We said farewell to the fallacious Fern Britton and our surviving celebrities will strut their stuff at Wembley this weekend. Who is likely to thrive and who will wilt under the pressure of such a massive stage? We unearth the best betting tip for the sixth Strictly Come Dancing Elimination.
The retired cricketer Michael Vaughan is the second favourite to be out this week. He found himself at the bottom of the leader board after his less than sensational salsa on Saturday. Support from the public saved him from the dance off. He is 7/2 to go with Bet365 or SkyBet.
True to form, his weaknesses were exposed by the Latin routine but it was a much better effort than many of us were expecting. Bruno even said that he could ‘now bat for the Latin team’ and scored him a seven. Craig was less forgiving, saying that the routine was ‘littered with timing issues’ and awarded him just five. Even Craig had to praise him for his lifts that Natalie had cleverly included.
Michael may not be able to dance in time with Latin music but he can certainly handle Natalie in the air. According to Darcey Bussell, he even managed the correct technique, using his thighs rather than his back. However he did it, he looked like a pretty safe pair of hands when holding Natalie aloft.
At Wembley Michael will be dancing the American smooth. Fortunately for him, this is the one ballroom dance that permits a lift or two so we can expect Natalie to showcase not only his ballroom prowess but his strength at hurling her into the air.
Michael is definitely at his best in ballroom mode and even found himself in joint second place three weeks ago after his foxtrot. He is unlikely to find himself in the dance off this week and should survive until his next Latin routine.
Olympic star cyclist Victoria Pendleton (7/1 to be gone with SkyBet or Blue Square) could struggle with the additional pressures of Wembley. She managed a very decent quickstep last week, scoring a total of 30 points that left her in sixth place. Fortunately she had the support of the stair rail and appeared unfazed when her professional partner, Brendan Cole, fell over at the end of their routine.
She will be dancing the paso doble on Saturday. She says that she can do aggression as the facial expression required is not so different from one of intense concentration. It is the romantic stuff that she struggles with. Her problem with the paso will be that not all of it is in hold. If the nerves kick in and she forgets her steps it could get embarrassing.
They will be dancing to Queen’s Bicycle Race and we can expect to see a bike (and we don’t mean Victoria) in the routine somewhere. I’m not sure how bicycle clips will work with a paso doble outfit but at least it should give Victoria a sense of security if she is on it. More importantly, it will remind the public of why they should save her.
Westlife’s Nicky Byrne is best priced to be eliminated at 8/1 in the betting with SkyBet or William Hill. On Saturday he achieved his highest score so far and shared sixth place with Victoria after his foxtrot. He not only received some superlatives from the judges but the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Provided his professional partner, the newcomer Karen Hauer, does not forget to factor in the new dimensions of the dance floor (it sounds obvious but she has made some stunningly stupid mistakes in the past), Nicky should do well at Wembley.
Not only does he have experience of performing at the venue with Westlife but he has a dance that the former Strictly Come Dancing professional, Ian Waite, thinks could leave him close to the top of the leader board. He is dancing the jive. His prowess as a footballer should help him achieve accuracy with the kicks and his musicality should ensure that they are in time with the music. Expect a big performance from him.
The favourite to bid adieu at Wembley is the TV showbiz presenter, Richard Arnold (evens with Bet365, BetVictor or Ladbrokes). This is the fourth time that he has been the favourite to leave the show and the bookies might just have got it right this time.
As predicted, his enthusiastic execution of the charleston on Saturday went down relatively well with the judges. He also achieved his highest score to date, clocking up a total of 29 points, leaving him in eighth place. He needed plenty of public support to avoid the dance off and, as expected, he got it.
His professional partner Erin Boag came up with an entertaining routine which suited Richard’s character perfectly. It was wonderfully camp, full of slapstick comedy and included a memorable move which Craig Revel Horwood said he could well have done without – a few seconds of Richard spanking Erin’s rather exposed bottom. Richard put their survival down to the appeal of her shapely derriere.
We can anticipate another great routine from Erin for Wembley and rely on Richard’s woeful execution of it. They are dancing the salsa. Richard’s ‘lack of technique downstairs’ to use Karen Hardy’s phrase (yes, she was definitely talking about his dancing) is going to be thoroughly exposed.
Ian Waite pointed out that he was looking rather flat footed on Wednesday. The salsa requires dancers to get on to the balls of their feet to achieve the necessary ‘bounce’. It is difficult to envisage anyone else occupying the bottom of the leader board unless Victoria forgets her routine when out of hold in the paso doble.
There were, however, shocks aplenty last week in Bruce Forsyth’s absence. Two professionals hit the floor in the most embarrassing fashion. I wonder if they hold back on the floor polish when the 84 year-old Bruce is around? Brendan Cole fell at the end of his routine and Robin Windsor slipped when running up the stairs after his performance with Emmerdale actress, Lisa Riley.
The biggest surprise of all was to find the second placed (after the judges’ scores) Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh, in the dance off against Fern Britton. Zero suspense as to who would survive.
This week looks very likely to be the swansong for Richard Arnold. After last week’s shock it is difficult to predict his competition in the dance off but he looks to be incapable of beating anyone left in the show.
- So the betting tip to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing has to be Richard Arnold at evens with Bet365, BetVictor or Ladbrokes.