X Factor 2016 Week 4 Elimination: Who Will Be Sacrificed on Fright Night?

Halloween makes a welcome return to X Factor this weekend. Here’s another reminder of our previous analysis of the particular spooky staging to watch out for. There’s been a lively debate in our comments section since the song choices were revealed yesterday, but context will be all. To prove the point here are three examples of how tonight’s songs have been used both positively and negatively.


Firstly, take Sam Lavery’s choice of 80s classic ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. It was 1 Direction’s Halloween song in 2010, with a building guitar arrangement that gave it an upbeat, American feel that fitted in with their early sound. Compare it with the dirge of a version given to Jake Quickenden in 2014, when the knives were out as early as week 2. It includes the “death knell” beat at 2:17, 2:25 and 2:34 which I’ve heard accompany quite a few X Factor kills. Arrangements aside, it was also the song used for the greatest X Factor staging moment of all time.


Emily Middlemas’s choice of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ is also iconic for the students of X Factor kills. We wondered how the show would halt the apparent Wagner juggernaut in 2010, and the staging provided just the ticket. However, as Amy Beth has pointed out in the comments section, it has recently been used more positively for Simon Cowell’s pleasure, and there are numerous popular YouTube versions such as this one that if followed, may suit the Scottish lass.

5 After Midnight attempt to bounce back from last week’s sharp criticism by singing ‘Thriller’. It was part of the concerted effort to pimp Fleur in 2014, though it kept her polling around halfway down the field at that point. On the other hand, The Risk’s polling went backwards when covering it in 2011, but in a week when they changed a band member and producers enthusiasm for them seemed to run out for good. Aidan Grimshaw’s vote stayed steady after his rendition.

The second point to make about tonight’s show is that there are three acts who have been treated as utterly disposable in two of the previous three weeks. Ryan Lawrie and Saara Aalto polled in the bottom three on two occasions after poor treatment that seemed intended to put them there. Four Of Diamonds were given a very lukewarm return in week 2, and similar treatment in week 3 put them in the singoff.

Saara was given a reprieve last week, with the pimp slot, a massive production, and high praise. It saw her avoid the bottom three for the first time. Producers may decide she’s worth a few more weeks of that for entertainment value, or that one week of kindness was enough. If she polled very well last week, that may be one reason to bring back the “weird foreigner” narrative that dominated her treatment in the first two live shows. Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ can easily go one of two ways.

The knives have been out for Ryan over the last two weeks, but maintaining the Sunday flash vote has seen him saved before the singoff on each occasion. We’ve always thought he was better off in a boyband, as was briefly the case at the 6CC. Producers may be making that point by giving him Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’, which was given to Stereo Kicks in 2014. Despite positive treatment, it saw the eight-piece bounce back down into that week’s singoff. Ryan’s best hope could be the Sunday flash vote again and/or the knowledge that if he goes this weekend, producers are left with only two male acts in the final eight.

Four of Diamonds have promised to strip things back for Ella Henderson’s ‘Ghost’. Paul Akister managed an impressive week 1 third place from the opening spot with the song back in 2013. We’ll have to see how well it’s handled by a group. The kindest thing that’s been said a few times about them so far is that they have “potential”, a word that’s also been applied to Sam Lavery. In X Factor terms, where we’re looking out for hyperbole such as “world-class”, or at least “recording artist”, I’m not sure how useful that is. Does it imply, in a non-motivational way, that they’re currently not very good?

Those we haven’t mentioned yet include Gifty, with her second little-known Fifth Harmony song ‘I’m in Love With A Monster’. Her treatment has been nothing but positive so far, and we’d be a little surprised if that changed. The same can be said for Matt Terry who has ‘I Put a Spell on You’, and Honey G with ‘Men In Black’. The latter song helped Mason Noise bounce in week 3 last year.

Let us know your continued thoughts before and during tonight’s show. The first 20 minutes will take place under the Strictly overlap.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

70 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 4 Elimination: Who Will Be Sacrificed on Fright Night?

  • Stu

    Oops should have posted under this article…

    My early predictions are a Gifty / Saara / 4OD bottom three. Gifty’s song choice is horrendous. If she struggled in the vote with that other Fifth Harmony song, she’ll surely struggle with this. I think Saara will follow the Rachel Adedeji trajectory in all honesty: B3-B3-Safe-B3/OUT. It’ll also allow Sharon to focus all of her attention on Honey G (well she probably does anyway but she can openly do it once Honey is her last act). 4OD are likely a lost cause now but obviously I’ll wait until post-show to really judge.If 4OD give another amateurish performance for a third week in a row, I think they’ll be binned.

    The reason I think Ryan will be safe this week is because it’ll look tedious for the show to constantly have the same act benefiting from the flash vote. Ensure he is safe this week and drop the flash vote next weekend so it doesn’t look too obvious that tptb are out to get him – they gave Saara a redemption week, they may do the same for Ryan. It’s also worth noting “It’s Oh So Quiet” seemed like a hatchet-job on paper but proved otherwise. Maybe the same could be said for “Everybody”. AND one more thing – don’t the top 8 get to go on tour? Surely it is in the producers’ interests to get the last remaining male acts on the tour without having to shoehorn one of them in.

    • fused

      ” I think Saara will follow the Rachel Adedeji trajectory in all honesty”

      Maybe in 7 years time Saara will turn up in Hollyoaks as someone’s long lost relative. Probably not though, as I dread to think how openly xenophobic the country will be by then.

      I think the article makes a good point that this week they could do a lot of different arrangements to the song choices, I wonder how many if any will be sticking to the original arrangement. The theme also allows them to go nuts with the staging if they wish.

  • ^They put whoever they want on the tour regardless of finishing position. See: Seann.

    Regarding “potential,” I would say that 4oD’s performances haven’t been particularly amazing but they have the personalities and vocal ability to be commercial if they are able to figure it out. Which doesn’t tend to happen, let alone in the compressed schedule of the show, but ah well. I will keep bugging them the way I’ve bugged LM for the last few years over on DigitalSpy even if they go out in the next few weeks, because they’re young and I don’t think they are really too far off.

    As for Sam, she has the power and look to be commercial, but she doesn’t seem to have fully figured herself out and she needs to work on the tuning thing. Another set of issues that could possibly be solved but typically aren’t, and especially not during the short window provided by the show.

  • Sagand

    My preshow prediction would be Ryan, Saara and Sam. Ryan saved and Saara leaving.

    Ryan and Saara have been there twice before, Saara needed all the help she could get to avoid it last week and there hasn’t been that much sign they want to help Ryan. Sam has had the least help in production. Week 1: Empty mansion Week 2: Giant dustsheets Week 3: Post-apocalyptic world and her Spotify and youtube numbers are low compared to the rest of the field.

  • deathfromabove

    I have no idea what to think of Matt Terry surrounded by clowns dancing with walkers… Anyone wanna have a go at unpacking that?

  • stoney

    Matt has just had a moment. Not that he needed one

  • Curtis

    That was out of this world. I wondered if this would show up Matt’s lower register, but turns out that his lower register is actually the superior part of his voice. I don’t see how they could even deramp him if they tried – he’ll knock anything they give him out of the park.

  • Jessica Hamby

    The weaknesses in 5AM’s vocals are really starting to come through now. I don’t think they can take them to the final. They’re not good enough.

    Personally I thought the visuals and dancers were also a bit low budget. It will be interesting to see 4OD’s show. I wonder if they are about to become alpha group.

  • Rose L

    First of all, what is Brian Friedman smoking? Matt’s staging was completely crazy and for another act, we might be talking about it as a deramp, but for Matt, it simply didn’t register as an issue.
    I can only assume that Matt made his voice sound a lot worse that it actually is during the audition process; I remember his 6CC performance being seriously poor. He has some issues with screechiness at times but not this week with the lower register and in general, most weeks, he seems to achieve a high standard. He’s also extremely good at seeming very humble.
    I am afraid Gifty was memory-holed by that; it seemed a bit like she was a throwaway of no value.

    • Jessica Hamby

      This week Matt did to Gifty what Gifty was supposed to do to Ryan last week. Ironically Gifty gave a great performance albeit of a terrible song. I wonder if it will be enough to help her avoid b2 or persuade tptb she’s worth saving in a sing-off.

    • Henry VIII

      Matt’s dancers were a bit macabre, as was the night’s theme, but it was far from a de-ramp. They were offering themselves to him, similar to James Arthur “Sexy and I Know It” dancers.

  • Rose L

    I’m a bit behind, will catch up soon. 5 After Midnight have a bit of colour vomit going on in their staging. But from the judges’ comments, it seems they are now rehabilitated. How interesting that the band very clearly congratulated Brian on his choreography – looks like the egos are back in place.

  • Sagand

    The vote being open from the start must have had people voting early. All the heavy hitters bar Emily on early.

  • deathfromabove

    I am convinced Honey G was a $1 bet between Louie and Simon, dreamed up after they watched Trading Places together.

  • Phil

    Why do they keep trying to tell us that Sam has a “rock voice”?

  • 360

    Sam is I think by far my favourite act left. That was a slightly mixed VT and performance overall (slightly odd arrangement, stage and lighting, plus emphasis that she is ‘a different kind of girl/rock); my takeaway is they want to keep her around but also prevent her from ever taking too strong a vote share by niche-ing her up as a tomboyish girl.

    There were a lot of strong points in that VT though – sports-liking girl (previously used for Louisa Johnson), Northern explicitly called out, from a ‘normal’ hardworking background, and strong ties to family and extended family friends – all big plusses.

  • Martin

    This rock voice thing for Sam is hilarious. Personally I always enjoy her performances but they are far from perfect. I look forward to the week we get to see her sing a song by Enter Shikari.

  • Curtis

    Oh, she’s Zara again. That might set the tone.

  • kingston

    zara’s dancers writhing in the pews!!!

    • Jessica Hamby

      Am I alone in thinking that Saara is going to be b2 again tomorrow?

      • Edie M

        That seemed a b3 performance to me. Staging was v distracting, and a veil over her face for much of the song was not promising. VT a bit ordering as well. But comments were not too bad though?

        • Jessica Hamby

          Nothing to motivate votes imo. More “end of journey” in that you struggled but now you’ve won everyone over and found out it’s ok to be different. Sounded like a made for tv movie.

        • Curtis

          I thought it was textbook B2/3 material – she was superb of course – but just the staging and the camera angles, the weird hair etc. It certainly reminded me of the way they would get Kitty into the bottom 2 back in the day.

          I bet on her to go during her performance and then the judges comments happened and the market certainly didn’t agree with me. Oops…

      • deathfromabove

        Given that they kept using the word ‘different’ to describe her, I wouldn’t doubt it.

  • Kevin

    The mums are in the VT – I think they’re trying to claw it back for 4OD with a tedemption arc

  • Phil

    4OD getting the lastminute.com curse this week.

    Saara was brilliant. My dad loved it.

  • Alan

    4od bottom 3 certainties.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Was there a single harmony in there? Four girls in a line.

      Did Nicole just say “Cringe of diamonds”? I really want to like them but that was utterly forgettable. Comments must be for a different act.

  • Kevin

    Can’t see 4OD being bottom three after that – this was their comeback performance I think – their best vocal since Judge’s Houses

  • Rose L

    The performance was chaotic but the comments were good and the emphasis on them embracing her difference and admiring her voice – as if they only just noticed it is good – was quite strikingly different from before. I think it will all depend on who else gets dragged down there. 4OD so far sound awful….and I am afraid Gifty wasn’t memorable…I guess we need to see what happens with Emily; Ryan isn’t safe by any means either.

  • 360

    4oD vocals were not wonderful there apart from the blonde girl again. Also, it sounded like their microphones were deliberately very quiet and/or at different levels.

    I have been wondering if 4oD were intended to be set up for next year – not as a group, but for one or more of them to ‘re-audition’ as soloists next year and go further as a twist on the Fleur East narrative. It’s something they could still do – only 2 of the 4 girls featured prominently in the VT this week.

  • Alan

    Nice work Emily. How to murder a classic.

  • Edie M

    Emily safe then. Great vocal, she should have stood up at some point though.

  • Lenny

    Saara, Gifty and 4oD in the bottom 3. Gifty saved by flash vote, Saara to go.

  • Curtis

    Friedman doing a great job of making Emily’s performance somewhat interesting, but surely at some point she’s going to have to stop John Lewising it, or she’s going to lose the public.

  • 360

    I actually thought performance alone, that was quite a clean kill on Emily, aimed to drop her into bottom 3 but not quite bottom.

    My predicted B3: Saara, 4oD, and Emily/Gifty. The girl to be saved in the Lifeline vote, and Saara/4oD to sing off. Saara to be saved on superior vocal and for having just discovered herself, unless 4oD are rock bottom in which case deadlock would do.

    Emily B3 would make it a more agonizing decision and better headline when they inevitably pull the Emily/Ryan singoff.

    • Anglia Chu

      Really? I thought it tried to elicit some kind of sympathy: she was a broken china doll who is really sad. She sings about how she “[doesn’t] belong here” but the judges praise her, pretty much saying “no dear, you belong here, you were great.”

  • Fudd

    Do people think they’ve really done enough for Ryan? I think they’re looking to push him down there again – hair messed up, girls clawing at him at the end, vocal was a bit off at times so Simon’s criticism won’t be motivating… nice enough comments so it wouldn’t be an unplesant end of the journey but that’s about it.

    If the Lifeline vote is still there (did Dermot mention it? I missed it if so) then he’ll probably be saved again… unless Emily is down there too and people are vindictive enough to save the third contestant!

    Very enjoyable show tonight I thought.

  • Rose L

    And I am pretty sure the Flash Vote/app vote got a mention at the beginning too

  • Martin

    Another night of comments in stark contrast to performance. I actually thought Emily gave the best performance of the series so far and was treated well. Based on performance and performance alone I’d say Gifty, Ryan and 5am bottom three but 4OD and Sam wouldn’t shock me, and Honey g was forgettable tonight too.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Actually, rewatching Saara’s performance I loved it. I could watch a whole show of that. I can’t make a judgement on it. And the coffin / keyboard and firework fountains were just brilliant. 🙂

    • Fudd

      Saara was bloody brilliant. It’s simply for that performance value that they have to keep her around for as long as they can. But will they? Or does she take performance votes away from Honey G so they’ll flatten her at the first opportunity.

      She had a kooky foreigner VT but I thought it was more endearing then ‘the other’. And the comments were complimentary though I was listening for a cry out for votes which didn’t come. Though I’m not sure if the judges called out for votes for anyone tonight… closest we got was Louis saying 5 After Midnight had to get to the final.

  • annie

    Well, Halloween usually kills of an act that I root for ( belle amie, Sophie habibis and so on…) So I won’t be surprised if 4oD will fall into that curse. Will be said though… They show so much potential which somehow doesn’t come out ever since live shows started… 🙁
    Gifty and possibly Ryan,Saaaaraaa down there.
    Sam somehow manages to pleasently surprise me every week.
    And tonight was a good night for emily, but she should really stop going down the Ella Henderson memory lane of johnlewising anything… It won’t work for her for much longer…

    • Jessica Hamby

      The VT, comments and song were meant to help them but the actual music was not exciting. Was it in the wrong key? Something about it seemed wrong. They can get better. Perhaps they need more performance experience. I think they’re safe though. I’m sticking with my original predictions of a Gifty, Sam and Ryan b3, with Gifty to go on deadlock.

      I know Gifty was on first but look at all the stuff they threw at her. Strictly bus, terrible song, Dermot practical joke Simon’s teeth, vote for the scariest judge, followed by Matt. If she’s not b3 tomorrow I reckon they should crown her winner and synthesise her blood to cure diseases.

      • Fudd

        I thought the opening chorus and verse were awful. Once they recahed the second chorus, which sounded more like the original, they were fine.

        In some shots they were Hannah Barrett’d with fire, though.

  • fused

    Matt sang really well tonight! It’s the first time I’ve been impressed to be honest, other than just thinking “Yeah, he has a good voice I suppose”. I thought that was Gifty’s best performance too, but she was in a bad performance slot so could be in trouble.

    I would agree that 5 After Midnight’s vocals were noticeably bad tonight too. So were Ryan’s, I think that performance was probably too big for him.

    Honey G. She isn’t very good is she, joke act or not.

    I’m starting to think that I’m hearing something completely different on my TV when it comes to Sam, because I thought she sounded horrible, then the judges started lavishing praise on her.

    I enjoyed Saara’s performance, but it was definitely weird, and can’t see it being a vote magnet put it that way.

    I don’t know what it is with 4 of Diamonds, but they’re just… not interesting at all. I can’t think of why specifically. Maybe they just simply don’t have “an x-factor”.

    I liked Emily’s performance, but maybe it was a bit too “nice” in it’s own way, which probably wasn’t what they were aiming for.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Interesting to see that 5AM have drifted to 3rd favourite and Emily has shortened to 2nd favourite.

  • Fudd

    Couple of things I noticed watching the performances back – Honey G seemed to be called an ‘unidentifible species’ by the ITV news bulletin whilst Ryan’s performance was seemingly set on a pirate’s ship one week after Simon questioned the Four of Diamonds performance which was also set on a boat.

    Also, Ryan and Four of Diamonds got a cackle after their names but not everyone did.

    Might mean nothing; just fun speculation.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I wonder if Honey G might be a surprise b3. I’ve been running through the acts in my head, thinking about who I think is safe, rather than who I think is in danger, trying to work out the b3 by elimination.

    Matt, Emily, 5 AM, Saara, 4OD all seem safe to me. I can’t add Honey G because to tell the truth I can’t remember a single thing about her performance. I can’t even remember the judges comments. I wonder if she might be a surprise b3.

    Just realised the only thing I remember is the comment about being the best-known rapper in Britain or something.

    • Gavster

      Actually Honey’s odds are pretty much where they were yesterday. She’s going nowhere.

      • Jessica Hamby

        She’s shortened on oddschecker. I don’t use Betfair.

        Do you have an opinion on who is going?

        • Gavster

          SKYbet were briefly 15s around 8pm when people saw the running order. They’ve now lengthened to 23s. Similar with WinnerSports when they were 19s at 20:30, but have since lengthened to 21s. Betfair followed a similar pattern. The market doesn’t think Honey is going home. Nor is it concerned by clickbait Sun/Tellymix stories.

          Nothing about Honey’s performance signalled the show wants her out. In fact she was name checked for the final again. Her position in the running order signals the producers are fairly happy with her vote strength.

          As for who’s in danger:

          Gifty, Sam, Saara, 4oD and Ryan are all contenders for bottom 3.

          In terms of who they have ZERO interest in, I’d say 4oD are most likely to be heading home.

          • Jessica Hamby

            But much longer odds were on offer than 15s. Currently the best available is 25. I’m sure you could get 33 and even 40 before the show started.

          • Gavster

            The highest price available today from the high street was 25/1. Most firms have settled back to that range. There is no Honey G crash.

          • Jessica Hamby

            Well perhaps I’m mistaken, but I also know that you offered odds on Honey G finishing above Saara and I disagreed with you at the time. I’m afraid we’ll have to differ on this one. I think Honey G is circling the drain and is not anywhere near as popular as the amount of attention she gets would suggest.

  • Fudd

    Did the treatment of Sam come across as a pimping or a desperate bid to get votes? To me it was the latter, especially Simon’s garbled critique about blaming him if people didn’t think it was good enough. It felt like he was making an excuse for a bottom three appearance so I have to wonder…

    Sorry, I’m watching back and commenting on things which stand out to me, hence the sporadic posting.

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s not often that a judge blames him/herself for their act’s faults. I don’t think it will help motivate many votes though. It wasn’t an explicit call for votes.

      Sam’s odds for elimination have drifted though, and Gifty’s have shortened. Gifty is now shorter than Sam and fourth favourite for elimination (4OD, Ryan and Saara are shorter, Saara has also drifted).

  • swablu

    Gifty and Ryan I reckon. Even I forgot Gifty even existed after the first few performances tonight. Ryan’s voice sounded incredibly weak and lonely singing a group song.

    I think Saara’s vote might have an ongoing uptick. I managed a rare X Factor viewing with the rest of my family last weekend and they all started voting for her. They said ‘I like her now, I think she’s fun’, and tonight’s performance had the same sort of vibe as last week. It was also notably professional and strong after Ryan and Sam who both sounded weak and shaky.

    Something to note about normal people who watch X Factor and don’t analyse it like we do – whatever’s in the VT and comments is not so important as we think. All the analysis over the last couple of weeks about how meaningful it is that Emily appears in Ryan’s VTs and not vice versa. No-one in my family had registered as of last week that the two of them are in a relationship. They talk right over the VTs and the comments, or are still out of the room having a fag. The performances matter more for votes, I think.

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