Volcanic Ash

Sep 28, 2018 by

Volcanic Ash

Week 1 of Strictly threw us a few curveballs and there have been some stark over-reactions on the Outright. There was a market anticipation Vick would start the series with a bang. As her routine began her price started to contract, only to then lengthen when it became clear it was rough round the edges and there were a number of mistakes.

She looked very much a work in progress and somewhat under-cooked training-wise. In horse racing parlance, if she was a 2-year-old running first time out she would receive notes of leggy and unfurnished (which means scope for improvement).

The complexity of the choreo highlighted Graziano’s belief in her dance ability so it would be unwise to lose faith in her just yet. Moving forward, it will be up to him to choreo more sensibly and make sure she is the focus, so there are questions to be answered on that score. But her struggles in week 1 could actually prove a plus in terms of her long-term prospects.

The miserly score awarded to her of 18 was perhaps more surprising, and ultra-stingy in the context of Joe’s jive being awarded 9pts more. Vick finds herself in a precarious spot moving into tomorrow night. but it will likely be a different script and a strong comeback by her performing a waltz.

Plenty of last week’s scoring was rather head-scratching. It may have been an intentional ploy by TPTB to level the playing field and part one in building a ‘most open Strictly in years’ narrative. One of the biggest mysteries was how Dr Ranj’s CCC managed to score so highly, and was so roundly eulogised even earning a standing ovation from Shirley. Based on such generous treatment Dr Ranj now looks an unlikely dance-off candidate, with salsa a surprise second Latin dance in a row for him.

It may have been an intentional ploy by TPTB to level the playing field and part one in building a ‘most open Strictly in years’ narrative

Joe received the plaudits for his jive. It was a fun if rather basic routine. He is going to have to show a lot more quality in the weeks to come to start to be considered a genuine contender. Charleston could be a good fit for him but hot on the heels of the jive it will mean he has burnt up 2 crowd-pleasing dances in the first 2 weeks of the show. Lauren arguably has the more fitting Charleston track among the two of them.

Ashley and Faye rose to the top of the week 1 leaderboard and both look like being consistent quality performers over the weeks. Ashley should excel tomorrow night dancing CCC. In training she has looked sensational. Faye has also looked very good in training footage dancing her first ballroom routine, a VW.

Danny JJ has been largely neglected by the market up to now after opening the show with a foxtrot despite the fact it showcased his ability. He has the window to make more of an impact on the competition with a CCC. Both he and Ashley have great tracks for their routines.

Charles’s CCC last Saturday looked the strongest CCC on the night. He is a very fluid, relaxed mover. Looking at the male side of the competition this year, you sense he and Danny will prove the strongest technicians. Their issue is more likely to be gaining enough traction with voters.

Charles may well impress again performing the quickstep though in the long run you sense he will be in his wheelhouse performing fast Latin routines. Graeme and Oti could have ideally done with having their samba tomorrow night. Instead, it is American Smooth for them and Graeme has looked ill at ease with the required posture of ballroom in early training footage.

Looking at the male side of the competition this year, you sense Charles and Danny will prove the strongest technicians

Stacey’s debut QS revealed that despite being a beginner she has natural dance ability. It was an encouraging edit for her in the sense they made a big deal of her being the first to have QS in week 1, and highlighted how she is a complete novice, and more used to wearing a bullet-proof vest doing her investigative journalism work in a war-torn foreign land.

Tomorrow night may prove more of a baptism of fire for her trying to negotiate the tricky CCC, with Ashley and Danny likely to outshine her. She could also be on early.

Seann and Lee both have the difficult jive and Seann’s should be on later. Shirley’s personal assassination of Seann may have hinted he is in the sniper’s sights for the first takedown of the series but there is room for Katya to work her magic with the choreo and make their routine vote-winning.

Lee came across well on the show last week and TPTB may see some decent mileage to be gained from the tabloid headlines generated from his relationship with Nadiya. But he is quite heavy set and his jive training hasn’t looked great.

Katie Piper has paso doble and doesn’t look like someone who can naturally command a performance which is what you need to do with paso. She had a late draw on Saturday (10 of 15) so may well find herself on early and will need to rely on sympathetic treatment to guide her to safety.

Shirley’s personal assassination of Seann may have hinted he is in the sniper’s sights for the first takedown of the series

Susannah has the chance of a respectable routine being swept around the dance floor by ballroom maestro Anton but is she likeable enough to earn a strong enough vote granted the Anton factor?

Kate Silverton could also be at risk of a dance-off appearance. Her CCC was very leaden-footed but at least she should draw a later running order slot performing a dance in tango she has looked more at home with in training.

So in terms of 1st elimination it looks very open and a case can be made, pre-show, for 6 or 7 potentially looking vulnerable of landing in the bottom 2. Leaderboard ties could result in someone mid-table being dragged into the dance-off and the situation will only become clearer following tomorrow night’s show.

Week 2 songs and dances:

Katie and Gorka – Paso Doble to ‘Confident’ by Demi Lovato
Susannah and Anton – Foxtrot to ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ by Frank Sinatra
Ashley and Pasha – Cha Cha Cha to ‘Boogie Wonderland’ by Earth, Wind and Fire
Lauren and AJ – Charleston to ‘New Rules’ by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox (original by Dua Lipa)
Faye and Giovanni – Viennese Waltz to ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ by Seal
Stacey and Kevin – Cha Cha Cha to ‘Came Here For Love’ by Sigala feat. Ella Eyre
Kate and Aljaz – Tango to ‘No Roots’ by Alice Merton
Vick and Graziano – Waltz to ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story
Danny and Amy – Cha Cha Cha to ‘Beggin’ by Madcon
Lee and Nadiya – Jive to ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ by Elvis Presley
Seann and Katya – Jive to ‘I’m Still Standing’ by Elton John
Dr. Ranj and Janette – Salsa to ‘Fireball’ by Pitbull feat. John Ryan
Charles and Karen – Quickstep to ‘Sir Duke’ by Stevie Wonder
Graeme and Oti – American Smooth to ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ by Otis Redding
Joe and Dianne – Charleston to ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’ by Rednex

Week 1 scoreboard:

Craig – Darcey – Shirley – Bruno

Ashley & Pasha (8) VW 7 8 7 7 = 29
Faye & Giovanni (15) CCC 7 8 7 7 = 29
Danny JJ & Amy (1) Foxtrot 6 7 7 7 = 27
Dr Ranj & Janette (9) CCC 6 6 8 7 = 27
Joe & Dianne (14) Jive 6 7 7 7 = 27
Charles & Karen (7) CCC 6 6 6 7 = 25
Lauren & AJ (3) Waltz 6 6 6 7 = 25
Stacey & Kevin (12) QS 6 6 6 6 = 24
Graeme & Oti (11) Samba 5 6 6 5 = 22
Lee & Nadiya (13) Waltz 4 6 6 6 = 22
Kate & Aljaz (2) CCC 4 6 4 6 = 20
Seann & Katya (4) Tango 3 5 4 6 = 18
Vick & Graziano (5) Jive 3 5 4 6 = 18
Katie & Gorka (10) Waltz 4 4 4 5 = 17
Susannah & Anton (6) Samba 1 4 3 4 = 12


  1. James

    Hi Rob

    Looking at weeks 2-5 in previous years, Anton has finished bottom, or joint bottom, of the leaderboard on 14 separate occasions, and yet when this happened, he was only eliminated once. This suggests that the shorter than 2/1 odds on Susannah to be eliminated provide no value.

    The key factor for the strugglers this weekend is likely to be the running order. In the previous eight years, there have been 23 celebrities who scored fewer than 20 points in week 2.

    -Twelve of these scores came in positions 1-6 of the running order, and these led to nine appearances in the bottom two and five eliminations.

    -Eleven of these scores came in positions 7-15 in the running order, and these led to just one appearance in the bottom two, and no eliminations.

    For me, the celebs most in danger of scoring fewer than 20 this weekend are Graeme, Kate, Katie, Lee, Seann & Susannah, and if TPTB were to play fair, it would be Graeme, Katie & Lee who would receive the early position in the running order. However this time last year we saw a bottom two of Chizzy (6th followed by 1st in the running order) and Brian (2nd followed by 6th in the running order), so I will be holding off from any further bets on the first elimination market until we know who is dancing when.

    • Stoney

      Last night was really annoying for me as i had Lee to go at nice odds. But he fell in the bottom 2 with the wrong person.

      • Stoney

        The bookies are giving nothing away with Staceys odds. If anyone else just had the weekend she had thet would drift big time. Bet365 still have her as a solid 5/1 shot. I took their 2/1 last week for Joe to be top man but I definately think they will get a female winner this year.

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