Lies, Damn Lies & Sadistics

Oct 26, 2013 by

Lies, Damn Lies & Sadistics

Some truly remarkable deceit by the judges this evening even by XF standards. These are multi-millionaires being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to barefacedly lie to the British public. No wonder viewers are turning away from the show in their droves.

Quality-wise, it was undoubtedly one of the poorest nights in the show’s history. Rough Copy were, as predicted here, given an early slot. The coffin slot in trap 1. This was hardly a ringing endorsement for their future on the show and they produced a very forgettable effort. They are looking a busted flush.

They probably escaped by the skin of their teeth tonight & their appearance in the bottom 2 is still a distinct possibility. If you took the 8-1 recommended here for Rough Copy to be bottom 2, you’re in excellent shape.

Sam C looks the only contestant standing in their way but there was a lot about his post-song interview to encourage his fans to get multi-voting for him. We would still make Rough Copy favourites to join Miss D in the sing-off. 4-1 with Ladbrokes looks over-priced (make that 5-2 – clearly many backers agreed as that price didn’t last very long).

Abi’s tears helped her survive after a very dreary, off-key rendition of ‘Moon River’. You sense she did enough to avoid the bottom 2 though with those tears.

Hannah’s ‘Skyfall’ was another fail for her. As predicted, her vocal was too deep for this song and within 20 seconds you appreciated how good Adele is. But the judges bigged her up, as they did Sam B, as they did Nicholas. The latter 2 certainly delivered their songs to a superior degree.

Kingsland R put in another lame effort though you would never have known, Miss D got put away as had looked on the cards pre-show, and Luke’s effort was probably one of the best on the night.

The most surprising comments post-performance were the ones saved for Tamera who was awarded her first pimp slot. It was a top effort by her yet Gary was giving her unflattering Beyonce comparisons while Sharon chipped in with some negativity too. Why would they do this to the contestant all the signs up to now had suggested is the one the show would ideally most like to win?

We are struggling to see this as a positive for Tamera. Are they unhappy with her backstage? Some definite warning signs. At the moment, the safest stock on the show appears to be Nicholas. The concern with him is, his song choices are so, so dull but it is such a weak year that the wee Scottish lad can probably carry on more or less in the same vein and with Scotland behind him still end up the default winner.

Hannah is hanging in there, courtesy of the judges’ ramping of her, while Luke is looking like a bit of a springer in the market and a possible for top 3. Sam B still has a chance to power ballad her way to the latter stages on a wave of housewives’ good will, while Gary is now looking like the favourite to lose all his acts first.


  1. fiveleaves

    It really was a shocking show.

    As for Tamera, Louis is still on board, who is close to Cowell and is looking likely to stay now, so it might just be that Barlow & Sharon are unwilling to follow the script knowing that they won’t be there next year

  2. eurovicious

    Even though I didn’t think her performance was that great (or that bad either), I was so angry and upset at Abi’s treatment that I switched off halfway through. I won’t have been the only one in the north to do so either.

    • Rob

      Yep. Abi’s treatment was one of the most distasteful elements on a particularly ugly night for XF. They’ve ruined the format by going down the manufactured road. It would be a much more interesting, compelling show without the appalling and transparent ways in which they focus on managing the public vote.

  3. Boki

    As a Tamera backer from the auditions I am puzzled by the treatment this week, would they abandon the tco after only two weeks of not polling great (assuming she doesn’t poll great)? Not that I’m much concerned since I’m running a free bet, but my biggest green is on her and Nic and would love her to win just to see I was right 🙂
    Agree that second bot2 place is between RC,SamC and Abi (although think the market is overconfident with KR escaping) but with big hitters consuming lot of votes it can go either way.

    • Rob

      I think we can safely assume Nicholas & Sam B have been gobbling up the vast proportion of the vote to date but on what we’ve seen so far on the live shows I would expect Tamera to be polling well enough beneath these 2.

      We’ve had Rough Copy and Hannah both get seriously ramped by all 4 judges post-pimp slot performance (despite poor vocals), yet last night Tamera performed the song really well & then received those comments from Gary and Sharon.

      It was puzzling but Louis is the main Cowell messenger, as Mr Leaves points out, so maybe just a bit of mischief-making. Nicole obviously got stuck into Sam B last week, so some tit-for-tat from Sharon & maybe Gary has been given more free range now.

      • I too have lost patents with X-Factor this year. The judge’s comments are even more rehearsed and don’t seem to follow what TV viewers are actually witnessing. It’s vile. I’m a Strictly convert and I can even tolerate Bruce.

        Just a note on Tamera – She’s had three late slots, which to me suggests she’s not doing well in the televote. I also think the producers went a bit ‘Star Crazy’ on her last night with those Star-Trek warping graphics behind her. She may well be following the trajectory set my Ella and Janet. One to watch.

        • Boki

          Late slots 3 times are indeed worrying but on the other hand she is always in the top3 of the YT hits and facebook likes, could be a consequence of those slots though.

        • Rob

          I read the late slots as the show protecting their most valuable post-show asset & not wanting to put her in any danger of being dragged down anywhere close to the bottom 2.

          Glad to hear you are a full Strictly convert now, Gav 🙂

  4. Tim B

    I think Rough Copy will escape tonight. This series, slot 1 isn’t being used as a coffin slot but a ‘big hitter’ slot and their VT and staging were both helpful – gold colours, a choir and white outfits. The coffin slot instead is slot 2, which is one of the reasons why Sam Callahan is in big danger tonight. He is certainly the ‘to be saved’ target for bottom 2 this week, and although I don’t believe they tried as hard as Kingsland Road last week, they have a sporting chance of getting him there. He appeared vain in his VT and both the song choice and performance were just too dodgy.

    It just goes to show how subjective this really is because I thought Hannah sounded fantastic, although the staging was more than a little worrying. It suited the drama of the song, perhaps, but it looked like they were portraying her as a Bond villain. She is now a “contender” which translates as, she deserves to be in the final. There was further ramping of her by the guests on Xtra Factor and reaction to her performance online was very positive.

    Abi sounded fine to me, and I thought the staging was very good. The sympathy and regional vote *should* be enough for her to be safe, but it wouldn’t be the biggest of shocks if Sam Callahan’s tweenies get him above her. Have covered her (and Rough Copy) as a saver.

    It seems that producers are trying to alienate Nicholas to everyone who isn’t Scottish, with Louis’s plea for Scottish votes, the man in the kilt and Sharon’s “sexteen!” Comment.

    Sam Bailey will likely be returning to the top of the vote this week.

    Luke seems to be impressing many, however I don’t think he’ll get anywhere close to the top 3. In doing so, he’d probably have to topple Nicholas, which is extremely unlikely.

    Kingsland Road were ok, but probably not as safe as the market suggests. But you have to have faith in the sympathy bounce when a boyband is concerned, and they were also on late.

    Tamera was distinctly average to me, and she bottled the high note in ‘Listen’. I think she will struggle in the vote (if she isn’t already) and I’m kicking myself now for not laying her at evens.

    • Rob

      I can’t have this trap 1 is a viewer enticer/big hitter slot’ at all, Tim. Anyone caught in the Strictly overlap has to suffer with the element of the XF audience that watches both shows.

      No way do people watch almost to the end of Strictly, then flick & think, ‘Hang on a minute, Rough Copy are performing. Let’s leave this show we have just invested one and a half hours of our time in, & before we have seen every couple dance, & watch XF instead.’

      XF has been getting comfortably beaten by Strictly in the ratings so I see it as far more realistic to conclude TPTB put contestants in those early slots when the shows crossover because they would like to see their vote share deflated.

      Yes, you can have an early slot ‘sandwich’ scenario with someone TPTB are targeting in trap 2 between a 1 & 3 who have been pulling in a big vote (& Sam C was certainly targeted last night) but slot 1 is still a coffin slot, especially when the 2 shows clash. RC well & truly disappeared down the memory plughole last night.

      It also has to be a price assessment, a value call, so among the 3 in the firing line for b2 tonight I would still be more tempted to back RC at 11-4 to be b2 rather than Sam at 15-8 or Abi at 9-4.

      I think you’re right about their Scottish-centric approach to Nicholas & I’d put a lot of that Hannah positive feedback down to the choice of song more than her performance. I didn’t think she coped with it very well at all.

      • Tim B

        Yes, whilst singing first and in the Strictly overlap zone clearly isn’t advantageous, the producers are putting favoured acts there whom are presumed to be safe. Of course, this doesn’t mean they will necessarily escape the bottom 2, but this has been the intention with acts put on first thus far. The sandwiching is one of the producers’ most reliable and effective methods and when used within the overlap zone is very powerful indeed.

        • eurovicious

          I think you’re both right – they put Hannah on first in week 1 and RC in week 3 because they felt they’d be safe there. Certainly in the case of RC I interpreted it as a sign of confidence. It’s notable that their treatment was extremely positive, perhaps in an attempt to counter any negative effect their being on first might have had.

  5. Swinley

    I suspect the powers that TPTB have over the judges is often exaggerated. Cowell aside, the show’s actual producers would have an enormous battle putting words into those four egos’ mouths. And this is Gary’s last year anyway, so what interest does he have in toeing the line?

    Personally, I suspect the negative comments were a genuine reaction to her performance, which – good though it was – was lacking heart. She is only sixteen after all. Tamera is still my most likely winner, but she can’t start thinking she has this comp in the bag.

    If there is any skullduggery afoot, and obviously I suspect there is some, it is probably a producers’ briefing to the panel that they shouldn’t give Tamera an easy ride which would have the effect of checking any viewer complacency that Tamera is home and hosed and so people stop voting for her, or start rooting for the underdogs. The last thing they want is for Tamera to go home early like last year’s early favourite Ella Henderson.

    You have to remember that the genius of this format is that it is win-win for the producers. They would love to discover another international superstar – and might try to steer us to that outcome – but if the perverse British public decide they want Matt Cardle over One Direction TPTB will still find a way of selling us One Direction.

    • Rob

      Thanks for posting, Swinley. I think that’s a very fair assessment. Judges’ criticism of a contestant is also often a calls to arms to make people vote. It’s a motivator.

      I think vocally Tamera can cope comfortably with whatever comes her way, & can do uptempo equally well as the slower, more ballad-y type songs, which stands her in good stead.

      Where they went wrong with Ella last year imho was continually giving her songs that she essentially sucked the life out of; pigeon-holing her with a poignant, miserabilist style. This did for Janet Devlin too & you can see how it is killing Abi in this series.

      That said, if they had saved Ella over James, I’m also pretty confident she could have built similar sort of momentum to James (with the right song choices), & gone on to win.

      Your point about TPTB, their dark arts, & their level of control is a good one. My view is, you can often see the way they are trying to guide the vote but that doesn’t always mean they will be successful. And often the value in XF markets lies in thinking outside the box, & how their plans might well not work out quite how they hoped.

  6. Jay

    Do you see any value in kingsland being b2? Quite a juicy price considering we still don’t know their names and we saw the bounce not translate from Saturday to Sunday last week with Shelley? With the elimination market more or less dead will voters bother that much to rally behind them?

    • Check twitter now and you’ll see they’re trending. I reckon the show did enough to put them safe this week. Their sympathy vote does put the likes of SamC and Rough Copy in danger though. But given SamC’s twitter following, I reckon he has enough support.

    • Rob

      There is a definite ‘value’ angle there, Jay. I thought Kingsland R were extremely underwhelming last night but expect them to bounce clear of bottom 2.

  7. zoomraker

    They changed Sams C’s song late in the week which would seem a pretty serious stitch up tactic. Why would they need to do this, has he been polling better than they are comfortable with, has he got a good chance of avoiding bottom 2 today?

    Why were they playing “highway to the danger zone” over Nicholas M’s VT, with the repeated refrain “Danger Zone” clearly audible?

    Were Gary’s comments about Tamera doing a Beyonce impersonation meant to set her up for later in the series when they can say “you’ve really grown as an artist you made that song your own?”

  8. Rob

    The clues were there they were trying to take Sam C down, zoom, but maybe not enough to get him bottom 2. I think he helped his cause with his interviews post-song & his teen fans may be the most rabid multi-voters.

    I hadn’t noticed that soundtrack for Nicholas – it’s an interesting observation. Ditto with Tamera – Gary could say just that further down the line.

  9. Rob

    Not entirely surprised Hannah was bottom 2 tonight & feels like one that got away given she was in that ‘outside the box/value price territory’ I like to operate.

  10. Boki

    There was something MishaBesque in Hanna’s styling but she was doing ok on facebook, got more YT hits this week than Nic etc.
    Given how many other better candidates were in line for bottom 2 it was very difficult to see her there Rob.

  11. Jay

    I’m kicking myself, I watched thinking she looked miserable and was faking a smile and added to that she got the fire set that sent kye home previously…… I talked about it but didn’t put my money where my mouth is.

  12. Rob

    That’s very true, Jay. I picked up on her aggressive histrionics when called safe, the mopey looks, her styling has been awful…

    I’ve droned on in articles about her ‘fierce’ look (as Boki says, ‘Misha B-esque’) & her vocal has been poor every week despite the judges telling viewers otherwise.

    Pre-lives I expected her to be massively ramped, including plenty of Jahmene-style heart-rending back story in her VTs. We will probably get the heart-rending VT next week but you would have to think her days are numbered.

  13. Boki

    Abi missed the taxi but surely next week a cab awaits her?

    • Rob

      Disco week hardly bodes well for her but maybe they’ll say, ‘You made that your own’ etc & be kinder after reducing her to tears on Saturday. She clearly has fans.

    • Jay

      From auditions I felt Abi came across a little melodramatic and fake, almost in a Katie Weasel way. My opinion was that she was acting to gain support. She is either a brilliant actor or really is naive fragile and innocent. This was infact the opposite view I had of Hannah but over the last few weeks I am begining to think I had the two mixed up and they are now showing their true colours.
      I see X factor as the same script each year but with different actors. Is Abi going to take on the role of Christopher maloney and delight the northern voters and gain sympathy votes even though vocally she is quite poor? You cant help but back the underdog at times and watching her confidence slowly ebb away from her only endears her more to the viewing public. I think theres plenty of dead wood to discard before Abis journey comes to an end.

      • Rob

        I agree with you Jay. I think Abi is going to last longer than many think for the exact reasons you allude to.

        There is going to be some decent value around this week given she is favourite to be eliminated.

        • Boki

          She is indeed a favorite but KR and SamC are not very far behind so unfortunately market is taking into account the reasoning you guys mention.

        • eurovicious

          I totally agree with you both. Of KR, Sam C and Abi, I think KR are in easily in the most danger – they’ve already been B2 once and the “non-threatening boy” vote that a boyband with the right look (ie. not KR) would get is going to both Sam C and Rough Copy far more than it’s going to KR. So I see them as favourites to go next week, not Abi, as they’re superfluous to requirements.

          Abi has considerable support as the only northern act(!) and the only white girl in the contest, however, when I did a Twitter search for her on Saturday night after the show, to my surprise 90% of the tweets about her were negative, many quite vitriolically so. It’s a hard one to call. I totally agree that Nick and Sam B are likely deservedly sucking up most of the vote, so while Abi’s vote will by no means be mega, it’s still enough by some margin, given the lonely demographic she occupies as a) the only English act from north of Leicestershire b) the only middle-class white girl c) the only member of the Girls category we haven’t had a drugs story about. This can’t be underestimated.

          Let’s think about the fact that week 2 was the first week where producers had voting figures to hand. What did they do? Wang Hannah in the pimp slot with Beautiful (*the* classic talent-show song which has done wonders for female contestants in the past) and immediately start sabotaging Abi. This week they continued this by giving Hannah the patented Jahmene Asda VT (Nicole can serve me her baps anyday) and Skyfall(!!!), and savaging Abi further. When Hannah went B2 and Abi was safe again despite all this, we saw exactly why they’d acted so.

          Sam C’s very positive treatment in week 2 implies to me his vote wasn’t particularly amazing in week 1 so they were quite happy to boost him in the hopes of keeping him around a little longer. However, I suspect in week 2 he then polled considerably higher than they were comfortable with, leading to the week 3 deramping attempt. I don’t find his vocal anywhere near as bad as some seem to and he reminds me of Olly – the attractive, likeable lad next door with stagecraft and simple appeal who won’t win awards for singing but who is competent and delivers. In fact, I think all 3 of the boys may do pretty well this year and Sam C and Luke are hitting above their weight. X Factor has falling ratings, with older and more middle-class viewers of the type who may have watched X Factor in the glory years now watching SCD instead. Here I’d like to note that the more the viewership of the German version of Pop Idol (which has been running for over a decade and is still going) fell, the more the “cute boy” tended to win – because young girls made up a larger proportion of voters. In last year’s X Factor UK top 5, we had the full complement of Nicole’s Boys (despite them being mirror-cracking material) plus a boyband. And this year, so far a member of every category has been B2 or voted off apart from the boys. The only male act to have graced the B2 is KR.

          I don’t see Tamera or Rough Copy in particular danger at this stage, I see them as the typical acts that’ll hover mid-table, be able to pick up votes along the show’s run as the audience broadens in the final weeks and make it to the final. They’re sufficiently competent and mainstream.

          • Rob

            It’s a good appraisal, ev. I also think Sam is a very endearing contestant. During the auditions, we were given the impression he was a bit of a cocky upstart, but he has handled himself very well in interview, especially last Saturday chatting to Dermot post-song. He came across as humble and eager to learn and try and improve.

            Where Abi is also succeeding in the vote, is there was a sense of genuine dismay when she started to cry after being criticised by Sharon.

            Compare this to Hannah’s tears during the sing-off which came across more like self-pity, as has a lot of her sullen looks and sulky behaviour. This is expanding on the point made by Jay really. There is a distinct difference & it is Abi who encourages support atm.

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