Horsewoman of the Apocalypse

Oct 18, 2013 by

Horsewoman of the Apocalypse

There is a 20 minute crossover with Strictly this week so again it will be revealing who is in the first 2 slots tomorrow night.

The main X Factor trading advice this week has to be to lay Shelley for Bottom 2 as short as you can on Betfair (at time of writing she was last matched at 2.8). It’s cheaper than laying her for elimination and at this early stage of the competition some classic Syco ramping should be enough to jettison her clear of the drop zone.

Some may be getting edgy because of the new flash vote format. Logic would suggest it is drawing younger voters in more which is probably a disadvantage for someone like Shelley with an older demographic of voter. But you must also assume Shelley will have the kitchen sink thrown at her by way of production and be talked up by the judges.

She informed viewers on Xtra Factor that they had lots of exciting ideas lined up for her this week. It is also Shelley’s birthday which can do no harm in enhancing viewers’ goodwill towards her. The song list has just dropped and Single Ladies looks ideal for Shelley to entertain a Saturday night ITV audience with. You would also have to make her an odds-on shot to be on late. Here’s the full list:

Abi Alton – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
Hannah Barrett – Beautiful
Kingsland Road – Marry You
Luke Friend – Let Her Go
Miss Dynamix – Dreams
Nicholas McDonald – She’s The One
Rough Copy – I Want It That Way
Sam Bailey – Make You Feel My Love
Sam Callahan – I Won’t Give Up
Shelley Smith – Single Ladies
Tamera Foster – Beneath Your Beautiful

In the early weeks of X Factor voting figures between the bottom 6 or 7 are invariably extremely tight. Last year in week 1, there was only 1.2% difference between Kye Sones in 7th place (with 4.1% of the vote) and Carolynne Poole (13th and last with 2.9%). In week 2, District3 slipped into the bottom 2 with 4.7%. Kye Somes was 3 places higher on the pv while only commanding 5.3%.

There were 5 or 6 riding high in the vote in the early stages last year, commanding around 70% of the total vote, and it is easy to imagine a similar scenario this year. It is conceivable Rough Copy, Sam B, Tamera, and Nicholas managed over 70% between them last week, with the other 8 clustered closely together below these 4.

Also making it easier for TPTB is the fact there are many acts this year splitting the younger vote. Luke, Sam C, Kingsland R, Miss D, Abi Alton, Hannah… so we can probably anticipate a show in which 2 or 3 of these will be de-ramped to try and ensure Shelley escapes.

The most likely fall guys lurking among that list will be easy to spot – they will get early slots in the running order, or be sandwiched by big hitters, and receive vote-dampening comments from the judges. Looking at those song choices, Abi is going to suck all of the uptempo joy out of that Kylie song and ‘make it her own’ by turning it into a moribund opus.

Over a period of weeks this did for Janet Devlin and Ella Henderson. Are there enough self-harming emo kids out there who will appreciate it? You could argue this plays well to Abi’s demo but if on early, she might be vulnerable. Hannah has got a good, emotive tune and was on first last week. Safe as houses.

Miss D presumably have Gabrielle’s ‘Dreams’. This could suit them quite well but you would have to add them to the vulnerable pile based on their treatment last week. Jason Mraz is not exactly a well known artist in the UK and ‘I Won’t Give Up’ is going to seriously expose Sam C’s poor vocal ability.

But over 100,000 Twitter followers probably means tweenie hunk Sam can be as tuneless as he likes at this early stage and he will still manage to avoid the bottom 2. Given a fair crack of the whip Luke certainly has the chance to trump Sam C with Passengers’ folk-rock Let Her Go. This looks ideal for his demo.

Rough Copy have a dated Backstreet Boys song that really takes away from their USP – their urban edge. I Want It That Way is a song straight out of the lightweight, anodyne boyband songbook. Bruno Mars ‘Marry You’ is another lightweight, wallpaper tune and could put Kingsland R in trouble if they are on early or sandwiched. At the odds we recommend having a speculative poke at 5-1 Kingsland R to be in the bottom 2 with bwin.

It looks like they are trying to ensure Nicholas doesn’t get out of the blocks in this series as ‘She’s The One’ is very dull and one-paced. Sam B is going to continue her Usain Bolt start with the ideal song for her, and Tamera has the chance to shine too.

Keep an ear open for Nicole’s post-song comments. The moment of week 1 had to be after Rough Copy performed and Nicole, without the merest hint of sarcasm, told viewers, ‘You are, quite possibly, the greatest boyband to have ever walked on this freakin’ planet.’ Or words to that effect.

Even more telling is where Nicole spreads her poison. This is the key indicator in terms of the series narrative. She is the Horsewoman Of The Apocalyse who symbolises X Factor Death.


  1. eurovicious

    It’s worth noting that Dreams is the oldest song on that list by a considerable margin (not counting the Bob Dylan original of Make You Feel My Life, which most viewers will know from the Adele version). Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, She’s The One and I Want It That Way are all turn of the millennium (1999-2001), Dreams is 1993, roughly as old as the group members themselves. It’s also a very low-key song. So while it may superficially seem demographically appropriate, these are big alarm bells when you consider what else they could have been given instead.

  2. Rob

    Yes, they could well be sunk with that choice ev. 2 Overs b2 last week, maybe 2 Groups b2 this week?

  3. Tim B

    Agree with everything here. Have been thinking all week that Miss D will be toast, and their song choice pretty much confirms this to me, for the reasons eurovicious has outlined. It’s just like District3’s ‘I Swear’ from this time last year, which helped them land in the b2 – too low key to generate votes and too old to be particularly known by their demographic.

    ‘Single Ladies’ is the ultimate hen night tune, sure to delight Shelley’s demo and give her a sympathy bounce. In addition to what you wrote in the article, Shelley’s daughter is also attending the show this week, so they can wheel her out if they think it might be helpful. Being uptempo, it will also stick out like a sore thumb among a sea of ballads.

    The only other act to be given vaguely uptempo tune is Kingsland Road with ‘Marry You’, and so I backed them to open the show at 9.0 with bwin (this market has since vanished – shameful). So I have to agree that your tip for b2 looks good value, if indeed they are on first. I’m convinced Miss D will be bottom of Saturday’s vote with those song choices, so there should be some good value for b2 or ‘to be saved by the judges’ on the Sunday. I guess I’ll be looking to add Abi, Kingsland Road and Luke Friend.

    Have layed Hannah for bottom 2 just as a safe bet. She has the potential to really impress with ‘Beautiful’ and has to be a contender for the pimp slot…but I don’t want her peaking too early. I equally wouldn’t be surprised to see Sam B or Tamera on last tomorrow night.

  4. Rob

    Hope plenty got stuck into the 5-1 Kingsland Road b2 as advised.

    A crazy night of trading after markets went into meltdown following Miss D news.

  5. hemsby

    Very well played Rob…..phenomenal tipping as per usual.

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