EVERYTHING DAY – GRAND LAUNCH
E V E R Y T H I N G
we’ve ever talked about. The site that brought you Red and Black, Star Crazy, Wishing on a Star Day, Night and Day, Delight The Demo, Colour Vomit ,the 75-1 Stunning Win and so much more, has reached the end of the line. But, as a mark of respect for your three years of ploughing through hundreds of thousands of words of hyperbole and drivel, putting up with some horrendous calls on Eurovision and Scottish Women, we’re going through everything, one last time.
I’ve described this blog as many things. One of my favourite’s is “a guy trying to be a bad Derren Brown”. One of the things Derren likes to do, is wow his audience, but make one small mistake or imperfection, just to make you furrow your brow.
There’s one tiny furrow brow twist coming at the end of all this.
This is going to be a long day. It’s the end of Betsfactor for the time being. So, One. Last. Time. I am going to explain EVERYTHING that made me feel Tamera was being lined up for the kill. I’ll explain what I was confident about and what I wasn’t. You’ll see one of the most incredible quadrunukings I’ve seen in ten years of X Factor, in full detail. This is the last time though.
Sunday started in the NEC in Birmingham. It ended with squealing in Crewe railway station car park.
We’re going to the Good Food show to get me “out of the house”.
Meet Rob. One of my closest friends; a hugely entertaining, genius entrepreneur. We’ve an hour to kill, so we’re at a Starbucks.
“What I don’t understand, is how you think you KNOW this stuff… Nicholas is going to be in the bottom two, he was all over the place.”
“I don’t know anything, but I think it’s very likely that Tamera is bottom two and probably going as well. I notice you didn’t accept my Rough Copy bet.”.
To stop an e mail chain getting out of hand last night, I’d offered him some cash per prediction. I was saying Luke and Tamera, he seemed confident it was Rough Copy and Nicholas. “Watch this next performance – I bet it’ll be amazing” – I wrote just after Tamera.
As is perfectly reasonable, he wasn’t familiar with the concept of “the pimp slot” and so after a choir, gold staging and standing ovations, so he withdrew his predictions.
Starbucks were out of eggnog lattes.
“I was explaining to Laura that you reckon the staging matters. I was telling her about Red and Black. Rough Copy were red and blacked… you know with the backpack and all that.”
“You see, I don’t think they were. It’s red AND black. I’ve never seen an act go home because they were wearing Red and Black clothes. I remember Little Mix once in Red and Black clothing. It looked like a red and whiting to me. Although not the most helpful staging in the world… I wasn’t convinced.”
We ordered two Americanos.
“Why – do you remember what they wore in, whenever it was?”
“You see, this is what amuses me – my friends send me these texts and e mails, almost to catch me out – but they can’t tell me what Little Mix wore in the semi final in 2011.”
Rob flashed a sort of sympathetic, “yeah, well some of us are doing more productive things!” grin.
“OK – I’ll go through it, step by step and see what you think… I have to be honest I’m a bit nervous, I’ve put a load of cash down on this one. I’m not nervous about losing the money – it’s all winnings anyway, but it’s more…”
“It’s more complicated than that. Who cares about that? Friends and a few people from Sofabet read it. It’s more about seeing whether all of this stuff is true. It all kind of came together last night. All the other sites are saying it’s all too confusing, or they wouldn’t touch it this week – most of the comments on the forums are saying Nicholas and Rough Copy… and even I’m not certain…” I emptied sweetener into the paper cup…. “you know, Tamera got the front of the Sun’s magazine this morning… I mean, that’s something, but – I just think she’s toast. You can never be sure… and no one else seems to have spotted it. I’ve gone out on a limb and I’m either going to look a muppet or I think I’ve cracked it. There’s no middle ground. But I have to call it as I see it – I have to believe in all these things I’ve written about for three years. They were all there last night… I have been caught out for weeks by not going big when I see the signs… and this time I have.”.
We grabbed a table.
“So…” I started, “Do you agree that the producers do certain things to influence the public vote?”
“Like Red and Black.”
“Well, I do – but I’m not convinced it works.”
“True – sometimes it doesn’t. James Arthur was Red and Blacked a couple of times. But there are these red flags, the more red flags the more concerned you should be…. let’s agree that there are three different er… zones… pools…”
I started gesticulating on the table in front of me, Rob grinned again as I started to make an imaginary circle on the table
“This pool is ‘Things they can influence 100%’
This pool is ‘Things they can sort of influence, but might go off the rails’ – Say 50%,
and this pool is sort of, well I guess it’s just the vote itself. I don’t believe they have ever meddled with that.”
I lowered my voice.
“So the 100% pool is stuff like staging and the backing vocals. They have complete control over that. Unless someone accidentally pulls a plug out, or stops the CD, they are in complete control of those sorts of things. Dancers as well.
The 50% pool is kind of the contestant’s performance. They can tell her to remember the lyrics, but on the night they can’t guarantee it will happen. The judges I reckon fall into this category. Maybe Louis more towards the 100% pool, but he can over egg puddings…”
I think people focus far far too much on the 50% pool, and not enough on the 100% pool. That’s the pool that they can control. So, you should be looking at that sort of stuff to get an idea of their thinking. Spend less time on the vocals and the judges comments and more time on the things that the producers directly control. But people don’t seem to do that.”
“I’m just not convinced that it all… happens, that it works… that you aren’t just…”
“OK. Well, let’s start with Tamera. But this is a bit complicated and you might think it’s all nonsense, but I don’t mind if you do sneer, because I might be wrong – we’ll see tonight – and even then it might just be luck. Just because she comes bottom, or she goes or whatever, doesn’t mean I’m right with all these theories… but you know how in court sometimes they talk about strands of a rope that build up, to present a compelling case… well we’ll go through the strands…”
I started making an imaginary rope in the air.
“Before we go any further, we have to agree that they might want Tamera to go.”
“Well, she forgot her lyrics a few times didn’t she… ”
“Six songs Rob. In the final she’ll need to remember six songs! She has failed again and again. I was saying this on the podcast, in my opinion, they can’t afford to have her in the final with those sorts of gaffes. It could be a TV disaster. She’s had her chance, time to get rid. She’s too young for this…. Look at all the people who succeed on that show.”
Rob sipped his coffee.
This was going to be a long hour – it would drag like a Roberta Flack song.
That was the theory – the question was, could I find signs that the theory was correct. Without desperately looking for them.
That brings me on to one thing I’ve always looked for. Malleability Matters…..
“Will the contestant do what they are told post the show?”
One of the reasons I thought Little Mix would win, was the way they memorised their dance routines! They just seemed on point, they seemed polished, I thought – Syco can work with these girls…
Look at the success of Olly Murs; is it built on having the greatest voice in Britian…? I’d say not. I’d say his success is based on hardwork – I’m always amazed at how many gigs he does, and hosting the Xtra Factor for a year or two, and churning out album after album, and doing every radio station interview you can imagine. Graft. Hard graft and an incredible attitude. Everyone likes Olly Murs, he’s the lad you can have a beer with and watch the football whilst leering at women. He’s the clean cut guy you can proudly take home to your mum, he’ll charm her and delight your dad with some essex banter. Is he the best singer the X Factor has ever had?
On the reverse side – How’s James Arthur’s career going? Syco were so annoyed, they red and blacked his single launch. They can do without any nonsense this year. Malleability Matters.
They’ve tried their best with Tamera, but think of The X Factor as like a ten week assessment centre. With the group exercises, the interviews and the presentations. I wonder if she’s been struggling in rehearsals as well. I have no idea and I don’t doubt her attitude and commitment, she just can’t quite do it yet. You get a few chances to handle the pressure, if you can’t – well, at least for now, it’s a rejection letter, a “thank you for your time, but on this occasion…” and a reassurance that your details are being kept on file.
I watched this after the result, but it’s a wonderful example. Let’s have a watch of Sunday’s filler group song…
Tamera needed to learn the following lyrics to sing a few times during the song.
When the light’s turning down, they don’t know what they heard
Strike the match, play it loud, giving love to the world
We’ll be raising our hands, shining up to the sky
‘Cause we got the fire, fire, fire
Yeah we got the fire, fire, fire
Watch this video. Carefully!
1pm – A quadruple nuking – The Kitchen Sink
3pm – Meeting your partner’s parents. The Judges.
7:30pm – 2010 – A reminder
10pm – The rope.