Deborah in Danger

Oct 17, 2013 by

Deborah in Danger

A back injury for Natalie Gumede has put a question mark over her future on the show. At time of writing it remains to be seen how serious it is but if she is suffering with her back at such an early stage this does not bode well for her lasting for the duration of the competition. She has been matched as big as 3.3 on Betfair today after trading below 2.5 earlier yesterday.

As for this Saturday, Julien is proving the fly in the ointment with Strictly elimination and bottom 2 betting. Again, it looks a case of trying to work out who will join him in the bottom 2.

Julien is doing a salsa which at least offers the chance for him to entertain. Likely to be propping up the leaderboard with Julian is Dave, who will be performing a waltz. A return to sober ballroom might make him vulnerable. Does he still maintain a decent vote purely out of the good will he has built up for his entertaining Latin dances like last week’s brilliant paso? You would think so.

Eye candy Ben is doing a salsa and could well be among the bottom 3 on the leaderboard but looks very likely to be safe, even more so if the judges give him a mauling. Mark is back doing what he sells best, fast Latin, in the form of the CCC. With extra votes for the amusing facial expressions, he looks safe. Patrick is more suited to the Latin dances too and he should score comparatively highly enough with his CCC to ensure his safety.

Rachel is Quickstepping so her score will likely go up and keep her safe, and just to be clear, Susanna has the samba this week. The samba for Susanna, which she should do a decent job with and could be one of the evening’s most entertaining numbers as we saw in week 1 how she throws herself into the fast Latin.

Through a process of elimination the 2 who look most likely to be in danger of the dance-off, along with Julien, look to be Deborah and Fiona. Deborah has been improving, embracing the training, and has done a fair amount to overturn the cold, feisty businesswoman image viewers are used to from seeing her on Dragon’s Den. Trouble is, she has to negotiate the very fast-footed jive and early training footage on ITT doesn’t look promising. Deborah received the pimp slot last Saturday too so might well be on early which would diminish her vote.

Fiona has been scoring reasonably well – matching Deborah’s 28 last week – and Anton is much loved but the pair of them are going to have to pull off an authentic rumba which is tricky to do as it’s romantic and can look a bit cringeworthy. But Fiona should be able to hit the elegant lines of this dance.

It looks a dance they can conceivably land around 27 or 28 for, which should put them above Deborah. And in a public vote between Deborah and Fiona, Fiona could well have the edge anyway so Deborah has to be the recommendation here to be bottom 2 at 4-1 with Paddy Power and William Hill.

The show will not want Natalie Gumede topping the leaderboard every week. It not only becomes boring but it hammers home the point she is a ringer in this field, having had dance training in the past, something which has led to a fair amount of negative press this week.

She has the Quickstep which looked good in early training footage but with a fitness doubt over her she might be a little hamstrung in her movement. You also wonder if they might give her an early slot this week and mark her down – lack of training giving the judges the ideal window to suggest it is rough round the edges.

The 3 to consider if and when highest scorer markets open are Ashley, Abbey and Sophie. With Ashley given a late slot last Saturday, and Abbey being on first, the odds are Abbey will be on late on Saturday and Ashley on earlier. What has become almost a rule in Strictly, is the last good dancer to perform, among the front-runners, is the one invariably teed up to receive the highest score.

The entire leaderboard is ordered to a large degree and the judges comments are very easy to pre-empt these days. Last Saturday, Sophie produced a very basic samba routine which, back in the day, would have been criticised as such. What we saw instead were the judges focusing on the positive, talking her up, and awarding her a generous 31.

This was made to look ludicrous when Ashley came out and nailed a far more intricate and impressive samba routine, only for him to receive the exact same score. The warning signs are there already they don’t want Ashley winning this series, and they are protecting someone in Sophie who obviously got strong public support the week before following her excellent Charleston, and who is possibly the show’s idea already of the most likely female to generate a winning vote come the final.

Sophie’s foxtrot didn’t convince in early training footage and nor did Abbey’s tango, but it looks like they are going to try and pull the wool over viewers’ eyes at least where Sophie is concerned, much like they did with Kimberley Walsh in the last series, and consistently inflate her scores.

Given the harsh scoring Ashley has endured so far, and the fact he was on late last week tempers enthusiasm for his highest scorer credentials. On a level playing field you would fancy his VW to top score. A better way to proceed is probably to lay Natalie for highest score on Betfair as close to 2.0 as possible.

This week’s songs and full dance line-up:

Ashley & Ola – VW to Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Angel’.
Patrick & Anya – CCC to ‘Mercy’ by Duffy.
Abbey & Aljaz – Tango to Florence and the Machine’s ‘Spectrum’.
Rachel & Pasha – QS to Imelda May’s ‘Johnny Got A Boom’.
Dave & Karen – Waltz to The Eagles’ ‘Take It To The Limit’.
Fiona & Anton – Rumba to Westlife’s ‘A World Of Our Own’.
Julien & Janette – Salsa to Spice Girls’ ‘Spice Up Your Life’.
Deborah & Robin – Jive to ‘Making You Mind Up’ by Bucks Fizz.
Sophie & Brendan – Foxtrot to ‘Cheek to Cheek’ by Dick Haymes.
Mark & Iveta – CCC to MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’. 
Susanna & Kevin – Samba to Shakira’s ‘Whenever, Wherever’.
Ben and Kristina – Salsa to Black Crowes’ version of ‘Hard To Handle’.
Natalie & Artem – QS to Usher’s ‘Yeah!’.


  1. I know it’s highly subjective, but I thought Rachel looked dire in training. All the grace of a dog dancing on it’s hind legs while gripping on to Pasha for dear life. And even though I thought this week would suit Patrick more than Fiona/Debs, I thought he looked very heavy footed and awkward.

    Patrick had his best dance last week, yet still struggled for support. Even on Monday his YouTube hits were in the 800s. A huge concern for me, especially as he’s been over marked so far.

    To float another producer twist… If they want a female to win, I expect they’ll be working hard to shift the likes of Rachel, Fiona and Deborah while clinging on to Dave, Mark and Ben to dampen support for Ashley.

    • Rob

      Patrick will likely get over-scored regardless, though he sounded confident tonight & looked the part in the last segment of the VT.

      Rachel, too, will more likely blag it this week & get over-scored to maintain her improvement narrative.

      It’s a good point about keeping those other guys in & bigging them up while continuing to be miserly in their scoring for Ashley. Trying to manage the pv is sadly far more paramount in Strictly now compared to in the past.

  2. Surprised they didn’t mention Natalie tonight. That suggests the situation is still fluid.

  3. Natalie Gumede ‏@NatalieGumede 3h

    Well that was a scary 72 hours! An epidural, steroid and nerve block injections and some lovely painkillers later

    Well I’ve had that procedure and I can throw myself around the badminton court no problem! I do worry about the backwards flexing though.

    • Rob

      Natalie Gumede ‏@NatalieGumede 6h

      Dance tomorrow. Thanks for all your well wishes from the bottom of my heart! Strictly fans are the best! Xxxx

  4. Rob

    Deborah obviously has this taking her skirt off moment which might be her routine’s one saving grave.

    Can’t help thinking Rachel is over-priced with Lads for b2 at 20-1. Her QS could easily go awry & it could look like she is being dragged around the dancefloor by Pasha.

  5. There’s slight liquidity coming into the highest scorer market on BF. My plays are Susanna, Ashley and a Natalie saver. Worried about judge sympathy for Natalie, but reckon Ashley closes the show with that VW.

  6. Rob

    Rehearsal pics:

    Pimp slot for Sophie going on this.

  7. Rob

    Order changed as pics went up apparently.

    Might be Abbey, Dave, Susanna final 3 if it proves accurate.

  8. Rob

    Sophie 1st up possibly?

  9. Rob

    Would make sense for Susanna to close show with entertaining samba. Abbey looks the bet for highest score assuming she is 3rd from last in running order – 6-1 with WH.

  10. Good call that, Rob. I totally reversed my position having seen those photos/running order. Looks like Ben is shaping up as alpha male though.

  11. Rob

    Unconfirmed but looking like it was Julian vs Rachel – Julian gone.

    Hope a few took heed of my post above suggesting Rachel was over-priced at 20s with Ladbrokes to be b2.

    For those who followed the later advice to back Abbey for top score at 6-1 with WH – damn you Darcy Bussell.

    Even so, will likely be paid out as a 3-way dead-heat which will mean a third of your stake at 6-1 so effectively about a 2-1 winner.

  12. Something tells me they planned that 3-way tie. It’s very unusual that Darcy gives the lowest score and Abbey’s tango deserved four 9s. Their chemistry is quite amazing!

    Wished I’d have gone back to Ladbrokes for more on Rachel, having backed her for bottom two earlier in the week.

    I was disappointed by Ashley’s VW and now see the show investing in Ben as their alpha-male. I tried to jump on at 9s last night but bookies pulled down the markets. Managed to get 5s at Titan for Ben top male.

    Right now, Strictly is paying more than X-Factor!

    • Rob

      Glad you got some of the 20s Rachel b2 & 6s Abbey top scorer, Gav.

      They clearly don’t want Ashley. His VW was much better than they portrayed it, focusing on the negatives. They could have easily given it 4 9s & raved about it.

      This is them keeping a lid on his vote. They are nit-picking & highlighting faults as they did in previous series with the likes of Gethin Jones & Matt Baker – 2 years they also managed to push a female winner – Alesha & Kara – & when they were aiming to get the Middle England-friendly male beaten.

      Sophie’s foxtrot was over-marked too. There is growing evidence of a pattern emerging. My view is, they are aiming for an all-female final. They will probably get rid of 2 couples in the semi-final & it’ll be any 3 from 4 out of Sophie, Abbey, Natalie & Susanna in the final.

  13. Rob

    This week’s dances so far:

    Abbey & Aljaz – Foxtrot
    Ashley & Ola – Jive
    Ben & Kristina – should be Ballroom
    Dave & Karen – should be fast Latin, samba/salsa
    Deborah & Robin – should be Ballroom
    Fiona & Anton – Quickstep
    Mark & Iveta – should be Ballroom
    Natalie & Artem – should be fast Latin
    Patrick & Anya – should be Ballroom
    Rachel & Pasha – should be Latin
    Sophie & Brendan – should be Latin
    Susanna & Kevin – American Smooth

  14. Rob

    This week’s dances:

    Ashley and Ola will be Jiving to the rock ‘n’ roll classic ‘Johnny B Goode’ by Chuck Berry.

    Abbey and Alijaz will perform the Foxtrot to Olly Murs’ ‘Dear Darlin’.

    Patrick and Anya will Salsa to ‘Wings’ by Little Mix.

    Rachel and Pasha will perform the Paso Doble to ‘Maneater’ by Nelly Furtado.

    Fiona and Anton are going to Quickstep to ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’ by Sammy Davis Junior.

    Dave and Karen will Salsa to ‘Cuban Pete’ by Jim Carrey.

    Deborah and Robin are going to perform the Viennese Waltz to James Brown’s soulful ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’.

    Sophie and Brendan are going to Cha Cha Cha to Michael Jackson’s ‘PYT’.

    Mark and Iveta will Waltz to ‘Apologize’ by OneRepublic .

    Susanna and Kevin will perform the American Smooth to Tony Bennett’s ‘Sunny Side of The Street’.

    Ben and Kristina will be Quickstepping to Friends theme tune ‘I’ll Be There For You’ by The Rembrandts.

    Natalie and Artem will be performing the Salsa to the Gypsy King’s ‘Bomboleo’.

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