Events of the last week have shown some of the perils of betting on TV talent contests. Will Young's decision to leave Strictly came just a day after Four of Diamonds were confirmed as the replacement group for the axed Brooks Way on X Factor. The girlband are now joint-fourth favourites at 9/1 to win the show.
Usually acts are treated kindly enough on the week of their return, as Monica Michael was last year, and Amelia Lily back in 2011. We can expect comments along the lines of "you showed you deserve your place in the competition", to make everything appear as smooth a transition as possible. Beyond that first week back, fortunes vary, and their first real test will come after this weekend.
Matt Terry cemented his place at the top of the win market last weekend. He looks like a very worthy favourite at the moment. There has never been a final without a male soloist, and he looks the only possibility amongst them right now. Second favourite 5am were given lots of platitudes, but will have to show themselves to be more vocally consistent. Third favourite Emily Middlemas was given mixed messages, and it will be interesting to see where they go with her from here. She's now behind Gifty Louise - who was given the Fleur East treatment of singing an exciting unreleased track - in the win market.
The main talking point in the show continues to be Honey G, and stories in the papers this week about the possibility of her duetting with Snoop Dogg should she get to the final, indicate just how big producers ambitions are for her this series. They are trying to fashion a similar run for her that runners-up Reggie n Bollie achieved last year. She's now 18/1 to win the whole thing. Even if you think that's far-fetched, you could do worse than consider the 7/2 with William Hill on a top three finish. For now, taking the shorter price on her being the Top Over seems worth doing.
Bratavio were the favourites for first elimination, and eventually lost out in the singoff to Saara Aalto, one of Honey G's rivals in the Overs category. The latter was treated very badly by producers, mocked for being Scandinavian beforehand, and given a bad arrangement of popular song 'Let It Go'. She's 7/4 to be next eliminated, and is a worthy favourite given that was the fate of the last three acts in the first singoff (Kiera Weathers, Steph Nala and Shelley Smith).
Next in the market is Freddy Smith at 9/4 after he was saved in Sunday's flash vote having appeared in the bottom three of the phone poll. After some unhelpful staging, and criticism from Simon Cowell, he also looks unlikely to last long in the competition. Next in the market at 6/1, Relley C was treated surprisingly well in the first live show, and may well survive this week on that basis. Meanwhile, the new flash vote to save a bottom three act on Sunday will mobilise the Scottish vote if 9/1 next elimination shot Ryan Lawrie drops into the danger zone.
It's worth keeping an eye on Sam Lavery at 12/1 to be next eliminated after nerves affected her first performance. But if she falls into the bottom two against Saara, my guess is that the decision would go against the Finn. At current prices, this week's elimination market is about right therefore, and we'll get on the Honey G train instead by backing her to be Top Over.Bet £10 get £20