Strictly Come Dancing 2017: Part 3
Well I said it last week that there was scope for a surprise elimination from Strictly Come Dancing and surely enough it has happened. Aston Merrygold, despite being tipped as a contender for the final, scored poorly with the judges last night and also failed to garner sufficient public support. He subsequently found himself in the dance off with Mollie King and despite correcting some of the technical issues that were present in his initial performance, he failed to sway the majority of the judges in his favour. Darcey and Bruno both voted to save him but Craig and Shirley (who as head judge has the casting vote) opted to save Mollie. Hence, bookies favourite Aston Merrygold has left the show, proving that no one can rest on the laurels. As you’d expect, there were vocal complaints from fans and supporters who felt that the judges had been unfair with their marks. However, I believe if anyone is to blame then it is Aston’s professional partner Janette Manrara.
Last week, Aston and Janette were second from the top of the leader board with a robust score of 38 out of 40. Janette had cleverly choreographed a Paso Doble that blended traditional dance moves with more contemporary techniques. It was well received because it was a bold move that found the right balance between old and new. However, head judge Shirley Ballas did remark that she would have liked a little more traditional content, which is an important point to note. This week Janette took a similar gamble with a Viennese Waltz to Who’s Loving You by The Jackson 5. Again, she created a routine that placed a somewhat modern spin upon what is seen by some as a formal, traditional dance. If it was performed as a show dance, then I’m sure it would have fared better but as ever the judges scrutinised it on its technical merits. Both Craig and Shirley were not happy about its lack of Viennese Waltz content and thus marked accordingly. A view that the public may have also shared if you consider their votes.
So, Aston had little room to manoeuvre when he found himself in the dance off. He could obviously address some of the technical aspects of the routine but he couldn’t change the choreography. Mollie did give an improved performance second time round and the mistake that was made on Saturday’s show was not repeated. Furthermore, AJ wisely elected to keep her in-hold for as much of the routine as possible and minimised the potential for mistakes. Thus, there was no major reason when it came to decision time for judges Craig and Shirley to change their mind regarding Aston. I’m sure there will be those who disagree and even those who will trot out the usual arguments of subterfuge and prejudice. However, I believe the reality of the matter lies in the fact that approaching the Viennese Waltz in such a fashion was a fundamental mistake. Certainly, Aston’s departure at this stage alters the potential outcome of Strictly Come Dancing 2017. I’m thinking the smart money may should perhaps now be on Debbie McGee.