The bright lights of Blackpool are behind us and it’s onwards and upwards for the remaining Strictly celebrities. As usual, this week our newbie dancers will be performing a new solo dance. But that’s not all.
It’s week ten, people. The stakes have been raised. It’s time for Strictly’s very first Quickstep-a-thon. Our seven couples will be dancing around the floor at the same time keeping their feet quick and their fingers crossed for extra points from the formidable judges.
Pick up that metaphorical score paddle and join me, Ellie Walker-Arnott – RadioTimes.com’s official Strictly superfan – live from 6.50pm tonight to dissect the dancing, the judges’ catty comments and those occasionally cringe-worthy VTs.
You can tweet me your comments, questions, queries and snap judgements on tonight’s dances @Ellie_Wa or post in the comments box below.
P.S. Do tell me what you thought of tonight’s dances over on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa (and my boyfriend is bored of me talking about dancing.)
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.
As for me, I’ll see you back here, same time, same place next Saturday. It’s the quarter finals (yeah, you read that right) and the stars will be embracing musical theatre, so you’d be a fool to miss out.
We are terribly high-tech here at RadioTimes.com. Here’s a helpful snap of my telly screen…
So how has that affected the leaderboard? Helen is still at the top, Peter’s still at the bottom. But now Jay is second, followed by Georgia, Katie, Kellie and Anita.
Anita, Peter and Kellie are all in the danger zone so do pick up those phones/press those keys if they are your faves.
In 7th, 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: Helen and Aljaz.
I think they all did rather well to stay standing, but now to find out how they actually did…
This is insane. How are the celebrities not crashing into each other?
All the couples are taking to the floor for the mass dance. Not sure how I’m going to keep up with this…
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. So here goes…
“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. She won’t be topping the leaderboard tonight.
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.
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.
Gleb’s just done the splits. This is why we love Strictly.
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. They could be in trouble…
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.
Anita Rani is on the floor next. She’s dancing the sexy, sultry Rumba this week. “The hardest of all the dances,” says Gleb.
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…
Peter Andre’s up next. He’ll be 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 set in a cake shop. And the audience are back on their feet.
“Two things lady’s 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 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!
“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.”
“It’s 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.”
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.
The quality of dance is so high tonight. How are we going to say goodbye to someone tomorrow?
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.
It’s okay if you’re reaching for the tissues too. At this point, Strictly isn’t just about sparkle. It’s emotional stuff, okay?
Helen George is taking to the floor next, dancing a vintage Viennese Waltz in a frothy, tassled dress that is making me rethink that LBD for the Radio Times Christmas party.
It’s 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: 7, 8, 8, 9. 32. Not quite as high as last week but the pair are chuffed.
It’s another classy routine from Du Beke. Their 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. “Apart from that, 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.”
Katie and Anton are up next, dancing an Argentine Tango. She’s got sporting SERIOUSLY saucy split this week.
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.”
“There 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.”
Kellie and Kevin are up first with a fun, flirty and ambitious social media-themed Salsa (who’d have thought it, eh?) Those lifts are seriously clever. She’s one brave lady to keep smiling through all of that.
The audience are clearly fans, getting up on their feet for the first dance of the night. But what do the judges think…?
The competition is so close now. It’s really hard to call who’ll make it to the final. I literally have no idea who’ll leave on Sunday. Who do you think should hang up their dancing shoes for good this weekend? Let me know in the comments box below or on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa.
Let’s quickly recap last week’s live show. So few celebrities that they now all fit on one leaderboard…
One time bookies favourite Peter Andre found himself at the bottom of the leaderboard, but was saved from being sent home when the judges voted to say farewell to Jamelia instead.
While Georgia topped the board, followed by Anita and Kellie in second place.
Blackpool might be over but there’s still plenty of excitement this week. We’re counting down until the final now and the celebs are performing TWO dances tonight, one solo and one Quickstep-a-thon.
Hi there. Just minutes to go until this week’s Strictly Come Dancing kicks off. I do hope you’re suitably excited.
Here’s a little preview of what to expect from tonight’s show. i.e. some stand out offerings from the Strictly wardrobe department.