Sam Bailey Wins The X Factor

To nobody’s great surprise, Sam Bailey is our winner. Congratulations to Sam from all at Sofabet. On the bright side for Nicholas, he’s still alive. I was happy to end the series by recovering some of last week’s losses on Rough Copy, having been sufficiently encouraged by how far clear Sam was in YouGov’s poll to keep piling on her at odds of 1.25, having started backing her in week 6 at 2.34.

All credit to Sofabet commenters including Tim B, JScouser and tpfkar who had been cheerleading for Sam from the start at much longer odds than I managed to secure. I hope you got on board the Bailey bandwagon at an earlier point than I did.

And having found out the winner, there’s not long now until the highlight of every X Factor series – the release of the voting statistics on the X Factor website. We’ll be pressing F5 and hoping they appear before the small hours of the morning. If so, we’ll aim to get an insta-analysis post up within the hour.

One of the things we’ll be looking for is to test the theory that Sam’s week 1 vote was one of her best, and Nick’s week 3 vote one of his worst, for those were the songs they reprised in the first round.

Nicholas was up first, reprising ‘Angel’ rather than ‘Someone Like You’, which saw him pimped and, according to the Daily Star, topping the phone poll in week 6. His VT showed that Louis had made this choice. As Jessica pointed out, the word “little” was used frequently about him. It was a solid vocal performance from Nicholas, and the staging was tasteful, although there was a long shot for every emotional moment of the song.

Sam Bailey was reprising ‘Power of Love’, and we’ll be surprised if she didn’t smash the week 1 vote with it. Like Nicholas, her VT also emphasised the journey she had gone on. I much preferred the more intimate staging of week 1 to the red-and-black we saw tonight. There was also a plinth and Sam started in a cage – so quite a few of our red flags were present. (Though in the comments, Fudd speculated that the raising of the cage might have been a metaphor for escaping her prison job).

But if some aspects of the staging were unexpected, the panel’s reaction wasn’t. She got a four-judge standing ovation, and even Louis pleaded for votes for her. Joe wondered in the comments if this indicated it was close – we shall soon see, although Tulisa’s table-thumping this time two years ago came with Little Mix never in serious danger of losing out to Marcus Collins.

Nick’s final VT had him telling us that when he got through Louis’s judges’ houses he never believed he’d get this far, which clearly indicates he’s unaware of what being young, cute, vocally competent and Scottish can do for you. Or, indeed, what it can lead to the show doing to you – the lyrical message of his winner’s song, “it’s not easy to be me”, felt like a commentary on his less-than-helpful treatment since week 7, which continued with this rather meandering song choice. The staging was nice enough again, though – gold balloons, and what looked like Stonehenge.

Comments for the underdog’s performance of their putative winner’s single are always intriguing – we would have expected, if Nick had been leading in the vote, the judges to have been tipped the wink to hype this as a song everyone must buy if he wins and it’s released as a single. That didn’t happen, Sharon and Gary merely congratulating him for doing so well throughout the series while Nicole and Louis mentioned that the song could go on his album.

Sam got a fabulous send-off VT, focusing on how she felt the show had taken ten years off her while strengthening her bonds with her family, and a choice of winner’s single much more typical of the inspirationally-uplifting genre.

Louis said – twice – that this was going to be a number one record, which seemed to stand in stark contrast to the “you can put this on your album” message for Nicholas. That seemed to be all the proof we needed of which way the result was going – and so it proved.

We’ll be back soon after we get those statistics, but in the meantime let me say a big thank you to all the commenters who have kept up a debate in the comments that has never veered from being friendly, good-humoured, informative and constructive. In the spirit of X Factor final sentimentality, I’m under no illusions that you make this site what it is.

56 comments to Sam Bailey Wins The X Factor

  • EM

    Quick fag packet calculation and some inside info, they’d have made less money on votes this weekend than they do from one ad break.

    Thanks Dermot for the one million votes info.

  • Curtis

    Obviously can’t wait for the voting figures – if it weren’t for leaks and such, I would have Sam Bailey as winning every single week, and Nick as coming second every single week. However, I get the feeling it wasn’t that simple, both due to the leaks, and the heavy, heavy deramping of Nick.

    I’ve little to add at this moment, but in the spirit of sentimentality, I want to thank this website. This series of the X Factor would have been no fun without this website, but as usual the analysis given by the intelligent bloggers and debate with the commenters has made this otherwise dull series a hoot as usual.

  • Mech

    And congratulations to Andy who’s predictions at the start of the series outclassed everyone else, with Luke his only serious error, and many positions spot on…

    The score below is calculated from the total of the absolute difference between predicted and actual finishing position for each act.

    Username Position Score (lower is better)
    Andy 1 18
    Chatterbox 2 20
    Nissl 3 22
    Stoney 4 23
    R 5 24
    Highlighted 5 24
    TimB 5 24
    Santa Giles 5 24
    Daniel 9 26
    Jay 9 26
    Guido Horn F. 11 28
    Dan 11 28
    Henry VIII 11 28
    Dan 11 28
    Vulker 15 30
    Cath 16 32
    JScouser2002 16 32
    AlisonR 18 34
    Ben Cook 18 34
    Mech 18 34
    Charlie 21 36
    Random 21 36
    tpfkar 21 36
    Mech Random 24 52
    Heisenberg(Wk3+)15 30

    Commiserations to tpfkar who is the only other punter (other than my truly random prediction) who didn’t beat the statistical odds vs random chance 🙁

    If anyone wishes to see the working, it’s all contained in a Google Docs spreadsheet at

    • Nissl

      Yay, third! Still kicking myself for putting Nick ahead of Sam even though I thought it would be foolish of the producers, and not giving Luke a little more credit after watching some Youtubes that showed a pretty strong ability to connect.

    • Andy

      Thanks Mech.
      when do I receive my prize.

      Using this as a base I won a considerable amount on the match bets only to give it all back in the elimination markets.
      profits in the category markets were lost when Tamera won Top female.
      I only backed Sam & Nicholas in the outright marktets and made a profit overall.
      Next year I might leave the elimination markets alone altogether.
      The Red line shows that Luke had everybody wrong.

    • AlisonR

      Did I really get as low down as that? 🙁

  • Daniel, Andrew and everyone on this site, many thanks is not even enough. Hope it turned out well for you guys too and bring on the real deal, our Eurovision :).

  • Daniel

    Judges predictions of the winner at start of live shows:
    Nicole – Sam Bailey
    Gary – Sam Bailey
    Sharon – Sam Bailey
    Louis – Sam Bailey or Luke

  • R

    I’m very happy with my joint 5th place…the Tamera Foster of Sofabet. lol.

    Off to check up on my profits.
    Would have been so much better with a Nick win but a good year for me all the same 🙂

    • Tim B

      Joint 5th place! Love it.

      I’d like to thank everyone working behind the scenes and everyone in the canteen. This isn’t the end for me – this is just the beginning.

  • Fudd

    Sam won eight weeks; Nicholas two weeks… and he didn’t perform Angel in either of those. 😉

    • David Cook

      Yes. But it’s impossible to think that the judges have any idea of the voting statistic isn’t it. So Louis couldn’t know that Angel wasn’t the best song choice.

  • Phil

    Sam topped the vote 8 times, Nick twice (She’s the One and Someone Like You).

  • Curtis

    So how do these facts compare to the leaks?

  • Daniel

    On Xtra Factor, the following has been revealed:

    1. Sam Bailey won all the other weeks apart from the two Nicholas won. The Daily Star was spot on again.

    2. Rough Copy were third three times in the phone vote, so was Hannah Barrett.

    3. Luke was only 9th early on (presumably week 1), and third four times (including the last two weeks, no doubt).

    • lolhart

      That’s interesting about Hannah. I assume two of those 3rd place spots were bounces after she was bottom 2.

      • Roxie

        And the other one must have been her pimp slot Beautiful.

        I really thought she would do well, so did we all. What went wrong? What was wrong with Skyfall that people stopped voting for her?

        My feeling is that she did badly after the majority of her demographic which were older started to prefer Sam Bailey, then she started to fall.

        Luke came 3rd with Kiss From a Rose and What Makes You Beautiful I guess.

        RC must have come 3rd with their pimp slot in Week 1, Hit the Road Jack in Week 5 and their bounce week in Week 8.

    • Daniel

      This information presumably means Nick was never lower than second.

    • Curtis

      And there we go. They were scared and they needed Luke.

    • Fudd

      Week 1

      Flash Vote Saturday

      Sam Bailey 23.4%

      Nicholas McDonald 23.3%

      Rough Copy 18.4%

      Abi Alton 9.2%

      Hannah Barrett 5.3%

      Tamera Foster 4.9%

      Kingsland Road 3.7%

      Sam Callahan 3.5%

      Luke Friend 3.4%

      Miss Dynamix 1.8%

      Lorna Simpson 1.6%

      Shelley Smith 1.5%

      Overall Vote Sunday

      Nicholas McDonald 23.5%

      Sam Bailey 23.3%

      Rough Copy 16.4%

      Abi Alton 9.0%

      Hannah Barrett 5.2%

      Sam Callahan 5.1%

      Tamera Foster 5.1%

      Kingsland Road 4.1%

      Luke Friend 3.5%

      Miss Dynamix 2.2%

      Lorna Simpson 1.7%

      Shelley Smith 0.9% (Votes from flash vote only)

      Week 2

      Flash Vote Saturday

      Nicholas McDonald 28.1%

      Sam Bailey 16.8%

      Hannah Barrett 12.7%

      Tamera Foster 9.4%

      Rough Copy 8.6%

      Abi Alton 6.1%

      Luke Friend 5.9%

      Sam Callahan 5.1%

      Shelley Smith 3.7%

      Kingsland Road 3.6%

      Overall Vote Sunday

      Nicholas McDonald 27.1%

      Sam Bailey 17.4%

      Hannah Barrett 10.4%

      Rough Copy 10.2%

      Tamera Foster 9.2%

      Abi Alton 6.9%

      Sam Callahan 6.6%

      Luke Friend 6.0%

      Shelley Smith 4.3%

      Kingsland Road 1.9% (Votes from flash vote only)

      Week 3

      Flash Vote Saturday

      Sam Bailey 27.0%

      Nicholas McDonald 25.3%

      Luke Friend 7.9%

      Tamera Foster 7.7%

      Abi Alton 6.6%

      Kingsland Road 6.5%

      Hannah Barrett 6.2%

      Rough Copy 6.2%

      Sam Callahan 4.8%

      Miss Dynamix 1.8%

      Overall Vote Sunday

      Sam Bailey 27.0%

      Nicholas McDonald 24.8%

      Luke Friend 7.5%

      Tamera Foster 7.3%

      Abi Alton 7.1%

      Rough Copy 6.7%

      Kingsland Road 6.6%

      Sam Callahan 6.0%

      Hannah Barrett 5.9%

      Miss Dynamix 1.1% (Votes from flash vote only)

      Week 4

      Sam Bailey 31.1%

      Nicholas McDonald 18.2%

      Hannah Barrett 12.0%

      Sam Callahan 7.6%

      Rough Copy 7.5%

      Luke Friend 7.0%

      Abi Alton 6.7%

      Kingsland Road 5.2%

      Tamera Foster 4.7%

      Week 5

      Sam Bailey 28.4%

      Nicholas McDonald 20.2%

      Rough Copy 11.1%

      Tamera Foster 10.0%

      Luke Friend 9.0%

      Sam Callahan 8.0%

      Hannah Barrett 7.1%

      Abi Alton 6.2%

      Week 6

      Nicholas McDonald 31.4%

      Sam Bailey 26.5%

      Hannah Barrett 9.9%

      Rough Copy 8.7%

      Tamera Foster 8.4%

      Luke Friend 8.0%

      Sam Callahan 7.1%

      Week 7

      Sam Bailey 36.0%

      Nicholas McDonald 23.9%

      Luke Friend 13.0%

      Tamera Foster 9.3%

      Hannah Barrett 9.1%

      Rough Copy 8.7%

      Week 8

      Sam Bailey 27.4%

      Nicholas McDonald 25.1%

      Rough Copy 19.7%

      Luke Friend 19.3%

      Tamera Foster 8.5%

      Week 9

      Sam Bailey 29.6%

      Nicholas McDonald 28.2%

      Luke Friend 26.7%

      Rough Copy 15.5%

      Week 10


      Sam Bailey 38.2%

      Nicholas McDonald 32.1%

      Luke Friend 29.7%


      Sam Bailey 53.4%

      Nicholas McDonald 36.3%

      Luke Friend 10.3%

  • Heisenberg

    As mentioned during the performance, I did admire this shot of Sam and the judges’ panel:

  • Despite the obvious nobbling of Little Nicky, I was still convinced he had it in the bag, due to all the demographics in his favour. Still a nice change that an Over won it this year

  • Lolalola

    And now we know why TPTB spent the series worried about Nick.

    • EM

      Indeed – in the last few weeks despite massive deramping he was very close to Sam.
      Looks like building Luke and bringing Nic down were the major tactics

  • EM

    Quick observations on the votes

    The flash vote figures show more than half the votes are cast on a Saturday night before the show ends.

    Rough Copy were far behind Luke in semi finals week, couldn’t credibly be saved.

    • sycamore

      And Tamera was very far behind him the week before, again couldn’t justifiably be saved.

    • Nissl

      Of course, that number may be lower without the flash vote threat.

      Dermot’s comment suggests just a bit over 2m votes total cast in the finals.

      Tamera couldn’t be credibly saved the week the show let go of her, either.

      They almost managed to get Nick with Luke in the final 4.

      Despite the severe gamma edit, Abi was still far ahead of Tamera and Hannah in week 1.

      • David Cook

        The ITV voting statistics disclosed that the total votes cast in the 2010 series was 15 million votes across the entire series. I think that this is the only time that they have disclosed this information. Viewing figures were much higher then – but I don’t know if this has affected the voting numbers. However I think it is agreed that votes cast build up through the series with a far higher vote in the final.
        Most interesting statistic this year was how much Sam B and Nick really did have the vote stitched up with all the others struggling. I never thought Tamera would be doing that badly – certainly not until it was too late.
        The producers really must have been worried the last few weeks. If I had seen those statistics last night I would have said it was too close to call. Never saw Sam B actually pulling away from Nick when Luke dropped out.
        Still at least a Sam B win saved the day.

    • While that’s true of the flash vote, you can see in the final only 34% of the votes are cast on the Saturday, which is similar to past series. I’d think Flash vote meant people were more inclined to vote earlier, and would reset to somewhere between the two levels when there is no flash?

  • Dean

    Well done to all who profitted

  • Sam and Nich so so close at the semi. TPTB must have shitted themselves!!!

  • EM

    Other observations, the sympathy bounce was in full effect and each save or elimination makes sense, no rogue decisions.

    They really needed Luke in the final is they were going to have Sam win it clearly, assuming Luke and Nic split some voters.

  • Curtis

    I think the reason Sam ended up winning so comfortably is because the “once a year” voters for the final heavily piled on her rather than Nicholas. With that in mind, I think she would still have won if Rough Copy had been in the final. It’s clear that the producers did not want to risk this though.

    • EM

      Looks likely, we don’t know the absolute numbers but you can see Nic’s percentage trending up over the last few weeks while Sam’s was at best static, at worst trending down.

      • Curtis

        In semifinal week, Sam was 3% from bottom 2, and yet in the final she won by one of the most comfortable margins ever, without having any paritcular stand-out moment in that final. I think final voters are the only way to explain this. People probably did think she was very safe as well, but it’s clear that she actually wasn’t.

  • Nissl

    Hmm, nothing else jumps out at me, really. Pretty much the whole way it was the big two and an even more tightly bunched pack than I would have imagined, with the bouncer sometimes pulling a few points clear.

    Nick topped the votes on the weeks of “Screwbo” and his pimp slot, as well as nudging Sam by a few tenths of a percent on week 1.

    RC benefited from their week 1 pimp slot, which explains why they got 3 “serious” performances in a row to open the series.

    Hannah benefited from her early pimp slot, Tamera barely at all.

    The flash vote was tossed the week after Sam C pulled ahead of Hannah in the Sunday voting.

    Producers were trying to deramp Nick from week 7, but also nearly got him B2 in the semis. Would they actually have dumped him for RC if they had the option?

    • David Cook

      Luke got a big bounce in the vote after the sing off with Tamera and a good performance the following week. He did almost catch Nick. However I still don’t think they could have got rid of Nick in the semis. Even if Luke had been slightly higher, and Nick slightly lower the gap to RC was huge. Does anyone think they would have dumped Nick? My view is that it would have looked too unfair – and embarassing when the statistics were released. Even when they dumped ‘Tesco’ Mary Byrne to save Cher at least the gap was only about 1%.

  • Dean

    Now you can see why they kept Luke over RC too think they maybe thought he could win it

  • Dan

    Well, most of my predictions have been disastrous and I’ve lost money this year but the best act won, so well done Sam. Finally, a winner in the Overs that’s been a long time coming.

    There’s always a good summary of the results on Wikipedia (

    This shows that Tamera should have gone in week four, likewise RC in week 7.
    See Hannah, Tamera, and RC for evidence of the sympathy bounce also.
    Perhaps evidence of the Strictly overlap in week two noting the huge drop in the voting percentage from the previous week for Sam B?

    Hope this year has been profitable and look forward to the post mortem articles. Merry Christmas!

  • Nugg

    What now ? I have been a massive follower of the X Factor for many years but I have to say this season has been dire and at times painful to watch, I am not speaking from my pocket, as I hardly punted this year, but from an entertainment perspective things have gone badly wrong. Here is what I think they should learn…..

    1) The show NEEDS a novelty act in the final 12, some may disagree but without one this year the show looked lost, drab and lacked any humour.

    2) The Arena auditions don’t really work well on TV, though as a regular attendee it is interesting to go and see it all, I honestly believe going back to closed room auditions is the way forward, the Arena and the chance to perform there should be saved for the last 3 standing and a grand finale.

    3) Ditto the bootcamp, again this worked much better when done privately, the 6 chairs on the stage thing needs to be dropped, back to bootcamp in private for me.

    4) The flash vote was a waste of time and ruined the Sunday results show, needs to be dropped right now.

    5) This year the staging and choreography was unimaginative and lacked the variety and impressiveness of other years, the show badly needs Brian Freidman back.

    6) They need to stop cutting songs short, let all the performers sing a proper 4 minute song, as it was originally intended, they can do this by losing a minute of VTs and fillers per act. The stripping down of songs into a 150 second mash up often causes the song to lose any meaning and sound terrible no matter who is singing it. I can understand this in the first few rounds when they have to fit a lot of acts in , but they were still doing it in the final !

    7) Get some judges with some fire and tension, losing Gary Barlow for Cowell is a start, this year was all a bit lovey dovey, much more fun if you are made to believe the judges genuinely dislike each other (whether true or not).

    8) The sob stories, although once effective and entertaining have now been done to death. Show VT’s reflecting the contestants real lives, if they have performed/auditioned profesionally in the past don’t cover it up , just tell us straight. If they lead a fairly normal life show us just that.

    9) On the non TV side of things they need to sort out the acoustics and sound in Wembley Arena, it was worse than ever this year for the bootcamps, auditions and even for the finals. The sound in Fountain Studios though is great 🙂

    10) Consider running the show every 2 years instead of every year and spend more time on the audition stages and finding quality acts (this will never happen I know)

    What do you think ???

    • Jessica Hamby

      I agree with everything you said, especially 6, 8 and 10.

      I’d like them to post basic vocal exercises and warm ups and things that aspiring contestants can use on the x-factor site so that people can work in a meaningful way to become better singers and raise the standard that way too.

    • David Cook

      I’m firmly with you in the ‘change required’ camp as this was far from a vintage year. I’m sure everyone has their views on this and I hopefully we will hear some different opinions. However I wouldn’t disagree with any of your points.
      For me one of the main issues was the lack of meaningful criticism from the judges. Because there is little criticism there is less banter between judges, and the programme has no edge. This has the effect of reducing the judges’ comments to little more than 2-3 minutes of meaningless fill between acts.
      I’ve had a rant today, perhaps slightly unfairly, at Gary for his unjustified praise of RC’s vocals. The replies from Gamblebot and lolhart point out that he is stuck in this format. You cannot risk criticising your own act, and you hardly dare risk criticising anyone else as they will retaliate against one of your own. So the harshest and most effective criticism is now to offer no criticism.
      You would think that criticism is all negative. It’s not. The competition should be about finding acts with raw talent and seeing them develop through the series. This year only Luke really stood out in that respect. In order to develop you need to get feedback, both positive and negative on what you’ve done and advice on how you can improve.
      On Strictly Come Dancing, I think Bruno usually offers great criticism. Despite his OTT manner he knows what he is talking about, and always gives a good mix of positives together with any negatives, and by keeping it light hearted he never appears to be too harsh on people. So it’s a good balance.
      My suggestion for X Factor would be to reduce the panel to 3 fixed mentors, with a different guest judge each week. A mix of producers and music company bosses as well as artists would give it credibility. In reality no-one would come on and demolish an act, and that’s not what I want to see. Just somebody offering some unbiased criticism and hopefully sparking a bit more of a debate.
      If the mentors were reduced to three I think I would look for a way of each mentor looking after one from each category, which would also help mix things up a bit.(OK probably too much).
      Rant and ramble over.
      So that’s X factor done for this year, the articles and comments have kept it interesting even if the programme didn’t. I’ve even enjoyed adding my own comments over the last couple of weeks.

    • Nissl

      Mostly agreed. Of course #10 will never happen, because the contract for the next 3 years is already signed. Plus it would result in the show conceding ground to its competitors.

      As I said in an earlier comment, I think the majority of the public is back on board with having a novelty/controversy act or two after seeing the result when there weren’t any. The presence of a novelty act song in the final, I think, speaks to the fact that the producers recognize that.

      But I’d also like to see them try to select for interesting, upbeat personalities among the contestants with a chance. On top of that, when in doubt contestants a couple years older are much more engaging and interesting. To heck with maximizing the number of years of commercial potential, if they’re too boring to succeed/don’t have anything to say out of the gate it doesn’t matter.

      1D aside, a look at the most successful solo acts on either side of the pond suggests 20-22 is the age you really want, not 16-17. There’s just a tremendous amount of growth and learning that takes place in those years. Don’t put solo acts through at the youngest possible age unless you’re positive they’re the next Bieber or you’ve got a finely honed commercial plan a la 1D. Give them time to ripen, encourage them to gig a lot locally while going to school or working. Maybe if Nick had spent a couple years at uni I’d actually find him interesting.

      On top of what you said, a lot of the design suggestions in the midseason article before disco week seem pretty sound to me. Put on 16 acts, because a couple of them always transfer poorly to the big stage. Build up a few more acts.

      I’d go with the challenge round *or* judges’ houses, but not both.

  • Heisenberg

    A really well made video for Sam’s single:

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