X Factor 2016 Week 3: Lawrie Under The Bus

Ryan was the clear target tonight – the only act under the Strictly bus, as a bit of padding at the start of the show ensured BBC viewers will have been turning over just as Gifty was singing. It was a full-on hatchet job for the Coatbridge lad, and it would be a surprise if he clears the bottom three. But if there, will the flash vote save him again?


Interestingly, the vote was open from the start of the show. If memory serves – and we stand to be corrected – when they did this in 2012, we had a couple of early exits from late running order slots (Carolynne Poole, Melanie Masson), but it ultimately didn’t seem to change much. However, we think this is the first time they’ve done it since the app vote. Perhaps that will change things: if people who are used to free voting splurge their free votes early, will they pay to vote for later acts? We’re guessing this is the kind of thing producers are interested in experimenting with, too.

Anyway, we wouldn’t be surprised to see 4 of Diamonds and Saara Aalto – the last two acts to perform – down at the bottom with Ryan. Here’s our quick take on tonight’s performances.

Ryan’s treatment will be one to rewatch for those learning how the show dampens a vote. His VT showed him struggling to choose a song, in a way that implied the choice was crucial to his survival, and that he’d have done worse with anything other than his choice of ‘Rolling In The Deep’. It ended with the words “I hope I can avoid the bottom three”.

Ryan was on a big plinth, something we feel can disconnect an act from the audience, with uninspired monochrome staging. There were cutaways to the judges looking very bored. Louis said he went through the motions and it was like busking; Sharon lopped three years off his age; Simon came up with one of his distracting food analogies, saying “if I imagine what a pancake would be like if it sang” to illustrate the idea that it was “flat”. He also called it “too clean”, a curious criticism he’d later roll out for Relley.

“You’re going to need Scotland to pick up the phone after that”, Simon said, before introducing Gifty with “back to the real singers, back to authenticity”. Ouch.


This felt like it was intended to be a breakout moment for Gifty that perhaps fell a bit flat. We had an emotional VT about Gifty’s mum’s untimely death, and she was given Tamera-esque hair extensions which had the effect of softening her image but perhaps went too far in changing it. The staging was beautiful and the pimping was huge, but it didn’t move the market.

Last week was all about positivity for Matt and 5am. This week 5am got a bit of a kicking, with a mixed VT that said they were like brothers (good) because they bicker (not so good). Their routine was criticised by Simon as “terrible… this is a platform where you can have a career. Sort yourselves out.” Later, taking to Dermot, he said “sometimes you have to have a weak week to be better next week”. The boys will hope this is all part of their journey, not a permanent falling out of favour.

Sam’s staging had some highly questionable connotations, with her backing band stuck on plinths that appeared to be constructed from smoking scrap metal, against which her brown dress somewhat camouflaged her. Big-screen images of industrial pollution added to the apocalyptic feel, and her vocals again didn’t sound entirely on-point to us. It all turned into a bit of a mess, visually and aurally.

Sam’s comments were interesting, with Nicole being the voice of reason amid praise from the other judges that we suspect may have struck some viewers at home as unrealistically profuse. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to us to see Sam in trouble.

Matt had a Haenow-esque VT that emphasised his normal-bloke nature, with mates and brothers. He was perhaps a bit pitchy in places near the end of the song but that’s splitting hairs – it was another week of nice staging, with brightly-shining lightbulbs, and high praise from the judges.

Matt ended the show as 1.76 favourite on Betfair, Simon saying “the winning post is in sight” – in week three. We’re surprised the show is being this obvious this early in proceedings: they were last year with Louisa, but that was a seven-week run of live shows. Usually in a ten-week run they don’t show their hand quite this early.

One possible explanation is that if Matt hoovers up a very large proportion of votes among people who vote on the basis of singing prowess, that may make it easier to keep Honey G above at least three of the others.

Honey G’s VT gave us a glimpse of Anna, being a DJ, as she assured us she’s “the realest chick in the game” and told us her dream is to be “the first rapper to win the X Factor”. It was reported in the papers, though not referenced on the show, that legal issues prevented her from straying from the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby. Perhaps it was for the best to take a week off her usual schtick, given the risk of it getting H to the old.

Louis said “the show wouldn’t be the same without you”, and Simon commented that he gets “so many more calls about you than anyone else”. These are the kind of comments that lay the ground to justify a singoff save should one be necessary at some point, though Dermot’s call for “Granny G” tweets for next week made it clear that producers foresee no chance of her not still being here.

“You win when people are talking about you”, Simon told Honey, referring both to her and what she’s doing for his show.

Relley got the standard-issue sympathetic vocal rest VT, but dated styling and staging – our mental connotation was a giant roll of pink Andrex – and, despite a three-judge ovation, some worryingly damning words from Simon: he said her having a cold made no difference to the fact that “no-one’s going to be talking about this tomorrow”, and implied that she’s been going downhill since week one.

Sharon reassured her “there’s nothing to worry about”, which may not have been the most vote-motivating thing to say. Dermot, the silent assassin, started his conversation with Relley with the words “everyone gets colds on this show, it’s the nature of the game”. If Relley clears the danger zone tomorrow, these were not comments that boded well for her longevity in the competition.

Emily’s VT heavily featured her relationship with Ryan, perhaps because producers want to milk it as much as possible while Ryan remains with us. It was a very sweet VT, carefully establishing that Emily had turned Ryan down several times before agreeing to go out with him, and that while they’d known each other for three or four years, they’ve been going out for only eight months. It helpfully made clear that Emily is by no means a young lady of loose morals.

We got momentarily excited by the suggestion that Emily was going to be performing in front of a Sofabet backdrop.


The actual staging was beautifully understated. Louis reached out to John Lewis, Nicole told Emily “you’d be an epic recording artist” and Simon told her “tonight you turned from a competition contestant into an artist”. Those looking for negatives will point out that Simon again referenced her voice not being big, though he did follow that up by calling it “unique”. On a personal level, Emily continues to come across as adorable.

4 of Diamonds had a VT that was about them taking control and that promised much, setting the bar higher than their performance was going to reach. We saw them meeting Little Mix, which reminded us of how The Risk had met JLS in their VT the week they were eliminated. Perhaps the subliminal is that we already have a Little Mix, so do we need a 4 of Diamonds?

Comments featured Nicole demanding more “sauce”, Sharon wanting it to be more “dirty” and saying they’re “sexy” – quite a contrast to the general feeling that a key to Little Mix’s success on this show was Tulisa’s line that they’re not the kind of girls who’d steal your boyfriend. Louis said “we’re going to be better next week”, taking for granted that they’ll be here next week. We didn’t see much motivation to vote.

Simon told them they have to be “British”. Coincidentally, up next was Saara, whose VT showed us her saying “I was always the outsider, I didn’t fit in”, before an extended hug from vocal coach Annabel prompted her to say she now feels accepted.

Our feeling was that the general vibe from Saara’s comments and interaction with Dermot, too, was that she’s already had her validation in the form of the four-judge ovation and positive reaction from the studio audience, and therefore doesn’t need people to vote for her to give her that validation. There was obviously lots of positivity, with the show doing plenty for Saara, but we wouldn’t be surprised if she’s still in the bottom three, despite the pimp slot.

We loved the performance, though – classic Brian Friedmanesque craziness, delivered by someone who really enjoys performing. What a shame this is the first time the show has made the most of her.

How did you read the show? Do let us know below.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

117 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 3: Lawrie Under The Bus

  • Jessica Hamby

    It’s odd to think that the only performance tonight that I actually enjoyed, both vocally and visually, was Saara and she’ll almost certainly be in the sing-off tomorrow. Her movement around the stage is as far ahead of everyone else’s as her singing.

  • Sagand

    Anyone else notice in the opening montage eight of the acts had a quote about winning the show but Ryan had “I’ve been sent home once and I do not want to be sent home again.” and Relley C had “I’ve waited for this for such a long time I can’t let it slip through my fingers.”

    And not only did they open the voting lines at the start they had an app vote after Ryan for the “Which judge is the biggest Diva” while Gifty was performing. Basically while you have the app open vote for Gifty who’s about to have an emotional VT & song. There was a massive Gifty spike on Google Trends so I think they had some success with her.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Off topic as far as betting but….

    This is a dire year in terms of talent. Last year they had Louisa, Lauren, Monica, Che, Sean Miley Moore and Anton Stephens, as well as Fourth Impact and Reggie & Bollie.

    This year is like 2013 only they’ve decided to get rid of Sam Bailey. If Ryan survives this week perhaps he can sing Candy next week as a little nod to Nicky MacDonald. Even Matt, for all that he seems nice enough, wouldn’t have a hope against the other falsetto warblers Matt Cardle and Shayne Ward.

    Mind you, if I was a real musician with hopes of making it I’d definitely give the x factor a swerve. You only have to look at how they treated Monica, Lauren, Che, Paul Akister, JJ etc. Years of work building whatever reputation you can tarnished by association or deliberately flushed away by tptb.

    Soon all they’ll get applying are last chancers, no hopers and stage school kids who see a shortcut to the West End.

  • Curtis

    Ryan: Seems to be the indisputably the target – but will he survive a flash vote that has so far favoured the boys category?

    Gifty: To be honest this seemed a little bit desperate at this early stage – more of a keep me out of the bottom 3 than a I’m going to win this thing. I commented early that Simon retroactively criticising last week’s performance as “gimmicky” felt like he was trying to create a bounce for her from a bottom 3 she was never actually in.

    5am: I thought the performance was a bit ragged – perhaps because the producers’ took away helpful backing vocals from them. Simon’s comments indicate this was a setup, and would seem to be a pretty major deramp. Will watch their performance next week with interest.

    Sam: I honestly thought she did alright, even if the presentation was a mess. Not worthy of the praise given mind! I think she’s safe for now.

    Matt: Is he peaking too soon? Honestly I would have thought Simon has no interest in Matt being on his label, so I’m just waiting for the deramp to happen. So far, it looks like he’s the only person who can win.

    Honey G: #GrannyG says she’s staying. And is probably safe from Bottom 3 for now.

    Relley C: Not so safe. She’s probably my favourite vocalist left in the show, but she’s being presented as a middle-aged dated artist, which is a bit rich, as she’s 26!

    4oD: Seem a shoe-in for the Bottom 3. Not a very good performance, and I think Simon reminding the audience just how good Little Mix were last week helped emphasise how not good they were!

    Emily: This one bored me to tears. I used to enjoy Janet Devlin John Lewising it every week, but Emily lacks the quirk to her voice that made that work for me. I would honestly expect Sam to poll better than her tonight, but at the same time the boyfriend girlfriend VT worked quite well so who knows.

    Saara: By no means do I think she’s safe from Bottom 3, but I do think she’s safe from elimination. I think the producers have finally realised she can do a good production and help liven up the Saturday night show, and they’ll want her for a couple more weeks yet. She’s cast in a kind of Katie Waissel villain role, but more sympathetically so. It’s a good story for them.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Matt could well be doing a Matt Cardle / Ben Haenow in the vote already. Given the opposition (and the fact Saara is getting mauled every week) he should be. I’m not sure they dare deramp him. Who would they promote into his place? Apart from Saara he’s the most solid contestant they have. You know what you’re going to get and he can be relied on to produce it week in, week out.

  • Catching up now as I’ve been out DJing. That opening… not exactly Petra and Mans was it?

  • My notes:

    Ryan – Without a doubt the target. Dead cert for B3. Pick up the phone Coatbridge. There’s Emily again in the VT.

    Gifty – On second but the padding should have avoided the Strictly overlap. Red and Black but a VT that suggests she’s not a target. Great vocal, and WTF with her hair?

    5am – What a mess. Absolute hatchet jo of a VT. Sharon O admiring Amy Winehouse. Why shouldn’t I be surprised? Definite dreamp.

    Sam – I’m with Nicole. It was beyond awful. The song, vocal and production were all too big for her… and she looked like roadkill. Did Nicole go rogue I wonder?

    Matt – Textbook stuff. Use of stars noted. Sycophantic VT. Simon suggesting it was originally by Mariah. Bless. Ad break either side of him too.

    Honey G – it’s wearing very, very, very thin isn’t it? Brian: “The challenge every week is topping yourself.” I wish she would. David Bowie must be spinning in his grave. Easily safe though – the public are the same public who thought Daz Sampson could win Eurovision for us. Sharon’s British dig was interesting. Anyone would think she doesn’t like foreign people. 😉 Also gets a part to herself.

    Relley C – got the traditional illness VT. Not sure what the producers’ plans are here. Her voice came back bloody quick. Good staging. Nice riff at the end. Louis rousing up the regional vote. Ultimately very forgettable.

    Emily – interesting they’ve bought Ryan into her VT this week. Infact there’s more Ryan in Emily than there is the other way round. Didn’t like the John Lewising. Made it sound like an Ellie Goulding reject. Think it was supposed to be a moment – according to the script it was – but I personally didn’t like it. I am however a massive fan of the original so that might be why. Totally safe.

    4OD – VT continues the “late” narrative. Little Mix in the VT. Individual name astons. Plenty of name checks for the individual members. Not quite red and black but the staging was like a bad production of Anything Goes. The segue between the two songs was toe curling. But winners confetti and a part to themselves. Simon reinforcing the LM thing. Another British mention. Not a cert for B3 but not safe either.

    Saara – nice Finnish joke into the break from our silent assassin. Well done Sharon, you remembered her name. Pretty helpful VT, we even had tears. Production was VERY musical theatre. Emotional bias notwithstanding, I loved it. Best vocal of the night by miles. Nicole got her banana out again. For someone the producers are gunning for I can’t say that was a Bus job. Not calling her safe though. Still saying this is her week of glory before the big Fright Night of the long knives.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t like the Carey cover of that song at all. I know it’s meant to be an invitation to hold your lighter in the air and marvel at her trills and runs but tbh it kind of annoys me.

  • Anglia Chu

    I’m sensing that Gifty’s voting strength is being tested (like Tamera Week 4, who failed). Not sure if she will pass.

    Ryan is a dead cert for B3. Gifty, Sam, 4oD, and Relley may underwhelm in the vote and join him. Honey G not doing her routine may remove some of the boredom with her shtick but I reckon she’s close to the B3. I think Saara got an Abi Alton Week 4 treatment so she may just be safe, but with voting starting at the beginning of the show, nothing is sure.

    So in terms of safety
    Matt, Emily, 5AM
    Gifty, Sam, 4oD, Relley, Honey G, Saara

  • stoney

    I reckon sara will more likely be in the top 2 than the bottom 2 sing off places tonight.

  • Woofie

    What a contrast to last week for 5AM. Wasn’t expecting that. I thought Valerie wasn’t a good song choice and would expose their vocals. I can understand a bit of damping for a build up in the following week but did it go a lot further? They were made to look completely uncool.
    The Express has run with a story about the tension in the group and on the verge of a split but only using quotes from the show.The Sun is running with a story that Nathan and Sam have been sneaking around to spend time together “secret romance”…although”However, X Factor has denied the allegations”.
    The boys also went go karting in the week but that wasn’t used in their VT.
    Now it might be it is designed to support “a journey” and for a set up next week with a big production and producer support. In their favour Simon stressing at how the show can be a platform for a career, “sort yourselves out”, “too many people in their ear”, the comments and Dermot follow up discussion implied they would be able to do right next week.. and Simon said on Xtra Factor they are better than that and will come back.
    Be interesting to see if their vote holds up and if they called safe first. I’m surprised at that treatment because if they want this group to do well you would think they would do everything to avoid a sing off… groups generally don’t do good sing offs and it can damage their appeal if it happens early in the competition.

    • Fudd

      “The Express ran a story about the group about to split…”

      Can’t help remembering the sudden switch of horses in series 8 when Craig Colton had a wobble and wanted to leave… The only issue is I can’t see them being sent home over anyone other than Matt, Gifty or possibly Sam. The show haven’t quite dipped them that deep yet, bearing in mind it was very obvious that Craig was being targeted.

      One thing which bothers me is the hyping of Matt this early. I meant to say last night that next week is last year’s week one where they started pushing Louisa for all she was worth. So, one week earlier than normal, are they bothered that the show seems to be a procession? Seemingly not.

  • Plinkiplonk

    Few things that struck me about last night:

    – John Legend was deployed very selectively, when he obviously saw all the contestants. Did he voice opinions that went against TPTBs intentions for some contestants, so they didn’t show them ? What we got was essentially negative for Ryan, sympathetic for Relly C, and a bit baffled for Honey G.

    – The little montage at the very start of the show supposedly showed the results of the last two weeks (why?), but what it actually re-inforced was Saara being in both sing offs, and Ryan being in both B3s.

    – Ryans hatchet job was as brutal as it was merciless, not just confined to his own VT, but the above mentioned segment, the opening statements of the contestants and Emily’s VT were all rubbing it in.

    – Surprised how harsh they were to 5AM, considering that pretty much everyone had them down as a cast iron finalist. Are they polling too well and threaten Matt (somehow doubt that…) or are they polling too badly and are being set up for a redemption arc ? Maybe punishment for bad behaviour behind the scenes ? Next week will tell…

    – Gifty’s bit really felt massively like “ok, let’s try something completely different and see how they like THAT” to me, which seems like they have more investment in her than in some of the other acts. Maybe she’s already lined up as a replacement if the Fleur East train proves to be going nowhere…

    – Matt’s VT was just laughable. Yes Dear, you are a massive sex symbol now – hold on to that thought if it makes you happy.

    – Did anyone else notice Dermot having his chat with Emily’s dad and forcing him to confess that he hadn’t heard from Emily all week ? His “so when did you speak to her last?” was delivered in exactly the same fake carelessness as Louis “so you only have the ONE child?”

    – Was it a coincidence that in the one week where Saara closes the show they effectively reverse the importance of the running order by opening the phone lines at the beginning ? Is anything on this show a coincidence ?

    – Nicole’s singing at the beginning of the show did two things: it padded out the show so only Ryan would be in the Strictly overlap, and it showed up all the contestants, especially Ryan who came right after her. Does she have it in her contract to sing at least once on the show ? Do they not want her to distroy an act in the finals via her patented assassin duetting ?

    • Edie M

      They tried to push Matt as sex symbol even harder on xtra factor, with a VT about his role in the house being the hunk. Also apparently Relley is the ‘mum’ in the house, I wonder why they are trying to date her so much. Is it because they don’t want her to challenge Gifty’s demographic?

      • Anglia Chu

        This sex symbol thing is 100% cringe, like when they tried pushing James Arthur as one after performing Let’s Get it On. I don’t know what value it adds to the show.

    • Rose L

      Plinkiplonk, I certainly did notice the interview with Emily’s dad and it made her sound like a neglectful daughter in a show which practically fetishises trans-generational family relationships (thank heavens it wasn’t her nan!). But my assumption was more that they hadn’t spoken to him in advance to hear what he might say, than that they were sticking the knife into her – more cock up than conspiracy.
      However, I agree with you regarding the running order – I feel that giving Saara the pimp slot in a week in which the vote was opened at the start of the show was like giving someone a broken radio for Christmas – a useless gift, though it might look quite good while you’re still unwrapping it. That may very well have been more a matter of conspiracy, as they had their favourites all up fairly early. I wonder how many people saved their free votes until the very end of the show? The judges toned down the racist comments and name-forgetting (though she was still “Zara” for Sharon and Dermot couldn’t resist the “Finish/Finnish” pun) and by giving her the pimp slot and a four-judge ovation, certainly made all the criticism of their behaviour from last week seem as if it were no longer necessary, which might dissuade potential sympathy voters from going through with their plans. The fact that it seems we no longer have to be outraged on her behalf and her own comments at the end make me think she may still not escape the bottom three. However, if she does escape the bottom three, her name is likely to be read out first.
      In rewatching the show, I notice how Gifty’s VT has her directly address the issue of coming over as tough and unlikeable: “I might come across like I’m really tough and confident – I don’t like people seeing me weak”. It couldn’t be more obvious to me that she’s been polling poorly and they think it’s to do with her rather hard image. How do they address that? Stick a blonde wig/weave on her, focus on her grief for her mum and job perhaps done!
      I’m going to have a second watch (two doses of hell) before taking a punt on the bottom three this week – as everyone says, it’s a question of “Ryan and who else?”

    • Chris

      They likely realised that they need Nicole to sing to maintain the tenuous assertion that they’re making a singing show. The music and singing on strictly is blowing them out of the water right now and isn’t even the point of the show.

      Earlier I was convinced that a wildcard contestant would be introduced and I’m now wondering whether they junked the idea when they did the brookes/diamond replacement and now have some extra time in the show to fill up.

  • David Cook

    Watched late last night – to late to comment. Just checked this morning and yes Saara really was that good. Hope she gets through if only because there’s a 1% chance they’d let her do Wuthering Heights next week. It’s almost uncanny.
    Ryan well and truly stitched up for B3 but will no doubt escape sing off. Otherwise could be close at the bottom.
    An eventful week with lots to comment on.

  • India Marie

    It must suck for a black man like John Legend to see a white lady trample over the genre of hip-hop, validated by months of producer selection and two weeks of public voting. It’s the sort of thing I’d expect his wife (Chrissy Teign) to fight against on Twitter.

    • Edie M

      Yep, I thought it added an extra layer of discomfort to her performance. I really want Honey G out this week (never gonna happen though).

    • Chris

      Are you suggesting that JL is a racist? Why would he care what colour of lady is “trampling over the genre of hip-hop”?

      Considering Honey G’s performance/treatment, I thought she did quite well and ditching the “I say honey, you say g” business and giving the VT edit about her earlier musical efforts was a good move. Should keep her vote above the waterline for another week.

      • Anglia Chu

        Oh God a “white racism” fellow

        I don’t think John Legend cares about the -isms of ANY of them, of course, but hip-hop has STRONG black roots. Tupac was the son of a Black Panther and it’s reasonable to think that a white person who is inserting self-promotion in a song about California’s hip-hop is, to some extent, racist.


      • India Marie

        How did you get that conclusion? You should try going as Tupac this Halloween and see how people react. Show dynamics aside, it’s hard to explain to someone who’s not in the loop regarding XF stuff why someone with no discernable rapping talent pretend they belong to a genre that’s historically disproportionately black… and get egged on by producers. If this were an American show, Honey G would have been axed just after Brooks Way.

        • Chris

          Because we’re in the UK and (I suspect) that people are generally looking at a middle class woman from Surrey pretending to be an poor American rather than a white woman pretending to be a black man. There is more than one lens to look through.

    • I think John Legend was less put off by HG’s being a white “rapper”, than by the way she questioned his credentials. She actually asked him if he ever worked with rappers. The man wrote an Oscar-winning song with Common, FGS!

      • India Marie

        I can’t even with that one but my remark is less about her words and more about her general shtick and someone not totally familiar with the innards of the show seeing it. It’s like your racist uncle; his -isms are familiar during family reunions but it’s gonna suck if he meets your *foreign* friends.

  • Martin

    The sex symbol thing for Matt was very cringe-inducing, especially when he seems far too timid and nice to even think about things like that. He seems very robotic and uncomfortable during interviews and whatnot – very odd. Plus they even tried to force the sex symbol meme onto Che last year, they’ll try it with anyone!

    Lots of odd staging last night, especially Relley singing in front of a napkin ring. I do wonder if they sometimes mess with things like this for our benefit. Apart from Matt and Gifty, you could find positives and negatives across all the staging last night.

    • Edie M

      Interesting, because I see Matt lapping it up and it makes me dislike him.

      • Jessica Hamby

        They made sure they gave him “good bloke” credentials last night too. He “doesn’t open” the naked pictures he gets sent (yeah right) and he rebuked his (better looking) friend for going phwoar at the mention of Nicole in her dressing room. As someone else mentioned it seemed a bit stilted and contrived.

        The ongoing theme of Nicole as the show’s milf is a bit wearing too but that’s another story. I wonder if PCD will do a reunion tour singing Doncha Wish Your Teacher Was Hot Like Me.

        • Martin

          To be honest, Nicole can do no wrong this year as far as I’m concerned but i get what you’re saying. I saw his VT as him trying to appeal to the young girls vote (he’s young, attractive, they bought his mates round and welcomed all the female attention) but also trying to appease the nana’s at the same time. as you say, it’s contrived and i don’t think it really suits him but each to their own. On rewatch tho he was very screechy and dare I say out of tune on the money notes.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I suspect he’s a long way ahead atm but they have to try to give at least the appearance of a competition. The only acts they can do that with are 5AM, Gifty and Emily (if they go down a Gabrielle Aplin sort of route).

            Imo the only way he won’t win is if he peaks too soon (Andrea Faustini) and then they take their foot off the gas while working another act into position for a late surge.

          • Spiidey

            The top belted note in his head register was absolutely shocking, it wasn’t even close, a few flights never mind a half step out.

  • I’ve slept on it.

    Ryan, Sam and 5am. Think Relley might be in there also.

    Calling everyone else safe. I think despite the voting trick Saara might, just might, be safe. The VT and comments should see her through.

  • Cath

    I’ve not yet watched last night’s show, but one piece of info that might be of interest is that YouGov were doing a rate-as-you-watch survey on yesterday’s show. No doubt commissioned by ITV to help them gauge what parts of the show people enjoy etc. Will give TPTB even more data on what is working (or not). I think the data during Gifty’s and Honey G’s segments would be particularly interesting / useful.

  • Fudd

    I picked up something in the Judge’s comments last night to 5 After Midnight so I’ve watched that section back on ITV Player. It was specifically Simon and Louis; my emphasis is in caps.

    Simon: I’m a fan, you know that. I think your first two weeks have been incredible and I’m going to be honest with you guys – this was terrible. It was absolutely terrible. It was like a rehearsal; everything from the styling, from the choreography, the vocals were terrible. I don’t know what is going on in YOUR heads right now but let me give you some advice: this is a platform where you could have a career on – sort YOURSELVES out, make sure you concentrate more on the vocals than the dancing cos this was your weakest performance by a mile. Sorry.

    At no point does Simon blame Louis. He twice makes it clear that 5 After Midnight need to sort themselves out rather than saying there’s a ‘relationship’ issue between themselves and the mentor, which is the usual trick when they want to deramp an act with an eye on a possible ‘journey’. All the emphasis is on 5 After Midnight having issues rather than being mentored correctly.

    Louis: Guys, erm, your first two weeks were incredible; this may not have been as good but at least YOU took a chance. YOU picked a different song, you’re all singing all dancing. Guys, we’re going to go to the final, that’s it.

    Louis is usually the most defensive mentor of all of his acts but again he places emphasis on the act choosing to ‘take a chance’ and ‘picking a different song’. Normally he says ‘WE took a chance…’, ‘WE picked a different chance’. Et tu Walsh? Especially as he finishes it off with a compalacent ‘final’ comment.

    Dermot remarked to 5AM (sorry, can’t be arsed with the full name) about looking shellshocked where Jordan gave a good answer about it being something negative to work on, which got a thumbs up from Nicole, applause from Sharon and a smile and nod from Simon.

    Dermot throws back to Simon: Judges, when they were on, I don’t know what it was like at home but in the room they went so well. Simon, what was the… what…

    Simon: I just, look, you know what I’ve worked with a lot of groups and all I want is for people like you, like I said, to use the platform and have a career at the end of it. This, in the real world, isn’t good enough and you are actually better than that and I think too many people are in your ears this week and you’ve got it in yourselves to be amazing so sometimes you need to have a weak week to be better the following week, is that right?

    Louis: It will be. They will be. Definitely.

    One of the others (the ‘best singer’) then seemingly admitted they wanted to take a song and make it their own.

    In other words the whole critique from Simon and Louis stated that 5 After Midnight chose what they wanted to do. To me it felt like a shot across the bows from the show (from the VT to the comments) to bring them back into line rather than a complete takedown, with Simon’s second response giving them enough leeway to save them tonight if need be and also offered a redemption arc next week… if they behave themselves.

    Sorry for the long post.

    • Edie M

      Agreed, it really seemed like something had gone on behind the scenes, maybe they felt 5AM were getting too big for their boots & needed to be reminded who’s in control of their fate.

    • Rose L

      I think you’re spot on here, Fudd, having just seen it for the second time. It sounds as if the in-fighting within the group, which Brian Friedman commented on so cattily, direct to camera in their VT (“I don’t know how you come together when you’re not even talking – they’re eating up my time”) really annoyed the production team in general. And they carefully edited into the VT some rather stinging comments between the band members about unpleasant sweat marks, who’s working more and who remembers when to sing; the sort of comments you probably hear quite a lot of when groups rehearse, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to find their way through on to the screen in front of the public as they did last night with Five After Midnight.
      This band was formed five weeks before auditions started, if I remember correctly, and it is hardly surprising that cracks are showing. You have one member who has an enormous CV already and others who seem less gifted and experienced, at least in terms of singing, and were clearly secondary members at the start. Now things need to be more equal between them and they are finding it hard to come together properly.
      So yes, I think this week was a strong warning across their bows from the production team, with Simon as their spokesman. Who he meant when he said too many people were in their ears, though, I cannot even guess.
      I do think they wouldn’t have made this public had the boys been struggling in the vote though.

    • Rose L

      One swift last comment on this issue: afterwards, Simon had to be reminded to introduce Sam as he was deep in conversation with Louis and he said he had a lot to tell Louis after the show. So actually I think it may be more than the squabbling we were shown on the VT; that was just a part of it. There was more and Louis had not yet been made aware of it, that’s how I read it.

      • Fudd

        It was Simon’s repetition of the ‘too many people telling you what to do’ critique when speaking to Four of Diamonds which struck me as odd too. Both groups getting the same feedback from the same judge? Have both been pushing back against production, have both been given advice from those outside the show, such as former management or friends and family which the show wants to nip in the bud?

        Or did Simon lose his track of thought midway through his second review of 5AM and scrambled for something which was already in his head for later?

        As an aside, surely sexing up Four of Diamonds is just setting them up for a Halloween sacrifice if they get to next week? Little Mix would have probably been in the bottom two for their outfits alone had they dressed like they were last week whilst competiting!

        • India Marie

          At this rate, the two Groups performing next week are Scarl3t and Tom&Laura

        • Rose L

          Absolutely what I was thinking about the potential spicing up of 4OD – if they look like Little Mix did on the show last week, they’ll be out for sure. The last thing a girl group need to do on the X Factor is sex themselves up so why did Nicole and Sharon suggest they should unless it’s misleading sabotage? Or they simply don’t understand what happens to sexy girl groups on this show.
          At least Simon seemed to be talking about them from a quasi-feminist perspective – it has to come from them as women, not from anyone else – rather than telling them to sex themselves up.
          As for the “nautical” theme that seems to have confused him, has he never seen pictures of pleasure boats/steamboats on the Mississippi?

    • Woofie

      Last night I felt that too like “we can make you and we can break you”… Before last night the group was described as “slick” in the press. That was far from slick.. And like you say it was painted very much their own work.

  • Donald

    Ryan, Saara and either Relley or 4 Of Diamonds bottom three. Relley and 4 of Diamonds bottom two would not surprise me. How will they manage the voting tonight, that might be a good indicator early doors. Logic says Ryan goes after the big bus job. A small stakes night reckon, well this early in the day anyway 😉

  • Rose L

    Whoever threaded Matt’s eyebrows should be shot!

  • Jessica Hamby

    I want to soften the comment I made about Gifry last night. It wasn’t horrendous or a turd in the punchbowl. It certainly wasn’t the “moment” they were aiming for both to lift Gifty and to bury Ryan. She does have tuning issues and she can be a bit shouty on the big notes. Personally I suspect she’s been polling ok, probably clear in third. Mind you, third is probably closer to last than first is to third.

    • 360

      I thought she sounded a bit shouty too, almost raspy at points when she had to belt a big note.

      Song was a bit of an odd choice and I thought didn’t really go anywhere. I did wonder at the time if they might have deliberately searched for a big-sounding, soulful and sad song that actually wasn’t too hard to sing and wouldn’t have stretched her limited voice, leaving her sounding exposed. It’s a mistake I remember them making with Fleur.

  • Daz

    Anyone else notice Simon telling Nicole to sit down after Ryan’s performance as if she’s not doing what she’s supposed to do.

  • annie

    Bottom will be 3 from: Ryan, Gifty, Rellie, 4oD and Saara.

    Ryan wasnt very good, but as phone lines opened at the beginning, people might have swung couple of app votes in his direction, so who knows, there is a chance…

    The kitchen sink was thrown at Gifty plus the radical makeover, it makes me think she is really strugling with the votes and just avoiding bottom. I wonder if taking away her signature hair helped or damaged… On these signs I wont be surprised to see her in the bottom even if sshe truly doesnt deserve it.

    Rellie was just …yoghurt… The sick card is boring…and her performance, look, song, everything was just okay.

    4oD had a lousy song choice, atrocious staging, lukewarm comments, John Legends praise was conveniently omitted from VT. My general problem with them is that since they came back to the live shows their performances lack that element of classy, grown up women style that made them stand out in pre-lives and that I think everyone appreciated that about them…. That made them different from all the girl groups that traditionally struggle on XF.

    So much was good about Saara, but her sexualised attire doesnt do her any good. that skirt… bad. and the whole thing had an end of journey feel to it, as some of you already mentioned…. and she sang last, everyone would have used up all their app votes by then….

    …and I wouldnt be surprised if Emily gets there, next week at latest, if she doesnt change her ways. yesterday was just plain boring. I liked her, even back in 2014 for her quirky way…. thats what made her stand out. this john lewisy is just not working. its not playing on her strengths at all..

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’m surprised at you saying Gifty will b3. I think she’ll poll 2nd this week having been 3rd in the previous weeks. I said after the first live show that I wasn’t a fan but that I expected her to go a long way in the competition. I still feel that way. Last night (imo) was more about burying Ryan and getting Gifty above 5am than about saving Gifty from b3. To my ears that’s crazy talk.

      As for 4OD, there’s sexy and there’s sexy. Last year Alien and Fourth Impact both gave it some raunch but they went about it very differently. One failed and one succeeded and when you watch them it’s easy to see why in each case.

      • annie

        Contestants like Gifty don´t generally go down well with XF audiences….and her treatment last night smelled desperate to me… and they changed everything about her. Her signature hair, her look, her style, and even her song choice was so …safe… everyone loves sam smith (almost like adele..)
        so this full on pimping + complete makeover makes me thing they see her (post show?) potential but it wasn´t working in terms of votes.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Someone’s going to have to explain what “contestants like Gifty” means in simple words. I can’t see what there is to dislike about her. She’s good looking, appears smart, is a woman’s woman but got plenty going on for the guys. Whats not to like? Are you seriously suggesting she can’t make the final?

          • Spiidey

            It’s probably as simple as the haircut, Jessica. Too harsh for the general voter, who likes typical girl next door types e.g. Emily

          • Rose L

            I also think she struggles with having to be humble on screen – and why shouldn’t she?

  • Rose L

    I think there’s a good case for any potential sympathy vote for Saara from last week to have been nullified by her performance and treatment last night. Could the strength of her performance cause the necessary swing in votes to bring her out of the bottom three where she has languished two weeks running? While I suppose it’s possible, I did feel there was an “end of journey” sense and no particular reason for those who didn’t vote for her before to start now other than an old-fashioned belief that good singing should be rewarded – and that didn’t work for her in the last two weeks.
    So bottom three: I’d guess Saara, Ryan and 4OD.
    If Ryan wins the flash vote, they’re stuck with him – awks – but I would have thought 4OD or even Saara more likely winners of it this week. If Saara does poll in the bottom three, the strength of her performance may well inspire people to save her in the flash vote. Or it could go to 4OD, who, while rather of a damp squib, have been marked with the “potential” brush.
    I can see tptb not getting the result they obviously want though.

  • Stu

    So the judges suggest 4OD should sex it up a mere week after Little Mix get blasted by viewers for their “racy” outfits… It’s like they want the girls to sabotage their own chances…

  • dip

    bottom 3 tonight

    honey g – eliminated, i hope
    saara – saved from flash vote

    • stoney

      Saara saved by flash vote in a vote against ryan will not in a million years happen. I take it you are fairly new to this?

      Ryan is safe as houses in a flash vote against all of them apart from Matt and Emily

  • Sagand

    I’m going with a bottom three of Ryan, Relley and 4oD.

    I’m trusting that the producers know what they are doing to a certain extent. That Saara was close enough last week that she could avoid the bottom three today (and that Ryan can lose a save vote.)

    Matt is safe, Emily and Gifty had better weeks this week than last week, 5AM and Honey G have some margin before they are in trouble. Which just leaves Sam as a maybe. I think Sam is probably the first girl out but she is likable and it was a well known song done in a passable way.

    I think Relley could be the kind of act to benefit from the save vote. She is good and everyone should like her even if they aren’t passionate enough to give her first place votes.

    So I am going Relley save and Ryan going in the singoff. 4oD singing as sexy vampires next week.

    • Fudd

      I wonder if another reason for dragging 5 After Midnight down was to get them in the bottom three with Ryan, then hope that the Flash Vote will see them through.

      I was saying to a mate earlier ‘How can they get a young male into the bottom two unless they’re against another young male/other young males?’

  • Martin

    If anybody believes in the curse of the spider, it could be here a week early as there was a giant neon one attached to Sara’s skirt at the start of her performance.
    I do think she will be safe this week though. I think Ryan is nailed on to go, with 4OD in the sing of with him.

    • stoney

      Why is every one thinking Ryan is gonna go tonight? He won’t go until they lose the flash vote

      • Martin

        I’m putting faith in the producers here. They’ve hit all their targets this year, and last year to an extent. I think there is a risk of them over egging the pudding slightly and motivating a bit of sympathy but I can’t really see who else would be below him.

        • stoney

          Yeah he’s a dead cert for bottom 3. But as we saw last week the flash vote saved him. Same will happen tonight. Flash vote is pointless and needs to stop after this weekend

          • Fudd

            If 5 After Midnight fall with Ryan will they get through the Flash Vote over him? If they are giving it a go, I guess it’s another test of the Flash Vote for the producers.

          • stoney

            I don’t think 5am will hit bottom 3 but Ryan would get above them in a lifeline vote imo

          • Sagand

            People are being too quick to ‘know’ who the flash vote favours. So far there has only been pretty boys vs marmite acts. All we know so far is it doesn’t favour marmite acts.

          • stoney

            Pretty Scottish boy is a different beast

          • Fudd

            True – that’s why I said it’d be a test of the Flash Vote for producers. I think it’s an excellent introduction to the Sunday show and it hand some power back to the public but the producers are going through the process slightly blind.

          • Rose L

            Stoney on the money about the flash vote. They got stuck with the one contestant they really wanted rid of.

  • Fudd

    Negative comments repeated in the Results Show introduction for 5 After Midnight, Four of Diamonds and Ryan.

  • kingston

    regarding 5AM, are they making it out now it’s more simon’s bad mood?

  • Joe

    I think Saara will have a bit of sympathy and with the pimp slot it could see her escape the bottom 3. Before the weekend I felt 4/1 for Ryan to depart was a great bet but wasn’t hugely confident due to the flash vote saves and the fact that he was on first as voting lines opened. If he escapes again, then a Relly v 4OD could be a potential bottom 2. In the end I chucked a quid on Relly to go at 12/1. Tough to call this week. Again thanks to all of you for great comments, really hoping it’s not an obvious Matt win, but after thinking 5 after Midnight might do it for Louis their vocals are weak.

  • Piresistable

    Bad language!

  • Rose L

    Brilliant reaction from Saara made it all worthwhile to have got it wrong! I didn’t put any money on it so no loss there

  • stoney

    Called saara correct. Now I’m calling Ryan safe

  • Rose L

    That’s the second time they’ve teased us with Gifty being called safe last.

    • Fudd

      I wonder if production planned to save her earlier then changed their mind after she dropped the ‘F’ word live on air? 😀

      • Jessica Hamby

        Yeah. They just hate controversy and are probably all clutching their pearls at the thought of tomorrow’s papers, never mind the predictably sanctimonius “twitterstorm”.

  • Spiidey

    Will be astonished if Ryan ain’t saved on the lifeline vote.

    4oD to get the boot over RelleyC.

  • Piresistable

    Shock horror, John Legend says Gifty impressed him.

  • Donald

    Should have been bit braver with my thoughts, still a decent result either way now. If they are pushing Gifty, Relley mighty go now.

  • David Cook

    Prediction – no lifeline vote next week.

  • Martin

    Hats off to Stoney. I expected Relley saved.

    • stoney

      I’m not even betting on the elimination markets this year so no emotional involvement from me. But if anyone is backing Ryan to go while the flash lifeline vote is in play they are wasting their dough

  • Woofie

    I don’t think they are “stuck” with Ryan because of the Flash vote… Most if us felt it would always favour the boys…

    • Fudd

      Makes me wonder how long they would have been stuck with Sam Callahan in 2012 if they had had the Flash Vote!

      They would have probably had to drag ‘Only 16’ to the bottom three to dispose of him.

      • Rose L

        Oddly I feel for Ryan now, it should be palpably obvious to him that his time on the show is extremely limited and that they are out to get him…..
        And yes, if the flash vote is still in place at this time next Sunday, I will be amazed. Although Cowell did say they were going to do something nobody had done before, which I assume is this Flash Vote, unless anyone can enlighten me that another show does it? It doesn’t look too good to run it for three weeks and then drop it – but that’s never stopped them doing anything before.

        • Fudd

          It’s death by a thousand cuts for him. Every week they put blade to flesh but every week he can get up and plod on.

          As a televisual spectacle they should keep hold of the Flash Vote. Do they really need to get rid of Ryan for a couple of weeks? They have three male acts to six female acts so really need to balance things out gender-wise; especially as I’m going to assume, voting wise, the audience is more female. They’ve already made sure Ryan is not going to challenge Matt.

  • stoney

    Has the wheel stopped on fright night yet?


    Here it comes

  • 360

    Calling it now for when votes are revealed; this week when Relley went out she was 3rd from bottom.

  • Wasn’t expecting that. I thought the bus was coming for 4OD. Big loss for me tonight.

  • Dean

    Had relly to go at 5/1 happy days

  • Sagand

    It was obvious when Nicole didn’t save her she was going. Nice healthy profit on Relley being bottom three and 4oD being bottom 2, would have been nicer had 4oD gone.

  • Piresistable

    WOW! Fright Night!

  • Rose L

    HAHAHAHAHA “100% bona fide” coincidence that it will be Fright Night next week.
    Hand the Oscar to Dermot right now.

  • Ben Cook

    I think ideally they’d have preferred to keep Relley over 4 of Diamonds but it’d have been a bit ridiculous having 6 solo females in the top 9. Only explanation really.

    • 360

      I think so too; but also because bringing 4OD back for all of two weeks before cutting them loose would have looked ridiculous.

      Tainted by on singoff already though, they can be toast easily the next time they drop in.

      I didn’t see the show, was the sing-off close? Would have thought Relly would’ve wiped the floor with the girls.

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