Melvin O Doomed?
As always, it was a highly informative first couple of live shows to launch Strictly 2016, along with some seriously questionable scoring from the judges. More importantly, in terms of the pre-lives betting portfolio recommended here to readers, week 1 could hardly have panned out any better.
The surprise table topper was Daisy with 32pts, including a curious 9 from Len, along with an even more curious declaration by him that Daisy’s waltz was the best week 1 dance he has ever seen. Daisy also got a heart-rending VT about her grandfather’s recent passing.
It was a good waltz but a 9 waltz? In week 1? If there was a dance that genuinely deserved 9s or even 10s it had to be Danny’s outstanding cha, cha, cha. This was the best week 1 dance you will ever see and yet Len gave him a 7, the same score he gave to Anastacia’s far inferior and mistake-ridden cha, cha, cha – which included her losing balance and starting to topple over at one point – along with Claudia’s CCC, and Laura’s CCC on the Friday night, not to mention Tameka’s paso doble.
Craig even pulled out an 8 for Anastacia. The interpretation of this has to be more generous scoring for the sake of leaderboard protection, a trend observed in past series too. They must be wary of the danger of big American signing Anastacia’s public vote falling off a cliff. And trying to get viewers to emotionally invest in Daisy with that VT is a similar sign they know they need to go out of their way to help her.
Daisy being top of the leaderboard yet still available to win the series at 18-1 on the high street is perhaps indicative of the market taking into account this seeming score inflation, doubts persisting regarding her public vote, and with her also yet to pass the fast Latin test. Outside of Louise, however, she does look the most naturally gifted female dancer in this year’s competition.
Danny, meanwhile, is now 3-1 favourite to win Strictly. He still has to pass the ballroom test but it seems unlikely this will prove much of a hurdle for him and early training footage of his VW looked promising on yesterday’s ITT. The risk is, he has set a very high bar for himself and the best dancer doesn’t always win Strictly – as fellow Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle discovered in series 7 – but you can probably book him a final spot already.
Danny backers will be pleased to note reader James’s stat that 5 of the last 6 winners of Strictly danced CCC in week 1, Abbey Clancy’s week 1 waltz breaking the sequence in 2013. Another intriguing stat dug out by James is the last 6 winners of Strictly have either opened the Friday show or opened/closed the Saturday show in week 1:
Series 8 – Sat show-closer – Kara & Artem – winner
9 – Sat show-opener – Harry & Aliona – winner
10 – Sat show-closer – Louis & Flavia – winner
11 – Sat show-closer – Abbey & Aljaz – winner
12 – Fri show-opener – Caroline & Pasha – winner
13 – Sat show-opener – Jay & Aliona – winner
This gives us Laura, Louise and Will this year, and if we extend it to include the Friday show-closer – Greg.
Claudia produced a week 1 dance much as anticipated. Serious doubts were raised here regarding her position as market leader pre-series and she is now out to 9-1. Her tiny yet powerful build doesn’t especially benefit her in fast Latin, nor does being used to perform barefoot as a gymnast. Certainly dancing CCC on Saturday night she looked a bit stompy and flat-footed.
AJ already threw gymnastic moves into the routine which unsurprisingly went down badly with Len and Bruno. And she has ballroom to come which is so much about elegant lines and graceful movement across the floor the clear concern – given her height and even more so the height differential between her and AJ – is this will prove difficult to pull off in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The judges may well continue to be sympathetic in their comments and scoring but it looks like she has a mountain to climb to challenge for this year’s Strictly crown.
Laura has different issues dancing fast Latin. She was reminiscent of Rachel Riley on Friday night in looking like she has a weak core and as a result moving very floppily. She is likely to prove much better suited to ballroom.
Louise put in a highly polished jive and she certainly looks the leading female contender this year, with likability firmly on her side. She has clear natural dance ability and timing, and her and Kevin have the makings of a very reliable partnership. The same can probably be said for Will dancing with Karen. It was a good tango – understandably granted the pimp slot on Saturday set to David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ – while lacking any ‘wow’ factor.
Ore showed plenty of promise on the Friday night dancing a very competent tango and he is likely to impress more when he gets the chance to dance fast Latin routines as he will tomorrow night. He was also let down by Joanne’s choreography which is a slight concern moving forward. Perhaps more of a risk to his long-term chances is his supreme confidence.
Judge Rinder and Oksana produced a fun cha, cha, cha and he revelled in being centre stage. He is definitely going to entertain granted fast Latin dances and he clearly possesses a good deal of dance ability. It is perhaps more a question of how far his chutzpah can take him as ballroom routines may see his voting appeal fall away.
Arguably the biggest revelation of week 1, and a very pleasant surprise for those who took the advice here and backed him e/w at 25-1, was Greg’s pimp-slotted jive on the Friday night.
It was a promising first effort for a total non-dancer at competition start, and a sign of Natalie’s expert tuition. Greg looks like being extremely light on his feet despite his tall frame and you get the impression him and Natalie could prove a popular couple with the audience. He is also anticipated to be more naturally suited to ballroom dances despite early struggles this week with the tango.
Looking ahead to tomorrow night and the first elimination, it is interesting Ed has the Charleston. This didn’t help save Tony Jacklin in series 11 but, in theory, it does offer a platform to entertain and grab a reasonable vote. The glimpses of the routine shown on ITT this week have looked a lot of fun, and Ed has appeared surprisingly fleet-footed.
Len also gave Ed the seal of approval last Saturday pointing out that he is what Strictly is all about after he pulled off a highly respectable waltz despite being a total novice. And having Len’s support might prove decisive in a dance-off. It could end up a question of whether Ed’s Charleston can manage to outscore Melvin’s tango, but there is also more chance of losing timing and going wrong with a Charleston in a dance-off scenario.
Running order position could also have a say regarding Ed’s survival prospects, especially in relation to Tameka who is dancing Charleston as well. Whoever is on later will have the chance to steal the limelight.
Melvin has what is likely to be a somewhat forgettable tango routine and training footage on ITT has not looked convincing. You also have to ask the question where his potential vote is coming from. Lesley at least has the chance to entertain with a cha. cha, cha, should secure an older female vote, and Anton has his fans. Naga has her Breakfast fan base which should help her, and her CCC training has looked decent. Laura is expected to rise up the leaderboard on the back of a good waltz. Judge Rinder will have plenty of residual support from his much-watched CCC last week.
The current bottom 3 on the judges’ leaderboard of Lesley, Melvin and Ed is highly likely to be maintained – though the order may change – and ahead of the live show a Melvin vs Ed dance-off does look the most likely scenario.
On the assumption Melvin is doomed to be in the dance-off, and Ed is his most likely opponent is 2-1 Melvin to be eliminated a value price? Probably yes, but it won’t be advised today. We ideally need a little more intel which will only come watching tomorrow night’s show. Keep an eye on the Comments section during the live show as an elimination bet might yet materialise.
This week’s songs and dances:
Anastacia and Brendan will be dancing the Salsa to ‘Sax’ by Fleur East
Claudia and AJ will be dancing the Waltz to ‘You Light Up My Life’ by Whitney Houston
Daisy and Aljaz will be dancing the Cha Cha to ‘Forget You’ by Cee-Lo Green
Danny and Oti will be dancing the Viennese Waltz to ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by INXS
Ed and Katya will be dancing the Charleston to ‘The Banjo’s Back in Town’ by Alma Cogan
Greg and Natalie will be dancing the Tango to ‘Jump’ by Van Halen
Judge Rinder and Oksana will be dancing the American Smooth to ‘Marvin Gaye’ by Charlie Puth ft. Meghan Trainor
Laura and Giovanni will be dancing the Waltz to ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys
Lesley and Anton will be dancing the Cha Cha to the Pussycat Dolls’ version of ‘Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps’
Louise and Kevin will be dancing the Viennese Waltz to the kd lang version of ‘Hallelujah’
Melvin and Janette will be dancing the Tango to ‘Moving On Up’ by M People
Naga and Pasha will be dancing the Cha Cha to ‘Fool In Love’ by Tina Turner
Ore and Joanne will be dancing the Cha Cha to ‘Hot Stuff’ by Donna Summer
Tameka and Gorka will be dancing the Charleston to ‘Yes Sir, That’s My Baby’ to Firehouse Five Plus Two
Will and Karen will be dancing the Jive to ‘Rock Around The Clock’ by Bill Haley & His Comets