Last Hurrah?

Dec 13, 2019 by

Last Hurrah?

Kelvin has been favourite to win Strictly 2019 ever since he came out in week 1 and blew everyone away with his samba. But the story of the Outright market in recent weeks has been the run made by Emma, who has leapfrogged Karim and now trades as a solid second favourite heading into the final.

It was written here, pre-lives, that Anton finally winning the show in his 17th and potentially last season, could be a compelling storyline TPTB might find irresistible to run with. Early in the series it was looking unlikely as Emma and Anton endured harsh criticism and low scores.

Their early struggles now start to look like an intentional ploy prior to their breakthrough in Blackpool Week with a 37-scoring American Smooth, and the first ever occasion Anton received a 10 in his entire Strictly career. Emma being announced on the Strictly 2020 Tour also felt a significant moment in the way this series has evolved.

Strictly 2019 final songs and dances:

Emma and Anton Judges’ Pick: Charleston to Thoroughly Modern Millie from Musicals Week (Week 11) Showdance: Let Yourself Go by Irving Berlin
Couple’s Choice – ?

Karim and Amy Judges’ Pick: Quickstep to Mr Pinstripe Suit by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from Week Seven
Showdance: A Million Dreams by P!nk
Couple’s Choice – ?

Kelvin and Oti Judges’ Pick: Rumba to Ain’t No Sunshine from Week Four
Showdance: Shout by The Isley Brothers
Couple’s Choice – ?

It states on the BBC Strictly website, as per previous years: ‘ First, the judges pick the dances from earlier in the series that they think each couple can improve upon’.

Emma’s Charleston was scored 39 in Musicals Week, her highest scoring dance of the series and Craig has still never scored Anton a 10 for any dance in 17 seasons. Last year, voting opened immediately following the first round of dances on the night, the judges’ choices, and Emma looks less likely to open the final compared to the two guys as she opened the semi-final. So it could potentially be teed up for an impactful moment if Craig does pull out a 10 for Emma and Anton’s Charleston, shortly before phone lines open.

The very fact Emma has been given a dance she performed in the quarter-final, from the pimp slot, compared to Kelvin’s Week 4 rumba, performed from the 7 slot, and Karim’s Week 7 QS, which opened the show that week, looks a clear push in her favour. It is conceivable Musicals Week was a week when Emma and Anton topped the pv and TPTB are hoping for a repeat. Interestingly, Stacey was given foxtrot by the judges last year which top scored for her in week 4, her highest scoring dance of the series at the time, also performed from the pimp slot.

You would have to think a very high percentage of votes are cast shortly after vote lines are opened, following first dances

Rumba is arguably a bit of a damp squib for a choice in terms of impact, certainly when compared to a crowd-pleasing Charleston or QS for that matter. Yes, we know Kelvin’s ability in delivering this slow and sensual routine to a high level, it will showcase his versatility, and will probably get the loins twitching for a good few female viewers, but it remains an under-stated dance.

Kelvin’s samba looked a more obvious judges’ choice for a dance the judges think he can improve on as he received a 32 for it in week 1. But now it looks more likely Kelvin will dance this last on the night as his and Oti’s choice. But by the time 3rd dances on the night are performed the vast majority of votes would have already been cast, and you would have to think a very high percentage of votes are cast shortly after vote lines are opened, following first dances. Certainly the vast majority of free online votes would have been cast earlier.

The other slight negative for Kelvin to deal with is his series-long brilliance, something which appears to have hurt Karim even more given his 2 dance-off appearances. Being great from week 1 is almost a curse. There is no journey for viewers to latch onto and the history of Strictly is littered with dancers who were outstanding in their particular series only to fail to win.

Kelvin makes up for this by having huge likability but you think back to the likes of Matt Baker and Danny Mac, who also had middle-England votability in abundance only for both to lose in their respective finals, defeated by journey types who managed to forge a stronger emotional bond with the audience.

Karim’s showdance choice of music offers the window for a contemporary routine that hits the spot in terms of emotional connection

Emma and Anton will clearly aim for a timeless ballroom medley with their showdance set to the Irving Berlin classic, incorporating cane work, which will differentiate them from what looks like being a fast, high energy, content-packed showdance by Kelvin and Oti, in which Oti has shoehorned in at least 6 different dance genres.

Karim’s showdance choice of music is surprising but does offer the window for a contemporary routine that hits the spot in terms of emotional connection, with Craig seemingly poised to tell Karim he’s finally achieved this, and a 10 from him likely to follow.

Emma and Anton may well choose their Blackpool Week American Smooth (37) as their Couple’s Choice while Karim and Amy described their choice as ‘fun’ which probably means it’ll either be his Blackpool Week Charleston (39) or Musicals Week jive (40). All will be revealed on this evening’s ITT.

Semi-final leaderboard:

Kelvin & Oti – QS – 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40 + paso – 9, 10, 9, 9 = 37 = 77
Karim & Amy – AT – 8, 10, 9, 9 = 36 + AS – 9, 10, 9, 10 = 38 = 74 – bottom 2
Emma & Anton – CCC – 7, 8, 8, 8 = 31 + waltz – 8, 9, 9, 10 = 36 = 67
Chris & Karen – VW – 7, 7, 6, 6 = 26 + rumba – 4, 8, 8, 8 = 28 = 54 – Eliminated

Karim appears to hold very little chance of winning the final but if 40s are forthcoming for him, with a 120 totally feasible, he will take some ‘best dancer’ votes away from Kelvin whereas Emma has now forged a position as this year’s ‘journey’ contestant, more so after Alex and Chris fell in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively. Being the only woman in the final is a further boost for her.

In reality tv, as we saw in last week’s I’m A Celebrity… final, it is never a done deal regardless of odds. This does look a 2-horse race but given everything in her favour, seemingly having the momentum going into tomorrow night, and the distinct possibility of a further push in the final itself, Emma appears to have a better chance of toppling Kelvin than her current odds would imply. That’s not to say she’s going to win, it merely suggests her odds should be shorter.

In reality tv, as we saw in last week’s I’m A Celebrity… final, it is never a done deal regardless of odds

This has been a vintage series for the site, as subscribers will testify, and there will be no sweating on this year’s outcome with profits locked in courtesy of weekly market successes, Emma already having landed Top Female bets, and pre-lives e/w bets on her and Kelvin also guaranteed to earn a profit.

Hope you have the chance to kick back and enjoy tomorrow night’s Strictly final and of course Sunday’s SPOTY 2019 awards ceremony.

It will be a year ago tomorrow we lost a dear friend and Eurovision trading colleague, Daniel Gould. I, for one, will be thinking about him. It is a stark reminder of the fragility of life and to try and enjoy every moment, especially at this time of year, spending the holiday season in the company of loved ones.

I would like to wish all readers a very happy Christmas, and a healthy and prosperous 2020.


  1. James

    Hi Rob

    Congratulations on your ‘all green’ book heading into the series finale. It’s my fourth consecutive year of making a decent profit betting on Strictly, and I wish the BBC would follow the lead of ABC by scheduling two series per year!

    Looking back at my pre-series forecast (written under ‘Due Beke’), I am pleased to see that I called most things right. Michelle performed much better than I was expecting, but was clearly heavily reliant on the judges keeping her at, or around, the top of the leaderboard. I also thought that Catherine would last longer, however her departure was a timely reminder that, unless your celeb is a ringer, the Cha Cha or Samba can easily bring your campaign to a premature end (10 eliminations in the past two years).

    As for this week’s high score market, I generally like to follow historical trends, and in 14 of the 16 series, the celeb finishing top of the leaderboard in the final, also came top in their semi-final. This would suggest that Kelvin should finish top this week, however I’ve also noticed that since the show changed to a three dance format in 2012, the high scorer in the final achieved a minimum total of 119/120 (Denise 119, Natalie 119, Caroline 120, Kellie 119, Ore 119, Alexandra 119, Ashley/Faye 120).

    So this week’s top scorer is likely to need either three 10’s, or two 10s & a 9 from Craig. As we know, Anton has never received a 10 from Craig, so to expect two or three this week seems unlikely. Kelvin is dancing both the Rumba and the Samba this week. The Rumba is the one dance style that has never received a Craig 10, and the only Samba routine ever to receive a Craig 10 was Danny Mac’s, suggesting that Kelvin will be hard pushed to score more than 118.

    Karim is dancing the Quickstep which scored a 39, and the Jive which scored a 40. This will only be the fourth ‘40’ dance to be reprised in the final, and each of the previous three saw another perfect score achieved. Therefore my final weekly bet of the series is Karim to finish top of the leaderboard at 7/4.

    Good luck to everyone else placing a bet, and remember until next time…. “keeeeeep betting”

    • Rob

      Hi James. Well done on your pre-lives analysis. I agree with you that Karim is the bet for top score tonight. I think he may well open the final.

      It looks like there is room for a massive 40-fest tonight and 120 for at least one of them is firmly in play. In light of the rumba and samba choices, and whisper this in case Stoney reads 🙂 but the value tonight is Kelvin to be lowest score at 10-1. That’s not to say it WILL happen, it is simply over-priced imho.

      • Stoney

        Interesting you mention Samba Rob? Surely that has been the best dance of the series by any of the contestants, and only scored 36 as it was week 1?

        • Stoney

          32 sorry. To be honest if they undermark Kelvin in the final it will help his support as we saw with Stacey last year.

  2. Stoney

    This final has all the same feelings as the Jay McGuiness final. Where it’s a done deal before it has taken place. The only difference is I think they don’t mind Kelvin winning. All the polls point towards an easy win tomorrow. And unless there is the mother of all hatchet jobs he will win. And that doesn’t look likely considering he’s dancing the dance that has had by far the most recognition from the public this series. The Rumba will complement his showdance giving him 3 totally different dances. Interesting, Rob that you picked up earlier in the series about him getting a higher score too early as being negative, yet no mention that Emma getting a dance from last week in which she scored 39 as her judges’ pick wasn’t seen as a negative factor among voters, bearing in mind we know it is supposed to be a dance they can improve on from earlier in the series.

    • Rob

      Hi Stoney. The point I made in that previous article ‘Kelvin Decline?’ you refer to was, had Kelvin peaked too early? It is the same point I raise above – it can be a negative when you start the series too well, & the history of Strictly tells us that.

      All I have suggested is the odds should be closer between Kelvin and Emma in my view given the clues we have of producer favour towards her. If you are all-in on Kelvin good luck to you, I hope you win 🙂

      • Stoney

        Thanks Rob strictly normally saves me and im all in on Kelvin same as I was stacey last year and Joe the year before. Kelvin has a huge lead going in to tomorrow. I havent seen Emma top a single poll to be honest. The strictly spoiler polls are always a reliable indicator and Kelvin was miles clear last weekend and often top when 3rd on the leader board. He is a typical vote magnet type contestant. I would have liked them to have made more of the fact he is a non dancer but like I said id have him way clear of the pack from week 1s samba.
        I realise my all in on 1 contestant will bite me on the arse eventually but I’m still very confident he takes it. He support will have no reason to abandon him tomorrow, i struggle to see how Emma and anton compete with his show dance. But may the best man/ woman win

        • Rob

          One thing I would be wary of, Stoney – I firmly believe the main Emma/Anton vote resides in older voters, Strictly stalwarts, who have followed the show since the early series and hence have forged that strong emotional attachment with Anton.

          My view would be, this is effectively a hidden vote when it comes to online polls like SS, so I think it is dangerous to take online polls at face value in this scenario.

          I agree with you that Kelvin ticks all the popularity boxes but my gut feeling is, it will be a close vote. A shame we never get to see the voting figs. Best of luck tonight 🙂

  3. Stoney

    1 other thing you mention Rob, is that you believe most votes are cast after the 1st dance. This would only be the hardcore supporters that have their minds made up before the show has began. The casuals would in my opinion vote after all dances are performed. Im struggling to see how Emma doesnt finish bottom of the scoring tonight. And im not sure she can do a Jay McGuinness and win with the lowest score. Maybe if they announce this is Antons last series. Then it could turn things on its head.

  4. Stoney

    Wow just wow

  5. Stoney

    Hope everyone had the result they wanted, and if we are to put all book talk to 1 side the best man won. Someone who has no dance experience, and had pure dedication to being the best in the competition week upon week. Karim was a close second, and Emma a considerable distance behind the pair of them.
    Merry Christmas to rob and all fellow commenters

    • Rob

      Very well done, Stoney. It felt like the Kelvin showdance was a key moment on the night – it was truly outstanding. Him and Oti deserved the win for series-long excellence. Oti was brilliant with her choreo & it makes up for her losing when paired with Danny Mac – the best dancer in his series.

      I think that will be the end for Anton now & I do believe Strictly execs had it in mind for an Anton win in this series, and for him to bow out on a high, when they initially paired him with Emma. That was until Kelvin stepped in as an, as it turned out, exceptional, unstoppable sub.

      Pretty mean-spirited of Craig to still refuse Anton a 10 after that beautiful VW, & after 17 years. It wouldn’t have made an iota of difference to tonight’s outcome & the dance deserved it. It highlights what an egotistical individual he is.

      This series proved to be the site’s best ever profit-wise for subscribers, which feels a nice way to celebrate going past its 10th anniversary in August at the start of this year’s Strictly run.

      Happy Christmas to all 🙂

  6. Stuart

    Well done Stoney on your unwaivering belief in Kelvin and a well deserved win. Good call on Karim getting top marks James. Roll on SPOTY and hopefully a second win for the weekend if as predicted Ben Stokes wins.

  7. Well done all and many thanks Rob for covering all angles this Strictly series. It’s been a lucrative autumn personally bar a bit of a set back last Sunday with IAC.

    Onto SPOTY – looks like it’s turning into a real scrap for 2nd and 3rd.

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