It’s the Strictly Come Dancing final today (Saturday) and we pick our betting tips for both outright winner and next celebrity to be eliminated from the show.
Four couples go into the final for the first time in Strictly history. They will all perform two routines. One couple will be chucked out in the results show before the remaining three dance for the top prize.
Super-sized actress Lisa Riley got the red card after the dance off from the judges last week as we predicted. She faced the all round performer and vastly superior dancer, Denise Van Outen. Tess Daly was talking rubbish (as usual) when she said it was going to be a difficult decision for the judges. The writing was on the wall the moment Lisa was destined for the dance off.
Lisa certainly provided plenty of entertainment, even Craig Revel Horwood was crying with laughter after her failed attempt at a floor spin in the salsa. She crash landed and failed to spin an inch. Gravity had taken its toll. Sadly she was firmly stuck not just on the floor but in the second division when it came to dancing whilst all the other semi-finalists had graduated to the Premier League.
At 6.50pm today our four remaining couples will perform either a Latin or ballroom routine chosen by the judges. Next will be the all important showdance where anything goes. We can expect lifts, tricks and probably some gymnastic moves from our last remaining man, the Olympian, Louis Smith.
The results show really will be live this week, nearly an hour after the end of the earlier programme, at 8.55pm. One couple will be eliminated using the standard formula of the judges’ scores combined with the public vote. There has been no mention of a dance off so it looks as if the lowest scoring celebrity will simply be sent off.
The three remaining couples then perform a previous routine of their choice. A combination of the judges’ scores and the public vote will decide who will lift the glitterball.
Denise is the 16/1 (Stan James, Ladbrokes) outsider to win the show. Last week she danced a wonderfully dramatic tango to Roxanne and achieved a near perfect score of 39 from the judges and a standing ovation from the crowd.
She followed up with a shockingly romantic rumba. We were expecting something seriously raunchy from the Essex girl. The costume people even put her in a distinctly unsexy, billowing white dress which we suspect concealed her imperfect hip action. She got another big score of 38 from the judges with Len and Bruno awarding her a ten.
Her efforts left her in second place with the judges but she obviously lacks public support and found herself in the dance off for the second time. I suspect that the majority of voters are women and that they do not like her.
Brash and brassy presumably does not go down well with females in front of the television rather than out and about on a Saturday night. The debate in the press about the perceived advantage of her dance experience in musicals has not helped her cause either.
Tonight she will be dancing the jive that she performed so successfully back in the second week. Ian Waite was impressed with her showdance in training on Wednesday’s It Takes Two.
I don’t think it matters how good she is. She is not liked and is definitely not going to win, even if she scores a perfect 40 after the first two routines. She is the favourite to be eliminated from the final round at evens for good reason. Should she make it through to the final three she will be dancing her Egyptian themed charleston from Wembley. I hope she has not spent too much time rehearsing it.
Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh had a sensational semi-final and is second favourite to win Strictly at 15/8 (Betfred, Blue Square). Her almost perfect American smooth to Fever had the crowd on their feet and attracted a score of 38. Head judge Len Goodman thought it was ‘fantastic’ but wanted more of it to be in hold. He joined Craig in scoring her a nine.
Her subsequent charleston to Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines was even better. She scored a perfect 40 with the judges. Kimberley has managed to up her game in the last two weeks and found herself at the top of the leader board for the second week running.
Tonight she will kick off with the Viennese waltz that gained her a score of 34 back in week six. She finished in second place on the leader board but found herself in the dance off. Given the improvement she has achieved recently, I would not be surprised to see her get a perfect score.
The snapshot of her showdance shown on Wednesday appeared to be very promising. It looks very likely that she will make it to the final three. She has chosen to perform the tango as her third dance.
Actress Dani Harmer (12/1 to win with Ladbrokes, Stan James) also brought her A game to the semi-finals. She opened the show with an American smooth that gained her a score of 34. As always, her footwork was perfect. It was described as very elegant, very chic, very beautiful but ‘a bit safe’. Her second dance, the Argentine tango (partner Vincent Simone’s speciality) was anything but safe. They even started the dance in silence, before the music began. One rather lumpy looking lift marred the otherwise dazzling routine that Bruno Tonioli and Len scored with a ten. Craig and Darcey Bussell gave her a nine. Her total score for the night of 72 left her in third place with the judges.
Her first dance in the final will be the tango that scored her 34 in the week before Wembley. Not a bad start. The worry is her showdance. Lifts are a massive feature and the clip we saw on Wednesday included a distinctly laboured one. Dani is a great dancer but she is definitely not endowed with natural spring. She needs a power lifter rather than little Vincent to hoist her elegantly into the air. She achieves very little height under her own steam.
Fortunately the childlike Dani is popular with the public. She has never been in the dance off. Our micro focus group suggests that she appeals to maternal types as the baby of the bunch. I expect her to be showcasing her jive as the third dance.
The sometimes lethargic Louis Smith is the hot favourite at 8/11 (SkyBet, Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes) to lift the glitterball. He performed a rather casual jive which looked anything but sharp. The judges were understandably underwhelmed and scored him just 31. His subsequent foxtrot was foot perfect. Bruno was delighted that he was ‘back on top’ and scored him a ten as did Darcey who obviously has a soft spot for him. His score of 38 left him in fourth place overall with only Lisa below him but still he did not have to partake in the dance off. His public support looks extremely solid. He has been in the bottom half of the leader board on a couple of occasions but has never been in the bottom two after the public vote.
Tonight his first dance will be the salsa that gained him a score of 30 points in the third week. The judges’ selection has not been particularly kind to him. He has improved massively since but I doubt he will be top of the leader board after it. His salvation may come in the showdance. We can expect tricks and gymnastic moves that will please the public if not some of the judges. Craig obviously does not like him.
His finale will be the charleston that elicited tens from Darcey and Bruno on December 1st, if he gets to perform it. I expect that he will.
Strictly Betting Tips Verdict
So where should you put your money? This time it is so close that it will pay to wait to see the scores and suffer the lower bookies’ odds on the night. Louis and Dani both have solid support. Denise and Kimberley do not.
When it comes to the first elimination betting, if Denise is not in second place or better after the judges’ scores following the first two routines, she is certainly going to be the first to go. She is guaranteed to be the least popular person with the public. My betting tip is to back Denise at 10/11 (Betfred, SkyBet, Coral) to be the next to be eliminated.
Incidentally, even if Louis is bottom of the leader board after the first two dances, do not lose faith. I am convinced that the public vote will save him. We can be sure that his showdance will be spectacular.
The same cannot be said for Kimberley, if she flunks with her first two dances, which is extremely unlikely, she could go before the final round too.
Louis Smith is probably the most popular with the voting public. Let’s be basic, most women like men. If he puts in decent performances on the night, Louis has to be our tip to win Strictly Come Dancing at a best price of 4/6 (SkyBet, Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes).