Strictly stars starting to feel the strain
After a strange week, the remaining celebrities still competing in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing now know they stand a real chance of being crowned this year’s champion. The competition is well and truly hotting up, and there should be no more murder on the dancefloor...
John Sergeant has finally left the show, but only his vote counted. The political journalist gave himself the boot after weeks of ridicule from the judges - a move branded “the most selfish thing I’ve ever seen” by Cherie Lunghi’s professional partner James Jordan.
This mild controversy has left us with just five couples still strutting their stuff in the ballroom, with arguably only three of them in with a genuine chance of victory in the final and lifting the trophy:
Retired rugby union international Austin Healey, partnered by Kiwi Erin Boag (a two-time past finalist on the show), is the long-term favourite and still leads the betting at 7/4. His star may have shone slightly too soon though, and the value to be had now probably lies elsewhere.
Holby City’s Sam Strachan (known to his family and friends as Tom Chambers) is the close second-favourite, currently priced at 2/1. With dance partner Camilla Dallerup, the pair have consistently scored highly with the judges, but the heartthrob seems to be running out of steam.
The value now appears to be with former S Club 7 star Rachel Stevens, paired with Italian smoothie Vincent Simone. Having scored an almost-perfect 79 points out of a possible 80 in the last two weeks - and leading the averages with 34 - she seems to be finding her feet at just the right time. At 11/4, she looks the better bet of the three market leaders, and her profession does have form – last year's winner Alesha Dixon was a singer and dancer from the group Mis-Teeq.
BBC's The One Show co-presenter Christine Bleakley is one of the two outsiders in the betting, at 7/1. Paired with last year's winning professional Matthew Cutler, she would have fancied her chances at the start, and has done well to reach this far, but her journey won’t last much longer.
And then we come to the 12/1 rank-outsider of the five, George Clooney’s former squeeze Lisa Snowden. In the dreaded dance-off for two weeks running, her and ladies’ man Brendan Cole are not surprisingly low on confidence, and she won’t be winning. The better bet for this model cum radio & TV presenter is to be the next eliminated, currently available at a very tasty 11/10.