A crossbar job for Anastacia 3rd elimination backers last week (advised at 9-4) as she survived the dance-off up against Naga.
It came as a surprise when Naga managed to avoid the dance-off the previous week. She found herself 2nd last on the judges’ leaderboard, as she did again on Saturday, but it was Laura who was dragged down. This lulled me into thinking she had a good chance of avoiding the bottom 2 again.
This time, however, there was no escaping though you wondered if there was wiggle room for the judges to save her in a dance-off vs Anastacia. Len had scored them both the same so it would only have needed an about-turn from one of the other judges following the dance-off to create a cleverly contrived save of Naga.
One starts to wonder how much the Beeb spent securing Anastacia to take part in this series as she lives to fight another day, despite injury concerns and despite the Beeb having to fend off racism slurs on behalf of its viewers.
Anastacia may have a vote-winner up her sleeve this week as pro partner Brendan has been suffering with a chest infection and has been unable to train with her, with Gorka standing in. We don’t know whether Brendan will be fit to perform the routine with Ana tomorrow night. If Gorka stands in we have a precedent – series 9, week 9, when Brendan stood in for Robin Windsor, and Anita Dobson ended up eliminated that week.
Sinatra’s ‘My Kind Of Town’ seems a little slow for quickstep, but it is a classic tune and Ana should be capable of a decent routine as she has looked pretty good in training. She is also due a later slot in the running order.
Ed is being firmly kept on the comedy tracks with ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’ for his AS. That probably tells us the prods. would like him to stick around for a while longer yet.
Lesley has put in some tremendous efforts this series for a 71-year-old, and viewers have shown their support so far. Gotan Project’s ‘Whatever Lola Wants’ sounds like a track more suited to an Argentine tango. If this is given an early slot, Lesley could be vulnerable and she was on second last on Saturday so might well find herself on early.
A jive to ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ gives Judge Rinder the chance to ham it up but after performing 3rd last on Saturday he, too, looks at risk of an early slot.
Ed is being firmly kept on the comedy tracks with ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’ for his AS. That probably tells us the prods. would like him to stick around for a while longer yet
Greg has had a baptism of fire in this series and it continues with the tough CCC. He will do well to match, or improve on last Saturday’s 28 for his salsa. ‘We Found Love’ is a good song choice at least and if nothing else Greg backers should be happy he is getting another difficult dance out of the way while there are still 11 celebs in the competition.
Once again, his price has drifted out to a very tempting 16-1 e/w, a fifth the odds 3 places. Fundamentally, his chance has not changed despite his yo-yoing odds. We are still waiting for his first 9 of the series and we are still waiting (and if you are a backer, hoping) for a ‘wow’ routine from him and Natalie, but there is time yet. All the messages so far have been, the show is firmly behind him and they would like to navigate him to the latter stages of the series. What happens then is anyone’s guess.
Come the crucial last few weeks leading into the final this year you sense it is largely going to be in the lap of TPTB in deciding who gets the chop and who they push to the final. Most revealing will be the song choices and how the dances land in these critical weeks.
The main concern for Greg backers is, now we will presumably have a 3-couple final, TPTB may prefer 2 guys in the final and one woman, rather than an all male final. And if they are going to go down the road of bigging up Ore as the main competition to Danny, it will be tough for Greg to oust either of them.
The Strictly market is very reactionary and Ore’s pimp-slotted jive has seen his price plummet to 4-1. Up until Ore’s tears in the last 2 weeks and 2 excellent routines by him, he had lost favour with the market. It was a brilliant jive though it did feel on the cards this would be a shining moment for him.
It could be tough for him to maintain such a high level and there still remain concerns about Ore’s votability, especially when it comes to the business end of this series. Craig going as far as to say Ore is the man to beat now in the competition was a bit of a stretch, and while he was awarded a series-best 39 for his jive, Danny can feel extremely hard done by he hasn’t received a single 10 so far despite 4 exemplary routines.
Ore has the waltz tomorrow night to ‘I Will Always Love You’ which should see him secure another high score while Danny has the dreaded rumba. It will be interesting to see if they score Danny harshly again and nit-pick, while scoring up Ore and eulogising him.
Among the women, Louise is maintaining a high standard each week but without any ‘wow’ factor. However, it does only need one routine set to the right music to light the touch paper. She also has rumba tomorrow night to ‘Always On My Mind’.
Daisy did a good job with her rumba last week and this week has the chance to sell the fun Charleston. Claudia has the samba to ‘Young Hearts Run Free’. This looks the sort of routine and song potentially given the pimp slot. If this comes to pass we may get another mini Claudia gamble forming.
Among the women, Louise is maintaining a high standard each week but without any ‘wow’ factor. However, it does only need one routine set to the right music to light the touch paper
Laura has the jive which is likely to prove a difficult fast Latin challenge for her once again. She has not looked convincing in training and if she isn’t afforded leaderboard protection it is easy to envisage her dropping down into the dance-off again.
Given the chance of a sympathy vote for Ana she makes no appeal to be the 4th elimination at 11-8. And with Ed having the window to entertain once again, and incorporate some lifts, he isn’t an appealing alternative at a best-priced 9-4.
Judge Rinder’s support feels like it has been on the wane since his high-water mark of week 1’s CCC. While an early slot and middling scores could put him in danger, a jive is often a vote winner and his jive should trump Laura’s though Laura is due the later slot. Both could suffer in comparison to Ore’s defining moment last Saturday.
Along with Judge Rinder, Lesley and Laura look the other two to focus on if seeking some value. It is a week when we ideally need more intel on the night before being able to figure it out but pre-show the 14-1 Laura and 7-1 Lesley to be the 4th elimination certainly look too big to miss out on.
Coral have a ‘without Danny Mac’ market and Greg looks worth considering here at 8-1 e/w. This means you would get paid out at the place odds (8-5) if Greg at worst finishes 4th presuming Danny is still in the competition then. And if he finishes second to Danny in the final, you would collect on the 8-1. Given earlier Greg investments this won’t be added to the official portfolio.
This week’s songs and dances:
Anastacia and Brendan will be dancing the Quickstep to ‘My Kind of Town’ by Frank Sinatra
Claudia and AJ will be dancing the Samba to ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ by Candi Staton
Daisy and Aljaz will be dancing the Charleston to ‘Happy Feet’ by Manhattan Rhythm Kings
Danny and Oti will be dancing the Rumba to the Sam Smith version of ‘How Will I Know’
Ed and Katya will be dancing the American Smooth to ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’ by Tony Christie
Greg and Natalie will be dancing the Cha Cha to ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris
Judge Rinder and Oksana will be dancing the Jive to ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ by The Andrews Sisters
Laura and Giovanni will be dancing the Jive to ‘Reet Petite’ by Jackie Wilson
Lesley and Anton will be dancing the Tango to the Gotan Project version of ‘Whatever Lola Wants’
Louise and Kevin will be dancing the Rumba to the Michael Buble version of ‘Always on My Mind’
Ore and Joanne will be dancing the Waltz to the Claudia Streza version of ‘I Will Always Love You’
Laura – 4th elimination – 14-1 – 1pt win – Paddy Power, Coral, Boylesports
Lesley – 4th elimination – 7-1 – 1pt win – Coral, BetVictor