In the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ semi-final this weekend, the unthinkable happened; professional dancer Anton Du Beke FINALLY made it through to the final. His celebrity partner Katie Derham was saved by the judges in their dance off against Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko.
We know ‘Strictly’ is supposed to be about the celebs rather than the pros, but Anton has been on the show FOREVER (literally, since the first series in 2004) and has had a serious case of always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Well, to be more precise, the closest Anton has got to making it to the final was way back in series one when he came third with Lesley Garrett.
In more recent series it’s become a running joke that Anton gets partnered with a ‘hopeless’ contestant, and as a result comes up with hilariously bizarre routines to be kept in for the comedy factor. Ann Widdecombe with the iceberg and Nancy Dell'Olio with the coffin spring to mind.
So when Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli all voted to keep Anton and Katie in the competition, it was pretty much as big a win for the pro as it was for the celeb.
Katie and Anton’s finalist position is a bit of a shock, and not just because of Anton’s past. They trailed on the judges’ leaderboard by a significant amount, with their combined score of 56 a massive eight points below Anita’s 64.
The judges’ comments about Katie and Anton’s Charleston and Waltz were far from complimentary, with Craig Revel Horwood even pulling out a lowly four. No big surprise, then, that Craig voted to save Anita. Craig’s dance off disagreement with his fellow judges comes hot on the heels of reports that Bruno is on the verge of quitting due to tension with Craig. Oo-er.
But back to the dancers, and to give the BBC Proms presenter her dues, Katie did bring out an improved performance in the dance off.
In terms of stats not only this week but in the whole run, the bottom two in this crucial semi-final week was right. When you look at the series averages, Anita and Katie are bottom of the pack, with Anita only a couple of points ahead.
They’d each been bottom of the judge’s leaderboard once (Anita last week, Katie this week), and this weekend was the first time either had been in the dance off. So far, so level playing field.
But what Katie did have over Anita was the fact that she had topped the judges’ leadboard once (in week four), while Anita never managed to scoop that title.
So Katie joins Jay McGuiness, Georgia May Foote and Kellie Bright in next week’s final. While it would seem she has no chance of lifting the glitterball trophy in terms of being the best dancer, the result is entirely down to the public vote. There’s no underestimating the power of the underdog and Anton’s fans.
Could 2015 be the year Anton’s ‘Strictly’ dreams come true? We’ll have to wait and see…