- Danny Mac has been the bookies’ favourite virtually the whole way through the series. He was a brilliant dancer in week one and is still a brilliant dancer, perhaps the greatest to have ever taken to the Strictly dancefloor. He is the only celebrity to have achieved a top score of 40 this year, having done so for both his Charleston and Samba, although he was surprisingly left in the dance-off in the semi-finals.
- Louise Redknapp also came into the series as an accomplished dancer, but perhaps lacked Mac’s confidence at the start. She has become increasingly comfortable in the spotlight, though, earning praise from the judges for her characterisation and the way she brings each dance to life. She scored 39 for both her Argentine Tango and Waltz, but has still not received a perfect score from the notoriously stingy Craig Revel Horwood.
- Ore Oduba has also had two scores of 39, for his Jive way back in Week 4 and his atmospheric Argentine Tango in the semi-finals. He did not have the same dance experience as Redknapp or Mac prior to the start of the series and has shown a remarkable natural talent, but he has struggled to connect with the public and has found himself in the bottom two on two occasions.
The competition takes on a whole new complexion in the final, as the judges’ scores are provided for guidance alone and the winner is decided purely by a public vote. Danny Mac is clearly the best dancer - there are times when his level of ability looks indistinguishable from his professional partner Oti Mabuse - and the tribal-themed Samba which he will be performing again in the final was so original and exciting that millions of viewers are sure to pick up their phones for the former Hollyoaks heart-throb.
However, Strictly history is littered with examples of the best dancer falling just short, such as the time when Colin ‘snake hips’ Jackson lost out out to Darren Gough, or when Chris Hollins’ cheeky charm helped him to victory over Ricky Whittle. Louise Redknapp is the only one of this year’s finalists not to have been in the dance-off, having received more public support than Mac in the semi-finals, and there will also be a wave of good will towards her partner Kevin Clifton, appearing in his fourth straight final but yet to lift the glitterball.
Redknapp will be doing her memorable Argentine Tango once again in the final, along with a show dance to Whitney Houston’s power ballad One Moment in Time, and is sure to win over a lot of viewers with her warm yet humble personality. Ore Oduba, performing his spectacular Jive, cannot be discounted after topping the semi-final leaderboard, but his record of being in two dance-offs suggests that he is nowhere near as popular as Redknapp, who looks well worth backing at 6/4 .
- Sports.net’s top tip: Louise Redknapp to win Strictly Come Dancing - 6/4
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.