It took three weeks of poor draws, bad styling and dodgy song arrangements to kill off John Adeleye. Paije Richardson might know just how he feels by Sunday evening.
The wildcard garnered praise from Simon Cowell in Week 1, but has been given terrible draws for both weeks since – third in Week 2 and first in Week 3. You might therefore figure he’d be due a good placement this time. So was John last week, but it didn’t happen.
If tonight’s show sees yet another poor draw for Paije, that would suggest to me that producers are tightening their grip on the noose, and it would see me looking to top up the speculative bets I have already had on Paije this week at higher odds than his current best price of 9/2.
A late draw would damage my hypothesis that the show’s knives are out for Paije, but even then I think his inability to control his breathing and thus sustain notes in a normal-paced song may still prove his undoing.
So why do I surmise that the producers will be looking to get Paije turned over? My reasoning goes by process of elimination, so to speak.
Katie Waissel and Wagner are the two acts the producers have been doing their best to keep safe so far. Wagner has been up 14th out of 16, 10th of 14 and 11th of 12. Katie was up 10th out of 16 (and in the bottom three) in week one, followed by 11th of 14 and 12th of 12. Last week they were given not only the last two slots but also the only two fun performances of a night longer on angst than on the advertised theme of guilty pleasure.
It would surely be too blatant even for this show to give them the two last slots again, and last week’s late decision to change the rules from a double to single elimination does suggest that one or both were considered likely to be hovering close to the danger zone.
However, it would also be a major surprise if the producers’ desire to keep these two headline-generating acts in the competition has lessened since last week, so I think they would be looking to save either of them if they appear in a sing-off.
Belle Amie are again strong favourites again for the chop. They will be coming down off the post-sing-off sympathy bounce which last week enabled them to survive despite another weak performance.
A rebound back to the danger zone seems highly possible, but I’m not taking odds of 7/4. The producers last week made a clear effort to keep them in with an excellent draw and some judge controversy to play up their sympathy vote, which suggests to me that they value the intra-group bickering of four pretty girls as useful tabloid fodder.
I think a Paije / Belle Amie sing-off would more likely see the girls rescued once again, with Louis and possibly Cheryl adding to Simon’s vote.
Treyc meanwhile is in line for the sympathy bounce this week. I’m not sure producers will do much to maximise this, as they did with Belle Amie, but her above-average vocal abilities and recovery from a sore throat should be enough to spare her the bottom two.
Two last thoughts. We’re now at a stage of the live shows where performing first is not necessarily a sign of producer disfavour (last year three strong acts – Lucie Jones, Olly Murs and Joe McElderry – opened the shows with eleven, ten and nine acts respectively). It wasn’t only Paije and John being on first last week which showed they were being offered up as sacrificial lambs, but also the fact that they were then followed by four big-hitting acts in a row, to dislodge them from viewers’ memories.
We’re also getting to a stage of the competition where it’s worth a quick glance beyond these five market leaders, and reader Allan suggested in the comments on Monday’s post that Aiden might struggle to survive another mediocre showing – though I’m not tempted at 25/1, especially with a promising-looking rumoured song choice of Thriller.
Mary had a bad week last week but her core vote should see her safe, as should Cher’s, and it would be a major shock to see any of the holy trinity of Rebecca, Matt or One Direction in trouble.
As last week, I will write my post-performance thoughts in a Sunday update. Who’s your money on?