Just four acts remain and Lauren Murray is 11/10 favourite to miss out on the top three.
She is 11/10 favourite for the chop next week, ahead of Che at 13/8, with Reggie n Bollie at 5/1 and Louisa Johnson the rank outsider on 20/1. The stats suggest this is the correct order. The lowest polling quarter-finalist, as Lauren is, usually gets eliminated in the semi-final as the sympathy bounce phenomenon fades to some extent. Since the phone vote statistics have been published from 2008, this has been the case every year with one exception - Luke Friend in 2013.
Che deserves to be second favourite. Every time there has been a singoff at this stage - in 2010, 2013 and 2014 - the previous week's survivor has faced the act coming down from a sympathy bounce, as Che is.
Interestingly, in each of those cases, the act in the Lauren Murray position - who survived the previous week's dangerzone duel - outpolled the act in Che's position. But only in 2013 was the singoff allowed to go to deadlock. Arguably this was because Rough Copy had polled so far below Luke Friend, it would've seemed grossly unfair to do what was done to Mary Byrne and Lauren Platt - kick the better polling act out with the panel's majority verdict.
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The point of the singoff at the semi-final stage is that it gives producers this control over who is in the final. Having reintroduced it for the last two years, I don't envisage them relinquishing it this time around. And up till now, producers have suggested they'd prefer to see Che in the final over Lauren. Unlike Lauren, he has been namechecked as a finalist for a few weeks; and he's generally been given kinder treatment in terms of staging and judges' comments.
The one proviso is that Che's mistake with the lyrics of 'Hello' may have made producers less keen on him as a finalist. However, he coped admirably with the mistake, both at the time and for his second song. And the point remains that a Che / Louisa Johnson / Reggie n Bollie suits producers much more if they want Louisa to win, which is what they've indicated from the start. Having her as the only female vocalist in the final surely helps her cause.
Reggie n Bollie remain the surprise package in the contest, now 6/1 second favourites in the outright market having been the only act to match 4/9 favourite Louisa in avoiding any singoff so far. They too have been namechecked as finalists for a few weeks, and would bring a much needed injection of fun to that event. The unhelpful staging they received for their second song last Saturday, with distracting laser lights blinding viewers, indicated that producers don't want them winning the whole event, despite otherwise pushing them towards the final.
We will probably see a similar balancing act this coming weekend. Producers will have to be careful that they don't overdo containing Reggie n Bollie's momentum to the degree of having them poll like Rough Copy, far enough below their rivals to make any singoff save controversial once the stats are published. Meanwhile, there will be no such balancing act for their most favoured contestant, Louisa Johnson.
In conclusion, the stats as well as the subtext of recent shows suggests that Lauren Murray is next weekend's likeliest elimination, and she is tipped to go at 11/10.