The Strictly bus strikes again. The two acts to perform while Strictly was still on the other side, Jake and Only The Young, duly found themselves singing for survival. After three weeks of pummelling, and given it was about time the show lost a solo male, Jake was understandably made a very short-priced favourite by Betfair punters. Though he got gold lighting, the feel of his performance was valedictory.
Still, I had nagging doubts about piling in at around the 1.15 mark given that Only The Young had also been treated as disposable on Saturday. It seemed just about possible to me that if Only The Young had been bottom, producers might have been tempted to deadlock it for shock value. Jake drifting out to 1.25 as Only The Young murdered ‘Winner Takes It All’ indicated that there was some nervous profit-taking going on.
That said, it was obviously no surprise, given his treatment in each of the live shows so far, when Jake was disposed of by majority verdict.
One further point is worth making. There has been some debate in the comments about whether producers had been trying to strategically give Only The Young a bounce by treating them badly on Saturday. It’s something I think is possible when we get closer to the business end of the competition – we’ve seen several times an act struggling in the votes appearing in the singoff for the first time in week 7 and bouncing from there to the final (or the win in James Arthur’s case). There’s a reasonable argument to be made that Cher Lloyd’s infamous spiral staircase staging in 2010, for example, was aimed at a strategic save-and-bounce. But I don’t think it’s something they would be tempted to do this early in the competition.
Sofabet is relieved to see Jake go in the sense that we’ve used up all our headlines – and as his singoff vanquishers told us, if it ain’t punny, it ain’t funny. But we feel for Jake, who presumably was delighted to get the call back after his rejection two years ago and has borne his rather shabby treatment throughout the live shows with commendable good grace.
On to next week, then, and Only The Young should get a bounce while Stereo Kicks will be on the comedown from theirs. Who do you see drifting into trouble at this early stage? Do keep the conversation going below.