Time To Lay Jahmene?

Oct 31, 2012 by

Time To Lay Jahmene?

An early X Factor post this week, not to dwell on the spectacular returns you hopefully enjoyed following our recommended trades last weekend, but mainly to discuss one contestant: Jahmene.

‘Our every instinct when it comes to shows like X Factor basically screams lay with this guy.’

So we wrote back on October 2 regarding Jahmene. A month later are we sticking by our conviction as his lay price drops below 4 on Betfair? In a word, yes.

The reason for Jahmene’s ever decreasing odds has a lot to do with the dream run he has been given on the show to date. In fact, it is hard to remember any previous X Factor contestant to have received so much unconditional love from the show makers.

Not a word of negativity from the judges and instead, enormous ramping despite his live renditions regularly veering off into the sort of painful, high pitched squawks that would have led my old English setter to race out of the room in sheer terror. Jahmene is definitely something of an acquired taste and for every person who likes his little soul boy shtick we reckon there must be at least 3 or 4 who find it all too alienating.

We have also had heart-rending back stories about his troubled upbringing to crank up the sympathy vote, and on Saturday an appearance by Samuel L Jackson declaring his undying devotion to Jahmene’s talent.

To be fair ‘Killing Me Softly’ was his best effort to date largely because he kept away from his trademark vocal gymnastics. But does he have mainstream commercial appeal as an artist? What is Jahmene going to shift by way of albums? A collection of gospel songs maybe but beyond that his voice, his look and his style appear a somewhat niche combination and as such we still find it hard to imagine Syco wanting him to win.

We speculated in that October 2 post that it may be worth holding off on laying Jahmene as his odds could well come in on the back of relentless pimping. And so it has come to pass. It is far more likely in our view that Jahmene’s current price will go on to prove to be the golden lay of this series. The moment a more realistic and negative critique arrives from the judging panel – and surely it has to at some point soon – we would not be surprised to see his vote collapse like a pack of cards and a sudden bottom 2 appearance.

It is reminiscent of Craig last year. Talked up and talked up to a ridiculous degree with the judges sticking to their script despite some lacklustre efforts by Biscuit Boy. Then the kill came swiftly, as he sang License To Kill with the full on red and black treatment, from the former coffin slot of trap 1, looking like he knew the sword of Damocles was hanging over him.

James has put in some imperious efforts and he looks a far more credible threat to Ella. As such, we like the look of Ladbrokes quote of 7-2 on the Ella/James straight forecast. The one downside with James is that he is maybe too edgy as an artist to totally win over a middle-of-the-road Saturday night primetime audience.

We are also sorely tempted to lay Jahmene for a top 3 finish. The only thing that makes us reticent is the total lack of competition this year. The show may have it in mind to try to get Jahmene to the final to split the solo male vote, and thus ensure an (in theory) easier Ella passage to victory.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s show all we know so far is that it’s ‘Number Ones’ week – which is an extremely broad canvas – and that Rylan is going to try and showcase himself as a serious artist presumably by singing a stripped back ballad.

This could well mark the end of Rylan’s narrative on the show, but it may afford him a stay of execution for at least one more week. Union J will enjoy a bottom 2 bounce which leaves Chris, District 3 and Kye looking the most likely bottom 2 candidates.

With Chris’s fanbase proving a hard group to dislodge, and District 3 possibly favoured to keep the boyband battle afloat for a further week, pre-show Kye looks the most vulnerable contestant to us.

Given the uncertainty over how TPTB are going to treat Lucy on her return following the Mirror story about her threatening to quit, and the elimination and bottom 2 odds looking extremely tight, we will be keeping our powder dry for now.

Do you agree that Jahmene is a lay at his current price? Where do you see the Lucy saga heading? Have you spotted a value angle ahead of  Saturday’s show? Please feel free to join the debate by expressing your opinions in the Comments section below.
Rob Furber

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  1. Boki

    I agree to most of it rg. Jahmene. There is one thing though you didn’t mention and that’s the DS article. If we take it seriously he was 2nd behind Chris in 1st 2 weeks and after that his genuinly sad story comes out which in that case easily made him vote topper in wk3. I would expect he was not doing well in voting so they helped but that’s contradicting the DS article.

  2. Rob

    Yes, good reminder of the Daily Star leak, Boki. As you say, that suggested he was 2nd behind Chris, and ahead of Ella in the early weeks.

    It is probably a question of how robust his base level support is. Take away the sympathy edits & exaggerated hyping of him & you sense his support could drop like a stone.

  3. Boki

    The danger is also (as you say) that James is little edgy, so when Chris is finally gone his auntie voters will more probably shift to sweet innocent Jahmene and much less to James.

  4. Tim B

    I don’t agree that it’s worth laying Jahméne. On internet polls he is usually 2nd behind Ella, sometimes 3rd. He could well have topped the vote at least once. He appeals to middle-aged women, grannies and housewives, whom we all know are the big voters on this show. James Arthur’s problems are many; he simply is not good looking at all. This is very off-putting for me as a viewer in the same way as when I watched Craig Colton last year. He also has close to zero personality, not in a timid Leona-type way, but a dull charisma-less and charmless way. I would say he appeals to younger girls primarily. And if young girls were the voters on this show, One Direction would’ve won in 2010, Little Mix would’ve won by a landslide last year instead of narrowly pulling off a win, and Chris Maloney would’ve been in the bottom 2 weeks ago. I agree with Boki above that once Chris goes, I’d bet the majority of his votes would transfer to Jahméne (not James) who is a shy, adorable character of the type who has done so well on this show in the past (Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson, Rebecca Ferguson). I therefore fancy Jahméne for top boy quite strongly, but the odds aren’t worth chancing for me at this stage. He might be potentially easy to nobble, but why would they? Louis “voice of the producers” Walsh has mentioned several times that he thinks he’s an international recording artist and I also wouldn’t lay him in the win market as I see him as the only potential threat to Ella’s victory. Jahméne would go down a storm on The X Factor USA whereas I highly doubt they’d think it would be worth paying for James Arthur’s flight over.

  5. Rob

    You put forward a well-reasoned pro-Jahmene case there, Tim.

    Regarding the potential vote transference Boki refers to, I’m not so sure Chris’s fanbase is such a natural fit with Jahmene’s. They are surely chalk and cheese in terms of musical performers.

    Guess the counter-argument is, does Syco want a winner whose appeal lies mainly in the realms of grannies and women who want to take Jahmene home and mother him?

    And they’ve pushed the ‘credible’ ticket series-long with the emphasis on artists who can play their own instruments and write their own songs which maybe gives James the edge.

    Would have also thought James’s appeal stretches to an older demographic too – his performances have had a real maturity and authenticity about them so far.

  6. Tim B

    Good point about James’s musicality, Rob, although it’s not something they’ve really pushed with James in the live shows thus far. I just can’t help but think Jahméne is a much more archetypal winner. At the very least, they’d be able to sign him for a rush-release Mothers’ Day album like Marcus Collins from last year (to some moderate chart success). However I’d argue he’s better than that. And I see your point about his musical style differing from Chris’s, but I don’t think that’s something that will really concern the voters. If my mum were watching, she’d be a big fan of Chris but she’d also call me up and go “Aww he’s adorable, is that Jahméne. Isn’t he lovely? I’m gonna vote for him”. We have to consider reasons other than the music performances as to who’s going to sweep up the votes and why. Regardless of personal musical tastes, this is where Jahméne has the massive advantage over James.

  7. Bruce

    Typed a huge essay like post which I forgot to copy and lost. So in short I’m with Tim. I don’t see laying Jahmene as an acceptable risk/reward.
    A few brief comments – Why isn’t Ella getting votes – I can’t have this ‘she doesn’t need the votes now’ argument. If she was the overwhelming favourite the odds suggested she should be way ahead NOW.
    Jahmene was very weel covered pre lives – he hasn’t ‘sneaked’ into 2nd favouritism. TPTB obviously have a plan for him and I don’t see it to deramp him now tbh.
    And again I’m with Tim re James – he’s plenty short enough given I have my doubts he’s a match for the core X factor vote.
    All in all Jahmene’s about as solid a bet as there is atm in this show for me.

  8. Rob

    Apologies for the glitch, Bruce. Tried to move the whole site across to a new server recently but proved extremely problematic so have had to return to the old set up for the time being.

    Why did they deem it necessary to go to town so early in the series giving Jahmene the enormous sympathy edit & delving into his troubled upbringing?

    If it wasn’t for the Daily Star story saying Jahmene was 2nd in the vote behind Chris, this had the hallmarks of TPTB deeply concerned about his support.

    With the vote extremely fluid in early weeks, they probably were concerned. It did seem a pre-emptive strike to ensure Jahmene didn’t lose any ground.

    And Jahmene’s 2nd place in the vote must have had a whole lot to do with his sympathetic treatment during boot camp and judges’ houses.

    The week they don’t resort to sympathy tactics or wheel out big name Hollywood stars, what happens to his vote?

    Can they continue to push him to the max & get him over the finish line in 1st? It would be some feat as ultimately Jahmene is a very marmite performer.

    We know Ella was 3rd & could have been only one or two percentage points further behind, so it doesn’t scream of Ella struggling in the vote.

    If they want to truly push Jahmene to victory we will surely start to see a hatchet job on James. Only when this happens, will a reversal of positions start taking place here 🙂

  9. Bruce

    A good rebuttal Rob but I reamain unconvinced by a few things.

    I don’t get the Craig Colton comparison. If I remember correctly he was hugely ramped but this was never reflected in his polling, even when he was high up in the odds.
    Jahmene, apart form the Star leak has been clear second for example with TV polls.
    I thought perhaps his hugely emotional VT two weeks ago signalled an end to his journey but this weeks was a highly efficient follow up. I think a lot of the viewers now have an emotional investment in Jahmene and this won’t be easily dispelled.
    On this point, I’m finding Nicole by far the most ‘believable’ mentor and also the most likeable. To me she has a huge personal investment also in Jahmene. OK its her first series and I may be misjudging her character but I’d find it very hard to see her turn against him, even to clear the way for another of her acts.
    As for the question of what happens to his vote on a more normal week, I’d safely assume it carries on just fine.

    Why all the early producer favouritism if he was polling well anyway – well shock horror maybe they want him to win 🙂 or most likely he is the back up plan for Ella.

    James can finish high up and probably get a recording deal, he needs to retain some ‘credibility’

  10. Rob

    It looks like we know Jahmene’s VT on Saturday – a trip to Asda with Nicole:


    So presumably focusing on, ‘Wow, honey, you have come such a long way.’

    Obviously hoping this signals the end of his story arc 🙂 but concede he may well not be eliminated before the final. Still reckon a bottom 2 appearance is more likely before then, & he will need a bounce to get there.

    And a high finish for Jahmene would be enough for his future recording success as much as it would James.

  11. Bruce

    Not such a great VT for Jahmene if thats the case Rob.

  12. Henry VIII

    I agree that TPTB can make more money from Ella and James who are both more marketable and more accomplished musically. But would the public go along with any Jahmene de-ramp, and is he really marmite, doing well in polls and votes (Daily Star)? For now they’re still pushing him anyway. I’m just waiting to see atm.

    The Nichole in ASDA nonsense will probably work in his favour. Here is a young man who’s had a real job in the real world compared to a 16 year old brat from school. It gives him more depth as a character.

    Also we had Ella saying “everyone’s entitled to their opinion” about Nichole. Once on the show and once again on Xtra Factor. This is brattish. It’s much more than an entitlement that the judges have to give their opinion. It’s a duty. She also said she had “seen Nichole about it” in a way as if to tell her off for her insolence. These are little things that may not be repeated or noticed anyway, but worth taking note of.

    Ultimately however I find Jahmene’s voice thin compared to Ella and I think Ella is something special that they don’t get very often, and I still think it would be a shock if they didn’t help her win.

  13. Boki

    Lucy quits the show, it seems confirmed now.

  14. Rob

    Yep, & an horrific reason reading between the lines of The Sun story.

    Still find it hard to commit to anything pre-show. Kye, District 3 & Chris look the obvious targets but each week has thrown up something of a surprise so far.

    With vote percentages between the bottom acts probably very small, tonight’s edit will be crucial.

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