Predicting the winner of X Factor 2013 using social media

It’s that time of year again – it’s the X Factor 2013 final this weekend! As we have done so …

Published by 

Alexis Pratsides


Case study featured image for

It’s that time of year again – it’s the X Factor 2013 final this weekend! As we have done so in the past for both the Eurovision Song Contest and Britain’s Got Talent, join this digital agency as we look at whether you can predict the winner of the X Factor through social media.

We’ve reached the culmination of months of singing, dancing and fabulouses from Mrs O. By Sunday evening we’ll have a new X Factor winner who will join the pantheon of X Factor legends that includes Leona Lewis, Little Mix and Steve Brookstein.

Who will win the X Factor 2013?

Who will win the X Factor 2013?

The finalists

In the final we have Sam Bailey – the mum of two and prison officer from Leicestershire. She has been the only Over 25 since week 3 after both Lorna Simpson and Shelley Smith were voted off in the first two weeks. Sharon Osbourne seems to have picked a winner though!

Nicholas McDonald, the youngest contestant left in the competition has been lauded by many as having a voice far beyond his years. Hailing from Wishaw in Scotland, he has been consistently praised and has, like Sam Bailey, never been in the bottom two.

Luke Friend rounds out the finalists this year. The 17-year-old busker from Devon has had a rockier road to the final – appearing in the sing-off in three out of the last four weeks. However, his popularity has been growing and Luke is often praised as being an artist.

Predicting the winner of the X Factor 2013

Has Sam won the nation’s heart? Does Nicholas have an advantage thanks to a strong Scottish backing? Or will Luke be the surprise win on the night?

As we have done in previous predictions, we have used various social metrics to analyse the likely winner of the X Factor 2013. We have continued to refine this algorithm over time and we are using the latest version for this prediction.

We have looked at the following social metrics:

  • Twitter engagement
  • Twitter growth
  • Twitter popularity
  • YouTube growth
  • YouTube popularity
  • Facebook popularity
  • Popularity on the Internet (via various channels)

By combining various metrics and weighting them differently, we are able to predict the winner. Hold on to your hats and keep on reading to learn who we predict will win the X Factor 2013.

The analysis

Predicting the winner of the X Factor 2013 using social media - Weekly YouTube popularity

Sam has been more popular than both Luke and Nicholas in 6 of the 9 weeks. Nicholas has been most popular twice and Luke only once (in Week 8 where we have combined the two performances).

In the race for runner-up – Nicholas narrowly beats Luke, being more popular than Luke in 5 of the 9 weeks.

Interesting facts and figures

  • Sam Bailey’s most popular performance – her take on The Power of Love in Week 1 is 80% more popular than Luke’s two performances combined in Week 8
  • It is also 132% more popular than Nicholas’s best performance in Week 6

Predicting the winner of the X Factor 2013 using social media - Weekly YouTube likes

This is a lot more evenly spread – Sam is still a clear favourite (winning the most likes in 5 of the 9 weeks) but she has also received the least likes out of the three finalists twice.

Luke performs most consistently and comes second five times, first twice and last twice. Nicholas garners the least number of likes and has been the least liked finalist for five times – perhaps most significantly three of those coming in the last three weeks of the competition.

Most popular performance each week

Week 1 Sam Bailey The Power of Love 1,377,159 views
Week 2 Tamera Foster Beneath Your Beautiful 886,333 views
Week 3 Tamera Foster Listen 1,319,996 views
Week 4 Sam Bailey No More Tears (Enough is Enough) 685,908 views
Week 5 Sam Bailey New York, New York 526,240 views
Week 6 Nicholas McDonald Someone Like You 593,712 views
Week 7 Tamera Foster Impossible 681,035 views
Week 8 Sam Bailey Clown 513,177 views
Week 9 Sam Bailey If I Were a Boy 365,000 views

Sam has had the most popular performance for five weeks – two of those coming in Weeks 8 and 9. Is this an insurmountable run-up to the final?

Nicholas also features with his Week 6 performance of Someone Like You being that week’s biggest performance.

Interesting facts and figures

  • Luke has never had the single most popular performance. Although his performances in Week 9, when combined, total more than Sam’s performances that week
  • Tamera is the only contestant, along with Sam, to have a performance with over 1 million views
  • Tamera’s performance of Listen is the second most popular live performance after Sam’s The Power of Love

Predicting the winner of the X Factor 2013 using social media - Total YouTube views

Sam’s total views completely dwarf Nicholas and Luke’s – in fact, at the time of writing she almost has more than both of them combined.

Sam has 93% more total views than Luke and 98% more views than Nicholas.

Interesting facts and figures

  • Sam’s average number of views is 712,236
  • Luke’s average number of views is 369,371
  • Nicholas’s average number of views is 360,258

Additional metrics

In addition to the items above, we also looked at the following factors.

Twitter growth

Luke has the most Twitter followers of any contestant

Luke has the most Twitter followers of any contestant

Luke has had the highest Twitter growth rate compared to the other two finalists. Luke has grown his follower numbers by 661%. Sam fairs fairly well with a 525% growth while Nicholas has only managed a 371% growth.

Nicholas started with the third highest number of followers at the start of the competition (57,624) but his total number of followers has since been eclipsed by Luke who now has over 20,000 more followers than Nicholas.

Indeed, Luke has the most followers with Nicholas second and Sam Callahan coming third with 240,764.

Sing-off appearances

Historically, the winner has never entered the bottom two. Last year’s winner set a precedent of being the only winner ever to sing for survival in the show’s 10 seasons.

This favours Nicholas and Sam who have never appeared in the bottom two. Luke has had to sing for survival three times – critically two of these appearances have been the last two weeks.

In spite of Luke’s social media impact, perhaps he is not resonating strongly with the overall audience of the X Factor.


Sam Bailey has set a record being the first Over 25s woman to reach the final – a feat worth applauding in and of itself! Furthermore, there hasn’t been an Over 25s winner since series 1 with Steve Brookstein (Olly Murs was runner up in 2009).

Historically the X Factor public has favoured the Boys category with 70% of the finals featuring at least one contestant in the Boys category as the winner of the runner up (I’m making the distinction here even when the 16-24s category used to be mixed).

There have been two finals when both the winner and the runner up have been from the Boys category (Leon Jackson vs. Rhydian Roberts in 2007 and James Arthur vs. Jahmene Douglas last year). Could Sam Bailey be eliminated to make a repeat of last year’s final?

This puts Sam at a historical disadvantage and favours both Nicholas and Luke. However, the X Factor isn’t without surprises. Little Mix became not only the first group to win the show but also the first girl band to ever make it beyond week 7!


Will Nicholas become the second Scottish winner?

Will Nicholas become the second Scottish winner?

A strong regional backing can help secure enough early votes to see a contestant through several rounds of the competition. There have been three winners from London and three runners up from Liverpool.

There has never been a finalist from the South West of England before so Luke has set a precedent here. Could the Devonshire vote be enough to make Luke the first South West winner of the X Factor?

Our predicted winner of the X Factor 2013: Sam Bailey

After analysing a number of different metrics and weighting them accordingly, we have our winner!

Our predicted winner is Sam Bailey!

Sam Bailey Category – Over 25s Judge – Sharon Osbourne 264 points
Nicholas McDonald Category – Boys Judge – Louis Walsh 191 points
Luke Friend Category – Boys Judge – Louis Walsh 169 points

Sam Bailey is our predicted winner!

Sam Bailey is our predicted winner

According to our analysis, Sam Bailey will be the outright favourite to be crowned the new X Factor winner. Sam is also currently the bookies’ favourite; and just like our prediction, Nicholas is the bookies’ favourite to be runner up.

Of course, anything could happen on the night so it is impossible to 100% and as it’s a live show, anything could happen!

So, what do you think? Who do you think will be the winner – let us know in the comments or tweet me your predictions at @seocolin!

Created by

Alexis Pratsides

Published at 

More insights from the team