In relation to the battle for the glitterball, this yr’s main contenders have backgrounds as completely different as a chic waltz from a horny salsa.

One grew up within the U.S. and has devoted three a long time of her life to the performing arts. The opposite hails from Bedfordshire, used to work on the fragrance counter at Luton airport and says she by no means had a dance lesson earlier than beginning Strictly Come Dancing.

But it was skilled dancer Ashley Roberts —initially the bookies’ favorite to win Strictly — who unexpectedly discovered herself within the dance-off final weekend.

Trained dancer Ashley Roberts —initially the bookies’ favourite to win Strictly — unexpectedly found herself in the dance-off last weekend

Trained dancer Ashley Roberts —initially the bookies’ favourite to win Strictly — unexpectedly found herself in the dance-off last weekend

Skilled dancer Ashley Roberts —initially the bookies’ favorite to win Strictly — unexpectedly discovered herself within the dance-off final weekend

Regardless of excessive scores from the judges, the general public had been postpone by her dancing proficiency, which meant she needed to compete towards ‘dad dancer’ cricketer Graeme Swann to remain within the present.

‘It’s a fierce competitors! I simply wish to say how GRATEFUL I’m to have the ability to make it by means of,’ she mentioned.

In the meantime, novice dancer Stacey Dooley had her greatest week of the competitors, scoring a near-perfect 39 factors for her Paso Doble.

A favorite with followers, who just like the TV presenter’s down-to-earth persona and ‘dance journey’, she is now the 11/10 favorite to scoop the glitterball trophy on December 15.

So what’s the fact in regards to the rivals — who’re mentioned to take to each other offscreen — and who will triumph?

She's a star: It was trained dancer Ashley Roberts —initially the bookies’ favourite to win Strictly — who unexpectedly found herself in the dance-off last weekend

She's a star: It was trained dancer Ashley Roberts —initially the bookies’ favourite to win Strictly — who unexpectedly found herself in the dance-off last weekend

She’s a star: It was skilled dancer Ashley Roberts —initially the bookies’ favorite to win Strictly — who unexpectedly discovered herself within the dance-off final weekend

She's skilled: Stacey says she has had none, and her name seems to ring no bells at any of the dance or theatre schools in and around Luton

She's skilled: Stacey says she has had none, and her name seems to ring no bells at any of the dance or theatre schools in and around Luton

She’s expert: Stacey says she has had none, and her identify appears to ring no bells at any of the dance or theatre faculties in and round Luton

ASHLEY ROBERTS, 37

EARLY LIFE

Ashley was raised in Phoenix, Arizona by mum Peggy, an aerobics and Pilates teacher.

Her dad, Pat, was a rock drummer. Earlier than Ashley was born he lived with Leah Kunkel, the sister of Mama Cass of The Mamas & The Papas, and performed for the band. He divorced Peggy when Ashley was younger and later labored as a automobile vendor.

Pat killed himself this yr, aged 69, after what Ashley described as ‘an extended battle of bodily and psychological well being’. She devoted her emotional Modern dance to him earlier within the sequence. Brother Jayce was recognized with schizophrenia in his teenagers and lives in a care house.

Ashley Roberts always wanted to be a dancer and started dance classes aged three

Ashley Roberts always wanted to be a dancer and started dance classes aged three

Ashley Roberts all the time needed to be a dancer and began dance lessons aged three

DANCE TRAINING

Whereas different contestants, resembling earlier winners Joe McFadden and Caroline Flack, have had dance coaching, in contrast to Ashley none had truly made their principal dwelling from dance.

The BBC web site describes her as a ‘pop star and TV presenter’ however she is actually knowledgeable dancer who went on to do TV and singing work.

She all the time needed to be a dancer and began dance lessons aged three. By the point she was eight she was attending the Bender Performing Arts centre in Phoenix for 12-16 hours per week.

Proprietor Kevin Bender informed the Mail that younger Ashley was ‘the cream of the crop’. He mentioned: ‘Even from a younger age she all the time had a robust stage presence and the flexibility to attract individuals in.’

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The dance lessons, which she took till she was 16 years previous, targeted on ballet, jazz, faucet and hip hop, with trendy dance added in for the older college students.

Kevin Bender added: ‘If you end up classically skilled as a dancer we give attention to the 4 genres as a result of you’ll be able to decide up lots of issues as you go’. He says he didn’t practice her in Ballroom or Latin dance, although.

Ashley would go to bop conventions and win summer time scholarships, says Kevin, ‘which is skilled coaching’.

In the meantime, Ashley tries to minimize her dance background: ‘What I’ve achieved was booty popping and I don’t know if there’s booty pops within the Tango.’

RISE TO FAME

On the age of 17, Ashley took $1,000 (£780) she had saved up and moved to Hollywood to attempt to make it as a dancer.

Her route into the career concerned working as a burlesque dancer, performing risqué routines in her lingerie. This led to her showing with a burlesque dance troupe referred to as the Pussycat Dolls, acting at LA nightclubs.

She additionally danced in movies for the tune Unintentionally In Love by the band Counting Crows, and in a pop video for the singer Pink.

In 2003, the Pussycat Dolls had been ‘recast’ to incorporate women who might additionally sing, and became a pop group. They offered 50 million data earlier than splitting up in 2010.

CAREER & EARNINGS

Ashley gained a foothold on British TV after coming second in I’m A Movie star in 2012. From there she was solid as a skating decide for 2 seasons of ITV’s Dancing On Ice and was a daily performer on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night time Takeaway till 2016.

A solo singing album in 2014 was a disappointment, peaking at No 159 within the charts.

Just lately she has appeared on TV recreation exhibits together with Tipping Level and The Crystal Maze. She now lives in London as a result of she is a much bigger star right here than in America, and appeared in an advert marketing campaign for Matalan for which she was paid round £150,000. She is alleged to be price about £1.5million.

SIGNIFICANT OTHER

At the moment single, her final critical romance was with dancer Kenny Wormald and resulted in 2011.

She and Declan Donnelly have each denied studies that they’d a fling after I’m A Movie star completed in 2012. Final yr she was noticed flirting at a celebration with Brooklyn Beckham, then aged 17, after the Brit awards. Just lately, she has been linked to Strictly professional Giovanni Pernice (paired this yr with Faye Tozer) however claimed final week that they’re ‘simply associates’.

PRO PARTNER

Ashley is paired with hunky Pasha Kovalev, who has been relationship Countdown’s Rachel Riley since they had been partnered in 2013. By all accounts they take to each other. He calls her ‘buddy’, she says he’s ‘the most effective’. She tells her 355,00Zero Instagram followers: ‘I’ve discovered SO a lot!’

BEST DANCE

She scored an ideal 40 for her jive in week 9, at Blackpool, with decide Bruno Tonioli saying she had earned a spot in Strictly historical past. Final weekend she scored 36 factors and received the very best marks for the Lindy Hop-a-thon group dance — however ended up within the dance-off as a result of she had polled the fewest votes from the general public. Her common rating is the very best of all of the rivals: 35.7.

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WORST DANCE

Even her worst isn’t dangerous. She and Pasha scored 29 for a Viennese waltz in week one.

ODDS

The bookies did have her at 3-1 favorite to win the present, however she is now positioned fourth behind Stacey, Joe Sugg and Faye, at odds of 12/1.

STACEY DOOLEY, 31

EARLY LIFE

Raised in Luton by mum Diane, Stacey was born with a coronary heart murmur, which was monitored till she was 5.

Her father left when she was two-and-a-half. He tried to return to Stacey’s life when she was 13 nevertheless it was ‘too late’ for a reconciliation, and when he died not lengthy afterwards they weren’t shut.

She mentioned: ‘I don’t ever assume, poor me, I simply really feel blessed I had my mom.’

Stacey went to Stopsley Excessive Faculty and left at 16. She labored in a hair salon referred to as Shed Head, waitressed and had a job at Luton airport promoting fragrance.

 Fame came after Stacey responded, aged 20, to an advert for fashion-conscious young women to appear in the 2008 BBC3 documentary Blood, Sweat And T-Shirts

 Fame came after Stacey responded, aged 20, to an advert for fashion-conscious young women to appear in the 2008 BBC3 documentary Blood, Sweat And T-Shirts

 Fame got here after Stacey responded, aged 20, to an advert for fashion-conscious younger girls to look within the 2008 BBC3 documentary Blood, Sweat And T-Shirts

DANCE TRAINING

She says she has had none, and her identify appears to ring no bells at any of the dance or theatre faculties in and round Luton.

As an alternative, she is an enthusiastic newbie who has all the time beloved dancing at house and in nightclubs.

She mentioned earlier than Strictly began: ‘The factor about my dancing is, I truly assume I actually look the half. Everybody else round me is like, “You’ve received to be joking. You’re so erratic, actually excessive, and also you’ve received no rhythm”, so it’s a little bit of a break up jury.’

Seven years in the past, Stacey and her mum went to Strictly as followers to cheer former footballer Robbie Savage.

RISE TO FAME

Fame got here after Stacey responded, aged 20, to an advert for fashion-conscious younger girls to look within the 2008 BBC3 documentary Blood, Sweat And T-Shirts.

She went to India and was horrified by the kid labour and acute poverty in sweatshops, crying on digicam.

Again within the UK she campaigned towards little one labour and appeared on Newsnight. The controller of BBC3 then took an opportunity on Stacey and solid her in her personal documentary.

Raised in Luton by mum Diane, Stacey was born with a heart murmur, which was monitored until she was five

Raised in Luton by mum Diane, Stacey was born with a heart murmur, which was monitored until she was five

Raised in Luton by mum Diane, Stacey was born with a coronary heart murmur, which was monitored till she was 5

CAREER & EARNINGS

A pure on TV, she fronts Stacey Dooley Investigates, which has run for 11 sequence, tackling intercourse trafficking, girls’s prisons, Muslim extremists in Britain and little one intercourse exploitation in Japan. She additionally went to Iraq to movie Face To Face With Isis for BBC3.

She launched her first e book, On the Entrance Line with the Girls Who Combat Again, in February and acquired an MBE for providers to broadcasting in June.

When she began Strictly she mentioned: ‘It’s vital that I’m very straight and critical in my documentaries however that’s not my entire persona.

‘It’s good to have the ability to benefit from the lighter aspect of life.’

She is assumed to earn about £150,00Zero a yr.

SIGNIFICANT OTHER

Stacey lives in Brighton together with her boyfriend of three years, Sam Tucknott, and their bulldog Bernie.

Sam, 30, is a private coach and as a young person was a semi-professional footballer at Crystal Palace Academy.

Stacey says: ‘I’m beginning to assume I’d love a household however now will not be the second. I’m having fun with my job a lot.’

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PRO PARTNER

She is paired with Kevin Clifton and so they get on like a home on fireplace. She says: ‘No matter occurs, I’ve made a pal in Kevin.’

Poor Kevin has but to win Strictly, however has partnered runners-up 4 years operating — Susanna Reid, Frankie Bridge, Kellie Shiny and Louise Redknapp.

Stacey calls him ‘King Kev’ and tells him on Instagram, the place she has 408,00Zero followers: ‘You’re a diamond.’

BEST DANCE

Their highest rating but was final week, after they received 39 for his or her Paso Doble. Stacey crowed on Instagram: ‘We did it! We received to grips with the blaaaady Paso!’ Their common rating is 31.7 factors.

WORST DANCE

THE Cha Cha Cha in week two, which scored a measly 20. Stacey mentioned: ‘I assumed: “You’re a grown girl, don’t cry”.’

ODDS

Stacey is the bookies’ favorite to scoop the Glitterball Trophy, at odds of 11/10 on. She has signed up for the Strictly tour however will probably be partnered by Aljaz Skorjanec, as Kevin is taking part in Stacee Jaxx within the West Finish musical Rock Of Ages.

QUARTER FINAL CONTENDERS 

JOE SUGG, 27

YouTube star Joe mentioned he had ‘by no means danced sober’ earlier than starting his Strictly ‘journey’ with professional Dianne Buswell. He has come a good distance from his low scores of 26 in weeks three and 4, and achieved 38 for his Quickstep at Blackpool. Though his common rating places him fourth, he’s second favorite to win in line with bookies, at odds of two/1, due to his robust fanbase. He has by no means been in a dance-off.

YouTube star Joe said he had ‘never danced sober’ before beginning his Strictly ‘journey’

YouTube star Joe said he had ‘never danced sober’ before beginning his Strictly ‘journey’

YouTube star Joe mentioned he had ‘by no means danced sober’ earlier than starting his Strictly ‘journey’

FAYE TOZER, 43

Former Steps singer and skilled dancer Faye has been a persistently excessive scorer within the competitors with associate Giovanni Pernice, with a mean rating of 34.8. Her greatest dances to this point had been within the Jazz {couples}’ alternative class — to Fever, by Peggy Lee, in Halloween week — and the Waltz final weekend, which each scored 39 with the judges. She is taken into account third favorite to win by bookies, at odds of 10/1. 

Former Steps singer and trained dancer Faye has been a consistently high scorer in the competition with partner Giovanni Pernice

Former Steps singer and trained dancer Faye has been a consistently high scorer in the competition with partner Giovanni Pernice

Former Steps singer and skilled dancer Faye has been a persistently excessive scorer within the competitors with associate Giovanni Pernice

LAUREN STEADMAN, 25

Paralympian Lauren has been paired with fashionable professional AJ Pritchard, who mortifyingly practically dropped her within the preview present. They’re second favorite to be the subsequent couple eradicated and have a modest common rating of 25.8, the bottom of the remaining {couples}. Their worst week was the Cha Cha Cha to Fame, which scored 20; their greatest a Viennese waltz that scored 34.

Paralympian Lauren has been paired with popular pro AJ Pritchard

Paralympian Lauren has been paired with popular pro AJ Pritchard

Paralympian Lauren has been paired with fashionable professional AJ Pritchard

CHARLES VENN, 45

Actor Charles Venn is the comeback king, having survived three dance-offs with associate Karen Clifton. He has scored solely 25 factors 5 instances within the competitors however actually confirmed he might transfer along with his Avenue Dance in week 5, getting 36 factors, and achieved his greatest rating of 38 for the Samba in Blackpool.

He’s favorite to be eradicated subsequent, and has a mean rating of 29.7.

Actor Charles Venn is the comeback king, having survived three dance-offs with partner Karen Clifton

Actor Charles Venn is the comeback king, having survived three dance-offs with partner Karen Clifton

Actor Charles Venn is the comeback king, having survived three dance-offs with associate Karen Clifton

 

 

 

 

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