The running order at the start of the show revealing Stereo Kicks were in the pimp slot had confirmed Only The Young’s status as beta group. There was plenty of positivity in the rest of their treatment – a reasonable VT featuring an extended plug for Hamley’s, staging with their name up in golden lights, Simon mentioning that they’d “come alive” in the last three weeks and Louis giving another explicit shoutout for votes – but it wasn’t enough to get them off the bottom of the pile.
Who will join them tomorrow?
Lauren was up first, in the Strictly crossover. Her VT was pleasant enough, though the staging was questionable – there was colour vomit on the house backdrop and costumes of the backing dancers. On the positive side, Simon told her she was a “credible recording artist”. On the negative side, Lauren’s little brother did rather steal the show, as Louis said, and it is interesting to wonder whether viewers will have seen this as a reason to pick up the phone or an appropriately heartwarming moment for her closing credits to roll.
Lauren was promptly memoryholed by Ben, timed for the Stictly crowd turning over. “I’m more of a driver than a diva” was an entertaining line in a blokey everyman VT, and his staging was again exemplary. There has been plenty of debate in the Sofabet comments about whether it’s a positive or negative for Ben that he’s being given such a wide range of songs rather than pigeonholed as a rock performer, and that debate played out explicitly in judges’ comments with Cheryl calling it a “crazy” risk and Simon making a point of how Ben doesn’t do “soundalike” performances.
Readers of our midweek posts on the emphasis on Andrea’s Italian-ness and the donut deramp will have been amused by the sight in Andrea’s VT of him stuffing his face with cake at the Italian embassy, after “Shaddap You Face” had been playing in the background. We’re fond of the phrase “red flags” in these parts, and there were literally red flags in his staging. Comments were kind enough but with no motivation to vote – indeed, Simon wheeled out the old reverse psychology trick with “there’s no way you’re leaving after this performance”. To cap it off, Dermot had hilariously gone to the trouble of learning some Italian to appeal for votes.
The equally hilarious full-on ramping of Fleur carried on apace, with her mum, sister and assorted other friends and family sashaying onto the stage as she belted out “I’m Every Woman” before a four-judge standing ovation. The contrast with Andrea could hardly have been more marked, and that – in combination with Ben’s second consecutive week of mixed messages – was enough to see Fleur take over at the head of the outright market.
Hilarity continued with Stevi getting dribbled in honey and a mouth full of feathers. Comments had an end-of-the-road feel, especially from Cheryl, although Dermot did give Stevi the chance to thank the public and appeal for one extra week. The public obliged, and for the second time in six days some serious money has gone astray on Stevi in the elimination markets.
As suspected, Mel’s comment last week about getting to know Stereo Kicks individually was the set up for a VT which not only named but nicknamed them, Spice Girls style. Producers could hardly have done more for them this week – pimp slot, four judge standing ovation, and positive comments including “now I see you as a proper group” from Mel, “you’ve found that camaraderie” from Cheryl, “you did everything right” from Simon, and “there’s something magical” from Louis.
Do you agree with the markets that Stevi and Lauren are the most likely pairing in the singoff tomorrow? If so, they wouldn’t dare… would they? Or do you see the pimping not being enough for Stereo Kicks, or one of the big three in the betting falling into the dropzone to give everyone a shock? Do let us know below.