Enigma Wrapped In A Puzzle

Nov 11, 2012 by

Enigma Wrapped In A Puzzle

One of the biggest conundrums was served up by X Factor last night. None of the bottom 2s series-long have gone according to the market and it would be the height of irony that following such a perplexing night, the market favourites for bottom 2 – Rylan and District 3 – do indeed end up the bottom 2.

The biggest news has arrived following the show, courtesy once more of vote-leak supremo, the Daily Star, with this story today regarding vote percentages. It doesn’t entirely surprise us given what we have witnessed on the show over the last month or so. We reckon the situation the show now finds itself in is partly due to producer incompetence.

They have gone completely O.T.T. raving about Jahmene every week & giving him the V.I.P. treatment by way of helpful VTs – we have never seen a more ramped contestant – so they’ve done their job getting the GBP behind him but in doing so, it would appear Ella’s vote has been crumbling away, along with everyone else’s, bar Chris.

A series of poor song choices and arrangements, combined by weekly criticism from the panel and far from vote-boosting VTs have done Ella no favours at all. Chris, meanwhile, has been so transparently hammered each week, this has probably given extra incentive for his fans to get behind him.

We were going to call Chris safe and a lay for bottom 2 before this Star story stating he has topped the vote EVERY week. He came on and did what he does, and none of what we saw suggested to us his voters will suddenly abandon him. If anything, his VT and the comments of the panel made him look like a humble guy, doing his best, putting his heart and soul into performances, while dark forces are at work trying to destroy him.

Jahmene’s rendition of ‘Angels’ sounded flat in places and didn’t really work in our view. Regular readers will know we’ve been against this guy series-long but there was a ray of light for those who have him red in the shape of his most underwhelming VT to date. Clearly, that has to be put in context with his previous VTs which have all come from the ‘how to pimp a contestant to the GBP’ X Factor rulebook.

We were expecting another big ramp for him courtesy of his work this week for victims of domestic violence. Instead, he told viewers how rubbish he thinks he is. You can argue it was great for him again as it made him look humble. We will cling to the hope it starts to make more viewers question his performances. By his previous standards this felt like a weak and forgettable night for him.

It wasn’t the killing with kindness segment that may have been expected with District 3, but rather a ringing endorsement of their ability and a performance that saw them in their best light. We see as much motivation for their fans to vote as last week because it almost felt like they were coming back from a bottom 2 appearance.

Ella put on one of her best performances of the series in our view. That Tulisa was asking for votes makes sense in light of the Daily Star story. She adopted the same approach last year with Little Mix, of course, and we all know how that ended up. We would be very surprised to see Ella in the bottom 2 and if there is a price crash on her bottom 2 odds we will be laying.

The Rylan set, meanwhile, tried to help save him as much as possible, as did the panel’s comments, added to which there appeared to be a huge contingent in the audience screaming their support of him. This definitely looked like a concerted effort to try and make sure his second bottom 2 bounce is as successful as his first one. If TPTB wanted rid of him this week we would have expected something altogether more underwhelming.

As for Union J, the tribute to the UK’s servicemen was clearly an attempt to push their vote up but the segment didn’t really hit home in our view. With the boyband vote split, and given the big push for Rylan, a bottom 2 of District 3 and Union J could still be on the cards. Some of their potential voters may well have also been sidetracked waiting to see One Direction perform.

We thought James absolutely murdered ‘Hometown Glory’ and it was a distinctly unfriendly effort for a Saturday night ITV primetime audience, much like last week’s rendition. We know the last position on the night is not the pimp it used to be and as much as the panel tried to big him up, we reckon James could still find himself in danger.

So overall we find ourselves returning, more or less, to the position we outlined here 4 days ago. Among the ‘Big 3’ we see James as the most vulnerable and worth a poke at 5-1 for a surprise bottom 2 appearance. We will be laying Rylan for bottom 2 at the shortest odds-on price we can muster on Betfair, and we are certainly happy to back the Union J/District 3 bottom 2 combo at 7 on Betfair at time of writing.

Union J look the elimination value at 8-1, and we will look to cover the odds-on Rylan lay for bottom 2 by backing him in bottom 2 combos with District 3, Union J and James. Chris is an expensive lay for bottom 2 at time of writing, at 4.5, so we will pass on that and not get involved unless his bottom 2 price shortens significantly.

Given this felt like the biggest push yet for Ella votes, James being rammed down the throats of the audience again as this credible superstar in the making, and the assorted ramps that took place for both boybands and Rylan, we can make a case for Jahmene’s vote falling away as much if not more than Chris’s.

Enough to get him into the bottom 2? Scoff all you like but stranger things have happened on reality tv shows, value is value, and on what felt like a strange vote-shifting evening in X Factor land, we will also throw some optimistic pounds at Jahmene for a bottom 2 appearance at anything bigger than 14-1 on Betfair.

Drop us a line with your thoughts ahead of tonight, even if only to mock the suggestion outlined in the previous paragraph.
Rob Furber

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27 Comments

  1. Chiggs

    Great article Rob. I recommend buying UJ for btm 2 at odds at or above 3.0 and D3 for elim, currently available at 3.25.

    This is how I see elimination markets moving today:
    Rylan odds to lengthen as market has overeacted
    D3 odds to shorten below 3.0
    Maloney odds to lengthen
    UJ odds to shorten massively from 9.0

    Btm 2 market:
    Rylan and D3 odds to remain at similar levels now
    UJ odds to shorten below 3.0
    James odds to shorten

  2. Boki

    I hate the password.

    Agree on Rylan lay, his most fun act for me. Found James much better than last week so not playing him. Hoped for Chris bot2 but damn DS article again. That leaves both boybands in danger – can it be that simple?

  3. Rob

    Yes, wise shouts there Chiggs. Union J at anything above 3.3 on BF to land in the bottom 2 looks fair value, & if D3 land bottom 2 there have been enough hints to suggest they would end up biting the bullet if up against either UJ or Rylan.

  4. Rob

    Apologies for the inconvenience, Boki – unable to disable it atm.

    In answer to your question, it rarely ever is as simple as it seems but D3/UJ bottom 2 not only looks highly feasible but decent value.

  5. eurovicious

    Morning Rob – glad I’m not the only one laying Rylan for B2, a surprising number of people seem to think he won’t bounce. I guess with this few acts left, they’re struggling to envision a B2 without him in it.

    Putting aside the Star leaks, watching last night’s show in terms of dramaturgy, it looked like a clear Chris kill – first on, incredibly unsympathetic VT (a lot like Kye’s “wrong notes” one), and a song very different to his usual performance style – instead of just standing and singing (which I’m sure is what his demographic likes him for), he was doing an upbeat number with choreo, crazy staging and a ton of distracting dancers in front of him. It wasn’t vocally driven. I would be all over him for B2/elim were it not for the Star leak.

    I think Ella will be completely safe as the only girl, especially given Tulisa’s shoutout for girls and Northerners to vote for her. James was superb, I think he’ll be safe as houses, his best performance to date and the best of the night. D3 and UJ both in danger, despite the military pimping in the latter case – their two performance were more similar in style than any week I can remember and UJ weren’t that impressive, whereas D3 shone more.

    Regarding Jahmene B2, don’t worry about that paragraph, I was thinking the same thing! He was buried early on, and despite the populist song choice, I’m not sure how well his vocal style gels with the generic public. (As someone said on Twitter, “Jahmene sounds like when you slowly deflate a balloon by stretching the hole at the bottom. Also, the balloon is a serial killer.”) And despite knowing about his background, I’m increasingly finding his “low self-esteem” to be self-aggrandising, narcissistic and almost passive-agressive. Basically he’s milking it. Compared to Maloney’s visceral nerves (of the type you can’t fake), Jahmene’s “poor me” shtick seems more calculated. Maybe it’s just because people with low self-esteem irritate me though(life’s too short to have low self-esteem – there’s gonna be enough other people doing you down with you doing yourself down too…)

    I’ll be taking some of your tips, those that I haven’t already. Thanks.

  6. Rob

    Great post there, eurovicious:

    ‘…And despite knowing about his background, I’m increasingly finding his “low self-esteem” to be self-aggrandising, narcissistic and almost passive-agressive. Basically he’s milking it. Compared to Maloney’s visceral nerves (of the type you can’t fake), Jahmene’s “poor me” shtick seems more calculated.’

    Superbly articulated. More of the same treatment for Jahmene & it is surely going to be counter-productive precisely because of this.

    There is also one argument Jahmene has been pimped to try & dampen Chris’s support. Clearly this is not working.

    If Chris avoids b2 again tonight, it’ll be interesting to see what they try next but last night felt like the first decent effort at generating support for Ella & she still has it in her to build momentum in the crucial last weeks.

  7. Tim B

    Just watched the show back to see what else I could spot. I have to tip my metaphorical hat to producers for what can only be described as a superb attempt to save Rylan. It was just SO much fun and you could hear from the audience’s reaction afterwards just how much people enjoyed it. I have layed him for bottom 2. District3 were stitched up with a song choice their fan base won’t be familiar with and it’s well worth noting that the last time they sang in that style they were bottom 2.

    It feels like I am a TV producer when I watch this show. Not only that, I also feel that after this series ends I’ll be a qualified set designer and lighting technician with all the analysis of lighting/staging/colours that I’m doing. The only two acts to receive powerful gold lighting were – surprise surprise – Ella and Jahméne. Ella’s in particular was rising up to the stars and the song choice reinforces for the umpteenth time that she is a star. Union J were slightly red and blacked towards the end of their performance and there were reminders One Direction were coming on both after they sang and beforehand with the hysterical fan in the audience. Union J were dull performance-wise and I’m fully expecting them to be in the bottom 2.

    Christopher is a difficult one this week. Initially I wasn’t pleased he was singing an uptempo song but on reflection I think it’s a perfect song choice for a Saturday night audience, much like MK1’s ‘I Want You Back’. Also, if they wanted rid of him this week they wouldn’t have put him on first which, for the record, I think is still a good place to be. It was quite a big and entertaining production for him – I think he’ll be safe.

    Overall I think it will be mission accomplished for TPTB tonight – get Rylan to bounce or at least get them above District3 in the vote and get Ella safe with a boost to her vote. I think we’re looking at the boyband bottom 2 that I’ve been speculating about for a couple of weeks now. I will top up on District3 to go after some Strictly winnings come back to me this evening. I’m surprised they aren’t favourites actually.

  8. Boki

    Guys, what’s the view on potential D3 vs UJ sing-off? Are they going to enforce the deadlock in any outcome or still going to save UJ if they are bottom vote? I still believe UJ is preffered but not 100% sure if they would be saved with 3:1 if needed.

  9. Rob

    It’s a good question, Boki. Inclined to think they would send it to dead-lock regardless of who out of the 2 is higher in the pv – purely as the perfect climax to the boyband battle.

    Ultimately, they both look dispensable & have major doubts either could make the final.

    Tim – glad you are on board with the Rylan great escape. If he is b2, can see him definitely saved if against D3, maybe even UJ 🙂

  10. Tim B

    Boki, I strongly believe they’d save Union J at all costs. They can’t risk District3 potentially bouncing into week 8.

  11. Boki

    Thanks guys, at the end it’s a sing-off I would like to avoid. I’m more with Tim on this one but these season makes me worry as Rob also might be right.

  12. Ronnie

    I don’t understand people’s confidence in Rylan being saved if up against D3 in the bottom two. The best Rylan can hope for is a deadlock victory as Gary would save D3 along with Louis – he’d look a complete hypocrite if he didn’t send Rylan home. Also, Rylan going would increase the chances of an all boy band sing-off next week.

    I think Rylan is in trouble and is only likely to be saved if going up against Chris, which seems unlikely if the voting leak has any truth.

  13. Rob

    Thanks for posting, Ronnie.
    One read is the attempts they went to last night to push Rylan & up his vote is for the precise reason that while they might not have got him above UJ & out of the bottom 2, they might well have got him at least above D3, & that would then allow them to save him via deadlock.
    It’s no more than a second guess & we’re never keen here to go in with large trades when it comes to XF sing-offs – we much rather try & position ourselves whereby we manage to pick a contestant at decent odds for elimination & should they land in the bottom 2 then lay them to lock in the profit either way, unless the sing-off is a complete no-brainer in one contestant’s favour – this series that has rarely, if ever, been the case.

  14. fiveleaves

    I seem to be against the general consensus and struggle to see Rylan avoiding the B2.
    I wouldn’t be backing at odds on tho.

    twpolls out and even if it wasn’t for the star leak, I’d call him well safe off the back of that.

    Even though I thought Ella was excellent last night and she went down a storm on twitter, I’ve had a small bet on her for B2.

    Tvpolls definitely back up your tip on UJ for B2.
    Polling slightly better than D3, but people assuming they’re safe could put them in danger.

    But I’m keeping stakes to a minimum as I’m pretty clueless this week.

  15. Rob

    It certainly feels like one of the trickiest weeks to call, & when you get down to the final 7, there is a lot less scope for value plays. A lay of Rylan for bottom 2 certainly has a sporting chance & on balance feels like a risk worth chancing (but far from confident, it has to be said).

  16. Boki

    My Rylan lay is based on the fact that yesterday he put a smile on my face for the first time. His odds dropping fast at the moment btw so my lay timing wasn’t the best…

  17. Boki

    Wicked ! 🙂

  18. Rob

    Another great week for the site. We’ve smashed the XF weekly markets series-long.
    Hope all our readers tucked into the UJ/D3 bottom 2, layed Rylan for b2, layed Chris for b2 (his b2 price came down to around 3.2 tonight), backed UJ for elim (then layed lower than 8 in the sing-off) & went a stage further by backing UJ for b2, available over 3 most of the day on BF, & backed D3 for elim around the 3.25 mark – well done Chiggs for extending the scope of bets to those latter 2 🙂

  19. Boki

    Any early thoughts on next week?
    I’m painfully watching Rylan’s odds shortening and I can’t do anything since I’m restricted to couple of bookies only. He looks like a lock for bot2 and possible elimination.
    You will probably suggest James as another candidate but to me it’s down to the night’s performance. I wouldn’t exclude UJ bot2 again if the vote transfer from D3 doesn’t happen.

  20. Rob

    Hi Boki,
    Certainly everything would point to Rylan & like you it is hard to get bets placed in the high st & gather Rylan was 2-1 opening show with P.Power – an amazing price.

    Agree, it’ll be much down to the edit as to who drops into the bottom 2 with him. They will continue to try & dampen Chris’s support so it’ll be another testing week for him.

    Nearly everyone invited on the show over the last few weeks appears to have been briefed to tell the audience how much they love James – this, in itself, is probably a clue that he needs votes & has been struggling.

  21. Tim B

    Good morning guys. Like you I absolutely smashed it this week, accurately predicting the bottom 2 for the first time this series (which I was on about all week!) so it was another monster profit for me. My favourite bet of the week was Union J “to be saved by the judges” at 4.33, which I had dutched with Rylan to give overall odds of 2.08.

    I for one am doubting Union J’s ability to bounce this week. If you take the most accurate poll @tvpolls, combine District3 and Union J’s percentages, it goes above Rylan but below James and Christopher. Of course, that is assuming 100% of D3’s votes will transfer to UJ – which they obviously won’t. They’ll therefore need a significant sympathy bounce in order to get them above one of James or Christopher. As they’ve been bottom 2 twice, they’re damaged goods and their ability to bounce is diminished. They’ve also been saved by the judges twice, so we can speculate that they might have been bottom of the vote (although I don’t think they were either time). It’s worth pointing out that according to @tvpolls, Christopher was safer than James this week, which doesn’t surprise me given the running order and judges’ venom towards Chris.

    They absolutely NEED to get Ella clear of the bottom 2 this week. I predict she’ll be on first (don’t think she has been on first yet?) as if she hits the bottom 2 she might struggle to get to the final. They NEED her in the final as much as they needed Marcus last year as the only male. I don’t think she will be bottom 2, but it might be worth small wagers on the big 3 at good odds this week.

    I was lucky enough to have jumped on Rylan at 2-1 with Paddy Power last night. I think a lot may depend on performances/treatment this week. Theme is ‘Guilty Pleasures’ which is the perfect opportunity to de-ramp someone with a terrible song choice – Hellooooooo Chris Maloney!

  22. Rob

    Well done Tim – glad you were able to get the 2-1 Rylan.

    Going back to eurovicious’ earlier post regarding his distaste of the sympathy card being played on behalf of Jahmene, reading comments on this DS story suggest many viewers have had enough of the Jahmene sob stories too.

    Really does reek of TPTB’s desperation to get him to the final. Still have major doubts it’ll be enough to enable him to win the series.

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/s103/the-x-factor/news/a437311/x-factor-jahmene-douglas-reveals-suicide-bid.html

  23. Boki

    There are some contradictions I can’t resolve: if they are sooo desperate about Jahmene, Ella & James final why they keep giving Chris very suitable song choices? I guess they play a very dangerous game with him and hope the next week is The week as Tim suggests.
    I’m still suspicious towards TVpolls Tim, last week when D3 survived they were also rock bottom on the poll, but said that I agree to your UJ analysis (although putting Chris beside them is not the most happy thing for the producers).

  24. eurovicious

    They keep giving Chris suitable song choices because Gary won’t play ball, especially as Chris is his last remaining act.

    I feel bad for writing that about Jahmene now :/

  25. Boki

    I still don’t buy the rebellious Gary…

    About Jahmene: I’m not usually moved by any story they pull on the show (or before in the press) but Jahmene was the only exception I think. That week I felt really sorry for him standing on the stage about to cry especially because of the previous treatment (Forest Gump style) and I was simply forced to rush to BF and back him @7.x which was a good investment at the end.

  26. Henry VIII

    I think they’ll stick the knife into Rylan on Saturday – faint praise etc etc. (We have to watch out if they don’t try to assassinate him in fact.)

    As for Chris, he brings in viewers, votes and publicity. Another good song choice and slot for him I think.

  27. Rob

    Hi Henry. Yep, struggle to see it any other way. The 2-1 Paddy Power initially offered was a gift from the gods for those like Tim who were able to snap it up.

    Next XF post will appear later today.

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