Kate Ritchie must be packing shit. While the Home & Away teenybopper vote will probably ensure her survival, her and Troy’s bottom-ranked score makes them a definite eviction contender next week, a scenario that hasn’t looked at all likely so far. Richard & Wendy will also probably be there, though for them it’s slightly more familiar territory. But let’s discover how we got there first as we review supergroups week (a generic theme that allows more or less any type of song choice, provided you don’t pick Aerosmith).
Erika & David, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ As we’d expect, moving to a more up-beat number showed that while David has vocal chops, he lacks a certain looseness. There was also a lyrical fluff (one sang ‘want’, one sang the correct ‘need’) in the last verse, and the usual problem: lots of technical precision, not so much fun. 30 was probably a point or two more than they deserved.
Kate & Troy, ‘Yesterday’ Kate’s crying in the pre-song footage was clearly no ploy, as she looked likely to burst into tears any minute. That worked to help with the song’s vulnerability, but, as James Valentine pointed out, made for slightly variable pitch (though sensibly she got assigned the main melody this week, unlike last week’s harmony fest). The score of 24 was a little lower than I expected, though it did rank among the two or three worst performances of the night.
Simon & Paulini, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ After bottom-ranking last week, Simon & Paulini sensibly returned to upbeat fare, which suits them much better. Impressive duetting and great stage work, this scored a deserved 30 and should help seal them in place for a week or two.
Michael & Jade, ‘With Or Without You’ A challenging choice, if only because it has so many quiet and low parts, which can easily sound off even if they’re pitched correctly. A good match for Bevan’s voice, and a well-maintained intensity saw a score of 29, which sounds about right to me.
Mark & Rachel, ‘Mamma Mia/Waterloo’ Of course, I’m biased towards an ABBA performance, but on the other hand, my benchmark is much higher than usual. Mark & Rachel delivered, with plenty of tongue in cheek moments while not forgetting that ABBA were superlatively good singers and require a well-planned vocal performance. Mark’s harmonies on ‘Waterloo’ were odd in places, but overall I was happy to see this get top ranking with 31. The Bjorn Again cameo was fun but gratuitous.
Sarah & Guy, ‘One’ Sarah remains an enthusiastic and energetic performer with seemingly no long-term control over her vocals. Her soft solo opening was spot-on, but once Guy joined in, she became a tad shouty. Mr Sebastian doesn’t help matters by indulging in his trademark vocal acrobatics, which seems to throw Sarah off and also puts her performance into stark relief. Less would be more, Guy, and this was more a 28 than a 30 performance.
Richard & Wendy, ‘Satisfaction’ Like Simon & Paulini, these two knew that an upbeat performance was the best bet to get a higher score. Unlike those two, they rigged the song virtually as a solo, with Wendy reduced almost literally to the role of backing singer, complete with tambourine. Fun, energetic and good stuff overall, but they might have to return to Bryan Adams next week if they want to match the promise they showed in Week 1.
The end result was five performers separated by only two points. It seemed clear after the performances and bearing in mind last week’s scores that Michael & Jade would square off with Richard & Wendy for the bottom two (though Kate & Troy’s unexpectedly low score made them an outside chance). While getting evicted with a score of 29 is probably a little disappointing for the cricketer and chanteuse, it’s better than having to repeat a song you’ve already slaughtered once.
The total series scores sort the contestants into three clear groups: front runners (Erika & David 151, Mark & Rachel 144), possible upsets (Simon & Paulini and Sarah & Guy, both 136) and unlikely (Kate & Troy, 131, Richard & Wendy, 123). Michael & Jade’s series total was 129.
Marina remains queen of the high scores, with a running average of 7.0 — though her average score for this week (7.4) was the same as Helen, who still can’t decide if nice or nasty is her regular persona. The lowest score of the week (5 for Kate & Troy) came, unexpectedly, from Ross Wilson.
Teresa’s dress was a total disaster — it looked like pieces of three grey outfits randomly stitched together — and her hair wasn’t far behind. Helen’s hair straightening was also a mistake. Maybe the resident hairstylist took a week off. Maybe they should just sack Teresa.
The show seems finally to have settled on an alternating judges pattern, which is fun if only because it makes guessing the scores more difficult.
With 70s and 80s the theme next week, genres now seem to be firmly replaced by eras. This makes song choice even more critical, since it’s hard to blame an unsympathetic category when the options are so varied.