I'm not quite sure what to make of the X Factor weekend we've all just had to endure; it was bizarre to say the least!
Most of the craziness centred around eccentric Brazilian Wagner, who without a shadow of a doubt put in the worst performance I've ever seen by any X Factor contestant this year or any other year. But it was Cheryl Cole's post-song verbals towards Vaarg-ner that made for uncomfortable viewing. Wagner had simply stated some facts in an interview done earlier in the week, that Cole was someone to look up to because of the way she's come from a council estate to where she is today.
Unfortunately Princess Cole took offence to Wagner's subsequently twisted words and decided to have a pop at him live on air. It was all very unprofessional - on Cole's part - if you ask me, and not for the first time this series her majesty didn't cover herself in glory.
Strangely enough, Cole somehow avoided the wrath of Louis Walsh's rule book after her act Cher Lloyd performed the John Lennon classic Imagine... on Beatles night. True, Lennon was once a member of the Beatles but can you imagine (no pun intended) the uproar if Matt Cardle were to sing Angels on a night when the theme is Take That?
I have to say that I thought Beatles night was a massive disappointment. Cardle - who remains the 3.0 favourite to win the competition - performed ok but wasn't anything special. One Direction (3.2) appeared to do well but after watching a few re-runs their performance contained quite a few errors, and Rebecca Ferguson (4.8) looked a nervous wreck before getting through her rendition of Yesterday. Only Mary Byrne (44.0), Katie Waissel (40.0) and Paije Richardson performed with credit, yet the latter of those three became the ninth act to be eliminated after losing out in a sing-off to Lloyd (16.0).
From a form perspective then, it's best just to ignore what went on last Saturday and instead concentrate on how popular each act is. It's quite clear that someone like Cardle or One Direction could do a karaoke version of The Birdie Song and still get through, whereas Lloyd or Waissel could perform brilliantly yet find themselves in the bottom two.
This week's 10th Elimination market is still hard to call however. And nothing is made easier by not knowing whether it will be a single or double elimination this weekend (there has to be a double elimination sooner or later otherwise Simon Cowell will be hoping to have a Christmas number one by getting the winner to release a single in January!) Waissel is the 2.58 favourite in this particular market, just ahead of Wagner (3.1), Byrne (6.8) and Lloyd (8.6).
Before I make a selection allow me for one moment to get all smug. From the 11 settled bets below, 10 of them are losers. My outlay on those 11 bets is £430, my return on those 11 bets - thanks to my one and only winner - is £448. That, Jack Houghton, is how you get back in the ball game. It's all fine and dandy swanning off to some Swiss army camp supping cheap mulled win mate, but never let complacency affect your judgement. The way you're going, your next holiday could be in Hartlepool with just a few cans of cider to keep you warm. Still, you could always ask me for a few quid.
This week I'm backing Wagner to finally bite the bullet. Once he'd survived the first few weeks I said that he'll get to the last six or seven before the serious voters outweigh the joke ones. I could end up following him over a cliff if he's more popular than I think he is, but at 3.1 to be the next to go, he's worth £48 of my money.
By Mike Norman
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