Is A New X Factor Rulebook Required?

Oct 5, 2012 by

Is A New X Factor Rulebook Required?

Significant X Factor news broke yesterday on tellymix that the voting lines will open at the start of the show in this series. The million dollar question is, how much will this impact the vote?

Will the ‘death slot’ (first to perform on the night) and often the even more deadly slots slightly further into the show no longer be so deadly in depressing the vote of those who perform early? Might there even be an advantage if a contestant nails a great performance early on to have the Twitterati feverishly reaching for their mobiles to vote using short codes, in between getting Ella Henderson trending? Will this genuinely make the show more of a level playing field?

Our instincts tell us, probably not, and it is merely a token gesture by the show makers in response to the XF audience’s growing sensibility to the methods it uses to depress/boost a contestant’s vote.

Indeed, ‘death slot’ has become part of the modern lexicon for lovers of reality tv shows. And on forums like Digital Spy you are starting to see more and more posters using expressions such as ‘ramp’, ‘deramp’, ‘bounce’, and ‘pimp slot’ previously reserved for the betting community.

Dermot might well talk about ‘fairness’ in his opening spiel tomorrow, conning the X Factor viewers into thinking this series is going to be a level playing field. Rest assured it won’t be.

Eurovision is admittedly a rather different contest involving as many as 26 countries taking to the stage to perform final songs. To try and offset the disadvantage of being drawn early it opened phone lines at the start of the show in recent years. This resulted in having so little impact on the overall voting, that this year it reverted to the traditional format of opening phone lines after all 26 nations performed.

Regardless of the impact it has, going into the first live show tomorrow night, it is worth remembering how the vote panned out in recent years set alongside the running order. Judges’ comments are a key missing variable here, not to mention song choice, staging and contestant VTs, but here’s a reminder – all this info can be accessed via the Voting Vault link on the top menu:

2011 (week 2):

Janet Devlin (running order: 4th): 23.6%

The Risk (10): 10.9%

Sophie Habibis (11): 8.9%

Little Mix (8): 8.7%

Misha B (9): 7.8%

Craig Colton (3): 6.9%

Marcus Collins (7): 6.8%

Johnny Robinson (6): 6.5%

Sami Brookes (2): 6.2%

Kitty Brucknell (12): 5.9%

Frankie Cocozza (5): 5.2% – SING-OFF

Nu Vibe (1): 2.6% – ELIMINATED (JUDGES)

2010:

Mary Byrne (running order: 11th): 22.28%

Matt Cardle (2): 15.14%

Cher Lloyd (7): 10.31%

One Direction (13): 10.04%

Aiden Grimshaw (15): 9.78%

Rebecca Ferguson (4): 6.51%

Paije Richardson (9): 5.83%

Treyc Cohen (16): 4.82%

John Adeleye (3): 2.46%

Diva Fever (8): 2.28%

Belle Amie (6): 2.13%

Wagner Carillho (14): 1.91%

Storm Lee (5): 1.89%

Katie Waissel (10): 1.55% – SING-OFF

FYD (1): 1.71% – ELIMINATED (JUDGES)

Nicolo Festa (12): 1.51% – ELIMINATED

2009:

Danyl Johnson (running order: 12th): 27.1%
Stacey Solomon (5): 12.9%
Joe McElderry (11): 12.7%
Lucie Jones (9): 10.5%
Jamie Archer (7): 8.9%
Lloyd Daniels (8): 6.4%
Olly Murs (3): 6.2%
John & Edward (10): 4.5%
Miss Frank (6): 4.0%
Rikki Loney (4): 3.0%
Rachel Adedeji (1): 2.3% – SING-OFF
Kandy Rain (2): 1.5% – ELIMINATED (DEADLOCK)

2008:

Eoghan Quigg (running order: 10th): 21.19%
Scott Bruton (6): 19.48%
Laura White (12): 16.99%
Diana Vickers (8): 7.35%
Daniel Evans (3): 7.21%
Alex Burke (4): 7.20%
JLS (5): 5.03%
Rachel Hylton (7): 4.77%
Austin Drage (2): 3.63%
Ruth Lorenzo (11): 3.47%
Girlband (1): 2.17% – SING-OFF
Bad Lashes (9): 1.51% – ELIMINATED (DEADLOCK)

Is this a worrying development for X Factor traders? Can we start to throw away the show’s old rulebook and have to come up with a revised one? Let us know your views.
Rob Furber

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6 Comments

  1. Mitch

    That is quite significant news. I agree, I don’t think it will have a massive impact on the elimination, but will close the gap certainly on voting figures. There’s two views, an earlier act can obviously now receive more votes as time available to register. A percentage of the public will vote in this scenario, but the majority I’m sure will wait till the end to take into account all acts. Then of course, the last few performances, especially the final singer will be ramped up and you’re be left with those fresh in your mind. I think exactly the same as you, the other variables of judges comments, song choice, staging (red or black!) will be a far stronger influence and indicator. Regardless of the new opening of voting lines, if you’re up first, you might aswell bring your suitcase on stage, as you’ll be sent packing!!

  2. Rob

    Can we garner any clues from the way this vid has been put together? Struggling to get past the way Ella has been made up to look like The Joker in Batman:
    http://xfactor.itv.com/2012/videos/auditions/watch_wow-watch-the-finalists-sing-read-all-about-it-part-iii-by-emeli-sande_item_200763.htm

  3. GeorgeBrush

    Very interesting article.

    Being a gay man myself and knowing how Ladies think, I think this will massively affect the voting statistics.

    Last series I loved Marcus and would have wanted to vote more whilst he was singing, usually by the time I could vote my raging erection had subsided.

    If I could have got to meet Marcus I would have made him look like a plasterer’s radio!

  4. Rob

    Interesting angle there, George – so if and when GMD3/Union J get an early slot, maybe they won’t be disadvantaged cos of the fanciability factor…?
    Looking at those previous series vote stats & running orders, interesting that trap 1 has ended up in the bottom 2/3 in the last 4 series (& always in the elimination danger zone) – Nu Vibe, FYD, Rachel Adedeji & Girlband.
    Could we have a 5th after tomorrow night?

  5. Boki

    The much more interesting question is: will this voting change also introduce the change in producer’s view of a ‘death slot’? Shouldn’t be the case but look at The Voice – several times the first act (which ended in bottom two) was saved against someone much further in the running order.

  6. Rob

    It’s a good observation, Boki. I wonder if they simply want to maximise revenue by opening phone lines earlier – they have these short codes too, making SMS voting easier. A big clue to potential impact will be if the 1st to sing tomorrow night still ends up in the bottom 2.

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