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Dec 8, 2023 by

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Nigel’s withdrawal from the competition was another dispiriting blow to this series of Strictly. He appeared to be a dead man walking so he probably did the producers a favour by getting injured, saving them the hassle of contriving his elimination either in the quarter-final or semi-final.

The tabloids tell a tale of Nigel reacting badly to poor scores and harsh comments across the series. Nigel’s malcontent is understandable given his lousy treatment. And the same can be said for Angela Scanlon as well, which is partly why it feels like the wheels have fallen off this series, following the earlier withdrawal of Amanda.

Without Nigel and Katya, the quarter-final inevitably suffered and felt extremely flat. It was the same old, same old with the judges going through the motions with their comments and scores.

The judges’ leaderboard as it stands offers a clear indication of how things are likely to be ordered after tomorrow night’s semi-final. The key component is, they were intent on placing Bobby above Annabel despite his salsa appearing to be the weakest routine on the night.

Week 11 – Musicals’ Week (quarter-final) judges’ leaderboard:
Layton and Nikita: Paso Doble – (3) – 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40
Ellie and Vito: Quickstep – (1) – 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36
Bobby and Dianne: Salsa – (4) – 8, 8, 9, 9 = 34
Annabel and Johannes: Foxtrot – (2) – 8, 8, 8, 9 = 33
Nigel and Katya: Charleston to Step In Time from Mary Poppins – WITHDREW DUE TO INJURY

So it looks an odds-on shot Bobby will remain above Annabel. This might be done in association with placing Layton top of the leaderboard in seeking to ensure a Bobby vs Annabel dance-off.

The tabloids tell a tale of Nigel reacting badly to poor scores and harsh comments across the series. Nigel’s malcontent is understandable given his lousy treatment

The fact TPTB have handed Annabel the salsa as one of her two semi-final dances looks a safety net to score Annabel last, and potentially a long way last which would act as a vote dampener. It will certainly be difficult for Annabel to outpoll Ellie.

With Ellie allowed to coast to a 36 and earn fulsome praise and zero criticism once more, it all seems indicative of a scorched earth policy in pushing Ellie to the series win.

The logical conclusion to going all-out on an Ellie win would be to get rid of her last remaining threat on the pv, and this is clearly Annabel. Her foxtrot technique endured the wrath of Shirley last Saturday which doesn’t bode well for her chance of ending up this year’s journey winner, with ballroom being her trump card.

Annabel’s VW will be her highest scoring dance of the night and it’s likely to come down to Annabel’s VW vs Bobby’s paso or QS in the dance-off. He has a good track for an impactful paso but a classic QS routine in a tail suit could be ‘Ballroom Bobby’s’ higher scorer with Dianne believing it could be his best of the series.

While Ellie has the always tough CCC to negotiate a CC routine looks a free pass to a 39 or 40 which should ensure she finishes second on the judges’ leaderboard. Layton’s Charleston seems a sure-fire 39 or 40 so the scoring of his rumba will matter less, but it looks a near certainty he will be placed at the top of the leaderboard.

It will either be Bobby or Annabel joining Ellie and Layton in this year’s final, and the fascination having completely eroded away across the series it’s doubtful that many viewers remotely care. And this isn’t purely a trader’s disgruntlement but, you sense, a widespread view.

This has been a series completely devoid of drama and excitement, and lacking the feel-good factor that is such a crucial ingredient in the show’s success

There’s been plenty of dissatisfaction expressed online regarding Strictly losing its sparkle this year and it is easy to see why. This has been the most transparently manipulated series ever and it is a lot poorer for it. It has been a series completely devoid of drama and excitement, and lacking the feel-good factor that is such a crucial ingredient in the show’s success.

Over 13 million viewers watched Ore Oduba win the 2016 final. This year viewing figures slumped to 6.6 million for the opening live show so in seven years the Strictly audience has halved. That’s a steep decline and symptomatic of a show that seems to have lost its way.

Implementing such strict and blatant control each week is fundamentally the dullest approach a reality tv show can take and this is the trap Strictly has fallen into. Another issue in this series has been the relentless promotion of uber-ringer Layton.

No matter how good he is, having a professional-in-disguise dancer compete is not in the spirit of the competition, and leaves viewers feeling disengaged. If we ever saw the voting figures for this series there is little doubt Layton would be polling consistently last.

Implementing such strict and blatant control each week is fundamentally the dullest approach a reality tv show can take and this is the trap Strictly has fallen into

The Strictly audience skews older, and there appears to have been a concerted effort to put away the type of contestants in Nigel and Angela S (and possibly Annabel too if she gets the chop tomorrow night) the audience would traditionally invest in.

It’s a series set to go out with a whimper, guilty of cutting off its nose to spite its face. Strictly is in dire need of reminding itself what made it such a good show in the past and try to return to that winning formula. Hope springs eternal with a new producer being brought in next year.

Please do let us know who got your vote(s) when the week 12 exit poll opens during tomorrow night’s show.

Strictly 2023 Exit Poll – Semi-Final

Week 12 (semi-final) dances and songs:
Annabel and Johannes: Salsa to You’ll Be Mine (Party Time) by Gloria Estefan and Viennese Waltz Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want by Slow Moving Millie
Bobby and Dianne: Quickstep to Mack The Knife by Bobby Darin and Paso Doble to Run Boy Run by Woodkid
Ellie and Vito: Couple’s Choice to Dua Lipa Medley and Cha Cha to Mambo Italiano by Bette Midler
Layton and Nikita: Charleston to Fit As A Fiddle by Gene Kelly & Donald O’Connor and Rumba to Lift Me Up by Rihanna

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