BGT have published the public vote percentages from the 2011 series here. Jai McDowall won with 29.1% of the vote, ahead of Ronan Parke on 26.7% and New Bounce on just 8.9%.
In the end it was a confusing night for punters – and, evidently, for producers. It was difficult to avoid the impression that this was not the result they were expecting or hoping for. Simon Cowell’s immediate reaction – calling it a “shock result” and reminding us that Jai was “not one of the favourites”, before recovering enough composure to call him a “worthy winner” – hardly smacked of the well-planned launch of a glittering post-show career.
Then we cut to Amanda Holden struggling to hide her disappointment at the defeat of Ronan Parke. Rarely can a winner of a reality show have met with such a lukewarm immediate response.
So what did they want to happen? When the running order was announced, New Bounce in the pimp slot and Ronan Parke in 6th seemed to indicate the boyband were the preferred winners.
But the performances told a different story. New Bounce just weren’t that good – and while they got a JLS comparison from Cowell, the pimp slot pimping was decidedly half-hearted.
It began then to seem more likely that producers had been confident Ronan Parke could win even from a relatively early slot in the running order. An ill-advised fire-twirling addition to his usual schtick ensured that Razy Gogonea wasn’t going to challenge for the win from 9th, while Jean Martin managed to finish last of all from 7th.
It’s hard to escape the conclusion that producers simply dropped a clanger in allowing Jai McDowall to perform as late as 8th. How did you read it?