Robbie Savage Showing Gough Potential

Oct 27, 2011 by

It was a great Strictly for our followers last week with Rory advised at 12-1 to be eliminated, and Chelsee to be Highest Scorer at 14-1.
This series has started to take shape now, and we’re already struggling to see beyond 6 contenders. A few posts back we speculated there was room for a male contestant to emerge as a legitimate challenger between Rory, Dan and Robbie. This has happened and that challenger is Robbie. So the 6 we see in the shake up for this year’s glitterball are: Jason, Harry, Robbie, Russell, Chelsee and Holly.
We think Robbie is good value at a still available 10-1 in Outright betting, and even more so at 7-1 to be Top Male. The big question was his ability in fast Latin. Those doubts were quashed to a large extent last Saturday during a highly entertaining Jive. It was certainly a lot better than we expected and augured well for his long-term prospects in the competition:

He has exactly the right attitude, throwing himself into the routines with a great deal of zeal and a fair amount of flair, if not always perfect technique. We see clear parallels between him and Darren Gough. He’s having to overcome his hardman sporting persona, but is showing that real men can dance. He’s a charismatic, cheeky chappy with plenty of humility and has struck up an excellent partnership with his partner, Ola, that is flourishing by the week.
We would confidently predict that he is currently outpolling the likes of Jason and Harry, and as long as he maintains a slow, upward curve of improvement, and the same sunny disposition, we would expect him to continue to figure at the top of the public vote.
Compared to Robbie, Harry and Jason seem a shade dull. Excellent technicians, yes, but they are making it hard for viewers to form a strong emotional attachment with them. And it is worth remembering there are no dance-offs in this series so it ultimately comes down to a popularity contest. Jason is possibly too earnest and there is a certain air of aloofness about Harry.
The question is, will the show producers try and ‘steer’ the public again in the latter stages of the competition, which they can still do with their edits, running order, the judges’ comments, and possibly the dance choices given to each couple. Crunch time will especially come when we are down to the final 6, and even more so in the 5-couple semi-final, with 2 couples being eliminated. A lot will hinge on who lands the ideal, points-scoring dances.
Last year, the show producers transparently did not want Matt Baker to win, and got massively behind Kara Tointon. The explanation for this is simple: the show’s public vote is strongly weighted in favour of a popular male, over a popular female. Without editorial intervention, we would have likely had a winner’s list of: Darren Gough, Mark Ramprakesh, Gethin Jones, Tom Chambers, Chris Hollins, Matt Baker over the last 6 series.
Much the same way they buried Gethin in the semi-final the year Alesha won, what they gave us last year was a huge ramp of Kara combined with an enormous de-ramp of Matt, to ensure Kara’s public vote prevailed.
By dropping the dance-off, the producers seem more aware now it is a betrayal of viewers to disallow the possibility of a lesser dancer, but public favourite winning.  Chris Hollins was a classic example of this – he wasn’t the best dancer but they were aware he was smashing the public vote every week so getting rid of him made no sense, hence they cancelled the dance-off in the semi-final that year.
In 8 series, we have now had four female and four male winners. They have managed to make it look like an equal contest, so you might assume they will be happy for this series to run its natural course.
Given the above, we strongly suspect the 3-couple final will consist of at least two male contestants this year, and at least one will be a journey contestant/public favourite, ie, either Robbie or Russell. The only ramp will likely be to try and force at least one female into the final. It would appear to us Holly and Chelsee are fighting over that one final spot. And Chelsee is now in the driving seat following her excellent QS last week.
Holly still hasn’t fired with Artem and is going to have to find some scoreboard-topping form soon, otherwise she will fade out of contention. As, sadly, Anita appears to have already done. We had initially been sweet on Anita’s chance and while her dancing is highly competent there is something lacking in her partnership with Robin. Russell, meanwhile, continues to charm with Flavia, and there is no reason why he cannot go all the way to the final.
Looking at this week’s early training, we suggest dutching Harry at 11-4 and Holly at 9-1 to be Highest Scorer with Ladbrokes. We get the impression Aliona has come up with something extremely impactful by way of a Halloween tango for her and Harry, while early footage of Holly hinted that the American Smooth is going to be her dance.
Also, you sense the show would like to have a new name at the top of the leaderboard to give the impression the contest is still wide open, so Harry and Holly are the obvious duo vying for the honour. Jason doing a QS will be hard to beat, but 2 QSs in successive weeks top scoring maybe doesn’t quite fit the script. But if you want to take the safest option, you can back Jason at 6-4, Harry at 11-4 and Holly at 9-1 and ensure a profit if any of the 3 top the leaderboard thus:
Jason – £80 win @ 6-4, would return +120 (-70) = +£50
Harry – £50 win @ 11-4, would return +137.50 (-100) = +£37.50
Holly – £20 win @ 9-1, would return +£180 (-130) = +£50
In elimination betting, we see grounds for believing the favourite Nancy can defy the odds once more. Audley looks in big danger attempting the jive, while Lulu is likely to be flirting with the bottom of the leaderboard doing the paso doble. Again, a dutch of these 2 looks the best way to proceed, taking the widely available 11-4 Audley, and the 11-2 Lulu with Ladbrokes.
Rob Furber

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