It’s semi-final week on Strictly Come Dancing, which means our dancers will each perform two separate dance routines for the first time on this year’s series.
Switching from rehearsing just the one routine all week to the daunting task of two is sure to be a stern test of the awesome foursome’s musicality, muscle memory and overall dancing technique.
Once again, after narrowly surviving his first dance-off against former footballer Alex Scott last week, it is comedian Chris Ramsey who unexpectedly finds himself the heavy odds-on favourite to depart the show.
Ramsey is 2/7 to fall one week short of reaching the final.
Eastenders actress Emma Barton is 3/1, with TV presenter Karim Zeroual 8/1 and Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher 14/1.
Frankly, unless Ramsey seriously pulls both dances out of the bag and the public also overwhelmingly support him with votes, it’s tough to see beyond the bookmakers’ expected outcome.
Last week, himself and Scott were lagging behind Zeroual, Barton and Fletcher in terms of the judges’ scoring and rightly found themselves in a tense face-off in the dance-off.
It went down to a split decision, with head judge Shirley Ballas’ deciding vote saving Ramsey.
On Saturday night, Zeroual had received the first maximum score of 40/40 of this year’s series for his jubilant jive, with the crowd inevitably reacting wildly when judge Craig Revel Horwood finally revealed his ’10’ card.
Barton and Fletcher, meanwhile, both received 39, falling one short of Zeroual in Horwood’s eyes.
But Ramsey found himself much further back on 28, just a point ahead of Scott.
Earlier in the competition, this would undoubtedly have been a very respectable score, but at this stage of the competition it’s tough to see the cheeky Geordie improving rapidly enough in order to receive the judges’ votes should he face the dance-off once more.
Looking further ahead, in terms of winning the competition in next week’s final, Zeroual’s odds have understandably shortened slightly after his magnificent 40.
Zeroual is just 3/1 to win the show, with Barton 5/1 and Ramsey 18/1.
It’s Fletcher, however, who remains the firm favourite at 2/5.
His favourite tag remains despite the muscle-bound actor revealing on last night’s Strictly sister-show It Takes Two that he’d found rehearsing two different dances “tough” and he was “praying it’s going to be enough on Saturday.”