Can Chris Make The Final?

Nov 21, 2012 by

Can Chris Make The Final?

Ella’s surprise elimination on Sunday night was a hammer blow to vast swathes of the tv betting community who pegged her as TCO going back to her first audition, which begs the question why bookmakers find it necessary to close the accounts of those who focus on tv betting and manage to turn a profit.

If they had any gumption and didn’t run their businesses in such a gutless manner, they would have had one of their most profitable results in the history of tv betting. So as much as Sunday would have hurt Ella backers, including us, there are some crumbs of comfort in the knowledge the bookies aren’t nearly rich as they could have been following her exit from the competition.

We stated in our preview on Sunday morning, we could find a decent argument for all of Union J, Rylan and Chris escaping the bottom 2. Following this line of thought, we could see a shock on the cards with a big name dropping into the bottom 2. Where we got things wrong was in anticipating this to be more likely James or Jahmene, rather than Ella.

Our view on proceedings is they may have got complacent with Ella after a sharp rise in her vote percentage the previous week. We knew from the Daily Star leak that she was only just above the drop zone prior to this, but it felt like Tulisa’s request for fans to start voting for her was a turning point and she would start to build momentum heading towards the final.

While many are now pointing to the song choice as one of the reasons for Ella’s demise, in terms of vocal delivery it was Ella’s best live performance to date. She received the plaudits of the panel but they again allowed Nicole far too much rope in continuing to criticise, and Tulisa was left looking like a shrinking violet.

A pre-meditated plan? We don’t think so as this has been a recurring theme throughout the entire series with Nicole stealing the limelight with her post-performance critiques and given the biggest soapbox in drumming up support for her 3 acts. This is where in our view the producers have lost a fair bit of control as the upshot has been, surprise, surprise, Nicole still has all 3 of her acts in the competition.

We reckon TPTB were targeting a big name to drop into the bottom 2 but it makes more sense to us that their target was James who could then bounce to the final. We have been making the point for a number of weeks now that James is far too edgy and raw for an ITV Saturday night primetime audience, and it is our belief he has been loitering close to the drop zone.

Clues can also be garnered from the numerous Sunday night musical guests and z-list celebs turning up on the spin-off show on ITV2 telling viewers at home James is their favourite, not to mention the desperate ramping of the judges including Gary’s claim on Saturday that he wanted James to win the competition.

We also do not read the Chris production as an all-out attempt to get him into the bottom 2. It was the ideal song choice for him, he sang it well, and there was plenty in his edit to encourage his supporters to get behind him once more.

Our view is, he has been flying that high in the public vote, they knew that regardless of their brutal stage kill there was no way they could get him in the bottom 2 on Sunday and for the time being they are happy to continue with his seemingly against-the-odds run in the competition.

This year’s X Factor markets have been the most unfathomable ever, and the only way you would have turned a decent profit to this point is in taking a value approach. This is central to our strategy which is one reason we have a four figure series-profit to date though we are still kicking ourselves for not covering the Ella/James combo having been fishing for bigger prices in the Big 3 waters.

There has not been a single week in which the front 2 in the betting to land in the bottom 2 have ended up the bottom 2, and elimination favourites who have ended up being eliminated have been few and far between.

Much of the old-style XF analysis has been blown out of the water which has also left us fire-fighting some dangerous reds in our Outright book. For good reason, we were willing to oppose Jahmene at series start and as recently as last weekend we stated we were happy to lay him around 2.5. Now he is trading at 1.92 on Betfair to win the series.

Are we eager to now pile in on Jahmene at 1.92? No. Do we think James is the value bet at 3.8? No. They both look like they have glass jaws, and in a series as strange and unpredictable as this, it would be folly to commit to either at this stage. The value as of now is undoubtedly Chris. We know he has been topping the vote and every week he has played perfectly to his audience.

As for the show’s skullduggery to try and dampen his vote, we think there is a strong argument to suggest if this has been the case, it has backfired spectacularly and Chris is now picking up a healthy sympathy vote, as well as a healthy anti-X Factor vote.

The Mirror’s story yesterday that he has been receiving death threats on Twitter will surely only strengthen the resolve of those who believe he is being unfairly picked on. Which is why we are dubious as to TPTB wanting him off the show.

The Mirror is the mouthpiece for the X Factor publicity machine and surely it would be in the show’s best interests – for maximum publicity and maximum drama – to have Chris still in there in the final? It would send voters into a frenzy, it would ensure maximum press coverage, and it would push ratings up.

And wouldn’t the ultimate moment be served by having Chris still there at the final 2 stage? Last weekend’s events reveal TPTB do not mind flying by the seat of their pants so we can certainly envisage this happening.

You would expect a big anti-Chris vote to kick in at that stage – which may well be in their thinking already – so we definitely see value in straight forecast quotes of Jahmene/Chris at 6-1 with Paddy Power and James/Chris at a widely-available 14-1.

As for this weekend we are struggling to pick out any clear value in the markets. With voting figures at an all-time low, James should get a very healthy bounce pushing him well clear of the bottom 2, but can they get Rylan or Union J above Chris in the public vote? We very much doubt it and doubt this will be the plan.

The contestants will sing 2 songs from Abba and Motown themes. This should certainly give Chris the chance to shine with an Abba song, but it’s hard to imagine a Motown number that would fall into his comfort zone.

We advise a watching brief to see if they finally throw Rylan under a bus or extend him a further lifeline, and to see what they have in store for Chris next. The Union J/Rylan bottom 2 combo seems the most obvious scenario but given the appalling track record of obvious bottom 2s during this series we are loathe to get too heavily involved.

Do you agree the show-makers may well now want Chris in the final? Who out of James and Jahmene is the more likely winner in your view? Is there room for another shock this weekend or will it play to form from here? As always, please do let us know your thoughts below.
Rob Furber

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10 Comments

  1. Jay

    One of the few things Ive disagreed with throughout was the advice of backing Ella. I continued to lay her at 2.7 to start and when she came down to 1.8. I could never see her winning mainly because she had zero personality but more importantly never smiled. Dull grumpy and too obviously trained specifiaclly to win a singing contest. jahmene and Maloney both win me 4 figure sums as Ive backed them early coupled with laying Ella, I have a healthy long term book but I find it hard picking a winner. I think this is the weakest top 5 in the history of the show. I personally do not like Jahmene and find him equally dull. Im backing the value of maloney at the moment for the simple reason that he has never been b2 and is potentially as popular as jahmene but no less so than James. Id find it difficult to see in a final three of the above Maloney being an outsider if he continues to avoid b2. The way this year has gone id be tempted to put a couple quid on a b2 combo of jahmene and maloney this week but I think much will depend on UJ and rylans treatment this week.

  2. Rob

    Well done on a great looking Outright book, Jay.

    Our recommendation of Ella came when she was 7-1 & at the bootcamp stage, so if nothing else this offered up the chance of a great trade.

    Since then our BF strategy has been largely laying her rivals, & then also laying Ella when she went odds on. Only backed her on BF recently when she drifted back out to around 3.25.

    We started to reverse things when Jahmene got about his 1,000th consecutive favourable treatment a few weeks back but have been happy to keep him red.

    He would be nowhere near winning the series in a normal year & without the relentless ramps and sympathy VTs, & he still looks vulnerable though his competition is thinning out.

    Also have a huge Chris green & happy to sit tight for now.

  3. Jay

    Still not convinced by Jahmene myself. He will be the next joe Mceldry if he does win and have no follow up career. Hoping he hits 1.5 and I can lay a chunk off. The only problem is the rest are so poor and have been b2….they have botched up Maloney where he is stuck in middle ground. Theres enough negativity and split opinion he is unlikely to win. My hope with him is that this week he remembers his shakes and talks about being bullied which may launch a press campaign in his favour.
    Are UJ a threat? I did have a grren on them but turned them red before their latest b2 appearance. Will there be a swathe of younger viewers that watch just the final two weeks and vote for them, coupled with some One direction and JLS support I see them being the act that could get a huge push but they are just so average in every department

  4. Rob

    Great point regarding UJ, Jay – have been thinking the same way, & just turned them green on off chance of the scenario you describe.

    Chris tears would be ideal… slightly concerned he has been advised to leave Twitter for the time being – has to be better for any XF act to be interacting with their fans on there.

  5. Boki

    Rob, I can hardly see anything than Rylan goodbye this week from the show point of view, just not sure if public will play ball. Why would they offer him a lifeline after Ella case?
    Agree on Chris, top3 looks realistic, top2 we’ll see.

  6. Rob

    Certainly would appear that way, Boki. The b2 combo of Rylan/Union J is vaguely appealing at 15-8 with Paddy Power.

    You wonder if it’ll be a swift return to calm following the storm – & as such they will play more of a straight bat this week & see to it that Rylan is finally gone.

  7. eurovicious

    Superb; exactly reflects my own thoughts and feelings. You’re wise to reiterate the value approach. You may have seen my commentary regarding Chris and Ella’s exit here: http://sofabet.com/2012/11/18/x-factor-2012-week-7-post-mortem-one-ella-va-shock-2/#comment-26153.

    For a while now, Chris has been the value bet (as well as the value lay for B2, week after week) – a value bet that despite all the evidence (the Star leaks etc), the market and most of the betting community (apart from you and a tiny minority of others) has failed to take seriously right from day 1. There’s been a sort of collective self-delusion going on, along the lines of “oh, he escaped the bottom 2 this week, so that means they’ll double their efforts and he’ll probably be in it next week” etc. This is based on the incorrect assumption that he’s vulnerable, a notion that the now all-but-verified voting leaks should have dispelled weeks ago. And it’s also the result of seeing the show too much from an insider/producer perspective (ie. “they want Chris out”) rather than a viewer perspective (Chris is talented, highly sympathetic, and the only act performing unadulterated covers of mainstream songs in a year of downbeat niche acts). In terms of value, this seems like an abstract and flippant comparison, but where Chris’s odds are now reminds dissimilar to Rona’s odds going into SF1 of Eurovision this year. You tipped her months in advance, I also “knew” she would sail through (as much as you can ever “know” anything) and went big on her, yet she was still available at a ridiculous 1.9ish on the day, because UK punters failed to understand jury, diaspora, and the appeal of serious music. The point I’m leading up to is that the key to value betting in X Factor is the opposite to that in Eurovision. For value in X Factor, focus on what the public will respond to, while the rest of the market overlooks that and focuses instead on what the show wants. In Eurovision, focus on what the jury will respond to, while the rest of the market overlooks that and focuses on what the public will go for.

  8. Rob

    ‘For value in X Factor, focus on what the public will respond to, while the rest of the market overlooks that and focuses instead on what the show wants. In Eurovision, focus on what the jury will respond to, while the rest of the market overlooks that and focuses on what the public will go for.’

    This is a very clever analogy, eurovicious, & encapsulates where the value often exists.

  9. Roach

    Plenty of Motown ballads that Chris could belt out to strong effect, in my opinion. The likes of Jimmy Ruffin ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’, or Jackson 5 ‘I’ll Be There’ for example. A Motown show is always a staple of any cruise ship, so I’m sure he’s more than familiar with a fair few already.

    Whether he’s given a ballad or uptempo for the Motown (and indeed Abba) song should go a long way to telling us if you are right and producers would indeed now like him in the final 3…

  10. Rob

    Yes, very true roach. Was thinking the same way – Chris’s song choices this weekend should be very revealing.

    Hope you are right & he is able to sing a suitable Motown tune. Motown will also likely be a chance for them to lavish praise on Jahmene once more.

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