The Ghost of Simon Cowell

X Factor was won this year by Bangor’s very own Craig Smith (going under the pseudonym James Arthur). Every year, ITV releases the voting figures for each round after the final, and they’re always worth a peek. It’s interesting how public opinion changes week on week, more so when you actually know who the people are. The first graph shows the positions of the contestants week on week, the second the percentage of the vote they received.


It’s interesting enough that Christopher (who by all accounts, wasn’t a particularly strong act) was first for so long, and the eventual winner was lost amongst the pack. What is more astonishing, is the extent to which he was ahead :


In the first week, he got a whopping 26% of the vote, double that of consistently-second Jahmene. Understanding any electorate is a dark art at best, so why this is is a matter of conjecture (I do not personally know anyone who voted, so I can’t shed any light on it). It could be that the audience was genuinely entertained by him, or that there was some conspiracy to ruin the show. But, to be honest, if you’re going to pay to do that, more fool you.

James didn’t emerge as a contender until week 8, which must have been some performance (which I sadly missed). Although, there was a possible reaction to the fact he was in the bottom two the previous week.

It’s worth noting the first few weeks are generally not an indicator of future success. The audience is explicitly told that they are voting for whom they want to save (as opposed to who they want to win), so middling acts (who might be in more doubt as to whether or not they will be saved) could have an inflated vote, though this assumes a lot about the voting audience.

It would be interesting to see how many people actually voted (as opposed to just the proportions), but I suspect ITV is covering up the fact it’s losing viewers to Strictly, which sadly, does not release its voting figures. Which is probably for the best.

Figures come from Wikipedia, whose figures come from here.

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