EastEnders star, Sid Owen, was the surprise Strictly Come Dancing elimination casualty last week but that was not the only shock of the Halloween Special. Now it is back to business as usual, who will be next for the boot?
So what happened last week?
Sid and Ola’s cha cha cha to Ghostbusters failed to impress the judges and left them at the very bottom of the leader board with a total score of just 17 points. They occupied exactly the same spot in Hollywood week but were saved from the dance off by the voting public. Unfortunately their fans must have been out on the town (or as underwhelmed as the judges) as it was a direct route to the dance off this time.
At the opposite end of the leader board was the hot favourite in the Strictly Come Dancing betting, the Olympic gymnast Louis Smith. He achieved the highest of the series so far for his tango. His professional partner, Flavia Cacace, is a tango specialist. To the uneducated eye, he looked almost as good as she did. Karen Hardy, the ex Strictly professional, later pointed out that he made quite a few mistakes but he covered them well enough to get nines from most of the judges.
Second place was shared by three couples who scored 31 points. It was no surprise to see Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh so close to the top of the score board. She has performed consistently from day one and delivered a stylish, Red Riding hood themed paso doble to Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’.
The gold medal winning Olympic cyclist, Victoria Pendleton, looked shocked to find herself sharing second place. The improvement that began in Hollywood week has definitely gained momentum. She danced a wonderfully dramatic tango to Billy Idol’s White Wedding. She is finally mastering the nerves that have marred most of her previous routines.
The third person to share the second spot and the massive shock of the night was the performance of the retired cricketer, Michael Vaughan. How anyone can be so completely hopeless one week and so effortlessly elegant the next was a revelation to everyone, including the judges. Bruno Tonioli declared it ‘a miracle’.
Taking part in the dance off last week seems to have focused his energies as never before. His partner, the very capable Natalie Lowe, has managed to correct his ballroom posture (his bottom tended to stick out). He danced a quickstep that got a standing ovation from the audience as well as a great score from the judges. Craig Revel Horwood even applauded him and scored him an eight. In the previous week he gave him just three.
Looking at the other end of the leader board, the public chose to save TV presenter Fern Britton. She was second from the bottom after the judges’ scores for her anodyne attempt at the American smooth.
Richard Arnold was third last (usually a perilous position) after his rather effeminate effort at the paso doble.
He predictably failed to master the necessary technique to mimic the movements of a matador but Erin Boag came up with a crowd pleasing routine which earned him a standing ovation from the audience. The incredibly dramatic ‘O Fortuna’ from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (known to most of us as The Omen music) probably helped his cause too. Arnold breathed a massive sigh of relief when he was declared safe – despite the obvious restrictions imposed by his substantial red cummerbund.
The writing was on the wall for Sid and Ola as soon as their opposition was announced. The Bond film actor, Colin Salmon, had scored a respectable 24 points with his Salsa but lack of public support left him facing the dance off. Every judge except Len thought Colin deserved to stay.
Elimination Betting Tip: Best Bet To Go
Miracles can obviously happen on Strictly so it is a particularly tough call this week. So far, no one has been in the bottom two, facing the dance off more than once but can that trend continue?
If you think so, Fern Britton (3/1 to go with Bet365, Stan James) has to be vulnerable. She is currently the second favourite to go. She has never made it into the top half of the leader board but has always been saved from the dance off by the public. While other celebrities that started slowly are now improving, she is experiencing more of a downward spiral than an upward curve. Will her so far loyal public continue to keep her in the competition?
She is the dancing the paso doble on Saturday. If she does not manage to increase her energy level she will find herself in need of substantial external support. Artem sounded less than confident about their chances on Thursday. He has also requested another body revealing outfit from the wardrobe department (for him, not Fern). Is it Artem’s fans that are helping to keep this duo in the competition?
Richard Arnold (11/4 to go with Ladbrokes, William Hill) has already survived one dance off and is currently the favourite to leave the competition. He is much better when he is ‘in hold’ and he could not have a better teacher than his ballroom specialist partner for his foxtrot this weekend. They have the advantage of good music too, Shirley Bassey’s ‘Hey Big Spender’. They should scrape through.
The foxtrot will also be danced by Colin Salmon (9/2 to leave with Bet365, Stan James) and Michael Vaughan (7/1 to leave with William Hill). Michael has spent more time training than anyone else so far this week. Natalie Lowe claims she is more excited about this dance for him than she was about his quickstep. It sounds as if he’s set to stay.
Colin Salmon has looked distinctly flat footed (not a good thing for the foxtrot) in training. He also has to overcome the problem of maintaining the correct posture when his partner, Kristina Rihanoff, is about a foot shorter than he is.
Westlife’s Nicky Byrne (9/1 to go Paddy Power) is also set for a difficult time. There will be no disguise for him to hide behind as he tackles the rumba. A low score from the judges is likely but his substantial fan base should ensure he survives.
- Colin Salmon looks the most likely to go this week and is worth a bet at 9/2 to do so with Bet365 or Stan James.