Scott Mills’ Strictly verdict: Blackpool brings BIG scores from the judges

The crisp sea air even cheered up Craig Revel Horwood, meaning the series high flyers earned some of the highest marks of the series

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Where do I start with Blackpool week? The dances are bigger and better than ever, and Craig Revel Horwood came down from the ceiling on a giant guitar. You could feel the electricity of the audience and I can’t even begin to imagine how nervous the dancers were when they stepped into the Tower Ballroom for the first time.  

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Clearly being up north had a great effect on the Strictly judges. Did they go on some rides before the show? Was there candyfloss involved? Maybe we’ll never know. The incredible atmosphere in the room seemed to cheer up Craig and Bruno, and even their worst criticism wasn’t as harsh as usual.  

Jay kicked off the evening with a salsa. The chemistry during the dance was brighter than the Blackpool Tower! I’m amazed they didn’t get caught up in those intense arm twists (or ‘armology’, thanks Craig), and Jay definitely pushed himself with that lift in the dance. Does anyone else get nervous watching lifts like that? Anyway, they kicked the night off right and definitely brought the party to Blackpool. 

When you thought there couldn’t be any more fire on the dance floor, Anita and Gleb took on the pasa doble. The traditional Spanish theme – with the dramatic music and Gleb’s matador jacket – made for an absolutely brilliant dance. Anita was completely in control throughout the dance and it was absolutely fierce to watch.

We had two very different takes on the American Smooth on Saturday. Firstly, Katie and Anton’s was graceful, characterful, and had enough spins to make you dizzy. Katie oozed old Hollywood glamour and I’m glad that Anton confirmed he wears a top hat at all times outside of work, too!

Not to be outshone by Craig, Georgia came down from the ceiling on a moon to start her American Smooth. She looked like a princess, and her acting made the storyline even more believable and the dance even more tender. It’s great to see that, after her incredible dance last week, her ballroom is just as wonderful to watch.    

Helen and Aljaz kicked off their Charleston with an incredible amount of flair – a lift into the splits in the first few seconds of a dance? Make the rest of us feel bad, why don’t you! It looked like they had the time of their lives, and the audience were definitely enjoying it too,

I was excited for Kellie and Kevin to close the show and they delivered an incredible finale for Blackpool. Their quickstep to Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five (briefly) made me want to work in an office, and it was so great to see them get their highest score and their first ten for such a fun dance.

It was Jamelia and Peter in the dance off this week. Peter’s 1960’s inspired jive to River Deep Mountain High – don’t get me wrong, I’m not jealous of the trousers – looked like a lot of fun, and it was interesting to see the judges really critique it. In the end, though, Jamelia was sent home for her Quickstep.

To have made it to Blackpool is an incredible achievement, and I’m sure every dancer felt it at the end of the night. It definitely brought out the best in a lot of the contestants.

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Here’s hoping the competition stays as sharp when they’re back down south on Saturday…