Strictly Come Dancing 2017: Part 4
Blackpool always brings out the best in the celebrity dancers, due to its immense entertainment heritage and standing within the world of professional dancers. So, it wasn’t surprising to see some couples raise their game and make significant improvements with their routines. Gemma showed that she had listened to the judges’ comments and delivered a polished and elegant performance. She also appeared to have noticeably rediscovered her confidence. Mollie also delivered a far better routine which corrected many of the issues that have plagued her in previous weeks. I would argue that it was her best dance of the series. And once again, Susan poured her heart and soul into her time on the dance floor, delivering another spirited performance that found favour once again with the public, if not the judges.
And once again there was an element of surprise when recent front runner Debbie McGee found herself in the dance off with people’s favourite Jonnie Peacock. However, I did feel that the outcome was somewhat arbitrary so didn’t feel that Debbie’s place on week ten’s show was under threat. But what this situation does demonstrate is the importance of public votes and that the potential distribution of them is possibly far closer than what people imagine. I suspect that although fans and supporters vote in large numbers there may not be anyone who has a demonstrable lead. I also suspect that some members of the public vote for multiple celebrities, having a clear favourite yet also acknowledging those who have done well and those they feel are being “picked on” by the judges. Public votes are often driven by emotion rather than an adherence to technical dance quality.
In the last few years, the BBC have been asked several times as to why they don’t release details of the public voting figures. I must admit, it would be very interesting to see such an analysis and to determine whether there is a clear pattern or whether it’s a far more reactionary process. However, when this question was last raised in 2016, a spokesperson for the show said “releasing voting figures could affect the way that people vote, and also have an impact on the participants. We therefore do not disclose the exact voting figures”. Both are good points. Knowing a contestant’s standing in a voting league table could indeed lead to tactical voting, plus it would add an additional layer of pressure for the celebrities to deal with. Ultimately, it is probably a sound decision to withhold this kind of information, at least during the duration of the current season.