ByStephen Patterson, writer at
Verified writer at Movie Pilot. Follow me on twitter: @mr_sjpatterson
Stephen Patterson

It was the semi-final of the UK dance competition Strictly Come Dancing this weekend and things did not run smoothly, that's for sure. During the show, there was total outrage as fan favorites Claudia Fragapane and her professional dance partner AJ Pritchard lost out on a place in the final, despite delivering a jaw-dropping Quickstep.

The viewers were not happy with the judges' decision to eliminate the pair and many took to social media to vent their anger. All over the internet, people have been claiming that the show was fixed against the gymnast and new pro dancer AJ from the beginning and while the idea of these claims sound ludicrous, there does appear to be some believability in them.

Check out Claudia and AJ's acclaimed Quickstep from the semi-final:

Many fans blamed the judges for consistently under marking Claudia and AJ but that was taken to a while new level in the semi-final when the twosome performed this perfect Quickstep that had many fans assuming that they would get a perfect score of "40," but unfortunately this was not the case. Let's take a look at some of the claims made against the show and whether or not there is any truth to them.

Did The Judges Manipulate The Leaderboard To Keep Their Favorites In The Competition?

The judges' scores didn't seem fair [Via BBC]
The judges' scores didn't seem fair [Via BBC]

Strictly requires all four judges to score each couples' performance out of ten and, after the show, this score is then combined with the public vote to determine which couple stays or goes. This system means that the judges' marks play a significant role in which couple ends up in the dance off. We like to believe that, as dance professionals, the judges will mark each couple fairly by using their professional opinion but, as the semi-final was airing, many social media users noted how the four judges — Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Len Goodman — were giving out rather odd scores.

Ore Oduba and his dance partner Joanne Clifton performed two routines but it was his Argentine Tango that caused controversy with the viewing public. Many claimed that Joanne did all the work while Ore maneuvered her around the dance floor. What was even worse is that Ore evidently lost his balance and slipped during the routine but the judges allowed this to go unnoticed and never mentioned it in their critique. Ore's performance was praised by the judges and 3 of the judges awarded him a "10" — a mark that is supposed to be reserved for perfect dance routines.

Ore slipped yet was praised more than Claudia [Via BBC]
Ore slipped yet was praised more than Claudia [Via BBC]

In contrast, Claudia and AJ's Quickstep was praised by both the judges and the viewing public with many citing their routine as the best dance of the night. However, the judges decided to be picky with Claudia and AJ yet ignored the huge mistake made by Ore on the same night. Claudia received her scores and for such a great routine, the twosome were under marked — something that has become a habit during this season of the competition.

Some fans were so outraged that they accused this blatant favoritism of Ore on his affiliation with the BBC — Ore is a sports presenter for the corporation. I'm no dance expert myself, but it was pretty clear that the judges scores weren't accurately reflecting the routines performed on the night. If they did, then Claudia and AJ would've been top of the leaderboard, not at the bottom.

The Voting Lines Went Down Yet No Extra Time Was Given To The Public

When the voting lines were opened, several viewers took to social media to complain that they couldn't get through to vote for their favorites. As Strictly only allows the public a small window of time to vote, this voting issue would have clearly affected the outcome. The official Strictly Facebook page notified their followers that the lines had been fixed and that voting could now resume, but this was rather late into the voting window meaning that many fans didn't get the opportunity to vote for their favorite couples. Moreover, the viewers weren't granted extra time to vote to make up for the botch.

This means that this possibly tainted public vote would've been added to the questionable judges scores and as a result two fan favorites ended up in the dreaded dance-off. Because Claudia and fellow competitor Danny Mac were lower down the judges leaderboard, the limited time given for voting wouldn't have been able to pull either of them out of the danger zone and as a result they ended up in the dance-off together.

If you fancy some Strictly gossip then check out these:

Claudia Is Not Doing The Strictly Tour

[Via BBC]
[Via BBC]

Some fans accused Strictly of being fixed against Claudia because it was recently announced that she was not taking part in UK Strictly Come Dancing live tour. As Claudia is a gymnast, she has to return to her gymnastics and is unavailable to take part in the tour. Some viewers believe that the popular dance show couldn't allow Claudia and AJ to get to the final because the final relies solely on the public vote — the judges have no sway or power.

With this in mind, it is very likely that Claudia could've won given her massive public support. If Claudia had won the competition then the tour would not feature the winner and that probably wouldn't help in the sale of tickets. This theory isn't all that unbelievable to be honest.

Claudia Was Better In The Dance-Off Yet None Of The Judges Opted To Save Her

Claudia and AJ were evidently emotional after their shock elimination.  [Via BBC]
Claudia and AJ were evidently emotional after their shock elimination. [Via BBC]

When two couples battle it out in the dance off, the judges are supposed to choose which couple they want to save based on the dance off alone. Due to some controversy last year when a competitor was saved despite not delivering in the dance off, the judges are now obligated to give a reason as to why they have chosen this specific couple. The entire nation was shocked to learn that it was Danny vs Claudia in the dance-off as both participants were considered to have stolen the show on the previous night. However, if we take into consideration the broken phone lines and the questionable scores from the judges, the bottom two isn't all that surprising.

Claudia and AJ chose to perform their acclaimed Quickstep from the previous night and once again delivered an excellent performance. During the dance-off, there was no doubt in the public's mind that Claudia performed better on the night and, if the judges were to choose based on the dance-off, then Claudia should have been saved. However, all four judges chose to save Danny Mac, despite his routine not having as much dance content as Claudia and AJ's. The unanimous decision to eliminate Claudia and AJ despite their excellent routine in the dance-off definitely doesn't help the fix allegations made against the show.

Check out Claudia and AJ performing the Quickstep again in the dance-off:

There's no way to prove whether or not Strictly was fixed against Claudia and AJ being in the final, but there is no doubt in the public's mind that they deserved to be there. In terms of ability, Claudia was definitely worthy of being in the final three and she definitely had what it takes to win. The viewer reception towards Strictly has been frosty after this controversy and there has even been a petition created to reinstate Claudia and AJ.

Over the course of the competition, Claudia Fragapane transformed into a phenomenal dancer and both her and AJ should be proud of how far they've come. Several of their routines, including their Argentine Tango and fun-filled Quickstep will be on repeat for years to come. They may not have lifted the Glitter Ball trophy, but Claudia and AJ are the people's champion and they will always be at the top of our leaderboard.

What a finish! [Via BBC]
What a finish! [Via BBC]

Are you sorry to see Claudia and AJ leave Strictly Come Dancing? Tell me your thoughts on the couples' elimination in the comment section below.


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