It was curtains for showbiz presenter, Richard Arnold at Wembley as we predicted and there are now just eight celebrities still standing. We undertake detailed analysis to identify our Strictly Come Dancing Betting Tip for the seventh elimination.
Essex born performer and presenter Denise Van Outen (66/1 to be booted out this week) played a blinder at Wembley with her charleston to the unlikely tune of ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’. Craig Revel Horwood even said it was the best charleston he had ever seen on Strictly. That did not stop him giving her a nine when all the other judges got their tens out for the first time this series.
Denise is strong in both ballroom and Latin. Is it her professional experience or are there more moves included in the mating rituals that take place on the dance floors of Essex than we expected? She not only got the highest score so far on Saturday but has the highest overall total score with 227 points to her name. Dancing the American smooth this week will hold no fears for her. Her place is booked in the very top section of the leader board.
Actress Dani Harmer’s (14/1 to go) quick step to You Can’t Hurry Love went down well with judges and the crowd. The diminutive duo scooted round the giant dance floor like smurfs on speed. Their score of 36 put them in second place. She will have no problems with the samba and will be another in the top third after her routine.
Gymnast Louis Smith (66/1 to be voted off) may be the favourite in the Strictly Come Dancing betting but his American smooth at Wembley seemed rather rough. He looked distinctly downbeat too. He was not so much ‘Fred Astaire’ as half dressed Andy Capp. I suppose it would have been tricky for him to do his gymnastic floor moves in the more traditional tails. He got a standing ovation from the crowd but had his first experience of the bottom half of the leader board.
Louis’ character, if he has one, is yet to emerge but he is obviously a visual hit with viewers. He was saved by the public and, now we have an indication of the strength of his fan base, he is bound to survive for many weeks to come. He looks a certainty to make the final.
Cricketer Michael Vaughan (10/3 to be evicted) also danced the American smooth. He not only looked the part but delivered a polished routine to Frank Sinatra’s New York New York. He even coped quite well with being out of hold. The unpolished element was his worried expression before attempting the lifts. He could never be trusted to catch a cricket ball and was absolutely dreading dropping Natalie in front of 6,000 people.
After successfully completing his routine he said that he had not had such a good feeling since winning the Ashes in 2005. It was Natalie’s first experience of dancing at Wembley. She described the evening as the highlight of her career.
She deserves a medal for the progress she has made with Michael. He finished in third place with a score of 35 including a nine from Craig (who has scored him with a two in the past). At the start of the show it took him two weeks to amass exactly the same total.
This week he is attempting the Argentine tango. It will take more than a miracle for Michael to muster the smouldering sexual tension for a tango. It is a particularly tricky dance for tall chaps too.
For the past two weeks it has been death by salsa. Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton (7/4 favourite in the Strictly Come Dancing elimination betting for this week) is tackling this poisoned chalice of a dance on Saturday.
The production team pulled out all the stops for her paso doble to Queen’s Bicycle Race on Saturday. She descended on to the stage on a bicycle suspended by wires. Unfortunately the only tension created by the stunt was in the wires. Bruno commented that the bicycle did not make it to Spain and she found herself sharing the very bottom of the leader board with Richard Arnold. Darcey Bussell accurately acknowledged that she started well but got overwhelmed. She recommended focusing on the exit signs in future. Brendan retorted that they might well need to for other reasons.
His fears were unfounded as the public once again saved her from the dance off. She is definitely going to need their help again this week. Brendan Cole has gone out on this dance before and has even brought in salsa experts to help choreograph their routine. The salsa is a party dance and Victoria has been far too busy training for the past four years to party. No wonder they have been struggling to capture the party mood in training.
Victoria has also this week bewailed her loss of 11 pounds, unhappy because the loss was of muscle. Bad move. Many of her supporters would probably be delighted to lose 11 pounds of anything. Could this ill judged comment turn her fans against her? She will be perilously close to the bottom of the leader board and need them more than ever.
It was Westlife’s Nicky Byrne (10/3 to go) who had to face the dance off for the first time at Wembley. His rock and roll themed jive to Jailhouse Rock was full of energy. He even leapfrogged over Karen and she was standing up at the time. Anyone with the natural spring to do that should surely deserve support? Craig was not impressed and scored him a miserly six. The other judges gave him an eight. He was left sharing sixth place with Louis Smith.
Nicky performed his routine well in the dance off and the judges were unanimous about sending Richard home.
This week Nicky will be dancing the charleston. All the professional dancers get help from specialists with choreography for this dance. I hope that means Nicky is less disadvantaged than usual by the shortcomings of Karen Hauer.
Actress Lisa Riley (10/1 to be eliminated) shone at Wembley with her samba to Car Wash. When she dramatically descended into the splits at the end of her routine Craig said he felt the earth move. This Saturday she will be dancing the rumba. Lisa has natural ability but her generous curves do not lend themselves to the shapes required for this dance. There is also no opportunity for humour or the side by side moves that have become their trademark. I would not be surprised to see her in the bottom half of the scoreboard. Will her public stay loyal?
Could this be the week that the wheels fall off for Victoria? She has definitely done herself no favours with comments about weight loss. Nicky Byrne was in the dance off after a great performance last week and may be too cool to embrace the spirit of the charleston. Michael Vaughan is tackling a dance that is a complete contrast to his character.
It is a particularly tough call this week. Victoria may well be saved by her loyal public, but we cannot be sure. Nicky Byrne’s fans will probably be galvanised into action by his experience of the Wembley dance off. Our Strictly Come Dancing elimination betting tip is to bet on Michael Vaughan’s dancing days being over on Saturday, at a best price of 10/3 with Ladbrokes.