X Factor 2013 Week 9 Live Show: Scotland vs Devon

Before the show the big question was whether producers had instituted an unprecedented singoff at the final four stage in the hope of getting Nicholas into their sights, or to ensure they could get Rough Copy into the final if they finish bottom of the pile. There’s something to be said for both of those views after tonight’s show.

Our reading is that producers would ideally like to see the two boys in the singoff, which we imagine would go something like Louis abstaining, Nicole saving Nicky Blue Eyes and both Gary and Sharon saving Luke on the grounds of his greater musicality and individuality.

But will they manage it? If Nick holds on to what we assume will be second place in the voting behind Sam, then surely Luke is in line for the chop against Rough Copy. Here’s how we saw the night unfold.

First up was, as Dermot put it, “The little boy from Devon … Luke Friend.” Luke had a rather dull VT, and his attempt to change Beyonce’s ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ just reminded me of the busker tag. Although the lighting was yellow turning to blue, the backdrop was an unidentifiable mess of patterns.

Judges’ comments were mixed too. Gary said he wanted him in the final, whilst Louis asked for support from “the people of Devon” (not known for their regional strength), and Nicole and Sharon were rather equivocal.

Poor Nicholas. Having been first up two weeks running, he came on second this time – followed by Sam Bailey yet again. An end-of-journey VT was followed by an underwhelming version of ‘Halo’, mainly because the song was in the wrong key for him and stretched his higher register. He was stuck on the plinth catwalk last seen for Hannah’s ‘Beautiful’ and had wide-angle shots aplenty, but he did get more gold lighting, kicking in at the tricky key change.

There was a cutaway to Louis laughing and joking with Sharon as Nick struggled with the vocals – will that have motivated sympathy by seeming impolite, or reinforced the sense that it wasn’t really worth listening to? Gary Barlow said, “The song was too big for your voice.” Nicole reminded us why it was a completely unsuitable choice for him.

Nick was understandably upset, leaving Louis to tell him to “stop crying” – presumably not wanting tears to motivate votes. Louis went on to say “the people of Scotland are behind you. They’re going to get you into the final.” No need for anyone else to vote for him then, being the implicit suggestion.

Sam Bailey got more chandeliers in her backdrop, along with shooting stars for her stellar performance of ‘If I Were A Boy’. Louis again suggested she has this competition won. I was looking for Sharon to urge her supporters to guard against complacency after the second round of songs. Still, no mention of “cruiseship” from Nicole.

I thought the staging and styling was alienating for Rough Copy’s ‘Survivor’ – it was more reminiscent of what we saw for ‘Don’t Let Go’ that put them into the bottom two. This time, however, the judges whipped up a controversy about it, Nicole and Gary raving about it (“now this semi has started,” Nicole said), whereas Sharon and Louis probably reflected the majority of viewers in saying it had been “too much”.

Dermot finally confirmed a singoff after the first round of songs.

Nick was back in his accustomed role of starting things off for the second round of performances. It is sometimes interesting to wonder whether the show switch performance orders like this in the hope that certain portion of people get confused and dial 01 only to mistakenly register a vote for the second performer, and 02 mistakenly voting for the first. If this does happen to any extent, you would expect Luke to benefit more than Nick. Interestingly, they also switched around Rough Copy and Sam Bailey – no doubt who any mixed-up viewers would, on average, be helping there.

This was a much more solid performance vocally from Nicholas, and recognised as so by the panel. The staging had a stairway to heaven and gold lighting, but distracting dancers, which Sharon called attention to. Gary noted that the song suited him, Nicole said he was “back in the saddle”, and Louis questioned the work ethic of young people all over Scotland by claiming Nick was a “role model” for them because he “works hard”. It was positive enough, but far from a pimping.

Luke was deprived of his two USPs for his second performance, with hair pulled back and no guitar – which, as Sharon commented, put him out of his comfort zone. The comments for Luke were, as for Nick, broadly positive without being overly motivational to vote, unless of course you happen to reside in Devon.

There was nothing in these comments that would make it awkward for the judges either to save Luke or ditch him tomorrow, depending on whom he finds himself up against.

Rough Copy’s second VT had them in the Wembley Arena, planting the thought in viewers’ minds that they deserve to be there – a theme explicitly hit by the judges in their comments. As last week, a potentially Middle England-alienating urban performance in the first round was followed by something much less edgy in the second. Their harmonies were still terrible, but judges predictably praised it and Gary shilled for votes by pointing out that groups have traditionally needed to get to the final to enjoy success after the show.

Sam was in the pimp slot for the biggest-selling single of all time. There was a mention of the c-word (cruiseship) in the VT, but no mentioning of the diva allegations from this morning’s Sun – indeed, Louis made a point of saying how Sharon says she is a dream to work with.

Last week’s c-bomb and this morning’s diva story still feel puzzling, and you could argue the comments were complacency-inducing, but it would be an astonishing shock if she didn’t top tonight’s vote from the pimp slot and overall the sense remains that Sam is cruising to the victory with producers’ acquiescence.

In summary, then, we reckon the equation is fairly simple – if Nick’s in the bottom two, he goes; if he isn’t, Luke goes. But will Nick be in the bottom two? I had been dutching Luke and Nick in my elimination betting, but I’m now leaning towards Luke.

Do let us know your reading of the show below. In the meantime, we’re off to use a Samsung tablet to re-read our live show 1 review and marvel at how far we’ve come since then.

69 comments to X Factor 2013 Week 9 Live Show: Scotland vs Devon

  • tpfkar

    Love the gag at the end :). This post is outside your comfort zone, you made the article your own and really connected with the audience as well….

    For me it was Sam Bailey all the way tonight, with no-one else coming close. Even though thy had the pimp slot, I’m not sure RC sang well enough to escape either time. Obvious reason for the sing-off is to get RC to the final from fourth, I can see it being needed. Luke vs RC with Luke going Sounds about right to me.

  • Tonight very easy to read,

    They want two things

    1) Nick v Luke
    2) As a backup Luke to be bottom 2

    Achieves two things allows them to easily vote nick out if against Luke, with Louis abstaining.

    And simply as a backup allows them to take it to deadlock if option 1) doesn’t happen.

    IMO any de-ramping you saw of Luke was aimed solely to make sure he is in the bottom 2.

    It would be much harder for them to get rid of Nick v RC. Not that that matters.

    Also Louis brilliantly preventing any sympathy vote by saying “don’t cry Scotland has saved you” basically says “don’t feel sorry for him he is safe”

  • Donald

    Sam B singing I Dreamed a Dream in the final, any odds on that? Not laying off my RC ew win bet LOL. Who will they want as last two in the final? Remember they not great at getting their target but they did go for Nick tonight. Small stakes, good luck to all.

    • Chris Bellis

      I didn’t believe my bookie relative when he tipped me an EW bet on RC, and said another good bet was for Tamera to go before RC. This was weeks ago. However, he’s the one who makes substantial amounts of money to supplement his pension. The sound engineers had better work harder on the RC vocals. One of them is flat all the time, A bit of sound processing could sort that out. Of course it can work the other way. The German sound engineers crucified Blue, who do good harmonies, in Eurovision a few years ago. I still think that was deliberate.

  • Nugg

    Just home from fountain studios, good show, not much support for Nick in the studio tonight and Louis was a bit harsh not even mentioning his own act on Xtra factor when asked about who should get a recording contract……pretty clear producers want Rough Copy in the final….just reading through everyones thoughts now and about to watch show as it sometimes appears very different on TV to how we see it live

  • Fudd

    Regarding the background to Luke’s Best Thing I Never Had – at first I thought it was gold but is it actually meant to be fire?

  • Nissl

    Ugh, huge post and it timed out somehow. Anyway, not a huge amount to add really. My VPN bombed out so I just watched the YT performances and will trust everyone’s assessment on the VTs.

    In order of favoritism:
    Sam B had middle of the road good performances that were actually a bit tedious viewed back to back, but probably would work well broken up by an hour. As said, cruising ahead. RC gave the same type of performances in the same 1-2 combo as last week. Maybe TPTB saw it helping them a bit extra? Same 3-4 switch as LM in the same week back in 2011, too. Overall liked these a bit better than last week, not that it matters much at this stage. Having Joey hit the big note at the end of #2 was a good idea. Luke gave solid performances but took a nerf with the hair tied back in #2, and #1 reminded me of last week’s #2 for whatever reason.

    Wonder what Nick’s thinking after going first in 4 of the last 5 performances and being given something too high in the other. That crack should knock all the floating votes off of him, although as said I don’t know if it’ll be enough. Producers wouldn’t gun for him like this (and this is too much to just be damping him behind SB at this point) if they didn’t think it could be done, though. I’d feel bad for him, but then he badly lost the shadow (real?) competition, which is looking like you have a bright commercial future after the show. In this era of iTunes downloads, Youtube views, and app ratings, that’s a fairer competition than ever.

    Also, general comment, I find the live band weeks add a little sparkle and make things feel less karaoke. Funk week next year, pretty please?

  • Ben Cook

    I’m still confused about Nick vs Luke. They seem to want Luke in the final but I can’t see why. Neither of them are going to sell many records but at least having Nick in the final would add a bit of tension to the final result because you’d still believe he has a chance of beating Sam, whereas surely Luke having been in the bottom 2 twice (and probably three times come tomorrow) wouldn’t have much of a chance.

    • Nugg

      I think Nichole made it pretty clear she would vote for Luke to stay, with Louis likely to abstain it would only take a vote from either Gary or Sharon to send Nick home, this could easily be justified by Lukes improvement and Nicks poor performance in tonights show…….I would call Luke as saved in Luke v Nick sing off

  • Nugg

    Can a just publicly say a HUGE thank you to Chatterbox5200 for making it possible for me to attend tonights X Factor show and putting up with my celeb and Xfactor based ramblings in the queue for 7 hours, a great and genuinely interesting guy, with whom it was a pleasure to watch the show with…must do it again sometime.

  • Gamblebot

    From the looks of it, the agenda is pretty clear: get Rough Copy into the final. They didn’t go all in for Queen Bailey because she’s probably clinched to win it all and pimping her will overshadow RC. They’re probably trying to make sure that the bounce from last week will sustain itself, as they did with James last year (even if he won Week 8 by a large margin).

  • Since Tamera’s lost last week i’ve lost a lot of interest in the show. i was kinda right to do so, the Beyonce performances this week were catastrophic.. thank god for the Elton John songs.. but still, it all looks very obvious now, one of the boys leaving tonight.. Sam winning next week… Looks like the finals are gonna b really dull

  • Jessica Hamby

    Same. Didn’t watch this week. Doubt I will next week either. Without a financial interest there’s nothing to engage me. Regarded as entertainment it really is the most god-awful rubbish.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    X Factor, betting and pounds Sterling.

    (I wonder who his value tip for elimination tomorrow is).


    • Chris Bellis

      Every time I have followed the Mirror’s tips – on anything – I’ve lost money. Even the star ratings in the TV guide are nearly always way out. So if they are right about RC, it will be a first for me.

  • Interesting thing I noticed in Sam’s VT… Sam saying something along the lines of

    “One mistake can cost me the entire Competition”

    So not her Place in the competition, but the entire competition?

    • Ben Cook

      So she believes she can win? Can’t blame her when she’s the red hot favourite. At least she is showing that she still has some doubt. One mistake probably won’t cost her the entire competition! Nick seems to be the one who has most self-belief going by what he was saying last night, and last week complaining that he was being given bad songs and can’t show off what he can do. He’s the one who’s developing the biggest ego!

  • stoney

    Hardly. He’s been saying for the last 2 weeks hes in danger. He knows full well what hes up against

  • Natasha

    Do we know what they will be singing next week? What I mean is could it be a previous song of their choice that they have sung in their audition or on the lives?

  • tpfkar

    Just thinking things through. Why are they so obsessed with who comes 3rd and 4th? Surely whoever survives tonight’s sng-off will be a sitting duck in the final and heading for third place? Can anyone see a bounce possible in the final? So maybe the real effect of the sing-off tonight will be to nobble the survivor.

    If it’s all about getting RC to the final, then why bother? Just let Luke sing a Beyonce song with a guitar and you’ve done it. So it surely must be because Nick is in range? Or am I overthinking this?

    • Kevin

      I think it may be that The X Factor finalists get a lot of publicity during the week beforehand. Cowell wants the exposure that being a finalist brings for Rough Copy.

    • Dan

      Just thinking things through. Why are they so obsessed with who comes 3rd and 4th? Surely whoever survives tonight’s sng-off will be a sitting duck in the final and heading for third place?

      I agree. I mentioned in a previous post that TPTB have a top three in mind that they are only guaranteed to get (and perhaps are only likely to achieve) with a sing-off. If it goes to a judge’s majority vote tonight, I would bet that the act that gets put through to the final is bottom of the phone vote.

      So maybe the real effect of the sing-off tonight will be to nobble the survivor.

      The point I can see in going all out to get a struggling act to the final is so that post-show, they can be marketed as “X-Factor Grand Finalist” if Cowell and co have a plan for them. It sounds more credible than “runner up” or “came fifth”. Cher Lloyd was the classic example of this where they frigged the format to give a grand final of four, a week nine sing-off and voted off the higher placed Mary Byrne.

    • A bottom 2 of Nick v Luke, sets it up nicely for producers and after last years failure of not nukeing Chris, despite trying several times, they will have learned from their mistakes and can pat themselves on the back.

      Nick goes tonight via no Deadlock, meaning Luke is bottom of the vote and probably comfortably there.

      Means that when they go back to this week, they know that if they PIMP all 3 in the final, they know what each pimp for each act can do.

      It would mean that the finishing order would be

      3rd Luke – His pimping last week, wasn’t enough for him to avoid bottom 2, a clear tell that he would be last of the two

      1st Sam Bailey – I am sure everyone believes she is polling 30%+ of the votes now? So that wouldn’t change, she would win comfortably

      Meaning RC would be left to take 2nd place, as did JLS after falling into the B2 in week 7, giving them enough credit to go on and be successful after the show.

      They wont need to worry about de-ramping anyone and can just solely focus on making the final as good as possible.

      All they have to do…. is get Nick in that B2 tonight.. v Luke!

      Will they? Wont They?

      That is the question.

      • Nugg

        100% agree JScouser, thats the plan , the real problem lies with sending Nick home if he finishes 3rd in public vote, deadlock is easy enough to pull of if he is bottom, if he is 3rd yes it CAN and WILL be done but not without causing some controversy and upset by sending someone home who has NEVER appeared in bottom 2 against possibly Luke who will be appearing there for the THIRD time or RC who would be making a second appearance there

        • Nugg

          If its Nick V Luke tonight and Luke is bottom they will go to Louis to vote first and he will abstain AND then they will need to get two of the other three judges to vote to send Nick home
          If it is Nick V Luke tonight and Nick is bottom then Louis will vote last and send it to deadlock.

          Thats my thoughts

  • AlisonR

    Interesting after one of the ad breaks that Dermot pointed out family and friends for Sam, Luke and RC but not Nick

    • Nugg

      Nick appeared to have little support in the studio last night Alison, he had by far the lowest noise made by audience even before he had sung….not sure if it came across on TV….the rough copy friends and family were a noisy bunch lol

      • stoney

        Not suprising really they probably gave rough copys family and friends half the arena. Nicholas being from scotland probably had a limit of 4 passes

  • Stu

    I think people are underestimating the continuous bounce. If Misha B could constantly bounce after each bottom two appearance, I’m sure the likeable Luke can. I think it’s going to be a Rough Copy VS Nicholas bottom two with presumably Nic going home.

    • Bananas

      Agree with this.

      The previous week 8-9 bounces have been around 4-6%.
      Only Misha didn’t bounce in the semi, but it was her 4th time in the B2 and Barlow mentioned the “bully” word that week to remind the public why they didn’t like her.

      Luke will bounce & RC will be coming off a bounce to some extent. Will he bounce above RC & Nick? It seems possible.
      If not RC v Nick, then they will settle for Luke v Nick.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Luke vs RC.

  • It was so obvious that Sam was going to be called first!!! I should have bet on that.

  • stoney

    Finally some luck for me. Nicholas guaranteed at least runner up in the final now

    • Natasha

      Stoney I braved it and went in for the outright. Twice. Before the lives even started. Surely they cant continue with the harsh treatment in the final? I mean ridiculous song choice etc?

      • stoney

        Oh they will mate. Ive said tons of times hel sing last xmas by wham. And won’t sing a thousand years. Also hel probably sing the climb as his best performance

        • Natasha

          Im expecting him on first next week again then! Im thinking Sam B may not be polling as high as they’d want, otherwise, why would they have to pimp the hell out of her? RC really cant sing can they? Ha ha

  • Chatterbox5200

    Looks like Nic’s voice cracking, and the emotion that went with it, could have been what motivated enough people to vote for him. Looks like Luke’s on his way home. I can’t imagine they’d want a final without Rough Copy.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    First time I’ve watched any XF product in a month. Finding it barely watchable. XF pumping the charity-children angle is revolting.

    Luke getting a bit overwrought during this sing-off, methinks! As is his scratchy voice. Real desperation emotion going on there.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Christ,RC are even out of tune during the harmonies. Underwhelming. Are one of them wearing white stockings?! What are they?!

  • Mark

    Sharon gone rogue again..?

  • According to Dan Wooton, Gazza looked pissed at Sharon. Did she go rogue?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Am so pleased I steered clear of this weekend’s XF markets.

  • ChrisR

    That was expensive

  • stoney

    They kept luke in to try and stiffle the teen vote for nick in the final

  • TLG

    Maybe they want to split the boy vote to get Sam across the line? Does seem a strange u-turn given RC’s pimping and name checking as finalists.

  • Curtis

    I get why they wanted to keep Luke, but all the signs were that they wanted Rough Copy in the final.

  • Jessica Hamby

    So I wasn’t the only one thinking please make it stop during Rough Copy…..

  • Alen

    Maybe Nicholas is doing too good and they hoped with keeping Luke around they could split the votes and make Sam the destined winner?

  • Kevin

    I think Sharon Osborne bottled it. Notice she was off for a sherry pronto

  • Curtis

    Sharon has “left” for the start of Xtra Factor. Left for a slap from the producers?

  • Chatterbox5200

    Just a brief comment with regard to the “switcheroo” in the running order for Nicholas last night.

    Watching from the studio audience, I noticed how long it took the team to assemble the staircase staging for Nic’s second performance. They needed all the time of an advert break and a VT to do so. To take it apart, and remove it from the stage, also took the about the same time. As Luke’s staging for his second performance was minimal, and the time allocated was only the time left from a VT (no ad break) after removing Nic’s staging I truly believe that that this was the reasoning for the change in order, rather than any intention to confuse the audience with the voting numbers.

  • stoney

    Lol come on guys it’s obvious by nicks slot positions that he’s a threat to win but what I don’t get is why do a sing off if your gonna send to public vote anyway

  • Nugg

    WOW …glad I wasn’t financially involved….got that badly wrong…so funny watching Sharon go rogue and everyone elses reactions now….she is in the office getting a bolocking right now no doubt…..you would think they could have waited till after Xtra factor though…….too upset at losing Rough Copy…..hilarious excuse…. not even her act lol

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