Monthly Archives: October 2010

X Factor predictions – week 4

If the iTunes ratings reflect viewer votes, it’s looking like Cher is last night’s winner by a long, long way. Matt really did have a “not so good week”, but is still second.

Rebecca is growing nicely into third place, and Aiden’s fans are rallying round – although reading the reviews, a lot are pointing out how out of tune and weird the whole thing was. Could be that he’s polarising people almost as much as Wagner now…

One Direction solid as always.

Wagner getting a lot of reviews saying how rubbish he was. This will be a good test to see if that means he got enough passion going for as many people to vote for him, but there’s not much love on iTunes…

Katie didn’t have a good week, and has a lot of bad reviews too – she could be in danger. Belle Amie not bad, growing, but still at the lower end.

There is a clear bottom three in the numbers of ratings – Treyc, Paije and Mary. Of course Mary’s fans might be older, happily phoning in but not into rating songs on iTunes, so she might be safe, but her TREND is still very clearly down. This suggests that the iTunes users, at least, are less interested in rating her week by week. If they represent many of the voters, Mary is in big trouble.

I think Mary will be a “surprise” bottom two contestant in the very near future. I wouldn’t fancy Treyc, Paije, Belle Amie or Wagner’s chances up against Mary when the judges have a say, though.

This week’s X Factor

OK, I really want to post another graph. But in a vain attempt to avoid being typecast as the “statto” of X Factor, here’s what we thought of the contestants before we get any ratings info…

Mary - aiiit for me. She’s a cheese feast, but an entertaining one. I’d like to hear her sing “Bad Romance”.

Aiden - No. No. No. No no no no no no no no. Everything about this was wrong. It looks like he must have done SO much better in week 1, someone had the idea to do a “Mad World” with “Thriller”. But Thriller has to be EXCITING (clue is in the title). Pitchy, droney, dull. We kept yelling at the TV hoping to make the performance kick off, but no joy – half the cast on stage were dummies after all. And the clock going backwards just puts “this is wrong” into underlined bold italics. Aidan looks like a failed 80s popstar right now. Not a good look.

Belle Amie - also aiiit. “Girlband doing girlbands” is fair comment, it’s not very exciting. They’re looking good, sounding OK-ish. Hmm. Can’t see this exciting enough people to vote.

Rebecca - PHEW! Someone we like this week! A strong, siren voice ideal for radio – she’ll be instantly identifiable. She’s got to be a grower.

Treyc - very solid, but Treyc makes me think of Beverley Knight. I love Beverley Knight, but she’s rarely had a massive hit, and I don’t get why. I’m afraid Treyc will get lots of “likes” but not the “loves” which turn into votes.

Matt - yes – that’s how you do it. The bravest song choice, and he sounds like a proper artist. Although it is a bit odd without a band backing him up. I hope he writes decent songs, or can get together with someone who does and make some proper music…

Wagner - WTF? The show is the dancers. Wagner looks like a nice old bloke who happened to be at the bus stop when the Kids from Fame broke out into a routine around him. No singing ability required, none supplied, but still weirdly entertaining. I’ll bet most of the votes are just put in cos it’s fun to annoy Simon.

Paije - knew he had to start taking some risks, and had a proper go this week. Simon said “diva”, and that’s what he needs to build on – if he sings Cee-Lo “Forget U”, he’ll knock it out of the park.

Katie - I thought she was going to sing “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”, I didn’t even know the theme to “Bewitched” was a song. A dreadful novelty which shows you shouldn’t take success with one novelty song choice too seriously. A rare misstep for Cheryl, I think. Cute but… no.

One Direction - look a bit like a group that was forced together on an old Idol boot camp, just to see if they could work as a team. They sort of did, but there’s something not quite right… Louis seems to disagree totally. Oh well. It was a good song choice, though.

Cher - really brave to strip it all down. It felt shaky until the last minute, but that could have been very endearing and drawn people in. When the power kicked in she was amazing. I didn’t think there wasn’t much expression on her face until she broke into tears. That’ll seal it – she’s safe as. Actually, watching the replay, that good bit was really, really good.

Matt and Cher still top for me.
Rebecca and Paije – growers
Mary, Treyc, One Direction – solid, probably safe for now
Wagner and Katie – now both on planets of their own where our laws of physics don’t apply, anything could happen
Aiden and Belle Amie – DANGER! DANGER!!!

X Factor: computer says… (and we say…)

According to iTunes customers, The X Factor is pretty much decided. And the winner is…

….. (longer pause than strictly necessary for dramatic effect) …….

…. going to have to try very hard to beat Matt Cardle.

It looks like the number of ratings people get on iTunes (good or bad) correlate pretty well with whether or not they stay in the competition. This week’s bottom two, Treyc and John, had the lowest number of ratings. The graph above shows the percent of ratings each contestant’s song currently has on iTunes for each week’s performance. The others knocked out – Diva Fever, Storm Lee, Nicolo Festa and FYD – didn’t get many people rating them either.

Of the survivors, Treyc Cohen, Belle Amie and Paije Richardson look most consistently starved of ratings support, while Matt Cardle and Cher Lloyd are by far top of the pile.

If that’s not too surprising, take a look at which contestants are getting a growing ratings share, and which are shrinking into the danger zone…

  • Katie Waissel is GROWING – was any of that stuff in the papers about hating the song choices even vaguely true? She should have faith in Cheryl Cole who is starting to look like she – or someone she trusts in her team – is an A&R genius…
  • Aiden Grimshaw is SHRINKING FAST – his “Mad World” was easily the most rated week 1 song, but he’s shrunk back to middling performances the last couple of weeks. He might have sung much better this week, but he didn’t make up much ground.
  • Wagner is GROWING – his first couple of weeks may have attracted just enough interest to stay in, but his latest megamix put him in the top 6 in number of ratings. Mind you, if he was ever going to do well, it was in “cheese week”…
  • Paije is also GROWING – although he’s getting very little interest compared with the leaders
  • The biggest surprise? Mary Byrne is SHRINKING STEADILY – if the ratings do match up with viewer votes, she would have been in the bottom 3 this week. Cue “national tragedy” expression from Louis. If she doesn’t reverse the trend this week, she’s heading for the exit.

Of course none of this is a done deal. The show has a long way to go. The share of attention can change dramatically with a great performance, but it’s easier to lose momentum than to gain it. One clunky week can lose a big lead (Aiden), and it takes a few great weeks to win people back.

We think the people who win are often the growers who start to capture public imagination in the last few weeks. Rebecca Fergusen could be one of those people, but there’s no evidence for that yet in the iTunes ratings. One Direction are looking solid, but not big enough to win, and without growth they’ll be out before the final. (We call them “One Dimension” at home – they desperately need to show a bit more range and surprise us. Simon needs a few genius song choices for them, and he seems oddly short of those this year…?)

Otherwise, for now, it’s looking like the Matt v Cher show. We think that Matt is fantastic, but must avoid the “novelty cover” trap that did for Andrew Garcia in this year’s American Idol – he was the guy they loved for covering Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” with acoustic guitar, and he did a pretty good “Genie In A Bottle”, but then people realised they liked his clever covers more than they liked the rest of what they saw of his artistry. That’s not sustainable. Matt needs to show he can do the kind of songs people will want to play often – so no more cheese for a while.

Cher looked like she should be good, and this week looked like she IS good. What puzzles us is how much the judges are raving over how unique she is. We’re guessing they don’t listen to Rinse FM much (or 1Xtra or Choice). Cher strikes us a bit of a lite version of Rinse’s signing Katy B – not that that’s a bad thing, just not totally unique.

It’s going to sound a bit odd comparing Cher Lloyd with G4, but we think the same thing happened – there was a lot of a certain talent around (in G4′s case, classical vocalists who did pop songs) but for whatever reason, very little of that kind of talent wanted to go and be judged on X Factor. When someone showed up, they got the judges’ attention, and went a long way. There were much better acts than G4 in the same style, but G4 showed up first and got the £1.5 million deal. How many people do what Cher does, but a bit better? Probably quite a few, but Cher showed up.

The moral: show up – what’s the worst that could happen?

Getting out before Wagner? Hmm – yes, I suppose that would be pretty bad.

Tune of the Day: I Am Arrows – Hurricane

Why does I Am Arrows seem like a really well kept secret? Andy Burrows (ex-Razorlight) has a really nice set of tunes going on. Radio 2 shared our love of “Green Grass” earlier this year, but I can’t see anyone else who’s played this tune, which got stuck on repeat for two days for me when it arrived.

Usually we’re super disciplined about playing the songs we think will be hits. Sometimes we know a tune (like this) won’t be a hit, cos no-one knows about it, but we say “sod it, everyone else is wrong, this is right” and on it goes.

Please don’t tell anyone else about I Am Arrows, so that we can carry on in our smug little “being right” bubble of exclusivity. Knowing our luck, however, “Hurricane” will probably get placed in a rom com and be super famous next year.

Power of storytelling by Raf Stevens on Prezi

Prezi is really cool. It’s a way of creating and sharing presentations which can be far more interesting than Powerpoint slide shows, and it works well when you have a big idea which can be broken down into smaller bits and explored. Prezi lets you do that literally, and the viewer gets to see your “big picture” and detail linking together attractively.

I’m still not sure I’ve seen a really GREAT Prezi yet – many, like this one, are good, and about story telling. I could imagine it being better. The guy in the “elevator pitch” video is particularly annoying.

But this is mainly a bookmark for myself to come back and use this tool – I think it’s got potential, and I’ll post again when I’ve used it.

PS – if the pic above says something like “This prezi doesn’t exists” (hmmm…) try clicking on the “via” link instead – that should work.
PPS – Holy Trinity Brompton have been using Prezi for their Student Alpha presentations. They’re pretty slick and (importantly) they link with a well written talk and don’t look like every other presentation you see.

There is actually a “Miners Rescued” live scoreboard on Sky News

I really hope this doesn’t go on for long, and that the poor guys coming out are ready for all the “how do you feel?” questions.