X Factor 2014 Auditions Week 4: A Blur of Fleur

Betfair doesn’t open an X Factor outright market until after judges’ houses. That’s a great shame; in its absence, bookmakers are able to offer an astoundingly stingy range of prices, with nine acts at 13.0 or under. According to spoilers, some of those don’t even make judges’ houses.

Take Kerrianne Covell: backed down to a best-priced 10.0 after an emotional audition on Saturday. That’s a terrible waste of punters’ money, according to lists that don’t have her among the six girls joining Cheryl in the south of France. A Betfair outright market, which would presumably see her trading at much longer odds, would be telling for those not otherwise informed.

Back to those supposedly through to judges’ houses and shown this weekend. We kicked off with Chloe-Jasmine, getting the whole of Saturday’s first segment, playing her posh-and-kooky role to aplomb: “I cannot believe I’m here, I cannot believe I’m here. Well, obviously I can because I am here.”

Except she couldn’t quite carry off ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’ on this occasion. Simon and Cheryl acknowledged her nerves, though the latter had smiled beatifically throughout the audition. The show clearly has big plans for Chloe-Jasmine Waissel-Monroe, but she’s singing a niche style and not doing it effectively enough right now.

We finally got to hear Fleur East singing – she’s apparently made judges’ houses in the overs category. Her VT was a reminder that she’s failed in the lives before: in 2005 as part of Addictiv Ladies, with an admission that they lost their singoff to Chico. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Simon was also shown being completely uninterested by her solo room audition.

Fleur is black, not lacking in confidence and from London. She’s described as a nightclub singer: in the context of the show, that’s like a pub singer, only sleazier. When the judges put her through to bootcamp, it’s with little more than a yes. Simon doesn’t say, “I was so wrong to write you off in the room,” but something far more muted. Can we christen her Fleurna Simpson right now?

Emily Middlemas has a strong Glaswegian accent, which is far more useful in this competition. Her rendition of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ with acoustic guitar was Janet Devlin to the power of Abi Alton. Simon does say: “I think this girl is seriously, seriously good.” Otherwise, her treatment is pretty vanilla. If she does make it to the lives, I’m envisaging some Abi Alton-inspired dampening tactics to counter a strong regional vote.

Next up came Steph Nala, who introduced herself as one part of BGT finalists The Luminites, and was then described as “unemployed”. Ouch! She got barely more than a montage, her treatment reeking of producers doing the bare minimum for her. This was reinforced when she was sent down the memoryhole by Kerrianne Covell’s much longer segment.

Saturday’s pimp slot went to male over Ben Haenow, whose VT reminded us that he is 29 and very likeable. He’s got an unthreatening-looking long-term girlfriend who he wants to marry eventually. His rendition of ‘Wild Horses’ had Simon saying: “One to watch … I really like you … one of my favourite auditions so far.” He also reiterated a point made after the room audition when asking, “why have you not had a recording contract?”

The overall impression is of someone unfortunate not to be discovered yet. Simon again: “Every little gig you’ve done in the past led up to this.” His treatment has beta to JJ in the overs category written all over it, but Ben is eminently relatable and makeoverable, and cannot be completely dismissed, though a best price of 8.0 is plenty short enough at this stage.

Sunday’s show gave us three of the eightpiece boyband created at bootcamp. Charlie Jones had a brief but positive segment slowing down Spice Girls classic, ‘Wannabe’, Jake Sims, with his alternative looks was told, “You’ve got lead guy charisma,” whilst Tom Mann got rather more stick for his audition, but acknowledgement that his looks will get him far.

Sandwiched between them was 34-year-old Helen Fulthorpe, a humble, single mum of two with a tendency to oversing. She’s battling to be the gamma over with Fleur.

Jordan Morris apparently makes judges’ houses in the boys’ category, but a short clip, his first sighting, was sent down the memoryhole by Jake Quickenden, who reminded us of his backstory before breaking down, saying: “I don’t like people knowing that I’m vulnerable.”

Jake Kwikfit is a handsome chap and gives good tears. Everything is positive about his edit until Simon uses the classic comment, “You’re not the best singer in the competition, but…” What Simon is signalling when he says this is: there’s a ceiling to how far you can get in the competition.

The Sunday pimp slot went to Lola Saunders, once again mirroring Jay James’ position in the show the week before. It wasn’t quite as huge a pimping as JJ – there was no standing ovation from the judges, for example. But it was another edit which suggested alpha girl, representing Newcastle and Cheryl (it turns out her Dad is former Newcastle footballer Wes Saunders).

As in the room audition, there was a slow build-up as we watched her nervously waiting whilst those before her failed. Her grandparents were all emotion. She was dressed down in a way that will make the makeover more remarkable. On this occasion it looked like nerves would get the better of her on stage, before Mel gave her a hug.

Her rendition of ‘You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman’ was better than her room audition performance, and she is now a best-priced 7.5. Simon’s final comment was: “That’s the sort of person you want to win the show.”

Given that she and Chloe-Jasmine have been given edits that suggest they make the lives, there’ll be a significant pruning of the other girls doing well in the outright market. Which means there’s plenty of room for her price to come in further should she be in the final 12.

There was no sign of Blonde Electric, Only The Young, Chloe O’Gorman or Jack Walton singing in the arena auditions. That doesn’t necessarily scupper their chances of making the lives (in Blonde Electric’s case, it’s probably wise not to over-expose them), but it’s not an encouraging signal of producers’ intentions.

Let us know how you feel about the end of arena auditions, and what you’re looking forward to at bootcamp by continuing the conversation below.

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152 comments to X Factor 2014 Auditions Week 4: A Blur of Fleur

  • Dean


    Article from this stage last year just for word of caution on how acts had been portrayed by this stage at that point. By then we had a little more of an idea of who had made it through thanks to spoilers (which got the boys and girls category right), but we would not have thought it based on the evidence given up until that point. As said in the article Sam had only 2 montages by this point last year and in the girls and overs category many would have put good money on Melanie McCabe and Joseph Whelan at the very least making the lives.

    Its why I still feel an end for Jake Quickie in an emotional JH for the boys and I feel there is a small chance that Ben misses out in the overs though that would be much more of a surprise.

    Right now I am fairly sure in the girls we will see Lola and CJ in the lives, from the boys we will see Paul and Andrea, from the overs we will see Jay and Stevi (for novelty factor) and from the groups we will see the 8 piece manufactured group. Outside of them its up in the air.

  • No Lizzy Pattinson shown either unless I blinked and missed her. Are we writing off her chances now? I’m still hoping that for some of the acts who have been shown less, are just going to get better edits next week – but maybe not!

    I’m baffled at their treatment of Steph considering the signs are pointing to her being in the lives, because they’ve been spoilt for choice in the girls category this year. Could the only reason they’ve reluctantly put her through as the gamma girl is for the sake of diversity? Or do they just want no female competition at all for Plan A Lola?

    I’m also intrigued whether Jake, Ben and Jay are all going through since they are all going after the same votes. Also wonder where the overs cut-off is this year, since Jake is 25 but in the boys category. That suggests to me he is the reason they’ve moved the cut-off back up, so they wouldn’t have three similar acts all in the same category.

    I’ll be fascinated to see how this boyband looks together because right now I can’t see how they fit together, especially when you’ve got at least one 14 year old and at least one 20 year old in the mix. Weird.

  • Also, why the hell have they passed on the chance of putting Raign through to the lives? She is car crash TV but could have done some epicly bonkers performances on the lives.

  • Since week one I am backing JJ to win and always have been, and ready to back 8pc when the price is there at hopefully 10.0+

    Never been interested in any of the other acts so far until last nights Lola arena audition.

    First impression she seems really nice, with her grand parents, a real nice girl montage, that isn’t likely to steal your boyfriend, and then to add to that she looked awful

    Big ugly dress on, with white trainers look like they have been passed down from family members. Then I thought why have they made her look so awful?

    Could it be deliberate part of her transformation, lets look at past Alpha girls, Tamera/Ella all had it in auditions ticked everything, but all fell and lost momentum quite early on. So perhaps producers have took this into account and deliberately made her look average and sound Good but not quite overwhelming, to make it part of a journey.

    Way she has been pimped now is enough that she isn’t a contender to go in the first 4-6 weeks, so what carries her from middle to end? Perhaps its when they start talking about her transformation and how she is now starting to look like a “star”.

    Everything seemed deliberate, Mel running on to help her overcome nerves etc.

    I think they have dimmed her down so they can pick her up, just think the VT around the semi final, looking back on everyones Journey showing that clip of tonights audition how bad she looked, how nervous she was, by then of course she will be a faultless star, who owns the stage with confidence and takes every song and makes it her own etc etc.

    Only 3 contenders for me right now

    Plan A – JJ
    Plan B – 8pc
    Plan C – Lola

    • Hi JS, interested in your thinking on the one thing that puzzles me about JJ – if he is indeed Plan A (as I agree that so much of the editing so far suggests, as well as Marc’s observation on the last thread about the surreal buzz about him at the auditions), then why (if rumours are correct) are they including three acts – Paul Akister, Jake Quickenden and Ben Haenow – who are fishing to some degree in the same waters?

      I understand of course that if they want to clear the boyband’s ecological niche, then they can’t have too direct competition for them in the boys category, hence the (or so we assume) 2 x 25 year olds + a comedy Italian. But in the process of clearing the boyband’s niche they’re also seriously crowding JJ’s (esp if Ben goes through in the same category), so does that imply they’re less invested in JJ than it appears?

      This isn’t a rhetorical question, btw, genuinely puzzled and would welcome thoughts.

      • Hi Andrew, I was worried by this originally but I look at the talent of each one individually they are all good at one thing

        Paul – singing
        Jake – good looks
        Ben – good character

        But none of them have had full package or pimping that JJ has had. Do the producers see them as a long term threat? Surely not, when the time comes to get these acts out i don’t see any challenges. Jake for example, given this weekends comments “your not the best singer but everyone wants you to do well” sure that’s set him up for a fall at the live shows, with simon continuing on his comments…

        “Jake you have done great to get this far, you’ve done well,

        End of journey klaxon!

        Then who does his votes go to? Whoever audience warm to most of Plan A or Plan B, either I am sure producers will take 🙂

        Ben I don’t see him as a Top 3 threat and not sure many do at this stage? dark staging, dark eye liner and red lights at Halloween would end him.

        Paul is a different story but the lap dancing was too staged and only made an audition that perhaps could be boring to watch a bit more entertaining for the viewer, I think paul will fail in the lives for this reason.

        Again when all the boys start to drop out the votes are likely to go to Plan A/B. Whoever they give most momentum to, based on feedback during lives. At the same time it’s probably making a better show than putting in the likes of Stevie/Lizzy ahead of Ben, without damaging their plans.

        Also it’s worth pointing out (highlighted to me by ESC_gav) the year Joe Mceldery won, it was full of boys, think 5 of the top 6 was males, only Stacey Solomon left as a female act. Sure we could have the same scenario here with Lola.

        • Hi JS, although arguably the other lesson you could draw from Joe McElderry’s year is that they packed the late-20s male niche (Olly Murs, Danyl Johnson, Jamie Archer) and none of them won. By the time they’d whittled those three down to one, Joe was already out of sight.

          Which makes me wonder if the casting tells us that’s actually what they’re hoping to achieve, despite all the JJ pimping. Are they trying to repeat 2010, with the 8piece as 1D and Lola as Rebecca Ferguson, only this time they’ve cast four Matt Cardles in the hope that none of them individually will get unstoppable momentum.

          Agree that they’ve sown the seeds for Jake’s end-of-journey, but not convinced that Paul and Ben will be that easy to shift – both have decent voices and come across as personally highly relatable, and they’ve been nothing but helpful to both in the edits so far.

          • Yes good point, but I didn’t watch joe’s year as much. But if I remember rightly, coming into the shows joe was 5.0? I think olly was around 12.0?

            Trying to use prices at this stage try work out a direct comparison to see who was most pimped and how it worked out for them.

            I think Danyl was fav? And was plan A until we assume they switched to joe when the rumours and damaging press stories of “Diva” came to light. Perhaps if they hadn’t switched it would be different?

            I can’t remmeber enough clearly to be able to say though.

            I just dont see Paul/Jake/Ben as a threat to JJ long term, JJ literally ticks everything for me in comparison, agree paul/Ben may be harder to shift but ben hasnt had the same pimping as JJ/Paul, and as said already I worry for the reasons for producers staging a lap dance during Paul’s audition.

            For this reason too I have backed Mel B to be first judge to lose all acts at 4/1 and 5/1. Louis having 8pc which I assume they are certainty to be in top 3, Cheryl Lola and alpha female judge. Simon alpha male judge and has JJ who I see as winner. Mel B also being a judge that won’t have anything “diva-like” in her contract about having a act in final and won’t of been as expensive as Cheryl was. As well as I don’t think Mel B comes accross as likeable enough to rally any support for her falling acts.

          • Morning JS, my recollection of 2009 is also Danyl as a mismanaged Plan A. Managed to find the odds going into the lives, actually the top five in the betting were the three overs and two girls –

            Agree that on paper JJ ticks every box. But interested in what uncalquera says below about his friends and family finding JJ fake and Ben likeable/relatable – I keep asking myself, if tptb weren’t worried about there being a significant possibility of JJ failing to connect, why would they have felt the need to include Ben in the same category as a backup? Agree Ben hasn’t had the same pimping but nonetheless his treatment’s been very positive (as he walks on stage for the arena audition, Simon: “I remember you. I like you”; Ben talks about him and his girlfriend getting married soon, cut to girlfriend saying “are we?” – nice touches).

      • Why would they want Jay to win? How is he going to sell records? He’s sub-Matt Cardle.

  • I couldn’t get over how plain and frumpy LOLA looked in that very bland and unflattering t-shirt and pleated skirt. What was obvious and immediate to my mind when she walked on stage (and I don’t mean to be cruel to the lovely looking girl here), was that she couldn’t have been more PT instructor Hattie Jacques in ‘Carry On Camping’ if she had tried. She was only lacking ‘Chayste Place’ written across here t-shirt to compete the look.


    This was an Arena show in front of millions of viewers and if I were that lass I would dig out my best frock, or get my ‘doting Grandparents’ to buy me a new one. As Daniel suggested here, was she perhaps told to dress like that by XF producers so that they can gradually transform her into a beautiful Swan throughout the series?

    Also, as superb and powerful a singer as LOLA is, she is so much (for me) in the singing genre of Sam Bailey (only she is a younger version of). That one has been done already last year, so surely XF wouldn’t try and repeat it so soon, would they?

    On the subject of presentation, I once entered XF auditions just for the ‘first hand’ experience and the challenge (never intending to go on to the next round even if I were offered it), but even then I took my stage suit to change into for that ‘best foot forward’ look and professional attitude (so much so that I was interviewed on camera, but it never aired). I only went to beat a bad ‘stage fright’ period that I had been going through and got the answer that I wanted when I was told that I “didn’t look nervous at all” by the ‘initial stage’ producer panel of three young girls (mission completed).

    For the record here for any newbies, nobody ever gets to be judged by Cowell & Co until they put you through to them for the (next) ‘second round’, where clever video editing fools the public into thinking that what they see is actually the ‘initial first round’ with them (as it is obviously impossible for them to see every contestant from the huge queues outside). This is why we get the ‘car crash tv’ reactions from some upset hopefuls in that they were given ‘false hope’ initially when they were told that they were successful and had to traipse all the way back to a second audition, only to be hit with a hail of verbal Tomatoes and ridiculed.

    A DUO POSSIBILITY? I seem to remember (in a very recent series) that Simon once intimated that he would love to see a really good BOY/GIRL DUO in the show. So with (Sam-esque) LOLA in mind and PAUL AKISTER’S equally soul-full, (but can either sell records?) Motown singing style, I would put these two together to make a powerhouse duo which would work well (and might also solve Paul’s ex-girlfriend issues with perhaps a new ‘on-screen’ romance).

    In knowing PAUL and as much I am behind him, I’m not so sure that either he or LOLA can win the show, BUT I wonder if something like a duo could be a new surprise twist to try to create new interest in the show’s ever waning viewing figures.

    • Lola is less Sam Bailey and more Ella Henderson, only more likable. It’s been a long time since a young girl won the show and Ella has shown that when they find the right one, and they get the right material, it’s the formula that works better than anything else.

      Ella didn’t win of course, but I think at this stage they really need a commercially successful winner to not make the competition seem like a waste of time.

  • qwerty1234

    The more I think about this Steph situation the more it baffles me – given that she is heavily spoilered for the lives, something must be going down so her “unemployed” tag and the memory hole-ing must be for a reason. Here’s my take:

    – Luminites were invited to appear on BGT. They didn’t audition as usual, they were headhunted and invited to appear. Throughout their appearance, Simon always professed how much he loved them, in particular Steph. I think they were favourably edited during their time and finished respectably.

    – Not long ago, I’m going estimate January-March it was announced that Luminites were splitting up, via twitter. Seemingly quite amicably, although we only see what is presented to us. A few months later, we hear rumours that Steph has appeared on the show. Call me a cynical but does that not seem a little fishy? I don’t know whether SYCO ever signed Luminites, I seem to remember seeing a music video of theirs at some point but they were given about a year and nothing massively happened. Then, all of a sudden, Steph appears on X Factor, the show the band probably should have gone on in the first place. Of her own accord? I think not.

    – I don’t think that, given how they were presented on BGT, that Steph would have left Luminites on a whim. I think she was specifically approached, told that she would be in the live shows as a solo artist and subsequently broke up Luminites. Why they want this, I have no idea. Maybe to challenge the stereotypical “black girl on X Factor” presentation? She seems like a nice girl and the sort the public may take to, plus she actually is a competent singer. They already know that she is a willing participant and so will go along with the producers thanks to her BGT past. If they’ve told her that she will be helped out, why would she not do it?

    – Her editing so far may seem puzzling. I think that her Luminites past may hinder rather than help her out as a story arc, so if they play her down in the early stages it may be more of a favour to her story. The “unemployed” tag is puzzling, they could have easily said “singer” – it was almost as if they were trying to brush her under the carpet. Her editing going forward will be interesting – I think that she will be billed as the highlight of bootcamp, will get the works at JH (in terms of an in-depth emotional interview, and a full uninterrupted performance) and then see how the public take to her. Who would support an already tried-but-failed talent show finalist at this stage? Not many. But would they support a singer who comes on, blows the judges away, is genuinely talented, wins around the crowd and does not wipe out any of the other favoured girls out of the chair challenge? I think so.

    After that, I’m not sure but I don’t for a second think that her appearance on X Factor is accidental, and I don’t think that she is there for any other purpose than to be on the live shows. I don’t think she is slated to be a winner, but she may be our fourth-with-a-record-deal of the series. Otherwise, I think Chloe, who is the most obviously planted contestant in the history of all of X Factor is a shoe in. That leaves Emily, Lola and Lauren. I would eliminate Emily as she hasn’t really had the attention/feedback from viewers/the press as I think a desired finalist would warrent. It’s difficult to pick between Lauren and Lola – both seem to appeal to a similar market which is what makes me think they both won’t make it. Lola seems to have gotten the most attention, she has an okay-but-not-amazing voice and I think she would be perfect “shock early exit” fodder in the same way that Lucie Jones and Laura White were and she has a nice little heartwarming story going on with her grandparents and her fishmonger past. Also the classic X Factor successful female story is the nerves-to-confidence thing ala Rebecca Ferguson / Stacey Solomon so she may be a good choice, particularly with her double pimping. There’s only one thing that makes me think it will be Lauren, and that’s her age. The fact that she’s “only sixteen” is a massive plus for the show normally, particularly if Steph and Chloe are the other girls they seem to be 20+ so a teenager would be a certainty. UNLESS they wanted to monopolise the young girl market with their young boyband. Do they really need a 16 year old, very talented girl stealing votes from their 8 piece boyband, who seem to be their Plan A at this point? I don’t think they do. I’m saying a girls category of Lola, Chloe and Steph.

    • Luminites were signed to Syco and their first and only single reached #65. I presume they were dropped after that. It’s quite possible that they sensibly realised there was no future for the band if that’s all they could get to with the help from a TV show and major label, so decided to split up. But it’s still quite possible she was invited to audition, too.

      I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what they’ll do with her but time is running out if they actually want to push her. I think if they were going to, they’d have made a bigger deal of her last night.

      There’s no real reason why they would want to set up Lola for an early exit – I suspect Lucie and Laura only left by mistake anyway.

    • R

      I’ve always assumed the three girls would be Lola, Chloe and Steph, however Lauren Platt has had a much better ride than Steph.

      Chloe is a must. Then, from the other three Lola losing out would be a massive shock and cause the usual 5 minutes of faux public outrage.

      Lauren would play the 16 year-old “16? she’s only 16? That’s amazing! I can’t believe you’re only 16!” role that Janet, Ella and Nick have played in previous years.
      But I don’t think it’s a favourable role. If I remember correctly they all had their 17th birthday on the show and seemed to suffered from that point onwards.
      It would be interesting to find out if Lauren turns 17 during the lives.

      If Steph does go through to the lives, it will be as gamma-girl. Brief appearances in the lead up to the lives followed by poor editing and a Carolynne Poole style exit.
      Simon can then claim he tried to help her out but she just didn’t connect with the public.

      I also have a feeling that something odd went on behind the scenes with the Luminites. They struggled due to lack of promotion, and Cowell has a history of destroying any acts that refuse to tow the line. Maybe they wanted more musical control.

      No promo, the Luminites struggle, he offers Steph a place in the lives to split up the band, then she gets edited to oblivion. Job done.

      • qwerty1234

        That’s a possibility with your last point about Luminites, and the point in the article about them doing the bare minimum for her does all seem to fit into place. Seems a bit elaborate though, considering that he could have quite easily dropped them for poor record sales. It does seem a bit on an anomaly – maybe they weren’t anticipating such momentum for her at bootcamp and she will get a lot of attention?

        Whatever their position on her, I will be interested to see if she does end up in the finals as spoilers suggest.

        With regards to Lauren, I can’t help but think that she will be kept from the finals purely to help out their new 8 piece. They seem to be ploughing all of the young boys into that group, with no competition from anybody else. All of the other rumoured boys (Paul, Andrea, Jake) are the upper range of the category and seem relatively unthreatening to their group in terms of voting demographics, and I can’t see them allowing Lauren through who will target a similar audience. If they don’t let Steph through, the only other option (that’s assuming that Lola and Chloe are in) is Emily Middlemass and for some reason I can’t see her going through.

  • Chris Bellis

    maccafan – I see what you’re saying, but boy/girl duo? They don’t even do well in Eurovision any more, iirc. Romania, Bulgaria etc, I know Azerbaijan got it in 2011, but I think there was some jiggery pokery involved there. It seems a very old fashioned format, even for X-Factor. As always, I’m keeping my powder dry until I know more. Thanks for the insider info by the way.

    • Hi Ben Cook (and Chris Bellis). And in return I see and greatly respect your own individual points, as we all see things in our own different ways.
      Although she was quite good, personally I could see nothing special in Ella Henderson. Now historically proven, she is certainly no ‘second Adele’ in song writing or singing (as she was so well hyped up to be during XF) and her new single is an easily forgettable dirge, whereas Lola is far more dynamic and passionate in her all round performance (even at this nervy stage) and she will grow in confidence and professional presentation during this show. This is where I mean that I see her more akin to a younger Sam Bailey, and also in her more raunchy singing style.

      I could never get past Ella’s annoying square bottom lip and her depressing lacklustre presentation and I found myself willing her on to sell herself better on stage with a bit more gusto. After watching her on The London Palladium show last night I was left totally unmoved by her performance.

      Regarding duos, I only repeat what Simon once said that he wanted to see, as not only does he know the pop money market better than any of us, it is also a case of ‘what Simon wants, Simon gets’ (as with his earlier very vocal ‘girl band’ whim at the start of the Little Mix series win). I was all over that ‘hint’ like a rash and won a lot of money (by my humble betting standards).

      Abba are in effect only a ‘double’ boy/girl duo and their music still sells hugely with the many ‘arena size’ tribute bands and the massive West End and the travelling stage shows. Motown duets are also still as popular now (50 years on). We also have the evergreen Travolta/Newton-John classics and Perfect 10 by Beautiful South (No 2 in 1998), Elton/Kiki Dee, The Time Warp, Meatloaf, Take That/Lulu and Freddie Mercury singing Barcelona with Montserrat Caballe. Then more modern chart topping duet efforts being Jennifer Lopez & Ja Rule, Jordin Sparks with Chris Brown and Empire State Of Mind by Jay-Z + Alicia Keys.

      Not so old hat when most are also still some of the biggest karaoke choices ever (I know this because I ran the biggest karaoke show in my area in the 90’s). I now do pa sound engineering and recently worked for Kiki Dee, where the audience would have lynched her if she left the stage without doing her solo (more laid back) version of ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’. There are many up to date rap vocal marriages too which are just a big yawn to me, but they still sell in millions.

      Thanks for the thanks for the ‘insider info’, Chris, you’re welcome to my own XF audition experiences if it helps. Coincidentally and relevantly (as in next paragraph), I must admit that I still had stage nerve problems for my (post karaoke host) solo stuff, which in eventually halted me going out on my own (its a lonely tough game on stage of you versus them). This is why I ‘feel for’ and respect so much the genuine XF contestants who are slung in the deep end on tv, it must be terrifying (I say ‘genuine’ here as the deluded ones who let the instant fame go to their heads deserve the final fall from grace when the XF axe decides to chop them off).

      Being a bassist in professional touring pop/rock showbands originally, I latterly opted to have more comforting ‘on stage’ company to lean on and was in a pretty successful boy/girl duo with my (now ex) girlfriend and even sometimes worked for one of the same local agents that Paul Akister uses. Funnily enough the biggest demand from agents was for boy/girl duos in UK pubs/clubs (and our Blackpool Hotel residency), so we were never short of work (and that was only 10 years ago) and as far as I know, it is still much the same scenario. I hope this further insight helps to better prepare your ‘powder’ (just in case Cowell wants to shock us with one of his little surprise whims from his Wizards Sleeve), lol.

      • Robyn

        I could see nothing special in Ella Henderson. Now historically proven, she is certainly no ‘second Adele’ in song writing or singing (as she was so well hyped up to be during XF) and her new single is an easily forgettable dirge

        Ella’s single “Ghost” has been top five in four countries outside of the UK and Ireland, and top 20 in four others. And these are countries where she wasn’t known from the X Factor.

        It remains to be seen how her next single will do, but I’d say Syco would be very pleased with that result for a debut single and would be on the look out for someone who can take that route this year.

        • R

          Ferret, seemed for duckling than swan.

          It’s thrown a big doubt over Lola.
          I also didn’t understand why they all seemed to be moving around the stage. It was as though they had been told to “own the stage”, but the camera work made all but Emily look awkward.

    • uncalquera

      Not sure about the boy-girl duo either. Alex & Sierra won XF-US last year, and likable though they were (great TV and really memorable audition) their single has not been selling quite much (and it is quite good, IMHO).

  • Didi

    Chloe Jasmine already confirmed on Twitter, when she was asked about Chloe O, that Miss O was eliminated @ the Six Chairs Challange.
    So I bet the sixth girl through to JH is Kerrianne, she also seem to get a little bit of an makeover if you look her up on Twitter.
    There are also some persistent rumors about Lola not going through to the Lives, but yeah, don’t really believe them.

  • Nissl

    I realized after my post-episode comments that I forgot to mention Jordan Morris, and to say that not overexposing Blonde Electric might be reasonably helpful for them, but you’ve already covered my thoughts.

    Maybe most of these are stating the obvious, but here’s what I’m interested in for bootcamp: 1. How the whole 8-boy thing looks on stage, and how they handle the obvious 1D comparisons. 2. How much of an editing advantage Jay gets over Ben in his category, and whether he steps it up again performance-wise. 3. How invested the show is fellow novelty acts Blonde Electric and Andrea, as history suggests one will finish midtable and the other will be out very early. Whether they are aiming BE to a midtable finish also affects OtY’s trajectory, obviously. 4. Any clues about the gamma over and girl, though I don’t really expect producers to tip their hand given their lack of interest in giving either momentum.

    Everything else about the season seems to be coming into focus.

    I had a look at the betting markets… does Louis being favored to lose all his acts first seem a bit strange to anyone, given that he has this season’s favored act? You are betting that it won’t work to the extent that they B2 every other week almost from the very start, which is pretty much what it would take to keep the show from saving them into the final.

  • Donald

    As the Paddy Power website says in X Factor section headline, Can you predict the winner of this years X factor? An honest realistic answer at this stage would have to be no, having said that making some money on who wins is the name of the game really. But at the minute it is the Grand National of all time for their bookies, 5/1 fav and ew terms of 1/5 and 58+ runners at the minute.

    Long way to go until the home stretch is hit with 12 runners and live shows.

    Then add in the rumours, spoilers etc. as rightly said by Daniel no Betfair book and very easy fall at the first fence.

    Category and winning Judge my only play at the minute based on the manufactured boy band rumours.

    Haven’t really seen anything to stop them yet if rumours are true with maybe one exception Lauren Platt who does have feel of a young Britney Spears which Simon may have noticed so at 9/1 probably worth a bit of interest at this early stage.

    Remember it was at boot camp Matt Cardle sprang to attention with The First Time Ever I saw Your Face and ultimately beat 1D so maybe next weekend will reveal more.

    It needs to, I found the past two weeks of arena stuff hard viewing, was probably laughable at times to seasoned observers here on Sofabet. with all the usual producers tricks and gimmick and judges comments and carry on.

    Where is the star in this lot? Didn’t bounce off the screen yet..

    The manipulation of entrants making, getting screen time and into the contest is at an all time high, that for sure.

    Last year they allowed ‘managed’ artists etc. in. Now last year that did not seem to have too much effect but the flood gates have been opened up this year. We got x- contestant, models, an already signed act, presenters, and even an x- Bond girl believe it or not and others.

    Why has this happened? Simon is back. Last year producers seemingly stood up to some of it but now this is Simon’s party, he is an old school A&R, all those fun and games with a selected few is what he has done all his life before X-Factor and turned down the Spice Girls along the way. (Wonder when Mel -B will sling that in this series).

    So based on arena carry on and looking at various styling and all the reedits, sound clippings some serious wheeling and dealing must have gone on behind the scenes. Based on that take what seen so far with a pinch of salt. The real game starts Friday when all this lot cut down to 24 and it becomes really obvious who is being pushed.

    Looking forward to it. I notice allot of talk about Chloe on here, does she make really make the final three?

    Ratings are everything now, we are watching a show that has been dropped in US, looks to be totally loosing its way as a credible talent finding format and is this year more manipulated than ever. But Simon has the money makers 1D, time to pull another 1D job before the X-Factor manipulates itself over the reality TV edge?

    Three nights and big ratings war next weekend, will be fun, oh and contestants thrown in like they were at arenas.

    Remember Simon making statement praising about ‘You sound British ‘ ‘not American’ to an act and then the show ends as it did.

    And Paddy Power wants us to back the winner!

    • Dan

      As the Paddy Power website says in X Factor section headline, Can you predict the winner of this years X factor?

      Not until I’ve seen the groups I can’t. No one is screaming winner to me at the moment and unless there are some spectacular breakthrough performances at Boot Camp, there’s an awful lot of expendables about. I guess it makes it easier for TPTB to get their winner that way.

      Remember also that the point of free voting is to get engagement from a younger audience…and who are they going to vote for? Probably the boys and boybands…

  • uncalquera

    Hi everyone from a foreign newbie. I have been following the site for quite a while, I have always been interested in betting, although it is not so easy around here. Last year I decided to place mock bets to test how it would go and, definitely, it didn’t go very well, so this year I have been seeking outside comment before deciding if I bet and on who.

    I have been showing clips of the favoured acts to my mother (48), girlfriend (28), little sister (23) and best friend (male, 29), and I found this:

    -JJ was perceived as fake, and my GF outright hated him.
    -Ben was likable and relatable to all, above all my mother.
    -Lola was a bit meh for my sister and friend, but my mum and my GF loved her.
    -My little sister didn’t quite got crazy with the boys (she is at the older end of the post-teenager spectre, though) and said she preferred last year’s Jake (she’s been following the show with me for a couple of years).
    -My GF loved the Italian guy, but my mother didn’t, even though she recognised he sings well (bit of homophobia there by my mother??)
    -Only the Young fell through the memory hole.
    -Friend has fallen in love with Cheryl.

    I didn’t tell them about the 8piece, as I don’t want to influence them before they see them. I know it is a small sample of non-British people (although we all have some command of the language and been over there for long periods), but thought it could be interesting to share.

    Compliments for your work, Daniel, if I ever get the courage to bet and win any money you will have your share of responsibility 😀

  • Stu

    The Girls category is really confusing me – unless there’s going to be a wildcard/fifth category. So if Steph is definitely looking to be in the lives, and Chloe Jasmine is a certainty, that means Lola or Lauren won’t make it – which I find difficult to believe. Maybe the show is going to try and pull a “Melanie Amaro” (XF USA) and have Cheryl pretend to send one of them home before she realises she has to take them to the live shows as well. Alternatively, one of the girls will be chosen as this year’s wildcard (against weaker and more unpopular acts from different categories) which will in turn give them a huge surge of popularity Christopher Maloney style. The only other outcome I can see is the final girls JH reveal segment coming down to Lola/Lauren and Chloe Jasmine – Chloe will get through at the expense of a viewer favourite which will paint her as the series villain.

    • uncalquera

      Don’t know if Cheryl wants to pull that one again after the backlash she got when she dropped Gamu

    • Henry VIII

      Interesting ideas Stu, could well be something like that. Uncalquera I don’t think Cheryl gets a choice in the matter. After last year’s fiasco with Sharon and Gary they’ve got judges they can control again.

  • Jon

    First and foremost, I am complete newbie to the site, having discovered it through some research I was doing into this years show. Fantastic work from Daniel and all the contributors. As someone who has previously only betted on sports, I was fascinated to read the workings of the show and how it can work to the benefit of the punter. This will be my first year betting on the X Factor, so I am keen to learn as much as possible before the exchanges open up.

    I debated whether to bother posting, but as a freeloader on many other sites, I thought I would mention the little that I know in the hope that someone may benefit. I have to qualify that statement by saying that the info I received is second hand, although I consider it to be rock solid and I have bet accordingly. Obviously I don’t want to go into too many details about this (another reason I was unsure about posting), but it was info I wasn’t looking for so it is more luck than anything that I have it and started my journey into the murky world of X Factor betting.

    A few weeks back I was told of one of the girls who made it to judge’s houses, and then a week or so later I was told that she did make it through to the lives. This was prior to the first Arenas programme. That girl is Lauren Platt, and I managed to get my bets on at 14/1.

    My plan will be to trade this position when the lives open, but perhaps I will venture a few more trades after reading everything on this site! That is all I can offer up, but I look forward to following the rest of the show and this website as it develops.

  • David Cook

    Some very interesting comments – particularly the exchanges between JScouser and Andrew regarding the merits of Jay James. So far I haven’t been too impressed – yes he is decent but hardly outstanding, although I accept that on performances to date no-one seems outstanding. But I agree with Ben Cook – what would be the point in JJ winning, indeed what would be the point in any of the male acts winning? The serious male acts are all quite similar, and generally strike me as acts who could do well on the show but struggle to make an impact afterwards.
    It’s still a bit of a leap of faith because the girls and groups categories seems far less certain, but I still think that’s where the real plan A acts will be found. There’s no doubt that given the time spent on the individuals that they are serious about promoting the manufactured boy band. Changing the voting system seems designed to help to get votes from a younger audience. I would be concerned that a group of 8 does seem a bit large, but equally it’s quite possible that what starts as 8 at boot camp may end up as a group of say 5 after judges houses once they see how they work together.
    At the moment I honestly can’t say who I think plan A is – but I think JJ is probably plan B or C. Simon will want at least one good act that’s likely to make the final and JJ certainly meets that. But beyond that I think they’ll be looking to the groups and possibly the girls for acts that might go on to have real post show success. As we’ve seen in the past these acts don’t need to win, but it would help if they did. If they are serious then they’ll certainly want to get them as far as they possibly can. In that case JJ may well be the fall back if they can’t get plan A to take off.
    As ever I could be totally wrong, but certainly I’m keeping my mind open until we’ve seen exactly how the categories shape up.

  • Niamh

    You’re point about the 8pc being chopped at JH reminded me of Tulisa and the chopping of groups in Series 8. It is very possible that during Louis’ JH that group will be trimmed down. However no matter how favoured they are at that stage it will be hard to win from that point on. Manufactured groups already take a good push to get over the finish line (See: the pimping of Little Mix on the live shows) and even to get to the final (See: 1D). A group that has been chopped and changed could really struggle as The Risk did. Could pay us all to be aware of this point and be cautious about the new boyband. I’m not sure The Risk or Nu Vibe were ever going to have enough appeal anyway but worth bearing in mind.

  • Joe

    I have read this site for the past couple of years and once again thanks to all the contributors for their interesting insights. I posted my thoughts a few times last series and it’s great to be able to share again amongst a great community.

    In a word it seems a very odd series in the way it’s been portrayed so far. Big pushes for the solo performers as others have said so far, I too agree that the boys all seem very similar and will be fighting for the same votes. The girls is tricky Chloe Jasmine will surely be there (novelty) then it’s take your pick time but a shock is surely on the cards. I too think Lauren will make the lives, Cowell said at audition ‘remember the name Lauren Platt’.

    The editing has carefully hidden the groups through the arena stage so this weekend will be where we are reminded of Blonde Electric, OTY, Overload and Concept. If the 8 piece are to be pushed both other boys bands get cut.

    I waited patiently for a girl group to win the show and backed Little Mix (at the judges houses stage at 20/1 but never put anymore on when they went out to 66/1 sadly!) and now I feel is the time for another group.

    I agree that 8 members is too many. If reduced down to 4/5 it may help but to win from this position would be tough, but 1D progressed to the final from Boot Camp introduction.

    A boy band win completes the set for X Factor and with free voting available this year teenagers will be hooked.

    The other option which would capture the young market and older aslong as thay aren’t made into a cheesy version like Steps would be OTY.

  • qwerty1234

    I hadn’t considered that actually. What is alarming is that all of the members have been given their allotted air time, which I don’t think has happened before with a manufactured group? Not in this capacity anyway. I think it is clear that they have big plans for them, and the person who said that they may be fishing to recreate the 2010 with 1D, Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson. Simon has often expressed that this was his favourite year talentwise, and it was the year that gave him one of the biggest success stories in X Factor history. With Cheryl back, he seems keen to recreate that and so this boyband, Lola and his multitude of Matt Cardle’s seems to be his attempt however this time he’s throwing all the boys in at an attempt to get the correct winner?

  • Latest Digital Spy gossip is that Kerrianne did make it to Judges Houses after all, instead of Other Chloe

  • My guess is that the lineup will be

    Paul Akister
    Jake Quickenden
    Andrea Faustini (novelty? his personality begs for it)

    Lauren Platt (best bet to redeem the category)
    Stephanie Nala
    Chloe Jasmine

    Jay James
    Fleur East
    Ben Haenow (could be shafted for fodder)

    the 8-piece
    Only the Young (could be sandbagged into cheese territory)
    Electric Blonde

    • Blonde Electric** that name is confusing! it reminds me of Eskimo Blonde from a million X-Factors ago

    • Nissl

      I like most of this list, except I have a hard time believing Lola would get two big audition pimp slots like that if she didn’t make the lives.

      • So sorry. I meant Lola Saunders. The L names are confusing me!

        • Nissl

          Ah, that makes sense. Lauren’s got a really good voice, but it’s not so amazing it makes up for her current lack of a personality. I think it’s very likely she’d go the way of Sophie Habibis in the lives this year. If I were the producers I would give her some exposure, then cut her and tell her to go away for 2-3 years and develop. I think that’s what’s happening.

          We’ve got the same projected final 12, then. Though I still would not be shocked if Fleur were replaced by another over.

          They don’t seem to be shafting Ben at all right now. I’m still wavering on their overs plan. But eh, I’m just repeating my questions from upthread now.

  • http://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/197942-x-factor-2014-wild-card-twist-with-a-twist-spoilers.html

    Apparently, there will be a wild card, the ones choosing for each category are judges that aren’t handling it.

    • Nissl

      If true, the way they are doing this suggests loading up on gamma (omega?) fodder, with an option to keep any acts that happen to serve their interests. Just have the judges say they’re putting the worst act through, voila! Give Stevi to Simon, then only keep him around if he out-novelties Andrea and Blonde Electric.

      • I think the chances of Stevi being in the loves just skyrocketed! As for the other categories, no one seems to stand out as potential wild cards. Maybe Lola gets shafted after all, only to be resurrected en route to victory.

    • qwerty1234

      More proof that we are seeing 2010 happening again in front of our eyes. We already have similar candidates for novelty acts – Blonde Electric (Diva Fever), Chloe (Katie Waissell) and I will assume from this that Stevie is going through as the overs wildcard, just as Wagner did. Add to that our 8 piece boyband (One Direction), Lola (playing Rebecca) and our array of Matt Cardle’s, it is clear to see where their intentions lie this year – everybody else will be their cannon fodder.

      Although the one thing missing at this stage seems to be a Cher Lloyd type character? My guess is that this sort of “individual artist” type would have seen Lauren cast as this but I think that the show is ploughing all of its efforts into 8pc, and cannot afford to risk anybody taking votes from them.

      Other things to look for? This also opens up lots of double eliminations (making it a bit tricky for producers meddling, particularly in the early days if they follow the same format as before when the one with the lowest overall vote leaves automatically and the judges choose between the next two). I have a feeling the flash vote may play a bigger part, and we see one act eliminated Saturday. It would give them more powers with regards to running order in my opinion, plus it won’t hurt the ratings.

  • Henry VIII

    Cheryl booed over the seat challenge. All the fun of the fair.


    What they don’t say in the article, and what the live audience saw, is that Cheryl had chosen another girl to go through over Chloe Jasmine and then was bullied by Simon and a producer to change her mind and put Chloe through. However it [b]was[/b] reported last year when a producer came up to Louis when he had forgotten his instructions in an elimination. Therefore I don’t think XF care if it is reported and the fans know about the manipulations. The producers may be playing up to their reputation now, in order to create a Waisselesque villain in Chloe.

    • Dean

      I think ratings usurps most other things this year. The more controversy that hits the headlines the more viewers

    • Donald

      Indeed, the seat challenge was mayhem I heard also, they may not care, but rumour at my end has it that Cheryl did not give up on her mission at judges houses.

      While the consensus here on Sofabet is that Chloe makes the final three at judges houses I would be far from 100% sure of that and there is doubt in my mind. Not 100% sure either way but doubt exists in my mind after what I heard.

      Maybe time for some caution as spoilers have been wrong in past although mainly correct.

    • I think the girl that loses out is Monica, the one that sang about her sister.

  • Jessica Hamby

    One of the biggest girl groups in Korea, Girl Generation, is an 8 piece. If the arrangements are right and thdy know their roles it’s not too many. It just gives the fans more merchandise to buy and more people to fancy. As long as they remain distinct personalities they’ll be fine.

  • Jessica Hamby


    This is a track from Girls’ Generation so yoi can see how well an 8 piece can work.

  • The twist now makes me believe that it could be true about Lola being dumped at JH now… however, you’d think they’d want to re-create the Geordie Joe & Geordie Cheryl love in thing.

    This of course means that in most, if not all of the categories, one of the chosen 3 will actually end up being the gamma, because there’s no point in having the twist if all the wildcards are voted off in short order. It explains why they might deliberately put a weaker/less publicised act in each category as cannon fodder. Poor Steph. It all makes sense now.

    • Oh I didn’t read it properly. I assumed it was like the “steal” thing they did in The Voice. So Cheryl would still end up with Lola. You can just see either Simon or Louis picking Lola and taking every opportunity to wind Cheryl up about not picking her.

  • David Cook

    It only really makes sense if it was like the steal in The Voice, otherwise taking at face value the mentors are just being given an act that they’ve already rejected.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I think someone hyped and given lots of attention is going to be dumped at JH. The show needs the drama. It thrives on showing high definition close ups of the moment someone’s heart actually breaks. Melanie McCabe and Joseph last year. Might even be JJ this year.

  • David Cook

    Other than not knowing who is through to the live shows, the biggest unknown may be the effect of free voting on the results. Out of interest, as people have been comparing this year with 2010, I’ve looked back at the voting statistics to see how close 1D got to Matt Cardle. The answer of course was not very close at all. Most weeks they only appeared to be getting about 40% of the number of votes that Matt Cardle was picking up. We never get to know the actual numbers per week, but they did disclose that the total number of votes cast across the series was 15M. It strikes me that with free voting the figures could be very much higher. Even if they can only get 1M out of a typical audience of 8 – 9M to use their 5 free votes each week that would be 50M votes across 10 live shows. It might be much higher (the free votes for ‘The Voice’ was the first time we in Maison Cook have ever voted for example). The question then would be whether the demographics of the voters would change, or if voting patterns might change to get a different kind of result from previous years. I guess the answer is that we don’t know yet, although the results from the first couple of live shows might help give some indication. The key however might be how people split their votes – some will give all 5 to on act, others will split their votes between a number of acts. This is where it might help ‘the group of 8’. If they only put up one act for teenagers, there’s less likely hood of those voters splitting their votes, but if you put up 4 Matt Cardles (yes – gross exaggeration I know) then it’s more likely that those votes will be split. That might help give the group an early lead, which no doubt could be helped along with some leaked headlines that they’re leading the vote (it might equally provoke a backlash of an ‘anything but ‘campaign). The end result might not change – as the numbers of Cardles reduces, the remaining votes may group behind the remaining Cardle, but it could help ensure that ‘the group of 8’ get a long way through the competition.
    I’m not sure if this helps at all in terms of predicting a winner but I’d like to know other people’s ideas on how they think the voting system might work out.

  • qwerty1234

    I don’t actually think the free vote will create all that much difference, not with the end result anyway.

    Obviously, it is targetted at the teenage audience. They’re most app-savvy, will probably have the app anyway and if not, will be most likely to download it simply to save their favourite act. Am I right in thinking that each week, we get 5 free votes from the app? That seems alarmingly high. Of course, more technically savvy older people will vote, but I don’t think they will in the numbers that the younger audience will, and certainly the average viewer will not plough all their votes into one act, particularly if they overcrowd that market (as it appears they are doing).

    I’m still sticking with the theory that the “teen” acts are being restricted to direct all of their votes to 8 piece. I don’t think that our plethora of Cardles will recude until later on in the competition (as JJ, Paul and Ben all actually seem quite good) and we may lose some cannon fodder from the girls and the groups first – by that point, the 8 piece will have picked up their army, and if the producers have learnt from their mistakes with past boybands, they will give them their stand out “moment” earlier on, showing that they actually have the input/talent/chemistry where 1D failed during their time on the show.

    I think it will be tricky, but I think we will see at least two of the boys – probably Paul and JJ, kept on until at least fourth purely to keep the vote split. By that point, the producers may have built up enough momentum with 8 piece to ensure they can afford for votes to be transferred to whichever boy is left standing in the final. It is interesting that they seem to be most invested in JJ, as I think that vocally, he is the poorest of our Cardle platter.

    I would, at all times, keep my eye on our italalian friend. I think he could be a massive surprise and may “do a Sam Bailey”. He seems to be the most traditional singer at this point, he’s a nice guy and seems to have a cute little story going for him – everybody loves pugs. If he wasn’t italian, I’d be throwing everything at him right now as a potential dark horse.

  • Phil

    I have a new prediction to make (I’ve given up on my ‘novelty act to win’ one) based on the new wildcard twist.

    According to The Sun yesterday, Cheryl is picking the group wildcard for Louis to mentor. Given the running narrative that Louis doesn’t know what he’s doing, has sent people home in the past who are thought to be good, etc, and how the People’s Princess Cheryl is such a savvy and competent judge (ahem), I would expect this act to be the one to watch. Especially if it’s that boyband who get unexpectedly cut despite The X Factor banging on about them constantly on Facebook, Twitter and the app.

  • Donald

    According to Tellymix Cheryl is picking for Mel B, so so much varied reporting this year. http://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/197942-x-factor-2014-wild-card-twist-with-a-twist-spoilers.html

    Would have thought Simon with “I told you so”, wildcard might be worth watching for who it might be.

    Another interesting point is it says wildcards from “previously rejected” contestants. So will they be from Judges houses rejects or bootcamp? Best keep an eye on the ‘musical chairs’ this weekend.

    Louis out to 7/2 and group to win out to 7/2 at Paddy Power, not bad value if the ‘magic eight’ going to live up to the online hype…

  • Dean

    Just doing a slight research on gamma’s and treatment before being gamma’s and if there were indeed gamma’s at all in some categories… Just from the last 3 years for now…


    Girls – Clear Gamma in Sophie Habibis, originally put through ahead of Amelia who would have thwarted their at the time Plan A Janet Devlin and Misha B who they wanted to go far if not necessarily win. Interesting Amelia got the chance to come back once original Plan A was not what they wanted. Poor old Sophie never had a chance being montaged through.

    Boys – No clear Gamma, if anything it was probably Marcus Collins, but they probably put the two scouse boys in to give their original Plan B Frankie Cocozza more chance to shine and get votes (how bad were producers this year in their ‘plans’). Once Frankie Coczzed up they were prepared to let the public decide between the Scousers until Craig threatened to quit the show anyway leaving Marcus as their main plan for a boy in the final (from Gamma to alpha in a few weeks)

    Overs – Sami Brookes – Reasonable amount of audition time (not much there after and limitations already clear), but was clear gamma over with the eccentric Kitty and wacky Johnny given a chance to play lead alpha and be a novelty at the same time.

    Groups – A year after One Direction? No room for Nu Vibe, with the splits and break ups going on everywhere they stood very little chance, clear gammas as show wanted to invest originally in the newly formed The Risk keeping just their lead, but then more breaks scuppered their chance which paved the way for Little Mix, the rest is history

    In summary, this was a year for the gammas (or non alphas)… most production plans were awful this year and from a betting standpoint before the show it was a farce. Plan A and B were awful, main alpha from Boys, Girls and Groups did not go as far as they wished.


    Boys – Well no clear gamma this year… I do Believe James Arthur was their alpha boy going into the show and it proved given his continuing treatment throughout the weeks. Jahmene went just as far proving they wanted him to do well. Rylan was the gamma boy, but they equally wanted Rylan to go very far for fun factor.

    Girls – Jade Ellis clear gamma, Lucy quit in a storm though, but both paved the way for Ella who did not go as far as expected (but far enough to prove popular after the show)

    Overs – Chris came back in a Wildcard as expected, gamme over I believe was meant to be Melanie (who went in week 2), but Carolynne went out immediately.

    Groups – Mk1 clear gamma group went out straight away

    Summary – TPTB much more successful this year in wanting their order of things between alpha and gammas in each category. All the gammas were clear from the get go apart from the boys category and they did enough in the pre-lives to ensure they got the results they wanted maybe apart from getting Ella to the final which was originally planned.


    Boys – Sam Callahan for me clearly went in as gamma boy given his pre-lives treatment, they probably wanted him to get through a few weeks though for his looks and they achieved most of that. Alpha was Nicholas, though I think they saw potential in Mr Friend and kept him as a close back-up and I feel after a few weeks treated him as alpha boy

    Girls – Abi Alton clear gamma girl as it eventually proved, Tamera was always alpha girl

    Overs – Lorna Simpson and Sam Bailey, say no more

    Groups – Honestly believe they had big plans for Miss Dynamix, until the pregnancy, then they got chucked under a bus, leading their way to push Rough Copy as far as they could. Kingsland for me were the gamma group initially despite some previews, think they never saw a One Direction in them.

    Summary – Was quite one dimensional show this year. For me the only real talent was Tamera, who just wasn’t cut out for the lives at that moment, too much pressure. In general aside from Miss Dynamix who got chucked under a bus once a member was pregnant, everything went to plan for TPTB

  • Dean

    Forogt to say the clear thing here is that a good 60-75% of gammas I would say only had 1 maybe decent audition time and then were montaged in others… meaning they were wanted to be forgettable… I would hasten to bet against any gammas though as we saw in 2011 plans can change, but with Simon back I think he is normally spot on with what he wants to happen. Last time he was there in 2010 his exact top 4 he wanted pre-lives all came in the top 4 with villain and novelty act both getting to the final few weeks to boot.

    My guess is if we can find is Plan A male, Plan A female and Plan A group they will all get to the semi-final based on 2010 (but with the risk of caution that things can change throughout the lives)

    • qwerty1234

      Excellent post. I am a long time lurker here and have only just started posting here – I’m looking to put all this to the test this year, and perhaps later on or next year commit to putting some money down but I’m not fully confident in this year – all of this is really useful and interesting to me.

      Judging by the points you’ve made, at this stage I’d hazard a guess at plan A female being Lola, plan A male being Paul (although I mentioned watching out for Andrea, their editing has been equally as generous) with plan A over (Simon’s category as I understand? He won’t want to do himself over in terms of contenders) being Jay James on back up. We’ve yet to see this group of 8, but with the treatment of the rest of the groups so far all signs are pointing to them being Plan A.

      As I said, there’s room for movement with all of this as we still have the chair challenge and judges houses, as well as the wildcard. Plus there’s rumours of Lola not making it past bootcamp or JH – they’re not making it easy for us as yet!

      I’m still running with a recreation of 2010, and am sticking with my previous theory. I’ll be interested to see whether this weekend changes that.

  • Marc

    A minor point, but it may be worth mentioning something about the Lola Saunders / Cheryl / Geordie connection.

    Lola is actually from South Shields, a town near Newcastle. The same place that Joe McElderry, Jade/Perrie from Little Mix, and Jamie from Collabro (winners of BGT) are from. In short, no-one from there has ever ended up in the finals of an ITV talent show and lost.

    Being from there myself, they do give an astounding level of local support to anyone who reaches a final – it is a very talented and passionate place! Might just be superstition but for me, this does reinforce that if Lola reaches the live shows (especially with a rumoured Melanie Amaro-esque wildcard boost) it might just be game over.

    • R

      Very good point Marc. There are a few areas that always do well through strong support, Scotland, Liverpool & Newcastle.

      It’ll be interesting to see how much support Jay James receives from the Welsh, or whether it suddenly becomes “the whole of Picton is supporting you.”

  • Dean

    They could have at least made it less obvi tonight. Monica first good singer and she’s rejected. The rest on the whole were poor and they got put through lol

  • Joe

    I think the speculation could be correct that Lola doesn’t make it through. Only I think then she’ll come back as a wild card…..

  • Natasha

    Very poor performances from almost every girl. I think we can rule out any of the girls through to the lives being plan A or B lol

  • Dean

    What the heck just happened there? Chloe Jasmine gone? Eh? If she gets invited back no wonder the crowd went ape crap lol how staged can it get?

  • Dean

    Lol the show is great TV has to be said with Chloe Jasmine being bought back. What drama haha almost wish I didn’t know the spoilers.

  • annie

    what happened? how come there was X factor today…? missed it ofcourse…

  • Nissl

    I wonder why the show wasn’t interested in Shanay? I guess she is an older version of Tamera with a weaker voice, but she still looks pretty good in this field…. Monica was good too, but probably not good enough to do a Paul Akister.

    Real joke bringing CJ back like that. Although I suppose separating her from her performance by nearly and hour makes it look less weird. I’m coming around to the idea that her voice is just going to be too weak to even do a Katie this series.

    Girls looked really weak today overall, no wonder this was buried on Friday. Lola has a promising voice but forced the heck out of things after the first few bars. Lauren was ok but underperformed. Emily was fun for the first time, but voice was just pretty good. Steph reinforced that she lacks the voice to go deep, although showing Simon’s “cool” comment makes me think she’s headed in as live gamma. Kerianne (guess the spoilers confused that) was one of the more solid performances before trailing off at the end, but that’s all it was. Perhaps I’m biased because I couldn’t help comparing that to Sierra’s version from USXF last year. Not even close.

  • Phil

    The show is a much better watch if you read Kitty Brucknell on Twitter at the same time. She knows how it all works!

    @kittybrucknell: “I’m gonna swap you”
    “For who?”
    “Someone who’s had no screen time”

    @kittybrucknell: Wow. Apparently that wasn’t how it went down at ALL. So many of my friends went and there was nearly a riot when Chloe J went back on.

    • Dean

      Yeah I read from someone on here also there were riots when CJ went back on. Surprised this wasn’t shown so it’s obvious they don’t want CJ to be too villain-esque yet unless they want to portray her in a much better light altogether.

  • David Cook

    Only XF can manage to do this – start with the strongest category from the auditions and end up with it looking a complete mess. Poor performances across the board tonight. Nerves might have played a part, and I’m sure that the atmosphere in the arena didn’t help, but no-one came out of that looking better than their auditions. Where on earth did some of those song choices come from, and then compounded by generally poor arrangements. Based on the coverage given to her Lola still looks a certainty for the live shows even if it is through the wildcard. Unfortunately despite having a strong voice she seems to be getting even more nervous, and this really affected her tonight. According to reports on DS Steph Nala put in the best performance during the 6 chair challenge, and was by far the best received by the audience. The editing really didn’t get this across – she generally seems to be shown as being a bit lightweight. If she does get through to the live shows she’s looking like third or fourth choice. We know Lauren can sing well, and again it was a solid performance – as they said she is consistent, but no real excitement in the performance. Emily did manage to put in a decent performance and at least she was confident. I think it’s between these two for a place in the live shows. Kerrianne was okay but again certainly not a standout performance – I just don’t see her getting through. Chloe Jasmine – awful (Katie might actually have been better than this), and that was without them showing the even worse performance which apparently preceded it. Of course we know she’ll get through, annoy us for a few weeks, then get booted out when it suit them. Still expecting to see her on CBB next year.

  • I noticed that as soon the swaps started, the audience was shown wanting to get rid of Girl No. 5, and lo and behold, Chloe Jasmine was re-inserted for her and for once, cheers were prominent.

    • Dean

      Yes but it seems that it never played out like this at all and that the arena was going mental when CJ got given the chair back

      Anyhow wat can we take from last night? Steph if she does get the chance to be on the show will be gamma girl, possibly one of the lowest screentime ever to get near the live show. Lola will need a lot of making up to do to get near winning,even if he does get a wildcard. They can pay the confidence card though with her and give her a journey. If I wasn’t well informed I would believe Kerianne had a good chance of going far, but I guess they will make it a heartbreaking exit for her. Lauren has chance for alpha girl as she was solid last night and there is star quality about her, but at 16 is awfully young. Emily was widely well perceived so could be a few shocks on the card if she exits too, which I Think will happen. Funnily enough one with lowest screentime will go through in Steph to give us a proper Gamma.

      • Gamblebot

        CJ seems more (a throwback rather than “current” version of) Cher Lloyd than Katie, if only because her edit has been fawning but the public aren’t joining the ride. Emily and Lauren may surprise because they’re inoffensive sweet young ladies (compare that to Tamera with the leather jacket).

        I just realised that even Lorna Simpson had more time (she had a full 6 chair performance) than Steph.

        • Jessica Hamby

          They all seem very sweet and wholesome this year. Perhaps they got bitten too hard by James Arthur and Tamera Foster, perhaps the zeitgeist has changed and good is now fashionable. Regardless, there wasn’t anything in there remotely rebellious or dangerous or even very sexy. Little Mix have got more raunch than that lot. Mind you, I think that for all hiz protestations about liking a badly behaved audience and wanting popstars to behave like popstars, Simon wants to be in control so he requires a level of docility from his acts. He probably also figures it’s easier to make tame ones wild than the other way around.

        • R

          CJ is definitely the Katie W. They may be fawning over her on the face of things but everything they are doing in the background is aimed at creating a hate figure.

          The way the 6 chair challenge was edited, and the comments about the producers bringing her back make her look bad.

  • there were so many “wrong” song choices, which lead to most of the girls failing to impress and certainly not living up to their audience/arena edits.

    I suspect this is deliberate – producers would have “urged” them to show their versatility and persuaded them to pick those choons. However the casual viewer (like my partner) is left with the distinct impression that the girls category is a load of tosh this year.

    I would also highlight that the styling of most of the girls was wrong, wrong wrong (lola, chloe J, kerriane in particular)

    Question is, are they crippling the girls category as they do not want the winner to come from there this year, or because they are planning to transform one of these six ducklings into a swan?

    • Jessica Hamby

      The song choice thing is one of the strongest weapons in the producers’ armoury. The weekly themes in the show, albeit they provide variety, do not reflect the trajectory of most pop star careers. Most have a niche or a speific genre and stick to it. It does give producers a lot of control over both song and arrangemen to the benefit or detriment of the contestant. Maybe that’s why most years we get middle-of-the-road all rounders as winners (Leona, who could sing the Yellow Pages and maybe Shayne Ward being the exceptions).

      Looking back at last year I begin to wonder if James Bond week and that excrutiating Diamonds Are Forever was the week TPTB decided to throw their weight behind Sam Bailey and ditch Tamera Foster.

  • Liam

    For some reason I’ve got a good feeling about Emily Middlemas, maybe its because I’m Scottish and feeling very patriotic but I can see her doing pretty well. . .

    • Jessica Hamby

      There was an effortless quality to her room audition that the judges picked up on. Not so much in the arena and even less so last night. Mind you last night was a horrible atmosphere. I half expected Russell Crowe to march in as Maximus, carrying a severed head and shouting “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”

      If she can recapture that effortlessness for the live shows I think she’ll gain a lot of fans but that also depends on TPTB allowing her to play to her strengths. I’m not sure that they will. I get the sense that the boys and the manufactured group are going to be favoured above the girls this year.

  • Jessica Hamby

    At the risk of disappearing down the rabbit hole…

    It was interesting that they showed Mel B saying she thought Cheryl made a mistake and had told her so to Orla, the woman swapped out for Chloe Jasmine at the end of last night’s show. I agree with Mel. I thought Orla’s was one of the better performances and she has the added bonus of actually looking like a popztar with a distinct and definite identity. You knew her days were numbered though, by Cowell calling her performance self-indulgent and the way the camera lingered on her anxious face as the swaps progressed.

    Anyway, the reason I bring it up is because when the crowd started booing Cheryl turned to them several times to say they had to accept it because … (dramatic pause) … “this is my decision”. She didn’t attempt to calm them by telling them it was difficult or that there were a lot of talented singers or that someone had to be disappointed because there were only 6 spots. She just repeated that it was her decision (even though that’s something practically no one believes).

    I think almost everyone watching will agree that Chloe Jasmine’s performance was poor and Mel B managed to make herself look good and undermine Cheryl with that remark. However it was TPTB that decided to keep it in. It was helpful in that it emphasised the controversy, which the show thrives on. I wonder if it was also done to undermine Cheryl’s credibility and the credibility of her category and promote Mel B. My sense is that she is not as popular a judge as she was previously and that people are warming to Mel B.

    I know it’s easy to start looking for conspirasies and now I’ve written this down I almost want to slap myself. I’m only going to post it because it took so long to type out on my phone. I do wonder though, was it a bit of a Cheryl takedown. It will be interesting to see how it goes with Mel tonight. I think she’ll get an easier time of it, although that may be partly because her choices are easier and more clear cut.

    • Liam

      Was Cheryl ever truly popular. I always remember Dannii topping popularity polls, Dannii winning the style war, Dannii being generally more constructive in her criticism. . . Cheryl always seemed to pale in comparison and I could easily see that happening again with Cheryl and Mel B.

      It seemed as if the X Factor was more invested in Cheryl as a brand than the actual audience was.

      The only thing that would lead me to doubt this theory is that Cheryl is the returning golden girl. They should want her to have a serious contender among her category and right now I just cant see it, I think it would have made sense to have given her the groups especially if they see a real winner in the 8 piece boy band.

      It was strange but actually quite nice to see the awful reaction she received from the audience, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in not being a fan of her, and her robotic response to the audience was just strange. She seems to have changed a lot since the 2010 show, I don’t imagine Cheryl back then would have been so meek in dealing with the audience.

      • Chatterbox5200

        I wonder how much the meek response from Cheryl to the audience was down to the fact that she couldn’t justify her decision with any conviction, as she was just doing as she was told. She could hardly say “I know, I agree with you, but the Producers have told me to keep Chloe Jasmine”.

        As for the credibility of the judges, in my opinion, I don’t feel that they are trying to make Mel B seem more credible than Cheryl. She has the seat next to Simon (the Alpha judge) at one end of the table, with Mel B next to Louis (the Delta judge) at the other end of the table, effectively saying that Cheryl’s opinion is more highly regarded. She also has the “I’ve been where you are now” narrative to substantiate any constructive comments or criticism that she gives.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Cheryl was very popilar in her first season. Dannii is v popular on digital spy but not so much elsewhere.

        As for credibility, I meant more in terms of “her” decisions being at odds with everyone elses and her losing that apparent empathy that made her popular in her first season.

        • Liam

          I’d argue Dannii was a very popular judge outside of Digital Spy.
          ( A poll from the X Factor at it’s peak: http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/dannii-minogue-voted-x-factors-264420)

          It’s strange that Cheryl’s Category looks as weak as it does, but people had the same opinion on Louis with the Boys last year and he had two thirds of the final three so it’s very hard to judge at this point.

          • Polls like that have anomalous results, like a similar one saying that James Arthur and Joe McElderry are the best winners, with over 40% of the votes each.

            I do think that for the average viewer, Cheryl is 1/5 of Girls Aloud plus a successful solo artist while Dannii is largely Kylie’s sister. Guess who is worth rooting for.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Fwiw I difn’t say Cheryl was the MOST popular anyway. I said she was popular, by which I meant she was liked. It’s all opinion anyway but imo, the way she responded to contestants in her first season, lots of hugging, lots of empathy, lots of tears, seemed sincere and spontaneous. Now, not so much.

          Anyway, it was just an idea that you can take or leave (and you’ve clearly chosen to leave) that the choice to leave in the comment from Mel undermined Cheryl. As I said, it could be going down the rabbit hole. Regardless, I don’t think Cheryl inspires as much affection as she used to.

          • Jessica, I couldn’t agree more with ”I don’t think Cheryl inspires as much affection as she used to” and I think Joe McElderry was luckier to have her as a mentor than Lola is lets say.

    • Luke

      It’s a good point; though I think it was done more to try and build controversy around Chloe Jasmine, who is actually quite likable. The producers need to build her up as a divisive character or she loses her intended purpose.

      I think a side effect of that was Mel looking good and Cheryl looking bad though – whether they intended that or not I don’t know.

  • Natasha

    Without a shadow of a doubt, I would definately say that Andrea had the best edit there and would even go as far to say he did better than Paul. I feel there is a connection with all of Andrea’s performances so far whereas I don’t feel it with any of Paul’s. If Andrea is through to the lives like we are led to believe then I see him doing better than both of the other boys, that is of course, if he isn’t seen as early cannon fodder. Anyone else of the same opinion?

  • Nissl

    At this point I’m actually feeling the boys and overs this year might be ahead of the girls on talent. Not sure when that has happened before. Jay stepped it up again, but neither he nor Paul were quite as consistently convincing as Ben for me. Divvying up those three is very tough. Surely they’ll want to clear spots in the top 4 for the boyband and at least one girl, probably still Lola. Plus Andrea looks extremely likely to be the long running novelty act now, but will they stop him in the traditional 6th place?

  • Chatterbox5200

    The first glimpse of the new 8 piece boyband has just been posted on the ITV X Factor page……


    • Nissl

      A couple of them aren’t quite #1 boyband in the world hot. But several of them are. Nearly all of them lead in this clip, and they sound very good compared other bootcamp boybands we’ve seen in the past. Got big tingles as soon as they started harmonizing at the end there. And it doesn’t look *as* awkward on stage as I was picturing.

      I need to digest for a while, but my snap reaction is that they’re a significant threat in a weak field.

  • David Cook

    A bit of a reversal of fortune tonight. Unlike the girls the boys looked a relatively weak category following auditions, yet looks stronger when reduced to a final 3 / 4. To be honest you could almost miss out the 6 chair challenge and go straight to picking the finalists such was the relative miss match in ability. Too many awful, almost karaoke performances – you felt some acts were given seats just for the pseudo tension of swapping out acts later on. I was surprised by Andrea tonight, this was by far his best performance – suddenly he looks a lot less like a novelty act that can sing and more like a serious contender. Paul was eclipsed by Andrea and it was strange that they cut short his performance, and yet again hardly showed him when he was singing. I did quite like Jack Walton’s version of Ain’t Nobody. Jake Quickenden was OK, but you feel he’s trying too hard, it’s a forced kind of performance.
    We were left with the cliff hanger of Jay James getting through but not knowing who he will replace. Yet again I just didn’t like his performance, like Jake it just feels too forced. I’m trying to compare him with Paul Buchanan from The Blue Nile. To me Paul might not be the best singer in the world, but he is a great singer songwriter, and a master of being able to express the passion and emotion in the songs. It all just sounds so effortless. Jay just seems a pale imitation in comparison – there’s something about the mumbling and singing through gritted teeth that I just find extremely irritating and unnecessary. I think another 10 weeks of it would be more than I can bear. That doesn’t mean he won’t win of course.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I feel the same about JJ. He’s clearly an impressive live performer and he understands how to get the drama out of a song, how to build to a climax, etc but to my ears his voice is good, not great. It’ll be interesting to see how he copes with, say, disco night. Will they rearrange something as a torch song for him or will he be able to do it straight? As David says above, it doesn’t mean he won’t win but for me (so far) there’s something a bit one-trick-pony about him and the trick could easily start to annoy me if he does it all the time.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I wonder if the mumbling and gritted teeth is because his voice isn’t strong enough without the artifice. Barry Manilow has a lot of power and passion but his voice also has a sweet tone so he can just sing the tune and it sounds good. In fact, singers with sweet voices seem conspicuous by their absence.

      • David Cook

        Yes – great singers always make it sound like they can ‘sing’ – and make it seem effortless even if it isn’t. I suppose the analogy is the duck swimming smoothly along – you don’t see the legs going like mad below the surface. In this competition we’re seeing too many kicking legs for my liking. Infact for what is basically a singing competion (yes I know it isn’t) there’s a lack of acts that can just stand there and sing well – prehaps Lauren is one of the few exceptions. She can definately sing and she’s consistent , but hasn’t produced a real ‘ moment’ – yet.

  • Natasha

    Do we know the name of this 8 piece boyband yet? Im assuming they will be added to the betting market after tonights show or early tomorrow?

  • LolaLola

    My husband hates the X-Factor but did see JJ’s performance last night and said “isn’t he the ex-navy guy?” So somehow JJ has managed to enter the consciousness of even an x-factor hater.
    But the rest of the family (who are shameful x-factor fans) are calling JJ the tortured artist. He can’t do many more performances like that on the live shows & it’s already getting stale. I think he’ll get to the lives but will go about week 5.
    If Andrea is a novelty act then he’s a novelty act who can sing. He’s a bit uncomfortable to watch but his voice is really good. But the x-factor isn’t the right vehicle for him – where looks & image are almost more important. I thought he did really well last night and eclipsed Paul A.
    Jake is the next Melanie McCabe – he makes good emotional TV. His mouthing thank you to Mel B last night was a great edit. Poor Jake – I fear we shall see him crying again.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Agreed about JJ. Another thing about Paul is that all his performances have been a bit retro. Is Sexual Healing the most modern song he’s done? He’s like a throwback to Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding at the moment. A shoo-in for the stage version of The Committments but not a pop star for today. It will be revealing to hear his song choices at JH and the first live shows. If they want a pop star he needs to do some recent R&B or at least do the Motown with modern R&B arrangements. He hasn’t even done any “blye eyed soul” like Mick Hucknall or Curtis Steigers or Michael Bolton. Can you win on a diet of pure Motown?

  • Qwerty1234

    There’s been nothing surprising so far – the only surprise to me so far is that steph had little to no coverage. Was also a little surprised that, given we have seen him in such detail, Charlie Brown was booted out for his mate that we’ve never seen before although all his build up must have been purely for that moment.

    I think there is some legs in the theory that one of jake and paul will be a jh casualty. Both have had favourable edits but there are holes in both. As jake seems to be able to cry on demand and seems to be the least talented of our chosen boys this year, I think they will cut him at JH only to bring him back as a wildcard.

    If that’s the audition we see from our 8 piece, they’ve had everything thrown at them. They each sing, the chat behind the stage from the other contestants, Cheryl and mel’s excited faces, and I’m sure we will get overblown praise after it. It seems to me that they’re watering down the rest of the competition to cater to this group – nobody else seems remarkable enough to make a dent apart from Andrea. From the looks of things, the public are behind them and I think he may be trouble for the producers if he does get through.

    • Jessica Hamby

      The judhes talk about wanting to find a pop star but Paul sounds more lile a tribute act while Andrea and JJ would be best suited to torch songs or musical theatre. The girls are all a bit bland – unthreatening but also uninteresting. There’s a huge hole there for anyone able to fill it, like maybe a well-drilled 8 piece boyband. Heck. They don’t even need to win, just capture the teen demographic in the audience and top three and they’re made.

  • Gamblebot


    A clip of the new boyband. What happened to the old protocol that Louis gets the worst category?

    • R

      Oh the level of cringe, I need at least 3 showers in a deep clean machine…with full scrubbage.


      Louis: “What song are you singing?”

      Boygroup: “Leona Lewis – Run.”

      Louis: “Wow.” [Yes, he actually said wow at hearing they were singing a song in a singing contest].

      This is followed by the OTT selection of girls picking out their favourites “He’s mine, you chose yours.”

      And of course we have the obligatory gurning from the judges.

      This does look like that contrived “moment” the X Factor has been missing.

      • Donald

        They couldn’t even get the original artist of Run right Snow Patrol, scene all set for them tonight if they any good.

        It had been a bad edited mash up so far this weekend. The editing on Chloe Jasmine selection was not even a remote reflection of what really happened. It really was a weekend of more blatant that ever Fix Factor. Let’s see what they do tonight! Looking forward to ‘the edit of Eight’ will be pimped to the roof both audio and visual no doubt.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I know what you mean about gurning. I want to upchuck on a biblical scale every time I see the beatific smiles indicating which acts we should like.

      • Maybe their name is Box of (White) Chocolates

    • Jessica Hamby

      Couldn’t watch this through the link but having seen it on the show in all its nauseating glory I thimk it’s pretty clear what plan A is. Love the way Cowell presents it as something new. Like he’s never heard of Girls’ Generation.

  • They look ridiculous to me. You can’t put really young-looking 14 year old boys in the same group with 20 year old men.

  • Roxie

    Hi everyone – I’m back for this series. What a mess XF is this year. I feel that the polish and slickness our version has always prioritised has degraded and it’s become a replica of XF USA. Cheryl has also been an unwelcome addition. I never thought she was particularly popular and I feel she’s been in a bit of a ‘mood’ this whole series.

    Raving and ranting about the show itself aside, they’ve killed the girls’ chances with that BC episode. I don’t quite understand the hype for Lola – she was screaming through the top notes for her performance. She also strikes me as being slightly Melanie McCabe-esque – quite plain and ordinary. I don’t see her as being particularly marketable or commercial for Simon either so I struggle to see why she should be put through to the lives – would they put her through only to shoot her down later?

    As for Steph’s quirkiness, it’s more than off set by her invisible edit and vocal flaws. She’s been more invisible than Lorna and I don’t think anyone put through to the lives has been montaged/not shown for the whole series upto BC (not even Sophie). I also felt her BC performance was dismal. Wicked Game is an amazing song (my favorite song in fact) because of the range and falsetto required in the chorus and Steph didn’t quite get that. I like it when people put their own twist on songs more than anyone (especially reggae) but she made a mess of the vocals in this case (and the absence of the haunting quality is what makes the song so enchanting). I don’t think she’s going through.

    Emily is interesting – she feels like a stronger Abi but a weaker Janet. Though in terms of editing she’s been a bit invisible and would be weaker than both. However, she’s been shown to be particularly harmless and sweet which would naturally work in her favour like previous quirky songstresses. Her performance of Anything Could Happen was good – she hit all the notes which is impressive as the song requires a lot of range. However she suffers from the same problem as Abi (and to a lesser extent Janet) in a distinct lack of belting power which would be difficult in creating moments for her if she does go through to the lives.

    Lauren has been my favorite throughout but even so I thought she underperformed with unnecessary adlibs and a bit of a shaky start but her originality shined through quite a lot once again. I liked what she did with Man In the Mirror. I do think Lauren is the best out of a bad bunch (along with Monica Michael who Cheryl inexplicably exiled). I do think she would do well in the lives and as Cheryl said in the arena’s her sound is quite current and fresh. She is definitely one I would think Simon would push.

    Chloe Jasmine is so interesting because it’s clear that she’s intended for the lives. She’s the perfect villain with a quirky and nice enough personality onscreen and great vocal ability to allow her to last for a good number of weeks. She’s got the press leaking out news stories about her already and she’s even had a controversial moment with the last minute BC swap. But she’s also got a distinct style which is very vintage which would cater to the older demographics who do vote a lot (as we have learned from Sam Bailey/Mary Byrne/Christopher Maloney). I do think when compared to Katie she’s also a bit more of an accomplished vocalist, has more of an idea of what she’s doing and a bit more ‘quirky’ in terms of personality. So I do think she may do better than Katie/Kitty did.

    Kerianne’s BC performance was perhaps the strongest out of this round (again not really saying much). She’s been a bit under the radar otherwise. Her arena audition was good but singing Carrie Underwood is something I wouldn’t think would instantly connect with viewers here. I think she’s far too ordinary and plain for Simon to want to consider pushing. I’m also not sure where her voters would be coming from. Unfortunately I don’t see a point to taking her through other than Lorna-esque fodder.

    Final 3: Lauren, Chole, Emily with Lola as a wildcard.

    The repeated comments made about Jake ‘not being the best vocalist at home’ are very Sam Callahan. I do feel they are slightly over the top and unfounded as he hits all the notes more so than Lola and knows how to control his voice. However to the majority of viewers that does indeed bring into question his vocal ability. I do think he’ll be given the Mel McCabe treatment and go.

    Jack Walton is a cute young guy who plays guitar and who can sing well – another WGWG who would do well in the voting. He’s definitely no James Arthur or Matt Cardle when it comes to vocal prowess in terms of power and control. And he’s commercial. I think there are loads of reasons to have him in the final 3 really. However I do see something against him being in the final 3 and that’s if the 8-Piece Boyband are Plan A in which case they’d need the least competition possible. Jack would fish in the same demo for votes which would result in both 8-Pac and Jack finishing lower than they would hope to do otherwise unfortunately. So that decision needs to be made.

    Andrea’s BC performance was flawless. And he could prove to be dangerous if TPTB aren’t careful and make him a novelty every week with cheap dance routines. Otherwise I can potentially see him as an out of control Johnny (essentially what Johnny did to the votes during I Believe In a Little Thing Called Love week). I think he’s a shoe-in personally for Final 3 especially if to form a buffer against Paul Akister.

    Paul Akister is interesting because at first glance with the old fashioned soul he’s not particularly marketable enough for Simon to have an interest but actually he’s very Sam Smith-esque so he could do well in today’s market. However he would be distinctly dangerous to have in the lives if Simon doesn’t want him to win being a great vocalist with a heartwarming backstory which would appeal to all demos. He’d definitely be a people pleaser act though which TPTB would want to take through at least for viewership.

    Jordan Morris was a bit meh, he’s distinctly R&B so would attract a different niche than either of the two Plan As so I think he has a chance of getting in. My main point of contention is the absence of a first audition and editing currently given to him. Also his vocals are a bit hit and miss, especially on the runs which are more miss.

    Danny Dearden is complete fodder. No previous footage of him shown and montaged for BC – no chance. Tbh I couldn’t even gauge what he sounded like from that one clip because it was just him belting/screeching out one note. Not particularly pleasant.

    Final 3 (with wildcard): Andrea (definitely), Paul and Jack with Jake as a wildcard.

    Raign’s higher range is too screechy and shouty but there’s no doubt she nailed what Wicked Game is about. The haunting quality and range were both demonstrated very well. However, her first audition automatically qualifies her for a first week B2 showing if she does get through to the lives. The repeated questions about likability have confirmed that. She could be useful as another hate figure if they choose to make Chloe into a proper contender (which they have the potential to do) they can have Raign as the villain.

    Ben is so gorgeous. I love Hotel California and his version was gorgeous. I think his voice is well controlled and yet quite raw, gritty and edgy (in a distinctly classic rock way) and he’s such a lovely guy. He’s also very attractive in a more rugged and smooth kind of way. He would be greatly appealing to all demographics I think. But again I think he poses a threat to Plan A – JJ as they’d be fishing in the same pond for votes. If Plan A is the boyband then actually that would be a good thing to have Ben in too.

    JJ is really handsome and endearing which would automatically make him appealing to voters. I’ve always liked his performances which are understated but breathtakingly beautiful. He’s had 3 pimp slots so far so it’s an obvious message from producers that they want him in for the long haul. However how long? Is he the Plan A? Personally I think he is. He’s got a soulful voice but it’s one which is quite edgy and soulful at the same time. As someone else said he’s got all the main qualities of Paul, Ben and Jake – his closest competitors, so in a way he is the complete package. But that’s why I’m not sure if Ben would be taken through then? They just seem a bit similar with a bit more of a subtle difference being that JJ is more soulful while Ben is more rock and roll. Either way I think JJ will be there.

    To be honest I think we’ve seen the top 3 here in this category already: Raign, Ben and JJ with Stevie being a wildcard novelty.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Raign gets swapped out for JJ later tonight.

    • Nissl

      Nice writeup. Note that the bootcamp spoilers say Raign goes home today, and they have been right about everything so far other than getting Chloe O and Kerianne confused. If she does, I guess they decided one villain was enough (and perhaps that it was making Cheryl look bad.) I’d assume Helen or perhaps Fleur takes the last overs spot in the lives. Either one will be the group gamma.

    • Donald

      Hi Roxie, welcome back, you said it all in the first three lines, but a winner will emerge from the mess, and hopefully we’ll all be on it. Eliminations are something to look forward to for a few bets. Raign goes home tonight!

  • Lolalola

    So contived. Simon – the best band we’ve had on the show. But yes, they will get a major push by the looks of it. Couple of decent singers in there & a few padding the ranks. Bound to be one that appeals to every teenage girl out there.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I really like Blonde Electric. I think a lot of girls will take to them and men will have secret crushes on them. Their being primed for the annoying tag already but they’ve got bags of personality and, to me at least, a massive feel good factor.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I wonder if the fake sending home is to suggest that they’re not quite good enough and dampen enthusiasm. Admittedly the vocal wasn’t quite on but nne of the groups have been right on it.

  • Nissl

    I thought Concept actually had good vocal chemistry, arguably the best premade boyband on the show besides JLS vocally. But they are a bit old and bland to really be worth investing in, so I can see why TPTB decided to manufacture a band. The show would be smart to put them out at bootcamp. OtY was disappointing. I’ll admit I was looking at them as a possible longshot that could go pretty deep despite the category being stacked against them, given how much they seemed to have charmed commenters on various forums. Not so much now. Manufactured girl group was all right. Ditto Brooks. Overload and Pow Pow were the weakest vocally other than EB, no real complaint they went home.

    The manufactured boyband is a little weird but I think they might have the best voices in the comp. Really not sure now who stops them with boys and girls so weak.

    Other than the 8, nobody in this field really strikes me as ready to be a star after the show. Feeling a bit amotivated towards watching the season after the JH round. Personal preference, I’d rather watch a stripped back, more humane, nuanced process of trying to find a star. Someone on Popjustice pointed out to me that talent shows have been with us forever, and tend to cycle between stripped back and overproduced. XF seems to be reaching the end of a cycle.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I wasn’t keen on New Boynsnd’s voices personally. If anything some of them sounded awkward and didn’t transition that well from one to another. I thought the audience had been whipped up into a bit of a frenzy but if they stick around and work together for a while they’ll get better.

    I think BE can actually sing and they’re sexy and fun but I suspect they’ll be pushed into a novelty role.

  • Jessica Hamby

    FAO Daniel:

    Will there be a Strictly thread running this yea? I know x-factor is the main focus but there will be opportunities to be had on Strictly too.

  • David Cook

    I take back what I said about the girls category being a mess as Louis showed how you can really mess up if you try hard enough. How difficult can it possibly be to reduce from 8 poor acts to 6 poor acts. Extremely difficult apparently.
    Is there a shortage of songs? Surely it was a mistake having both Concept and the New Boy Band both singing ‘Run’, as from the short clip we saw Concept managed to do it better – it would be hard to do it worse.
    Suddenly Jay James is looking so much better.
    Exactly how big is the market for people doing cheesy cover versions of old Dolly Parton songs? I’m not sure, but if there is such a market OTY would be my first choice to fill it. Overload would be my second choice.
    Tonight was hard to listen to, but on the plus side it was almost comedy gold.
    Were there any singers – yes, just Helen. It’s a funny programme XF.

  • qwerty1234

    I think they were all probably told to sing those songs to draw the obvious comparisons. The editing has been so heavy handed this year, and the only surprise of boot camp weekend has been Blonde Electric being kicked out.

    A personal highlight last night was Louis’ excellent acting. Saying no to the Pow Pow Girls, insisting that his mind won’t be changed only to do a complete u-turn ten seconds later. And don’t even get me started on the sing-off at the end – there was barely an attempt to even make it look believable.

    The other thing that is puzzling me is the inclusion of Chloe Jasmine over Raign. Chloe is basically an employed actress playing the part of Chloe Jasmine, and she will make the live shows, no matter how many awful Backstreet Boys songs she slaughters. Raign has the love-to-hate character they seem to be wanting from CJ, has caused a bit more of a stir. She can carry a tune a bit better than Chloe and although she is a bit more talented, from her edit I don’t think she’d be in danger of picking up anymore votes. Maybe it’s purely because they’re confident that they can sway Chloe into doing what they want than Raign, who seems quite a loose cannon.

    • qwerty1234

      oh my bad, i’ve just read a recap and it appears blonde electric were re-instated at some point last night. must have slipped my mind.

      in that case, no surprises for the weekend!

  • Ben Cook

    Bonkers that they didn’t think Raign would be worth putting through. She is TV gold. Completely nuts but actually quite talented with it.

    • qwerty1234

      she’ll probably be back next year trying to “change everyone’s opinion of her” show “the real me”

    • David Cook

      Absolutely ridiculous that they got rid of Raign and left Stevie ‘David Brent’ Ritchie sitting there.
      She can clearly write a decent song and perform it to a reasonable standard – which is more than most of the others can manage.
      As for entertainment value – Raign or Stevie there’s no comparison.
      The only possible reason is because one of them knows their place and exactly what will be expected of them – including going quietly at the required time.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Stevie probably can’t believe his luck. I wonder if he knows people are laughing at him. He doesn’t seem completely unselfaware but I suppose everyone has blind spots. And besides, most contestants are willing to do anything to go one more round. Wouldn’t be surprised if he lasts long enough in the lives to make it on to the tour.

      As for Raign, I liked her but I think leaving like that might be better for her than a weekly slaughtering from Cheryl and Mel and then an ignominious early exit after several successive inappropriate songs.

      In the long term it may be better for her credibility and her self-esteem this way around.

      • Andy

        I am contemplating a little wager on Stevie for the outright win, bucket loads of discontent at the moment.
        Free voting.
        A (Rage against the machine) style Facebook/Twitter campaign.
        The show becomes a laughing stock and makes millions of people happy.
        100/1 anyone ?

        • Jessica Hamby

          In the words of Luke Friend, anyfing could ‘appen.

          I’m not sure 100/1 are good enough odds though, especially given that he’s not been confirmed for the lives yet.

      • David Cook

        Your probably right about Raign, it was good to see her giving some back to Cheryl, but of course there’s no way she can win.

  • qwerty1234

    It’d be worth sticking a tenner on. I don’t think it’s at all likely – everybody gets caught up in final-mania and I don’t think for one second that the producers wouldn’t pull a Cocozza and boot him out for rule breaking if there was any danger of that, purely to save face.

    • Jessica Hamby

      To be honest I can’t see voters sustaining the sense of outrage long enough. If he stays beyond his allotted time they’ll Wagner him and the judges will make all sorts of appeals to respect the other contestants who’ve all worked so hard blah blah blah.

      All his support would disappear as soon as they drop the novelty angle and make him perform lile a serious artist.

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