Spicy Salsa To Hinder Rinder
A small profit last week with Daisy biting the bullet. The writing looked on the wall for her when she came out to perform first on the night.
Greg lives to fight another day after a 3-1 judges’ decision in his favour but his first appearance in the dance-off was a setback in terms of his chances of making it to this year’s final.
The show heads to Blackpool tomorrow night which usually equates to a feel-good occasion, lots of stand-out dances and plenty of score inflation. Once again the elimination market revolves heavily around Ed Balls.
Ed has single-handedly been injecting the feel-good spirit into this series of Strictly, earning the show plenty of column inches to boot.
He has built up an enormous amount of good will, which probably reached a peak last week with his and Katya’s inspired salsa to ‘Gangnam Style’, which has to go down as one of the great Strictly moments in history:
That will be hard to top and Blackpool might be considered a convenient full stop on his unexpected journey. However, given he has a jive to ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ with Ed apparently lowered to the dance floor while playing the piano at the start of his routine, and plenty of pyros promised, this sounds like another vote-winning number.
Ed has single-handedly been injecting the feel-good spirit into this series of Strictly, earning the show plenty of column inches to boot
Of course, Russell Grant had been topping the public vote (according to the Daily Star) when he was fired out of a cannon at Wembley for his jive back in 2011 only for him to end up in the bottom 2 that night and get eliminated. And Judy Murray, who provided much of the entertainment for her hapless dances in the 2014 series, enjoyed her series-best score in Blackpool only to get eliminated.
Like Russell and Judy, Ed will likely find himself propping up the judges’ leaderboard. To ensure his safety he ideally wants some ties above him but you also get the feeling Ed’s vote at this point is more robust than either of those two, with viewers poised to show their support for him once more.
Running order will need to be monitored closely but you would think they are more likely to save Ed’s routine until later in the show. Early starters are likely to prove vulnerable as Daisy, in the coffin slot, and Greg performing his paso from the 2 slot, discovered last week.
Greg has quickstep to an iconic song for fans of ‘Grease’ in Sha Na Na’s ‘Hand Jive’. Natalie says quickstep is her favourite dance to choreograph and perform, and it is one Greg should cope with well.
A big production is anticipated for this, with auxiliary dancers perhaps tasked with some hand jive elements as Greg and Nat speed round the vast Blackpool dance floor at a rapid rate of knots. The law of averages suggests Greg should be on later and this could be teed up for a series-best score for him.
Like Ed, Claudia is dancing the jive this week and she is due an early slot. An early positioning for this would allow for a later slot for Ed. Early training footage has hinted that this might not be Claudia’s best and a series of late running order slots for her in 3 of the last 4 weeks suggests she has been struggling in the public vote.
A paso at Blackpool again hints at producer favour for Louise, scene of top pasos in the past from the likes of Anita Rani, Pixie Lott and Susanna Reid. ‘Explosive’ by Bond is an ideal piece of music to capture the drama of this dance, Louise has looked very good in training and this could be one that sees her top the judges’ leaderboard, and shorten in the Outright.
The consistently-excellent Danny, dancing a Charleston, should be landing 9s and 10s as well and be breathing down Louise’s neck. Ore, meanwhile, has a classic, crowd-pleasing Sinatra track for his VW. He got 36 for his waltz in week 5 so you would have to anticipate some 10s for this and him probably being placed among the top 3 on the leaderboard.
A paso at Blackpool again hints at producer favour for Louise, scene of top pasos in the past from the likes of Anita Rani, Pixie Lott and Susanna Reid
It all starts to point to Judge Rinder being in danger dancing the difficult salsa. In this series we have seen Ana’s salsa end up bottom 2 in week 2, Laura’s salsa end up bottom 2 in week 3, Ore’s salsa end up bottom 2 in week 7, and Daisy’s salsa end up bottom 2 last week. And ‘Spice Up Your Life’ is certainly one of the less stand-out tracks of the week.
While Judge Rinder beat Greg on the public vote last week, he had his favourite foxtrot and his grandparents to call upon to help bolster his vote. The Strictly vote is a fluid thing and with Greg potentially having the more impressive routine, likely to be on later, and due a bounce after being in the dance-off last week, there is clearly room for him to finish above Judge Rinder on the combined vote on Saturday.
You can list an assortment of potential leaderboard scenarios but pre-show a Judge Rinder vs Claudia dance-off looks the most probable outcome. If Ed’s routine is as entertaining as expected, he should poll among the top 3 and escape the bottom 2 again.
In other news Louise, Danny and Daisy have been confirmed for the Strictly Tour next year. It is looking more and more likely we will have a final this year of Danny, Louise + 1.
Ladbrokes has an Ed Balls’ Blackpool Points Total market. Score inflation is the order of the day in Blackpool so 7s or 8s are possible from Darcey, Len and Bruno as long as Ed nails the routine. Craig gave Ed a 4 last week and a 6 looks the ceiling with him. So 27-30 looks within range as long as Craig doesn’t play the party-pooper and pull out his 4 paddle again.
Judge Rinder – 8th elimination – 2pt win – 5-2 – Ladbrokes
This week’s songs and dances:
Claudia and AJ will be dancing the Jive to ‘Hey Mickey’ by Toni Basil
Danny and Oti will be dancing the Charleston to ‘Puttin’ On The Ritz’ by Gregory Porter
Ed and Katya will be dancing the Jive to ‘Great Balls of Fire’ by Jerry Lee Lewis
Greg and Natalie will be dancing the Quickstep to ‘Hand Jive’ by Sha Na Na
Judge Rinder and Oksana will be dancing the Salsa to ‘Spice Up Your Life’ by Spice Girls
Louise and Kevin will be dancing the Paso Doble to ‘Explosive’ by Bond
Ore and Joanne will be dancing the Viennese Waltz to ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra