All four judges shot Johnny Robinson down in the sing-off, but the programme makers had laid the groundwork. We had speculated after his storming performance of ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ just how long producers would want him to continue. The answer was: only two weeks. They deflated the balloon very quickly indeed. As The Bitch Factor explained about last night’s show: “Because it’s the stage where these competitions start to have a John Sargeant memorial panic and the joke acts and fodderbots need to be put in their place, Johnny is on first.”
The need to ditch the ‘novelty’ contestants to retain a veneer of credibility was something we had written about last year with regards Wagner, Widdicombe and Waissel. We reckon Johnny possibly stormed the phone vote in week 3, so producers got to work immediately. First came the negative tabloid stories, then a retreat to dull normality with his ballad in week 4, followed by as tpfkar put it (with reference to what happened to the bongo-playing Brazilian last year), a clinical kill last night: “Johnny’s treatment tonight was a complete repeat of the Wagner treatment, even down to the dancing girls turning their back on him in the recap VT.”
So when Boki asked me last night who would win the Johnny / Kitty sing-off that came to pass, it seemed obvious that Johnny would go. It was another profitable Sunday night showdown for me then, but if you don’t like the idea of betting at 1.25, we do hope you took the 8-1 on Johnny to be one of the two eliminees we had recommended on Friday night. What I certainly didn’t predict was that The Risk would come bottom of the public vote, and thus leave the show automatically.
However, the treatment of The Risk was straight out of the Nu Vibe playbook, right down to Louis calling Charlie “the main man” (he used the same words in week 1 about Nu Vibe’s Ashford). Gary’s choice of phrase – “I’m waiting for the point that you all realise that Charlie is the lead singer” – seemed especially carefully calculated to imply that the other three were failing to know their place. The appearance of togetherness is vital for a group in this show, and this looked very much as if – in Matt’s words – “producers are hoping to generate acrimony in the group”.
Still, we thought that regional support (group member Andrew Merry is the only Scottish contestant left) would see the boys safe despite a third rather dull performance on the trot; it worked for Janet Devlin. We were going to explain in tomorrow’s review article that the Little Mix pimp slot indicated they had become the new Plan A among the groups, but to see the boyband leave this early after such a promising start was still a shock.
Frankie and Kitty live to fight another week, though the phrase “borrowed time” quickly comes to mind for both. What did you think of The Risk’s automatic elimination and Johnny’s assassination tonight? Do let us know below.