Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Is Wagner vote about hurting X Factor?

There's usually a well-worn trajectory for acts like Wagner in The X Factor. Entertainment value, then out by week four. It's the Ann Widdecombe scenario. Everybody gets a good laugh, then gets rid of them.

Except, both shows currently have a problem: halfway through the run, Widders and Wagner are going strong. They're protected, of course, by the public vote. So long as they stay out of the bottom two, the judges can't get rid of them.

It's not that surprising that "plucky" Widdecombe is picking up a big vote from the older audience that Strictly pulls in, but Wagner's a more interesting proposition.

No matter about viewing figures, X Factor has not been having a good run. Something has soured and it's been engulfed by nasty controversies. The most persistent allegations are that judges save unpopular contestants, rather than the best singers, to ratchet up tension. It just feels wrong. Now, the dumping of talented Paige is another blow - as well as bewildering. Louis Walsh saved Cher despite repeatedly crowing that she'd no "likeability" factor.

One way the public can protest is by voting to keep people out of the bottom two... just as last year punters could back the Rage Against The Machine campaign which stopped winner Joe McElderry clinching the festive number one spot.

At the weekend, Wagner, against all odds - and against a campaign of ridicule from the judges' - avoided the bottom two again. The public vote is keeping him alive. And this in a week when he dissed the nation's sweetheart herself.

Could it be that the viral tidal wave of which put RATM at number one, has been cleverly directed this year through the orthodox voting channels of the show itself?

Let's hope so. If not, why not?

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