X Factor Head-Scratcher

Oct 28, 2011 by

A riddle wrapped up in an enigma is the best way to describe this current series of X Factor. Trying to second guess the show producers is proving troublesome, and we are starting to wonder if the chaotic way in which this series has proceeded has little to do with planning at all; far more with incompetence.
Some suggest Cowell’s top tier of production have joined him in the States with the underlings left running amok back here in his absence. It would certainly explain a lot.
You look at the markets and are constantly left unsure where the wisest trades lie. It is a year that encourages you to lay the entire field, if only there was the chance for another contestant to arrive in the competition. The contestants have so many holes in them this year they could be re-marketed as Swiss cheese.
A big part of the XF is the publicity machine that keeps it in the headlines for the duration of the live shows. And this week we have had stories of The Risk’s Derry Mensah bedding Sami Brookes, Frankie trying to add a Janet Devlin tattoo to his list of sexual conquests, Rhythmix being forced to change their name, to the pitiful Little Mix, and Johnny Robinson being outed as a benefit cheat.
This is all part of the complex web punters need to navigate in figuring out where the markets are likely to head next. We reckon Johnny’s public vote has been so high this is probably the first part of a de-ramp.
Two of the only contestants to steer clear of negative tabloid attention have been Sophie and Marcus which possibly bodes well for their long-term prospects in the competition.
As for this week, we are fairly confident Kitty will escape the bottom 2. Like Frankie last week, there is often a bounce and she is rumoured to be taking on Marilyn Manson’s version of ‘Sweet Dreams’. We expect huge production, a late position in the running order, and glowing praise.
With voting figures so low, it would not surprise us to see Frankie avoid the bottom 2 also, but like Kitty, it requires a watching brief prior to trading to be certain he receives enough positive spin in the edit.
A shock bottom 2 is probably about due, and we think it could be on the cards this week. How they play it with Rhythmix will be interesting. It could end up a positive for the girls if they are shown sympathetically discussing the reasons for the name change. Or, given the abysmal re-name, you wonder if show producers have already given up on them.
Johnny R is doing something stripped back and minimalistic which, given the bad press this week, you could easily see playing out badly for him, which could put him in danger.
Marcus, meanwhile, is doing some kind of ‘mash up’ of two songs. We have never known a ‘mash up’ to work well for a solo artist so, again, this puts a question mark over him this week. Sophie’s song is a haunting beauty for Halloween. She’s been ill this week but this hints at something that will suit her voice well.
One that could slip into that dangerous, ‘instantly forgettable’ category this week has to be Craig. His voice is very one-dimensional. He has no extra gear he can find and we are less certain of his public appeal compared to the likes of Sophie and Marcus, so we are very interested in his bottom 2 vulnerability pre-show.
But really, stakes should be kept to a minimum until all contestants perform tomorrow night. With a brief clash at the start of the show with Strictly, it will be informative to see who is first up. Even if it’s the highly-acclaimed Misha but her performance is somewhat ordinary, and she receives lukewarm praise, it would not even surprise us to see her fall into the bottom 2. But at this stage we would advise a small stakes bet on Craig to be in the bottom 2 at 15-2 with bluesq, and throwing a few quid at the 25-1 with bodog he is Next Eliminated.
Despite the danger of Sophie being first up tomorrow, or on early, we also recommend laying her on the 7th elimination market on Betfair. We think she has built up more than enough good will, is widely liked by the judges, and will likely get a decent edit when contestants visit a hospice.
Rob Furber

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