It couldn’t happen… could it? After the hugely positive response to Saara’s first song last night, Sofabet commenters have spent the day wondering if producers might be tempted to run with the Finn as the ultimate comeback winner. It would certainly be a story – and, let’s face it, she streaks ahead of the other acts both vocally and performance-wise, without breaking sweat.
During the day 5 After Midnight were the big movers in the bottom two market, and duly found themselves being saved despite some seriously ropey vocals in the singoff. Honey G’s run came to a thankfully dignified end, with a much better singoff performance presumably reflecting that she was mentally prepared for it this week. Producers have done incredibly to get her this far and we’re already looking forward to the album of rap classics accompanied by Mummy G on the grand piano.
A highlight of the results show was Sharon slapping Louis with a bit of paper as they competed to sway Nicole’s deliberations. What was on it? We couldn’t resist a freeze-frame (credit to Twitter user @MINIB00MB0X for the original image). It seems that Sharon needs a bit of help remembering her wording.
Dermot said there was only 1% between third and fourth, and Emily was once again left hanging as the last to be called safe – the third week in a row this has happened. In the last two weeks, it could be argued that they were wanting to wring additional drama out of having her and Ryan on stage, but that doesn’t apply this week.
Is it significant? Possibly. In 2012 we analysed the patterns of when acts were called safe, and speculated that an act was sometimes named first to create surprise or suspense, and later to create a “winner’s aura” – it was James Arthur in weeks 8 and 9. Conversely, leaving an act till last made viewers feel that an act was becoming a lost cause. We haven’t looked at the last three series, however, so that may have changed – but the psychology seems intuitive, and earlier this series being left till last certainly tended to be a bad sign.
Saara was called safe first this week, and she was also namechecked as the preferred act by two of the celebrity guests – another thing to look out for during the Sunday show. The other opted for 5AM, who have got most of the celebrity shoutouts so far this series.
Producers now have a chance to work with 5AM’s bounce in the semi-final, should they wish to – although they would have to get them into the top two to avoid dragging them into the final off the back of two consecutive saves, which may be a bad look for their commercial prospects. Producers may also want to avoid going into the final with only one act having avoided the singoff, for reasons of maximising suspense – although such is Saara’s momentum, her singoff saves now seem long ago.
One left-field possibility is that they could consider reverting to the pre-2013 situation of going to the public vote at the final-four stage – although it would be most unlike this show, having taken an extra control, to cede it again. (Until 2010, the singoff typically ended at the final five stage).
Is Matt still a worthy odds-on favourite? Does Saara’s momentum and ability make her odds of around 4.0 an attractive proposition, or crazily low for a foreign act of dubious commercial potential? Is Emily damaged goods, or surprisingly long at 10.5 for an act that hasn’t hit the bottom two and has been portrayed as Simon’s creative project? Could 5 After Midnight, at around the same odds, really bounce high enough to be singing an Ed Sheeran acoustic ballad on Sunday with a realistic chance of success?
Your thoughts in the comments below are more appreciated than ever. We’ll be back with a more considered take in midweek.
Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor