X Factor 2016 Week 3 Post Mortem: Relley all at C

In a singoff between two acts whose Saturday treatment indicated were both seen as disposable, Sofabet commenters and Betfair punters alike were divided on what the judges would do. You can see why they sent Relley home, though: equalling up the non-girls categories at two apiece, keeping a group around in case 5 After Midnight continue to apparently prove troublesome behind the scenes, and perhaps clearing Gifty’s demographic for her.


Producers will surely now be thinking about retiring the Sunday evening lifeline vote, which has saved a cute young boy for the third week in a row – this time, the act whom Sofabet commenters felt was producers’ unambiguous target in the Saturday show. It has to be a bittersweet reprieve for Ryan, though; after the assault he suffered this week, he must be worried about what producers will cook up for him.

That said, next week is Hallowe’en, when producers have more often preferred to sacrifice a young maiden (or four). The last Hallowe’en show was two years ago. Here’s the analysis of Hallowe’en staging we wrote before that show, looking for themes in the kills of previous years. And here’s our forensic analysis of how producers sank their fangs into Jack Walton in that 2014 fright night.  We’ll be back in midweek with more thoughts, as usual. In the meantime, do keep the conversation going below.

Photos via ©ITV

95 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 3 Post Mortem: Relley all at C

  • It’s like the producers now just accept everyone knows this show is a crock of shit… they could have staged an “intervention” by Dermot or something, crap like that really doesn’t help the franchise one bit.

    Was expecting a 4OD exit after Ryan was, again, saved by the lifeline vote. Major losses here – shame there wasn’t a market on that bloody jukebox.

    I too predict that we will see the lifeline vote quietly axed – but that begs the question, why’s he not getting the votes overnight but then is doing in the flash vote?

  • Dean

    Backed relley at 5s under the assumption she was disposable and Ryan would be saved on the flash vote. Nice profit on this one

  • I honestly thought too much damage had been done.

    The thing is, the Flash Vote is the one thing producers really cannot control. They can drag the intended target down, but then they’ve no way of stopping the public voting them back to safety. If anything, I’m surprised they’ve introduced it.

    • Woofie

      I’m not making the assumption that the flash vote is not being used as they want it. I always thought it would favour the boys. We also see the introduction of “off camera chats” in the night’s summary… now we know what Louis was saying to Simon….

  • Woofie

    Thinking about it would they really allow Nicole to loose two boys in straight weeks.

  • Woofie

    Big smile on Simon’s face when 5AM got through, pats on their backs as they left the stage….interesting to see what happens next week..

  • Plinkiplonk

    The flash vote actually is a valuable tool for TPTB – it wasn’t that hard to predict that the main votes would come from teenage girls, so cute boys would always be favoured. So they can damage Matt’s rivals beyond redemption, but still keep them around to take up a place that otherwise maybe could have been a viable threat. By keeping Ryan around as damaged goods, it also makes Matt look better by comparison.
    And I am still waiting for the inevitable Ryan/Emily sing off…

    But I am truly shocked they decided to play the whole jukebox farce straight. I was fully expecting Dermot to just stop the wheel and say something like “Come on Guys, of course next week is Fright Night”, that would have preserved a smidgen of credibility. They are normally better than this, I thought…

    • fused

      I did laugh at Dermot saying “It’s slowing down… it’s very slowly slowing down…” after the wheel had gone past Fright Night so had to go all the way round again.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Honey G got booed today. Saara is established as quirky foreigner whose vote is under control. Saara adds credibility. Honey G takes it away. Saara is unpredictable. I say Honey, you for fucks sake not again.

    If I was tptb I would be working out a nice dump honey / use Saara plan. I’m not sure Honey is a shoo-in for top over. When was the last time someone got booed when she was announced safe?

    • Gavster

      Offering 3s on Betfair if readers go along with Saara top over.

      • Jessica Hamby

        You’re braver than me. I’m not saying Honey G won’t be top over but it’s far from a dead cert imo. Tptb need a contingency plan in case 5AM fall out again. Who will they have in the final with Matt? Honey G, even with Snoop, will damage the franchise. Emily and Gifty will be boring.

        I don’t think it’s a safe bet at all.

  • fused

    I am sorry to see Relley C go, her performance of ‘Shackles (Praise You)’ is by a long way my favourite of this year’s live shows so far. I maintain she is one of the best singers this year too, but I think the show cast and styled her to be very old fashioned, so what can you do? I was pleased Saara got a week off at least, and her reaction was good to watch, but most likely she’ll be in the sing-off again next week and that’ll be it.

    Like others, I wouldn’t be shocked if the app vote goes the same way as the flash vote in series 10 and is quietly dropped next week.

  • Martin

    I love Halloween week, can’t wait for next weeks show. I am sad to see Relley go, so much they could have done with her after seeing her week one performance but as always, the show has other ideas. I’ll be interested to see if Ryan gets a Jack Walton-esque fanging next week.

    With all categories apart from the girls having lost an act, i wouldn’t be shocked to see one of them fall next week. It amazes me that we are three weeks in and you can quite sensibly make a case for all three girls being next eliminated but also being in the final. They did this when Simon had the overs in 2014 too until we finally lost jay james almost half way through. After the trouble we went through trying to make Gifty voter friendly this week, I’ll be keen to see what they do with her for Halloween.

    • fused

      I thought the last Halloween week in series 11 was the best Halloween week the show had ever done, so if I’m honest I’m kind of preparing myself for this year’s one to be not as good, but yeah, it is usually one of the better weeks in an X Factor series.

  • India Marie

    While Ryan was almost a dead cert for the bottom 3, it’s also a dead cert that he was going to be saved in the flash vote against the other “targets.”

    Will check next week if Saara is targeted. Makes sense given her treatment so far but if Honey G is also struggling (more than usual) in the vote, I reckon they will help Saara pull past HG.

  • Saara to do Wuthering Heights next week, a song she’s already recorded?

  • Cath

    Really pleased that Saara made it through tonight, wss the best performance by far. But a shame that Miss C was Relley-gated (surprised you didn’t beat me to that one Daniel!).

    With regards to Ryan getting through the app vote, if we could all have predicted it, then I’m sure it was no surprise to TPTB. After all, we’ve not yet had the Emily/Ryan singoff so Ryan still has a job to do…!

  • Tom H

    Of the final 12, Relley, Gifty and Freddie are the only ones with “The X Factor” that the premise of the show revolves around, so given two have gone already I really don’t know what they’re trying to achieve here.

    Louisa is a guest next weekend, might we finally see some charisma to justify her relentless pimping last year?

  • Jessica Hamby

    Foolish swearing from Gifty imo. Sam was announced first to give the impression she’s doing well and to demotivate votes. Gifty was announced last to motivate votes. It was noteable that she wasn’t asked to stand there through an ad break as Relly was last week.

    • Fudd

      I think there have been articles on here saying being left to last doesn’t necessarily motivate the vote (or being revealed first demotivates votes) … I do wonder whether the producers switched the reveal order to make her sweat after dropping the F bomb though as a kind of punishment. It’d be something I’d do!

      • Jessica Hamby

        Punish her? Seems unlikely to me for two reasons. First she won’t know it’s a punishment unless they tell her what they did and why. Second the show thrives on controversy and emotional honesty from contestants. If yiu start punishing them for providing it then you’re cutting off your own nose to spite your face.

        • Fudd

          I think she will get a slap on the wrist post show with all contestants (and judges considering who’s on the panel this year) being reminded to watch their language in the future. If it happens again then questions will be asked about the production side though, as you say, they might not be too upset with the headlines this time around.

          They’ve had quite an evening with Honey G surviving again (with the boos), Gifty letting her mouth run away with her and the Jukebox being set up for people to cry ‘foul’ (Really??? People watching didn’t realise already???).

  • Woofie

    It was nice that they created a real “feel good factor” with Saara getting through without the B3. I don’t get the Honey G thing at all.

  • Dean

    Saara last night was indeed fantastic I just had a huge feeling she wasn’t b3 today. Maybe even near top.

  • Dana

    I wonder if Saara pulled a Rachel Adedeiji and topped the vote after two initial bottom 2 placings? Halloween seems kind of ideal for her if they feel like keeping her around for the tour.

    I can’t see 4 of Diamonds surviving again.

  • Spiidey

    A final word for the night on the lifeline vote – whilst it’s a useful tool if they want to continue to save Ryan (who’s vote is already under control), it’s also a great way to boost viewing numbers, particularly for the main rating (i.e. Not including those watching on catch up) as if you want to vote in the lifeline vote, you have to be watching live.

    So dual benefit of assisting in controlling more of the show, and also help ratings. Here to stay in my book for a while then.

  • Rose L

    The Flash Vote is indeed a powerful tool – until the night they really want to lose Ryan. I’m wondering if he’d still win it if up against Five After Midnight and Gifty, a situation which isn’t entirely improbable and which the producers would not want. They could end up with an Ella Henderson/James Arthur type sing off when they are forced to lose a valued act.

    • Jessica Hamby

      They need to be careful. They haven’t got many valued acts to lose. It’ll be Luke Friend or Reggie & Bollie in the final and the best thing about it will be watching the judges gurn themselves inside out as they try to pretend it’s not a disaster.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Mind you, I’d pay a few quid out of my own pocket to see Ellie Goulding attempt to control her wtf face as she belts out “any fing cud appen” a second time. I bet he didn’t sing it like that in rehearsal.

  • I’ve no idea why 4OD have just plunged from 50/1 into 30/1 this morning on betfair.Their return to the show has been horrendous considering all the hype we had less than two weeks ago. Can’t see them lasting more than 2 weeks now and seem weak in the vote!i’m doing really well on the market this year after nearly losing a fortune on reggie and bollie nearly winning last year. Some good advice and views on here keep up the good work!

    • Which is a funny headline because they never are quoted saying “copy,” with all of the negative connotations that entails, in the article. They were quoted in another as saying (more or less) that LM were too sexy though. Not a good idea if they want to bounce as most who found them vaguely interesting are probably LM fans.

      I do wonder about that odds movement given those headlines this morning. Perhaps TPTB family & friends have gotten word the show will try to keep them in for a week or two now that they have been crippled.

      For me, I think I’ve narrowed down what was slightly drawing me to them to Lauren letting a little genuine emotion happen over time on some performances where she doesn’t have to move much and is able to relax. I don’t think it’s in a deliberate way at this point though, which doesn’t bode too well.

  • David Cook

    Whatever it is that they’re trying to achieve with Emily it must be working, as this was pretty much a repeat of last week – the same funereal pace and same delivery of the vocals. I got the same feeling as last week- this could work for someone with stronger voice and perhaps a purer tone, but Emily just sounds a little lost. Perhaps she can take solace in the staging which was really good, and she did look a lot more comfortable being able to move around rather than being stood still on the plinth. It’s got to be deliberate – but is it good, bad or perhaps a little indifferent.
    Maybe the answer lies in the treatment, or possibly the fortunes of the other girls. Sam remains rather puzzling, as they seem to be putting a great deal of effort into an act that seems to have a fundamental problem with her singing. I don’t think that they’re suddenly going to change lanes and shuffle her off next week when she’s had so much support this week. To be honest she did win me over a tiny bit this week. At points you can pick up this quite distinctive edge in her voice – her accent does come through a bit in her singing – and I can almost get a sense of what they’re aiming for. If only she could sing in tune. In terms of production help the reverb was working overtime again, and plenty of backing vocals – so it seems for the moment at least they’re doing the best they can for her.
    That still leaves the enigma that is Gifty – and I’ve got to say I’ve still got no idea. Assuming that they do want her to do well, I can’t see any reason for such a radical change, unless she was polling far lower than hoped. On XF they tend to soften people’s image if they want to get more votes. Everything seemed set up for a big moment this week, particularly in terms of the staging – and then the vocal just let her down. It started OK, but as the song built she did become pretty shouty and flat. Towards the end her voice against the choir became rather incongruous. Overall it seemed like an opportunity missed, and if that’s the case where does it leave the others?
    I still think that the aim will be to get one of these acts into a three act final, but I still can’t decide which, if any, is capable of achieving it.

    • I don’t get what they are doing with Sam either. She’s got the power of a good vocalist and her core tone is ok, but not only is she constantly out of tune she doesn’t seem to have even the slightest hint of an ear for when she’s off.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I don’t hear what you hear with Sam. I don’t have a problem with her singing flat. Just don’t hear it as that bad. I hate the material they’re giving her though. Earth Song ffs. Give her some Ke$ha, TiK ToK or We R Who We R, songs she can sing and relate to that bring some excitement to the proceedings.

        As it is the show and her performances are just a bit…

        *drum roll*

        *wait for it*


        *takes bow*

        • David Cook

          This week Sam wasn’t too bad – in the respect that she mostly sang a bit flat throughout. It’s less annoying than the week before when she was all over the place – above and below pitch – which was driving me mad. I’ve got to agree with Nissl above that I don’t think she can actually distinguish when she’s doing it, and that makes it pretty difficult to correct.
          I do think I’m judging Gifty and Sam to slightly different criteria. If you put someone in an evening gown, sit them on a piano together with a choir the candles etc you expect a certain type of vocal performance. If they are trying to give Sam more of a rock sound then you clearly expect a much edgier distinct vocal, and probably most importantly try get a bit of passion into it. I think both tried to achieve this in their different different styles, but ultimately both let themselves down in the same way – they sang off pitch and lost a bit of control of the vocal.
          My guess is that Gifty is the act that they think is a commercial proposition. Sam is an act that Simon see’s almost as a personal project – there’s something there that’s a little bit different to acts we normally get – is it possible to actually get the best out of her. Poor Emily is probably just being kept warm enough in case she’s needed later in the competition if the other two fail.

  • Stu

    I can honestly see the producers unexpectedly dropping the flash vote in order to get Ryan out – whenever they choose is his time to go. Being saved through the lifeline vote two weeks in a row will surely encourage viewers to think there is no need to vote for him on the Saturday night if he’s going to be saved anyway on Sunday – only for Dermot to state during the results that “it’ll be a bottom two this week”.

    I’m intrigued by 5AM’s treatment on Saturday. Are the producers maybe looking to sacrifice 5AM long-term to ensure a more favoured act (Gifty) can sneak into the final? Maybe the top 2 in the vote are running away with it (could easily be Matt and Emily) and only one spot is left? Alternatively it could be a Haenow-type one-week dampening and then back in the good books the following week. I think the worst treatment a group can get on this show is the perception that they don’t get on. Neither fans nor record label execs will want to invest in a group that could split after one album. Likening themselves to “brothers” prevented further damage though.

    • Anglia Chu

      I know there’s a precedent for a sudden change in sing-off rules, but aren’t the public usually notified when change comes (even if in the most vague manner)

      • Stu

        Not sure to be honest but, as you say, there is a precedent for changing the rules at the last minute with Cher/Mary. This lifeline vote can’t run for too long otherwise it’ll expose who is polling where eventually.

  • Scott

    The Relley situation at the weekend was a nice little reminder that X Factor can often teach you one clear thing – that life isn’t fair.

    She was the best singer in that final three, but here’s the problem – I couldn’t remember her name. When they went to the ad break I knew Ryan and Four of Diamonds were there, but I completely forgot who the other person was. And by the sound of things, so did most of the viewers. If you’re not distinctive enough you risk slipping between two stools, much like why some reasonable songs do really, really badly in Eurovision – because you’re not good or bad enough to motivate a vote.

    As far as I’m concerned the bosses are looking out for the show first – they want people in the final who can actually sing. That’s why Reggie and Bollie being in the final last year was absolutely baffling. We knew they wanted Louisa to win, but they pretty much sacrificed the show for that, whereas normally you’ll have a credible contender who isn’t going to win. (Jahmene, Nicholas, Ray Quinn. With the old gang back together this year I don’t think they’ll make that mistake again.

    The key for them is to have three good acts who can put on a show for the final and two or three acts (if they’re very lucky) who could credibly maintain a career afterwards. The two may crossover, but the crossover between the audience who download songs and watches X Factor is quite minimal these days.

    I can see Gifty being the equivalent to Fleur (without quite such a fanfare) and lasting until the bottom four or five, going out with a bang. Matt’s a stick-on for first or second. Emily could be third (she has a decent voice and won’t embarass them) or she could be dropped midway like Abi, and Saara could take that position (they know how to deramp her after all).

    Basically, I’m sure they’ve probably got a Plan A and Plan B for what they want to do with everyone, but they’ve got plenty of options this year, and that hasn’t always been the case.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Reggie & Bollie can’t sing but they can entertain. They have some charisma. That’s in fairly short supply this year. Matt’ll do his falsetto schtick but without 5AM who’s going to bring some uptempo smiles? Will they get gimmicky with Gifty and reprise Rockin Robin? Emily’s not really bringing the party? Honey G will wear very thin by the final, even if she performs with Snoop once she gets there. I don’t think they have that many options, not as many as last year. Fourth Impact, Lauren and even Anton would have all made credible finalists and brought more to the table than their equivalents this year.

      • Jessica Hamby

        In fact looking back at last year they also had Only The Young, Monica Mchaels and Mason Noize and Kiera Weathers didn’t get any chance, nor did Alien. I’m not saying they were all stars but they make this years lot seem ordinary and musically and vocally limited. It makes the way they ran the show, destroying everyone for the sake of Louisa, even more ridiculous in retrospect.

  • Rose L

    By the way, we’re all convinced that tptb have had a Ryan vs Emily sing off planned from the audition stage (perhaps even when the pair of them were still in their respective wombs?)
    But with the Flash Vote as it is, won’t that be incredibly difficult to engineer? They’ll have to have someone a great deal more popular than either of them fall into the bottom three at the same time as them, with the hope that he or she will then be saved by the Flash Vote leaving the Scots pair to their sing off.
    I can see it could all go horribly tits up – or am I missing something?.

    • plinkiplonk

      I admit that I struggle with the details as to how exactly it would be achieved; I only have a strong conviction that the resulting narrative is too tempting to overlook. My only attempt at a reasoning would be that, once they are both B3 they would maybe split the Scottish vote, hence giving the third person a slight advantage ? As I said, I have no idea, just a feeling it will happen. Don’t forget that they have permanent visibility of the real time voting figures, so if it looks that Emily and Ryan are last and second last respectively, they can abandon the flash vote and make them sing off in a B2 instead.

    • David Cook

      No – I think you’re right. I can see both the flash vote and therefore Ryan being gone this weekend. Nicole can console herself that she’s got the winner in her category. Sharon was down to one act after two weeks when Sam Bailey won.

    • stoney

      I’m not one of those people at all. There at opposite ends of the market. They would need a bottom 3 of matt emily Ryan for a sing off between the 2 lovebirds

    • They only need to let Honey G fall into the Bottom Three with Ryan and Emily this weekend for this to happen.
      The public will easily vote to keep Honey G in for the lols while the Scottish vote is split between the lovebirds.
      Emily stays and bounces to the Top 5, at least.

      • Thinking about it, tptb can have a great run of eliminations from here on out.
        Week 4 – Ryan vs Emily, Honey G saved on B3 with Ryan going
        Week 5 – Four of Diamonds go after their bounce
        Week 6 – Honey G goes after her bounce and a whirlwind of controversy (which includes dropping the Lifeline vote altogether)
        Week 7 – One of the girls goes out (inclined to say Sam’s rock shtick won’t last that long)
        Week 8 – Whichever girl is polling the least so that Sharon has an act left in the Semi-Finals
        Week 9 – Saara goes after endearing the nation (how would they do this I do not know)
        Which leaves Matt, 5AM and a girl in the Final. Ideal scenario.

        How they make FoD survive Halloween and Saara last that long I do not know. Surely Honey G can’t be Sharon’s last act in the Semi-Finals?

      • Jessica Hamby

        I wouldn’t take that for granted. There’s a lot of strong dislike for Honey G and a lot of people would split their votes between anyone but her. At this stage of the show the margins between all the contestants outside the top 3 are pretty small. I’d be very surprised if she’s got a big safety margin. Also, she’s a bit shit and very repetitive. Wagner at least had the virtue of variety.

        • True but she’s still the novelty act and the sole point of hype of the series, in a way that mirrors Wagner and Stevi Ritchie. I can see her easily being saved and causing an outrage.

          • stoney

            She is polling poorly in every poll ive seen. They are having to pimp her to the high heavens just to get her through each week. She’s on borrowed time now

          • Jessica Hamby

            Saved? By the public? The same public that booed her?

            If saved by the judges then she’ll have been in the sing-off which means that you won’t see an Emily v Ryan sing-off.

            But having said that, yes it’s possible to see anything happening. That’s why I shy away from speculation.

        • Fudd

          If it’s an Emily v Honey G v Ryan bottom three I think the public would throw votes behind Ryan on the basis that they know he already has a base there resulting in an Emily v Honey G bottom two. That and production are clearly gunning for Ryan and could pull out the ‘lack of support’ argument against him.

          But would I reject the idea that TPTB would send Emily home in a Emily v Honey G sing off? Bearing in mind it’d give Ryan a sympathetic guilt trip storyline which would see him through a couple of weeks (considering the current gender imbalance they wouldn’t mind this) and have controversy surround the show once again? Definitely not.

  • Allan

    Who says the app lifeline vote isn’t manipulated…would be pretty easy for TPTB to orchestrate and no charge so surely no regulation???

    • EM

      No. You can’t conduct anything in an unfair or misleading way. Ofcom would be down on them like a ton of bricks if they got caught and the show would suffer massive loss of credibility.

      It will all be above board

      • Jessica Hamby

        Agreed. They can do what they like with presentation but they can’t touch the vote. If they did and it came out it would ruin the reputation of the show, leave them open to lawsuits from contestants, damage (probably destroy) the relationship with itv, the implications are enormous. Can you imagine if Kitty, for example, was able to sue them in LA. The damages could be eye-watering. They wouldn’t dare. The risk is too big. I think the vote might even be independently verified.

  • Woofie

    I was puzzled over the treatment for 5AM.

    Was it back stage issues?

    Were they testing their vote, which held up despite the criticism? Louis didn’t seem phased by it all and was still name checking them for the final without pleading for votes.

    Or was it part of a wider plan to dampen support so other contestants benefited for that week? Or was it to “manage” their support to make it easier to reduce it later in favour of another contestant?

    Was it to set up a narrative supporting a journey? A dip/poor week makes the following week appear more stronger and “back in the game”, whereas constant over praising reduces the impact. But aren’t they are doing that with Matt and others, so why risk damping 5AM’s support?

    I am more inclined to see it as part of the journey narrative and testing their support because it is was week 3. There is plenty of time to rebuild the momentum as it looks like their vote held up. Vocally live the boys have issues and it is difficult to maintain consistency, whereas Matt is more assured therefore the judging praise is credible even when it is constantly given every week. Mixing it up with the boys means if they have had criticism it makes the praise more credible when it is given. The voting stats may have implied they were able to a take a dip without falling into the danger zone.

    The level of producer support this week will be important. I am expecting a complete redemption with Simon able to heap praise on the boys which will be seen as very credible because of his previous criticism. Expect “you didn’t whine, you took it on board, sorted yourselves out, listened to Louis, got on with on it, vocally, everything was better….”

    Of course if it is fairly luck warm but supportive than I be more inclined to think it is managing their support/vote or there is problem back stage and they have fallen out of producer favour.

    • 360

      What stuck out for me was how shellshocked and puzzled the boys looked to be getting that reaction from the judges. Made me think it might well be something backstage – maybe something as petty as Simon being annoyed with Louis and taking it out on his act. Or even Simon being annoyed by something producers did.

      The level of seething did not seem appropriate for the performance we saw.

      • Fudd

        If Simon was annoyed with Louis and it came out of the blue then Louis would have been far more defensive in his response. He basically agreed with Simon’s critique.

        Louis’ been with the show long enough now to know how the get the public behind an act if necessary – openly appeal for votes, call Simon out for being unfair or bullying his act, state how hard working all three of them are, remind the audience of the first two weeks etc. But he did none of that; he basically backed Simon up… with his critique towards BOTH groups and even stated that Four of Diamonds needed to work harder on Sunday’s Xtra Factor.

  • Scott

    I’m not entirely convinced the show has a new One Direction in 5AM. What I’m trying to work out is whether they’re headed down the Rough Copy road – a very good run and miss out near the final, or whether the show cuts them loose early like so many other boy bands over the years. The same applies to Four of Diamonds, although they looked absolutely atrocious on Sunday in terms of stage presence and singing as a group. The show can cover for that for a while, and it all lends itself to a journey, but bosses will want safe bets for the final.

    Groups are notoriously difficult to get right, but tend to produce great successes if it all comes together – see Little Mix. They weren’t exactly spot on early doors either as I recall, though it did come together and they now seem to have a very strong grip of what they want to do as a band. It’s whether we can imagine either of these groups doing the same. If they don’t live up to potential, you can see them being cut loose.

    • Jessica Hamby

      All the speculation can be fun but it’s a bit like groping around in the cellar with the light off, your eyea shut and a blindfold on. Wait until the live show and they show you what their intentions are. At this early stage it’s usually clear who is going when b3 is announced, certainly when b2 is called, so it should be possible to make a few pennies. If you’re regularly getting it wrong at that stage maybe just practice calling the answer until you’re getting it right more often than not. And read some of the articles analysing what to look and listen for.

    • Woofie

      There is something different about this group compared to previous years. I think a lot of lessons have been learnt over the years. It all seems very calculated and designed. I don’t believe they are a new One Direction, far from it, but more like a new JLS, which is what some of the twitter feedback was comparing them too, and which is more a credible approach.

      I would like to know how they were put together, just before the show, and if they is a connection. I do think they are ear marked for the final and a boost to Louis’s ego.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t think I’m talking out of turn if I say most sofabettors at the time felt that the reason Rough Copy got binned was that one of them could not sing in tune and it became increasingly, painfully obvious. That’s why Luke Friend ended up in the final. It was also the year Tamera failed after her bullying stories and then crumbling under pressure and backup Hannah got set on fire during a James Bond number and was long gone by the time they realised she might be useful. That’s one of the reasons Sam Bailey looked so good. Compared to the others she was, literally, outstanding.

  • Scott

    Sam Bailey dramatically changed how I look at this show. It then became clear to me that no-one cares if the winner goes on to have a long, protracted Radio 1 friendly career – all people want just before Christmas is a feel-good inoffensive winner who can sing really well and provide a bit of a wow factor for the final show.

    I was never convinced they were determined to get Rough Copy in the final, though I’d have said it was more likely than not. However, taking the Sam Bailey logic to its natural conclusion, they would rather have someone dependable in the final who can sing over a band who may be more of a commercial proposition but can’t. The franchise comes first, as I seem to recall Mr Betsfactor saying, but also if they balls it up in the final people aren’t going to forget that and a commercial launch is doomed. It’s why, for me, Four of Diamonds need to improve dramatically or they’ll be thrown under the bus sooner rather than later.

    I stand by the logic at this stage that they want towards the end: 1. A middle England friendly winner who can maybe sell them a few records; 2. a middle England friendly potential winner who they can dampen if they decide they don’t want them to win; 3. A curveball – either a band which could sell them a few records, or someone who sounds a bit different (but can still sing); 4. A Radio 1 act – one you could imagine them taking and running with. That can change if an act catches fire (not on stage, they’d be out, you know what I mean), or if the producers decide to run with something they know has huge potential (Little Mix).

    • David Cook

      What still defies logic is what happened with Louisa last year. They knew exactly who they wanted to win. We knew who they wanted to win from the first audition show. They spent the entire series ensuring they got the result they wanted. They had weeks to come up with a suitable song. So how on earth did they end up with such a horrendous winners single? A truly awful dirge of a song which made no use whatsoever of her voice. Before you even heard it you knew it was going to be a complete flop – so who on chose it and why?

      • Scott

        I’m always fascinated by the meh song they always give them to launch their careers. It strikes me as a bit of a throwback to the days when the winner would inevitably go to number 1 just on the basis of the TV exposure, which doesn’t always happen these days.

        I suppose if you’ve got a winner you don’t think will have any long-term career then there’s no point wasting gold on them. Also, they tend to like launching their careers some months after they win (no doubt partially to ensure they still have a career by the time the next series is on) but if there’s a decent act the older audience is ok with who could also do decent things on Radio 1, they could give them the best chance possible with a decent track.

        The last huge original winners’ single I can remember is Sound of the Underground, and we’re going way back for that.

      • I think someone at X Factor or Syco really liked that song. I think it was used before as one of the songs covered on cover albums released by X Factor acts – Jahmene Doulgas.

        So, someone really liked that song and wanted Louisa Johnson to make it a chart hit in the UK, just like Alexandra Burke turned “Hallelujah” into a huge chart hit in the UK. The problem: “Forever Young” is no “Hallelujah” and didn’t lend itself to the X Factor’s winner’s single treatment that well. It’s a shame that Louisa was saddled with it, but the intentions were probably good.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I assumed it was chosen because it was bad for Reggie & Bollie rather than because it was good for Louisa. Either way, it was a terrible decision.

    • Jessica Hamby

      The final is the showpiece event of ITV’s biggest show of the year. They want it to be good. That’s all we can be sure of.

      I suspect that MIddle England is not watching X Factor but perhaps that’s a matter of definition.

      • Stu

        But what TPTB think is good isn’t necessarily what the audience think is good. Maybe I’m in the minority but the Sam / Nicholas / Luke final line-up lacked variety AND a potential star with chart longevity. When you’ve had finals like Alexandra/JLS, Little Mix/Marcus/Amelia and Matt/Rebecca/1D/Cher, you’d think the producers would – before anything else – ensure there’s an entertaining act in the final who can provide great Saturday night entertainment. The producers might have realised this hence pushing for Fleur in 2014 and then Reggie n Bollie being pushed to the final last year after the dud finals of 2012 and 2013.

        • Jessica Hamby

          The point I was trying to make when talking about Luke Friend et al is that imo that was NOT a line-up that they wanted. It was one that they ended up with. You can argue that their hand was forced by Miss Dynamix’s pregnancy thing and Tamera’s bullying scandal but they dumped the talent and kept the useless acts after those things had occurred.

          They could end up in a similar scenario this year and they must be aware of that. It’s going to be interesting to see how things turn out this weekend. I certainly won’t be watching for the singing (and tbh I’m still a little afeard for Saara who is the only one I actually find watchable).

          If I was tptb I’d dump Honey G and push Saara as a quirky novelty – all the way to the final if I could – but I’m not sure they have the gumption or the respect for their audience to do that.

          Honey G is like a joke for idiots. Look. She’s a rapper but she looks middle-aged and she’s really bad. You wouldn’t even get away with it at a student union. Hell, you wouldn’t even be allowed to show her on CBBC. It’s f**king ridiculous. She’s what Susan Boyle would be if she couldn’t sing and they let her on the show anyway.

          • Jessica Hamby

            In fact I owe Susan Boyle an apology. I’m sure she has more self-respect than that. It was a crass remark and I regret making it.


          • Stu

            Oh yeah I agree, I was just following on from your point. I was quoting the “they want it to be good” part of your post. 😀

          • Scott

            My definition of middle England – going back a bit up there – is small c conservative, freeview watching, probably Brexit voting mainstream which listens to Radio 2 or Smooth, possibly Heart. It doesn’t like to be challenged. Possibly unfair and definitely unscientific.

            The Honey G push is having an impact – I know parents whose kids are constantly going on about her in the playground, and she was the reason someone I know who otherwise would never want to watch X Factor in a million years wanted to tune in. The joke has worn comprehensively thin for me, but it’s new to others so it’ll take a while yet I suspect. I wouldn’t like to predict what her voting figures are, I imagine they’re going to be higher than most novelty acts, especially given the weight of the show has been thrown behind her.

  • David Cook

    Another reason for dropping the lifeline vote this week would be if they want to protect Honey G. Wagner struggled to get anywhere near 10% of the vote, Stevie just about scraped that a couple of times. The Honey G act’s wearing very thin now so I can’t see her matching that level. She’s probably just above B3 cut off already. The numbers just don’t work in her favour if she falls into the bottom three. Based on the last couple of years we know that in the early weeks 2 – 3 million votes were cast, so even 10% gives her 300,000 max. On Sunday we were told that 1-2M votes were cast just in the flash vote. Even if everyone who voted for her on a Saturday votes again on the Sunday , she would easily be beaten by those potentially using the flash vote as a vote against.
    I expect the lifeline vote to be dropped this week, with Ryan and one other act being really targeted to keep them below Honey.

  • Anglia Chu

    Was Week 3 the first time this year they flashed the song title instead of the act’s name during the Lives (Bang Bang instead of 4oD)?

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