The X-Factor twist has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. At first, it simply seemed like a cheap way to garner attention by eliminating people; why put them on for one show if the judges now have to decide that they aren’t good enough again? After two and a half hours though, I welcome the twist. I welcome the reduction from 16 contestants to 12.
For whatever reason as well, the elimination has got people talking about the show. At the end of the day, that’s exactly what Simon Cowell wants. He wants you to watch the show, go away and talk about it to your friends and family. I what has gotten people talking the most is the fact that the eliminations involve zero participation by the viewing public. While this might ostracise some of the viewers who fear for their favourite contestant, the fact that some fan favourites are at risk is why people are talking. For instance, Amelia Lily’s performance was perhaps the weakest of the girls last night. It was, to steal a word from Randy Jackson, pitchy and the attempt to add a bit more rock and roll to Billie Jean just came off like a bad throat infection. So will Amelia Lily get the boot or will Kelly Rowland give her another chance by getting rid of Sophie Habibis or Misha Bryan? This is what gets people talking.
So, I actually have to commend the twist because, surprisingly, it worked. It could possibly have been more effective though, because going into the show the twist had already been revealed to the newspapers. While I didn’t know about it, everyone I was watching the show with did know. That took the sting out of the announcement because it was no longer a big reveal, but instead an excited reminder that you, the public, have no part to play this weekend. In some ways, I suppose knowing the twist still builds hype for the show because people are wondering ‘How is my favourite act going to do?’ or ‘who would I like to see leave?’ but there are bound to be some people who found out the twist and just waited until tonight to see who’s gone. It’d have been more effective to keep the announcement of the eliminations until the actual show. The people who are watching for individual acts are going to watch anyway to support their favourite, but the curious viewers who just want answers would be drawn in by the lure of the announcement. Once you have them watching, then you start the show with a bang and keep their attention.
There’s no reason to think that keeping the twist a secret until the show would have actually detracted from people conversing about the X-Factor. In fact, revealing it possibly killed the conversation a little because no longer were people wondering if Cheryl Cole was going to make a comeback, or if Simon Cowell might appear in the flesh. Most theories I seen involved a fifth category, either headed by Cheryl or chosen by the public. 16 acts are bad enough; I do not want to sit through a three and a half hour show of 20 acts. At least in that case people were talking about it. Once you reveal the twist, people will generally say ‘oh, cool’ and move on. They might talk about who they want to be eliminated but once it has been revealed there is no more reason to watch other than the normal reasons, i.e. for enjoyment and an invested interest in the success and failure of these rag tag bunch of hopefuls.
As of writing, there are less than four hours between us and the results show, so I’m unaware of who is actually going to go. As I mentioned above, Amelia Lily had a rather poor performance last night, and certainly the weakest of her group. Kelly Rowland can usually be trusted to be rather blunt and honest with her acts, so she might send Amelia home, but I’d expect Sophie Habibis to go. In terms of public exposure and viewer interest, I think Amelia will be kept because of she seems to have more fans. Sophie will be sent home because she doesn’t connect well enough with the crowd. Janet Devlin isn’t going anywhere because she’s practically the poster girl for the series, and Misha Bryan actually had a good performance last night.
Louis Walsh is crazy, so although I’d put Kitty Brucknell out because I find it ludicrous that she’s gotten this far, it’s much more likely that either Sami Brooks or Jonjo Kerr will be ousted. My specific pick would be Jonjo Kerr, partly because he seemed to get the most criticism last night. The judges really just didn’t seem as favourable to him as they were to some other, less deserving, acts. I think Jonjo does have a lot more potential and Louis needs to give him a better song, but since Louis loves over the top theatrics he’ll probably give Jonjo the boot. It’d be a little harsh to tell Sami ‘no’ at boot camp, then bring her in as a reserve, only to let her go again at the first chance he got.
The groups are tricky. The Risk were probably the best overall with performance and vocals. 2 Shoes will probably stay because how heartless would Tulisa Costostavlos have to be to actually say ‘no’ to a pregnant woman? Not to mention, goodness knows what the Joker might do if she were rejected. That leaves Nu Vibe and Rhythmix. Super bass was a horrible song choice for the latter, but it was Nu Vibe that actually stirred up an argument between the judges. Neither group are particularly awe inspiring though. Rhythmix could go so Tulisa doesn’t seem hypocritical by praising Nu Vibe last night then letting them go tonight, or Nu Vibe could go because there’s already a four piece boy band that’s better in the competition. Gun to head, I’d go with Nu Vibe.
Concerning the boys’ category, I think it seems obvious that Gary Barlow is forging Craig Colton in to his main artillery in the X-Factor arms race. He’s losing weight and he’s been given the freedom to choose his own song. I think he’s got the confidence and the independence; now all the competition really wants from him is the look. I really can’t see Marcus Collins going anywhere either, which leaves Frankie Cocozza (Cocozza and Habibis can’t be very common names; are the judges specifically looking for someone who has a name that sounds unique when called a loud?) or James Michael. Frankie is in the same position as Amelia Lily in a way. He has the weakest vocal of the boys but he’s extremely popular, whereas James has a better voice but seems to be getting a meagre reaction from the audience in comparison. Furthermore, I think the song choice for James could have been better, so despite the sob story, we’ll probably be saying goodbye to James Michael.
Well, those are the acts I think will be gone when 9 O’ Clock rolls around tonight. It really does seem pointless to say to these people that they’re good enough to be in the competition and then toss them aside after one show. In part, it can come down to who put in the most effort and seemed to be doing the work backstage to make an impression on the judges and the audience. Hard work is something that is going to be required of them because if past performances are anything to go by, winning the X-Factor does not ensure an easy road to fame or success. It’s understandable then to skim off the impurities; those who will fail to make it once the competition is over because they might rest on their laurels. At this point, the only contestant that I can say for certain seems to be making that kind of effort is Craig Colton. Maybe then, they should eliminate 15 of the acts instead of only 4. It’d certainly make for a quick competition.