The X Factor 2011: the judges’ decision versus the public vote

Just how often did Tulisa, Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Louis Walsh get it right?

And so there we go – after what seems like for ever, The X Factor 2011 is done. Little Mix are the champions and have the pleasure of releasing Damien Rice’s Cannonball into the Christmas number one race.

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They’re the first group to win The X Factor and were clearly popular with the public, beating Marcus Collins by five per cent of the vote when it came down to a head-to-head in the grand final. Indeed, Little Mix led the public vote since the semi-finals, sailing through the final four more than ten per cent ahead of their nearest rival.

Of course, the judges don’t get a say after the semi-finals – but in the earlier rounds, did they always get rid of the same contestant the public would have? Let’s see…

After 2 Shoes, Amelia Lily, James Michael and JonJo Kerr were unceremoniously dumped out of the show in week one, the public finally got their say seven days later when Frankie Cocozza and Nu Vibe were in the bottom two. On this occasion the judges ejected Nu Vibe – and that was the right decision, as they received around half the public vote Cocozza did.

However, things didn’t work out as well in week three, when the judges dumped Sami Brookes after the sing-off, despite Kitty Brucknell receiving the lowest vote.

The following week, Misha B survived at the expense of Sophie Habibis, despite receiving fewer votes…and when the judges were asked to decide between Kitty and Johnny, they saved Kitty, when the voter wanted to save Johnny.

The arrival of Amelia Lily back in the tournament saw her votes go through the roof for a week or so – but while she was riding high, the judges were still getting it wrong at the other end of the chart.

Misha B came bottom of the public vote in week six, yet Kitty got the boot. Thankfully, deadlock was allowed to save Amelia in week seven – but in week eight, when Janet Devlin went, it was Misha B who came bottom of the public poll.

Indeed, over seven votes, The X Factor judges only explicitly agreed with the public’s decision on one occasion and on one other could not reach a verdict. To put it another way – on five separate occasions, given a choice between saving two contestants, the judges failed to go with the public’s will.

So, should the judges have a say at all if they’re so out of tune with the public?

Allowing the people to decide their winner seems to work fine in the latter stages of the tournament – so why not make the whole of The X Factor a democratic process decided by the people? After all, it is they who have to listen to the winner’s single on every radio station for the next month.

The judges can still be part of the show as mentors, advisers, to give their opinion and influence the public, but surely it would be much fairer to the hard-working telephone voter – and the contestant who gets booted off when they weren’t bottom – if the final say was with the fans.

Here are the full voting numbers from 2011:

(eliminated contestant is in bold italics)

The final results

Little Mix: 48.3%

Marcus Collins: 42.8%

Amelia Lily (carried over from before the freeze): 8.9%


The final – vote freeze

Little Mix: 39.0%

Marcus Collins: 34.5%

Amelia Lily: 26.5%

The semi-final

Little Mix: 34.4%

Marcus Collins: 24.0%

Amelia Lily: 21.4%

Misha B: 20.2%

Week 8

Amelia Lily: 23.8%

Little Mix: 22.4%

Marcus Collins: 21.0%

Janet Devlin: 18.3%

Misha B: 14.5%

Week 7

Little Mix: 26.1%

Misha B: 22.5%

Janet Devlin: 14.8%

Marcus Collins: 14.4%

Amelia Lily: 11.3%

Craig Colton: 10.9% (deadlock)


Week 6

Amelia Lily: 27.4%

Janet Devlin: 17.4%

Little Mix: 15.3%

Marcus Collins: 12.9%

Craig Colton: 10.6%

Kitty Brucknell: 8.4%

Misha B: 8.0%

Week 6 vote-in:

Amelia Lily: 48.8%

James Michael: 26.7%

JonJo Kerr: 13.2%

2 Shoes: 11.3%

Week 5

Janet Devlin: 18.0%

Marcus Collins: 16.0%

Misha B: 12.2%

Little Mix: 11.9%

Craig Colton: 10.1%

Frankie Cocozza: 8.7%

Johnny Robinson: 8.3%

Kitty Brucknell: 7.6%

The Risk: 7.2%

Week 4

Janet Devlin: 14.7%

Little Mix: 13.7%

Craig Colton: 13.0%

Kitty Brucknell: 12.9%

Johnny Robinson: 12.2%

Marcus Collins: 10.1%

The Risk: 7.2%

Frankie Cocozza: 5.7%

Sophie Habibis: 5.4%

Misha B:  5.1%

Week 3

Janet Devlin: 17.2%

Johnny Robinson: 17.1%

Misha B: 11.8%

Marcus Collins: 11.2%

The Risk: 8.3%

Little Mix: 6.0%

Frankie Cocozza: 6.0%

Craig Colton: 6.0%

Sophie Habibis: 5.8%

Sami Brookes: 5.6%

Kitty Brucknell: 5.0%

Week 2

Janet Devlin: 23.6%

The Risk: 10.9%

Sophie Habibis: 8.9%

Little Mix: 8.7%

Misha B: 7.8%

Craig Colton: 6.9%

Marcus Collins: 6.8%

Johnny Robinson: 6.5%

Sami Brookes: 6.2%

Kitty Brucknell: 5.9%

Frankie Cocozza: 5.2%

Nu Vibe: 2.6%

Week 1

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The judges vote out 2 Shoes, Amelia Lily, James Michael and JonJo Kerr