Dec 7, 2018 by


It was confirmed this week that all 5 of the remaining Strictly contestants will be joining the Strictly Tour next year. The Sun’s Dan Wootton claimed Lauren has been topping the public vote. We also learned the Strictly final will be a single show and all the indications suggest there will be no 4th place announcement.

While the Outright market reacted positively to Wootton’s words, Lauren still looks to face an uphill battle to win this year’s series. In the last 3 weeks she has finished last, or joint-last on the judges’ leaderboard. Two leaderboard ties last week made it easier for her to escape the dance-off but the fact remains she has not been receiving the treatment of a desired winner, and even a public vote topper isn’t guaranteed to avoid the dance-off in a semi-final.

Not only that but based on training footage, again it looks highly likely she will be propping up the leaderboard tomorrow night, and potentially a long way detached in last place. Samba, in particular, is going to be seriously testing for her, and exposing, more so given Faye’s samba technique has looked sensational.

Even a public vote topper isn’t guaranteed to avoid the dance-off in a semi-final

Compared to the other ballroom routines on the night, Lauren’s tango also looks up against it. Joe, meanwhile, is going to be eclipsed in the battle of the Argentine tangos also by Faye, who has the perfect track for a powerful and dramatic routine.

Joe is a more solid conveyance in ballroom and has a nice song to sell his VW. Stacey also has VW to a suitable song but her trump card on the night will likely be her Charleston which has looked tailor-made for her in training and fun Charlestons are always well received by the Strictly audience.

Shirley has got stuck in to Ashley in the last 2 weeks, killing her vote stone dead by setting a critical and negative tone. Despite being given 38 for her QS last Saturday, it may as well have been 28 given the way it was delivered. It was understandable her pv was damaged as a result.

Ties are less likely tomorrow night given it requires 8 scoring paddles to total the same score twice, rather than the usual 4

Having forced Ashley into the dance-off in the last 2 weeks, and visibly upset her, you might expect to see kinder treatment from the judges tomorrow night and a plan to place her top of the leaderboard. She has 2 routines which, on paper, have all the ingredients to be well received and highly scored but Shirley seems to be a law unto herself and cannot resist nit-picking Ashley in particular. If not Ashley, then Faye.

Ties are less likely tomorrow night given it requires 8 scoring paddles to total the same score twice, rather than the usual 4. The main thing to keep an eye on, is how each couples’ highest scoring dance is scored because this will be the dance they will reprise in the dance-off.

If Ashley is not at the top of the leaderboard and eulogised, she will be vulnerable to a third successive dance-off appearance but if we see an order of 1st Ashley, 2nd Faye, 3rd Stacey, 4th Joe and 5th Lauren, with no ties, Joe would look Lauren’s most likely dance-off opponent.

Should Lauren be eliminated tomorrow night it would be a third successive semi-final exit for AJ. That looks somewhat cruel but when you consider Kevin Clifton has previously lost in four successive Strictly finals, Kev would still have bragging rights in the Strictly Hard Luck Story Stakes.

If Ashley is not at the top of the leaderboard and eulogised, she will be vulnerable to a third successive dance-off appearance

Whichever way you look at it, it will be hard for Lauren to survive given she will likely be a long way last on the leaderboard after the judges have had their say, which will act as a vote dampener, and her highest scoring dance, most likely tango, looks like being scored less than the other 4 contestants’ highest scoring dances.

Semi-final songs and dances:

Ashley and Pasha – Paso Doble to ‘Spectrum (Say My Name)’ by Florence & The Machine and American Smooth to ‘Ain’t That a Kick In The Head’ by Dean Martin

Faye and Giovanni – Samba to ‘I Go To Rio’ by Pablo Cruise and Argentine Tango to ‘La Cumparsita’ by Machiko Ozawa

Joe and Dianne – Argentine Tango to ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Viennese Waltz to ‘This Year’s Love’ by David Gray

Lauren and AJ – Tango to ‘Nutbush City Limits’ by Tina Turner and Samba to ‘Rock The Boat’ by The Hues Corporation

Stacey and Kevin – Charleston to ‘Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue’ by Spike Jones and Viennese Waltz to ‘You’re My World’ by Cilla Black

Quarter-final, Musicals Week, judges’ leaderboard:

Craig – Darcey – Shirley – Bruno

Faye & Giovanni (2) Charleston 10 10 10 10 = 40 (6)

Ashley & Pasha (4) QS 9 10 9 10 = 38 (5) – Bottom 2
Stacey & KfG (5) AS (Foxtrot-based) 9 9 10 10 = 38 (5)

Joe & Dianne (6) Salsa 8 9 9 10 = 36 (4)

Lauren & AJ (1) AS (VW-based) 8 9 9 9 = 35 (3)
Charles & Karen (3) Rumba 8 9 9 9 = 35 (3) – Eliminated


  1. John

    Hi Rob,

    In my head the public are placing the contestants in the following order: Stacey, Joe, Lauren, Faye, Ashley. Last week Faye May have been above Lauren. If the leaderboard has Ashley, then Faye, Stacey, Joe and Lauren I struggle to see Ashley getting out the bottom two (although Alexandra managed it last year). Id be interested to hear your thoughts on the public vote order.

    • James

      Hi John

      My best guess is that Stacey & Joe are first & second in the public vote (in either order), followed by Lauren in 3rd, Faye 4th & Ashley 5th.

      In terms of tonight’s judges leaderboard, I am expecting Lauren to finish 5th, Joe 4th, and the other three in any order.

      Assuming no ties on the leaderboard, this would leave us with 12 possible permutations of the combined judges & PV leaderboard. Ten permutations lead to an Ashley vs Lauren dance off, and two permutations lead to a Faye vs Lauren dance off.

      If Ashley is 5th in the PV, Faye 4th in the PV, Lauren 5th with the judges, Joe 4th with the judges, and there are no ties; Ashley would need to finish 1st with the judges to have any hope of avoiding a dance off. Even by coming top, her chances of avoiding the dance off in this scenario are only 50%

    • Rob

      Hi John. My view is, it’s a fluid vote on Strictly in the main, more so when you reach the semi-final and final, with the public largely led on the night by the judges comments and scoring cues.

      I am expecting a big ramp for Ashley tonight and the judges placing her top of the leaderboard. I think this treatment would see her pv surge so in this scenario I don’t think she will be last on the pv.

      Faye’s 2 routines looking good too and vote-winning. I think it’s more likely both Lauren and Joe’s pvs drop tonight, and they might even be bottom 2 on the vote tonight. I have never believed Joe is smashing the vote & there have been some indications he has needed a big push to keep him out of the dance-off up to now.

      He may get generous treatment again but I think he’ll need it to avoid the dance-off assuming he is 2nd last on the leaderboard and there are no ties.

  2. James

    Lauren has proven to be excellent at dancing the Viennese Waltz; scoring 34 in week 8 and 35 in the American Smooth VW in week 11. Of her other nine dances, seven have scored 25 points or lower; the exceptions being a pimp slot Paso (29 in week 6) and a show opening Jive (31 in week 7).

    None of the other semi-finalists have scored lower than 32 for a dance, since week 5.

    Odds of 1/4 on Lauren finishing in last place tonight, are not particularly exciting; but it’s hard to see an alternative outcome.

    I am leaving the top score market alone, as I could make a case for any of Ashley, Faye or Stacey finishing top this week.

  3. Stoney

    Very clever song choice for Stacey from the judges. While on paper it didnt score the highest, it did top the vote and is likely to have received the most viewer votes of all the dances that have been picked.

  4. James

    Hi Rob

    A ‘Strictly Professionals’ tour will take place in May/June 2019, and the line-up of who would be taking part was announced in September, before this series started (AJ, Neil, Pasha, Giovanni, Gorka; Nadiya, Oti, Karen, Dianne & Katya).

    – Six of the touring pros went on to achieve a top seven finish in the 2018 series.

    – Five dance offs took place between a touring pro and a non-touring pro. On every occasion, the judges decided to save the touring pro dancer, including the outcomes which seemed improbable back in September (Seann over Vick, and Graeme over Danny).

    This record may just be coincidental, but it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on, if a 2020 professional tour is announced.

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