SCD 2013 Final: Keep the faith in good Reid

It’s been a classic series of Strictly Come Dancing, bolstered by high ratings and a good standard among the leading fancies. It all comes to an end tonight with the first all-girl final in the programme’s history.

It’s a show I prefer to enjoy rather than get involved in. However, one of the rules of TV talent show betting is to believe a leak in the Daily Star. So when it informed us just before the semi-final that Susanna Reid was getting more than twice the votes of her nearest rival, I had to jump in. I also laid Natalie Gumede, who despite scoring best over the course of the series, has struggled to connect with the audience.

Natalie’s fall from joint-top of the leaderboard into the semi-final dance-off, whilst Susanna avoided it from second-bottom on judges scores, suggested that once again the Star is to be believed. Will Susanna’s popularity at the expense of better dancers like Natalie continue tonight?

There are enough reasons for me to think so. Susanna is not a natural at the Latin dances such as the Salsa, but is able to keep away from them for tonight’s final. Instead she performs the quickstep before a showdance with waltz influences to ‘Your Song’ and the phone lines open. Should she survive when the lowest polling couple is eliminated at the start of the second show, she gets to reprise her crowd-pleasing paso double.

This may help her avoid criticism from the panel that suggests she is less deserving to take the trophy, which would matter even though judges’ scores don’t count for anything tonight. In fact, as the contestant who has connected best with the audience, one of the BBC’s very own, there is every reason to believe she will be highly praised.

She has always had the right profile for the show, and endeared herself to me plus many others right from week 1, when she revealed herself to be game for anything on the dancefloor – including an almost catastrophic cartwheel. A key part of her appeal has been her rapport with professional dance partner, Kevin from Grimsby, new to the franchise this series.

It’s helped her go from BBC breakfast newsreader to national sex symbol in the space of a few months: someone who, according to a source of mine, increases sales of the Daily Express by a double-digit percentage when her picture is on the front page. Victory tonight only increases her marketability at the BBC.

What of her rivals? Abbey Clancy, famous for being a footballer’s wife and model, doesn’t fit the winning profile, and she fell into the singoff from second on the leaderboard as far back as week 6. Her chemistry with newbie professional partner Aljaz also felt a little more flirtatious than the Strictly audience traditionally wants to see.

However, since then she’s clearly won certain parts of the audience over with her engaging personality and some ramping from the panel (most notably with a perfect 40 for a disco salsa). She comes into the final from joint-top of the semi scoreboard and some momentum behind her.

Whether that’s enough to overcome the large deficit reported by the Daily Star has to be open to question. The panel will no doubt continue to praise how far she’s come throughout he competition, but she doesn’t have a standout number to match Susanna’s paso doble when it will matter most.

Sophie Ellis Bextor arguably does, in her week 2 charleston. Her professional partner Brendan is an engagingly competitive individual who will go all out with the showdance, which allows for more freedom with choreography, in particular. According to the Star leak, Sophie was second in the voting behind Susanna, although Abbey and Natalie were close behind.

She can’t be discounted either, although there’s a feeling that she doesn’t have Abbey’s momentum coming into the final. Nonetheless, Sophie and Natalie serve as useful spoilers to Abbey’s chances because they help split the anti-Susanna vote.

The sympathy bounce is a known phenomenon in Strictly as it is in X Factor, and Natalie comes into the final on the back of a semi-final bottom two appearance despite judges putting her joint top of the scoreboard. That revealed what viewers had suspected all along – that despite her abilities and those of professional partner Artem, she just hasn’t connected with the audience.

She clearly came into the competition with more dance experience than her rivals. That and a slightly awkward personality that makes her less smooth when in front of the camera, is not a recipe for Strictly success. In the last few weeks, the judges have been pointing out her apparent Achilles’ heel – a lack of character in her dances.

As a result, I still think it most likely that Natalie will be eliminated at the start of the second show and officially placed fourth. Each dance from every finalist promises to be an emotional affair tonight (expect plenty of tears), and Natalie just doesn’t convey it as well as her rivals. It’s Susanna and Kevin that offer viewers the most moving rapport of all, and I think that will be enough.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s final? The Sofabet comments section has been full of insightful Strictly analysis all series. Do carry on the conversation below.

58 comments to SCD 2013 Final: Keep the faith in good Reid

  • Cath

    The leak from the Star is very compelling ‘evidence’, however there is one thing that I think could stand in Susanna and Kevin’s way; the show dance.
    Past series have been won and lost on the basis of this one dance (see Colin Jackson) and S and K will not be able to pull off as many lifts or tricks as the other couples mainly as a result of their comparative statures. If one of the other couples (but not all 3 as that would split votes) manages a spectacular show dance, that could provoke a lot of votes and clinch it for them.

  • Daniel, I’m back to being meek, as I rarely watch Strictly. I have some cash down on your advice, but have this question. Could voting leaks indicate the producers DON’T want this result to happen. If the leaks are from the BBC directly, then maybe the ideal plan is for her not to become the THIRD BBC newsreader to win the show! Rather like Christopher and Nicholas… A nice creditable second in a close run thing, would maybe be preferable.

    Here’s some more meat on the bone from the Mirror.

    I’m backing your judgement and expertise tonight Daniel(!) but would be interested in your thoughts, and if any one has done any research on when leaks happen. I know nothing – but would be interested.

    • Rob4

      basically that report is the daily star report, so old news – a case of the press feeding off each other.

      just anecdotally everyone I’ve asked about SCD think it’s an SR victory. I think she has unbeatable demographics for the win – middle class but down to earth, not the best dancer but willing to give it a go, humorous unforced personality, telegenic but not too beautiful, appeals to women as a working mum and someone they can aspire to, appeals to men as attractive and most importantly attainable (just!).

      I have a substantial ew on her so I may be biased lol.

    • Daniel

      It’s a really good question, Richard. History tells us the Daily Star leaks from the BBC don’t seem to have as much of an agenda as the X Factor ones. We were told that Louis Smith was running away with the weekly phone vote last year, for example, and the BBC happily got behind him in the last few weeks of the show.

      It will be fascinating to see if such apparent superiority can be overturned in the final. Presumably there are plenty of people voting for the first time, up against those who have invested in their favourites and will continue to do so.

      As I’ve mentioned, the problem for those voting for the first time and going against Susanna is that you have three genuine options: best dancer Natalie, perky Scouser Abbey and elegant, prim Sophie. It makes it that much harder for one of them to come out of the pack to beat her.

    • Tim B

      Hey Richard, if the guy from the Radio Times is to be believed then Abbey is going to be set on FIRE with the staging to one of her dances. Sounds quite up your street!

  • Chris Bellis

    For what it’s worth, this is the yahoo vote:

    So I might put a few quid on that as odds are not too bad.

  • So here’s what I’ve done. I’ve bet big on Susanna to win, with a smaller hedge bet on Abbey. The Abbey bet refunds my stake if she wins, so that’s the sort of insurance bet, the Susanna bet gives me a 72% return, once the Abbinsurance is taken into account. If either of the other two win, it’s a big loss.

    Abbey is topping the Sun poll, DS poll and the Yahoo poll. However, I think you have to be extremely careful with these, as the demographics are all over the place and likely to be younger. Also, anyone can click a poll, it costs cash and a Christmas Saturday night to vote, so personally I would discount them as indicative.

    That’s my strategy, from someone who’s watched approximately eight minutes of the series…

  • Chris Bellis

    Good point Richard. I once helped my niece’s Italian boyfriend’s progressive rock band win a poll by repeated clicking using a batch program that set a new proxy IP every click. I hasten to say, I don’t do that sort of thing any more, and I was wrong to do it then, especially as she fell out with him soon afterwards. So internet polls are often wrong – let’s not forget some polls tipped San Marino to win Eurovision.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Can anyone call this?

  • Jessica Hamby

    On dancing alone surely Susanna should go. The question is, will they be judged on dancing alone? I wonder how much final-only voters will influence things.

  • Chris Bellis

    Jessica = 100% agree. Mind you I’ve always been mystified about her popularity, so what do I know…

  • Jessica Hamby

    Maybe it’s as simple as familiarity.

  • Jessica Hamby

    WOW!! Natalie might yet win this.

  • Chris Bellis

    Re: online voting….I could run my script again to repeat vote for my preferred winner. You get five votes per IP address on the BBC website – free. I haven’t, although I really have been tempted. I’ve only got a few quid on, and I don’t want the rozzers crawling all over me, so I haven’t done it. But it would be so easy…

  • Chris Bellis

    Seriously, I should add, you have to have a registered email address to repeat vote. There are ways to do this, known to Russian ticket touts, so I wonder how sound the voting system is. I was able to subvert a system that was relatively unsophisticated, and this one doesn’t seem that impregnable. We’ll see – it’s probably imposible for there to be an internet betting scam (not).

  • Jessica Hamby

    Wwow all over again.

  • Chris Bellis

    Nice one. Yahoo et al were right. Quite nice for a change for this sad punter.

  • Jessica Hamby

    They all looked shocked. Commiserations to the unlucky punters but I can’t help feeling pleased about disappointment for smug Susanna.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Susanna and Kevin look gutted on the interview show. She’s practically gritting her teeth.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Everyone’s gone quiet.

    Is this proof that betting is a mug’s game?

    I would have been each way on Sophie and laying Natalie which means I would have been at best breaking even. Dan, sorry but it sounds like you bust again. Richard broke even.

    Anyone happy?

    • Boki

      Not happy, not sad either. Had massive Su green with covers on Abb/Soph so break even for me. Actually I should be happy that Nat didn’t win as that would be a disaster.

    • Daniel

      Hey Jessica, lost on backing Susanna before the semi but won laying Natalie to significant amounts. I didn’t get involved tonight and am glad I didn’t, because I read it all wrong. I felt that Abbey was the main danger going into the show but that Natalie had stolen her thunder during it. Was utterly surprised when the winner was announced.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi Jessica,

      My doubts about Susanna…

      …became more pronounced when it became too well known that she was miles ahead in the voting. It seemed to break through into mainstream knowledge…

      …there was already a backlash building and that irritating sense of fait accompli was what accelerated it.

      So that 3/1 I took for Abbey saved my bacon.

      It wasn’t just an insurance or cover bet; it did seem a genuine value bet.

      I missed large chunks of the final, but was watching the result live. It’s funny when it gets to those seconds before the ‘winner is on the presenter’s lips’ moment. Sometimes, you just know / feel / sense who’s going to win. I remember having the same sense yonks back, just before Will Young was announced the winner of Pop Idol (with Gareth Gates left a surprised 2nd).

      At that moment, pre Tess announcing the ‘A’ of Abbey’s name I was regretting not having more on Abbey!

      Susanna would have been a much, much better result for me.

      But, betting aside, I have to say that I am absolutely delighted that Susanna lost. She didn’t deserve to win. Not by a long chalk. .

      It would have been a disgrace if Susanna had won.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Well done guys. Glad to hear about your successes. I too thought Natalie had won it. There seemed to be a bit of needle from Abbey towards Susanna. Did anyone else notice when Susanna tried to hold Abbey’s hand and Abbey ignored her? She had no problem grooming Natalie’s false eyelashes though after Nat’s last dance. Also Susanna was always stood alone on Tess’s left while the others wete together on her right (from viewer’s pov). It obviously didn’t skew the vote in SR’s favour but it was interesting to see.

      The Will Young / Gareth Gates result was brilliant and actually bloody funny. Poor Gareth. Will went to number one, to Hollywood and to the West End. Gareth is probably warming up for a gig at Center Parcs tonight.

      And I agree that Susanna didn’t deserve to win. She was thefourth best out of four and should consider second place a wonderful show of goodwill from the public. She did looked a bit pissed off though.

  • Hello Jessica – I did indeed breakeven (almost – small loss actually in the end). I had alarm bells at various things but as I’d watched about eight minutes of Strictly this year and about five hours in the last eleven years, I decided to follow various respected experts in the TV betting community.

    I was pleased with my safety net strategy – but would have been horrified if neither won!

    Never liked that show anyway!

  • Jessica Hamby

    I thimk I’m going to focus on I’m A Celebrity. I’m good at people but not so good on talent.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Susanna was v red and black at her final dance but I don’t know how relevant that is in Strictly. I didn’t think there was any clear bias from tptb. It was all a bit of a muddle in xfactor terms, but I e pected Susanna or Natalie. I was as shocked as everyone else when they said Abbey & Alijaz.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I rabbit on about this rematch every month or so, but finally it’s nearly upon us:

    This Saturday it’s Weidman vs The Spider.

    Weidman is the slight odds-against outsider.

    Plain and simple, to my eyes, he had Silva’s number in the first fight, Silva knew it, and the knock-out, though shocking, wasn’t unpredictable.

    Imo, Weidman can definitely go 2-0 against Silva this Saturday night.

    I think the odds for the fight are the wrong way around. Silva’s price is a “reputation” price.

    Am hyped about watching this rematch. High-octane octagon action! Can’t wait!

  • David Cook

    Even as someone who usually only sees 15 – 20 minutes of SCD on a Saturday, I would still say that this is a far better entertainment programme than the X Factor. There is little manipulation in the background, simply because there doesn’t need to be. The judges voting system ensures that popularity doesn’t outweigh dancing ability too much and there is not the same requirement to serve two different masters as there is on X Factor. To the contestants, ultimately it doesn’t matter so much.
    My advisor tells me that Natalie should have won on dancing, and that Patrick should have been in the final ahead of Susanna. But I still don’t think too many viewers will be complaining about the final result. In the end maybe Abbey just had the best combination of dancing ability, particularly as she started off from a much lower level than Natalie, and genuine likeability.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Looking at Natalie yesterday I really don’t see why she was deemed less likeable. Less well-known perhaps, unless you watch Corrie, and having an advantage of a lot of early dance training, but she came across as a very sweet person to me and I feel a bit ashamed of calling her a robot just to get a cheap laugh.

    • Jessica Hamby

      And I agree completely about the relative metits of SCD & XF. Tbe judge / mentor role makes an honest contest impossible and the contrived competion between the judges is ludicrous. The set up is designed to make interference in the acts’ performances easy, from song choice to staging to camerawork to judges comments. It isn’t that the show has a “credibility problem” as much as that the way the show is set up is not credible as a serious competition in any way. An outsider seeing it for the first time would think that it was about the battle between the judge-mentors and that the singers were merely their weapons. There’s something about XF that even when the best singer wins, as she did this year, leaves a slightly nasty taste in the mouth. I don’t get that with SCD.

      • David Cook

        Natalie did come across as a likeable person, it’s just that as the best dancer I also got the feeling that she just took it a bit too seriously. Abbey came across more as a girl having fun. And ultimately it is an entertainment programme, more than a competition, so maybe that just swung it with the viewers.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        ‘An outsider seeing it for the first time would think that it was about the battle between the judge-mentors and that the singers were merely their weapons.’

        I’d never thought of it that way – X Factor as Pokemon!

        • Jessica Hamby

          I’d prefer to lock them in a windowless room with half single pool cue and see which one came out.

          I have a feeling it would be Louis or Sharon.

          • Guildo Horn Forever


            You’ve just created a new format for a one-off edition of Celebrity Big Brother!

            I would definitely be tuning in for that programme šŸ˜€

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            I’d price it up like this:

            Louis – 13/8
            Sharon – 7/4
            Nicole – 11/4
            Gary – 5/1

            Big fight preview-prediction!:

            I imagine Sharon taking out Nicole first, then moving on to Barlow. Louis and Barlow are scrabbling around on the floor with Louis clinging onto Gary’s ankles. Sharon does the dirty work and finishes off the pinned-down Barlow, Louis moves around to congratulate Sharon…and stabs her in the back.

          • Jessica Hamby

            All the time sporting that huge, fake, shit-eating grin.

          • Chris bellis

            On form alone Sharon would win. But I’m happy to take 7/4.

            Happy New Year to all you regulars for keeping me amused this last year. I picked the winners of the Voice, SCD and X Factor thanks to you lot. Pity about some bets along the way, like Tamera and Rough Copy. I’ll know to be more careful in future. Pity too about Eurovision…still I did get the 5-10 place for Italy, but picking Spain and Ireland to come in the top five when I should have done them to come in the bottom five – that wasn’t one of my finest moments.

  • Chris Bellis

    Surprised no-one has mentioned why Natalie was deemed unlikeable. Did no-one see Coronation Street? She played a very unlikeable character, who regularly beat up her simpleton boyfriend. And when she was a police officer concocted evidence and all sorts of stuff more normally asociated with the Met than police in the north. The average voter probably can’t distinguish between fiction and reality (I know the feeling). Plus I happen to believe that writers build their scripts around the actor’s characteristics. Something about Natalie resembled her soap character. Best dancer by far, however. As for SR, I’ve always been irritated by her complacent rabbiting on in the morning, so that was an easy one for me.

    • Rob4

      yeah your right. my other half couldn’t separate her from the character. when they said 6 million votes had been counted I though SR had a chance of losing as the beeb clearly didn’t want her to win. had to settle for the smaller profit. oh well always next year…

    • Jessica Hamby

      You think the police in the north are the good guys? Anyone for Hillsborough?

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        The police as good guys is already a radical notion.

      • Chris Bellis

        Jessica – it’s all relative but I take your point. Cleveland not looking too good either at the moment. I was just thinking that mostly police in the North don’t go around shooting innocent unarmed people, but then I’ve just remembered a couple of incidents with the Derbyshire force, if you count that as the North. Whatever the truth about the police is, Natalie played a corrupt, conniving police officer who was also a spouse batterer. A very unlikeable character. Script writers for soaps like to bring in elements of the actor’s personality to add verisimiltude, so I think the voting public may have picked up on that. Plus several of my female relatives said they would never vote for that cow after what she did to Tyrone….

  • Jessica Hamby


    Daniel, please organise a forum in the new year if you can.


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