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X Factor tips: Steph survives as one of Simon’s acts Fleur-ts with elimination

If you're going to be stuck in front of the TV watching X Factor this weekend, you might as well be trying to making some coin on it

by Josh Powell | October 17, 2014

The X Factor returned to our screens last week, and don’t pretend you didn’t tune into the two-and-a-half hour extravaganza because we all know you did. Or if you didn’t you probably got the re-run on ITV2.

Anyway, Blonde Electra and Overload Generation rightly got the boot for being utterly muck, with Stephanie Nala surviving Sunday’s sing-off. The fact that Steph received few enough votes to be in that position in the first place has led to Paddy Power pricing her up as the 15/8 favourite to go this week, however we have the stats to prove that she should survive.

The British are known for plenty of things. They are known for their love of Sunday dinners, their immaculate queuing etiquette and, apparently, their sympathy votes. This is emphasised in the X Factor votes, and we can tell from the last few series how acts benefit from the public’s sympathy. Any act that has survived the trauma of being in the bottom two and having to compete in the sing-off, will get a boost of public support the following week – no matter how bad they are. Last year every act that was in the bottom two and survived, pulled more votes the week after, and just twice in the last three years has an act been in the bottom two, two weeks on the trot.

Bitter-Sweet-Sympathy

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That is enough for us to swerve the short price 15/8 on Steph Nala to go this weekend, and have faith that she’ll pull enough sympathy votes to avoid trouble. So who is the value to get the boot instead?

Next in the betting is Stevi Ritchie at 7/2, but clearly the traders in Power Tower haven’t ever seen how X Factor works. The show needs a novelty act. The novelty acts are entertaining and they draw in viewers who will vote. When they survive at the expense of better vocalists it creates headlines, and draws in even more viewers. Simon Cowell summed it up perfectly last week, ‘You are going to be in this competition longer than most of Cheryl’s girls, because the public love you.’  Stevie is a model novelty act who is as unpredictable as Wagner, but as popular as Rylan. He’s likely to be around for a good while yet.

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Jake Quickenden (5/1) will get plenty of punters involved as the judges have repeatedly told him he can’t sing. From the room audition, to the arena, to boot camp, to judge’s houses and then last week’s live show; every week the judge’s reinforce the fact this Jake’s vocals are not good enough to win the competition. However, although there is every chance Jake’s in trouble this week – and if he’s in the bottom two the judges will likely get rid – he is arguably the ‘looker’ on the show. He draws a lot of similarities to Sam Callaghan last year in terms of not being able to sing, yet pulling in a decent percentage of the vote from girls. Callaghan made it all the way to week six, and we’d be surprised to see Jake go this early.

Only The Young (12/1), Jack Walton (12/1) and Jay James (14/1) are all grouped around the same mark in the betting but we feel the support is strong enough for all three acts to see them through this week without any hiccups. Lola Saunders (20/1) didn’t have a great start in week one but she’s likely to get a much kinder slot in the show this weekend and you can never underestimate the voting power of the Geordies (see McElderry, Joe, 2009). Lola was second on stage last week meaning her song clashed with Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC and a chunk of the voting public will have missed her performance. We’re banking on her getting a kinder slot this week and sailing through.

So that leaves us with two contenders. Chloe Jasmine at 8/1 and Fleur East at 25/1. Chloe is an interesting act as she polarises opinion, and a lot viewers struggle to associate with her overly posh persona. It is easy to see her struggle to pull in massive voting numbers. However, Chloe makes headlines. Admittedly, not always positive headlines, but headlines all the same. If Chloe is in the papers, then X Factor is in the papers and that’ll get the viewers in. Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges would be too coy to get rid of Chloe while she attracts so much press attention to the show.

Fleur on the other hand, does not have the same media pull, and the few headlines she generated last week were around her fitness regime – hardly the line that will draw in voters. She has excelled vocally at judge’s houses and last week with current chart songs (Jessie J’s Bang Bang, and Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass), however before that she was instantly forgettable. It is reasonable to assume 80’s week could throw up a few problems. If she was to get a bad slot early in the show on Saturday her voting numbers could plummet and it is hard to see the judges’ saving Fleur over Chloe, or potentially Jack Walton, Jay James or Only The Young. At 25/1 we’re willing to take a value punt on Fleur getting the axe this weekend.

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