The judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas called Joe’s American Smooth a “glorious way to open the semi-final” and said that his “personality is exquisite” and his timing was extraordinary and that he was “just amazing”. Bruno said that the routine was “so complicated” but that he did it with “such ease” and that he particularly liked their side-to-side sections which had a “jazzy swing” that made it special.
Craig – obviously – picked up on the fact that he lost balance a little and that it could’ve been “a little bit smoother” but that his lifts were fantastic, while Darcey also praised the lifts, the glamour and the sweeping lines in his performance.
When it came to his second performance of the evening, Joe and Katya opted for an Argentine Tango. He was only the second man of Strictly 2017 to perform this dance, and thankfully it went down a storm.
Bruno loved the “modern twist” of the routine which was also very true to the style and feel of the dance. “The way you reflected that dramatic arc was superb,” said Bruno, who added that he had never seen an ending to a dance like that before. However, he also noticed that he lost balance at one point, which Bruno described as being a “fly in the ointment”.
Craig was a little bit less forgiving, describing his walking steps as a little bit “ploddy and obvious” and that he wasn’t creating an A-frame. However, he was pleased with the routine’s inventiveness. Darcey said Katya’s choreography was “wonderfully daring”, that it was “scary and surprising” and that she loved the “contemporary edge” in the dance.
Lastly Shirley said that Joe has “pushed the boundaries” of the dance and that he was just “spectacular”.
The judges’ verdict: “I was all ready for this Samba to fail with the idea and the concept of it but you know what, it did more than that – it was incredible,” said Craig, adding that it was “engaging” and he “loved it”. Darcey praised Joe’s “wonderful characterisation” and that she loved the shadow rolls in the routine, with Shirley that he “absolutely” had what it takes to make the semi-final. She said that she was “a bit like Craig” in being extremely nervous about this performance, but said that it was a “fantastic” performance. Bruno said it could not have been better than that.
Points from the Paso-Doblethon: 6 out of a maximum of 7
Dance: Quickstep to Jumpin’ Jack by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
The judges’ verdict: Opening the show, Shirley said that he was “unbelievable” and that Katya’s choreography was very clever, too. After a lot of technical feedback she surmised with an “It was superb!”
Bruno thought Joe had “excellent workmanship” and enthused that “everything was absolutely spot-on…and you can build my extension any time, darling!” Craig thought it was clean, light, bright and that it was “stupendous”, despite criticising him for “holding a little bit of tension in your top line.” Darcey picked up on his bobbing elbow, but largely had nothing but great comments for Joe and his “wonderful moves”.
The judges’ verdict: Darcey praised Joe’s “phenomenal lifts” and Shirley said he “recovered from the wobbles like a gymnast”. Bruno, however, found it a bit “delirious” and Craig said it “lacked fluidity and hip rotation” and “lost balance”. Mixed reviews there.
The judges’ verdict: “That was a smouldering Latin lover with a caring and tender touch,” enthused Bruno, who also praised Joe’s “great lines” but did notice that Joe would break his hands a few times during the routine. Craig said that for him it was “a little bit jolty” and that his footwork was a bit pigeon-toed.
“But you know what, we haven’t seen very many celeb men do this well and your hip action was really lovely,” he added. Darcey was full of praise and said she really did enjoy the performance, while Shirley still thought he was the dark horse of the competition and that he did an “exquisite job” of leading the Rumba.
Dance: Charleston to Alexander’s Ragtime Band by Ella Fitzgerald
The judges’ verdict: “It put a smile on more than my face, darling!” said Craig, rather cheekily, adding that he thought it was brilliant and praised their co-ordination. The only thing he criticised the pair on was a slight lack of swivel. “You gave us all the charm of the silent movies,” added Darcey. “That was a great Charleston”. Shirley had a new name for him – DJ, which could mean either “Detailed Joe” or “Darkhorse Joe” (it’s one word according to Shirley), as she said he was the one “coming from behind”. Ooh-er. Bruno, meanwhile, said that “the choreography was incredibly demanding…great job!”
The judges’ verdict: Shirley “loved the creative concept” and thought it had a good flow and frame but was nevertheless “a bit flat-footed”. Bruno concluded that it was “well-executed”. Craig “loved the energy and drive” while Darcey said it was a “difficult foxtrot, moments when you looked uncomfortable but managed it well”.
Shirley gave him that elusive 10 and said it was “the best male Paso Doble so far”, although sadly Craig wasn’t such a fan. He only awarded Joe a seven, while Darcey gave him a 9 and simply added: “Spanish style, loved it”.
Dance: Cha Cha to You Keep Me Hangin’ On by Human Nature
The judges’ verdict: A disappointing follow-up to last week’s impressive Viennese Waltz. Joe’s Cha Cha was too frantic, with Craig criticising him for his leg and hip action. Shirley asked him to focus on the fundamentals of technique, and Bruno called it “frantic, like someone chasing a wildcat, legs were so wide apart I could drive a train through them”. Only Darcey gave him upbeat feedback, saying: “challenging amount of content but you didn’t do too badly, nice attitude and connection.”
The judges’ verdict: Joe got a thumbs up from Craig, and Darcey enjoyed the traditional performance and routine that Katya Jones gave him. Shirley was equally impressed, and Bruno said he was “swept away by a romantic blizzard” and that the story through their dance was close to the book and close to the story. “Superb,” he said. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!
Judges’ verdict: Joe is not living up to his potential. Shirley said it took too long to get started (bizarrely he spent quite a while in a wardrobe before launching into the tango) and pointed out issues with his hold and rise and fall. Craig was fed up with his splayed hand (“your thumb was up, which is my pet hate”) and Bruno said it was “all impetus and no control”.
The judges’ verdict: The Holby City actor got a standing ovation for his Jive, and Darcey thought Joe had “the energy, the style, the choreography” and that she loved the details and focus of the dance. Shirley thought it was entertaining and also congratulated Katya on her choreography, while Bruno said that it was a “lot to live up to” and that he did “extremely well”. Craig, on the other hand, just had three words. “I like you,” he said. Hanging out with Ed Balls has clearly paid off.
Radio Times spoke exclusively to Joe McFadden:
Why are you doing Strictly?
“I’ve been asked on other celebrity shows, but never been in the mix for Strictly, and while others never tempted me, this one I couldn’t resist. I was actually brought in to do a little test dance with Katya — who could say no after that?”
How many hours can you train?
“Holby City have assured me they’ll lighten my schedule a bit, so hopefully a few. Who needs to sleep anyway? And friends and family can go on the back burner until Christmas!”
Hear more from Joe and Katya in our exclusive interview below:
What is Joe McFadden famous for?
Best-known for Holby City and Heartbeat, Joe was born in Glasgow and had a small part in Taggart before he got his first big break acting in Scottish soap Take the High Road in which he played Gary McDonald.
From this, he went on to star in TV mini-series The Glass as well as three episodes of Cranford, but he became a familiar face to millions as PC Joe Mason in Heartbeat.
After a small role in Casualty, Joe then landed the part of Raffaello ‘Raf’ di Lucca in Holby City – a role he’s played for three years.
Away from the small screen, Joe has also performed in the West End, appearing in productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Rent.
Of taking part in the show this year, Joe said: “Strictly is one of the biggest, most entertaining shows on TV and being asked to be part of it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m thrilled and terrified about in equal measures!”