Punters held their breath to see which acts would be thrown under the bus of the Strictly Come Dancing overlap at the start of tonight’s show. Having listed all the ways last week that producers had nearly strangled Nu Vibe at birth, the boyband came out first like lambs to the slaughter.
Also not done any favours was Sami Brookes in the second spot. Both the boyband and the Welsh lass were followed by two of last week’s big hitters – Craig Colton and producers’ Plan A, Janet Devlin (timed to be the first act fully seen by those switching over from Strictly). Oh, and surprise, surprise, Kitty Brucknell had the pimp slot. Programme makers could not have been much more obvious about their intentions.
It doesn’t look promising for Nu Vibe for a number of reasons. Matt rightly pointed out that last week’s “shouty dance track” was not a wise choice. This week their beefed-up version of ‘With or Without You’ sounded suspiciously like, er, another shouty dance track. As Donald commented, it had a “dated trash Euro beat”. There were plenty of references to last week’s problems, whilst the judges continued to remind us of their “lack of chemistry” with Gary and Louis damning them as “No Vibe”. This was an attempt to read them their last rites.
They weren’t the only males to have a bad evening on the show. All of those in the boys category – Craig Colton, Frankie Cocozza and Marcus Collins – were particularly disappointing. Gary Barlow’s song choice for each of them was questioned by the other judges. Those who feel that producers are doing their best for the girls this series saw nothing to change their mind.
The girls had a better evening. Tonight Misha B was Grace Jones, and if she didn’t quite shine as much as last week, her originality continues to stand out. Janet Devlin still looks like a deserving favourite at this stage, with good styling and a clever song choice. Sophie, performing in the penultimate slot, clearly has some producer love after all, and is being portrayed as the competition’s dark horse.
The other groups were given a much better ride than Nu Vibe. I lost count of the amount of times we were told that the members in Rhythmix were “girls that other girls can relate to”. This is a clear attempt to break the ‘the curse of the girlband’. Meanwhile, The Risk are clearly being set up as the boyband heartthrobs instead of their younger male rivals. Once again they had the best slot and song choice in their category, and the judges emphasised their hard work. It was a repeat of last week’s script.
For the overs, each have their niche – it’s a case of how broad that proves to be. Sami took on a big song in ‘I Will Always Love You’ which she wasn’t always equal to, but she’s nothing if not game. Johnny was given a big production for ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ and is pretty out there for a mainstream ITV1 audience. Kitty’s on a whole different planet altogether, and her pimp slot kookiness indicated we won’t be allowed to forget it.
I would be surprised if Nu Vibe escape the bottom two tomorrow, and it’s hard to see who the judges might conceivably save them against. Producers are clearly keen to push The Risk, and as we have stated before, two boybands are one more than necessary. Bookmakers agree, seeing Nu Vibe as odds-on for the chop.
One way of assessing public reaction to these performances will be to keep an eye on Sofabet commenter Toby‘s site. It tracks volume and positivity/negativity of tweets about each act at http://anlytk.wordpress.com/. Watch out for an update some time on Sunday to indicate the stats for tonight’s show. [UPDATE: Here it is].
Let us know below what you think of this evening’s performances and tomorrow’s elimination possibilites.