Talk of X Factor is pretty unavoidable these days, especially as we near the final show of this year's competition. Whether you're into the programme yourself, or you just get roped into watching it because of your other half, you'll no-doubt have an opinion as to who you think should win - or shouldn't win - depending on your opinion of the show.
Over the last couple of years, X Factor has attracted a great deal of attention, even from those who refuse to watch the TV show. Last year, many looked to make a mockery of the show by continually voting to keep Jedward in the competition, and then, once Joe McElderry had been announced as the winner, those people again looked to derail the X Factor winner's Christmas single by choosing to buy the Rage Against The Machine single, 'Killing In The Name' instead. This predominantly web-based campaign resulted in Rage Against The Machine being crowned as Christmas Number 1, much to the annoyance of Simon Cowell. Mission accomplished.
Having seen the affect the web can have on the 'talent contest' last year, it was unlikely that the show this year would go without hiccup. For weeks, Wagner had been kept in the show despite his lack of singing ability, and there's no doubt that this was largely as a result of a campaign similar to the one we saw last year.
What has been particularly interesting this year however, is the role Twitter has played throughout.
Twitter answers the question
Many of the contestants this year have their own Twitter accounts, and at various points throughout the series, Twitter has been 'responsible' for leaking 'the bottom two', before the show itself revealed the news. One contestant even told of how his friend had text him to let him know that he should prepare himself to be in the 'sing off'. It's not difficult to see that a lot can be learnt from social media, particularly in an environment which is built upon public opinion - which has obviously led to a few companies specialising in reading/collecting data from these channels in order to predict results and describe trends.
It's interesting that, with a week to go, Brandwatch is claiming that it can predict who is about to leave X Factor, before the result is announced live on television, based on what information it's systems collect by trawling through Facebook and Twitter posts. During the week in which Wagner Carrilho and Katie Waissel left the competition (28th November), Brandwatch ranked both contestants at the bottom of their popularity table, and put boyband One Direction at the top of the pile - by some distance. So, before you go out and put a cheeky bet on the bookmakers favourite (Matt Cardle) to win the competition, you might be better off logging on to Twitter to find out what the general feeling towards each contestant is.