Little Mix, Big Punt

Nov 15, 2011 by

We were treated to a somewhat bizarre X Factor last Saturday to say the least. After technical issues, and a 15 minute delay, the judges proceeded to contradict pretty much everything we heard on the night.
In particular, it came as a shock to hear them be so negative about Janet after what we thought was her best live performance by far. It was a haunting rendition that showcased her vocal ability yet she was panned for being boring, again. Given the Daily Star vote leak that claimed Janet has been topping the vote, we can only conclude this was part of a plan to suppress her polling figure.
We wonder if the same happened with Marcus, as the week before they raved about him producing the performance of the series, yet on Saturday he did a similar sort of song and performance and got lambasted for being predictable. Operation suppress a front runner’s vote mark II? We think so.
They could well be de-ramping both Marcus and Janet because they are the two leading the polls up until the weekend, and perhaps they ultimately do not want either of them to win.
Craig, meanwhile, produced the most forgettable and predictable performance of the night, but you wouldn’t think so from the judges’ comments, who continue to keep him in a protective bubble of positivity.
Amelia was a cert to win the public vote in our view – and she was duly given the biggest fanfare possible on her return – the pimp slot, a plinth, fireworks, a show-stealing song and glowing praise.
So where exactly is this show heading? Amelia being parachuted back into the show struck us as last minute and not part of some great masterplan, despite shrewdies on Betfair continually backing her at big odds in the hope of such a scenario.
They won’t want her winning the series in our view. This is a no-brainer. It would betray the show and damage the X Factor brand severely to allow someone given a bye for 5 weeks to go on and win. And if Amelia had been wanted, there’s no way they would have dumped her out in favour of Sophie.
We were confident Misha would drop into the bottom 2 with Kitty and she duly did. Misha is not getting enough of a vote but will they continue putting her through in potential future sing-offs because they want her to get as far as possible in the competition to ensure a successful post-show career?
If they continue down the road of destroying Janet and bigging up Misha, this begs the question why try and get rid of the contestant the public are embracing, while keeping the one the public have given a universal thumbs down to? And if they are particularly damning over Janet, it is easy to see her multi-voting fanbase becoming more entrenched so they need to tread carefully.
Is Janet considered a ‘trouble-maker’ for refusing to compromise from the styling and song choices she thinks she is best suited to? She looked a forlorn figure at the weekend and no wonder with her own mentor Kelly offering her so little support and happy to join in with the negative edit Janet received on Sunday.
Have they kept Craig in as a buffer? We think so. In other words, Craig is not a contestant they want to win but he is useful protection for a preferred act falling into the bottom 2 with him from this point on. We think Amelia and Misha are effectively two more buffers – they don’t want Amelia to win and Misha can’t win but they can be useful if a favoured act drops into the bottom 2 with them, or if a perceived big threat to their Chosen One drops into the bottom 2.
Which brings us to that Chosen One. We have been recommending backing Little Mix back when they were Rhythmix and available at 66-1, and we’re still of the strong belief this series is all about Little Mix.
They want a group to win for the first time and it would be an even bigger story for a girlband to win. There is a growing momentum behind these girls already, and an enormous amount of goodwill. It is also noticeable how some of the big hitters in showbiz are getting behind the Mixes. We will also see Jessie J performing on XF a week on Sunday, and like One Direction last Sunday, you can be sure as eggs are eggs she is going to announce her backing of the Mixes too.
Little Mix have been clearly teed up for a ‘game changer’ this coming Saturday, no doubt producing some stripped down, a capella ballad that will showcase their voices.
We have seen them soften up two of Little Mix’ biggest potential rivals – Janet and Marcus – last Saturday and we wonder if they will go as far as trying to engineer the weakest possible contestants to line up against Little Mix in the final 3, giving them the best possible chance to triumph. This would obviously be any 2 from 3 out of Craig, Amelia and Misha.
We think, to try and ensure the ideal final 3, they will continue with the sing off up until the last 4 stage, as was the case last year. With only 2 sing-offs remaining, it will be very hard to eliminate both Marcus and Janet, and they may have to settle for further de-ramping of the pair ahead of leaving it in the hands of the public to decide who progresses to the final 3, with the shows assorted ramping/de-ramping tricks heavily pointing the way of course.
In conclusion, we still think Little Mix are excellent value at a best-priced 6-1 to win. If you miss this, back Tulisa to be Winning Mentor, also at 6-1. Better yet, if you’re very quick, grab the last of the 13-2 with Boylesports the winning category is the Groups this year.
Rob Furber

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