1st: Ronan Parke
Forget the sensationalised claims that BGT is more heavily fixed than the Fifa Christmas raffle: little moptop Ronan is the odds-on favourite to win because he’s ticking all sorts of boxes without any help. Bieber-obsessed tweenies will love him, mums will adore him, he times his tears of joy perfectly, and voters who simply plump for the best act (if anyone truly does that) might go for his impressively strong vocals. Being all over the papers doesn’t hurt either – and the grain of truth in the wild conspiracy theories was that Ronan might well be the show’s favoured candidate. If he’s scheduled in the plum closing slot on Saturday night, it’s game over.
2nd: New Bounce
The momentum’s with them, after their strange audition where they initially gave the lead vocal job to their worst singer. In the semi-final they were suddenly good – Ronan’s been obviously good from the start, so New Bounce might benefit if viewers lose the motivation to vote Parke. They’re as cute as he is, too. But they’re competing for the same votes, and in singing talent contests, viewers very rarely pick groups over solo artists.
3rd: Les Gibson
The bookies don’t have him in the top five, but surely he’s a dark horse. Gibson won his semi with a startlingly accurate set of impersonations that were easily the equal of established TV mimics. He had the funny lines to go with them, too, and his years on the cabaret circuit suggest he might have plenty left in the tank. He’s hitting a different demographic to Parke and the Bounce, and he’s good-looking in a cheeky-chappie sort of way, so he might get the randy mum vote.
4th: Jai McDowall
McDowall has several things in his favour, apart from a voice that could stop a lorry. The main one is the regional voting factor: McDowall is very, very Scottish, which will add thousands of votes to his total straight away. He’s got a nice demeanour too, although his aww-cute shtick about being short of confidence might have been blown by his winning semi-final performance, where he didn’t look nervous at all. McDowall’s main plus point, though, is that you can never overestimate how many people like bombastic, pseudo-operatic ballads, sung by a long-haired man surrounded by dry ice.
5th: Razy Gogonea
Assuming he survives a semi-final showdown with Michael Moral, who has a very similar style of rubbery dancing, and humble guitar man Michael Collings, Gogonea must have a chance as the best dancer in the competition. His acrobatics are undeniably impressive. But does he connect with voters? Apart from some hair-trigger waterworks, we don’t know him very well, and his style on stage is too remote and robotic to get soppy ITV1 viewers ringing up in droves. The final would also be the fourth time we’ve seen him do that Matrixy bending over thing. An outside bet.