The debut of a new Richard Betsfactor theory is always a red(-and-black) letter day, so do head over to betsfactor.com for Richard to explain the thinking behind his latest insight: colour vomit.
We like it. We know last year’s acts deduced that messy lighting was a sign of producer disfavour, and messy colour makes equal sense. The underlying thinking is that viewers are less likely to feel motivated to pick up the phone for performances that come across as visually incoherent. Sounds plausible to us.
More on that in a moment, but as usual let’s begin this week’s staging and lighting review at the beginning, which means Rough Copy.
Presumably the thinking here went something like: “okay, song’s from Robin Hood. Robin Hood… um… Sherwood Forest. Trees? Trees, that’ll do”:
“Trees aren’t very uplifting, though. We’re trying to help these guys”. “Okay, how about we make them golden halfway through, and send on a choir dressed all in white?”
Sam C was an interesting one this week. Put on in the Strictly overlap zone and criticised by the judges, he also seemed to be getting red-and-blacked. But on second viewing, that’s not quite right; it was more amber-and-black, the effect of which was often to bathe him a warm, deep-golden glow:
That doesn’t seem unhelpful. Nor did the visuals – some kind of pixellated spinning globe, with pulsing map outlines. And the spotlight is right where you’d want it to be:
All in all, the staging seemed helpful enough for Sam.
Not so for Hannah. Regular readers will know about the theory that staging using fire depresses an act’s vote. There are a couple of pathways by which we can imagine this working. Possibly, fire pushes subliminal buttons that say “Danger! Stand back! Stay away!”; possibly, depicting an act in any kind of context suggesting death – like Belle Amie’s coffins, and Janet Devlin’s face being vaporised in the respective weeks in which they departed – has a demotivating effect.
The charitable interpretation of Hannah’s staging would be, akin to the Robin Hood line of thought above, simply that ‘Skyfall’ is a Bond theme and Bond movies tend to involve explosions:
But then they chose to dwell on this camera shot suggesting Hannah is being consumed by fire (now, what mental connotations might we have for the image of flames lapping around a woman?) – and to choose it for the reprise:
After last week’s walking dead, Wee Nick McScotland gets some people writhing around on chairs for reasons that elude us. They’re a bit distracting, as are the spotlights:
On the other hand, Baby Buble gets a hint of halo lighting – befitting the theme of the song – right at the end:
On to Abi, and as Jscouser puts it, “The staging this week was massively helpful, a video image of her on the screens on both sides for the long shots, nice lighting”:
She also seemed to get quite a lot of close-ups:
Which backs up the theory that producers were hoping to steer Abi clear of the bottom two this week – or, alternatively, perhaps they thought it didn’t matter if she had nice staging because everyone would be off making a cup of tea.
Before we get to Miss Dynamix, remember this?
Evidently, when the show is investing in you, they commission some nice, tasteful lettering to spell out your name. When they can’t really be arsed, they spraypaint it on some corrugated iron:
Without wanting to pre-empt Richard Betsfactor’s promised 10pm post tonight, we’d be surprised if this performance from Miss Dynamix didn’t count as one of the three examples of colour vomit he’s promised from this year. We were also tickled by how the word “dreams” in the background kept being splattered or shattered:
Onto Sam Bailey, and initially her staging has a slightly strange feel – floating bubbles, ghostly violinists, almost as if we’re underwater. On a sunken CRUISESHIP?
The colour palette becomes much warmer and more triumphant towards the end, though the ballroom dancing still feels like something you might encounter on a CRUISESHIP. Not sure what the ancient monument backdrop is supposed to represent. Maybe the kind of thing you might see on a day trip from a CRUISESHIP?
Kingsland Road get a fun, cartoon cityscape as they’re lowered on a crane arm:
The red and black question has been chewed over at length in the Sofabet comments, with the consensus (with which we concur) being that it all depends on context. And this feels fine to us – it’s sexy red, red light district red (this is ‘Pretty Woman’, after all), not danger red:
Luke starts out against a backdrop of flying debris:
The debris clears and becomes swirling rose petals (‘Kiss From A Rose’, of course), which then disappear, leaving Luke in a room with an deep red empty chair, lampshade and rose. Any ideas what this is about?
Tamera opens with a halo of golden fireworks. Connotations don’t get much more positive than that, do they?
Last week we debated whether it was supposed to help or hinder an act if they end on a plinth having started at stage level. As we can surely assume that everything about this staging was supposed to be helpful, our answer appears to have come in the shape of a grand piano:
What struck you this week? As ever, do let us know below.