X Factor Betting

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Launched in 2004 on ITV, the X Factor replaced the highly successful show “Pop Idol” to become one of the most watched singing competitions on British television history. In 2010, the show reached some 19.7 million viewers, equivalent to a 63.2% share of the U.K. audience. Its title refers to that “indefinable something” that sets true stars apart from other talented individuals.

To be able to stand in the spotlight at the end of the season, the winner must pass through a gauntlet of challenges comprised of five stages in all. Prior to the live broadcasts, which run from August or September through December, aspiring singers are selected from public auditions. Stage 1 is the producers’ round to determine which of some 200,000 hopefuls get to perform in front of a panel of celebrity judges at Stage 2. Based on the judges’ decisions, a certain number of entrants are invited to participate in “Boot Camp”—the entertainment training that makes up Stage 3.

After more cuts, a select group of Stage 4 hopefuls gets to pay personal visits to the homes of the judges, who serve as mentors and weigh the pros and cons of each singer. Only after the best of the best have been selected do the final challengers get the opportunity to perform live for viewers’ votes, Stage 5, with one contestant eliminated each week until a final winner is selected. In the most recent edition, some 10 million votes were cast.

Now entering its seventh season, the X Factor franchise has grown to international proportions. It includes not only the original shown on ITV1 in the United Kingdom and TV3 in Ireland, but also a behind-the-scenes spinoff called “The Xtra Factor” on ITV2 and the new “X Factor America” offered by FOX Broadcasting in the United States. Shows copying the X Factor format have also sprung up in Colombia, Denmark, Greece, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

Leading the group of ITV judges is producer Simon Cowell. He is currently joined by Irish music manager Louis Walsh, English singer-dancer-model Cheryl Cole, and Australian singer/television personality Dannii Minogue. Broadcast rights are controlled by Cowell’s company SYCOtv with production assistance from FremantleMedia’s TalkbackThames.

The singer who is crowned the X Factor champion receives not only the title, but also a recording contract with Syco Music worth £1,000,000. The prize includes a cash payment for the winner as well as marketing and recording funds. Winners to date include Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry and Matt Cardle.

The timing of the X Factor allows for the winner to release a single going into the final weeks of the calendar year and have a shot at making it to #1 on U.K.’s Christmas chart—a feat accomplished five times since 2005. Two other winners managed to make it to #1 for New Year’s. Going in to 2011, no fewer than seventeen #1 singles had been released by artists appearing on the show.

Between seasons, there is often betting interest in whether there will be a change in the show’s judges. Quite recently, bookmakers were offering odds on who would be Next Permanent Xtra Factor Presenter and the early favourites were Georgie Thompson at 9/4, Laura Hamilton at 5/2, and Jeff Brazier at 11/4. Also at the top of the shortlist were Stacey Solomon fetching 4/1 and Glenda Gilson at 7/1, with more than a dozen other celebs featured at longer odds.

More traditional markets available for the X Factor itself include Outright Winner, Gender of Winner, Top Man, Top Woman, Top 3 Finish, Lowest Score This Week, Bottom Two This Week, Highest Score This Week, and Next Elimination, to name a few. Not all bookmakers carry all of these options and prices can vary greatly from one to the next, so it is definitely advisable to shop around. Betting exchanges, such as betfair, will revise their odds frequently, too, so it can pay to look in often to obtain the best odds.

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