Daniel Gould attempts to eek out one more value bet as 2015 X Factor draws to a conclusion
Louisa Johnson has been odds-on favourite for a few weeks now. We will only know for sure, after the winner is announced on Sunday, if the phone vote statistics show she has been running away with the public poll during that time. My guess is that she hasn't, and priced into those short odds was the knowledge that producers would do everything they could to get her over the line in the remaining few weeks.
The events of last weekend seemed to validate this. Louisa's only female rival, Lauren Murray, was eased out. Meanwhile, Louisa excelled for her second performance, 'It's A Man's Man's World', which saw her odds shorten even further. Now that the prize is in sight, the favoured treatment will only intensify. Expect Louisa to be sold as a star in the making, far more so than her rivals.
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Producers decided at some point during the competition that the infectious fun Reggie n Bollie brought to the stage was worth taking all the way to the final. Maybe it was when a member of rival group Fourth Impact threw the show into a panic as she nearly fainted twice in Week 3. The Ghanaian duo have generally received excellent treatment, with some huge productions featuring a large cast of backing dancers.
However, there are indications that producers have been putting a brake on their momentum in the last two weeks. On both occasions, one of their songs has received a helpful production, and one much less so. The latter moments have given judges the opportunity to point out how poor their vocals are. It would be damaging for the X Factor brand if they won despite this obvious weakness. We can expect hints on this score next weekend.
Che Chesterman comes to the final walking slightly wounded after two sing-off saves. No act has managed to survive two of these and reach second in the final - Andrea Faustini came off a similar trajectory for the bronze medal last year. Che has been kindly treated in general, being namechecked as a finalist from early on. Clearly though, he has struggled more in the phone vote than his two rivals, neither of whom have fallen into the danger zone this series.
There is precious little value to be found given that I think Louisa Johnson will be crowned the winner. You could argue that if the emergency stop button is pressed on Reggie n Bollie's kind treatment this Saturday, then there's a chance that Che could climb above them into second, currently a 9/4 chance. If you want to have an interest and don't like betting odds-on, that would be my suggestion, purely on the basis that producers could decide a Louisa / Che final two would be the most credible end to the series.