And so there we have it. Ben Haenow has won the X Factor – and without ever resorting to singing Crowded House’s (“Hey now, heeey now…”) classic Don’t Dream It’s Over. Perhaps he was saving it for the sing-off that never came?
Indeed, as the karaoke dust settles after a weekend of musical demolition at Wembley Arena and we pick through the remains of series 11 of the show, voting figures show us that Ben was always going to be the winner. The public loved the man and he came out top in every poll from week four onwards, eventually scooping a whopping 57% in the grand final on Sunday night and winning, well, whatever you win these days on X Factor.
But while Ben trades in his white van for something more befitting of a flash-in-the-pan popstar, spare a thought for those who felt a slightly sharper end of the X Factor stick this series – namely Lauren Platt and Stevi Ritchie.
You see, both of the aforementioned contestants were more popular with the public than Italian pug fan Andrea Faustini – but both were eliminated at his expense.
Rewind your mind to week seven when Faustini sang-off against the flamboyant Stevi Ritchie. The judges voted three to one to give Stevi the boot (only his mentor Simon Cowell voted for him), but the stats reveal that had this battle of the titans gone to the dreaded “Deadlock”, it would have been Andrea that would have gone home. Stevi garnered 14.7% of the public vote that week, while Andrea could only manage 13.2%.
What’s more, two weeks later Andrea did it again, this time singing off against Lauren Platt. All three judges besides her mentor Cheryl voted against Lauren, but voting stats clearly show that the 17-year-old was more popular with the public that week and beat Andrea 20.1% to 19.1% in the vote. If it’d gone to dastardly “Deadlock”, Lauren, not Andrea, would have competed against Ben and Fleur in the grand final.
So, what have we learned. Well, X Factor can be a cruel game to play, the public don’t always get what they want… and you can make a story out of statistics whatever the weather.
But in a year like 2014, none of this matters because Ben Haenow would have won anyway – now can someone please make him record that Crowded House song before he fades back into obscurity…