X Factor 2014: Who was the homecoming king or queen?

It’s midweek, which means time to look at some of your comments about last week’s show and discuss further.

1. Who had the best homecoming VT – Lauren, Ben or Andrea?

Henry VIII: “Why, if they [producers] wanted it, have they given her [Lauren] terrible VTs?” Fudd: “My goodness, they’re showing Cheryl her baby photos.” Kinski: “Congrats Andrea you got deported.” Curtis: “I think that VT was helpful. Is this the week the producers give in to the power of Andrea?”

The top three in the outright market all got an emotional reunion VT last weekend. We retuned to Billericiay with Lauren and her parents; to Rome with Andrea and his family; and to Ben’s white van with his brother. Which one was most effective? It’s an important question, because the VTs that focus on the acts’ backgrounds rather than rehearsals give us an even better chance to connect with them at an emotional level.

Lauren’s came first. Her parents have a lovely house in Billericay, in which we started off with a supportive chat. The three of them proceeded to walk down the High Street where locals voiced their support and wanted their picture with her. Posters were up in the Chinese restaurant and other places.




“I’ve got a best friend in Cheryl,” said Lauren, as we switched to them having tea and cakes with her mentor at the plush Langham Hotel. Having been made to feel like part of the family by looking at an old photo album, Cheryl explained, “I’m gonna win it for her, just to let you know.” The bond between Cheryl and her young charge was the strongest aspect of the VT. Otherwise, Lauren’s comfortable background and tender years tended to highlight – to us at least – her lack of a journey.

It wasn’t technically another homecoming for Ben (previously pictured supping tea from a Union Jack mug in his mum’s flat), but his white van has been such a recurring motif of his journey it’s close enough. Driving Ben was his brother Alex, with whom he gigged from the age of 16. Unfortunately, tinnitus put paid to Alex’s career. “It just feels a little bit weird not being up there with you,” Ben explained. “I’m up there living our dream,” he added in the pub before wiping away some tears and getting a hug from Alex.




Ben’s advantage over Lauren is his many years’ headstart which gives him more of a backstory. Is that what makes him more relatable in our eyes? It certainly felt like a more effective VT, although mentor Simon could only manage a phone call.

Finally we had producers filming Andrea’s return to Rome. To the strains of ‘Nessun Dorma’, Andrea revealed he was going to surprise his family, and duly sent his mother, father and grandma into raptures when he knocked on the door. Sure, it all had to be subtitled, but the visuals clearly told the story of family pride and love. There were some nice moments of locals greeting their returning hero too.




This was the best VT of the three in terms of being memorable and emotional. Its potential downside is ramming home the fact Andrea is Italian. An Italian who loves his mama and her pasta, no less – though Andrea did a great job of countering this when saying after his performance: “I feel the love of this country.” Dermot replied, “You’re at home, my friend.”

2. The two remaining groups teed up for The Hunger Games?

MW: “They would surely be crazy not to push for OTY to stay around for a while yet… I don’t see that SK offer much in the show in comparison.” Jessica: “It also wouldn’t surprise me to see them [Stereo Kicks] saved against OTY. I honestly wouldn’t like to say how that one would go.” Tpfkar: “I couldn’t call that now they’ve both made the tour.”

Week 6 in 2012 saw the two remaining groups – Union J and District3 – sing off against each other and confirm suspicions about which producers favoured from the start. It’s not fanciful to see a repeat of that scenario next Sunday involving Only The Young and Stereo Kicks, who have three singoff appearances between them already. How apt that the teen rivals have just been to the premiere of the latest in The Hunger Games franchise.

There’s no doubt the show has previously invested more in Stereo Kicks, who have thus failed more dismally having been saved twice already. Cheryl’s comment about a lack of hysteria surrounding the eightpiece that preceded their first singoff felt more like a flub than an act of sabotage, whereas Only the Young were made to look whiny and argumentative in their week 3 VT before they fell into the bottom two.

Staging-wise also, whilst there are arguments that certain aspects of Stereo Kicks’ ‘Everybody’ in week 4 didn’t end up being helpful, it wasn’t as bad as the messy productions Only The Young were given in weeks 2, 3 and 5. Recent slots in the running order also indicate that Stereo Kicks remain favoured over Only The Young.

Still, it’s worth bearing in mind that we’re at a stage of the competition where the deadwood is gone and producers have shown themselves even more ruthless about switching at will – as they arguably did in the 2011 battle of the Scouse soloists Craig Colton and Marcus Collins. The evidence up till now makes me think that Stereo Kicks would triumph in such a singoff, but who’s to say Simon’s highly positive comments about Only The Young last Saturday weren’t a precursor to a similar switcheroo this weekend? The treatment of both next Saturday will tell us more.

3. When will Stevi Ritchie become a ‘Creep’?

Nugg: “Surely Stevi has served his purpose now.” Stu: “They’ve got Stevi on the tour so job completed?” EM: “If I were running the ship, I wouldn’t be getting rid of Stevi yet.” Martin: “To keep thing entertaining, I think they need him.”

Stevi has so far followed the show’s ideal novelty arc as exemplified by Wagner. A series of amateurish but fun performances have seen him avoid the bottom two whilst much better singers have departed. Some question his suitability for the role, finding the joke wearing thin from the beginning, but then that’s the whole point of the novelty – they’re supposed to divide opinion.

Wagner was famously brought down to earth when he had to perform ‘Creep’ from the coffin slot without a plethora of dancing girls during the last weekend of November 2011. Rylan stuck around until the same point, although may have been intended as a target the week before when James Arthur and Ella Henderson fell into the bottom two instead. If following the same timing, that would suggest Stevi getting past Big Band week at least.

Against this, it’s worth pointing out that he has achieved his dream – to sing ‘Music of the Night’ – before the return to epic productions of a comic hue with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. But producers haven’t even had to save him in a singoff yet, and you just know they enjoyed the social media reaction to the “controversy” of Paul’s elimination. So the full range of options remain credibly on the table: try and steer him clear of the bottom two again, controversially save, or ditch altogether.

Which is it most likely to be? Do let us know your thoughts on this and the other points below.

155 comments to X Factor 2014: Who was the homecoming king or queen?

  • Dean

    Nice article, but how do we explain a couple of weeks where it looked like they would derail Andrea to a complete change in week 5 to a great VT, 4 judge standing ovation from the pimp slot? Are TPTB undecided, or are they just realising that Andrea could be a good winner for the show?

    We are still due a pimp slot for Lauren and Fleur (doesn’t necessarily have to happen of course). I only say this because I still see producer favour for both and they want them in the final 4 along with Ben who seems likely to get there. Will 1 of these 4 be sacrificed perhaps for SK to get to the final? Or for a shock exit? If anyone it does seem like it could be Lauren in terms of momentum, but like I said I still see a lot of producer favouritism towards her.

    I expect OTY will be the act targeted this week, probably sent out in the death slot or 2nd. I am unsure whether they believe they can target Jay this week to get them beneath SK or OTY and maybe get rid this week? Or more likely give him a kinder week with the realisation he will bounce above both those groups then get rid next week on his come down.

    At this stage of the week my predicted running order

    1. Only The Young
    2. Andrea Fausitni
    3. Jay James
    4. Ben Haenow (to sandwich Jay with Andrea and Ben as a possibility to get him bacj in B2)
    5. Stereo Kicks
    6. Fleur East
    7. Stevi Ritchie
    8. Lauren Platt (well I just hope this anyway, but could swap Lauren and Fleur positions)

    • If they want OTY out, why did Simon gush praise on them last week?

      • Stu

        In order to make sure Paul definitely fell into the bottom two. If the other vulnerable acts are hyped up massively, it increases the chance of the producers getting what they want – and it worked.

        • Dean

          Also worth noting even Paul got some lukewarm praise. I think they expected OTY to not bounce (still think they expected OTY in B2 with Jay just above them)… which would have meant they needed to give OTY enough good praise to make it justifiable to keep them in the competition ahead of Paul who was always likely to give a great sing off with his voice.

        • annie

          And to get them on tour. They were sure a better choice- with potential for some fun filled performances… Much needed to lighten up the sausage-fest the line up turned out to be….
          I saw on Youtube that OTY had some what apeared to be high profile arena performance so they were mostr likely recruited to audition and that makes me think they got promised a tour-spot…
          But their treatment up to recently shows that they are not truly invested in them.. And the way they were left hangin on during results… It reminded me of poor Abi Alton last year…
          I also think that producers are still trying to push SK despite their two B2 appearances. I am sure they are thinking that X factor audience isn’t the same as merchandise and music buying audience… And again, what went down with Abi last year shows that they are not willing to switch aliances easily: Abi was the last of the three girls to end up in the sing of despite heavy targeting yet she got eliminated the first chance they had her… I am sure OTY won’t escape for long either.

    • Consider last year, the full-on test deramp of Sam Bailey in week 2 (and simultaneous push of Tamera) followed by an arguable minor de-ramp in week 3, before they decided to embrace her in week 4. This year, Andrea had arguable minor deramps in week 2/3 while they backed Paul. However, Paul obviously got too uppity for them behind the scenes (judging by that Mirror article) and they dropped him, combined with a second pimp slot for Andrea in the space of 5 weeks, right after his biggest deramp (week 4). They’ve embraced Andrea.

      Also I agree with Stu about why OTY were praised so in week 5. Though given the song, performance and staging, I’m still amazed they polled higher than both Paul and Jay.

      • Stu

        Isn’t there a chance though that Andrea was pimped for the same reason OTY were praised? To go all out in destroying Paul’s chances of being safe. I think because of Andrea’s likeability, the show have to be careful with de-ramping him. Hence the strong focus on Italy and no criticism whatsoever. He also might not be too far ahead in the vote (assuming he’s top) so the producers may be confident they can get either Lauren or Ben (most likely Ben) to surpass him at some point. Also, there’s another chance Andrea did really well in the vote last week due to sympathy/backlash/people found his gold face entertaining – therefore producers may have been forced into not playing dirty.

  • Stu

    I’m thinking:

    Jay will most likely bounce. If the groups can, he can.
    Andrea and Ben are presumably the top 2 in the voting at the moment.
    I’m starting to think that the producers would probably want Stevi around for one more week. But if he falls into the bottom two this week and is saved, he’ll probably bounce in week 7 and then make it to the top 6. I guess in a dull year for talent the producers might like the sound of that.
    I’m sure the producers will do all they can to help out the last two female soloists in the competition.

    So that leaves Only The Young and Stereo Kicks. Interesting that because OTY sustained their bounce for a week, the two groups will be vulnerable in the same week with neither due a bounce. I think Stevi will be put on early in an attempt to place him in the bottom two with Only The Young. OTY sent packing, Stevi bounces into week 8, Stereo Kicks bottom two in week 7, bounce in week 8 and then in week 9 there is a sing-off which is engineered to get SK into the final.

  • EM

    Just thinking out loud surely the nightmare scenario right now is 2 overs in the bottom 2?

    Jay against Stevi – I could make a good argument why Stevi would be the one they want to save but if Cowell has to vote he can’t pick Stevi and remain credible can he? Likewise Cheryl could be counted on for a Stevi vote to force deadlock but again against Jay could she?

    In the interests of the show I’m sure they’d lose Stevi if he was against Fleur or Ben but that is a situation they’d much rather avoid.

    If Stevi is getting closer to the bottom they’ll be thinking there is room for a save V OTY maybe even the Kicks (if they gave up on them) but i’d bet some work goes on to lose overs in a timely manner and to keep all four out of the bottom this weekend.

    Which means to me the target to lose with the lowest votes must be OTY

    • Dean

      Yes I think for that reason we have to consider it a possibility that they may try and stifle one of the top 4 over the next 2 weeks to get them in a B2 with Jay next week and keep Stevi around until week 8. Unless they don’t mind keeping Jay next week after a come down from a bounce, but feeling confident they can get him again in week 8 straight after a B2 in week 7? Really unsure

      I just think its very difficult to keep Stevi against anyone left in this competition other than OTY so we could very possibily see Stevi in a B2 appearance this week, but saved over OTY.

      The 3 obvious choices for B2 are SK, OTY and Stevi given Jay is likely to bounce, but for this to happen they would really need to pimp SK to high heaven to keep them above the drop zone, so perhaps the poster who predicted a pimp slot for SK could be right?

      This could then lead them to a possibility of bouncing Stevi back above Jay and SK the following week eliminating Jay.

      Big problem right now is I am basically just guessing all of this without any evidence. Only thing I do feel right now is they would keep SK over OTY for longer on this show given some of the reasons said in comments and by the articles, and so surely OTY will be the main (and easier) target this week.

  • EM

    The great things is based on actual evidence every possible sing off next week has an obvious outcome – bar Jay v Stevi which I’d say they’d save Jay unless deadlock says Jay goes in which case they’d love to force deadlock for but reasons about I can’t make happen (unless Cheryl abstains too – I like both, I can’t let Stevi down after giving him a second chance)

  • Fudd

    I can’t see the logic of saving Stevie over Only the Young. The whole point of a save like that is controversy and/or keeping a ‘fun’ act over a more serious act (i.e. if Paul had been sent home over Stevie last Sunday it would have ticked both boxes).

    But Only the Young do not have the support yet they are fun. Them being sent home over Stevie wouldn’t be a shock – it would be greeted with a shrug and mutters of Simon being up to his old tricks once again. It’s the same with Stereo Kicks and Jay – and I’m not sure if too many would be upset if Stevi was saved over any of them.

    Now Lauren being sent home over Stevie has something more intriguing about it. I can imagine her polling lower than we suspect – as others have indicated she’s stalled over recent weeks despite the production team seemingly trying to give her moments (particularly with Let It Go and I’ll Be There). It will have a Jedward v Lucie feel about it and people may see through the manipulation but it’ll create more of a talking point than Stevi being saved over Only the Young, Stereo Kicks or Jay.

    It depends on whether they feel they can improve Lauren’s performance skills. I think it’s obvious the production team were annoyed at her Dark Horse effort and subsequent reaction hence Brian’s comment over the choreography. Did she burn her bridges at that point?

    Leaving at this stage doesn’t mean disaster in terms of future deals – Ella Henderson left this corresponding week (seemingly by accident rather than design) in 2012. But will the show suffer as a production if Lauren departs now? I’m starting to think no.

    No evidence of this whatsoever. I just can’t see how they can get saving Stevie over an act who has already been in the bottom two/three work in terms of controversy and getting people taking.

    • MW

      Saving Stevi over OTY definitely wouldn’t generate the column inches that the show would surely want from a Stevi save (OTY seem to be the act that divides opinion more than any other apart from Stevi himself), so to me it would seem an odd result for the producers to aim for (not to say it won’t happen off course – just that I can’t see it being something worth engineering).

      A Stevi save over Jay, meanwhile, would clear out some deadwood and at the same time get enough people hot and bothered to keep the show in the news. Clearly Jay is due a bounce, and no doubt the sight of him in a tux for big band week will get at least a few of his female fans voting. But his popularity seems fairly limited, and I don’t see him as particularly safe, especially with Remembrance Day now out of the way.

    • EM

      I think you’re looking at it wrongly Fudd – the whole point of saving Stevi over OTY would be to keep in the act that brings the ratings and the talkability (if I’m reading the show right)

      • Fudd

        But is it working this year? Stevie comes across too savvy for a joke act and his performances have nothing on Jedward/Wagner/Rylan though admittedly Bohemian Rhapsody got close to it. I think people see through it in general. It’d be easier to keep him out of the bottom two than have a sing off where no one particularly gives a damn.

        • EM

          No one knows. As a viewer it would be a very dull and boring show without him but that’s a focus group of one.

          But if you try to tell me the show would benefit more from having Only The Young around a week longer than Stevi I’d take some convincing!

          • Fudd

            I think Only the Young have more commercial potential than Stevie. Then again Ella made the most of being eliminated from week six but she was quite a unique talent; I don’t think Only the Young would have the same impact.

          • MW

            To be honest, in terms of performance, there’s really only OTY and Stevi in the show (obviously your tolerance of either may vary, but they actually put an effort into putting on a show in a way none of the others do – maybe excepting Fleur occasionally). Lose either of them, and the show will be a lot more beige.

            That’s why I think from an entertainment perspective it doesn’t make a lot of sense to engineer a situation where either has to go. Especially when there still acts like Jay around.

          • Fudd

            Andrea’s able to put a performance together on top of Fleur, Only the Young and Stevie plus Ben’s Highway to Hell showed potential. But I agree with you overall comment; Only the Young v Stevie strikes me as a lose-lose situation.

  • Martin

    Would they get rid of the last remaining girl and render Cheryl useles so soon? (Before you say it, I know I know).
    Not saying they wouldn’t, rather wondering on the likelihood?

    On that same train, I notice a distinct lack of Fleur during this discussion. I can’t help but feel that last weekend was supposed to be her ‘moment’ – it doesn’t seem like that happened. I know she’s been getting some decent treatment and we all assume she’s doing well but I feel like she’d be quite easy to manipulate into the bottom two, especially out of the top four. Vocals aren’t the best, if you stopped her dancing, let her rap and give her unattractive staging and a bad vt…

    I don’t think for a second this is likely either, she’s the only performer left and she does brighten things up but if a shock save of Stevi is what they want, maybe that would be an easy route without removing a ‘mentor’ from the competition.

    It does seem likely that the groups and Stevi will be in danger this week. If it were the groups vs each other I’m sure OTY would leave unfortunately however which way would it go SK vs Stevi?
    I think over the coming weeks:
    Week 6 – Stevi vs OTY, OTY out
    Week 7 – Jay vs SK, Jay out
    Week 8 – Operation Stevi out

    • Fudd

      For the sake of the show I think I would render Cheryl useless but, thinking about it, how could they engineer a Lauren v Stevi sing off result when Cheryl is the ‘neutral’ champion and she will obviously save Lauren? Both Mel and Louis have been critical of Stevie so it defies logic that they would turn and save him. Obviously an about turn could be scripted if required but there’s no sign of it so far.

      So based on that group v Stevi is the obvious way to go as, bar Jay, the groups are the only ones left who have been in the bottom two and the joke vote may slip after Paul’s departure. But will they save Stevie? I’m still not sure whether it’ll be worth it.

      As for Simon’s credibility – that left the show the moment he saved Jedward over Lucie.

      • Martin

        I think in the groups vs Stevi situation it would depend what group it was. They’ve invested more in Stevi that OTY so far and so I’d be inclined to think they’d keep Stevi. There’s a fair chance that it could be Stevi vs SK this Sunday though, I’m not sure which way that would go? Stevi is more entertaining but SK probably (at least a little) more commercially viable post-show.

  • Natasha

    This weeks song spoiler list is eagerly anticipated!! Has anyone seen any evidence of leakage yet?

    • Martin

      Only that Fleur has mentioned that she is going ‘back to basics’ with her song this week. Seems to suggest that she is doing something from Christina Aguilera’s dodgy 60s album. Candyman and Ain’t No Other Man have both been done before, I’d be cautious of both. The former was seen as Alexandra’s turning point when she was on, hasn’t been touched since and is very much ‘her’ song (depending how you look at it, could do wonders for Fleur too). Ain’t No Other Man didn’t do wonders for Amelia Lily – it’s a very fast song with no real room to breathe in there, the vocal is likely too powerful for Fleur although both will allow her to dance.

      • Off-topic comment but apart from about 3 songs (the two you mention above plus Hurt), that is such a bad album. Mind you, all of Aguilera’s albums are really bad apart from Stripped.

        • Jessica Hamby

          I like the first one as well. The singles, Gebie in a Bottle and What a Girl Wants, are the weakest songs on it. Strippe a is a great record imo but Back To Basics is pretty poor and electronic one is dreadful. I pretty much gave up on her after wasting my money on that.

    • Stu

      Fleur says she’s going “back to basics” this week but she’s already said she’s likely to be doing up-tempo again so “back to basics” doesn’t mean stripped back in this sense. I think she could be referring to Christina Aguilera’s Big Band/Jazz-style album Back To Basics – so maybe Fleur is doing Ain’t No Other Man or Candyman?

      • Jessica Hamby

        Maybe they’re letting her do this one.

        It would certainly generate some headlines and suggests an intriguing dance routine.


      • General Hogbuffer

        Judging from past song choices, they will never go for anything left field or original if there is a mediocre obvious choice, so if Fleur is doing Xtina it will be Candyman. Unfortunately, she does not have anywhere near the vocal ability that is needed for that song, so this could actually land her in the bottom if true.
        I think an over/over B2 could actually be a possibility if they can avoid Jay bouncing – let’s see if Simon will continue to crow on about 4 acts left; that will be the cue…

  • AlisonR

    First up they did a clinical job with taking Paul down this weekend, and with dragging down Jay to the bottom two, they quite clearly deliberately memory-holed the pair of them. The judges nearly deserved Oscars for their feigned shock and Mel’s “voting for the wrong people” comment on Xtra factor provoked some sympathy with me. The poor chap. I almost felt like tweeting him a link to this site. Sadly, although he could sing, he was neither commercial enough nor fun enough, they knew it and acted on it. The cold hard reality of this show.

    The shout out for the two groups to get them on tour was really effective. I don’t think they are massively commercially interested in either now – once it was obvious there was little support for either, they have met their target of getting them on tour. They have said that there is a gap in the market for OTY, which they haven’t with SK, so I do think there is a possibility they would switch, maybe to get to the final four or five but I don’t think either will get higher.

    There was also a shout out for Fleur to get her on tour too. Do we take it that (a) she was also polling less well than they wanted and was in danger of going if they failed to hit either of their targets (b) they do not have commercial interest in her beyond the tour? Or both? There are mixed messages there. She is the “performer” yet will have a “successful career in the music business”. She is not Plan A though, certainly of females (Lauren is the “popstar”), possibly also of overs (if Ben is more favoured – though I have not heard any popstar or commercial viability type comments – but he is certainly getting more votes), having said that I think she had a great week this week, it was possibly a make or break for her, and she may find favour as a result. Ben and Lauren also had great weeks vocally too though. I hope she makes the top four.

    There was no “vote for Stevie to get him on tour” shout out, so I think two things here (1) they actually would have been happy to lose him if they’d have missed their targets, especially as (a) he was followed by Monty the Penguin (b) Simon said “this is the performance you’ll be remembered for” which I took to mean “it was shit. Are you still voting for this guy?” 2) he has probably been doing just fine thus far. This week will be telling. Will he get criticism? Will he get lukewarm? Will it be enough for him to go? If they want fun, they still have OTY.

    With Andrea, pushing the idea he’s missing his food was a reminder of the donuts thing earlier in the series i.e. a turn off. Together with his staging and colours I saw it as continued attempts to dampen. He is still polling more than they want.

    The focus changes now to who could make money for Syco. For me both Lauren and Fleur have the most potential – I can see both as singles artists and they appeal to different markets. Ben I like,and is obviously popular, and I can see how people find him attractive, but I’m yet to be be convinced of who would buy his stuff. Andrea may flog a few albums (Mother’s Day). OTY seem to be being shoved down the “appeals to kids” route, which might be a market they can exploit, but in all honesty Same Difference didn’t shift a lot of product, so I don’t really see OTY doing much either.

  • Dean

    Very interesting on wiki someone has decided to put up weekly rankings in the votes… of course this information isn’t public as far as we know, but interesting to see nevertheless


    Andrea top every week apart from week 2 where Lauren is top, but finished 3rd in Week 5 and Fleur 4th in week 5. Quite good predictions really lol

    Contestants left running order so far

    Andrea Faustini
    1. 16/16
    2. 3/14
    3. 4/12
    4. 6/11
    5. 9/9

    Ben Haenow
    1. 12/16
    2. 5/14
    3. 12/12
    4. 1/11
    5. 5/9

    Lauren Platt
    1. 10/16
    2. 4/14
    3. 7/12
    4. 7/11
    5. 3/9

    Fleur East
    1. 14/16
    2. 6/14
    3. 9/12
    4. 3/11
    5. 8/9

    Stereo Kicks
    1. 8/16
    2. 7/14
    3. 11/12
    4. 10/11
    5. 7/9

    Jay James
    1. 4/16
    2. 14/14
    3. 3/12
    4. 5/11
    5. 2/9

    Only the Young
    1. 15/16
    2. 13/14
    3. 2/12
    4. 9/11
    5. 4/9

    Stevi Ritchie
    1. 9/16
    2. 12/14
    3. 10/12
    4. 11/11
    5. 6/9

    Anything to note? SK and Stevi staying later in the order as much as the possible showing favouritism. Jay with more and more unfavourable running order slots, nothing surprising. Fleur and Lauren 3rd in respective weeks for me meant confidence they would comfortably stay and memory hole acts.

    • Fudd

      The wiki page is being mucked about with now but this is how it originally had the results:

      Week One – Number Ones
      1) Andrea Faustini
      2) Lauren Platt
      3) Fleur East
      4) Ben Haenow
      5) Paul Akister
      6) Jay James
      7) Jack Walton
      8) Lola Saunders
      9) Jake Quickenden
      10) Only the Young
      11) Stereo Kicks
      12) Stevie Ritchie
      13) Chloe Jasmine
      14) Stephanie Nala (definite)
      15) Overload Generation (definite)
      16) Blonde Electric (definite)

      Week Two – The 1980s
      1) Lauren Platt
      2) Andrea Faustini
      3) Ben Haenow
      4) Paul Akister
      5) Jay James
      6) Fleur East
      7) Only the Young
      8) Jake Quickenden
      9) Jack Walton
      10) Lola Saunders
      11) Stevie Ritchie
      12) Stereo Kicks
      13) Chloe Jasmine
      14) Stephanie Nala (definite)

      Week Three – Movie Night
      1) Andrea Faustini
      2) Lauren Platt
      3) Ben Haenow
      4) Fleur East
      5) Jay James
      6) Paul Akister
      7) Lola Saunders
      8) Jack Walton
      9) Stevie Ritchie
      10) Stereo Kicks
      11) Only the Young
      12) Jake Quickenden

      Week Four – Halloween (post Saturday vote)
      1) Andrea Faustini
      2) Fleur East
      3) Lauren Platt
      4) Ben Haenow
      5) Only the Young
      6) Paul Akister
      7) Jay James
      8) Stevie Ritchie
      9) Lola Saunders
      10) Stereo Kicks
      11) Jack Walton (definite)

      Week Four – Halloween (final Sunday vote)
      1) Andrea Faustini
      2) Fleur East
      3) Ben Haenow
      4) Lauren Platt
      5) Only the Young
      6) Paul Akister
      7) Jay James
      8) Stevie Ritchie
      9) Stereo Kicks (definite)
      10) Lola Saunders (definite)

      Week Five – Queen vs Michael Jackson
      1) Andrea Faustini
      2) Ben Haenow
      3) Lauren Platt
      4) Fleur East
      5) Stereo Kicks
      6) Only the Young
      7) Stevie Ritchie
      8) Jay James (definite)
      9) Paul Akister (definite)

  • Curtis

    I expect a group in the pimp slot this week. Neither of them have been there yet (though both have had reasonably favourable slots in the running order). Also I think the plan this weekend will very much be help one group, dispose of the other. Obviously the group they choose to help will be in the pimp slot!

  • EM

    I had a slightly different take on Andrea’s vt than you guys. Again it pushed how Italian he was (and I presume they don’t push it in a good way). A whole section in Italian with subtitles is just bizarro for Saturday night ITV.

    If I wanted to make something really relatable from that scene I’d have had mama speaking in Italian but Andrea doing a voice over in English from his interview. So instead of the whole thing being in Italian there would be snatches of Andrea saying

    “Mama made sure I had lots of homemade pasta”

    and so on – much less strange

    Didn’t think the staging was particularly favourable either

    • Jessica Hamby

      I couldn’t disagree more. I thought Andrea’s vt was delightful and gave a chance to get to know him, his home and his family.

      Foreigness per se is not an impediment for success. The british are not inherently racist. Quite the opposite in fact.

      In my view the growth of UKIP and its comfortably carpet-slippered acolytes is due to econo.ic insecurity blamed on forrigners, not due to hatred of foreigners. Andrea is not an economic threat to any viewer. On the contrary he’s a delightful distraction from the everyday. There are plenty of overseas folk who’ve come ere and succeeded in our arts and mesia and they’re very welcome.

      Simon even talked about wanting to eat with his family.

      If I go on how I felt after watching that video there was nothing negative in it at all.

      • sistermym

        I felt the opposite. Pretty disgusted in fact. Visually, Andrea is a complete turn off: the vain campness and that beard, overweight with tight trousers ( does he eat the bottom of his jeans?) and stuffing his face at every opportunity. Yes he can sing and he is ‘good for the show’ but in the real world…

      • Martin

        Rather harsh above, but each to their own.

        I think Andrea’s VT was a strange one last week. I think, potentially it was supposed to be quite negative for him – the fact that Mel said “We’re sending you home” (with all the deporting connotations etc) was an unfortunate choice of words, and then after that we had pretty much not one single word of English. The message I got from it was the producers saying to us – “Fine, you can vote for Andrea if you want – but we don’t want you to, and don’t forget he’s not British”.

        That’s the general feel I get from Andrea. They’ve accepted that he will probably win, they don’t want him to so they’ll give the public what they want in terms of nice VTs, demo-delighting performances but pepper it with some negatives – this week was an entire VT with minimal English language and some wierd dancers and a red and blacking on stage. And, coincidentally, pimping Lauren, Ben and Fleur on the way.

        I liked his VT and I like Andrea. His performance this week was one of my favourites of the series so far (probably second favourite after OTY’s “Monster Mash”) so I’m glad he seems to have defied the producers. I suppose we’ll see what happens over the weeks.

      • lolhart

        The only other contestant from Europe they’ve had in the live shows is Ruth Lorenzo, correct? I remember she had a VT where she went back to visit her family in Spain and the Spanish speaking parts were kept to a minimum. I also remember that in the first part of the competition Simon was always referring to her being Spanish and only stopped doing it after Laura White went out and Ruth was seen as more of a contender. Of course this was years ago, but an interesting comparison to the way Andrea’s nationality is being handled at the moment.

        • uncalquera

          Yes, but Ruth’s family was quite special in that sense, a sister living in the States and another one being an English teacher, English knowledge of people over 35-40 in Spain and Italy is not that widespread.

      • Jessica Hamby

        STrong comments above but I can see your points. I was more put off by his VT the week before, when he was at the deli and the food was spilling out of his mouth. Having said that, there will be plenty of viewers who like their food too.

        I’m not sure he’s vain, he’s definitely camp but if loving camp is a niche then it’s a pretty big niche.

        I get the “sending you home” thing now, so I suppose I must be more optimistic than I thought. They are using nationality to deramp him. Silly me for thinking for a moment that there might be depths to which they wouldn’t plummet.

        Anyway, I guess it will become clearer on Saturday.

        I’ve become resigned to Ben winning to be honest, so if Andrea sneaks it at the end I’ll be over the moon.

        • uncalquera

          Completely offtopic, but I’ve recently read about a study saying that there is a strong correlation between UKIP’s vote and least immigration.

          • Jessica Hamby

            It’s true. Those places in Kent, Rochester and the like, which are voting UKIP at the moment have less than 1% immigrants. London, Birmingham, Manchester and the big cities won’t vote for them. Ultimate irony. The people who are the most afraid are the people who have little or no experience. Those that do aren’t bothered.

          • Fudd

            Alternatively, the votes for UKIP are far more likely to come from White British-born people than other races or immigrants due to UKIPs rather strong (to put it mildly) tone. So the lower the number of immigrants the higher the UKIP vote does make sense.

  • I can’t see Stevi getting past this week, assuming nothing goes wrong for TPTB. He’s on the tour, he has his “moment”, and reducing every other category into an act each (or worse, leaving the Boys or Girls with zero) is silly. Of course, they can choose to sink Jay, Fleur, or Ben, but that makes no sense in any way, shape, or form.

    • Fudd

      I’d argue sinking Jay, if they can prevent the bounce, is more beneficial to the show than sinking Stevie.

    • Stu

      I was just thinking this before I read your comment. The things going against Stevi are:

      1) The Overs need to lose an act. Ben and Fleur are too profitable post-show and Jay is due a bounce. Having 4 Overs in the Top 7 with the other categories under-represented would look ridiculous.

      2) He’s on the tour. What else is there left to achieve?

      3) “Only The Young” bring the fun – Louis dubbing them “Only The Fun” may be a sign that the “fun act” is shifting to them. Fleur brings the fun on most occassions which renders Stevi pointless.

      4) After the uproar about Paul leaving, is it time to end the “joke”? After Laura’s controversial elimination in 2008, the novelty act Daniel left the following week. Also, in 2012, Rylan exited the week after the Ella/James sing-off and Ella’s departure.

      • EM

        Stu, good point on the “joke” act going after controversial sing offs but I’d challenge your thinking on some points:

        The show NEEDS to lose an over – does it?

        Did Stevi on the tour matter to them? If you’re right that must be because they know the public want to see him perform (cos they ain’t buying his music!) if so why not have him perform longer on tv? If you’re wrong then you’re wrong.

        Was last week’s result such a shock controversy? The vibe I got was more pro-Paul than anti-anyone. Maybe I’m wrong

        • Stu

          You’re right. The show doesn’t need to lose an Over but if an Over doesn’t go this week, either Mel or Cheryl will be out of the competition already (which would make them look incompetent as judges) or each judge bar Simon will have only one act left (which makes it look like Simon is by far the best judge and makes the credibility of the whole judging panel look laughable – yes I know it’s hardly credible anyway ha!).

          Stevi would provide more entertainment than Paul, Jack, Jake, Lola etc. I doubt people would pay for a ticket to specifically see Stevi but seeing him on the line-up makes it look more fun I suppose.

          I’d say it’s both pro-Paul and anti the show. His reaction to being voted off on both the main show and Xtra Factor was obvious he knew he got stitched up. Online there’s a lot of claims of “fixing”. People are wising up to the manipulation of the show. Ditching Stevi this week might redeem the show. Well, that might be how the producers see it.

          • EM

            My reading of that overs situation you describe Stu is that for the first time on Saturday they really played up that Simon still had all four of his acts – as if by magic the weakest of his acts, Jay, arrived in the bottom 2.

            I’m sure the intention of keeping quiet about it but going for it on Saturday was to soften and then target an over… but which one? Feels like Jay to me because he’s least needed and Stevi can be a bigger easier kill.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Doies anyone really care about Stevi? Will he be missed?

            If he’d had a few more preformances like Bohemian Rhapsody then I think he’d have a lot more fans. As it is he’s mostly come across to me like someone who’s a bit crap and shouldn’t really be there. It’s a true wasted place in the way they falsely tried to imply that Paul’s was a wasted place.

            If he goes I don’t think anyone will care much. It’ll just be a bit meh! The joke that wasn’t very funny is finally over.

            Sure, he’s a nice guy. Loads of people are nice guys. But for all the rest he was more dull than anything else.

            Imo it’s definitely time for him to go. There’s nothing else they can do with him.

          • Stu

            I agree Jessica. Surely his place in the live shows and the fact he’s still in the running is to bring some kind of controversy/talking point to the show but the audience don’t care that much for his presence in the same way they did about Jedward, Rylan and Wagner. So that asks the question again, what’s the point?

            As much as I hate to say it, Stereo Kicks probably provide more of a talking point for the show with their controversies than Stevi does.

            What happens on Saturday is determined by whether the producers realise how little anyone cares about Stevi one way or the other? Even the judges on the most part aren’t annoyed he’s still there.

          • Martin

            The problem is that Stevi is (seemingly) sailing through. Wagner was the first of his kind – it was an outrage! Jedward and Rylan had brushes with the bottom two so it was more of an outrage that they were there against more competent singers. Stevi is just… there. People have accepted that he’s brightening things up, and actually is entertaining. He needs a B2 to ignite the fury in voters.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Have you forgotten Chico already?

            And The Conway Sisters, when Simon voted to eliminate his own act in a sing-off.

            Oh ye blasphemers!

          • Stu

            I doubt Stevi is sailing through on real popularity. He’s given constant late slots. I think his pimping on Halloween week helped him get through last weekend despite performing in the middle. If he was up against either of the groups in the sing-off and was saved, there wouldn’t be an uproar. Same with Jay since he’s already landed in the sing-off and is widely seen as overrated from the start. That leaves “the big four”. Ben and Andrea aren’t vulnerable vote-wise and would they really risk losing one of the few females in order to get a week’s worth of headlines? Anyone remember how dull and samey the latter half of the 2012 live shows were? (in all fairness it was dull from the start but the male-heavy line-up was dull compared to the previous year’s of Little Mix, Marcus, Amelia and Misha).

          • Fudd

            Which is why I wondered if they would throw Lauren under a bus in a controversial sing off with Stevie. It would at least stimulate debate.

            Saying that, as Mel and Louis are both pretty anti-Stevie I can’t see how that’s going to work other than if they go for a full de-ramp on Saturday with Lauren, have one (preferably Mel as Louis’ already done some dirty work this season) turn back and praise Stevie while criticising Lauren fairly and then using that as an excuse to take it to deadlock. However, it would leave Cheryl without an act for the remaining four weeks.

            It would have been easier to de-ramp Stevie into the bottom two last week with Paul, have the shock elimination then bounce Stevie over Jay next week in order to send the latter home.

          • Stu

            I guess trying to manipulate a bottom two of Stevi and Paul last week could have jeopardised the plan to get rid of Paul. Maybe the producers thought their tricks would only get Paul second-to-bottom in the vote and targeting Stevi could’ve ended up with a non-Paul bottom two.

            I doubt they’d target Lauren. Although it’s easy to target her in the comments. The “boring” stick could be thrown at her the way it was thrown at Sophie and Janet three years ago and Abi last year.

          • EM

            I’ll say again if I were running the show I’d want Stevi in at least a week longer, the only way to be sure that happens is to give him every bit of support possible so he avoids the bottom as saving him in a sing off is risky or possibly not doable. There are deadlock options if he’s not bottom two. The other thing you therefore need is another target to shoot cold dead, for me OTY or Jay or both.

            Regardless of whether he is joke enough or too nice surely he’s got to equal more ratings than Jay or OTY and all have the same limited commercial appeal as each other.

            And while the world is scrapping around these lesser mortals Ben, Andrea, Lauren and Fleur float on to the final perfect four.

  • Alen

    Ben posted pics of him visiting the Hunger Games premier. This is a great tool to use for VT. You can do a “I’m so happy to be here” (positive) to “I’m so overwhelmed, I don’t even feel like a star” (negative).

    It will also be interesting if all of them attended or if someone was “left out” for another kind of VT.

    Anyway I know there is a lot of talk about Stevi and keeping him for a shock save but maybe plans have changed now. He was def kept around for that originally but I could only see them save him against Jay and I think he will bounce this week so they have to make sure Stevi doesn’t land in the bottom2 this week, next week is another story.

    Therefore I sadly think Only the Young will be targeted heavily this week. With maybe a shock Fleur bottom2 cause I think it would be “easy” to target her.

    Would they save SK against OTY? They could but surely they should realize at that point that it’s not working.

  • Blake

    Trailer for this week suggesting that they’re still supporting SK, and Ben is the chosen one for trying to overturn an Andrea win. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpZu3sESHxg&feature=youtu.be

    • Natasha

      What makes you say that? I have just watched the video clip and it doesn’t suggest anything?

      • Stu

        I guess because it shows the judges giving extremely positive feedback before cutting to both Stereo Kicks and Ben. You’re right it doesn’t really suggest much but they could’ve made it look like the judges were praising Andrea and Jay…but they didn’t.

        • Blake

          Exactly, the point is that by themselves these things mean nothing. But look at Paul’s treatment out of context and it would look the same. It’s just one part of a bigger picture.

          This advert will presumably be doing the rounds at the weekend before X Factor is on, and it’s just placing the idea in the audience’s mind that SK have been consistently good so far, and that Ben is a star. Many people may begin to adopt this opinion the more it gets reinforced.

          • EM

            The point of the ad is to get people to watch the show. So it’s targetted at non or light viewers who are not likely to be voters. The brief is obviously an ad which convinces the non viewer that the dead wood has gone and only the stars remain.

            Conspiracy theory over.

          • Blake

            Perhaps, you’re right. But isn’t it interesting that it wasn’t Andrea who got one of those comments, or Lauren even, but it was Ben. The one that they seem to be throwing their weight behind. If you think the producers wouldn’t use every bit of power they’ve got to influence the vote, then I’m not sure you’re on the right site.

  • tpfkar

    I don’t believe the Wikipedia “leaks” above. But it did make me wonder why we haven’t had any leaks out of the reliable Daily Star so far this year.

    They normally let slip who topped the first few votes, particularly if it’s a front-runner they don’t want to win (see Janet Devlin and Chris Maloney.)

    We are all assuming Andrea is there or thereabouts. Perhaps the silence suggests this isn’t true – or that they really don’t like the acts who are closest to him.

  • General Hogbuffer

    Since last week I am fairly sure we need to coin a new phrase for pimping and de-ramping at the same time, since I believe that’s what’s happening with Andrea. Pimp him enough since he is arguably the most accomplished singer, so you want him late in the running to maintain credibility, but de-ramp him enough so he doesn’t win, via endless FOREIGN FOREIGN FOREIGN VTs and ludicrous styling and staging.
    What shall we use – pamping ? primping ? pimp-ramp ?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Anyone else got the feeling that while this speculation is interesting, that’s pretty much all it is?

    Song selection may well be helpful (can anyone break the curse of That’s Life) but it’s only on the night that we’ll get substantive and useful information about tptb’s intentions.

    • EM

      The “I think they’ll give Fleur Cry Me A River” type chat is just speculation based on thin air and opinions and not much use in betting stakes.

      Once the songs are released there’s some tentative info you can work on (e.g. if someone gets That’s Life I’m piling in!) look at all the opinions on You Are Not Alone last week.

      But you’re totally right we don’t know anything much about the song choices until the performance.

      (Although in Stevi and OTY’s case we can guess!)

  • David Cook

    Lauren might be a bit dull, but I’m sure Simon see’s a lot of potential for money to be made even if it takes a bit of time and development. It’s worth pushing her as far as possible. There’s very little money to be made out of Stevi for Simon – no way are they going to get rid of Lauren in favor of Stevi – it just doesn’t make sense. Stevi’s reached the goal of providing some entertainment on the tour. If he does anything beyond that it’s likely to benefit himself rather than Simon.
    Infact at this stage I can’t see anyone being knocked out by Stevi. Try this – Simon votes against Stevi if he’s B2 against – anyone.That would cause a stir and be relatively popular. I think it could happen.

    • Stu

      That’s a good shout actually. Especially against someone who the show wants to pimp – if Simon is voting his own constant out of the competition over the other contestant, they must deserve to stay in the competition and people should vote for them.

      • Martin

        Could that also be a bit of forecasting on Simon’s behalf? Land Stevi in the bottom two with OTY ( who he wants to steal for his category coincidentally) and have him bin off his own act because he loves OTY so much. Plus as you say, it’d be a talking point.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Forgive me but thar’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard. You don’t b2 an act you want to do well just to create a controversial save and so that Simon can say he likes them. You pimp the crap out of them.

          Strategic b2 is for just before the final, nothing else. It’s damaging, not positive.

          • Martin

            Fair point, it is clutching at straws a bit. My only counter is that Simon isn’t known for being truthful and there hasn’t been much massive suggestion otherwise that they want OTY to do well. But yes it does seem very unlikely.

          • Jessica Correct you don’t b2 an act you want to do well, unless they are struggling to get them far enough away from b2 as it is. So engineering/accepting a b2 drop in order to create controversy and give them some momentum the following week. Would be possible

  • George

    I think Stevi will go as soon as he hits the bottom two, unless he is genuinely better in the sing off. With ratings down yet again this year despite Simon & Cheryl’s return why would they continue with a formula that doesn’t work anymore? It would just turn even more people off the show if anything.

    • EM

      I’m not sure genuinely better in the sing off has ever done anyone any favours George.

      Can you explain your thinking a bit? How does continuing with Stevi equal the same old formula that doesn’t work but continuing with say Jay wouldn’t be?

      • George

        By that I mean, they’d need a legit reason to save the “joke act” over a serious contestant. Otherwise it just comes off as a bit desperate on their behalf. The public are tiring of the same old tricks to generate controversy.

  • EM

    Just a thought pop pickers: they have a deal with a hair care product this year don’t they? I’ve seen features about how to get Lauren’s hair etc

    They will be desperate to have a girl in the final to make the most of this – how to get Ben’s quiff won’t have quite the same cachet

    • Dean

      I work for a bookies as you all know and though I am not allowed to disclose too much info as far as I know, we have had a punter in the area I work looking to place £2k on Andrea @ 11/10

    • Dean

      That was meant to be a normal comment not a reply to EM lol

    • Martin

      They are running those ads quite a lot yes – interesting that Lola wasn’t given the fancy hair ad, and lauren is now the last remaining girl. I do question her place with Syco after the show as she seems like she’d occupy a similar artist territory as Ella Henderson is in at the minute but I suppose Ella is successful, why not Lauren? But yes to maximise whatever deal they have in place with this company it would make sense to keep Lauren around. Having hair like the person who was kicked out two weeks before the final doesn’t really have much ring to it.

      • Stu

        I don’t think Ella and Lauren would be similar artists at all. I think Lauren would be more of an Ariana Grande-type artist (maybe less sexual and cute though) while Ella is the singer-songwriter type artist like Emeli and Adele.

        • Martin

          Possibly – maybe more Miley Cyrus pre-meltdown. Lauren has a lot of work to do before then if that’s what she’s destined for. Personally i think she’s nice enough, but in terms of being a performer she needs to step it up a bit.

          • Stu

            I liked Lauren at first but we’re five weeks into the live shows and I find it difficult to believe that she is the best “Girl” who has auditioned this year. She has no performance skills and all her performances just seem to be blending into one. Peaking in week 1 is never a good idea.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Lauren is nowhere near as accomplished a performer as Miley, either now nor before Wrecking Ball and twerking at the VMAs.

            I’m going to bite my tongue and say nothing about your “pre-meltdown” remark save that if that was a meltdown it was one of the shrewdest and most profitable in music history. Miley booted Gaga off the “out there” perch, and took all her own creeative decisions to become one of the most successful acts of 2012 and 2013. Lauren’s biggest success was when she stole someone else’s work. Miley can sing rock as well as soul and sweet ballads and the girl can MOVE. We’ve all seen what Lauren can do.

            Go on YouTube and search for Can’t Be Tamed by Miley to see what she was doing at 17, hiw she looked, the creative decisions she was making, how strong she was vocally.

            There’s no comparison.

          • Martin

            I know – that’s why I said Lauren needs to step it up. The meltdown comment was to illustrate the sort of artist Lauren may end up being similar to, not a dig at Miley Cyrus. I’m no massive fan of hers – she’s a clever lady and ‘We Can’t Stop’ is one of the best pop songs of recent years. I’d still say she went off the rails and had a little meltdown, even if it was massively successful.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Well lshe’s being more obviously sexual, getting high and had a radical change of image, but if that’s a meltdown then just about every woman who’s ever turned 20 has had a meltdown.

  • MW

    Just a tidbit of info on the weekend’s performances: Brian Friedman has confirmed that OTY will be dancing (presumably something more than a Lauren-esque head shuffle by the sounds of it). Could go either way…

    (Not sure if that points to any particular song choice for them – other than that I can’t imagine a dance to That’s Life!)

  • Stu

    X Factor Choreographer Brian Friedman says Fleur is the stand-out star of the series who could crack America and says his top four are Andrea, Ben, Fleur and Only The Young.

    Interesting that he didn’t name-check Lauren instead of OTY. No mention of Stereo Kicks either. Any relevance to producer intentions?


    • Dean

      Noticeable that Brian has been very harsh on Lauren last couple weeks, maybe just them 2 don’t see eye to eye, but TPTB still want Lauren to go far?

      That said, in the Mirror column, Brian also said Lauren fought back this week.

  • Boki

    Strange thing is that Lauren is now leading the Tellymix poll for the first time. Why now?

  • David Cook

    If it’s just jumped up this morning it’s probably because she was due to be on the BBC breakfast tv programme?

    • Boki

      No, she was already slightly on top on Monday but the amount of votes was low so I didn’t pay attention. After few days she increased the distance from Andrea…

      • Dean

        As of Thursday 13th at midday

        1st Lauren Platt 20.7% (1,043) votes
        2nd Andrea Faustini 16.6% (837)
        3rd Ben Haenow 13.8% (696)
        4th Stereo Kicks 12.9% (651)
        5th Fleur East 12.4% (626)
        6th Jay James 11.5% (577)
        7th Only The Young 8.3% (417)
        8th Stevi Ritchie 4% (192)

        • Marcia

          As of Thursday 13th evening:

          1st Stereo Kicks 20.74% (1,355 votes)
          2nd Lauren Platt 17.22% (1,125 votes)
          3rd Andrea Faustini 13.91% (909 votes)
          4th Only the Young 13.19% (862 votes)
          5th Ben Haenow 11.74% (767 votes)
          6th Fleur East 10.53% (688 votes)
          7th Jay James 9.46% (618 votes)
          8th 3.21% (210 votes)

          Do these polls tend to matter in the grand scheme of things, though? Do tptb take notice of them or are they just a gauge of public opinion before voting starts for the weekend?

  • Jessica Hamby

    OT: Sadly the actress who plays Howard Wolowitz’s mum on Big Bang Theory has died.

    Shame. One of those people you feel you knew, so vividly was her character drawn, and she did it all with her voice and her…


  • Caro

    I notice the X-Factor website Big Band song quiz includes all the old favourites: http://www.itv.com/xfactor/news/big-band-songs-quiz.
    I wonder how many of these we’ll hear at the weekend?

    • Face

      fleur tweeted a pic of a Tresemme goody box full of hair products… with a comment about getting ready for big band week… in the box was a copy of the Cabaret DVD… a clue about her song choice perhaps??

    • Stu

      I noticed that. I personally hope Fleur will get Proud Mary, Only The Young will get Valerie and Lauren will get Smile… and Stereo Kicks will get That’s Life ahem….

      • Face

        I’m no song ‘theme’ expert – but is Proud Mary big band… I would’ve thought it was more of a Soul/RnB/Rock style song?

        having said that I am sure Fleur could perform the crap out of it… as long as she didn’t end up looking/sounding like a Tina Turner impersonator…

  • Donald

    Tacky poster on window hardly a national star in the making type of promo for Lauren. No crowds or real excitement. Pity it wasn’t an Italian restaurant, would have been a giggle. Worrying stuff when put with last two weeks slots and performances and Cheryl demeanour on Xtra Factor last weekend. This weekend will tell allot.

    Ben journey continues.

    Andrea take down is very slight but they not giving up.

    Song choice will reveal more.

    Stevie polling well amongst bottom four, will they take him down in a week?

    Outside bets on Fleur and Lauren for this weekend just in case and work from there.

  • Alen

    Preview of Andrea’s VT, he’s having “a perfect english afternoon with mel b”:


    Notice the Union Jack on his hat 😀 So are they done deramping and calling him now british or will it come across like “tourist”.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Tellymix poll makes OTY favourites to go this weekend.


    Personally I’m not so sure. I think the song choices (y’all know what song I’m talking about) will be revealing as (obv) will the acts’ treatment on the night.

    I’ve a feeling there’s a week (or two) left in OTY.

  • Jessica Hamby

    There are quite a few Stereo Kicks articles knocking about too. They’ve clearly not given up yet (but then why would they – they’re still in the competition and as long as they are it would be stupid not to make all the effort you can).






    There’s probably more but I didn’t even read all this lot and I feel a bit sick.

    Anyway, they’re still getting a lot of coverage but I have no idea how widely read these sites are, nor if the band are gaining any meaningful traction with voters.

    I still see top spot between Andrea and Ben, with Fleur and Lauren duelling for 3 and 4. Having said that, with a push and a tactical nuking or two then SK could yet reach the final – there are only a few shows left and Stevi Richie and Jay are both certs for a kitchen sinking before long, and as long as the judges make the final decision from b2 then anything is possible.

    • EM

      Ain’t that the “genius” of the show? Stereo Kicks could poll no votes at all for the next 4 weeks and still make the final. It’s a good reminder that singing ability, perforamnce skills, good looks or young-girl appeal can have zilch to do with how far you can get.

  • No word on Song Choices. Obviously a lot of anticipation around who gets “That’s Life”.

  • Sandra

    Rumour has it that fleur has been given that’s life……

  • liggy

    her price on betfair seems to have dropped a little for elim, given its not a very mature market maybe there is something in that.

  • gosh they are taking their time releasing these song choices! Desperate to know whether to cover on OTY or Stevi (am on Jay and SK at decent odds for elimination at moment)

  • Alen

    Would they really want to lose Fleur now? Surely a man “should” go at this point

  • reason for delay – just been tweeted …. #XFactorBigBand week is presenting a few challenges… @StereoKicks will find out soon if their song is changing…

    • George

      They’ve gone through with it:
      Stereo Kicks @StereoKicks · 7m 7 minutes ago
      so guys.. we’ve made a massive decision to change our song after a chat with Louis. we hope 1 day is enough to learn a brand new song!!

    • rumour only …. Andrea ‘(I’m in a) New York State of Mind’

    • Jessica Hamby

      Changing a song at this late stage is ominous for Stereo Kicks. Are they capable of learning a new song, with harmonies, at such short notice?

      I have my doubts. It would be a very easy way to sabotage their performances.

      I’m going to keep my money in my pocket unless someone vulnerable is given “That’s Life” and wait until Saturday night, or even Sunday.

  • well the news of a late song change was good for me as their odds plummetted and i was able to lay out half of my bet menaing that i am now in profit on SK, Jay and OTY. Just Stevi to cover now – need him to lengthen ideally!

  • Heisenberg

    Lauren: Diamonds (are a girl’s best friend)?


  • Stu

    Stereo Kicks changing their song is probably going to be another excuse for the judges to give them nothing but praise for another sub-par performance. I can just see it now: “For you to pull off a performance like that with less than 24 hrs practice… imagine what you could have done with a whole week”

    The cynic in me wonders whether they even changed the song and it’s just an excuse like the stage invader.

  • Stu

    Only The Young are doing I Wanna Be Like You from Jungle Book. Probably will do the Robbie Williams/Olly Murs version.

  • George

    Song choices coming through on Twitter now
    Only The Young – I Wanna Be Like You

  • Stu

    Ben is doing Cry Me A River. That’s I guess quite a good choice for him considering he’s more of a Rocker than a Swinger.

  • Stu

    And the last one the XF twitter is giving out is Andrea and Summertime. Cue the Leona comparisons…

    • Face

      initial thoughts…

      Katie W got a sizeable bounce doing that jungle book song… very fun… are the judges finally on the OTY train?

      Cowell loves Summertime… i think he said when Fantasia did it on AI, it was his favourite AI performance ever… Leona did it… didn’t Ruth Lorenzo do quite a sultry version also?

      Lauren finally gets a Diana Vickers song with Smile… will be cute, but a bit sickly…

      I assume Ben will do the Michael Buble version… all James Bond like…

      Stevi finally doing a Wagner-esque mash-up…

      Jay… vocals too weak for Empire state of mind… NY NY too cheesy… I smell B2 again..

      Fleur… not exactly big bang… unless they play with the arrangement… she was great at Judges Houses with this… can she recreate it on the big stage…

      SK… who knows what to think… maybe they have That’s Life… but tptb are making us wait???

  • Fudd

    Andrea Faustini – Summertime (by Ella Fitzgerald)

    Lauren Platt – Smile (by Nat King Cole)

    Only The Young – I Wanna Be Like You (From The Jungle Book)

    Stereo Kicks – to be confirmed…

    Ben Haenow – Cry Me A River (by Michael Buble)

    Fleur East – Bang Bang (byJessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj)

    Jay James – Empire State of Mind/New York New York medley (by Alicia Keys/Frank Sinatra)

    Stevi Ritchie – Mambo Number 5/ She Bangs medley (by Lou Bega/Ricky Martin)

  • Hi all, there’s a new thread posted for song choice discussions

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