And then there were six. Former bookies’ favourite Peter Andre was voted out of the competition last weekend leaving us with just half a dozen celebrities – and a competition which is too close to call.
This week the remaining pairs will be treading the boards, trying to impress the judges and voting public with a set of dances inspired by musical theatre. But it won’t be all jazz hands and air kisses, this is the Strictly quarter final. The Glitterball is within reach and our famous faces will be doing everything they can to get their hands on it…
Pick up that metaphorical score paddle and join me, Ellie Walker-Arnott – RadioTimes.com’s official Strictly superfan – live from 7:00pm 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.
I’ll see you back here, same time, same place next Saturday for (can’t you believe it?) the Semi Final.
That’s it for tonight, but it’s not it for Strictly this weekend. As always there’ll be an elimination tomorrow. One of our celebrities won’t be making it to the semi finals and I honestly couldn’t guess who that will be.
Let me know your predictions in the comments box below, or on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa.
Let’s take a look at the leaderboard. Jay’s on top with 39, followed by Georgia and Kellie. Anita’s down at the bottom and last-week’s leaderboard-topper Helen is in the danger zone.
So, we didn’t get our full marks. In fact, we didn’t get that many high scores for a quarter final.
The scores are in. It’s a 8 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 9 from Len and 9 from Bruno. A total of 43. I think we were expecting worse. But it is slightly disappointing.
It’s a rousing, passionate and determined dance. Helen’s wiped her usual smile off her face for a scowl. The audience loved it, will the judges agree?
Bruno’s off his seat shouting. He wants to go on the barricade. He’s ready for battle. “Victory, victory!” he cries.
“Clean, feisty, sharp, brilliant,” says Craig, but he had his criticism too.
“There was so much dance content,” says Darcey, who was concerned there was too much going on.
“I loved the sassy cape… your facial expression, you were living that. I thought it was terrific,” concludes Len.
Good feedback, but I don’t think we’ll be getting our 40…
Helen’s up next dancing a Paso Doble to a Les Miserables classic. It’s all down to Helen to get full marks now. We need a 40 before the semis next week!
They get an 8, 9, 9, 9, for a total of 35. Anton Du Beke is besides himself again, shouting about nines.
Katie’s up next, dancing a Cabaret-inspired foxtrot. It’s strong, sassy and sexy.
“Fabulous movement, beautiful lines. A very accomplished performance,” says Len.
“Stunning,” says Bruno. “It was a beautiful, beautiful dance.”
Craig loved the choreography. “I thought it was really, really lovely.”
“That’s exactly what we want,” says Darcey, praising her confidence. “Brilliant, well done.”
The scores: it’s a 9 from Craig, a 10 from Darcey, “from Len it’s a 10”, and a 10 from Bruno. 39. Joint highest score of the competition so far.
It’s a good score, but I’m hoping for a full 40 tonight. It’s now on Katie or Helen to provide it…
It’s a romantic and intense dance, full of fluid movements and meaningful eye contact. I feel Jay’s costume is lacking in Strictly sparkle though. Jeans and a checked shirt. Where are the sequins?
“You both bought tears to my eyes,” says Darcey, praising their emotional and compassionate storytelling. “It was fabulous.”
“It was a musical from Once and you won’t be dancing that twice,” says Len. “This is such a hard dance especially for men… you got it right. It was fantastic.” Tonight you’ve convinced me you’re a terrific dancer.
“That was a pitch perfect interpretation of a theme… it was irresistably romantic,” adds Bruno. “You’ve done an amazing jobs with a difficult dance.”
“I thought you presented Aliona so well, it was absolutely wonderful,” says Craig. “The hip action I could not complain about at all.”
Jay McGuiness is up next. He’s dancing a raunchy Rumba this week. He’s even roped Ronan Keating in to help. If that’s not dedication I really don’t know what is.
Claudia has chocolate all over her face. Forget sequins and fake tan, she’s genuinely the best thing about Strictly.
The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 9 from Darcey, 9 from Len, 9 from Bruno. 36. They are “very happy!” It’ll push them up to the higher end of the leaderboard, but they might still need votes to avoid another dreaded dance off…
Kellie Bright’s next, dancing a Viennese Waltz as a bold barmaid. It’s fun, jaunty and energetic. And the audience are back on their feet.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen a Viennese Waltz that’s not elegant… had absolutely no class. It was common as, and you know what darling, I loved it!” said Craig.
“It was brilliant, well done,” adds Darcey.
“In the words of Fagin, I was reviewing the situation and I loved it! It was like a knees up down the Old Vic,” says Len.
“Consider yourself, at home!” sings Bruno. “It was a Viennese Waltz by the people, for the people… Happy hour at Strictly Come Dancing.”
The scores are in… It’s a 6 (what?!) from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 9 from Len and 8 from Bruno. 31. Same as last week.
That six was a shocker. They could be trouble this week.
Anita’s up next. She’s dancing a Chicago-inspired Argentine Tango. Anita’s channeling her sexy side again, while Gleb looks like a stripper. It’s sharp, theatrical and seriously raunchy. Anita is as good as the pros she’s dancing alongside and is throwing herself around Gleb’s six-pack. The audience are on their feet. It’s a hit.
But surprisingly it’s a mixed bag from the judges…
Bruno thinks her moves were slightly sloppy and throws his leg up on the desk to demonstrate. “It needed to be a little bit more sharp.”
“This dance unfortunately has exposed all your week points,” says Craig, criticising her pigeon toes and flexed feet. “You have a great sense of drama, a dramatic integrity.”
“The energy, the attitude and the intent you have is extraordinary,” adds Darcey. “You have no fear. Gleb has asked a lot of you.”
“It was like a cow pat on Countryfile. Hot and steamy,” shouts Len. “I thought you did it spectacularly well.”
The scores are in… It’s a 9 from Craig, 9 from Darcey, 9 from Len and 9 from Bruno. Total of 36. More than last week. Georgia says she’s never taking her princess dress off and I absolutely don’t blame her.
It’s graceful, light and charming. I’m biased because it’s my childhood favourite, but if you ask me it had that Disney magic.
“It was charming. It had a lovely ease about it… it was a fairytale and it wasn’t grim!” says Len.
“You were a picture of loveliness out there,” says Bruno. “I think we were all transported by the magic of it all.”
“I thought it was absolutely delightful,” smiles Craig. “Enchanting… and I don’t often use those sort of words.”
You really deserve to be here,” he adds.
“You excelled in this,” concludes Darcey, “Beautiful, beautiful.”
Georgia is up first, dancing a foxtrot to a Beauty and the Beast classic. That, and the bright yellow dress she’s doing it in, is every little girl’s dream. Fact.
This is what our stars will be dancing to tonight, if their costumes aren’t already giving it away:
Anita and Gleb will dance the Argentine Tango to Cell Block Tango from Chicago.
Georgia and Giovanni will Foxtrot to Beauty & The Beast from the show of the same name.
Helen and Aljaz perform the Paso Doble to At The End Of The Day from Les Miserables.
Jay and Aliona are going to Rumba to Falling Slowly from Once.
Katie and Anton are dancing the Foxtrot to Maybe This Time from Cabaret.
Kellie and Kevin are performing the Viennese Waltz to Oom Pah Pah from Oliver.
The pros – and our brilliant judges – are opening the show with a sequin-studded musical number.
And here are our celebs, holding their own on a floor filled with professionals. It’s impressive stuff!
And we’re off! This is the Strictly quarter finals. Who knows how we ended up here already! We must have been having fun, because time has flown. But it’s not JUST the quarter finals. It’s also Musical Week so we are in for a treat of a show…
If you just can’t wait 11 minutes to see for yourself, here’s a sneak peek at tonight’s show. The 6-year-old inside me is incredibly excited about Georgia’s Belle-inspired dress.
Here’s a reminder of how the leaderboard looked at the end of last week’s show. The scores are a little different to usual because of that brilliant Quickstep-a-thon…
Helen was at the top of the board, followed by Jay and Georgia while Peter found himself at the bottom. Anita and Kellie were also in the danger zone.
15 minutes until the quarter final kicks off. I hope you’ll all suitably excited. Normally I’d crack out a mini bottle of bubbles for the occasion, but I had a rather raucous Christmas party last night and I’m not sure it’s a wise idea…
You know I said the competition was too close to call? Well, I have given it a go…
This week I’ve attempted to predict the winner of Strictly series 13 using a calculator. I’m not going to lie, it was a trying morning (numbers aren’t my cup of tea) but the results don’t lie. According to numbers and numbers alone, Helen George is set to win that Glitterball Trophy, while Katie Derham will be saying farewell this weekend…