X Factor 2017: Market speaks on wildcards

The wildcard vote closed yesterday and the market seems confident that Alisah, Talia, Jack and Joel, and Leon have made it into the final 16. Meanwhile, we’ve had a preview of the makeovers of the 12 we saw going through at the weekend. Props to producers for amusingly making them all sing “They’ll never bring me down”.

We still await confirmation of how the live shows will work: details were briefly published on the ITV website, but have since been taken down. They suggested that for the first four weeks, we’ll have two categories per live show and no singoff – but they gave a lot of leeway to make it up as they go along. A report this morning in The Sun suggests two eliminations this weekend and three next weekend. How the three will work is a puzzle: perhaps the judges get to save one among the bottom-of-the-vote acts in each of the four categories?

Judges’ houses shook up the market, with Rak-Su now challenging for second favouritism and the Cutkelvins also overtaking the drifting Price brothers. Holly also shortened as a surprising degree of doubt was planted about Grace, with Sharon asking if she’s “a songwriter who shouldn’t perform”. It all adds to the fun as we consider our traditional, just-for-fun 1-16 pre-lives prediction – we’ll wait in the hope of more clarity on the format. Please keep yours likewise under wraps until we publish – and do keep sharing your news and theories below.

80 comments to X Factor 2017: Market speaks on wildcards

  • Anglia Chu

    What/where are the odds on the wildcards per category? I noticed that Oddschecker doesn’t have a consolidated list of market prices for that lane and for Top Group; too much uncertainty?

    The fact that the odds provided fly in the face of things we’ve learned about the show has made me scared to put money in.

  • 360

    Off-topic, but another thing that is standing out about Grace now the promos and finalist pictures have been released that may work against her in the Girls category, she’s very tall! Towering over her fellow contestants and her mentor even in flats will perhaps also limit how they can glam her up or try and upstyle her non-traditional-for-a-popstar figure. No, I’m still firmly in the Grace-won’t-win camp.

    On-topic, pretty surprised by this choice of wildcards; perhaps behind the scenes stuff happened or came out to veto some of those that were being touted as contenders like the new girlband and Lemonade.

    • R

      Worryingly for Grace, the video promo above gives her very little coverage with just 4 small clips, and none of those even in the centre of the screen.
      Holly in comparison is shown 7 times including one large image & the Cutkelvins are shown 5 times with 2 larges images.

      It does look increasingly as if Grace is being faded into the background.

  • Martin

    Yeah I’m surprised with the girls and boys wildcards. Poor Aiden!

    I can’t make my mind up on this series. I very much believe that TPTB will go to any lengths they can to get their desired winner. But would you give your desired winner the edit that Grace got on Sunday? The show have proved that they can make deflate an act far better than they can inflate them (see; Gifty) so I’m of the thought that they’ve given themselves six acts in the girls\groups that they’d happily accept as winners and kneecap the boys and overs from the off. The first weekends vote will be telling, and gut feeling until then!

    It’s hard to argue with logic. Strong regionals for Cutkelvins and Sean and Conor Price. Grace has had the most generous edit thus far. Rak Su are talented and entertaining and also generously edited. Holly is also gifted with likeability and a decent voice. Bring on the prediction game!

  • This weekend there are likely to be at least 5 or 6 that put in excellent performances. This may or may not include Grace but, even if it does, her price is incredibly short.

  • Stoney

    I suggested a while back that Leon would be a danger. The fact he beat a guy with a strong regional and big backing from littlemix shows he has got a good backing to begin the live shows. As a result I have eased off on Matt and put more on the Cutty crew.

    • India Marie

      Daniel said the four are market-implied predicted wildcards, not the actual wildcards. Given the weird pricing of outright wins, I don’t trust it.

      In any case, Little Mix also backed Georgina. Does that make Alisah a threat too?

    • Gloria

      Maybe it was a fix, a massive accusation but it does seem very odd

  • Uzair

    Is it confirmed that those r the 4 wildcards or just our guess Cus aide seemed most likely to take it IMO i cant see Leon polling higher then aiden. Talia and alisah seem most likely but im sceptical of Jack and joel. One of the girlbands must have beaten them both are much popular then Jack and joel. Jack and Joel are entertaining and people will like them but they won’t go out of their way to vote for them. I think its aiden talia alisah and lemonade for the wildcards

  • David Cook

    To me it looks like there are 4 maybe 5 acts who can win this and who would be acceptable. Then there’s Matt – a potential winner who’s not acceptable. The rest look like various grades of fodder – although act such as Alisah and Leon if through could pick up a lot of votes. With just 5 weeks before the final I think we can expect some pretty harsh treatment of some of the acts right from the off to ensure that the ‘right’ act get to the sharp end of the competition. Add in the changes to the format and the voting and it’s looking very difficult to predict.

    • But it looks like scorched earth was abandoned sometime in the months between 6CC and JH.

      The 2 former TCOs Grace and the Price’s just got the most cutting criticism of the lot of them. That’s not “ensuring that the ‘right’ act gets to the sharp end of the competition”.

    • Arghp

      Agree wholeheartedly with the idea that TPTB have 5/6 they are interested in and the rest are disposable.

      I’m secretly hoping that TBTP are upset with Talia, that she get’s through and TPTB go for a first show kill. TPTB will reuse Blonde Electra’s set from the first live show while having Talia sing a mash up of MmmBop and Sorry in a light up tye die jumper.

      • I doubt they’ll be trying actively to get rid of anyone. I’ve just looked at notes from week 1 last year – Emily’s staging wasn’t great but only Nichole criticised her performance, Saraa got a dead forest but they all bigged up her performance, Bratavio got a mess but it was the only suitable thing for the bitchy non singers and they left naturally but only Simon had been critical even of them.

      • Martin

        Considering Talia’s info was ultimately incorrect, I wouldn’t think the show would go in on her.

      • Alan

        They wont need to do much to make Talia look awful. Thyeve only been telling her she’s good to make it all the more dramatic when she was replaced at 6CC and rejected at JH. She must be one of the weakest singers to ever make it to the lives. Same will be true of Leon if it turns out he makes it. Cant believe the public have voted him through over Aidan.

        • Martin

          It is suspicious – given the shows links and the subsequent, obviously staged photos in that article about her going out, it wouldn’t surprise me if she was asked to make that video to send to the sun for a few extra column inches.

          With the lack of sing off, the ‘love to hate’ character will be hard to steer through. They’ll have to be confident they can get an act below her for a week at least.

  • Gloria

    I also can’t quite believe how Leon got the wildcard over Aidan, it makes no sense, unless it’s a bloody fix then Leon must of had little girls voting for him in hundred fold, I hope the whole things backfired on X factor and it was a tactic not to put Aidan through thinking he was a dead deer for the wildcard

  • Gloria

    Grrrr this predicted text. I meant a dead cert not deer for the wildcard

    • Aidan is over-dramatic, pretending to having been reborn as an emo pain-channeling artist with a ‘fine’ but whiny, ball-busting voice and performance portfolio. Demographic: questionable. Leon is a cute/hot (in the eyes of prepubescent girls and young gays) str8 guy, who can sing better than most of the One Direction boys at this stage of the competition in 2010. Demographic: ALIVE AND THIRSTY FOR SEMEN. Still worst vocalist in the lives obvs.

  • India Marie

    When wil the wildcards be officially revealed? It’s unconventional but can Sofabet’s predictions wait for that (even if it means having 2 eliminations missed)?

    • David Cook

      It’s just for fun – and part of that is making the predictions based on the info we have going into the live shows, without seeing the final make overs and how acts are treated on the live shows. We are probably 90% sure about who’s going through and we know there’s one from each category – so for the purpose of the predictions you could just say ‘Alisah / Girls wildcard’ etc. I think this years really difficult to predict so it will be interesting to see what people think.

      • India Marie

        Makes sense. Maybe I just want to do well for a change (I don’t think I put my predictions last year, which is good because I had a lot of duds)

  • Anglia Chu

    Not related to the contestants, but check out the tweets of the former make-up artist of the show; you will even see Sinitta chiming in

  • According to The S•n, wildcards are being revealed at the start of Saturday night’s show. The sing off/judges vote are also confirmed as being aXed, in case you didn’t know already.


    Still no official confirmation of which categories are performing on Saturday/Sunday.

  • India Marie

    A few notes on that revelation:

    1. This is literally how American Idol’s penultimate round (pre-Top 12) operated during their heyday.
    2. How will three eliminations, something that will allegedly happen, work?
    3. Does this mean TPTB will be more open-ended in their approach? Judges’ votes are a strong tool to cap off a kill that would otherwise fall short.

  • David Cook

    According to the Sun there’ll be a sing off between the top two acts each week to win a prize! Presumably top act from each night. Messes things up a bit if it’s always the same acts competing.

    • So perhaps they will make sure it won’t, à la ”All acts have been in the bottom 2 and all acts have topped the vote” (The X Factor Gospel according to Dermot, chapter 13, year 2016).

      • David Cook

        It’s another unknown until we see how things work out over the first couple of weeks. With the bottom acts automatically dropping out we no longer know who else was close to the trap door. If people see who’s top does that mean people spread votes around further, or vote more for one act to try to boost them up. Is it more or less reason to vote for certain acts?

  • I love the “Top 2 sing off” idea. It will hopefully give the show a more positive overall feel, it has become far too negative which I think turns people off. Britain’s Got Talent is a much more enjoyable watch, partly because it’s more about pulling people up to the top rather than pushing them down to the bottom. The focus should be on the acts which perform the best, not which ones have been targeted for elimination.

    • Martin

      I like it too – I think it will have a positive effect. If they’d have done it Maloney/Ella’s year, it may have had the desired effect in compressing Maloney’s vote and increasing Ella’s as she’d not have been top two, where many would have assumed she was. As Grace is a similar kettle of fish, I imagine if she’s not seen in this top two in week one, it may give her a boost in week two.

      • If they’d done it in the Maloney year I probabaly would’ve gone bankrupt… this is gonna get the cogs turning even more to try and make a profit… and my mind isn’t as young or as sharp as it used to be.

        Looks like the outright market instead of the elimination one is the place to be betting this year, but on the face of it there does seem more of a potenial to do your lot (flip side, can make a lot)

    • Anglia Chu

      I think it plays well with the split of the contestants, so even if the same acts top the vote, the Top 2 per day can vary.

    • R

      I’m imagining a top 2 scenario where one of the acts is top 2 three or four weeks in a row but never wins the judges’ prize, thus receiving public sympathy in the final.

  • Alan

    The format changes pretty much prove that the producers are far more interested in halting the ratings decline than they are in getting a specific act to win. Getting rid of the bottom two sing off is relinquising a huge amount of power on the part of the producers. That said Im sure they will still want to influence who goes and who stays so Im still looking forward to some serious manipulation in the coming weeks.

    I cant believe that the top two will be the top two in the public vote. It would be totally rubbish to give away who was leading the vote each week. They went out of their way to emphasise the lead changing hands last year so as to keep everyone guessing and generate some genuine suspense. Also as someone has said it wouldnt make for good TV for it to be the same people in the top 2 sing-off each week. I’d bet money that the judges have some say in who goes into this sing-off.

    • Anglia Chu

      I’m surprised they’re even trying. I’d think they will let the show die next year as it’s Series 15.

    • It does say “The two singers reaching the top of the public vote will perform a sing-off for the judges, who will then decide which hopeful has won the treat”

      Not that a story in The Sun is legally binding, of course.

      We’re wondering if it’s going to be more like GBBO’s Star Baker getting one of Lord Sugar’s treats on The Apprentice (“Bladdy shambles, the rest of you – get back to the house”), or Bullseye (“Here’s what you could have won, Holly… it’s a luxury caravan”).

      • Alan

        I dont understand that decision at all. How does it do anyone any good to know who has come first and second in the public vote? Even when it seems obvious (Louisa’s year) you still have that element of doubt that keeps people interested. Can you imagine how boring it would have been to know that Louisa was in the top two in the vote every week? It will look like a terrible decision if it turns out to be the same people every week.

        That said, fair play to them for changing things up finally. Its years overdue. It doesnt really suit the way I watch the show though. Ive got absolutely zero interest in it from a straight up talent show perspective. Im purely only interested in watching the manipulation so I hope that doesnt suffer as a result of these changes.

  • I think it’s great news for traders as well. Assuming that several different acts are shown to be Top 2 across the series, it should give us a very volatile outright market with a lot of trading activity.

  • Brook

    Wildcards are LeonMallet JackandJoel TaliaDean and AlisahBanaobra. And this is the new stage (well, right-side part of it): https://imgur.com/a/YsC0R

  • What do these changes make of backing Grace at 3.85 or laying someone with a 3 figure price, both of which were done recently today?

    More risky I’d say.

  • Tim B

    A thought on the “Special, money-can’t-buy prize”. It could be immunity from the following week’s public vote? Because let’s be honest, money can probably buy most prizes out there.

  • David Cook

    This week’s theme ‘express yourself’ – this is confirmed by itv. More interesting is rumoured song list on DS including Chainsmokers ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. Will they let Grace do a song that she’s already covered? Given that her version is at least a match if not better than Daya, I would say it’s positive for her if they do. It would also help her to do something she already knows well if she’s still doing gig on Saturday.

  • Confirmation on official X Factor social media accounts that Overs and Groups are performing tomorrow.

  • 360

    Makeover pictures are out https://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-x-factor/336817-pictures-x-factor-2017-finalists-get-glam-makeover-photoshoot.html

    Grace glammed up significantly while Holly Tandy’s hair is darkened, which makes her look quite different. Tracyleanne also glammed up. Not a lot of difference for most of the others, unless anyone’s seeing something I’m not?

  • Alan

    Not really done the Cutkelvins any favours. The singer already looked like a fully fledged popstar. Cant really see any James Arthur-esque Stig of the Dump to popstar like transformations this year.

    Not seen any performances by Sean and Conor yet but the picture reminds me of the Macdonald Brothers from 2007. Painful memories.

  • India Marie

    Song choices trickling out. What do we make of them?

  • Cutkelvins – What About Us, Pink
    Sean & Conor Price – Strong, London Grammar
    Rak-Su – Mamacita, Rak-Su

    Grace Davies – Too Young, Grace Davies
    Holly Tandy – Hollow, Tori Kelly
    Rai-Elle – Doo Woop (That Thing), Lost Ones / No – Lauryn Hill/Meghan Trainor

    Kevin Davy White – Stay, Rhianna Ft Mikky Ekko
    Matt Linnen – Scars To Your Beautiful, Alessia Cara
    Tracyleanne Jefford – Written In The Water, Gin Wigmore

    • India Marie

      Interesting that The Cutkelvins get Sean and Conor’s JH song; burying tactic?

      First impression is if Overs/Groups are on Saturday, Tracyleanne will leave, but her left-field song choice can work well enough to kill someone else off

  • Lloyd Macey: La La Land – City Of Stars
    Spencer Sutherland: Jessie J – Who You Are
    Sam Black: Stevie Wonder Ft. Ariana Grande – Faith


  • David Cook

    Hannah Reid or Sean and Conner. Now let me think – who has the better vocals? I’ll have to turn the sound off.

  • Uzair

    Raksu and grace getting their own songs again could be interesting. Cheryl stated that the way raksu perform is not how you can perform on a stage and grace will be boring with lights and a piano. Giving the cutkelvins SC judges house song could either be a dampened or giving the cutkelvins the chance to up SC. Lloyd macey was given another musical song which won’t help him at all in terms of being a full fledged recording artist but will but him a few weeks. In terms of who I think is going to be eliminatrd i think its Tracey Leanne or Kevin ATM but jack and Joel could also be down there following their return

  • Martin

    I wouldn’t read too much into The Cutkelvins having the same song as Sean and Connor. They did an average version of it, I don’t think it’s a positive or negative by name alone.

    A few odd choices in there – a handful of songs that may not be known by the audience. I’m liking that they aren’t our usual typical choices , however the boys choices are awful. I don’t see Sean and Connor doing anything positive with that London grammar song, either – it’s a very difficult song to do justice.

  • Yolanda

    Looks like Simon won’t be available for the first 2 live shows after suffering a fall at home this morning.

    • Anglia Chu

      Does this mean Cheryl will be wheeled in to replace him, finally giving us a few hours of Cheryl being beside Nicole after the snafu in the US X-Factor?

  • Anglia Chu

    The song choices look right on cue for some acts, with respect to how the show wants to portray them.

    Rak-Su / Grace: the “original artists”
    The Boys: the hot mess category (let’s be honest)
    Rai-Elle: the cool young fun black girl (why else would Lauryn Hill be part of the mashup)
    Holly: powerful modern female singer, the type TPTB would usually back tbh
    The Cutkelvins: the act who can make anything their own

    Odd one is Sean and Conor, who are getting slowed down a lot (considering that their cute-sy version of All Along the Watchtower made the odds so so short, this isn’t good). The song doesn’t fit their profile much either, so the “busker” tag could come back this week.

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