49 to WIN – The Road to Wembley – Little Mix
Welcome to Betsfactor 24 – Make sure you read THIS first, as we begin the race towards the winning line.
THE ROAD TO WEMBLEY – LITTLE MIX.
I’ve been backing these girls since I saw them at bootcamp. My attitude is normally “if you can harmonise, then the rest can take care of itself” – see G4 and JLS.
This was them at boot camp.
Week One blew me away. Not because I thought the performance was amazing, but more that they had potential. No cleveage, no fishnets, no front page of the Daily Star on a Tuesday, a decent enough rapper, in the dancy bits in week one the backing vocals were ramped up but they nailed the harmony bits at the end. Rap is current and these girls had the whole package. Some of the harmonies were all over the place, but some were great. They looked slick.
Notice how Perrie looks like someone from a S4C kids TV show…? We’ll come to that later. Also at this point these girls were clearly in the producers “mid table” ideas, a bit like Johnny and Frankie, just to give a bit of variety in the show, and to pad out the evictions until the semi finals.
Week two was similar, with an urbany version of I’m like a bird, ramped up backing vocals and you could tell the producers ideas for this group with a tacky graffiti backdrop. These are girls from the hood, who rap and are very urban. Your grandma won’t like them….
Week three was the last time that rap came in but this was another decent performance…..
You can start to see the gradual change in the producers ideas. Nu Vibe have shot and knifed each other in a dark alley at this point and the Risk are undergoing their eighth rebrand to “New Risk – The next generation”. The producers must also be looking at these girls and realising that they can take direction. They get the chorography correct, Perrie comes into her own with big notes.
Shambles Week (Week Four) was for me the defining moment.
Here are the most important six minutes of television this series….
I actually suggested they might win it at this point. Three crucial things happened.
1. REBRAND THE BAND. A charity found that they had the same name as a band on the X Factor, and kicked up a fuss about it, which the tabloids were only too happy to run. Some dozy researcher hadn’t bothered to type “Rhythmix” into Google. Whilst at the time, it seemed shambolic, this was actually a blessing in disguise. The girls could rebrand. “Rhythmix” has very urbany aggressive connotations and the producers played a blinder (in a rare moment of sense) and called the girls the humbler and less aggressive (and more appealing to women) “Little Mix”.
2. BIG GIRLS SHOULD CRY. Jesy won’t realise it for many years, but talking on camera about the hate towards her online, because she’s a bit larger than the others, was the most important moment in her entire career. It was the moment that transformed the entire girlband. The problem with girlbands in the last eight years, is no one has a clue who “Chloe” is or what she does. Even people like Cheryl Cole are quite guarded, we don’t really “know” them. Jesy breaks down on TV, tells us that she has insecurities just like 99% of all women, she’s happy to be seen as vulnerable and suddenly the band has the key ingredient that every girl band gone before lacked. Relatablility. The VT also focused heavily on young women liking the band as well…
3. POLISHED PERFORMANCE. Reasonable harmonies, but crucially, look how tight their dance routines are. There was something so polished about the performance that made me think these girls could win it.
This superb site was telling you to back them at 14-1 at this point. But you STILL ignored me didn’t you….
They then hit a puncture in the next week, with a dire performance of Rihanna. In a way it was lucky because they were placed last in the show, no act going last ever goes out (until you get to the last few). This was, by far, their worst performance.
I read somewhere that this was one of the four songs they did when they performed in Newcastle this week, which worries me intensely! However, the judges suddenly decided to jump on the Little Mix bandwagon and praised what was a poor performance. I think at this point the producers saw that Little Mix had topped the vote the week before and suddenly got very excited, realising with a couple more cry VT’s they could get these girls to the final. Secondly, the Risk were being nuked in this week with the “JLS do you think we can be a boyband as successful as you <awkward silence> er… yeah.” VT. So Little Mix were upgraded to “TOP” status. Thirdly, look at how the styling has changed. Rap has been dropped from this point on, and they look a bit more contemporary and less like kids TV presenters aimed at 9 year olds. We wrote this the day after the performance.
Week Six was a solid performance of Telephone and Radio Gaga but they were massively helped with the crucial backing of One Direction. Week Seven was their stripped back En Vogue performance. Lazy commentators will describe this as a the “game changer”, it really wasn’t – “ET and cry VT” was, but was a good solid performance. The great thing about week seven was the silly number of celebrity endorsements they started to collect… David Walliams was put on camera purely to announce how he wanted them to win, some Twlight guy pretended he’d heard of them etc.
Week Eight and one of the reasons I think bands struggle in the final, is they have too many variables. Whereas a solo artist can concentrate solely on their own vocals, the four members of the band have to get their bits right and then all the bits have to sound correct together. Live. On national TV. With just a few hours rehearsal. This starts to get complicated when you have two songs to learn and the press duties, charity single performances etc etc are cranking up. The producers, being strategic and thinking carefully, decided that a re-run of the Jesy’s not happy about the nasty fat jibes will see them safely through, so stuck them on first. The judges didn’t help, I felt that their Baby mash up was pretty good, but Kelly wasn’t happy about them taking on the Supremes. None of this mattered though, Janet was being Red and Blacked and they had the “anti bullying” Beautiful where Jesy was getting it spot on and crying on stage, because the lyrics did mean something to her. BOOM! I was delighted and the historic announcement was born.
Semi finals and the road starts to get bumpier, with a giant pot hole down which the second verse disappears in the first song. On top of this, Gary starts mixing it up and in the week before we have Snog Crisis a story still being dealt with (certainly for holders of 75-1 bvets) very very badly by the press team even now! They STILL haven’t denied the story on Twitter. Maybe she really is dating Zayn!?
Little Mix’s journey has surpassed most people’s expectations. They were only meant to go as far as Birmingham, but have continued sailing down the M1 in their efficient car. Does the historic announcement still stand? We’ll answer that at 11.
Next – Amelia’s flight
11pm – Who’s going to win?!