Basil Fawlty high kicks failed to prevent towering Bond film actor Colin Salmon getting booted off Strictly Come Dancing last week, as we predicted for a 9/2 winning elimination betting tip.
So who is going to be the next celebrity to follow in his extremely large footsteps and leave the dance floor for good this weekend?
The bookies’ favourite to leave is, as usual, the showbiz TV presenter, Richard Arnold biggest at 2/1 to go (Stan James, Ladbrokes, Coral). He found himself in the dance off against Colin on Sunday and shocked everyone by outperforming him when it mattered most.
Richard has survived the dance off twice. He has proved that, unlike the charismatic and much more naturally talented Colin, he can hold his nerve under the ultimate pressure that Strictly can inflict on its celebrities.
Richard deserved to be in the dance off as he totally lost the plot on Saturday’s show. In case you missed it, Craig Revel Horwood described his performance as ‘a complete dance disaster’. For once, he was not being unduly unkind. Richard appeared to experience a brain block shortly after the start of his foxtrot with Erin Boag. He forgot his routine. It was rather like the moment when the sat nav loses the signal and you can only guess what to do until it returns.
Fortunately, Erin proved that she is not only an outstanding professional dancer but is a pretty respectable ventriloquist too. If you watch a replay of the routine, pay close attention to her lips. A cursory glance shows the compulsory fixed smile. Look carefully and you can see her giving dancing directions to her desperately lost partner.
Unlike Westlife’s Nicky Byrne (third favourite to go at 6/1 with Bet365, BetVictor) and the cyclist Victoria Pendleton (biggest at 8/1 with Bet365 or Ladbrokes to be on her bike), Richard lacks a loyal public to vote for him if he fails to deliver an entertaining routine.
The public did save Richard from the dance off in Halloween week after his low scoring paso doble left him in the third last position on the score board. He may not have been technically proficient but the music was particularly dramatic and the routine looked good to the unprofessional eye.
His performance was good enough to earn him a standing ovation from the audience. The viewing public were obviously impressed too and phoned in to save him. Whether or not they choose to do so this week will depend on the quality of the performance he delivers.
He has a massive advantage this week. He is dancing the ultimate crowd pleaser, the charleston. It should suit him. There is a very good reason why very few celebrities have left the show after this dance. It should help keep him in the competition for another week.
The likeable cricketer, Michael Vaughan seems a better bet to draw stumps this week. He is currently being offered at a generous 8/1 with Coral to be bowled out of the TV show.
Michael amazed everyone two weeks ago by proving his competence ‘in hold’, dancing the quickstep with his partner Natalie Lowe. It put him into joint second place and was not a one off. He followed up with an impressive foxtrot last week, achieving an identical score of 31.
Sadly, on Saturday he will be dancing the salsa and perhaps the bookmakers haven’t yet realised he is not ‘in hold’ this week.
Why is the salsa such a big deal for Michael?
The salsa is a ‘social’ dance of Cuban origin. It has elements of cha cha cha and mambo. Perhaps it is best summarised as a party dance for hot blooded Latin types having a good time in much warmer climates than ours.
It does not take a genius to spot that the salsa is not a naturally good fit for someone like Michael. He is the epitome of everything that is British and ‘decent.’ He has understandably flourished in the most fundamentally British of sports.
Michael has ‘miraculously’ managed to master the controlled, elegant and understated dances of the ballroom. It is a very different call to perform this overtly sexual South American stuff.
You can count on Michael to put in the necessary hours in the training room but he cannot change who he is. Natalie sounded less than confident when asked to comment on her hopes for their salsa earlier this week.
You only have to look at his scores for Latin routines to see that ‘it is not his thing’. In Hollywood week his cha cha cha to Hot Stuff earned him a less than grand total of only 19 points.
He was third last on the score board and found himself in the dance off. Like Richard, he does not appear to have a public who will vote for him, no matter how he performs.
The second favourite to go this week is TV presenter, Fern Britton at best betting odds of 5/2 (Bet365, Blue Square, BetVictor). Her dancing has been consistently mediocre and she has never been far from the bottom of the leader board.
She deserves to get the boot but, for reasons I do not understand, the public have so far voted to keep her out of the dance off. They have needed to.
A lot of people must really like her professional partner, Artem Chigvintsev. When he chooses to showcase his physique as he did, bare chested, last week, even Craig admitted to being distracted.
It was just as well that Artem decorated the set because Fern’s paso doble was really rather boring. She looked as if she was wandering around doing housework long before she was deposited on the floor and whirled around to polish it.
This week she will also be performing the salsa. She does not suffer from ‘decency’ (remember that this is the woman who appeared on Ryvita ads and ‘forgot’ to mention that she had a gastric band). She is unlikely to shy away from a saucy routine with her perfectly formed partner. There are no comments from the wardrobe department yet but you can be pretty sure that Artem will not be overdressed.
Fern has intimated that there will be some humour in their routine. They will certainly need something to cover for her blatant lack of talent.
I would not be sad to see Fern Britton leave Strictly but a bit of humour goes a long way and I think that she will survive to dance another week. Nicky Byrne looks distinctly vulnerable but his fans have so far kept him out of the dance off and will probably do so again.
Our Strictly Elimination Betting Tip Verdict
Richard Arnold should be saved by the charleston so the Strictly story looks most likely to end for Michael Vaughan this week. He is currently being offered at a big price to be eliminated (8/1 with Coral). The cricketer looks the best value to be knocked for six this week so our tip is to take those betting odds.