Ballsing it up: Politicians are statistically the worst performers on Strictly Come Dancing

Is Ed Balls about to make history?

  • Politicians are the worst performing contestants with an average score of just 17 points per dance
  • Former MPs average a dismal 10th place in the competition
  • At 23 points per dance, Balls is exceeding expectations
  • Singers and musicians perform best on the show historically
  • Despite Alisha Dixon winning a seat on the judging panel, Natalie Gumede has the highest average judges’ score in history

It may take two to tango, but traditionally it’s best if one of them isn’t a politician as data reveals that during the 12-year history of Strictly Come Dancing, former MPs perform the worst out of any group of contestants. However, that could all be set to change, with Ed Balls becoming a firm favourite as the people’s champion. Despite being amongst the worst performing, he is comfortably exceeding the average score of politicians who historically achieve just 17 points.

Ann Widdecombe and Edwina Currie could only average tenth position but Ed Balls is sticking two fingers up to the history books with his 23-point average and guaranteed finish of at least sixth position. The former Shadow Chancellor – who’s Gangnam Style performance was a highlight for many and scored 25 points – is sailing through each week and following recent election and referendum results, politicians should learn to expect the unexpected.

The findings from money-saving website Voucherbox.co.uk also reveal that singers and musicians perform best on the show, achieving an average of a sixth-place finish, a judges’ score of 30 and three overall victories. TV presenters, sportsmen and soap stars have also fared well, each with three victories since 2004. Comedians, radio presenters and film stars are amongst the careers to have never claimed the Glitterball.

Following her victory in 2007, where she picked-up an average of 36 points per dance, Alesha Dixon became the most successful singer or musician in the show’s history and even went on to earn herself a spot on the judging panel two years later. However, perhaps surprisingly, the data shows that Dixon is not the greatest contestant of all time. The accolade goes to Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede, whose 37-point average sees her claim top spot on the all-time leader board, despite losing out to model Abbey Clancy in the final of the 2013 series.

At the other end of the spectrum is TV presenter Quentin Wilson. In 2005, he finished in last position with a miserable average score of just eight points per dance. Joining Wilson at the bottom of the pile are garden designer Diarmuid Gavin and Nicholas Owen of BBC News, both with an average score of 14. Although he can claim second worst score in Strictly history, Gavin managed to achieve a respectable seventh position back in 2004.

The success of soap stars has largely been aided by Hollyoaks, the highest achieving soap, with an average score of 34 points per dance. By contrast, there’s trauma for hospital drama stars, whose 27-point average spells casualty on the dance floor. When compared with actors and actresses elsewhere, soap stars finish two places higher than their acting counterparts. Eastenders has provided almost half (45%) of soap contestants ever to take part in the competition.

On the sporting side, the contest between football and rugby stars is fierce. Rugby players average a finishing position of two places higher than footballers and they also average three more points per dance.

Shane Forster, Voucherbox UK Country Manager said, “It is very intriguing to see that there are clear patterns in this research in terms of who is likely to be successful in this and future series. History would suggest former pop star Louise Redknapp is favourite, but with Ed Balls defying the odds each week, it could be considered anyone’s game. I would not like to cha-cha-choose this year’s winner!”

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