Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Judd - dancing off with Strictly?

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani rehearse at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Harry Judd led the field as runaway favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing spectacular final, as contestants rehearsed in Blackpool.

The BBC1 dance contest reaches its climax with three couples going head to head for the glitterball trophy to round off this year's series.

Bookmaker William Hill puts McFly drummer Harry at 1/3, while his nearest challenger, actress Chelsee Healey, is 11/4, according to latest odds.

Jason Donovan has been ranked as the outsider at 16/1, with judge Alesha Dixon saying earlier this week that the contest will be between the other two.

Each of the contestants was being put through their paces on the dancefloor at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool today (Friday) with their professional partners as their moment in the spotlight looms.

Harry took to the floor in t-shirt and jogging bottoms today as he prepared for the showdown, along with dancer Aliona Vilani.

Chelsee practised her Shrek-themed dance with professional Pasha Kovalev, posing with a donkey and miniature castle. And Jason rehearsed with Kristina Rihanoff, carrying giant feathers as they prepared to reprise their Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert dance from earlier in the series.

So far Harry has the highest average mark of the series, but he is also the only one of the three who has not scored a perfect 40, with nitpicking Craig only ever giving him a nine at best.

BBC bosses will also be hoping for a ratings bonanza as the show defied expectations to regularly skip ahead of rival The X Factor on a Saturday night.

Last week the show achieved the almost unthinkable when its semi-final drew more viewers than the first leg of The X Factor final on ITV1. Strictly pulled in 11 million, while The X Factor managed 10.9 million.

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