For the last month and a half, our readers have been voting on five separate polls, one for each Regional Round, and giving us their opinion on who they think will be competing in the final on 10 March in London. With the first Regional Round taking place tomorrow in London, our polls have finally closed and the results are in.
With a total of 206 votes cast in total, we firstly want to thank everyone for voting and sharing their opinion!
In the Oxford Regional, the overwhelming fan favourites are Out of the Blue, who received almost half of the entire share of votes. The 2009 Champions, who ended up finishing 2nd in the ICCA Final in New York that same year, have never failed to reach a VF-UK final and they must feel confident of maintaining this record, particularly with their success in Britain’s Got Talent in April and another sensational Edinburgh Fringe run in August. The group are really setting the standard for a cappella in the UK, and must be considered one of the favourites for the entire competition. Following them are the The Oxford Gargoyles with one fifth of the vote, and as I commented in my initial preview, are probably Out of the Blue’s main competition. They won the competition more recently than Out of the Blue, in 2010, but were beaten by the boys to the final last year and will be looking to even the score. Their unique style of a cappella will bring something different to the Oxford Round as always, and on their day, they are one of the best collegiate groups in the country and absolutely stand a chance. The Oxford Belles, The Alternotives and new boys The Ultrasounds all finished with a similar number of votes, but with only the Belles having reached the final before, all three groups will need to be on top form to progress in probably the toughest of all the Regionals. In The Pink gained the least amount of votes, and the girls in pink will be hoping their new blood will help them to spring a surprise.
According to our readers, the favourites to progress from the St Andrews Regional are The Other Guys, who secured one third of the overall vote. The group will feel confident after recent successes, particularly their viral video, Royal Romance and the resulting album, but the group have not qualified for the final since the inaugural competition in 2009, and therefore must up their game in order to progress. Their main rivals are officially the best all-female group in the UK, The Accidentals, who were the winners of this Regional last year and will feel confident of repeating this success, having now qualified for two years’ running. The Hummingbirds and The Alleycats are similarly favoured, with the Alleycats having qualified twice before. Interestingly, the two non-St Andrews groups, Choral Stimulation and newbies Aberpella, are the least-backed groups, but Choral Stimulation did win ‘Outstanding Performance’ last year and may well have a chance.
Last year’s finalists All The King’s Men are the favourites to qualify out of this weekend’s London Regional, managing to acquire over half of the overall vote. With the group set to go on tour to the US a week after the Regional, they will be hoping to go there with the prospect of a final to look forward to upon their return. They do, however, have more competition than this poll suggests. The Techtonics competed in the Vocal Marathon in Croatia last summer, and have also competed in the Voice Festival longer than their King’s College compatriots. They also won ‘Outstanding Performance’ last year and could stand a good chance. The other group who have reached the final before, Fitz Barbershop, will be hoping their migration from the defunct Cambridge Round will carry them to their second final. The King’s Chix and The Imperielles are the two all-female groups (interestingly no mixed groups in this Regional) and will want to defy the odds and impress enough to reach the final themselves.
In Birmingham, unlike the other three rounds, the fan favourite is less than obvious, although it does appear to be a two horse race between The Birmingham Songbirds and Sons of Pitches, with both groups claiming all but one vote in the course of the poll. And understandably so – both groups, unlike Voice Versa and 95 Keys, have competed in the competition before, albeit only once, and this experience could be absolutely crucial to their chances. It would be nice to see the Songbirds qualify, as the three favourites so far have been all-male groups, but it’s really a tough one to call. The two newcomer groups will undoubtedly learn from the experience and may even be good enough to make the final… Only time will tell.
The final Regional in Bristol also has an all-male group as the favourite – Semi-Toned have been working very hard since their inception, and despite being a relatively new group and first time competitors, are highly favoured, even over previous competitors The Sweet Nothings and The University of Bristol Barbershop Singers, who received the least amount of votes, alongside Bath’s first group Aquapella. Semi-Toned’s biggest competition is the competition-focused HotTUBBS, who seem to be favoured over their parent group, but in this brand new Regional, anything could happen.
So, according to our readers, the final on 10 March will consist of four all-male groups and one all-female group: Out of the Blue, The Other Guys, All The King’s Men, Semi-Toned and The Birmingham Songbirds. Surely our mixed groups will have something to say about that? Whatever happens, we wish every group the best of luck in the coming weeks, and look out for our event reviews as we find out our Final line-up!