X Factor & Strictly Come Dancing 2017

It’s that time of year again, where I spend Saturday nights investing my time and hard earned money into TV shows probably not aimed at me.

It’s been a good few years in terms of X Factor outright betting. In 2014 I eventually managed to find Ben, 2015 saw me ride the Louisa train to 1.01 and Matt eventually became a backable price in the final week/show of 2016.

X Factor 2017

X Factor is a brand and the most important thing for the show is to maintain and progress ‘the brand’. The X Factor and Syco already have Louisa Johnson and Little Mix on the books. It doesn’t seem likely that the Plan A will be to find somebody to compete with them. They’ve had so many male winners of the show that have ‘failed’, I would suggest they want to avoid another male solo artist. It’s worth noting that James Arthur was resigned by Syco in a joint deal with Columbia last year.

Looking at the above and the music industry as a whole, there’s a massive gap in the market for a boy(man)band with JLS and One Direction both dispersed. In this space the Syco roster has;

  • Colllabro (Musical theater group, 2014 Britains Got Talent winners)
  • Il Divo (Popera nonsense)
  • CNCO (Latin pop band)
  • 5 After Midnight (X Factor 3rd 2016)
  • Pretty Much (A new One Direction type band, that Simon is trying to push)

With the exception of 5AM, who haven’t been tested yet, none of those bands fit into the manband category. No group has won since 2011 and it does feel like it’s about time we had another. In the last few years the producers have been able to push groups to the final using backing tracks. Reggie ‘n’ Bollie finished 2nd and 5AM would probably have won if the producers had given them better staging and preferential treatment in the final. I’m expecting more of the same this year.

The Judges

The categories that each judge has is also very telling of potential intentions;

  • Boys – Louie Walsh
  • Girls – Sharon Osbourne
  • Overs – Nicole Scherzinger
  • Groups – Simon Cowell

If you don’t want a category to win then you give them to Louie Walsh, his solitary win was with Shayne Ward back in 2005 (Season Two). Sharon Osbourne isn’t a particularly good mentor, as she’s usually drunk/high which takes the emphasis away from her contestants. She has won the show once, however that was due to Sam Bailey having no actual competition. Nicole is always going to be a strong judge, she sealed it for Matt last year with their Purple Rain duet . The producers will need to keep a lid on her contestants, but we’ve seen over and over again that they’re more than capable of de-ramping. It also makes sense that they wouldn’t want her winning two years in a row, or having another unmarketable over win.

The Bet

By a process of elimination and with a solid theory to my madness I think that Simon and the Groups should be favourites to win this show. The odds range from 4.00 (3/1) to 4.50 (7/2) suggesting he’s the outsider, therefore backing Groups Winning Category at 4.50 with Ladbrokes or Coral is decent bet.

Taking it one step further I think we know that the six to make it past Six Chair Challenge are;

  • Lemonade (Girlband)
  • Girldband made up of soloist rejects
  • The CutKelvins (One girl & two boys, family)
  • Jack and Joel
  • Sean and Conor Price
  • Rak-Su (Boy(man)band)

Who makes the live shows?

With only three from each category going through, both girlbands won’t make it. The same principle works for the two-piece groups. I would be surprised if either of the two-pieces make it through. Sean and Conor are 15 and 17, from Ireland, I’d assume they can’t spend that amount of time away from school.

The CutKelvins

The CutKelvins are an interesting act, they’re from Scotland so should have a strong regional vote and already have a decent online presence. They also tick the mixed raced box, which is a big positive in reality TV talent contests. Below is one of their videos from YouTube. They look and sound like they’ll make it to the live shows and they should go far, at this stage I would see them as the beta group.

Rak-Su… Plan A?

The only boyband in the groups category is Rak-Su. They’ve already been getting mentions in the press and will have their audition shown in Saturday nights opening show. That’s always a bonus as it increases the time the public get to know them. It would also be telling if they get given the pimp (last) slot.

Above is their audition, posted by the official X Factor YouTube page. They look like they have the tools to win. The X Factor audience is made up of over 30s and bettors, most of who remember bands similar to Boys II Men, NSYNC and other artists such as Craig David, who can still pull in a huge crowd judging by Ascot the other week. There’s a gap in the market for this act and I’m certain they’ll be in the live shows. At this early stage I have them as the alpha group. I can envisage a scenario whereby Rak-Su are in there on the final Saturday and introduce Craig David as the act they’ll sing with, a classic like Seven Days with golden staging is what may seal the deal.

Simon appears to have a very strong hand with The Groups and I’ll be slightly amazed if he doesn’t have at least one running for him in The Grand Final. If ‘the brand’ want a group to win the show then they will.

Strictly Come Dancing

This isn’t a show I usually bet on, I’ve only played it once when backing Louis Smith outright in 2012. He ticked the boxes I look  for when starting to look for Reality TV Talent Show bets. Being mixed raced, could likely dance and in that year (2012), he was an Olympian I parted with some cash. He duly romped home and paid for Christmas.

The show hasn’t interested me until former JLS member Aston Merrygold was announced this year. He ticks the boxes for me;

  • Mixed raced
  • Has a fanbase already
  • Can dance

The reason that I keep bringing up the mixed raced aspect of the betting is that compared to the percentage of the population they outperform the odds in these type of event. The list contains the likes of Leona Lewis, Jahméne Douglas, Marcus Collins, Rebecca Ferguson, Louis Smith, Chelsee Healey, Alesha Dixon and many more.


Looking at the other contestants in this years show I don’t see too many dangers. Mollie King can dance, but it’s unlikely she’ll actually be popular with the public. She’s very posh, and has already been receiving negative press about having previous dancing experience, something which isn’t really surfacing for Aston.

Debbie McGee is dislike by many of a certain vintage, this interview didn’t help.

Now that Paul Daniels is no longer with us, her appearance in this show may be seen as ‘needs the money’, which despite everybody needing to earn is seen as a negative by most of society.

The most interesting contestant for me is Jonnie Peacock. He’s a  single legged Paralympian and gold medalist. There are lots of things that Paralympians can do, like murder girlfriends, so there’s no reason to believe he can’t dance. Unfortunately for him however the BBC has shown no interest for disabled sports recently, leaving that to Channel 4. So he’s already not as well know as some of his competitors, it’s also not an Olympic year and therefore it’s difficult to celebrate his achievements without it looking like they’re being favourable. The judges will be ‘instructed or feel compelled’ to over mark him, but when it comes to the public vote I don’t see them being so kind. I seem him making third at best. If this was X Factor then it wouldn’t surprise me if they made him dance to Jake The Peg, by Rolf Harris.

Alexandra Burke is prominent in the betting, however she needed Beyonce to beat JLS and Aston in X Factor. She won’t be afforded the same help here.

The Bet

Aston looks a safe bet to me and I’d have him priced up at nearer the 3.00 (2/1) mark than the 4.00 (3/1) which is generally available now.

The Best Bet?

I always like to try and pay for Christmas using the reality TV season. So along with the two singles above, my biggest bet so far is actually the double. I make the double between a 9.00 – 10.00 (8/1 – 10/1) chance.


Final thing, make sure you head over to Sofabet where there always excellent insight and comments.

EDIT 3/9/2017:

The first show was last night Rak-Su performed first. They were given a whole segment to themselves and there was post-audition audio work done on their performance. One of them works for the NHS, which is the closest thing The UK has to a religion. They were also compared with Little Mix via this comment from Simon;

“We haven’t had a good group [..] since Little Mix [..] It could be you”

I’m even more convinced that they’ll be sailing through to the live shows and at this early stage they look the obvious Plan A.

BACK RAK-SU TO WIN X FACTOR at 15.00 (Bet365, William Hill)

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