Is the Strictly Come Dancing results show live? How are eliminations leaked, what is The Strictly Spoiler

On Sunday millions of UK viewers will tune in to watch the ‘live’ Strictly results show, but all is not as it seems
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Tonight the Strictly professional dancers and celebs will take part in week three of the competition, and tomorrow evening one couple will be eliminated from the 2023 series. Or at least that’s what the show’s producers would have you believe.

It’s one of TV’s biggest open secrets that the Strictly Come Dancing results show airs a day after it has been recorded, and yet each year more viewers learn of the TV trickery for the first time.

This is nothing new in telly-land; the Bafta TV Awards show is also broadcast as live, but is released a couple of hours after it’s recorded, allowing for some sneaky edits, such as the snipping of Siobhán McSweeney’s acceptance speech this year. It also means that results can be revealed before the show airs.

And with the second elimination on the horizon for Strictly 2023 - following Les Dennis's departure - producers face the same headache they have every season, as a mysterious TV vigilante is poised to announce who goes home hours before Sunday’s dance-off. 

The Strictly Come Dancing results episode is recorded straight after the main show on Saturday nightThe Strictly Come Dancing results episode is recorded straight after the main show on Saturday night
The Strictly Come Dancing results episode is recorded straight after the main show on Saturday night

Is the Strictly Come Dancing results show live?

The Strictly Come Dancing results show airs on BBC One on Sunday evenings, the day after the main show, and is broadcast ‘as live’ meaning that those not in the know, the results look like they are announced live on Sunday with the audience finding out who is sent home at the same time as the contestants.

However, the Sunday shows are not actually live, they are pre-recorded shortly after the main show and then released the following day. This is why voting is only open for a matter of minutes on Saturdays.

Strictly producers go to extensive lengths to make the results show look and feel live, even though it is widely known that the show is pre-recorded. The judges, presenters and dancers all have to change their outfits after the first recording on Saturday so that they look fresh in the next recording that will go out on Sunday.

Additionally, presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman both have to refer to ‘last night’ when they host the results, even though the dances took place earlier that same evening. 

Claudia and Tess present the Strictly Come Dancing results show 'as live'Claudia and Tess present the Strictly Come Dancing results show 'as live'
Claudia and Tess present the Strictly Come Dancing results show 'as live'

Of course, this means that the judges, dancers, presenters, and film crew all know who has been eliminated from the show a day before everyone watching at home finds out, which means the show is ripe for spoilers.

To try and keep a lid on the results, everyone involved in the show is forbidden from sharing the news of who went home and who survived on social media and are only allowed to post about it after the show has aired.

The reason for the results to be broadcast as live is assumed to be one of cost, as pre-recording saves the BBC from hiring the venue for another evening each week. The only time that the results show is broadcast live is on the grand final of each season. 

What is the Strictly Spoiler

The Strictly Spoiler is a website and its associated social media pages run by a man known as Dave Thorp. Each week after the results have been announced in the pre-recording on Saturday night, Thorp shares the spoiler of who went home, even revealing the names of those in the bottom two, and who the judges voted to save. 

Thorp’s spoilers are almost always correct, but he denies any links to the BBC. He claims that his information comes from sources and moles working on the show who pass on the results to him ahead of each results show broadcast.

The 2023 series of Strictly Come Dancing began on September 16 with the partner reveal show, and saw the first dancing on September 23, but as always there was no eliminations and therefore no results show in week one. The Strictly Spoiler returned last Saturday night with the news that Les Dennis had been eliminated - which of course was confirmed last Sunday.

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