For the last two weekends, this website was the top Google search result for the phrase “vote Wagner campaign” (it took them to our page explaining why the “vote Wagner” campaigners were, from the show’s perspective, useful idiots). A week ago, 116 visitors found us through this search – this weekend, it was only 25.
It was one indication of how effectively the producers had executed their master plan to make the “fun” act not so much fun any more, expertly dampening the enthusiasm of his fans. We speculated earlier in the week how they might try to get Wagner out, and they exceeded our expectations with some even more ingenious strategies, as we touched on in yesterday’s article. It was textbook manipulation and deserves a more in-depth review, which we will do later in the week.
I am breathing a big sigh of relief tonight. Having convinced myself that Wagner couldn’t win, I had amassed £28,000 of liability by laying Wagner on Betfair in the outright winner market, for a return of just under 10%. With that level of exposure I decided not to go in for more long-odds-on punting on Wagner to be eliminated during the sing-off (he traded at around 1.1 on Betfair), and in retrospect I am kicking myself. It just goes to show you should take every opportunity presented.
The script for the sing-off seemed obvious as it unfolded – ‘Unforgettable’ was a perfect swansong for the hugely entertaining Brazilian. But why did Simon feel the need to be so classlessly smug about the failure of the “vote Wagner” campaign in his closing comments? Wagner has served the show well, and it left a sour taste.
The second part of the show’s master plan failed, however. Producers did their absolute utmost to keep Katie in for one more week, but the public were clearly not having any of it. Katie left with a grace that equalled Wagner’s and eluded Simon.
So, the show loses its two headline-grabbers, just before the semi-final stage. Producers have turned the show from tabloid fodder to ‘credible’ singing contest just in time, and it’s all set up now for a fascinating final two weeks for punters.
Mary will be in line for a sympathy bounce (although, as Lee pointed out in the comments yesterday, can the Irish economy afford the phone votes any more?) But she will have to overcome what is most likely to be another double elimination.
The other big story for punters was Abigail88, the source of the infamous “Twitter vote leak” which Aiden mentioned live on air in week 6, and who we interviewed last Friday. She posted on the Digital Spy Forum that Katie was bottom, followed by Mary and then One Direction with Wagner above them. Later in the afternoon, her Twitter page suggested that Katie and Mary were the bottom two, with Matt, Rebecca and Cher “most likely safe”.
Anyone who frequents the Digital Spy forums will be aware that Abigail88 divides opinion, with plenty of posters there vociferously suggesting she is just getting lucky. Frankly, we have no idea what to believe, and we certainly don’t advise taking it all too seriously.
I will say that it wasn’t the most obvious call that Cher would be safe, at a time when – as Mark commented – the betting market was indicating the 17-year-old was in grave danger. She dropped to second favourite to go first during the early part of the results show, and Nick’s always-informative comment pointed out she had evoked an extremely negative reaction on Twitter on Saturday night.
But as we know from Wagner’s continued survival up to this week, it isn’t about how many people dislike you, it’s about how many people vote for you. Once again we saw the power of the sympathy bounce, which – combined with the pimp slot in the running order – enthused Cher’s fans to keep her safe in the week following her sing-off survival.
Working out the script that producers are continuing to map for the show will be our aim at Sofabet over the last two weeks. We’re pretty pleased with how much still rings true of the script we thought we could discern way back before the live shows, in our finishing order prediction of the then-final 12 – but there will be plenty more to speculate about in the coming fortnight as producers continue to react to changing circumstances.
As always, do feel free to agree or disagree in our comments box – we welcome either.