After his ignominious drop into the bottom two, can Frankie Cocozza avoid this week’s sing-off? If so, it will be a sign of the so-called sympathy bounce. The ladies’ man certainly has tongues wagging in the Sofabet forum – our commenters have been sharply divided on the issue this week.
Those who expect him in the danger zone once more include Simon, who explained: “There is so much negativity… in the media… I can see him in the bottom 2 again.” Donald agreed, saying “Frankie has thrown the towel in really.” Jack put his finger on it when he said: “I just wonder if the public won’t buy Frankie as a credible artist.”
But there were plenty who expect to see the south coast lad safe this week. Rob said: “Sympathy bounce + pimp slot + easier song should keep him safe.” Mark concurred: “Given this rock week and a good slot, perhaps the pimp slot he should be safe as houses.” Henry remarked: “No reason why Frankie shouldn’t get a sympathy bounce, it is a well established phenomenon.”
For every argument, there’s a counter-argument:
History shows us that nearly three-quarters of acts that survive the bottom two for the first time are voted clear of the danger zone the following week: 23 out of 31 acts across the seven series so far.
The sympathy bounce occurs less often for the act that survives the first sing-off of the series. Since 2007, three out of the four acts who survived the danger zone after the first public vote were there again a week later (Rachel Adedeji, Girlband and Alisha Bennett).
Frankie is one of the high-profile talking points of the series – like Katie Waissel last year, the only one of the last four first week sing-off survivors to bounce (and the only one to get any help in the second week’s running order: Katie got a helpful late slot, while Rachel Adedeji, Girlband and Alisha Bennett were all sent out 4th). The show has pushed him from the very start of the series, and this week’s tabloid headlines mean he is the focus of Saturday’s show more than anyone else (indeed, one wonders if the show gave him “a rare night off… and the green light to let his big hair down” precisely in the hope of him getting this kind of publicity). Such attention can surely only help his ability to bounce.
Those stories of his sexual exploits are hardly likely to endear him to the voting public, who clearly failed to be impressed by his arse tattoos and the message this gave. Forums indicate overwhelming negativity towards him.
His profile means he is likely to be highly pimped this week. The theme – rock week – should suit (one might even wonder if it was chosen to suit, following early reports first that it would be Motown and then “Heroes”). As commenter Simon “le chat” points out, his rumoured song choice (on Judge’s spoilers site) of Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’ demands less vocal range and should thus be more suitable – as well as having lyrics that consciously play up his image. We can expect a better slot in the running order, a bigger production to help hide his weak vocals, and judges’ comments saying how much he has improved from last week.
Gary has already tried to sell us on the idea that Frankie is “an artist”, and the public has not bought it at all. Frankie’s vocal shortcomings are all too obvious and already manifest to all. Therefore, attempts to pimp Frankie will only look desperate.
Last week was terrible for Frankie, but it wasn’t much better for many of his competitors. With this Saturday’s first act up in the Strictly overlap zone, and a theme less likely to suit others, there is plenty of opportunity for producers to dampen support for those acts they feel are vulnerable and more expendable.
But who? Last week’s least favoured by the running order, Sami, has some regional and niche support, and survived a death slot. Producers have shown plenty of love for the other acts that bookmakers think are most in danger of facing the sing-off: Johnny, Kitty and Rhythmix. (This is a question we’ll come back to in our next post, looking at the elimination market in more detail.)
So there’s the case for and against Frankie being in the danger zone once more. The next question that arises is what the judges might do if he’s in the sing-off again. Boki asked the question, “Could they save Frankie again?” Andrew rightly used the example of Katie Waissel in his reply. The show benefited from keeping this polarising figure in the competition despite multiple sing-offs because it generated much-needed controversy.
The question of Frankie’s potential to bounce may therefore be academic for those looking at the elimination market alone. Or perhaps not: it would put judges in a bind if he was up against an act like Rhythmix, who producers have also shown that they really want to keep around.
All the more reason for them to try as hard as possible to push Frankie into safety this Saturday. I’m expecting producers to throw the kitchen sink in a bid to save Frankie, and I reckon that should be enough. What do you think? Do let us know below.