Cruel Intentions?

Nov 14, 2016 by

Cruel Intentions?

Last night Dermot managed to send the X Factor Outright market into a spin with Matt drifting, Emily drifting, 5 After Midnight backed in and Saara backed in.

So what exactly did he say? ‘Over the last 24 hours the 1st and 2nd place have changed a number of times. And the 2 acts who have been at the top who have never been at the top before.’

Firstly, tut, tut, Dermot. Grammatically that second sentence is a complete horlicks. The first sentence alone tells us nothing of substance. You would expect the 1st and 2nd place to change a number of times during Saturday night’s live show.

App voting gets underway before the first act performs and the act with the biggest and most loyal band of supporters would inevitably lead the vote from the outset. Saara sang first on Saturday so her vote would have immediately spiked pushing her to the top.

Saara would have likely remained at the top until 5 After Midnight performed from the 4 slot when they would have potentially risen to the top. Matt Terry could have then risen above 5 After Midnight after performing next, or made it into 2nd place.

This would already satisfy Dermot’s first sentence, rendering it meaningless and suggesting it was a statement of pure rhetoric.

Following the narrative of the previous week when Dermot pointed out the closeness in the vote between 1st and 3rd, the overriding impression is, his statement was intended purely to give the illusion of a close and open contest once more

The second sentence does not make sense unless we make a correction or two. If we amend it to: ‘And 2 acts who have been at the top have never been at the top before’, the inference here would be, Dermot was likely referring to Saara and 5 After Midnight. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that Saara and 5 After Midnight were the top 2 when vote lines closed on Sunday night.

Only if we change Dermot’s sentence to present tense: ’And the 2 acts at the top have never been at the top before,’  can we start drawing to more dramatic conclusions about new vote leaders. And if he meant that, why didn’t he say that? The use of ‘have been’ suggests it was a reference to vote leaders during Saturday night’s show who did not end up vote leaders when lines closed on Sunday.

Following the narrative of the previous week when Dermot pointed out the closeness in the vote between 1st and 3rd, the overriding impression is, his statement was intended purely to give the illusion of a close and open contest once more. The more likely reality is, it was a fudged comment dressed up as something significant and newsworthy but actually not telling us anything of major significance.

Saara enjoyed a big vote push despite the coffin slot which hinted at producer intentions to try and enable her to escape the sing-off. Sam couldn’t have been nuked more brutally from the 2 slot and while Ryan received a fair degree of post-song positivity, all the signs were there a Sam vs Ryan sing-off looked highly likely and this indeed came to pass.

Sharon’s shambolic stumbling over her voting decision was another all-time low for the show. It felt a near-certainty Sam would get the boot but she had to stand there listening to the spiteful harridan hinting at sending Ryan home only to do a complete u-turn and send it to deadlock, sealing Sam’s fate. All you can have is enormous sympathy for the wide-eyed youngsters who sign up for the X Factor hoping for a shot at the big time but who end up mercilessly screwed over by the show.

Ryan seemed an obvious save with a view to the next act in this sorry Syco soap opera which ails along like a wheezing asthmatic. With Emily no doubt forced to sing ‘Wishing On A Star’ during ‘Disco’ week only for this to be teed up to underwhelm and for Cowell’s 3 lackeys to point out how deadly dull it was, with Louis and Sharon instructed not to applaud, Emily WILL go uptempo on Saturday.

You have to start to wonder if Emily is being set up for a fall because a poor rendition on Saturday will give the opportunity for Cowell to polish his enormous ego by saying he was right not to send her down this path while also potentially navigating Emily into the dream sing-off scenario, pitting her against her boyfriend Ryan. This was speculated upon pre-series as the very reason why the wildcard element was dreamed up to get Ryan on the live shows.

Emily is due an early slot and if she underwhelms it is easy to envisage Saara being given the pimp slot on Saturday and lavish praise, Honey G enjoying more kitchen sink treatment and suddenly Emily will look vulnerable.

You have to start to wonder if Emily is being set up for a fall because a poor rendition on Saturday will give the opportunity for Cowell to polish his enormous ego by saying he was right not to send her down this path while also potentially navigating Emily into the dream sing-off scenario, pitting her against her boyfriend Ryan

If Emily isn’t quite in range of a take-down yet, the alternative might be a Saara vs Ryan sing-off on Saturday and a Ryan save ahead of a potential Ryan vs Emily sing-off the following week. But the prospect of an Emily Ryan sing-off must have Cowell salivating given the heartstring-tugging world Syco loves to operate in.

There were plenty of cutaways to a concerned looking Emily during last night’s sing-off. Again, you can only feel sympathy for the young contestants who are being treated as pawns in this sordid and frankly pathetic game that bears less and less resemblance to a legitimate talent contest.

While Matt remains a firm favourite, now available at Evens in the high street, the concern for his backers is that he hasn’t received a single pimp slot yet. But he has still been largely receiving praise, performing well and you get the sense he is cruising along towards the top of the vote.

Honey G being given the kitchen sink treatment from the pimp slot was possibly more a sign of the show keen to keep her firmly away from the bottom 2. Her one-dimensional act is wearing thin as are her repetitive platitudes in interview.

5 After Midnight are being given every assistance to shine and as things stand they look heavily in favour to be pushed to the final. Pre-series Sharon looked something of a good thing to lose all her acts first. She is now out to 3-1 with Coral which sums up the unpredictability of X Factor, but also represents value.

The view here is, if the Ryan vs Emily sing-off comes to pass Emily will win it and will then have a launchpad to potentially still make the final.

It’s ‘Movies’ week on Saturday. Of most interest will be the song Emily is given. Keep an eye on Comments for further updates. Hopefully some value emerges once we know the song choices.


  1. steve

    Dont hold back Rob

    • Rob

      It actually made me laugh writing this 🙂 The whole thing has become a distasteful farce though, hasn’t it? I think it is really difficult viewing & if it wasn’t such a useful trading platform I wouldn’t watch it.

      Cowell has totally lost the plot imho.

  2. tpfkar

    If it’s a Ryan vs Emily sing-off, wouldn’t it be too obvious to lose Ryan?

    It would have 20 x the drama if they can deadlock it with Emily departing.

    • Rob

      True tpfkar & maybe this is part of the plan. I just think Simon does see commerical potential in Emily though he possibly does still have more of a serial hatred for Scotland after Jai won BGT which overrides everything else. He is a twisted megalomaniac & XF seems to have become his play thing.

  3. Jessica Hamby

    spiteful harridan

    I *heart* you.

  4. Henry VIII

    I agree about the cruelty, it never gets easier to watch. But I suppose these acts (who often aren’t very good) get the publicity they’d never otherwise get. And if anyone in the music industry is interested in them they can see through Cowell’s critisisms and manipulations anyway.

    And the show keeps the likes of us off the street.

    “And the 2 acts who have been at the top who have never been at the top before.” LOL Dermot would probably try and speak properly if he thought it would be analysed.

    My take is a bit different: 2 acts would have got to the top after the show, been close in votes to each other and swapped between themselves but stayed at the top. I think it less likely that others would usurp them later in the vote. From following votes/likes on facebook for RTV things the order and percentages stay pretty consistant after the first decent amount of votes has been cast.

    Matt and Emily surely each T1 before. Therefore likely newcomers: Honey G or Saara or 5am. For me the loser of those 3 is 5am. I don’t think the fuss for 5am (miming) in the auditorium is matched by votes. Boybands tend to do much better in sm (usually beating all other acts) than they do in votes. However 5am are actually doing poorly in sm.

    • Rob

      Appreciate they get exposure on a primetime show, Henry, but the way their vocal talents are compromised/sidelined by unsuitable songs and arrangements, and staging, not to mention the mud-slinging they often get courtesy of the tabloids… there is a big price to pay.

      Cowell fails to realise it would be a far more feel-good show, & a much better way to test out these acts with the public, if they were all given the chance to shine & they genuinely worked on finding the best song choices for them all each week to show their best, they did away with the dreadful and transparent manipulation, & were even-handed in their treatment of the final 12. This would also be a far more efficient way of discovering the acts likely to do best post-show.

      This would make it a different ball game for us as traders but no doubt we would still be able to use our skill to work things out and find the betting value. I’m sure ratings would do a lot better if they followed this path also.

  5. Espero que Matt Terry ganhe, é o melhor e 5 depois de meia noite em 2ª lugar.

  6. Rob

    On news Ed Sheeran is penning the XF winner’s single, looks well worth backing Matt and Emily to be Christmas No1.

    The track will need to hold at no1 for 2 weeks.


    Matt Terry – Christmas No1 – 3-1 – 2pt win – Ladbrokes
    Emily Middlemass – Christmas No1 – 16-1 – 0.5pt win – Ladbrokes

  7. Rob

    Thoughts on this week’s song choices:


    Matt Terry: Writing’s on The Wall – Sam Smith (Spectre) – This is a tough song to sing live but should suit Matt’s falsetto well. It looks a song choice teed up for something of a moment for Matt – could easily imagine evocative staging with a live orchestra behind him.

    Ryan Lawrie: Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley (Jailhouse Rock) – Have to fear for Ryan that he will get a lot of distracting dancing going on around him & he will then be damned by faint praise. Karaoke, song too big for you…? pick your buzzword but Ryan looks an easy b2 target with this.


    Emily Middlemas: It Must Have Been Love – Roxette (Pretty Woman) – After all the talk of uptempo this week, Emily gets this.

    This version performed on US XF suggests it could ideally be in Emily’s wheelhouse – – but what is likely to be in the script?

    Disappointment from the other 3 mentors over another slowed-down rendition? Distracting talk along the lines of, ‘Simon, we were promised uptempo but this is just the same old, same old’? Or a 4-judge standing ovation after a perfectly-staged, well delivered song by Emily with Cowell smugly informing, ‘I told you so. Emily, this is who you are as an artist. This is what you are best at.’

    How it pans out is all down to whether or not they are gunning for an Emily/Ryan b2 this week.


    Honey G: It’s Like That / Getting Jiggy With It – Jason Nevins/ Will Smith I (Keith Lemon The Movie / Last Days of Disco) – Honey’s rap act is starting to wear thin but Getting Jiggy With It at least offers the chance for a stronger 2nd half and a party feel.

    She will need another kitchen sink production and the judges to continue to big her up. Take this away and her vote will drop like a stone.

    Saara Aalto: My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion (Titanic) – A straight forward power ballad for Saara to flex her vocal muscles on. It is an awful dirge of a track which doesn’t really go anywhere. That said, if it’s in the script it will be very easy for the judges to eulogise Saara for this, & it’s the sort of thing viewers could lap up.


    5 After Midnight: Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding (The Commitments) – I expect the arrangement of this to focus on the latter part of the track when it really comes to life.

    If they are not given vocal assistance this will be a tough assignment but given their recent treatment seems more likely this will happen and the mentors will be raving about them post-song.

    Emily was 5-2 earlier in the week to be bottom 2. She is now 6-4 which looks a bit short.

    If you have followed the portfolio of advised bets here series-long you will be sitting on a 4pt win bet, Honey G to be Top Over at 15-8.

    Slightly nervous about that as Honey G has probably been floating just above the drop zone & there has been some more negative press for her this week.

    It could go a number of different ways tomorrow night. If Emily isn’t within range, then Saara or Honey G could be in the line of fire if they want to keep Ryan on the show with a view to a potential sing-off with Emily the following week.

    If an Emily vs Ryan sing-off comes to pass, I’d expect Emily to be saved. In terms of protecting that Honey G investment, the advice here would be to back Honey G to be eliminated.


    Honey G – next elimination – 1pt win – 10-1 – Betfred

    • hemsby

      I’ve had my biggest bet of the series on Honey G to be eliminated this week Rob.

      Her song choice(s) aren’t as iconic or fun as the previous 2 weeks and they can’t put her on last again.If she does slip in to the B2 with Ryan I can see them “doing the right thing” and saving Ryan to set up the lovers sing-off the following week.

      • Tim B

        Ah, I wondered whose money I’ve been laying all week. I just can’t see in any circumstances how Honey G gets eliminated this week. They won’t want to boot her the week after giving her a successful pimp slot. Everything seems teed up for the Ryan vs Emily sing off…and if Honey did happen to slip down by accident, I think they’d save her. Simon and Louis would have no qualms about voting off Ryan instead of her. A mash up will only make her more interesting to the audience and for me, she’s an almost certain finalist.

        • hemsby

          You’ll understand if I don’t wish you good luck Tim 🙂

          I’ve taken the view that Honey G needed the pimp slot last week for them to be certain she would survive another week rather than any long term plans.

          She has virtually no likability,no talent and no real personality.IMO she’s survived so far via some enormous pimping and plenty of late slots.I estimate her support to be somewhere between 10-15 % each week depending on performance / RO.With her song choice(s) this week being less iconic and fun than the previous 2 weeks,plus no pimp slot I think she’s very likely to be B2,probably with Ryan.

          If that turns out to be the case,I think they’ll cut her free and go for the Emily v Ryan sing off next week.

          All theory of course,but just felt that 10/1 + on betfair was well worth the punt.

          • Tim B

            “She has virtually no likability,no talent and no real personality” If that were really true, hemsby, she’d have been out in week 1. In fact, it sounds to me like you are actually describing Bratavio. She may have had some late slots, but she’s also performed in the first half of the show twice thus far. There are plenty of people out there who enjoy her performances, and her facebook stats are through the roof each week. Producers are on her side and I feel she has offered a lot more than all previous novelty acts. She has also been pushed a lot more. The Bottom 3 were only separated by 3% or so last week. You are effectively betting that it was Honey G just above the drop zone, whereas I would bet a lot of money on it being Emily – and I have. Tomorrow night’s show will tell us everything we need to know, of course. I just can’t see the producers doing a dramatic U-turn on Honey G and booting her or, especially when Ryan is still there and she’s providing the show with much-needed press coverage on a daily basis.

          • Henry VIII

            Just to correct “her facebook stats are through the roof each week”: it may look like that from a superficial look. But half of what makes her total figures are “angry”. So if you look at the positive likes/loves then she’s never even been in the T3 except for w1.

            This from a Honey G fan btw.

          • Tim B

            The “angry” faces are less than half if you’re including likes, loves and “hahas”, but there are plenty there. If you take the likes on their own, it’s always way more than the acts likely to fall into the Bottom Two/Three. Saara is an anomaly with her large international Eurovision fan base.

  8. hemsby

    Have traded my Honey G elimination bets now for a nice free green.

    She certainly looks in the mix for B2.

  9. Rob

    The D.Star admits in the Honey G topping the vote story, this is the phone vote only. This was suspected to be the case in previous, recent XF vote leak stories in the D.Star & the phone vote is an ever decreasing portion of the overall vote in this free app vote era.

    It is hard to gauge how Honey G has been doing in the app vote but last night’s Honey G treatment felt like one subtly guiding her towards the bottom 2. Yes, she got the big production but it fell flat & the comments, esp. from Nicole, pointed out it is getting very samey.

    Ryan looks a very strong candidate for b2. First up on the night and rather forgettable with 5 After Midnight following him and getting immense praise despite some more suspect vocals from them.

    Saara was again painted as a foreigner in her VT, the song itself plodded along, and the judges’ praise for her felt rather underwhelming.

    Matt followed and stole the limelight with an excellent rendition of the Bond theme. Emily closed the show and while it was a positive VT and positive feedback from the judges, it didn’t resonate the way Creep did and felt rather lifeless.

    A tricky week to decipher but Honey G is definitely in danger and the 10-1 advised on her being eliminated is in play. She is now a best-priced 11-2.

    Saara and 5 After Midnight are not out of the woods and you could only call Matt and Emily safe this week. Very likely Ryan + 1, and the feeling here is 5 After Midnight have probably built up the strongest fan base out of them, Saara and Honey G so will more likely edge to safety.

    The outcome of a Ryan vs Honey G or Ryan vs Saara sing-off hinges on whether they still have plans to try and manage a future Emily vs Ryan sing-off.

    That factor alone suggests 4-9 Ryan is a dangerous bet to be piling into. No further bet is advised here because if either Honey G or Saara are eliminated this week, you will be nicely in profit either way if you have followed previous investment advice in this series.

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