Strictly Come Dancing odds: How to floor judges and audience
Sequins, glitter balls and slick moves are set to hit our screens once again in the autumn when Strictly Come Dancing returns for a new series.
Olympic gold medal winner Adam Peaty is the latest celebrity to be added to the list which sees McFly’s Tom Fletcher installed as the early 4/1 favourite in the Strictly Come Dancing odds.
How to dance your way to success on Strictly Come Dancing 2021
With Strictly Come Dancing set to return to our screens for a 19th series in September, we’ve analysed every dance in the show’s history to reveal the secrets of success.
Who are the judges on Strictly Come Dancing?
Success on Strictly requires a couple to impress both the judges and the viewers at home, with scores and votes combined at the end of each episode. As the judges have their say first, let’s start by looking at who will be assessing each performance in the studio.
As presiding head judge, Shirley Ballas joined the show in 2017 and has the casting vote when deciding which couple is to be eliminated in a dance-off.
A dancer since the age of seven, Shirley was partnered with the then British Ballroom Champion, Nigel Tiffany, when she was still just 15. A glittering dancing career peaked in the 1990s with back-to-back Latin-American championships at the Blackpool Dance Festival.
Since the start of series 17, Shirley has given couples an average score of 7.7, including 44 perfect 10s.
The only judge to have been on the panel since the very beginning of the show in 2004, Craig Revel-Horwood has a well-earned reputation for harsh criticism.
Born in Australia, Craig featured in multiple stage productions and was a regular on television before moving to Europe.
He starred as both a dancer and a singer with the famous Lido de Paris company and performed regularly in London’s West End. Craig also has a keen grasp of how routines are put together, having twice been nominated for a Laurence Olivier award for Best Choreography.
Since the start of series 17, Craig has given an average score of 6.9 – the lowest of any current judge – including just 11 perfect 10s.
The most recent addition to the show in the UK, Motsi was introduced as a judge in 2017. She is the elder sister of two-time winner and reigning champion Oti Mabuse.
Both sisters began ballroom dancing in their native South Africa before moving to Germany, with Motsi first competing in the German equivalent of Strictly in 2007. As her media career took off, Motsi continued to dance in professional competitions, becoming the nation’s Latin champion in 2013.
Since joining the show, Motsi has given an average score of 7.7: the same as head judge Shirley, but with two fewer perfect 10s.
Anton Du Beke
Like Craig, Anton Du Beke has been with the show since its launch, but 2021 marks his first series as a judge rather than a dancer.
Anton first attended dance school at the age of 10 and was just 17 when he decided to pursue a career in the ballroom.
Initially dancing in the evenings and at weekends, his success in dancing competitions enabled him to turn professional in 2002. Anton and his long-time dancing partner Erin Boag caught the BBC’s eye when they won the IDTA Classic in 2003, landing them roles in the first series of Strictly.
We don’t yet know much about Anton’s judging style as he has only assessed 17 dances to date while standing in for the absent Bruno Tonioli last year.
However, he was the most generous scorer during his two-episode stint, having given the highest score in 14 of the 17 performances he judged.
Do the judges decide who wins Strictly?
The audience has a lot of power to determine who wins the series and this has been increasingly true in recent years. Four of the last five champions didn’t have the highest average score from the judges across the series, with the exception being Kelvin Fletcher in series 17.
This suggests that viewers’ votes have a lot of sway and that they tend not to be influenced by what they see on the leaderboard when the phone lines open.
Which dances do you want to avoid early on?
Moving on to the dances themselves, there are 13 different types which have been assigned at least 10 times during the first three weeks of a Strictly series.
The most common is the Cha-Cha-Cha, which has been danced by 133 couples in the early stages of the show.
However, this is one that inexperienced dancers will want to avoid as it’s the hardest to score well in, earning an average of just 23 points.
In recent years the Viennese Waltz has been introduced earlier and has become a popular choice for one simple reason.
Unlike the traditional waltz, which is one of the toughest dances to nail early on, its Austrian equivalent has led to a higher average score than any other early dance with 28.2.
Which dances do Strictly winners perform best?
There are four dances in which the eventual winners of Strictly have achieved a significantly higher score than their competitors on average.
The Waltz, Rumba, Salsa and Paso Doble have all seen the series champions earn roughly seven more points than other couples who attempt it.
Therefore, if you witness a strong early routine in one of these dances then that couple stands a good chance of going all the way.
How important is a good start on Strictly?
Everyone loves to see a novice dancer gradually improve over the course of the series, with recent champions Stacey Dooley and Bill Bailey delighting both the judges and the audience with their progress.
However, neither were terrible to begin with and winning the show requires a fairly strong start.
Every one of the 18 Strictly champions to date found themselves in the top three on the leaderboard at least once during their first three appearances, with all but four of them finishing at least second.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication