Going into the bootcamp episodes, the main news of the week is that Tulisa’s position is looking a whole lot brighter than it did when we last posted. The main reason for this is because of news brought to us by Judge’s updated spoilers that the band featuring Derry Mensah and Marlon McKenzie is through after all – only without Marlon. Judge tells us he is replaced by Charlie, the lead singer of The Keys, after they have been eliminated at judges’ houses.
Regular readers will know we have had high hopes for this group, even speculating that it might be the reason Lascel Woods does not feature in Judge’s list for Gary’s final eight (although the more mundane explanation is now looking like laryngitis). And cherrypicking Charlie seems to be very promising news for the band’s chances. (It’s not such great news, of course, for the other four members of The Keys. Or for Marlon, although knowing this show we would not rule out a headline-grabbing emotional return for him at some stage during the lives).
The Risk, as Judge tells us this group is known, should thus go into the lives having been much featured at judges’ houses and with some interesting getting-to-know-you stories to fill the VTs. We expect producers to milk Charlie’s transfer for all it’s worth – if there are no tearful scenes as he agonises about the prospect of leaving behind his disappointed bandmates to take up this opportunity, before graciously being given their blessing, we shall feel most let down.
This brings us onto the first of ten questions we are looking to have answered over bootcamp weekend:
1. Who else is in The Risk?
Judge tells us it’s Derry, Charlie from The Keys replacing Marlon, and two others. Derry and Charlie are highly promising, having both enjoyed plenty of screentime. But who are the other two, and what will their identities suggest about the likely trajectory of the group?
2. How good are 2Shoes?
The second reason we’re feeling a lot brighter about Tulisa’s prospects is that we have been doing some google digging on 2Shoes (many thanks to commenter Alan for pointing the way). We admit we were suckered into taking their audition at face value – they looked for all the world like two ditzy Essex lasses who doubtless had no idea they happened to have half-decent voices. The reality appears to be rather different.
Check out the website of one of the two, Charley Bird. The image presented is not exactly the one you saw on screen last Saturday. Here is a polished performer of bluesy country rock who has a management company and has released an album. Not a pink handbag or an orange tan in sight.
The other girl, Lucy Texeria, talks on her myspace page about her six years of professional vocal training and how she is a “very determined, passionate and reliable person/performer. I take pride in my appearance and like to always give 100% in everything I do.” Ditzy? It doesn’t seem that way.
Perhaps these two really are as over-the-top as they appeared to be in their audition, and have wisely been hiding it in their web presence. Or perhaps they are two smart and ambitious girls who have spotted the chance to capitalise on a gap in the market opened up by The Only Way Is Essex. If this is the case, we take our hats off to them – and we also start to take them a lot more seriously as having potential to go quite far in this competition.
After all, there is a history for Essex ditziness doing well, as shown by Stacey Solomon (the ever-excellent Bitch Factor have already labelled the pair Stacey Duomon). And if Judge is right, 2Shoes will be the only non-manufactured group of the four, which should also count in their favour with voters.
2Shoes are currently available at anywhere between 20/1 and 100/1. We’ve snaffled a bit of the 100s (still available with Paddy Power and Betfred) in the expectation that the lower end of that range will be nearer where they are in a week or two.
3. Who is in the manufactured boy and girl bands?
Judge tells us Tulisa’s category is rounded out by a manufactured boyband and girlband. We are struggling to see how either of these will be able to come close to replicating the run enjoyed by One Direction, two of whose members (Harry Styles and Liam Payne) enjoyed major screentime during the audition shows with a third (Zayn Malik) getting attention during a bootcamp episode.
This time around, all four girls who got big screentime auditions are in Judge’s partial list of Kelly’s final eight, so they would not appear to be in contention for the girlband. And the only two boys who got decent screentime and don’t make Judge’s list of Gary’s final eight are Lascel Woods and John Adams, neither of whom would appear a natural fit for a band Judge’s source describes as “a young urban One Direction”. (We assume this is the same manufactured band as Judge previously reported that Stefan Romer was put into, which makes us slightly curious about the description – on the admittedly very limited evidence of his audition, Stefan Romer looks about as urban as Stow-on-the-Wold).
Are we missing something? Is there the raw material there for producers to fashion either of these into contenders? Or are they, as we currently suspect, likely to be made up of little-known solo auditionees and thus cannon fodder for the early weeks?
4. What happens to Lascel Woods and John Adams?
Both boys impressed at the audition stage, and garnered plenty of screentime, as mentioned above. So their exclusion from the list of contenders in judges’ houses, according to Judge’s spoilers, comes as a great surprise. Does laryngitis strike one of them down, as has been suggested, and if so, which one? Might the other be stuck in a group after all? If not, how is their failure presented?
5. How much screentime will James Michael get?
The big question among the boys has to be how much we will see of James Michael, who is very much an unknown quantity at present. We know he has the looks, the voice, and a laconic line in answering questions about his suntan. But he has so far been allotted only a fraction of the screentime given to the other three boys who Judge tells us make the lives along with him.
Will producers continue to give little time to this intriguing dark horse? It is hard to make much impact if producers show no interest in helping you. Or are we going to see a whole lot more of him at bootcamp with producers allowing his potential talent to flourish? Only time will tell, but while currrent odds of around 12/1 will look skinny if he is again shortchanged in the screentime department, they may also shorten considerably with an extended VT and a memorable vocal performance.
6. Will Craig Colton or Frankie Cocozza surprise us?
Regular readers will know that we at Sofabet aren’t feeling it for either Craig Colton or Frankie Cocozza, though the comments to the last post showed that several of you assess especially Frankie’s chances more positively. Will we have to revise our opinion after what we see of them at bootcamp?
7. How much screentime will Melanie McCabe get?
Moving onto the girls, the big question remains – if Judge’s list is right – who will get the final slot. We assume it is between Jade Richards and Melanie McCabe, with the doubt regarding the latter the lack of screentime for her audition. The market is no guide here, with different bookies quoting her as low as 6/1 and as high as 18/1. If she is to make the lives, we would expect a whole lot of screentime for her at bootcamp.
8. Will any of the overs emerge as a contender?
Judge has information on three of the overs, none of whom would appear likely to make it much beyond the midfield. We assume the final slot will go to someone halfway credible (presumably Sami or Jonjo), but either will have to step up greatly on what we’ve seen in their auditions to make us fear for our 7/4 bet on Louis to be first judge to lose all acts.
9. Will the Janet Devlin ‘journey’ begin in earnest?
The current favourite wowed judges and punters alike with her Ellie Goulding-like version of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ in the first audition show. She showed an ability to crack her voice in a way that seems popular in the charts at the moment (Adele is the most notable example), and had a little-girl-lost persona that appealed (though in an excellent summary of the state of play re the girls, commenter Rob wonders how long before it starts to grate).
Both voice and character are surely lined up to blossom further during the series. Will this journey begin at bootcamp? In other words, we will see her show some vocal versatility and begin to come out of her shell now, or are we to wait until the live shows? Her ability to cement her position at the top of the market may depend on at least hinting at another facet to her ability sooner rather than later.
10. How will Janet compare with Amelia Lily?
Second favourite behind Janet, and breathing closely down her neck in bookmakers’ lists, is a much more finished article in Amelia Lily. Both are 16 years old, but the latter belied her age with a very mature vocal and look at auditions. Given this, there is a possibility that Amelia will put up a stronger all round performance at bootcamp than her more shy rival, and they may flip-flop in the market as a result.
The danger for Amelia in the longer run is that she doesn’t appear to have any journey to go on, as she already appears to be a confident, well-adjusted performer. Will something emerge in her backstory at bootcamp to suggest a journey? If not, she will be relying on her voice alone – will the bootcamp performance be good enough to shake our current scepticism that this will be sufficient?
What are your thoughts on these, and what questions are you looking to have answered? Do let us know in the comments box below.