The remaining Strictly Come Dancing contestants are said to be “fuming” over Ann Widdecombe’s continued success, according to the papers.
The News Of The World reports that the other five dancers – Matt Baker, Scott Maslen, Pamela Stephenson, Kara Tointon and Gavin Henson – have expressed concerns the show will become a farce if one of them misses out on next weekend’s semi-finals at her expense.
However the former MP has vowed to keep on dancing in spite of the opposition.
“Ann’s rivals are fuming and think the joke’s gone too far,” a show source told the paper.
Pamela and Kara are among those reported to be especially concerned by the 63-year-old’s popularity.
“They know they’re not as popular as Scott and Matt and it makes them very vulnerable,” the insider added.
“They’re putting in huge numbers of hours to get their performances up to scratch. But Ann’s hardly doing any practice. She’s revelling in the whole thing but isn’t trying to improve.
“She knows she doesn’t have to be a good dancer to win votes.”
However BBC bosses are keen for Ann to stay on the show, as she has proven to be a ratings winner – and is reportedly now in demand for other work, including possibly a chat show.
“For us this is all about ratings,” the source said. “Ann is blockbuster. She’s the only thing keeping us in touch with the ratings of The X Factor this week.
“If she went out this week we’d drop by two million viewers.”
And Ann herself has tried to reassure the other contestants that she doesn’t think she will take the series title.
“I’d be shocked if I was able to take down three talented dancers and make it to the final,” she said.
“Of course I want to do that and I do want to win, but I don’t think it will happen.”