The Voice 2014 Semi-Final

Firstly, a quick reminder of last week’s show. The overwhelming winner of the quarter-finals was Christina. Her YouTube figures are dwarfing the other contestants (if that has value re the outcome). Plus the Ricky-Christina love-in is sweet, and far removed from the creepiness that lingered over the Danny-Bo Bruce relationship in series 1.

Christina was one of the fast pass beneficiaries, alongside Jermain, Jamie and Sally, all worthy recipients of this double-edged sword. However, the public-vote winners – Sophie, Lee, Bizzi and Chris – have as a result built active support.

The public-vote losers were Iesher, Rachael, Georgia and Emily – four girls who performed get-the-party-started numbers, marred by blaring accompaniment, overbearing colour-vomity sets and the overuse of dancers. A pattern of the casualty list was DBDTD – Death by Dance Troupe Distraction.

What about this week?

The terrible standard set by the eliminated acts render evaluating the strength of the vote-winning acts a tricky business. I think Iesher was the best performer of the losers, which suggests that Sophie May is indeed a popular girl. Otherwise, the winners triumphed over precious little, though Lee knocked out the erstwhile third favourite for the entire competition.

Team Kylie
Jamie Johnson 8/11
Lee Glasson 5/4

I see two quality acts and I think the market has it about right, with Jamie a slight favourite over Lee. Jamie is a very engaging, sweet, likeable, powerfully-voiced guy who consistently delivers excellent performances. Meanwhile, Lee delivered his best performance of the competition last Saturday, but I think he benefitted from a skilful song choice. Another helpful choice is critical to his chances.

On Saturday night’s results show Kylie confirmed that she would be singing with both her boys in a threesome, in addition to their solo songs. Jamie sings ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’; Lee sings London Grammar’s ‘Strong’.

Thus, Kylie’s chosen another inexplicably, slightly downbeat tune for the life-loving Jamie. I still say he holds the advantage, though. ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ needs a handsome singer to pull it off, otherwise the viewer retorts: too bloody right, you can’t! Jamie is better looking than Lee and I imagine he’ll be scooping up the majority of female votes with this emotional number.

Lee has been given a 2013 top 20 song from a group that will be unknown to a large swathe of The Voice viewership. ‘Strong’, like ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, carries a tone of disappointment. But the real problem with ‘Strong’ is the inner focus of the lyrics which may exacerbate Lee’s introspective style. I can imagine him shutting his eyes and ignoring the camera even more than usual.

Thus, there’s a smidgeon of value to be had in 8/11 favourite Jamie to win Team Kylie, and progress to the final.

Team Will
Jermain Jackman 1/2
Sophie May Williiams 7/4

I would struggle to back Sophie at 7/4. There’s no evidence that she can sing anything very well other than Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’. (To be fair, her knock-out stage rendition of ‘Moon River’ was very nice and a bit of a return to form.) On their respective nights, I think both Cherri and Iesher deserved to go through over her.

Therefore, I think she’s ridden her luck for too long and that Jermain will win the day this time. Jermain is a handsome, fairly likeable guy, who has delivered top-notch performances on every appearance. He has terrific stage presence, alongside a voice with wonderful range and easy power.

Semi-final nerves shouldn’t be a problem for a young guy who won an international singing competition at the Apollo in Harlem, and at 17, beat over 4000 contenders to win the Spirit of London Award, which was handed to him at the 02 Arena. Additionally, as much as Will loves his ‘unicorn’, Sophie, I suspect he has enormous respect and admiration for Jermain.

Another factor against Sophie is that four young girls were eliminated from the competition on Saturday, while 20-year-old Christina Marie was being pimped to high heaven. Will has made it clear he wants to see a winner with commercial and global appeal, which Christina has more than Sophie.

At current prices, neither makes particular appeal to be Team Will’s final representative. Sophie is the epitome of hit-and-miss, but on a more basic level, she is a popular white Yorkshire lass pitted against a black Londoner.

Team Ricky
Christina Marie 1/9
Chris Royal 8/1

In terms of relative value, I should have imagined that both Christina and Sally would be equal near-certainties to progress, so why there’s an offer of 1/9 for Christina is surprising (relative to the 1/25 for Sally). A case for Chris winning over Christina feels near-impossible to construct.

Christina has now delivered three consecutive wow vocal performances. The two most memorable visuals from the series are the looks of devastation from her teammates during her ‘Vision of Love’ performance, and the spectacle of the staging during ‘Everlong’. Should Christina reach the final as expected, I reckon she’ll receive priority in running order and staging help.

Team Tom
Sally Barker 1/25
Bizzi Dixon 12/1

The Sally vs Bizzi duel looks equally one-sided, and of more interest is the Christina vs Sally match for the overall title. Many Sofabet commenters are invested in a Sally win. She combines the unusual power to move you emotionally with her singing while maintaining her stiff British upper lip attitude (commenting on the aftermath of being made a widow: ‘The kids need you…so you do that’).

This can be contrasted with Christina, whose (partially endearing) needy emotionalism bursts through. Yet her singing moves the listener more with its incredible spectacle than by any emotional pull.

Like Christina, Sally has massive internet support, evidenced by YouTube numbers, closely comparable iTunes sales and so on. But you just feel in your bones that the elder BBC viewership will favour Sally over Christina. The former seems to be carrying formidable universal support across the age spectrum that could prove unstoppable.

If her main rival, Christina delivers a ‘rock chic’ performance that’s too goth, cheap-looking or shouty this Saturday, Sally may shorten again in the betting, going odds-on. The worst case scenario for Christina would be to deliver a performance that alienates older viewers, or an over-emotional aftermath (leading to more hugs from Ricky).

What are your thoughts on tonight’s show? Who will you be backing, if anyone, and who do you think will be departing this weekend? As ever, please continue the discussion below.

91 comments to The Voice 2014 Semi-Final

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    [Posted this elsewhere on site, too]

    A c&p from tellymix.

    The Voice 2014 spoilers: Song choices for semi-finals

    TEAM KYLIE

    Jamie Johnson
    Bonnie Raitt – I Can’t Make You Love Me

    Lee Glasson
    London Grammar – Strong

    Group performance
    Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue

    TEAM RICKY

    Christina Marie
    Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang

    Chris Royal
    Nat King Cole – Smile

    Group performance
    The Kinks – You Really Got Me

    TEAM TOM

    Sally Barker
    The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon

    Bizzi Dixon
    George Benson – Everything Must Change

    Group performance
    Martha & The Vandellas – Dancing in the Streets

    TEAM WILL

    Sophie May Williams
    David Guetta feat. Usher – Without You

    Jermain Jackman
    Lorde – Royals

    Group performance
    TBC

    The Voice UK 2014 semi-final airs this weekend, Saturday 29th March, on BBC One at 7PM.

    =================================================

    Obviously (?), the Sophie and Jermain songs are the wrong way round. Sophie must be singing the Lorde song; with Jermain singing the David Guetta song.

    This is obviously right:
    http://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-voice/179650-the-voice-2014-spoilers-team-wills-song-choices-revealed.html

    Jermain has a recent David Guetta electro-ballad and that flashes danger on this show. He could be earmarked to open the show again. A big singing and dancing spectacular. Last Saturday the dance choreography was kept minimal (his backing dancers on ‘Treasure’ were more like backing singers) and worked to his advantage, but the show choreographer was allowed to go OTT on other act’s performances. One to monitor.

    Am concerned about Sally’s group song. I don’t want to see her singing anything with ‘dancing’ in the title. Worse, it’s a song that might better suit Bizzi. She might be overpowered. What’s Sir Tom thinking?

    Much prefer Sally’s solo choice. Classic, meaningful, much-loved song – of which I’m unfamiliar with other versions than The Waterboy’s original. Ripe and rich for Sally’s gift for lyrical reinterpretation. Looking forward to it.

    Beautiful,heart-warming song for Chris, but an unnecessarily ancient track? Charlie Chaplin look-a-likes as backing dancers?! Chris will need to smile while he sings, this time! I’ve consistently under-rated Chris, but Christina will need to make a mess of things to not go through. Another tearful post-song saga could start to work against her. She’s plenty girl-next-door likeable, talented, nicely spoken and deserving. Just needs to avoid the ‘needy’ tag.

    Christina Marie’s Bang Bang. There’s so many mixes of this song. Could be anything. The less-is-more original might be the best way to force Christina to emote in a performance without resorting to power singing. Christina could post her 4th consecutive wow moment, but watch out for a stage flooded with dancers (it’s a song story-line with that potential), as Chris has the bank-ability of an uplifting gorgeous ballad to sing. Another to monitor.

    Christina’s connection with super popular sweetheart, Ricky, is probably a big vote-winner for her.

    All told, I’ll be topping up on Jamie to win Team Kylie, adding the top price 8/11 to go with the 4/1 I picked up last week.

  • eurovicious

    Maybe I should start watching this.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      A few Christina Marie videos might be a good place to catch up. (These are, in order, her 3 previous performance on The Voice).

      This must be one the best quality battle-duets ever on The Voice:

      From the knock-out stages, where only 3 of the 7 from each team would be chosen by their mentor to progress to the Quarter Finals. Around the 0:52 mark, the camera takes in the faces of Christina’s team rivals, as they watch on from near the wings. One girl, Beth, looks in urgent need of a counsellor!

      Last week’s mega pimp slot, The Huggy Bear of pimp slots. The choreographer was obviously impressed by Azerbaijan’s Sabine Babayeva’s costume and staging from a couple of ESCs ago. On initial watch, I found Christina post-song emotionalism a bit fishing-for-compliments manipulative, but on rewatching a few times, I’m thinking ‘whatever!’: she’s pretty darn cute and loveable, all the same. I wish Christina was going this year’s ESC instead of Molly. Singing ‘Children of the Universe’ I think Christina would be certain to be top 4.

  • Rob4

    looks like the beeb are trying to put the brakes on Sally to me.

  • stoney

    Could well be too little too late, same happened with andrea last year

  • Cath

    To me it felt like Sally was getting no producer favour vs Bizzi; on first, Emma talking about the musicians. Meanwhile Bizzi got given the Leicester regional vote and shown to be getting lots of regional support, plus Emma highlighting the 4 judge standing ovation (just in case we missed it!). Even so, Sally was fantastic yet again, so can’t see her missing out.

  • Cath

    Without you was such a nothing song, really didn’t give Jermain much chance to show his skill. But that held last note was pretty impressive. In his white suit against a white background he did also disappear somewhat.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Just skipping through the show on catch-up. Christina was shocking; Chris was classy. Trying to get the 11/2 for Chris to win Team Kylie.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Took prices on the outrights instead: Chris at 33s and Sophie May at 25s.

      Wish I’d been in to watch the show in real time. Have had to make last-dash judgements. Possibly feeling a bit trigger happy, over-protecting my Sally and Christina dominant “book”.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I see Jamie is into 7/2 for the outright with PP!! Was he really that good tonight? I was skipping through catch-up and didn’t linger too long on his performance.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Sally’s through! Phew!

    What a dignified reaction from Sally. The Leicester support is well and truly sewn up with that interaction between hometown girl and boy, Sally and Bizzi, there.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Christina Marie’s through. Took a bit of a hit on my Chris bet, but at odds of 33s, I don’t mind. The fact that the winner from Team Ricky, whoever it was to be, necessitates the announcer saying the word ‘Chris…’ means my heart didn’t explode when I heard that word spoken!!

    • stoney

      Sally for the win!!!!
      Be interesting to see how they play it in the final. I’ll be hoping they avoid anymore up tempo songs though.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Yeah, stoney, that blaring arrangement of Whole of the Moon’ was an unecessary and frankly dumb experiment.

        Put that guitar in the hand and have her play a stripped down, intimate acoustic,ffs.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Jamie’s through.

          That’s my 4/1 and 8/11 bets landed for Team Kylie.

          Mixed feelings on this, because I pumped the money on him at 4/1 last week and topped up at 8/11 today.

          But that outright price for him will shorten further now. And I have nothing on him for the outright whatsoever. No cover. Am kicking myself now for not having backed him for the outright.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Jermain’s through.

            That Sophie cover bet of mine was rushed stupidity. I picked Jermain last week to prevail and have never had faith in Sophie. Plus, I suppose that David Guetta song performance from Jermain was more of a hit than a miss.

            Over the course of the series, Sophie didn’t deserve to go through. And that’s what did for her, ultimately.

            I’ve just remembered that I have an each way bet on Jermain for the outright from last week, so that’s some consolation.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Although Jermain is now only 7/2 for the win on betfair on the outright, I imagine that price will drift during the week. He should be a bigger price than that, imo.

            If they open up a market (any time soon) on who’ll finish 4th (last) in the final, Jermain might be available at a backable price (7/4 or so) for that grand final wooden spoon position.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ha! Jermain’s already drifting – out to 23/5 now.

  • stoney

    It’s a predominantly young final apart from Sally. Will this split the younger vote? One would certainly hope so

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yeah, stoney, I hope you’re right.

      Jamie’s the danger that’s emerged from the pack. I’m glad Jermain’s in the final – another strong male vocalist. I hope they limit each other’s support.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Jamie’s into 2/1 now with PP. I’ll feel destroyed if I get nothing back on the outright from this competition.

        • stoney

          Me too and I’m only on the one runner lol

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ah! I feel a bit guilty now!

            But I’ve never really, really badly, i.e. devastatingly, lost at gambling. The winner’s that got away, the ones I didn’t back – they’re the biggest regrets lodged like grit at the back of my punting mind.

            Given the financial (and study-time) expenditure I’ve put into this contest, a zero return on the outright for me will hit as a sickening blow. (And come at a v inconvenient financial moment for me.)

            I was visiting a friend in hospital earlier this evening. Hence, I was too late to watch The Voice live. With the knock-on of me making (or trying to make) daft, scrambling, ill-thought “insurance” bets.

            Just before, I caught myself regretting not getting away from the hospital earlier. What a sad thought to be crossing my mind. Unhealthy.

            I’m no masochist, but some part of me hopes I do suffer a zero return from the final this coming Saturday.

            It might free me up to be a better person.

            Anyway, I’ll root and cheer loudest for a win for Sally, as that’s seems to be the best result for everyone around here.

            Fingers crossed.

          • stoney

            I have barely bet a 3 figure sum on this series and it’s all gone on Sally for the win. But it’s small in comparison to my usual bets so I wouldn’t be devastated to lose although like you I could really do with the dough!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Still haven’t seen the Jamie performance properly yet. Any feedback, anyone, on exactly how well he did tonight? I imagine he easily had the better of the group song.

  • stoney

    Especially with Chelsea all but ending my hopes of a big pay out on the football season

  • Nissl

    Catching the Youtube clips. Finalists first.

    Christina – Tons of staging help. Did not really find this performance much worse than the others, I just think her need to shout to really connect strongly is already wearing thin. Perhaps she broke into it too early just to get the energy up. Another week with very similar colors in the staging might have been a mistake. The battle round, same colors again, and she’s shouting *constantly*, which doesn’t work when she can’t set you up for it. That might have done some damage.

    Sally – Actually looked a little more modern, with more stage presence and energy, this week. No, she can’t really belt. Just listen to that one shout. But doing it quickly like that to show passion worked. I found her a little more lively and interesting than prior performances. And again, she connected well with nice tone, of course. Got motes of yellow for coloring, think that is very helpful. (Battle round, again more lively. Just fine. Really enjoyed Tom, first time seeing him sing.)

    Jamie – For the first time, connected and gave me some goosebumps on this ballad. Stepped back from the grit and showed maybe an A- pure tone voice. That may be enough, his connecting ability here was competitive with Sally, who isn’t an A+ herself. Smart to prove his energy and stage presence in the first few performances and then step back and prove he can sing tenderly. Strong, fierce but ultimately nice guy with a soft core… that’s the classic sales pitch, ain’t it? Most likable performance of his on stage for me (considering I’m not watching the VTs). Yeah, Cowell would have been on this guy, or at least, he should be. I can see why his price came in. Curious where he will go after this, only one more night doesn’t feel like enough to fully establish him. (Failed to distinguish himself from Lee during the battle round. Oh well, came across fine.)

    Jermain – Haven’t really talked about him yet. Technically excellent, but he does not connect or give me goosebumps. Nasal/Kermit tone at times, particularly lower register. Self-impressed, in love with technically controlling his voice, which wears thin in under a minute. Musical theater-ish. Expect 4th place, and it has nothing to do with demographics.

  • Nissl

    Bizzi – He’s *right* on the door of connecting and getting people excited. Just barely touched it a couple of times. Technically quite good. Comes across nicely likable. Not quite the energy or stage presence of a true star. Screams backup singer. Not at all surprised to find out he’s been around the fringes of the industry for a long time, now that I’m reading up on him.

    Lee – Nice voice, but no “goosies”, as JLo loves to call them on American Idol over here, because he’s emotionally closed off. At best when soaring. Really did not like his choices on the quiet parts, or maybe that was just showing he’s no Hannah Reid. (If you haven’t seen her live, go look up her top performances on Youtube, perhaps Jimmy Kimmel + Seattle radio. Absolutely dynamite, phenomenally powerful voice, and these shows would be all over her if she hadn’t taken the indie route.)

    Chris – Does not connect, and just does not cut deep enough with his core voice either. Nor are his falsetto or quiet voices good enough for this level. Understated staged that wound up just blah. Kind of bored even though this was all right. Sorry, Chris.

    Sophie-May: Good lord. They put her in a cage for half the performance, and gave her a really weird arrangement of Royals (which has absolutely been run into the ground for me by now) that just did not work. Oh yeah, and they draped her in jewels for a song with lyrics exactly opposed to that. Anyway… as usual, some bits where she was struggling a bit technically. A few glimpses of a little something here and there, but not enough that I have faith she’ll connect the dots.

  • Natasha

    Do the finalists get to choose what they sing in the final?

    • stoney

      I imagine they have about the same amount of power as x factor contestants when it comes to choosing their songs. Sod all. I’ll be topping up on the Sally win at short odds for the first time during the week. She has drifted slightly from this time last week, just biding my time

      • Natasha

        I fully expect them to give Sally the worst song possible together with unhelpful staging, how far they go will depend how she did with the public vote in comparison to Christina. All I remember from last year is how awful and awkward Andrea and Danny’s duet was!! Not overly confident of a Sally win so won’t be topping up again but will keep everything crossed the public get fully behind her and get her over the finish line

        • Andy

          The time to worry is if Tom comes up with songs like he did for Mike Ward in last years final.
          “Suspicious Minds” & The “Green, Green Grass of Home”
          he doesn’t exactly fill you with optimism.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Looking at the betting today, Christina Marie shouts out at me as being the false favourite, at 6/4.

      I consider my CM bets as already lost.

      It has the look of a duel between Sally and Jamie. 11/2 (or 31/5 on betfair) for Jamie is where the value’s at. It might come down to song choice on the night, as the deciding factor.

      I don’t see there being much value left in backing Sally now (at a top price of 15/8), as a) you first have to know the song choice for her, and b) even when you do, you have no way of knowing in advance of the style (and loudness) of the musical backing. It’s more musical foregrounding than backing, on this show. Frankly, she was damped this week; but Sally and her acoustic guitar, given a chance, can still win this. The public know full well she was given unsuitable song choices this week…and will allow for this – once. If Tom continues in picking songs and arrangements of those songs that make Sally look old, frumpy and in decline, then it could be net curtains for her.

      I imagine Christina finishing 3rd now, just ahead of Jermain. In which case the value bet for finishing 4th / last / next eliminated (if and when that market -in whatever guise- becomes available) is Christina. I guestimate the 6/1 to 7/1 odds range is where Christina will be offered in that market. That’s too big.

      I dearly wish I’d reflected on the conversation Nissi and I had last week about Jamie Johnson.

      http://sofabet.com/2014/03/22/the-voice-2014-live-shows-preview/comment-page-1/#comment-36630

      He was available at 25/1 at that point.

      Given the greens on my book, and given my conviction that Jamie is a real, live danger to contiunue his powerful surge and scoop the whole thing, I would, if I had any available cash, smash the Hell out of the 11/2 and 31/5 for him.

      Though, given my big greens are Sally and Christina, this could be influencing me to overstate the threat level of Jamie. But I don’t think so.

      The 2 unequivocally winning personalities from last week were yet again Sally and Jamie. It’s between those 2, imo.

      • Andy

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqZiBd5tgwI

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVr3WOuvHIk

        They cloning Bonnie.

        100 % agree Guildo, Sally or Jamie.
        I’m losing whatever the result after a heavy loss on Lee but did manage a little of the 12/1 on Jamie after he sang yesterday which could soften the blow

      • Nissl

        Obviously the best situation if you had the liquidity would be to lay off much of your bet on CM, who has come in, and move some of that over to Jamie. You’d wind up green on all 3 if I understand your position properly, no?

        I would not rule out CM though. For both this last week and in general she has the most Youtube views by a good margin, and this is an online voting show now. I’m still grappling with how internet voting diverges from phone. I think it may favor “interesting” more. While Jamie seems a good all-rounder you can build up to sell to teen girls, CM is still more immediately striking than Jamie. If Jamie doesn’t deliver last week’s series-best performance or better, and Sally does her usual thing while being deramped a bit, I think a big bloc of viewers may be looking for just a “good enough” performance to justify giving CM the win. And I think she has a good chance of delivering it. But then as a US viewer, I really do not have a great sense of who is going to vote on the internet for a BBC show that is doing just ok in ratings.

        • Andy

          Christina is being slated on yahoo because of the way she shouted her way through Saturday night’s show,
          60 comments at the bottom of the article ripping her to pieces.

          https://uk.celebrity.yahoo.com/gossip/omg/the-voice-uk-semi-finals-live-blog-111851881.html.

          yet she is topping the who do you want to win online polls on Telly mix and Digital spy.
          Punters nightmare.

          • Natasha

            She was really slated for this on facebook aswell! Check out all the comments, almost all are negative! Almost all of Sally’s however are positive. Confusing to say the least as to why Christina is topping the polls although, Sally is not far behind. I have this gut feeling that Jamie may be a surprise winner, just like Andrea was last year. After all, I think they did initially want a male winner! Hope not as all my eggs are in the one basket and in the one basket only!! Come on Sally!!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Unless Christina (and Ricky) take David Cook’s advice and this Saturday Christina is singing the likes of ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ for her solo and ‘The Way We Were’ for the duet song, then she’s toast, isn’t she.

            I’m sure there will be a next elimination / 4th / finish last market for the final.

            As a rule of thumb (I think) that prospective market should be a near inverse arrangement of the odds for the outright win market, meaning that at current odds, Jamie and Jermain will be ascribed odds around the 5/4 to 13/8 mark to be next eliminated (finish 4th), while Christina and Sally will be offered at around the 11/2 to 13/2 mark to be the next eliminated (finish 4th).

            I’d rather be on Christina at 6/1 to finish 4th than on Sally at that price. In fact I wouldn’t take 16/1 for Sally to finish 4th. But I’d be reasonably happy to take 3/1 for Christina to finish 4th.

            As Andy points out 5 posts above, there was a seemingly conscious effort to make Sally very un-bonny by making her Bonnie.

            Surely to God she won’t let them stitch her up like that another week? I think the mentors do make some woefully lousy yet honest choices sometimes.

            Perhaps Tom recognised that Sally doing her usual meaningful ballad each week could have led to a dulled support. His choices last week for her (I mean there’s no f**king way Sally chose to dress up that like that on telly last Saturday!) may have been misguidedly trying to generate a higher tempo and some oomph for her. At least now, she has the chance to claim the mini-narrative of a triumphant return to form this Saturday, with a couple of intimate soulful performances. Surely to God, they can’t repeat what they did last week. Even a blind puppet would reflect those choices song, costume and production choices were rubbish. If they do – then it’s deliberate.

            Team Sally! Come on, girl! Bring home the bacon! Win the thing! Please – do it for Guildo 🙂 Guildo loves ya! 🙂

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Ah! I’ve just read right through Cookie’s post (currently ) 1 below and have realised my points about Sally are mere echoes of his.

            I hope you’re right, David.

  • David Cook

    The semi-finals were a bit of a mixed bag for me, neither of the favourites exactly covered themselves with glory while some of the other acts did a bit of catching up.
    Sally had what I was expecting to be the best song choice of the evening, but the arrangement just didn’t do justice to the original. The slowed down start didn’t suit the song, and vocally Sally didn’t connect as well as she’s done previously. The second half of the song really lacked the drive and energy of the song – even though the band seemed like they tried to pick it up a bit. Credit to Sally for doing something different, but I think it will be back to plan A for the final. With the public backing I still expect Sally to win.
    Bizzi put in by far his best performance of the series – to be fair he’s got better as he’s progressed through the rounds. It was really good, and didn’t sound dated as I’d feared it might.
    Christina survived performing the dreaded ‘Bang Bang’ – it was good but a bit shouty, and didn’t really offer anything different from what she’s done before. The song choices are starting to get incredibly annoying – we’re only seeing a part of what she can do based on her YouTube clips – and it’s not the better part either. The short time slots are probably half the problem – her version of ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ is brilliant. She’s got a great tone when singing more gently, the performance has the light and shade that’s been lacking on the show, and it builds and builds really well – the problem is it takes 5 minutes. But she has to try and show some more variation in the final in order to stand any chance.
    Chris had a good song choice with ‘Smile’ and he did really well with it – much better than I was expecting. There were one or two odd shaky moments but generally the vocals were strong and it was a really good version of the song.
    Lee had another good song choice with ‘Strong’. This is probably really close to the sort of material which he should be singing, and for me this was by far his best performance of the series too. Yes at times it was a bit mumbled and introverted, which probably put off voters, but I’m sure Lee’s fans will have liked this. Even I quite liked it.
    Jamie was probably the biggest winner of the night with a great vocal performance of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. Again he did much better with this song than I was expecting. Over the last couple of weeks Jamie really seems to have raised his performance level, and going into the final seems to have overtaken Jermain as the best of the male acts at least. (He’s the oldest looking 19 year old I’ve ever seen).
    Jermain was up next. For me the song choice wasn’t great. He’s got a strong voice and a wide range, but the song just didn’t suit. For me the performance seemed a bit fragmented, with various bits and pieces going on but not at all forming a cohesive performance. We seemed to get bits of David Guetta, then a bit of Luther Vandross and then a bit of Scooby Doo thrown in for good measure, all wrapped up in a strange on stage walk about. I can still see him getting votes – though on the night I thought Bizzi was better – but the style certainly doesn’t seem to be anything which would actually sell. Jermain seems to have stalled a bit going into the final.
    Finally it was Sophie. Despite my reservations about the song choice I actually thought she managed to do a good version of the song. The combination of contemporary and retro worked well. In some ways it was more of the same – good underlying vocals, but still lacking experience and polish. The costume and staging were bizarre. Sophie went out but with this sort of style she really might be onto something if she keeps working at it.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I’ve just spotted and c&p’d this from DS:

    Here are the songs for the final, one of which will be with each of the coaches.

    Ain’t no pleasing you
    All rise
    Being with you
    Believe in me
    Smooth criminal
    Sorry seems to be the hardest word
    Vision of love
    West End girls

    If they get through to the final 3, they will repeat a song from their earlier rounds:

    The Power of Love
    And I Am Telling You
    Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
    So Sick

    ——————————————————————————-

    (Guildo back again, now!)

    The earlier round songs:

    Power Of Love – Christina
    And I’m Telling You – Jermain
    Don’t Let Me Be Misundertood – Sally
    So Sick – Jamie

    My quick guesses at early round songs:

    Christina –
    Smooth Criminal (Defo.):
    Vision of Love (What! Again? But who else? Is that an error?)

    Jamie –
    All Rise (Jamie looks like a boy band member. Sounds like a Kylie pick rather than a Will pick.)
    And…?

    Jermain –
    West End Girls (Jermain is a Londoner, and song title is about Girls,so this makes sense,right?)
    Being With You (Jermain)

    Sally –
    Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest World – (Can hear her singing this in my imagination,as I input. Hope she’s singing this.)
    And…?

    ——————————————————————————-

    Which leaves Chas & Dave’s ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You’.
    Which leaves me lost for words. My brain can’t process that.

    And ‘Believe in Me’, a video of which Andy has already embedded on this thread. Yeah, that’s right. ‘Believe in Me’ so happens to be the title of Bonnie Tyler’s Eurovision entry.

    Andy – you are now the new official member of The Voice production team. You should also register yourself as a psychic.

    I feel sick.

    It’s also a Demi Lovato number – which would suit Christina more than Sally?

    So perhaps ‘Power Of Love’ is in error?

    Anyway,my head’s spinning, and the question remains: who’s singing the Chas & Dave number?

    Will they really have Sally singing Bonnie’s Eurovision flop from last year and a Chas & Dave number?

    Guildo feels unwell.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Jamie’s getting the Elton John number, isn’t he? (In addition to Blue’s All Rise?). God damn it.

      Perhaps it’s Will who has reared the off-the-reservation concept of having Jermain sing a wild version of the Chas & Dave number. Jermain is a Londoner. And for his other song, he will be singing Smokey’s ‘Being With You’. Possible.

      Someone please make agreeable sense of the song choices!

  • David Cook

    I don’t think this is the actual song list – it might be somebody’s idea of a wind up – although I fail to see the joke. The songs aren’t usually released this early, and when they are it’s usually on the BBC website first which this isn’t.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I’ve been April Fooled, hook line & sinker, haven’t I? D’oh!

      • Andy

        Jermain Jackman will be singing Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus for his first solo song.

        That’s all we know guys.

        • David Cook

          Well if he had any chance of winning it’s certainly been wrecked with that song choice. Current – yes. Popular with the voting demo – probably not.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Found this:

          Aspiring politician Jermain, 19, has revealed he will be singing Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball for his first solo song. He said: “This song really meant a lot to me, it was the first time I sang publicly, as I used to be a shower singer.”

          ————————————————————————-

          Hmmm. Well that’s a stream of utter tosh: for a start Miley’s Wrecking Ball was first released 25th August 2013.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=FhrCZkPDzGc

    Kylie’s mere superstar presence (the actual duet actually lacked any chemistry) helped boost this lame boy over the winning line.

    In the final on Saturday, Kylie and Jamie together could slay it.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Calling it now: Kylie activates the ultimate in nostalgic demo-delighters, by dueting with Jamie on ‘Especially For You’.

      A quality up-tempo 1st song.
      Followed by a golden couple ‘Especially For You’ duet.
      Final song for Jamie a reprise of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’.

      Only Sally has a chance of beating that.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Mystified as to why he’s (currently) out to 34/5. How can he be nearly 7/1 to win the final on Saturday? Extraordinary. Win or lose on Saturday, there is no way that 7/1 reflected his chances of success.

  • stoney

    Guildo in my opinion you are overestimating jamies chances of winning, this is merely down to panicking about ending Saturday night empty handed. Im not saying he has no chance but like boki says he is trailing in all the polls and will need every help to win this with both sally and christina being thrown under the bus

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      You could be absolutely right that I’m in such a panic about ending Saturday night empty handed that my thinking and arguing in favour of Jamie is being driven by that.

      Very plausible and possible, I admit.

      If my opinion is being thus skewed, then I probably won’t be able to overcome that powerful bias.

      It might be helpful to think about Jamie with regard to top finishing males in recent competitions.

      Like I did here, in conversation with Nissi::

      http://sofabet.com/2014/03/22/the-voice-2014-live-shows-preview/comment-page-1/#comment-36630

      It could be a worthwhile exercise to compare and contrast Jamie against this year’s top finishing males in the X Factor – Nick (2nd), and Luke (3rd); last year’s X Factor winner,James Arthur; and last year’s highest placing male on The Voice, Mike (top 3).

      Evaluate Jamie against Nick, Luke, James and Mike in the following key areas:

      Singing ability;

      Attractiveness;

      Performance skills and presence;

      Likeable personality.

      He comes out of the sets of comparisons in good shape, yes?

      I know how I score it – how do others score it?

      Generally, Jamie’s personality reminds me of Olly Murs (2nd, X Factor 2009) with a hint of Will Young (winner of the first Pop Idol).

      We know he will be performing a duet with Kylie on Saturday. A young handsome man probably performing a love song (if Kylie has any sense!) with a woman in her mid-thirties. Instantly, he will be challenging for the mum’s vote, which it seemed that Sally had in the bag.

      If he proceeds to the final 3, this very good looking, humble young guy very, very likely follow up a love duet with Kylie with a reprise of his ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, as the final song, pre-vote.

      A humble good-looking guy, singing ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, in a powerfully emotion performance.

      For reasons I have outlined here,

      http://sofabet.com/2014/03/29/the-voice-2014-semi-final/comment-page-1/#comment-36785

      it could be likely that Jamie would receive the (entire show’s) pimp slot.

      Additionally, is Jamie popular with guys?

      Yes, he is. His battle-duet against-with Joe was adorable and even ex-contestants on other teams are rooting for him, over their own ex-team-mates:

      http://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-voice/179929-the-voice-2014-winner-chris-royal-lee-glasson-back-jamie-johnson.html

      Will the older folk watching The Voice like him?

      Good-looking, humble, clean-cut white boy with a huge smile and who sings with power and tenderness. Yep, I think they’ll be looking at Jamie, wishing he was their grandson.

      Panic is surely skewing my judgement but even so, there’s no way he should be 7/1 to win on Saturday. I take no comfort from internet polls. When you’re watching and experiencing the show on Saturday, experiencing the performances, those polls can begin to feel like old irrelevant abstractions of highly questionable reliability and representativeness that are not meaningfully connected to current reality.

      My big hope is Sally; my big fear is Jamie.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Correction: I meant to reference Kylie as is in her mid forties. Which, in the context above, is a bigger plus.

      • Nissl

        Jamie scores well compared to Nick/Luke. Not quite as well as Olly, who had a certain unconscious ease about him that for me Jamie lacks on stage (again, I’m not watching VTs). Haven’t watched much of JA just because he’s such a knob and I don’t feel like going back to expose myself to more of him.

        I’m convinced Jamie would wear better over a long series than Christina or Sally, and I think I would take him ahead of Christina if I had to launch one or the other in a pop career. However the final of the series is this weekend, already. And it’s a BBC show (go Sally) that has been pushing Christina (cleanly leading online polls, albeit not with a massive margin) pretty hard.

        If you ask me, 7/1 is too long, but given the built-in advantages of the other two, I think he should still be the longest-priced runner. He needs to deliver an uptempo that hits as emotionally as last week. He also needs those two to do pretty much what they always do, no step up.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          I love your comments about JA! He’s the first reality series contestant I’ve hated that has gone on to win the series. (Possibly, Ulrik-ka-ka-ka’s win in CBB6 would be a prior contender.)

          I think it was previous comments of yours about Christina being a bit ‘shouty’ that initially pricked my doubting side into starting to view her as flawed. I really can’t hear (which is irrelevant) this shoutiness with which she seems to have gradually become popularly identified. I think she’s a terrific singer. I like her personality, too, but it seems that having any personality whatsoever on reality shows leads to an inevitable backlash. Overexposure hits hard and bloody quickly.

          I’ll shut up about Jamie now, stop peppering these boards with my panicky. pro-Jamie propaganda and keep my fingers crossed that Sally triumphs. Promise.

          I believe that Daniel will be penning and publishing The Voice Grand Final preview, so I’m looking forward to the analysis and objectivity.

          How’s your Voice going (so to speak), Nissi? I’m reminded of this, having read Andy’s tip that Jermain will be singing ‘Wrecking Ball’. I remember Christina opened the first episode with her take on this. That bit were she sinks to her knees to deliver her power notes was scorching hot. Did cross my mind that she might face the same trouble as Danyl ‘Best first audition’ Johnson, from XF 6 in that she would have difficulty gathering upward momentum, having begun from the top of the mountain.

          I remember being taken by Josh Kaufman’s voice, Emily B, Stevie Jo, Madilyn (v interesting voice) and absolutely everything about D&H. Don’t remember anyone else, off the top of my head.

          • Nissl

            As far as Christina’s shouting – the issue is that she shifts from a clean tone to growling every time she needs emphasis. Her clean tone is good, not great. Has not displayed other gears. I think people are just getting tired of it. Really did not read very well emotionally in those semi performances, either. I actually think the gear shifts didn’t make her connect as well as they did in earlier outings.

            Haven’t watched The Voice over here, cannot stand the Maroon 5 guy who seems to be the centerpiece of the show. Definition of self-centered smarminess. Happy to just check out the final 3 after the show for pop potential.

            Neighbor has roped me into watching American Idol instead. Lot of diversity in the field this year. Don’t think there’s any real stars though.

            Caleb – Classic rocker who reminds of Jack Black. Technically excellent, will do this professionally – but probably in a well-paid cover band, unless he can sell his personality to tv/movies as well. Not quite enough fresh about him, doesn’t connect.

            Jena – Has had a few really good performances lately, has her own rock/EDM thing, but when she misses she really misses because her core tone isn’t good. Doesn’t look like a star.

            Malaya – Fairly standard diva voice. Improving noticeably. Offstage kind of a goofy weirdo, but not in a way that I need a lot more of it.

            Alex – Hipster-ish dude, obsessed with music, can do sort of gentle and clever acoustic stuff that hits but doesn’t have a lot of other gears. Why did he go on this show!? Get yourself an indie band, son.

            Jessica – Country/rock girl. Wicked sense of humor, something interesting about her, but hasn’t really ever put together a great performance.

            Dexter – Country boy with a solid voice who does very uninspired covers.

            CJ – Soulful guy who seemingly only does one thing and doesn’t really connect with it, usually. Seemingly getting worse each week.

            Sam – Cute but dull middle of the road guitar-playing boy. Surprisingly the voters have already dumped him in the B3 a few times. Internet voting impact? Show boiling down to a harder core? Not sure.

  • Andy

    I’ve been nibbling Jamie @ 7/1 all week on Betfair, he was amazing on Saturday, he sung with incredible emotion and if he gets the right songs that lad can blow his competition out of the park,
    Guildo is correct and the price should be a lot shorter.
    He went into the top 40 with his song Saturday night.
    Leanne Michell was 7/1 on the night of the final of the 1st series, Oddschecker went blue as her price plummeted to odds on with all major bookies.
    Its all about song choice for me and if Kylie delivers this kids well in with a shout.

    • Boki

      Andrea was 10 last year on the night and never went below 5 if I’m correct. Is it possible that the market is wrong 3rd year in a row?

      • Andy

        Its possible Boki, Christina went backwards last week and I was tempted into a small flutter on Chris to eliminate her, Sally not really moving forwards either, maybe Jamie’s coming good at just the right time.
        I’m just not sure I want Jamie as a red at the moment but I am patiently waiting on song choice.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Yeah, I thought Christina might have gone last week, too. The strong feeling of her weakness was v. reminiscent of that I (amongst others here on sofabet – as I recall) felt about Leah following the Leah vs Cleo match-up in last year’s Semis.

  • Using facebook as a barometer, yesterday on the official account was Christina Marie day, many of the comments were negative with people saying she shouts etc. Today is Sally Barker day and almost all of the comments are overwhelmingly positive with people wanting her to win. If it weren’t for the polls on Digital Spy and Telly Mix, I’d have ruled out Christina to win already. I think Sally is highly likely to win, the show’s demographics are right up her street, she sings with such passion and emotion and I can’t see the voters preferring anyone else to her on the night. Her duet with Tom should be a huge vote winner too. In terms of other duets, Ricky and will.i.am are definitely people you wouldn’t want to be singing with on a finals night. Jamie’s duet with Kylie could potentially be very good, especially if they’re doing something like ‘Kids’. Jermain singing with will.i.am rings alarm bells in terms of demographics and will is ‘vocally’ (if you can call it that) poor. Despite not thinking Christina can or will win, I’m having to reduce my red on her in order avoid a potential disaster if she somehow manages to get over the line. Sally to win for me, with Jamie the one most likely (yet still pretty unlikely) to spring a surprise.

    And I think the running order might be 1. Christina, 2. Sally, 3. Jermain, 4. Jamie, based on which teams have been on first etc. in the last two weeks.

  • Sally B is singing ‘Both Sides Now’ by Joni Mitchell as her first song. This is right in her comfort zone and was her own personal choice. Her duet with Sir Tom is ‘Walking In Memphis’ then, if she gets through to the final three, her favourite song from the series (apparently) is ‘Dear Darlin’ by Olly Murs. This, of course, is from the Battle Rounds, so I wonder if the other acts would have to sing something from the audition stages as well?

    • Natasha

      Can’t say that I have ever heard of this first song! Listened to it on YouTube and I definately have not heard this before! I am 30 by the way which leads me to believe this song is really ancient?

      I do think however, this will delight the oldest of the older demographic. The duet with Tom sits somewhere in the middle , delighting both oldest of the old and the older viewer, and Dear Darlin’ will delight mostly the younger demographic and towards the middle too. I suppose what I am getting at is, all round, the songs she will be singing satisfies all demo’s of BBC viewers which is very positive. I for one will be looking forward to hearing her singing Dear Darlin’ in full.

      Anyone agree or have any different thoughts?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Completely agree, Natasha, with your demo analysis. And thanks, Tim, for the news.

      I ffeakin’ love Joni Mitchell. ‘The River’ is one my favourite ever songs, from one of my favourite ever albums: (2 links to same vid as I always seem to select the wrong one!)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=nAK9Pj5-QXY

      Excited to watch that YouTube video of ‘Both Sides Now’. Joni is on stage with her guitar. Sally’s going to bring her guitar. Say it’s so! The Voice viewership, I feel, is still gutted that the harp girl, Anna McLuckie’s, stay on the show was prematurely (and insanely) ended by serial quality contestant discarder, Will.i.am. Sally will be the only “musician” on stage, performing with 2 instruments (the voice and guitar), and it will be “fresh”, to borrow a Will.i.am-ism. It will be the first actual folk song she’s performed, too (instantly and back-datedly confirming her as versatile ( to a degree)).

      Yeah, me too: I’ve been aching to hear her sing Dear Darlin’ in full (and without having to suffer the interference from the country whine of her power-striding battle-duet partner, Talia.)

      Yeah,
      Guitar led folk-pop (classic yet not too widely known); soft rock power song; piano led pop.
      Late 60s song; 90s song; 2013 song.

      Good.

      • Natasha

        Wow, didn’t even consider Sally going on with her guitar for the first song. That is a HUGE bonus IMO. All bases are covered in respect of audience/voting demographic and age/genre of songs chosen. Good work Tom/Sally, good work!!

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Yeah, it’d be daft of her to ignore the opportunity. If its one of her favourite songs, she’s bound to have had the chords down long ago. Fingers crossed.

  • Natasha

    Its Sally day today on The Voice UK Facebook page. They have posted a picture of Christina Marie which hasn’t gone down to well, the abuse is coming left right and centre!!! I just don’t understand how she is topping the polls yet being slated almost everywhere

  • Andy

    Little more info.
    Jermain has picked ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus and his blind audition track And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going from Dreamgirls.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I see one bookie has ventured forth and priced up a ‘Finish 4th’ market.

  • Andy

    Chrisitna’s new song will be Fix You by Coldplay.
    Christina revealed her favourite song of the series to sing if she makes the final three will be her battle track The Power Of Love.
    Ricky refused to reveal his duet number with Christina

    Just waiting on Jamie now/

  • Andy

    ”The power of love” was one song of Christina’s that I missed while I was away, just listened to it on you tube and had to turn the sound right down, what a racket.
    She really should have chose ”everlong”.
    Sally or Jamie for me.

    • Tim B

      There are only three live shows so perhaps producers didn’t want people performing something they’d done in the previous two weeks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but it’s Sally’s to lose.

    • Natasha

      I fully expect (and secretly hope) that Christina shouts her way through that song, just as she did on last Saturday’s show as that should clear the path for Sally to take 1st place. Not sure what she will do ”Fix You’ by Coldplay?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Andy, I expect that Ricky and Christina, both new to The Voice of course, have been swayed by the monster YouTube hits for the ‘Christina vs Nathan’ duet. Plus, Christina and Nathan got together for a full duet. So, she’ll feel filled with confidence re the song.

      • Andy

        That’s true Guildo, I have listened to the duet again and I think it was Nathan that displeased my ears more than Christina.
        Christina could well over sing this song though.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Yeah, it’s especially noticeable on their YouTube vid duet (& free MP3 downloadable duet.). Nathan is still screaming (damaging his vocal cords, in fact – he’ll definitely have vocal cord nodules forming, the way he’s going). At points his face is a mask of contortion. He looks in pain!

          At song end, you can unmistakeably hear Christina channelling Michael/Janet Jackson.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    First impression: ‘Missing You’ is another perfect song for him, imo. Another faux-negative chorused song of denied yearning. It’s a very smart variation-cum-counter-point on ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. To sing ‘Missing You’ you have to have visible-yet-not overt sensitivity and hidden yearning. Jamie proved last week he is exceptional at this narrative, both performance-skill-emotional vocally emotional.

    Guessing at understanding the thinking behind ‘Sex on Fire’. Kylie and Jamie might be thinking that they’ve established the pushed-down passion to begin with and will finish with raw passionate expression. Kylie’s aiming squarely at making this guy a sensitive, love machine.

    But, snubbing his best performance of the series, ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ for ‘Sex on Fire’ is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Why throw away your Ace card?

    I can only think that ‘Missing You’ is seen as the ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ replacement. Yeah? As Kylie, understanding the sensation of Jamie’s performance last Saturday, has decided to get a like-for-like song as Jamie’s show opener – she needs to get him into the final 3. First things first. (Additionally, if he performed ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ earlier in the series, I think the odds of a reprise would have been higher.

    In which case, she’s thinking that Jamie’s other song has to be different. She’s already established 1 aspect of Jamie. Don’t repeat yourself.

    The judge’s song will either balance or unbalance the “package”.

    There’s a Kylie song I would choose; and a Kylie song I wouldn’t.

    But generally, the emphasis on emphasising Jamie’s emotion and passion is v smart, imo.

    We’ll see.

    Contrast this strategy with Team Will-Jermain’s. ‘And I’m Telling You’ from the blinds is glorious, but he only gets to reprise it, if he gets through to the final 3. Will ‘Wrecking Ball’ help him get there? The duet with Will had better be bloody sensational. But will it? Will can’t sing like Jermain so what do they do? Does Will have Jermain rapping?

    Jermain finishing 4th could be big. The most likely beneficiary, imo, is Jamie. 2nd-in line beneficiary, perhaps some distance behind, is Sally. Then a huge, huge chasm to Christina. In this field of 4, there’s no obvious overlap between Jermain fans and Christina fans. The overlap between Jamie and Jermain is 2 fold: a) Jamie, young, white hunk; Jermain, young black hunk, and b) You can spell the name ‘Jamie’ from the letters of ‘Jermain’. Lol.

    Christina finishing 4th might be of help to Jamie, in that he can hit the high notes like Christina. But then again, many people for a long time have thought that either Sally or Christina should win this series. Viewers may stay loyal to that belief.

    But the art of vote transfer prediction is always rife with hunches and guesswork, so who can say with any certainty?

  • Last but not least, it is Jermain day today on the official facebook. From the likes and comments on there it’s clear he is far more popular than Jamie, and probably almost as popular as Sally and Christina. Therefore it’s far from a given that Jermain will finish 4th tomorrow night. I would be tempted for a bet on Jamie to finish 4th, but the potential for their duets to be good/bad is putting me off at the moment.

  • Tim B

    Some more points about Sally (sorry, I’m bored in the airport travelling to Eurovision In Concert): she’s the only act to come from anywhere with a strong regional identity: The Midlands. You may laugh, but she will inherit the ‘Leicester vote’ from Bizzi – maybe not significant in theory, but the voting numbers are likely to be quite low for all three of the live shows, so this could make a difference. Jermain and Jamie are from London (an area with a poor track record in terms of regional voting on talent shows) or thereabouts and similarly, Christina is from Bristol. She’s also the most northern contestant and at 54 is the only contestant not in her early 20s – I’m expecting her to sweep up most of the older vote because of this. Despite being the joint favourite, I think her age paints her as somewhat of an underdog as most viewers will not be aware of her favourite status. Her dead husband sob story has also been thrust in our faces and is a powerful weapon in Sally’s arsenal – regardless of whether or not this is wheeled out again, I think most viewers will be aware of it.

    However, going against Sally I believe that the presenters’ script was carefully written with the intention of depressing her public vote. On Saturday we heard Emma Willis say things like “You’ve played arenas, but what was it like singing for our coaches?” in other words – she doesn’t deserve it as much of the others, and also: “Whose album would you buy? Whose concert would you queue in line for?” i.e. don’t pick another duff winner, please. Emma is regularly guilty of this sort of thing on Big Brother and is clearly happy to play along – well you would if paid that sort of money, wouldn’t you?

    Staging was positive for Sally on Saturday with the gold planetary backdrop and pyros at the end. If they are trying to throw her under the bus, then it’s not apparent from her song choices, which are very promising. I also have to wonder if producers have seen Sam Bailey’s relatively impressive album sales – the fastest-selling album of the year thus far and battling to be number 1 for a second week – and concluded that a Sally Barker win wouldn’t be the end of the world. The show has just been renewed for two seasons, so is coming back next year regardless of how this year’s winner performs commercially. The BBC have a poor record of stopping The People’s Champion on this show, so no matter what they have up their sleeve for her, you would have to think she has a very good chance of winning.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    It’s the Grand National tomorrow. The Daily Mail always creates a buzz of interest in the Aintree festival meeting with its annual takedown!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2596003/Fillies-fake-tan-fascinators-flashy-frocks-Coleen-Rooney-leads-charge-Liverpools-finest-descend-Aintree-day-racing-action.html

    The article writer plays such a straight bat, leaving the pictures to speak for themselves. Lol.

    Barely looked at the field or took much of an interest in the race this year; but 2 outsiders maybe worth a 2nd glance are: Mountainous (50/1) and Hawkes Point (50/1).

    Like the look of the BetBright offer: EW place terms on the first 6 home, and a money back offer (might be a bet token) if your horse finishes 2nd.

    • stoney

      Bet365 have the best offer I’ve EVER seen. Place an each way bet on any horse and they refund half your stake no matter what the result. Up to a maximum of 125. So in theory you can do 250 worth of e/w bets and get half back.
      I’m on tea for three and the package

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Half-price bets! Wow! That’s fab.

        Fancy Alvarado as well, so that’s my 3 against the field.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Pineau De Re won the National at 20/1.

          Alvarado stayed on v late to take nab 4th at 33s, so that’s my money back.

          The race was carnage. V surprised at that.

  • Gemma Jackson

    Will we ever know how many votes are cast ?I refer to The Voice.
    With the poo about to hit the fan in America regarding The Voice programme there and the BBC refusing to let us in on the secret we will have to assume that there are some irregularities and that we the Licence payers are being duped even by placing their votes in the Voice Final this evening.
    So why bother at all?

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