Louis Walsh said on Irish radio that it would be a double elimination this week. We’ve heard that one before, but with each singer performing two numbers, the dynamic of the show is definitely changing as producers gear up for the final few weeks.
This is the first week for a while I will not be actively laying Wagner (betting he won’t be next eliminated) before the main show. If it is a double elimination, this indicates that producers could be prepared to lose their grip on either of their headline generators – Katie and Wagner.
Of course, the Saturday show will tell us more, but one of the rumoured song choices for Wagner is ‘Creep’ (But I’m a creep / I’m a weirdo / What the hell am I doin’ here? / I don’t belong here), which doesn’t bode well, playing up as it does the less attractive side of his tabloid persona.
For all we know, the producers will put him in the pimp slot and surround him with dancing girls again, but this is the first week of the live shows that I don’t have so much confidence in this possibility. I think producers will want to get Wagner out this week or next.
Another problem is that The Sun claimed he was in the Top 3 last week. (This is possible: other acts disappointed and the main talking point of the show was his post-performance apology to Cheryl.)
Unfortunately, such rumours affect his price, and Wagner is longer odds to be eliminated this week than he has been since Week 2. I was laying his elimination odds at a better price back in Week 3, when there was much more deadwood left in the competition. The value has gone.
Where the other tabloid favourite Katie goes from here is anyone’s guess, but having survived so many sing-offs, if it’s a double elimination, it also sees her in obvious peril. Producers did everything they could for her last week to keep her out of the bottom two. It will be more difficult to keep her out of the danger zone this time around.
Another strong candidate for the bottom three is Mary, who like Katie had a good week last time, doing what she does best, a pub singer’s impression of Shirley Bassey. Rock week is not going to play to her strengths so much. She is also rumoured to have another sore throat, and we will have to see how this plays out.
One thing I have done before Saturday’s show is lay Cher to be eliminated at 4.5 on Betfair. This means I don’t think she will be first to go this weekend. She seems like excellent sympathy bounce material to me (for more on this concept, read our original article), with a base of loyal fans who get complacent one week and fired up the next. She was done no favours last time with a poor draw and a song arrangement that didn’t play to her strengths.
One of her rumoured song choices this week, the Aerosmith/Run DMC mash-up ‘Walk This Way’, was covered by mentor Cheryl as part of Girls Aloud, and strikes me as an excellent choice. I think it’s remarkable that she was 20/1 last Sunday to be next eliminated even after an unflattering performance, yet is only 7/2 this time around.
I think Cher could easily leapfrog above Rebecca this week. The latter has been disappointing over the last two weeks when things should have been in her favour, she doesn’t have a sympathy bounce to help her, and this week’s theme seems unlikely to suit. I have had a little bit on her to be next eliminated at 50/1.
You might also consider the 12/1 available on the Liverpudlian in the double elimination market, but I think she is likely to be saved in any sing-off. Coming last will be a big shock given she has long been considered one of the main contenders, but 50/1 means I haven’t had to risk much for a nice return.
Matt and One Direction are the only two acts I would be genuinely shocked to see in the danger zone.