There is always an element of guesswork heading into the Live Shows and personally I always like to see how the first show plays out before making any bets. I've always found a fair deal of value in Novelty markets down the years so not getting involved whilst the show is in the Audition stage has always been my path. My main interest had a solid first week though and although shortening in price I'm prepared to get involved at today's odds as I see them big value.
The format has been shaken up, with the contestants split up into two groups singing on Saturday and Sunday nights. Gone is the sing off on the Sunday between the two lowest polled contestants. That may change as the series continues as producers manipulate who they want to make the final. Down the years I've found it fairly easy to judge who the producers like and who are vulnerable despite what price the bookies make them.£10 Free Credit and a £500 Deposit Bonus
The first week saw the two favs Grace Davies and Rak-Su top the vote each night and it wasn't much of a surprise. Grace has been a solid jolly for a fair while now and quotes of 6/4 are a shade on the small side for me. This is probably one of the best quality X Factor's there has been for many years. With the introduction of 'original' songs brought into the fray the artists do tend to be more credible. Grace and Rak-Su both performed originals at the weekend, which went flying up the download charts. They were both very impressive but for me RAK-SU (Best Price 9-4) will grow into the act to beat here.
Davies has always been spectacular but there was an element of her trying too hard in Saturday's performance and the voice (although perfect) is something we've heard before. She will be likened to Adele no doubt in the weeks leading up the showdown at Christmas. However, she is one with a lot of training and support behind her whilst the group are growing and have much more of a chance of creating a huge fanbase akin to what One Direction did a number of years ago. They wear bright clothing with tennis shoes and socks and are not the typical boy band look. Even JLS had an element of the boyband about them. These guys are more like the Back Street Boys meet The Fugees. There has never been a group on the X Factor that has impressed so much early on with their vocals. Plenty have gone through the journey where they've been taught how to harmonise etc, but these lads need no teaching.
Their original songs have proven to be very popular and the real battle Rak-Su will have with Davies is when they start performing cover versions like the usual format on the show. Nevertheless the pre-show 9/2 last week has made way for 11/4 but I see it as one of the best each-way bets of the year, as there is absolutely no way I can see this group out of the top 3.
One more price I was suprised to see was LLOYD MACEY (Best price 25-1). Wales' only representative in the competition was given the privileged slot of singing last on Saturday night. He presented the La La Land theme tune 'City of Stars' in a classical way and for me was one of the best of the night. He is massively up against it with the two front runners but his performance was flawless as Scherzinger called him the perfect 'Crooner'. If he continues in that manner and doesn't stray too much from that style he could easily out-perform his odds.