A few months ago, a story went out that one of the changes planned for this year’s Britian’s Got Talent was that the semi-final running orders would be randomly drawn. The previous year, a late slot and qualification to the final had become more closely correlated than ever. But the format change never came to pass.
However, producers did seem keen on mixing things up earlier in the week. The first semi-final saw outright favourites – Welsh choir Cor Glanaethwy – win from the fifth slot, though their main rivals appeared even earlier in the show. Whilst the second semi witnessed dog act Jules O’Dwyer & Matisse win it from #2, whilst another pimped choir, Revelation Avenue, found themselves only fourth in the running order.
Normal service resumed from Wednesday onwards, perhaps because Tuesday had not gone quite as expected. The next three heats all had winners that performed in one of the last two slots, finishing with highly-pimped second favourite in the outright, singer Calum Scott, taking Friday’s semi from #9. I expect running order to tell us plenty about producers’ intentions in tonight’s final.
I think Cor Glanaethwy are Plan A based on their appearance in the first audition show and first semi-final. Cowell has said a couple of times during the series that he feels it’s about time a choir won the show. They’d make a useful addition to his portfolio, and are the kind of bankable Middle England act he feels most comfortable with. That makes them deserving favourites at this stage – supposedly with the safe song choice of ‘Hallelujah’ – before we know tonight’s running order.
Running them close in the outright market is Calum Scott. Solo pop singers (rather than classical ones) don’t have a great winning record in Britain’s Got Talent – only Jai McDowall has won from this genre in 2011 – thanks to Scottish support, and most likely against Cowell’s wishes. One always wonders why legal-age pop soloists aren’t being marketed on X Factor instead. Nonetheless, Scott was given a proper pimping on Friday (with the Syco tactic of turning a fun pop song into a boring dirge), and we’ll see how he’s positioned tonight.
At least the other male pop soloist, Isaac Waddington, has the excuse that he’s currently too young for X Factor. I wonder if the age difference may see them appeal to a different demographic, or if the two are to some extent fishing in similar waters and thus damaging each others’ chances. Waddington comes across as a little too privileged to win enough hearts and take the prize (and we were told his semi-final victory was a close one), but it will be fascinating to see if he or Scott get the later draw tonight.
Third favourite in the outright is dancing dog act Jules O’Dwyer & Matisse. They did well to win the second semi from the second slot, but I didn’t get the impression that Cowell or the nation at large were going to take to them in the same way they did Ashleigh & Pudsey in 2012. Given that winning act’s subsequent film flop, I’m not expecting a major push tonight.
It makes a change not to see a dance act near the head of the market. UDI and Entity Allstars were shoved on near the start of their respective heats, in a way that didn’t suggest producer favour. Old Men Grooving are novelty that has quickly worn off. Whilst if the Daily Star are to be believed, they will be joined by the confusingly-named Boyband as one of tonight’s wildcards. The last-named were given every help from the fourth-semi pimp slot, but narrowly missed out on automatic qualification to Waddington and the sub-par family singing outfit The Neales.
Tonight’s other acts are impressionist Danny Posthill, magician Jamie Raven and – according to the Daily Star – martial artist Jessie-Jane McParland as the other wildcard. If Raven can raise his game from the semi-final, he looks the most likely to do well from this this bunch.
Only George Sampson and Jai McDowall have won from somewhere other than the last two slots of the running order in a Britain’s Got Talent final. I’d be surprised to see Cor Glanaethwy perform from anywhere else tonight, but as usual it’ll be a case of hovering over Betfair in case of either eventuality. Let us know your thoughts below.