The Fifth Element

Dec 14, 2018 by

The Fifth Element

It’s the Strictly final tomorrow night and the market has decided it is a 2-horse race: Stacey vs Joe. There have only been 6 female winners in the history of Strictly as opposed to 9 male, and we have not had a female winner since Caroline Flack in 2014.

Kevin Clifton, despite making the final on four previous occasions, has never won the show before. You sense there could be a ‘Kevin deserves it’ vote among Strictly stalwarts, aiding Stacey’s push for the Glitterball trophy.

Also in Stacey’s favour is her series-long narrative as a complete beginner who has embraced the show, been on a classic ‘journey’, and shown impressive improvement since the live shows began all the way back on September 22, with her and Kevin forging a great chemistry together.

Joe is the only male in the final which looks to offer him an in-built advantage. He also has a fiercely loyal online following courtesy of his YouTube profile. His series-long treatment has been baffling to behold largely consisting of over-scored and over-praised routines, the show seemingly keen to promote him to the audience.

You sense there could be a ‘Kevin deserves it’ vote among Strictly stalwarts, aiding Stacey’s push for the Glitterball trophy

This would have won him new fans among Strictly’s bastion of older female voters but it has always been with the handbreak on in the sense they have kept him firmly in the youth lane, with styling and song choices. In the last few weeks, reading online reaction, there has also been a growing sense of viewers starting to tire of the favour being shown to him.

Regardless, that tap of generous critiquing and scoring was firmly switched off in last week’s semi-final when we saw the first significant deramp for him. All we know for sure is that Joe still managed to finish in the top 3 on the public vote in avoiding the dance-off but this wasn’t the treatment of someone with an unassailable public vote. In the past, the show has noticeably got behind contestants perceived as likely winners.

There is a proportion of viewers that vote based on the cues provided by the judges so if that same treatment continues in the final it will be damaging and it is highly questionable how big a vote Joe will pick up outside of his die-hard young female fanbase.

Joe’s price may well drift during live, in-running trading because it looks on the cards that he will end up being placed a long way last on the judges’ combined leaderboard. The Strictly final is decided by public vote-only so the judges’ leaderboard is, in theory, irrelevant, but there is a psychological impact on voters when they see someone adrift at the bottom of the leaderboard. It is a vote dampener.

The Strictly final is decided by public vote-only so the judges’ leaderboard is, in theory, irrelevant, but there is a psychological impact on voters when they see someone adrift at the bottom of the leaderboard

The great imponderable is how big a proportion of the overall vote Joe’s multi-voting fans will constitute in a Strictly final when voting numbers are ramped up significantly. It is interesting to see viewers will be allowed to vote 6 times per BBC online account in the final.

There is no doubt Joe’s fans will vote x 6, but the vast proportion of Stacey fans will be doing likewise, and Joe supporters likely constitute a smaller group compared to Stacey voters which, in theory, will allow her more clear water compared to a 3-vote scenario.

The judges’ choices are always a tell regarding producer intentions and it is noteworthy they have given Stacey a routine in foxtrot which topped the judges’ leaderboard in week 4. The judges’ choices:

Ashley & Pasha – week 3 (Movie Week) salsa – 35 (8, 9, 9, 9) – 2nd top on the leaderboard

Faye & Giovanni – week 2 VW – 31 (8, 8, 7, 8) – joint 2nd top on the leaderboard

Joe & Dianne – week 7 pimp slot paso – 34 (7, 9, 9, 9) – 4th top of the leaderboard

Stacey & Kevin – week 4 pimp slot foxtrot – 33 (8, 8, 8, 9) – top of the leaderboard

For those looking to cover on the possibility of a Joe win, the best value way to proceed is to back Ashley to be Top Female, currently being quoted as big as 22-1.

If Joe wins, it becomes a 3-way tie for Top Female, meaning you will get a third of your stake paid out at full odds. So a mythical £30 win placed on Ashley at 22-1 would return £230, so somewhere between 6-1 and 7-1. This is obviously a much better potential return compared to backing Joe for the win around the 9-4 mark on Betfair.

The way the final has been written up, it is clear we will have all 4 couples standing there at the finish waiting to hear who has won and the BBC never reveals voting figures. The only thing that could scupper the Ashley Top Female bet, in the event of a Joe win, would be an unprecedented move on the Beeb’s part in revealing, post-show, who finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Based on 15 seasons of them not doing this, it is very long odds-on that this won’t happen.

The great imponderable is how big a proportion of the overall vote Joe’s multi-voting fans will constitute in a Strictly final when voting numbers are ramped up significantly

The 3-way dead-heat for 2nd place also has implications on the top 3 market. You should be paid out on the 2nd-placers at two thirds your stake at full odds. That means, if you are laying anyone for Top 3 on Betfair below 1.5, and they don’t win, the layer will be making a profit and the backer will be making a loss.

They are keeping Joe firmly in the young bracket they have kept him in series-long with his Bastille Paso and Arctic Monkeys showdance. Rock ‘n’ roll Fred Astaire has been promised as his showdance theme.

Kevin has said his and Stacey’s showdance will be the most ambitious ever attempted, and they look to have the pick of the showdance songs. The tempo of that track encourages something fast and uptempo, incorporating jive, which might mean the ‘Minions’ jive is less likely as their dance choice.

Faye and Giovanni’s routine looks like being a classic ballroom number with a mixture of ballroom components. Ashley and Pasha’s showdance will be contemporary in nature, with a nod to their superb Week 8 routine that earned Ashley a 39.

We will only discover what each couple has chosen as their favourite routine of the series – their final dance of the evening in a bid to win the Glitterball trophy – tomorrow night.

A Latin choice for Stacey appears more likely so it might be week 10’s paso or, alternatively, Week 7’s Street routine if it is not the Minions jive. It also feels teed up for Craig to finally pull out his 10 paddle for Stacey tomorrow night.

Kevin has said his and Stacey’s showdance will be the most ambitious ever attempted, and they look to have the pick of the showdance songs

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Joe will likely choose ballroom so possibly Blackpool Week’s QS. Faye & Giovanni might be tempted to reprise their 40-scoring Charleston if they can don the make-up and outfits in time, or maybe their Week 6 (Halloween Week) Jazz routine to ‘Fever’. Blackpool Week’s paso looks the other one in the frame for them.

Ashley has a plethora of brilliant dances to choose from. Week 7’s foxtrot or Blackpool Week’s jive might be at the top of her possibles list. There is a best dancer vote that also kicks in in the Strictly finals but it’s hard to see either Faye or Ashley outpolling Stacey.

Going into the final Stacey looks a strong and worthy favourite to win, and she should probably be closer to the 1.5 mark. Joe’s price is only holding up shorter than it should be due to the unknown impact his die-hard young female fans will have on the final vote.

Final judges’ choice dances and show dance songs (couple’s choices to be revealed tomorrow night):

Ashley & Pasha – Salsa to ‘(I’ve Had The) Time Of My Life’ by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Showdance to ‘Keeping Your Head Up’ by Birdy

Faye & Giovanni – Viennese Waltz to ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ by Seal
Showdance to ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ by Harry Warren and Al Dubin

Joe & Dianne – Paso Doble to ‘Pompeii’ by Bastille
Showdance to ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ by Arctic Monkeys

Stacey & Kevin – Foxtrot to ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ by Jeff Beck
Showdance to ‘Land of A Thousand Dances’ by Wilson Pickett

Last week’s semi-final judges’ leaderboard:

Craig – Darcey – Shirley – Bruno

Ashley & Pasha (3) Paso 9 9 9 9 = 36 + AS (Foxtrot-based) (8) 10 10 10 10 = 40, TOTAL 76 (5) – Bottom 2
Faye & Giovanni (5) Samba 9 9 9 10 = 37 + AT (10) 9 10 10 10 = 39, TOTAL 76 (5)
Stacey & Kevin (1) Charleston 9 10 10 10 = 39 + VW (6) 8 9 10 9 = 36, TOTAL 75 (4)
Joe & Dianne (2) VW 6 8 7 8 = 29 + AT (7) 6 8 8 8 = 30, TOTAL 59 (3)
Lauren & AJ (4) Tango 7 8 8 8 = 31 + Samba (9) 5 6 6 6 = 23, TOTAL 54 (2) – Eliminated

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4 Comments

  1. Stoney

    Been a nervy week this week. Be relieved when its finished. Just hope Stacey gets over the line.
    Good luck all.

  2. Stoney

    Get in there.
    Merry xmas to you Rob and the posters.

    • Rob

      Thanks Stoney and well done to you too. Stacey was always clear on the Strictly Spoiler this evening. Craig refusing to give her a 10 for the paso was quite bizarre, though probably a strong vote motivator. Running order threw us a curveball too in a series which has been far from easy to read.

  3. M8

    Thanks for your work as always Rob and a huge congratulations to all winners. This has probably been my best outright result for a number of years, since Caroline Flack won I suspect. Ever since I saw Stacey on the pairup show, she just screamed winner despite the stiff competition on paper and I’ve not looked back despite a few nerves around Blackpool time. Add that to Vick Hope’s elimination bounty and it’s been a great series personally.

    Merry Christmas to everyone and hopefully you’ll join me in dedicating a glass of your tipple of choice to the late Daniel Gould. RIP!

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