Friday 23 February 2018

Aston Merrygold and Alexandra Burke to reignite X Factor rivalry on Strictly

JLS singer Merrygold is the early favourite, according to the bookies.

Burke and Merrygold
Burke and Merrygold

By Joe Nerssessian

Former X Factor finalists Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold are set to reignite their rivalry on the Strictly dance floor.

The singers, who both reached the final of the 2008 ITV singing competition which Burke eventually won, emerged as early favourites after the final celebrity dancers were revealed on Monday.

JLS singer Merrygold leads Burke in the running, according to bookies William Hill and Betway, where he has been priced at 11/4 and 5/2 respectively.

Aston Merrygold

The 29-year-old sparked some controversy when it was announced he was taking part this year, because of his dancing experience with JLS. He also featured as a judge on Sky One’s Got To Dance.

William Hill have the Hallelujah singer at 4/1, ahead of singer Mollie King (9/2) and actress Gemma Atkinson (13/2). Meanwhile, Betway have the trio joint-second favourites, all at 11/2.

Elsewhere, Coral judge King to offer a greater threat to Merrygold with the former The Saturdays singer pushing Burke into third in their stakes.

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Bringing up the rear are This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford and Sunday Brunch host and TV chef Simon Rimmer, who are both at 50/1 on William Hill and 66/1 on Coral.

EastEnders star Davood Ghadami comes in at 10/1 on William Hill ahead of Paralympian Jonnie Peacock (16/1), presenter Charlotte Hawkins (16/1), Holby City’s Joe McFadden (16/1), comedian Brian Conley (25/1), Debbie McGee (25/1), with Rev Richard Coles, actress Chizzy Akudolu and comedian Susan Calman all on 40/1, ahead of Langsford and Rimmer.

Coral’s John Hill said: “Aston has proved very popular in the early betting for Strictly this year and is the one contestant the bookmakers will really be fearing on the back of the gamble heading into the new series.

“The top three names in the outright market all have a music background and, as we have seen in previous years, they have a fantastic record on the show.”

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