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X Factor Statistics Of Dubious Value

by Aidan Elder | September 30, 2011

It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Or at least separate the wheat from the complete and utter chaff.
There’s still a good bit of chaff, but slightly less chaff than last week. Either way there’ll be some wheat and that’s always a sign that we’re approaching the business end of the X Factor process. Or we’ve fallen asleep at the wheel and driven the car into a field again.

It’s off to the judges’ ‘houses’ this week as they try to whittle down the contenders who’ll make it through to the live shows. Well, they say judges’ houses, but it if it was really the judges’ houses, Kiltimagh Co. Mayo (population about 15) would fall victim to an annual influx of deluded thirty-somethings. Basically the judges are taking their groups to wherever in the world the producers of the show tell them to go and hopefully that’s somewhere out of arm’s reach of the judges’ personal belongings and bed linen.

While there’s still a good few left in the competition, I decided it was probably worth looking at the contenders most likely to make it to the latter end of the show. I’ve had a look

at the make-up of the final 3 in each of the 7 series to date. Its interesting reading and by my own admission, I’d rarely use the word ‘interesting’ to describe my forays into the world of statistical analysis.

X Factor Stats

Applying definitions is somewhat difficult, but one thing is immediately obvious – there was no need for that ‘Female Crooners’ category. I assumed that there were a whole heap of Mary Byrne-a-likes who had come close to winning it, but looking back, she was the only one and she didn’t even reach the final. In terms of style, I could have lumped Rebecca Ferguson into that category, but as gravity hasn’t yet taken a vicious hold on her, she still qualifies as a Solo Babe. Likewise, there were enough Stacey Solomon nose gags flying around to let you know she wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but she’s still more foxy than frumpy. In the seven series of The X-Factor to date, only 4 females have ever made it to the final 3, but the flipside of that is when they do get there, they’ve a 50% success rate of going on to win it.

The classification is also a little difficult when it comes to the men. For example, Olly Murs was a little bit older and therefore supposedly destined for the ‘Male Crooners’ category, but equally he’s clearly a bit of a hunk. We’ve seen far too many old copies of Heat lying around dentist’s waiting rooms not to realise that little fact. He’s counted in the hunk section, with the crooners section being mainly made up for older men who could clearly sing, but aren’t likely to get the call about their availability for the catwalk during Milan Fashion Week. Equally debatably, the likes of Ray Quinn are included in the hunks section. He’s clearly good on a pair of ice-stakes (and that’s not a 1970s euphemism for his sexual orientation, despite what it sounds like) and not typically someone you’d associate with the hunky dreamboat genre, but the category suited him better than the crooners malarkey.

The ‘Oh no, not another boyband/girlband’ category is slightly misleading. I just tagged on the ‘girlband’ part to avoid pedantry. It’s basically all the male of the species who make up the bands on the show, whether it be the lads in G4 – the men who permanently dressed like they were on the way home after a night of free drink at the Annual Paper & Packaging Recycling Industry Awards dinner – or the hairy embryos that make up One Direction. The only girl to have made it through as part of a group was that annoyingly smiley one from Same Difference. If you think a band could finally go all the way in the competition, it’s best to stick to the ones that by and large pee standing up. And no – that’s not a subtle hint that we think Miss Frank could have made it big.

So what unreliable conclusions can we draw from the data? Well, the lack of women in the final seems to support the theory that women would rather bitch about another woman on the show rather than vote for them. No matter how talented you think a girl is, she’s needs to be mega-talented and mega-not totally up her own ass to win over the bulk of the people who do the voting. The gender breakdown of people reaching the final 3 in The X-Factor (as solo performers or as part of a band) is 85% v 15% in favour of the fellas and that stat even includes the aforementioned Same Difference girl who probably only got there because having anything other than a twin sibling in the band ruined the entire concept of the band.

Does it mean woman are total wagons? Well, we wouldn’t say that, but if you want to win The X-Factor being male and having arms that look good in a vest top doesn’t hurt your chances.

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