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Why it's never a good sign to top the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard in the first live show

A look through the stats reveals worrying news for Aston Merrygold – but Davood Ghadami will have reason to smile

Strictly Come Dancing stars Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara
Published: Saturday, 30th September 2017 at 6:00 pm

Aston Merrygold danced his way to the top of the leaderboard on Saturday night – but does that actually doom him to Strictly Come Dancing failure? And based on week one's results, who's most likely to raise the Glitterball Trophy?

Advertisement dug out the first week scores for every series all the way back to 2004, and discovered some very surprising trends.

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.

But while it's bad news for Aston, the stats reveal excellent news for Davood Ghadami.

Davood Ghadami takes on Strictly week one
Davood Ghadami takes on Strictly week one (BBC)

Weirdly, half of all eventual Strictly winners earned a score of 27 in their first week. Out of 14 winners, ten achieved either 27 or 28 the first time they faced the judges, and the average first score for a Strictly champion across all 14 series was 27.5.

Who scored "lucky number 27" in week one? Davood Ghadami.

If Davood has his sights set on victory, his biggest competition will come from the three celebrities above him on the leaderboard: Aston, Debbie McGee and Joe McFadden, who scored 31, 30 and 29.

Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice dance the Paso Doble on week 1 of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)
Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice dance the Paso Doble on week 1 of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)

That's because the last (and only) person to score less than 27 in the 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 win the competition. His triumph remains the glaring exception to the "27-and-up" trend.

Ah, but maybe the judges have been harsher with their marks this year, you say? Perhaps some of the celebrities further down the table, like Alexandra Burke with 24 and Mollie King with 23, are in with a chance if scores are generally lower? Is 24 the new 27?

While average scores have crept up over the years, the shift in first week scores has actually not been dramatic.

Sure, last year had a high-scoring first week, with an average score of 26.5. But that was exceptional – and this year's average of 22.2 doesn't compare too unfavourably to the overall first week average score of around 23 points.

Bookies, take note: Davood's your man to watch.


Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 30th September at 6.45pm on BBC1


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