He’s repeatedly defied the odds – and the judges – during his remarkable run on Strictly Come Dancing.
But could this weekend be the one when Ed Balls waltzes off the show’s dancefloor for the final time?
Bookmaker William Hill certainly thinks so – and it suspects a BBC “plot” could be to blame.
Strictly’s producers have announced that tomorrow’s contestants will be taking part in a new Cha Cha Challenge in addition to their planned routines.
Extra points will be up for grabs from the show’s judges for the best cha cha cha – and Ed has previously described the dance as a “nightmare”.
William Hill today had the former Morley and Outwood MP as its 6/4 favourite to leave this weekend, ahead of Judge Rinder (7/4) and Claudia Fragapane (9/2).
It looks like the producers want to see the back of Balls.Rupert Adams, from William Hill
The bookmaker’s spokesman, Rupert Adams, said: “Before the BBC announced the Cha Cha Challenge, just 12 per cent of bets were for Ed Balls to get the boot this weekend.
“That figure has risen to almost 40 per cent, it looks like the producers want to see the back of Balls.”
Ed has become the unlikely star of this series of Strictly, making it through to the final six despite his relative lack of dancing talent.
He has regularly received the lowest scores from Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman and their fellow judges only to be saved by the public’s votes.
And he is adamant he won’t bow out of the competition voluntarily in the way that another people’s favourite, John Sergeant, did back in 2008.
Speaking earlier this week, the one-time shadow chancellor said: “I’ve got to be respectful to people who are voting for me and using their money on the phone.”
He also admitted: “I’d love to get a seven from Craig or an eight from Len.”
Ed and his partner Katya Jones will be dancing the tango to the Rolling Stones track (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction as their main routine on tomorrow’s show.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s director-general has described Ed’s involvement in Strictly, particularly his dance to Gangnam Style, as a “national moment”.
Lord Hall referenced the politician’s efforts during a speech at the Voice of the Listener and Viewer autumn conference.
Ed danced to the hit track by South Korean artist Psy on week eight of Strictly.
Lord Hall said: “I mentioned Strictly ... It’s hard to argue that how well celebrities can dance is an important national issue.
“But you could certainly describe the former shadow chancellor doing the salsa on primetime, Gangnam Style, as something of a national moment.”