BGT 2013 Final preview: Where’s the value tonight?

If the market is right, tonight the seventh series of Britain’s Got Talent will be won by an act that’s not from Britain. A suspicion that producers might prefer not to sail into these uncharted waters, allied to Simon Cowell’s general willingness to wrap himself in the flag, is partly what initially made us Attraction sceptics.

However, their treatment in the semi-finals – pimp slot, four-judge standing ovation, and gushing praise – has convinced us we were wrong about that. If producers weren’t entirely sanguine about the prospect of an Attraction win, there’s no way they would have risked allowing them to build up such a head of steam.

If they win, it’ll be fascinating to see if this poses any existential crisis for the franchise in the longer term: “Britain’s Got Talent” is an odd name for a variety show featuring worldwide acts, as, interestingly, The Sun have pointed out in their editorial this morning. (After some heated debate in the Sofabet comments, we should perhaps point out that on a purely personal note we’d be delighted for Attraction if they win – they’re hugely talented and we’re more Diogenes than Nigel Farage.)

Producers should, in theory, be able to engineer the result they want tonight. Unlike in previous years, when the final followed straight after the semi-finals and exhausted decision-makers may arguably have made *cough*Jai McDowell*cough* one or two slight miscalculations, this time they’ll have had a week to pore over the voting figures from the semis in order to decide on the running order and their strategy for tonight. What should we be looking out for?

To start with, it’s worth reminding ourselves of just how significant the running order has been in predicting the podium finishers in BGT finals (last year’s had 11 acts not 10, but as the top three were the last three, we’ve pretended those 9-10-11 were 8-9-10 to make the graphing easier):

bgt_final_running_order_2013

Only one act in BGT history has ever made the podium from the first half of a ten- or eleven-act final – Twist and Pulse in 2010, and even then with barely a third of the votes of the winners, Spelbound. Of course, cause and effect are all muddled up here, as it makes sense for ratings reasons to leave the most-anticipated acts till late.

We’d love to be able to run a randomised controlled trial to tease out cause from effect. The closest we can come is perhaps to compare SuBo’s and Diversity’s semi and final results: in the semi, with Diversity on first and SuBo last, SuBo got 144% of Diversity’s vote; in the final, SuBo went 8th and Diversity 9th, and SuBo got 81% of Diversity’s vote.

After their semi-final treatment, we’re certainly not expecting Attraction to be lobbed on in the first half of the show. If they were, that would obviously be a red flag to punters – as would any noticeable cooling of praise from the judges, repeated uses of the words “I know you’re not from Britain but”, or references to their previous failure to win Hungary’s Got Talent. (Guildo Horn Forever, in the comments, makes the excellent point that several of the usual ways producers can dampen an act are off limits because Attraction “own the foreground, background, lighting, music, props – the lot”).

Would, conversely, a late slot for Attraction indicate they’re home and hosed? Commenter Danny reminds us that “we know they won their semi, but we don’t know the margin”, while AlisonR points out that their semi got the lowest viewing figures of the week.

Those holding bets on acts other than Attraction have to pin their hopes on the Great British public deciding, in Stoney‘s words, that they “when push comes to shove DO NOT want a foreign winner how ever good they are”. Against that, is a perceptive comment by Lozzzeeeee, who notes that “Their audition piece felt very ‘British’ to me, British imagery, fighting a war in a desert, highly relevant to our current society. The audition story touched every patriotic bone in my body”.

It’s been reported that tonight Attraction will present a new routine, explicitly referencing patriotic British symbols such as Churchill, The Queen and the London Olympics. Is that an indication that producers are trying to sweeten the pill of an inevitable victory by making their winning performance feel more British, or is there a risk it could come off as condescending?

Only producers know how many votes the five semi-final winners pulled in. If it’s tighter at the top than we imagine, then our suspicion is that Jack Carroll would be the feelgood winner producers would most like to engineer. The franchise has already notched up singers, dancers and a dog as winners – if we were them, we’d love to tick the comedian box.

However, we’re wary about getting stuck into Jack at odds-on in the “winner without Attraction” market, because if those figures are telling producers that Attraction are uncatchable and it’s only the minor placings up for grabs, we can imagine that producers might not care too much about whether Jack is second, third or fourth. They might, then, be more interested in getting the musical acts whose records they hope to flog as high up the leaderboard as possible.

Which brings us to the next two in the betting, Richard and Adam and The Luminites. In our book the former are a better fit for the BGT viewership – middle-of-the-road popera acts have a much better record than musical acts oriented more at the youth demographic. While The Luminites are outscoring the Welsh sandwich-makers on the Digital Spy poll (which has Attraction way out in front), Tim B notes that this might underestimate the “nan and mum” demographic.

As Dizzy notes, Richard and Adam also have in their favour that they were heavily pimped in, and duly won, the first semi-final – this is historically significant as the first semi-final’s winner has never finished out of the top two in the final, presumably because they get first dibs at lodging themselves in people’s minds. There is, though, the unknown factor of a week-long gap between the semis and final this time around – perhaps that will lessen the effect.

The other semi winner, Francine Lewis, emerged from what looked like the weakest of all the heats, and this time she has Jack competing with her to score the most laughs.

Is there any value lurking further down the lists? Runners-up in the first semi have podiumed three times out of six, but Arisxandra was shouty and has Asanda splitting the child singer vote. Boki suggests Gabz Gardiner, and her second-semi pimping does suggest that Syco have things in mind for her, but we’re not sold on her Middle England appeal. It’s conceivable that, if Attraction run away with it and leave the others fighting over scraps, a loyal regional vote could boost Jordan O’Keefe.

In sum, we’re neither backing nor opposing Attraction at current odds. If you’ve yet to have an interest, our pick at the prices would be a couple of options flagged up earlier in the week by Stoney and Guildo Horn ForeverRichard and Adam to finish in the top three at evens with BetVictor, or Richard and Adam in the “without Attraction” market at 9/2 each-way with Ladbrokes. They’re likeable and talented, have a regional vote, represent a genre with a fine record in the show, and the fact that they were chosen by producers to close the historically-favoured first show is a strong suggestion that they should also be treated favourably tonight.

For more on BGT, do check out Sofabet commenter Tim B on the William Hill podcast. What’s your thinking for tonight? As always, do let us know below.

66 comments to BGT 2013 Final preview: Where’s the value tonight?

  • Stoney

    Had to regrettably scan through this article on my phone as I’m away this weekend, but I just picked up a copy of the sun and instantly smiled as I saw the front page. Headline- er hungarys got talent. With sub heading bgt-its not so British, I see this a big dampener with the majority of viewers I’d guess being sun readers. Has the nobbling began?

  • Tish

    Lets hope so Stoney! I’m trying really hard to not put another bet on until the show starts tonight and we get an idea of the running order!

  • Stoney

    Unfortunately the value comes with guessing/gambling on your own assumption of the running order. I haven’t come unstuck on my methods yet. Just read the sun says section on page 10 today and that says it all for me, hopefully Britain follows that tonight and does the right thing for BRITAINS got talent

  • trollgirl

    My tip for top 3 is
    1. Jack
    2. Attraction
    3. Gabz

  • Henry VIII

    If Steve Hewlett is the wildcard it could impact Jack. Out of the then 3 comic acts Steve is the pro.

  • AlisonR

    Francine at 4/1 for a top 3 finish (Betfred) seems good odds. I put her fourth in my earlier attempt at a first to last finishing order, but should one of the others turn in a duff performance on the night and/or she gets a good draw and favourable comments, she could be there.

  • maccafan

    Simon Cowell was guesting on BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright show yesterday (likely still online to listen to). He mentioned Attraction and Jack being obvious front runners, BUT “after seeing the rehearsals for the final, we could be in for some surprises”.

  • AnnaC

    The earlier posts mentioned the nan-appeal of Richard&Adam but don’t forget that Jack has tremendous nan-appeal.Also, because he is a child, he is not fishing in the same vote pool as Francine, whereas if Steve is wildcard he and Francine will be competing for votes. I reckon Jack #1, Attraction #2 and one of the singing acts #3.

  • Steve Hewlett is the wildcard, I have been very reliably informed.

  • No major view tonight and no pending bets at moment. But seen worse bets than Jordan Okeefe at 66-1 without attraction.

    There isnt going to be much between the contenders fighting for 2nd and 3rd. And so much relies on Running order, if he is first on then bet is down. If he is near end, its not a bad 66/1 e/w poke.

    Basically hoping for Regional Vote and Later Slot.

    Small risk, small interest

  • Stoney

    Well said Anna, francine would without doubt offer most if steve is wild card bearing in mind he falls into the impressions department

  • Kevin

    Attraction available at 1/3, not would you could call weak but… still hoping for a dramatic drift, stand to win a nice bit if Jack wins but hope outweighs reality on this one I guess.

  • Henry VIII

    I think Cowell will have to put Jordan on early to faint praise as he has financial interest in Luminites and possible also R & A.

    However as Attraction will get so much of the vote there could be upsets in Top 3.

    • Kevin

      I think you are spot on, the percentages between the field other than Attraction will be marginal. I do think R & A will be pimped but there is surely room for someone to sneak onto the Podium at nice price. The running order will decide it perhaps. I am chancing Gabz (25/1 with Betfair)

  • Kevin

    Richard & Adam top 3, final bet down, I find it very hard to see them out of top 3, reasons well put already. Best of luck to everyone.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    My four EW bets/selections, which are on Attraction, Jack, R&A and The Luminites and at nice odds, look in good order. Hopefully, the top three come from these.
    A Jack win would be very average for me. R&A outside of the top three is my worst result. Unsure how I got myself into this corner.
    I feel the strongest contender to Attraction is future national treasure, Jack.
    Feel an impulse to have another bet, but as I see Attraction and Jack in the top three, I’m unsure where to find value.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Oh! and come Andrea and Ash for The Voice. I think Leah is a horrible price.

  • Chatterbox5200

    If the order in which the acts were announced is the running order, then the pimp slot will be going to the Wild Card Winner, or if they are placed lower in the order, Attraction with Luminites just before them.
    The first act on is the first act announced, so this could very well be the case.

  • Andy

    No doubt who TPTB want to win if Attraction are on last.
    RIP BGT.

  • Chatterbox5200

    The order in which Ant & Dec announced the finalists was:
    1. Pre-Skool
    2. Asanda
    3. Gabz
    4. Jordan
    5. Arixsandra
    6. Francine
    7. Richard & Adam
    8. Jack Carroll
    9. Luminites
    10. Attractiona
    11. Wild Card Winner

  • Tish

    Wilcard winner is on after Gabz

  • Andy

    R&A may miss out on top 3 if this is the running order.
    This could get painful.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    re the panic comment, that is.

  • Andy

    Steve Hewlett may surprise with a place.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    WTF!

  • gwri78

    Oh dear, can’t even think of a way out of this

  • Stoney

    R&A may pick up a sympathy vote for that sabotage attempt

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Certainly made it more memorable. Hopefully it will distract from Cowell hitting them in the throat.
      ‘Clutching at straws’ sensation.

  • Andy

    VOTE LIKE MAD 🙂

  • Lil

    Expecting world class performace from Luminites. They could win

  • Tish

    Looked like that was set up to me!!

  • gwri78

    When you’re only voting for one out of ten you don’t vote on sympathy

  • Andy

    R&A were sabotaged.
    7th in the running order.
    Dodgy Microphones.
    Then the egg throwing.
    Someone didn’t want them to win.

  • Andy

    She did come from the rear. Seemed to be back row of orchestra.

  • Kevin

    Luminites underwhelming even with the Pimping, hopeful R+A might still be on podium, 9/4 now dam good but on already and bust!

  • Kevin

    That was a sorry effort from Attraction, Jack has a chance.

    • Chatterbox5200

      It gave the impression that they’d been told to “British it up” and seemed rather too false. Nowhere near as emotional as their earlier performances, and the audience reaction seemed rather lukewarm.

  • Kevin

    A shameless sell out to try and win, and they did not need to, I think if they had simply repeated the audition piece they would be 1/20 now.

  • Oh god, I’m actually terrified Attraction won’t win now. Had to have a saver on Jack just in case 🙁

  • trollgirl

    I am not sure a repeat would have done them much better, people were bit fed up of the sob story milking approach. I think it was a fair risk they took, we´ll see how it pays off, I still think they have a fair shot to either win or be 2nd.

    • Kevin

      I think last up with the adulation etc the audition act would have sufficed no problem. That piece looked amateurish, it was thrown together. Not as if they would perform it back home is it?

  • trollgirl

    not attraction…. hungarians is trending on twitter… just sayin…

  • Kevin

    Jack will be favorite real soon

  • Tish

    I have had to actually pick my phone up and vote for R&A

  • Kevin

    Jack is the real deal, Attraction are mercenaries, is that what is coming across to Joe Public?

    • eurovicious

      As someone who only watched the final (plus Attraction and Luminites’ earlier performances on Youtube), that’s exactly what came across to me Kevin. Actually surprised Jack didn’t pull off an underdog win in the same manner as the dog vs the opera lot last year. Everything about Attraction’s performances was so calculated and cynical. I mean, really, they don’t live in the UK and have no real connection to UK culture (mind you, neither do I), but they literally just toured Talent versions until they struck lucky – they didn’t make it on the Hungarian version or here on the German version, so they put together performances based on British tropes (right down to “help for heroes”-style military jingoism and fucking Emeli Sande – I bet they had production help with that) and entered the UK version. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I’m not saying that from an anti-eastern European perspective, it’s a simple fact. If they were resident in the UK then no problem, great, but they literally just came over for the show. In this respect, all the people predictably tweeting “its called britains got talent not hungarys got talent” have a point.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Did you see Simon’s face when the winner was announced? Priceless!

  • Kevin

    Gutted for Jack

  • gwri78

    Would have been much better off not watching tonight, laying everything off has cost me a fortune, feeling sick & stupid

  • What an eggcellent result!!!! Never been so relieved in all my life though.

  • Stoney

    Pretty pissed that the british public voted foreigners to win our show but r&a jack carrol top 3 absolutely smashed it for me again tonight

  • eurovicious

    Only watched the final. Can’t believe that jingoistic claptrap won… pass me the sick bag. As an anti-Unionist and paid-up Republic member who hates this blasted, callous, deliberately country-wrecking government with a passion, the last thing I want to hear in my Saturday evening entertainment is the preaching, smarmy voice of that fucking pernicious toffee-nosed gobshite David Cameron, let alone a load of union jacks and uncritical pro-royalism. So cynical. I was waiting for a shadow representation of Prince Philip’s bladder infection.

    As effective as Attraction’s two earlier performances were, I also found them cynically emotionally manipulative and concerningly nationalist, and the second one a bit heteronormative or “reproductonormative” (just made that up). I really thought the wee disabled lad would win, especially after 3 of the 4 judges said they wanted him to, followed by Attraction’s VT being shot in Budapest and their performance being much less emotive than their previous ones.

    Laughed myself silly at the Algo Pequenito moment. Absolutely perfect. I don’t know why, but I love the fact she brought the box on with her rather than just a handful of eggs. It’s the small things…

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      ‘I was waiting for a shadow representation of Prince Philip’s bladder infection.’
      Read that last night, and I’m still chuckling this afternoon!

  • Stoney

    Winnings tonight pushed to 1 side that’s a disgusting result

  • Natasha

    Is there no BGT post to follow from last night?

 Leave a reply...