Strictly Come Dancing 2017 is getting serious. As the remaining eight couples jump on the coach for their weekend trip to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, who will ultimately emerge victorious and lift the Glitterball Trophy? Who will be this year’s champion?
The bookies have given Debbie McGee and Alexandra Burke the best odds of winning – and that makes a lot of sense. Why wouldn’t they be favourites to win, seeing as they keep dancing their socks off and topping the leaderboard? These two celebs seem like dead certs for the final.
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But we’ve taken a look at the stats and we reckon we know who Strictly fans should actually put their money on… and that contestant is none other than Joe McFadden, named by Shirley Ballas as the “dark horse” of the competition. Clearly she knows a thing or two.
Looking at all 14 previous champions for every series since 2004, their average total after their eighth dance is 248.
We’ve now reached Blackpool, each contestant in this year’s series has performed eight dances, and the couple in the class of 2017 who has the most similar total score is Joe and Katya. Once you average out the week Bruno Tonioli skipped when the scores were out of 30, Joe has clocked up a grand total of 242.7 points.
So the Holby City soap actor has the closest profile to the average winner – but what about the rest?
After eight weeks, Alexandra is right up at the top with 274.7, more than any previous winner at this point in the competition. (The record is held by Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev in 2010, who had scored 271 points by week eight.) Debbie McGee comes in a close second with 270.
With scores that high they’re in a great position – but they might be hit by the curse of being too good, too soon. The public doesn’t like that and often punishes celebrities who’ve not been on a “journey”.
Now let’s look at who’s struggling. Unless this year’s series bucks the trend, we can pretty much rule out Jonnie Peacock, Susan Calman or Mollie King as winners of Strictly 2017. Susan’s on 187.3, Jonnie’s on 206 and Mollie has 2013 points so far.
All those numbers are lower than any eventual winner has ever scored at this point in the competition.
The lowest on record is Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan, who had only scored 217 by week eight in 2009 – and even that is more than 20 points below what any other Strictly champion had notched up by the end of their eighth dance.
So who does that leave? Gemma Atkinson, who’s looking a little shaky on just 228 (though still beating 2009 champs Chris and Ola).
And then there’s Davood Ghadami on 235.3, only 7.5 points behind Joe. A victory for Davood and his pro partner Nadiya, we should note, is still entirely possible. Right back in week one we named him as “statistically most likely to win”, and after a slow start it looks like he’s been stepping it up.
If you place a bet on Joe – perhaps it’ll bring in the dough? But it would also be shrewd to choose Davood… [Disclaimer: RadioTimes.com will not pay you back if we’re wrong. Sorry.]
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturdays on BBC1