BGT 2014: The final

Britain’s Got Talent is the most manipulative of TV competitions – and that’s really saying something. There’s little time for acts to build up a following before the semi-finals, which gives great power to Cowellian tactics such as running order, staging and judges’ comments. This year the direct qualifiers filled the following slots in the nine-runner fields (public vote winners in bold): 7, 9, 7, 9, 8, 9, 8, 9, 8, 9.

That carries on into the final, partly because the semi winners have yet to compete against each other. Last year, the acts that won their heats were given the last five places in the running order. Of these, first up was Fracince Lewis who finished tenth of 11, whilst next came Richard & Adam, who were given far less useful staging than in their heat. Winners Attraction got the pimp slot.

So treatment on the night is crucial. That’s particularly the case this evening because each semi was won by singers whilst the other qualifying acts do something else. It would be surprising if tonight’s running order gave us all the non-singing acts in the first six slots followed by all the singers.

We’re thus left guessing at Cowell’s intentions, which is crucial given his ability to usually get the result he wants.

There is commercial appeal in each of the semi winners, which is why they were pushed. Bars & Melody are a Bieber-esque child duo, Collabro a younger Il Divo, Lucy Kay a younger Katherine Jenkins, Jack Pack a younger bunch of Michael Bubles, whilst James Smith sings in the style of James Arthur but is more clean cut and, you guessed it, younger.

Bars & Melody have already enjoyed exposure in America, were Simon’s “golden buzzer” act and boast a huge Twitter following that dwarfs their rivals. They will reprise their audition song with its anti-bullying message that provided them with such a good backstory. They are most likely to be Simon’s most favoured tonight and that means they’re worth their place at the top of the market. Any attempt to motivate the Welsh vote will reiterate this.

The arguments against them include a relative lack of talent, and thus ability to create a “wow” moment. They don’t necessarily fit the profile of previous winners either – the other pre-teen winners were dance acts George Sampson and Diversity (based on the fact that little Perry was centre of attention). All seems to depend on how broad their appeal really is.

Second favourites Collabro fit the winners’ profile more readily, popera having a fine record on the show. The first semi pimp slot is traditionally given to a heavily favoured act too. It’s been handed to two previous winners and each act has been placed from here. That’s a record to be respected even if Collabro don’t have the backstory of their main rivals, having been put together shortly before the contest.

Collabro’s place in that first heat pimp slot doesn’t necessarily bode well for Jack Pack, who as another ensemble male singing act, albeit in the swing genre, maybe chasing a similar demographic. Nonetheless, they were given a full-on pimping from the last spot in the last semi (which Attraction had last year), and therefore cannot be discounted.

Neither can Lucy Kay, whom I would argue has the most natural ability to create a “wow” moment from her voice alone. I think James Smith has plenty of talent too, and he’s immensely likeable to boot, though the WGWG (white guy with guitar) profile doesn’t have a great record in previous finals.

Ultimately, there’s no edge to be got in the current win market without first knowing the running order. In the semi-finals, afternoon money indicated some level of knowledge about who was being favoured, and anyone taking tonight seriously needs to be watching out for the market moves.

The same can be said of the top 3 market. It feels like there is space for a non-singing act to sneak in there by offering something different, but it totally depends on which (if any) are favoured by the draw and other tactics.

We can only speculate here: magician Darcy Oake is my idea of the most likely among the six. He qualified from the usually-favoured first semi, can produce a wow moment, and offers just the kind of niche that Cowell could see commercial value in.

Of the dance acts, Paddy & Nico’s momentum was checked when they failed to win their heat, Yanis Marshall, Arnaud & Mehdi are likely cannon fodder, and Addict Initiative make most appeal at long odds. That leaves us with violinist Lettice Rowbotham and wildcard Jon Clegg, an impressionist – I can’t help feeling that both need significant pimping tonight to sneak a place.

Ultimately, having taken some easy money from the semis, I don’t feel inclined to plough back much of my winnings before tonight’s show reveals Cowell’s hand. I think the market has it right with BAM, Collabro and Lucy Kay heading the market in that order, and Darcy best of the non-singers. Do continue to let us know your thoughts below, however.

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37 comments to BGT 2014: The final

  • Natasha

    I think the pimp slot tonight will go to Collabro or Lucy although, I suspect i’ll be the former. They surely won’t want to put them close together in the running.

    I see BAM and Collabro filling 1st and 2nd however, if Lucy gets the pimp slot or a very late slot in the running then I can see her taking one of their places

    I too think Darcy could sneak a podium place, I don’t imagine all 3 top spots will be filled with singers, but he will need a late slot in the running order to achieve this.

  • stoney

    Early market move indicates as expected a collabro pimp spot

    winners BAM
    2ND collabro
    3rd darcy

  • Tim B

    I wonder if Jon Clegg can spring a Top 3 surprise? Steve Hewlett stormed it last year and was very very nearly in the Top 3 instead of Richard and Adam. Jon will have a similar sort of underdog appeal, and I think if he nails his performance he’ll be in with a chance. I forgot to say it on the podcast (not entirely my fault, it wasn’t on the schedule to discuss him!) but I think he’ll snatch some momentum away from the other variety acts, like Lettice and Darcy, so much so that the most likely Top 3 is probably still an all singing one.

  • Danny

    Bailey and Light Balance nowhere near 1000.0 on betfair and still actively being traded … hints of an outside chance of a surprise second wildcard?

  • stoney

    He’s no paul burling

  • George

    I think Lucy will get the pimp slot tonight, with Simon seeming pretty enthusiastic about her chances. Either her or Collabro.

  • Natasha

    Wow, what a movement in the market since this morning!!

  • Donald

    Haven’t watched all the acts or the shows so advise here heeded. Watching final though and will have a bet. Good luck to all. Be interesting to watch it blind and watch the manipulations as the show is rolled. Some shortening on Collabro..

  • Andy

    Bars and Melody 9/2 PaddyPower

  • Dean

    This impressionist is world class seriously. A shame he can’t win

  • Natasha

    Looks like they are putting all the singers in the late slots with Darcy in there somewhere. Thought they would have broken it up a bit!

  • Kevin

    Come on Lucy. I mentioned previously that I specialise in backing the second place in BGT so probably about to re occur. Hoping to lay off on Collabro at better than odds on. Lucy will shorten after singing, i am certain of that. she is a absolute star in my opinion.

    • Andy

      You need a (to finish 2nd market)
      unlucky Kevin.
      My money was on Lucy as well.

      • Kevin

        Got Collabro at 11/8 after Lucy sang so doubled stakes anyway. Lucy would have been a healthy profit though. The 8/1 during the day was a good bet. also had her top 3 at 1/1. In retrospect that was a great price wasn’t it? It was a funny market. she went from 4/1 to 9/1 for no good reason.

  • Natasha

    It’s looking like a 2 horse race between Lucy and Collabro then. Darcy up next. Then I think it’ll be Lucy, Paddy & Nico then Collabro

  • Kevin

    Next up Cowells chosen two money spinners!

  • Natasha

    I found that really screechy??!

  • stoney

    Terrible night BAM chucked under the bus couldn’t get no reception in the arena for a cover either. Only a lottery win can save this night for me now

  • Dan

    I sat this one out after getting burned on The Voice. Interesting looking back on the results with the benefit of the voting figures; these show that the semi-final winners were way ahead of every other act without exception. It also looks like Jodi Bird was eliminated by the judges in favour of The Addict Initiative to get a bit more variety into the final.

    If I was punting, I wouldn’t have touched Bars and Melody. I doubt that Cowell would have hit the golden buzzer for an act he didn’t have big plans for. The favouritism was blatent – I mean what other act has ended up State-side on a popular chatshow during the competition – and it was obvious that they had been coached on what to say and how to act. The voting public also saw this and hence they only placed third. Like Cher Lloyd, they have a big future singing in American shopping malls.

    Oh well, on to X-Factor in a couple of months when we see Cowell try to railroad a newly-formed boyband through to the final (my prediction anyway…)

    • stoney

      surely hes overloaded in that department with 1D collabro and jack pack on the books now, i would have thought a female soloist to take over from the gap leona lewis has left will be high on his list this year

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