This week’s twist has been a head-scratcher for win market punters. It poses plenty of questions for the tenth elimination market too. If you reckon the returning act will be gone again by Sunday, you can get 8/1 about “any other act”. Although this may look like great value if it turns out to be Jonjo and he performs on a par with his ‘You Really Got Me’, we’re not tempted.
This is because, as mentioned in our last article, given the announcement that the phone vote closes an hour into Saturday’s show -and the fact that it would make sense to keep viewers on tenterhooks about the returning act’s identity until the end of the show – it seems reasonable to assume that the returnee will be given the pimp slot. This, and all the attention they’ll receive, should probably be enough to see them safe.
Despite the fact that we don’t know the full list of runners, there’s a solid favourite to go in Kitty Brucknell. Having survived her second sing-off last week, she is a currently top priced at 6/5 to be eliminated this time, and it’s 13/2 bar. Can she enjoy a sympathy bounce for the second time?
I think there’s a decent case for saying she won’t, but with all the uncertainty surrounding Saturday’s show, can’t recommend backing her at such a short price beforehand.
Last year we wrote an article analysing the ability of contestants to bounce a second time when Katie Waissel found herself in that situation. As a polarising figure who wasn’t generally well liked, Katie fit the profile of those who failed to bounce second time around. And she duly didn’t, not helped by a poor slot in the running order. (She didn’t bounce after her third sing-off, either. She eventually enjoyed her second bounce only after her unprecedented fourth sing-off save).
Kitty has been oft-compared to Katie. Indeed, when we were compiling our 1-16 prediction before the live shows, we allotted Kitty the Katie Waissel Memorial Spot of seventh place. It seemed to represent the moment when unlikeable headline-grabbers are finally jettisoned. And how many acts remain this week? Seven, albeit two weeks earlier in the competition than Katie’s week 8 exit.
More importantly, however, producers indicated last week that they had had enough of Kitty. She was again in the second half of the running order, as she has been each time so far – but her routine was easily her dullest yet and the judges were damning. She was also immediately followed in the running order by the only contestant to elicit more controversy than her, Frankie Cocozza.
Considering that she had already been in the bottom two when given a much bigger production of ‘Live and Let Die’, we felt that her performance last week indicated that producers would have been happy to see her finish last and be automatically eliminated. The Risk 3.0 saved her from that outcome, and she was saved against the even-less-favoured Johnny Robinson in the sing-off.
If producers were indeed happy with the thought of losing her last week, then that would usually suggest to us that Kitty will be cut loose this week. However, there is a nagging doubt about this theory. Was this week’s ‘twist’ already in the mind of producers, in which case Kitty was a sacrifice they were looking to make to ensure Frankie survived?
If so, then without the imperative to keep Frankie safe, programme makers may be happier to treat Kitty better this week. The Lady Gaga vs Queen theme is up her street, as she’s a Lady Gaga impersonator. It would be a surprise if she isn’t allowed to play up this persona, especially as she’s already done one Queen number (‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ in week one).
However, Kitty’s also been paid to impersonate Madonna, and that didn’t work out so well last week with ‘Like A Prayer’. The problem about attempting to copy the artist whose song you are singing is that it sets the bar high – as a result, she may come across as a pale imitator. In retrospect, it may be that one of the things that did for The Risk last week was that JLS featured so heavily in their VT – it may have had the effect of reminding people that the real thing already exists, so there’s no need to vote for the wannabe.
Could Kitty face the same problem, with Dermot reminding us that Lady Gaga will be performing on the Sunday show? And if she does land up in the bottom two, what does the programme want with a Lady Gaga impersonator once Lady Gaga week is done and dusted?
Suggestions that Kitty would ‘strip back’ her performances during the week do not bode well. (It was the first sign that Johnny’s time was running out when the same was said of him.) Bring her out first to perform with a low-key production, and the writing will be on the wall for her. In which case, any kind of odds against would look generous. Put her on near the end and go the full monty with a Lady Gaga-esque production, and evens will look stingy. Probably best to wait and see.
But if not Kitty, then who?
13/2 bar brings in Little Mix. They have developed quite a bit of momentum in forums over the last few weeks, following their week 4 rendition of ‘ET’. But as their second-favourite status suggests, there is a reasonable case for thinking they might still drop into the dangerzone.
Their pimp slot performance of ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music’ last week was disappointing. There is also the suggestion that if Amelia Lily returns, as seems likely, she will be fishing for votes in the same waters. However, if Little Mix drop into the bottom two, I would expect them to be saved against most.
Next up at 15/2 in bookies lists is Misha B. There’s a clear argument for saying she could be in trouble. She benefited from the sympathy bounce last week, and as we have written many times before, the sympathy bounce more often than not lasts for only one week. Also, while the much softer image she was given last week probably helped to maximise her bounce, as Dug commented it looked like “a short term fix rather than a long term reform”.
We can’t tip Misha B, though, because she was one of the few performers to impress last week and (with the notable exception of inflicting possibly irreparable damage on her reputation in week 3) programme-makers have generally been very kind to her and given the impression they would like to see her get near the end.
Janet Devlin finds herself relatively short in the elimination lists this week at 8/1. There are two big questions about the longtime favourite, which have been debated in the Sofabet comments box over the course of the week. First, will the patience of her initial fans and regional supporters be wearing thin after a series of poor performances? Second, do last week’s damning judges’ comments indicate that producers have had enough?
Earlier this week in the comments Rob posted an in-depth analysis of YouTube rankings for the series so far which is well worth reading in full if you missed it. In short, Janet is storming YouTube, as she is last.fm. It is therefore quite possible that Janet is very safe in the vote and her poor treatment by producers in recent weeks may indicate merely that they want to bring her back to the pack, rather than they actually want rid.
It’s also, as taichou told us, Janet’s 17th birthday. Could this finally be the long-awaited feelgood ‘turnaround’ week for the Ulster lass? If not, one does have to wonder how many weeks of indifferent performances it will take to see her drop into the bottom two.
The two outsiders for elimination are the two boys. Those itching for a bit of pre-show value in this week’s elimination market could do worse than eye up the sizeable-looking 10-1 about Craig Colton. We have long been of the opinion that Craig has only one way of performing, and there does now seem to be a growing recognition of his limitations.
We should also mention at this point that Sofabet commenter Toby has discovered a bug in the code he’s been using to analyse Twitter; as he outlines in a post on his anlytk blog, re-analysing the Twitter traffic for the first four public votes using the debugged code suggests a somewhat closer fit with who landed up in the sing-offs. What’s interesting to us about Toby’s reworked data is that it suggests the biscuit boy was significantly less interesting to the Twitterati last week than any of his remaining rivals.
The problem with backing Craig to be eliminated this week is the lingering feeling that the judges continue to push him as far as they can, having pimped him in week 4 and given him high praise in week 5. There is also the fact that – as Tim has commented – The Risk’s exit means there is now a serious lack of boys left in the competition (assuming neither James nor Jonjo return). Will producers really want only one male in the last four weeks of the competition?
The same reasoning applies to Marcus, who is the 25/1 outsider for elimination. We will be hoping for a suitable song choice to build on his momentum from ‘Reet Petite’ last week; ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ (given to Olly Murs in Queen week in 2009) would be an obvious possibility.
All of this makes me feel that if Kitty lands in the bottom two, she’s likely to be gone – unless producers really have decided to cut Janet Devlin loose, or unless there is a shock and the returning act is Jonjo or 2 Shoes, neither of whom they would be likely to want hanging around in the competition.
So, questions galore, and only Saturday’s show will provide at least some of the answers. I’m waiting till then. How about you? Let us know if you’re betting on anyone to be eliminated this weekend and your reasons why.