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Oct 26, 2018 by


This has been an unusual Strictly so far. In the first 4 weeks of eliminations, the 4 couples at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard have ended up all being eliminated. This is unprecedented and not how the show traditionally operates.

It was a further surprise to see Vick’s harsh treatment on the live show last Saturday which led to her demise. Given her lack of profile at series start there was always a sense she could be vulnerable to a dance-off appearance if she found herself in a mid-table or lower position on the judges’ leaderboard but the previous week they appeared to earmark her as the series improver.

Her CCC could certainly have been scored higher than the likes of Seann, Dr Ranj and Lauren on the night, thus offering her some protection in the event of a dance-off appearance. We have also seen a good few dance-off results fudged over the years to save the stronger dancer.

In the first 4 weeks of eliminations, the 4 couples at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard have ended up all being eliminated

Seann made one glaring error, as well as lots of minor ones, so there was a window there to save Vick for the cleaner routine. You sense Len Goodman would have saved Vick because of the stark difference in dance ability between her and Seann. But not Shirley who appeared to be tough on Vick series-long, as she has been with Ashley and Faye, while being much more generous and sympathetic in her comments and scoring towards the male celebs.

Let’s compare the scores Shirley awarded to Vick week on week compared to Dr Ranj:

Week 1 – Vick 4 (jive), Dr Ranj 8 (CCC)
Week 2 – Vick 6 (waltz), Dr Ranj 7 (salsa)
Week 3 – Vick 7 (salsa), Dr Ranj 5 (QS)
Week 4 – Vick 7 (QS), Dr Ranj 7 (paso)
Week 5 – Vick 4 (CCC), Dr Ranj 7 (AS)

So according to Shirley, Vick was only better than Dr Ranj on one week out of 5, and Dr Ranj’s week 1 CCC was twice as good as Vick’s week 5 one. You can argue all you like about the merits of choreography and Vick possibly being penalised partly for Graziano’s shoddy efforts on that front but in terms of comparative dance ability those scores do not tally.

Post dance-off, Vick came out and questioned why the prods had a chinwag with the judges prior to giving their dance-off decision though the Beeb has been swift to highlight how squeaky clean the show is.

You sense Len Goodman would have saved Vick because of the stark difference in dance ability between her and Seann

Ultimately, Vick was let down by her pro partner Graziano, both as a trainer and a choreographer, but it is still a surprise the show was happy to dump her out when there are so many inferior dancers to her left in the competition with much less potential. You cannot help but conclude the show was also keener to keep Seann and Katya on the show for the viewing figures they are helping to boost and the headlines they are generating.

Looking ahead to tomorrow night, it could be on the cards for Shirley to talk Seann up and score him generously to try and justify saving him over Vick. His VW training has looked ok and him and Katya have a nice track to sell their routine.

Halloween Week is one for the stylists to go to town and one in which horrendous make-overs and costumes can help put celebs away. Lauren is an evil queen, Stacey a female Doctor Who and Kev a Cyberman. Ashley and Pasha will be trolls and Dr Ranj’s outfit looked like a multi-coloured bird costume in sketch form last night.

It will be tough for Danny to impress as much as he did last week with his jive though it sounds like he could be hoisted into the air as a ‘spirit in the sky’ at the end of his and Amy’s AS routine.

Lauren’s paso has looked reasonable in training. She needs a better week to avoid the dance-off after her underwhelming contemporary dance which totally missed the target.

Kate has rumba to a Rag ’n’ Bone Man track Aljaz will do his best to turn into an emotive tour de force. Aljaz has hit the dance-off 3 times in past Halloween Weeks most notably with Abbey Clancy also dancing a rumba. This doesn’t bode especially well for Kate whose approval rating appears to be on the wane. She is also due an early r.o. slot.

Halloween Week is one for the stylists to go to town and one in which horrendous make-overs and costumes can help put celebs away

The Strictly vote is an extremely fluid, undulating entity shifting from week to week. Charles, for instance, was in the dance-off two Saturdays ago but his pimp slot Street/Commercial dance saw him rise to the top 3 on the StrictlySpoiler poll last week.

He has a chance to maintain that positive momentum dancing a jive to an iconic song. Karen will no doubt add some knowing touches from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is going to make it tougher for Dr Ranj who also has jive and a song in Monster Mash that doesn’t lend itself to anything rapid. It has looked pedestrian and unimpressive in training.

Meanwhile, at the top end of the leaderboard Ashley’s swivels for her Charleston have looked excellent and this looks like being one of the best routines of the night. Ashley has not enjoyed the pimp slot since week 2 so could be back in line for the headline position.

Outside of week 4, Faye has found herself in the last 4 to perform every week. Her Theatre & Jazz number to Fever could go either way especially with Shirley seemingly poised to nit-pick but more significantly, if she earns another late r.o. slot, someone needs to investigate her connections among the production team.

Graeme’s routine looks teed up to be fun and memorable set to ‘Thriller’ regardless of the fact CCC, like rumba, tends to be Strictly’s booby prize in the weekly dance raffle.

Joe has notably been given a tricky ballroom routine in foxtrot in a week that might have played to his young female fanbase much better had he been given the chance to present something fun in the fast Latin stakes.

Aljaz has hit the dance-off 3 times in past Halloween Weeks most notably with Abbey Clancy also dancing a rumba

The market continues to respect Joe’s Outright chance greatly as he currently resides as joint-second favourite with Faye. An issue for him is there has been a strong sense of him stalling since his promising start to the series and there looks a clear ceiling to his ability.

Stacey had an excellent week last week with her hugely entertaining samba. She has to follow up with tango which risks being less impactful but the Doctor Who Theme will ensure it resonates with the BBC audience.

This week’s elimination likely rests on who scores worst out of Seann, Dr Ranj, Lauren and Kate. We could easily have a 5th consecutive last placer on the judges’ leaderboard being eliminated.

This week’s Halloween-themed songs and dances:

Ashley and Pasha – Charleston – Witch Doctor by Don Lang
Lauren and AJ – Paso Doble – Poison by Nicole Scherzinger
Dr. Ranj and Janette – Jive – Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett
Charles and Karen – Jive – Time Warp by Richard O’Brien
Graeme and Oti – CCC – Thriller by Michael Jackson
Joe and Dianne – Foxtrot – Youngblood by 5 Seconds of Summer
Stacey and Kevin – Tango – Doctor Who Theme
Faye and Giovanni – Theatre & Jazz – Fever by Peggy Lee
Kate and Aljaz – Rumba – Skin by Rag’n’Bone Man
Danny and Amy – American Smooth – Spirit In The Sky by Doctor and the Medics
Seann and Katya – Viennese Waltz – I Put A Spell On You by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Last week’s judges’ leaderboard:

Craig – Darcey – Shirley – Alfonso

Danny & Amy (10) Jive 9 10 9 9 = 37 (12)
Ashley & Pasha (4) Rumba 9 9 9 9 = 36 (11)
Charles & Karen (12) Street/Commercial 9 9 9 9 = 36 (11)
Faye & Giovanni (11) Foxtrot 8 9 8 8 = 33 (10)
Stacey & KfG (6) Samba 8 7 9 9 – 33 (10)
Graeme & Oti (3) Tango 6 7 8 8 = 29 (9)
Joe & Dianne (7) Waltz 6 7 8 8 = 29 (9)
Kate & Aljaz (9) VW 6 6 6 8 = 26 (8)
Dr Ranj & Janette (1) American Smooth (FT) 5 6 7 7 = 25 (7)
Lauren & AJ (2) Contemporary 4 6 7 7 = 24 (6)
Seann & Katya (5) QS 5 6 6 7 = 24 (6) – Bottom 2
Vick & Graziano (8) CCC 4 6 4 6 = 20 (5) – Eliminated

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1 Comment

  1. James

    Since series 7 (when the Charleston was introduced) there have been 19 female celebrities who averaged more than 33 points per dance. These celebrities have performed particularly well on the weekly leaderboard when performing the Charleston.

    Ali 1st, Kara 4th, Pamela 1st, Chelsee 1st, Denise 1st, Kimberley 1st, Sophie 1st, Susanna =2nd, Abbey =2nd, Natalie =1st, Frankie 3rd, Pixie 3rd, Caroline 1st, Kellie =2nd, Georgia 1st, Claudia =1st, Louise 3rd, Debbie 1st, Alexandra =1st

    Chelsee, Kimberley & Caroline all had their successes when partnered with Pasha, so Ashley must have a very strong chance of topping the leaderboard this week. I’ve bet on this at 6/4 with Star Sports.

    As Giovanni has topped the Halloween leaderboard in each of the past three years, Faye is the other likely challenger for the high score.

    Given the struggles the celebrities have had with the Cha Cha this year, I’ve had an each way bet on Graeme to receive the lowest score this week at 7/1.

    I’ve noticed that Janette has ended up in the dance off on two of the previous three occasions that she has danced the Jive. Coupled with Aljaz’s poor Halloween record, perhaps we could see a husband vs wife dance off tonight.