danieldwilliam: (Default)

A quick look at my Strictly predictions and how the odds have moved since Saturday's show.

Overall I my opinion hasn't changed much. I still think Burke, Atkinson and Merrygold will lose to King in the final and that Ace, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Calman and Saturday Morning Coles will be the first three to leave.

The big movement in the odds is Richard Coles who has moved in from 40-1 to 25-1. I don't see why. Dianne Buswell is a bit of an unknown. Coles didn't reveal an unexpectedly incendiary hip movement on the night. Perhaps Saint Cajetan has nipped down to the bookies and put his cassock on Coles. It's a Mystery.

A bit of a move in for the Lovely  Debbie McGee. I thought her early career as a ballet dancer with the Iranian National Ballet might show through and it did. She's currently attracting the most betting. Giovannie Pernice is no  Anton du Beke. He was a semi-finalist with Georgia May Foote a few years ago

Brian Conley has moved out from 33-1 to 40-1. He has one of the new dancers and I think the odds reflect that.

I am surprised by the movement in Susan Calman's odds from 50-1 out to 80-1. She's just been paired with Kevin Clifton. She was in tears of joy at being paired with Kevin Clifton. Kevin Clifton has never finised anything other than second in four seasons and Calman is in tears. I reckon that is where the value is this week.

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Calman was 7-2 to be first out before the match up, that's unchanged. Madness

I have set up a shadow betting pool. When I know what I'm actually doing it with I shall post a little bit about it.

danieldwilliam: (Default)
Here follows my preliminary analysis of the Strictly Come Dancing 2017 contestants. They are all winner just to have gotten this far. Well except for that lady from X-Factor. And the guy who knows Moffat. And probably Simon Rimmer who stands less chance of winning Strictly than Dave Arch.  And Ruth Langsford who wakes up every day next to Eammon Holmes. Anyway, most of them are already winners and I'm looking forward to some top quality bakes from them all before the show moves to Channel Four in 2018

Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke is the former X-Factor winner and pop singing sensation. Immersed in musicallity from a young age she is a record setting vocalist and successful muscial theatre actor. Her debut single, a cover of Mitch Benn's cover of Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's cover of Simon Cowell's Hallelujah was enormously successful - demonstrating that there is no accounting for taste, or decency. There is accountancy for money thought, which is just as well.

Stints in the musical Bodyguard and Sister Act only serve to confirm me in my prejudice.

I'm not sure how personally popular she actually is. I mean outside of my household.

Pros - has a successful career in music and musical theatre. That worked for Denise van Outen.

Cons - Hallelujah rightly offended all right thinking people, uniting the world in disdain in an unprecedented way. Perhaps the only person to have had a similar effect is Donal Trump.

She's well fancied at 5-1 (althought not by me.)

You know what, despite my instinctive dislike for the synthetic music business model of reality TV and her cover of Hallelujah I can see her winning the show.

Debbie McGee

With the death of Paul Daniels in 2016 we'll never know what first attracted him to the Lovely Debbie McGee.

Debbie is a former professional dancer turned magician and part of the world famous magical double act, Paul Daniels. She's also close to being declared a National Treasure.

Pros - former professional dancer

Cons - she'd be the oldest contestant to reach the semi-final.

In my view a value bet at 25-1.

Jonnie Peacock

Never under estimate an Olympian, unless that Olympian is Victoria Pendleton.

Pros - He's not Victoria Pendleton
Con's - sadly I fear that a man with only one leg is going to struggle towards the back end of the competition once all the no-hopers have been cleared out. I hope I'm wrong. I hope he's brilliant. He seems like a nice bloke.

I think over valued at 9-1.

Chizzy Akudolu

Holby City regular Chizzy Akudolu is surely the Lisa Riley of 2017. I'm expecting lots of cheery cheekiness, a surprisingly nimble turn about the floor and then fading, sooner or later, as the eventual finalists become apparant and it becomes apparant that Chizzy is not one of them. Riley was usually good, I don't think we'll see her like again.

50-1 seems a fair price.

Pros -  Never under estimate the power of the British public to like a woman who is turns out to be slightly better than their low expectations of her.

Cons -  will be partnered with Anton du Beck.

Charlotte Hawkins

Good Morning Britain presenter and journalist Hawkins is one of the dark horses the fate of which is difficult to predict. At 42 she's in the prime of her life perhaps a little too old to make it deep in the competition. Susanah Reid and Katie Derham are the counter examples. There's no indication that Hawkins will be an above average dancer but if she turns out to be she'll have a natural constituency from her role at ITV. Could go either way.

I wouldn't take her to win at 11-1 until after I'd seen her dance. At which point she'll either be 8-1 or 20-1.

Pros - ?????

Cons -  ????

Brian Conley

At one point Brian Conley was the UK's highest paid male TV personality. Which just goes to show. I'm not sure what it shows but it shows something. You don't get to be the highest paid TV personality in the UK by being unpopular or uncharismatic. The right partner could smuggle him through to the final. Unfortunately the right partner is probably Joanne Clifton.

I don't see him winning in what appears to me to be a crowded field but a twisted ankle here and a family emergency there could see Brian make the final on a Chris Hollins style ticket.

Pros - Once was famous

Cons - does not have access to a time machine so his fame remains in the past.

Susan Calman

I have been waiting, literally, for someone from I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue to appear on Strictly Come Dancing. Admittedly the person I was waiting for was Samantha who I feel would have handled an Argentine tangled in her Cha-Cha-Cha.

Calman may be the first out lesbian on Strictly. She's certainly the first out lesbian from Glasgow who is the daughter of the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland and who has worked on Death Row in South Carolina to appear on Strictly, but not the last I warrant you.

Calman is one of my favourites of the panel show regular attendees. However, that doesn't make her a great dancer. She's taller than Claudia Frangapane but not as acrobatic. She's 7-2 to be first out and 50-1 to win. That's sadly probably fair.

Pros - sure to benefit from the Strictly / I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue cross ove audience.

Cons - unlike Ruth Davidson, with whom she is often confused, she does not have access to her own infantry regiment or bison.

Aston Merrygold

Bringing a re-run of the 2008 X-Factor to Strictly is one quarter of boy band JLS. Being in a boy band your job is to move in time with some music whilst emoting at the camera on a zoom lens. This sometimes pays off on Strictly (see Anton du Beck) and sometimes it doesn't (see also Anton du Beck.)

The Hobbit-named Merrygold is currently the bookies favourite at 11-4. I'm not convinced. JLS were a while ago.

Pros - Boy Band

Cons - Even my daugher doesn't remember him.

Simon Rimmer

Celebrity chef Simon "Ace" Rimmer is the bookies 3-1 favourite to be first out and the 66-1 long shot to win. Not even Anton du Beck can save him. He'll be paired with one of the new dancers who have no personal following and undoubtedly turn out to be quite good and excellently paired and sweep to round 4 leaving Calman, Coles and Chizzy in his medium-rare wake. Nah, me neither, going out in round one.

Pros - I'm sure he'll be paired with one.

Cons - He's no Dave Myers

Joe McFadden

You Take the High Road and I'll take the Crow Road and I'll be in Strictly afore you, but me and Anton will never dance again, by the bonny bonny Banks of Loch Lomond, In a first for Strictly, (so many firsts this season, it's like a carnival of priority, more firsts than Casanova) the first contestant with an Iain Banks connection. Prentice McHoan will be dancing along the Crow Road. One can only hope that Peter Capaldi will be joining him from beyond the grave.

McFadden won't win but he is my favourite.

Pros - expect a fully functional Special Circumstances Drone to be loitering in the background giving dancing tips.

Cons - that drone is Skaffen-Amtiskaw

Reverend Richard Coles

Usually I think a career in music bodes well for a Strictly appearance but not if your career in music was as the synth player in an 80's electronica duo. When your job is to stand at the back, not moving, pressing buttons whilst someone else flails around in the spotlight, well unless you are Anton du  Beck, your strictly career is going nowhere. Another Strictly first, the first openly gay, celebate Church of England vicar who is related to a disgraced Conservative politician

40-1 is generous. If I hadn't already written about Simon Rimmer I'd have Coles as first casualty. (Holby City surely.)

Pros - can depend on the votes of every member of the Church of England who watches Strictly and who can work the internet

Cons - limited constituency

Gemma Atkinson

Atkinson is this year's ambassador to the BBC from Holyoaks. Holyoaks has a pretty good record on Strictly with finalists Ricky Whittle, Ashley Taylor Dawwon and Danny Mac and semi-finalist Ali Bastian. That predictive power alone is worth the 13-2 price. Add in a run on BBC's Casualty. In parallel to her acting career Atkinson is also a model. Which worked for Abby Clancy but didn't work so well for Jerry Hall.

I'm seeing semi-finalist here. perhaps even finalist.

Pros - Holyoaks have a point to prove

Cons - perhaps too beautiful for this world.

Ruth Langsford

Mostly and justly famous for not having strangled Eammon Holmes, yet, Ruth Langsford is amongst the older contestants in a format that does not favour age. Her presenting career is currently centred around Loose Women. I don't know how likely to vote her viewers are. I'm not picking up vibes of the sort of languid grace that took Katie Derham so far or the tightly controlled va-va-voom that took Reid to the final. I think Langsford is in the Kate Garroway box. She'll have a nice time, she'll do okay, she'll leave in the first half of the run, she'll be partnered with Anton du Beck.

Cons - Eammon Holmes will intervene on her behalf.
Cons - likely to be arrested at any moment once the police dig up her patio and find Eammon

Davood Ghadamis

Ghadamis is from Eastenders but by way of Taggart. Will it be Murder on the Dance Floor (ed: that's Ellis-Bextor), will we be able to Get Enough (ed: that's the Saturdays, fool,), will he Say He'll Be There in the final (ed: effing Emman Bunton, from off the Spice Girls,)  or can we expect the duff-duff-duffs of an early exist for this Eastender? In yet another first for Strictly, Ghadamis is the first fomer Doctor Who actor to appear on Strictly. That may or may not be true but we're dealing with a time traveller here so, depending on whether you take a linear or non-linear view of time, and indeed, which direction through time you are travelling, he may or may not be the first Doctor Who related Strictly contestant. In any event, he's associated with Moffat, so it will be a load of timey-wimey, bally-wally, plotty-whaty continuity banjaxing self-immolating wank. Knowing Moffat Ghadamis will contrive to be both the First and the Last Doctor Who related Strictly contestant through the magical power of an actual Big Red Reset Button. Wanker! The bookies say 9-1. I say hang the Moffat enabler from the nearest police box.

Pros - Big following from the Enders
Cons - Must have met Moffat

Mollie King

Will win.

She's a Saturday. It's almost in the BBC charter. I am confident that she will go one better than Frankie Bridges and declare her undying love for me, win Strictly.

Pros - will win.

Cons - I will look pretty stupid if she doesn't.

So, my predictions at this early stage.


Mollie King, Gemma Atkinson, Burke and Merrygold the Hobbit.

Early Exits

Ace Rimmer, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Calman and the Rhumbaing Richard Coles.

Eventual Winner - still Mollie King. The fix is in.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
This post was written before this weekend but not posted as I've been away from keyboard.

Autum is upon on and in time honoured tradition it is time for my much loved Strictly Come Dancing blog - the blog where psephology dress in tails and forecasting executes a slow Samba role. After an initial "But who are these people?" unpromising start the inclusion of Ed "Glitter" Balls and a record breaking opening week mean that Strictly this year is shaping up to be classic.

Usually I like to do my first predictions before the first week of the dancing and then revise them after I've seen them dance but a genuine lack of knowledge about some of the contestants and my deep imperative to comment on the Labour Leadership election between two obscure backbenchers no one had ever before meant that I didn't.

This is the first year in which the first round of scoring has seen no couple score less then 20. Initial quality of dancing has been high and pretty even. I think this year's competition will be much more open than previous years.

Anastacia and Brendan

Anastacia is genuinely a global superstar, if you live in the 2000's and listen to a different genre of music from me. She'll be pushed by the ever competative Brendan "Hot" Coles. Her Cha-cha-cha was well received with 28 points putting her in 5th place on the leaderboard. Does she have the combination of stunning dance moves and heavy weight lovability to get to the final. I think not - she'll fight through to the closing stages but will be eliminated before the final.

Claudia "Just Dance" Frangapane, is the smallest and youngest and most gymnastic of the this year's contestants and the most reminiscent of Chelsee Heeley. She is paired with new dancer AJ Pritchard. Rightly marked down by Head Judge Len for her unwarranted gymnastic interludes she managed a creditable 8th. It's difficult to comment on the abilities her partner brings to the show but my general rule in Strictly is don't bet heavily against Olypians. They are popular with the public, know how to train and have a determination to win. Unless they are Victoria Pendleton, in which case no one loves them. Difficult also to judge the dancing her in amongst the gymnastics. My big note on the evening was that she'd telegraphed one of her tricks very clearly. I'm going to reserve judgement but my gut says, if she can dance a Cha-cha-cha she wouldn't be tumbling.

Daisy "Daisy" Lowe is a model which to be honest isn't a field I've taken much interest in since the heternomative culture of the 1990's told me I should fancy Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford. She's paired with Aljaz Skorjanec, a former winner and a dancer and choreographer I really rate. She topped the leader board with 32 points after a delightful waltz. Before seeing her dance I wouldn't have expected her to make the final. My view is that models aren't all that popular with the voting public. But someone who can dance as well as Daisy has surely got to be in the final. I don't think she'll win but she's my first finalist.

Danny "Flasher" Mac. When I first saw Danny Mac I had an instinctive, irrational dislike of him. Finding out that we was an appearer on Holyoaks only made my dislike of him instictive and rational. Discovering that women of my acquaintance were public prepared to admit to finding him sexually desirable, well, let's just say no one came out of that well. Danny has Oti as a pro-dancer. I like Oti, I think she has potential as a dancer. Their score of 31 for a rather loose limbed cha-cha-cha was flattering but put them in to second on the leader board. Let's see how he does with something that requires him not to smarm. He ought to be a contender for the final with a score of 31 but I don't like him even if he is good so I'm going to put him down to go out a few rounds before the final.

Ed "Glitter" Balls is paired with Katya Jones one of a number of new professional dancers this year. I love him. I salute him. Ed Balls. But he's out of place. By far the worst dancer over the weekend he finished bottom of the leader board on 21. Ed Balls. Difficult to see him lasting beyond the first dance off I suspect we'll next hear of Yvette Cooper's husband when he returns from the wilderness to lead Labour to a stunning election victory in the second general election of 2020.

Natalie Lowe this year is paired with famed ginger jumper Greg "the Ginger Jumper" Rutherford. Despite early problems getting his legs to move slowly and not in a straight line Greg managged a creditable 27 points putting him in 6th place. One again, through a double whammy of being an Olympic athelete and not Victoria Pendleton the Ginger Jumper's staying power should not be underestimated. Easily a contender for the semi-final.

Judge "Judge Not Lest You Be Judged" Rinder. Flamboyant does not do justice to Judge Rinder's Cha-cha-cha. Strangely persuasive also doesn't do justice to his cha-cha-cha. 25 points and joint 10th place with Laura Witmore probably does do justice to his cha-cha-cha. Charisma, entertainment, energy and a celebrity appearance by Benedict Cumberbatch about the time the trailers for Sherlock start appearing will keep him in till the half way mark. After that, he'll be up against good dancers in the dance off. I have to fully own that I do not warm to Oksana for reasons I can not put my finger on.

Laure Witmore. I have never heard of her until Strictly. 10th on 25 points was probably a fair return to opening efforts on Saturday night. Paired with another of the new pro-dancers. I don't see Witmore doing better than mid-table mediocrity.

Lesley "Delorian" Joseph, in the able and long suffering hands of last year's 4th placed Anton de Beke gave a surprisingly moving waltz which I thought was a touch undermarked at 23 and second from bottom. Likely to make it through a few weeks on the basis of being surprisingly not awful.

Louise Redknapp was the whirlwind crush of my generation, the pin up of the early 90's before the Spice Girls and All Saints. Musical and popular and charming she's paired with perhaps the best professional dancer in terms of choreography. I'm not sure she'll win but I'm sure she'll be in the final.

I like Janette Manrarra - she's a another of the professional dancers who takes a three dimensional approach to teaching, and performing with her celebrity. Melvin seems like a jolly chap but I don't think he has the natural affinity for dance that is needed to get much beyond the half way mark.

I quite like Naga Munchetty as a news anchor but she's a bit awkward. A competent opening dance saw her comfortably off the bottom of the leaderboard. Pasha Kovalev has a decent track record of getting his celebrity partners through the rounds but I don't think he's every really gotten someone several weeks futher then they ought to have gone, or done something that changes the game. He's solid but not spectacular as a partner. I predict an earlyish exit once the definate no hopers have been cleared out.

Ore Oduba, of whom I had not heard, was the surprise delight of Saturday night. A good dancer with some charisma I loved his first dance. I immediately thought he'd make it to the final.

Tameka Empson fills the roll of Surprisingly Good at Dancing for a Large Lady this series. Eastenders usually gives someone a good voting base. Anyone who can "surprise" the audience by being a competent dancer whilst overweight and cheerful can coast in to the second half of the series. For a value of coast that involves working really, really hard to get fitter and dance better and remain cheerful.

Will Young and Karen Clifton. If Will Young doesn't win then I will be very surprised. Musical theatre veteran Will is paired up with one of the better professional dancers to form the second power couple of Series 14. He comes with his own fan base. One that I think largely crosses over with Strictly's fan base. Karen has steered some less then awesome dancers to a decent places. Now she's paired up with someone who can actually dance in his own right I expect Will will be straight through to the final and is my pick to win.

So, my predictions for finalists, Will Young, Louise Redknapp, Ore Oduba, Daisy Lowe and Greg Rutherford. I think Will Young will win.

First out, sadly I predict Ed Glitter Balls will be first out.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
I'm feeling a bit of disquiet with Strictly at the moment. I'm feeling a level of artificiality on two fronts.

Read more... )

Am I watching a pantomime?
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Unfortunately, Unfortunately Named Tim goes out but he goes down fighting and then delivers perhaps the most gracious and moving valediction in Strictly history. Whoever wins this year Unfortunately Named Tim is my favourite.

I thought he and Hey Judy might enough public backing to get through a few weeks. Sadly, Tim didn't and ended up in the dance off with Mark The Pro Wright. In a dance off with one couple averaging about 18 points and the other couple averaging closer to 27 there was only one way that it will end up. Barring a significant accident or Denise Van Outen’s boob popping out it’s game over for the lower ranked couple.

That said I enjoyed Unfortunately Named Tim’s Paso. I thought he danced with enthusiasm and joy. I thought he and Natalie performed better in the dance off than they had in the heat. I think Mark and Karen didn't dance as well in the dance off as they had in the heat. On effort and improvement Unfortunately Named Tim deserved to go through. On dance ability the right choice was made.

Which is a demonstration of why I think the Strictly Come Dancing electoral college works well. The judges have the final say. They will usually pick the couple with the best long term performance. Eventually popular but not great dancers are going to come up against one of the top ranked dancers and be put out. The finalists are going to be the best dancers in the show.

The result probably wasn’t unexpected for Unfortunately Named Tim but looked like a surprise for Mark Wright. He’d scored okay in the heat. His score of 29 being a Donny Adjusted personal best and ranking 8th . He has a huge Twitter following (who as one of his followers and fans wryly noted in a tweet re-tweeted by Mark seemed to have forgotten to vote for him). More worrying for Mark is the fact that both Hey Jude and Scott Mills in the AfternooOOoon leap-frogged him from bottom and third from bottom on the leader-board through the power of the public vote. As with Simon last week mid-table is not safe.

How did the odds move?

Reality Hammond has moved out considerably. Looks like a reaction to her actual dancing. Big movement in for Ohh Sunetra, again it looks like it reflects her dancing ability.

Mark the Pro has moved out. This looks like a reaction to him being poorly supported (this week) by the public. The fact that the market has movement out suggests that Mark’s poor support was news to the bookies. This in turn implies that either the bookies don’t have sight of the results of the public vote or that the public vote for Mark has shifted significantly and surprisingly this week.

This in itself is not conclusive evidence that my Efficient Market Hypothesis based theory that the bookies are getting intelligence on the public vote is wrong but it does look like the evidence might be there to be gathered.

Twitter Followers

Bit of a blow to the hypothesis that Twitter followers are indicative of popularity at large and the ability to Get Out The Vote as the top ranked Twitterer Mark Wright ends up in the bottom two. It may be that the theory is cobblers.

On the other hand Twitter followers probably is indicative of popularity & reach. However, in widely contested elections votes are diluted & small swings & tactical voting can have a surprising effect. Scott Mills, with his 1.2 million followers, on the other hand avoided the dance off.

Looking at the movement in Twitter followers this week’s biggest change looks like That’s Your Lott and The Flack Jacket with 10,000 each. This is probably more to do with the way twitter profiles round twitter followers once you have millions. Highest percentage move is Unfortunately Named Tim at 22.4% with Dangerous Steve second on 18.6%.

Trent Whiddon picket up the biggest percentage movement of the pro-dancers up 14.6% from 9.4k to 10.8k. Ola The Baby Faced Assassin has the biggest absolute movement of 3,000. She’s just a whisker away from breaking the 200k followers barrier.

So far my original predictions don’t look that far out apart from Jake Can’t See the Wood. Perhaps a lesson in the irony of moniker selection there.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Not Jennifer Grey, Jennifer Gibney fails at the second time of asking and the Irish combo of Gibney and MacManus go out losing to an underwhelming Simon From Blue.

Mmmh, Frankie continues to dance well. As does Caroline “the Jacket” Flack and That’s Your Lott. That Kevin Clifton is a smart guy and I think his shot selection is excellent. When Frankie wins a lot of that will be down to Kevin’s ability as pro-dancer.

Jake seemed poorer this week than he has been. I think he’s still a finalist pick for me. Sunetra had a good week but I’m of the view that she’d caught a bit of a lucky break with a dance that suited both her and Brendan

At the other end of the leaderboard I wasn’t enjoying Not Jennifer Grey, Jennifer Gibney’s efforts. Not great dancing and not a huge amount of entertainment. On the other hand Unfortunately Named Tim did put on a very entertaining Charlston. Of the celebs who are struggling with the dancing I think he’s the only one with sufficient charisma and humour to be kept in for entertainment value. By the time the rest of the bottom tier of dancers have been cleared out by each other he’ll have had a good few weeks in the competition but eventually he’s going to come up against someone better than him in the dance off. Week Six or Seven I’d say.

Simon being in the bottom two was a surprise. He looked visibly upset by Craig’s harsh remarks. I’d expect a former boy band member to have more public support but looking at his twitter followers he doesn’t seem to be in the public affection like The Jacket or Mmmmh Frankie.

Last week I was worried that this year’s show was being too generous and too safe around the marking with too many Se-HE-Vens. Comparing the first three weeks of this season with last season it actually looks pretty comparable. 25% of marks this year are 7 compared to 30% last year. 5-6-7 gets 70% of the scores this year compared to 66% last year. There were a good deal more 8’s last year. Craig is only judge to use the full range of the paddles. He has 16 scores below a 5. Darcey is only other person to award marks below a five handing out two 4’s. Last year had a little more bottom weighting with all of the judges handing out at least one 4 and Bruno awarding one 3. I’ll go back and compare 2012 and 2011 over the next few days if I can find the data.

I’m enjoying the interplay between Tess and Claudia. The popcorn down the cleavage incident and Claudia’s reaction to it was the highlight of the show. I did think she was actually going to wet herself in an attempt to keep from bursting out laughing.

I’m still not convinced that Tess would be my first choice of MC but she’s doing a decent enough job. She seems to get on with Claudia which makes her more fun to watch and no one is groping either of them so they seem more relaxed. I expect as she gets a bit more settled she’ll find her own way of hosting the show with a bit of sparkle. At least we are spared the awful spectacle of a pre-senile old man forgetting the set ups to his own awful jokes.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
As part of my continued commitment to bringing you the best psephological commentary on Strictly Come Dancing and in consultation with key stakeholders and partner organisations I have expanded my routine data collection exercise to include Twitter followers.

Twitter followers ought to be a decent proxy for general levels of name awareness and popularity. Levels of Twitter support might also have a Get Out the Vote function. Both factors should point in the same direction. The more followers the better chance of winning.

So here is the table of celebrity twitter followers as at this morning. I’ll be tracking this weekly along with the bookies’ odds.

Alison Hammond 166,000
Caroline Flack 1,690,000
Frankie Bridge 1,270,000
Gregg Wallace 149,000
Jake Wood 240,000
Jenifer Gibney 10,100
Judy Murray 119,000
Mark Wright 2,540,000
Pixie Lott 1,670,000
Scott Mills 1,200,000
Simon Webbe 149,000
Steve Backshall 23,600
Sunetra Sarker 15,800
Thom Evans 30,800
Tim Wonnacott 3,572

I was surprised that Mark Wright tops the table but also by the big difference between him and the next on the list Caroline Flack. I’m surprised that Simon From Blue has so few.

One over 2 million followers. 4 over 1 million followers. 5 over 100,000. Only one under 10,000, poor old Unfortunately Named Tim Wonnacott. Second contestant out Not Jennifer Grey mustered only just over the 10k mark.

Turning to the Pro Dancers

Alijaz Skorjanic 46,100
Pasha Kovalev 63,800
Kevin Clifton 53,700
Aliona Vilani 73,600
Janette Manrara 25,900
Tristan MacManus 56,200
Anton du Beke 102,000
Karen Hauer 34,100
Trent Whiddon 9,428
Joanne Clifton 16,200
Kristina Rhihanoff 92,800
Ola Jorda 196,000
Bredan Cole 106,000
Iveta Lukosiute 28,200
Natalie Lowe 73,500

The Baby Faced Assassin Ola Jordan tops the table with 196,000 followers. This may be a function of her longevity and relative success on the show. It may be related to her cover photograph being a topless modelling shot of her covered in sand.

Unsurprisingly, Trent Whiddon, comes in bottom of the table with 9,428 followers. He’s the only pro dancer with fewer than 10,000 followers.

Both long term contestants Brendan Cole and Anton du Beke weigh in at over 100,000 followers and Kristina Rhihanoff falls just short of this milestone.

Judging by the difference in followers between Kevin Clifto and Anton du Beke I think pro dancers tend to gain followers very quickly and then slowly accumulate them. I’m not expecting Cole, Jordan, Lowe etc to gain many followers over the course of the show.

Based on Twitter followers I’d expect Mark Wright to do well and for his more than 1 million followers to keep Scott Mills in the show for a while.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
So the first elimination has come and not even a fetish fueled Charlston could save Pudding Loving Geoff. He goes at the first time of asking. I had him going out in week 8. I think that fundamentally my bottom half is sound except for Can’t See The Wood.

Can’t See The Wood turns out not to be as wooden as I thought he would be. Following last weeks decent Tango he impressed with a Salsa garnering three nines in week two. Despite the cognitive disonance of having picked him for an early exit even I was impressed by his salsa. His combined score sees him top ranked over the two weeks.

Pixie and Frankie look pretty nailed on for a semi-final place with good dances in both weeks. On combined scores they are ranked second and third.

In terms of the public vote Not Jennifer Grey would have hoped to avoid the Dance Off. Her score of 37 had her ahead of four other contestents. Perhaps her legions of fans thought she was safe. Perhaps her legion of fans have read the same reviews of Mrs Brown’s Boys that I have.

I’m going to have a look at the average scores by week. I have a feeling they are higher than at this stage in previous years.

7 is the most popular score over the two weeks with 36 appearances or 30%. Last year over the first two weeks 28 7’s had been awarded, 23% of the total scores. 7 was still joint favourite mark. Last year the scores 5,6 and 7 accounted for 67% of scores awarded. This year 79% of scores are in the range 5-7. This is something I’m going to delve into more over the coming weeks. I’ll also be looking at any gender bias in the scoring.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Pretty decent shows over the weekend. The opening number on the Saturday night was perhaps the best opening to any Strictly Come Dancing show ever. The combination of Tess and Claudia seems to be working okay so far. I remain to be convinced that Tess has the necessary gravitas (1) to keep the judges under control and balance the judges, audience and contestants.

One thing I’m going to be watching is how much Craig, Bruno and to a lesser extent Darcey play up to an exaggerated version of themselves. How grumpy can Craig be? How mad as a box of mad frogs out of their heads on LSD and being carried on the back of Salvador Dali’s bicycle can Bruno be?

Now, the dancing.

Lovely waltz from Mmmh Frankie. A clear and deserved lead. Decent performances from Flack Jacket Caroline and That’s Your Lott. My draw in the office sweeper looks okay for the time being. Perhaps the surprise dance of the night was Can’t See the Wood’s Tango. A bit stompy but very dramatic. I also enjoyed Dangerous Steve’s Tango. Good pro tips from Craig on how to manage his muscular arms. Dangerous Steve may be a good outside bet.

I was surprised by how well Reality Hammond did. I was not expecting her to perform so well. I thought she flagged a little at the end of her routine. I wonder if we’ll see a virtuous circle of improving physical fitness leading to improved performance leading to staying in and getting fitter.

The usual caveats about this only being one poll, you have to look at the trend, and individual constituencies enjoy differential incumbency factors only being one week, you have to look at the trend and different couples suit different dances.

At the bottom end of the leaderboard Pudding Loving Gregg, Unfortunately Named Tim, Hey Jude, Not Jennifer Grey and bringing up the rear Scott Mills in the AfternooOOOoon. No surprises there. Time to see who the public favour. Anyone in the bottom five gets put out in the dance off by anyone not in the bottom five at the moment. Will a week and another dance be enough to shift the scores.

With the exception of the surprisingly good tango from Can’t See the Woods the general trend of predictions look okay. I might be tempted to swap out Thom “Dripping” Evans from the Semi-Final list and put Can’t See the Woods in but I think Evans will have the public vote behind him.

Which leads me to Bookies’ Corner.

This year I’m recording the William Hill straight win odds for each contestant each week.

The favourite before the dancing was Pixie Lott at 3/1. She’s now fallen back a little 4/1 with Mmmh Frankie the new favourite at 3/1 from 9/2. She’s the big mover. Going the other way Thom Evans moves out from 4/1 to 6/1. At 16/1 I think I’d fancy Dangerous Backshall. I’m going to run a shadow “investment” portfolio and see if I can come out ahead. (2)

I’ll mainly be watching to see if the odds move in unexpected ways which might indicate that voting information is leaking out.

(1) You Want Me To Grab Its What? ROU (Murderer Class)

(2) Or if not ahead at least only behind the Baby Faced Assassin.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Well now it’s time for the psephological highlight of the year my series of Strictly Come Dancing prediction and voting analysis blogs.

For my first post the ever popular (1) initial assessment of the celebrities and their professional dance partners. This year I’ll be basing my initial assessment on a reading of the celebrities Wikipedia entry, my assessment of their performance in the group dance in the preliminary show, my understanding of how SCD celebrity constituencies operate and how I view the strengths and weaknesses of the professional partner (2)

Cut for lengthy discussion of Strictly, those watching Strictly and inappropriate use of the word Dripping )

(1) How do we know, there’s never been a vote.

(2) He’s making it up as he goes along.

(3) As there are no cricketers in this years’ show I’ll be (over) compensating by using large amounts of inappropriate cricketing terminology. As I regular readers are also often huge cricketing fans I know this won’t be a problem.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
There are probably spoilers. )
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Strictly is looking a little like a pantomime this year. More so than usual.

I think Bruce is looking at his last season of Strictly. His timing is poor. I’m genuinely not sure he knows what he’s doing all of the time. His health and ability to compere the show are becoming a bit of story in their own right. An unwelcome distraction. He was in his time an excellent light entertainment host. Even a few years ago he was very good.  I think his time has passed. The man has worked long and hard at his career and I would rather see it end this year whilst he can, just about, still deliver,  rather than see him soldier on a season or so longer and his career end when he pisses himself on live television.

Tess looked more relaxed than I’ve seen her look in a while.

I’m disappoined with Revel-Horward. In the past I’ve respected his opinions and the bluntness with which he delivered them. Usually his critisism is well founded and constructive. If you listened to it and did something about it you improved and he would often notice this and comment on it.

This weekend he seemed viscous and drowned the contestents in a slew of, what appeared to me to be quite technical points. I’m not saying he was wrong, just that he put the boot in and seemed to enjoy doing so. Whilst it is inevitable that on a judging panel one of the judges will be strict and blunt I don’t want the show to revolve around Revel-Horward being nasty to people.

So far, I see a risk that this year the main focus will be whether someone hits Craig before Bruce falls over.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
So, so, so – Strictly Predictions after one weekend and one dance for each pair.

First some commentary.

Predictions and Some Analysis Lie Beneath the Fold )
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Having seen the pairings and had a brief glimpse at the natural musicallity of the various celebs I don’t think I need to make a major revision to my predictions


... I might shuffle the order slightly )
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Here are my predictions for the Strictly Come Dancing Knock out stages.

I’m not certain of the format so I’ve ranked the contestants in order of leaving, rather week of exit, then picked a top five to appear in the semi-final and final with my prediction of an eventual winner. I did pretty well with my predictions last year. I was unfortunately blinded by Denise van Outen’s boobs undeniable talent as a dancer and after her unfortunate stage school related PR disaster I persisted in predicting her to win long after it was apparent she’d lost out.

First, some commentary on each contestant

Not so much spoilers... I'm not Nate Silver. )
danieldwilliam: (electoral reform)

I’m going to take a look at the checks and balances within the Strictly Come Dancing Electoral College. The purpose of the College is to select the couple who will leave the competition. I think there is a slight systemic bias in favour of weaker couple. This is probably reduced in practise by a correlation between the popular vote and the quality of the performance.

There are four elements to the Strictly Come Dancing Electoral College.  The judges’ scoring, the public vote, the combination of the these two elements and the dance off.

The judges’ scoring is very straightforward. Four judges award marks from 1-10 based on whatever criteria they like. The scores are amalgamated to give each couple a score from 4-40.  There is no special role for any particular judge. A point is worth a point regardless of how it is given or by whom.  Four 9’s are worth the same as  two 8’s and two 10’s.

The judges’ scores inform a leader board, top scoring couple at the top, lowest scoring couple at the bottom.  Points are awarded based on this ranking. The highest scoring couple scores points equal to the number of couples remaining in the competition. So if there were 8 couples left the top couple would score 8 points. The second place couple would score 7 and the lowest place couple would score 1. Couples who are tied, tie up, i.e. the two couples are awarded jointly the best place.  Two couples on the same score, 1 point behind the leader get joint second, rather than joint third. Everyone else moves up a place.  This tends to favour weaker dancers. There is a good chance that two or more couple will end up on the same score. This pulls the bottom placed couple up and they end up with more than 1 point. We’ll see how this works to their advantage when we turn to the public vote.

Four judges scoring independently provide a bit of balance to each other.  The judges’ scoring also give the public votes something to mill on.

The second stage of the Electoral College is the public vote.  Couples are ranked in order of their public vote on the night.  This ranking is converted into points in the same way as the ranking from the judges’ scores are converted into points. Given the very small possibility that couples will be tied on votes the rules on tie-ing up don’t favour unpopular couples in the way they favour poorer dancers.

This gives us two leader boards both converted into points.  To create the final leader board the points are added together to create a Combined Leader Board.  This balances up the professional opinions of the judges with the popular view of the public at large. (Sort of, I’d prefer that we used preferential voting for each round of the public vote.) In practise it is difficult for someone who finishes top to end up in the dance off.  It’s actually fairly easy for the bottom placed couple to avoid the dance off.

The bottom two couples enter the dance off. There are no tied places here.  In the event of a tie the couple with the largest public vote ranks higher.  This is where the rules on tie-ing up favour weaker dancers too.

Firstly, a couple who finish bottom of the judges scoring but top the popular vote will finish ahead of a couple who top the judges scoring but finish last in the public vote.  In a week with 8 couples the top ranking dancer would score 8 from the judges and 1 from the public vote. The bottom ranked dancers will pick up 1 point from the judges leader board and 8 points from the public vote. Both couple score 9 in total. The weaker, more popular dancers ranks ahead based on the public vote.  In situations where the top ranked for dancing couples are close on Combined Points with the weak dancers the stronger dancers must necessarily have performed worse in the public vote.

The second way the College favours weaker dancers is that they are more likely to be advantaged by the way tied couples tie-up.  In a week with 8 couple and two ties, say for 2nd and 4th spots, then the bottom ranked dancer takes 3 points into the Combined Leader Board from the dancing.  There is no way the top ranked dancer can score more than the maximum points, but the bottom ranked dancer could score more than the minimum points. Imagine a tie between the top two couples and the bottom two couples in an 8 couple week..  In this case if the best two dancing couples finished bottom and second bottom of the popular vote and the bottom two topped the voting they would end up with a combined scores as follows. Top Dancers, Lowest Votes, 8 +1 = 9, Top Dancer Second Lowest Vote, 8 + 2 = 10. Lowest Dancers, Top Vote,  3 + 8 = 11 points, Lowest Dancer, Second Top Vote, 3 + 7 = 10 votes. Both of the top dancers go into the dance off.  

If I were reforming the Strictly Electoral College I would change the way the judges’ leader board deals with ties by creating a tie-breaker. I’d probably start with highest numbers of 10’s, then 9’s in this week’s scoring then cumulatively.  So a couple with two 8’s and Two 10’s beats a couple with four 9’s.  Starting with the cumulative number of 10’s might also work as it favours couples with consistently good scoring.

The two bottom ranked couples go in to the last stage of the College which is the dance off. They perform again. The judges vote on who to save. There are in effect five votes. Len as head judge has two.  This will tend to favour stronger dancers. The judges have the final filter and will, by definition save the best couple of the two in the dance off. Whether they save the best couple on the night or the best couple over all is a matter for their conscience.  However, they can only save the best of the two couples offered up to them. As we’ve seen with John Sergeant and Anne Widdicombe popular but poor dancers can avoid the dance off all together for weeks.

The judges can signal their disdain by awarding four 1’s to a dancer but his still puts them in bottom place and gives them 1 or more Electoral College votes in the Combined Leader Board.

I think the rules of the Electoral College slightly favour weaker dancers particularly where they have strong public backing not connected to the quality of their dancing. This does make the competition more of a popularity contest than perhaps it first appears.  In practise this is probably mediated by the general tendency of the public to vote for the better dancers and the fact that over the long term the competition is really a run off voting system. A weak but popular dancer will eventually succumb to the Electoral College as their progress through the rounds begins to threaten better dancers and the vote for better dancers stiffens.

But then John Sergeant did happen.

danieldwilliam: (whimsy)

Average scores this week are down from 31.6 to 30.5 excluding Pendleton averages fall from 33.7 to 31.9. So harsh judging this week.

One of my questions after last week was was Louis going to sort himself out.  The numbers suggest not.  His deviation from average last week was negative 1.6. This week his score is down and his average deviation is negative 3.5.  Problems there.

Michael proved vulnerable on Latin again.  With Pendleton gone he needs to be careful.

I’m frankly stunned by Nicky’s performance. His average score before last night was 24.7. He’s more than 10 points better than his average and 6 better than his previous best.  If he’s turned around his performance as much as that then he deserves to prove me very wrong with my assessment of him as soon to be leaving.

That said I think the Charleston is easier to mark highly and a good Charleston tends to score very well.  (I am guessing here, mainly to save my own ego.)

Kimberly on 34 for the third week in a row, but 34 this week is a relative improvement.

I don’t think my views have fundamentally changed since last week.

I think Nicky and Kimberley have issues with the popular vote and a weak week would see them vulnerable to the dance off.  I think Denise and Dani are both strong enough dancers that they go through if they end up in a dance off.

One thing that occurred to me whilst watching the scoring is the things the way the electoral college works things are tilted slightly in favour of lower placed dancers.

The first two parts of the electoral college ranks dancers by judges score (8-1 for this week) and by popular vote (8-1 for this week.)  There is a very good chance that two or more couples will tie in the judges scoring. This pushes up the score that the lowest placed dancer gets.  It is very unlikely that two couple will finish on the same popular vote.  So Pendleton who finished bottom scored 3, second from bottom Michael scored 4 and Denise who finished top scored 8.  Had Pendleton topped the public vote she would have 11 electoral college votes. If Denise had third from bottom or worse she would have finished below Pendleton in the pre-dance off electoral college. Third from bottom puts Denise on 8+3 = 11 but below Pendleton on public vote.

So a slight advantage to lower placed dancers.  Probably balanced off by the second round of the electoral college after the dance off where dancing skills are judicially appraised.

danieldwilliam: (Default)

Now that the US elections are over and we also know that nobody cares enough about crime to vote for the person in charge of the police my thoughts turn to election of the Britain’s best celebrity dancer. Who will Strictly Come Dancing? I don’t know, but I think I can take a shrewd guess as who is going to be in the final.

Contenders are

Denise Van Outen

Danni Harmer

Michael Vaughan

Lisa Riley

Louis Smith

Nicky Byrne

Victoria Pendleton

Kimberley Walsh

I’m basing this guess on a combination of judges scoring and what little can be gleaned about the public voting.

Victoria Pendleton is by far the weakest dancer left in the competition. She’s had the lowest score twice. Last week she was 7.5 points below the average including Richard. She has the lowest score this series for three dances.

Yet she’s never been in the bottom two. So she clearly has some support in the voting public.

Michael, Nicky and Kimberley have all been in the bottom two.

I think Denise will go through to the final.  She typically tops the scoreboard and it is very difficult for someone who tops the scoreboard to end up in the bottom two.  You basically need the public vote to exactly reverse the judges score. There can be a little bit of variation on this but that is the pattern you need to see for the top scoring couple to end up in the bottom two. That scenario puts the top two dancing couples into the dance off.

Remember that in the event of tie on points the couple with the highest public vote goes through.

If Denise does end up in the dance off I think it likely she would end up facing stiff competition.  She’s been top of the leader board 5 weeks out of 7. I’d back her on the night and on her record to carry her through.

So, so long as Denise can stay in the top two each week I think she’s okay.

Baring accidents of course.

I don’t think Nicky is a strong enough dancer to avoid placing low enough in the table to be safe. His best score of 30 isn’t enough to compete with the remaining contenders.  He should place above Pendleton and he might place above Michael if Michal has a bad day dancing Latin but I don’t think he has the votes to survive more than two more weeks and unless he ends up against Pendleton in a dance off I think he’s a goner.

Kimberley I think  has problems with the public vote.  Finishing joint second in week 6 she ended up in dance off.  She must have polled badly.  (One caveat, we don’t know how close the voting is. Kimberley may have finished low down in the voting in a very tight race, only missing out by not getting a few hundred votes from people who thought she was safe in second place.) However, she is a strong enough dancer that I think she can see off the more vulnerable dancing efforts of Pendleton, Nicky, and Latin Michael.

But in a few week’s time she might struggle to see off a Lisa or a Danni or a Denise.

I think also potentially vulnerable on a dancing front is Louis.  On paper he has a good record. Best score of 35, average score of 30.5 (cf Denise average of 32.4, best of 39, average overall of those left is 28.3).  However, his scores aren’t trending upwards.  His cumulative average score is pretty flat from week 4. 

Louis & Flavia 27.00 28.50 29.00 30.50 30.20 30.67 30.57

The average improvement in scores for those left in is 0.8.  Average improvement since week 4 is 0.68. Louise average improvement since week 4 is 0.02.

Everyone else left in the competition is improving and Louis doesn’t appear to be.  Now, he might be having a little rest whilst we waits for the competition to reach his standard or he might have peaked.  Difficult to tell. If he doesn’t start improving again at the same rate as everyone else then his currently good scores start to look a little mediocre in about 2 week’s time.

So who do I think is going to make it to the final.  That’s difficult and I reserve the right to be totally wrong about this.  This is my best guest based on the data and the analysis that I’ve seen.  If (when) I turn out to be totes mistaken then, hey ho. The purpose of this post isn’t to dazzle the world with my Nate Silver like powers of using a calculator and understanding the rules. It’s part of a discussion. About a popular dancing programme.

I think we have a couple of weeks of Nicky, Pendleton and Kimberley fighting it out in the bottom two.  Pendleton on quality, Kimberley on popularity and Nicky on combination of not being quite good enough to overcome his apparent lack of public support.  Out of this I think Kimberley wins because she by is far the better dancer of the three.  I think this will probably earn her sufficient goodwill to avoid finishing bottom in the public vote. Either that of she’ll be so irritated she’ll lift her game.

After that we’ll know if Louis has woken up or if he’d peaked in week 4.  Judging by some of the It Takes Two footage of Louis and Flavia they don’t appear to be working very well together, so my money is on him not improving enough to avoid ending up in the dance off.

At some point Michael’s lack of Latin ability is going to catch up with him.  The competition shifts to doing two dances a week at some point and his lack of innate Latin rhythm is going to be on show more often.  On the other hand, he will be seen to be trying really hard and sportspeople, particularly cricketers seem to have the right combination of skills and drive to improve. Who knew that being physically adept and having the determination to be world class sportsperson would make you good at a physical activity you need to practise a lot? (This makes Pendleton and Louis all the more unusual in my view.)

Lisa seems just a little off the pace of Denise and Danni and Kimberley. She’s improving again now but I don’t see her quite matching those three technically.

So I think we have a second shake out between Louis, Michael and probably Lisa.  I could be wrong about Lisa. She might prove popular enough to avoid the dance off. Her charisma does come through very strongly when she dances. She is a popular soap actress and also there is the Susan Boyle effect working in her favour. I’m not sure how this particular shake out does shake out.  On a good day any of these three could beat either of the other two on a bad day.  I think I will probably go for Lisa to make it through.

So that gives us a semi-final of Lisa, Kimberley, Danni and Denise.

And a final of Danni and Denise and A N Other.

My money is still on Denise to win the coveted glitter ball trophy.


danieldwilliam: (Default)

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