Here we go again.
For the second week in a row, a celeb in a supposedly comfortable middle position on the judges’ leaderboard had to do battle for his place on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in the Dreaded Dance Off.
Last week it was Simon Webbe, and this weekend it was ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ alum Mark Wright who made my jaw drop by landing in the bottom two. WHAT’S GOING ON?
Mark and professional dancer Karen Hauer had to dance their Quickstep again on the Sunday night results show, and all four judges chose to save them over ‘Bargain hunt’ antiques expert Tim Wonnacott and his pro partner Natalie Lowe. That bit is hardly surprising.
After all, Tim was second from bottom on the judges’ leaderboard with a measly 19 points after his Paso Doble failed to impress Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.
Mark, on the other hand, was in seventh position with 29 points, which is EXACTLY in the middle of the leaderboard with six contestants scoring more with the judges and six scoring less.
Jake Wood, Caroline Flack, Frankie Bridge, Pixie Lott, Simon Webbe and Thom Evans all got more points from the fearsome foursome than Mark, but there was a whole half a dozen celebs who you’d think would have a smaller fanbase than Mark that scored fewer points that Mr Wright. So you’d think he’d be a shoe-in for a pass to next week, right? WRONG.
What Sunday night’s results show proved was that the most dangerous position on the judges’ leaderboard isn’t the bottom, where poor old Scott Mills was languishing, but in fact the middle. What can it be down to? Voter apathy? A false sense of security from fans?
One thing’s for sure; more viewers voted for Alison Hammond, Steve Backshall, Sunetra Sarker, Judy Murray and the aforementioned Scott TWO LEFT FEET Mills than for Mark for flip’s sake.
Last week’s bottom two was a surprise, but we could see how all of the bad press surrounding both Simon and his pro partner Kristina Rihanoff about their personal lives could have meant there was a lack of public support for the Blue singer. And the first celeb voted off ‘Strictly’, Gregg Wallace had similarly been embroiled in a load of backstage drama that could have turned off voters.
But Mark? Aside from having flu this week (which would surely be a potential sympathy vote card), he’s not been clocking up negative vibes. Quite the opposite, in fact, with happy stories about his impending nuptials to Michelle Keegan filling the column inches. He’s also been a favourite on social media, got tonnes of search interest on t’internt, and was an early fave with the bookies.
The reality star turned TV presenter has got emosh over his fiancée, putting paid to any potential for the Strictly Curse AND he grabbed all the attention in the first week thanks to his Free Willy.
So without any backstage dramz, the reason for Mark winding up in the bottom two MUST be down to that old chestnut of the DANGER ZONE. And we’ve seen this happen before.
In ‘SCD’ 2013, ‘Countdown’ whizz Rachel Riley also ended up in the dance off in the third week despite being mid-table AND being the early fave to win. At the time I put that down to viewers forgetting to vote or assuming she was safe and voting for the lower placed celebs instead.
So let this be a warning to all the fans out there. The dancefloor is a harsh place, and these celebs need our help regardless of where the judges have placed them. Rather than “keeeeep dancing” perhaps Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly should shout “KEEEEEP VOOOTING” instead.