X Factor Week 1 Tips: Back Alien Uncovered to go
Looking to continue where he left off last year, Jack Houghton picks three possible winners of this year's show and thinks Alien Uncovered might be up for an early exit...
"The favourite has to be Anton Stephans at 8/1. He all-but eradicated the weird facial contortions from his performance at Judges' Houses and made an ordinary song like Superstar into something extraordinarily touching."
What Happened Last Week?
There was a time when this was just a talent show. Now, with an ever-increasing need to trump the drama of previous series, every possible moment in the star-seeking process is refined to heighten the hullabaloo. Long since disabused of the fear that the next modification would be overkill, producers now pack "live-ness" into every orifice, gripping a mesmerised audience with the supposed indecision of judges, demonstrating human fallibility by having acts ejected, and then re-called, only to be rejected again.
So going into Judges' Houses we had the return of the previously execrated Mason Noise (he's nice now), only to see the departure of Monica Michael, who had got this far last year, before being mistakenly booted-off. Don't worry, though, Cowell has seen the error of those decisions, and Monica has been given a wildcard back on to the show. Phew.
So we're left with 13, 12 of whom have been given a through going-over here by Naomi Totten.
Who Are The Likely Winners?
I'll keep this as simple as possible. Following my own rules for X-Factor punting success, it's only worth backing those acts who can sing and are universally likeable. Lots fail on the first of those criteria; most of the rest fail on the second.
One act that passes both tests with ease is current show favourite Louisa Johnson at 21/10. However, although I think she is a possible winner, there's no way I'll be taking those odds at this stage. At some point she'll be available to back at a bigger price and I'll wait until then before getting involved.
4th Impact at 11/2 are the epitome of polish. Lots of acts will crumble under the glare of live shows, but not these four. They get some of my early money.
Che Chesterton, also at 11/2, gave arguably the best vocal performance at Judges' Houses. Although he is a bit charisma-void, and reminds me a bit of Paul Akister from last year in this regard, I'm hopeful that he can overcome this with the right song choices and will be adding him to the portfolio.
The favourite, though, has to be Anton Stephans at 8/1. He all-but eradicated the weird facial contortions from his performance at Judges' Houses and made an ordinary song like Superstar into something extraordinarily touching. If Cowell can tame him further, Anton is the most likely winner.
If there is to be an outsider to make a run late into the show this series, it will be Reggie n Bollie: they're likeable and, unlike many previous novelty acts, are at least able to hold a tune. I'll be holding off for now, though, as we'll learn a lot from the first live show.
What Will Happen This Week?
Who knows? 13 acts need to be reduced to one in the next seven weeks, so quite when the extra culling will begin is anyone's guess. It will be no big surprise if more than one act goes this weekend, so heed my warning to expect the unexpected.
Who's For The Chop?
It's never worth lumping on before the first show, and I could make a case for any number of these going. However, I'll be having a small interest in Alien Uncovered making an early departure at 8/1. Their singing has been dodgy throughout, and I can't see enough people warming to them.
1-point Alien Uncovered at 8/1 in Next Elimination Market
2-points Anton Stephans at 8/1 in Outright Winner Market
1-point 4th Impact at 11/2 in Outright Winner Market
1-point Che Chesterton at 11/2 in Outright Winner Market