Former Labour MP Ed Balls beat fellow contestants Danny Mac and Ore Oduba to the title of 'most fancied' Strictly contestant after social media research.

Former Labour MP Ed Balls was the most fancied Strictly Come Dancing contestant of this year’s series, according to Twitter research.

The ex-shadow chancellor wowed audiences with his hip-thrusting to internet hit Gangnam Style, constantly leaving the audience and judges in stitches.

Ed was named as the show’s most popular contestant after being mentioned nearly 148,000 times on Twitter.

But the biggest shock, perhaps even more so than his longevity in the dance competition, was being crowned the most fancied male contestant.

The politician beat off competition from Danny Mac, Ore Oduba and Greg Rutherford to take the title after he received the highest number of winky face emojis on Twitter.

The research was conducted as part of the HTC Emoji Awards, which is researching how the British public have used emojis to describe their favourite moments of 2016.

Ahead of this weekend’s final, actor Danny was the most popular of the three finalists on social media.

And despite it being head judge Len Goodman’s final series, he lost out to pantomime villain Craig Revel Horwood for the “most entertaining judge” title.

Saturday’s final will see Louise Redknapp, Ore Oduba and Danny Mac battle it out in an attempt to lift the all-important Glitterball trophy.

All finalists will perform three dances each.

Danny Mac will perform the samba which scored him a perfect 40 in a bid to take the crown, while former Eternal singer Louise Redknapp and partner Kevin Clifton will dance their Argentine tango to Sexteto Mayor’s Tanguera which scored them 39 in week seven.

Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton will perform their jive to Bruno Mars’ hit Runaway Baby, which scored them 39 points in week four.

Last week Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane was knocked out of the show during the semi-final.

Claudia performed a quickstep in the dance-off against Danny Mac, but Danny’s American Smooth had the slight edge to win the judges over, and they unanimously voted to send Claudia home, securing Danny’s place in the final

Strictly Come Dancing – The Final will air on December 17 at 6.40pm on BBC1.