The Front Runners
Last week we analysed the five way out in front in the X Factor betting, and speculated that it was far too early for any talk of guaranteed finalists. Well this week tested our theory - it was quite simply a wonderful weekend for the big five of X Factor 2012: Ella Henderson, Jahmene Douglas, Union J, James Arthur and Jade Ellis.
Ella has the strongest voice in the competition, and seems good-natured and warm. Two months in the tabloid world is a long time however, but assuming she doesn't morph into a roaring fame monster, she is in this showbiz thing for the long haul. Little surprise the betting monies are already turning to the 'Winner Without Ella' market.
Jahmene and James both did particularly well - Jahmene by retaining his unfailingly polite shyness, before belting out some impressive soul vocals, James by picking a song with the word 'drama' in it. The judges love his pain, so the key for him is to maintain that level of unhappiness. This explains why producers have him rooming with Rylan in the communal X Factor digs.
Union J look like three footballers and a cherub. The cherub is keeping them there, and if he proves to have a Harry-Styles-size appetite for women, they could do very well indeed. Jade as mentioned last week, is Rebecca Ferguson, and at [3.55] to reach the final, she is the value.
The strong favouritism of Ella (1.84) means the other four are definite value. There is a long way to go kids.
Gary Barlow and the Also-Rans
No, not Take That's new name, but with everyone's favourite slow-talking Manc dropping acts like the BBC will shortly be dropping Execs, it was another bad week for Sir Gaz. He is now just [1.61] to be the first mentor eliminated.
We suggested last week that the only realistic contender outside the Big 5 was Lucy Spraggan, but she had a rotten week, and not just because her dear old nan died. Her whimsy is becoming tired, and ever since Louis compared her to Victoria Wood (quite accurately) she's been flailing in extremely choppy waters. Once the Victoria Wood fans turn off -
Two more who are safe for now, but won't last the distance, are Kye Sones and Rylan Clark. At 30, Kye is already far too ancient to win this thing, but in addition, he just seems a little bit dated. He's got a nice voice, but the "he's a chimney sweep!" shtick belongs in another show in another century.
Which leaves three who will be battling to survive the Week 3 axe. District 3 and MK1 are simply hideous, whilst Christopher Maloney who is now being billed as some kind of "people's champion" - presumably by other people unable to get through a solitary sentence without bursting into tears - is an annoying gentleman. Back him to go next weekend at [3.5].