Strictly Come Dancing 2018 has some serious contenders. But as the remaining seven celebrities and their professional partners return from their weekend in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, one big question looms: who will ultimately lift the Glitterball Trophy and be named Strictly champion?
This time last year, RadioTimes.com predicted Joe McFadden to win Strictly 2017 – and not to gloat, but we got that one 100% correct.
Having now crunched the numbers for 2018, we are ready to reveal the most likely winner of Strictly Come Dancing series 16. And that potential champion is none other than… YouTube star Joe Sugg.
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To explain: looking at all 15 previous champions for every series in Strictly history, their average total score after nine dances is 290 points.
We’ve now been to Blackpool and back, and each contestant in this year’s series has performed nine dances – so we went looking for the celeb who best fits the statistical profile of an eventual winner.
Bizarrely, this year there are TWO celebrities who come closest to that figure – because, unusually, they have totalled up exactly the same number of points. Both Stacey Dooley and Joe Sugg have earned themselves a cumulative score of 278 across nine weeks of dancing.
Weirdly, almost half of all eventual Strictly winners earned a score of 27 in their first week in the competition. Going further, ten out of 15 of them achieved either 27 or 28 the first time they faced the judges, and the average first score for a Strictly champion across every single series is 27.5.
Joe Sugg’s score for his first-ever dance? 27 – which puts him right on track for the all-important “journey”, with enough room for improvement for the public to really get behind him as he progresses through the competition.
Of course, scoring 27 does not win you a surefire ticket to Glitterball glory. This year, Danny John-Jules and Dr Ranj Singh hit that magic number in week one, and both have since been eliminated from the competition.
But to score a 27 in week one, to stay in the competition, and then to notch up 278 points by the end of week nine? That’s a very good sign.
Stacey is clearly also a contender, being joint closest to the average week nine winner’s score.
But on the other hand, she scored just 24 points in week one – making her statistically less likely to win.
The last (and only) person to score less than 26 in their first week and then go on to win the competition was Darren Gough. That was all the way back in 2005, when he only managed 19 points and still went on to lift the Glitterball. But his triumph remains the glaring exception to the trend.
And compared to Joe and Dianne’s “journey” through the competition, Stacey and Kevin’s progress seems to have plateaued a little…
Strictly fans struggle to warm to contestants who don’t have enough room for improvement and Ashley’s total score of 321 is perilously high. Only 2007 champion Alesha Dixon had scored such a big total by this point in the competition, topping the table with 323 points after her ninth dance, and that’s an anomaly; the next one down on the list is 2010’s Kara Tointon, with 305.
Steps star Faye Tozer has a better chance – in fact, with 309 points, she is third-closest to the average eventual winner’s score. But she, too, joins Ashley in the danger zone with a total that is too good for this point in the competition.
Just one contestant in the entire history of Strictly has topped the leaderboard in week one and then gone on to win the whole show: 2013 champion Abbey Clancy.
And while this year’s week one scores were relatively low, Faye and Ashley did find themselves joint top of the leaderboard with 29 points each. It may be counterintuitive, but that’s a bad place to start.
After his triumph at Blackpool, Charles is within the range of a potential champion – but only just.
He has made it to 262 points so far, but (taking into account the shortened 2004 series) every past Strictly champion was doing better than him by this stage in the competition. The only exception that might give him a glimmer of hope is 2009 victors Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan, who had notched up just 247 by this stage.
And although this may be no surprise, it’s bad news for Graeme Swann and Lauren Pritchard who have accumulated 236 and 235 points respectively. That’s lower than any eventual winner has ever scored at this point in the competition.
So if the stats are telling the truth: move over Joe McFadden, there’s a new Joe in town…
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday nights on BBC1