The theme for Saturday’s live show is movie week. The main feature in the elimination market is Misha B. It’s hardly surprising she dominates the market. Accused of being a bully in week 3, she survived the sing-off in week 4, bounced through week 5, only to be back in the bottom two in week 6. Does a trilogy of sing-offs beckon?
As Kitty showed, a lack of popularity with the audience is not conducive to a second sympathy bounce, especially at this later stage of the competition. We have occasionally compared Misha B to Rachel Hylton, who was also in the bottom two at the exact same points, and having survived bottom place in week 6, also finished a long way last in week 7 to finally leave.
The omens don’t look good for Misha then, though at 7/4 this is already factored into her price. If there’s anything in her favour, it’s that producers have done everything they can for her since the bullygate affair. She’s a marketable product, the question is whether having to continually save her in the sing-off will further damage an already-damaged brand.
Nonetheless, it’s worth looking through the field to see if there’s any value to be had from someone she may still be able to beat.
Second favourite to go in bookmakers’ lists is former favourite Janet Devlin, who has had a torrid time over the last four weeks. Despite the barrage of negative comments from the judges and highly variable performances, she has managed to escape the bottom two. This may be due to the Ulster teen’s regional base and/or her core support built up during the early shows.
Either way, her ability to avoid the dangerzone has been the subject of heated debate on Sofabet before and after we suggested that she was still a contender to win the crown. Quite what exactly is going on with the negativity the show has thrown at her, including from her own mentor Kelly Rowland, remains a matter of speculation. In the circumstances, we’re not tempted by the 4/1 given she has managed to stay out of the sing-off so far despite her critics.
Criag Colton also makes little appeal at 5/1 in the elimination market, despite the sense that he may be hovering just above the dangerzone. As we stressed during the week, producers have made it clear they are doing everything they can for him as their preferred contestant in the boys category, which indicates a fall into the bottom two would likely see him saved in any sing-off.
The only act we think likely to be saved over him in that situation would be Little Mix, given the efforts that producers are making to ensure Tulisa has a group in the final. There is a gap in the market for a girlband, as the judges frequently remind us, and Little Mix could easily become the biggest cash cow among this year’s contestants. With the promise of a performance to showcase their vocals that suggests they will get further pimping this week, it seems safe to assume they won’t be going home.
This leaves us with the two acts that head the win market at double-digit prices to go. This is a big week to gauge producers’ intentions for Marcus Collins. They did their best to stop the smiley Liverpudlian flying too high after his latest performance by criticising it as a carbon copy of the previous one. If he comes out styled like Little Richard again and the trombones start playing, it will further hamper his chances of going all the way. However, producers have two further weeks before the final if they do want to knock him out before then, and they may well need it, given his momentum going into week 6.
This leaves us with the exceptional case of Amelia Lily. After she was parachuted back into the contest last week, it was interesting to watch the programme tread a fine line between triumphalism and embarrassment at her re-introduction. As the need for suspense dictated, her unveiling and performance was left till the end of the show and came with the requisite pimp slot staging: a platform and the curtain of fiery rain that is only used for big moments. It was a big story and required a big production.
The judges were going to do nothing but praise her – having won the vote to return, the night belonged to her, after all – but their words were fascinatingly double-edged. Louis said, “I want you to go far in this competition.” Well, she already has, and not in the fairest of ways, which Tulisa reminded us of when saying, “You’ve come in at this point in the competition…at the same level as everybody else.” The suggestion being that she was no better. Gary Barlow explained “The British public love a comeback.” Telling the viewers what they like is not actually a vote-winning tactic.
We discussed this final point and more in our review piece of last weekend’s events. We haven’t changed our thinking on anything we said there, including the fact that, like Misha, Amelia is talented enough but hard to warm to.
If we were producing the show, we would do our level best to dampen Amelia Lily’s chances of winning the competition, given her almost free pass from week 1 to week 6. The prospect would only damage the franchise. There’s also the possibility that she’s fishing for votes in the same waters as programme-makers’ plan A, Little Mix. Therefore, we are expecting the sound of brakes being applied and gears crunching into reverse compared to her treatment last week.
If they give Amelia Lily something as unsuitable as her week 1 production of ‘Billie Jean’, her current elimination price could look very big indeed. Even if it’s not as horrific as that, we think she’s likely to suffer compared to many of her opponents, notably Little Mix and Craig, but also elimination favourite Misha B.
And if she is in the bottom two against Misha, judges have a ready-made excuse to get rid of her: “Yes, Misha’s been in the bottom two before, but she’s been putting her survival on the line week-in, week-out.”
The concern is that after last week’s pimping and praise, it may take more than one week to dampen Amelia Lily’s support to get her into the bottom two. Equally, however, last week’s support could prove very brittle, especially compared to her rivals who have had weeks to build up their fanbases during the live shows.
In the comments immediately after Sunday’s show, Chris O pointed out that Amelia had been priced up at 14/1. That has gone, as has the 12/1 we flagged in Monday’s review post, when we said we thought any double-figure price looked juicy. We still think that, especially given that – as Rob commented – Amelia has not noticeably been hogging the headlines this week.
There is one double-figure price left – Amelia Lily is 10/1 to be eliminated with Boylesports. While we wouldn’t be surprised if it takes this week to soften up Amelia before dropping her into the bottom two next week – and there is always the possibility that we may have misjudged producers’ intentions entirely – in a six-runner field, we’re willing to risk small stakes on it.
What do you think? Is the obvious choice of Misha B the right one at the prices, or is she worth taking on with someone else, and do you agree that programme-makers will be out to de-gild the Lily? Do let us know below.