Among the many surprises of Saturday night’s running order, one was the appearance in the pimp slot at this early stage of the act now widely referred to as Wand Erection (could this become a subliminal play for the votes of Harry Potter fans? A suggestion for Brian Friedman: send them out in full wizarding regalia doing ‘It’s A Kind Of Magic’).
Last week I wrote that One Direction‘s pimp slot appearance, when it came, would allow producers (and us) to judge if they would fly. Unfortunately we still don’t know, as they once again hitched a ride on the wings of their backing vocalists. In the comments to last week’s post, Lynn astutely observed that if they are to win this thing, One Direction will have to show they can sing without help. She’s surely right. It’s getting embarrassing.
Then again, it’s hardly the boys’ fault if the sound technicians choose to turn down the volume on their mics and ramp up those of the hidden choir. So what’s going on here? I can think of three possibilities.
Possibility #1: The producers have concluded that One Direction can’t sing well enough. Hang on, though. We still haven’t heard too much of Niall, Louis or Zain, but we know from auditions that Liam and Harry have passable voices. And two decent vocalists plus three pretty woo-woo boys, if that’s what the deal is, would hardly be a mould-breaking departure for the boyband genre.
Possibility #2: The producers think it doesn’t matter. Maybe. One assumes that pubescent girls are this act’s core demographic, and perhaps they neither notice nor care if they’re being transported to multiple-voting ecstasy by the efforts of off-screen backing singers.
Possibility #3: It’s all part of the masterplan. Provoke a media fuss about their backing singers, then send them out a capella and proclaim them as the second coming if they’re not awful. (Or, knowing this show, even if they are).
Backers of One Direction will certainly be hoping that a masterplan is involved, because they drifted in the outright winner betting from 11/4 to 9/2 after their pimp slot performance. To drift after being pimped in the pimp slot is really not good. Just look at Cher, whose week 4 pimping saw her odds tumble to 11/2 amid misplaced hysteria about her being the “chosen one”.
Cher’s rendition of ‘Empire State Of Mind’ on Saturday was, to our ears, just as good as if not better than her performance of ‘Stay’. Which is to say, it was okay. But because she was up first and the judges didn’t wet themselves, she’s drifted right back out in the betting to 12/1, which I think is about where she should be.
Once again Matt did just fine. And once again we learned nothing about him that we didn’t already know, given he had already nailed that song at bootcamp. But it was enough to persuade punters to reverse his market slide of last week, and he’s back to favouritism again at a top-priced 8/5.
I predict, however, that he will be overtaken at the front of the betting as soon as Rebecca gets her turn in the pimp slot. She’s already notching up some serious compliments – she got the “ambassador for this country” line for the second week in a row, this time from Simon; at this rate they’ll be proposing her for UN Secretary-General by week 7.
Rebecca must be just about due her crack at the pimp slot now, though I am still expecting they might stick Wagner there as soon as they conclude he needs some help to avoid the bottom two.
The other obvious possibility for this week’s pimp slot is 20/1 fifth favourite Aiden, who redeemed himself from the Thriller debacle and, as our commenter Nick has observed, does seem to have a highly enthusiastic base.
I doubt the show would want to risk creating too much momentum behind Aiden, because I doubt they would find him acceptable as a winner – they have a poor track record so far with teen male soloists. But then, as we just saw with Cher, the show is perfectly capable of ramping up hysteria about an act one week and effectively dampening it down again the next.
Have your thoughts on the likeliest winner changed in the last few days? Do please let us know in the comments box below – and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for Daniel’s thoughts on the Wagner phenomenon.