Tag Archives: music

X Factor week 7 ratings

It’s REALLY close… Cher leads, Katie stands out in second (lots of her ratings are poor, but not as many as usual), Matt is having an off week, Wagner has more ratings than usual (most stinkers), One Direction and Rebecca both a little down. Paije looked like he had an amazing upturn, but is still one of the two lowest ratings shares. Mary is lowest, but also with a sharp upturn, and we know she’s never been in the bottom two despite usually having the lowest ratings share.

So. To be honest, I don’t think iTunes is going to be much help this week – it’s all too close, and there are too many artists who prove to be exceptions with more support than we can predict.

Lowest shares: Paije and Mary

Lowest trending down: One Direction and Rebecca

Last night’s predictions from my musical judgement + a bit of modelling: Paije and Wagner

Let’s see which, if any of these, are right…???


OK, Cher in the bottom two was a total shocker. Can’t say we could have predicted that from iTunes or the music itself. I’m guessing she alienated her fanbase more than expected, and other people aren’t yet warming to her. Either that or she seemed so safe, people didn’t bother voting. Or maybe Simon was right about the damn stairs, and no-one could remember the tune after all the time the judges spent bickering about them. If the judges are more memorable than the talent, the talent gets no votes, even if they were really good…

Paije, on the other hand, was the only person predicted for bottom two by two of the models above, so is the least shocker, but it’s still a shame he had to go.

We’ve got to come back to the question of why Wagner hasn’t been bottom two yet, and when that will happen. Clearly his fanbase is bigger than expected, but I suspect not much bigger – reality is catching up for him. When he is finally bottom two, it will be the shortest final judging bit ever. I still prefer Tony Ferrino. (Why can’t Wagner be a short term affair?)

X Factor week 7 review

Matt - smoking, a bit of “I’m a serious artist, me”, cleverly produced, but maybe a bit too different from what he’s done so far. Loving the “wake em up” key change near the end – not a trick the Beatles felt the need for, but we’ve learned so much since then, haven’t we? Not exactly bottom two material (unless everyone else is Amazing) but not his biggest week either.

Cher - really smart choice which I think will broaden her fanbase. Hope she’s not overshadowed by some memorable ridiculousness from the judges – Louis on his own planet, and everyone else arguing about stairs.

One Direction - definitely another standout week for them, nicely arranged, and hippy chick crowd invasions are sadly underused these days. Safe as.

Rebecca - nice, but is she trying to be Mary? She didn’t do it that well. Why was she wearing some of my old pen tops as earrings? Still, it was engaging and original, hopefully solid enough.

Mary - “and tonight I will be Shirley Bassey.” And she was! I like her now. Next week Goldfinger please.

Paije - great song for him, and what a difference a gospel choir makes (where did they come from?!). I thought they were going to keep doing key changes until his voice broke, which it kind of did at the end. Still, best Paije week yet. Hmm – and I had him down as a definite before bottom two before that…

Wagner - what’s worse than hearing Wagner murder a Beatles song? Hearing him murder three Beatles songs? With total random nonsense from the dancers, this is beyond pop, it’s a surreal drug-fueled art rant against reason itself. Heaven help us, lots will want Simon’s universe to end.

Katie - history tells us haircuts = death on these shows, but she’s singing really well, like the Sunday Night Katie we’ve come to know so well. I’m conflicted. Dannii nailed it when she asked “who is the real you?”

It’s really hard to make predictions without a bit of method this week, so I’m going to try a guesstimate formula…
SUPPORT = fan support + everyone else’s support
                = (fanbase size x how well they pleased the fans) + (non-fanbase size x how well they won them over)

Here’s how I’m rating each act out of 10 for pleasing fans:
Matt: 7 (bit of a break from his normal style)
Cher: 8 (pretty solid, but lacking a bit of uniqueness)
One Direction: 9 (really good)
Rebecca: 7 (trying hard, but a bit stressed)
Mary: 9 (very solid)
Paije: 9 (they will feel excited, I think)
Wagner: 8 (they love him almost whatever, but this was cheesemongous)
Katie: 6 (good voice, but a totally new look appears desperate and alienating)

And here’s how I’m rating them out of 10 for winning over new fans:
Matt: 7 (people are seeing a different side of him)
Cher: 8 (different and good enough to turn heads and change minds)
One Direction: 6 (also good, but not revolutionary)
Rebecca: 4 (not amazing or groundbreaking)
Mary: 6 (very good, but not massively out of keeping with expectations)
Paije: 6 (good enough to reach out a bit, not amazing)
Wagner: 1 (if you don’t love him already, he won’t convince you now)
Katie: 7 (very appealing performance, but it’s just quite difficult for her to win against very negative perceptions)

Now I’ve guessed the fanbase size from the average of the last three weeks of iTunes ratings share, and the “non-fanbase” as 100 – fanbase size.

For my formula, fan support = fanbase size x fan rating
Other support = non-fanbase size x win over rating x 0.1 (in my experience of marketing, it’s ten times harder to make an impression on people leading to action if you don’t already have a working relationship)

This produces numbers which kind of look sensible to me – of course, if you disagree, you can change the figures and make your own predictions… but to me it looks like this:

It’s a shocker! This suggests the bottom two will be Paije and Wagner
Paije because his fanbase is fairly small and he’s not doing quite enough to win new people over
Wagner because although his fans love him, no-one else will, and we’ve reached the time when that will limit him

Katie comes out third from bottom in my estimates, so I’ll be with everyone else not being too surprised if she takes her usual spot, but I’ll stick my neck out and say Wagner will be this week’s “shock” exit…

We’ll check the new iTunes ratings tomorrow to see if they agree.

X Factor week 6 stuff

OK – just back from a weekend away, firing up the V+ to catch up before tonight’s results…

First impressions from the show, before seeing the ratings:

Paije - not bad, we can see him in musicals, but Crocodile Rock in a pink dinner jacket isn’t helping… Why do so many artists about to get voted off go on about how “versatile” they can be? That’s what you need for a stage career, not for being instantly recognisable on the radio and selling hits.

Aiden - he has a weird voice, but it works for me because it’s the opposite of what Paije did. I think he’s developing nicely.

Mary - I’m still not convinced by her voice (just one good last note), and the arrangement was pure cheese, but her story is always good, and she’ll connect with her fans.

Tabloid Favourite Katie - always sounds from the promo film like she’s going to come out with something different and amazing, then always does something just about OK. At least there weren’t many words to forget in this one. Fun, but not game changing. Should have sung “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”

Matt - solid enough. Elton John really did a lot of odd songs, didn’t he? “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is one of the better ones, and Matt’s version wasn’t very surprising, but he’s still a class act. Expectations very high for him.

Cher - great song, I bet there was a scramble for “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”. Bit of marmite in the middle, great for the fans though. Woo hoo.

Wagner - oh no, I actually enjoyed this, but I was thinking of “The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon” at the time.

One Direction - one of their best weeks. I’m slightly surprised Simon didn’t wheel in a gospel choir to top it all off, but it had everything else. Nice one.

Rebecca - wow. Brave song choice, and done like a proper artist. A bit understated at the end, but I think she’s the standout from the week.

Now to check the ratings…

There isn’t a runaway favourite from this week – in fact, there are fewer ratings overall than any previous week. Cher has a narrow lead with a much better share than last week. Matt didn’t have his best week, but is still doing really well. Rebecca carries on growing her share with great performances, and One Direction had a standout week.

Katie has her highest share of ratings so far, but they are mostly awful – “her usual crap” (from someone who gave her 5 stars…), “this is not an eyelash competition”, “absolute rubbish”, “bye bye” and “really can’t stand the girl”, just from page 1. She’s got to be going this week.

Paije will probably join her in the bottom two. He’s not growing, and unless he has a secret fanbase hidden away, we can’t see him having enough support to carry on for long. Shame really.

Wagner and Mary are still wildcards, though. Who knows when people who have kept them in up to now will get fed up of them? Wagner especially is a “phenomenon“…


Hmmm. Didn’t expect Aiden to have the least votes and go. We’re no longer surprised that Katie sounds much better on the Sunday than the Saturday, though – it’s looking like it’s written into the format of the show.

But there was something odd about the “no particular order” the safe contestants were announced: the EXACT SAME order as the graph above (ie. decreasing order of ratings share), only skipping over Katie and Aiden. So we’re guessing we’re still onto something… We already worked out that Wagner and Mary have fans/voters which aren’t touching iTunes, and now it’s looking like the same goes for Paije. Good onya. Probably won’t keep him out of the bottom spots next week unless he gets much, much better though.

X Factor ratings and predictions – week 5

It was definitely Matt‘s night, with four times more ratings than anyone else.

Cher had a relatively poor night, but still scrapes into second on the ratings – she’s got a good fanbase, helped by last week’s stunning performance.

Rebecca is third, growing nicely, hopefully solidifying a fanbase, but she’s not yet had the kind of massive breakthrough week Matt, Cher and Aiden have enjoyed.

Aiden looks safe enough, though not a contender for the top spot unless he can do something stunning as he did in week 1.

One Direction - hmmm… we thought they did well, but their share of ratings has slipped a bit. Probably nothing to worry about – Matt did deserve an extraordinary share of attention – but if they are going to get to the final they need to have their own moment of brilliance.

Katie - I think she’s in the danger zone given that most of her ratings are pretty awful. She’s also been in the bottom with higher shares than this week.

Wagner - was growing, now declining in share of ratings. Have things finally turned? I’m going to guess that he still has enough fans to keep him afloat, but not for long.

Mary - from previous weeks I think we’ve established that Mary’s support isn’t anything to do with the iTunes crowd, so who knows? I thought she had a rotten week, but fans are fans. At least Mary is unique, and has a strong story behind her, but vocally it wasn’t good. Probably safe this week, at a complete guess.

Paije - oh dear. In danger on every level, I’m afraid.

Treyc - whatever she did last night didn’t boost her share of ratings – in fact, she has her lowest ever, so she also has to be in danger. People who get her are speaking well of her, but are there enough of them paying attention?

So I’m thinking the bottom two have to be from Paije, Treyc and Katie. Treyc was actually pretty good though, and we want her to stay. So I’m going to stick with last night’s gut feeling prediction of Paije and Katie…. what do you think!?

X Factor week 5

I think we’re at the stage of the competition where there are two ways for an act to progress. One is to have lots of fans who love them for who they are (so that has to be clearly defined), and will keep loving them as long as they keep doing what they do. Matt, Cher, One Direction, Aiden, Wagner and Mary all have this going on. Treyc and Paije definitely don’t. Katie might be starting to.

The better way is to be unexpectedly brilliant and cross over to new people. Only people who do this several times eventually win, but it’s hard – one bad week brings doom. Rebecca has been building like this, and has to keep going.

So how did they do? Here is what we thought at home…

Cher - pretty good, if a bit predictable. Simon knows she was better last week, and so does Cher. Nothing wrong, it just plodded when it should have wowed – it needed more dramatic execution, more light and shade, not more gimmicks but some vulnerabilty. But she’s got the fans, didn’t let them down and is safe.

Mary - oh dear. She’s not at her finest – this week it’s Tesco Value Mary, reduced to clear. Very pitchy and losing the emotional connection in the song, though endearingly blubby in the chat at the end. She’ll need a lot of dedicated fans to stay in. Can’t tell how many she has – they’re not on iTunes, that’s for sure.

Katie - great song choice, but voice all over the place, and what’s that weird black and white horror video of her teary self in the background? Looks like she’s been reading about herself in the papers. A miseryfest. “You’re not a whinger” said Simon – but it sounded like that in the performance. Plus, it’s a departure from the things that might have been building the fan base. DANGER!!!

Aiden - is there something wrong with our telly or ears? Everyone is out of tune tonight. The judges love the intensity and flames, and I’m sure the fans will agree. I’m not one of them, but at least he’s solidifying his identity, so he’s safe.

Paije - I’m not sure he’s coming in with many fans, so he’s got to reach out with great performances. This ain’t one of them. “Hey I’m a Believe-Ya?” It’s cheesy mash. “You’re like a little Lenny Henry,” says Louis, comparing Paije to a funny guy who’s not famous for his singing. Best performance? Nooooo… I really want him to stay in, but he’s not safe.

Rebecca - that’s more like it! That was “a moment”. Simon’s already planning the world tour, quite rightly.

Wagner - I’m already wound up before he starts with all this argument about how to say his name, with Louis who made such a fuss about getting Storm’s name right. But now he’s singing, all that is forgotten. I just want it to stop. I doubt his fans are ready to give up on him, though. Let’s see how many there are.

Matt - back on top. A beautiful song, with a unique voice which takes you everywhere you could hope for and then bursts into new and amazing places. Best performance from any X Factor show I can remember. Ooh, tears and an emotional mystery story too – can’t beat that.

Treyc - we’re worried by the intro where she’s refusing to be pigeon holed – random shuffle doesn’t win fans. Having said that, she’s doing a great (and staggeringly popular) song very well. I can’t see how she can have problems this week – but she needs to build consistently on these good weeks. Simon is right about the passion thing – it’s not enough just to sing well, she’s got to know where she can take a big leap of faith and do something really extraordinary, and she hasn’t done that yet. Weirdly, Wagner does that every week. Aaagh, no, please don’t let Treyc go before Wagner. I don’t think she will this week.

One Direction - loving the build up, excitedly guessing the song choice, praying it won’t be a boyband classic… phew! “Kids in America” is inspired – sounds like old school Simon A&R goodness. But as fresh and energetic as it was, it could have been more musically interesting. Our discussion about that at home is stopped by having to shout “shut up Louis” repeatedly. Well done lads, you are through.

Top performers – Matt and Rebecca
Good and safe – Cher, One Direction, hopefully Treyc (ouch, crap clip in the summary though)
Saved by the fans? – Aiden, probably Wagner (also a dreadful summary clip), possibly Mary
Really not safe – Katie, Paije

Not sure I’ll have time to crunch the numbers tomorrow, so I’m going to guess Katie and Paije for bottom two, though I wouldn’t at all mind if Wagner or Mary made an appearance.

A bit of X Factor learning, or “Paije against the machine”


Having just blogged about the benefits of constant learning over expertise, I’m happy to declare that I’m still learning…

We watched the X Factor results excitedly, mainly because we were waiting to see who was right – me or the predict-o-graphs. Here’s what I wrote on Saturday:

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!!!

while computer said Mary had little interest and was trending down, with Paije and Treyc also worryingly quiet on the ratings front. Belle Amie and Katie were next lowest.

So if I’d combined those two into a prediction of who would face judgement (which I didn’t) it would been like this:

Computer says Mary – we say NO
Computer says Paije – we say NO
Computer says Treyc – we say NO
Computer says Belle Amie – WE AGREE!
Computer says Katie – we say “NO IDEA!”, could be…

And it turns out that it was Belle Amie and Katie in those slots, in that order.

Actually, I pick music for radio stations in a fairly similar way – we do some number crunching and some gut feel judgement and bring the two together. So “yay” for that process.

I had another look at the numbers to see if they, on their own, could have predicted that bottom two. I tried separating out the “love” comments from the “hate” comments, but Mary has the least love on iTunes as well as the least ratings overall. I might try a slightly more sophisticated model than counting the reviews, but I’m guessing we will have to conclude that the iTunes crowd doesn’t represent the whole. But we’ll try again next week and maybe be a bit bolder with the predictions – it’s fun! Well, we think so.

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.