Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Week 9 results, live – Tom Fletcher takes his final bow on the Musicals special


What might happen to the judging panel?

We all missed the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood and his immaculate putdowns, darling; he’ll hopefully be back next week after his Covid isolation period is up. At some points this season, Revel Horwood has felt like the only one on the panel capable of delivering a thorough critique instead of gushing over the celebrities and awarding absurdly high scores. Yet in his absence, the other three seemed to rediscover their judging cool – apart from the noticeable overmarking of Tilly Ramsay. And guest judge Erivo got better and better as her stint wore on, offering thoughtful advice and supplying a different viewpoint.

It proved that we don’t need to look in the obvious places for future Strictly judges. After all, neither Mabuse nor Ballas were household names before they joined the show; Strictly has traditionally made stars rather than cast them. Though Du Beke is well liked and fits in easily, he’s rather less interesting casting – he’s essentially a Len Goodman-lite, rather than a forward-looking choice, and can only really speak with authority on the ballroom dances.

But why shouldn’t we have a majority-female panel in the future, or one with someone from a different performing background like Erivo? There are no set rules here. And the latter would mean the celebrities receive a wider range of comments, one of which might spark something, while viewers at home could enjoy hearing diverse opinions.


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