This was week SEVEEEEN of Strictly Come Dancing. There were no devil horns or spider cobwebs but there was a life-sized horse in the middle of the Strictly ballroom. But more on that later…
Peter Andre is up first with a Charleston. He’s really trying to embrace this character after the judges accused him of being a little bit samey last week. It’s a fun performance – he’s certainly going for the cheeky faces that adorn this playful dance – and it ends on a crowd-pleasing lift, which gets everyone on their feet.
“First out, first class. You started the show with an absolutely showstopper. Your best dance,” says Len, getting out of his seat to give him his own private standing ovation.
“Just what the doctor ordered,” says Bruno, praising his ability to embrace the character. “You did it.”
“I thought that performance was absolutely exceptional,” grins Craig.
While Darcey concludes: “I nearly could even mistake you as a professional out there. You became the character, you became the style. It was excellent.”
The scores are in. Craig gives them a 9, Bruno gives them a 9, Darcey goes for a 10 and “It’s the first 10 from Len,” cries Goodman. They get 38, the highest score of the series so far, beating Jay’s memorable Movie Week Jive.
Jamelia and Tristan are up next. They were in the dreaded dance off for the third time last week, so will be hoping and praying they keep out of the bottom two this week. There’s only so many times the judges can save you before it’s time to say goodbye…
They dance an elegant, focussed and confident Viennese Waltz. It’s not jaw-dropping but it’s a good performance.
“Great flow, great movement,” says Bruno.
“I thought you did really, really well,” says Craig.
“You are stunning,” adds Darcey. “Well done.”
“The dance was no trouble at all,” concludes Len, praising her footwork. “If you’re in the dance off this week I’m going to pickle my walnuts!”
They get 7 from Craig, 7 from Darcey, SEVEN! from Len and 7 from Bruno. More than last week, and rather fitting for week seven.
Up next? Carol Kirkwood. She’s dancing an American Smooth this week, which should be an improvement on last week’s not-so-sexy Rumba.
Carol manages her tricky lifts with grace, poise and a smile. And the teenage girl inside me is rather enamoured with her dance choice. Shania Twain should definitely get more air time.
“It was like watching a bumper car ride,” says Craig to boos from the crowd. “But I have to say it was a vast improvement on last week.”
“Without fail I can see the confidence and intent and energy you are putting into the dance,” adds Darcey. “A great improvement.”
“Carol, I love you because you are consistent. She’s weather proof and dance proof, nothing sticks,” says a catty Bruno.
They get a 3 from Craig, 5 from Darcey and Len and a 4 from Bruno. It’s four more than last week and that smile ain’t slipping, but the weather presenter does look a little sad.
Helen George is up next. She’s dancing a sexy Rumba this week. The dance is a tricky one: cringe-inducing when it’s bad, brilliant when it’s good.
They are dancing to the song of the moment: Adele’s Hello. Helen said they felt extra pressure performing to such a popular tune, but it doesn’t show. Their performance is smooth, seamless and sultry.
“I was totally transported into your romantic love story,” says Darcey. “There was so much that I liked. Thank you.”
“Basically, what’s on the label’s not in the tin… that for me lacked enough basic Rumba,” frowns Len. “For me it lacked content… however, having said that, you are a fantastic dancer.”
“My darling you were like a siren out there,” purrs Bruno. “The performance was absolutely beautiful.”
“I loved the drama,” concludes Craig. He liked it. “I’m going against Len,” he says, while the duo start arguing about the definition of a Rumba.
They get 8, 8, 7, 8, giving them a total of 31.
Jay McGuiness is up next. He’s dancing an Argentine Tango. It’s a dramatic dance, full of tiny touches which make Jay look as strong a dancer has his pro Aliona. There are lifts aplenty too, and the audience are back on their feet at the end.
“It was a polished performance. You must have used a Jay Cloth,” Len laughs, calling it “sleek, slick… clear and clean.”
“I felt it… picture perfect,” purrs Bruno. “Your feet were hitting the floor like laser guided missiles.”
Craig thinks Jay needs to up his acting game: “It felt like a warm-up to the main event.”
“You execute it to perfection,” concludes Darcey. “I love what you do.”
The scores are in. It’s an 8 from Craig, 9 from Darcey, 8 from Len, 9 from Bruno. That’s 34. A solid score, but not a scoreboard-topper this week.
Anton and Katie are up next. They found themselves nearing the bottom of the leaderboard last week, just a few live shows after coming top of the leaderboard. This week they are dancing the Quickstep. “If it goes well it could be amazing,” says Katie.
There’s a fun, musical theatre themed opener followed by some super fast steps and a few slip ups. Katie’s smile falters a couple of times but she covers it up with impressive ease.
“The beginning was great, but there were so many mistakes,” says Bruno.
“That was a very ambitious routine,” says Craig. “I think if you had one more week on this particular routine you would have smashed it.”
“You are so beautifully light on your feet,” adds Darcey. “It was too challenging, sadly.”
“The problem is when you dance at that speed and with that amount of steps you can lose a little bit of control, and that’s what happened,” concludes Len, conceding that is was still a “fantastic performance.”
The scores are in: 6, 7, 7, 6. “Turn it upside down,” cries Anton when they get their first six.
Anita and Gleb are up next. There will be no harnesses or flying entrances this week – they are doing a “super fast” Jive dressed as janitors.
It’s a fun, flirty and super high-energy number. They pull off some ambitious floor work and end by chucking glitter all over the judges. A fab performance as far as I’m concerned.
“It was fast, furious, energetic,” says Craig, adding he was a fan of the characterisation. “I absolutely loved the routine.”
“It was brilliant, the action, the energy,” adds Darcey. “It was a fab Jive.”
“It was full of fun, full of energy, full of sharp kicks and flicks. I’m full of praise because it was terrific,” smiles Len.
“Anita and Gleb, you’re hired!” shouts Bruno. “You broke through the mould. You were on fire. You were on it, you were selling it, you were tight. Your best dance yet.”
The scores are in. They get 8s from Craig and Darcey and 9s from Len and Bruno. They look rather chuffed with their first 9s of the series.
Kellie Bright is up next. She’s dancing a moving-house inspired Waltz in an amazing technicolour dress. It’s a sweet, graceful and accomplished performance.
“You are a strong lady,” says Darcey. “There is improvement there. I really enjoyed it.”
“It was full of charm, full of grace. You know how to please old Len, don’t cha,” he grins. “You are a great all-round dancer.”
“Expertly crafted, wonderfully detailed, perfectly acted,” praises Bruno, calling it a “great performance.”
“I thought it was a lovely routine, well done,” smiles Craig.
The scores are in… 8, 8, 8, 8. That’s 32. Not their best score but it’s an improvement on last week.
Up next? Jeremy Vine. He’s dancing a Village People-inspired Tango and there’s a life-sized horse involved…
Vine is trying desperately hard not to smile during his Tango, but ends up looking rather perplexed. He starts and ends his performance on his steed and obviously he gets a standing ovation from the audience.
“You come out looking the Woody from Toy Story… it’s wild, it’s wacky, it’s fun. I always love watching you,” says Len.
“That’s how the west was lost,” shouts Bruno as the audience boos and jeers. “It was a glorious disaster.”
“It certainly had a staccato nature to it,” drawls Craig, admitting he enjoyed Vine’s bottom wiggling. That on its own is worth a 3 he reckons.
Darcey is speechless. “What’s fabulous is your determination,” she says, praising his straight face and improved top line. “I will never get bored of watching you.”
Scores are in. They get 21.
We’ve just got one more performance before we call it a night. Georgia May Foote is up last, dancing a Samba. She topped the leaderboard last week so we could be in for an impressive performance… It’s a fast, ambitious performance, that must have left Georgia feeling awfully dizzy. And it was certainly a crowd pleaser; they get a standing ovation from the audience. But will the judges agree? And will they be top the leaderboard again?
“Another outstanding performance,” shouts Bruno, giving feedback partially in Italian.
“You handled the speed of that dance very, very well,” says Craig adding, “What an incredible dance. Congratulations.”
“It was amazing,” says Darcey. “Fabulous.”
“You came out like my favourite pizza, hot and spicy. And you killed it,” smiles Len.
The scores are in: 8, 9, 9, 9. That’s total of 35. “I’m so happy – that’s amazing,” says Georgia.
So that’s it for this evening. This is what the leaderboard looks like… Peter’s at the top with 38 while Georgia has taken second place with 35. As standard, Carol’s brining up the rear with 17 points. Jeremy’s down there too with 21.
That’s it from me, but not for Strictly this weekend. We’ve still got the results show tomorrow night, where our 10 celebrities will be whittled down to 9.
Tune in to BBC1 tomorrow night at 7.15pm to find out who has to hang up their dancing shoes.