After I tipped Michelle Visage to surprisingly receive the Blackpool boot, it would be fair to say there was less of a shock in the latest episode as Saffron Barker continued AJ Pritchard’s salsa slump by departing Sunday night’s show in tears.
The 19-year-old social media influencer lost out to Karim Zeroual, who demonstrated once again that a high score from the judges (38/40) does not necessarily guarantee a place in the following week at this late stage of proceedings, in the dance-off.
It was the ultra-talented Zeroual’s first appearance in the dance-off, meaning he shockingly now has more appearances in the dreaded final two than comedian Chris Ramsay!
In fairness to Ramsay, he upped his game with his ultra-serious Pasodoble on Saturday night, receiving judge Craig Revel Horwood’s joint-second highest score of the night (8/10).
Horwood was far less complimentary towards Barker and Alex Scott, who many would have expected to have been in the dance-off given that she was joint-bottom with Barker in terms of the judges scoring (26/40), giving them a 5 and a 4 respectively.
Fellow judge Bruno Tonioli was pictured with his head in his hands in reaction to the latter score, questioning, “What is going on with this show?!” before giving Scott an 8.
There appears to be no stopping Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher, meanwhile, as he received three 10’s and, unlike his main competitor Zeroual, once again avoided the dance-off.
Fletcher is now heavily odds-on favourite to win this year’s series at 2/5, with Zeroual bumped up to as far as 11/2.
Eastenders actress Emma Barton, dancing alongside show staple Anton du Beke, who has never won the show despite this year being his 17th series, appears to be gaining momentum and may offer slight value at 11/1.
The snake-hipped Fletcher is certainly the rightful favourite for the time being, though, and is difficult to oppose.