X Factor 2017 Preview

X Factor returns for its fourteenth series this Saturday and Sunday at 8pm. That’s a week later than usual – the opening weekend has fallen over the August Bank Holiday in recent years. Talk of an early December final suggests it will end a week earlier than usual too.

The main shake-up seems to be fewer weeks of live shows. Cowell himself explained in an interview, “The early and middle rounds rate well. So the idea is to do more of the middle shows and less of the live shows.” The suggestion is that there will be six weeks of the latter, with an elimination every Saturday and Sunday.

We’ve experienced a truncated set of live shows before – when the Rugby World Cup of 2015 ate into the schedule. On that occasion, Louisa Johnson was the producers’ favourite from first audition show to her winner’s tears. With less time to mix things up, producers didn’t change her narrative at all.

Back to a longer set of live shows last year, producers were more cavalier over the treatment of long-time favourite and eventual winner Matt Terry, on whom they blew hot and cold in the final few weeks. It remains to be seen if the shorter time period of this year’s live programmes means a return to a Johnson-esque steam train that never gets derailed.

The judging line-up remains the same, and their categories have been revealed: Cowell gets the groups; Nicole the Overs; Louis the boys; and Sharon the girls. It does feel about time that a group repeated Little Mix’s 2011 victory, especially given the commercial successes from this category. But we’ve been saying that for a good few years now. Out of interest, Simon Cowell’s label is currently trying to make boyband Pretty Much happen.

An early trailer for the new series showcased 2017 Montenegrin Eurovision entry Slavko Kalezic reprising his X Factor Adriatic audition. Word that Nicole has taken him under her wing reminds us that she mentored Rylan Clark, and we wonder if Slavko is the “eccentric” act Louis Walsh is referring to in this interview. Louis was present with the Irish delegation for this year’s Eurovision.

There’s talk of no more joke acts after a more than mixed response to Honey G’s participation last year, but Slavko could easily slot into the “kooky foreigner who can sing and perform” role that the likes of Saara Aalto and Andrea Faustini have fulfilled so successfully in recent years.

Tweaks to the format include a six-chair challenge where the relevant mentor sits alone as their category performs, plus an end to the jukebox deciding each week’s themes. Producers have also promised contestants the opportunity to perform original songs, like it’s Lucy Spraggan and 2012 all over again.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how X Factor copes in its doomed ratings battle with Strictly, the launch show of which is currently scheduled to clash with its rival on September 9. You can expect the usual coverage and tinfoil-hattery on Sofabet this coming Autumn. The comments section outdoes itself every year, and as always, we look forward to your thoughts on the shows as they occur.

39 comments to X Factor 2017 Preview

  • Lia

    Less live shows leave a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn’t even watch it last year because I was so annoyed with the Louisa fiasco.
    I hate the 6 chair challenge. Getting rid of the jukebox? As if that was real and not rigged at all *rolls eyes*
    Anyway, I still love Sofabet and have kept on reading even when not watching.

    • Same, I’m disappointed with less live shows.

      They are much realer tv compared to the judges houses where most of the signing doesn’t even matter because the producers already know for example they are putting the novelty act through

  • EM

    After a good few years of X Factor and Sofabetting I’m sad (ish) to say I’m out this year. Just can’t bring myself to invest the time this year.

    So good lucky everybody and may all your bets be winners.

    • DannyCraig

      Will be a shame not to have your opinions & comments this year EM. I hope you change your mind over the next few weeks and remember how great a betting medium this show has been over the last few years 🙂

    • I hear ya, EM.

      To think that some people watch this show without reading Sofabet. Should you fall off the wagon, come rejoin us anytime.

  • 360

    Shorter shows this year suggest Matt Terry was not their Plan A last year and they desperately want to run a tight ship and get their Plan A over the line this year.

    That should make for quite easy betting. I might have a flutter this year.

  • Martin

    Welcome back all. Having modestly taken part for the last two years, I’m all in for 2017.

    Not happy with less live shows, but I think last year demonstrated that the show was chasing ratings which Cowell has been blatantly obvious about already this year. Given the state of the last few years, and how they’ve failed to make any of the contestants happen (Fleur, Louisa, Matt or Reggie n Bollie) despite commercial potential, i would abandon all hope of desired winners and concentrate on making a good show but I don’t see why they’d start doing that now and it would be less fun for us.

    Every year they talk of new changes etc etc etc and essentially it’s the same old shit. We will still have novelty acts but they’ll be less Honey G and more Kitty/Johnny Robinson.

  • Anglia Chu

    Nice to be back pretending that I care about a bunch of people’s music when I’m just here for the d r a m a

    Preview of a group. Looks promising but they’re four men: eventually, the tabloids will have dirt on one of them.

  • **SPOILERS**

    DS have the customary 6CC spoiler thread for those of us who like being able to fast-forward through the doomed auditionees (or, more pertinently, avoid betting on them). As best I can tell (and with the usual disclaimers – I may have missed something in the DS thread, the info in the DS thread may not be accurate, the info in the thread may be accurate but TPTB later mix things up), I think this is the current state of crowdsourced wisdom:

    Deanna Mussington
    Holly Tandy
    Rai-Elle Williams
    Alisah Bonaobra
    Grace Davies
    Georgina (age 20)

    The CutKelvins (family – one girl, two boys)
    Girlband formed from rejects (Lydia Calvin, Kelsey Gill, Charlie Cammish, Sky Amber, Ash Holmes, someone else)
    Sean and Conor Price (aged 15, 17)
    Lemonade (five-piece girl group)
    Jack and Joel

    Kevin (from France)
    Matt Linnen
    Talia Dean
    Berget Lewis (from Amsterdam)

    Anthony Russell
    Leon James
    Lloyd Macey
    Jack Mason
    Spencer Sunderland
    Aidan Martin

    Please, of course, add your corrections.

    • Uzair

      I watched the group six chair and I can conrfirm that is correct but another thing to add is every group except cutkelvin had to sing twice not only that but they seem a possible plan A so keep your eye out for them. Also the girl group of rejected girl has a member ash if I recall was from another group at six chair but was asked to join them a school Simon believed they needed a lead vocalist. All of the other groups were quite good talent is much better then last year

  • Welcome back everyone. After a rubbish Eurovision (completely missed Portugal and had the UK for a Top 10… bad times) I’m hoping for a more profitable Autumn season.

    Interesting we have a few international singers. If only there was a reality TV franchise where singers from different countries competed for a prize?

    Think it’s fair to say we’ll see Slavko as this year’s joke act, however can producers keep him in long enough? Not only didn’t he qualify back in Kyiv, but he didn’t get a single point from the UK televote, who voted in his Semi.

  • James Martin

    Shame the live shows are being truncated. I’m the opposite of others – I think the lives are the best bit and don’t care for the auditons.

    Less betting opportunity too.

  • Jessica Hamby

    At last some of those people who were trying to force Honey G down our throats last year make sense.


  • R

    I haven’t watched the last two seasons & haven’t been too involved since 2011, but am very much looking forward to this year.

    Looking forward to seeing who’s in this year’s week 1 auditions pimp slot & am expecting a female winner.

  • It’s like putting on an old pair of slippers… glad to have Saturday night betting back… put together small(ish) preview of what I think will happen this year., if anyone is interested


    As always looking forward to reading the comments on here and the insights from Daniel

  • Mike

    I do wonder, while sitting in the tenerife sunshine, if less shows means they have an ace lined up to steamroller everyone.

  • Donald

    Hi Daniel, Andrew and to all on Sofabet,

    here for another season!

    Hard work at times but less than some of the contestants have had to endure seemingly.

    A new studio, new studio contract, new crew, less live shows. (Budgets?!) .

    Two voted out every weekend on the lives, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

    No words to report on an early front runner.

    Best of luck to all for the series.

  • Stoney

    So we’ve found this years Matt Terry. They will need to keep him out of the live shows if they want Raksu to win.

  • So we had Rak-Su and Grace Davies top and tail the show with original numbers… an early indication of Plan A and Plan B?

    Elsewhere we also saw the auditions from Anthony Russell, Jack & Joel and Holly Tandy out of those who are apparently through to Judge’s Houses. Don’t think we saw anyone from the Boot Camp Reject Girlband?

  • Stoney

    Rak su are an interesting 1 for me. While I can see them being possible plan A, it would be hard to get them over the line as winners. Rapping is never that popular on this show, and its hard to see them picking up the mem vote in abundance. It was easier with Louisa as she could at least belt out a note. They are cool but if you look at the fact only 1 of them has a really good voice, and 1 of them is basically just a dancer then I would proceed with caution when backing them at this point.

    • We said the same things about 5am… yet the finished 2nd in the vote the first two weeks, won week six…

      Were 2nd in week 9, ‘only’ 2% behind Saara when she sung Chandelier. They we’re then only 4% behind Saara and 2% behind Matt on the Saturday of the final. Despite horrendous staging. If they’d wanted 5am to win they could’ve got them over the line imo…

      Less live shows should make it easier, I’d expect them to go off around the 10.0 mark. Interested to see The CutKelvins and if they allow them to go through to the lives. They would be a threat as Alpha group.

      Can’t see Grace winning this show at all, she just doesn’t seem to make a connection. She’s boring and I can imagine her being somewhere between a Janet Devlin and Abi Alton type… he takedown should be fun viewing.

      • Phil

        I can already see Grace making the live shows and getting multiple sing-off saves. Great song but not sure as a whole package there is enough to win.

      • R

        Janet topped the votes & lasted until week 8 until they managed to force her out.

        If they’re only doing 6 live shows, they’re going to struggle to use the “she’s boring” tag, especially as Grace a a powerful voice & a good range.

      • Uzair

        THE cutkelvins can easily be alpha they have good singing and energy the lead female is a great singer. They r also Scottish and both Emily middlemas and Nicholas McDonald’s have benefited from the vote even though they weren’t plan A so if the cutkelvins are backed I think they could win

    • Stoney

      The danger with backing at this early stage is the odds could drift as other acts pad out the market. Again if Raksu are plan A do not under any circumstances put a Scottish group in the lives alongside them.

      • Now that I agree with… I think a group is Plan A though,
        like plan A in 2014 was any overs male (until the last week).

        I’m sure we’ll be able to back the scottish group at 16.0+ once they’ve performed… gives around 8.00 the pair… surely one of them starts around that price.

        Doesn’t look like we’re gonna get a 3.00 fav this year

  • 360

    A male/female vocal group wouldn’t be a bad bet (in the sense of an idea, not a literal bet at this stage), as something different for them to try, if they pimped it. I wouldn’t put it past them to give another girlband a try either. Sure, they have Little Mix, but if they could get a slightly different market, whether that’s more acoustic, mumsy, or to appeal to teens or little girls…they have a lot of options there.

    Man-band is also a good shout.

    Collaborations seem to be all the rage nowadays and are the trajectory Louisa and Matt Terry have taken since their wins last year and the year previous, so I reckon we should also be looking out for someone who could do those – presumably someone versatile, and not necessarily personably by themself, as neither Louisa nor Matt were.

    An additional thing to keep in mind is the talent shining through. Re the 5AM comments above, in the final – and in the lead-up shows, although Saara was zany and portrayed strangely, her strong and well-delivered singing of classics gave her a Maloney-like staying power and strong vote from, likely, the viewers who wanted to see that on their saturday night entertainment show. Without a theme, backing track, and over-effusive judge praise, 5AM floundered – and didn’t have the vocal chops to convincingly pull off e.g. a Boys II Men ballad. As the audience trends older, we should keep in mind what it is exactly the majority of viewers and voters are looking for.

    • R

      The reason for acts such as Louisa & Matt Terry doing collabs is to boost their careers, as they have faltered on their own.
      A new male/female act won’t boost additional sales if they’re just a group in their own right.

  • DannyCraig

    9/2 on Grace Davies seems awfully short for me. I didn’t think she was that likeable, she was quite annoying tbh.

    Rak-su too ethnic. Anthony Russell too Scally. The guy with the baby was the most likeable on the show but he doesn’t get through to judges houses.

    Let’s hope tonight brings some better betting options.

    Ps: I like the cutkelvins from what I’ve seen on YouTube…If they play up the fact they’re Scottish and not from Belize, then think they’ll be a solid Alpha.

  • DannyCraig

    I like Lloyd’s voice. Reminds me a bit of Craig colton, just marginally better looking. He’s got the makings of a beta boy about him…

  • Only two auditionees who made it through Six Chair aired tonight – Lloyd and Georgina. I was thinking Craig Colton with Lloyd… I was also thinking of Rachel Hylton with Georgina.

    I guess Shanaya might be a heartbreaking exit at the Six Chair? Unless she’s the unknown Girlband of Rejects members though I can’t see it, personally.

  • Alan

    Hi all – Very disapointed with the decision to reduce the number of live shows. Ive no interest in the utterly contrived pre-live shows. They make me want to throw things at the tv. At least it will probably mean a return to the brutal kill offs of Louisa’s series. Thats always fun to watch. Guess I’ll be back in a few weeks time.

  • Curtis

    As many have expressed here less live shows is a shame. The live shows are where the true magic of producer’s intentions, audience (both live and TV) response and how things pan out on the night really converge in a great way. They’re also how I’ve always made my money off this show!

    Will be tracking the pre-live stuff via Sofabet hopefully ready for a profitable if short X Factor season.

  • Martin

    My god if it wasn’t for Sofabet I wouldn’t be watching this turd of a show. A very testing watch this weekend. Thoughts on those rumoured to have made it through that we have seen:

    Holly Tandy – Extremely likeable, mediocre voice. Reminds me a bit of Sam Lavery off of last year, in that she could be a contestant that they could escalate through the lives if they wanted, but similarly turn the tap off when necessary. Could be a useful tool to have in the lives but by no means a winner, her voice isn’t strong enough nor is there anything outstanding enough about her personally.

    Grace Davies – it would be easier to say she’s another Emily/Janet/Diana Vickers but i would say she’s more of an Ella Henderson. She was likeable, talented and her song and voice were both decent. With the Ed Sheeran segment in that same show, and the encouragement of original material, it wouldn’t surprise me if Syco were trying to emulate an Adele/Sheeran type contestant. There’s a lot of Uk-centric talk in the critique, and those two are this countries biggest exports musically at the moment. You can’t manufacture that type of success, but if anybody was to try it would be Cowell. I’m not saying Grace is the winner, but I’d keep a keen eye on these types of contestants, particularly a female – Syco already have their own sheeran with James Arthur.

    Georgina – im assuming this is the Brummie lass from Sunday. Something Rachel Hilton about her, she’d be Vt gold and an abolsute car crash at live shows. She has a decent voice, and would be in and out of the bottom two like nobodies business. I’d have her in the lives in a heartbeat.

    Jack and Joel – likeable, but not remarkable. Decent coverage, but I’ll need to see more of their treatment before having any solid thoughts either way

    Rak-Su – first ones up, extensive coverage, contrived ‘second song’ audition to introduce original material to the show… group plan A. If they couldn’t get 5am over the line last year, I don’t think they’d manage it with this lot but stranger things etc.

    lloyd Macey – nice looking, great voice and has a nan. Recipe for success if he goes through, but could be Craig Colton’d.

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