It’s all so familiar.
The girls all sound good.
The boys all sound good.
You feel sorry for whoever is stuck with the groups and Louis Walsh makes a couple of bonkers decisions that make you wonder just how he has amassed such a fortune from his dealings in the music business. It’s like the changing of the seasons and all those signs tell us we’ve reached the concoction of excessive ad breaks and occasional singing that is the live shows part of the X-Factor.
After taking their categories to various places around the world, the judges have cast aside the weak and deluded and selected only the very best and deluded. All of the judges look to have relatively strong hands for the live shows and can be pretty happy with their work. Except for Louis – he has the right to feel disappointed with his bunch of contestants. Almost as disappointed as his contestants were when Sinitta was revealed as their guest judge. He may not have had the strongest pool to choose from, but Louis didn’t help himself because his choices were downright bizarre. Even at this early stage he’s about as likely to win the contest as he is to be caught perving on the girls’ dressing rooms backstage.
It’s only the first week of the live shows, but already there’s talk of a ‘surprise’ this weekend. Unless Simon Cowell has somehow found a way to reanimate the corpse of Michael Jackson and get it to take part in a recreation of the Thriller dance sequence, it’s not really going to be a surprise. In reality it’s probably going to be something fairly unsurprising like a double elimination or Louis breaking down in tears any time he’s asked to make a remotely difficult decision. ‘Still or sparkling, Mr. Walsh?’ ‘I [sob] just [sob] don’t [sob] know [sob]’. With sixteen contestants needing to be whittled down to one in time for Simon to find his act to rob the pocket money of young girls just in time for the Christmas number 1, there are going to be weeks when the dreams of more than one contestant are crushed in front of a live studio audience.
It’s not enshrined in the vague rules of The X-Factor, but week 1 of the live shows could also be known as ‘ritual slaughter of a crap band’ week and that’s what this week’s X Factor Stats of Dubious Worth focus on. In the seven series of X Factor, there have been eight acts going home at the first time of asking and generally speaking, it’s been a group. Here’s the fancy looking chart.
Now two questions immediately spring to mind when looking at the graph. Firstly, ‘is that Rick Astley?’ and secondly, ‘is this not just a statistical quirk?’ The answers to those questions are ‘yes it is’ and ‘quite possibly, but maybe not’ respectively. Bands getting eliminated early seems counter-intuitive when you think about it. By their nature, bands have more people who can badger family, friends, co-workers and random people on the street into voting for them so in theory at least, they should be able to amass enough votes to keep them safe. On the other side of the coin however, it’s also more people who know you and think you’re a bit of a nob. They may not have strong feelings about wanting any of the other acts to win, but by God they’re not you and that’s good enough for them. That’s one possible and probably wrong reason for bands exiting early, but there is another one.
The bottom line is most of the bands going home early have been pretty rubbish. Addictiv Ladies got booted out in week 1 of series 2 and they were up against Chico in the sing-off. Yes, that’s Chico – the guy whose whole act revolved around repeatedly asking what time it was. The Unconventionals were booted off in week 1 of series three. They released a song last year that has 9,000 views on YouTube. Our Kevin The Sheep is hardly an internet phenomenon and he kicks the pants off that. Roberta Howett and Kimberley Southwick are two solo girls to have been turfed out in the first week and to be fair, they didn’t exactly have voices likely to mistaken for a choking cat. Last year, Nicolo Festa became the first solo male to get eliminated in the first live show, but that’s not too big a surprise as even in his audition his tremendous quiff was identified as the strongest part of his act.
If you’re in a band, the news isn’t great. One Direction and JLS showed that groups are capable of going far into the competition, but for those success stories there’s many more who are back working in Top Shop. We’re not saying don’t back a band to win the X Factor, just be careful which one you pick. That’s advice Louis should have taken last week.