Will Power

Sep 30, 2022 by

Will Power

Will stole the show last Saturday with his high energy, high impact, 34-scoring jive and has already been matched below 2.7 for the series win on Betfair, so is this series the procession the market is already preparing itself for?

When you look at the history of Strictly, topping the leaderboard in week 1 isn’t the typical route to victory. Only Abbey Clancy and Kelvin Fletcher have managed to front run their way to the Glitterball trophy.

In series 5, Mark Ramprakash did tie for first place on the first night, but that year the field was split across two nights and Emma Bunton ended up leading the week 1 scoring chart.

It’s obvious why starting the series with a bang can prove a contestant’s undoing. They are immediately earmarked as a ringer. They inadvertently set a very high bar for themselves, and there’s no journey for the audience to invest in.

Many will be reassured in seeing close parallels between Will and Kelvin. Good looking, Northern guys with charm and magnetism, playing perfectly to Strictly’s core voting demographic. The question that remains is, whether Will has as much going for him as Kelvin did.

Kelvin had Oti as his partner. They had great chemistry together. Oti was not only a brilliant choreographer but had built a strong affinity with the Strictly audience. Does Nancy bring as much to the table? Kelvin possessed humility in abundance and was able to show a sensitive side – his rumba one of his greatest triumphs. Can Will replicate that?

Up to and including the final, everything is in a state of flux on Strictly and the show’s dark arts are usually the ultimate arbiter

We have also seen many a top fast Latin male contestant fail to win the series over the years including Danny Mac. Up to and including the final, everything is in a state of flux on Strictly and the show’s dark arts are usually the ultimate arbiter. The show also tried its best to get Jay McGuiness beaten in 2015 and no one knows how close it got to pushing Kellie Bright for the win.

Given Will’s dance background and professional dancer wife, it could just be he is set to ace it every week but there is the ballroom question still to be answered, and relentless nitpicking of ballroom technique has been used in the past to put male contestants away possessing a high level of fast Latin ability the show didn’t want as winners.

It is interesting TPTB have granted Will a second consecutive fast Latin in week 2.

Week 2 dances & songs:
Ellie S and Nikita: Waltz to Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
Ellie T and Johannes: Paso Doble to Les Toreadors by Georges Bizet
Fleur and Vito: Viennese Waltz to Glimpse Of Us by Joji
Helen and Gorka: Cha, Cha, Cha to Rain On Me by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande
Jayde and Karen: Tango to Rumour Has It by Adele
Kaye and Kai: Charleston to Music! Music! Music! By Dorothy Provine
Kym and Graziano: Viennese Waltz to Runaway by The Corrs
Molly and Carlos: Quickstep to Love On Top by Beyoncé
Hamza and Jowita: Jive to Blinding Lights by The Weeknd
James and Amy: Tango to Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran
Matt and Nadiya: Samba to Night Fever by the Bee Gees
Richie and Giovanni: Quickstep to Dancin’ Fool by Barry Manilow
Tony and Katya: Charleston to My Old Man’s A Dustman by Foster and Allen
Tyler and Dianne: Jive to Hit The Road Jack by Buster Poindexter
Will and Nancy: Salsa to Never Too Much by Luther Vandross

We now know this is his strength but it’s never ideal to play your trump cards on Strictly too early. In jive and salsa, Will has also been granted the exact same first two dances as Rose last year but the motives for this could be diametrically opposed.

The surprise, break-out star of week 1 was Hamza. He looks remarkably light on his feet, is easy to warm to, and in Jowita he has found a partner who not only looks a great teacher but also possesses a lot of natural charm herself.

He’s a big guy so a jive is going to be a tough assignment in week 2. It’s not going to be up to Will standard but there is no reason why Hamza won’t excel in some of the other Latin dances, with his ballroom already looking assured.

That latter remark also applies to Helen who produced a highly competent, foxtrot-based AS. A score of 26 was a classic, under the radar week 1 treatment and tees her up nicely for a journey. Her and Gorka certainly look the part together.

Tyler may be set to shine more in the fast Latin department which could be highlighted as soon as tomorrow night with his jive

The dreaded CCC is a dance she should be happy to get out of the way early. It could prove an early bump in the road and is likely to see her continue on a ‘simmering under’ setting.

Unsurprisingly, Fleur was granted the week 1 pimp slot but then endured something of a take down. She always had the look of a powerhouse fast Latin dancer, and her CCC exposed the danger she faces in looking too powerful. At least she now has a journey of sorts in the making – refining her technique and reining it in.

We may see that narrative introduced in week 2 as Fleur tackles a first ballroom routine and has an ideal, dreamy track to sell a soft and lilting VW. Fleur is also likely to prove hard to beat in dance-offs.

Both Molly and Tyler may have dance-off assassin duties down the line as well. Molly looks like being an accomplished all-rounder whereas Tyler may be set to shine more in the fast Latin department. This could be highlighted as soon as tomorrow night with his jive which has looked highly promising in training.

Kym, similar to Helen, enjoyed an under the radar start to the series, opening the show with a 23-scoring jive. It was interesting to hear how many times the word ‘family’ was used to describe her, the show having previously mentioned the fact she is a grandmother.

She appears to have natural dance acumen and could be set to show more prowess in the ballroom department. She suffers motion sickness so a VW tomorrow will be one she’ll be glad to see the back of.

Ellie S is a delight and she will have enormous good will to guide her comfortably through the early weeks of the series. It’s going to be interesting to see how Nikita tackles being in hold with her but on paper it’s another Saturday waltz set to an ideal track.

Samba is not a dance conducive to high scores… so it looks like Matt will stay low on the leaderboard and in danger of a dance-off appearance

Ellie T was afforded blatant leaderboard protection with a quickstep which was no more than average. The fact TPTB have given her a paso in week 2, thus allowing her to duck fast Latin in the first two weeks, tells us she’s unlikely in their sights for first elimination.

Two contestants who endured much tougher appraisals and scoring in week 1 were James and Matt. James showed some decent technique in his jive. He clearly has ability and with Amy being a good ballroom teacher we could see some improvement tomorrow night with a tango.

Matt, on the other hand, not only endured harsh comments and scoring for his QS, but must now cope with samba. It’s not a dance conducive to high scores and last night’s training footage didn’t convince so it looks like Matt will probably stay low on the leaderboard and in danger of a dance-off appearance.

Richie’s CCC wasn’t any great shakes but the show appeared to show him much greater generosity, and it was a similar story with Jayde and her rather flat-footed samba. Jayde’s tango to Adele could be in line for higher scores than Richie’s QS and if it plays out like that Richie could still find himself under threat of being in the dance-off.

The two duffers of the series, Tony and Kaye, have both been handed the lifeline of Charleston. There was a strong hint, purely in the production afforded to Tony’s opening tango, the show is invested in his progress. Seventy hours of training received a shout out from Claudia and it seems unlikely it will want to lose its hapless underdog and big entertainer.

Kaye’s case for retention looks more suspect but as the older female contestant this year they may want her to last a little while, at least, and the choice of Charleston could offer an escape. Kai is promising the ‘Cirque du Soleil’ of Charlestons and Kaye didn’t look too bad in training.

Leaderboard ties are likely in a field of 15 and the more ties the better for both Tony and Kaye’s chances of avoiding the dance-off.

Please do keep an eye out on Twitter (@EntertainOdds, @ferrisdayoff) for the exit poll we will be running at the end of tomorrow night’s show and let us know who got your vote. It offers the chance for a snap window of how the actual vote could be going, and to trade the 1st elimination market while it remains open on the Betfair Exchange prior to voting lines closing.

Week 1 judges’ leaderboard:
Will and Nancy: Jive to Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin – (12) – 8, 9, 8, 9 = 34
Hamza and Jowita: Foxtrot to Islands In The Stream by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers – (14) – 8, 9, 9, 8 = 34
Molly and Carlos: Samba to Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne Marie and Little Mix – (8) – 7, 8, 8, 8 = 31
Fleur and Vito: Cha Cha Cha to Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez – (15) – 7, 7, 7, 8 = 29
Ellie T and Johannes: Quickstep to I Am What I Am by Klaus Hallen Tanzorchester – (13) – 6, 7, 7, 8 = 28
Ellie S and Nikita: Cha Cha Cha to Dance by DNCE – (10) – 6, 7, 7, 6 = 26
Helen and Gorka: American Smooth (foxtrot) to You Send Me by Aretha Franklin – (7) – 6, 7, 6, 7 = 26
Kym and Graziano: Jive to Yes by Merry Clayton – (1) – 4, 6, 6, 7 = 23
Jayde and Karen: Samba to Dirrty by Christina Aguilera featuring Redman – (3) – 4, 7, 6, 6 = 23
Richie and Giovanni: Cha Cha Cha to I’m Your Man by Wham! – (6) – 5, 5, 6, 7 = 23
James and Amy: Jive to What I Like About You by The Romantics – (5) – 6, 5, 5, 6 = 22
Tyler and Dianne: American Smooth to Falling by Harry Styles – (2) – 4, 5, 7, 6 = 22
Kaye and Kai: Tango to Voulez-Vouz by ABBA – (4) – 6, 5, 5, 5 = 21
Matt and Nadiya: Quickstep to Sir Duke by The Chris Walden Big Band – (9) – 5, 5, 5, 5 = 20
Tony and Katya: Tango to Go West by Village People – (11) – 3, 4, 4, 4 = 15


  1. James

    Hi Rob. Good to hear your thoughts, as always. When the line up was first announced, I split my stakes between Helen, Tyler & Will; and in the run up to launch show I also added James & Hamza to the green list. This was more in hope than expectation, but as male celebrities in their 30’s, they both seemed overpriced.

    Remembering how Adam was treated after week 1 last year, it can be foolish to predict the producers intentions at this early stage, but Will, Hamza and Helen all look well placed for a long run on the show.

    One of the surprises for me last week were Molly & Carlos. I initially had them pegged as a partnership that would be eliminated somewhere between Blackpool & Musicals week, but now think it could be Molly, rather than Fleur, who is this year’s ‘dance off assassin’.

    Saffron & Tilly were both eliminated in 6th place, in the week they danced the Samba. Molly has already shown more flair for Latin than those two, so could be hard to eliminate from the competition, despite falling well short on the public vote.

    For anyone who expects a male celeb to win the competition, there could be some dead heat value in Molly’s price for ‘top female’.

  2. Stoney

    Brakes applied tonight

    • James

      Felt like a bump in the road rather than a serious derailment to me!

      • Stoney

        You wouldn’t criticise a week 2 dance that heavily if you was a favoured act. I actually thought it was a decent effort. The amount of people saying it was nowhere near as good as week one is worrying. Considering as it wasnt that bad. Judges influence.

    • Stoney

      Ellie will likely be favourite by show time on Saturday

      • Rob

        Seems like it’s a year for snowballing, bandwagon gambles. First Will, now Ellie S. My advice is to take a trading approach. Molly has dropped from high 20s to below 10. You could have easily layed Fleur 5 or below, & can now back her at 13. Hamza has dropped from the 40s & been matched below 8. Ellie S now being matched at 5.6 after drifting out to the 30s. You can really make hay if you time your backs and lays well.

  3. Stoney

    I have taken last weekends warning signs very seriously as a sign they do not like the idea of Will winning. And the easiest female to thwart him would be Ellie Simmonds. So I have levelled my book slightly and made her my biggest green.

  4. Stoney

    I think the warning signs for Will have become even brighter now. I would give him next to no chance of winning, despite him still being in the running with the bookies. His treatment has been awful, and I see no reason why it will improve from this point onwards. Hamza has been pimped to high heaven. I would be concerned backing him at that price at the half way point.
    Helens odds have been bizzare. Hasn’t had anything remotely close to a wow moment but still holding firm in the odds. The classic journey contestant being kept in the wings? Quite possibly.

    • M8

      Personally (and I’m not saying this because him winning would be arguably my biggest profit since betting on Strictly), but I think Hamza has this near enough in the bag bar a serious derailing, which I can’t see happening. He’s BBC family and ticks all the diversity boxes. At this stage he’s in Rose territory for me, who it was clear had it pretty much wrapped at this stage last year.

      40/1! To think I used to hate the launch show many years back when I was simply a viewer and Brucie (god rest his soul) was pairing them all up. Now I pretty much owe any money I make on Hamza this year down to it.

      • Stoney

        I won’t dent he looks the likely winner at this stage. But no way is it as certain as Rose was. Calling him king Hamza at the half way stage is way over the top, and the public may not appreciate this for the next 6weeks. What if Tony is topping the vote at the moment?

        • M8

          It’s funny you mention Tony! Helen was always my primary cover in the event that the worst happened with Hamza. But I’ve made sure to cover Tony as well, because as a football fan, I’m well aware of the Arsenal fans’ voting power…and they are voting!

      • Stoney

        Hamza over marked again this weekend. Getting a bit ott now and viewers are aware of it now. The same viewers that got offended with Craig’s 3 for Ellie and came to her rescue.
        Finally Helen shows us why her odds have held up for the series and becomes a challenger for Hamza. Who has been at the top of the leaderboard for most of the series. Where is the room for him to grow and gain momentum?
        I would imagine he is clear at the moment, but the gap is shortening, and I would imagine Helen will start mopping up the votes as the middle england friendly contestants start falling.

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