and then they can get away with no Scots (if they can’t find decent talent) for a year or two.

        Personally I think it’ll be “reasonable” for Nicholas this week, and then pimp slot, walls of fire, star crazy, gold lighting, ballads galore, tearful VT’s – the works – for Semi Final Saturday. Bottom two wouldn’t be a disaster this week, it would next week!

        But, as ever, remember this is the guy talking who thought Jade Richards would win.

        • 🙂

          Actually not at all sure if they’d do it next week. First ever final 4 singoff, and ditch Nick agaist RC/Tamera, who are demonstrably less popular? It would be so transparent – even more so than Cher and Mary Byrne, which was also week 9 but at least a final 5. I’m not sure they’d dare – that would really antagonise the Scots. (And it’s not even confirmed there’ll be a singoff next week, right? This is still just based on TV listings, which don’t constitute a binding contract).

          I was thinking more that they might do it this week if they get the chance – say if he’s B2 against Luke, Louis abstains, the others agonise and find a way to 2:1 it. That would be SHOCK CONTROVERSY (can’t believe we’ve not really had any this series) but not in a “blatant fix” kind of way. Then next week they could have the first ever final 4 singoff and save Tamera/RC over Luke, and nobody bats an eyelid.

          All wildly speculative of course!

    • Boki

      In Nic vs Luke they would probably call Louis first (as Sharon and Nicole previously) and he would surely abstain.

  • Dan

    Presumably like last year at this stage, we’ll still have a bottom two and sing-off?

    Song choices looking very positive for Tamera. That’s a clear indication that TPTB want her to go further but at this stage with the pressure really on and two songs to sing, I think she’ll screw up yet again and that’ll be her last chance gone with the voting public. However “commercial” she might be, it’s no good if she can’t remember her words! Having said that, it doesn’t matter if she hits bottom two as it’s no big deal for the judges to vote to keep her, which I suspect will happen tomorrow. Presumably Luke would be in there with her. If that’s the case then the excuse of “the artist who will sell more records” will be rolled out and he’ll be a gonna.

    Given that it’s St. Andrew’s Day today, keep an eye out for over the top jockification of McNick; he’ll be safe tomorrow.

    • Natasha

      Tamera has been having hypnotherapy to help calm her nevers and remember her words lol i expect her to be pimped to high heavens tonight! Does anyone think that the mega incident that happened in Glasgow yesterday evening will have an effect on scottish voting tonight and in the final should he be there? Would there be a surge of more vote from non voters for Nicholas now and also through to the final to bring some good news to Scotland after that disaster?

  • lolhart

    I think TPTB know it will be very hard to get Nick into the bottom 2 due to his strong regional support. However, I think their aim is to continue to deramp him up until the final which is when the most people to vote. That way they can avoid him being crowned the winner.

    Although I think a Luke and Tamera bottom 2 is most likely, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Rough Copy didn’t bounce enough to be safe. I Believe I Can Fly could be a trainwreck vocally and I still think they lack the Middle England acceptability of JLS. Also, from a superficial point of view they don’t have an Aston or Marvin in the looks department to motivate the teen vote.

    I suspect if Rough Copy land in the bottom with Tamera they will be ejected. The fact that Tamera is on the front cover of the Fabulous magazine suggests there are still plans afoot for a post-show career. All Tamera needs to do is give a better performance than last week (which wouldn’t be hard) and the judges bar Gary can justify keeping her around.

  • Kahdoosch

    Can’t resist a fly in the Canisten,

    I’m still focussed on the best outcome for A&R at this point and I think the unexpected eminence of Sam B (pre-lives) might make it desired to increase the sales potential of the top 5 as opposed to the top 4.

    Modern A&R tends to go for save bets, proven market potential makes the decision over speculative promation (consider how many subsequently huge acts have been passed over by A&R departments because of this). Only occasionally do you get a visionary who punts on an unknown quantity.

    Recently we’ve seen mature female singers pimping their albums on the UK shows, Celine Dion, Mary J Blige, Cher, do Syco have a mature female singer under their wing?

    This is why I think the producers will aim to get the most bang for their buck this year.

    Sam B – safe


    Scot vote, solid as a rock comments etc

    Wee Nicky – safe


    Croydon vote, endorsement from Hannah, Nerfing of Tamara, along with Luke they NEED the final to maximise their potential for A&R

    RC – safe.


    I think Luke is the key to this weeks elimination, He has market potential but a 5th place for him might not be optimum for the tastes of A&R. The only way to maximise his sales potential is to have him in the final.

    Luke – B2 but safe.


    A sixteen year old who isn’t ready for the pressures of being thrust into the spotlight, favoured by the show but developed serious doubts about her ability to hack it at this time. Massive potential for the future market and already fairly prominent in the public eye, she will be remembered after the final come what may. Redemption story already built for NEXT YEAR when she will be older and wiser and TESTED (on the tour)

    Tamara – B2 and out

    Might not be good value now though.

  • R

    Looking at the last few years I’m surprised at how strong the week 7 to 8 bounce has been.

    2009: Olly Murs went from 9.8% bottom of the votes to 18.7%, this was 6% away from the B2.

    2010: Cher Lloyd went from 7% bottom to 13.19% 3rd place, just behind Rebecca Ferguson and ahead of 1D, who were close to B2.

    2011: Amelia Lily went from 11.3% second bottom to 23.8% top of the votes.

    2012: James Arthur went from 13.7% second bottom to 40.7% top. Of course he had the biggest pimping in the history of the show.

    There was certainly enough disappointment expressed by the judges at the public to push RC away from danger.
    I expect a recap from Barlow telling the public “not to let it happen again” in his most patronising tone.

  • Gamblebot

    We haven’t seen deadlock this year.

    Lorna lost 2-1.
    Sam C and Abi lost 3-0.
    Everyone else lost 3-1.

    Has this ever happened since Deadlock was born?

  • Gamblebot

    A note about the “public vote” song choices: I’m not sure if the choice of the three songs is very “organic”…

    Some songs, due to their relative obscurity (w.r.t. the presumed average app user), are essentially cannon fodder.

    Luke: The third song was essentially fodder and it was between Skinny Love and Bridge over Troubled Water. Skinny Love probably won because the BOTW doesn’t match his image.

    Nicholas: Just the Way You Are was the runaway winner. People are waiting for him to sing something from a current male artist.

    Tamera: TFTEISYF was the runaway winner because people remember Matt’s version; plus, This Woman’s Work isn’t very well known (saying it’s by “Maxwell Version” doesn’t help, either because no one knows who that is; they probably only know Maxwell) and Emotions is probably better known as the song Destiny Child covered (if they even know it was covered).

    Sam: Clown’s another big winner because it was her Bootcamp song and the thought of her doing Mariah is awful and the other song is also not very well known.

    Rough Copy: Like Luke, the third song is fodder and it was between the two cheese-fests by black artists.

    What do you make of this?

  • tpfkar

    Four alphas left and one beta. It surely works best for the show if Luke goes this weekend. I’m on the bet, however I’ve got every single call on Luke wrong this series…

  • AnnaC

    Popular songs don’t necessarily bring in votes. For example, last week Hannah had one of the most popular songs in existence but still ended up in the bottom two. The problem with songs that are well known and loved is that people know how they *should* be sung and have less tolerance of bad or even different cover versions. With songs that are not so well known there is more scope for the singer to sound as though they are doing something that is original without upsetting those who love the song. On Mumford and Sons – firstly that is a ‘delight the demo’ choice. Second, my son and I went through a stage where he kept playing music that I really liked and every time I asked what it was, he answered “Mumford and Sons” which suggests a pretty broad appeal. It might be a choice that works well for Luke. In addition, Luke is the only contestant who hasn’t yet closed the show although, if they want to take him down, the producers may fudge that by giving him the final slot for the first song and an early slog for the second.

  • stoney

    Nicholas up first again. He must be topping the vote. It’s the only explanation

    • Natasha

      . I did agree with Gary and Sharons comments though, he’s not singing with much passion like he did in the earlier stages. What was all that shoddy camera work about on Sam B?! And I also thought the VT was ‘end of journey’. What are they up to? Surely not sacrificing Sam B for Tamera?

      • stoney

        Yep that will be the producers influence. In all my time off watching this show I can’t remember anyone opening 2 shows in a row before we have hit December. Hoping it’s due to producer panick

    • Natasha

      Lets hope he is topping the vote and lets hope he will in the final 🙂

      • stoney

        Louis did name check him for the final. let’s hope he gets barlow back on side with the greatest day. Probably not though this is starting to look like a sabotage now

        • Natasha

          He also quoted ‘recording voice’ which is positive. He had better camera work than Sam B which im confused about if they are trying to sabotage him? The next performance of his and following comments will make it all the more clearer

  • Oh dear. Nothing says deramp more than Tamera’s scrapheap staging. Subliminal message: After this competition’s over, your headed for the scrapheap, just like many others before you.

  • R

    Thought Nick’s camera angles were much worse than Sam’s.

    Noticed the comments about Nick not moving around the stage followed by Sam “owning the stage.

    If Sam’s performance had been Maloney, they would have ripped into her with more than just Cruiseship.

    Tamera had a nuclear sky and colour vomit.

  • R

    Barlow calling Nick “too middle of the road” has to be the funniest comment of the series from the master of bland.

  • tpfkar

    Red lights in Luke’s VT: didn’ttseem excited about song, Louis hates the song, and even worse Luke has a female friend. Last time he was seen with a female, he was B2

  • stoney

    Nicholas and tamera bashed for not moving about but luke has done several ordinary vocal performances with no negativity, oh but he is playing a few strokes on a guitar so it’s Alright

  • Boki

    It looked like Luke just has become the alpha boy.

  • stoney

    Everyone sings there public choice first except rough copy. The show is a farce. Will we get laser eyes for nick next?

  • R

    My thoughts at the half-way stage:

    Nick: De-ramped. I don’t think this was to get him into B2 but to keep his vote away from Sam B. Still a possible B2.

    Sam B: Continued kitchen sink level pimping. She might not be doing as well as we think.

    Tamera: Lined up for B2.

    Luke: Mass pimping. I think this is more to keep him off B2. His twitter followers have closed in on Nick, so he is a threat.

    RC: I had expected much better treatment following Hannah’s comments. They were wearing red and black and bad comments. It depends how much the bounce effect is.

    I think RC & Tamera but could be Tamera/Nick.

    • R

      I take the Nick thing back. The first song comments was obviously a set up for his second song redemption.

      • R

        I should add the only bets I have this week atm are. Luke/Tamera B2 and Nicole to lose all her acts first

        • I didn’t spot any redemption for Nick. In the context of he show, I thought he was the worst.

          A lot of Scotland will be celebrating St Andrew’s day – is Nick #1 priority tonight?

          Also bare in mind the helicopter crash in Glasgow – I f were Nick, I would have mentioned that after my song.

          In my opinion, TPTB are working on a Sam/Luke/Tamera top 3.

          • R

            They told him he needed to own the stage in song one, then they said he owned the stage in song two.
            He needed to move more, then he moves more. They knew this was coming up from the rehearsals.

            He also had Barlow praise for a TT song & lots of gold.

  • tpfkar

    I think i’ve heard more times that RC were bottom 2 last week than I’ve been told how old Nicholas is. Pimp slot and backstage interview. Who needs subtlety?

  • Boki

    Luke overtook Nic in the outright.

  • stoney

    A ridiculous amount of money must have been placed on luke friend to win the show he has leap frogged nicholas with all firms.

  • EM

    Only one thought tonight, Sam B is going nowhere

  • R

    I’m guessing the phones opening after the first set of songs means people pick their favourites at that point and stick to them, so the comments about the second performances don’t have as much impact.

    • Curtis

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the opposite was true. Given that people can vote immediately as a reaction to the second performance, I think that the second performance is absolutely vital.

  • AnnaC

    Luke and Tamera switched places so that in the recap Luke was shown third with voting number 04 whilst Tamera appeared fourth with voting number 03. I wonder if this will affect the votes?

  • There’s the Croydon vote!

  • Izzy

    On Xtra Factor Caroline asked Louis which of the boys was better bearing in mind his comments about Nic last week. His response was along the lines of “Luke is now way ahead!” which kind of cements the idea that Luke is now being pimped to be alpha boy?

  • Joe

    Dirty tricks? You think your voting for Luke adding 03 as he was on 3rd but the votes go to Tamera? I agree with others that Nic must be leading and by shoving him on first and with constant negativity about lack of individuality and not owning the stage made him appear weakest tonight.

    They seem to be ever praising Sam in hope they can get her the win so need to slow Nic down. The pushing of Luke tonight is hope that votes will transfer to him. Is it enough to see Nic bottom 2. Not sure. Put a few pounds on Nicole to be first to lose all her acts at 6/1 a few weeks ago so really want Tamera gone. She did well but ‘colour vomit’ with her jacket and no sympathy vote may see her bottom 2 as she comes down from a bounce, so I’m ever hopeful.

    • Roxie

      I did think vocally Nick was the weakest of the night especially with that second song full of squeaky high notes and some really weird flat notes in places.

      I do think however Tamera is in trouble. The fact that she remembered the words is sort of like the completing of her journey? This may make her fans not vote for her. Luke/RC being pimped by the judges…while Nick/Sam B being the people’s favorites means I can’t see it going any other way for her. I do think she’s not got a chance this week. Her performance had a very Wishing On a Star vibe + colour vomit.

      Now her safety will be decided with who she is up against in the B2. If she is saved I can see a bounce to the final (she’s broken the previous record for a Week 4 B2 act so why not here too?). But will she be saved against any of them?

      If RC was B2, I could see Tamera surviving as Sharon said that she finally made a connection with her and Louis is like Tamera’s biggest fan right now on the judging panel. 3 vs 1. Tamera survives.

      Against Nick, I could see Gary/Sharon voting for Tamera, again for the whole artist identity thing which I think Gary appreciates more so than Nick? And Sharon for the connection this week too. 3 vs 1. Tamera survives.

      Against Luke, I could see Louis voting for Tamera and Gary going for Luke as Gary’s favorite seems to be Luke this week, and like James I can see him saving Luke no matter what. 2 vs 2, Tamera loses and goes.

      Likewise with Sam B, I can’t see Tamera winning against Sam B with Gary. But I can see Louis saving her going by potential (previously having saved Sam B in this way). So it’d go 2-2 (deadlock!), Tamera loses and goes.

      It’s all about whether the show can justify saving her against anyone. And at the moment they can only do it with Nick and RC.

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