Female celebrities score more highly on Strictly Come Dancing but Craig Revel Horwood is the toughest judge to impress, a statistical analysis has found.
This year’s hopefuls will seek to impress the judges for the first time in Saturday night’s live BBC1 show.
The contestants, who include Rev Richard Coles and comedian Susan Calman, are hoping that new head judge Shirley Ballas, who replaces Len Goodman, looks kindly upon their opening steps.
But it is Revel Horwood they must work hardest to win over, according to an analysis by the BBC’s Reality Check team.
“On average, he is about a point tougher on contestants than the other judges are,” the research found, after comparing his record over 14 series with Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and her predecessors on the panel.
“But while it is harder to impress Craig, if you get a 10 from him you are almost certain to make it to the last three in the competition,” the 2017 hopefuls are advised.
“It should be said though that he doesn’t give 10s early in the competition.”
Female celebs score higher than men
“There is evidence that the judges tend to give slightly higher scores to female celebrities,” the research found.
However the disparity is “not enough to influence who gets to the dance-off or indeed who wins the competition, which has been won eight times by men and six times by women.”
Rumba tougher dance
Some dances do appear to be harder to score highly with than others but the effect is small.
“Each of the samba, rumba, cha-cha-cha and jive has resulted in scores that were 1.5 points lower on average than for other dances (that is, 1.5 points out of 40), which is probably not enough to send a would-be winner to the dance-off.”
There is insufficient evidence to conclude that there has been “grade inflation” in the scoring since 2004 nor any correlation between the amount of fake tan applied and Samba success.