“You made that song your own!” The most overused sentence in the judges’ toolkit gets its own theme week. Reinvention is the title – taking a classic song and making it your own. Cue reinventions that may not work, not having a classic song in the first place, or not reinventing enough. As always, the acts are at the whim of what they’re given.
Amid all the speculation about song choices in our comments section and below, phone vote statistics tell their own story. Those acts who just escaped the drop zone in the first phone vote are invariably involved in the scrap at the bottom next time.
The biggest drop from the first phone vote into the following week’s singoff has been three places – District 3, from 8th to 11th in 2012. They survived there against Melanie Masson, who at the time was the fifth act in a row to fall into the second singoff having hung one place above it in the first phone vote.
The initial singoff survivor has a mixed sympathy bounce record. In recent years, Steph Nala and Shelley Smith have joined Girlband and Rachel Adedeji in failing to escape a second consecutive duel, whilst Rylan, Frankie Cocozza and Katie Waissel bounced well clear. Which group will Kiera Weathers emulate? She’s favourite for next elimination, having survived last week’s singoff.
Counting against Kiera, logically she doesn’t fall into the successful group because she’s not a novelty act whom producers are interested in keeping around for longer. Her song choice – ‘Return of The Mack’ – isn’t promising. Even this version, which would suit her, feels a bit like ‘Crying For No Reason’ in lacking a big moment.
In her favour, she has to finish last in this double elimination, when presumably she will receive some sympathy from the public. She had screentime and some regional identity before the lives began. That didn’t count for enough in the first week, but she weathered some harsh criticism with dignity there, and managed a strong singoff performance.
Who do we think just escaped the drop zone last week? These will be the other candidates for next elimination based on those phone vote statistics. The strongest possibilities have to be Reggie n Bollie, Mason Noise and Max Stone.
Of those three, it seems likely that Mason Noise is the one producers are most keen on keeping around. That’s reiterated by pictures of his rehearsal on the show’s official Instagram account, indicating that his name will be up in lights on the backdrop. He sings the Womack & Womack classic ‘Teardrops’, which is a great tune, should suit him, and gives judges a chance to tell him he’s made it relevant.
Reggie n Bollie now have a mashup of One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ and OMI’s ‘Cheerleader’. That could well be an attempt to repeat last week’s crowd-pleasing ‘It Wasn’t Me’, though even that may not have seen them clear the drop zone by far. The judges literally drummed up support for the Ghanaian duo after a fun, if low-rent production. The show’s official Twitter account continued that positivity about their rehearsal last night.
Reggie n Bollie bring fun without being burdened by too much credibility, whilst it’s the other way round for Max Stone. The latter faced continued criticism for being uninteresting last week, with the distraction of reggae Adele to boot. But his vocals were given a chance, and praised afterwards. There’s some promise too in Max’s mashup of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ and ‘What A Wonderful World’. Obviously two iconic songs, and less obviously, a medley that’s been done plenty of times before.
In the circumstances, I’d prefer to wait for tonight’s episode to see which of these acts is most clearly under the bus. Especially as last week’s show made its intentions clear from the VTs onwards, and sometimes even in the introductions to the VTs.
A double elimination means it’s not out of the question to see another act fall into the danger zone. The market suggests Monica Michael is most at risk. She was given every help for last week’s triumphant Wildcard return. The mood can often change soon after, and it’ll be interesting to see just how suggestively Monica is styled for what we’re promised is a “sexy twist” on Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love’.
The second week is a first opportunity to see how producers react to a public phone vote. The previous three years saw a deramp of varying degrees after strong first poll showings for Andrea Faustini, Sam Bailey and Chris Maloney.
The indications are that Anton Stephans may face something similar this weekend, after Popbitch suggested he was the winner of the first phone vote. He’s been given the least suitable song choice of all – a mashup of ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘All About That Bass’. We’ve already seen him struggle with both songs: the latter at bootcamp; the former on Thursday’s Xtra Factor. Still, it’s worth bearing in mind that sympathetic characters like Faustini and Maloney took more than one week to be brought down by such tactics.
Whilst I envisage the other acts being safe, quite how producers continue to treat them based on that first phone vote should be fascinating. Do keep the debate going below.