Strictly Come Dancing is starting to wrap up, with the quarter-finals right around the corner. With just five celebrities and their couples left, with Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, Nigel Harman and Katya Jones, Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe, Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell and Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola still in the competition, it looks like Strictly’s tensest showdown yet. But who will make it to the finale?
James Jordan is our resident expert, and opened up about the stars who he thinks will be making it all the way - but it’s certainly not an easy one to call! However, there is one couple who he thinks beyond doubt will make it to the finale.
He said: "[Ellie and Vito] are my favourites. I said from week one that they're gonna win. I still would love to see them win. I think they deserve to win more than anyone."
The couple have had a very impressive show so far, with the second-highest average score at 34.7, beaten only by Layton and Nikita at 35.3. However, James is less sure that we will be seeing Nikita and Layton in the finale, and has predicted that they might be in the bottom two again during the Quarter Finals - so it would all depend on who the judge save. He said: "I don't think Ellie is going to end up in the bottom two. And I don't think Bobby is going to end up in the bottom two… I could be totally wrong. It's a really, really hard one."
He also thinks that Bobby and Dianne are a shoo-in for the finale, explaining that their emotional couple’s choice performance during week 10 could be what has clinched their spot in the last show. He said: "He's come out all guns blazing and that dance could solidify a place for him in the final, because people will remember that dance… I feel it could be one of those moments the dance was so beautiful. I think there's a lot of love for Bobby and Dianne."
As for Annabel and Johannes, James also thinks that they could have finalist potential - but it would take something special for it to happen. He said: "Before she did her Couples Choice, they weren't really on my radar. But now, potential finalists. It's an outside chance.
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"After this week and watching the audience's reaction, people at home would have had that same feeling. If they can create a couple more dances like that, they could get to the final… I don't believe, as much as I love them, I don't believe they have two more dances as good as that one."
Finally, James opened up about Nigel and Katya’s future on the show, and how despite having the potential to receive scores of 10 and a place in the finale, his nerves still appear to be getting the better of him. He explained: "Something Ola said to me, which I thought was really interesting was that you can see he's not 100% in it.
"She believes he's so nervous about going wrong because you can see that although he's dancing it and he's doing the moves and everything, there's something missing. Ola believes it's because he's so nervous about making a mistake, which you can understand because he's done it so many weeks now, where he's gone out, potentially had an amazing, amazing routine and messed it up because he's made a few little mistakes here at all."
Every Strictly Come Dancing winner so far
2004: Natisha Kaplinsky (partner Brendan Cole)
2004: Jill Halfpenny (partner Darren Bennett)
2005: Darren Gough (partner Lilia Kopylova)
2006: Mark Ramprakash (partner Karen Hardy)
2007: Alesha Dixon (partner Matthew Cutler)
2008: Tom Chambers (partner Camilla Dallerup)
2009: Chris Hollins (partner Ola Jordan)
2010: Kara Tointon (partner Artem Chigvintsev)
2011: Harry Judd (partner Aliona Vilani)
2012: Louis Smith (partner Flavia Cacace)
2013: Abbey Clancy (partner Aljaž Škorjanec)
2014: Caroline Flack (partner Pasha Kovalev)
2015: Jay McGuiness (partner Aliona Vilani)
2016: Ore Oduba (partner Joanne Clifton)
2017: Joe McFadden (partner Katya Jones)
2018: Stacey Dooley (partner Kevin Clifton)
2019: Kelvin Fletcher (partner Oti Mabuse)
2020: Bill Bailey (partner Oti Mabuse)
2021: Rose Ayling-Ellis (partner Giovanni Pernice)
2022: Hamza Yassin (partner Jowita Przystał)
So there you have it! Will Ellie and Vito, and Bobby and Dianne be guaranteed finalists? And if so, who is joining them as the third couple? Will it be high performers Layton and Nikita, 'most improved' Annabel and Johannes, or suave Nigel and Katya - should he find a way to handle the Strictly nerves? We can’t wait to find out!