It’s a problem of their own making. Producers would probably quite like Misha B in the final, but her standing in the public vote was irrevocably tarnished by bullygate. They have at least got her to this stage. Will they make one big push to get her to the final, or decide that she has come far enough? The format of this week’s elimination may hold the key.
To remind you, every time there has been a four-act semi, there has been no sing-off and the lowest in the public vote has been automatically eliminated. Last year, however, the five-act semi contained a surprise sing-off – the first ever at this stage of the competition, allowing Cher into the final over Mary. Crucially, producers were happy to keep viewers in the dark about whether there would or would not be a sing-off until the Sunday results show itself.
As someone who has made the vast majority of my profits on the elimination market this series, I am obviously hoping there will be one. The stage of the series at which it goes to public vote alone marks a severe narrowing of options for me. There have been reports there won’t be a sing-off, but at the time of writing nothing has been confirmed in any official capacity, and it’s best not to take anything for granted until this is the case.
So, we have a ‘Sliding Doors’ situation this week with four different scenarios.
Scenario 1: It is officially confirmed there WILL be a sing-off
An announcement at any point on Saturday that there is going to be a sing-off will sound like very good news for Misha, as she seems much the most likely act to finish last in the public vote.
Indeed, it’s hard to imagine why the show would hold a sing-off for any other reason than to shoehorn Misha into the final. We would expect them also to want to save Little Mix or Marcus if either of them finished last, but that seems an unlikely fate for either of the only two remaining acts who have yet to experience a sing-off.
Could a sing-off announcement possibly indicate they fear Amelia Lily being bottom, and want her in the final? There are a couple of reasons to think not. Firstly, with Amelia already having been parachuted back into the competition halfway through, sending her through to the final from bottom of the vote would look even more ridiculous than saving Misha for a fourth time.
Secondly, if they did want to boost Amelia’s vote and dampen Misha’s, it would be a lot easier than the other way around – some fierce urban styling and bullying references would surely do for Misha, if that happened to be the aim.
In sum, if there is an announcement of a sing-off, we would expect Misha’s elimination price to drift very sharply.
Scenario 2: It is officially confirmed there WON’T be a sing-off, and there is a major de-ramping of Amelia
However, if the show confirms there will not be a sing-off either before the Saturday show or during it, it doesn’t necessarily spell bad news for Misha B. It could possibly indicate that they are confident they can get Misha above Amelia in the public vote. If producers feel they can get Misha into the final on the public vote alone, we would expect them to prefer this to the embarrassment of another sing-off save.
In such a scenario, it could be that our preview of last week’s elimination market – which turned out to be wildly wrong – was merely a week premature and there will be a major de-ramp of Amelia this time around.
We’re getting to the stage when judges tend to praise rather than criticise in order to big up the remaining entrants, so any de-ramping may not be as obvious as some of the ruthless kills carried out in the earlier shows. Nonetheless, the treatment of Amelia will be watched most closely. Lukewarm praise may be one tactic that is used – though we would love her to come out in a haze of smoke with a red and black backdrop, to prove Richard from Betsfactor right.
Scenario 3: It is officially confirmed there WON’T be a sing-off, and there is NO major de-ramping of Amelia
Probably more likely, however, an announcement of no sing-off could indeed simply indicate that producers are resigned to losing Misha. They may think she’s sure to finish bottom of the vote, and that shoehorning her into the final by saving her for a fourth time wouldn’t be worth the controversy it would undoubtedly cause in a year where they’ve already taken plenty of liberties with precedent.
Likewise, if Misha seems destined for last place, they may want to avoid any risk of either Marcus or Little Mix joining her in a sing-off. It makes obvious sense in terms of dramatic tension to avoid a situation where all but one of the acts in the final has been proved to have weak public support by having appeared in the bottom two.
If there’s an announcement of a public vote elimination, and no discernible de-ramping of Amelia, that would most likely spell curtains for Misha. At which point you will no longer be able to get around 4/5 with the likes of Boylesports that she will go.
Scenario 4: No clear announcement on Saturday
There was wiggle room in Dermot’s words during last year’s semi-final. To remind you, his explanation then was that, “It’s now all in your hands, your votes and your votes alone can get your favourite act safely through to the final.” Some interpreted the use of the word ‘alone’ to believe there would be no sing-off, but we interpreted the use of the word ‘safely’ to mean that producers could justify letting the judges decide between the two acts that weren’t made safe by the public.
So unless we hear an official announcement before or at the beginning of the programme, we’ll be listening very carefully to Dermot’s words when the lines open towards the end of the show. I will require a definite ‘read my lips, there will be no sing-off’ moment to be certain it is the case.
If it isn’t clear on Saturday, it shows that producers are hedging their bets – and, as with scenario 1 above, the best reason I can think of for them doing this is to keep open the option of saving Misha if she finishes bottom of the public vote. So if viewers are left in the dark, we would expect Misha’s elimination odds to drift after the show and Amelia’s to shorten, as in scenario 1.
Having considered those four scenarios, let’s briefly entertain two less likely outcomes. The fact that the elimination betting is dominated by the two girls reflects a view that Marcus and Little Mix are (a) most likely in no danger of finishing bottom, and (b) most likely to be wanted by producers in the final. For the sake of completeness, though, we should consider if there is any chance of waving goodbye to either of them this Sunday.
We’re struggling to see it. We agree with Sofabet commenters who have made the point that an all-female final would likely not do much good for ratings, so we’d be amazed if any chance of losing Marcus was taken.
As for Little Mix, the reported romance between Perrie and One Direction’s Zayn has done nothing for their “not going to steal your boyfriend” USP – it seems likely that at least a few of Little Mix’s core demographic will now be feeling intensely jealous towards the blonde Geordie lass. We highly recommend reading Richard from Betsfactor’s entertaining take on the snog crisis, but we’d be amazed if it were enough to cause the girls to sink below Misha and Amelia – and even in the highly unlikely case that it did, we’d be amazed if the show didn’t hold a sing-off to save them.
Because odds are tight and much depends on which of the four scenarios take place, I recommend sitting out the elimination market until Saturday’s show tells us more (or maybe doesn’t). Which scenario do you imagine occurring on Saturday and what will it mean for the remaining four acts? Do let us know in the comments box below.