BGT 2017: Running Order in the Semi-Finals

It’s Britain’s Got Talent week, with the five semi-finals from tonight through to Friday, and the final on Sunday. This means we get to update our graphs on who qualifies from which slots, and assess the running order’s importance.

One difference this year, already pointed out in our previous discussion thread, is that the judges will no longer choose between the second and third in each semi-final televote. The public’s top two will go through (and the judges add one wildcard) to the Grand Final.

Whether this means producers will feel the need to skew further their preferred runners towards the end of the show is open to debate. We now have five years of data with nine-act semi-finals (i.e. 25 data points for each running order position). Here’s the average percentage of the vote achieved from each slot:

average-vote-running-order-BGT-2012-2016Last year there was a typical skew to the later performances, with the occasional need to mix things up a bit – notably in Wayne Woodward winning the second semi from #2. Here’s the vote distribution from each of the nine slots: vote-distribution-running-order-BGT-2012-2016

For the outright market, as the week unfolds, it’s also worth bearing in mind the pattern to which semi the eventual winners tend to come from. Here’s which heat the winner, second and third came from the nine years we’ve had five semi-finals:

2016: 3, 2, 3
2015: 2, 3, 1
2014: 1, 3, 4
2013: 5, 1, 2
2012: 1, 2, 1
2011: 4, 1, 2
2010: 1, 4, 5
2009: 1, 4, 1
2008: 3, 1, 2

As you can see, the strong record of the first heat seems to be in decline, with last year the first which didn’t see that semi-final winner make the podium.

Interestingly, tonight’s heat doesn’t include market leaders Missing People’s Choir or Sarah Ikumu. Instead we’ll see David Walliams’ golden buzzer act Kyle Tomlinson, and a former member of X Factor’s Miss Dynamix, now with the Miss Treats.

Still, Richard Jones winning last year’s Grand Final from the #2 slot, was a reminder that punters should be wary about reading too much into the running order. Producers like to use it to favour certain acts…until they decide not to. It certainly makes for interesting viewing. Let us know your thoughts on this week’s heats, below.

63 comments to BGT 2017: Running Order in the Semi-Finals

  • Alan

    On holiday in Tenerife so will probably miss most of the action this week and can’t seem to log into a british betting website either. Will probably save me some money at least. Losing the judges vote is just another sign that TPTB are not overly bothered who wins these things these days.

    • Stoney

      Bet they dont carry this format over to X factor. But it will seem strange if they don’t. Suppose it depends on how it plays out. For me it’s taking away an exciting part of the show.

  • Score

    Choir on first, surprisingly. Matches the order on the Twitter page, if it continues to do so then the girlband on last.

  • Stoney

    2 from mistreat kyle dna to go through tonight the 1 that misses out gets willd card

  • Sagand

    Kyle and DNA will be though. Miss Treat Vibe felt like an after thought. The general public go wild for basic magic acts and Kyle has broader appeal than MTV.

  • Stoney

    Was pleased Kylie didnt win tonight’s heat. Should see him get less favourable treatment in the final. Which bodes better for my outside punt on Jamie lee Harrison.
    Quite Surprised DNA got the win over Kyle tonight. The act seemed to go on forever, and even though it was impressive it didn’t pack a wow moment needed to win the show. I think it’s fairly safe to say the winner doesn’t come from tonight’s show.

  • Poor Jeanette from Miss Dynamix has been colour vomited in all three of her Syco live performances now.

    I’m glad I stuck to my guns with DNA winning the semi, despite the market settling on Kyle in the end. In the olden days, before app voting, I bet Kyle probably would’ve snatched a semi win tonight from DNA even from slot 4 in the running order.

  • Stoney

    Leah looks a good shout to win this semi now. Can pack the wow factor after a fairly disappointing performance from izzy.

  • Matt Edwards was my favourite but he’ll come third, being beaten by Leah and the kid.

  • Sagand

    The top three should be Issy, Leah and Grace & Ali. Matt Edwards died on his arse. Cute kid + magic should be enough to win, opera and interpretive dance will split the highbrow vote a bit. Too close to call for second, I’m leaning Grace & Ali by a hair.

  • Stoney

    The biggest shock of the night was Matt Edwards going through. How the hell did that happen???

  • When I really like someone everyone else hates they always get through.

  • Youtube views translated into who won tonight. Kid and Matt were the top 2 there.

  • Number 4 and 5 in the running order qualified, which was very surprising to me. On running order alone you would have expected Grace and Ali to have been in the Top 2 at least (see Daniel’s graph above).

  • Sagand

    Tomorrow looks quite straight forward. Sarah Ikumu and Tokio Meyers are the quality acts.

    The only possible wildcard being Martin & Faye. Family acts sometime do better than expected, (Mel & Jamie last year and The Neals the year before.) But Simon’s golden buzzer should get good treatment and Tokio is genuinely something different.

  • Score

    Quite the nuking there for Josephine. They definitely don’t want another magician going through!

  • Stoney

    Sarah Ikumu is easily the most commercially viable out of everyone so far. Wouldn’t take much to get her over the line in the final if she wins tonight.

  • What a nuking Tokio had.

    Red&Black,
    Fire,
    On a podium etc

    • Sagand

      Insects too.

      I still like his chances to win the semi though, it’s closer to a coin flip than odds imply. He’s more organic than Sarah, and attractive male usually beats shouty female.

  • Stoney

    Another shocker there. This is one strange series. Just cant call this. I am clutching at straws as to who is gonna win this. Time to cut my minimal losses i think.

  • Sagand

    Not a good week to be a singer. Tokio should be favourite in the outright imo.

  • Stoney

    Wish i went with my initial gut feeling on MPC they have a strong semi on friday. Win that and they should have no problem winning in the final.

    • Chris

      The final got moved to Saturday so as not to clash with the Manchester benefit concert. Everyone has less time to practice now, and Friday’s contestants the least of all.

  • I have to confess, I was very worried for Tokio when I saw the red and black and fire in his staging. But the whole performance was just so captivating and authentic, I was hopeful that it would be enough from the pimp slot, and it was.

    I wasn’t in the least bit surprised that Ned beat shouty Sarah to second place either. We saw last night that the public often vote for absolutely rubbish, unfunny comedy acts and Ned fit firmly in that category. Being a variety act helps and you see many people online complaining about how many singers there are getting through on BGT.

    • Stoney

      If there are 2 choirs in the final and 3 magicians, A couple of comedians then Tokio should be the one to beat. But the year Calabro won there was also a runner up power singer so you just never know. But things have been very different this year. 1.5 million votes is a small number of voters in the context of things.

  • Stoney

    Im wondering if this could be the year they go hell for leather in pushing the wild card for the win. They need to make this happen because its been the most pointless twist ever up intil now.

  • Methinks judges’ wildcard is for control, to make sure TCO, whoever that is, makes the final.

    • But if someone finishes third in an 8 act semi-final, they’re hardly going to come close to winning an 11-12 act final with higher quality acts. I think it’s more for making sure there’s a decent amount of variety and audience demographics covered in the line up.

      • Stoney

        I remember having similar doubts about Matt winning x factor last year having fallen into the bottom 2 the week before the final. If an act is within 10% of top spot in semi final. Which I believe sarah ikumu would have been last night. Then it’s not impossible for her to become the first ever wild card winner. Unlikely but not impossible.

        • Sagand

          The main difference being you can win a two act head to head by being the least worst. You can’t win by doing that in a 12 act final, you have to motivate your voters.

          It wasn’t like she was thrown under a bus; the staging, running order and comments were all positives just not enough voters were motivated to vote for her that isn’t going to change in the final.

  • Stoney

    I see Justus have had a name change and are now performing as Merseygirls. This can only be a positive in my view. With the scouse vote and a nice little sob story, grouped together with the fact that voters are mostly snubbing singing acts, I think the value is with these girls winning tonight’s weak semi final.

    • Stoney

      The call of the series in the pipeline right here. Fingers crossed

      • Score

        They’re going to walk it tonight. Weakest show of the week by far.

        When the BGT Twitter feed posts the video thing of the evening’s lineup so far it has reflected the running order pretty much perfectly. I think there was a difference one night which I assume was a last minute change. Tonight’s was broadly right however in that video Angelicus Celtis were down as performing last (with Just Us 6th and The Pensionnaires 2nd). Angelicus were definitely a disappointment and I wonder if the producers were expecting more, had them in the pimp slot and then swapped it round after an underwhelming rehearsal. It certainly felt like the show was lacking another moment and it was quite a weak lineup on paper anyway.

  • Sagand

    Pensionalities should win the semi. My head says MerseyGirls will be there too, but a different party of my head is still singing Hoop Guy and would not be surprised by him sneaking second.

  • Has anyone noticed a great new de-ramp Simon is using this series? “You’re my son Eric’s favourite act!” – i.e. you’re an act for little kids and no adult in their right mind would think about voting for you.

    • Chris

      I see the Eric comment’s as gentle support, Cowell is saying that you have talent enough to get bookings after BGT even if it’s not me that’s going to sign you. Plus it’s a good way for his ego to shoehorn in the fact that he has offspring. (If it were X-factor, I’d agree it was a deramp, but BGT is a different kettle of fish.)

      I rather think that the undercurrent de-ramp of the series is “where do they go from here?” – i.e. GBP please vote for an act that might have some longevity rather than issue-promotors and last-chance-salooners.

  • Stoney

    Mpc biggest threat taken out of contention tonight. Think that should show everyone where saturday nights win will be heading.

    • Really? There’s at least three acts in it imo. Missing Person’s Choir have a great sob story but are seriously lacking in talent. Tomorrow night I’ll be looking to see if the whole studio production will be able to boost them.

      • Stoney

        Hopefully im wrong. 2 of my outside shots are in tomorrow’s semi. Jess and jamie lee Harrison, cant see either of them topping mpc for the win tomorrow though.

  • Stoney

    Having slept on it Im starting to lean towards Tokio pulling off victory tomorrow.
    This is actually a tough semi final for MPC to come through.

    • Chris

      The most influential thing in the whole of that semi was Tokio’s VT. I grew up on a council estate but TM looks to have had a life 100x tougher than mine, yet he fought for his dream. I’ve greened up my book already (winnings = 130% of bankroll) so I can vote for him on Sat with no financial considerations.

  • Paul Watkins

    Clearly don’t want both comedians through with Jess on 1st

  • I’m devastated Lords of Strut didn’t make it through tonight. Comedy gold! In other news, another huge win on Daliso winning the semi so got to be happy with that…

  • Andy

    Well done Tim, did I spot Ben Needham’s image on the screen behind the missing people choir tonight ?, could we be seeing madeleines image in the final ? Kate McCann is a ambassador for the missing people charity, Ant said the vote was close tonight, game over tomorrow if we see Maddy, thoughts ?
    Would the Queen enjoy Daliso ?

  • Stoney

    If its a shoot out between Daliso and Tokio its a no contest.

  • Who do you think wins out of those two then? (For me it is a contest).

    • It is most definitely a contest…to get the favour of TPTB. Having seen the voting stats they will get the winner they want tomorrow. I think there are probably three in it; Tokio, Daliso and The Pensionalities. I do think Tokio is the likeliest winner as the most talented, most original and most deserving etc., although events can shake things up on the night.

      • Stoney

        Tokio is the real feel good winner of the series. And totally different from the usual type of act that appears in the final.
        If the producers want him as winner he wins and comfortably. I think in order to get a comedian over the line it will take a lot of tricks and manipulation.

        • Stoney

          Having said That I’ve always been a prediction up front type of guy and as it’s been plain to see ive not called much right this series so this could be way off the mark.

  • Stoney

    Who will suffer the most from the champions league clashing with tonight’s final?

  • Score

    Any thoughts on the running order for tonight? Presuming Sarah is the wildcard, I think they might put her on last. Like her or not she’s capable of putting on a big performance to close the show and she’s probably not a contender to win, whereas those that are don’t necessarily fit the type of act they normally close a show with. In recent years they’ve also tended to not close the final with an act that has closed a semi-final (last time they did was Attraction in 2013). So based on that, I could see them going with something like this:

    Ned Woodman
    Kyle Tomlinson
    DNA
    Mersey Girls
    Matt Edwards
    The Missing People’s Choir
    The Pensionalities
    Issy Simpson
    Tokio Myers
    Daliso Chaponda
    Sarah Ikumu

    Spreads out the acts quite nicely, with most of the contenders on later, with weaker ones burned off early on. I can’t see them fancying DNA for the win either, they’re probably a bit too similar to last year’s winner. But then I remember the running order for last year’s final was quite different what was expected, so they might yet chuck in some curveballs.

    • Stoney

      The pimp slot has certainly lost a lot of value since app voting came into play. There has been a major shift in the people winning semis and qualifying from less fancied positions in the last few years. I remember last year calling Richard jones still winning after performing in slot 2 when others were saying he was out of the running.

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