Tag Archives: simoncowell

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.