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Strictly Come Dancing Odds

Strictly Come Dancing

Who will win Strictly Come Dancing 2021?

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Strictly Come Dancing 2020

A British television staple since 2004 even coronavirus could not keep Strictly Come Dancing from our screens this year. And, perhaps, because of the pandemic we need Strictly more than ever. What could warm us up for Christmas better than a mix of music, dance and a panel of judges from central casting (one balanced, one a bit more generous and the obligatory nasty one)?

The 2020 series is a little different. The coronavirus pandemic has necessitated some changes — the introductory show seemed to spend more time covering these than actual dancing — but the most significant change, for the contestants at least, is that we now have dancers and contestants isolating together in bubbles. Aficionados will immediately ponder the implications of these bubbles for the Strictly curse, which has seen more than its fair share of relationship breakdowns as couples on the show allegedly did some extra-curricular dancing.

But the on-screen dancing is the important thing and Strictly 2020 will follow the standard format. Every week the pairs will dance then face the public vote with the bottom two entering a dance-off to be decided by the judges. The goal is to avoid the double humiliation of rejection by both the public and judges long enough to make it to the final and, hopefully, be crowned Strictly champion.

As usual this year's celebrities fall into two broad groups: those you’ve never heard of who can dance and those you’ve heard of who can’t dance. The introductory show, as well as revealing the pairings, featured a group dance. While the judges did not get the opportunity to comment, it did give viewers a few hints on where the contestants ranked in their respective groups.

Jacqui Smith is probably the first worth mentioning. But only to highlight that it will take you longer to read this paragraph about her than she will last in the show. In the group dance she demonstrated that there is dancing, there is dad-dancing, and then there is Jacqui Smith.

Someone who will last a bit longer is Bill Bailey. Bailey might not have the physique of the typical dancer and his lumbering comic persona does not seem an ideal fit with the speed, rhythm and grace of dance. But in the group dance he revealed he has some moves. Not enough to win, perhaps, but enough to put in a respectable showing and say farewell to a few of his fellow contestants before he goes.

The early favourites, though, come from that group that might not be household names, but enter the show with some fans and the obvious talent to win new ones.

Eastenders actress Maisie Smith was clearly a cut above most of the competition. Smith won the 2019 Comic Relief version of the event so knows how to dance, but does she have the stamina for weeks of competition?

The other early favourite is singer and television star HRVY. HRVY may be short on vowels, but he is long on raw dance talent. And probably long on teenage fans as well, which will give him an edge when it comes to the public vote.

The glitter-ball is now officially turning for Strictly Come Dancing 2020. While the audience has been thinned out, the presenters and judges pointedly socially distanced and the band surrounded by Perspex the main entertainment, the dancing, remains unchanged. Who will ultimately triumph though, is down to the public vote (or possibly coronavirus).