We’ll admit it – we underestimated the biscuit boy. When we reviewed Craig Colton’s first audition, we assumed it had been included simply for the lulz of the (admittedly quite funny) banter about his mum’s uniform ironing and not knowing what his dad does at work. The audition itself struck us as one of a gazillion passable Adele covers and we didn’t see Craig making the lives, let alone being in the top four of the betting after the first show (props to our commenter Allan, who did).
Craig’s odds plummeted after his ‘Jar of Hearts’ stole the show on Saturday night. He suddenly looks like a credible contender. But for anyone tempted to back him to win the competition, we have two words of caution: Aiden Grimshaw.
This time last year, we also had a bequiffed boy from the north-west plunging in odds after wowing everyone towards the end of the first show with an emotionally overwrought performance of a hauntingly beautiful track which he sang largely out of the side of his mouth. Much good it did him. As our 2010 running order review article details, Aiden’s vote subsequently dropped week on week, with progressively less help from producers, until his “shock” elimination in week 6.
We wouldn’t bet against ‘Jar of Hearts’ likewise proving to be Craig’s high water mark, rather than setting him on the path to victory. Here are five reasons why we doubt Craig’s ability to justify his current odds of around 6/1.
Our first doubt about Craig is the split in his regional vote – now a two-way one between Craig and Marcus Collins since poor old James Michael and his barely-played guitar were despatched back to Widnes.
With all the indications being that Frankie Cocozza will get by far the most help from producers amongst the boys category, it seems likely that the next act Gary loses will be another of the Scousers – a current danger for both Craig and Marcus, but a potential boon for whichever of the two is left standing to inherit the Merseyside base.
Despite the odds, we’re still hopeful that Marcus can be the last Liverpudlian left on the show. One reason is that he has demonstrated in spades a quality which we have yet to see from Craig: versatility. And this is our second doubt.
Craig was unquestionably the best of the boys on Saturday, but he can’t gurn his way through a meaningful ballad week after week and hope to have the same impact every time. Can he cope with something more upbeat? What will he do in disco week?
Marcus’s song choice on Saturday arguably did not showcase him to best advantage, as Craig’s did. But the cheerful hairdresser still performed the challenging ‘Moves Like Jagger’ with enough aplomb to remind us that as well as being very vocally solid, he can put on a visually entertaining show. We have yet to see the same from Craig.
Put it another way: Imagine the songs had been switched. Could Marcus have nailed ‘Jar of Hearts’? We reckon so. Could Craig have nailed ‘Moves Like Jagger’? We suspect not.
Which brings us to our third doubt: We have a sneaking suspicion that the success of Craig’s ‘Jar of Hearts’ owes less to Craig and more to ‘Jar of Hearts’. It’s a hook-laden song with a proven ability to have an immediate impact – the original version caught fire in 2010 after being passed to a choreographer on the US reality show So You Think You Can Dance by a friend of its then-unknown singer-songwriter.
In that sense it’s perhaps another similarity with Aiden Grimshaw’s week 1 performance last year. The stripped-back and slowed-down version of ‘Mad World’ which Aiden covered had also previously demonstrated its capacity to touch a collective nerve, becoming an unexpected hit after featuring on the soundtrack of the cult movie Donnie Darko.
The song choice tells us that Craig is astute, certainly. But how many more rabbits can he pull out of his hat?
Our fourth doubt is… how to put this nicely? We’ll let Louis’s post-performance comment do the talking: “It’s great that you’ve lost a lot of weight”. (Sadly, Louis missed an opportunity for self-referential comedic gold by failing to add: “You look like a little Craig Colton”.)
The makeover journey could, of course, become a positive for Craig, if the Gary Barlow Plan Diet makes him look more svelte by the week until he eventually emerges with washboard abs. Even with continued success in shedding the porcine look, though, Craig seems unlikely to rival Frankie for screaming female attention any time soon.
We’ll let Matt in the comments summarise our final doubt about Craig: “he doesn’t come across as especially likeable”. Whereas Craig in his auditions came across as a wisecracking cheeky chappie, on Saturday we thought we detected just hints of a whiff of possibly being rather too pleased with himself.
It came across a couple of times. There was the line in his VT when he said that he chose the song and the arrangement, so if it failed it would be down to him but “if it’s a hit, it’s also down to me”. Then there was the didn’t-I-just-do-well look he pulled shortly after his closing note. It’s not much to go on, admittedly, but it doesn’t exactly scream endearing self-deprecation.
To explain why this matters, we can do no better than to quote an excellent comment made by Rob a few weeks ago:
now what is the thing that gets you to the winning post besides being able to sing? – it’s humility. imo if you are not humble before the audience you don’t have much of a chance. matt cardle for me is the first contestant to recognise this and actually work on it. his bow with hands together at the end of every performance says to the audience ‘i am here because of you. you put me here and you can take it away. i am grateful for your support and continue to do my best for your entertainment’.
It’s currently a little hard to imagine Craig pulling off the trademark Cardle bow, although the factory worker does at least have a humble beginnings backstory to play on if he can strike the right tone. Craig’s longevity in the competition may depend partly on how sympathetically he VTs in the next few weeks (especially in comparison to Marcus, who does humility with ease and had Tulisa vouching for his loveliness on Saturday night).
What do you think? Are we being too hard on Craig? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments box.