Will X Factor’s new flash vote help them win the Saturday night ratings war?



The new addition has proved controversial.

By SWLondoner staff

So we’re all familiar with the new ‘flash vote’ the X Factor’s producers have factored into their flagging prime-time pop singing contest right?

For those of you who are not, the new format essentially means that voting lines are opened not once, but twice a week, first in a Saturday night flash vote lasting for under ten minutes from the conclusion of live performances, with the act with the fewest votes doomed to Sunday night sing-off peril.

Additionally, the singer or group who receives the fewest votes in the ‘proper’ vote, which runs deep into the Sunday night results show. So basically, we get to see a bunch of fragile young people faces crumpled with anxiety twice as often as before, and really, isn’t that what we’re all watching for after all?

Flash of gold or flash in the pan?

The inclusion of Saturday night flash votes in this season of The X Factor has undeniably given us something extra to talk about, but does it actually work?

It certainly hasn’t done enough to boost the show back above the Beeb’s Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings war, so if the producers intended to change the show’s fortunes through short-term shake-up over long-term improvement, it hasn’t really worked out. The question is then, will the flash vote serve to improve the quality of the show in the long run?

It certainly offers us an extra dose of drama, another anxious, ludicrously drawn-out wait to find out whether our personal favourites will make the cut. If more protracted countdowns to elimination or salvation are really what the public want, then the flash vote will surely prove a roaring success.

It is also likely to yield more instinctive votes from on-the-fence voters, which can be viewed as either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether you believe it will yield ‘truer’ judgements, or more ill-founded verdicts. On the strength of the mismatched and melody-massacring Miss Dynamix’s flash vote failure and ensuing voting-off, the system works a treat.

How will this affect the odds?

The new system of flash votes could certainly affect the odds on The X Factor’s eventual winner and even acts reaching the x-factor semi finals and final – with the impact of the new rules yet to be determined and analysed, bookmakers will be cautious in making any changes to the odds offered.

But it’s likely we will see shorter real time odds for contestants pulling surprisingly good performances out of the bag and longer odds for those experiencing an off night, with voters no longer having as long to experience a change of heart based on previous form or character.

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Photo courtesy of Mary Hutchison, with thanks.

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