This was week ten. We had bionic bottoms, sizzling sausages, near perfect Waltzes and loads of standing ovations. Plus Strictly’s very first Quickstep-a-thon, which saw all the celebrity couples take to the floor at the same time and try not to collide with each other.
But we had seven solo performances to get through before that drama…
First up, Kellie and Kevin with a fun, flirty and ambitious social media-themed Salsa. There are some seriously clever lifts. And the audience are clearly fans, getting up on their feet for the first dance of the night.
“You were like two sizzling sausages on a BBQ,” says Len. “Your bum was bionic… I saw nothing but fabulous.”
“This evening couldn’t have started better… two courting fireflies,” grins Bruno.
“Fantastic energy. You always bring that to the stage which I love,” says Craig, “Absolutely great.”
Darcey has some advice about making the lifts more fluid, but concludes that it was “very nice.”
The scores are in… 8 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 9 from Len, 9 from Bruno. A total of 34. It’s three less than last week but Kellie is “really happy.”
Katie and Anton are up next, dancing an Argentine Tango. It’s another classy piece of choreographer from Du Beke. The Tango has an intense and focussed feel, full of strong shapes, elegant legwork and clever, confident lifts. It’s another standing ovation from the audience.
“Drop dead gorgeous,” purrs Bruno. “Some of the best you’ve ever done… a beautifully choreographed routine.”
Craig suggests she explore Anton’s inner thighs a little more, while the audience giggle. He’s got some useful critisim, but he’s a fan. “Darling, it was wonderful”
Darcey reckons it’ll be enough to get her to the quarter finals next week, but thinks she should exaggerate the still moments more.
“It was a fantastic dance,” says Len, praising the amount of work that obviously went into it. “It was a little bit open… and I wasn’t really exported,” he continues, adding: “Overall a great job, well done.”
The scores: 7, 8, 8, 9. 32. Not quite as high as last week but the pair are chuffed.
Helen George is taking to the floor next, dancing a vintage Viennese Waltz. It’s a sweet, romantic and effortless dance and the audience are back on their feet again.
“Lovely movement across the floor,” says Craig, who loved the storytelling. “Absolutely gorgeous.”
“It was like being in your dream. You are such a treasure to watch,” says Darcey, calling it close to perfection.
“Tickle my bum and call me Donald,” shouts Len. “Dancing is a marriage between music and movement. This was a match made in heaven.”
“I am absolutely charmed to the core,” says Bruno. “Everything came together perfectly.”
He thinks her dancing is weightless, effortless. “This is your breakthrough dance,” he smiles.
The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 10 from Darcey, 10 from Len, 10 from Bruno. A total of 39. That’s joint top for this series. Helen’s first 10(s). And worth a little sob from the Call the Midwife star.
Jay McGuiness is up next performing a Tango. It’s fast, sharp, intense and nicely choreographed, with a dramatic ending. The audience are on their feet again.
“Oh my,” says Darcey, fanning herself. “You were working as one… It was superb.”
“You were like a chess master, you plotted your way around that floor,” says Len. “That was a mango of a Tango. Delicious!”
“Boiling over with delight,” purrs Bruno, jumping out of his seat. “It thrills me to see the way you dance.”
“You hear the music and that’s what I absolutely adore about you,” says Craig. “I absolutely adored it.”
The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 10 from Darcey, 9 from Len, 10 from Bruno. 38. Jay looks like he’s going to cry. We might have left the fairground rides in Blackpool, but Strictly is an emotional rollercoaster this evening!
Peter Andre’s up next, trying to impress after finding himself bottom of the leaderboard, and in the bottom two, last week. It’s the American Smooth for them. It’s careful, sugary sweet – and the audience are back on their feet.
“Two things ladies love: Peter Andre and cupcakes,” says Len. “I just enjoyed watching the pair of you dance.”
“It was so sweet I got a sugar rush,” smiles Bruno. “The performance was great.”
Craig had some constructive criticism. “But you know what, I love your performance skills. They are absolutely brilliant.”
“Your charm, the storytelling, it was sweet and lovely,” says Darcey. “A very impressive performance.”
The scores? 7, 8, 8, 8, giving them a total of 31. It’s higher than last week but he could very well find himself in the bottom spot again…
Anita Rani is on the floor next. She’s dancing the sexy, sultry Rumba this week.
It’s passionate, romantic and Anita is definitely channeling that sexiness, despite her reservations. It looked slightly fragmented at times, to my untrained eye, but it was sultry and beautiful to watch. The audience are on their feet once again.
“It was a true tale of endless love,” says Bruno. “I felt you were speaking to each other with every single move.”
“I felt it was a little bit spiky,” frowns Craig, but he loves the contemporary feel and Anita’s characterisation. “You have turned into a really fine actress.”
“That was a very polished performance,” adds Darcey. “I really enjoyed it.”
“I didn’t enjoy it,” concludes Len. “You did a lift and you’re not supposed to. Where’s all the lovely basic Rumba?”
“I’m a senior citizen, respect your elders,” he frowns as the audience boo his remarks.
The scores? It’s a 7 from Craig, an 8 from Darcey, a 7 from Len and a 9 from Bruno. They’ve got 31, and they could be in trouble…
Georgia May Foote is the last to dance this week (before the all important Quickstep-a-thon, obviously). She was top of the leaderboard last week and will be hoping to keep her place with a stormy Paso Doble.
Theirs is a rocky, passionate Paso, which proves Georgia is as confident on her own as she is in hold. The moves are precise, sharp and super fast. And that ending. What an ending. Predictably, the audience are on their feet again.
“What a dynamic routine. Fantastic,” says Craig.
Darcey thinks it was fabulous, but thought her lines could be stronger.
Len thinks she was brave to start the routine alone. “It was dynamic and full of energy.”
“The little pocket rocket,” purrs Bruno. “You rock, kid!”
The scores are in… 8 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 8 from Len and 9 from Bruno. A total of 33.
Time for a quick look at the leaderboard. Helen’s at the top, followed by Jay, Kellie, Georgia and Katie. Peter and Anita are currently joint bottom.
But it could all change. There are an extra SEVEN marks up for grabs in the Quickstep-a-thon.
This “has the potential to turn the leaderboard upside down,” says Len. And it does. After an awful lot of dancing, and no collisions, the judges award their extra points.
In 7th, it’s Peter and Janette. 6th: Kellie and Kevin. 5th: Jay and Aliona. 4th: Anita and Gleb. 3rd: Katie and Anton. 2nd: Georgia and Giovanni. The winners, with an extra 7 marks, (not that they need them) is Helen and Aljaz.
So how has that affected the leaderboard? Helen is still at the top, Peter’s still at the bottom. Jay is still second, but he’s now followed by Georgia, Katie, Kellie and Anita.
That’s our lot for tonight, but we’ll have to say goodbye to one of these celebrities tomorrow night. Find out who it will be at 7:20pm on BBC1.