Last night, X-Factor USA delivered one of the biggest shocks of the season. Thousands of X-Factor fans cried in their socks and ate a tub of ice cream while the elimination episode aired. The horrid CeCe Frey survived yet another elimination, while Paige Thomas and Vino Alan fell like dominoes at a kid’s birthday party. Paige, the survivor, was sent home with immediate effect – no surprise there – and the remarkable Diamond White and the extremely popular Vino Alan had to do the dreaded sing-off. The votes fell in Diamond’s favour – 3-1 (L.A. Reid voted Diamond, Britney Spears voted Vino, Demi Lovato voted Vino, and Simon Cowell voted Vino.)
Now, before you get your panties in a twist and blame the Illuminati, there’s a reason the controversial CeCe stayed in the competition. For some odd reason, polarizing contestants usually do well in reality television talent competitions. It happens almost every year on American Idol, and it’s happened time and time again on the UK version of X-Factor. We have been discussing the different reality television archetypes here on Celeb Dirty Laundry – the lover, the villain, the underdog, the superhero, the martyr, the victim, the sorry Susan, the manipulator, the drama queen – and we’ve discussed, at length, why certain contestants were voted off from certain reality television shows.
If we implement this theory of archetypes into X-Factor, one is already able to see which contestants fall under which categories. CeCe came into the competition as the villain, Paige as the underdog, Arin Ray as the lover, and so forth. CeCe’s Schadenfreude attitude – deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others – immediately cemented her as one of the most hated contestants in the history of the series. However, hate and love walk a thin line on reality television. A contestant, who is hated, can easily be turned into a contestant who is loved, adored, and rooted for. Case in point: CeCe. She might have polarized the audience at first, but she also played into their sympathy – one of the best strategies in any democratic voting show. Viewers who hate her, hate her more than life itself, but the polar opposite is also true – viewers who love her, love her more than life itself. This polarization creates a ripple effect that transcends the upper boundaries of X-Factor – now it’s not a talent competition anymore, but a strong narrative of hope, courage, and survival. This emotional shift in the home audience changed the core of the voting blocs, the narrative structure, and the empathic responses towards CeCe – and once the core of a reality television show is changed, there’s no turning back.
Paige, on the other hand, came into the competition as the underdog, but before long, her archetype faded and she became the martyr and the sorry Susan – two of the archetypes that should never cross anyone’s path when competing in a competition like this. The viewers became sick and tired of her inability to make up her mind, and stopped voting for her. She faded into obscurity shortly after Boot Camp, all due to CeCe’s uncontrollable and powerful personality. We knew Paige was a dead woman walking immediately after her first performance on the live shows. It was only a matter of time.
On the other side of the 8-ball, we have Vino and Diamond, two of the most popular contestants in the competition. Vino’s weekly struggle to deliver a worthwhile performance didn’t matter to the audience, as his popularity went far beyond that of his vocal ability and performance quality. However, Vino’s archetype – the superhero – only lasted for a very short while. (One is only a superhero as long as one wears the cape and the suit.) Unfortunately, Vino’s superhero outfit became lost in the tumble dryer when he delivered one of the most pointless performances in the history of the show. His elimination shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is. Diamond, the loveable kid with the dream of becoming a superstar, was not able to live up to her potential. She’s also never had a concrete archetype, and not having one will almost always cause viewers to stop investing in one’s story and one’s narrative.
It’s a very, very awkward situation with CeCe still in the mix, but viewers will eventually realize their mistake and stop voting for her. It is important to note that the most polarizing contestant in the show, never, ever wins the reality television talent competition. She might survive until the final four, or even the final three, but that is about how far she will go. It doesn’t matter if she turns into Uri Gellar and bends Simon Cowell; her fate has already been decided.
The public popularity poll had a significant change in positions, with Vino Alan having the biggest loss in position of a non-eliminated contestant, and CeCe Frey and Fifth Harmony having the biggest gain. There’s no popularity poll for the eliminated contestants, so we placed them in position of elimination.
8th place – Paige Thomas (6th place last week – two spots down in ranking) – ELIMINATED
7th place – Vino Alan (3rd place last week – four spots down in ranking) – ELIMINATED – BIGGEST LOSS
6th place – Diamond White (5th place last week – one spot down in ranking)
5th place – CeCe Frey (8th place last week – three spots up in ranking) – BIGGEST GAIN
4th place – Fifth Harmony (7th place last week – three spots up in ranking) – BIGGEST GAIN
3rd place – Emblem 3 (4th place last week – one spot up in ranking)
2nd place – Tate Stevens (Position unchanged)
1st place – Carly Rose Sonenclar (Position unchanged)