POLITICS

Ed Balls Vows He Won't Quit 'Strictly Come Dancing' Despite Fears He Could Win

'Let the public decide'

17/11/2016 10:00 | Updated 17 November 2016

Ed Balls has vowed he won’t quit Strictly Come Dancing despite the danger of him beating better dancers in the TV show.

The former Shadow Chancellor, who has survived to get through to the programme’s special screening from Blackpool this week, said that “in the end, you’ve got to respect the voters”.

And he revealed that he will be lowered by a rope from the ceiling of the Tower ballroom when he starts his jive with partner Katya Jones this Saturday night

Former BBC political editor John Sergeant - another popular but less than graceful contestant - famously withdrew from the show in 2010 after it looked like he could actually win.

At the time Sergeant explained “there is now a real danger that I might win the competition - even for me that would be a joke too far”.

But on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Balls insisted that he was unlikely to face such a dilemma.

“You’ve got to respect the voters and let the public decide,” he said, before adding “In the end I think they might spot I’m not the best dancer.”

Now in his ninth week on the show, he said that as the contest went on it “becomes a bigger deal”.

But he warned: “I think if you’ve got a bet on me, I’d cash out.”

Balls’ Gangnam Style salsa last week - which has been viewed half a million times on YouTube - prompted judge Bruno Tonioli to call it “the best worst dance I’ve ever seen”.

He nearly dropped partner Jones during an American Smooth dance to the tune of “Is This The Way To Amarillo?”

Balls has repeatedly avoided being dumped out of the show as viewers vote in large numbers to keep him in.

Under the show’s rules, it is upto the judges to decide who leaves but can only pick from the two contestants who get the lowest number of public votes. The former minister has not yet been in a ‘dance off’ for the bottom two.

He said on Thursday that he was delighted that even former critic Lord Sugar, who had claimed his survival undermined the whole contest, had changed his mind. 

“Even Lord Sugar is backing me,” he said.

Balls has transformed his public image since he first appeared on Strictly, with even former political enemies such as Michael Gove praising his pluck.

He told Today that this weekend’s jive to ‘Great Balls of Fire’ would see a spectacular entrance. “I have discovered I am coming down on a rope - not fired from a cannon”.

The former Labour MP’s performances have sparked debate among audiences, with some worrying his novelty value is undermining the show’s attempt to reward the best dancing.

Others praise him for providing sheer entertainment value.

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