Dancing to a Different Tune

Strictly Come Dancing is great. I like it a lot. I like the costumes, the drama, the skill and the format. It’s just fun to watch. The only quibble I have is with the slightly odd scoring system, which works like this:

On the night, each performer is given a score out of 10 by four separate judges. For example Jill (my personal favourite) may get scores of 8,9,9,9 – because she’s great. These scores are then added up and points awarded based on position. So:

Performer Scores Total Points Awarded
Jill 8:9:9:9 35 4
Denise 7:9:8:8 32 3
Aled 7:7:8:8 30 2
Julian 6:7:7:6 26 1

Now, the exact same thing happens with the public vote. Whoever gets the most votes is allocated the maximum number of points, and so on; the lowest receiving 1. The points are then added, and the performer with the lowest is kicked out of the competition. In the result of a tie, the public vote has preference. So:

Performer Scores Total Judge Points Public Points Total Ranking
Jill 8:9:9:9 35 4 4 8 1
Denise 7:9:8:8 32 3 1 4 3
Aled 7:7:8:8 30 2 3 5 2
Julian 6:7:7:6 26 1 2 3 4

The part of the show where the losers are announced goes as follows: All performers stand in a row. Then, in no particular order, the names of performers who are safe are read out. Finally only two remain. We are told that these are the performers with the lowest score.

But, here’s the thing.

Last week Aled Jones was knocked out. A bit unfair given that he was much better than Julian, who remained. That’s not the issue, though. It’s just a bit weird. The judges scores on the night were as follows:

Performer Scores Total Judge Points Public Points Total Ranking
Jill 7:8:7:7 / 9:10:9:9 66 3      
Denise 8:9:9:9 / 9:9:9:9 71 4      
Aled 6:7:7:7 / 7:7:8:8 57 2      
Julian 5:5:8:6 / 4:3:7:7 45 1      

They each did two dances, btw. I was out on the night this happened so didn’t see it actually happen, but last night I saw a clip in which Denise and Aled were the two performers facing the axe. This implies that they got the lowest score. The thing is, I can only find one way in which that could happen but Aled be the one to go. I’m making two assumptions, which certainly used to be true:

1. The public vote takes preference
2. The final two performers received the lowest overall scores

The number of possibilities for the viewer vote is 4! = 24, so I wrote them all out. Here’s a summary:

Viewer Ranking (D:J:A:Ju): Denise (D) Jill (J) Aled (A) Julian (Ju) Final Two: Loser
1234 5 5 5 5 D & J D (PP)
1243 5 5 6 4 D & Ju Ju
1324 5 6 4 5 D & A A
1342 5 6 6 3 D & Ju Ju
1423 5 7 4 4 A & Ju Ju
1432 5 7 5 3 D & Ju Ju

PP = Public Preference. The other 18 possibilities don’t apply, as Denise would always get more than Julian.

So the viewer ranking must have been: Julian, Jill, Aled, Denise. You’re telling me that the public voted Julian better than Jill? And Denise last? Really? I’m not suggesting that it’s fixed or anything. You have to ask yourself which would be the more extraordinary: the BBC fixing a vote, or the public going more by who makes them laugh than by who’s best at dancing, on a show about dancing. By this criterion, the latter is certainly the more likely.

It’s just…disappointing. This evening it’s Jill, Julian and Denise in the final. Last series only two performers were in the final, which was silly as the scoring system means that the public vote decided it – the judges may as well not have been there. By past performances Jill should win by a mile, but you never know what’ll happen. Still, it’d be a shame if Julian won purely through being funny, as that’s not the point. I shall be voting, anyway 🙂