Monday 23 September 2019

Could public snub judges and make Joe or Stacey Strictly champion?

History suggests finishing first on the leaderboard is no guarantee of victory.

The Strictly Come Dancing trophy (Ian West/PA)
The Strictly Come Dancing trophy (Ian West/PA)

By Ian Jones, Press Association

Giving the public the final say on who should be champion of Strictly Come Dancing has led to a number of surprise results in previous years – and could deliver another one tonight.

History shows that the person who finishes at the top of the leaderboard in the final is not always the one who goes on to lift the glitterball trophy.

In fact, across the 15 series of Strictly there have been seven occasions when the public has ignored the opinions of the judges and handed victory to someone other than the celebrity in first place.

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(PA Graphics)

It happened as recently as last year, when Alexandra Burke finished at the top of the leaderboard in the final, only for the trophy to go to Joe McFadden, who finished second.

In 2015 Jay McGuiness ended the final in third place but still picked up the trophy.

And both Darren Gough (in 2005) and Tom Chambers (2008) also finished third on the leaderboard, before triumphing in the public vote and winning the series.

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Darren Gough with his dance partner Lilia Kopylova, who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2005. (Image: PA)

Overall there have been nearly as many Strictly champions who did not finish first on the leaderboard (seven) as those who did (eight).

It is a trend that could bode well for two of tonight’s finalists, Joe Sugg and Stacey Dooley.

Both have regularly received lower scores than the other two finalists, Ashley Roberts and Faye Tozer – but neither Sugg nor Dooley have ever appeared in a dance-off, suggesting they have strong public support.

Roberts, by contrast, has been in the dance-off three times, and on each occasion has remained in the competition thanks only to the judges’ backing.

PA Media

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