Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Strictly Come Dancing Season 8 Line-up Revealed

The cast of celebrities for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing was revealed at midnight last night – is it wrong that I was actually contemplating staying up for the reveal!?

As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m somewhat of a Strictly geek and can’t wait for the camp spectacle of the show to return to dominate my Saturday night TV viewing until Christmas.

I’m always extra intrigued at the announcement of the line-up as I like to try and pick the winner ante-post – this has proved both successful and completely unsuccessful in recent years. Since I’ve been watching the show my picks have been Alesha Dixon, Rachel Stevens and Jade Johnson; so my record is steady if unspectacular.

Although there are no stand-out ‘great bookings’ I’m reasonably pleased with this year’s line-up and think it should be a great year for the show, so let’s take a look at this year’s line-up:

Ann Widdecombe – 50/1

Former Tory politician Widdecombe will be gone within a few weeks unless a sympathy vote comes into play to keep her around longer.

Felicity Kendal – 25/1

Former star of The Good Life Felicity Kendal is another of the women who probably won’t last long. It doesn’t always pay to rule out the older women though – remember Cherie Lunghi a few years back!?

Gavin Henson – 5/1

Rugby star and ex Mr. Charlotte Church Gavin Henson is the male favourite going into the show which is just ludicrous quite frankly, have the bookies not learned their lesson from Joe Calzaghe last year!?

I think Henson will be more Calzaghe than Matt Dawson (another rugby player who took part and managed to come 2nd) and should effortlessly fill the big, dumb Welsh lug role that Calzaghe vacated early doors last season.

No chance of winning if you ask me and if any serious gamblers are reading I’d be doing what Charlotte Church did for a number of years and laying Gavin Henson.

Goldie – 16/1

A man who clearly has his priorities straight – his son was sent down for murder the day the line-up was announced – Goldie could actually be ok at the dancing side of things but unless his personality has improved drastically since his Celebrity Big Brother stint I can’t see him picking up the popular vote and as we all know this is a popularity contest more than anything else.

I’d venture that he’ll fare better than some of the older male celebs but won’t trouble some of the younger ones – no chance.

Jimi Mistry – 10/1

Actor Jimi Mistry is my idea of the value outsider this year. He starred as an Indian dance teacher in awful film The Guru and although that doesn’t mean much, he proved he could at least move in that film.

Coming from the background he does I would say he should definitely have rhythm and that is often half the battle on Strictly, if he can charm the viewers with his winning personality then he could be a real dark horse this year.

Kara Tointon – 6/1

The first of the prerequisite Eastenders cast members and my idea of a probable finalist – Tointon previously won the Sport Relief version of Strictly with former winner Mark Ramprakash.

The Eastenders vote usually ensures a long run on the show and if Tointon can marry that with some actual decent dancing she should be a real contender, her good looks won’t hurt her chances much either.

Matt Baker – 7/1

Former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker apparently has a background in gymnastics which should give him a good foundation for Strictly. The Countryfile host is my idea of the top male at this stage and isn’t a bad price at 7/1.

I think this year will definitely be a woman’s year after male winners the last two years and I’d say the final two will be Kara Tointon and Michelle Williams but I think it will be Baker fleshing out the top three and if he can get the housewives’ vote then he could be the one to spring a surprise in this year’s competition.

Michelle Williams – 4/1

Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams is the bookies favourite at this point and for once I think they are bang on.

Williams has already shown she can move pretty well during her time with Destiny’s Child, if not quite on a Beyonce level, and has also put her moves to good use on Broadway.

She should without a doubt be the best dancer going into the show, but that could count against her as people do love a ‘journey’ – Chris Hollins wasn’t the best dancer last year was he!? Although that didn’t stop Nicole Scherzinger waltzing off with the US crown earlier this year.

Another potential stumbling block to Williams winning could be the anti-American bias that will undoubtedly rear its head from some of the morons that populate this country – I give it about one show before I hear “why is she on the UK version?”.

That said she seems a nice woman from what I’ve seen of her and I will be backing her at what I consider generous odds of 4/1.

Pamela Stephenson – 33/1

Hopefully Mrs. Billy Connolly will be around for a couple of weeks so we get to see her husband show up for the live show at least once, I can only imagine what Connolly would come out with if they actually aim a live mic at him.

I can’t see Stephenson making too much of an impact on the competition but she will probably survive a couple of weeks as some of the celebs at even longer odds fall by the wayside.

Patsy Kensit – 10/1

If Patsy Kensit isn’t partnered with Brendan Cole then I’ll be amazed as Cole always seems to find himself partnered up with the randy older woman.

Kensit should do quite well in the competition providing she can keep herself from sleeping with half the crew and I would expect her to get at least to the half way stage. If she is indeed with Brendan that will ensure she does well as he always puts in a good show but it will stop her from winning because I genuinely can’t see anyone winning with Brendan as a partner again as everybody hates him.

Paul Daniels – 50/1

The token comedy older male entry (see John Sergeant or Jimmy Tarbuck) Daniels will no doubt be great comedy value for as long as he stays in the competition, reeling off some great one-liners and played-out jokes.

In nobody’s eyes is he a contender to win though and his current odds of 50/1 are probably on the generous side – no chance.

Peter Shilton – 50/1

Given that he is currently at the same odds as Paul Daniels I would say Shilton is definitely the better value of the two. Okay he’s not going to win but sportsmen have a decent(ish) record on the show, even those who’ve been retired a while.

Shilts has looked in decent shape the last few times I’ve seen him on TV and given how long he played on past his 40th birthday as a footballer I wouldn’t be dismissing his athleticism just yet.

Again, no chance of winning but I have a sneaking suspicion he might go further than people think.

Scott Maslen – 5/1

The second of the annual Eastenders entrants and should put in a bold show off the housewife vote, that would be the same vote that carried Tom Chambers to victory two years ago.

I might be wrong but I don’t think Maslen quite has the campness Chambers had that helped make him so popular and I think that once the competition comes down to the real contenders that the Eastenders vote might not be enough to keep him around, thus I would say 5/1 is a very short price (at least until we see how he moves out there).

Tina O'Brien – 6/1

Coronation Street’s Sarah-Lou is an interesting contender this year and could ride the soap vote quite a long way in this year’s competition.

In recent years the Eastenders vote has proved to be important in keeping lesser dancers around and last year the Hollyoaks vote had a lot to do with Ricky Whittle being so popular – although he was a shit hot dancer to go with it; so the Corrie vote could do the same here for O’Brien.

She’s young and hot and that usually translates into good dancer so I think she should definitely do well but given Tointon and Williams’ experience I would have those two above O’Brien in the final placings at this stage.

So there you have it, a full run down of the runners and riders for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, and as I said above I think this is a really strong line-up this year.

There are no “who?” competitors this year and it should really make for an enjoyable and interesting season of one of the most entertaining light entertainment shows currently being made.

If you can get the bet on I’d be jumping all over a Michelle Williams-Kara Tointon reverse forecast at this stage because they are the two people I see filling the top two places prior to seeing any dancing.

If dance talent alone is the deciding factor (and again this is before we see any actual dancing) then I would say Williams is a great bet at 4/1 but given that Strictly is fast becoming a popularity contest then Kara Tointon could be a better bet at 6/1.

Whoever ends up lifting that mirror ball trophy come December you can guarantee we’re in for plenty of fun and games on Saturday nights for the next few months.

Strictly Come Dancing 2010 kicks off with a special launch show this Saturday @ 6.25pm


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