Strictly Shock In Store?

Nov 14, 2013 by

Strictly Shock In Store?

EntertainmentOdds 300th post since it was founded in August 2009. Let’s hope it proves a winning one:

Some telling footage on ITT this week of the judges’ reaction to Patrick messing up the finish of his AS routine last Saturday. That clip exposed the show for the manipulated path it has gone down. To be poised with 10s, and eager to give Patrick 10s, from the pimp slot, and for them to all look devastated when he messed up at the end because it meant the 10s had to be put down (at least by Bruno and Len) surely says a lot.

Craig then proclaimed Patrick the best male dancer in this series, and Darcey still pulled out her 10 paddle. Someone like Ashley in this series would never get the luxury of such generous comments, scores, or be given a pimp slot teed up for 10s in the first place regardless of the dance skills he demonstrates or the content of his dance.

Still, it gives a clear idea of producer intentions and certainly Ashley’s treatment in this series has echoes of Matt Baker back in 2010. But the show is more sophisticated with its manipulation now so it has already managed to drag Ashley down to a much greater extent.

Some discussions in Comments ahead of last Saturday had already drawn to the conclusion Patrick was terrific value to be Top Male at 18-1 and 100-1 e/w first 3 with Ladbrokes was also worthy of consideration. And well done to fiveleaves for flagging Patrick up as a value e/w bet at 20-1 to be the highest scorer.

It was zoomraker who made the valid point regarding Patrick as the only male finalist potentially suiting the show. It fits nicely with the Beeb’s ethnic diversity stance and he would likely carry very little threat to a female winner. He is now into a best-priced 3-1 to be Top Male so hopefully many of you got stuck into last week’s double figure prices being offered on him.

This Saturday sees the show move to the vast dimensions of Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom. It is shaping up to be a potentially intriguing battle in terms of bottom 2 and elimination. Sophie and Abbey both have the QS and whichever scores less could find themselves vulnerable. And if Abbey is only 1 ranking point above Sophie on the judges’ leaderboard, she could still be vulnerable of dropping below Sophie on the combined ranking, given Abbey has already appeared in the bottom 2 and her public vote appears more fragile.

Natalie will be returning from her one-week hiatus due to fainting during last week’s rehearsals and has a Charleston, which is usually a crowd-pleaser. But might her bye week erode some goodwill towards her, and could she even be a possible surprise bottom 2 candidate? News of her having an epidural to ease her back pain certainly leaves a question mark over her Outright prospects.

Mark has a potentially entertaining jive to ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ from Hairspray – a show he recently starred in, so likely to incorporate a few winning moves he is familiar with. This gives him a big chance to sell this dance well and he also has the bounce factor in his favour. Patrick has the samba which should suit him and he will likely be talked up and scored highly by the judges anyway.

Fiona has an American Smooth with the ballroom master Anton at the spiritual home of ballroom. Week after week Fiona has defied low-ish scores and continually managed to steer clear of the dance-off, and while this seems to be said every week – she is overdue a late slot, after running orders of 4, 2, 6, 2, 2. Certainly there is solid case to be made for both Mark and Fiona avoiding the bottom 2 which opens things up for a potential shock.

Susanna has the paso as does Ashley, and you can’t help wondering if Ashley might be being set up for a fall. Paso is a tough dance and one that it is easy to find fault with.

Pre-show you have to assume they will look to cluster the likes of Natalie, Patrick and Abbey high on the leaderboard. But given the harsh scoring he has endured series-long, Ashley is likely to be below this top tier so has to be worth backing to finish in the bottom 2 at 7-1 with Paddy Power.

Ben, like Fiona, has the AS and no doubt Kristina will choreograph this to showcase some spectacular lifts which could well be vote-winning for him. He may end up below Ashley on the judges’ leaderboard but we would fancy him to outpoll Ashley on the public vote.

With Sophie and Abbey both having QS one will likely be on early, the other late, and it is Abbey’s turn for a later slot. This week’s venue of Blackpool might also give Liverpool-born Abbey a bit of a north-west vote boost.

Sophie looked like she was being flung around like a rag doll in early training footage and there has to be a question mark over whether her languid style is going to be suited to such a speedy dance. So Sophie also looks worth chancing to land bottom 2 also at 7-1 with Paddy Power.

Much depends on the precise make-up of the top of the leaderboard, and either Abbey or Natalie could still be in danger of the bottom 2 if they do not secure top spot. It looks a week worth considering the very real possibility of a shock dance-off involving any of Ashley, Sophie, Abbey and Natalie. Pre-show, at the prices we would definitely recommend backing Ashley for elimination at 22-1 with Coral and Sophie at 40-1 with William Hill.

The aim here will be to cover either of Natalie or Abbey too, possibly both, during live in-running betting if either of their routines are scored less well than expected and they find themselves lower on the leaderboard than anticipated.

Many thought Susanna’s dreamy waltz last Saturday was more deserving of 10s than Patrick’s AS. Susanna continues to make stealthy progress through the competition and we have always felt she has the perfect profile to be doing very well on the public vote.

If you are not on board already at double figure prices 5-1 e/w first 3 a fifth the odds looks a bet to nothing with Ladbrokes, while 5-1 for her to be Top Woman with Paddy Power also rates as value with question marks over all her female rivals on the show. With their sights looking set on a female winner, Susanna looks the easiest contestant to steer to victory from this point.

The fact her and Kevin have not received a 10 yet could also be read as a very clever play by TPTB. Strictly veterans will recall it was a similar scenario with Mark and Karen back in series 4. It wasn’t until week 11, the semi-final, and their brilliant Argentine tango, that they finally secured their first 10s of the series. You wonder if such a moment now awaits Susanna, almost as a defining moment during her ‘journey’ on the show, and pushing her further towards this year’s crown.

Here is the full list of this week’s dances and songs:

Ashley & Ola – Paso Doble to Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name.
Susanna & Kevin – Paso Doble to Carmen’s Los Toreadors.
Abbey & Aljaz – Quickstep to Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and The Waves.
Sophie & Brendan – Quickstep to Shirley Bassey’s The Lady is a Tramp.
Fiona & Anton – American Smooth to Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me.
Ben & Kristina – American Smooth to Fallin’ by Alicia Keys.
Mark & Iveta – Jive to You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray.
Natalie & Artem – Charleston to’s Bang Bang.
Patrick & Anya – Samba to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana.


  1. Congrats on 300 Rob!

    I didn’t get chance to watch the practice footage until late yesterday, but I got that ‘Strictly Ballroom’ excitement when I saw Susanna & Kevin practicing their Paso.

    For once, I’m hoping there’s a ‘Barry Fife’ stitch-up in the Paso battle, with Susanna being the benefactor.

    Susanna is my biggest green, but I’ve had to be so patient waiting for her price to come in.

    • Rob

      Thanks Gav. Market on Betfair has been all over the place in last 24 hours. Sophie drifted like a barge, Susanna backed in, Patrick backed in, Abbey drifting like a barge but then being backed in.

      It looks teed up for a shock this Saturday, which probably means Mark vs Fiona bottom 2 🙂

      • Don’t say that! I’ve layed Mark so far, and having layed Dave last week, I could do without another kick where it hurts most.

        I reckon if one of the big hitters is stranded around 28-32, they’ll be drawn into a bottom 2 fight. Mark and Fiona are fairly disposable, so TPTB need to start chipping away at the likes of Ashley to get their desired result and prevent shocks when they least expect them.

        Need a highest scorer market so I can go for Susanna.

        Also, I’ve been plugging away at the 1.73 Susanna vs Ashley match bet today. It’s still there and still too high.

        • steve

          Ive been doing that one too gav, also Patrick versus Ben @4/6 Think that Ben has served his purpose now and the mission is to get Patrick as far as possible.

        • Rob

          Yes, the 5-6 Susanna has been available for a long time & started to think it would never budge but it has finally today.

          Ben was initially the value vs Patrick at 7-4 but the momentum of that h2h has shifted around completely.

  2. Guildo Horn Forever

    If this point has already been made, forgive me, but Rob’s mention of Abbey’s ‘north-west vote boost’ got me thinking of the power of the Susanna and Kevin combo. Not just any old Kevin – but ‘Kevin from Grimsby’.

    Susanna is the plummy-voiced Southerner getting along famously with the no-nonsense Northern lad. That’s some powerful vote pulling coverage there, yes?

    In a competition filled with East European and American professional dance partners suave English Anton’s appeal is a strong USP. Arguably, Kevin has no competition as the embodiment of the Northern half of England.

    Susanna and Kevin have the chalk-and-cheese-but-get-along-famously dynamic of many partnerships in TV cop shows down the years. It’s a abidingly popular relationship trope.

    I haven’t backed Sophie for B2 or elimination because there is a variation of this chalk-and-cheese relationship dynamic happening with plummy voiced, reserved English Rose, Sophie, and Antipodean cheeky-chappy Brendan.

    The couple who fail the charming-chalk-and-cheese combination test are Artem and Natalie. The Arteminator and alpha-male-in-disguise, Natalie.

    Guildo’s Charming-Chalk-And-Cheese-Combination test.

    • Rob

      It’s a good point Guildo regarding the potential charm of the Susanna/Kevin partnership. As much as Brendan tries his level best to tell the audience how good Sophie is, I’m not sure viewers are buying into their partnership quite so much.

  3. Rob

    Patrick matched at 5.9 on BF. The Outright this year has been a trader’s dream 🙂

    • I think that price will continue to shorten throughout the day. I’m happy to lay off the entire bet at that price. Drinks all round!

      • Rob

        Astonishing that in 1 week, Patrick’s price for Top Male has moved from 18-1 to a best price of 13-8. Ironically, he will need a very high score to ensure he doesn’t drop into the b2 again tomorrow, but for those who took the big prices on him, it’s happy days.

  4. zoomraker

    i think they’d have patrick as a winner if they could

  5. Coral have their e/w highest scorer market up. Have gone 7pts Susanna @ 12.0

    • Rob

      Susanna was sounding confident about her paso & they may be planning to big up her routine to try & ensure Ashley’s paso gets forgotten.

      Imagine Natalie will be hard to beat this week & can see them pulling out 10s for her Charleston on her return. But 11-1 e/w Susanna certainly looks a decent price.

      I expect Abbey’s QS to be better than Sophie’s but 4-1 only makes limited appeal given it seems fair to assume they will be generous in their scoring of Patrick too.

  6. 50/1 Sophie lowest scorer is far too big based on the footage seen to date. I suspect it’ll be Ben or Fiona though.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Ashley looked very sharp, Susanna looked incredibly gorgeous and it was interesting to see the end piece promoting the fun side of Patrick. If they were itching to give him 10s last week does this mean they have unfinished business for this week?

      And the celebrity professional dancer looked as great as ever.

  7. zoomraker

    what do you think about 6/1 Abbey bottom 2 at paddy power

    • Rob

      It all depends on how the scoring goes tonight, zoom. But my analysis of training was that Abbey’s QS looked superior to Sophie’s QS & should achieve a higher score among the judges.

      I would expect her to be either top or 2nd top on the leaderboard. She fell into the bottom 2 from 2nd top before but I think a late slot and ‘Walking On Sunshine’ should see her safe.

      Of course, this opinion could change if it pans out differently tonight but pre-show I see Sophie as more vulnerable.

  8. They’ve added Ashley now and I’d be surprised to see him last in the running order. So I’d guess those photos are not in order.

  9. Rob

    The way they went up on Gallery pics, suggested:


  10. If that was Ashley missing a step or Ola suffering a wardrobe malfunction, I suspect the score would have been in the 20s.

  11. Guildo Horn Forever

    Ben has shown very little improvement. Kristina hid this with a trio of male dancers in the dance and dry ice covering Ben’s leaden footwork. 32 was generous. I think 28 to 29 would have been more like it.

  12. Guildo Horn Forever

    But Bruno just say ‘Oh! Cut the crap’!

    Though thought Bruno’s ‘For a non-dancer in this time you’ve had to do something like this is un-be-liev-a-ble!’ comment to Abbey was very interesting.

  13. Guildo Horn Forever

    And who knew Tess had advance knowledge of the scores? And how could she know and when did she know?

    What an revealing 5 minutes that was…

  14. Guildo Horn Forever

    That was rubbish! Interested to hear the comments.

  15. 39!!! GET IN THERE! Just Natalie separating me from 4-figures!

    • meh! Bloody deadheat.

      • Rob

        Robbed again – never a 39 dance for Nat but in the script. Just thankful they weren’t as shameless to give her a 40.

        Very interesting for b2 with so many ties. I think Patrick is likely to be b2, & either Sophie or Fiona could be joining him. Reckon Mark had a very vote-friendly routine.

        Natalie & Artem, Charleston (9), 9101010 = 39, 9
        Susanna & Kevinfromgrimsby PD (8), 9101010 = 39, 9

        Abbey & Aljaz, QS (6), 7101010 = 37, 8

        Ashley & Ola, PD (4), 8999 = 35, 7
        Patrick & Anya, Samba (2), 8999 = 35, 7

        Sophie & Brendan, QS (1), 7999 = 34, 6

        Ben & Kristina, AmSm (VW) (3), 8888 = 32, 5

        Fiona & Anton, AmSm (VW) (5), 6788 = 29, 4
        Mark & Iveta, Jive (7), 5888 = 29, 4

  16. Big name in the dance off tonight…

    Hoping it’s Ashley or Sophie. Rumour is Mark escaped.

  17. Andy

    Susanna got 50% of the votes on dig spy poll.
    That’s big.

  18. So much for the gossip…

    Fiona out after dance off with Mark

  19. Rob

    So much for a shock! My fears realised. Still, at least an 11-1 winner on the highest scorer market even if a dh.

  20. Rob

    – Susanna is now 5-2 on the Outright
    – Patrick is now 6-5 to be Top Male
    – Susanna is now 2-5 in that h2h vs Ashley

    This is proving a vintage Strictly season in the coverage here and long may it continue 🙂

  21. Rob

    … and not forgetting Susanna now 15-8 to be Top Female

  22. Rob

    Looking like a 4-couple final, like last year, according to this:

    So we can probably safely assume that, as long as no one pulls out before then, it’ll be a 5-couple semi-final, with the bottom 2 on the combined ranking having to dance-off for a place in the final, along with the 3 automatic finalists.

    This scenario would certainly increase the chances of a male dancer making it to the final.

  23. Rob

    This week’s dances and songs:

    Ashley and Ola will be waltzing to ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Claudia Streza

    Patrick and Anya will be dancing the Viennese Waltz to Celine Dion’s ‘A New Day Has Come’

    Abbey and Aljaz will be performing the Paso Doble to ‘You Got The Love’ by Florence and the Machine

    Sophie and Brendan will dance the Rumba to Amy Winehouse’s version of ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’

    Mark and Iveta will Foxtrot to the Michael Buble favourite ‘It’s A Beautiful Day’

    Susanna and Kevin will be Cha Cha-ing to the classic ‘Hound Dog’ from Smokey Joe’s Café

    Ben and Kristina will dance the Charleston to ‘No Diggity’ by Minimatic

    Natalie and Artem will Tango to Rihanna’s hit ‘Where Have You Been’

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