Ill-Gotten Gains

Nov 29, 2014 by

Ill-Gotten Gains

It’s the quarter-final of X Factor this evening and the market considers Lauren most likely to get the chop. Given she has not been bottom 2 yet and outside of Fleur has received the most consistent eulogizing from all the judges, series-long, this doesn’t sit right.

The only grounds for thinking Lauren isn’t wanted as a finalist this year is the fact she hasn’t been favoured in terms of running order slots – yet to receive a single pimp slot. Some suggest both Fleur and Lauren in the final would not provide the ideal balance, but that seems tenuous – given they are likely to be joined by 8 guys – as does the suggestion getting rid of Lauren at the final 5 stage will give Fleur an extra push towards winning this year’s series – where is the vote transference between Lauren and Fleur? It is something of a stretch to think Lauren’s most likely teen and pre-teen fans will suddenly switch allegiances to Fleur.

If you compare Ben’s treatment to Lauren’s series-long, Ben’s has been far more negative overall. In the last few weeks he has had plenty of criticism from the judges and a VT painting him as a white van man, again, which hardly screams star appeal. Also, it may not have gone unnoticed by TPTB that his vocal is consistently flat. If they want a reliable performer in the final, then Lauren certainly has the edge on him.

So the market looks wrong and Lauren has drifted to a very attractive price on the Outright. The biggest question mark hangs over Lauren’s health as we have had stories she has been suffering from flu and had to mime her way through rehearsals yesterday.

She will very likely struggle to give her best tonight so much hinges on how TPTB decide to play it. Will they actively seek a sympathy vote for Lauren with her VT and post-song critiques focusing on her illness, and her bravery in soldiering through, or will they play it down?

It seems more likely Lauren will get something of a sympathy boost. In terms of song choices, you have to expect a slowed down version of ‘Don’t You Worry Child’, and her to be able to cope much better with this than the uptempo and more demanding ‘Clarity’.

Fleur and Stereo Kicks both look to have solid enough song choices. There is perhaps more of a question mark over Ben’s choices which, while in his comfort zone, seem rather dull. But you can imagine the critique for Ben will be along the lines of, ‘back doing songs that suit your voice best’.

Of all the songs, the selection of ‘Chandelier’ for Andrea is perhaps the most eyebrow-raising. It’s a struggle to imagine this being a triumph. Ultimately, it will come down to how the judges play it in their comments for him, and whether they try to either encourage a bounce or quell it.

Last week, Stereo Kicks had the advantage of 5 free app votes x 2 from their tweenie fans which helped them steer clear of the bottom 2 on Sunday night. They won’t be able to rely on that this week and there may be a strategy TPTB have in mind for them to land bottom 2 tomorrow night and then bounce to very likely third place in the final.

Andrea certainly looks the value to be eliminated this week with a saver on Ben. Fleur looks highly likely to avoid the bottom 2 so let’s assume she out of the running in terms of potential bottom 2 combos this week.

If it’s Ben vs SK, Ben will be gone. If it’s Andrea vs SK, then Andrea will be gone. The one and only scenario most likely to lead to Lauren’s exit would be Lauren vs Stereo Kicks. If Lauren is against Andrea, she would surely be saved, and if against Ben very likely saved based on their respective series-long treatments, unless they use the illness card as a reason to get rid of her against anyone.

In Strictly, it’s Round The World night which seems yet another needless theme. Sunetra looks banker material to be eliminated but 1-4 isn’t the sort of play this site would ever recommend on Strictly.

The only chance to grab a bit of value this week is in the Highest Scorer market. Caroline has impressed in training dancing the Charleston, and looks over-priced, while it is easy to envisage Frankie’s jive also being a show-stopper and a potential pimp slot performance. These 2 look worth dutching.

Pixie has the rather dull VW to call upon this week, while Simon has the waltz. Jake has the more dramatic Argentine tango, and Mark a Vegas-themed salsa. Simon looks most likely to find himself in the bottom 2 with Sunetra which might actually help him in terms of next week’s more important quarter-final.


X Factor:

Andrea – to be eliminated – 3-1 – 3pt win – widely available

Ben – to be eliminated – 7-1 – 1pt win – widely available


Caroline – highest score – 10-1 – 2pt win – Ladbrokes

Frankie – highest score – 100-30 – 3pt win – William Hill




  1. hemsby

    Thanks for the article Rob.

    Difficult week to extract any value from both shows I fear.Lauren’s illness,and how it will pan out in XF land being one of many imponderables.I’ve had an interest in SK for B2 in the belief that no amount of ramping will propel their vote above 2 rivals.

    SCD elim market looks dead with Sunetra almost certain to go.As a Jake backer,I must confess to a few palpatations in regards to an AT to Zorba the Greek! I’m guessing high in entertainment,low on content and wouldn’t be surprised to see him marked poorly.Simon with a less than exciting Waltz would be my speculative play for B2 if any of the High St bookies had seen fit to price it up 🙁

    Good luck with your plays this weekend.

    • Rob

      I agree, hems, that SK are the wisest bottom 2 play. A shame no b2 prices for SCD as I’d be keen on backing Simon too.

  2. Rob

    Landed the top score bet with Caroline.

    Would not be surprised to see Pixie in b2 with Sunetra.

  3. Rob

    Pretty clear, TPTB were seeking to get Lauren into the bottom 2, along with Stereo Kicks, & such a b2, if it transpires, would very likely see Lauren exit the show.

    The weekly eliminations on XF this season have followed a similar pattern with a series of favourites landing, and a four figure backer turning up on Betfair to back the favourite, often at much lower odds than available on the high street.

    There is a chance Lauren might still escape the bottom 2 and Fleur could well be the one to land b2 with SK instead of Lauren. It makes sense to cover the Lauren/Fleur b2 as well, esepcially given the money for Fleur to land b2 today.

    Andrea being given the pimp and much praise despite a couple of shoddy efforts suggests they want to get him out of the bottom 2 tonight, while Ben received much more positive treatment compared to recent weeks which might suggest he is topping the pv and the show needs to start backing a possible winner.


    Lauren & SK – bottom 2 combo – 8pt win – 13-8 – bwin
    Fleur & SK – bottom 2 combo – 2pt win – 17-2 – skybet
    Fleur & Lauren – bottom 2 combo – 2pt win – 15-2 – skybet

  4. Rob

    A rare winning week on the XF weekly markets.

    Lauren lives to fight another day but the series portfolio of investments here has been the poorest ever up to this point. Still, 2 more weeks to go so let’s see where we end up post-XF final.

  5. Rob

    This week’s songs and dances:

    Caroline and Pasha will be performing the Argentine Tango to the Traditional Version of ‘La Cumparsita’.

    Frankie and Kevin will be performing the Salsa to the Freemasons’ Remix of ‘Work’ by Kelly Rowland.

    Simon and Kristina will be performing the American Smooth to ‘Heartache Tonight’ by Michael Buble.

    Mark and Karen will be performing the Foxtrot to ‘L-O-V-E’ by Nat King Cole.

    Jake and Janette will be performing the Charleston to ‘Entry of the Gladiators’ by Ken Griffin’s Circus Band.

    Pixie and Trent will be performing the Cha Cha to the Glee Cast version of ‘Love Shack’.

  6. Rob

    XF song choices for tomorrow night:

    Andrea Faustini
    O Holy Night by Mariah Carey
    Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus

    Lauren Platt
    Stay Another Day by East 17/Girls Aloud
    Story Of My Life by One Direction

    Ben Haenow
    Please Come Home For Christmas by The Eagles
    Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

    Fleur East
    All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey
    Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson

  7. Rob

    On the Strictly tour:

    Frankie Bridge with Kevin Clifton
    Thom Evans with Iveta Lukosiute
    Caroline Flack with Tristan MacManus
    Mark Wright with Karen Hauer
    Alison Hammond with Aljaž Skorjanec
    Simon Webbe with Kristina Rihanoff
    Scott Mills with Joanne Clifton

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