X Factor Preview: Oppose the odds-on shot

Last updated March 1st, 2016

We are down to the final five and have a red hot 1/2 favourite in the X Factor betting in the ample shape of Sam Bailey, the prison officer from the ‘overs’ category.  

There have been major surprises in X Factor before. Remember Ella Henderson last year? Sam is not a certainty. If you would like to hedge your bets, two bookies (Ladbrokes and Coral) are offering each-way place terms for the first two finishers.

Could the one-time favourite, the ridiculously mature-looking 16-year-old Tamera Foster (12/1 Coral) be worth following each-way?

Nicole Scherzinger’s sole remaining girl was sufficiently popular to escape the sing-off on Sunday even though she forgot the words (again!) to James Arthur’s Impossible. Sharon Osbourne and Nicole both said that it was a complete travesty that Hannah Barrett was in the sing-off (rather than the absent-minded Tamera).

Nicole was obviously not thinking strategically when she openly criticised her only hope of being a winning mentor.

Do the voting public really like Tamera after all? I don’t think so. They just felt sorry for her because she got a well-deserved dressing down not just from the perennially grumpy Gary Barlow but even the boringly benign Louis Walsh. The expression ‘car crash’ was used.

It was the backlash from Gary’s comments that helped keep Rylan Clark in the competition last year, long past his sell by date.  Tamera has significantly stronger vocal credentials and looks a ready-made pop star but she doesn’t seem to have a winning personality. I do not say that just because she lacks the memory capacity to retain lyrics.

Barlow’s only remaining group, Rough Copy (14/1 Bet365, Betfred), were in the sing-off against Hannah. She delivered a typically strong performance with tears streaming down her face. Rough Copy were saved by the judges. While Hannah was a veteran member of the ‘last two’ club, it was not their first experience of the sing-off either.

They are tremendously talented but have twice failed to attract the necessary public support to avoid the dreaded sing-off. They were strongly fancied in the early stages of the competition but have drifted in the X Factor winner betting for good reason.

They are perhaps a bit too cool for the majority of X Factor viewers. Although they are competent performers, they do not seem to produce enough emotion from their fans for sufficient numbers of them to vote. Perhaps the people who would appreciate their efforts most are out enjoying music rather than sitting in front of the television on a Saturday night.

Louis Walsh, mentor of the ‘boys’ is double handed with Nicholas McDonald and Luke Friend. It is testament to their talent rather than his mentoring skills that they have survived this far. Fortunately he has mostly had the sense to let his contestants choose their own songs rather than rely on his own out of date musical memory bank.

The pint-sized Scottish crooner, Nicholas McDonald is the second favourite at 4/1 (BetVictor, Betfred, Coral). McDonald is totally reliable and sings impeccably every week despite professing to be nervous at every opportunity early on in the competition. He has the benefit of strong local support with regional newspapers in his native Lanarkshire campaigning hard on his behalf.

McDonald turned 17 on Saturday and admits he has never been in love. In terms of his understandable lack of life experience, he has an awful lot in common with last year’s runner-up, Jahmene Douglas.

Unfortunately he also lacks any distinctive style and struggles to put his own individual mark on the songs he performs. He has an incredibly strong voice for his age but cannot produce the vocal gymnastics that became Jahmene’s trademark.

The 14/1 outsider, Luke Friend drifted like a barge in the X Factor betting odds after he found himself in the sing-off for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately the judges decided to save him rather than the obviously less talented Sam Callahan.

If his performance of One Direction’s That’s What Makes You Beautiful is any indicator, the experience has done him a lot of good. Busker Luke is a musician as well as a singer and has the ability to adapt well-known tracks to showcase his strengths. His wild-haired look may not be to everyone’s taste but he definitely has his own style, visually and vocally.

X Factor Betting Tips Verdict

Sam Bailey (best odds of 8/15 with Coral) has an outstanding voice and always delivers a great performance but she does not have the musicality to put an interesting twist on the songs she chooses. There is more than a chance that people will tire of her blasting out ballads by the final.

Simon Cowell is undoubtedly praying that someone else will win. His prayers could well be answered. Sam looks a certainty to reach the final but her chances of winning may not be as strong as her current price with the bookies suggest.  She is not worth touching with a barge pole.

Like Sam, Nicholas McDonald has never been in the bottom two. That does not make him a likely winner.  He seems to be a less interesting, less talented version of last year’s runner-up and offers no value either.

Rough Copy look likely to suffer the same fate as every group except Little Mix on the show. For reasons already explained, Tamera Foster seems highly unlikely to garner the support required to win.

That leaves LUKE FRIEND. Last year’s winner James Arthur experienced the indignity of the sing-off at a similar stage. It can provide a much needed kick up the backside rather than prove the kiss of death. Luke has to be worth an each-way bet, currently at 14/1 with Ladbrokes and that bookie is paying 1/3rd odds place terms for the first two, with just five contestants remaining.