What to make of that first two-hour instalment of the final weekend? All the performances were underwhelming. I was waiting all evening for the final of the nation’s biggest talent contest to start.
Punters concurred. The odds didn’t change a great deal during the Saturday show, reflecting the fact there was no killer moment in which one of the acts seized the initiative. One Direction re-overtook Rebecca for second favouritism, having ceded that position to her once the duets were announced, but that reflected less an initiative-seize on their part than Rebecca marginally topping the bill in underwhelmingness.
Let’s take them in turn.
Matt had the excuse of still being rather hoarse from illness. But producers did their best to dampen his support by putting him on first.
Whilst this was partly due to Rihanna needing to perform again, there was no immediate ad break afterwards for either of his performances (One Direction got one, Rebecca got two – important when lines are open throughout the show, as commercial breaks help keep the last-performed act in the memory for longer).
The Dido number was a good song choice that Matt could have nailed on top form, but just failed to. Then he looked a little too uncomfortable and in awe of Rihanna during their duet, not helped by her towering over him, though at least they shared some chemistry.
Rebecca looked like she was being rotated in a microwave for her rendition of ‘Just Like A Star’ – I suppose that was one way to address criticism that the Liverpudlian wasn’t moving enough during her performances. It failed to warm me up, I have to admit.
For her second performance, there was a little too much simpering in her duet with a chubby-faced Christina Aguilera. It was arguably the duet with the most potential on paper, but Rebecca drifted most with the bookmakers.
One Direction had the kitchen sink thrown at them for ‘Your Song’, but to my mind they didn’t do enough to rebut accusations that they rely too much on the backing track.
Their duet with Robbie Williams was as bad as I feared: laddish in a self-congratulatory way. Dave’s ‘creepy uncle’ comment also seemed spot on.
Cher clearly didn’t win any new fans with her two songs. Plenty of both reeked of a school assembly performance, but at least she looked comfortable with will.i.am during their duet.
Without the judges to save her, she predictably departed first of the final four – but given her long odds, this didn’t have a huge impact at the top of the market.
In terms of where punters go from here, I’m happy to have backed Matt, as I don’t think any of his rivals did enough to overcome his position as the most popular contestant thus far according to all the surveys. Those who aren’t entirely dismissive of the mysterious Abigail88 might like to know that she’s claiming on the Digital Spy forum that Matt topped Saturday’s vote (which we understand is carried over to tomorrow).
There is a sense, however, that the prize is still up for grabs if only one of the final three could take the opportunity. The winner’s song may make a difference tomorrow. Each act has chosen something that should suit their style, so the key will be in the execution.
From a viewing perspective, I can only hope they raise their game. What did you make of the Saturday show? Who do you think is now in pole position?