BGT 2013 semi finals preview: Are you feeling the Attraction?

Britain’s Got Talent 2013 reaches the live semi-final stage on Monday, and week 1’s shadow dancers Attraction are at the front of bookies’ lists at prices in the region of 2/1. There’s been a healthy debate in the Sofabet comments about whether or not that’s too short.

Stoney opined soon after their audition that “if Attraction were British they would absolutely walk this competition”, but worried that “the voting public… don’t take to foreigners”. Guildo Horn Forever counters: “you (the viewer) are watching shadow theatre, you’re watching bodies; you’re not hearing accents, you’re not registering facial characteristics. If it wasn’t for the brief bow out front at the end of the performance (by which time the spellbound viewer has a lump in their throat) the performers would be totally anonymous.”

That’s true – although, to play devil’s advocate, you could argue that the facelessness of the performance limits the viewer’s ability to connect with them and to want to invest in their success by picking up the phone. It could thus be a first-time wonder kind of act.

There is also the question: do we really believe Simon Cowell will be sanguine about the idea of a Hungarian winner?

Tim B thinks so: “I can impart some information I gathered from attending some of this year’s auditions in London. At the session I attended, the first act on was also from Hungary. They were an extremely solid, 3D in the dark dance troupe. Anyway, during the comments Simon said he was pleased that acts were coming from across the continent as it meant the British acts had to up their game, and it would lead to a stronger competition overall. He was filmed saying this maybe four or five times during the session, as there were acts from different parts of Europe, like The Netherlands, performing. This struck me as a little odd. Why was he being filmed saying this again and again? At the time I concluded that TPTB were intending to push a European act for the final or possibly the win”.

Maybe. Or was he merely trying to justify to the audience why Dutch and Hungarian acts were auditioning in the first place? It feels odd enough to have acts who aren’t from Britain even auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent. To have one win the show would be on a whole other level.

You can see the mocking newspaper articles now: the pool of British talent has run dry, Cowell’s tired show has run its course, time to retire the format. The view from the Sofabet sofa is that we just can’t imagine Cowell wanting this kind of publicity.

Which isn’t to say that Attraction won’t sail through their semi. They’re a marquee act, and we assume producers will want them in the final to give viewers an additional reason for tuning in. Marquee status may even get them a late slot in the final – such an eventuality needn’t necessarily indicate producer favour, it might simply indicate an anaemic vote in the semi. But if producers don’t want an Attraction win, it should be child’s play to stop them – an early slot, lukewarm comments, perhaps a murky tabloid allegation that one of them once claimed UK benefits.

If we’re right to suspect that Attraction isn’t the act producers will want to see win, then who is? Chasing the shadow dancers in the betting are a glut of singers, and it feels like chasing shadows trying to choose among them.

At the polar opposite end of the patrioticness spectrum lie 5/1 second-favourites Band of Voices, who sang ‘God Save The Queen’ in their audition. Natasha noted “Simon’s comments regarding the Queen and it’s what makes us proud to be British etc.” Will we see this repeated in the final, combined with a few judicious reminders that Attraction have come all the way from Hungary?

Representing the popera genre which has done so well on this show are singing Welsh sandwich-makers Richard and Adam, of whom Andy says “It sent shivers down my spine listening to them sing The Impossible Dream. Both seem genuine… The winner of BGT has to be special, I feel this could be the act to take on Attraction.”

Tim B, making Richard and Adam his standout each-way bet at around 14/1, concurs: “The fact that they are brothers gives them the aww factor, necessary to succeed in the substantial mum and nan voting demographic… Only Boys Aloud may have benefitted from a hefty Welsh vote last year and R&A should benefit from this too.”

Tish makes the case for the Luminites at a similar price: “They have the rawness in them like James Arthur.” Guildo adds: “They look a nice, clean-cut, genuinely close-knit group of fresh-faced friendly, humble talented people.” Tim B: “I reckon SYCO are already preparing contracts for them to be signed. The band have already established a significant following on social media and we’ve not even reached the semi finals yet.”

Might BGT be tempted to rub the BBC’s nose in their ratings travails by pushing an act who was rejected by The Voice? JScouser reckons this gives 20/1 shot Alice Fredenham an “underdog” story, and Tish notes that after her audition “Simon says ‘this is what I have been waiting for’, this is almost exactly the same thing Simon said to Ashleigh last year after her audition with Pudsey”.

Stoney and Tim B point out that it could look bad for BGT to be won by an act considered not good enough for their rival show, though of course it’s equally easy for BGT to spin the line that The Voice were incompetent to have missed her.

The problem with all of these singers is that there are so many of them – you can also choose from the likes of Aliki Chrysochou (generally 10/1), Jordan O’Keefe (14/1), Alex Kierl (14/1), and Robbie Kennedy (20/1), and that’s without even looking beyond the top ten in bookies’ lists. They can’t all make the final, and those that do can’t all be given help in the final. At this pre-semi stage, you’re largely betting on which one the show will throw its weight behind.

Then there are the various other acts needed to live up to the definition of variety. The top-ranked non-singing, non-Hungarian act in the betting, at around 20/1, is the teen comedian introduced in the first audition show, Jack Carroll. He’d be a feelgood winner, but has he used up his best material already?

Comedians don’t have a great record on this show, impressionist Paul Burling’s fifth place being the best finish so far, a trend which JScouser ascribes to the fact that “3 minutes is not enough time to put forward your comedy act and style”. The fact that we have a couple of other comedians – Francine Lewis and Philip Green – in the mix (both around 40/1) suggests we’ll have at least one in the final.

Other non-singing acts at less than three-figure prices are dancing duo Martin and Marielle (at around 28/1), ventriloquist Steve Hewlett (33/1), bodypopper Poppin Ron (50/1), dancer Joseph Hall and illusionist Stephen Pink (both around 80/1).

Producers will want to put on a varied show for the final – they can’t just have Attraction, one or two comedians and eight or nine singers. So it seems likely that at least one of these acts, or alternatively ones at three-figure prices or still to be introduced in Sunday’s final audition show, will be given every assistance to get into the final.

The question is whether you want to take your chance at juicier prices now, or wait for the semis which should tell us much more about which act is likely to have the fair wind of producer favour in their sails come the final. We’re doing the latter.

So what should we be looking out for in the semi-finals? Stoney points out that “they usually front load the best acts at the start”. Indeed they do. Acts that are shown on the first semi-final have ended up occupying as many podium places in the final as acts shown in all of the other semis put together. Here’s a graph showing the extent of the front-loading:

(In case the graph isn’t clear: three winners of the first semi have won the final, and three have finished second; of the other acts to qualify from the first semi, one has won the final, one has finished second and one third. And so on. NB: there were only three semis in 2007).

We’d be failing in our duty if we didn’t remind readers before semi week how much of an advantage it is to go late in the show. Up to the final semi in 2011, each semi had eight acts. Here are the positions in the running order that the winners and placed acts came from:

The last semi of 2011 and all five semis in 2012 had nine acts. Here are the running order positions the 1-2-3 of those six nine-runner heats came from:

Add together the advantage of going on the first semi and the advantage of going last, and logically you get the most favoured slot of all as being last on the first semi. In the first five series, the acts performing last in the first semi went on to win the final three times (Paul Potts, Signature, Spelbound) and finish second – as beaten favourites – twice (Susan Boyle, Ronan Parke).

Perhaps worried about becoming too predictable, last year the show mixed it up very slightly – eventual winners Ashleigh and Pudsey were on second-from-last in the first semi and eventual third Only Boys Aloud closed that show. (As Andy points out, with nine acts in last year’s semis, an alternative reading is that last year continued the trend of 8th in the first semi being the best position).

Do you agree with us that producers won’t be hungry for a winner from Hungary? Who do you fancy each-way, or are you waiting to see who’s in Monday’s semi line-up? Do keep the conversation going below.

72 comments to BGT 2013 semi finals preview: Are you feeling the Attraction?

  • Pamela Anne Trueman

    Guildo’s view is highly logical, very well reasoned – but just look at what happened to Guildo in Eurovision

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      An illogical comment. I wonder whose posts you’ve been reading and attributing to me? I think all posts on this site stay archived and are easy to access/view.

      To answer your musing another way: Guildo came 7th – which is outside of bookmakers’ place terms ;-( 🙂

  • Tish

    I put an EW bet on Richard and Adam and Francine Lewis, R&A simply because ‘popera’ has always done well in Britains Got Talent and I knew that the odds would dramatically shorten come the semi finals. Francine because she’s british, a non singer but mainly because of the odds, I just couldn’t leave it alone (40/1). I suppose in a way it comes down to greed. I wanted to back Band Of Voices EW however, there isn’t much value there to to take a gamble at this stage. I will keep my fingers and everything crossed for the 2 I have backed for now and wait to see what monday brings before I bet on an outright winner.Regarding Attraction, I don’t think they can capture the audience like they did in their audition. I looked at their other stuff on Youtube and there isn’t anything even close to the captivating performace they gave in their audition, and the fact that their not british will hinder their chances of a win. As said before, if a non british act were allowed to win BRITAINS Got Talent, it’d be like saying our British talent isn’t good enough and would make a mochary of the show

  • stoney

    good article andrew, you mention about the producers mixing it up a bit by putting ashley and pudsey second last in the first semi last year, but that may have been purely down to the fact that only boys allowed were there chosen ones until ashley and pudsey blew them out of the water in the voting.
    Ive had an e/w dabble on jack carroll as i think hell benefit hugely from a sympathy vote, and providing he is the only comedian to make the final (plausible) he should be a shoe in for a top 3 with especially in a singer dominated final.

  • Andy.

    3 Acts who may be there abouts at the end are now available at 16/1 EW.
    Richard and Adam V.C.
    Luminites V.C.
    Jack Carroll Lad, Coral.
    1,2,3. 1/4
    Jack 20/1 win only B Fred.

  • stoney

    i went with ladbrokes as i dont fancy jack for the win

  • stoney

    just checked my account i took 20’s on jack e/w with ladbrokes a few days ago

  • I much much prefer the chances of Francine to Jack and Philip. But 10 spaces in the final, so perhaps there is room for more than one comedian in there.

    Looking forward to it all kicking off now! Hoping/predicting Attraction are the headline act in tomorrow’s first semi final.

  • Tish

    Mmmm, did Richard and Adam and Band Of Voices get through???

  • Cath

    Who’s going to be in tomorrow’s semi then?

  • Andy

    They are both in the final Tish.
    Full 45 listed on Digital spy.
    I got a little worried there.

  • Edit tonight was certainly favoured for Alice, Robbie And Francine. With them being saved til last to be shown. All getting own interview from Ant and Dec seperatly at end of it. Along with cleverly showing tears from Alice.

    Simon saying “you 3 where the easiest decision we had to make, we all unanimously agreed”

    Or something like that.

    Bad news for Attraction backers, looks like they are after an English winner. Also I don’t remember seeing attraction featured much in the edit at all.

    Still Alice for me.

    • Tish

      I noticed that andy! I also agree with JScouser. I don’t think Richard and Adam will be pushed, purely going on how tonights show was shown. Saying that, Band Of Voices weren’t either. If we knew who was on tomorrow we’d have a better idea

      • Don’t rate band of voices at all me. Surprised they are so short. Richard and Adam also didn’t receive much airtime if any in the edit. Negative that.

        From the 3 that got favoured edit.

        Francine – difficult for comedy to win these things, 3 minutes is not enough time for comedy acts to have a “wow that was brilliant” moment, also she is good looking in a way that I think will stop a percent of females voting for her

        Robbie – similar to James Arthur for me. But not as good. Can’t imagine Simon wanting them both for his record label? Lets not forget that the first song robbie sung was not very good. Would like to hear him sing more songs before backed him, incase he just sounds good with one song and is limited.

        Alice for me, for plenty of reasons I’ve already mentioned.

    • Tish

      Well done Boki!! Not looking good for her then

  • Andy

    Blatent pimping of attraction tonight while acts were being chosen.
    10 Minutes playing of Read all about it by Emeli Sandé

    • Think the group/act (or whatever they are) were actually hardly featured. Don’t recall any segament with just them interviewed. Nothing compared to other acts.

      • Boki

        They treat them as shadows – nothing to say really and I guess nobody is really interested in their (Hungarian) back story. Said that, I guess they will win their semi no matter the slot.

  • Andy

    Yes Tish
    I’m left a little confused, Watching BG MORE T at the moment and no sign of them yet.

  • hi does anyone know if the brother who sang opera got through

  • Boki

    Alice goes on Tuesday, source her facebook page.

  • Tish

    Francine is on Friday, I just sent a message to her on facebook.

  • stoney

    i wouldnt read too much into leaving them 3 last in tonights show as a major pimping, its going to take a lot more than that to push alice into a winning position. I dont think a singer has won BGT (besides opera) and i expect that to continue, basically the way i and the majority of the british public feel is that any other singer apart from opera should stick to x factor

    • Boki

      You think it’s sealed for attraction then?

      • stoney

        i cant call it at the moment, ive been oposing attraction for a while now, and tonight hasnt given me any reason to change that opinion, it really is wide open at the moment, there keeping tight lipped on tomorrows semi final line up though, and that seems to be what will be our biggest hope in finding out who is going to win this. Also im wondering if the first semi final will be so influential as in previous years bearing in mind the final is a week later, could play a part in shaking up what happens.

    • Agreed. Think the 2/1 about her being in the top 3 much better than the 2/1 about attraction winning. As soon as Betfair opens up I will be laying.

  • Tish

    R & A don’t have a facebook page, nothing on Jack Carolls

  • Donald

    Hi all, playing catch up on BGT also,

    What is the name of the adorable kids dance troupe? Watched tonight show and thought they were cool as. Worth some few £ ew maybe.

    Great info. about previous years Andrew.. very interesting statistics.

  • stoney

    this reminds me of the year jai mcdowall won, i couldnt call it that year either

  • Andy

    I agree with you Stoney
    Attraction have thrown a spanner in the works this year, 2/1 not gonna be around tomorrow, 11/8 in places now, If Attraction was not in the competition I would be confident of R & A, Jack or Luminites, But I am clueless at the moment 🙁

  • Tish

    Wht won’t they reveal tomorrows line up anywhere? All we know is that Francine is on Friday and Alice Tuesday.

  • stoney

    i wouldnt rule out jack carrol winning it, if they gave him a push, just something about him, pair the sympathy vote up with the fact hes actually a loveable funny guy and there a winning formula there, i actually agree with the comment j scouser made about francines looks hampering her, she is pretty pleasing on the eye!

  • Andy

    Jack and Cormac on Tuesday according to a tweet.

  • stoney

    As i previously said im not factoring tonights half hour judges segment into a major factor into who is going to win, and neither are punters who seem to be chomping at the bit on attaction (shortening by the hour)

  • Tish

    I sent Francine a message on Facebook telling her how much i love her and by the way, who’s on tomorrow nights show and she replied saying she had no idea. They certainly are keeping tight lipped arent they!!

  • stoney

    also it may be worth mentioning jordan okeefe, as he appears to be slipping under the radar, in a market so wide open could a huge teeny bop vote push him into a possible front runner? i see no reason cowell wouldnt want to sign him up, nothing similar on his books to worry about

  • Andy

    I agree again Stoney,
    I had a top up on jack each way at 16/1 this evening, He is already a celebrity and may be getting new material and tips from professionals, He picked up a pride of Britain award last year from Jimmy Carr. he may well be pimped, Top 3 I think.

  • stoney

    yeah top 3 is a solid bet id say, would be interesting if he was to be on tomorrow nights semi in one of the final 2 slots!

  • Tish

    Nice one Boki!!! Can’t get anything out of Luminites or Jordan O’Keefe

  • Boki

    Philip Green ‏@PhilWGreen 2h

  • stoney

    interesting, if R and A were to be given the pimp slot tomorrow they could sabotage attraction providing they were given an earlier slot

    • Tish

      Fingers crossed, i got 250 EW on them!

      • stoney

        lol i would be waiting til semi final rotas are out before betting that sort of money, but each to there own!

        • Tish

          I went on peoples comments on here really and the shows success history of ‘popera’ and got a bit greedy with the odds i suppose, 16/1 a few days ago. I think they will place in the top 3 but if they win i’ll be more than happy 🙂

          • stoney

            im assuming your a female, apologies if not but thats a very female way of gambling, again apologies im not being sexist

  • Boki

    What you guys think of Philip Green? Can’t make up my mind if he’s a genius or the opposite, also don’t know the people he imitates so can’t judge it.

  • Tish

    I personally can not stand him!! Francine is a million times better than he is

  • Andy

    I’m in deep on R&A as well. On the nose.
    I always follow my instinct and this year its R&A.
    Going for jack EW.
    I will take the loss if Attraction win. I just cannot bring myself to put a penny on them.

  • Andy

    2 Betfair markets up.
    Top 3 Finish.
    To reach the final.

  • Tish

    TONIGHTS LINE UP – Band Of Voices, Bosom Buddies, Youth Creation, Phillip Green, Arixandra Libantino, J-Unity, Aaron Crow, Martin Healey, Richard & Adam. If this is the running order then Pimp slot is definatley last. Martin Healey os the dumb bloke that danced with a nun!!

  • Shadow group will win and jack Carroll runner up

    • Tish

      Attraction won’t win britains got talent or even place in top 3, Many people have put various points as to why on here and every point is a fair point, On sundays show it was re-iterated that they want an act to win who will make you feel proud to be british. Note that Amanda also said these same word after R&A’s performance on Monday. The judges (and big bosses) want a british act to win. And to be honest, unless Attraction do the same routine as in their audition, I don’t think they could do any better than that and it’ll be a hugh anti-climax

      • stoney

        i wont be suprised to see attraction open whichever semi final they are in, and bulldozed to the floor, the same way them 2 dancers were lastnight, if they had of closed the show with positive comments they would have gone through to the final, gonna be a lot of disappointed punters when that happens

        • Tish

          Same as what they did with Band Of Voices, that was tragic!! Their audition was amazing and they were second favourites. People need to think outside the box

  • Andy.

    Hi Chris.
    Imagine the headlines in the sunday newspapers if Attraction win,
    I do not see it in anybody interest to let a foreign act win.
    I know its up to the public but judges have a way of bringing acts down the same way as they raise other acts.
    I avoid children in reality shows but Jack surely has a great chance of winning after last night.
    Most my stakes are on R&A but Jack is worrying me silly.
    Attraction drifting slightly after a huge gamble over weekend took them to even money.
    6/4 now available on betfair and a few punters sure to be worried after the first 2 semis turned up with 2 absolutely brilliant British acts.I’m not sure there are anymore acts that can challenge in the outright win market but Jack and R&A guaranteed to be pushing the title.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I’m in on the top three: EW on Attraction, R&A&N and Jack.

    Looking at my range of bets, the best result (also) for me, by far so it transpires, is an R&A win (Attraction is my second best result).

    Thus, even at 16/1 Jack is worrying me also! Lol.

    The one saving grace for R&A supporters is that SYCO are more likely (at this moment) to save the pimp slot for R&A over Jack. Comedians can be a bit hit and miss; whereas R&A are guaranteed to contribute a grand end to the final.

    I imagine the Luminites as top 5 material.

    What would be handy for R&A would be Aliki (Greek-sounding name?) having a mare in her semi. Her backstory, loveliness and quiet operatic voice might siphon votes from them.

    Oi! Syco: Sort it!

  • trollgirl

    I havent watched this series yet, I only saw the shadow group cause at one point they were all over facebook. they wont win, cause they are hungarian…. they might do well if simon sees the way to milk them post show. but they might be completely under the bus on friday (ie. open the show, mess with their staging… there are ways to do that)
    I saw the show last night and I think jack carol has a very good chance to win… he has everything working for him. First of all his act is working. I looked up his audition and that too, it was straightforward funny, in a very natural way. Secondly he has the sympathy factor. But not in an over pushed sobbing, artificial way. In fact the way he handles himself is the best way possible. And thirdly… It would be the best outcome for the show, in sense of variety. They tried to push comedians before but none of them really worked. I think they will jump on the chance to get a comedian to win.

  • Boki

    Hi Andrew, going back to Attraction – they are on the Saturday’s last show which should attract the most viewers and (since the final is moved) its winner would be in the great position to stick in people’s minds. Their main competition are Aliki and Jordan. You mentioned in the article they could sail in their semi but if they win it could they become an unstoppable force in the final? Isn’t it better to pull the handbrake now and give them a wildcard as someone suggested? Sorry if my questions are too naive maybe, I know TPTB are good in those things but I have a feeling it might be too late in this case if they allow them to fly in the semi.

    • Hey Boki, I think there is so much interest in Attraction that the producers would be mental not to put them on last. As you say, viewing figures will be at their highest since Monday and what better way to boost the ratings than to put them on last?

      I think it’s very dangerous assuming that TPTB are going to nobble Attraction just because they’re not British. We just don’t know yet.

    • Hi Boki, Tim, My instinct is still that they’re going to nobble Attraction because they’re not British, but I’m open-minded about whether they’re going to do it in the semi or the final.

      Even if you’re right Tim and Attraction are on last and they go through as winners, I’d still be confident they could stop them in the final. They just need to hammer the patriotism card for all it’s worth on behalf of Jack and/or R&A.

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