Stone Dead?

Nov 6, 2015 by

Stone Dead?

Max was advised here at 8-1 for first elimination on X Factor and despite not landing proved a great trade as his price dropped below 2-1 on Betfair on Saturday night offering the chance to lock in a guaranteed 1st elimination profit.

X Factor decided to throw a curveball by suddenly announcing a double elimination on the Sunday evening which scuppered the cover bet on Keira. Given her lousy treatment on Saturday, it was clear she was in the Syco sniper’s crosshairs.

After originally thinking if Keira was in the bottom 2 vs Bupsi or Max she would very likely be kicked off the show, this late announcement suggested Keira was probably third from bottom in the public vote, and they had contrived a double elimination to give them the chance to kick her off following the sing-off.

When Grimmy saved Keira after she had outclassed Alien Uncovered in the sing-off, this theory went out of the window. Maybe Alien Uncovered had outpolled Keira and Simon would save Alien Uncovered, send it to dead-lock and Keira would end up eliminated. Wrong again as Simon did the decent thing and saved Keira. Sometimes you can know too much about how a show works.

Was this the show turning over a new leaf, trying to regain a shred of credibility? Who knows but the upshot is, Keira is definitely not wanted, is very likely on borrowed time, and the show’s backing of Alien Uncovered proved short-lived. Time to tear up those betting slips.

As for Seann, he received the week 1 pimp slot as predicted here but failed to hit it out the ballpark and his odds rapidly drifted. That may end up looking an over-reaction as Seann has Cowell’s backing and he at least has the ability to reinvent himself each week and potentially win the audience over. A week 2 theme of ‘reinvention’ certainly looks in his favour as does a song choice of ‘California Dreamin’ following a similar retro path as Louisa’s week 1 triumph with ‘God Only Knows’.

The big message of week 1, as suggested in the pre-lives analysis here, is that another MOR solo male winner is not wanted this year. This was probably hammered home to Cowell sitting through a somewhat limp performance by Ben Haenow last weekend.

Not giving Simon, Josh or Ben a place in the lives was a clear indication of Syco’s plans in trying to make things as easy as possible for Louisa in this series. And Cowell already appears to be embarking on a subtle deramp of Che, reminiscent of last year’s 6 donuts masterstroke with Andrea.

Che was mentioned in the same sentence as Cowell’s 2 Yorkshire terriers Squiddly and Diddly. Aside from taking the focus away from Che’s performance it would come as no surprise to see this built upon in the coming weeks. Could it be those squealing high notes of his, enough to make dogs howl? Cheryl did precede Simon by expressing her shock at some of his high notes.

Che’s VT also heavily focused on his struggles to move while singing. ‘He has to prove he is more than a voice,’ was the narrative set up. ‘We’ve got to work on what you bring to it performance wise,’ said choreographer Nikki, who appears to be a new weapon in Syco’s armoury.

And Cowell answered this unanimously post-song by declaring, ‘The only thing is, you can’t dance.’

As for Anton, the main focus again was on his unflattering looks when he sings. We knew Anton would initially get a robust public vote – everything about his coverage during the audition process was about him having the likability factor.

‘He’s amazing even though his eyes are crazy. It’s Anton,’ said Simon introducing him. Choreographer Nikki focused on his facial expressions during his VT.

Cowell’s initial words of his post-song critique. ’Even with your crazy eyes and you have a mouth like a tunnel when you sing, it’s huge…’

But there was still an emphasis on him being loved by the audience. ‘You’ve created a bond with the public,’ said Rita.

Straight after the show The Sun ran a story questioning Anton’s adoption sob story. The wheels already in motion of destroying Anton’s likability and dismantling his vote? It certainly looks that way.

It is hard to view either Anton’s or Che’s week 1 treatment as a positive for their long-term prospects. Meanwhile, Louisa delivered an outstanding vocal performance and she was thoroughly eulogized by the judges.

Lauren was given ‘I’m Every Woman’. The theme was ‘This is me’. It was a karaoke choice. Probably quite popular with a certain X Factor demo but it doesn’t tee her up as a relevant pop act. Lauren has a degree of likability but the show doesn’t look invested in her as a potential winner either. The view here is, she is possibly there for the show’s later stages and a potential weapon in a sing-off to credibly take out a Che or an Anton.

With another double elimination two more will be picked off this weekend. There is some doubt over RnB’s track but a video of them rehearsing with Cheryl suggests it will be ‘Dangerous Love’ which would suit them well.

‘Return Of The Mack’ for Keira hardly screams a ‘save Keira’ narrative. Max has ’Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World’. Is his reinvention that this will not be a reggae version? Even if it isn’t, it all sounds rather pedestrian.

It would come as no surprise if the Monica deramp starts tomorrow with her attempt at Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love’. It is tough to take on an iconic song and singer, as Max discovered attempting Adele.

‘Billie Jean’ appears to have been teed up for Louisa as a chance to showcase her ability as a performer. This was where Lauren fell down last year, and Ella’s seeming inability to do uptempo left producers hamstrung and sucking the life out of songs to suit her.

Anton’s rehearsal didn’t sound very encouraging. It would appear to be ’All About That Bass’ mashed up with Jessie J’s ‘Bang Bang’. Certainly not in his comfort zone and you would have to expect a rather lukewarm reaction to this.

Mason Noise has Womack And Womack’s ’Teardrops’. This could go either way. Sunday might be Simon’s first chance to don his cape and save Mason in the sing-off.

4th Impact have the Girls Aloud track ’Sound Of The Underground’. The show looks totally invested in them, especially after Alien’s departure and no matter their vocal performance with this, expect eulogising.

The songs we are still waiting on are Che’s and Lauren’s. Lauren is said to be doing a big belter; Che is said to be suffering with a sore throat. Regardless of song choice, this pair should be safe this week.

So, who is likely to be bottom of the vote and be the third elimination? Reggie n Bollie have shortened in this market and might be worth laying if ‘Dangerous Love’ turns out to be their song. With Bupsi gone, they are the remaining fun factor on the show. This song would suit, they should perform it well, and granted a positive response from the judges they should get enough support to avoid bottom spot.

Everything hinges on whether or not they wish to grant Keira a one-week stay of execution. The sing-off bounce used to be a tried and tested formula on X Factor but these double eliminations cloud things and cast doubt over whether or not some of the old X Factor principles remain.

Last year, in a bigger field of 16, there was only 2.2% difference in the vote between 3rd from bottom (Steph Nala) and the contestant 6 positions higher than her on the vote, Jake Quickenden, in week 1. This indicates how easy it could be to push Keira above 3 other contestants at this early stage if TPTB choose to do so.

Of course, third from bottom Steph found herself bottom of the vote in week 2 so a similar fate could await Keira but at least pre-show and without knowing the running order, 5-2 doesn’t make much appeal.

You would have to imagine Louisa and Anton will be flying high towards the top of the pv. The very fact they have announced a double indicates Louisa is probably comfortably clear of the pack. Given Keira is now living on borrowed time, the temptation could be there to drag three other contestants down below her, safe in the knowledge they can pick her off the week after.

Max has drifted to an appealing 6-1. It is hard to see what purpose he has on the show so he has to be the speculative value pick for 3rd elimination, though a ‘to be eliminated’ price would be more appealing. Keep an eye on Comments for further analysis and trading advice post-Saturday night.


Max – 3rd elimination – 1pt win – 6-1 – Skybet


  1. Rob

    Full song list dropped just as I was posting.

    The Boys
    Seann Miley Moore: California Dreamin’ – Mamas & Papas
    Ché Chesterman: You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
    Mason Noise: Teardrops – Womack & Womack

    The Girls
    Lauren Murray: Hold Back The River – James Bay
    Louisa Johnson: Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
    Kiera Weathers: Return Of The Mack – Mark Morrison
    Monica Michael: Crazy In Love – Beyoncè

    The Overs
    Anton Stephans: All About That Bass / Bang Bang – Meghan Trainor / Jessie J
    Max Stone: Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole / Louis Armstrong

    The Groups
    Reggie ‘N’ Bollie: What Makes You Beautiful / Cheerleader – One Direction / OMI
    4th Impact: Sound Of The Underground / Boom Clap – Girls Aloud / Charli XCX

    That’s fine for RnB & gives them a fighting chance of avoiding bottom spot.

  2. Always a good read…

    One thing about Max, I was expected much worse comments for him last week. Simon Cowell saying his voice was “Authentic” he reminds me of a Luke Friend. Also worth pointing out Simon referred to him as a Dark Horse.

    With him failing to land in B3 last week, singing his own version of a well known song. Surely if he was a target, they would do something different for him? Instead of again giving him a well known song this week. Unless of course he did finish 4th from bottom.

    Also its the audience that kept him in the competition twice, that builds some connection with the viewers.

    With continued de-ramp of Anton, it only helps Max. Although only small amount as they have different demo, but it helps with Simons VT’s if he is shown saying more positive things about Max.

    “Return of the mack” awful song, tried to find a version online that i think viewers can connect to, cant find any. No wow moment. Curtains for Kiera.

  3. Hi Rob, have to agree that it’s going to be tough to see Max making either song Reggae and he surely must be low down the list to win. I;m also not convinced that the public have taken to Monica and I’m doing those 2 to be next eliminated. But I also agree that Return of the Mack is an awful song but having backed Kiera to win I’m hoping she can hang in there for a bit longer! Cheers

  4. Rob

    Max is now 13-2 with Betfred for 3rd elim. That looks too big to me.

    • george

      i think max may have a degree of popularity with female voters,
      think he’s the one that will trigger the mothering instinct this yeaar

  5. george

    i’ve just had half a point on Che at 66
    only because he’s got a motown style number and these quite often seem to be used for an assassination.

    build me up buttercup, bupsi’s number last week etc

    • george

      although return of the mack possibly the most obvious assassination song ever.

      doubt even maloney could have survived that.

      a double would be a good controversy free way to get rid of Che if that’s there aim though. don’t think it would be to hard to steer to bottom of vote. others have strong claim to best singer vote and Che is very unappealing.

  6. Rob

    Betfred has ‘to be in the bottom 3’ market.


    Mason – 2pt win – 7-4 – Betfred

    You can get 2-1 in Betfred shops. Mason’s song choice doesn’t look the best. RnB have a fair chance of escaping b3. Looking Mason, Kiera, Max the most likely b3, at least pre-show.

  7. Rob

    It looks like Max may well dodge a bullet again, although he was severely memory-holed by RnB’s great performance so still a chance he is bottom 3.

    A lot more confident Mason will be bottom 3 and hope readers snapped up the advised 7-4. If there is a surprise b3-er maybe Seann or 4th Impact.

    Anton and Monica may still have enough residual support to escape b3. Keira looks a certainty to be down there after another nuking, Mason highly likely to join her, the 3rd spot trickier to call.

  8. Rob

    D.Star helping us again. In today’s paper copy:

    23% Anton
    13% Louisa
    12% Seann

    Not surprising. Very believable. Seann aided by week 1 pimp slot but maybe Cowell’s criticism of him last night trying to contain his vote. And the eulogizing of Che to help push votes away from Anton and towards him. Looks like they have another Maloney on their hands.

    Also worth remembering last year D.Star had Ben on 50%; Fleur 22% in the semi-final:

    The XF official results actually showed: Ben 36%, Fleur 24% in the semi-final, which suggests the D.Star maybe only sees phone vote percentages.

    You would expect Anton to be more popular with older, phone voters.

  9. Rob

    ‘Stone Dead’ proved an apt description for the pre-lives value picks – all wiped out in the first 2 weeks.

    On a brighter note, Mason landed the bottom 3 money at 7-4.

    A Tweet earlier tonight:

    JAMES INGHAM ‏@thejamesingham 2 mins2 minutes ago
    #XFactor news. #antonstephans topped last week’s vote followed by #LouisaJohnson #seanmileymoore #4thImpact & #MonicaMichael

    This may have been why they went so big talking up Che – if we believe the D.Star he polled terribly in week 1. Meanwhile, Seann went from 3rd on the vote to 10th on the vote in 1 week.

  10. Rob


    Reggie n Bollie – Outright – 14-1 – 1pt e/w – Stan James (e/w first 3, a fifth the odds). You can get 12-1, e/w first 3 with BetVictor

    RnB received a powerful VT last Saturday, right up there with Jesy from Little Mix being bulled by online trolls.

    They then ‘smashed it’ with their performance. Producers looking increasingly invested in them, and they are already the subject of a huge gamble on BF.

    When you think about it, they have a certain USP and would be ideal finalists in terms of being a feel-good act who get the party spirit started.

    Is the money because someone knows how well they did on the pv last Saturday or know what’s in store for them this weekend? Regardless, they look a worthwhile e/w investment first 3 at current prices.

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