Strictly Come Dancing 2011: week three review

Strictly went to Broadway this week, but did it leave any of the contestants behind?

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It is amazing to see how much the first elimination affects the celebrities every year. When I interviewed them all before the beginning of the show, the only one who would admit to taking it seriously and feeling competitive was Jason Donovan. Hasn’t that all changed now!

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Broadway week was full of everything it promised: even more glitz and razzmatazz than a usual helping of Strictly plus plenty of sweat, tears and tantrums.

Audley Harrison provided buckets of sweat and has already lost a stone. When he came into the competition, like all boxers on a break, he had let himself go. He is now nearly back at his fighting weight and it shows. You can see him giving it his all, and his emotion last week when he nearly had to say goodbye to the dancefloor was so touching. He is vulnerable again this week but it would be lovely to see him survive and return to land a knockout blow.  

Lulu was the first to cry (not Shout!), which is surprising because you would think that out of all of the celebrities she would be the one most used to the pressure of a performance. But yet again this week she used those emotions and vulnerability to her advantage and gave a touching performance.

And then there were Rory’s tantrums. He is clearly a perfectionist and gets frustrated with his inability to get the dance straight away. But every week he gets into character – not Tony Blair or George W Bush, but that of a very competent dancer indeed.  

Holly Valance sizzled like the post-pop starlet she is and Anita once again looked as happy as Angie announcing a lock-in at The Queen Vic. Alex Jones is slowly overcoming her nerves, but has yet to reach the dizzy heights of dancing goodness that her One Show co-host Matt Baker achieved last year… it’s still early days. Football hard man Robbie, I suspect, is surprising himself as well as the viewers with how much he has embraced all things Strictly. Will he be able to make it through a full 90 minutes without a yellow card?

Jason’s ability to switch from unbelievable campness to overpowering masculinity is unique in the contest and Chelsee’s energy and bubbliness is endearing her to the audience (and bringing her lovely gran on definitely won’t have done her any harm).  As for little drummer boy, Harry, well he was just brilliant this week and blew me away with his jive.

And then there are Russell and Nancy. Watching them perform gets more enjoyable by the week – as Len said, Nancy definitely has more style than substance, but do the viewers care? And little Russell, oh, Russell…words escape me…you are just a joy.

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Which only leaves Dan Lobb. He still has a papered-on smile and a reticence that makes him really stand out from the rest of the contestants. You can’t help feeling that he would be quite relieved to go back to Daybreak and forget the whole thing… and for that reason alone it would only be fair for him to leave tomorrow and put us – and himself – out of this misery.