X Factor 2017 Week 3 Post-Mortem: The Graduate

“Who will you send home? And who will win the prize fight against Kevin Davy White? Your votes decide,” boomed Peter Dickson at the start of Sunday’s show.

Come again, Peter? Either nobody sub-edited the script, and Peter read it without paying attention, or this was an amusingly subtle pointer to viewers that TPTB would like a new face winning the prize fight, please, thank you very much.

Lloyd duly won the honour of winning the prize fight against Kevin. Actually, we wonder whether the prize fight was meant to happen at all. At least one of the weekend newspaper TV guide magazines listed Sunday’s show as 90 minutes, the same as Saturday’s, which suggests the decision to add ten minutes was taken late. Could it be that, after the panning the concept took in the first week, TPTB had hoped to retire it with the score at 1-1 between Grace and Rak-Su, but (“bollocks!”) had to think again when Kevin won week 2?

Either way, they’ve now played a blinder in using it to shake up the competition while softpedalling without inflicting any damage on the acts who have appeared for so long to be the chosen two – at least, not inflicting any damage in the show itself. Grace’s recent pummelling in the tabloids wasn’t carried over into her treatment yesterday, which was kind. Indeed, the damaging stories were treated as helpfully for Grace as they could have been, Sharon and Dermot making oblique references to a “tough week”, after Sharon introduced her as not only Grace but “gracious”. Viewers who hadn’t seen the tabloids won’t have known what this was about – it’s PR 101 not to repeat criticisms to a wider audience – while those who did will have noted the sympathetic tone from mentor and presenter.

Our working assumption is that stories about the show which appear in the tabloids are either planted by the show’s press office or tacitly condoned, in that if they really wanted to stop a story appearing, they would offer a juicier story in return. Sofabet commenters have been debating whether this remains the case, or what producers might have been wanting to achieve by allowing Grace to be tagged a “stroppy diva” and “disgusting person“. Our current best guess is that producers still see Grace in the final, and didn’t squash the stories because they weren’t sufficiently worried about the impact on their plans for her. Your thoughts, as always, are welcome in the comments.

As for the elimination, commenters were divided in-running on whether the target was Alisah or Sam. Some sympathy votes are likely to have been motivated for the Manxman by the harsh criticism Simon pinned on Louis, and it’s worth noting that while Sam’s VT showed him missing his family, it also showed him stating he didn’t want to go back to them yet, which fiancee Emma reiterated. If they’d been targeting Sam, that would have been a careless oversight.

Now producers have categories with three and two acts left, and can – if they want – have a cull of one from each category this weekend, which would leave us with six acts going into the semi-final. A reminder that the rules posted on the ITV website apply only to the first four weeks, and we have only one of those left – the format for the semi-final and final is still to be announced.

We’ll have more to say about Alisah in our midweek review. In the meantime, do keep the conversation flowing below.

Media content via ©ITV / @LloydMacey1

66 comments to X Factor 2017 Week 3 Post-Mortem: The Graduate

  • I’d placed money on Alisah or Rai-Elle to go last night on the basis that Sam had the only upbeat song of the night – however, by the time the announcement rolled around I had already dismissed my bet as a loser, even Sam’s body language suggested he knew his time was up, we were both pleasantly surprised.

    Can only guess that Sam beat Alisah by a tiny margin.

    As for the Grace stories, our stats suggest that she’s not untouchable by any means and was mid-bottom table in Live Show 4. Her Social Media comments are also becoming more and more negative compared to what they once were. My feeling is that TPTB will leave her alone a bit in the press for a bit now unless there is a serious risk she could take the win.

  • David Cook

    “who will you send home” – as they only showed Sam and Alisah.

  • Edie M

    Been away for about 10 days, so only just caught up on what’s been going on. Some thoughts:

    1. Despite predicting the Cutkelvins for the win, I would now be surprised if they even make the final. They’re just not clicking. Rak-Su are performing better than I thought in the lives and they won’t want them to have any group competition either.

    2. Seems clear they’ve decided to back Kevin over Matt as he’ll be easier to take down when the time comes. Kevin is kind of the Marcus of this year.

    3. I don’t think they minded if Alisah or Sam went last night, I’d even suggest they preferred Alisah out as balances out types of acts and he will be so easy to target next week.

    4. Lloyd was certainly at his best last night, but I still really wanted Rai-Elle to win. And poor Holly, I don’t really like her, but it is obvious that this was not the year for her to enter the competition. They are not interested in her at all because of dynamics of the show this year.

  • Anglia Chu

    I think the prize fights weren’t going anywhere regardless of result. These prizes were probably booked in advance so scrapping them prematurely will cause issues (although Little Mix probably wouldn’t mind not having an opening act in Manchester next week tbh).

  • Anglia Chu

    Postscript on Live Shows 5-6

    1. Surely Sam Black is gone next week, right?

    2. Holly’s treatment at the pimp slot suggests that if possible, they will try to have Rai-Elle leapfrog her. This is corroborated by Rai-Elle’s treatment.

    3. I think they scrapped the double elimination last week because they weren’t sure they could get Matt in the drop zone.

    4. Grace’s effortless Week 1 win suggests her support was very robust, but can it take another week of battering? If it can’t, will treating her nicely make her support “too big” again?

    5. I’m sure that Syco would rather NOT have Lloyd and Kevin on their label roster (feel free to disagree; wrong opinions are welcome). How will they control their support? I genuinely think Kevin had a watershed moment last week and gained a reliable fan base.

    6. Scotland v Ireland. A few weeks ago, I would have backed Scotland easily, but I feel like I need to proceed with caution now. I fear that whatever advantage I think Scotland has is peppered by my personal preference (bad me!).

    • Ben Cook

      Grace needs to do a self-written ballad that’s as good as Roots this week, otherwise she’s out of the running I think.

    • Edie M

      I agree that they want Rai-Elle above Holly and tbh I hope they achieve it.

      • Alan

        Why do u think they have a preference?They’re both only there to make up the numbers. They’ll just pick off whoever’s lowest in the vote I reckon.

        • Edie M

          I don’t think they want either to win but Rai-Elle is much more contemporary and fits in better with the theme of the year. Holly had her pimp slot last night but they did a lot to dampen its power (Simon’s comments & coming after Lloyd’s moment), whereas Rai-Elle hasn’t had hers yet & was really praised by Simon last night.

        • Anglia Chu

          I’ve held this belief always: from a music label perspective, no, but from a TV perspective, yes. XF history is littered with examples of acts who were eliminated by making other contestants, who normally poll less, zoom past them.

    • Alan

      They’ll control Lloyd and Kevin’s support by pimping RakSu and (hopefully) Grace. I still think there’s a good chance she is Plan A or B. If she’d upset them with her behavior then I think they’d have treated her much worse.

  • David Cook

    Just an observation – but to me it seemed like Grace’s performance contained a lot of the affected vocals which she was (rightly) criticized for at JH’s.
    Overall she’s really wearing me down now. We get the message – you’ve been disappointed in love – haven’t we all at one time or another – but can we not please move on now.
    It’s reminding me of the scene in Jeeves and Wooster where all the music hall acts sing ‘Sonny Boy’. The first time its well received, but the audience become more restless as the song is repeated, until the final act, a professional opera singer is pelted with rotten fruit and veg. There’s only so much anyone can bear.
    And we already know what we’re going to get in love and heartbreak week. Maybe Simon will be standing at the door handing out fruit and veg.

    • Alan

      Much better to have a poor singer do I’m Your Man eh?

      • David Cook

        To have a chance of winning Grace needs to start picking up a lot of floating votes. IMO based on performances so far that looks unlikely. I don’t think many Alisah votes will go Grace’s way. Similarly I can’t see J&J votes going her way. How is she going to start winning over these votes?
        I’ve said before I was impressed by Grace based on Youtube / Soundcloud performances, but not by what we’ve seen of her on the show. I honestly can’t work it because her on line content just seems more contemporary than what she’s doing (but it’s all covers), yet on the show she’s performed music she’s written or co-written, so surely that’s what she thinks represents her as an artist. My opinion but it’s all too similar.
        I would have thought the Anne Marie song last week would have been perfect to show another side to her – but it just came across as a weak imitation of Anne Marie.
        Now clearly I can ask much the same question about Rak-su. Assuming that the final still ends in a head to head how are they going to get across that 50% threshold.

    • fused

      I think with Grace, or any of them really, it depends on whether what they do is your cup of tea or not. For people who do like what she does, they won’t want her to change too much, and I don’t really see how she’s any more guilty of doing a similar thing each week than any of the others are, to be honest. They’re all trying to fit into some niche or another.

      • Alan

        How Grace gets across the 50% threshold is how anyone gets across the 50% threshold. How Kevin got across it last week and how Lloyd got across it this week – massive pimping. Grace won week 1 with relatively mild pimping and an early slot. When TPTB lay it on with a trowell she should be flying. She’s had relatively muted comments so far. It would be so easy to start to ramp it up now with the usual cliches – “world class recording artist”, “been through a lot”, “fighter”, “winners attitude”, “put your own spin on it” “you know what I like about you Grace…” blah, blah, blah. You know the gullible saps that watch the show will fall in line. They always do.

        Would Kevin still be there with indifferent comments? Not a bit of it. They’ve layed it on thick about how authentic he is. A few duff comments and he’d be struggling in the vote. Look back at the predictions article. With different treatment he’d be a goner.

        With pimping Grace wins this easy. The question is if she will get it not if she will win with it.

        • “Grace won week 1 with a relatively mild pimping and an early slot?” She was on 7th of 8.

          Also dont discount that she had comfortably the most airtime in auditions/bootcamp/6cc/jh combined compared to other contestants. All largely very positive, except for Judges Houses. That plays a factor in live show 1. Along with the fact it was the first time the viewer could vote for a original of hers.

    • Milton

      PMSL at that original post about Jeeves and Wooster. Never seen that, it sounds brilliant. Agree that Grace’s original song about Love is gonna have to be really good to make any impact, although no guarantee that she won’t repeat one of those she has already done in the audition process.

    • Gloria

      Yes your right, I love the song she sang but it didn’t move me like it’s supposed too

  • Ben Cook

    Wonder what the original plan for this week was, given we should’ve been down to 8 contestants, which surely wouldn’t have been enough to split into 2 groups.

    I’m guessing the Saturday semi will see all 6 sing once, 2 go, leaving 4 to sing twice on Sunday and 1 more goes?

    • Anglia Chu

      I think it will be a 4-act final, like 2010. The semis will probably be: one act goes on a Saturday flash vote, then one on an overnight vote, just like old times.

  • You have to feed you family at Christmas and have been told you can bet on X Factor to win £300 (how much does Xmas cost these days?)

    Who do you bet on as things stand?

  • David Cook

    You borrow £5000 and bet on Lloyd as top boy obviously.

    This is the correct answer isn’t it?

  • Plinkiplonk

    For what it’s worth, I am quite convinced that whatever happens on Saturdays directly influences the Sunday show, because they need to keep their groups symmetrical in order to be able to change combinations. A group left on Saturday, so a girl had to go on Sunday, otherwise they would have 3,2,4 and 1 contestants, meaning they would have been forced to keep the same combo to fill their timeslot.

    If Matt had fallen under the wheels somehow, Sam would have been toast.

    Reading it makes it sounds very convoluted, but I hope you get my drift…

  • Edie M

    So targets this week: Sam, Matt, Holly and ?

  • Lauren O

    The Cutkelvin’s. Last week was made out to be great but the performance was over produced. S&C, who went immediately after, were praised for their natural talent and no gimmicks. The C’s performance also felt like to end of their story, the VT was all about their Dad and their performance was built around this, using a non-George Michael song, which has been received negatively by the public. The judges have also stopped talking after their future or star status. The C’s could also be pulling votes away from Rak-su (who I believe will be the winners).

    • Anglia Chu

      Careful there. There are many Cutty backers here.

      I understand the likening to Misha B’s Whitney Houston episode but this performance stood on its own. Overly electric, maybe (their arrangement was pretty much how George did the song in the 90s but people forget), but their most cohesive in the Lives. Also iirc there was an ad break between their performance and S&C so that connection isn’t as immediate as you think.

      One point I agree with is that they are more of a threat to Project: Rak-Su, so disposing of them now makes more sense.

  • Lauren O

    I agree the targets this week are Sam, Matt, Holly and The Cutkelvin’s.

  • Shane

    I agree, The Cutkelvin’s performance was completely over staged. Too many lasers, lights, graphic, dancers. I think Simon has always been interested in Shereen as a soloist as there have been so many comments about her being a star and the boys the weak link. Maybe the group have run their course?

  • Joe Lemer

    I see valid points in getting shot of The Cukelvins as they are a threat to Raksu but surely S and C will be easier to dispose of first. All 4 judges gave them a standing ovation, the brothers were allowed to perform next to Shereen ( all be it mid-way through the performance) and they may have been the act 2nd in the vote behind Kevin on Saturday.

    I think the Scots are on the way up and may well make the final with Grace, Lloyd and RakSu. They may even give them the chance to win the night this weekend by handing them what they are yet to own, which is the pimp slot.

    • Anglia Chu

      all 4 judges stood up
      brothers allowed to be in front
      may be second in the vote

      Word of caution, based on our limited information, these could easily apply to S&C too

  • Joe Lemer

    Yes that is a fair point! I hope not!

  • Stoney

    The betfair market is crazy. 95s for Cutkelvins. Id say that’s at least twice oversized.
    Out of all the contestants odds Lloyd is the most appealing. Typical type of contestant that picks up the floating votes. A gap in the market for a mother’s day album. I wouldn’t imagine the producers minding him winning at all really.

    • I think this is a week to be laying Lloyd rather than backing. It’s quite possible they might want others participating in the Prize Fight this weekend, and his odds should drift at least a little bit if he doesn’t make it. Both Kevin and Lloyd are probably ‘due’ earlier slots this coming weekend as well.

      • Problem with working out the change in outright prices based on an act winning either show is there are plenty of examples of acts shortening despite not winning a Sat/Sun vote.

        Raksu are shorter now (2.40) than last week (2.70)
        Grace is now 4.30, this time last week she was 3.80. She drifted to 5.0 Saturday and is now shorter.

        Last week Sean/Connor shortened despite not winning prize fight the week before, as did Rai-elle.

        24 hours ago Lloyd was the same price (14.0) as last week, after winning prize fight.

        No guarantee that Lloyd wouldnt be same price or shorter even if he doesnt win this week, pending treatment. Pretty much no different to previous years treatment matters more than being part of prize fight.

        • Yolanda

          If we use horse racing as an analogy, we can try to understand that the winner of one particular race shouldn’t necessarily have its odds slashed for the bigger prize.

          Consider last weekend’s shows as trials for a lucrative handicap race; Lloyd had the best draw, the conditions to suit and was very well treated by the handicapper. He duly obliged.
          Rak-Su were drawn out in the car park, didn’t have ideal conditions and were not well in at the weights. They ran a steady race and made into the places without too much effort.

          The big race will be under completely different circumstances. The draw bias won’t be as great, the weights will have been revised and conditions will be perfect for the classiest animals to succeed.

  • The Juan

    Even after the weekend, I still think the cks are the only act on a journey in the competition.

    I agree that they could be taking away votes from raksu, but if rai Elle goes, I say all her votes go to the cks?

  • Martin

    Yeah sometimes it’s best to admit defeat. Cutkelvins aren’t getting near the final. They’re a likeable act who should have done very well but let’s look at the facts – they’ve done three underwhelming performances, had lukewarm judges comments and despite an emotional VT last week, they weren’t allowed to follow it with an emotional performance, arguably the complete opposite. I think they’ll fizzle out, much like Tracy, without needing a harsh kill.

    • Stoney

      Usually id say the Scottish vote will keep them going for a while longer but I think there all too busy voting for Joe and Susan on strictly.

    • Anglia Chu

      One thing I noticed about The Cutkelvins is that in Week 2, the combination of Rak-Su’s pimping and their disjointed performance turned general opinion against them, Shereen in particular… and this is without bad press, Grace.

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