Up In The Air

Dec 4, 2020 by

Up In The Air

Strictly is keeping traders firmly on their toes this year and week 6 summed up the uncertainty that can shroud not only a ‘live in-running’ elimination market, but by association Outright positions, and the quick-fire decisions you have to make – buy, sell or hold.

Clara opened the show, we know the show loves to start on a high point, and it appeared all teed up for her to be eulogised for her strong comeback following her samba meltdown the week before.

A 26 or 27 for her jive, which would have ended up placing her in relative safety 3rd on the judges’ leaderboard, looked on the cards, only for Clara to go glaringly wrong again, and hence she was scored in last place on 19.

Week 6 judges’ leaderboard:
HRVY and Janette: CC: Street/Contemporary – (3) – 10, 10, 10 = 30
Maisie and Gorka: QS – (7) – 9, 10, 10 = 29
JJ and Amy: VW – (6) – 8, 9, 8 = 25
Jamie and Karen: Tango – (2) – 8, 8, 8 = 24 – bottom 2
Ranvir and Giovanni: AS – (4) – 8, 8, 8 = 24
Bill and Oti: Jive – (5) – 8, 8, 8 = 24
Clara and Aljaž: Jive – (1) – 6, 6, 7 = 19 – eliminated

Jamie followed and while making a decent stab of the tango, the critiques and middling score of 24 he endured suggested strongly he was in the crosshairs. Our week 6 exit poll pointed to a Clara vs Jamie dance-off, and so it came to pass.

There looked a solid chance for the judges to save Clara but she lost on a 2-1 split decision, with Shirley’s casting vote going to Jamie, despite Clara executing her jive much cleaner in the dance-off compared to her live show disaster.

We now only have two women left in Maisie and Ranvir which strongly suggests we will be saying goodbye to a male contestant tomorrow evening

The only conclusion you can reach is, Jamie was the original target but after Clara went wrong 2 weeks running, the producers probably decided it was too risky to have her continue on the show as we head towards the business end, and Jamie was more deserving of a quarter-final place.

It was very much a case of what could have been with Clara in this series and an expensive reverse for those who kept the faith in her progressing. Pencilled in for a Fosse-inspired Couple’s Choice Jazz routine in tomorrow night’s ‘Musicals Week’ quarter-final, it does appear the original script was there for her to make the semi-final. As it now stands we only have two women left in Maisie and Ranvir which strongly suggests we will be saying goodbye to a male contestant tomorrow evening.

JJ has a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-themed Charleston and given he hasn’t had a pimp slot series-long this could be his moment. The show has offered JJ huge support throughout the series so it would be surprising if a feel-good Charleston ends up the routine they choose to throw him under the bus.

Jamie dodged a bullet in week 6, his second dance-off appearance, and you sense he has been struggling on the public vote series-long. But this jive routine to ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ looks ideally in his wheelhouse and could also be teed up for a first pimp of the series for him. Maisie and Jamie could, in fact, book-end the show.

It would be surprising if a feel-good Charleston ends up the routine they choose to throw JJ under the bus

Bill styled as the Phantom from ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ dancing Argentine Tango… on paper, it sounds enthralling. As always, he has studied the origins of this specialist dance and looks ready to fully commit to the characterisation. It should be high on the performance scale, and suitably dramatic given Oti’s supreme choreo skills, but Bill may well still find himself scored last on the night, and it could be an evening that tests his public vote.

HRVY looks like having the kitchen sink thrown at the staging of his ‘One (Singular Sensation)’ AS and it’s the type of classic ballroom number that should go down a storm with Strictly’s core older voters.

Maisie’s redemption on the show now looks a strong narrative in play for her. Her pimp slot QS was an incredible routine, but Craig stingily only gave her a 9. Now tasked with jive, Maisie looks highly likely to be at the top of the leaderboard, along with HRVY, and possibly tied for first place. Even if she opens the show, it should be high impact and vote-winning enough to enable her to avoid the dance-off. She has looked a natural in training this week.

Ranvir gets to play it safe again courtesy of a VW. Again, she has the ideal piece of music to sell it with. Motsi was requesting her to take a few more risks and this is noticeably risk averse as a ballroom routine during which she can be securely guided round the dancefloor by Giovanni, so she may suffer tougher critiques.

Few, if any, would have been predicting all of Bill, Ranvir, JJ and Jamie making it to the quarter-final at series start

Pre-show, a Jamie vs Ranvir dance-off looks the most likely outcome but this series has been throwing a few curveballs at us, and few, if any, would have been predicting all of Bill, Ranvir, JJ and Jamie making it to the quarter-final at series start.

Week 7 (Musicals Week) – songs and dances:
Bill and Oti: Argentine Tango to Phantom of the Opera from Phantom of the Opera
HRVY and Janette: American Smooth to One (Singular Sensation) from A Chorus Line
Jamie and Karen: Jive to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
JJ and Amy: Charleston to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Maisie and Gorka: Jive to Little Shop of Horrors from Little Shop of Horrors
Ranvir and Giovanni: Viennese Waltz to She Used To Be Mine from Waitress


  1. James

    Hi Rob. It does look a very tricky elimination to call, this week. JJ and Jamie have both been offered a decent opportunity to survive with the dances they have been given.

    At this stage of the competition, a high score is no guarantee of safety. Both Alexandra & Ashley fell into the dance off in ‘musicals week’ after scoring 39 & 38 respectively. If Maisie were to fall into the bottom two, I do feel that her Jive is likely to beat any other routine, and so the value play is to bet on Bill & HRVY to leave, at the long odds that are available.

    As for the outright market, Bill is a deserved favourite. After Clara’s departure, I think Ranvir is the only celeb remaining who has a chance of beating him.

  2. Showlad

    Hi Rob. Thanks for the article. We seem to be at odds (excuse the pun!) this week and hopefully as a collective – ala dear Sofabet – we can shed some light 😀
    Indeed Clara – what a disappointing cocktail of fireworks the last fortnight. I like her personally but it did smack – when you go blank mid-routine like that 2 weeks in a row – of sorely lacking the training room hours. Boy did you have to move quick on that exchange to build up your eviction kitty on her (which I duly did topping up a saver long odds bet)!
    I think there is no clear aim or theme from the producers this year as some firecrackers like Bill and others misfiring like Clara have thrown things up in the air. The only clear narrative for me is for them to maintain both Maisie and Ranvir’s run and I strongly disagree with your assessment of B2 for Ranvir. Whilst Moti did want more ‘spice’ I suspect that will come in one of her 2 numbers with something hot and saucy in next week’s Semi. For dancing a VW brilliantly as I suspect will be the case I therefore do not expect her to be penalised for dancing the dance given to her.
    It’s possibly two 30s for Maisie and Ranvir tonite for me (or 1 perfect and the other on 29).
    Calling the exit is more difficult and I expect another unexpected twist with JJs ‘gravy train’ coming to an end. He will be scored well but there will be enough technique gaps for esp Craig to penalise. Bill I feel will score (for him) poorly and will either place bottom or just above JJ and Jaime to scupper any way out for them. AT I fear is really not Oti’s bag and whilst Bill was flicking away well in rehearsals, I predict it will look clumpy and stompy. Wherever Bill is he will of course not leave this week. However, for traders note, this will be the week where both dance and scores will lose him quite a bit of ground with the public. Whilst Maisie and Ranvir will be on the ascendant there really is only one competitor for Bill (agree with James) and that’s the hardworking single humble Mum fairytale journey story of Ranvir and she is now a real threat to taking the crown if a sensational passionate filled fairytale of dance is whisked up in the live Grand Final – similar to how Ore and Joanne brought it to the table that night when they won.

    • Showlad

      Sorry for typo with your name Rob 🙂

      • James

        Hi Showlad. I think dancing the Salsa, Samba or Charleston in the semi-final would be an unnecessary risk for Ranvir.

        If I were in Giovanni’s position, I would be pushing the ‘are they/aren’t they’ romance angle for all it’s worth, and would be lobbying for the Tango/Rumba combination.

        • Rob

          Thanks for the comments, guys. I do think Ranvir’s support from TPTB couldn’t be any clearer but for her to win they are going to have to get rid of Bill either this week or next. I find it difficult to imagine him losing a final on the pv with his Rapper’s Delight CC to reprise.
          The most telling element will be what Ranvir is given in the sf. My early prediction is Couple’s Choice and rumba. The CC could be a clever Bollywood-type ‘Jai Ho’ routine, while rumba, potentially again the 1st rumba of the series, would be sold as a chemistry-driven triumph.
          The issue with Ranvir, series-long, is her weakness in fast Latin but she could end up the 1st ever Strictly finalist not to have had to dance any of samba, salsa and jive. I doubt she would cope with Charleston very well either. The flipside to all this is, they say it’s all too safe tonight and then her pv would be severely tested. The gold ‘bling’ outfits for HRVY and Janette do look a potential vote loser.

          • Showlad

            Nice to hear from you guys. Hope this bodes well for Eurovision Rob and that you put up lots of threads at regular intervals. First time in a long time felt a little of that greatly missed Sofabet vibe – smiles up at Daniel 😉

          • Showlad

            Think Bill would still be fav going into any final, but an inspirational set of routines from Ranvir & Gio and if Bill perceived a bit smarty pants and the wow a bit tired could still swing it. Defo still the one to beat tho (just now).

        • Showlad

          Hiya James. Indeed. I was meaning in case they *have to*. I already thought Rhunba could be very good for her style and get lots of kudos and *extra points* as the most difficult.

  3. Showlad

    Pre-results reveal (and no alluding to alleged spoilers) the judges attempted to bury JJ as I sensed they might. Thought Maisie and Ranvir would be joint top or 1 point apart which did materialise but was funny with HRVY – he danced his socks off (despite nearly falling over and off balance sometimes which didn’t seem to stop the 10s lol) – but what I didn’t expect was the absolute setting up of the biggest staging and producer push. It may have been co-incidence with the great song that lent itself to such lavish staging in the right hands – but it makes me wonder just how his public vote is in this strangest of years. I thot like Rob that the push would be for Maisie to top to consolidate her ‘rehabilitation/comeback in the eyes of the public…
    The biggest sense and revelation for me last night (and I know we have to be on our guard of not falling into what we want to project) was that the momentum change really moved more towards Ranvir last night. The Bill wow waned even more than I thot and as he gets even more serous and earnest and less funny/likeable his momentum just looks to start really noticeably tiring.

    • Rob

      I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more determined, XF-style push of a Strictly contestant than Ranvir’s ‘journey of self-discovery and re-awakening of her inner confidence’ VT last night & it follows up her series-long treatment. All eyes now on what they give her in the sf. I sense the concerted HRVY push is purely to ensure Janette makes her 1st final.

      • Showlad

        Good call re Janette and her first final narrative Rob – didn’t think of that. What a team together on here – we bring in all the bits of the mosaic

        Yes major Ranvir push by the ptb – wow. The one caveat for me Rob was the unexpected synchronicity of a visible tiring Bill momentum. I find it fascinating to watch – Oti very clearly to me is totally unaware that she is now overplaying the studious ‘I’m serious about dance’ Bill and alarmingly I don’t think she’s going to get the message either as Bill will make the final with no B2 appearance imho.
        This ‘other’ Bill is less appealing, less funny and frankly a bit dull to watch. I thought Ranvir may need a firecracker to steal this but for me the Bill decline is picking up speed at a rate that I didn’t anticipate.
        As for Ranvir – excuse the expression – unless the arse falls out of 1 uptempo of her 2 SF dances to the extent that she looks really poor (which I think Gio will be too clever to allow) there is no stopping her ascendant to the Grand Final.
        I still have Bill as fav at the mo but to be honest I’m not quite sure if the Ranvir push continues that it will be possible to resist. Also the ‘Gio’s never won’ card will no doubt be played.
        We make claims ton a penny but for me this is TRULY turning out to be a fascinating journey on what I thought was a surefire Bill landslide. Come the Grand Final and if I had to hedge my bets right now it would be a long hard think between Bill and Ranvir.
        All forecasts of course in assumption that they are both through 2nite 🙂

        • JS13

          I still wouldn’t count out HRVY! Add another 10 years to his age and you have a textbook Middle England friendly vote-winner. And I think he could bring a level of ‘wow’ in the finale which Ranvir could struggle to match.

          I think a lot will depend on Bill’s treatment next week. If they reverse the decline in his momentum we could be looking at a very different finale.

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