“Ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for”, said Gio as he opened last week’s show with a thrilling performance of ‘The Greatest Show’. Unfortunately for Gio, he was shoved down the memory hole by Dalton and Scarlett, and there was enough fire in his staging to make me think he was in big trouble. Poor Misunderstood were mishandled, mismanaged, misrepresented and somehow found themselves at the bottom of the vote. Acacia and Aaliyah predictably survived their second consecutive sing off in order to not wipe out the Groups category.
The narrative this week very much depends on what the producers will decide is going to happen with the one remaining group. They could either pimp them to high heaven in the hope that they escape the bottom three or treat them fairly kindly and let them fall to the bottom of the vote naturally. I’m leaning towards the latter as on paper the former seems like a bit of a stretch. It’s likely they were bottom of the vote in both of their sing offs, neither of which they deserved to survive. The comments towards them online have become increasingly vicious, though we won’t know for sure what will happen yet with tonight’s performances.
Brendan is the only other remaining act to have already been in the sing off, and he’s now coming down from a two-week sympathy bounce. Dermot informed us that bottom of the vote “changed four times” during Sunday night’s results show, and I have to assume that was Gio switching places with Bella until the lines closed and she found herself just ahead of him. This week’s Big Band theme is a poor fit for her on paper, and something has to give in the Girls category with three of them still remaining.
The opposite seems true with Danny this week. As the sole remaining Over, the show may well look to protect him in order to get him into next week’s semi-final. The judges pleaded for votes as they said he was pretty much required for this week. I therefore can’t really envisage him in the Bottom Three this week, unless it happens by accident. ‘My Way’ is another demo-delighting belter for him that should be in his comfort zone.
If there’s to be a shock in the danger zone week, it could potentially be Shan. A contestant’s vote often drops off a cliff the week following a pimp slot, especially if they squandered their chance with an underwhelming performance and then go on early the next week. Just ask Tamera Foster, Hannah Barrett, Misha B, Che Chesterman and Gio, to name but a few. Still, it may be a stretch too far for Shan who this week has a suitable song choice. If you think about it, Shan landing in the sing off this week wouldn’t be the end of the world as they could then sympathy bounce her into the final, which is just two weeks away. To summarise, the formula is; dodgy pimp slot performance + early running order slot = sing off appearance.
Anthony, Dalton and Scarlett are probably safe enough this week as they have far more going for them than the other five acts. If the brakes are to be applied to Dalton, it almost certainly isn’t happening this week. ‘Listen’ is going to be another show stopper for him and I think he’s going into the semi-final having topped the vote once again. I feel pretty comfortable at this stage declaring him the first black male winner of The X Factor.
Scarlett is the clear second favourite but has a horrible song choice in ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, which is the kind of song that should only ever be sung drunk at a wedding. I think she’s been doing very well in the vote recently though – almost certainly Top 3 and probably ahead of Shan, as things currently stand. This seems like producers putting the brakes on somewhat.
If Scarlett is the queen of karaoke on the show this year, then Anthony is definitely the king. He had a great breakout performance last week with ‘Eye of the Tiger’, but it was just karaoke, and I struggle to see how he wins a competition that also has Dalton in it. This week he has a song that seems suitable enough to keep him safe, but hardly likely to set the phone lines alight. If there are four in the Final then he’s likely to be one of them.
Bella and Brendan seem highly likely for the Bottom Three tomorrow night, but the jury’s out as to who might join them. Any extreme push for A&A might not succeed, or the show might have decided that their time is up.