Strictly fans and judges alike got their first shock this season when bubbly Dragon Deborah Meaden left the show. But looking at the scores from the previous series, Deborah’s departure isn’t entirely unexpected.
What’s clear is that who stays or goes is not entirely determined by score – hence the surprise when Deborah left the show having notched up a respectable 27 from the panel.
Celebs Dave Myers and Ben Cohen, who at the beginning of the series were towards the bottom of the leaderboard, have undoubtedly remained in the show through a combination of being great fun, improving technique, athletic dishiness and a big back-bend of sympathy at the criticism they’ve received at the hands of the judges.
Meanwhile, the fate of those who showed promise at the beginning of the series, like Fiona Fullerton and Rachel Riley, now hangs in the balance over likeability, choreography and whether we remember to vote for those in the middle positions. Over the next few weeks, we will see whether Dave and Ben have the legs to make good on their promise, and whether the flagging Fiona and Rachel become real contenders or burn brightly in the dance-off.
Outside the battle at the bottom of the leaderboard, the celebs getting high scores at the top are struggling with consistency. Previous winners of the show have not always scored highest, but they do score consistently across different dance types. Natalie Gumede and Ashley Taylor Dawson seem to have mastered equally well both Latin and the ballroom and are now scoring reliably highly. Meanwhile Abbey Clancy, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Susanna Reid, Patrick Robinson and Ben are all grappling with Latin hips and ballroom frame to be consistent not only across the different dances but in their overall performance too.
Stuck firmly in the middle and at the bottom of the leaderboard are Mark Benton, Rachel and Fiona. Over the next few weeks they either have to flourish into contenders or deploy their other celebrity sequinned wiles to lure us into voting for them...