Did Gary Barlow reflect or influence the opinion of the viewing public this week when he commented that he was starting to find Janet Devlin boring? More than likely, it would be a mixture of the two. Either way, it didn’t carry enough weight to impact on the phone voting in Week 6, as Janet was safe for another week.
What is interesting when we look at the social media figures for Janet is that her growth in fans on her official channels is starting to slow down, whilst other contestants speed up. Week 6 is Janet’s worst as far as traction across social media goes, and for the first time, another contestant has overtaken her with the sheer number of Twitter followers (at the end of Sunday’s show, Marcus had 230,767 followers and Janet 224,750).
So, are people becoming disenchanted with the 17 year-old Irish girl? Did she peak too soon? Janet certainly started the live shows as one of, if not the, favourite to win. She gained a large social audience thanks to her significant media coverage during the audition stages (compared to everyone else remaining in the competition). When added to her online audience thanks to her popularity as a YouTube vlogger / singer prior to the show, it gave her a bigger initial audience from which to grow and progress through the competition than others. She also appears to have more emails sent about her via ITV’s email marketing (in which viewers need to sign up before being able to view the programme live on ITV’s website), as well as her performances being featured as the landing video on the programme’s YouTube channel more often than her peers.
Here’s a bonus graph this week, which shows the number of fans and followers each of the remaining contestants have increased by during the live shows for the last six weeks:
During Week 3, Misha B’s social channels were the only ones to grow at a faster rate than they did during Week 2. Everyone else had significantly less new fans and followers that week than they did the previous week, which would most likely be reflected in the viewing figures.
From Week 3 onwards, after the allegations of bullying from Tulisa and Louis, Misha B’s numbers have continued not to grow significantly week on week, whilst other contestants have. This weekend during the live shows she grew by less than 5,000 across Facebook and Twitter, down approximately 6,000 on the week before.
From watching Misha B after her performances and during The Xtra Factor, she appears slightly uncomfortable with somewhat predictable replies to questions that appear rehearsed. Perhaps she is thinking too much about how she is coming across in an effort to appear warm, friendly and as far from a bully as possible? The problem with this is, it could have the opposite effect and come across as awkward, which could be distancing her further from voters. So, is Misha B suffering from the aftermath of bullying allegations or is she sabotaging herself by over compensating? She has spoken in the media this week about being misunderstood as a result of the comments from Tulisa and Louis. The week after the comments were made (in Week 3 – her most ‘socially popular’ week), she found herself in the bottom two and the viewers stopped flocking to her Facebook and Twitter in the same numbers since then.
On the flip side, Marcus (who prior to Amelia Lily coming back was the latest contestant backed as favourite to win by the bookies) has continued to grow week on week (after week 3, where all except Misha B took a nose dive). From a social perspective, he is certainly racing ahead and during the entire week (rather than just over this weekend) his Twitter followers grew by more than 66,000 (more than three times that of Janet and six times that of Misha B). Craig too is steadily increasing each week, and as of the last two weeks Little Mix have been gaining momentum also.
With the comeback of week 1 exit Amelia Lily (who received a whopping 48% of the public vote), it will have certainly ruffled a few feathers amongst existing contestants and most likely those who had previously been booted off. Amelia Lily has consistently maintained a healthy social media audience, despite leaving after the first live show, she has had more fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter than approximately half of the contestants that remained in longer than her. She also did a lot of gigs and appearances during her time away from the show, which will have helped.
She must certainly be seen as a threat by the other five contestants despite having been seen by the public for four less weekends on a trot; Britain does love an underdog after all.
What we can see looking back over the last six weeks, is that the week a contestant leaves the show there is a spike in the number of fans and followers across Facebook and Twitter. This can be attributed to viewers wanting to continue to follow their journey, with social media a great way to do this. We experienced that with Kitty this week, with her fans and followers increasing during the live shows by 4,804 as opposed to 3,301 in Week 5. If her mentor Louis Walsh was active in social media as the other judges are, could Kitty have benefited even slightly?
This is also evident when looking at how former contestants have grown across social media since leaving the show. The re-introduction of 2 Shoes, James Michael and Jonjo Kerr saw them back on the public’s radar throughout the week and this was reflected in the big spike of their social audience. Those that left during Week 5 also continued to grow, with The Risk picking up more than 36,000 fans during the week and Johnny increased his online following by almost 24%.
Those former contestants who not only didn’t get the chance to re-join the show, but were left off The X Factor tour list, only grew by modest amounts, demonstrating that it really is a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Week 5: The X Factor: Social media and the live shows infographic
Week 4: The X Factor: Social media and the live shows infographic
Week 3: The X Factor: Social media and the live shows infographic
Week 2: The X Factor: Social media and the live shows infographic
Week 1: The X Factor: Social media and the live shows infographic
Rachel Hawkes, is an account director at communications consultancy Elemental @elementalcomms.