X Factor 2018: Auditions Week 4 and 6CC Discussion Thread

The X Factor appears to be dying on its arse. It’s not just that ratings are down – that’s been true, year-on-year, since Sofabet started in 2010. It’s a general sense that producers can’t be bothered this year. In our coverage last year we repeatedly praised TPTB for how cleverly they steered the voting public to the result they wanted. In four weeks this series, there’s been only one moment that’s made us think “that’s clever”, and that – Louis Tomlinson’s relationship with Ant Russell – was a decision made a year ago. Otherwise, it’s been tired and uninspired – the same old tropes, joylessly and artlessly regurgitated. XF-by-numbers.

There’s been much less discusson in the Sofabet comments section than at the equivalent stage of previous series. We don’t blame you – there’s not much of interest to discuss. It’s not at all clear what producers are trying to achieve, or indeed if they’re trying to achieve anything in particular other than pocketing another year of ITV’s money with the minimum possible expenditure of effort and no apparent expectation of the contract being renewed when it expires in 2019. They’re phoning it in, and we’re finding it tough to get through.

The last week of auditions is not known for introducing serious contenders, and this weekend looked generally no exception. Panda Ross retuned for a reunion with Cowell, and ends up in a duo with Burgandy Williams at judges houses, while Thomas Pound auditioned both as himself and his drag alter ego, and allegedly makes it to the same stage in the boys category. Both are deservedly big prices in the Betfair outright.

J-Sol is a more credible alternative in the boys’ category after he moved some of the panel to tears with an emotional self-penned number written after the death of his mother. Judges comments tended to focus on that emotion rather than the 25-year-old’s own abilities, however.

Despite some confusion on the Digital Spy thread, it appears that Louise Setara is in the final 24. We rather liked her sweet, distinctive voice and self-penned song, though she chose to duck telling her full backstory.

On Sunday we had the obvious set-up of three consecutive, good-looking, male soloists being suggested as boyband material, and it looks like 16-year-old Blaise Duncan, 18-year-old Jon Guelas and 18-year-old Elliot Horne are three of VibeFive. So far their coverage has indicated this project is no more than an afterthought.

At the end of an auditions process in which they couldn’t be bothered to travel beyond Wembley, Dermot popped up to inform us that they couldn’t be bothered to hold bootcamp this year, and instead would just summon the acts to London to summarily rescind half the “yeses” they’d spent the last four weeks inviting viewers to emotionally invest in.

So it’s on to six-chair challenge, with no news on how the series pans out from here, beyond December 1 having been announced as the date of the final. Will we get three weeks of 6CC, a week of judges houses, and six weeks of lives like last year? Or two weeks of 6CC and a spun-out two-week JHs? Or an extra week of live shows? Will we have the same live show format as last year, with two categories per night and an eviction on both Saturday and Sunday? They could make that work over seven weeks of lives with 16 acts if they were to drop the double evictions from last year’s fourth week.

For now we can only hope that 6CC brings more of a sense that producers know what they want to achieve and still care about achieving it – some evidence that they haven’t entirely lost the playful, imaginative, shameless, ruthless manipulative edge that has in the past made the show so amusing to analyse and interesting to bet on. We’ll be back after the conclusion of the 6CC stage to reassess the situation.

61 comments to X Factor 2018: Auditions Week 4 and 6CC Discussion Thread

  • Starjey

    The approach this year has been very strange. Maybe they’re waiting to see who interests the public first rather than jumping to conclusions?

    So far I’ve found it fun recognising all the Eurovision alumni this year and how they conveniently avoid mentioning one of the biggest moments of their careers: Brendan Murray (IRE 17) Cezar (ROM 13) and Gaia Cauchi (JESC Winner 13).

  • 360

    Lazy defines it all. There’s no hype, no chemistry and a real sense of phoning it in from all involved.

    Hopefully the next few weeks will shine a light. I couldn’t even do a 12-1 prediction now as I don’t even recall 12 acts. Panda, Shan, the Louis sob story one and a few girls obviously posied for a girlband are the only few I could even recall off the top of my head.

  • Amy Beth @happylittlefish

    It’s a bit of an overstatement to say they axed half of the auditioners the public invested in. I don’t believe more than 1 or 2 of the poor suckers in the NO room were ever shown during these past 4 weeks.

  • Linda

    Indeed amazing that there are no comments being posted. I saw the 6CC last night and thought there suddenly seemed to be quite a bit of talent particularly among the girls. But the lack of success of winners in recent years is ultimately the undermining factor.

  • Phil smith

    I can’t understand why Anthony Russell is still in the top 5 of the betting I don’t think he has a chance of winning it! I think people have been swayed because he appeared in the first round of auditions which helped show off to the public Louis helping him with his past problems! for me Brendan Murray and dalton Harris are streets ahead of him and even though Anthony has a good chance of making the lives I think he’ll be easily dispatched when required! Worth noting just what a poor edit he was given for the 6CC aswell compared to Brendan! Shanice or Brendan for me to win X factor and maybe a group can appear from somewhere to join them in the final!

  • The Juan

    I completely agree. I can’t really see how it would go any other way.

    I stick with my original, but think maybe shan is being kept a little under wraps, like fleur. Interesting that nothing much has been mentioned as her touring as a whitney tribute yet.

    I feel ricky could be a potential ‘maloney’ of the series and could gather a lot of momentum. If 4 acts from each and not 3 are going through from judges houses, this will provide 2/3 weeks of vote analysis for tptb to get the chosen one to victory.

  • James Martin

    I can’t get into it this year. I’ve just said on another forum it’s been on a slow downward spiral since 2011, when Cowell went to do the US show, taking the best producers with him and leaving a lesser team on the UK show. 2014 was probably the last great series, and even then it’s more for Fleur East’s journey than Ben Whonow.

  • Stoney

    Ia anyone still interested in this years show? At least the judges houses starts tonight. Should start livening up a bit.
    Shocked to see people still think Brendan Murray can win this and he is now the favourite. Anthony Russel will last longer than him due to the scouse vote.
    That aside I am no longer backing Anthony for the win. Misunderstood have to be the plan A now. By far the most talented and most commerically viable act. Raksu wont last much longer, and if TPTB were happy ti push them for the win I see no reason why they wouldnt do the same for these guys. The new 1D will be an extremely hard sell.

  • Ben Cook

    Looks like we’re definitely back to the old format of the live shows – the first Saturday live is 2 hours, Sunday just the 1.

    Probably only 12/13 acts too.

  • Anglia Chu

    Chances of Panda and Burgandy to be a thorny joke act? They have the vocal chops, but also have a whimsicality that the show tolerates but doesn’t like.

  • 360

    Once we have a final 12/13 I’ll take interest as we can see the archetypes and probably plot out how they’ll do.

    One thing to note with viewing figures down again is to question who will be watching – and perhaps thus, who will be voting. Although viewers have been starting to trend older year on year, with Strictly now taking the lion’s share, will that dampen their domination as a bloc a bit more?

    DigitalSpy has Panda and Burgundy as doing quite well so far according to a poll of favourites. Pinch of salt, of course, but doesn’t one of them have a previous connection to Simon? They might have been cast to buff up the – by all reports – weak banter and chemistry of the judges’ panel, and to stick around for a few weeks. Is Brian Friedman still with the show?

    Most of the acts still blend into one for me I must say, and some – like the drag queen – smack of doing this just for the promo to transition into another type of media career.

  • Ben Cook

    Apparently it’s just a straight top 16, with Simon picking his 4 girls tonight.

    So I would guess that means double eliminations every week – perhaps with the lowest voted going first, then next two doing a sing-off? Unless they’ve come up with some fancy new way of doing it.

  • Nick

    Completely agree with Stoney about Misunderstood. Slick talented confident……….. ( maybe a bit too confident..hmmm?) Went from 12s to about 6s overnight….helped no doubt will Robbie saying they were the best act he has seen. Luckily got the 20s early on…only danger imho is the current fav Shan.Obviously a great singer, but hardly new and up and coming…how will tptb treat her?

    • Ben Cook

      Aren’t they just another Rak-Su though? Do Syco need them? They need to either make Rak-Su work, and if they can’t, then they probably can’t make Misunderstood work either. They won’t be Plan A.

      • Stoney

        A million miles better than Raksu.
        Their own song they sang last night was brilliant. And they can both dance very well, as a pose to the 1 guy in Raksu who danced and did nothing else

  • Ben Cook

    Well I think it’s gonna be a girl this year. They’ve gone to a lot of effort here to bring the world’s best songwriters to see them. And Dermot said on This Morning when asked who the front-runner was that the girls were very strong.

    Impressed by Shan tonight, much better than her previous auditions.

  • Ben Cook

    Scarlett is great too. Way too long at 25/1

  • Stoney

    I dont think the public will take to her. Just doesn’t strike me as someone that would be able to connect with the x factor voters. You need to be really likeable to win the x factor or have a really strong back story. Not sure Shan has this going for her.

  • Uzair

    Think we’ll get each judge dumping one act in week 1 then normal double eliminations. There’s only 7 weeks of live shows unless they extend which I hope they do. Another week or 2 could rlly help. The prize fight was axed so well have the don’t off back hopefully.

    Speaking of tonight though; the girls were quite strong. Bella not doing well on Twitter ppl don’t seem to get her. If we do get the week 1 twist Simon will probs keep her over molly. She’ll probs gets a week 2 sing off save then eliminated in week 3. Scarlet could make week 5 possibly 6 and I think they’ll push Shan as a finalist

  • Phil

    I can’t get my head round this series at all. I grew bored after 2 weeks of auditions and drifted away. They’ve now gone from rushing through everything and focusing on daft personalities to one of the best judges houses formats I’ve seen. Think it’s going to be a completely different show from this point onwards. I really enjoyed tonight’s show.

    I’ve never been a fan of the auditions but I understand they’re popular for some. Filling those with the joke acts, then cutting out the tiresome bootcamp stage that drags on for an eternity – maybe they do know what they’re doing after all.

    For the live shows, with the first being just 2 hours, maybe they’re doing 2 categories week 1 and the others week 2, ditching 2 from each on both weeks and thus taking it down to 8 by week 3. That would allow a 3 act final if they do a double elimination one other week.

  • Danyal352

    By far best episodes of the series

  • Stoney

    I see we now have a new favourite for the outright. A very worthy favourite I might add 🙂

  • Panos

    My experience and gut feeling are making it difficult, for now, for me to believe that they will be Plan-A-pushing an African-American upbeat self-penning group the year right after a superior and vastly more marketable such group won the competition and for which group they are, more or less, only at the early stages of their push. Why not, as they usually do from one year to the next, go for something different and absent from the roster(and female perhaps after 2 male winners?), that combines an element of authenticity and a return to a winner who can belt out a melody too? As far as USP is concerned, the upbeat fun and/or rap elements potentially brought to the live shows by A*Star, Bella and Ola could work to dilute Misunderstood’s uniqueness a little, creating a different demographic situation compared to Rak-Su last year. They will surely do well, but perhaps a bit of a CutKelvins will-they-or-will-they-not situation in our hands. We shall see, time (and edits!) will tell!

    • Stoney

      raksu vastly superior? The same Raksu that barely broke the top 60?
      They are finished. If Syco dont see a future for them (highly likely) then they won’t mind pushing missunderstood.

      • Ben Cook

        Hang on, that single is not dead yet. It’s no longer about first week sales. Many records climb to the top 10 from outside the top 40 these days. Wait and see.

  • Henry VIII

    I agree about the dying on its arse. Shame. 6CC used to be good TV but rushed and choppy this year.

    Also agree Misunderstood would be logical TCO but no value now in their price.

    They must realise that Anthony, Scarlett and Bella, who they are all pushing, have zero commercial prospect and would be embarrasing winners. But it’s “the story” in their eyes although annoying to the viewers.

  • The Juan

    Not sold at all on misunderstood… when it comes down to which type of voter will be pressing the vote buttons on final night.

    The visual makeup of the group is very different to raksu, I would say the one with the wobbly head pulled in a fair few young female votes regardless.

    Sticking with my original prediction.

  • Sean

    Who does everyone think will reach the final this year? Seems to be a focus on the girls this year.

  • The Juan

    I think the final will be the top 3 in the betting at the moment. Shan/brendan/misunderstood.

    Brendan in the final with louis, liam and whoever they can get from one direction to turn up to seal the deal. He replaces harry like adam lambert to queen for the purpose of the show.

    I think they are all the relevant plan a acts in their category (which is one of the similar reasons for the prices at the moment), also think ricky could come in on price if he makes the lives, potential dark horse.

    Interesting to note that in the 6cc, there was an attempt to individually introduce each member of the girl group in the vt. There is a potential little mix void…maybe.

  • Stoney

    Just been checking missunderstood out on YouTube. It would appear they already have a half decent following before they came on the show.
    I was quite impressed with their rendition of Labyrinths Jealous. They have a few of their own songs also. Wouldnt be surprised if they were scouted. These guys can sing. Its my opinion that out of everyone going into the live show these are the only act that could have some sort of a career. You could make a case for one of the other groups and maybe Dalton.

  • Phil smith

    I think misunderstood are really good but after having time to reflect I think they are more likely finalists rather than overall winner! Rak su were given a big push last year I’m not sure it will happen two years in a row! Like panos mentions they tend to go down a different route each year and I think Shan or Brendan will be the chosen one with maybe all 3 making the final which has also been mentioned! Dalton Harris could be a darkhorse he’s very good and a decent price to go with it !

  • Phil

    ITV’s press pack for next week (https://www.itv.com/presscentre/sites/default/files/itv_week_42-43_confirmed_highlights.pdf) confirms Sunday is a results show. Can’t find anything to indicate whether or not there’ll be a bottom 2 sing off – the voting terms just say ‘Coming Soon’.

  • Stoney

    Anyone still in doubt over misunderstood having plan a treatment?

    • Ben Cook

      Alpha group and finalists, but not necessarily Plan A. I quite liked their song last night, though the whole thing came across a bit 90s.

  • Nick

    No!….and very happy with tonights audition and their “treatment” .
    a long way to go….but some great comments on Twitter. Obviously a few comments about them being another Raksu…but they are much better and can do slow stuff really well too ( ref youtube).

  • Phil smith

    I can’t stop laying misunderstood in the outright market even though I think they are impressive I fancy them to get signed in 2nd or 3rd! Brendan Murray, Shan or dalton Harris for the win it’s hard to pick which one all 3 are quality

  • Nick

    Yes misunderstood have some tv show history…many of these acts do. They have also apparently worked with Will I am .
    The vast majority of the voting public don’t care about acts having a few previous chances to make it.

  • The Juan

    Last night is only making me think brendan will go for the win now.

    As for anthony, I cant remember before where the saturday ‘pimp slot’ was given to someone followed by negative comments…

    Interesting as well, with brendan, i also cant remember when one single act was split from their category to appear the next night to draw attention to them. It will be interesting to see when he is on as there is a strictly crossover tonight. Apparently he is singing ‘nothing compares to you’.

    I can see misunderstood reaching the semis/final but not winning.

    • Phil

      Re: Brendan. I don’t see it. He’s too squeaky.

      I feel like the winner this year is going to be somebody we’re not really considering so far. All those that are currently top 5-ish favourites have something that puts me off.

      Misunderstood – too similar to last year
      Brendan – too squeaky, no real sex appeal
      Shan – good but historically not a strong voting demographic
      Anthony – big appeal to Liverpool viewers, complete turn-off to viewers elsewhere
      Vibe5 – don’t sound strong enough
      Molly – not likeable enough

      I feel like we’re lacking a real showman/woman. I think that’s going to be key this year after the success of the Greatest Showman, plus the imminent arrival of the Bohemian Rhapsody film. I think we’re over that introverted sing-your-heart-out style that’s been popular in recent years.

      I think for this reason, there’s a lot of value in Janice right now.

  • Stoney

    Usually I would agree that being too similar to last year would be a huge negative. However the show is at the end of its time now. Audience viewing figures continuing to fall. Raksu bombing hard. A horrendously weak field. No vote magnets.
    All these points give misunderstood a real shot at being pushed for the win.

  • Fudd

    Well the figures are holding up reasonably well year-on-year so no reason to write it off yet though obviously the programme will struggle against Strictly Come Snogging tonight.

    I’m going to be controversial and say I’m really enjoying the series – particularly Judge’s Houses which has been far better edited than the mess which was the Six Chair Challenge. The reason being, for once, the producers intentions aren’t as easy to read, as stated in the past on this very site, as “Spot Goes For a Walk”. Every act goes into the lives, so far at least unless they really push/do a number on Brendan or one of the Overs, with a chance to fly. Whilst it’s not good for the betting fraternity who like red (and black) flags it makes for a more interesting show overall.

    I have to disagree about the lack of talent – the Boys are admittedly a pretty poor bunch excluding Dalton, especially as Armstrong and JSOL fluffed their lines last night, but I think the Girls and Groups have real potential whilst Janice and Ricky will bring something for the Overs whilst I think Louise is talented too; I’m just not 100% sure she’ll get through.

    So… there I said it. I wouldn’t read the lack of clear manipulation or signs as a bad thing but perhaps a new approach and one they should have taken a while ago.

    • Ben Cook

      Yeah I’m starting to see some potential in some of the acts too. I didn’t like Shan’s audition but she was good at 6CC. Dalton has a fabulous voice.

      Brendan is a funny one.. I can see young girls liking him but all the praise feels a little OTT right now.

      Vibe 5 certainly look the part so I wouldn’t rule out them pulling something out of the bag.

      I really like Louise Setara as well.

  • Stoney

    Brendan is gonna get irritating singing like a girl every week. Nothing impressive about that performance tonight. Surprised that he seems so highly rated on here.

  • Fudd

    The leopard never changes it’s spots and the hand of manipulation is seen clearer than ever for this year’s show with the choices in the Overs category. I sense they thought Scarlett and Louise would be too similar and they cut down Ricky’s potential as a vote magnet before it could set root.

    • Ben Cook

      My thoughts too. And Louise is jacking in singing again because of it. Shame because she was bloody good in the previous rounds, not so much tonight.

  • Uzair Sarfaraz

    This yr is shaping up to be alright uno. We’ve got a nice mix of old and new. Some acts similar to last yrs like misunderstood and Bella but some acts similar to later seasons like boyband vibe 5 and Daniel.
    The last 16 is looking good too. The overs r weakest by far. Daniel could be top 5 material. I’m not sure if viewers would vote for Janice. The other 2 r goners.
    The boys r looking alright. We’ve lacked a solo black boy for a while. I believe the last one was mason but he was more of a controvery. I’m rooting for Armstrong hopefully he goes far. Brendan is alpha clearly and Anthony while some ppl may enjoy him isn’t shaping up well. A heck of a lot of backlash last night wouldn’t be surprised if he gets out early.
    Groups r quire strong. Misunderstood r a current alpha but vibe 5 could and very well take over. A star r good but can’t see them gettin many.voters. I refuse to comment on LMA choir
    The girls imo r the strongest. All 4 r different and unique. Shan is alpha clearly. Molly fits into beta girl territory like holly and Sam from previous years. Scarlett could be interesting she’s the return of the bit voiced girl we’ve lacked for 2 years. Hanna Lola and Lauren all have made it quite far and were betas. So Scarlett could make it. Bella will be very interesting as she’s got the most followers on insta but also has the most hate of the girls.

    I’m still stuck by my theory that well have the 2011 twist with each judge dropping an act week 1
    In that case id say :
    Ayda will screw her head on and drop Giovanni
    For Louis it’s a coin toss between Dalton and Armstrong most likely dependent on their performances
    Robbie will drop LMA choir
    Simon could drop molly as he has the least connection with her based on what weve seen

  • Milton

    Well said Uzair, people do like to have a moan, but I think there’s plenty of talent here to put on a great show. I’m pleased to see that they have avoided the Honey G novelty route.

    Whilst the girls are a strong category I don’t see Simon getting the winner two years in a row. He’s gonna want his golden boy Louis, or the £10m kid Robbie to win imo. Historically to get a girl winner the show has had to throw all its weight behind them and hold back other acts. I can’t see why they would want to do that with any of this years selection with the possible exception of Bella – if she was good enough, but she has struggled in 2 of her 3 performances so far, however much Cowell tried to convince us otherwise.

    Of the overs I find Ola the most interesting, but his judges house song was weak and forgettable. I think he is best suited to the live crowd, so lets see what happens next Saturday. If there is to be a springer from the overs I think its most likely to be him.

    I think the winner will be a group or a boy. Anthony has a great voice, but I doubt he will have the flexibility to deal with the different themes. His performances merge into one for me. Dalton and Brendan are both serious contenders imo. Brendan is a decent song writer judging by his youtube channel which could be significant if the show wants to go down that route again this year.

    Of the groups Misunderstanding look really slick. They were dances first, singers second, which means they are sure to put on a good show. Vibe 5 look pretty solid as well. Four of them showcased their vocals at the weekend, and they were amongst the better voices we heard across all categories imo. Could this finally be the successor to One Direction that Cowell would clearly love? I like A*Star, but I liked Rai-Elle last year and I feel that she had more going for her than A*Star, but she was never in with a shout.

    2011 didn’t work out too well. Kelly Rowland sent Amelia Lilly home and then she got reinstated when Frankie was kicked off, and ended up coming 3rd. If they want to lose one from each category, which does make sense, I think the public will have a say this time, possibly with some kind of flash vote on the app.

  • Uzair Sarfaraz

    The format has been confirmed to be back to the 2016 format with 7 weeks of live shows. A huge 4 drop act makes the most sense if they want good spacing
    Week 1 : 4
    Week 2 : 2
    Week 3 : 2
    Week 4 : 2
    Week 5 : 1 or 2
    Week 6 : 1 or 2
    Week 7 : top 3

    They should’ve added more live shows for this series adding in maybe one extra could help spacing and make It seem not as rushed. Could see a 5 person semi final and maybe a 6 or 7 even quarter final. The week one drop using a flash vote could be interesting.
    Best way to get rid of weaker acts
    Giovanni and Armstrong would be definite
    Groups would be LMA choir but could see A star leaving
    Girls could be any1 to be honest. I’m not 100% sure on Shan with voters yet. Scarlett i can’t rlly predict and I think bella i could make a case either way. I’d like molly to leave considering she’s a bit bland but I’m not even sure with her for the voters

  • Stoney

    Thank god we don’t have that god awful split of half performing Saturday and half Sunday. And the prize fight nonsense. Whoever thought of that idea should be sacked.

    No one bothering with a top 16. I spose its difficult when we don’t know the format. So ill go with a top 5 for now.

    5. Dalton
    4. Brendan
    3. Shan
    2. Anthony
    1. Missunderstood

  • Woofie

    I have just caught up with the judge houses. I watched the girls category last. I’m interested what people think of producer treatment for Simon Judges House, singing in front of that audience… to show their reaction to a contestant singing. I don’t think that would have worked with the other categories but it’s interesting that it was not the last in the order before the live shows. I am sure if the Girls Category was just before the live shows that would have the greatest impact going into the live shows. You felt for the girls to have that sprung on you and it could have crashed and burned… so was it for the chosen one or was it for the show?

  • 360

    I wonder if they’ll be shooting for another four-act final this year…

    I think week 1 will clarify a lot of things.

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