Author Archives: Richard

BETSFACTEUR – Guide to Eurovision 2015

=== Eurovision 2015 ====

Disclaimer: I am sometimes wrong on Eurovision. I suffer from not being in the press centre, where you can see the TV angles and staging and crucially the jury rehearsal, where Juries score. So take my thoughts and so on with a huge pinch of salt. Last year my heart sank when Molly for the UK failed to connect with the camera. I’d said we’d come runners up – but I hadn’t seen the TV performance…. So I’m writing this with a hand tied behind my back!

This guide is to help you get the maximum enjoyment out of the planet’s greatest and most respected live music event. I’ll tell you what to look out for in each performance and my ill judged prediction for where the song will end up.

The winner will be either SWEDEN or RUSSIA.

Where’s your money on Ric?
As you’ll see from the Betsfactor twitter feed, I’ve said Sweden/Russia all week, but I had a huge potential win on Russia at 14-1. As it’s come in, I’ve switched some to Sweden and reckon in my heart of hearts Sweden will win. But I don’t think they want him to!

Sweden will have to host it again at great expense. I think they have done various things to try and deramp him a bit. So, I am not *certain* he’ll do it, and certainly wouldn’t touch him at these prices. The EBU could do with us going to the East for a change as well.

Why do you think he’ll win?
How long have you got. Great song, sensational staging, slight Country and Western twang to it, cute guy. The lot.

And Russia?
Beautiful singer, Disney dress, great song, wonderful staging.

Anyone else?
I have a cover bet on Italy. It needs to be respected.

It’s going to be a long night. Any thoughts?
The first half is great fun – so watch that. The second half is full of ballads and if you’re really bored you could always come back for Russia and Italy later. There are LOADS of ballads this year.

What about the voting?
The voting running order is determined by an algorhythm based on the jury score last night, “to make it as exciting as possible”. So we can look at this and try and get a clue. There are a LOT of Western countries voting towards the end, which suggests to me Sweden or Italy have done it. Iceland and Norway are at the end. Sweden give their votes 20th. Russia 35th ish. If Russia were winning, surely you’d put them earlier in the running order?

Let’s get on with the party. We’ve the usual 20 minutes of nonsense before the show properly begins.

SLOVENIA – Headphone wearing Adele wannabee.
Look out for: Why bother with instruments when you can just pretend?
23:30: Midtable. Shame. The headphones were a big mistake.

FRANCE – The French always insist on singing in French and the songs are generally dire. She can sing.
Look out for: “We can’t have fifty drummers on stage? OK -We’ll sort it.”
23:30: It’s a no from Europe.

ISRAEL – So we’re half an hour in and you’re not feeling it yet? It all starts here. Loads of pyro. Loads of bad dancing.
Lookout for: The moment he sings “do you like my dancing”, whilst grinding in way that would give a clear answer from any lady.
23:30 – Higher than you might think.

ESTONIA – This is a terrific song. Performed superbly.
Lookout for: The crocodile tears she seems to turn on, on demand.
23:30: Market places this fifth. Worry it’s been nuked placed so early in the show. Top 6.

UNITED KINGDOM – How this travesty of a song has been allowed to represent the nation that I love, is beyond me. To make it worse they’ve thrown the kitchen sink of gimmicks from the 90’s, at this dire mess of a three minutes. The guy who wrote this, wrote the original theme to the National Lottery and Jim ‘ll Fix it. Enough said.
Lookout for: As well as the dress, a new range of kids’ road safety wear, being showcased by the guys.
23:30: Bottom three. And rightly so.

AREMINA – Genocide is a topic that’s always great for Saturday Night Light Entertainment.
Lookout for: The final minute. Just a complete mess.
23:30: Third quarter of the table.

LITHUANIA – This is fun. The staging is getting dangerously close to colour vomit Betsfactor fans.
Lookout for: The backing dancers are going to kiss. But watch them very closely before…. OMG! This is going out in Russia and Azerbaijan!
23:30: Irrelevant

SERBIA – Larger Lady sings about being beautiful in a song written by the guy who wrote last years winner.
Lookout for: Oh there’s plenty to enjoy here…. She’s 28 FYI.
23:30: Not as bad as you might think. Despite questionable vocals.

— We’re into the winner zone now. The next few songs are all potential Top 5ers —-

NORWAY – A young Jamie Theakston and a young Rebecca Brookes sing about Monsters. This is a song that I think has been WAY overrated.
23:30: Bookies had this down as Top 5 a week or two ago. Overrated in my mind. Struggling for Top 10.

SWEDEN – =WINNER=. Derren Brown plays with his imaginary friends. This is great. Enjoy it.
Lookout for: All sorts of clever effects, the puddle…his chest turning red….
23:30 – Winner or close second. Be very careful – I don’t think the Swedes or EBU *want* Sweden to win. Russia or Italy are still in with a shout. If I had to call it – I’d say this wins. But I have cash on Russia too….

CYPRUS – Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting mixed with Vanessa Williams – Save the best for last mixed with a dash of Savage Garden. It’s the sort of dated love song played on dated commercial radio stations after 10pm. Poor song, staged nicely.
Lookout for: I think we’ve seen enough gimmicks for the moment. But what a nice lad.
23:30 – Difficult. Mid Table? The Swede Oz Sandwich doesn’t help.

AUSTRALIA – They love Eurovision down under (although it’s on live at 5am). Fans Campaigned and so for the 60th year… why not!? Great song. Great singer. Dreadful costumes don’t help and he maybe overdoes the riffs. I’ve not seen the TV version remember.
Lookout for: Lots of lamp posts and a singer in clashing leopard print and pink, dressed as if she hangs around those lamp posts.
23:30: Just outside the medals.

BELGUIM – Something vaguely credible now. Contemporary Dancers who look like they have come fresh from performing at the launch event for the new Ford Mondeo. Listen for occasional random screeches and he’ll have a rest during the song too.
Look out for: Watch the tall dancer who looks like he’s concentrating really hard but messing it up.
23:30 – Surprisingly high. Brilliantly staged.

— end of the winner zone —-

AUSTRIA – B List 1998 Coldplay meets a health and safety nightmare. But he keeps going like a pro.
Lookout for: What the hell is that hairstyle guitarman. And that adult entertainment 70’s moustache.
23:30 – Right hand side of the screen. Fire kills.

Tea Break. Feel free to take a tea break here, you won’t miss anything for the next four songs.

GREECE – Close your eyes and it’s Celine Dion. Open them and it’s Holly Valance.
23:30 – Not disgraced. Not happy either.

MONTENEGRO– This guy is big in Montenegro. He wants to dance, so let’s give him the sort of dance moves you give the large politician on Strictly.
Look out for: The Visit Scotland Advert music starting us off.
23:30 – Low.

GERMANY – Ann was born in London. Is only here because the winner of Germany’s national final couldn’t be bothered to come. So she’s runner up is here… This is track 9 of an album you bought in 1989 because you liked track 1, 4 and 5.
Look out for: Those trousers look a bit tight.
23:30 – Battling with the UK and France for 27th.

POLAND – Last year Poland came top in the UK phone vote, due to massive bosomed milkmaids constantly bending over in stunning HD. This year it won’t be 12pts from anyone.
23:30 – Not good enough.

LATVIA – This is one of those jury/punter splits. Juries will lap this up, but the punters fell asleep during Germany. This is cool. Quirky. Original.
Look out for: Is that a tattoo?
23:30 – No idea! Flirting with the Top 10 thanks to juries.

ROMANIA – The hilarious Popbitch said “If you ever wanted to know what Fathers 4 Justice would look like if they formed a band – this is it”. It actually has a serious message. Not quite sure what it is.
Lookout for: His Gems TV broach.
23:30 Respectable. They have friends.

SPAIN – She’s dating Manchester United’s goalkeeper FYI.
Lookout for: What’s she doing with those hands… she’s getting a bit close to her… Oh she’s stopped…. Is this dress coming off…? No… Is it…? No… is it?
23:30 – Top of the bottom third.

HUNGARY – You know that woman at work. The nice but really really bland one, who you always wonder if she has a secret life and is outrageous at the weekend, here she is with her friends from the Christian Union to sing about how war is bad.
Lookout for: The strange punctuation. Lyrics that just stop half way through a sentence.
23:30 – She was nervous in the semi. Nerves and raw vocals don’t work. 18-28th.

GEORGIA – This is what your teenage daughter will wear when she goes through her alternative phase. Not convinced that aggressive plus weird eyes on the big screen, wins.
Lookout for: Leaky eyes. Ewww. Needs to see a doctor.
23:30 – Juries will look after this. The punters won’t though. 13-16th.

AZERBAIJAN – Good song, but this doesn’t work live. Russia next everybody.
Lookout for : Dafydd from Little Britain meets Rhydian Roberts performing his A Level Contemporary Dance project.
23:30 – Something beginning with a 1.

RUSSIA – = TOP THREE = Maybe winner. Disney princess sings about peace, love and tolerance. This is the Russian entry, so you’d expect that. Wonderful staging – very “Frozen”.
Lookout for: The ultimate wedding dress and her tonsils.
23:30 – Medals. Not convinced the voting order points to a victory, but let’s see.

ALBANIA – This is very exciting. Sometimes she’s pretty good, and sometimes she’s staggeringly painful to listen to. If she’s true to form, your opinion on her vocal should change ten to fifteen times during this song. “Actually she’s quite goo.. no she’s not”.This is the sh*t in the sandwich between the Russian / Italian gourmet bread.
Lookout for – The very very dodgy vocals.
23:30 – A number with a 2 at the start.

ITALY – Italian boy next doors end the show with a rousing piece of Il Divo style stuff.
23:30 – I don’t think this sort of operatic stuff wins Eurovision. However 26m Youtube views and the last slot has to be respected. 4th-6th?


This is likely a SWEDEN win.
Russia Top 3.
Respect Italy massively. Don’t bet against them on anything.
Norway seems over rated.

I’m not convinced there is much value out there at the moment! But maybe when the voting begins, you can get a decent price.

I’ll post any other betting thoughts @betsfactor once I’ve seen the songs. The guys in the press centre have a huge advantage, so I’ve not seen the TV performance (or the jury ones for that matter!)

Hope you enjoy the planet’s greatest live cultural event – @betsfactor for the latest thoughts.


Well, I couldn’t resist. If you’re new to the world’s greatest TV betting blog, please do start at the “Welcome section”.

As ever, I’d urge you to read the superb Sofabet for analysis. Always hugely amused when I see phrases like “colour vomit” being used in everyday language.

I felt this year had a real 2011 feel and thus far I’ve been proved right…! Favourites being smashed to pieces, in the most sensational multiweek supernuke. Fancy a bite to eat? Under the radar winners gently and slowly building to victory.

The only difference was, they decided earlier. I suspect on Sunday 12th October.

I’m thrilled to be listening to the Big Top 40 with Uptown Funk jumping in at #4, pumping out across hundreds of radio stations right now. It’s not a dead cert yet though!

The answer was in this ludicrous performance…..

I’ve had a wonderful year, assuming no crazy shocks; hope you did too. All the Betsfactor classics were there; although some failed to ignite – they’re signs, clues – it’s never in the bag.

Franchise. Ratings. Record Sales. In that order. The franchise matters more than anything.

All the stars are coming out tonight. They’re lighting up the sky tonight. For You. For You.

StarCrazy 2014


Same show. Different Year.

Franchise. Every time.


It’s the Finale of “Everything Day” on the world’s greatest multimedia brand. If you’re new here this will be the penultimate post for a long time – maybe forever. Start from here and work your way through the day!

The podcast will continue for a couple more episodes, so don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss it – and we’d love your calls, 0161 81 82 800! You can also make sure you don’t miss anything in the future by sticking your e mail address on the side. You can follow me @straffon on Twitter.

Could you do me a favour… just click play on this video for me, turn the speakers up and carry on reading.

THIS IS IT. We’re on the edge. It’s now or never. You are either a believer and part of the Betsfactor movement forever. Or you and I can part, as friends who agree to disagree. The rope I started to form in the air, at a Starbucks at the NEC is forming. The strands are uniting….

Now, in the next three minutes, you decide. Once and for all. As we stand on the brink of your historic decision. Betsfactor is wrapped back up.

Now, is your moment. The moment you have to decide.

Red and Black. The Red and Black Clouds looming.

Colour Vomit. Spewing Everywhere

Fire. Burning a young girl’s dreams.

That hopes and cars were crushed, that Malleability Matters, that the judges watched every word….

‘The most incredible QUADRUNUKING in Betsfactor History.

This is EVERYTHING Day on the world’s greatest multimedia brand.

One. Theory. Remains.

We just need the sun. We just need the stars….

Suddenly, on cue, blinding so many, dozens of sun’s started illuminating the stage. Everywhere you looked were stars, suns, horizons, sunspots, rays of light bouncing off golden planets. All the stars were coming out tonight. For you.

This was it. The moment EVERYTHING came together. I called it an emotional moment on Saturday.

Let’s start with Nicholas. When Little Mix won in 2011, I was horrified at what I thought was a “Red and Blacking” in the final. Actually, it turned out that it was night and day. They’d put Marcus to sleep and signified the start of a New Dawn for four little muffins.

What’s this….? This looks remarkably similar to the winning backdrop of 2011.

What an amazing coincidence.

Surely they wouldn’t give him a second “sun like” back drop?

OH. MY…..

And surely we aren’t going to see similar subliminals for Luke. Would you believe it then? Watch all of this one!

Now I’d say that this one is a bit more subtle – and maybe softer – it’s not as in your face, but it’s definitely there.

This is getting silly.

And what’s the overriding image from Rough Copy’s ludicrous finale performance (another example of a kitchen sinking by the way!). What’s that behind them… that’s not a star is it. Surely not. These coincidences are getting out of hand.

Nicholas got two, Luke and Rough Copy got one.

AND Tamera’s been quadrunuked.

What an astonishing coincidence.

Personally, I still felt Luke was most likely to join Tamera down in the bottom two – but I wasn’t sure at all. Rough copy had the pimp slot, gold and the choir in white. (although I wasn’t happy with the red and white staging for their first performance). Nicholas was covered in subliminal suns, and he’s got the Scottish vote and both of them delighted the demo. Rough Copy singing 90’s song for the James Arthur crowd, Nicholas sticking to middle of the road pop.

Did Mumford and Sons and Skinny Love really delight 19 year old girls…? Not so sure myself.

I’ll explain on the podcast this week what I think they are upto with Nicholas; let’s not beat around the bush, there were some bum notes in there! We must talk about Louis as well… what was do we make of that performance on Sunday!?

If you haven’t time to look at the performances, have a look at, here they have one of their excellent staging posts. You can see the photos straight away of the performances.


“Well…. let’s see what happens”, said Rob in one of those… “probably time we wrapped this up” voices.  We jumped up from the table, Samsung phones in hand and got in the queue… I watched that Nicholas video again amused by the Marcus Collins and the subliminal sun moment….

“So how much money have you put on this…” he asked.

I was coy. “Well, more than I would normally place… I stand to win my second biggest amount ever, let’s put it that way. I have to bet on what I see… But remember – I’m not sure. I’m very sure this is the plan – but I’m not absolutely certain if it’s to try and get her in the final… surely you don’t do this… no… I guess I’m just influenced by what else I read. I’m also not certain about what happens if it goes to Deadlock – have they done enough? Is deadlock controlled by the producers, or do the judges genuinely have a bit of free will? I have never known. Have they done enough to get her bottom of the vote? Luke’s performances were good, but he could just get lost in the whole thing. Most importantly, will the public play ball….? I’d be amazed if she wasn’t bottom two… I placed 6 pts on it. And at 3.0 to go, well let’s just say there’s no way there’s only a 33% chance she’s going home! No way at all.”

“What does points mean?”.

I explained this points system that some tipsters use, that I’d adopted, badly and without any knowledge, for the site.

“Anyway, I’m either going to look a moron or I’m going to have what I think to be true, confirmed even more! I do hope all this writing isn’t going to be undermined!”

We reached the beginning of the queue.

“It was Everything Rob. Everything.”

We scanned our tickets and started ploughing through samples of wine, beer, cheese and chocolate.


Crewe Railway Station Car Park

My heart’s racing. I’m sure would have something to say about this. I’m hunched in my car, laptop out, trying to keep a connection on my iPad (sorry Samsung) and watch the results come in. I’ve sprinted off the train, up the stairs, paid parking, done the 100 yard jog, my fat little face is puffed out.

Dermot is streaming on my tablet. The names are announced as safe. BOOM! Rough Copy are safe. This is going very well… I’m begging him to say Nicholas.. Nicholas… say Nicholas… He says Sam….

“OK – If this is Tamera, this is a disaster.”. I don’t know who I’m talking to. I start to rub my hands frantically.

“Nicholas…” “Yeeeesssss.” Great. Bottom Two.

Luke vs Tamera is actually the one result that I don’t feel certain about. Against anyone else, I am confident she’s off… But against Luke, I fear deadlock. The usual “shall I hedge” thoughts come into my mind, as the ads roll.

Does Roberta Flack “Delight the Demo“?

Did we see Red and Black?

Did we see Colour Vomit?

Did we see any Kye Fawkesing?

Did we see all the stars come out?

Did we see any Day and Night?



No hedge.

My face felt hot, my heart was racing…. as they slowly decided. Nicole and Louis did what they had to do… Sharon named Tamera as going home…


To my utter horror, he did.

“Why’s he taken it to deadlock? Does he know… is he going rogue again… what the hell?” I was horrified.

Why hadn’t he done what I thought they wanted doing?

A silver envelope, with my final exam results, was slowly opened.



I’m wrapping up Betsfactor today, with a finale called “Everything Day”. There’ll be a couple more podcasts though, but don’t expect me to do too many more of these special days. I think I have said enough now. You either buy it or you don’t! If you’re brand new to the world’s greatest multimedia brand, then have a read of this, this, this, and this  first! Or just scroll down to the bottom!

I supped some, now lukewarm, coffee.

“So, do you agree that they were trying to dampen Tamera’s vote”.

Rob paused.

“The colour vomit, the red and black clouds, the car cr….”

“Yeah OK”.

“Well guess what my love, there’s more. Eeeeven more”, I proclaimed with a delighted grin.

” Now remember I don’t know whether any of this really works, but I do reckon the producers think it does. Otherwise, why aren’t these events random? Whatever you think, I reckon it’s a good suggestion for their intentions and what they want to happen.”

“OK – so they try and pull down Tamera…”

“AND – in a double sensation, they tried to pull UP all the male contestants. I think they think Sam’s safe, so they needed to pull the others clear of the bottom.”.

“So what, gold lighting and stuff…?”

“Well, I have this thing called Star Crazy… Let me take you back to 2010…”

Rob laughed.

“We need wifi… Does the NEC have wifi? I need to show you something.”

We huddled around our Samsung Galaxy S4s and used the superb quality 4.99 inch screen to watch a couple of Youtube videos.


The Semi Final of 2010 was when they got most desperate. Mary Byrne AND Cher Lloyd in the final? Simon’s dreams of making One Direction the first billion dollar boyband sunk by a load of housewives in Doncaster, voting for a dinnerlady?

No way, it’s time to let the sun shine….

Cue Labrinth,

What’s that behind Rebecca?

What’s that shining behind One Direction?

And, can we spot something here – a slightly less obvious sun?

Noooooo….. Go back and actually click on the video. Don’t be lazy. I’m NOT talking about the background!

What’s strange is I can’t see any stars beaming down in Mary’s performance?

And…. just for good measure who did they decide to Kye Fawkes? Who was sent up in flames?

When we got to the final five, the three contestants given the universe’s biggest star made the final. The two who didn’t hit the bottom two.

What an absolutely astonishing coincidence.

Is there anyone else who got lots of sunshine at a critical moment?

There are probably plenty of other examples.

Sunshine, Stars and “New Dawns” are frequently used towards the end of the competition to give a few… positive rays to a contestant.

I think you know what’s next don’t you!



It’s EVERYTHING Day here at Betsfactor. Before we vanish once again, we’re just going through everything, one last time. If you’re new to the party, a warm welcome – have a look at the “Welcome” section and have a good old read. You need to start at the bottom and work your way up though – read the last three main articles first! 

We’re all strange in our own way… One of the things a handful of handpicked, delighted women who have been in a relationship with me soon realise, is how much I dislike that first meeting with their friends or their parents…

We’ve all been there. Male or Female. You are going to meet them. You don’t want to meet them. You want to watch TV on your Youview box, and then enjoy a Skype chat with your mum on a Samsung tablet. The friends, or the parents, are meeting you in order to judge you and form a soundbyte summing up that judgement, that they can then wheel out to anyone who will listen over the coming months. Two hours that could affect the relationship forever. Annoy the parents and it won’t be forgotten. You’ll have to have another ten perfect dinners before it’s wiped out. Make an inappropriate gag about her friend’s Kirsty’s breasts, or fail to be charismatic and charming, have a bad day and the friend will blacklist you for a year. The person you’re dating won’t be very impressed either. When people gossip, they won’t necessarily say you’re a moron, but it’ll be implied. When she asks “so what do you think” to Kirsty whilst you’re in the toilet, she will mute her praise like a judge does to Abi Alton. Once people form and express an opinion, they don’t like to change it.

That’s why I find these events very very stressful. If you’ve heard the Betsfactor podcast by now, you’ve probably realised that I say what I think and can be a bit of a “danger” at social events, if I don’t watch myself.

Every word matters. Needs to be thought through. That joke might be funny in front of people who really know you, but that exceedingly dry remark or “ironic” statement might not be as funny as you think it is at Uncle David’s BBQ in front of a 10 year old child and her gran.

There was something about the way the judges seemed to be holding themselves when critiquing Tamera that reminded me of Uncle David’s BBQ and Kirsty’s breasts.*

Every word in both critiques seems calculated. You could see the look of intense focus and concentration on Gazza’s face. Even Sharon seems 90% on message.

Gary managed to find a way of saying “you’re not ready for this competition yet”, in the most wonderfully positive way.

“Fast forward five years…”.

“you’ve had a fantastic night” (one night), Louis was delighted that she’d remembered the words. Nicole rambled on about Everything. Louis called the second performance a “Leona Lewis moment“. Wow – a Leona Lewis moment! The greatest X factor contestant in history… but, not much to suggest they really looked forward to seeing her next week…

It was all so positive, and looked so wonderfully calculated. The judges were at Uncle David’s BBQ and watching every single word. Not a hint of negativity; this sausage might be burnt, but every bite is hot and tasty, and it’s got that authentic smokey taste. You made this BBQ your own Uncle David. Notice how the audience wasn’t whooping much… and nor was there real emotion from the judges. Their reactions were very very calculated, exactly like my critique of her mum’s roast dinner. Nothing that could be interpreted as criticism.


Well, I’m not sure exactly how much influence the producers have on the judges. Let’s pretend it’s “not at all”, in which case I would hope that they have learnt their lesson – I think they realised with Abi, and maybe Tamera last week, that if they go completely over the top, the vulnerable girl looks wounded and people pick up the phone. It was as if they were all aware that they must not motivate anyone to dial. This is a great point our friends at Sofabet have made many times and I’d like them to get the credit for this one!

The whole point of this second performance was that it appeared a big success, but it didn’t motive people to vote for it.

Why didn’t it motive people to vote…. Well, let’s look at our old friend “Delight the Demo“. On one of the first Betsfactor Podcasts, I defined Tamera’s demo as “anyone who annoys you in a McDonalds”. The Rhianna song was a quadrunuking  Car Crash we agree, so will any of the audience be motivated to vote for Tamera’s interpretation of a Roberta Flack song? This demo has the shortest attention span of all the demos still in play, and frankly, I’m not sure they will have lasted a full lyric. Elongated notes, the whole thing just dragged and dragged. The song, whilst sung well, was dreary, didn’t do anything and just sounded a lot longer than two and a half minutes. The giant crucifix ring is not the most tasteful way to express your love of Jesus Christ, just for the record stylists.

I didn’t think the backdrop was helpful either. Were those flowers all blossoming? Or were some of the flowers closing during the chorus. I’m no botanist, but I often see similar white flowers at funerals. Either way, in my view it was distracting, messy and unhelpful right the way through the song.

Let’s go back to our friends the producers… Do we think by now they have any idea what staging is correct for something they want to make out to be good or having a Leona moment…? I might have noticed a pattern over the last ten years for blue and white, or gold lighting. Strange. This “Leona moment”, which they will have seen a few times in rehearsals, was not lit or staged like a Leona moment? What a strange coincidence. They must have just dropped the ball on that one. An innocent mistake. Like the car crash subliminal, the week after car crash TV.


Rob toyed with his lid.

“OK… so why aren’t you putting your house on this?”

“Well, this is where the element of risk comes in. Are we sure that the public will play ball and am I certain that the plan is to get rid of her?”

“Well, she was one of the favourites wasn’t she?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t see it personally, but the market loved her. She reminded them of a young Leona Lewis. She was continually pushed over the last few weeks, but I think it all changed when she forgot her lyrics again, just when they had set it up for a “wow” moment last week. I think they have decided that they can’t have that happen again – they’d given her so many chances. That’s just what I think – I don’t know that, and that’s where the element of risk comes in, there’s a small chance that this massive nuking is to sympathy bounce her into the final… Make people aware she’s not safe and then that could push her into the final.”

I then went through my “six songs” theory, that you can enjoy on last week’s Betsfactor Podcast.

Rob looked at his phone.

“Are you bored yet?”

“No no – it’s interesting – but how do you know it’s going to happen?”

“Well, this is where the risk comes in. How confident are you that these techniques will make the public do what you think they want. I would say I am 99% sure that the producers want her in the bottom two, I’m 80% sure they want rid of her, but I can’t say whether the public will do what they are told. I always read forums, and comments on sites like Sofabet, people are saying different things and you start to question what you’ve seen. Then you read polls… like Digital Spy. Who sang best… They have Nicholas bottom at about 6%, Luke at about 7%, Tamera at about 16%.”

“Yeah, but it’s not a representative audience”, Rob interrupted.

“True, how many OAP’s read Digital Spy, but you look at these votes and they knock your confidence. People are saying she gave them goosebumps… I can’t ever be sure – that’s why if you read Betsfactor today you’ll see my tip is full of warnings. I am pretty certain this is what they WANT, it’s just whether the public will do what they are guided to do, and that is why my nonexistent house isn’t on it. In fact I’d only ever put a house on the X Factor if I had at least a hundred houses and I’d carefully read the details on responsible gaming at

“What’s that site – I’d like to make sure that I am playing within my means and never staking more than I can comfortably afford to lose, and well aware of risk and the dangers of gaming.” Rob enquired with interest.

“” I replied.

“So it is very risky.”

“Well, let’s not get into risk right now – but accept that I was very sure that the producers wanted her in the bottom two, but you can never be sure that the public would follow suit. Generally they do, in fact they often do – otherwise the producers wouldn’t use these methods. But you’re never sure.”

“Well, that’s interesting – shall we go and queue?”.

“Er… that’s not all. Does this place have wifi?”

Richard Betsfactor was about to do what he always does on the world’s greatest multimedia brand. Blow his audience (of one) out of the americano with irrefutable, but ultimately completely ignored by everyone, evidence that Tamera going was the plan.

Rob didn’t know it, but his life was about to be changed for ever.

8pm – Memories of 2010

10pm – The Rope

* Neither of these incidents ever really happened – just for reference mum.


It’s EVERYTHING DAY on Betsfactor, the world’s greatest multimedia brand – after our stunning triple tip weekend resulted in a clean sweep of wins, I’m explaining, one last time, why I felt Tamera was the one they were after.  If you’re brand new to Betsfactor, a warm welcome – so much to learn, and why not listen to all 11 episodes of our sensational podcast. Always start from the beginning on these lengthy megadays, so kick off with this and this first…

When Betsfactor Studies makes the national curriculum, one of the main modules will be “The Great Quadrunuking of 30th Nov”. 

When I tipped Tamera for the bottom two and to go, I said it was the second best kitchen sinking in Betsfactor history. Delvout will always be the best, but this one really does challenge for that crown.

Four staggering nuking tactics, all combined in one.

Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned any of these things before?


When fire is on the stage it’s rarely positive for contestants.

I was delighted to see them on stage in the final with Marcus.

Kitty smashed down to bottom of the vote with this one.

Hannah fell from the sky into the bottom two.

Cher Lloyd was eliminated when they used it.

Maybe the producers aren’t aware of the power of fire and they just select contestants to get it at random. I’ve never seen fire used with Nicholas, or Sam Bailey, or Rough Copy.  Matt Cardle or Little Mix.

What an astonishing coincidence.

When you see fire. It’s a giant red flag.

Fire’s only been used a couple of times this series.

What an astonishing coincidence that out of a total of 73 live performances thus far, where they could have used this exciting and dramatic effect, they chose Tamera’s.

Giant bins of fire flaming away. Like you’d get at your local riot.

Now imagine if this was combined with another stunt I believe the producers like to pull, say a Red or Blacking or a Colour Vomiting… Surely then we’d say they were after her? Because the odds of it being chance alone start to fall through the floor….


Anyone remember this one from way back when? I argued that smearing a contestant in colour vomit is not a good thing… Not a good thing at all…

Tamera appears in a jacket stained in the most grotesque colour vomit.

but not just her, let’s enjoy those colour vomited dancers as well… seen that anywhere before?!

And just to treat fans of Betsfactor. It was as if the producers were saying to us… “Yeah… you’re right… we are doing that…!”

Just a little hint of Red and Black in there as well. Why not.

I mean, surely… if you had colour vomiting… and fire AND red and black. Nah, let’s ignore everything Betsfactor ever rambled on about because she sung that second song quite well. She’s absolutely fine.

The producers decided to allow us the rare treat of a sensational triple Betsfactor nuking.

But wait! What’s this… She’s standing next to a scrapyard. Where knackered, clapped out products are stacked up and smeared in colour vomit for good measure. What’s the number one reason smashed up cars end up in a scrap metal yard? It’s because they were involved in a car crash. Of all the possible backdrops that the producers could have picked, how funny that they went for this one… They could have picked pictures of giraffes, they could have picked a brick wall coloured in yellow and white, they could have picked a picture of the Holiday Inn in Reading, they could have picked a bowl of sweet and salted Tesco popcorn, they could have picked the national flag of Uganda, but for some astonishing reason, they decided on smashed up cars…

The producers must have just missed the car crash subliminal. These crazy coincidences keep happening though. Red and Black clouds. A colour vomited car crash with fire all over the staging and Tamera AND the dancers smeared in colour vomit. What I found amazing was that loads of the crackpot Betsfactor theories were on display in one song. What are the chances of that!?

The sirens started wailing at Betsfactor Global Headquarters. The noise was unbearable. Red and Black Lights started flashing. Neon lights in greens, and pinks and browns. Flames started shooting out of the ground. Management at the Betsfactor Podcast Call Centre immediately jumped up and started hoisting four giant red flags up.


K I T C H E N  S I N K!

But, she sang the second song quite well, so let’s ignore it.

3pm – Why I dislike Uncle David’s BBQ

7:30 – 2010

10pm – The rope.


The planet’s greatest TV betting blog is about to close it’s doors, after not just one, not just two but THREE STUNNING tips came off in a  sensational crescendo of


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…”

“Being right…?”

“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!

Malleability Matters.

1pm – A quadruple nuking – The Kitchen Sink
3pm – Meeting your partner’s parents. The Judges.
7:30pm – 2010 – A reminder
10pm – The rope.


EVERYTHING DAY – Here at 12 Noon.

Wrapping it Up.

Betsfactor, the world’s greatest multimedia brand, was originally set up to entertain a handful of friends who were constantly asking me what I reckoned was happening in the X Factor. I spent ages explaining things and eventually decided to write articles, almost to save me saying the same things over and over!

“ – go and read that!” would be my answer.

I made sure I adopted a brash, tabloid, noisy, opinionated, self congratulatory tone, because that’s what made me laugh. The, literally, half a dozen friends who first read these articles, would expect nothing less. I also decided to log the progress of the site with each tip, something I hadn’t seen other TV betting sites do.

The worst thing that can happen, happened. I won big, the first time. I went against the grain and continually suggested that a girl group would first do well, and then win the show. This, then formed the ludicrious strapline “Home of the 8290‰ win”. A painfully mathematically shaky statement – but who cared. It was just for friends. It was just for fun.

Over time, more people who had an interest in TV betting discovered the site and we became great friends with the lovely and smart team behind Sofabet. They kindly provided plenty of plugs and hat tips and the like. I welcomed the extra traffic because it allowed me to experiment with statistics, to see what got more views, how much content people liked etc etc. It helped that that year I called it correctly! Luck or skill? You decide.

Growing pains developed. A few abusive e mails, angry people who didn’t like the site, didn’t like my sense of humour / tone etc etc. People who felt there was too much content. People who felt there wasn’t enough. People who felt it was ludicrous that I read so much into staging. Blah blah blah. All of this was useful though, because I was able to learn, in a tiny corner of the internet about blogging – the good and the bad.

I’ve always struggled to see the point of running a very niche, low traffic blog. I’ve never directly made a penny from it and never tried. This year I was similarly disinterested in the show, watching the first episode, and leaving eight hours of the stuff stacked up on series link to watch in early October. If I’d have seen Nicholas, I’d have toned down the Jade Richards tip a lot sooner! One or two friends were very persuasive about the idea of a podcast, and again wanting to learn about podcasting and with a ready made, small, kind and enthusiastic audience, it made sense to experiment.

Daniel from was up for a bit of fun. He has been just brilliant on the podcast, genuinely far better than the guy with the radio background, hugely knowledgeable and entertaining in equal measure. I thought “I’ll start one up and stick to the brand”. Keep it brash, noisy, self congratulatory, opinionated and tabloid. The experimentation is why, one week, I didn’t provide a direct download link, why we plead for 5 star ratings, why one week we did three episodes, why I wasn’t too worried that one episode stretched to 62 minutes etc etc. The only thing I get from the time put into the podcast, is the opportunity to learn.

Coming to the end of the series, I don’t feel I have much more to say. There’s still the Betsfactor secret – I was hoping for a perfect storm this week to arrive (It didn’t), so in order to reveal it, but we’ll have to save that for another year. I’ve got one or two other theories that need more confirmation. So, I won’t rule out popping back in future years, but if I do it’ll be for brief appearances, rather than podcasts and weekly blog posts.

It’s time to move on to other ideas I have, other blogs, podcasts, businesses etc. I’ve said most of what I want to say and really enjoyed the last three years, and thanks so much for all the feedback. I don’t think many really believe the stuff I write or the theories I’ve rambled on about, but who cares!

So, before I go, I’ll promise you two, maybe three, more podcasts – so keep those fantastic calls coming, 0161 81 82 800 and to thank you for reading, I’ll promise you one thing.

One. Last. Time, I’ll go through EVERYTHING.

You can make your own mind up – crackpot conspiracy theorist, p*ss poor Derren Brown, gobby chancer who got lucky or someone who might have a point.


You decide. One final time.

In excruciating detail. With added hype and hyperbole. (The hype starts from midnight tonight)

This weekend I was far from certain that Tamera would go, but for the first time, we stacked 8 points on an event. Quadruple what we would normally place. You’re never, ever, certain in this game, but I squealed when it all came together!


So what of the few friends who the blog was originally for? Well, three years on, most still don’t believe what I write!

Twelve Noon. Wednesday 4th December. One Last Time.


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