Author: David Archer
Published: 11:59 22/10/2012
The Saturday night glamour of Strictly Come Dancing was turned up a few notches with the Hollywood theme this weekend. The celebrities at the top of the leader board in week 3 – Lisa Riley, the actress, Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, Kimberley Walsh, the Girls Aloud singer and an outstanding Denise Van Outen - impressed with their natural ability whilst those languishing at the bottom could only look on with wonder.
Jerry Hall got the boot after a dismal quickstep to Mrs Robinson, a role she played in the stage version of The Graduate. Cricketer Michael Vaughan miraculously survived the dance off with rather dull dancing that was like “a Dad learning to dance” according to his own dance partner Natalie, while actor Sid Owen also turned in a poor performance with a “stompy, clompy” version of Here I Go Again from the Rock of Ages film. Vaughan in particular remains very much in the danger zone for elimination in next week’s spooky Halloween special, with the bookmaker Paddy Power offering odds of 15/8 that Vaughan will be next to go. The same odds are available for the elimination of TV entertainment presenter Richard Arnold, while fellow presenter Fern Britton is also tipped to go at odds of 4/1 despite her winsome performance at the weekend.
Although the show lacks a pantomime figure this year such as Ann Widdecome or John Sergeant, it does have the novelty of a fragile and tearful performer in the lithesome shape of Olympic champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton. The judges are kind to her, perhaps because of her emotional vulnerability, and viewers will be interested to mark her progress through the competition as she competes in a dancing world completely alien to her. She is not alone though in feeling the tension of competition. Even Denis Van Outen, whose performance of Toy Story with partner James drew great accolades from the four judges, was shaking with nerves at the voting stage of the show on Sunday night.
But she has no reason to feel these nerves given her excellent dancing to date. She remains second favourite to win with odds from bookmaker Paddy Power now shortening from 7/2 to 11/4 on the strength of her performances. Louis Smith remains the front runner despite criticism from head judge Len Goodman over the weekend. Paddy Power has again shortened its odds, from 5/2 a couple of weeks ago to 7/4 now. Kimberley Walsh continues to impress also, with third equal placing for the night (shared with Lisa Riley and Dani Harmer) and she is third placed in the overall running for the title, at odds of 4/1 from many bookmakers including Boyle Sports. Lisa Riley is fourth placed at best odds of 8/1 from Ladbrokes, with Victoria Pendleton at longer odds of 20/1 from Coral.
The excitement of Series 10 of Strictly Come Dancing has proven too much for host, Sir Bruce Forsyth, who is taking a short holiday in November to recuperate from the rigours of his role. In his absence, co-presenter, Tess Daly, will host the show with Claudia Winkleman, affording 84-year old Sir Bruce the opportunity to rest immediately prior to the following week’s live show from Wembley arena.
Next week’s show has a Halloween theme so expect the ghoulish, the spooky and the absurd... Just warning you!