After weeks of audition shows with too much padding, it felt that the final bootcamp episode represented the start of the competition in earnest. We got some intriguing hints of producers’ intentions, and as such it was an important programme for punters.
This was especially true concerning the groups category, as this was the first time we had seen the freshly manufactured ones, including one formed on the day. We got to see plenty of some of the rumoured qualifiers in the other categories too, though the question mark remains over the fourth qualifier for the live shows in the girls category (assuming Judge’s spoilers are correct about who makes the lives – which we have no reason to doubt, as they were tonight proved to be spot on in terms of who gets to judges’ houses).
So, what did we learn?
Let’s start with Janet Devlin, because it still seems like she’s the producers’ Plan A. Her rendition of ‘Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ was set apart from the others in her category, provoked the only moist eyes we saw all evening, and prompted Louis to say, ‘She’s the one to beat at the moment.’ Bookmakers agree. We wrote last week that we’d taken 13/2 on the basis that she was a ‘safe haven’ who would only shorten in price, and she is now the 7/2 favourite.
Of the other girls, the second most favoured was Misha, who opened the show with her own version of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Survivor’, which endeared her to her future mentor Kelly Rowland. I think they will have to milk this relationship for as much as possible, because Misha currently reminds me far more of the two Rachels (Hylton and Adedeji) who exited before the latter stages, than Leona or Alexandra.
Of the other girls, I would be slightly worried that they didn’t get the same amount of screentime. I was left rather unmoved by the short snippet shown of Amelia Lily, but that could be something to do with the fact that the make-up and styling departments of the show need to give her a more flattering look.
Melanie McCabe and Jade Richards were left similarly shortchanged with the amount of time they were given. There was certainly no clue as to which – if either – of these two would fill the final place in the live shows within this category.
Moving onto the boys section, a lack of screentime could not be said to be a problem for Frankie Cocozza, who is clearly being set up as the major heartthrob of the series. I actually thought his rendition of ‘Iris’ was his best performance yet, so it was interesting that it was the first time that the judges expressed doubts about the strength of his voice, something which we at Sofabet have felt from the start.
The rest of the boys received far less time, and as a result it was hard to make any substantial judgements based on tonight’s show. It was a shame to see this happen with James Michael given that it was also his fate at auditions. Joe Cox seemed more favoured, though perhaps his alleged failure to make the lives is because there’s a hint of the Aiden Grimshaws about his vocal affectations.
In the end, after all our speculation about groups or laryngitis, there was no attempt to explain the utterly mystifying decision to omit Lascel Woods and John Adams from the final eight. If we hadn’t been aware of Judge’s spoilers, we would have been astonished when Craig Colton’s name was called as the final boy.
Of the awful overs category, I suppose it’s about your taste in comedy. For me, Goldie Cheung is on the right side of wacky, and Kitty Brucknell isn’t. I can’t see the latter managing Katie Waissel’s feats of survival last year, despite the fact that she is being set up as a similar figure. Johnny Robinson has just one trick up his sleeve based on what we have seen so far, and none of the others impressed enough for us to see past Louis as the first mentor to lose all his acts, still a generous-looking 7-5 with Boylesports.
The groups intrigued most of all, and of the newly formed acts, it was interesting to see the younger Nu Vibe given more screentime than The Risk and their female equivalents. Described by Judge’s source as an urban One Direction, they were led by Ashford Campbell, who will be familiar to viewers of the Xtra Factor but not the main show.
They were vocally only passable for now, but they nonetheless have the right look and a clear target demographic. Bookmakers marginally prefer Nu Vibe to The Risk, and based on tonight’s episode, so do producers – they got the lion’s share of the screentime. But the component parts of this group are far less familiar to viewers than two or three of One Direction’s members were this time last year, so it is difficult to see them being pushed as hard by producers or getting as far.
Regular readers will know we have suspected The Risk were being lined up to be Tulisa’s main shot this year, but the editing of this show has dampened our enthusiasm considerably – so much so that we were not tempted by the 25/1 briefly available during the show (they are now best-priced at 20), a price we would have snapped up had it been offered a few days ago.
With the reported change in personnel at judges’ houses next week, The Risk will need plenty of producer goodwill to get themselves established in the minds of the voting public, and this episode did not give any great reason to believe it will be forthcoming. At this rate, the longest-priced of the groups alleged to be in the lives, 2Shoes, may well end up as Tulisa’s strongest hope.
What did you learn from this revealing show? Keep the debate going in the comments section below.