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Why data can help marketers to predict who'll win this year's Strictly Come Dancing

By Andrew Brookes, Deputy Content Editor

Zazzle Media


The Drum Network article

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September 25, 2019 | 5 min read

Whenever Strictly Come Dancing starts, people invariably try to pick the winner. You hear phrases like, ‘Ooh, such-and-such was in a girl group so she can dance’, or ‘That bloke’s an actor so he’ll be used to getting into character’, as if shuffling around on a stage clutching a microphone or playing a roguish-yet-vulnerable wideboy in a soap is somehow the perfect preparation for tackling the complexities of the Argentine Tango. Predictions are usually based on nothing but a hunch.

BBC, Strictly Come Dancing

Following the start of the new season of Strictly, Zazzle Media use data to predict who this year's winner will be.

But what if trying to guess the winner of Strictly was based on data?

Well, that’s what we did - because we love playing with data to make fun content. And it turns out that Alex Scott does stand a good chance of winning... but it’s not for the reasons you might think. We’ve crunched the data – here’s why the winner will almost certainly be a brunette, could well be a sports star, but definitely won’t be a comedian…

Let’s start building the picture of the winner...

Male winners are more likely to win Strictly according to Zazzle data.
32 years old is the average age of celebrity winners according to Zazzle data.
Brunette celebrities are more likely to win.
The majority of winners are TV presenters.

Comedians never do well… (sorry Chris Ramsey)

Comedians are unpopular on the show.

But sportspeople do…

Sportstars do well.

And the most important question of all…

Who is better: Eastenders or Coronation Street?

Eastenders stars are statistically more likely to do better.

An Eastenders actress statistically has the best record in the competition:

Eastenders actresses have more chance of winning the title.

The best possible pairing?

It turns out that the combination of a male celebrity and a Russian female professional has won a quarter of all Strictly series, with the next most successful combination – and a win-rate of 19% – being a female celebrity with a British male professional (that’s you, Alex Scott and Neil Jones).

In fact, Russia is the most successful country in the world when it comes to professional dancers on Strictly. They have a 50% win rate over the past decade, and Aliona Vilani is the only Strictly pro to win the series twice. But there is something slightly odd about who the Russians have been partnered with this year...

While there are no male Russian pro dancers in Strictly this year, there are three females: Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova and Katya Jones. These three woman have been partnered with James Cracknell, David James and Mike Bushell respectively, whose ages are 47, 48 and 53. They are three of the five oldest celebrities in the competition, perhaps slightly too far over the winning average age - considering there has only been one celeb win over the age of 40 (Joe McFadden), Vladimir Putin must be fuming.

So tell us who's going to win...

Based on the data, we’re predicting that Alex Scott will win this year’s show.

Let’s refer back to the data:

  • Contestants with brown hair have an 81% win rate
  • Statistically, she’s about the right age
  • Sports stars perform strongly
  • Female sports stars have a strong record
  • A female celeb and British pro dancer are the second most successful pairing configuration

And according to our data, in the final with her will be; Dev Griffin, Emma Barton, and Viscountess Emma Weymouth.

But it certainly won’t be:

  • Saffron Barker; No teenager has ever won Strictly, while blonde celebrities have a measly 6% win rate.
  • Chris Ramsey; Comedians do terribly. 70% of them have been gone by Week 5.
  • David James, Mike Bushell, Michelle Visage or James Cracknell; They’re all too old. Only one person in their 40's (41) has ever won.

Check out the full analysis here where we dig into even more detail, including exactly what week the Strictly curse will strike!

Plus, whether it's serious finance or serious samba, if you've got a data set you'd like us to bring to life get in touch. It's what we love to do.

Andrew Brookes, Senior content editor at Zazzle Media.


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