Dead Cert

Dec 15, 2023 by

Dead Cert

This year’s final of Strictly looks as big a foregone conclusion as Rose Ayling-Ellis vs John Whaite in 2021. Sadly, that takes the sheen off it and not only from a betting perspective.

When a series ends up as one-sided as this one has, something appears to have gone horribly awry. While the withdrawals of Amanda and Nigel haven’t helped, TPTB need to shoulder a big portion of the blame.

The ruthless treatment of numerous contestants has been quite unsavoury. Getting Angela Rippon to Blackpool could have seen her given a glorious send-off there. Instead, she was brutally dispatched and you were left wondering why they went to so much trouble to get her there, especially as she was clearly struggling on the pv.

Nigel endured a very obvious, series-long initiative to kill his popularity. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes was the repeated mantra of the judges, cunningly used as a means of negative reinforcement, and a shameful way not only to treat him, but long-standing pro Katya Jones too who brings so much to Strictly, both as a teacher and a choreographer.

Paso for Ellie is probably her most impactful routine of the series and with phone lines usually opening after the first round of dances, she should be charging ahead on the pv from the get-go

He won’t be dancing tomorrow night and you sense the excuse of him being injured is purely a cover for his deep anger and resentment. He must be left wondering why he bothered to take part in the show, his death warrant seemingly signed as soon as he turned down the live tour.

Angela Scanlon and Annabel Croft are probably not far behind him in the disgruntled queue, having a justifiable beef with TPTB, their callous dismissals taking the sheen off their participation. Not a single pimp slot for either of them, and both eliminated in the most blatant manner. Angela R, Angela S, Nigel, Annabel… You can imagine them all lining up outside the producer’s door in a scene reminiscent of this classic:

Following the cold-blooded executions we have witnessed across the series, along with the most uneven playing field the show has ever served up, Ellie looks poised for a coronation tomorrow night. It is interesting to note the scorched earth policy adopted by the producers re. Ellie began in week 5 with her paso (37), immediately following Amanda’s withdrawal from the competition after week 4.

The first dances of the evening are traditionally the judges’ pick. Paso for Ellie is probably her most impactful routine of the series and with phone lines usually opening after the first round of dances, she should be charging ahead on the pv from the get-go.

The teed up narrative is, no perfect 40 yet for Ellie and in this highly contrived series a 40 looks a certainty. If it doesn’t arrive for her paso then it will later in the evening.

Layton’s week 2 QS (36), also looks in line for a 39 or 40. Samba (week 3, 32) certainly wasn’t Bobby’s best routine of the series and isn’t going to cut much ice. If there was a market offered, Bobby would be heavily odds-on to be trailing in third place after the first round of dances.

The teed up narrative is, no perfect 40 yet for Ellie and in this highly contrived series a 40 looks a certainty

‘Ballroom Bobby’ will be showcased during his La La Land-inspired show dance. That is sure to go down well with viewers. ‘Friend Like Me’ will be a jazz-inspired number and looks like having a similar ballroom vibe for Layton, whereas Ellie potentially has the biggest show dance USP in bringing the party spirit with her J-Lo Megamix routine.

Her CC from the pimp slot in the semi-final seemed to miss the mark though that didn’t stop her earning two 10s for it, so you can only presume this will be a series-crowning moment for her.

Week 12 (semi-final) judges’ leaderboard + Week 11:
Layton & Nikita: Rumba – (2) – 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36 – Charleston – (6) – 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40 + 40 = 116
Ellie & Vito: CCC – (4) – 9, 10, 9, 9 = 37 – Couple’s Choice – 9, 9, 10, 10 = 38 – + 36 = 111
Bobby & Dianne: Quickstep – (1) – 9, 9, 10, 10 = 38 – paso doble – (5) – 8, 9, 9, 9 = 35 + 36 = 109 – bottom 2
Annabel & Johannes: Salsa – (3) – 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32 – VW – (7) – 8, 8, 8, 9 = 33 + 33 = 98 – eliminated

With nearly all votes cast shortly after vote lines open, the third routines of the night are largely redundant in deciding the winner. We learnt that last year with Helen’s ‘Mein Herr’ CC coming too late for her to catch Hamza. All we know for sure is, Layton will earn a 40 this time for his AT (week 8, 39). Ellie’s AS (week 7, 39) is likely to match him, while Bobby’s CC (week 10, 37), will probably be scored a point less.

Ore Oduba’s win in 2016 serves as a cautionary tale in never counting your chickens in a Strictly final as he traded as a double figure price outsider of three heading into that year’s final. But it’s hard to envisage a repeat this year as head judge Len Goodman, God rest his soul, seemed to have it right off on that particularly night, eulogising Ore to the rafters.

It has felt like TPTB have massively over-egged things and their biggest crime has been treating viewers like numbskulls

Some of Len’s friends were definitely knocking on the doors of a few East End betting shops after being given the Ore tip, including legendary horse racing gambler Harry Findlay.

You can back Ellie at 1.08 for the series win, and will probably discover more jeopardy tomorrow evening trying to wrap your Christmas presents without any cock-ups.

Anyone who follows TV betting seriously understands the use of dark arts. But in this particular series of Strictly it has felt like TPTB have massively over-egged things and their biggest crime has been treating viewers like numbskulls.

For all those who have backed Layton or Bobby for Top Male, the placings are never revealed by the BBC so be prepared for dead-heat settlements which will be half your stake at the full odds.

Please do let us know who got your grand final vote when our exit poll opens during tomorrow night’s show:

Strictly 2023 Exit Poll – Grand Final

Strictly 2023 grand final dances & songs:

Bobby and Dianne:
Favourite Dance: Couple’s Choice to This Woman’s Work by Maxwell
Show Dance: La La Land Medley
Judges’ Pick: Samba to Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Staton

Ellie and Vito:
Favourite Dance: American Smooth to Ain’t That A Kick In The Head by Robbie Williams
Show Dance: Jennifer Lopez Megamix
Judges’ Pick: Paso Doble to Insomnia by 2WEI

Layton and Nikita:
Favourite Dance: Argentine Tango to Tattoo by Loreen
Show Dance: Friend Like Me by Ne-Yo
Judges’ Pick: Quickstep to Puttin’ On The Ritz by Gregory Porter

1 Comment

  1. Donna

    Interesting that Ellie and Vito haven’t won one show yet on the Strictly Tour. So far it’s been between Layton and Bobby.
    With Rose she won almost all of the tour shows and last year Hamza & Helen won a few, so unusual for the show winner not to win any yet. Early days I know. But still ;).

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