X Factor 2016 Week 9 Elimination: Semi-final Uncertainties

I’m reluctant to rush to judgements before tonight’s live show, having pondered a Ryan / Emily bottom two in week 7, and a difficult week 8 for Saara. Whatever producers reasons for not following either path, it’s worth bearing in mind that they seem happy with how the competition is progressing. There’s been no Maloney-style takedown or Faustini-esque doughnut deramp.

Song choices this week seems to be keeping the four remaining acts to their respective paths. Let’s start with the much-discussed Saara, easily the most popular competitor in our comments section. It seems likely that she’ll get a big production for ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ followed by a chance to shine vocally by reprising audition number, ‘Chandelier’.


Fleur East covered the former at the same stage in 2014, opening the show with a workmanlike performance before her memorable ‘Uptown Funk’. Meanwhile, the biggest danger with ‘Chandelier’ is the potential for producers to create an end-of-journey feel by returning full circle to her first song. But this is a great song, and Nicole was particularly bowled over by her excellent rendition. It was also seen in 2014 when covered by Andrea Faustini, another entertaining foreigner with a great set of pipes.

Saara remains the closest challenger to Matt Terry in the outright market. Matt’s price drifted further over the last 24 hours despite getting ‘Silent Night’, the holy grail of Christmas songs, given to previous winners Little Mix and Alexandra Burke. That may have partly reflected a more surprising choice for his second song, Jessie Ware’s ‘Say You Love Me’, only performed once before on the show, by Lauren Murray in last year’s 6CC. It won’t be known to the vast majority of the audience. The song promises to suit him however, and his supporters will be hoping that he finally gets the pimp slot.

Emily Middlemas hasn’t been in the bottom two yet, but is second favourite for elimination this weekend. Mentor Simon Cowell is answering her critics who have complained that she does too many slow numbers by giving her the exceptionally slow Donnie Darko version of ‘Mad World’. It was done to some acclaim by Aiden Grimshaw in 2010’s first live show. Let’s hope there’s not a dance beat added halfway through as in Jay James’s horrid 2014 cover. Emily’s Christmas song is John Lennon’s ‘War Is Over’. I’m envisaging a choir of children clad in white as I type this.

Five After Midnight are attempting to bounce out of their first bottom two appearance last week. Their Christmas number is East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’, done at the same stage by Lauren Platt in 2014 before she was eliminated. Their other song is Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)’. Nicole referenced Stevie Wonder for the trio’s highly praised pimp slot version of ‘Say You’ll Be There’ in week 5. Given their vocal frailties, it doesn’t feel like a promising selection of songs for the boyband.

Since the voting stats were published since 2008, only Luke Friend in 2013 has managed to escape elimination having polled lowest of the remaining contestants in the quarter-final. That doesn’t bode well for 5 After Midnight.

It’s also worth mentioning that for the past five years, the final four acts have consisted of two who have already been in a singoff, and two who haven’t. It’s only in James Arthur’s year that the final 1-2 hasn’t been from the latter two.

Precedent thus suggests that Saara and the boyband are more likely to be fighting for third at best, possibly after going head-to-head in Sunday’s singoff. But Saara has already confounded precedent with her unusual path to the semi-final. Such trends may well be smashed this year as they were in 2012.

We must also await confirmation during the Saturday show that there will be a singoff this weekend. It was only introduced at this stage in 2010. Add to all these uncertainties an eye-opening Daily Star article this morning, and there are many more questions than answers before the Saturday show.

Keep your thoughts coming below.

Photos via ©ITV

217 comments to X Factor 2016 Week 9 Elimination: Semi-final Uncertainties

  • Spiidey

    Nicole and Sharon’s reactions to Chandelier are going to be extremely interesting this week.

    The former was blown away by Saara’s audition and watching Saara’s live show performances back she seems the most animated by some way and also really enjoying/whipping up the audience for Saara’s performances.

    Sharon of course wasn’t there when Saara auditioned.

    Normally Cowell is key but these two I think are going to be pivotal this week.

  • Martin

    That article you linked to at the end is one of the strangest things I’ve seen this year. Just what is the point of it?! No contestants are named, barely even implied. Rotten programme!

    I’m looking forward to the show tonight. Ideal circumstance for me is no sing off and 5AM going. I don’t anticipate that happening though – I expect the sing off will remain as it has done for the last five years, and I expect Saara in it alongside 5AM.

    Thank you for bringing back memories of Jay James doing Mad World, too. I’d forgotten about that. Horrid indeed!

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s a nasty article but I don’t think being gay or bi is a big deal anymore, certainly not if you’re in the entertainment business. In or out doesn’t matter either, as long as you’re not being a hypocrite about it. Most people think “so what” or “we already knew”.


      • Martin

        I don’t think it strange because of the tone of it – it’s in the Daily Mail, I’d expect nothing less. More so because of the severe lack of content compared to the amount of snark on show. Usually with articles like this, it’s blatantly obviously who is being referred to even if they aren’t named but unless I’m being dim, I don’t see it?

  • Andy

    Subliminal message in the Christmas tree baubles above,
    Saara GREEN.
    Five after midnight RED.

  • Spiidey

    Pre show Saara has now fallen below 2’s (37/20) with one bookie and is now pretty much 2’s/ 9/4 across the board. Matt lengthening and best priced 4/6.

    Now a good time to get on Matt, or are we going to see a further tightening in the market during/after the show?

    • Sagand

      On the week people thought the singoff would be Ryan/Emily Emily drifted a lot before the show, possibly a sign of people in the know of the running order.

  • GsP

    Does running order matter as much when there’s only 4, they all sing twice, and lines open from the start?

    I’m guess round 1 will go Saara, Emily, Matt, 5AM, then switch it up to Emily, Saara/5AM, Matt.

    Saara has the only up tempo so has to open surely.

  • Donald

    I been unable to give as much attention to this years series and Sofabet due to family needs and business commitments but Sofabet so so good for catch up when ahve time.

    I notice on last article LJ last year mentioned, LJ was a shoe in from the word go last year.

    Logic and data (which is becoming more valuable every day, especially to Sony Corp!) Nice to have seen so much data shared on Sofabet over the years, long before it was mainstream online jargon.. Well done to those who pioneered use on here..

    Hard to see a final without the two who have not been in the bottom two unless they choose to throw both of them under the bus and throw them well under it. Has anyone considered that in their calculations?

    it is clearly a night to watch the show and Chandelier could be big or a disaster. As one sitting on a samll to medium big price ticket on The best singer on the show and a well positioned book looking forward to tonight. Will our Litte Mix record of 20/1 be broken.. be great if was.

    Last weekend at Fountain also before move to Acton for 2017.

    Where will Honey G votes go?

    I think 5AM most likely to go for reasons that most Sofabet regulars would know.

    XFactor will most likely not have Xmas no.1 this year either.. might manage it week one but that far from guaranteed either.

    Good luck to all tonight

  • Sagand

    Saara must have topped the vote last week.

  • Plinkiplonk

    When the hell did 5AM top the vote??? First week ?

  • Martin

    Sing off tomorrow just confirmed by Dermot.

    Matt on first again. Could quite easily be book ending the show like Louisa did last year though.

  • My flatmate hasn’t watched the show this year. Switched it on, he sees Matt first and says “Oh he looks boring enough to win.” Bang on the money!

  • Curtis

    If all 4 acts have topped the vote, then that means everybody has beat everybody at some point and surely no act is safe from the bottom 2 – including Matt.

  • Dean

    1st song target Matt. Is this a set up for the 2nd or a pure on deramp

  • Plinkiplonk

    I am sensing quite the dampener there so far…

    I mean, with the right golden lighting and a 4 judge SO that could have easily closed the show and been hailed as a ‘moment’. Instead it was very cold with all the ice blue and got luke warm comments. What’s going on here???

    • Chris Bellis

      They started de-ramping him when they gave him a SIA song the other week. Also notice the “Icelandic Northern lights backdrop” for the intro. If you haven’t been there, you wouldn’t know that Iceland is all volcanoes and mountains, and Finland is all flat forest and water. I’ve seen the Northern lights in both countries though. Poetic licence. Subliminal support for Saara?

      • Nick Choi

        I can see two possible reasons for the seemingly Matt deramp this week with his poor choices of running order:

        He may be so far ahead, that the show wants to put him down a bit to make the show more exciting and competitive, which I believe may have been a reason he hasn’t been given a pimp slot yet or..

        This may truly be a deramp leading up to a potential Saara win. Which surprisingly seems really possible at this point, with Saara now being favorite to win at 11/10. I also found it really interesting that they chose this week as the dreaded Finnish embassy VT week. They put it along with two huge performances, which I’m assuming will lessen the burden of that VT.

  • GsP

    That was dull and his voice thin and emotionless.

    Setting up for a big pimping in round 2 I think. Probably bookend the show.

  • GsP

    Also having 5AM/Emily squeezed and memoryholed by Matt’s and Saara either side seems to further suggest those are there final 2, or, perhaps, that they are wanting Saara now but she needs a bit of extra help (or Emily needs extra work to dampen)

  • EM

    Stars, gospel choir, praise, finalist mention, asking for votes – and people are seeing dampener for Matt??? What did I miss???

  • Martin

    Mixed bag for Matt IMO. Competent yet slightly boring performance. Star subliminals. A call to vote from Sharon, although phrased as a slight afterthought. Dampener o’clock from Simon, although the predictable comment could be countered with his song choice in round two being relatively unknown. You could find positives or negatives there – it depends what you want to see.

    Do we think Matt was told to stress just how much he was singing from the heart and that he needed to be in the final?!

  • George

    Saara is opening with White Christmas and then going into Mariah based on Spotify

  • please can we get thru the first 3 acts of fodder and bring out the star of the show……. ?

  • Martin

    This bloody car park.

  • George

    If it’s close they could be trying to get Matt down to 3rd – “all finalists have been in the bottom two” etc, that would require getting Emily there too though.

  • brian harvey for stage invasion!

  • DGiles

    saara and Matt practically neck and neck in the outrights with some bookies now…

  • Jessica Hamby

    5AM have become a lead with two backing singers. Bit of a shame since from my point of view because the darker guy with the ‘fro has the nicest voice imo.

    And HEHMAX at Steakhouse.

  • Curtis

    5AM’s vocals exposed for the umpteenth week in a row.

  • Dean

    Steak house quietend the crowd but surprised with Simon ramping.

    Targeting Matt right now it seems with Simon comment

  • Way to reduce a competent performance to ridicule Nicole!

  • Tpfkar

    Feeling hungry. How about an ice cream sundae with cherry, tomato, and oranges? That was a bizarre comparison from Simon, made me think of Andrea’s doughnuts again.

  • Spiidey

    Nicole just did the doughnut deramp part II.

    Steak house, Steak house. Delicious!!!!

  • Plinkiplonk

    This was a bit pathetic in the ridiculous overpraise once again, I have a feeling they will be dragged to the final come hell or high water. Would not have expected that it could be at the expense of Matt of all people.

    Oh and Simon: nobody has sung Emily’s song on the show yet? You used this as the finalists’ charity guff one year, already forgotten???

  • Spiidey

    Saara now favourite on odds checker

  • Apart from Bratavio, that was probably the worst performance of the entire series. :/ Did not like that one little bit.

  • Donald

    Nailed that one, it came across well..,

  • SamH

    I preferred the backing vocals more than Emily there

  • Martin

    Goodness me that was an excruciating performance. Are they trying to drag down both Matt and Emily and have a final where everybody has been in the sing off?!

    • George

      That’s what I thought earlier, with the bizarre ramping of 5AM it certainly seems like it so far.

    • Plinkiplonk

      Agree. What with the constant reminders about how close the voting is, how everyone has been top, they must have decided that they need a final where everyone has been in the B2 to ramp up the suspense. As everyone keeps saying, the franchise comes first, and last year must have done some damage, seeing as it was sewn up for Louise to win from the first audition.

      By extension, that would also mean that they either are super confident they can steer the vote during the final, or they really don’t care who wins this out of Saara, 5AM and Matt. Emily is a goner, I think…

  • Sagand

    Scotland well and truly motivated.

  • Fudd

    All I Want For Christmas Is You is going to seem lively after the dirge isn’t it?

  • Ben Cook

    Emily is toast after that. 5AM sounded the best they’ve ever sounded (yes I know they had help!)

  • Curtis

    Honestly felt sorry for Emily there. Completely drowned out by the backing vocals, the song AGAIN seemed out of her range, but to be honest I just think her voice has not recovered from the illness she picked up a few weeks ago. The regional vote is going to be seriously tested yet again.

    I think praise of the song is becoming a real deramp technique this year as well. Talking about how great the song is (as they all did there) is telling the audience “If you at all enjoyed that performance, it was sure as hell nothing to do with Emily but rather the song”

  • Martin


    At least she’s Saara again this week. I wonder where Zara has got to?

  • Finnish Embassy. are all acts being de ramped?

    • Jessica Hamby

      Don’t talk nonsense. They spoke in English, no foreign food, no national clothes, everything recogniseable and identifiable, they even brought in Father effing Christmas ffs.

      No deramp there at all. All positive. Best embassy visit I’ve ever seen.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Excellent work from the Finns, speaking in English.

    Love it.

    Well done to all. I think I should like to come and see the Northern Lights next spring if they are visible from your part of the world.

    • Chris Bellis

      Not in Spring proper. Mid winter is the best time.
      BTW are they taking the mickey with the sofabet embassy thing? I thought that wasn’t a real de-ramp, what with Father Christmas turning up and all.

      • Jessica Hamby

        The Finns aren’t stupid and of course their ambassador can speak flawless English. It may also be that the producers edited it or that the Finns are smart enough to keep the fermented herring behind closed doors (mind you, for all I know that’s the equivalent of jellied eels or something and no-one really eats it anyway).

        • HL

          A small detail: fermented herring is a staple of Swedish traditional cuisine. It is not known in Finland at all.

          Anyway highly recommend you visit both Finland and Sweden. 🙂 Northern lights can be seen when it is dark enough and not cloudy, so midsummer is definitely out of question, but winter is perfect.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Thanks. I was pulling that one out of the air. I meant it more as an indication of something alien to the British voter. They didn’t have anything like that.

          • Jessica Hamby

            And apols to any Finns if you got upset. But don’t take it personally. I upset a lot of people. Sometimes I even do it by accident.

      • Jessica Hamby

        I was thinking February. I’ll have a look for the best time and deals if Saara and Sam come through.

  • Donald

    Reverb well off on low on Saara mike channel…

  • DannyCraig

    4 judge SO for that?!

  • Edie M

    I haven’t liked any of the xmas round. That wasn’t good from Saara.

  • xxxxxxxxxx fun / spirit / journey !

  • George

    Simon teasing us re Chandelier?

  • Sagand

    Saara goes a strong favourite after Chandelier, it’s TWTIA Part 2 from listening on Spotify. But from one of the last two slots.

  • Dean

    Drab firsr round. Hopefully a better 2nd round.

    Based on first songs I feel Emily is the target for elimination and they are ensuring Matt not winning this

    Lets see on 2nd round

  • Curtis

    Round 1 scoring (not based on quality but the amount they were pimped)



  • Plinkiplonk

    As much as I like Saara, she has had some assistance with those last notes, audible as the sound was out of synch.

    However, this has made the intention quite clear, especially as the running order for the second bit seems to be Emily, Matt, 5AM, Saara. Matt+Emily are meant to go B2, and I assume Emily will be dropped. That means “level playing filed” for the final (LOL, no, as if…), and Simon can do his ‘only impartial judge’ spiel.

  • Probably briefly but…

    Saara is the favourite to win!!!!!

  • Andy

    Louis learning to talk Finnish should end the topic of who is the chosen one.

  • EM

    Loving the subtitles for the Scots tonight nevermind the Finns

  • betfair saara 2.22 twatte – 2,24

  • Plinkiplonk

    I would love it if she broke out into some random contemporary dance steps, screaming “See ? See ? Enough moving for you ???” at Louis…

  • Fudd

    Cage of Light alert for Emily. Another dour song too though they’re making it out to be her choice.

    Louis’ surely going to attack it again and not unfairly… and yet he didn’t, instead going with a bored ‘surely that’s enough to get you through to next week’.

  • DGiles

    Emily has somehow managed to make this even more dreary than expected

  • Dean

    Shoukd get you through to next week

    Yeah Emily is going

  • Chris

    I think Saara is genuinely going to be on a chandelier based on Simon’s comments.

    Also, that was the biggest attempt at false praise I’ve seen in a long time from those judges comments.

  • Martin

    Bit of a eulogy for Emily by Simon just then. Was all a bit sombre, not very motivational.

  • Curtis

    Simon with a call out for votes there, but it was pretty weak, and I didn’t notice any specific mention of Scotland. Praise was very very non-motivational, and it all felt end of journey. Emily rightly favourite to leave.

    Edit: Oh, and don’t forget, immediately memory-holed by Matt.

  • Chris Bellis

    I rather liked that performance from Emily, but I can’t see it getting the votes.

  • For the conspiracy people, it’s red and black.

    In other news Saara is going to be swinging from a chandelier.

  • Donald

    Serious good song choice here, fresh, big production.. bit of a moment for sure…

  • Jessica Hamby

    What was that weird break in the middle? I quite liked the song and he sang well in parts but seemed strained at points and the break was horrid. I agree with Simon. He’s not right and not singing as well as he was in previous weeks. Honest criticism.

  • Martin

    Really strong performance for Matt as far as I’m concerned. Simon trying to put the brakes on though. Will it motivate sympathy? Confusing night.

  • Dean

    At least Simon has given some motivation for Matt fans to vote.

    Emily fans have none

  • Chris

    Simon completely right there. Very bland.

  • desparate pleas for votes —– c ya !!

  • DannyCraig

    Jessica – go spend your winnings. Saara wins this show. Who would have thought that a few weeks ago. Congrats on getting 80s.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Thanks Danny, but I’m going to wait until the money is in my hand. The Gods of Hubris have put their magic thistle in my knickers too many times for me to take this for granted.

  • Dean

    5am pimpslot

    They want them in the final then. Jump over Matt and Emily?

  • Curtis

    I think Simon’s criticisms of Matt are going to come across as harsh, but fair – the usual deramp technique. They certainly did to me. I sense the show is trying for a Saara win, though they’re also preparing themselves for not being able to achieve it and having Matt as the winner ala Ben/Fleur.

  • Plinkiplonk

    OMG, they are letting the backgroud singers close the show? New level of desperation alert !!!

  • Donald

    They have bussed both Matt and Emily, 5AM pimp slot..

  • Chris

    Completely jumping at something here – but Simon saying “it feels like something’s got lost” from where he was at the start. As if there was a distraction…like the Star story?

  • EM

    Strangely both Matt and Emily both doing a defensive “this is me and what I do” rant at the end (both to Dermot’s horror!!)

    Almost as if they’ve twigged what’s going on

  • wembley for the final big stage Saara wins

  • Martin

    Just from a glance on twitter, there seems to be a lot of agreement with Simon’s comments. It seems Matt’a support is being tested this evening.

  • 5am are shite — any backers should go to spec/ear saversi#

  • Fudd

    Massive appeal for Saara from Sharon there.

  • Donald

    WOW ! Some pipes… some performance…

  • Dean

    Going for the Saara win here that’s what tonight has showed.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I’ve gone all Mrs O. Can’t say a word. Crying. Brilliant.

  • Ben Cook

    She’s absolutely walking it now!

  • George

    Saara thanks Britain, and says she’s staying in the country. Yup.

  • Phil

    5AM in the pimp slot – but how many viewers will have just used up all their app votes on Saara?

  • Curtis

    For me it didn’t quite connect the way last week’s did – I feel this moment was more manufactured by the producers. But fair play, it’s more than enough to get to the final and she is just so likeable. It seems a long time ago when Louis called her cold!

  • Martin

    This site needs renaming SaaraBet at the minute!

    Hard to see Saara b2 after that, mind.

  • Spiidey

    Saara has this in the bag.

    Best vocal and judges/producers firmly behind her. Fait accompli

  • EM

    Two words: Susan Boyle

  • I’m super proud of what Saara has achieve this season as a contestant, especially after that rocky start against tptb, and that was probably the best performance of the season but I feel like it didn’t come across as the big emotionally in tears Moment they were hoping for. But maybe I’ve been watching this show far too long and can’t connect with it emotionally anymore. Either way Saara clearly wins this week.

  • Spiidey

    Saara now huge favourite. 8/11.

    Matt 2’s

  • Donald

    They want Emily gone so Saara has no other female for votes ,competition hence pimp slot here for 5AM.

  • Fudd

    BUT have they gone all out for Saara because they desperately want her to finish ahead of two other acts tonight or because they actually want her to win?

    Again, there were enough signs tonight for me that this was a controlled pimp rather than putting everything behind her aiming for the win.

    They could easily give her Candy next week.

    • Sagand

      Using the four acts have topped the vote, you can work out she topped last week. The continued push is for the win.

      • EM

        You’ll have to explain that one….

        • Sagand

          We were told at the start of week 7 three acts had topped the vote.

          Meaning a new act had topped in either week 7 or 8.

          5AM were bottom week 8 and “Try a Little Tenderness” was bad in week 7 so they wouldn’t have newly topped the vote.

          Emily’s best week by far was Fright Night with Creep if she didn’t top then she wouldn’t have topped at all so she must have been one of the three too.

          So either Matt or Saara topped the vote for the first time. Matt was topping Spotify, the odds and polls in the early weeks. It just seems much more likely Saara topped last week than for Titanic or Matt not topping in the early weeks.

  • Dean

    What’s strange though is how everyone on here became fans if Saara due to lack of producer and audience favouritism.

    Now she has all that while Matt and Emily get stitched up the last few weeks and no sympathy for them

    Just saying :/

    • I love her vocals, never even went on sofa bet until about week 3.

    • fused

      I felt a bit sorry for both Matt and Emily tonight. Matt seemed really down, and Emily talking back at the judges at the end of her second performance suggests that they are both well aware of what’s going on this week.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I always quite liked Saara from the start. She’s one of the types of X Factor contestant I always like, I always seem to like the big voiced divas. I liked Relley C as well. The moment I started becoming a “fan” of Saara was when she performed ‘Alive’ in her first sing-off. I was a bit disgusted with all the “Zara from abroad” stuff that was thrown at her by the show early on, but for me liking Saara has never been a “sympathy vote”, and I don’t think it has for a lot of people on here, I think it’s more about personal taste. There’s been a lot of times one of my favourites has been an act which keeps surviving sing-offs, but I never go into a series thinking I need to support an act like that, it just seems to be how it turns out for some reason.


    I mean, I think Saara has this, I just hope it isn’t a Fleur situation where she lost out to the basic white male after all the hype. I could see that one but that might just be because I was a Ben supporter and now I’m one for Saara.

    Fleur was patently a worse singer than Ben, Saara doesn’t have the same problem. I’m rooting for her much more than any other contestant in recent times.

  • George

    Matt/Emily B2? What is this

  • I never though I was going to say this.

    Matt Emily B2
    Emily Eliminated


    SAARA WINS!!!!!!

  • Fudd

    That was 5 After Midnight’s best performance of the series for me.

    They’re gunning for a Matt v Emily bottom two.

  • Dean

    Was a terrible show tonight to be honest and I’m a Saara fan. Felt bringing Emily and Matt down was at expense of the show. Not thar Matt or Emily 2nd performance were bad anyway,they were pretty good but definitely no help.

  • I think they went in on Matt to level the field and try to make 5AM bounce ahead of Emily. Matt in the B2 is a dangerous outcome if they want anyone else to win, he would bounce all the way to the win. They need to keep him firmly under the radar to Marcus Collins him.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think you overestimate the power of the bounce. It only works if voters perceive the b2 appearance as undeserved or the contestant as being significantly better the next week.

      • I get that but it’s Matt MOR-Middle-England-Catnip Terry we’re talking about here. If James Arthur did it from Week 7 I can only expect Matt do easily ride that wave to first place.
        I hope you are right though, I suppose I’m just cautious at this point seeing I’m rooting for a Saara win.

  • Martin

    in the event of a Matt / Emily b2, surely the best thing to do for a Sara win is get rid of Matt? he’s the only other contestant left who can sing.

  • DGiles

    clearly they want Matt and Emily B2

    They must feel they can get it based on voting in previous weeks IMO

  • EM

    Anyone seen Stoney tonight??? Maybe he’s cooking his hat????

  • tpfkar

    Have they ever ramped anyone in the semi they didn’t want to win in the final – I can’t think of any examples.

    So although there’s a danger of group-think, I think that has to look good for Saara (and, implausibly, my position in the win market)

    • Curtis

      No, but I think we’ve all seen an act ramped who didn’t then go on to win. It’s becoming cliché to mention Ben/Fleur tonight – but forget it and the lessons learned at your peril!

      However, we know that unlike Fleur, Saara has topped the vote at least once – and it was probably last week. But I just feel caution should be exercised because the final is so oft won by the performer who is closest to the middle of the road – and that is plainly Matt.

  • GsP

    Simon spoke a huge amount of sense tonight.

    I wish I’d stuck a fiver on Saara at 100/1.

    Imagine, we could have lost her in week one to Brattavio

  • Saara’s two performances already have almost double of the views of everyone else’s on YouTube.
    That CAN’T be only Finnish fans.

    • Chris

      Particularly as Finns were able to watch live this week.

    • Sindi

      It’s not only Finnish fans. Saara’s been getting a million views in 24 hours. No way that a country of five million would be responsible of that on its own.

      • George

        If you look at last week, her second performance has just under a million views but TWTIA has nearly 1.7 million. Some of that will be replay value but certainly a lot of people only sought out one of her performances which Finnish fans wouldn’t do if they were catching up.

  • Poker Coach

    Wow! What kind of odds I am getting for Matt!

    Ending up into b2 does not mean that much. I still think Matt has bigger chance for winning than Saara.

    Saara will end up into 2nd place. I think what they try ti achieve is transfer Matts votes temporarily to 5AM. When 5AM will be eliminated, Matt will be number one again 🙂

  • fused

    Could Saara win? I’d love it to happen, I still can’t quite see it. Her Christmas performance was the only one I geniunely enjoyed tonight. I wasn’t so keen on ‘Chandelier’, the arrangement more than anything. I really, really like her as a person, and I think she has won people over that might not have been fans of her before.

    Matt was good too though, despite the deramping. Say what you like about him, but he can sing.

    They are really pushing it with 5AM, both in the sense they are hyping them and that it’s starting to look a bit daft.

    I thought overall Emily was the worst, and I’ve somewhat liked her throughout the live shows. As usual, it’s not entirely the act’s fault, but when the show wants them to go, they want them to go.

    On a more positive note, I think it’s not a bad final 4 really, all things considered.

  • Chris Bellis

    Just my opinion, but I thought her “Chandelier” was brilliant. Compare it with Matt’s version of “Alive” and the pieces fall into place.

  • Steve

    Well, my hat is currently marinating ready for dinner tomorrow. One has to now assume Emily was the act 1% above 5AM. They did everything they could to get them above her tonight.

    The way I read it was that TPTB had two goals tonight. Dampen Emily to bottom of the pile and dampen Matt to ensure Saarah was given the opportunity to steer clear of bottom two

    Beginning to look like they want the feel good story of a Saarah victory. However, I don’t think Matt will have lost any fans tonight so next week will be interesting.

  • stoney

    Just watching the playback now. Matt in poor slot again! Hes either running away with it or they are desperate for him not to win

  • Martin

    This evening is an odd one. It truly is a measure of whether the public will play ball with the obvious producer intention. I think the show is at a stage now where they wouldn’t be so brazen with their treatment of Emily and Matt tonight unless the desired outcome was achievable. I don’t think Matt will have been near the top of the vote for a few weeks based on the various statistics we’ve been given, Saara probably has been and 5AM are likely all over the place. I think emily has been kept in her lane and likely to come to her natural end.

    I think a Matt and Emily b2 is entirely likely tomorrow with Emily leaving.

    • Tim B

      Matt vs Emily B2 is my instinct too, but the market still thinks 5 After Midnight are more likely than Matt. I think it’s wrong and should be the other way around.

      • Martin

        Previous show form says 5AM are b2 tomorrow, they have been there before and Matt hasn’t so I get the logic but producer intention tonight says otherwise. Depends if the public play ball. I don’t think we’d have seen what we saw tonight unless it was a realistic outcome.

  • Sagand

    It’s much closer than I thought it would be on Google Trends, clear gap between the top two (Saara and Matt) and the bottom two (Emily and 5AM).

    I think the bottom two in the vote will be 5AM and Emily with Emily going by whatever means is necessary.

  • I must be the only one that thinks Saara’s performances tonight were nothing to write home about? When she came to the chorus of AIWFCIY it became painfully clear her voice is not big enough for that song. And her second performance didn’t come close to her audition. I was waiting and waiting for that “moment” to happen, but it didn’t. She still got a standing ovation from the judges.
    Emily was terrible on both of her performances. Simon was way too harsh on Matt, perhaps he really wants to have Emily in the final and wants Matt gone? 5 AM did okay with the help of a backing track.

    • George

      AIWFCIY was hardly spectacular but it was the only cheery Christmas song sung, and coming right after the three other dirges that was a huge advantage already.

  • DGiles

    That wasn’t just a de-ramp on Matt tonight, that felt like a rather brutal beating with a sledge hammer. The ramping of 5am and Saara puts pressure on his vote from 2 directions. 5am steal the teenage girl type vote, while Saara takes away those supporting him on the basis of having the best voice in the competition. Simon’s comments were harsh, but true.

    i think both Matt and Emily seemed aware of what was happening to them tonight. Emily had the look of defeat from the beginning and was probably prepared for it before the show (well rehearsed defense of her song choices). I think Matt only realised during the show and you could see the panic and disbelief dawn on him and he went into desperation mode and it didn’t look good (the pleading felt a little too full on, which is understandable if he wasn’t expecting it). I think its only natural when everyone tells you that you’re the sure winner and odds on favourite to be at least quietly confident about winning, so he’s been caught badly off-guard tonight. Confidence could be an issue for him next week now and he won’t have any underdog status even if he hits B2 this week. If anything, there will still be a sense that he’s the one that’s had it easy and has been the producers favourite with the public IMO.

    They definitely want a Matt / Emily B2. I think Matt needs to be in the final to make it the better show next week, so Emily goes home. I feel that Matt limps into the final rather damaged though….

  • Allan

    Or maybe tonight’s pimping of Saara was all about getting her to the final to satisfy the Finnish viewers (for the new TV deal) and then next week Matt will bounce and it’ll be business as usual!

  • Keen Observer

    With regards the win, I agree with the market that Emily is rightly regarded as a non runner now – she’s had no chance to fly the last few weeks and it’s a bit of a borefest.

    I’m pretty amazed Matt is still shorter than 2/1 – early slots week after week and producers intentions couldn’t be clearer tonight – not a preferred winner. If he’s miles clear in the vote you don’t deramp your winner in the semi final, hence don’t see that as a realistic scenario.

    Well done to all those who got on Saara at silly prices – great call. I thought after the ludicrous wig a few weeks ago it wasn’t going to happen for her, quite the turnaround.
    Deserving fav and would probably make her 60% for the win.

    Saying that, I think 5AM win in an ideal world, although I see this as somewhat an outside chance. Think they did a good job with them tonight and should be safe, with perhaps a 20% chance they could overhaul Saara in the final.

    Matt has been hard done by this series, I could see him go tomorrow as if the Emily vote is more under control they could keep her and don’t have to worry about deramping Matt during the final. Emily can do a couple of nice productions (Creep again?!) and bow out with a dignified third.

  • Linda

    Producers should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to Matt Terry. When he started he was sparkly, sexy and versatile. I thought his version of “Alive” was so raw and beautiful.

    Now he’s looking bloated, confused and as if he couldn’t give a damn.

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