Murder On The Dancefloor

Nov 16, 2018 by

Murder On The Dancefloor

We witnessed one of the most clinical assassinations in Strictly history last Saturday. There have been many hatchet jobs down the years: Gethin Jones being put away in the semi-final in series 5 springs to mind. As does Ashley Taylor-Dawson’s demise in the quarter-final in series 11. But nothing quite so severe or transparent as this.

Danny John-Jules may as well not have bothered turning up. The writing was on the wall as soon as he appeared in trap 2 following Kate Silverton, who enjoyed positive treatment. In normal circumstances, Joe’s samba would very likely have been pencilled in for the 2 slot with Danny, who was due a later slot, in 7.

You knew what would be in the script after Danny’s dance. A focus on criticism, a stingy score… the fix was in. That he was devastatingly memory-holed by Ashley’s moving VT and 39 that followed, and the weaker dances on the night, specifically those put in by Graeme and Joe, were talked up and scored above him, were the dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of this expert execution.

It was at the point Bruno pulled out a 9 for Joe’s samba that Danny must have been doing his Roberto Duran impression backstage shouting, ’No mas’. Lauren’s first 9s and a triumphant pimp slot for serial bottom 2-er Charles were merely the icing and cherry on the most lavish of dark arts cakes.

Lauren’s first 9s and a triumphant pimp slot for serial bottom 2-er Charles were merely the icing and cherry on the most lavish of dark arts cakes

Danny’s training room bust up with Amy was clearly deemed serious enough by TPTB to make Saturday night’s show, ’Operation kill off Danny’. It begged the question why they didn’t kick Danny out prior to Saturday night and save viewers being put through such a farce of a show.

The beauty with Strictly is, the subjectivity of dance and having experts in the field who can be critical on technical details, when needs must like Saturday to justify their scoring and comments, means there is always plausible deniability.

While they nit-picked Danny’s samba, Graeme and Joe were eulogised for the effort, fun and entertainment they brought with barely a word spoken regarding technique. Saturday felt like a low point for the show and so blatant the general viewer must have been left scratching his or her head observing how ludicrous it all was.

So we now have 5 women and 3 men heading to Blackpool tomorrow evening, a week that traditionally sees inflated scores for all to boost the feel-good nature of this big show at the spiritual home of ballroom.

Graeme being given the Couples’ Choice (theatre) this week is perhaps an indication the show is hoping to give him and Oti a push

The three to focus on in terms of elimination look to be Kate, Lauren and Graeme. A woman may be due to leave to even up the numbers, and Graeme being given the Couples’ Choice (theatre) this week is perhaps an indication the show is hoping to give him and Oti a push. It is a character-driven routine which should be right up Graeme’s street.

Graeme has been given a run of poor early r.o. slots – 3, 1, 2, 4 – in the last 4 weeks. Only he and Kate haven’t received a pimp slot yet out of the remaining 8 and Graeme looks like having the bigger production of the 2 for his number so could feasibly be in line for the pimp.

Lauren’s early paso training has looked poor. Kate has more chance of getting away with things with Aljaz leading her around the dance floor performing an AS. But how these two are scored may well dictate who leaves. The show has tried to build an improvement narrative for Lauren in recent weeks and you sense it is more invested in her, but Kate’s public vote has proved to be robust series-long.

We could well see a first 40 of the series with both Ashley and Faye the most likely candidates dancing jive and paso respectively. The show may continue to withhold 10s for Stacey as she continues on her slow-burning improver narrative.

These 3 look near shoe-ins for the final assuming the show doesn’t contrive a shock Ashley vs Faye dance-off. The only question is, who will join them. It is entirely up to the show who that 4th finalist is as the leaderboard can be manipulated in such a way to manage the dance-off and counter the public vote when the numbers dwindle further.

We could well see a first 40 of the series with both Ashley and Faye the most likely candidates dancing jive and paso respectively

With the Lindy-Hop-A-Thon next week it might be telling that it is only Kate who hasn’t danced jive or Charleston yet, the 2 dances most closely resembling lindy hop.

Blackpool Week songs and dances:

Ashley and Pasha – Jive to ‘Shake Ya Tail Feather’ from The Blues Brothers
Charles and Karen – Samba to ‘La Bamba’ by Connie Francis
Faye and Giovanni – Paso Doble to ‘Unstoppable’ by E. S. Posthumus
Graeme and Oti – Couples’ Choice (Theatre and Jazz) to ‘The Trolley Song’ from Meet Me in St. Louis
Joe and Dianne – Quickstep to ‘Dancin’ Fool’ from Copacabana
Kate and Aljaz – American Smooth (foxtrot-based) to ‘Everlasting Love’ by Love Affair
Lauren and AJ – Argentine Tango to ‘River’ by Bishop Briggs
Stacey and Kevin – Salsa to ‘Ooh Ahh (Just A Little Bit)’ by Gina G

Last week’s judges’ leaderboard:

Craig – Darcey – Shirley – Bruno

Ashley & Pasha (3) Couples’ Choice – Contemporary 9 10 10 10 = 39 (9)
Faye & Giovanni (5) Jive 9 9 8 10 = 36 (8)
Charles & Karen (9) Charleston 8 9 9 9 = 35 (7)
Lauren & AJ (8) VW 8 8 9 9 = 34 (6)
Joe & Dianne (7) Samba 7 8 8 9 = 32 (5)
Stacey & KfG (6) Waltz 8 8 8 8 = 32 (5)
Graeme & Oti (4) Salsa 7 8 8 8 = 31 (4) – Bottom 2
Kate & Aljaz (1) QS 7 7 8 8 = 30 (3)
Danny & Amy (2) Samba 6 7 7 7 = 27 (2) – Eliminated

Remaining dances:

Ashley & Pasha – American Smooth, Quickstep, Waltz, Paso Doble, Samba, Argentine Tango
Charles & Karen – Foxtrot, Tango, Waltz, Paso Doble, Rumba, Argentine Tango
Faye & Giovanni – American Smooth, Waltz, Charleston, Salsa, Samba, Argentine Tango
Graeme & Oti – Foxtrot, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz, Paso Doble, Rumba, Argentine Tango
Joe & Dianne – Tango, Viennese Waltz, Rumba, Salsa, Couples’ Choice, Argentine Tango
Kate & Aljaz – Waltz, Charleston, Jive, Paso Doble, Salsa, Couples’ Choice
Lauren & AJ – American Smooth, Foxtrot, Tango, Rumba, Salsa, Samba
Stacey & Kevin – American Smooth, Viennese Waltz, Charleston, Paso Doble, Rumba, Argentine Tango


  1. James

    Given Ashley has topped the leaderboard in five of the eight weeks (& finished 2nd in the other three weeks), Betway’s price of 7/4 for her to finish top this week seems generous. Other firms have her at odds on.

    I can only see Faye as the other challenger for top score, so have placed a cover bet on her at 2/1.

    As for the low score markets, I’ve had each way bets on Lauren (10/3) and Joe (18/1).

  2. Stoney

    New favourite then.
    Although I’ve got Joe covered im not sure he is a worthy favourite. I guess this is due to his perceived online popularity.
    I also predict this weekend being the first weekend Stacey gets a 10.

    • Steve

      I still can’t work out which scenario TPTB are heading towards?
      1. Joe is miles ahead of the public vote, is likeable and has been a good journey contestant = let him be a feelgood winner
      2. Let’s play fair and keep him buoyant and then cull him in the semi final by giving him a rumba putting him last on the leaderboard (but not by too much in case it looks like a fix).

      The strength in numbers of quality females this year suggested the latter but I’m not too sure now.

      • Stoney

        Miles ahead of the public vote?
        On what are you basing this comment on? The facebook/twitter stats jump from week to week depending on the scores given. We have no idea whats happening with the phone vote. And Stacey is leading the tellymix poll, so if you have another source please share.
        It is of my opinion the producers have the public in the palm of their hand this series, and will steer their chosen contestant to victory with ease from this point.

        • Anonymous

          Nothing concrete Stoney but I’ve got a feeling that his followers are building up a campaign online and would have a huge push were he to get to the final.

          • Stoney

            I have a theory that Joe only has a mild amount of support from the show, which he has built up over the last few weeks with his over marked dances. I would imagine he has something like around 1 million fans voting for him without even watching the show. As the viewing figures arent up that much on last year. So he certainly hasnt bought a shed load of younger viewers to the show like the show would have hoped. With that in mind he wouldnt be too hard to dispatch at some point either before or during the final if the producers choose to get a female winner this year.

  3. M8

    As much as the BBC want a female winner I don’t think they’d be upset that much if Joe was to go on and win. He does absolute wonders for them in terms of online hits on social media, something the BBC has been accused (rightly) of lacking in despite the vast amount of TV viewers it draws. Having someone like Joe in their pocket with his online following not to mention his even more popular sister is a very powerful weapon for the BBC to have in their pocket. I do agree though that if they wish to cull Joe to ensure a female winner, then I expect they’ll do it in the semi final.

    I’m slightly worried about Stacey’s scores. She needs a big moment which involves her seeing 10s sooner rather than later or I can see her going the same way as Gemma Atkinson last season who had big fan support but could never kick on and seriously challenge Joe as her dancing just wasn’t strong enough.

    • Stoney

      Is he actually bringing any extra viewers though? Arent the figures actually down this year? I think this points to his fans actually blindly voting without even watching the show. Which I dont think the BBC would appreciate. However, hes vote hasnt actually been tested yet anyway.
      I am cautious to the fact that he has been over marked for a few weeks now. But no one would be surprised to see him culled next weekend. Ive had to take a small punt on him at 66/1 to go this weekend. Although it would take a fair bit of manipulation to get him out.
      I have him winning a break even series for me at the moment which would be a huge disappointment.

      • M8

        It’s not about the TV viewers he brings Stoney. It’s about the views/hits he brings on social media. YouTube especially. Any mention of him gets thousands of RTS and likes for the Strictly accounts on Twitter and IG. Then he always has the highest viewed videos on their YouTube channel also with his dances getting around 400k at the minimum with a number already passing the million mark. In the modern day media these are serious numbers and with the youth of today growing up with this sort of media it’s a very powerful weapon for the long time out of touch with modern day media BBC to have in their pocket.

        • Stoney

          Tonight was an absolute farce for Joes marking. How the hell did that get 2 10s? Craig was the saviour and thankfully the one the public pay attention too. Stacey still wins this from this point, and rightly so.

          • Stoney

            Just want to add to this that Stacey may have been over marked a tad, but this isn’t as bad as them 10s should have been handed out weeks ago. But they have clearly saved them for the business end. I guess her Charleston will get a 40 in the semi.
            Rumours Ashley was in the dance off last night. Cements the fact this is a 2 horse race.

  4. Stoney

    Now that it has been confirmed Ashley was in the dance off we know Lauren has beaten either Joe or Stacey in the pv.
    Which one though?

    • Rob

      Hi Stoney,

      That’s not quite right. Stacey and Joe possibly top 2 in the pv, Lauren 3rd on pv, Ashley last on pv… could have generated the Ash Graeme dance-off. There was a tie on the lb after the farcical lindy-hop-a-thon.

      • Stoney

        Thanks for clarifying that Rob.
        Still, shocked at her support being so high.
        The conundrum with Ashley is we now know she has close to no chance of winning but she can almost certainly knock anyone out in a dance off. A useful tool for the producers.

        • Rob

          The peculiar thing is, it has looked like they have gone after Lauren for the last 2 weeks but if so, they haven’t managed to get her pv to drop low enough to be successful.

          I felt her treatment was pretty de-motivating voting-wise. Her last 2 dances have been poor but whereas you could see some sympathy kicking in last week in Blackpool, last night it felt like she deserved to be where she was on the leaderboard and there was little encouragment for people to vote for her. Maybe sympathy kicked in again after they so transparently placed her last in the lindy-hop-a-thon.

          • Stoney

            The problem for Lauren is, as the competition thins out the harder it is to survive. Id put her as a cert to go next weekend. Seems they might fancy Charles for the final.

  5. James

    Dance selection is likely to be crucial for Lauren and Charles next week.

    Lauren has looked much more comfortable in ballroom, so her best hope of progression would probably be with either the American Smooth or the Tango. A Paso for Charles would provide another opportunity to get the pecs out!

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