The “Strictly” Report: Insights into the Data

By Burningsuit

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Alison Box, one of our Directors and Trainers, details how she used Power BI to bring her Strictly statistics to life.

In my previous blog, “The Strictly Report: Behind the Scenes”, I explained how I imported the data, cleaned and re-structured it. The next question was how was I going to explore all this data to get meaningful insights. Would I ever get to answer the “contestant journey” question that had prompted me to create the report in the first place?

In short, how could get Power BI to breathe life into all the Strictly statistics?

In the end what I found to be true was that once I started putting data into graph and chart type visuals, the statistics started to speak for themselves. Insights came to light of their own accord and one insight led to another. In fact, so much so that I became obsessed with exploring more and more aspects of the data.

Here are just five examples of how Power BI provided insights and answers to my questions:

Question 1: Is Craig really the worst judge?

We know Craig’s measly when it comes to dishing out scores but by how much compared to the other judges? If you look at this by comparing average scores, Craig is not that much worse than the others, 6.62 compared to Bruno’s 7.63. But when you then compare the number of 10’s given out, the difference between judges becomes more apparent (in the second visual). The third visual shows that Craig has consistently been the lowest scoring judge through all 16 series.

Strictly Graphs

Question 2: Does the order in which the contestants dance affect their score?

Again, if you look at the first visual, it would appear that there is a slight advantage to dancing either first or last, but when you look at high and low scores given, there is a marked benefit to dancing last:

Strictly Graphs

Question 3: Does age matter?

Not surprisingly, yes. If you’re aged over 40, your chances of winning are not so good.

Strictly Graphs 3

Question 4: Does gender matter?

This is a surprising one. From the line chart below, it would appear that women’s average score is consistently higher than men’s across all series. However, when you look just at winners, you see a different story.

Strictly Winner GenderStrictly Gender














Question 5: Was Series 16 really the best ever (according to Shirley Ballas)?

The answer to that question is; it depends how you measure the term “best”. If you measure it by how many 10’s and 40’s were scored then yes, Series 16 does come out best, but if you look at average scores across all series, then Series 16 was pretty ordinary.

Strictly Graphs

Note: The poor average for Series 16 is because whilst Ashley Roberts was the all-time best performing contestant, Suzannah Constantine and Katie Piper were among the worst scoring contestants of all time. The box plot above shows this dispersion of scores and shows why Series 14 was actually the “best” series.

So, what about the contestant’s “journey”? What does Power BI have to say on that?

Which brings me to the reason I did all of this in the first place. How can I best show a contestant’s “journey” through the weeks of the competition to the final?

A simple line chart showed the ups and downs of their weekly scores but when I placed the data in a Ribbon chart and filtered to show just one contestant the story was clear to see. Comparing Stacey’s journey to Ashley’s we can see how Stacey had a rougher ride through the competition and for this reason deserved to win!

Strictly Graphs

These are just some of the visualisations I have created in the Strictly Come Dancing Power BI Report. If you would like to find more insights into the data, why not look at the entire report here.

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