T + 89 Strictly Come Arithmetic

The usual quiet weekend with lunch in a couple of hours at Mom and Dad's when I also have to remember to take my oral contrast drink in preparation for my CT scan tomorrow. Although I'm usually fine when I have these scans Dad's going to take me just in case I don't feel well enough to drive home afterwards for some reason.

But now on the real important news of the weekend the "shock" result in the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final. For those of you who don't follow the show at the end of the judges voting the scores were as follows:-

Rachel & Vincent 3 Points
Lisa & Brendan 3 Points
Tom & Camilla 1 Point

The result of the tie in the judges scores for Rachel/Vincent and Lisa/Brendan ( both got 75 ) meant they both got the maximum 3 points.

The phone lines opened for the people to vote and then at some point the BBC realised they had a dilemma. Despite being encouraged to vote for the couple they wanted to save from the dance off it was in fact impossible to save the bottom placed couple Tom & Camilla from the dance off because of the arithmetic of the vote.

If Tom & Camilla got most of the public vote they would get 3 points bringing them to 4 points but this would only tie with whichever couple got the least votes and the one extra point. So whichever way it went Tom and Camilla would be in the dance off and all those people who voted for them would have been wasting their money.

Of course because of all the sensitivity around TV phone voting scams the BBC had a problem and so they carried all the votes over to next week and put all three couples through to the final. Here is the key part from the BBC statement on the Strictly website.

Due to the unprecented outcome of the judges vote (there was an tie between the top two couples both scoring the maximum points available - 3 points the audience vote could not have saved one of our couples from the dance off.

The vote opened just before the programme went off air, we took the decision that all the votes cast tonight should stand and be carried through to next weeks final.


Now it did take me a few minutes to check out the arithmetic of the situation but what has been interesting is various bits of the BBC media trying to make sense of it. Firstly the BBC news story said it was "impossible for the public to save any couple", which is not true it's only Tom and Camilla who could not be saved. This morning the story has changed to say:-

Two out of the three remaining couples gained the same amount of public votes which made it impossible to stage a dance off between the bottom two pairs.
That's not right either, they've got the wrong end of the stick and if they think about it what are the chances in a programme where thousands of people vote that two couples get the same number of calls?


The Telegraph has reported the story correctly but seem to think the voting system is somehow complex and Byzantine:-

That meant that whatever happened in the audience vote, Chambers could not be saved from the dance-off - due to the intricacies of the show's voting system - and that was deemed "unfair".
Intricate? Really? Half the scores from the judges, half from the public. Actually the BBC has updated it's story here and that Telegraph story by Ben Leach is a virtual verbatim copy of it. (Leach by name and Leach by nature eh? )

On the Strictly Fan Site there is much talk of it being a fix to keep Tom in, but if you again stop and think about it, even without the tie with the top two couples it would have been a problem. Let's say it was Rachel on 3 points , Lisa on 2 and Tom on 1, the best that could have happened is a three way tie with all couples on 4 points. ( I'll leave you to do the sums to how they could all end up on 4 points ).

What would they have done then? Had a dance off with all three couples?
It seems that some simple arithmetic has thrown the weekend journalists at the BBC and some of the public into a bit of a tizzy. It takes a bit of logic to work out what is going on but I think as soon as people see numbers and arithmetic their eyes glaze over and they throw their reasoning faculties out of the window.

As the Telegraph/BBC article pointed out, it's all John Sergeant's fault.

Still despite all this furore it's better than the X Factor where the only real winner is that Grade A Arse, Simon Cowell

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